Sunday, November 29, 2015 Not Honoring Some Black Friday Orders

Just as a consumer fyi, is not honoring (is cancelling) some Black Friday week orders. Not only did they do this to me, they are aware of the problem, and have continued to do this for some years per their policy, as I now understand it. I'd not had a problem with Walmart before, so I chatted with them about it:

Ioannis M.: I have researched and unfortunately the item you have requested is out of stock.

Ioannis M.: our system is checking to see if any other shipping centers have that item in stock.

Ioannis M.: I appreciate your comprehension.

Ioannis M.: You can also visit your local Walmart store to see if they have the item in stock.

Me: Will they be able to use the price of the item that I ordered rather than the current price if I go into the store to pickup the item?

Me: Currently this item shows a different price on the website than the price that I bought it for on

Me: I'm not sure why the order was cancelled as I did not cancel it and would be happy to wait until the item is back in-stock.

Ioannis M.: Thank you for submitting your price match request. Please hold for a moment while I transfer your request to our Price Match team.

Then I got escalated to a supervisor:

Angela J.: Thanks for chatting with! I’m Angela J. and I’ll be assisting you today.

Angela J.: I will be glad to take a look at the cancellation for you.

Me: Hi Angela. I bought an item on that was cancelled because it was out of stock, but it is an item regularly carried so I would like to either pick up the item when it is available or would be ok with it being sent to me

Me: I did not cancel the order so I'm not sure why it was cancelled. I would have waited until it was in stock.

Me: Thanks in advance for your help.

Angela J.:

You're welcome.

Angela J.: I see that the item cancelled because it was out of stock.

Angela J.: We are unable to honor any out of stock items at this time.

Me: so just to be clear, if I place an order on, you can cancel if you want by saying it is out of stock and walmart will not continue to honor the price that the item was sold for when the item is in stock and there is nothing you can do to help a customer with that?

Me: can your manager help with this?

Angela J.: I'm a supervisor here in corporate.

Angela J.: We are not honoring any prices that cancel due to out of stock Black Friday thru cyber Monday.

Me: is there a policy that was shown to me during the order process that stated that, because I did not see one.

Angela J.:

Me: that was not shown to me during the order process

Angela J.: i apologize sir there is nothing we can do.

Me: you cannot change the policy after the order by sending me a link to a Q and A page

Angela J.: That has always been our policy this time of year.

Me: it was not stated to me during the order process and I don't know why you would allow someone to order something saying on the website that it is in stock, authorize my credit card, and then days later tell me it is out of stock and you will not authorize that price even though you told me that I had ordered it at that price

Me: that does not make for a very good customer experience, and I tend to blog about these things, just for full disclosure

Me: is there not a way that you could honor this price when the item comes back in stock or send it from a store that has it in stock?

Angela J.: Sir that is our policy especially thru this week.

Angela J.: No

Then, she goes on to describe the problem on their side:

Angela J.: You did this as a PUT order which depends on the stores inventory not the warehouse inventory.

Angela J.: When you place a PUT order a customer can be walking around with the item in there cart at the same time the store may have the item for a certain amount of time until that customer checks out then the system is alerted that this item is sold and that can be in between you putting that item in your cart.

Angela J.: By the time they pull your order for pick up it can be out of stock because the Pick Up Today system shares the stores inventory.

Me: there is a difference in between a customer that is walking around with an actual shopping cart and a situation where you are taking an online order

Me: if you take an online order you need to be sure that the inventory is there, otherwise, what good is the inventory system?
Angela J.: No not in a pick up today circumstance.
Angela J.: The store has to fill the order from there inventory.
Angela J.: Now, if the order was shipped to your home the warehouse has a higher quantity of the item.
Me: So what you are saying is that is not capable of accurately assessing the inventory of the store
Angela J.: No I have explained this to you sir all ways I can I apologize but I can not honor this item price.

This was my experience. It might not match yours. However, personally I do not currently plan to continue to order from Walmart until they either fix their system/process or provide their customer service with the ability to assist customers when they fail on an order.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Searching Code at Command-line

For searching for code, I've typically used find/grep. I'd heard of ack before, but hadn't really tried it out.

But there's been an alternative to ack for the past several years that I just found out about, the Silver Searcher (ag).

It's brew installable and really fast (5-10x faster than ack according to its site on 2015-11-11).

The author of Silver Searcher is Geoff Greer who's the CEO/Co-founder of Floobits, which also looks like a pretty cool tool for remote work if you want to share Sublime and IDea. (Note: for vim/emacs or anything in terminal sessions, tmate is a great option for remote pairing.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Whittling Down Free or Open-source Project Ideas

A better way to come up with ideas for free or open-source projects comes from a method shared by Nick Bentley in The 100:10:1 method – the heart of my game design process. This was recently re-shared by Fogus in The 100:10:1 method: my approach to open source. The idea is to whittle down ideas so that only the top 1% become projects. You might also want to read the HN discussion about it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fastest Xml Parser

A post on HN this morning states that an XML parser written in D is the fastest currently.

The explanation is that D uses a parser that does the following:

Pull parsing, where you can peek at the next value and then skip or consume it in one function call. For objects and arrays you pass a callback and continue processing in there. Fundamentally there is no document any more and processing is linear. On the other hand you get rid of dynamic types in statically typed languages like C++ or D and have the freedom to skip values you are not interested in. In particular it is faster to just validate a JSON number is correctly formatted than to convert it to a double. -Marco Leise

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day!

Happy October 21, 2015! Where's my hoverboard, flying car, or Jaws 19?

Some highlights:

Check out USA Today.

And lots more!

You can also catch it in theaters today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Non-Microsoft Development on Windows 10

A post on HN today about the MS Surface Book also discusses the topic of developing on Windows 10 vs. OS X.

A few notes from that discussion (as of 10/6/2015):

  • Cmder as a OS X Terminal replacement in Windows 10.
  • Babun as a shell environment (described as "cygwin on steroids with oh-my-zsh").
  • Mentioned that there is little documentation on setting up "non Visual Studio dev environments on Windows (RoR, Django, PHP/MySQL, etc)".
  • Also mentioned that Windows users are still a huge minority in non-MS/non-.Net communities so many tools, etc. aren't built with Windows users in mind. (Which we were aware of already.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Recursively Search for Files Containing One String But Not Another

Building on the answer in StackExchange, here is the way to recursively search for files containing one string but not another:

grep -rL must_have_this_string some/path | xargs grep -l wont_have_this_string

There are other ways, but this works.