Saturday, December 13, 2003

Staples Store - "You'll Need Some Integrity With That"

I stopped by a Staples store this morning to buy an HP PSC 1210 printer for a client and ran into a sleazy practice I felt uncomfortable with. When I was at the cash register, the salesperson told me, "You'll need a cable and ink for this." My response, "Thank you, but actually I don't. I already have a USB cable and the printer comes with ink."

Undeterred, the salesperson tried to sell me a USB 2 cable for a printer that has USB capabilities only. "Did you know our gold printer cable is faster than our other cables?" My friendly response, delivered very politely with a smile, "Thank you, but the speed of the printer output of this printer does not increase due to the speed capabilities of the cable." Salesperson's response: Blank stare.

Pregnant pause. I think things over and decide this situation does merit a friendly and very polite scold. "You know, a person who is not technically trained might be led into thinking that the faster printer cable you tried to sell me would lead to faster printer output on this printer, and this is just not true."

Blank stare. "I happen to work in the field of technology and thus I am able to understand that I don't need the faster printer cable you were trying to sell me."

I also didn't need the ink the salesperson was trying to sell me. The implication was that this printer doesn't come with ink, when it does.

Staples is one of my favorite stores and remains so, despite this incident. I'm posting this story to Slashdot to get input from others on whether the above-mentioned sales techniques was as sleazy as it appeared to me. And if so, is this something we geeks can continue to tolerate?

If a Staples saleperson tries to sell you something you very clearly don't need -- and represents that you do neeed it, an appropriate response to: "You'll need a cable with that," is "No thanks, you'll need some integrity with that."

looking in your rear view mirror

"take a look at the rear view mirror in your life. the road up ahead is soon going to be appearing in your rear view mirror, and you're the only person who can determine what the scenery in the rear view mirror will look like."

bringing language minorities to the table

"The leading desktop interfaces for the open-source Linux operating system—KDE and GNOME—are, between them, available in more than twice as many languages as Windows. KDE has already been localised for 42 languages, with a further 46 in the pipeline. Similarly, Mozilla, an open-source web browser, now speaks 65 languages, with 34 more to follow. OpenOffice, the leading open-source office suite, is available in 31 languages, including Slovenian, Basque and Galician, and Indian languages such as Gujarati, Devanagari, Kannada and Malayalam. And another 44 languages including Icelandic, Lao, Latvian, Welsh and Yiddish are on the way."

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Email from one of my adult students

One of my adult education students, an immigrant, sent me this very touching email after I helped her set up a free email account on Yahoo. If you read it closely you can discern what she is saying. (i.e. tinkew = thank you)

She achieved success in sending email on this day. Folks need to always be ready to measure success in lots of different ways. Here is the email she sent me. (Her name is left off the end of her email to protect her privacy.)

tamekwetocekingmeemii and to tecwim competer tospekt tinkwe im not 
reaet my wont to spaknaw nad to erat palac hlpe tm,,to my  

life immitating "the simpsons"

"Personnel being laid off should not be assigned to work that is
associated with a special safety system."

- from a report by a line manager at the Pickering A nuclear power
plant in Ontario. The report describes how, 14 minutes into a
risky repair job, the staff performing the work were laid off. The
workers began leaving the site and had to be asked back to tighten
a plug they had loosened in the plant's radioactive-containment
system. (Reported in the December 10, 2003 Globe and Mail.)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Seek goodness everywhere

"Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed." William Saroyan