Archive for July, 2010

How a Web Glitch Screwed up Summer

The YMCA in our town does a really good summer camp. I mean really really good–so good, in fact, that my daughter talks about it all year long. Camp Teepeetonka is the highlight of summer and has been since we have lived in Sioux Falls. I highly recommend it to anyone who lives in Sioux Falls. It’s just two weeks, but it does fill up fast, so you need to register early to make sure you get in at the time your child wants to go.

My girl has a best friend we used to live near who is also really into Camp Teepeetonka. She doesn’t see her friend very often anymore. Last year they went to camp together and they thought they should go together every year. So we pre-coordinated with her to find out when she was going before we even thought about registering her for Camp.

We pretty much plan our summer around this camp. All of her other activities, trips, etc., get arranged around Camp. My mom and dad arranged their schedule around this camp because they always take her on a summer trip and this year they have a brand new camper they bought just for the occasion. (Ok, it’s for “trips with grandchildren”, but this was to be the inaugural trip!)

Today was the big day. Last night she didn’t fight at all when it was time to go to bed. She did her night-time routine lickety split and was in bed with the lights off before I even noticed. This is NOT normal behavior in the summer. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and find her wide awake reading in her bed.

But I was nervous. I’d just noticed I hadn’t received the pre-camp letter that you normally get in the mail a week or two before camp. I realized I had no idea what time to take her to meet the bus and started to wonder why? I tore through my e-mails–did they send it by e-mail this year? No sign of any notice from the YMCA, except for some e-mails announcing that Camp registration was open that came last February. (Yeah, I don’t clean out my inbox very often … thank goodness for gmail!) Then I logged into my credit card accounts to check whether there had been a charge from the Y for the deposit. Nothing. I began to panic. What if she wasn’t registered?

I dragged myself out of bed early this morning and called the Y right away. They took my name and number and promised to have Kathy call me as soon as she got in. I wondered whether to even bother waking my baby girl. I dragged my feet, but finally decided I’d better wake her up, just in case. Just a few minutes after she dragged herself out of bed, they called and confirmed my fears. She wasn’t registered. I saw all the hope and joy drain right out of her sweet little face.

I’d registered online on their web site. With our busy schedule, I had a hard time finding time to get these camp registrations done, but I finally found a few minutes to do it. I’d done it before several times. This year was the same–I plowed through their crazy system, carefully chose the correct camp dates for my daughter’s age, clicked the Register button, entered all my daughter’s information and my own billing information and my credit card number. I even included a note that she wanted to be in camp with her best friend. I got all the way through the process. I got the confirmation page that told me she was registered. I breathed a sigh of relief that it was done and my little girl was going to get to go to her favorite camp with her best friend. I returned to my busy life, never thinking to question the magic “You are registered” page. Ah how I wish I had.

We are in the process of rearranging our summer now. Kathy at the Y was very kind when I explained how important this camp is to her and she let me register for the next session (the LAST session of the summer) even though they are no longer accepting registrations. I am so grateful to her.

I just got done breaking the bad news to my dad. He and mom are now sitting down trying to figure out whether (and how) they can re-schedule their camping trip. There is no hope that Brynne’s friend can go along on the camping trip because she is in camp now and my girl will be in camp next session–and that is all the time we have. I need to call her friend’s mom and tell her why my baby wasn’t there today, and then I have to call her dance teacher about possibly missing one of her 4-hour dance camps they had scheduled for early August.

It’s not the end of the world, but it is a lot of trouble for a lot of people. A couple children are very sad.

All because of a little “glitch” in the web site. We will work it out, my daughter and her friend will get over it, my parents will probably figure out an alternate schedule and somehow she’ll learn her dance routine despite missing part of the dance camp.

I just wanted to share this story because I wanted to warn you, especially those of you with e-commerce web sites. It is important that you display a confirmation message ONLY after the transaction succeeds. A little bit of disinformation can cause a lot of trouble, heartache, and bad press.

I am so grateful to the people at the Y for putting on this amazing camp and wish them no harm. I wish they would fix their web site not because I’m worried that this situation may happen to us again–I will be more careful in the future and make sure I print out the confirmation and check whether I got that confirmation e-mail from them. I’m worried about other children’s hearts when this happens to other busy, well-meaning parents.