The more things change…

Many years ago, back in 2000 or 2001, I forget the exact date but sometime in that time period, I ordered some books from Amazon and had them shipped by UPS.  The shipping date came and went, and my books didn’t arrive, so I called up UPS, tracking number in hand, and asked them where my shipment was.

After looking it up, the lady on the phone managed to track down the problem.  “We attempted to deliver it and couldn’t find your house.”

Well, that made no sense, so I asked her to verify the address.  Ah, there’s the problem. The address she read back to me was nonsensical; if they’d tried to go to the location they would have ended up several miles out of town and probably found themselves in the middle of a farmer’s field.  Somehow something got corrupted in transmission.
So I told her that they had the wrong address. I was about to give her the right one and request that they deliver it, when she cut me off with one of the most Dilbert-worthy lines I’ve ever heard in real life.  “Don’t worry, though, we’ve already sent you a postcard explaining how you can take delivery of your package.”

Think about that for a second or two.  Yeah.

She wouldn’t let me change the delivery address over the phone, and I ended up having to go to the UPS depot to pick my books up.  I’ve never used their services again.

Why am I talking about this?  Well, fast-forward a decade or so.

This morning, there I was on the Internet, minding my own business, when suddenly my mail account went down.  After testing all the usual suspects (browser issues, etc) I determined that the problem was definitely not on my end.  So I found a place on Yahoo’s help where I could get a chat window to talk to a customer service rep.  After a few minutes she determined that this was a known issue affecting several accounts, and they had engineers working on it.  She gave me a ticket number for reference.  And then… well, you can probably guess where this is going.

Mason Wheeler: Do you have a ticket system somewhere that I can enter that number into and get an update on it?
Agent: We will try to inform all affected accounts via email and you can also chat back with us again for any updates.



  1. Jordi says:


    Like you said this things make no sense.

    It’s really nice reading your blog!.

  2. Ajasja Ljubetic says:

    Well at least now you have an excuse to switch to GMail:)

    • Mason Wheeler says:

      I have a GMail account. I’ve had one practically since day 1. (A friend of mine used to work for Google and got me one of the first-round invitations.) I just don’t use it since by that point I had already had the other account for several years and it would have been more trouble than it’s worth to switch everything over.

  3. batman says:

    all this makes sense if you consider this:
    they actually created the problem in the first place and already know how to fix it.

  4. wecss says:

    Well, this is a problem common to all the communication services out there. That’s why googlemail (and probably others, too) require an alternative email from you upon registration. Anyway, I guess everybody can tell a story like this…

  5. Ron says:

    Even worse when it’s one of your own I/T teammates. Had the Internet connection go down at one of our properties and the person in question sent an email to their building’s email group letting them know the Internet connection was down. We didn’t know until after the connection came back up a half hour or so later. Then several employees there called thanking us for the email warning, but letting us know the connection appeared to be working fine. Of course we asked who sent the email and proceeded to ruthlessly tease them about it. 🙂 Hehehehe…

  6. Delfi Phan says:

    Reminds me of when I bought Borland C++ (I think), back in the DOS/Win 3.1 days.

    It went something like this: (memory may fail me on the details)

    If you had one of the most common CD ROMs around at that time, you
    needed a special driver to read the CD.

    The driver was supplied by Borland – on the CD.

    And the instructions on how to install the driver were also – on the CD.

  7. MikeJ says:

    Well all I can say is “Keyboard error or no keyboard present: press F1 to continue”

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