Bad Hospitality Plus Shadow Labor

Full Disclosure: I’m only able to write this post because I got a parking ticket. Parking is the wrong word, because the ticket was actually for having a temporary registration displayed past its expiration date. Right – the piece of paper indicating that I had a new, paid, registration on the way? There are layers to this situation, but what I really want to discuss is the online bill pay system I used to pay my ticket.

It was pretty straightforward, name, address, ticket number. My ticket number as displayed didn’t work, so I scrolled down and found some instructions. Here are those instructions:


I’d imagine you’re going through the same series of emotions that I did: confusion, then suspicion, then despair. Yes, they are passing the work that could be done by ten lines of JavaScript onto their customers. Why format the information using a computer when you can force folks using your product to do it?

This is bad hospitality. It’s also shadow labor, which is a whole different can of worms. Luckily for, their customers are unique in that they absolutely must give them their money, regardless of terrible UX and hostile hospitality.

Don’t make your customers do the math. Please.

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