Technical Limitations = Your Fault Every Time

by Jonathan Longnecker

I went to Food City to buy some groceries today, tried to slip through the self-checkout because I was in a hurry and guess what they don’t accept there? Their own gift cards. Seriously? So I have to cancel my order and walk 5 steps to a register with a person behind it. And then guess what? I use the exact same credit card processing machine and the cashier never touches my card!

Ok, let’s back up a bit. I have to give them a bit of credit. The self checkout machine actually worked with all the scanning/bagging stuff that usually fails miserably. How many times has the monitor person had to come over and tell the machine that yes, you really did just bag that item? I rest my case. So anyway, when the self checkout monitor came over and said, “You can’t use that here,” I just looked at her a little dumbfounded and said, “Why? Everything was going so great!” Needless to say I didn’t really get a good answer. Something to the effect of “it’s not setup in our system this way.” Ok well yeah obviously! Otherwise I’d be able to use a Food City gift card at a Food City register. Even stranger, though; I can pay with food stamps and even some acronym I’ve never heard of. Why not your own freaking gift cards?

I feel better now, thanks for letting me vent. So the point is this: Don’t make your users ever have to think about technical limitations. If they do, then you lose every time. Because it’s always your fault. For Food City, maybe they have a perfectly good reason for not allowing this; but from a consumer’s standpoint it’s just stupid, frustrating and it should be easy to fix. They lose.

Remember, it will always be your fault. Sweat the details and make every process work the way it should.

November 25, 2008

Business, Personal


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