I just received this email. Details have been redacted to anonymize it. Rant follows.
From: [CUSTOMER NAME REDACTED]
Sorry for bothering you, but I found your CV online and saw that you used to be the Lead Developer for [PRODUCT NAME REDACTED] a few years back. My wife owns a small [BUSINESS TYPE REDACTED] in [LOCATION REDACTED] and we recently migrated to [PRODUCT NAME REDACTED], which was a fluid easy process, no doubt due to some of your work — thank you for that!
One question I’ve had since moving over though is regarding their scheduling and if there’s any way to make it play with google cal or ical — I’ve asked [PRODUCT NAME REDACTED] and the techs there and it seems to be a pretty straight forward “no”… but knowing the internets and that “anything is possible” more or less, I gotta think that there must be a way to write some kind of script that could at least scrape the [REDACTED] calendar and at least provide a way just subscribe or “view” the schedule– I’m not even talking about two-way functionality… viewing would be a huge help for us and her colleagues. Moreover, my guess is that we aren’t the only ones who would love to have a way to check the schedule that wasn’t dependent on logging in to [PRODUCT NAME REDACTED], especially since they have yet to offer any mobile apps for smart phones, and that any script/app/plugin/program that’s created could even be shared with other [REDACTED].
Anyway… I won’t carry on as this is a straight cold call… but if you do have any advice and have a chance to respond, I would be most grateful!
[CUSTOMER NAME REDACTED]
This is jaw-droppingly awful. Let me count the ways:
- This guy is asking me to think about a job and a piece of software that I stopped working on years ago. Since a programmer’s job is, in many ways, to think, he’s essentially asking me to work for free.
- He is fishing for me to contradict what he has been told by the company I used to work for, which would be a totally unacceptable thing for a programmer to do even when still employed by said company.
- Even if I was willing to think about a software project that I haven’t looked at in years and undercut my former employer by contradicting them, it’s likely that the project has changed since I left in ways I cannot even begin to imagine. So even if I did remember enough about the project to confidently answer his question, I would probably be totally wrong.
- What would he do if I told him it would be totally easy to implement? Go back to my former employers and tell them that some random who used to work for them said that it would be easy? Is that going to make them change their mind about implementing this feature? No.
- Anything is possible? On the internets?
This is the kind of obnoxious customer that small software companies just don’t need. End of rant.