Why I Loved This Horrible User Experience

I own a recording studio, and while I’m quite happy with what I’ve recorded and released, I knew it was time to upgrade my studio computer as well as recording software. After many months of research, I decided that my core computer would be a new iMac with 27″ display.

I searched and found the cheapest price new was at B&H Photo and Video for $1695. Awesome! I love their web site and also look there quite a bit for camera stuff. I added the iMac to their cart, found I could buy extra memory, Applecare, and Lightroom 5 at a discount when I bundled it all together. The total came to $2010, just below my budget. Satisfied, I clicked “Check Out”, and I got this message:

“Shopping Cart is down for maintenance…it will be open in 4 hours 27 minutes”

What? This is the Internet! It never closes! I was hoping to get on the last truck so it would ship that day, but since our band was playing that evening, I had to leave it for later.

An hour later, as we were setting up, we started talking and I was reminded about Apple’s refurbished section. “Of COURSE!” I said, “I get refurbished iPhones and iPods from Apple!” I couldn’t believe I hadn’t checked that option out.

When I got home later that night, I went to the Apple refurbished store and found the exact same iMac for $1529!!

I was pumped $170 less! I ordered it right away (after clearing the iMac from B&H’s cart). I then searched forums and found that for recording work, the 8GB of memory should be enough for what I want to use it for, and if it wasn’t, I could add it later. I also found I could add AppleCare later if I wanted, and then found I could get Lightroom for $113 on Amazon…only $30 more than the bundle.

In the end, I saved nearly $500 and didn’t have to hit my budget limit. I was thrilled!

B&H? They lost $2000!!! …and a bit of trust.

So the moral to the story? There’s actually 2:

To the Seller: If you have a web site that brings in money, NEVER put it in maintenance. And if you do, bring in a backup, or at least keep it running during a high traffic time.

To the User: If you encounter a bad user experience, use it as an opportunity to try something different. You may end up a lot happier with what you find and it may save you time and money!

How about you? Have you ever had a similar experience like this?

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