Online alienation

This morning I tried to buy some sheet music online. I’ve done it before, and expected it to be straightforward. It wasn’t. This was an outfit I had not used before, and will never use again.

First I was sent to a page that was packed with 24 alternatives that I didn’t want, plus various other distractions that got in the way of my intended purchase. Then, when I found the way to the Checkout, I entered my email address, but was asked to provide my home address and all other contact details. All for the sake of a transaction that was less than 3 quid.

Where was the focus of that website? It certainly wasn’t on the customer.

Why subject a casual customer to such an interrogation? It created an irritation, and I simply exited the site. But it didn’t stop there. I received an email telling me I had not completed the purchase, so I returned to the site, looking for a way to cancel the transaction.

I found myself back on the page requiring me to provide full contact details.

In the olden days, a chap could wander into a shop (remember those?), hand over some cash and walk out with the purchase, without having to provide any information about himself, or waste time trying to disentangle himself from them.

Bring back the shop.