eCommerce Tale

Try to be a bit light-hearted.

The other day I read the Next Magazine and found that there is one website to sell movie tickets – with no service charge. That website sells tickets of cinemas JP, SilverCord and two others. I think, ahhhh, finally a website to sell tickets for cinemas other than UA and Broadway. I therefore jotted down the web site name.

The web site is Movie Super.

I started off my trusty Fujitsu notebook computer the same night. Running with XP, it booted up in no time, and fired up the Internet Explorer. Typed in the URL, and I was immediately greeted with Internet 500 Server Error. I changed my hat from consumer to IT people then, and clicked the refresh button. Ahhh, the homepage of the web site showed. Obviously, one of their servers was down I thought. I then changed my hat again, back to dump consumer.

I first found that there were two big advertisements on the screen, for the movies “Signs” and “Gold Member”. I thought, hmmm, it’s the right “movie” site. I then scan around the page and found links to buy DVD, VCD, books. And there were links to cinema information, new movies etc. But, hey, there was no link to buy movie tickets … I scanned again all these links, no, no links to buy tickets. OK, I then did it for the third time, and this time I scan the pages including the banner ads (yes, I surf Internet with my mind to ignore ALL banner ads). Ah, I found it, the “Buy ticket now” animated button was placed just besides the top banner ad. How “smart” they were, they put the most important button besides a banner ad – and animated like a banner ad.

Naturally, I clicked the “Buy tickets now” button, another window popped up and what, a site with all English. Yes, a Chinese homepage, jumped to an English web page. Anyway, “I can live with that”, I thought. I spotted the “Buy your tickets Now” link immediately and clicked it. 5, 10, 15 seconds gone. Nothing. Another 5 seconds passed, ooops … Cannot find server or DNS error. OK, IT mind came into play again, clicked the refresh button.

Finally, a screen to ask me to select cinema, movie. I then selected my favorite cinema, JP. This time was quick, and the system asked me to select “Film”. What ? “Movie” in previous page, and this page was “film”. Nevermind, all I needed was to buy tickets.

I then picked the “film” (Signs), and then the date and time. Finally, another screen with a graphical view of the cinema – the system was smart enough to select the best two seats for me, nice (IT mind came into place, it gotta be a Java applet, I thought). It also showed a timer on screen, warning me that I had another 4 minutes to complete the transaction … 03:59, 03:58. The clock was ticking.

OK, I decided to pick the selected two seats, clicked “Next” button to continue the process, clicked the “Purchase Now” button. Clock was ticking.

Wait and wait, the clock was ticking -… no response yet -… blood pressure was going high up now. 03:00, 02:00, 01:00, 00:55, 00:54, 00:53 … 00:37. 00:27, 00:17 … I was prompted “You have 15 seconds left” … ooops, the program ended, saying “Your order is empty”. What’s it supposed to mean ? I tried the second time, and this time “cannot find server or DNS error”. I tried for the third time, … failed again, …I kinda getting sick of the ticking clock.

I forgot how many times I tried – finally, I went thru and this time a new pop-up – it invited me to trust a digital certificate …. What ?!

Changed my hat to a stubborn IT people, and I found the certificate was issued by Mr. Ken XXX, not Verisign, not Thawte and not HK Post. I clicked to see more details and found that the certificate already expired …- no security or what ….

Changed my hat back to a naïve customer – who cares !! I clicked OK and was greeted with the credit card number screen. It’s actually quite a relieve as finally I could buy something….

“Could you stop mingling with your computer ?” my wife shouted to me. Ooops, my first ever on-line shopping with this web site ended. Lots and lots of troubles, but hey, I don’t care and I would try it again definitely, as I really wanted to see the movie “Signs” in JP cinema .

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Author: Michael Yung

Michael possessed over 30 years of experience in Information Technology with focuses on complex application development, database technologies and IT strategy. He also spent the last 20 years in Internet technology, eCommerce development / operations, web usability, computer security and Public Key Infrastructure technologies.

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