Not Alway Private – the other side

Last week I wrote about the customer being wrong about privacy. There is the other side of course; for Not Always Right, there is the sister site Not Always Working.

There are fewer stories I can draw from there – perhaps because I haven’t written in with mine. I will write them in the style of Not Always Working:

Bad to Worse to Worst

I received a call (at dinner) from an otherwise reputable TV and Internet provider, which shall remain unnamed. I don’t normally welcome telemarketing calls, but this time I did because they happened to offering a particularly good deal that was going to save me money. And I happily provided my information to the nice lady on the phone, who informed me that someone would be calling to arrange to send me my set-top box. All was well with the world, until I received later a call from a third party fulfillment firm with a Montreal area code (I’m in Toronto).

Fulfillment guy: Can you confirm your address?

Me: (I do)

Fulfillment guy: To ensure we’re sending this to the right person, could you give us your driver’s license?

Me: Um… no, I won’t give that information, it’s not necessary.

Fulfillment guy: Can you provide your social insurance number?.

Me: Definitely not. Things are going from bad to worse, I think.

Fulfillment guy: We can’t deliver this without some identification for the driver to get from you. How about your health card number?

Me: You have got to be kidding.

I tell him I will pick it up from the local store of the company; this is of course even worse when you realize that he planned to write it on the packing slip for the courier to verify with me when it arrived. Yikes. Of course, the right thing to do would have been for the lady who first called me, to have created an order number, and to have used this made-up number as the authentication.

Going Postal at the Supermarket

This was at Christmas, and the local supermarket was very busy. I had stopped to get a few things so it was tedious getting through the line, and the line was still long behind me. I had cash, and I thought when it was my turn I would at least get done quickly,until…

Clerk: “Can I have your postal code?”

Me: “No, sorry”.

Clerk: “But … I can’t ring you through without your postal code.”

Me: “That’s ridiculous. I  am paying with cash.”

Clerk: “But I need your postal code.”

Me: “No, you don’t.”

Then, as of course everyone behind me is waiting wearily, the clerk attempts to figure out from someone else what is she to do with this recalcitrant customer. Finally a more senior clerk comes over and says:

“Just hit enter, you don’t need the postal code to ring him up!”

Of course, this is due to lack of adequate training – she had been told to get postal codes, and not that she could proceed with a sale without it, regardless of how payment was made. This also shows the danger of leaving fields in databases – someone always thinks they need to be filled in.


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