Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Improving the World One Bug at a Time

Like many of my colleagues I appreciate humor and jokes about software testing and testers. I got a chuckle out of reading the Software Testing Humor – Jokes posted by TestingGeek and Bumper Stickers for Testers by Harry Robinson.

My favorite bumper sticker is "A good tester has the heart of a a jar on the desk". But I think that I probably get motivated by this one -"Improving the world one bug at a time". It makes it even better when you find a bug in in the wild and help with a solution.

An anecdotal story happened to me a few months ago. I had to help my mother buy a kitchen appliance with a credit card. One would think that it's easy. It usually is unless your parent lives in Siberia and is terrified of using that "plastic thing" issued by a foreign financial institution. There was no other sensible option however so we agreed that she would visit a few local stores where a card was accepted and the price was reasonable, and then would let me know when and where the purchase would be made.  Once she found a store I alerted my bank about the upcoming transaction to hopefully avoid any surprises and alleviate stress for my mom. I called her on her cell phone before she walked into the store to calm her down and told her to call me right away if anything comes up.

To my bewilderment I got a call about 15-20 minutes later with my mother sobbing on the phone and a sales clerk and the store manager trying to calm her down. The credit card transaction was declined. There was no response code to explain why. This didn’t make sense. We tried to run it again while I was on speaker but it failed. My mother was inconsolable and needless to say I felt mortified. What could have happened? The store manager was trying to be helpful and called the US bank’s Russian subsidiary representative in Moscow. They talked, tried to process the transaction again and got the same results. I was actually amazed how nice and professional both ladies were at the store.  I don’t want to sound facetious but I don’t remember customer service to have been any good in my old country. I had been cursed out by sales clerks on many occasions back in the day.