Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

An e-shopper's holiday lament

A News.com reader writes about spending over an hour trying to place orders with two companies.

2 min read
An e-shopper's holiday lament

In response to the Dec. 3 column by Mike Yamamoto, "Shipment of fools":

Yamamoto's column on lousy online ordering was particularly timely for me. But my problems were with the online part of things.

I spent over an hour last night trying to place orders with two companies and I'm still not sure that one order will come through at all. I've ordered online for a couple of years now, so I thought I'd learned the ins and outs of online ordering. But I've never had so much trouble at one sitting.

On one vitamin shop, I clicked "buy one" on the item I wanted, then said "show order." But when I logged in to my account there, it didn't recognize my username and password, even though my password saver had entered it for me. So I had to create a whole new account, and then it said there was nothing in my shopping cart. So I went back to the product page and said "buy one" again. When I viewed the shopping cart, it said there I now had selected two of them. Thankfully, that's what I wanted.

Proceeding to checkout seemed to go smoothly, until I'd entered the credit card number and was going into final processing. The page that should have been a receipt had a big "FATAL ERROR" message at the bottom. Ugh. But then I got an e-mail order confirmation a little later. Go figure. But now I keep getting non-fatal "Failed Message Delivery" e-mail messages that sending to someone at the company isn't going through. So will I get my order or not? Who knows.

Then I was at a pet-supply company I've used before. I had the catalog item codes but couldn't use the feature that would let me type them in directly. And entering the item code into search yielded nothing. So I got to browse the Web site and try to find the items again. Then creating an account was a nightmare, as the system kept saying my ZIP code didn't match my state code on my shipping address. I think I finally worked around that one.

Hey, guys, this is not rocket science. If you can't manage online ordering, let Yahoo, Amazon.com or somebody else do it for you.

Thanks for the chance to vent.

Stew Stryker
Windsor, Vt.