Twenty-four years in uniform, dealing with computers and e-mail. You’d think I’d’ve learned by now. You’d think I wouldn’t get sucked into conversations like the following:
HELPDESK: Your accounts are ready. Please come pick up your passwords.
ME: Great! Thanks.
I go down to the Help Desk, six floors down and one building over. I drop off my “I took the training” certificate, pick up the passwords and test the gateway password. Once that’s set, I return to my office–six floors up, one building over–to start using the computer on my desk.
ME: Uh, these passwords don’t work. Now it says I’m locked out.
HELPDESK: Please come back so we can verify your identity and reset.
Six floors down, one building over.
HELPDESK: Hmm…these passwords we gave you don’t work. Just enter your own passwords here on our system.
ME: OK, thanks.
Six up, one over.
ME: Uh, I can log on…but it says I have no e-mail?
HELPDESK: Do this. Now this. And that. What does it say?
ME: It says I have no e-mail.
HELPDESK: Please wait, sir, while we check this out.
Two hours pass.
HELPDESK: OK, sir, you should have e-mail now. Do this, that, the other thing. What does it say?
ME: It says…wait, just an hourglass. (Five minutes pass) I think it’s locked up.
HELPDESK: OK, exit that, relogin. How about now?
ME: Still gives me an hourglass.
HELPDESK: Please wait while we check this out.
One hour passes.
HELPDESK: Try again, please.
ME: OK, I have e-mail. Why didn’t I have it before?
HELPDESK: Oh, your account was created, but not a corresponding e-mail account.
ME: Well, gee, I would’ve thought that was on the checklist.
HELPDESK: Oh, we don’t have a checklist for that sort of thing. Every account is different, you see. Each part is put together by a different section here at Global Helpdesk Command Central.
ME: OK, but shouldn’t someone check on that? I mean, everyone needs e-mail, right?
HELPDESK: Every account is different, sir.
ME: So who is getting accounts without e-mail? And if that’s the case, why isn’t “I need e-mail” part of the three-page account request and approval form?
HELPDESK: Oh…well, everyone gets e-mail, sir.
ME: (Deep breath) So why didn’t I get it?