I want my ninety cents

The last time I posted about a problem I had with the Ontario Science Centre’s web site, I got comments from the webmaster himself, and the problem was resolved quickly. So I’m trying again.

I just ordered tickets to see Star Trek at the Omnimax Theater at the Science Centre in a couple of weeks. The options for getting your tickets are: print the tickets yourself, with a service charge of $0.90, or have have them print the tickets for you and hold them at the will-call window for free. This of course makes no sense – somebody has to print the tickets, so either I pay for the privilege of doing the work myself (calling it a “service charge” when I’m the one doing the work is amusing), or I give them nothing to do the work for me. Anyway, I happen to be doing this at home on my work laptop, which means I can’t get to the printer upstairs. (I’m sure there’s a way to do it but I’ve never been able to figure it out. SuperUser.com, here I come!) So I decide to take the free option and have them print my tickets. When I get the final “this has been charged to your credit card” page, I see that I was charged the $0.90 anyway. Well, I’m against paying to print my own tickets on principle anyway, so I’m certainly not going to pay the fee to not have this service. So I decide to call the box office.

First off, they list the opening days and hours and website and stuff before listing the options. Advice: nuke that crap and have a “for opening hours, press 1” option. Secondly, the “stay on the line to speak to a representative” option punts you off to their directory, where the options are:

If you know the person’s name or number, please press 1. For additional information, please press 9.

Pressing 9 boots you back out to the main recording, where you have to listen to the days and hours and website info again. Now, this is at 8:30 on a Friday night, so it’s highly possible that the box office is closed (I don’t know if the box office has the same hours as the Science Centre itself). But in that case, they should have a recording saying that the place is closed rather than pushing you off to another recording, especially since this was the “to speak to a representative” option. If there’s no representative, don’t list that option!

The original overcharge of 90 cents was likely a tiny oversight, no big deal. But someone designed that phone system, and that person needs to be punished – perhaps they should be forced to actually use it.

Update: Once again, the Science Centre people have responded quickly. Within a few days of originally posting this, I got a call from Bob, the customer service manager, who recognized the problem and told me that they are in the process of changing both their phone system and their ticket printing system. He told me that he would refund my ninety cents and assured me that with their new system, there would be no charge for printing tickets yourself. Again, major kudos to Bob and the Science Centre folks for responding to me directly and addressing the problems, however minor they may be.


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