Hollow men

You know this function in Outlook that will tell everyone who mails you during your vacation, that you’re out and back by this or that date? It’s handy, also for spammers. It’s particularly handy if you work at a company that has an ‘info-at’-style address. Three factors: 1. Where I work everyone gets a copy of mails coming into that mailbox, 2. It’s also the address best known to spammers and 3. We’re big enough to have someone on vacation at any particular time. The result is that we regularly let the world of spamming know: we’re still in business!

Explaining this to the company boss doesn’t work. We have a spam-filter, so most of us don’t get to see the crap. Nor does anyone have any idea about how large the volume of spam is that our system is handling. We’re one small contributor to keeping spammers in the air, but since we’re not aware of the harm we’re doing to the internet community as a whole, why bother?

But there’s a solution. It’s called: the stupid client. The stupid client wants to mail the boss, but doesn’t know his email address. So he sends it to the ‘info-at’-style address, because even stupid clients can remember that. Of course he now also gets the automated response of everyone in the company that happens to be out. Stupid client does not know how to read emails. He (it’s always a he) reads: “I’m out of the office right now…” and without hesitation he panics, grabs his phone and calls the boss (he doesn’t know the number, but his phone does that for him) to ask whether he really is out of the office or not. “I’m getting these messages when I mail you.”

Now the boss understands his clients get confused and since he is a hollow man, he takes action. Immediately he calls the office and orders the first employee who knows anything about computers to drop all other work, call the colleague on holiday, get his or her password and terminate this function in Outlook that is confusing his clients!

Confused stupid clients are far more important than harming the community. Because the community doesn’t pay you money. Stupid clients do. So you are hollow: you do everything to accommodate them. Even if that means providing complex solutions for mere stupidities. No RTFM here, you are hollow, and the hollower you are the more your clients will appreciate you, the more money you will earn, the more successful you’ll be.

A hollow man looses his own soul but he shall gain the whole world!


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