fandango – never good to go

First off, fuck Fandango for not working on my Sidekick. But given that failure, i figured i’d try 1-800-FANDANGO. It’s all voice commands. So the first time, i screw up the voice system by answering the driver’s question instead of Fandango’s question and it got so confused that i hung up to start over. Second time, i told it i wanted to see “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” instead of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the IMAX Experience” and it wouldn’t let me back out to correct it and it got very irritated with me for wanting times that weren’t available for the regular theatre. Fine. On try three, after answering something like 14 questions through voice (or through my keypad when possible), i reached the “would you like to confirm?” part. I said yes. It told me it could not understand me. I told it yes more emphatically with as much enunciation as i could muster. It told me it did not understand me. I screamed yes into the phone and it told me it couldn’t understand me and that i should try back later. AND THEN IT HUNG UP.

First, yes is the answer to a binary question. Why can i not enter the answer into my keypad? Second, let’s be honest, voice recognition software sucks ass. At least Sprint lets me scream agent before i make a voodoo doll out of Claire. And while not everyone is on the texting bandwagon, why not at least allow that option? I can bank money that i could SMS my request much more efficiently than articulate it to some broken Eliza. Or at least let me key my responses when you can’t understand me. Nothing makes me want to use your service less than to have you hang up on me.

Fandango drives me absolutely insane because it’s one of those applications that should _just work_. Black box style. Especially if you’re a monopoly on the Metreon. What i really want is to be able to attach my mobile number to my Fandango account, which has my credit card stored. I want to be able to send a text to request movie time information. And then i want to be able to order my movie tickets by SMS and receive a confirmation on my phone, charged to my account. Is that so hard?

(PS: with tickets purchased by a friend, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the IMAX was utterly disturbing. In that “i kinda feel gross but i kinda like it” kinda way.) I just wish i could figure out who Willy Wonka reminds me of. Someone from my Media Lab days.

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4 thoughts on “fandango – never good to go

  1. k

    You should try using one of those things whilst idly eating peanuts.

    Apparently, in the UK, eating peanuts means you want to see a film in ‘Hull’ or ‘Huddersfield’.

  2. Thad

    Couple of tips. Don’t speak any differently than you would in a normal conversation, no matter how tempting. Also, don’t try and do it on a cell phone in any type of noisy environment, including a car, even if the windows are up and the radio is off. No, I don’t work for tellme.

    The UI issues are UI issues and have nothing to do with the voice rec.

  3. chach

    (first off…hi db – i found you because i was talking about blogging at work and someone told me about blogher and then i saw your pic on the front page…so then i got to reading your blog…)

    last friday i saw a play called ‘Le Caractère Féminin’ which will be at the boulder fringe this summer. it was a physical theater play with extensive developed relationships between a woman and the pay pal man voice, the other character was the woman’s automate voice – it was a comedy – it was hilarious. it was a excellently tongue in cheek set – all the detritus of tech life – junk crates of old wires, boxes office chairs to hit your knee on – and at one point, the automate was crawling around and then started actually speaking into the scsi cables. you would’ve died laughing. there was also excellent moments of the two women – both really talented dancers – physically acting out a ninja video game fight scene. also – the automate played for a moment this ‘accomodating’ virtual character (for sex) which was totally brilliant. it was amazing to see such a smart physical comedy that had this really gutsy and human comment on our connection to technology.

  4. Justin

    FUCK FAGDANGO and it’s voice shit, the QUALITY of voice is SHIT, and scratchy, i have heard way better PBX systems, FAGTANGO is the shittiest bar none. I was hoping to find a way to talk to a person but seems these options don’t exist. owe well.

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