Somebody, quick, sell me a bridge.
I won't go into the various little things that kept popping up that made my experience less than celebratory; suffice it to say that after twenty-five minutes I was frothing at the mouth and screaming obscenities at the computer, and I never did get the membership renewed.
Interesting, I hear you say, but what's it got to do with bookselling? Well, it occurred to me, as I was ricocheting around an exceedingly badly-designed web process, that this is why a lot of people approach e-commerce as if it were a live bomb, just waiting to go off in their faces. Which brought my thought process, such as it is, inexorably around to the latest set of bookseller bitching about the new credit card policies at the Advanced Book Exchange. I won’t go back over the whole thing here, but for me the most important point is that the new policy, which is to have ABE charge the customer’s card for a purchase instead of the bookseller charging it, makes the whole process a little easier and more trustworthy from the buyer’s viewpoint, and that’s the name of the game, isn’t it?
And as long as I’m on the topic, try this on for size- the latest bookseller’s gripe about ABE doing the credit card processing is along the lines of “well, how do we know that ABE will still be around a month from now to pay us our money? What if they all run off to Mexico or something?” Gimme a break- that’s a level of paranoia I have always had trouble dealing with. I find it especially amusing, though, when it comes from the same people who simply cannot understand that perhaps a customer might possibly be a little apprehensive about sending their credit card info to a third-party bookseller they’ve never heard of.
I suppose that brings us right back to our friend, the Irony Fairy. My, she’s a busy bee, isn’t she?
UPDATE: Last week I wrote about a new bookmark being issued by ABE that some folks construed as making fun of the President. The Freepers and others worked themselves into a lather over it, and when I tried to order some I got a message saying they were out of stock. I doubted it at the time, but apparently it was true- the bookmark was so popular that they did run out, but they're making more, and this time I'm gonna get me some!