Dear dummy,



  • I have a WTF of my own.

    It was in my junior times. I had to patch an e-commerce site running on Microsoft Site Server in a very big non profit international organisation which name I will keep secret, all I can say is, they are in charge of some international regulation. I basically had to make the web site able to sell downloadable content. Oh, I had 8 hours... on a technology I never used before... without supervision... and no QA. "Just hack it through!" my boss told me.

    Everything went pretty smooth for most of the stuff, that is, adding a download page with a random key, changing the mail sent to the user to tell him to follow the link, etc. Because of my lack of knowledge with MS Site Server's very complicated and obfuscated pipeline, the simplest thing ended up being the most complicated -- I needed to prevent the site from requesting a shipping address if the client only bought downloadable stuff. However, the pipeline absolutely required a shipping address, so I just filled all the fields with "dummy" strings and skipped the page if only downloadable stuff (read category==someHardcodedNumber) was bought. Remember, I had 8 hours, and I was explicitly asked to hack everything.

    I tested, commited my code to prod server and went home in the middle of the night, proud of a job well done... so I thought.

    Fast forward a few hours to the next morning, my boss calls and tells me we have a situation and to go to client's site, another technician would be waiting for me there. I pass the door, kind of anxious and the technician hands me a piece of paper reading :

    Dear dummy,

    Thanks for using ___________ online shoping site...

    Ed: snip

    You can keep the following invoice for your records:

    dummy dummy

    dummy dummy dummy

    dummy

    dummy

     

    I was never blammed for this, the lack of an adequate process was. I heard some people got fired at the client's company because of that --  they apparently have to follow very strict QA guidelines. Needless to say, I never ever used the dummy word in any code since then.



  • @Coincoin said:

    It was in my junior times. I had to patch an e-commerce site running on Microsoft Site Server in a very big non profit international organisation which name I will keep secret

    Why do people do that? You don't work there any more, they can't fire you. Why protect them from the derision they so clearly deserve? 



  • @asuffield said:

    @Coincoin said:

    It was in my junior times. I had to patch an e-commerce site running on Microsoft Site Server in a very big non profit international organisation which name I will keep secret

    Why do people do that? You don't work there any more, they can't fire you. Why protect them from the derision they so clearly deserve? 

    As you say that, I smell the faint odor of bridges burning, and hear in the distance the thunder of a thousand lawyers running in your direction.



  • At least any sensible user would recognize that as some sort of computer error, what with all the excess fields.  What would have been funnier is if the only 'dummy' required (or displayed) had been the name field... then it just looks insulting. :)

     



  • Well, actually, more than one mail were sent. One before the credit card was processed, the other when the credit card was processed with the invoice. If I remember correctly, the first one had no invoice so yeah, they did a call from an insulted user, that's how they found the problem :-)



  • @Volmarias said:

    @asuffield said:
    @Coincoin said:

    It was in my junior times. I had to patch an e-commerce site running on Microsoft Site Server in a very big non profit international organisation which name I will keep secret

    Why do people do that? You don't work there any more, they can't fire you. Why protect them from the derision they so clearly deserve? 

    As you say that, I smell the faint odor of bridges burning

    You wouldn't actually want to work in one of these places again, would you?



  • It sure sounds like it's ISO or ECMA or something like that...



  • Admit it...it was IEEE.



  • @asuffield said:

    @Volmarias said:
    @asuffield said:
    @Coincoin said:

    It was in my junior times. I had to patch an e-commerce site running on Microsoft Site Server in a very big non profit international organisation which name I will keep secret

    Why do people do that? You don't work there any more, they can't fire you. Why protect them from the derision they so clearly deserve? 

    As you say that, I smell the faint odor of bridges burning

    You wouldn't actually want to work in one of these places again, would you?

    Or get a referral...  or use them as examples of previous work... or work for anyone that happens to know/talk to them.  Excellent point.

     



  • @asuffield said:

    @Volmarias said:
    @asuffield said:
    @Coincoin said:

    It was in my junior times. I had to patch an e-commerce site running on Microsoft Site Server in a very big non profit international organisation which name I will keep secret

    Why do people do that? You don't work there any more, they can't fire you. Why protect them from the derision they so clearly deserve? 

    As you say that, I smell the faint odor of bridges burning

    You wouldn't actually want to work in one of these places again, would you?

    Even a bad place to work can help you find a good place to work if you have good relationships.  Of course, the good place mustn't know how bad the bad place is.



  • Golden rule of career progression: Never burn bridges. Ever.


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