My current client has an internal mailing list that is used for all sorts of things, from advice on local businesses (and which to avoid) to selling or giving away stuff (similar to Craigslist). Yesterday, one of the emails I saw on the list brought back a memory from a couple of decades ago.
The gist of the email was that the help desk had confirmed that the Outlook servers were down, and that’s why you might not be getting your emails.
I replied (to the whole list, naturally), “In that case, how did I manage to get your email?” The original source of the Outlook announcement responded, “Oh, I guess they aren’t all down.” There were a few other snarky posts to the list from other list members.
The memory invoked by that email was of a time long ago when I fired up my PC one morning and discovered that I could not connect to my ISP. That was a bit of a shock, because I had that new DSL service, and it was supposed to be “always on.”
Like most folks back in those days, I used an offline news & email reader, since “always on” was a fairly new concept. So, I started my email client, and searched for the original signup email from the ISP, which I knew included the support phone number. Which I then called to find out what the problem was. The conversation with the customer service representative went something like this:
Me: Hi, I can’t seem to connect to the DSL this morning. Is there a problem?
CSR: Oh, we had to switch IP addresses last night in order to get a larger block so that we can support our recent growth.
Me: Ok, what do I need to do to connect?
CSR: You need to update your configuration file with our new IP. It’s [tells me the new IP].
Me: [pause to edit file] Ok, just did that, and it seems to be working now. So, I was the first person to call about this?
CSR: Yup. We forgot to notify everyone about the change. I guess I need to send an email out to our customer list.
Me: Exactly how are your customers going to receive that email?
CSR: […] Oh, shit.