Friday, February 05, 2010

Wrong Number Responsibility

I used to get a lot of people keep calling me, all wanting to talk to Janis/Janice.

"I'm sorry you've got the wrong number."

"Is this 555-5555?"

"Yep. So I guess you have the right number, just the wrong person. I don't know a Janis/Janice."

I've had that conversation about 50 million times - give or take a million. I started to get annoyed, especially when the same company kept calling.

"As I've said before, I don't know a Janis/Janice. She gave you the wrong number. Please make a note in whatever file you have open in front of you and STOP FREAKIN CALLING ME!"

I mean, that shit was eating up my minutes!


The calls stopped, so I figure Janis/Janice realized her mistake and gave these people her correct phone number.

Yesterday someone left a message on my phone, once again looking for Janis/Janice. They wanted to talk to her about hospital stuff or doctor/medical stuff or, well, I don't remember exactly. It sounded fairly important though.

What responsibly do I have to call that person back and let them know they have the wrong number so they can try and get a hold of the correct person?

I'm going to guess absolutely none. But it made me pause for a second and consider it.

Maybe if the call sounded more urgent, or life threatening, I would have. Probably.

Janis/Janice, whoever you are, wherever you are, memorize your damn phone number and stop giving out mine.


Also annoying: I also keep getting emails meant for someone else.

The first email was from a company inviting me for a job interview. I found this strange for several reasons. 1) I hadn't applied for a new job and 2) the company was located on the other side of the continent.

I replied back: "Um, is this some weird sort of spam?"

They replied back, thinking I'm a complete idiot: "Um, no. You applied for a job and we want to interview you."

My reply: "Um... no, I didn't. Can I see the resume I sent in?"

I wanted to know who was impersonating me!

They sent the email with the resume and I found the mistake:

My address is

The address of the person applying for the job was

Someone didn't notice that 3! Oops! Easy mistake.

That was a couple of months ago. I figured my name doppelganger realized the mistake the potential job made and either got a new email address or learned to stress the importance of including that number in the 'send to' field.

Yeah... not so much.

I started getting emails from someone with my same last name, but with an unfamiliar first name. I thought it was one of those spam tricks meant to make me think the emails were from someone I knew. I ignored them at first but they kept coming and the subject lines looked more like common FWD subjects and less like spam subjects. I got curious, opened one, and the 'sent to' field looked like that of a FWD email as well. There were a couple of non-spam-generated looking addresses, and some of those shared the same last name. Aha! These must be for my name doppelganger!

I could have kept ignoring the emails, and let Name Doppelganger and Non-Relative figure it out on their own, but I was getting annoyed. I figured I'd do the nice thing.

"Dear Non-Relative. I think you are sending these emails to the wrong person as I have no idea who you are. Please check with the person you know and verify that you have their correct email address before forwarding another inane chain email. Thanks."

No reply.

Not that I expected a 'sorry, my bad' emailed response or anything.

Then a couple of weeks later I get another FWD email.


Four forwarded emails later I reply back to him again.

"Dear Non-Relative. I don't know you. You have the wrong address. Seriously. Stop emailing me."

No acknowledgment.

A week later I get this (names have been edited just in case of... well, I don't know what):

"Many thanks for your efforts. £20 transferred to your account. PERSON will be very grateful. Anytime you are able to get them when passing through TOWN they will be most welcome."




Is this guy an idiot? I mean seriously! If I got an email saying 'hey you have the wrong address' I would, oh, I don't know, maybe FIND OUT WHAT THE CORRECT ADDRESS IS.

But maybe I'm just silly like that.

She sent me an email by mistake herself before (like a work email to her personal for safe keeping), so as long as she never wondered why the email never appeared in her inbox I know she knows I exist.

And I've gotten an email from an online store confirming a gift a relative bought her.

I guess I could email my Name-Doppelganger but I'm not sure if she's the myfirstname.mylastname3 I'd discovered before. Maybe there's a myfirstname.mylastname2 out there. I'd never really thought about it before but obviously Non-Relative is a complete moron and I can't leave fixing this up to him.

It just seems kind of weird to talk directly to Name-Doppelganger. As if acknowledging her or contacting her will rip a hole in the space/time fabric of the universe.


I'd like to avoid it (Dear Name-Doppelganger, you do realize there's a "3" in your email address, right?) but today I found this in my inbox: (names removed, etc.)

"Mr. & Mrs. LastName,

BOY was disruptive in class today. The class was playing a vocabulary review game and BOY was the score keeper for the boy’s team. When their score was 69 BOY made quite a big deal about the # 69 which drew the attention of the entire class, getting them off task, and putting a spin on a simple number making it something inappropriate for school. I told BOY that he needed to quiet down and control his comments. Later in the game BOY announced to the class that he wanted the boys to earn more points so they could be the "big wieners."

This information is being shared with Mr. PRINCIPAL because of the nature of his comments. I hope that BOY's behavior improves so that further consequences are not needed.


Oh BOY, you naughty seventh grader you.

I don't know if I'd call it a responsibility to inform these people that they have the wrong email, but I guess I should contact Name-Doppelganger. There's some serious business going on that Mrs. LastName would probably want to know about!

And by the way, when did 'pulling a card' and timeouts and principal's office visits become extinct? Oh wait, it's the seventh grade, so card pulling and timeouts are probably not feasible. But principal's office visits? Is that taboo now? What about detention or banging erasers or whatever.

Anywho, looks like I should forward this to Name-Doppelganger. It'd be the nice thing to do (Sorry BOY).

But come to think of it, I might have two different Name-Doppelgangers here!

The emails from Non-Relative have united kingdom email addresses in the 'sent to' field. And look at the money Non-Relative transferred! Could that Name-Doppelganger be from England!

That wouldn't match the myfirstname.mylastname3 address. That Name-Doppelganger lives on the east coast of the USA. (An assumption, since that's where the interview was.)

And the teacher email? That was meant for the mother of a kid in a USA school district.

So I could send the school email to the address I have, and ask if she has UK relatives that don't know how to verify a damn email address. Grrrr.

This is so not worth getting annoyed over, and yet it fills me with warm, angry little fuzzies that warm my soul.


After a quick bit of research I sent an email to the work address I have of UK Name-Doppelganger. I asked if she had a seventh grade son that giggled at the mention of the number 69 (okay, I really didn't) and told her she might want to ask her relative to update his damn address book (that one's true).

I also did some research on the saved email I have from the job interviewer. He's located in Virginia, so its quite possible myfirstname.mylastname3 Name-Doppelganger is from Virginia as well.

(Sherlock Holmes 101 my dear Watson)

And the location of the school from the teacher's email is Indiana.

So... I think its possible I have emails meant for three different Name-Doppelgangers.

I bet they all hate me for getting the numberless-name-email-address first :D