Micro Kvetch: Four Complaints, Four Answers

Our inaugural short-order rant roundup, christened in by one Bill Green. He’s a designer cum art director, so you know he
s got an exacto knife to grind.

  • Quizno
    s – if there
    s a more expensive sandwich run through a broiler that takes 2 months to make prepared by trainees, I haven
    t found it.
  • Home Depot – Thank God the only entrance to their store is conveniently located. Why don
    t they just put the freaking entrance around the back of the building, instead of all the way over to either the right or left of their stores.
  • Home Depot Part Deux – If they could have [fewer] registers open for more customers, thus clogging the center lane with contractors and their 50 sheets of plywood, that
    d be the icing on the cake.
  • Verizon – I just need a phone, not a 21-member family plan, add-on extra-minute monthly prorated upsale to something else.
  • Any software company that offers insane price cuts for educational versions. And the oil companies gouge? Here
    my full-on rant about THAT sore spot with me.

Bill, the reason why it takes Quizno
s so long is that all their employees are just those floating, singing rat squibs dressed up in human suits. Looking over Las Vegas
shoulder, Home Depot places the entrances and exits in awkward places so as to confuse and entrap you in a desperate home improvement spiral whose only escape is the purchase of more grout sealer. Verizon, inspired by capitalism, is the worst cell phone company except for all the others. Regarding exorbitant Adobe prices
let us introduce you to a little black cabal best known by its playful euphemism, file

Add your best shotgun kvetching via email or comments. If they strike a chord with us, we might even grace you with useless but amusing answers in a future edition of ‘Micro Kvetch.’


Edit Your Comment

  1. Paul D says:


    Ordered tickets to Sigur Ros back in November. Show is this Friday. Still don’t have them. Online CS is useless. Must now call. Grrrr…

  2. Plaid Rabbit says:

    Here’s a kvetch – where’s the morning deals roundup? I live for this shit, guys.

    I know you were on a late flight, but it’s 11:30 in the morning. What gives? :)

  3. Joel Johnson says:

    Oooh, I was hoping I could let that slide this morning. Pretty please?

    Fwiw, I glanced around and there’s nothing stellar. But I am duly chastized.

  4. Plaid Rabbit says:

    No issue. Just, in your infinate consumer power, make sure that the Woot tommarow isnt’ 1) sucky, and 2)sold out in 2 minutes. Some of us can’t camp the computer till midnight, as much as they might kick themselves for missing an awesome deal when the check the next morning at 4:30AM (avg. wakeup time).

  5. Plaid Rabbit says:

    Not that you’re woot or anything, just figured you might have a favor to put in with them. :)

    And for the love of god, can we get a button to edit posts? I feel dickish for leaving two posts when one would suffice.

  6. Re: software gouging and educational prices . . . while I can’t say for sure it does seem legitimate to me to charge professionals the retail and students less. First of all professionals should – in theory – be making money off the software and students should not (or at least the students should be making considerably less). It’s like giving out free samples; I wouldn’t be surprised if educational priced versions are sold “at a loss” (that is – if they were all that price the company would not make a profit) in order to build a future full-paying user base. I could be way off-base here though . . . in theory a designer cum art director should know more about this than I do.


  7. Clampants says:

    To any and all current and future Gap employees…or anybody, really – Do not refer to me as “chief” when ringing up my knit cap. Or ever.

  8. Danilo says:

    Ringtones: they want me to spend $3.99 for 20 seconds of a song I can buy in full for $0.99 on iTunes?

    (I pipe directly into my phone’s filesystem and make my own ringers because I’m a dork, but still, that the reality even exists is deeply troubling.)

  9. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    Danilo – ringtones scare me, the have a joke texted to your computer for $.50 a day terrify me.

    Gander – I agree with you there. Arguing against the cost of Adobe Creative Studio for a professional is a little much. If they didn’t charge the professionals as much, they would either have to cut back on quality or jack up the student rates. If people don’t want to pay for Photoshop, get gimp or photoshop elements. If you need the full creative studio, pay for it. Microsoft gave out free copies of Office to every student at my univeristy under the premise of cultivating a user base. How on earth they thought I would somehow be a Lotus diehard going to uni in the late 90’s is beyond me.

    Paul D – Ticketmaster is easily the most evil organization in the world. I had tickets for a show that was 2 hours from my house. I ordered them in March for a Perfect Circle concert in June. I call, I call, they’ll be there, they’ll be there. Finally about a week before the concert, something comes up and I can’t go. I ask them to re-issue the tickets so I can get them pronto and sell them. Their response: They won’t reissue the tickets, if I want the tickets I can get them from Will Call. I ask them if I can assign my tickets to someone so they can pick them up at Will Call. They say anyone can pick up the tickets as long as they are in posession of the card that purchased them. I explain that I’m selling the tickets, and I’m not exactly comfortable giving a total stranger my credit card. They tell me that’s too bad, I can always go with the buyer to the box office. I explain, the reason I’m selling them is that I can’t make it to the concert. Bottom line, I lost $40×2 for the tickets plus another $10×2 for the convenience fee. If there’s an organization more repulsive than Ticketmaster I have yet to come across it.

  10. Mechalith says:

    Whatever you do, don’t take RRP’s advice on Photoshop Elements. It’s like the mutant retard child of Photoshop proper and you’ll hate yourself for having done it. (also it will encourage them to keep making more versions of it, which is bad)

    Gimp is OK, but honestly if you need Photoshop for something, I prefer Photoshop proper. I may be biased though, as I used to support the software and thusly I’m FAR more familiar with it than I am with Gimp.

  11. Gander, RowdyRoddyPiper – I hear ya, but it’s not charging pros more that gets me. I expect to pay more than a student because I am charging my clients. But not 3x more when the pricepoint reaches beyond a grand. Then I have to question the pricing strategy.

    A small studio or one-man shop like me with smaller client budgets doesn’t bill as much as a larger firms, yet many of the costs are the same. Conversely, why not then base the pricing on the agency’s billings? In fact, the opposite happens: they discount for multiple site licenses at big shops. I certainly don’t get that discount.

    Large studios can support that because the profit from one design project can buy the software for the year. This only encourages people to share software though in smaller places.

    And I can’t believe they put their titles out there at such a reduced price for students and risk losing money. THAT would surprise me. That they offer one title at $399 and another at nearly $1,200 tells me something’s overpriced.

    If every student took them up on the offer and they were actually taking a lose on the sale in the first price (doubtful, as profits are built-in), they’d have huge losses. Why would software people make the offer in the first place, you know? What’s their arguement, they’ll make up for it on ‘volume’ to the pros?

    Charge me more, yah, ok. I get that part. Gouge me though and then ask for an update fee? Too much for individuals or small shops to keep up. I’m not the only one. I have several freelancers and small studios I know who use their kid’s school status as a way to get the discount.

  12. (One more suggestion might be for them to try a sliding price scale. It’s done all the time with stock photography houses adjusting their pricing fees according to how an image is used.)

  13. Oh, and Ticketmaster sucks ass. But when artists can’t use anyone else, whatta ya gonna do?

  14. drsmith says:

    I’ll second the complaint about Verizon. How about a plan for us schucks that use a cel. phone only 6 times/year? You know – for emergencies and the like. $40/month for something you barely use is just too expensive. Even the pay as you go plan sucks.

  15. “And to think, Smithers: you laughed when I bought TicketMaster – ‘Nobody’s going to pay a 100% service charge!’ ”

    “It’s a policy that ensures a healthy mix of the rich and the ignorant, sir.”

    makethelogobigger – like I said, I don’t know the ins and outs of Adobe’s finances any better than anyone else. But clearly the market will allow said pricing. If Adobe’s software was too expensive for you too afford you clearly wouldn’t buy it. As it is, it seems like it’s more expensive than you’d *like* to pay, which is something else entirely. As has been pointed out, the alternative is stealing it or using something else. If you’re comfortable with those options then you should go with one. (Another reason for significantly lower educational pricing: students have much less motivation not to steal their software than professionals.)

    Personally I suspect that if Adobe sold their suite to everyone at $399 they would not make a profit but we can agree to disagree. The fact of the matter is that if they charged students what they define as a fair price A) most students wouldn’t buy it and B) those kids not paying for it would either steal it and get used to that concept as they become working designers or they wouldn’t use it and Adobe would lose future marketshare.

    I suppose the bottom line is: if you want it you should pay for it and not “kvetch.” If you have to pass the price along to your clients than so be it. And if your competitors can afford the same tools and charge less then it seems that something is wrong with the way you’re doing business, not the price of your software.


    PS – *love* your username.

  16. Gander – Thanks. We shall agree to disagree. I would say Adobe wouldn’t make as much profit at $399 that way. So let’s meet at about, $699 or so. Adobe, listening? It’s all good though. And btw, I don’t use the new Photoshop CS. I’m using v 7. ;-p I actually can’t go out and buy every new program that comes out.

    “And if your competitors can afford the same tools and charge less then it seems that something is wrong with the way you’re doing business, not the price of your software.

    Apples and oranges imo. My competitors don’t enter into the discussion because it’s not a ‘me’ vs. ‘them’ thing, it’s an ‘us’ vs. the Man. Most of my fellow designer friends/freelancers are experiencing this as well – a lot of them can’t afford to get all the software either. I’ve shelled out a LOT of cash over the years for upgrades and the like, so it’s not for want of better billing practices that’s the issue.

    It’s easy to see when I do the math that any studio with multiple designers can always take in more projects at the same time than I ever can flying solo, and will be able to bill more accordingly.

    The point that the market will support the pricing is skewed in favor of the majority of studios out there that outnumber individual freelancers like me, and they’re the ones who don’t think twice about getting the latest toys.

    Clients see a breakdown of everything, and you can’t bury big-ticket items. (Well, actually you can, ha-ha, but I don’t do that.) So I can only afford so many upgades at a time. New digital camera or Photoshop, hmmm. Eeeeny, meany, miny… Lol.

    “(Another reason for significantly lower educational pricing: students have much less motivation not to steal their software than professionals.)”

    What’s their motivation though, that’s the thing. Students are the worst. I know. I was one, as we’re we all. I built a pretty damn good font collection that way.

    If anything, when napster or limewire first came out, it showed that this next generation (and/or millenials) have even less respect for ‘not copying files’ than ever before. (Just like the generation before that put huge antennas out on their lawns to get a free cable signal and justified it by saying, signal’s already there, why not?)

    Students downloading from napster didn’t see what was wrong with it either. They felt gouged too, but worse, they didn’t want to pay. I feel gouged, but at least I’m willing to pay – well, something at least, lol.

    Oh, and ticketmaster still sucks. ;-p

  17. rikomatic says:

    Dunkin Donuts: Please don’t just offer me your old choices of regular coffee or chemically enhanced versions of “hazelnut” or “vanilla” coffee. I would much prefer nine different but equally disgusting flavors which are extruded by a machine as a thick syrup into a regular cup of coffee. That would be just swell.

    Two sugars, splash of milk. Greaaaaat.