Eleven (11) Days!

11 Days…. for Adobe to resolve my inaccessibility to the Creative Cloud.

11 Days…. I did not have access to a single piece of software that I rely on for my work.

11 Days…. of follow ups, with various answers along the way… Including twice being told I’d hear back in “2 days”, once where I was told “soon”, three times I was told I’d “receive an answer in 24hrs” and one really fun chat, where they first told me “a new code was already sent” and then immediately corrected to state they “will” send it (to which, that took 3 days).

Be warned, a rant is coming… but this is meant as less of an angry rant and more of a warning to all subscribers of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

I want to start with the fact that I’ve spent many years as a user of the Adobe Suite – Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, Audition, Illustrator, Premier, etc…. and will continue to be.

I still remember my days before Lightroom and I can’t express how different things were back then. The point is, Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, etc… these are industry standards for a reason.

At the same time, I remember when it was much less fragile of a system. With a crack of a wallet (or savings account) you purchased your applications of choice, package or a la carte, installed and moved on your merry way. No chance for internet complications to arise and far less chance of an issue in one application, hindering other bits of the software.

My how things have changed…

The thing is, I’m not here to complain about the Adobe Software itself. Photoshop is still my go to for photo retouching and manipulation. Lightroom is still my go to for photo management, basic developing and publishing. Audition is the foundation to which our StreetPX shows are created. InDesign handles all of my brochure layouts, poster designs and much more…. Premier is my video app… and on and on.

You get the picture…

My issue sits with the high possibility of disaster due to housing all of my important tools in one remotely sealable basket and that basket being handled by a bumbling flock of support staff.

Admittedly, that comment is a bit crude… But you’ll understand shortly…

See, recently I attempted to redeem a subscription code for the upcoming year of Creative Cloud service and then, everything went to shit.

On March 1st, I had to submit a cancellation request in order to redeem said code (as requested). All seemed to go very well.

TIP: When upgrading your redemption code, even if it asks, do NOT cancel your account at all!

… I then input the new code, which was accepted and all was right with the world. I readied my StreetPX audio files for editing, I was in the process of creating a new promotional poster for an upcoming exhibit, I had some logos I needed to finalize… Needless to say, I had a lot of jobs on the docket to be completed.

March 2nd arrived, which was the final date on the old membership… The old account cancelled as expected, but what was not expected was the fact the the new code would simultaneously cancel, causing access to the entire suite to come to a grinding HALT.

So much for that “Accepted” notification I received for my new redemption code.

Okay, I said to myself… this isn’t too big of a deal. I am sure a quick call into Customer Service will resolve this and I can do with a forced day off….

But, oh was I sadly mistaken!

The Customer Service phone number is buried deep, accessible only if you go through the “Contact Us”” questionnaire, through the “sales” route…. go figure… I’m sure they don’t want to lose the initial buyers… But if you’re already a subscriber, your basic path to a phone number is in vain.

Quick Adobe Phone Support

1-800-833-6687

Mon-Fri, 5am-7pm PT

Along the technical assistance route, your only options include online chat and the community… which in my opinion is truly a cop-out. First, I don’t care about talking to the community… They can’t help me here… and chat boxes are easy buttons for companies. They can handle issues with pre-baked comments, with little for the rep to have to do or even know about the product.

A new support window pops up, they read the trouble, click a button for an auto-response… la de da, go on to the next…. It’s the customer service equivalent of a production line.

Now, it’s not rocket science to get the number. Personally a friend of mine that works with them gave the number to me and if you do a quick search of “Adobe Customer Service Number”, Google will serve it up to you. The fact that you have to search for it so deeply on the Adobe website is issue #1.

The point is, I shouldn’t be stuck with the chat-box or community forum from the main site. If I want someone who pushes autoresponder buttons… OR other non-Adobe folks to help, then I’d shout into the air, or ask around at my local super market.

I want to speak with a proper technician.

Never the less, I was stuck with the option I had, so when chatting or phoning in regards to a proper issue, you will likely receive the all too common, “We need to escalate this to the proper department”… Which translates as, Customer Support is not knowledgable enough to actually support the client. They are merely warm bodies, sitting at a terminal, with one intent… handle the low hanging fruit and not actually help when actual issues arise.

For those of us on the receiving end of these autoresponders and long waits, it can become incredibly annoying and depending on your issue (such as mine), it can impact your business.

Remember the title to this post, “On Code to Rule Them All and One Code to Break Them

It’s a true statement… When all of your software relies on a singular code, then it can all come crashing down once that goes to shit.

Which is what happened to me… Everything from Photoshop to Flash, from InDesign to Illustrator, all came crashing down  I had no resolution in place for many days.

And these tools are crucial to my job and the understanding of this is the foundation to this rant…

For a layman out there, I get it, photographers, designers, broadcasters… It’s easy to assume they can wait can’t they. They have time. They work from home anyway…

Well, the truth is, like any professional, we have clients to consider.. Deadlines to meet… a Job to be done!

So let’s Daydream a moment…

To give you an idea, I’m going to compare another situation where a professional is unable to reach their tools…. Consider a construction crew… and let’s assume you hired one to build your new home… You purchased the land, secured the contracts, got your deadline and put in notice on your current place.

Alright, say that team shows up on site and all the tools (scaffolding, shovels, nail guns, saws, etc…) are all locked in an iron box, with a keypad on the top. The foreman looks over the box and finds he has to log into his phone to “chat” with the manufacturer of the tools (because they don’t readily offer their phone number for a call)… and Craftsman, Bosch, Snap-on or whoever, informs them, “Oh, we’re sorry, your subscription is currently innactive and we’re not sure why. We have someone working on it.”

Then the construction crew sits there, for hours… waiting…. until they finally decide to go home… The whole day wasted and not an ounce of soil was lifted in preparation for your new home.

Another day passes and the crew returns… same inactivity, same response, same waiting, same departure… only to come back tomorrow…

Then, another day

… and another day

Another day

Another day….

Expand this across 11 straight days. All the while, the crew won’t be getting paid. You’re not getting any closer to your new home… and all because the tool manufacturer fumbled something, never fixed it and now put little effort in resolving the issue.

Can you imagine?

You being the client, would you care if they couldn’t access their toolbox? There are other crews with access to their tools, you could just hire them, right? Of course your could and after a week, probably would…

Now apply this to a designer’s situation… I had clients who have exhibits planned and scheduled… event posters to create to market said exhibit… websites to update…  and clients who damn sure care very little about my troubles and simply want their product back ASAP.

They too could look to another team and I can kiss that contract goodbye.

Of course, just as a construction crew could pick up new tools, I can look to alternative software in a pinch… and I did. But should they have to do that?… Should I?

For instance, we had a new episode of StreetPX due for last Friday (a show I had been looking forward to for months)… I had no way to access Audition to complete it, so I had to switch to Audacity. My show can’t wait for me, its got a schedule.

Audacity is a decent application and astoundingly robust for being a free one. But its one I am not as familiar with [Read: efficient and timely], nor is it as easy to work with… Due to this and the time I had wasted awaiting a response, I had to pull an all nighter on Thursday night/morning, just to have the show ready for publication… Thats 12 ****ing hours of work, not sleeping through the night… The sun goes down, birds stop chirping, ass starts hurting, sun comes up, etc… Body shuts down and another day wasted due to catching up on sleep.

I’m not even going to get into the files that are InDesign exclusive. So for those, I don’t even have the option to switch out in a pinch…

So, again, I tried contacting support… (This being day 8 of the issue)

[Rep]: I have reviewed your previous case and see that our higher level team has sent you new redemption code via email.

So I check my email, excited for a resolution… Nothing!

[ME] Sorry, I don’t have anything in my email, did you send it to recasper@gmail.com?

[Rep]: Yes, they will send it to recasper@gmail.com

Ummm… Didn’t you just say you sent it, I think to myself…

[ME]: I apologize for the confusion, but I checked my inbox and spam folders and do not have a new code.
[Rep]: Thank you for sharing information.
[Rep]: Can you stay online for 2 – 3 minutes while I check on this information for you?
[ME] Absolutely
[Rep]: We appreciate your patience and apologize for the wait.
[Rep]: I will go forward and reescalate the case to our higher level team mentioning that you have not yet recevied the redemption code.
[Rep]: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Well I guess theres not, since I can’t access the system at all. I have not received that email that may or may not have been sent… What else can I do?

On Monday, Day 11 on this calendar of rising rage and seeming futility in my journey…. alas, I got an email.

Titled:

You are receiving this message because you have been selected to receive a complimentary 12-month membership to Adobe® Creative Cloud™.

Elation… Satisfaction… Fear of it not working at the last minute… All start erupting from my limbic system.

Now, I gotta note something about the word choice here, the word “complimentary” is a bit of a stretch don’t you think… in that the product was already purchased for a years duration in the first place. Small quibble and irrelevant, but after all this, it kinda felt like a kick to the branch and berries…. Either way, I got the code I needed, it worked and did not further hamstring me in the process. So no complaints there.

But the reality remains… There is a hitch in the system.

Keeping all the tools in a singularly coded lockbox, with a support staff wholly incapable of supporting, results in one sure absolute… My work and my income are all affected!

… Now you may be thinking… “That must a exception to the rule. It can’t be a common issue.”

Sorry to say, but I have spoken to others in my own circle who have the same story to tell. It’s apparently a malfunction in the upgrading process and each person I spoke with had to wait at least a work week or more for a resolution. Some of these confirmed cases are over a year ago. Yet, it’s still not fixed… Nor is the manner to which the support staff handle it.

This is not how a business should operate. This is not a faulty XBox or crooked shelf… the Adobe product is the tool we rely on for our paychecks.

All that ranting aside, this bump on the road has inspired me to begin weaning myself off the Adobe milk. Some items will be a staple, Lightroom and InDesign for instance… But I can not relegate myself to this one umbrella approach for all my tools and it’s solely at the fault of Adobe’s Customer Service.

The Affinity Suite by serif is one I want to note. I’ve already migrated all of my Adobe Illustrator work over to Affinity Designer and frankly, I prefer it. Affinity Photo is another I would highly recommend Photoshop users to take a look at.

Bonus: Both are single purchase (no subscription necessary) and very, VERY cheap in comparison.

  • Affinity Designer (more than capable Illustrator replacement): $49.99 (mac & pc)
  • Affinity Photo (amazing advancements made in this Photoshop replacement):$49.99 (mac & pc)

Cheers readers and Adobe, seriously, get your act together… Please understand, I firmly support the product, because the software stands head and shoulders above most, this much is true… But this all-or-nothing model coupled with an inept customer service process… is simply disappointing.

Next Step – Alternatives…

So, I guess one thing I could do over the course of the coming weeks, will be to research and compile a list of viable alternatives to the Adobe Suite. Something that may help part the rainy Creative Clouds and let some sunlight shine in on those dark days.