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HELP discussion for placing orders at ISGS.COM
The following discussion may help you find the problem if you've experienced problems placing orders in our online catalog of stained glass supplies and tools:
First, you must ALWAYS enter our shopping cart by clicking the "Online Catalog" link in our left menu, and then keep your browser window open while you shop until your order is completed and submitted. You might have to start over if you close the shopping cart's window during your shopping session -- you can't bookmark pages in our shopping cart. If you should lose your internet connection during your shopping session, just minimize the browser window and redial or reestablish your internet connection. (In most cases, your shopping cart will still have your ordered items there after you have reconnected to the internet as long as you did not close the browser window or quit the browser program. To verify, just click the CART button.) The majority of problems using our shopping cart result from attempting to re-enter our cart from a previous session that was uncompleted using a bookmarked page or history link from that previous session. If you are unable to add items to your cart, or get a "Page Has Expired" error, then you most likely have entered our cart using an outdated bookmark. (See "Page Has Expired" error below). We've deliberately chosen not to require the use of "cookies". Our server does send out a cookie to assist you if you need to restore an order "lost" because you closed your browser's window before submitting your order, but doesn't require you to have cookies enabled to complete your order. If you choose to disable cookies, be sure to keep your browser window open throughout your shopping session. If you do have cookies enabled and need to restore your order, click the CART button and then click the link there to restore your previous session.
Second, you must be using a Java capable browser such as AOL v4.0 or higher, Netscape 3.0 or higher, Internet Explorer v4.0 or higher. Additionally, that browser must have its preferences set to "Enable Java" -- go to the browser's preferences, select the Java tab, and be sure the box marked "Enable Java" is checked. (This button is located in Preferences under: for AOL: "www", then "Advanced Settings"; for Internet Explorer: in Internet Tools, "Web Browser, Advanced or Java"; for Netscape: "Advanced, Cache".)
Third, your browser needs to be capable of handling SSL Encryption in order to be able to Check Out your order. We use this encryption to protect information about your address and credit card numbers. You are being served by a secure server ONLY on the pages AFTER you have clicked the "Check Out" button. The browsers in the above paragraph all have this capability.
Note: We've found that the best overall browser is Safari (now for Mac + PC.) You can download Safari free at: Get Safari Unlike Internet Explorer, it's not plagued with security problems, and like most things from Apple, it just works!
Most errors that you might experience after you have clicked the "Check Out" button ("Lasso Error") are caused in some older browsers by clicking your browser's "Back" button when on those Securely Served pages. As stated on those SSL pages: DO NOT CLICK YOUR BROWSER'S "BACK" BUTTON AFTER CHECKING OUT. If you do accidentally click the "Back" button, you will then need to continue to click the "Back" button until you return to the "Items in Your Shopping Cart" page where you can again "Check Out". You will have to enter your customer account number & password again (or again open a new account if you don't already have one), but your order will still be intact. For those of you who are interested why: Shopping carts that do not require the use of "cookies", such as ours, have no way of keeping track of your ordered items if you ask your browser to leave the current secure (encrypted) page and look for a previous page. That is why a Lasso Error is generated. However, once you continue back to the "Items in Your Shopping Cart" page -- a non-secure page -- you can then again Check Out.
If you are experiencing SLOW response, it could be caused EITHER by our server OR your ISP's server OR a router problem between the two, OR an overloaded connection to the internet. If you can go quickly to other locations on the web, then it is our server or the routing--it may be overloaded. Try submitting again in a few minutes or at a different time of day.....mornings and late evenings are best for all web servers since internet traffic is lowest at these times.
Getting Browser Error "Page Has Expired":
If you are getting this browser error, it's probably because you had visited the shopping cart at some previous time within the last week and most likely used a bookmark from that previous session to re-enter the cart for your current session -- the server can no longer find the records for that previous session. To solve this error, always enter the shopping cart by clicking the "Online Catalog" link in the left menu on any page of our web site. This creates a new session for you and it will keep track of your session as long as you keep the browser window open throughout the entire session. (If you close the shopping cart's window before completing your order, you will need to click the link on the CART page to restore your previous session if no items show in your cart.) If you get this same error after a clean entry using the "Online Catalog" link, your browser is still using old cache files for your new session. Follow the instructions in next section on "How to clear browser cache files."
Clearing your browser's CACHE files: Some problems (freezes, system crashes, extremely sluggish response, or browser errors (page has expired, or page can not be found) are caused by your cache memory being too full or having outdated cache files in your computer's memory. This usually occurs with older browsers or particularly with Internet Explorer (all versions).
How to clear browser cache files: Go to the browser's Preferences (for Internet Explorer: Tools / Internet Options) and click on "Clear Cache" (for Internet Explorer: "Delete Files"). This button is located in Preferences (or Tools / Internet Options) under: for AOL: "www"; for Internet Explorer: General tab, "Temporary Internet files"; for Netscape: "Advanced, Cache". Because Internet Explorer particularly is persistent in using outdated cache files, you may even have to restart your computer after clearing cache to eliminate those old files if using Internet Explorer.
Cache is a collection of all the pages and graphics you have seen recently on the web. It is used to make clicking the "Back" button faster.....instead of reloading the page's data & images from the web, your browser loads the files from the cache folder on your machine. If you are using a public computer (at a library for example) it is a good idea to always clear the browser's cache files (i.e. delete them from the computer) when you are finished with your session so subsequent users can not gain access to any information you might have entered on a web page from cache. If you are using an older computer system (small amount of RAM, Windows 3.1, etc.) it is wise to clear cache often.
Lastly, these newer browsers require a bit more memory to operate properly. If you have less than 16Mb or 32Mb of RAM memory in your computer, you may experience problems when running more than the browser application. If you are low in RAM memory, be sure you are running ONLY programs for browsing and connecting to the internet. Try also restarting your computer if you previously had been running other applications before beginning to browse.
If you are using a computer at your work, it may be behind a firewall that prevents you from accessing other secure servers. Try shopping from a different computer that is not behind a networked firewall. (A sign of this is failure of the online catalog to open, or in some cases, the ability to add items to your cart, but when you try to "Check Out", nothing happens.)
Another problem reported by a customer was caused by software called "PopUp Stopper" that was installed to prevent banners and ad popup windows from being displayed. Apparently it also keeps you from getting to our shopping cart's pages which are designed to open in a NEW browser window. PopUp Stopper may be treating this request for a new window as a Banner Ad popup. If you have this software or similar software installed, you'll have to disable it or use the software's override to go to links that are in new windows .... the override for PopUp Stopper is holding down either the Control key or Shift key while clicking link. (We have no banner ads, nor those annoying auto popup windows with ads, but it apparently blocks ANY new window from being opened. Most newer browser's internally allow you to block PopUp windows and properly distinguish between new window requests and unwanted popups.)
If the above discussion does not help you solve the problem, send us email with the following information so we might better suggest solutions:
1) What platform are you using? (Mac, PC)
2) What operating system are you using (MacOS sys 8, Windows 3.1, Windows'95, '98, XP, etc.)
3) What browser are you using? (AOLv3.0, AOLv4.0, AOLv5.0, Internet Explorer v?, Netscape v?)
4) How far are you able to get through the process of placing the order?
( ) Can't get shopping cart's Search page to do a search.
( ) Can find items with Search, but can't get "Buy" button to work.
( ) Can add items to cart, but can't see cart when I click "Cart"
( ) Can see cart, but can't get "CheckOut" to work
( ) Can get to Order Summary Page, but can't "Submit Order"
( ) All above work OK, it's just unbelievable SLOW.
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