Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Taking Advantage of Confusion

I have yet another confession to make: as much as I love the English language, it sometimes baffles me. Worse, it confuses me the same way every time in certain situations. For instance, if I am standing in the middle of a block, and some one tells me to go to the "3rd house down on the left," I am paralyzed. Do I count the house I am standing in front of? I don't blame the speaker; I blame the imprecision of the language that allows such vagueness to be communicated. After all, the 3rd house may have a winning lottery ticket, but the 4th house might be a compulsory 24 hours of Michael Jackson homicide coverage.

So, it is with the same disdain I look at this e-mail I received. See the call out? A set of 4 lights, only $19.95 each. Nice deal, right? I click through, and, after not being delivered to the product I clicked on (yep, the old bait and switch), I end up finally finding my lights:
Wow! Now down to $14.95! Cool! I click through, and get this:
Ok, now wait a minute. First, the "bait and switch" that the $14.95 price was for a 4 pack of AA batteries. I used to run a major retailer's e-commerce site, over a decade ago; even back then, this was unacceptable! Now, let's turn to the "Set of 4; $19.95 each" that originally lured me in. The way it was phrased was that a set of 4 was $19.95. Do you see that here? Uh, no. Ok, assume I am English impaired this way, and the intention was to express that each lamp in the set of four was now $19.95. Ok, that would be $79.80; where is that? I see $78.99, a bit less than $79, for a set of 4, or $22.99 each?

All this has just one effect on the consumer: close the web browser and unenroll from the e-mail list. Now, I am not mentioning the etailer who is responsible here, but they are a major online brand, who clearly should know better. It's 2009, not 1997; there's only one way a mistake like this gets rewarded: with $0.


Tim Kilroy said...

you should call them out by name...negative notoriety hurts...

Josh Tretakoff said...

Not a good thing to do to a potential or current client. :-)

This is what you do at 37K feet? Comment on blogs? Wow, you ARE a jet setter! :-)