Home Depot's Try At Not Shutting Down Completely Leaves Customers Running In Circles

Home Depot took its Web site offline on Wednesday (Feb. 1) to upgrade its version of IBM WebSphere from version 6 to 7. (Exactly why the planned outage began at noon on Wednesday seems a little mysterious, but Home Depot knows its traffic patterns better than we do.) However, in what was apparently an effort to give visitors something to read, the "Pardon Our Dust" default page included a link to Home Depot's company blog, which even had a new post for do-it-yourselfers on Wednesday.

Only one problem: The new blog post had a link to where customers could buy that product on the site—which, naturally, took the customer to the only page working on the regular site, the "Pardon Our Dust" page. In fact, all the blog's links went either to that page or to a grim-looking error page headed "Moved Permanently: The document has moved here"—and "here" turned out to be a link to the "Pardon Our Dust" page (from which they could, of course, click on "Blog" again). Enticing customers with products you can't sell them—and then running them in circles? Sometimes the best thing to do really is to just close the store for the day.