To err is human. To really screw up…

Requires a computer…or auto-correct. On a rainy afternoon a few days ago, I decided to clear some old files from my computer. Here’s what I found –

Dead Man Walking – A friend dropped me an email showing an envelope the USPS returned. It had a neatly hand-printed and correct address with last digit of zip code wrong. A real person would probably have caught it. The USPS computer announced I was deceased and returned the envelope to its sender. Is having too-good handwriting a problem?

Dead Man Swimming – In this case, the zip code was right, so was everything else, except that it said Highlands Beach instead of Highlands Ranch. I was under the impression that zip codes were supposed to prevent mail being returned for simple errors like this.

Meanwhile, in Ireland. I received a letter. Both my name and the street name were misspelled. The postal code was missing, as well. But it showed up at my door. Thank you to a human being.

Did he really say that?

In today’s Help-line society, we’ve become too used to the confusion and misunderstanding that arise from different dialects of English. [I’m told that the French have the same problem on their help-lines, since they’re talking with Algerians.] I appreciate Dell’s efforts to minimize the issue – and reduce the amount of frustrated screaming at their service reps – by switching their help line to an email based system. Over the course of two days a few months back I exchanged 100+ emails with a Dell rep, complete with the need for English-to-English translations. Here’s my favorite exchange, which occurred as things were wrapping up and I was starting to reload my own software and finding instructions still lost in translation.

Me: “To be honest, I’m brain dead and really don’t want to learn programming”

Dell: “I know that this is really frustrating on your part but remember that you are not the only one feeling this.”

3 Comments on “To err is human. To really screw up…

  1. 100+ emails: Where do you get your patience from? I think I would have bought a new computer!

    • Just consider it an ongoing conversation with tech support. [And the computer was under warranty.]

  2. Reminds me of a time when we used the “numbers” with the post office to silence a friend’s teasing. She lived in the northeast where folks often see themselves as superior to anyone or any place in the South. We were attempting to convince her that we were just as crowded, disrespectful of land and trees and filled with road ragers as her ‘peoples’. (Snicker) She made the mistake of saying we lived in “Bumbleville”.

    Well, knowing the postal system delivers via zipcode, and street address, I decided to send her a large folder filled with hahahahahha’s on various notes inside, and then addressed the envelope to her street, with “Bumbleville, New Jersey” with her correct zip code. Days later we got a call from her saying….”very funny” in a somewhat defeated voice tone. She now indeed lived in Bumbleville! Hahaha- (don’t mess with a northern-Southerner!)

    Sometimes you just need to play with the system. 😉

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