You know, I had plenty enough tea to last me the night. But for some reason, I just felt like I needed to fill the cup completely... After all, I'm not really tired and I am in the mood to write. So, entirely on a whim, I decide to head downstairs with my half-full glass of tea and get a bit more.

As I'm pouring the tea, I hear a very strange sound. It sounded somewhat like a cat scratching or pawing on a floor or something hard... But it wasn't pausing or stopping. It was going and going and going. And it sounded like it was coming from the garage. So I walked over and opened the door to the garage and was greeted with a spray of water directly in my face.

(I wanted to give some sense of scale, so I pointed at the holes and the wet spots. The ceiling is about 14 ft. high, and that spot is at least 3 foot by 2 foot, and had water shooting out of each of those holes... One was diagonally right at the doorway, giving me the nice pluming bukkake suprise when I opened the door).

It seems that a pipe has burst in the ceiling over my garage. And that's not good.

Now, the thing is, if you're a homeowner, you dread a lot of stuff... But by far the scariest is the "obscured pipe" thing -- the pipe hidden by a wall or celing or floor that you can't get to and analyze yourself that is shooting water everywhere. It's a sick feeling to see huge wet spots in varying places on your celing and wall and know that something, somewhere in there is broken... Not only does it mean ripping out a lot of shit, it also means plumbers, which are pretty much the most vile of vile servicemen.

The only thing I could think of to do, besides find the main water shut-off and curse a WHOLE lot, was to call my insurance company, Allstate. Now, I SHOULD know the number to Allstate - it's 1-800-Allstate - but when you're standing there at 10:30PM covered in water that shot out of the ceiling of your garage, you're not really thinking logically - you're panicky and you just want to get the shit on the right track toward getting unfucked. So I hopped on my computer, opened my iGoogle page, and typed in Allstate.

Somewhere in my head, I decided long ago that when corporate sites show up in the Adwords results - ESPECIALLY when they list the url as the base address of the actual website you're looking for - it's probably safe to just click the link and get there. So I did.

I'm a panicked, angry, wet homeowner who is trying to find help. And this is what I get:


I mean... REALLY?

They're going to shut off access to the rest of the entire site via ANNOYING AS FUCK DHTML fake-popup windows that ask me for my zip code before I can get help for my wet and drippy garage? REALLY?

Okay, fine. I'll put in my zip code. This should get me to a screen where I can click to find out what number I should call or how to file a claim online, right?


Just in case I couldn't figure out where I live the first time, they ask me A SECOND TIME.

Once I input the SAME zipcode again, it presents select options for me to click which county I reside in, as my zip apparently spans two counties.

I'm wet, I'm cranky, I'm panicked, and I am getting DHTML tricks tossed at me while I'm trying to find help. Did I also mention I'm what they call in the industry a "user interface engineer?" Believe it or not, I am. And with that, certain knowledge of how things should and should not work has just accumulated in my knoggin... And so, this has just become annoying on yet another hugely monumental level.

So, I input the SAME zipcode AGAIN. I select my county. And I get treated to rounded corners, gradients, gloss on buttons and reflective logos - and to top it all off, I get a picture of a faux-hawk wearing hipster fucktard mongoloid holding a manpurse:

I just...

I really can't... Like..

FUCK YOU ALLSTATE! SERIOUSLY, FUCK YOU! If the usability problems weren't enough, and the DHTML AJAXY bullshit wasn't enough, and the gradients and the gloss and the design-trend-du-jour bullshit weren't enough, you had to go use Hiptard The Monumentally Useless as your model across half the goddamn page! I AM WET AND I AM IRATE AND I NEED HELP WITH MY EXPLODED PIPE IN MY GARAGE AND I HAVE TO DEAL WITH A MODEST MOUSE FAN!


Also, I'm available to help you beat the people who work in what you undoubtedly call your "new media" department and actually build a decent, useful, USABLE site. Call me.