I am an Amazon.com shopper, and I am stupid.
A couple weeks ago I participated in a focus group for the Intel website (more on that in another post), in return for which I received a $75 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Hurrah! I went onto the site and shopped: books, a couple new French presses, an electric tea kettle. I spent something like $78, which meant only $3 out of pocket.
Except that I went through the whole purchasing process and forgot to enter the coupon code.
As I was getting ready to go back to work after making the purchase, I began closing extra browser tabs, including the tab that displayed the email with the gift certificate coupon code in 72 point font.
I had a little hissy fit, beat myself up for five minutes or so, and then decided to see what could be done about this. By this point I already had an order confirmation email in my inbox, and I opened it to look for a help link.
Lo and behold, at the bottom of the email was a short paragraph that began: "Where can I get help with reviewing or changing my orders?"
Hallelujah! I followed the link, and no more than 3 clicks I'd found a page that let me add the coupon code. In under 2 minutes I'd applied the coupon, reduced my billed amount to $3, and received a confirmation of the change.
It was beautiful.
One of the consequences of Amazon planning for me to do stupid things is that, in the long run, I don't feel so stupid. That latitude for error is crucial. And my confidence in the company doubled -- not only did they allow for my making an error, they also knew where and how to highlight the links that would let me quickly find the way to fix the mistake.