Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How to screw up eCommerce

Working in IT, I come into contact with a huge number of techno-idealists. The sort of geeks who think technology is going to change everything. Nerds who think the internet is the pinnacle of achievement. Even zealots who believe that computer programs will spontaneously develop self-awareness and intelligence. I'll tell you why these idealistic views of the future are never going to fully come true:

People are fucking morons.

Every now and then I stumble across a website that really brings home the fact that intelligent computers are never going to happen because unintelligent and/or lazy people are getting in the way. People are always talking about how eCommerce is going to put bricks and mortar shops out of business; a view I take with a grain of salt. Mostly because of how hard most websites make it to give them any money.

Your average shop doesn't make you jump through hoops to spend money. Usually if you even look like getting your wallet out they're all over you. The biggest difficulty you usually get is a disinterested teenager behind the counter who'd rather talk to her boyfriend than serve you.

Recently I had to deal with the height of stupidity from a website. I was trying to buy a "gift certificate" and the had a few denominations listed: $10, $20 and $50. I thought I'd get a $20 voucher but is was marked as "SOLD OUT". How the fuck can it be sold out? It doesn't even exist as such. It isn't as if they have to run out and print some more, it's a fucking electronic transaction.

So long as there are fuckwits doing things like this with websites, eCommerce is never going to take over.

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