Little innovation, but keep those sales coming

by Andy Oram


(Consumers have found fewer reasons in recent years for upgrading
their hardware or software. Grand new initiatives don't seem to be
making it into marketable products. So sales may be driven by other
measures...)

















































































































Sally:

Hello? Is that another ad or a sentient being? Good, I've been waiting
on the line for thirty minutes. Look, I bought a statistical database
I need for my research, and when I load the CD your product gives me
the message ".JSX 2.1 not recognized." I've opened .JSX files
before; do you know what's wrong?

Product Customer Service:

I'll try to help you. Do you see anything at all on your screen?

Sally:

Yes, yes, I just told you I see a dialog box saying ".JSX 2.1 not
recognized."

Product Customer Service:

Is the filename you entered exactly the same as the name of the file
as shown in the folder?

Sally:

Look, I've got a tight deadline and I need your software to work the
way it has hundreds of times before; don't treat me as a newbie.

Product Customer Service:

But I have a list of 38 questions I'm supposed to ask in order.

Sally:

Can you just ask me number 38?

Product Customer Service:

OK, did you recently upgrade your operating system to patch A96?

Sally:

Yes, I had to, it was part of the license.

Product Customer Service:

Well, that disabled .JSX support, but we can work around it with an
upcoming version that costs just $19.95.

Sally:

Thank goodness! How soon will it be released?

Product Customer Service:

As soon as you send us the $19.95.




(Next day.)

Sally:

Hello? I upgraded your operating system to patch A96 and it disabled
.JSX formats. I bought an upgrade for my application and it doesn't
do any good, but they swear there isn't anything else they can do.

Operating System Customer Service:

OK. Do you see anything at all on your screen?

Sally:

Can you just ask me question number 38?

Operating System Customer Service:

That one asks about whether you use your device while doing
high-flying acrobatics.

Sally:

Well look, just tell me what can go wrong after I've done everything
I've supposed to.

Operating System Customer Service:

Are you booting with ROM version 4.3?

Sally:

Oh gee, I have to check--yes, it's 4.3.

Operating System Customer Service:

You need an upgrade to 4.4 for your software to work with patch A96.


(Two days later.)

Sally:

Hello? In the past few days I installed patch A96 on my operating
system, upgraded my application, installed ROM version 4.4, replaced
my motherboard, and bought a new driver for my printer. I still can't
get .JSX 2.1 format to work, and I'm losing customers daily--

Product Customer Service:

.JSX 2.1 support has been disabled for security reasons.

Sally:

Not my job security! Can I restore my system to the way it was four
days ago? You can't just leave me in the lurch. Are you there? Hello?

Automated Operator:

We are sorry. Your call has been disconnected with error message 2057,
"Device not supported by call-routing software version 1.2."