Upgrade issues

A little over a year or so ago (I really don’t remember) a local grocery store started offering discount gas prices depending on items you bought in the store. You can get 1 cent off each gallon up to 15 gallons or 15 gallons of free gas (if you buy A LOT). The most off I’ve ever had was 18 cents I think (for 15 gallons).

To get the discounted gas, your store receipt has a barcode on it you scan in or manually type in at the pump. Up until a few months ago you could walk up to the pump, scan the ticket, insert your credit card, lift and insert nozzle, select gas type and away you went. The only problem was if you didn’t use the full 15 gallons. You had to keep your receipt and use the barcode again next time.

A few months ago (4? 5?) they decided to “upgrade”. The upgrade was great in that now your gas receipt has the barcode and how many discounted gallons you have left printed on it so you can throw away your store receipt. However, now I have to push “yes I have coupon” then scan the barcode, then push “Pay at pump”, then insert the card, then wait, then select type of gas I want, then lift nozzle, then fill up. Did you notice the difference? With their upgrade they slowed the whole process down, forcing you to select what you want to do with each step, instead of knowing what you want to do by what you do. If you try to do it the old way it doesn’t work. Did that make sense? It’s not really a big deal, and there could be a very good reason for it. I just don’t see the reason.

This story would be better if I had a good example of some software I’ve recently upgraded that was more of a downgrade than an upgrade, but alas, I do not have a recent example. Some old examples I can think of are the iTunes 4.whatever it was that disabled the iTunes downloader program. Or was it iPod downloader thingy? I don’t remember. Many have complained that new versions of Winamp became less and less useful to them.

Software vendors! Stop downgrading or disabling functionality with new versions unless there is a dang good reason to do so. If you have to do this, please let us know that it has happened and the reason behind it.