Tonight’s theme: “Frustration”

I’ve been spending some time digging into ThemeForest’s “Literary” WordPress theme and swapping emails with its (very helpful!) creator. I decided to award the sash and tiara of Andy Ihnatko’s New WordPress Theme to this one and set aside Monday night for buying it and getting it set up.

The other good reason for pulling the trigger Monday instead of Some Other Day: I don’t think I have time to try each of the 18,217 other WordPress themes out there. Not with an Apple press event coming up in a few weeks. I’ve made attempts to revamp the site with a new theme before and the biggest drag on the progress bar has been my determination to sample at least 51% of the alternatives before committing. I concede that I’m hardly being scientific with this choice. I surely will have much explaining to do when the ballgame’s over and I’m being judged by my creator. “You’re on the bubble here, son,” my neckbearded holy examiner sighs. “And there are those of us up here who don’t know what kind of man picks a new WordPress theme after looking at fewer than a hundred candidates.”

Alas, I’ve been foiled in my attempt to exchange money for goods. I’m now on Day Two of this “Buy ‘Literary'” project. I expect that soon, “progress” will come in the form of my attorneys and the online store’s attorneys having a productive markup session on the contract. And then, we can begin the escrow phase of my purchase of this $40 WordPress theme.

Crimeny. Surely on this side of Jerusalem none have suffered as I have been made to suffer:

  1. Site won’t let me make a purchase until I sign up for an account. So I sign up for an account.
  2. Site adds a $2 surcharge on the purchase unless I pre-purchase “store credits” for future transactions.
  3. Ecommerce transactor is PayPal. I canceled my PayPal account a few years ago, but the store allows direct purchases. But apparently, the fact that the card I want to use used to be attached to a canceled account, PayPal refuses to use it.
  4. Alternative payment service is one I’ve never heard of, have never used before, and which doesn’t obviously appear to operate in a secure fashion.

And there the matter rests. I’ve contacted the theme maker about the issue and they’ve been grand, but their contract with the store forbids them from selling the theme to me directly or giving it to me for free.

I’ve filed a support ticket with the store, outlining the basic problem (“I want to give you money and your store seems not to want me to do that, which I instinctively feels is a flaw in your business plan”). The shining optimistic side of my soul says “I bet I can just send them a bank check or postal order and they can put the credits in my account.” The part of my soul that’s interacted with commercial entities before is expecting a one-line response that passes the buck to PayPal.

Oh, well. Let’s see how this plays out. “Literary” is a handsome theme. It looks like it’s very easy to customize, and it’s wired up for any future plans I might be nesting.

In the meantime, I shall remind myself that my Celestial Waste Of Bandwidth is a small revenue-generator but it mostly serves merely as a creative outlet. This problem won’t result in my needing to buy off-brand colas for the rest of the month or anything drastic like that.

But wow. I wish for the makers of “Literary” take the two twenty-dollar bills from my left hand and place a big wad of electrons in my right hand. We’re back at the same problem I bemoaned the other day: oy, why am I troubleshooting a problem right now instead of playing with my new blog theme?

I griped about the experience on Twitter and @JeremyKing gave me the link to a post that lays out the impact of this sort of problem perfectly. Here’s how a user design consultant changed one button on a checkout page and increased store revenue by $300,000,000 a year.

(Or so that consultant says. But either way, it’s still a valuable tale.)

In the meantime, there are plenty of cool toys on my desk and lots of neat things to write. Enjoy “Manifest,” a theme I’ve switched to merely because my goal last night was to put in a new theme and this way I can dismiss that item in my To-Do manager.

More later!