1) Tiny urls.
I was browsing a magazine in a waiting room, and came across an article with a web link in it. But instead of putting in a long but memorable url - say www.myfabulousbookstore/latestbooks/poetry (that's just an example I made up, don't try to find it) they thought it would be helpful to put in a short link instead. Something full of letters and numbers say tinyurl.2xc4jm72 (another totally made up example).
Sometimes, a tinyurl can be helpful in finding a particular page in a very large website. In examples like the one above, the longer url is actually way easier to remember.
2) NZ Post
This is bugging me rather more seriously than no 1 above. It's part of the continuing saga of attempting to get Flap: The Chook Book 2 listed at Fishpond. (Which is a fantastic New Zealand online bookstore with great customer service).
First I had to get it listed at Neilsen's book database. The listing was relatively easy to submit - a simple online process - but was supposed to take about two weeks and in fact took two months. Once accomplished, I needed to send my books to Fishpond as consignment stock, since we are not distributing it through any of the big distributors. They advise that tracked post is the best. So, I paid extra for packing, sent off my parcel, and checked Fishpond every so often to see if it was listed as in stock. After a while it occurred to me that maybe I should check the tracking number (this can be done online).
What it said was : "your item has been picked up and is en route to a New Zealand Post depot".
Two weeks to get from the Post Shop to the depot seemed a little ridiculous.
So - back to the Post Shop, who gave me a claim form to fill out. Then I saw that there was a toll free customer service number, so I rang them. They informed me that as it was sent to a customer who gets a lot of mail sent out in a large mail bag each day, I should check with them first. The reason is - since they get a lot of mail, it is not always scanned in when it is delivered.
So why charge extra for tracking, if it is not going to be tracked?
Furthermore, since the nature of the parcel makes it business mail, there is a deadline for claims for nondelivery of 14 days - in other words, if I leave it 14 days to make an enquiry, I can't claim compensation. But I can't lodge a claim now and then check, I still have to enquire first - and may not get a reply till after the weekend - which puts me over the 14 day deadline.
So - I now have my fingers crossed that the parcel has actually been received, and is in the queue for a website update. Otherwise I will have to start the whole process of sending the books again. Without any compensation for the missing books. Not good customer service, in my opinion. (Apparently if it was a private parcel, I would have three months to lodge a claim. It's not as if we are making any real profit out of this).
Now - having got that off my chest, I will return to writing something more rewarding, such as poetry ...