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The Not Even Trying Products - Scott Adams' Blog

The Not Even Trying Products

Today I went on a scavenger hunt. Specifically I was trying to find the “reply” button on my Gmail interface. The damn thing keeps moving, depending on the length of the message. And it’s pretty well hidden in a forest of 40-some buttons sprinkled around the page that do all sorts of things I rarely or never want to do. Three of those buttons are different ways to get you back to the inbox.

To be fair, Gmail is lightning fast, and free. But did anyone with training in interface design even look at Gmail before it launched?

The Reply button has a left arrow next too it. The forward button has a right arrow. Would it kill Google to let me use the left and right arrow keys on my keyboard to do those functions, given that they already teased me about it?

I won’t say the interface design is bad, because that would imply that someone in the relevant field actually tried to make it user friendly. It looks to me as if that step got skipped.

I mentioned in this blog the other day that my new elevator for my house needed repair. It’s actually a terrific product, and the repair person was there the next day making a very minor repair (some sort of door sensing magnet came loose) and I was all set. It was all covered under warranty. Best yet, they tried to talk me through a fix on the phone, just to see if it was a case of user error or a simple reboot situation. That part was all good.

Then I got a call from the elevator’s service and warranty department, I presume. The representative asked if I had seen information on their service contract. I said I had, and I would consider it when my two year warranty expired. That’s when things started to go bad.

The rep explained that the warranty is void unless I get the elevator serviced twice a year, even if the problem I experience has nothing to do with maintenance upkeep.

What?

So my option was to call them to do regular service twice a year, which would cost about $800 per year, depending on what minor things they needed to lube or poke or whatnot. And I would have to remember to schedule the visits. They wouldn’t remind me, out of spite I presume. If I forget to have it serviced, my warranty is void.

Or, the rep explained, I could get a $1,700 service contract for two years and they will do all the regular service and repairs for me. In other words, if I pay $1,700 they will honor their two year warranty.

It gets better. The rep explained that if I pay for a service contract during my warranty period, they will give me a discounted service contract after the warranty is over, an offer that I can’t get if I wait. In other words, I will pay MORE per year for service during my warranty period than after.

This is another example of Not Even Trying. I would have looked favorably on the service contract if it had been packaged in less of a f*^$#-you way. Now I actually prefer to pay more, if needed, just so I don’t feel like I got jail raped.