Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

Re: [Rabbits] *sigh squared*

  • From"Rev. Bob" <bob@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateSat, 07 Jul 2007 03:29:47 +0100
David Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I had begun refutations, but I can't keep pace with all who insist
> upon correcting me, so I yield. I had no idea this list was full of
> COOs for major retailers or subject matter experts on point-of-sale
> controller backbone communications and transaction syncing... here
> I though I knew something about it, having JUST published the new
> docs for IBM's ACE v6 (used by several major retailers and the
> Department of Defense Commissaries worldwide):
> http:// www2.clearlake.ibm.com/store/support/html/pubs.html#-ACEv6

Two pieces of advice:

1. Sarcastic martyrdom does not become you.
2. There's a world of difference between theory and practice.

My job is to provide customer service for an online retailer that's
*much* larger than TRU, going by your numbers for TRU's profits...and we
have the same problems you describe.  I don't know if we use ACE or not,
and frankly I don't care.  See, I never said that the things you request
are impossible to achieve...just that the difficulty goes up
proportionally to the size of the company, and there comes a point of
diminishing returns where the cost of Eliminating All Errors becomes
greater than the cost of dealing with a certain amount of error.  To put
it bluntly, I spoke up to say the things that the representative you
spoke to is probably not ALLOWED to say to you.  Additionally, I can
demonstrate that TRU isn't the only company that sometimes takes more
orders than it can fill, and your contention that your order
cancellation is part of a Nefarious Plot is simply ridiculous.

I mean, really - who benefits if TRU accidentally oversells its stock of
EAC?  LL doesn't benefit.  The would-be customers don't benefit.  TRU
not only doesn't benefit, but *suffers* from bad PR, as your angry
response amply demonstrates.  So, who's left as the beneficiary of this
Fiendish Plan you allege?  I don't see that *anyone* benefits.

> Whether or not Poor Old TRU.com can keep their stock levels
> synchronized between (what? four?) distribution warehouses is, to
> me, a mere side issue--they could do better; and I could put them
> in touch with folks who would sell them the system that WOULD do
> better.

Ah, so *YOU* stand to benefit - from the sales commission!  Now it
becomes clear...you try to get people worked up and start a flood of
angry feedback to TRU, so you can then ride in on a white horse to sell
TRU the Software That Will Make It All Better.

(Hey, it makes more sense than YOUR allegations!)

Oh, and as a point of comparison - the company I work for has about
fifty distribution warehouses, not counting the drop-ship vendors.  Ever
tried to get a few dozen drop-ship vendors to adopt the same inventory
system your company uses in-house?  See, unless you can do that, it
doesn't matter if your in-house warehouses are on real-time inventory or
not...but of course, you know that, right?

> The more relevant points remain unrefuted and are sufficient for me
> to remain incensed:
> 1) They could honor their sales, once holding funds for completed
> orders. They have cost me (a trivial amount) of buying power.

This is curious, especially given what you said later:

> As for LL "cutting its throat": uh... their ONE product at the
> retailer was on sell-at-a-loss clearance and there's no promise of
> restock or backorder.

See, if that's true, then TRU *can't* honor their sales, as they've got
nothing to honor them *with*.  Other posters have noted that TRU flagged
some portions of their orders as backordered, which tells me that TRU is
following the same general procedures my employer does: backorder it if
you can still get it, cancel it if you can't or if it's going to be a
very long wait.  Considering that TRU.com no longer even has a full
product page for EAC, I think it's safe to say that this was indeed a
clearance sale and it ain't comin' back soon...so TRU really had no
option other than to let you know they'd run out and refund your money.

> 2) It's simply false that a hold can't lift immediately:

Straw man.  Nobody here's said that a hold *can't* lift immediately -
only that when the hold lifts is not under the control of the retailer.

> As far as I know, my bank does not continue to hold funds after
> they are released by a requester--after all, they can begin to loan
> customers that money again, once it's off hold!

I meant to touch on this when you brought it up before - but TRU never
*had* your money to be able to give it back.  Here again, I speak from
inside experience with a bigger online retailer, and here's *EXACTLY*
how our credit processing works when we receive an order:

1. Check the card information by attempting a $1.00 authorization.
2. If unsuccessful, notify the customer so the problem can be fixed.
3. If successful, verify available funds by attempting to authorize the
full amount of the order.
4. If unsuccessful, see step 2.
5. If successful, flag the order as valid and send it to the warehouse
to be shipped.
6. Wait for the warehouse to ship the order.
7. When the order ships, charge the card.

Assuming no problems, steps 1-5 take my company about 1.5 to 2 hours,
and the order can be canceled at any point before step 5.  The point of
interest is that, if the order is canceled, *we do nothing*.  Why? 
Because the "hold" that the bank applies as a result of the
authorization requests clears *on its own* after a certain period of

Please read that last sentence again - the bank that issues the credit
card applies the hold, and they're the ones that clear it.  With the
credit union I use, their hold time is about 24 hours.  Yours may vary.

Also note that a charge will affect a hold - so in the tip example you
cite, the hold is modified due to the revised charge amount, and since
that change is within a few minutes as opposed to a few days, you see
the change very quickly.  If the restaurant instead gave you the
original bill on Monday, then sent the revised charge on Wednesday, the
odds are good that you would not see the hold amount change.  In fact,
it's likely that you would see the hold clear on Tuesday, then the
charge would hit on Thursday or Friday.

> Those of you who would defend a company with a $85M net earnings on
> 61.15M shares in 2006 (in spite of--or because of?--66 store
> closures) then be my guest.

I'm not defending the company - I'm combating misinformation.  There's a
world of difference.

> I felt screwed and my time was wasted. I had little reason to do
> business with them before (first time registrar, by the way,
> Marnen; but thanks for the hypocrisy alert...) and now I have none.

So it appears that your boycott will have no effect and is only
theoretical in nature anyway.  After all, they can't really be said to
have lost you as a customer if they never had you as a customer to begin

To put things in perspective, consider your interaction with TRU from
the outside, as if it had happened at an actual brick-and-mortar store. 
You heard about a big sale on something you wanted, so you went in to
buy it.  You asked the service desk if they still had what you were
after, and they said they did.  You went back to the shelf, and they
were out.  You pitched a fit with the cashier because the guy at the
service desk "LIED TO ME!!!" and left.  You then attempted to get your
friends riled up on your side, and they didn't want any part of it.

Frankly, if I were with TRU, I'd be glad to see you leave and would hope
that you stuck by your one-man boycott...because I wouldn't want you
back in my store.  Incidentally, I *hope* you didn't represent yourself
as a Rabbit when making your complaint...for LL's sake.  The way you
describe your interactions with TRU, you come off as a boor, and I can't
imagine that any of the LL gang would be pleased if you behaved that way
while claiming to represent their company in ANY way.

To the rest of my fellow Rabbits, my apologies for the long post - and
let's get back to having fun!

Robert Hood - Hixson, TN
SJG MIB #8595 - Looney Labs Rabbit - Atlas Games Mook

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