February 6, 2003

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if people stopped to think before they complained? I ask myself what these folks are thinking when they send me an email "encouraging" me to update the newspaper webpage or to add more content to the internet site (if you haven't seen it before, we are on the world wide web at www.memphisdemocrat.com.) Surely if these folks paused to consider the fact that this is a volatile medium that often experiences technical problems, they would reconsider their complaints. We were down all of last week after the website host went out of business. That sent our web page creator, Skyhouse Consulting of Rutledge, scrambling to find a new host and get the newspaper back online.

I guess I should expect readers to understand or appreciate these issues, but one might think they would stop and consider the fact that the newspaper website is totally 100% percent free to them. Ultimately this is what sticks in my craw when I try to do the right thing. Then again, if the customer is always right, I guess since these folks aren't paying me one red cent to read my newspaper online, that they're not customers. So maybe I shouldn't feel guilty about responding to troublesome emails regarding the website with a simple suggestion to the author that they can pay $32.00 a year like everyone else and get the paper in the mail each week.

I enjoy having the website and the service it provides. In all honesty we get four or five times as many compliments and notes of appreciation for providing the site as we get complaints about content or timeliness of updates. Still I wish these folks would stop and think before they complain and maybe consider they don't know all the facts.

Speaking of knowing it all, I was truly disappointed that I will be unable to participate in the First Annual Scotland County Rotary Club Trivia Contest February 8 because of a scheduling conflict. Of course I have been doing my best to encourage participants. You see it seems the newspaper has more than its fair share of people coming through our door with all the answers. After you listen as long as you can, it's nice to have a polite way to send them packing. I've just been suggesting that "if you think you know it all why don't you prove it by entering the Rotary trivia contest to show everyone how smart you really are."

It's too bad my electrical personality doesn't carry over at home. It seems my deep-freeze could have used a spark or two because of a little scheduling conflict of its own. A move to the back of the basement last fall had forced us to use an extension cord to power the freezer. Unfortunately that same plug is used to power one of my wife's t-shirt making machines. Apparently the old switch-a-roo was made on the power supply sometime last week and the culprit somehow forgot to plug the freezer back in when they were done. Four or five days later I was going to snag a frozen pizza from the deep-freeze since it was my night to cook supper. There's so much junk stored on top of the appliance that you can't get the door open all the way. It lifts just enough to stick an arm in to feel around for the desired frozen food. This time I was stirring around in about a foot of water. An hour later after I finally had the lid cleaned off I opened the door and saw to my dismay several packages of steak floating around in a pool of grape juice. We were fortunate that the freezer was not nearly as full as it has been at times. Still, my dogs were treated to a five-gallon bucket of steaks, pork chops and other entrees that had them living the lifestyles of the rich and famous canines. What does that have to do with people complaining about my website? Don't ask me. I can't even remember to plug the freezer back in, so I obviously don't know it all.

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