(N.b. this rant is not directed at anyone in particular, and certainly not at any of the 128 people who wrote to me yesterday with their ebook issues.)
British club members will likely remember the sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo!, which ran for nine series from 1982 to 1992.
For the rest of you, this was a farcical take on the antics of a bunch of unlikely resistance fighters in occupied France. That’s WWII, for younger readers. 1939-1945 for the very young ones, so too long ago to worry your pretty heads about…
Probably the best known catch phrase from the show was “Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once!”, there being no time for chat or repetition when fighting a covert war.
To give you the idea, and hopefully a laugh, below is a link to a short Youtube video. We’re in a café, in occupied France as I mentioned, and you’ll meet the heroic resistance figher (wearing the beret), the cafè owner, and his staff of servers, who are in a fluster because an illicit radio is hidden on the premises, and the Germans are on the way!
Why am I linking to this today?
Beh, I was reflecting on the difficulties of communication, in my case in writing rather than speech.
I’ll write something like:
“Your ebook will be delivered via download link emailed immediately after your payment has cleared”
and the response will be a host of emails asking:
“It’s been three weeks and my postman hasn’t brought anything!”
I explain about the download link, that it’s valid for seven days (to give you plenty of time to click it and save a copy of your ebook for future study), and you write:
“I bought an ebook from you last month but now, when I click the link, it doesn’t work any longer!”
I try to be very clear – the number of download attempts is limited to three, because we want you to save a copy and take responsibility for it. Three should be more than enough! Click once and check your downloads file for the .pdf ebook.
If you can’t work it out, ask someone to help you, or try doing it on a real computer not your iPhone or iPad, which you never took the time to learn how to use properly. But don’t click multiple times hoping something different will happen!
“When I came to download my ebook, I get a message saying I have reached the limit of downloads!”
Well yes, that’s what happens when you click the link more than three times but neglect to save a copy of the file for your future use. That’s why we do it. So that any customer service issues are resolved within a few weeks of your purchase, rather than outlasting my children’s children’s children.
And famously (this one really makes me spit):
“You sent me a compressed folder containing 999 ebooks but my iPhone/iPad won’t open it!”
It probably would, if you knew how. But your iDevice is deliberately designed so that you will use iApps, or third-party apps which you can only download from the Apple Store (I hear they get around 33% of revenues from any sales made through apps on your/their iDevices…)
Insomma, Apple wants their cut, and if they don’t get it (we don’t have an app in the Apple Store, and don’t plan to), they’re not going to go out of their way to make it easy for you.
An iDevice is NOT a computer.
With a computer, YOU choose what you do with it, what programs to run, what files to open, and how to protect them.
Without a computer, unless you are very, very keen on detail, you are trapped in Apple’s garden.
That might seem a pleasant place to be right now, but the cost to you is any I.T. skills you have, or might have learnt were you outside the garden walls.
“Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once!”
If you buy an ebook, TAKE A LITTLE TIME to understand the delivery mechanism. Don’t be carried away by my silver-tongued marketing gab. Understand what you’ll be buying, and how it gets to you, before you proceed with your order.
Basic common sense, really.
If you buy an ebook that comes in a zipped/compressed folder, TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY, USING THE FREE SAMPLE CHAPTER.
Don’t know how to deal with the zipped/compressed folder on your iDevice? So figure that out BEFORE you buy the full version! And if you can’t, ask a child to help you.
“Free sample chapter, what’s that?”
Take a look at the Catalog page of our online shop.
See the ebooks listed? See the 999 places where it says ‘Download FREE sample (.pdf)’?
Sorry, but WHY would anyone buy an ebook, or pack of 999 ebooks in a compressed folder, WITHOUT checking the free sample chapter first?
It mystifies me.
As does, why would people think that ‘ebook’ means we’ll be posting or couriering a lump of paper to their address on other side of the world from where we are?
And, why would people buy something and not look at it until after the time limit has expired? And then get grumpy with me?
Or why would they click a link that didn’t do what they expected it to do, a second and then third time? In the hope that Steve Jobs had changed his mind, perhaps, and started to play nicely with his customers and the rest of the I.T. world?
I have no explanations.
Other than, perhaps, that we’re all characters in a 1980’s sitcom farce!
I’m René, the plump and exasperated business owner.
Or maybe the resistance fighter with the beret and an urgent message to impart.
‘Free Trial Online Italian Lesson’ offer
Here’s a quick reminder about the ‘Free Trial Online Italian Lesson’ offer, which began on Monday. Full details are here.
The offer lasts until Sunday night and the plan is to give away a hundred and fifty free lessons. So if you’re interested, better get a move on, ‘darti una mossa’, as Italians say.
Click here, then use the ‘add to cart’ button to add the free lesson to your cart. Proceed in the usual ecommerce way, except for the fact there’s no payment stage. There’s nothing to sign, no commitment to buy more lessons, and no need to cancel anything within a given amount of time.
It’s a genuinely-free, free trial offer, with no tricks.
When you’ve completed your order, you’ll get a confirmation email. At some point after that, our teaching management assistant, will contact you by email and ask WHEN you want to do your lesson and, WHAT your needs are, what your level is in Italian, and so on.
Her job is to assign you to one of our teachers. She’ll make that decision based on when you want to study and when the teacher is available.
Which means you need to reply to her email! If you don’t hear from her, CHECK YOUR SPAM!
As I wrote on Monday, be aware that this isn’t an automated process, so if things are busy, a little patience would be appreciated.
Allow 24 hours for our teaching management assistant to contact you, taking into account the time difference between Italy and wherever you are. (This is another important message that seems not to get through…)
If you haven’t heard anything, and have checked your spam, AND 24 hours have passed, then feel free to email me. I’ll sort it out for you.
Here are the offer conditions again:
- The offer is good until Sunday, 14/02/21
- We’ve got the capacity for around a hundred and fifty club members to do a trial lesson. If we exceed this, free lessons will be organised as and when we have capacity to do so
- This offer is for NEW STUDENTS ONLY*
- If you booked a free trial last time but didn’t take it – do try again!
- But if you’ve already done a free trial (we have a list), this is not for you
- Once you’ve done your lesson, you will be sent you a 15% discount coupon to incentivise you to continue…
Existing or former online students are more than welcome to order a free lesson in another language. Obviously, we’re hoping you’ll buy something else.
However, if you’ve already taken a free trial lesson in Italian on a previous occasion, but didn’t buy anything, which is absolutely fine, but now decide you’d also like to take a free lesson in Spanish, French or German? Well, don’t be surprised if we’re not wildly enthusiastic.