An E-Commerce Journal Part 3

By Joe Burns

First Sale

We didn't have to wait very long for a customer. The first sales came in before dinner. Of course, they were people we know who had listened to us go on and on about the site. A couple of friends bought their favorite pictures. My wife and I were quite happy. The process had worked and we didn't have to pay shipping. We could drive the paintings across town.

Tammy clicked into the secure server to get the full order. It downloaded and we displayed the information. It looked great...except for one thing. When you receive a receipt from, your credit card number appears truncated. That means we show the first number, three dots, and the last three numbers. That way you can tell it's your card but no one can steal the number.

The number was truncated on the secure server, too. Ugh. Marcus is in the middle of the desert and we can't get the number.

No sweat. We'll call the buyer. Ooops. The phone number didn't display on the receipt either. We chose that as a further step to ensure some privacy. OK! We'll e-mail them. Nope. No e-mail either. We had the very same receipt the buyer had. It wasn't any good to us in this condition. Yes, we knew these first buyers, but as for the others...we'd be out of luck.

Panic began to set in right about here.

We jumped on the phone and called the server people. Luckily the young man who did the server work knew a little about PHP. He fixed it. At least he fixed the credit card number problem. He didn't have time to do the phone and e-mail. Besides, he was not quite sure he should mess around with it further. If he broke it, we'd be in big trouble while Marcus was dancing around a large burning guy.

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