How a Dumb Ass Like Me Saves Face-the Quad “F” Solution

To All the Enthusiastic Customers who Suffered though our Sale Yesterday:
 
I apologize for wasting your valuable time.
 
We literally have thousands of transactions to fix.  The multiple “submits” have basically killed the inventory, created multiple duplicate charges that need to be reversed…and it gets worse–
 
Our IT company that runs our shopping cart quit on us yesterday when we screamed for help.
 
Those are details however and they will all get fixed in the next few days. Orders will get shipped and for those of you who see multiple charges on your card for the exact same amount, they will all get reversed–despite the appealing notion of me disappearing to a tropical island with your money, particularly an island without an extradition treaty with the United States…  (We have one customer who hit submit 30 times and has 30 pending transactions–his name rhymes with Alex… Oh boy.)
 
The real issue is the huge public relations mess. Believe me, WE KNOW many of you are pissed.
 
So, last night I turned to somebody who handles public relation issues for a Fortune 5 company. This guy is in charge of all the New York City PR for AT&T, and those customers are perpetually torqued, or so it seems. And this guy just happens to be my son, Brian.
 
He talked. I listened–which has NEVER happened in reverse. So here is what we are going to do;
 
Next week I leave on my annual work retreat and will not be back in the office until the first week of February (somewhere in the lower 48 in case you are wondering…). The very first thing I am going to do is design a tool for ANYBODY who has placed orders from that “Clearance” page and we are going to build it, and send it to you folks for free.  I call it the Quad “F” solution.  We get a big “F” for how this all went down.  We get to “F”ix the mess and you get a “F”ree tool…the fourth “F” is coming…
 
Today, as we cancel the duplicate orders, items that appeared out of stock should reappear. Those items that we know are out of stock will be taken down. The “Clearance” section may disappear in interim spurts as we fix our inventory. It will come back. Furthermore, because this will take a couple of days to fix, our Quad “F” solution is live until I get back in “F”ebruary.
 
I don’t give a hoot how much this is going to cost us. I hope you accept my apology and I assure you the free tool will be cool. It is not like we have another option.
 
I also want to apologize to our staff–they are doing their best.
 
-John

69 comments on this post:

  1. John,

    Do you have a tally of how many of us rabid bargain hunters logged in right at the start of the sale?

    -Rutager

  2. You have to take into account the fact that Fred was logged in from three different computers. And the phone. So it might have only been, like, 10 people. And they’ve all posted here…

    But seriously, 1000 people trying to buy BCTW tools on sale?!? That’s great! I’d like to meet more of them. Clearly we share an affinity for high-quality tools and toolmakers with character.

    But that’s a lot of FN tools…

    — Peter

  3. The people noting how a silver lining of all this is the demonstrated demand for discounted BCTW stuff. Might that demand (and the success of the last big inventory reduction sale) also signal potential interest from the bottom end of the BCTW market for stuff at a lower price point? It looks like the brass-and-rosewood era has passed for good for you guys, but I’d love to see some more simple, handsome anodized aluminum stuff.

    Waiting to see if any brass and rosewood comes his way out of the scrum,

    Dave

  4. Guys,

    Can anyone verify that Fred may have also tried to log into an old “Speak and Spell” that was lying around?

    -Rutager

  5. John:
    Take the praise. Healing is needed.

    I am away from home and so limited in time, but I went to bed after reading the blog here and Consuela’s help with my multiple charges.

    I woke up thinking about GAAP; generally accepted accounting principles and how they’re used in coding.

    Whoever was running your cart did not follow accounting rules. Period! The complete absence of any real attempt to follow financial proceures might make them fiscally accountable.

    Perhaps, if you don’t want to get mired in legal issues; you could announce here who your IT company was. Then when someone who follows them can check the actual process, publish the errors here. No lies, no fabrications; but word of mouth about A) incompetent, B) irresponsible IT work can not only reflect poorly on them, but it might save one or more of your customers similar angst. Before publishing the truth in a more public place, check with your lawyers…

    Inventory cart practice:
    Verify Customer account, encourage registering,
    Verify information
    Verify inventory
    receive credit information;
    —-verify address, customer info, card #
    —-verify against bad cards

    WHEN the customer SUBMITS the order:
    Verify inventory, Hold inventory (remove from inventory list),
    Verify Card for transaction purposes, log trans number and any pertinent information.
    Lock the temporarily hold inventory as sold,
    Notify customer if any items were sold out.
    Send to shipping department.

    That little hold inventory during the time it takes to finalize the sale prevents the same inventory from being sold again. It is only held until the whole process is finished. Do not notify the customer of out of stock WHILE processing the purchase. If they weren’t notified then, notifying while finalizing a purchase is not advisable.

    The only reason the held stock part is performed is to allow you and the system to tally up the bill, finalize the sale and then to finalize afterwards. That way, the card company is not notified of a sale transaction before a final total is reached.

    There is far more to this process and it is supposed to be taught rigorously in various computer language classes. Testing of code, especially code meant to go live is also taught.

    I mentioned in an earlier post that I thought the IT company was responsible for most of the problems. After getting multiple charges that have no corresponding BCTW order, I am positive that the IT company is at fault. Seriously at fault.

    I may not be up to the latest java and script apps; but I ca personally vouch that every language I’ve been involved with over the years is or can be completely GAAP compliant. Yeah, most of the code running in my head may be COBOL, CICS, BAL Assembler, C++ and a few others, but the point is there is no reason your cart should have been so discobombulated. Slow, sure. Sticky, definitely. But those are processor/server/bandwidth issues.

    There are a number of software products out there though that are NOT multi-thread capable. When more than X people use the database, view your system, submit orders the software product itself may not work or not work well at all.

    Keep your chin up! Swallow the compliments that are pouring in!

    Surely, it is far better to hear these compliments now than for others to hear them during your eulogy at some very distant (we hope) time?

  6. “pfranks Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 5:59 PM
    You have to take into account the fact that Fred was logged in from three different computers. And the phone. So it might have only been, like, 10 people. And they’ve all posted here…

    But seriously, 1000 people trying to buy BCTW tools on sale?!? That’s great! I’d like to meet more of them. Clearly we share an affinity for high-quality tools and toolmakers with character.

    But that’s a lot of FN tools…

    – Peter

    54.dmarkowi Says:
    January 11th, 2013 at 8:01 PM
    The people noting how a silver lining of all this is the demonstrated demand for discounted BCTW stuff. Might that demand (and the success of the last big inventory reduction sale) also signal potential interest from the bottom end of the BCTW market for stuff at a lower price point? It looks like the brass-and-rosewood era has passed for good for you guys, but I’d love to see some more simple, handsome anodized aluminum stuff.

    Waiting to see if any brass and rosewood comes his way out of the scrum,

    Dave”

    Perhaps the blog could have some user subdomains, maybe even managed by users; where we could locate each other.

    I normally lurk by habit and before John’s bad experience, I don’t think I’ve ever posted. Still discussions can be good.

    I second Dave’s suggestion.

    I am a user! Collecting supremely high end tools may be nice and love lsuting after them, but handling them is not in my finances. I’d buy more of the little goodies if they were available again; not withstanding the stocked inventory problems.

    Yeah, collectors feel betrayed when new products are released that duplicate a previous one; so? Part of the risk of collecting!

    I’ve gone through several junky hand drills, have a number of mega weight battery ones and the last BCTW handdrill I bid on went for over $700. Collectors be D__ned, I need a quality hand drill! They’re composed of very few parts, yet every currently made one is coarsely made or just plain junk. Just because I want to drill a small hole, I still want a round hole and my bits unbroken…

    Yes, we want John to be happy and free to design better tools plus we want him to prosper, er, we need him to prosper…

  7. You know Rutager, I had not heard that but it is possible! I did hear that Masood was able to get everything that he wanted though. After the first few trys he just called some buddies at the pentagon and…..well that might be why the band width for every one else got so Narrow….

    DJ

  8. Notta a problem. I must have check this page 500 time in the last few days LOL BTw I thought you where on a walk about!

  9. Take it back down man, I can’t stop ordering- I need help.

    Of course if you can find other deviants to engage in the same problem, your own doesn’t seem so bad. To that end, I emailed Masood about the clearance page.

    -Rutager

  10. Yeah, Rutager, I’m with you. I just had to get some of that nifty hardware. At first I thought I ordered a Semi load, but Consuelo called me to assure me that I hadn’t, because that load is going to your house.

  11. Oh, solid ground again.
    Still a bit dizzy.
    Just getting my sea legs again after riding the
    HRC yet another time this weekend.
    .

    (Hardware Roller Coaster)

  12. Roger-

    I hate to tell you this, but you could have saved a lot of money if you would have just bought the entire company…

    -John

  13. Your killing me John!
    Any hints on the “Quad F” tool for all the serial “submit” hitters ;)
    Thanks for letting me bug ya!
    Cheers,
    Charlie

  14. Charlie,

    No hints. But it will soon show up. All that is left to do is put in the magnets.

    Crap! Was that a hint?

    – John

  15. Magnets!!! Dangit…this is what I deserve for asking :-l
    Thanks for all you do sir and have a great day.
    Cheers,
    Charlie

Leave a Reply