Thursday, March 27, 2014


While perusing a hobby site today, I came across a set of rules I wanted to purchase. Great, I thought, there's a downloadable pdf version. I can purchase it and satisfy my instant gratification requirement. I put it (and a supplement) into the shopping cart and proceeded to check out. I was faced with the perfectly normal requirement to create an account on the site. I do this, filling in the standard name, address, email, password stuff. So far, so good. Next, it asked me to copy the scrambled Captcha text into the box. Yup, no problem. Doesn't accept it. Hmmm...try again, and again, and again....and again. Actually, I lost count how many times I tried. I even tried it on my iPad, thinking it might make a difference. Nope! OK, stepping away from my laptop before the frustration overwhelms me.

Pause, do something else for a few minutes...but I'm stubborn and determined to crack this code.
I go back to the homepage and  see there's a create account link. Hmmm, maybe I can get in the back door. I create an account (after filling in all the normal name, address, email, password fields). It sends me a confirmation email from which I go back to the site to fill in another Captcha box (sigh). It accepts my efforts!!

Now, back to the store and choose my stuff. On to the shopping cart, where it asks me for my name, address, email and password again. Yes, again. Am I not already signed into the damned site? I check the icon in the top right of the page. Yes, damn straight I'm logged in as me! Oh well, I've come this far and spent this much time already. Form filled out...and next? Another bloody Captcha box. Deep breaths...fill it in and, with extreme deliberation, click the continue button. And?

Success! Well, sort of. I pay through PayPal  and an email is generated. I check my Yahoo account and get this:

Thank you for your payment for XXXXXXXXXX. Your payment has been received and your purchase is now active.

Active? What the hell does that mean? In other purchases of this sort, a link is provided (or at the very least some directions to find a download link). Off I go back to the site. Under my account? Nope! Any obvious link on the main page (that might perhaps say something like...oh, I don't download your purchase, click here)? Nope! Oh look, there's a Download Library link on the side menu. Let's try that. Hmmm...two more options now: Public Access Library and Private Access Library. OK, try the latter. After perusing a list of not so obvious options I find with some effort my purchases and some other extras. Finally! And successfully downloaded.
So that took a least 45 minutes to do something that should have taken no more than five.
And before anyone accuses me of being a technological neophyte, I do work in the IT industry. And I shop online alot! That site just simply sucks!
Rant over.
Oh, and though I wasn't going to mention the site address, I'm annoyed enough to do it anyway: link


  1. Well done putting in the time to explain your experience. If people don't do this stuff then retailers and their sites will never improve. I may be kidding myself but I like to think this stuff makes a difference.

    I hope you emailed them as well outlining your experience. It's entirely possible they have never actually walked through the buying process on their own site.

    PS. Don't you think it's a bit "pot kettle black" having CAPTCHA on your own blog? :-)

  2. oh, you got me! Definitely a pot-kettle black moment. But at least you don't need to do it three times :)