When I stumbled upon this little FedEx-screenshot, I couldn’t help but wondering about the carbon footprint of the package involved. Sent from Ontario, California (yes, it’s actually the Fedex hub in California, not Ontario, Canada) with destination The Netherlands AN – crossing the Atlantic four times in the process.
As good software testers, we tend to ask ourselves “is there a problem here?”
Ambiguous country codes, for sure. The North-American branch probably interpreted Netherlands AN as The Netherlands while the European branch interpreted the code as The Netherlands Antilles, and after that some serious ping-ponging ensued. Actually, the real destination is in the Caribbean- AN does stand for Antilles. Which makes me wonder: is there actual scanning of labels going on? If so, they better check their labeling/scanning/routing software. Or are employees just interpreting and sorting the countries themselves? If so, they’d better teach them some basic geography – no rest for the geographically challenged! There could also be two packages circulating with the same label, but I guess in that case the date/time figures and locations wouldn’t make too much sense. Ah well… Maybe people should start thinking more about ways how programs could fail instead of just confirming the happy paths. But wait, let’s not only blame the testers, give the developers some credit as well – courtesy of Jerry Weinberg:
“If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.”