ThatEdeGuy has a post over on his blog about Wal-Mart catching flack for their “similar items” function mis-functioning.
It is actually a pretty interesting story – with the point being that the internet is a powerfull way to disseminate information.
Wal-mart felt the full power of the net yesterday when the extremely popular website Boing Boing published a screen shot of Wal-Mart.com and their “similar items” content in their DVD section. Take a look here. Appearantly, a listing for the DVD set of “Planet of the Apes” listed movies about famous African American people such as Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why this could be a problem.
It is very good this got pointed out, clearly as a public, we don’t want to see that system working like that. ThatEdeGuy had an interesting, and admitedly plausable take on it:
“Why do I get the feeling that there is a programmer somewhere laughing his ass off? While the problem could be explained away as Wal-Mart is trying to, I really believe that someone did this maliciously. The knock against Wal-mart’s clean image, while not huge is still a knock.”
Now this is where i beg to differ. I do doubt that this was done maliciously. I do however feel this was a product of stupid programing or poor testing. If we are changing the system code you are working with, don’t do a hack job. For the manager who was probably pushing a deadline, maybe give the poor code monkey some slack, a banana, and then get it right next time.