Problems vs solutions

I had a boss a while ago who used to say "my door is always open. But be warned: don't come to me with problems, bring me solutions."
My father also instilled in me similar wisdom from a young age: "the right to complain is inseparably linked to the duty to solve."

Most solutions don't work. And honestly, no one gets credit for effort. But the ONLY way to solve a problem is to try. Inverted:  not trying (aka only whining) will never solve a problem. Ever. 

Then again, I do give a small hat tip for those who at least acknowledge their awareness of the problem; if only they took that extra step to thinking about a solution. 
Like in grad school, my dad's professor had a stamp for "F+" -- SO close, just a wee bit more and it'd be a D-...but alas, effort acknowledged, but you fail. 

To wit: Starbucks in Japan. Has free wifi in every Starbucks in this country I have ever visited. Brilliant. Truly awesomely useful. Except for one small issue: it requires a (free) username and password registration. Which can only be done via the internet. But not, alas, done via the login page that appears when you first connect to the free wifi service. 
The page says, helpfully, in both English and Japanese, that a valid username and password are required. And that such can be obtained by visiting the Starbucks Japan website, and registering. 
Which cannot be done from the current web page, right here, in Starbucks, trying to connect to the free wifi. 
The best (and relevant to this story) part is, I have now seen a most helpful sign, in both English and Japanese, written on the bulletin board of Starbucks, above the condiments table. It says something to the effect of: "the free wifi requires registration.  Please register from home or somewhere you have an internet connection. Then you can use the free wifi!"

So, clearly there were enough complaints from people trying to use the free wifi but not being able to due to their lack of ability to see into the future with their mind's eye, so Starbucks decided to post this helpful message. At least they acknowledged the problem.

But alas, no one at Starbucks Japan is capable of, perchance, suggesting that they enable a simple registration page from the wifi login page, allowing new users to immediately reap the benefits of free wifi (and of course giving Starbucks the precious user name, email, and login times and places for their customer database.)

Nice try Starbucks. So close! But: F+. 

1 comment:

Myron said...

Actually it was your dad who had the F+ stamp; given to him by another graduate student who thought your dad was the right guy to use it in the undergraduate classes your dad was teaching.