From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <shap () eros-os org>
To: <dave () farber net>
I forwarded the earlier note to a friend, Mike Dash, who responded with
the following encounter that *he* had with the e-commerce world. He has
graciously agreed that it can be forwarded to IP if you wish.
i recently tried to buy a car through imotors.com (used-car portal). it
was, in a word, mind-bogglingly incompetent. there are companies that
figure out how to use the web to make radical improvements to their
business. and there are those that just slap a web front end onto an
existing business model...
1) go to web site and fill in form describing desired car
2) receive imotors contract, which does not match desired car
3) phone imotors. "yes, we know it's not the same description but that's
ok. just sign the contract so we can go search for the car. the
description in the contract is not the one the buyers will use; they will
have the actual description."
4) hmm. ok... can i have a copy of the buyer's description?
5) "that will be on another computer. but if you *really* want it, i could
print it out and fax it to you."
6) receive fax of hand-written form telling buyers what car to look for.
7) receive calls about various candidate cars. they're not close enough to
what I want, so I reject them and ask them to keep looking.
8) after a week, receive phone message: "we bought your car!"
9) phone to find out what car they bought. "we don't have that info here
-- it's at our intake center. we should have the car's description here in
a few days."
10) phone 4 times in one week and talk to 3 people. finally get someone
who obtains a description of the car. it's not the one i want. actually,
it's one of the ones that I specifically said i did *not* want.
11) they discontinue processing the car and say they'll look some more.
12) after another week, repeat steps 8 and 9 (really!) plus an abbreviated
version of 10. finally, buy a car locally and tell imotors thanks just the