Shaver Woes

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

My shaver broke today. Well, it may have broken on a different day, but I didn’t know about it until I tried to shave for work this morning.

I use an electric shaver and have ever since I started shaving. I’ve never used a razor before, and frankly, the thought of rubbing a blade around on my face and neck isn’t exactly inspiring. I got my razor sometime around high school (so, about a decade or so ago) and it worked pretty well until college, when my roommate unplugged it in the middle of a charge. Doing that messed up the battery, which eventually died completely. Rather than replace it (which, admittedly, probably would have been pretty inexpensive), I just plugged it in every time I needed to use it. That worked for several years, until this morning.

When I turned it on, it made a low, slow whirring sound; quite unlike the high-pitched buzz it normally made. I wiggled the plug around, switched it on and off a few times, and even popped off the blades to see if they were jammed. None of it worked, of course, so I had to go to work without shaving (after having not shaved for a couple of days). Thankfully, no one at work said anything.

After work, Morah and I went to Costco. We hadn’t planned on going quite this soon (we were probably going to wait until the weekend), but since I needed a new shaver, we figured it would be a good time to go.

Now, I don’t know what the deal is with Costco and their website, but the shaver I bought cost twenty dollars more in the store than online. The price on the website was part of the reason we went to Costco in the first place! So in the end, I paid about ninety (yes, nine-zero) dollars for a new razor. For that price, this thing had better last me another ten years.

Another problem was the online production registration. The registration card has a little line of text that says something like, “to register online, visit http://www.philips.com/norelco.” The problem is, when you visit that URL, you get a 404 error! I did have to laugh at two of the suggested pages, though: “Philips Speech Recognition Systems” and “Sense and simplicity”. All that technology and they can’t just set up the URL to forward me to the correct part of the site? Apparently not, as I had to poke around for a few minutes to try and find the Norelco section of the site.

So I finally get there, and here’s what I see:

Norelco registration link

What should I click on? The text, “Register your shaver” isn’t a link, so should I click on “More Info” or the image above “Register your shaver”? As it turns out, you can click on either one, but why isn’t it more obvious? Why doesn’t that image have some big text on it that reads, “Click here to register your shaver”?

When you click on one of the links, a new window pops up (WHY?) and presents you with a not-too-long form. In fact, less than half of the fields are marked as required, so that’s pretty cool, right? Sure, until you try to submit the form and it doesn’t work. But how do you know it doesn’t work? Is there I gigantic red warning placed obviously on the page to let you know what you did wrong? No, of course not; that would actually make sense! Instead, the page reloads and looks just the same as it did before. There isn’t an obvious error message or confirmation message (which makes me wonder how many people stop here, assuming that they’ve registered their shaver). If you didn’t resize the window, the error message appears below the fold as a line of red text (next to a pre-existing line of red text, I might add).

A quick aside here, if you select “other” as the product model, the form returns an error saying that you have to put in the product number. The problem is, they don’t provide a place for you to enter it!

So why hadn’t my registration worked? Because I didn’t enter my e-mail address. But wait, there isn’t a red asterisk next to it to indicate that it’s required, so what gives? Okay, apparently it is required, but for some reason they didn’t tell me that. I typed in my e-mail address, clicked on “Next” and…

More questions?

Oh, I see, these are optional. I’ll just click on “Next” again to skip past them. An error? What’s going on? Oh, I see, this survey is “optional”. Got it.

The URLs are also kind of borked. You start out on the Philips website (philips.com). When the registration window pops up, you’re now viewing a page at harte-hanks.com (they’re a direct marketing company). After you submit the initial section of the registration, you’re taken to insightexpress.com (another marketing firm) for the “optional” survey. WTF?

Finally, after half-heartedly answering the questions in the “optional” survey (which was longer and more invasive than it really should have been), I finally, finally made it to the confirmation page. So at least I know my shaver is registered. Once again, this thing had better last me a long time.

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1 Comment

  1. Curtis Petersen

    Great typical online adventure. We all have them. Glad you took the time to share yours.

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