Can you believe Gmail has only been around since 2004?
Okay, “only” might be somewhat misleading, as 2004 was actually THIRTEEN YEARS AGO. Basically, if Gmail was a child, she hit puberty last year and is eyeing high school and her first school dance. But, if you’re
old mature well-seasoned like me, 2004 seems like pretty much last Tuesday.
I am normally horrible with dates, but I remember this time period because, due to my mad networking skills, I had the opportunity to be one of the beta testers for Gmail.
Side note: “Mad networking skills” means I was at a job where I was BORED OUT OF MY MIND, so I spent much of the day on online message boards with other HR pros who also either had a bit too much free time or just needed a break from all the freaking DRAMA <sigh> that disgruntled employees can bring. That practice continues to this day – we affectionately call it “notworking.” And yes, if you visit HR with something juicy, we probably ARE talking about you in these notworking venues. But don’t worry – we generally are a compassionate bunch, and all names are changed to protect your privacy. We’re a conscientious bunch that way. Often, we’re just reviewing the best and fairest way to handle a situation.
Rest assured, however, that there are plenty of conversations around “stupid employee tricks.”
Like when someone barfs on your desk. (Yep. That’s happened.)
Or when you get an unemployment claim from someone you fired for tardiness – she couldn’t get to work on time because she NEEDED TO STOP FOR CIGARETTES on her way to work. And we LOST the claim because, even though we had a clear attendance policy where employees accrued “points” for tardiness and being absent, and they’d be terminated if they accumulated a certain number of points, AND we had exercised progressive discipline AS OUTLINED in the policy, our handbook wasn’t super-precise about you losing your job for being late pretty much every single day. It said you could be fired for absenteeism…not tardiness SPECIFICALLY. Because common sense and reading at a fourth-grade level wouldn’t lead you to that obvious conclusion.
Or that one time a forklift operator was drinking a brown liquid that smelled like furniture polish, so we called him up to my office for questioning:
Me: Ted, we had some concerns voiced about what you’re drinking in your travel mug today. What was in there?
Ted: <blinks> I don’t know. (GREAT ANSWER. If you’re, like, four.)
Me: You don’t…know? Let’s try again. What was in there this morning?
Ted: <Long pause. Shifts uncomfortably in chair.> I can’t remember.
Me: <reaching over to grab my HUGE Bubba keg, where a tea bag is conspicuously steeping – HINT HINT> Well, think harder.
Ted: <blinks. Looks at floor. Looks out window. Blinks again. Swallows.> Uh…Orange juice?
Anyway. Back in 2004, on one of these
gossip professional discussion boards, someone who had just started working for Google was looking for some testers for this new email program Google was planning to launch. At the time, I was planning the escape from my first marriage, so I quickly volunteered to get a personal, private email – one the spouse couldn’t access. And, since I had one of the earliest accounts, I was able to get a very simple Gmail address – without extra numbers, characters, or underscores. But because it’s so basic, occasionally someone will “accidentally” use this email instead of their own, and I wind up receiving emails that weren’t meant for me. Often, I think people intentionally provide the wrong email address to avoid drowning in spam and special offers, but I’ve received some legit stuff, too, including student grade reports, overdue electric bills, travel itineraries, and random baby pictures.
Now, typically, I just politely respond that they have the wrong email, and ask to be removed from their mailing lists and address books.
But, once in a while, I can’t help but respond. Like this time:
Um. What? I feed EVERY DAY, YO. He must be talking about….
He seemed really confused after that. HAHAHAHAHAHA
I suggested that he might have the wrong email; we had a good chuckle and he went away.
But it isn’t always that easy. Like this exchange the other day:
E-cigs? Oh HELL no. Smoking gives you wicked lip wrinkles. Plus I’m too poor to smoke. Because shoes.
Now, to be fair, this was the second or third email I’d received from them. I’d ignored the previous two, quickly clicking them through to the virtual trashcan, but since this was becoming a habit (see what I did there? <snort>) I thought it best to cut it off.
The end, right?
Hoo boy. Well, I’ll try to explain….
Is this really THAT hard?! Because I’m totally losing patience here.
Spoiler alert: Nope. It clearly did not.
Attached is a copy of an order containing $113.50 in Mandarin and Passion (!!!) e-cigs.
I can’t get any more black and white than that.
OK, folks. I think this game is over. Besides, I had just left my mammogram (public service reminder: get one, ladies!) and I was feeling a bit bruised – certainly not in the mood for battling with the cognitive equivalent of a cement block.
And now the fun begins. I go to the account, reset the password, and make up a new, random, completely fake email so I never, ever hear from them again.
Wait. I spoke too soon.
No. NO YOU MAY NOT. (And why do you need to talk to me? Does your system only work on voice command? Because I gotta tell ya, automated voice prompts usually fail me, too, but that’s fodder for an entirely different post. JUST DELETE THE BLASTED THING.)
Besides…it’s too late. I exercised some virtual street justice already. You won’t be bothering me anymore.
Oh, and P.S. – your customer, now known as Boogerface McShitterpants, might be a bit peeved when you talk to her next.
You’ve been warned.
Peace out. <offers cocky salute and exits, stage right>