Specials and Their Expiration Dates

Booker allows something they call “specials” even though most of us would call them “discounts.” Specials can be set for any amount and can be coded, or abbreviated, to help users (staff) keep track of them. Most of our staff, 20+ users, wants to look for specials in the system settings, but that is not where they can be found. Instead, specials are found in an entirely different section of settings called “Marketing.”

We regularly use specials to adjust the price of services. Since Booker does not have a better mechanism for on-the-fly discounts, we ended up using specials. Furthermore, for us to be able to accommodate just about any dollar amount, we have a “special” in nearly every $5 increment. For example, if I need to apply a $26 discount, I would use three separate specials; a $20 special, a $5 special, and a $1 special.

Early this year, specials just stopped working – all of them. The menu was completely blank and when a user clicked on the “Specials” drop-down menu and instead an ambiguous “Enter Code” entry box popped-up on the screen (the first image below). We had never seen this box before so we clicked on it, which brought up a modal window (the second image below). We tried entering data into the data field which produced no results. The only choice we had was to exit out of the modal window. This was very strange and confusing behavior.

If you are confused by now, yes, so were we with all of this random behavior. Finally in exasperation, I called Booker support. After about 15-20 minutes on the phone, the friendly Booker rep mentioned that all of our “Specials” had expired. I pressed a bit. “Really,” I said, “I don’t recall ever setting expiration dates.” She went on to explain that there is no mechanism for a standing/non-expiring special, so they all have expiration dates. I asked about the strange Booker behavior with the odd modal window. It turns out that those odd behaviors are the result of a bug that was never thought through. Booker would likely maintain that this is the way the software engineers designed the software. I never buy into this. Either way, I received my answer and now knew that I needed to update the expiration dates of my specials — one at a time.

The path to edit the expiration date of a special is:

Marketing > Specials > Edit > Date Range Edit > [edit date] > Close > Save > Back to Specials. Repeat.

So I did this 10 times. There were xix clicks for each and every edit. Does that seem smart or intuitive you you? Me neither. Booker, you know you can do better than this if you want to. Thanks.

UPDATE 1-14-21

I just discovered that “Specials” are used in another place within Booker under a different title, “Adjustment.” This whole thing just got more confusing. I stumbled across this occurrence of Specials in the Orders section of Booker. By the way, it is rarely frustrating that Booker has some oddities like this in their software, but it is infuriating when they know about them and do nothing.