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July 2006

July 31, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: United Airlines customer service link


Go to United Airlines' home page, click customer service - and get this... one category, guess what it is!

July 29, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Marriott survey

MarriottKlaus Johannes Rusch writes in:

The Marriott invites guests to participate in an online survey about their experience at the Marriott hotel restaurants. But it's impossible to fill out, for two reasons:

1. The survey's website address and access code are printed on the guest check, which the restaurant keeps when you leave. (I had to write them down on a separate piece of paper to even get to step 2.)

2. Once online, I could not get past the first question after I input the access code because, surprise, you also need to know the waiter number, which can only be found on the guest check.

There should have been clearer instructions on the guest check stating what information would be needed to complete the survey.

July 28, 2006 10:58 AM

Broken: Reuters copyright statement

Spotted at the bottom of a Reuters story on CNN that I link to over on the Good Experience blog. I guess this is nothing new, but I was surprised at how restrictive the copyright statement is:

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't broadcast it, don't publish it - I guess that gets the website in trouble... why not take the next logical step and tell people not to read it?

It's like the guitar in Spinal Tap that Marty isn't even allowed to think about. It's copyright nirvana - no one publishing, no one reading, no one thinking, no one getting at the material in any way whatsoever. Ahhhh, that's a tidy little world.

I'm not opposed in principle to copyright; I just think that copyright statements shouldn't say silly things like that.

Broken: (Not broken) A few things in Lewisham


The Love Lewisham website allows citizens to submit pictures of "broken" things in their community, to alert the local government for need of a fix. Good site.

July 27, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Boston signage

BostonsignsMatthias Bohler points out a picture taken in Boston, Massachusetts by Randy:

How could anybody get lost in the Big Dig?

July 26, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Toyota Yaris trunk lock

TyarisKuva20xcJanne Raiskila points out:

When this Toyota Yaris is unlocked, opening the trunk requires pushing directly on the keyhole with considerable force.

Besides being unergonomic, doing this will stain your fingers with grease from the lock. There is no way to open the trunk from the inside of the car.

July 25, 2006 02:21 PM

Broken: (maybe) Home Depot self-checkout

Entertaining discussion at slashdot about Home Depot self-checkout. Link: Slashdot | Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes Grocers.

I work at Home Depot, as a cashier. I can back up all of parent's statements; people lose about fifty IQ points when faced with the self checkout. That's why ours have a cashier supervising them.

(Thanks, John S.)

Broken: Delta flight status notification


This Just In: There are no alerts at this time.

It's great to be notified that there is no news.

July 24, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Bathroom access

DoorwithcodeA reader writes in:

Having a typepad and a sign with the code next to it seems like having a locked door with a key hanging from the handle.

July 22, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Road signs stack

StoptruckPaul Schreiber points out a picture from Julian Missig's Flickr photostream:

What is this series of signs together trying to tell drivers?

July 21, 2006 11:31 AM

Broken: (comment) About the new comments-system

Hi, TIB readers -

If you've tried to add a comment today you might have noticed that we now require registration with the TypeKey system in order to post comments.

I know it's a hassle, but you only have to go through registration once, and then you remain signed in. Also, since it then remembers your signup info, you can post comments even more easily than before (since you don't have to type your name and URL every time).

We made this change because in recent months we've seen too many irrelevant comments, drowning out the legitimate comments, and forcing us to spend time manually cleaning things up.

We'll try this out for awhile, and I hope it raises the signal-to-noise level in the comments section. If not, there's always what other popular blogs like Boing Boing and Kottke have done - turn off comments altogether - but I hope to avoid that.

And now, the comments section for this post. Go ahead, let us know why this is such a broken idea ;) -mh

Broken: Swimsuit view

SwimsuitA reader writes in:

I was shopping for a new (women's) swimsuit and saw this weird image of the back of the swimsuit. It looks, well, anatomically impossible - the woman's chest and bottom appear to be on the same side.

There's got to be a better way of showing what the swimsuit looks like!

July 20, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Broke store

Brokestore_1Joe Altschule submits a picture taken in Barcelona, Spain:

This must be the flagship store for all things broken. Not only is the name of this store "Broke," but it was also closed when I saw it and took the picture.

July 19, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Panasonic microwave

Microwave_2Yale Kozinski writes in:

This is the front panel of my Panasonic microwave oven. Can you figure out how to simply heat something for a specified time?

Didn't think you could. Well, you have to press the "Power Level" button, then turn the dial to the desired cook time. Turning the dial doesn't do anything unless you press "Power Level" first. This has so far confused everyone who tries to use it.

July 18, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Global weather simulation model

Brian D. submits a picture taken in Boston, Massachusetts:

I found this global weather simulation with an error message at the Museum of Science in Boston.

July 17, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Chair sign

WetchairJim Shuma writes in:

At the Orlando International Airport, some chairs had gotten wet, and they were marked with "wet chair" signs to keep people from sitting on them.

The signs read: "Welcome to Orlando International Airport. Wet chair."

The only problem is that the text "Welcome to Orlando International Airport" is so small compared to the rest of the text on the sign that it just looks like the sign says "Welcome to Wet Chair."

July 15, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Drink name

ZitdrinkJohn Hayashi sends in a picture taken in Atikokan, Ontario:

This is a picture of a poster in a convenience store window.

"Bloody zit" never seemed like the most appealing name for something anyone would want to drink.

Broken: Ice cream truck sign

IcecreamMike Estefan points out:

I took a picture of this sign on the side of an ice cream truck. We definitely need to look out for those ice cream cone children!

July 14, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Cactus pencil

Pencil_1 Yadav Gowda writes in:

My friend's mother recently came back from Arizona, and she brought with her a pencil from a gift shop.

The pencil is shaped like a cactus. The eraser is at the end of the outline of the cactus, making the eraser unusable, unless you were to break off the end of the pencil to use the eraser.

July 13, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Customer courtesy phone

Phone William White points out:

I took this photo of where the customer courtesy phone should be at Hollywood video. I guess we have to bring our own phone to connect.

July 12, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Bathroom sign

ConfroomMichael Schulman submits a picture taken in Columbus, Indiana:

Is this a bathroom or a conference room? Maybe it is both?

Since I am a male, I could not enter to find out.

July 11, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Wifi hotspot login

Wifi_1Terrell Jones points out:

While signing up to use a wifi hotspot in the Dubai airport, I was given the choice of payment options: credit card or free.

It didn’t take me too long to make up my mind.

[Good point. Why give the choice at all? -mh]

July 10, 2006 03:55 PM

Broken: Boing Boing: Poorly thought-out label: Hershey's (non) chocolate milk

Mark Frauenfelder asks two very good questions. From Boing Boing: Poorly thought-out label: Hershey's (non) chocolate milk:

Why is Hershey's in the business of selling regular milk? And why would it insist on making the label look chocolately?

Broken: PC Richard slogan

Dsc08665s_2Here in New York there's a chain of stores, PC Richard, that sells appliances and electronics. My one experience with them wasn't very good - see this column - and that seems to be consistent with what I've heard from friends and colleagues. But that's not the point of this post.

Instead, I'd like to point out what I saw when I walked by the store recently: the slogan that is repeatedly printed on about a dozen awnings outside the store. Each one reads...

Richard IS reliable

...with "is" underlined for emphasis.

Dsc08665tThe slogan comes across as defensive. "We are reliable, we are we are, you've gotta believe us!" they seem to be saying.

Methinks they doth protest too much :)

July 8, 2006 09:08 AM

Broken: (List) Centuries of NYC complaints

A New York artist has compiled complaints sent to New York City mayors for centuries. Sounds a little like This Is Broken!

From Here's Proof That New Yorkers Like to Complain:

Indecency and the lack thereof are also lamented. In 1935, a correspondent asked Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, "Would it be possible to amend the law so that girls in the burlesque shows in New York would be allowed to display their charms more without interference of the police?" In an indication of the conflicting pressures placed on public officials, the mayor's office received a letter not long after that began, "Please, Please, Please put an embargo on the new mesh swimsuit!"

Broken: Truck sign

TruckTyler Walles points out:

If you are going to name a company "Yellow" then the sign should be yellow as well, not orange.

July 7, 2006 10:52 PM

Broken: Identity leak with Sprint Wireless

Steve Parkinson describes an identity leak with Sprint Wireless:

[Sprint commits] a classic security blunder. They give you information and ask you if it's correct. Worse, it's an automated service, with no concept of what social engineering is.

Funny - automated telephone customer service is usually so accurate, helpful, and intelligent.

Broken: Bed model image

Bed A reader named Kevin points out:

I saw this picture in the online catalog for Humble Abode.

Not the best place to set down a tray full of lit candles...

July 6, 2006 09:54 AM

Broken: Order windows

NoserviceChad Bechtel sends this pic from Glendale, Arizona, showing "service at next window" in both windows. He writes, "No one seems to want to help us with our order at this place!"

July 5, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Conference dis-invitation

Email_1Terry Jones writes in:

I received an email inviting me as a VIP guest to the "Email Insider Summit", which I thought would be interesting to attend. Shortly after receiving the invite, i received an email with the text below:

Dear Terrell:

We apologize if you received an email from MediaPost earlier today inviting you as our VIP guest to the Email Insider Summit.

That email was intended to be sent to a list of the 50 top brand marketers in the industry, that have already agreed to attend the event. The email below is the email you were intended to receive...

Being invited and then dis-invited to an event is definitely broken.

[Especially broken, in my opinion, is dis-inviting Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity - an Internet VIP if there ever was one! -mh]

July 4, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Bus sign

BusstandCindy Roche submits a picture taken in London, England:

I saw this bus sign in London.

So where do the buses pick up passengers?

July 3, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Papa John's unlimited toppings

ToppingsA reader named Ittsi points out:

I was ordering pizza from Papa John's online and wanted to choose toppings. Note the third option: "Unlimited toppings"! Wow! Except that right under it, in parentheses, it says "Maximum five toppings per pizza." That's not so unlimited.

July 1, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Hotel toilet

ToiletRoberto Ramirez submits a picture taken in a hotel in Los Angeles, California:

If you ever stay at the Best Western hotel at Canoga Park in Los Angeles, and happen to be placed in room #202, you will see that it has an interesting bathroom design.

The toilet is arranged at a 45-degree angle from the wall, which makes for an interesting experience, to say the least.

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