Stupid Dishwasher Repair

Dear Customer, please wait while we connect you to a Blue Crew member to assist you.

You have been connected to Maria Larson.

Maria Larson: Thank you for choosing Sears. My name is Maria. How may I assist you?
Me: Hello.
Me: I have a Kenmore dishwasher.
Me: The “Clean” light is repeatedly flashing.
Me: According to the manual, this means that the heating element inside needs to be replaced.
Maria Larson: Hello Me.
Me: I called the automated system at
Me: 18004myhome
Me: but the only option it gives is to send a technician to my house to diagnose the problem.
Maria Larson: To best of my knowledge, there are various reasons why the appliance might not function appropriately.
Maria Larson: I would recommend you to have our skilled technicians take a look and determine the repair.
Maria Larson: This will not only ensure your safety while using the appliance but will also prolong the life of the appliance.
Me: The manual says that if the Clean light flashes, it is the heating element. Do I understand correctly that this may not be the case?
Maria Larson: Me, I am sorry, I do not have this information.
Maria Larson: In order to make sure that the problem is fixed appropriately and prolong the life of the appliance, I recommend you get a certified technician from Sears.
Me: So it seems that my only option is to have a technician make two trips – one to diagnose the problem, and then another to fix it.
Maria Larson: Our technician are experience and certified and they will be able to fix your dishwasher.
Maria Larson: Do you wish to go ahead and schedule the repair service appointment?
Me: Is the charge by visit or by the hour?
Maria Larson: To help you with the cost, may I have zip code and age of your dishwasher please?
Me: 12345 is the zip code. I believe the age is 6 years, but am not certain.
Maria Larson: Thank you.
Maria Larson: Let me provide you the payment details.
Maria Larson: We offer Flat Rate $129 and it includes diagnosing the issue/problem with the appliance. All labor needed to repair your “Appliance”, no matter how long it takes (or) performed by a certified Sears Technician.
Maria Larson: 90 days warranty on the repair.
Maria Larson: If additional parts are needed, that would be the only cost not covered.
Maria Larson: If you decline the estimate you will be responsible for the $129.00 charge.
Me: Interesting. When I called 1-800-4-My-Home, they said the flat rate charge was $75, not $129.
Maria Larson: Sounds good?
Me: Not as good as the price on the phone. I guess I will call them back. 
Me: Thank you.
Maria Larson: Sure. I am happy to help, is there anything else I can assist you with?
Maria Larson: I will remain available for another moment if you need further assistance.
Maria Larson: We are ending this chat since we have not heard from you. If you need any assistance please contact us via Live Chat. We will be glad to help you. Thank you for choosing Sears Chat. Have a pleasant day.
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How NOT to Design a Database-Driven Web Application

Say you are designing a web application. This application has a few basic components, including vendors, parts, and sales of said parts. How many database tables would you require to make such an application?

If you answered 3-5, you’re thinking waaaaay too small. Think more like 1,300 over the course of a few months of use. Why? Because naturally you’ll want to make a new table with each new sale made by a vendor!

If this is too technical for you, average reader, think of it this way: every customer who comes into a coffee shop to buy something gets their own, dedicated cash register, installed, at the time of purchase.

Yeah, that makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Multiple Choice Bookkeeping

Let’s say you’re a bookkeeper and you reconcile a checking account. You receive the statement for the month of April, then May, then June. You reconcile the accounts each month. Each month, there is an outstanding check for several thousand dollars, payable to the United States Treasury, dated April 15.

Do you:

  1. Immediately look at the register to find out if some error has occurred internally.
  2. Notify your boss that there may be a “slight problem.”
  3. Contact the IRS to confirm receipt of payment.
  4. Drool

Guess which happened here.

If 1 is Good, 10 is Gooder!

Last week I ordered some parts from one of our suppliers. The parts where 10 Hewlett-Packard desktop systems, 10 copies of Microsoft Office, and 1 nVidia display adapter.

The quote arrived that afternoon, for 10 HP PCs, 10 copies of MS Office, and 10 nVidia display adapters.

I’d say “honest mistake,” but this sales rep has done this sort of thing so many times in the past, that I had to request a new rep, because the last time he did this, I had requested an HP server with Windows Server 2008 Foundation.

He replied, saying this edition of Windows Server was not available with this server.

I replied saying I understood, and requested the same server with a copy of Windows Server 2008 Standard edition.

He quoted me the HP server with two copies of Windows Server 2008 Standard edition (one retail, one OEM, so he didn’t technically try to sell me two of the same thing). I told him we didn’t need two copies, so he should just send us the OEM edition.

A few days later the server arrived with its copy of Windows Server 2008 Standard edition… and Windows Server 2008 Foundation edition – you know, the one that isn’t available with this server.

Need More Information

I have worked with a lot of stupid people in sales. Here’s a sample of this week’s gems:

Me: “I need Brand X firewall with 1 year of Standard Support and 1 year of Web Filtering. This is for the office of
Doctor Client
123 Any Street
Anywhere US 12345
[email protected]

Sales Rep: “Here is your quote on one Brand X firewall with one year of Standard Support and one year of their Full Boat Package.”

(Note that the Full Boat Package includes the Web Filtering, Standard Support, and several other services, which we don’t need. So why would I order the Full Boat AND Standard Support?)

Me: We don’t need Full Boat Package, just Standard Support and Web Filtering.

Sales Rep: I need the full end user information.

Me: “I gave it all to you in my first email.”

Sales Rep: <drool>