Lowes.com: Zip code, what zip code?

I'm looking for replacement vertical blinds late at night. I go to Home Depot's web site. They don't have the height I measured. So I go to Lowes, with a vague impression that they try to be a more accessible hardware store.

I see a good category (Doors and Windows), so unlike at the Home Depot site, I use a category approach instead of a search. It takes me a second to choose the jargony "Window Treatment" subcategory.

Then it asks me for my zip code. Surprisingly, I don't even mind, possibly because it promises to check inventory for me. I just punch it in. And then Lowes proceeds to send me to the same page and ask me for my zip code. Again.

Lowes Doesn't Understand zip codes

Being the clever web monkey that I am, I notice my trusty status bar showing another web site that Lowes site is talking to. Ah, I said, they are trying to give a cookie to some other web site, and have programmed stupidly so that if that doesn't happen it fails. So I change that setting to allow that. And it still doesn't work.

Miffed, I try over and over again. I can get it to fail if I enter random letters, but never to suceed. Weirder. Finally I sigh and think, maybe they're so clueless it only works in Internet Explorer, not Mozilla Firefox. No such luck. Maybe they forgot about New Mexico? Nope, 90210 doesn't work either. It really does seem to be broken. Worse, it fails silently, dropping me onto an identical page.

I'm a motivated buyer, I want to march down there after work tomorrow and buy blinds and they can't show me what they've got. Oh, the other option is to register. Guess how much I want to try that after they can't even deal with a simple zip code?

Update: Monday evening, I thought maybe I'd been too harsh and checked back. The site seemed to be working this time: my zip code actually took me to the Window Treatment category. Deciding I didn't want to see all the curtain stuff, I did a search for vertical blinds. I looked at one of them, then saw a link that promised to show all products in the vertical blind category. I clicked on it. It just sat there. I switched to another tab for a while and then back again and it still hadn't come back. Buh-bye!

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Monday, September 27, 2004 (Link)

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