Severe Attack of Spleen!

OK, please bear with me while I vent my spleen 🙂

From the GTP Guestbook…

I placed an order with [client] on February 3 for delivery to an address in Bicton. After a followup fax and phone call, they say that you have not passed the order on to them. What a “Mickey Mouse” outfit you are!
— Graham

We are not the ‘Mickey Mouse’ outfit here. The Mickey Mouse outfit is [client], who rather than apologising to the customer and trying to find what actually went wrong, just fobbed them off with a completely bull**** explanation (an explanation putting all of the blame on us by the way) and then didn’t even have the courtesy to inform us of it. And then the customer, rather than contact us to complain, goes and puts this message in our guestbook – making us look like a ‘Mickey Mouse outfit’ for anyone passing by.

We did not ‘not pass the order on to them’. The system is completely automated. An order is placed, it goes into the order table and is there for the client to process. An email is sent to the client, telling them there’s a new order, and just in case that email gets lost for some reason, an additional email is sent to them each day the order remains unprocessed. And even if every single email gets lost somehow, all the client has to do is put aside two minutes every morning to go and check their orders, something that you’d think someone who was serious about running a web-based business would be doing anyway.

If there’s any ‘Mickey Mouse’ outfit involved, it’s [client]. They bought the company off of the original owner (who was brilliant by the way, he ran the website properly, had regular promotions and competitions and was increasing his profits ridiculously on a monthly basis) and have pretty much ignored the website since. No website maintenance, no special offers, no competitions – they even have the gall to call us and complain when they receive an order for products they no longer stock, because they can’t be bothered to put in the effort to keep their database up to date. Sales and profits have collapsed, and [client] has gone from our flagship site to an embarrassment.

So, what happened in this particular case? Well, given that there’s no order from ‘Graham’ in the order table (and never has been) it’s quite obvious that the weak link here is Graham himself. It seems most likely that he went through the order and checkout process, then got to the final summary page that presents all the details for final inspection and completely failed to click the large prominent button marked “SEND ORDER THROUGH SECURE SERVER”.

The fact that he stuffed up should have been blindingly obvious to him anyway, as the site clearly states that the customer will receive an email confirming their order as soon as it’s sent, and if they don’t receive one they should contact us immediately. Apparently Graham found this all too difficult to understand.


Anyway, we removed the entry from the guestbook. We would have contacted him to clear the whole mess up and exonerate ourselves, but Graham declined to leave an email address with his entry. So he can frankly go and [expletives deleted for the sake of common decency].

OK, now that’s out of my system, I’ll vent my spleen on another issue. Shane Warne. For those not in the know he’s an Australian cricketer who’s just been banned from competition or a year for failing a drug test. And everyone seems to be very upset about it.

Time for a bit of background for those unfamiliar with the game. While many fans would shoot me for saying this, on a world scale (that is compared to every other sport humans play) cricket is actually almost the same game as baseball. A ball is thrown by a bowler/pitcher at a batsman/batter standing in front of a wicket/catcher. If they hit the ball they run between creases/bases to score points for their team, although if the fielders hit the wicket/them with the ball while they’re not at a crease/base, they’re out. If they miss the ball, it may hit/be caught by the wicket/catcher. The chief differences are that in cricket there are two batsmen on the field at a time, there are only two creases and they’re pretty close together, if the wicket gets hit by the ball the batsman is out, and there’s not limit to the number of points scored by running between creases – the batsman keeps on batting until he gets out (there are some other differences but if you’re that interested go read Wisden’s). So that’s fundamentally cricket.

Anyway Shane Warne is our best spin bowler – many would say the world’s best spin bowler. And now he’s been caught using a prohibited substance and been banned from playing for a year. And the nation as a whole seems to be in an uproar about it.

The substance in question isn’t a performing enhancing drug, it’s a diuretic that could be used to mask performance enhancing drugs. Warne’s explanation is that he took it accidentally in a diet pill while trying to lose weight. And I for one believe him. He’s had a perfectly clean record to date, and frankly I think he’s too smarter an athlete to mess around with drugs. So, do I think he should be let off and allowed to play? Hell no!

It doesn’t matter that he broke the rules by accident, he still broke the rules. OK, the diuretic wouldn’t have helped him perform and it was all an innocent mistake, but too bad. As a top level athlete he should be double checking everything he takes to avoid exactly this kind of problem. He didn’t, and now he has to pay for it.

Some may say it’s not fair. Well, how’s this for fair? We let Warne off because it was all just a mistake. Then along comes another athlete who’s caught taking the same drug. He claims it’s all just a mistake, and we let him off too. But, he’s actually been taking steroids or testosterone or some other performance enhancing substance, and using the diuretic to mask it. So the drug cheat gets off scot free.

Masking substances make it impossible to say whether an athlete is clean of other more serious drugs or not. This is why – despite the fact that they don’t enhance performance -they’re on the banned list. And this is why any athlete caught taking them for any reason – even by innocent mistake – must be punished. Warne knew this, and he stuffed up, and now he must suffer the consequences, even if it means the end of his career.

As for the people making a fuss about the penalty, grow up! We can’t have one set of rules for people we like, and another for everyone else. Would they be making the same uproar if some other, more obscure member of the Australian squad was caught in the same way? Unlikely. Or what if a Pakistani or South African player failed a drug test due to diuretics? Hell no! Oh there’d be an uproar all right, an uproar of people demanding the maximum penalty for the ‘drug cheat’. Well, this situation is no different.

And Warne should grow up as well. He’s already come out saying he’s going to appeal and poutingly whining that he’s a victim of ‘anti-doping hysteria’, which is a very responsible statement about the problem of drugs in sport isn’t it? You knew the rules Shane, now admit you screwed up and accept your punishment like an adult.

And that’s my two cents 🙂

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