Lowes' ecommerce is doomed
Thursday, July 28 2011
I spent most of the day further teaching myself various nuts and bolts of xcode development so that some day I too can program iPhones, iPads, and even Smackintosh computes. I've complained about it before and I'll complain about it again: it's incredibly frustrating trying to get a handle on such nonlinear development environments. If one is trying to replicate the details of one project inside a brand new project, there are so many nuts and bolts that have to be copied and pasted individually and it's very easy to miss some essential part. There's no possibility of scripting a whole project as a block; some things have to be done as gestures in a GUI and others things have to manifest as various blocks of code. In this way it reminds me of the unnecessary hoops that Microsoft SQL makes you jump through in order to port a database from one server to another, which should be a dealbreaker to any DBA who isn't also a masochist. Indeed, in the xcode variant of object-oriented database design, there doesn't seem to be any system whatsoever for scripting out either a database or a schema. You're forced to interactively create all your databases from scratch. (If there is a system for generating scripts, it certainly isn't exposed in the pathetic GUI they're forcing you to use.)
While we're on the subject of entities not perfectly comprehending the worlds in which they dwell (for xcode, that applies to me more than it does to Apple), tonight I was searching for LED party bulbs and found a great one that was only being sold by Lowes (the big box hardware retailer). It wasn't actually stocked in their store, so I ordered it for in-store pickup. The mistake I made was thinking Lowes was a competent online retailer; it seems brick and mortar stores will never really figure out this newfangled intertube thing. Within minutes I got a phone call from Lowes (something that never happens when I buy from any other online retailer). It turned out that there was a glitch in their inventory and the bulb was unavailable. That they couldn't just send me an email instead of having a real human being in a crowded call center place a call convinces me that their baby steps into ecommerce is doomed.
[Further evidence supporting this opinion came a day later when they sent me an email rejecting a comment I'd added to the Q&A tab of that particular party bulb page. I'd called into question the 52 lumens measurement of the bulb given that it was supposedly a "50-watt [incandescent] equivalent." Even inefficient incandescents produce 50 lumens per watt, and this LED bulb was supposedly 6.5 watts. The math didn't add up, and I referred them to a informative Wikipedia page. This post was rejected because it violated the guidelines for their site, which calls for no external links, even, evidently, to Wikipedia. The only hope for Lowes' ecommerce operation lies in the fact that they didn't call me on the phone to announce that my post had been rejected.]
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