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My Professional Background - Once upon a time, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Actually, I was a professional motivational speaker for about 5 years.:
First World Problems

Since Brian and I made the decision to homeschool our little ones, I have kept my eyes and ears open for opportunities to broaden our kids’ experiences outside the home. Read: I may start eating paint chips if we spend all day every day inside the house. Thankfully, we live extremely close to Kansas City, which is full of great, educational ways to entertain the kids.

Through Kansas City Parent magazine, I learned about a theater in town that does live performances geared toward toddlers. I hopped on their website to find out show times and ticket prices when I encountered the following (their printed information is written in bold, and my internal dialogue is written in parentheses):

Please read “the fine print”:

(Unnecessary use of quotation marks, but I’ll overlook it. I’m “guilty” of this at times as well.)

Reservations are accepted by mail or fax.

(MAIL? FAX? I haven’t sent a fax since 2001! Where would I even go to find a working fax machine? Maybe I’ll have an easier time locating a time machine that will take me back to a day when people used fax machines.)

There is a $5 service charge on all phone orders

(I’ll take that option. I’ll pay $5 to not have to go to the post office or figure out where I can find a fax machine.)

FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE 30 DAYS BEFORE PERFORMANCE

(Whoa! Unnecessary roughness. No need for the all caps. Also, who pays for something 30 days in advance? Is delayed gratification supposed to be part of the theatrical experience?)

Plan transportation arrangements carefully to allow arrival no earlier than 30-minutes but no later than 10-minutes prior to curtain. 

(Do you want to tell me when we’re allowed to eat lunch as well? What time should we go to bed the night before the performance? Should we call you if we accidentally break one of your rules? Also, unnecessary use of hyphens.)

******We are not able to validate parking********

(Why are there 6 stars on the left and 8 stars on the right? That is going to drive me nuts.)

We accept payment by cash/check/MC/Visa/AMX/Disc

(Tell you what, I’ll fax cash to you, and you tell me if you get it. Go wait by your fax machine for me.)

***When paying by check, please submit one check for entire order***

(Thank you for leveling out the stars. But, seriously, I’m not sending you a check. I don’t even know where I would begin to look for a checkbook.)

I was so astounded by the ridiculousness of “the fine print” that I decided to take a screen shot (and black out the theater’s name . . . though I doubt they would ever read this unless someone faxed it to them).

[Internet snob.]

"The Fine Print"

(Seriously, why is “the fine print” written in 75 different fonts?)

Since I had already mentioned the play to my kids, I didn’t want to disappoint. I hopped on the phone, called the theater, and had the type of conversation you’d expect to have with a business that accepts orders primarily through a fax machine.

Me:  “Hi, I’d like to come see a show this month, and I wanted to place an order over the phone.”

Her:  “Okay, we can do that! But I need to get your address first.”

Me:  “My address?”

Her:  “Yes, I’ll need to send you an order form.”

Me:  “I was just going to buy the tickets from you over the phone.”

Her:  “Yes, but you have to fill out the order form first.”

Me:  “Okaaaaaaay . . .”

Her:  “I could email it to you instead.”

Me:  “Yes! You can do that? That would be great.”

Her:  “But then you’d need to fax in the form.”

Me:  “Yeah. I don’t have access to a fax machine.”

Her:  “You could mail the form.”

Me:  (Internal dialogue: Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of paying $5 to place the order over the phone?) “Okaaaaaaay. Can I email the form to you?”

Her:  “Sure!”

Me:  “Oh! Okay. That’s great. So, you’ll email the form to me, I’ll print it out, fill it out, scan it, email it back, and then . . .”

Her:  “Then you can call with your payment. Or you can fax it. Or you can mail a check.”

Me:  “I’ll just call back.”

Her:  “Okay, then it will take a week or two to process. The director has to do that.”

Me:  ” . . . “

Friends, if you listen closely, you can hear Al Gore screaming, “Why did I even bother to invent the Internet?”

Do you think it’s irritating or endearing when a business is two decades behind the technology?

P.S. – Don’t forget that today is the last day to enter to win 4 gorgeous, hand-drawn cards from my childhood friend (and incredible artist) Jessica Rollins! Check out Tuesday’s post for more info. 

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Comments to "First World Problems: The Art of “The Fine Print”"

  1. Rachel

    April 10, 2014

    This is SO what I would be saying to myself! You make me laugh! Keep writing, please!

  2. Katy's Mama

    April 10, 2014

    For the record, I have a fax machine for times such as these!! You could send me an e-mail, I could print it, and fax your order. Next time you run into trouble just call your mother. I generally will have the answer!!!! **** Love You*******

  3. Cyndi

    April 10, 2014

    This is hilarious!

  4. Carissa

    April 10, 2014

    I think is is 150% irritating! If companies can’t be bothered to 1) Do whatever it is I need online or 2) except by credit card than I don’t do business with them generally. (Mostly because I wouldn’t know they exist and I wouldn’t be able to pay them). I choose business based on how little I actually have to interact with humans and it works out better for everyone.

  5. Justine

    April 10, 2014

    Hilarious!! My entire town is decades behind technology. We have several local businesses that only accept cash and none of them have websites. If you want to know what movies are playing at our mini movie theater you have to drive by or hope that someone answers the phone lol.

  6. Robyn

    April 11, 2014

    Two thoughts … sounds like the director does not trust the employees with payment … sounds like this is not a growing and thriving business. And of course your mom has a fax machine that works. I have a printer with a fax machine but it has never been hooked up to a phone line. What’s a phone line? I’ll explain it to you next time I see you.

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