For sentimental reasons, BMG and I decided to send flowers to his mother for Valentine's Day this year. (We picked out the flowers BMG's dad gave to his mother last Valentine's Day, which was their last Valentine's Day before he died.)
I gullibly decided to take advantage of the WBUR offer to make a donation in exchange for having Winston's long stemmed roses sent to BMG's mom. I haven't donated to this public radio station in a while, so it seemed like a win-win.
After four failed attempts to make a donation through the radio station I quit. Instead I ordered flowers through my credit card shopping portal. 1/2 the price, and zero the hassle.
Here's how it went.
Try #1 - Thursday night, on my computer at home
I enter my "MIL's" address into their portal to validate it - a required step in the donation process. Alas, I make a mistake (unbeknownst to me) and they won't validate the address. Although I am given the option of proceeding anyway, I am afraid the flowers wouldn't get to their final destination so I abandon the process.
Try #2 - Friday night, using 3G in a restaurant bar
I pull up the radio station's web address on my iPhone, using the Safari browser/app. I am directed to their news portal immediately. No obvious link to their "Support us" portal on the mobile site. At the bottom of the page, in tiny print, I find "Switch to full site" link. So I switch to the full site. I find a "Support us" button and am redirected to a portal where there is no option to order flowers through the radio station. I abandon the process.
Try #3 - Saturday morning, using my wireless iPad at home
I click on the radio station's app on my iPad. I click the "Support Us" button and am redirected to a page promoting their Fall 2011 pledge drive. I abandon the process.
At this point I remember the radio station send me appeal letters to the home I share with my boyfriend of five years, addressed to me and my ex-boyfriend. Afraid, through the power of databases, that the flowers sent through the radio station to BMG's mom might come "from Clownface and her ex-boyfriend" I decide to call the radio station to make the pledge/place the order. "If I talk to a person I can make sure my name is changed in the database," thinks I.
Try #4 - Saturday morning, using a telephone
After nosing around the public radio stations website, I find a phone number (again, small print). I call. The phone room is noisy and the person who answers has an accent indicating she may not speak English as her first language.
She asks for my name.
I say it.
"Would you like to spell that for me?"
"No, but I imagine YOU would like me to spell it for YOU."
I spell my first name - eight letters. She reads it back using the military phonetic alphabet. Two errors (25%). I correct them.
I spell my last name - six letters. She reads it back using the military phonetic alphabet. One error (18%). I correct them.
Realizing this interaction may not have the desired results of efficiently placing the most correct donation/pledge, I abandon the process.
And then I visit my credit card's shopping portal. In under 10 minutes I browse several arrangements, choose two dozen pink roses, and complete the order online. The cost is 1/2 of what the radio station donation would have been, I get an extra benefit on my credit card, and I feel good about the gift for BMG's mom.
Sorry public radio. Sorry philanthropy. Your ability to meet my needs using four available technologies all failed.