Why your employees should be trained



  • I'm a stockperson at a hardware store. We use a program called ProfitMaster, which is entirely console-based. In my job I don't deal with it much, but I've seen and overheard a few WTFs.



    First of all, there's no proper way to search for a product by name or description. You can look it up by product ID, SKU #, barcode #, location #, all sorts of other numbers I've never seen actually used, but not by what the hell it is. Well, that's not entirely true. If you're in the middle of ringing up a sale, you can look it up after adding at least one item to the sale - but you need a manager to authorize it.



    You also need a manager's permission to print price stickers. Because otherwise, you might... well you could... waste paper?

    I also overheard one of the employees talking on the phone about there being too many users logged in at once. Apparently there's some sort of hardcoded limit, and it's less than the number of computers in the store.



    But the WTFs aren't just with the software. Today, there was no stock to put out, so they had a few of us doing inventory instead. Another stockperson and I were put in the back room to count the overstock. The person who normally does this handed him a barcode scanner, and told him to go scan each item and tell me the quantity to enter, and then left. Just left us to do the job despite having absolutely no experience using the computer system (except to look up a product's location). Logged into the admin account, working directly on the server. Great idea.

    (It's worth noting that the barcode scanners are transparent to the software - they simulate typing the number and pressing Enter, so there's nothing to prevent you from entering a barcode number in the wrong field by scanning at the wrong time.)



    The process is going fine until one of the items throws an error message upon being scanned. I tell the other guy "wait, hold on." He replies "OK"... and scans the next item. Repeat this a few times. By then the error message (which I fortunately had managed to read) had disappeared, and it had left the inventory screen and was waiting at another menu. He proceeds to scan one more item, just to be sure; fortunately, nothing happens.



    Since neither of has any damn clue how to work the program, and I don't want to go about fucking with things on the server, I call the person who put us in charge of the operation and explain the situation. (Side WTF: there isn't really an "inventory" screen; they just add it all to a sales order, print it, and cancel it. So one wrong keystroke, and you've entered a sales order consisting of half the warehouse. Brillant.) She says no problem, she'll be right there.



    An hour later, she arrives, walks over to the computer, presses F4, and it's back to normal. We waited an hour for someone to come press a single key, because apparently they couldn't explain how to do that over the phone.



    (And of course, the other genius had to try walking up and pressing a bunch of random F-keys while we were waiting, when I got up and wandered around. Fucking great idea, buddy.)



  • @lolwtf said:

    ProfitMaster
    I just think this product name is awesome.

    Good WTF



  • I worked at a hardware store with similar problems.

    The one that I noticed the most was the entire interface was driven by shortcut keys, although there was no on-screen reference to which key to press, in what order. And they didn't have any real resemblance to their function. For example a to begin a trade sale you pressed 's' or a normal sale was 'b', and you could invoke a staff discount by pressing 'r' during a sale. When the woman in charge of the front counter was fired for shoplifting(...) the young staff were screwed as they didn't know how to process most sales and the manual was lost decades before

    The other was the guy out the back processing inwards goods (directly on the server) but to find out the sku for each item he had to begin a sale and scan the item, write down the sku, cancel the sale, log out then log in to the server as admin (he couldn't have 2 sessions open at once), add the new goods then start again for the next product. On a busy day he would scan a few sku's at a time but I got the feeling he didn't request it to be changed for job security.



  • @woogmo said:

    I worked at a hardware store with similar problems.

    The one that I noticed the most was the entire interface was driven by shortcut keys, although there was no on-screen reference to which key to press, in what order. And they didn't have any real resemblance to their function.

    Wow, you were managing stock with vi?

    runs away before the war starts



  • @NSCoder said:

    Wow, you were managing stock with vi?

    Real Programmers use notepad! On Wine!

    runsfaster



  • @derula said:

    Real Programmers use notepad! On Wine!

    runsfaster

    I wouldn't be surprised if Notepad runs faster on Wine.



  • @Zecc said:

    @derula said:

    Real Programmers use notepad! On Wine!

    runsfaster

    I wouldn't be surprised if Notepad runs faster on Wine.



    Not doubting or anything, but how would that work? Windows always has common bits of code (like form controls) loaded into memory, whereas Wine has to load them into memory whenever a program is loaded. (Okay, so that's only a startup overhead, but I still don't see how it could be faster than using the native X11 libraries. Unless Linux+X11 uses less CPU cycles/memory than Windows, which is entirely plausible.)



  • @curtmack said:

    @Zecc said:

    @derula said:

    Real Programmers use notepad! On Wine!

    runsfaster

    I wouldn't be surprised if Notepad runs faster on Wine.



    Not doubting or anything, but how would that work? Windows always has common bits of code (like form controls) loaded into memory, whereas Wine has to load them into memory whenever a program is loaded. (Okay, so that's only a startup overhead, but I still don't see how it could be faster than using the native X11 libraries. Unless Linux+X11 uses less CPU cycles/memory than Windows, which is entirely plausible.)

    Linux is much faster at allocating memory than Windows. You'd be amazed at how much of a difference that can make.


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