Thursday, 8 November 2007

Simple Mistakes

Today I received an email from a friend with a link to an Xbox 360 from Tesco online. The bargain price was about £32.

Not wanting to pass up the opportunity of a bargain Ive ordered one and paid my money. It remains to be seen whether or not I will get an email saying that they've made a mistake. Hopefully not.

However it highlights a couple of things:

Firstly, the impact of a simple mistake could be huge for a business. I cant imagine how many people will have got the same email, and the power of the viral email message is not to be under-estimated. A presumably low paid job doing data entry could have serious consequences for a smaller business.

Secondly, I wondered *how* they would notice such a mistake. Would someone get an automated SMS from some part of the system that detects unusual activity? Would it take an employee to get the viral message? Or will it be tomorrows Management Report that takes someone to go an manually work out what happened?

Thirdly, if being cynical, you could imagine it being done on purpose. Say they were prepared to allow the first 500 go through at a loss of say £200 each. Yeah thats 100k down the pan but its reasonably small change for Tesco. How many people will have tried to register to buy one. And the press fall out afterwards might give them a chance to push their site in the press. And if they publically honour the mistake, thats pretty good press for them.

I hope they do.

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