"The Big Bang Theory" is my favorite television show, hands down. But just because I laugh so hard I almost pee my pants during every episode doesn't mean I won't point out its horrible inaccuracies when it comes to web design.
In season two, Penny decides to make some extra cash by selling "Penny Blossoms" – fabric flower hair barrettes complete with cutesy li'l rhinestones. While the business starts off as a small venture, Penny's four geeky friends soon decide to "help" her expand sales and production. As part of their marketing strategy, they decide to sell their product online. And, through television magic, they have a complete e-commerce website designed and launched within just a couple hours. And an order for 1,000 hair clips just minutes after going live.
Now I don't want to kill all creative liberties in television and movies (it was a damn funny episode, after all), but come on people. When I get potential clients coming in to my office who think I can launch a website in under a week that will make them rich by the end of the month, I start to wonder where they're getting this type of misinformation.
In case I need to point out the inaccuracies in this episode, here you go:
- You can not design a website in two hours. Even one that looks as pastel-a-rific as theirs did.
- To sell online, you have to be approved for a merchant account/payment gateway or some other form of accepting online payments. This process can take several days. And they probably wouldn't approve someone with a shabby credit history like Penny.
- And, most of all, "if you build it, they will come" does not apply to the online world. It takes months of a targeted SEO strategy to raise to the top of search engine rankings. Unless your mom is ordering hair clips from the next room, there's no way you'd get an order for 1,000 items a few seconds after your website goes live.
P.S. If you want to actually buy a Penny Blossom, check out Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BrightCopperPenny. They are kinda cute, huh?