John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

James McIntyre, I wish you the best of luck

For some time now I have been receiving email from At&T about an account for one James McIntyre. I spent a fair amount of time on Friday attempting to surmount the barriers they erect between themselves and customers, and I finally reached some wretch who had apparently been assigned to customer service as a disciplinary measure.

I explained the situation, furnishing considerable personal information to demonstrate that I am not James McIntyre and possibly not even a resident of the state where James McIntyre lives. He put me on hold while he consulted with his supervisor. On his return, he put me on hold again so that he could call James McIntyre and ascertain that James McIntyre is not me. Finally, he returned to give me the profoundest assurance that the mixup had been corrected, that AT&T knew all about James McIntyre and his account and his proper email address, and that I would be troubled no further with email about the James McIntyre account.

Yesterday I got an email with a link to a statement for James McIntyre's account, and today I got an email reminding me about the email about James McIntyre's statement.

Generous-spirited as I am, particularly right after Divine Service, I hesitate to surmise that AT&T is operated by the most feckless pack of bungling gits and lubberly clotpolls ever to set up in commerce since the Dutch oversaturated the tulip market, but you would think that even they would have the nous to distinguish between James McIntyre and John McIntyre.

James McIntyre, I wish you luck in your dealings with AT&T. You are going to need an abundance of it.

6 comments:

  1. The first sentence of this post should be written as follows, no?

    "For some time now I have been receiving email from AT&T..."

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  2. "[T]he most feckless pack of bungling gits and lubberly clotpolls ever to set up in commerce since the Dutch oversaturated the tulip market" is a wonderful insult. You should consider licensing it for use with other utility companies and service providers. Quite frequently I receive email updates from a garage I once visited to remind me of maintenance due on my Dodge Ram pickup truck. I have never owned a Dodge Ram, and the Plymouth Neon that they did work on has been retired since 2007.

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  3. Well, if John H. Watson's wife could refer to him as James in "The Man With The Twisted Lip", it's hardly surprising that a large corporation should make the same sort of mistake. Dorothy Sayers conjectured that his middle name was Hamish, of which James is the English version, and that the former Mary Morstan for whatever reason disliked the name John. Her father's friend Major Sholto was named John, which may have had something to do with it.

    John "James" Cowan (actually, it's my brother who is James Cowan)

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  4. Are you aware that gmail allows accounts to be made using dots "." in them? This is from Google's Support Page - https://support.google.com/mail/answer/10313?hl=en

    Your address is similar but has more or fewer dots (.) or different capitalization.
    Sometimes you may receive a message sent to an address that looks like yours but has a different number or arrangement of periods. While we know it might be unnerving if you think someone else's mail is being routed to your account, don't worry: both of these addresses are yours.

    Gmail doesn't recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they'll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:

    •homerjsimpson@gmail.com = hom.er.j.sim.ps.on@gmail.com
    •homerjsimpson@gmail.com = HOMERJSIMPSON@gmail.com
    •homerjsimpson@gmail.com = Homer.J.Simpson@gmail.com

    All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You'll still go to your account.

    If you get mail that seems to be intended for someone else, it's likely that the sender entered the wrong address, just like if you've ever dialed a wrong phone number for someone. In these cases, we suggest contacting the original sender or website when possible to alert them to the mistake.

    One last thing: Google Apps does recognize dots. If you'd like to have a dot in your username, please ask your domain administrator to add your preferred username as a nickname.

    So it may be possible that James entered in an email address like yours, but with dots in them, thus causing the confusion in as far as gmail overlooks those dots and sends those emails to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that can't be the reason. If James had entered the same address as John only with dots, Gmail would refuse to register him.

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