Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I just keep waiting...

...and waiting...and waiting...and waiting...

John Gruber has made at least five different posts regarding t-shirts since my previous post regarding my own personal lack of t-shirt. Still no shirt. Still no email from Mr. Gruber. Not a peep. And frankly, not really that much of an apology on his web site, at least not what I would consider to be a heart-felt one.

Now I am certainly no mind reader, but I'm reasonably confident that if John had paid for something and still had not received the full order (I do get the RSS feeds, so I cannot legitimately say I have received nothing for my money) after 6 months, the diatribe posted about this would be lengthy. It would include swear words. It would certainly comment on the lack of customer service. It would comment on following through on promises made. It would be correct.

It seems to me that if John has time to make a post regarding t-shirts, then he has time to box a few of them up and get them ready to ship. I can certainly understand a backlog. I can understand shortages. What I can't understand is the complete lack of communication. Send me an update once in a while. "Sorry for the delay, there has been Problem XYZ that has resulted in Yet Another 2 week delay before you will receive your shirt. I'll keep you posted, thanks for your patience." How hard is that?

Now I certainly do not know what is going on in John's personal life. He could be up to his eyeballs in personal tragedy. This is a legitimate reason to have a delay. I can live with that. But in the absence of information telling me that, I'm forced to form my own opinion. I seem to recall that John quit his daily job in order to do Daring Fireball full time. The membership drive that I participated in was to help him generate enough income from DF to continue doing DF full time. More power to him. But it seems to me that I am now, in a sense, his employer. One of many, certainly - and I hope it's a large number - but I'm paying a small part of his income nonetheless. I'm paying him to write DF. And I'm fine with that. I probably would have done a paid subscription even if there was no shirt offer. But there was. I bought a product he was selling. And since DF is now his primary business (I assume), he should therefore have nothing better to do during business hours than write and box up shirts.

If he's spending his time in other ways, such as with his family or even other potential business ventures, then he has a problem with time management. I'm not paying him to spend time with his family or work on other business ventures, I'm paying him to write DF and box up shirts. If he wants to delegate or subcontract the shirt boxing, that's his choice (and frankly, maybe he should give this some serious thought) and comes out of his pocket, not mine. He has a business obligation to ship the products that he has received payment for, in a timely fashion, and how he goes about doing that is something I don't care about. As long as it gets done. How hard is it to spend an hour a day boxing up shirts? Or heck, since he knows he is behind, dedicate a solid week to doing nothing but boxing up shirts. I don't know if that would be enough to get him caught up, but it would certainly have to take a big chunk out of the backlog.

I don't have any numbers to back this up, but my impression is that the frequency of John's posts has not changed in any meaningful way since he started doing DF full time. If anything, I think they have slowed down. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but that's my impression. I certainly do not feel like the frequency has increased. So let's assume that the amount of writing is approximately the same. He no longer has his daily job occupying his time, so he ought to have a lot of time available. He could spend a couple hours a day surfing for things to write about, a couple hours a day writing, and a couple hours boxing shirts. He would have a shorter work day than I have - and presumably shorter than his previous job - and wouldn't even have to change out of his pajamas. Seems to me he ought to have plenty of time - unknown personal tragedy notwithstanding - to do the things he needs to do related to DF. He doesn't seem to be occupying his time with increased amounts of writing (again, just my uninformed opinion), so he ought to have more than enough to ship out some shirts.

For some reason, it takes him more than 6 months to send me a shirt. I find that unacceptable. I'm pretty sure he would, too.

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