Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

November 3rd, 2001 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Zip Code 96910

I just had a really crappy experience on Travelocity. I’ve purchased airline tickets from them in the past, and generally had a good experience.

In fairness, I’m trying to buy tickets around Christmas, and that’s a pretty busy time. But finding a flight wasn’t the problem. Buying the ticket was the problem.

I went through the purchase process four times until I succeeded. Each time I would get almost to the end, even giving my credit card information. It seemed like it was a done deal. But several times I would get to a page that gave some vague error message, and a continue button. Clicking continue would get me to page that would scold me for having an expired session, and make me start all over again.

One time I was offered a cheaper fare than the one I was booking, so like a rube, I took it. I even made it all the way to the last “Purchase” button, where it would charge my card. I got to an error page that told me the fare was no longer available.

At this point, I felt like the site was just being sadistic.

Travelocity: “Ok, so you want to buy these tickets?”

Me: “Yep!”

Travelocity: “What tickets?” (chuckling)

(repeat time consuming selection process)

Travelocity: “Ok, so these tickets will be $370… Hey, wait, I have a direct flight for $340. Want that?”

Me: “Sure!”

Travelocity: “Great, let me just run your credit card, and you’ll be all set!”

Me: (to self) “Odd, why didn’t I get this choice to start with?”

Travelocity: “Gotcha! That cheaper direct flight isn’t really available! Man, I just love doing that. Let’s start over again.”

Me: (sound of head exploding)

In the end, I managed to wrestle the son-of-a-bitch site to the ground and extract a ticket from it. I had to do sneaky things like save the itinerary, and then come back to purchase it. It felt less like an online travel agent, and more like an adventure game.

After the purchase, a window popped up asking if I’d like to rate my experience in using the Travelocity site.

Would I? Oh, please, I’d love to.

So I’m zipped off to another site, where I encounter a page full of questions like this:

Broken survey question


Forcing a few selective image reloads, I’m able to complete the survey and express my frustration.

Of course, these wankers want a bit of “personal information” which they promise not to share with anyone.

Now, I feel it’s my personal duty to cease this stupid marketing as usual crap by jamming people who try to do it with as much bogus data as possible. So I responded that I’m Ms. Butterworth, an elderly woman with a lot of money, dozens of children, who dropped out of high school. They also wanted an email address, so I made up a new address, which will be an interesting experiment to see if they spam that email address, since I only gave it to the survey site, after clicking all the “Never email me” option.

But then there’s the “Zip Code” question. Where is my “Ms. Butterworth” going to reside? There could only be one answer: Guam.

Why? Because it’s in the middle of Pacific Ocean. That’s funny. And the name is even funny. That’s two funny things. Why shouldn’t Guam receive some attention in marketing databases? It is a U.S. territory, after all.

A little digging around on the Internet, and the zip code of Guam was mine. And that’s where Ms. Buttersworth, my survey respondant, now lives.

The side benefit of this exercise is I will now commit to memory Guam’s zip code. Every store that ever asks me my zip code will now get that answer. It can only bring good things to the people of Guam.

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