Giant mistake

A review of Basil Bookseller Software by BasilPSA
United States United States
Kudos: 15
Joined: Dec 18, 2017
stardim stardim stardim stardim star
Giant mistake
18 Dec 2017
My place of work, a small local chain of about 8 stores started using Basil 2 years ago. On paper, it looked very promising, with some very cool features sure to make our jobs easier, and the people in charge of Basil did a very good job of upselling it.

The reality? Basil was a giant mistake. Even 2 years after the fact, it remains a broken and bug riddled system. It's almost like a beta of a full product, and at it's worst, it feels more like an early alpha. Everyone who works at the store level, hates the system. Those who work on the office level, don't feel much better.

Now, Basil is a fairly new company, and all new companies have a learning curve, but good customer service can save that. Sadly, in Basil's case, the customer service ranges from abysmal to downright non existent. Some of the time, when you try to report a bug, or any other problem for that matter, you receive an email reply that just informs you that your problem has been passed along to Basil support. That is the last you will ever hear on the matter, and your problem will likely never be solved. What happens the rest of the time? They just outright ignore you. One of our managers emailed them, just trying to get an update about a problem that was reported. He asked them over 10 times. His email was ignored every single time without even a single exception. Now, I don't know how your store runs, but I find it safe to say that in most jobs, a person would likely be fired for that level of neglect towards a client.

Basil also designed it's system to be the very opposite of idiot proof. Everybody makes mistakes, and when you have more than 100 employees, law of average says mistakes will happen fairly often, even on a well run ship. Does basil show any interest in adjusting things to be more forgiving? Nope.

One such bad mechanic that our company has repeatedly asked for them to implement, they have outright told us will never happen because they do not see the value in it. Now, the specific issue I speak of (one of many) is that they do not believe in negative numbers in their inventory.

Here's an example of how this is a big problem. Let's say, one of your employees accidentally double rings an item, and does not notice til after the sale. Unfortunate, but it happens. It's an easy fix of course. You just void it out or refund that second copy, easy peasy and you're done. Now, if you have 2 or more copies of said book, it won't be that easy. Let's say you only had one copy of this book that rings up twice. Now with most inventory systems, that second copy would bring the inventory count to a total of -1, but not Basil. You sell 1 copy, it takes your total to 0. You sell 2 copies, it still takes your total to 0. And when you try to refund the customer for that extra non existent copy? It increases your inventory to 1.

Now, you may be thinking "Well that's easy, you just adjust the inventory count right after." But the issue is, it can be busy in retail. You might forget to do that. You might not even realize that refund created an inventory discrepancy to begin with. Not until much later when you're scouring the store looking for that single copy that's supposed to be there. You'll realize the mistake then. Too late. You've already let your customer down. And besides, even if you could remember to fix the inventory count 100% of the time, that's still way less intuitive than a system that just keeps an accurate inventory count to begin with.

I could honestly go on and on about dozens of other problems with Basil, but sadly, I only have 4000 characters.

To be fair, the system is not -all- bad. There are some great features. But they are outweighed by the problems, and if that weren't enough, the general non existence of customer support pretty much hammers in the last nail.

In closing, if you are considering Basil, don't. There are better options out there.
United States United States
Kudos: 15
Joined: Mar 15, 2018
Re: Giant mistake
15 Mar 2018
Everything in the above review is true except the idea that Basil is a new piece of software - it's not. They've been around for a long time and the problems they have are embedded deep within the company culture.

For Basil's most recent, version 5 release, we were asked to join Basil's first major attempt at beta testing. We knew we would be in for a rough ride, but we hoped that by participating in bug fixes the resulting product would be better.

It is hard to imagine how the roll-out of version 5 could have been worse.

TO BE CLEAR - all of the incidents below are for the regular software release, not the Beta.

Here's Addico's (the company behind Basil) own words:

3/12/18 - Noon
"Basil version 5.1 is finally ready to be deployed! We have finished our Beta process and addressed all of the issues found in the new version."

3/13/18 - Noon
"Basil version 5.1.4 has been deployed and you should be running that when you next open Basil."

3/14/18 - 9 am
"We have been made aware of a significant performance issue in version 5.1.4 when using the point of sale screen. Please restart your Basil to be sure you are running 5.1.5. This version addresses the performance issue. The first item scanned into the first sale may take a few seconds but all other scans will be fast."

The significant performance issue was that the POS took up to 30 seconds PER ITEM to ring up. We notified them of this issue during the Beta but they dismissed it as a problem with our Internet connections. Then, when other stores had the same issue, the engineers made some changes on the fly without testing. That's when all hell broke loose.

3/14/18 - 11:28 AM
Report from our Store Manager
"Basil rolled out the new version to everyone and these are our problems:
1: Laptop POS is trying to use version 5.1.4, so it won't load.
2. POS 2 was restarted due to Basil problems and now won't let us log in.
3. Front desk POS works, but can't search/select customers or print receipts. Purchase Orders also don't work so the Ingram order couldn't be sent."

3/15/18 - 10 am
"Yesterday was very disappointing for all of us. We ran into issues with the new version of Basil that only came to light when all of our customers were using the system. We had to make some low level changes to our API server to keep up with the load from all of the users." - Reading between the lines, Addico has no way of adding server capacity on the fly when loads get too high - a very basic feature of current cloud computing

Addico continues, "We had to restart Basil throughout the afternoon when this process was running. " - Reading between the lines, Basil crashed continuously during the day; froze computer screens; required rebooting of the cash register computers over and over and over, while customers stood around waiting

3/16/18 - 10:15 am
"We have rolled back to the previous version of Basil, version 5.0.60. You will just need to restart your version of Basil and be sure that this is the version you are running. "

3/16/18 - 10:16 am - No good deed goes unpunished
"Because you were part of the Beta program you may experience is slightly longer wait time to get the correct version running for your Basil. "

This sorry state of affairs has significantly disrupted operations - requiring us to revert at times to handwritten receipts, processing credit cards on our cell phones via Square, delaying special order delivery dates, and wasting lots of time.

But the key thing to remember is this is AFTER Addico's most extensive testing for a new software release. And the results are exactly the same as every other software release - tons of bugs, system crashes, and eventual rollbacks to old versions.

If I had known how buggy Basil would be, that I would have to pay part of the cell phone bill of every employee so we can use Square in frequent emergencies, I never would have purchased it.
United States United States
Kudos: 20
Joined: May 17, 2018
Re: Giant mistake
17 May 2018

So did you move on from Basil?
If so, what did you choose as your POS?
United States United States
Kudos: 20
Joined: May 17, 2018
Re: Giant mistake
17 May 2018

EurekaBooks wrote:

Everything in the above review is true except the idea that Basil is a new piece of software - it's not. They've been around for a long time and the problems they have are embedded deep within the company culture.
d it.
Same question to you. Did you move on? If so, to which POS?
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