True story: The ne’er-do-well 20-something son fucks up again and finds himself back living with his mom. Nobody is happy at this arrangement. One day she comes home from work and he has a full dinner ready for them both. Astonished — not once in his entire life had he prepared anything more complicated to eat than a PBJ — she is further stunned by the quality of the meal.
“When did you learn to cook?” she asks him.
He shoots her a withering look, and gestures at her shelf of cook books. “If you can read, you can cook,” he says.
That lesson has stayed with me for a long time because over the years, I have concluded it’s So. Fucking. Wrong. Not because I can’t read — I can, quite well — but because what’s written is usually incomplete, misleading, ambiguous, and often wrong. Sure I can read, but other people can’t write.
The best example of this is on-line instructions. It happened to me again on Sunday, costing me about 6 hours and a pint of rank bile. I’ll make it brief:
I’m working for a non-profit organization about to present a gigantic show at Parker Playhouse called Rhythms of Africa. We just got our 501(c)(3), and want to offer patrons and audience members an opportunity to provide support.
On its self-promotional website, Paypal tells me I can install a DONATE NOW button on my facebook page. So I create a facebook page for the non-profit, and go through the steps. It’s quick, easy, and clear. And it doesn’t work.
So pissed off, I call. This is not quick, easy, and clear. After a long while I learn that in fact while you can put the DONATE NOW button there, it won’t work without an additional application for which I will pay every time somebody donates. Why didn’t you state that on the same page that you announced the service to begin with? I fume. I don’t get a satisfactory answer, unless hearing some zombie tell me that I’m not the first one to complain about this is supposed to be soothing.
But wait, there’s more! I figure I’ll go for the app because it tells me I can try it out for FREE! And I only need it for a brief while until we get our web site built anyway. But I get error messages from PayPal: somehow, without ever having made so much as a single transaction, I’ve exceeded the site’s “Send” limits. So I call again…..
…..Only to learn that there’s a way around the DONATE NOW button’s limitations if I select the link option instead of the button option. MORE information that isn’t provided on-site where people go to learn how to do this. As for the error message, well, that’s mysterious but if I take a screen shot and send it to tech support blah bla urk urk ooga ooga.
So I try the link option but it has the same fucking problem as the button option: it appears as just another entry on the wall, which means it disappears down the screen as more posts appear. I need it as a permanent part of the site. This can’t be done! It’s fucking worthless!
What s steaming pot of shit. I’m still nowhere and half the day is shot. Three people have given me three different stories, and the web site is a pack of lies. Even though I can read, I can’t cook — turns out there’s no gas line to this oven.
Can anybody out there help me? I have about a week.