Requesting the Impossible

Client: Our website went down for two hours yesterday! What are you doing to ensure that this never happens again!?!

Hmmm, well, how about nothing?

If you own a website, sooner or later it’s going to go down. It’s the nature of the beast. I mean Amazon went down for a full 11 hours last year, and some of their cloud services were down for three days. If Amazon can’t run their website with 100% reliability, how the hell do you expect us to?

It’s not like we play with server cables for entertainment’s sake. We didn’t sit down yesterday morning and say “Hey, you know what would be funny? Taking down a bunch of websites for two hours!”. Our severs aren’t sitting in a cupboard, prey to custodial staff who disconnect them to plug in their vacuum cleaner, or in a leaky attic where rats and possums can nest in the cases. Our systems are secured with all  the industry standard protection and backup systems to prevent outages. Despite this, outages will sometimes occur. If you can’t understand that, you shouldn’t be operating a website. And if you think that there’s some other company out there who’ll keep your website online 100% of the time guaranteed, please feel free to go looking for them.

(And if you find them, please take a look at how much they charge you compared to us)

But hey, I’ll tell you what. If you pay us 48 billion dollars a year we’ll guarantee to be as reliable as Amazon. This means we promise that your site won’t be offline for more than an additional nine hours this year.

How’s that for a deal?

Work-a-day Blues

Client: This order didn’t go through the checkout properly! Help!

Me: Yes, you’re right. OK, we’re troubleshooting it and will keep you posted.

Some time later…

Client: I tried putting the order through again and it didn’t work!

Me: Yes, we’re still trying to sort out the problem with the checkout. We’ll let you know when we’ve solved it.

Some more time later…

Client: I tried putting the order through again and it didn’t work! We need to get this order processed to balance the books! It’s hurting our business!

Me: Have you had problems with any other orders since?

Client: No, every other order is coming through fine, but this one keeps failing every time I put it through!

Me: OK, we’re still working on the checkout issue, but you can use this tool to edit the details of the order – that way you can correct the erroneous details, process the order and get your books balanced. Try it out and let me know how you go.

Time passes…

Client: I put the order through again and it still failed! Are you taking this issue seriously? We need to balance our books.

Me: Did you edit the order like I suggested, or put through an entirely new one?

Client: I put through a new one! You need to fix this!

Me: I know we need to fix it, we’re working on it. In the meantime here are the instructions again on how to edit one of the failed orders so you can get the order processed and squared away.

Later on…

Client: I’ve tried putting the order through again, and it still failed. We are seriously reconsidering our business relationship with your company!

Me: Do you mean you edited one of the orders like I showed you and it failed?

Client: No, I put through a new one! The checkout needs to be fixed NOW!

Me: We’re working on that, it’s a very complicated issue and it’s taking time to resolve. You haven’t received any other problematic orders and if you follow the instructions I sent you can get the order corrected and processed. Let me know if you need a hand with it.

This morning…

Client: I put the order through again and it didn’t work. You need to fix this NOW!

* * *

Is it wrong that I’m having fantasies about heading over to this client’s place with a rocket propelled grenade launcher?

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