A Real Class Act(ion) . . .

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Competent people handle problems; smart people prevent them.

When we look at an area like Internet pricing errors, we need to look at the likely causes of them. If you figure out causes, you can figure out preventions.

Now if you think all Internet pricing errors are X-Files scripts with the aliens written out and evil corporate capitalist resellers written in, hang on for a few more sentences to find out about an alternative suspect or just MORE evil. If this isn’t conspiratorial or paranoid enough, you can go back to whatever.

For those of you willing to at least entertain the concept that maybe sometimes it just might be a matter of simple error, it would be productive to see what might be likely to trigger such errors.

I’ve given this a little thought, and something has stuck out like a sore thumb. And yes, it even meets the “Evil Corporate Capitalist” politically correct litmus test so popular these days.

Have you noticed that a lot of different products have very similiar names?

Let’s take these GF4 video cards. nVidia has or will release six cards.

The MX cards have the following designator numbers:


The Ti cards have the following designator numbers:


See a similarity? Don’t you think it’s barely possible that human beings inexplicably not yet institutionalized for feeble-mindedness might possibly confuse one for the other?

Now Best Buy doesn’t hire only Nobel laureates to input their prices, but I’m not even primarily concerned about that. Don’t you think it’s possible that maybe some customers inexplicably not yet institutionalized for feeble-mindedness might confuse one for the other, too?

Here’s another nVidia example:

Here is the designator for nVidia’s latest GF2 card:


Here is the designator for one of nVidia’s latest GF3 cards:


Now nobody could possibly confuse the two, could they? Might it even be that evil employees with a GF3 Ti200 on sale might put up a few GF2 Ti200 cards where the GF3s should be, and some customers might grab them?

Might others possibly do the same thing? When Via names boards KT133 and KT133A, or KT266 and KT266A, certainly no one in the history of computer retailing has ever confused the two, right?

How could this be, especially when the manufacturing so clearly distinguished the two types of boards by adding an “A” to the name, or a “Plus” or by changing the revision number?

And no one has ever gotten confused about Intel processors. Nobody has ever bought a Pentium III 600EB when they should have bought a 600E instead, they’d B stupid to do that.

Why spend time and money and effort on IQ tests when all you have to do is tell somebody to buy a 1.8A Northwood rather than a 1.8 Willamette. If they get the wrong one, we have easily identified the challenged one, and can immediately start giving them the custodial care they need.

Seriously, folks, might this really be the underlying problem, and even if it’s not applicable to Best Buy, one that needs to be fixed?

Not too sure how, but it’s something worth contemplating.

Email Ed


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