Monday, October 08, 2007

Social Trends: Being Polite When Complaining.

I'm an impassioned consumer. I love or hate hard. When something which used to works gets broken through an update, I go nuts. I have had a love and hate relationship with Adobe Corporation ever since 2003 when I got my first Internet-capable computer. I discovered ebooks. With my fluky vision print on a computer screen is so much easier to read then print on a real piece of paper. On the computer I reverse the appearance of the screen. Letters are white on a black background. It is pure heaven.

I then discovered I could buy ebooks. Heaven help me! I discovered several estores and I began to build a respectable elibrary. Adobe was my virgin experience. Adobe Reader 5. It was flawless. I then had to update to the next version. I'm on a Macintosh, it didn't go so well. I kept the older version and limped along. So it goes. I raged and more seasoned computer friends told me I was over reacting. (growl, snarl, moan).

This last update from Adobe Reader 7 to Adobe Reader 8 and the NEW Digital Editions was particularly traumatic. Adobe now deals with all my beloved ebooks on the Internet via a whole new system: Digital Editions. When I first looked into this I discovered there was no Macintosh version, but Adobe Reader 7 still worked. So, it goes.

I then had to buy a new computer as my eMac's logic board bit the dust. I had several kinks to work out with the iMac. One of the programs which got deleted accidentally was Adobe Reader 7. But there were Macintosh versions, so I updated. I knew it was probably a mistake, but I did it anyway.

Digital Editions saw all my encrypted ebooks, but had a note next to them: "missing" or "can't be read on this machine". I stared in shock at around $100 of "gone" ebooks.

I dutifully went through the websites and customer forums, which all decried the new program as being a total loss. One customer was so angry he threatened to delete his $3,000 worth of ebooks and take legal action. Oooh, sign me up!

I then saw a lonely humble post from an Adobe employee with an EMAIL address requesting more detailed information, as he was part of the team trying to solve the problems! I was so angry and sad, I hardly knew how to begin my Adobe rant.

I settled on being factual (no exaggerating or threatening), mature (no course language) and polite (no assuming the recipient was incompetent). I really attempted to rise to the above standards. I did my ranting to a friend, who, once again (gently) told me I was over reacting.

To my utter amazement, several days later, I got an email back from the Adobe employee. After asking a few more questions, he proceeded to launch into a new paragraph thanking me for being polite! Wow! That's a grim commentary about how we must be treating people we don't know via email!

I had solved my Digital Editions problem by running that program while my internet browser was open. I then imported all my "missing" ebooks via re-downloading them from the stores where I'd purchased them and all was well. I replied to the Adobe Developer, letting him know that I was now back in business. Another shock, I took the time to let him know something was working as it was supposed to.

Recently our local bus company messed up badly by not letting me know they'd overshot my street. I had several personal safety issues over this situation. The road I had to walk on has a shoulder (used by locals for parking) and at least a half of a lane of room in each direction for 35 MPH traffic. I got to play bumper car with real cars. I also had to flag down a stranger to discover where in the world I was in relation to where I wanted to be.

I tried my new mature tact. I have a feeling I will not only be heard, but responded to by a stranger stupefied by politeness. I bet this is just another example of catching more flies with honey, verses vinegar! Amazing.

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