Yup, that’s me. Been that way since forever. Or as my husband told our middlest-ish kid, “We’ve been around for awhile.” There’s some backstory about the why of that name and the early Internet, but that’s for another time.
So it has been my moniker since 2004. It has been mostly great, but there have been some hiccups.
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Today was one of those hiccups. I started getting email from Target.com about something I’d purchased… only I hadn’t. Target.com apparently doesn’t verify emails on account creation which, in case you hadn’t guessed, leads to problems. Target.com customer support (on the phone line listed for security issues, no less!) also happened to have no idea of how to handle this. The representative pretty much vapor locked when I called them to explain the situation and request that my email address be removed from the account. “We can’t do that because we can’t verify you for security purposes.” Massive facepalm.
“So you can’t verify me, but I can reset the password and have access to the account? Can you call the phone number on the account?”
“We don’t have outgoing calls.”
“But I have the phone number. It was in the emails you sent. Do you really want me to contact this person?”
“Well, there’s nothing we can do.”
I wasn’t going to belabor the point, so I crossed my fingers and put on my best customer service voice.
“Hi, am I speaking to J- Dodd?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“My name is Jennifer Dodd. You don’t know me, and this is hard to explain, but I’m getting the emails about the purchase that you just made. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m guessing that when you made your account on Target’s web site, you put in my email address.”
What followed was a very pleasant conversation with a lovely woman whose daughter had just made the account for her earlier. We were glad to learn that neither of us were scammers (I initially suspected a hacked account of my own, she suspected a phone scammer and was hesitant to pick up an unknown number), both of us are Dodds by marriage, and we share very similar email addresses. I forwarded her the copies of the emails I’d received to make sure I had the right email address. I updated the account to have the correct email address which was a variation on my own and verified from my own email that yes, I did in fact want to change the email address on the account. We both hung up reasonably content that sometimes, a chance meeting enriches all of our lives.
This is not the first time I’ve had to do this. Back in 2012, another J- Dodd registered a dot variation of my email as his Apple ID. Oh. My. Gravy. It was hell. I spent hours on the phone with support trying to get Apple to do anything so I would stop receiving his authentication attempts. No, seriously, hours. After getting to senior technical support who understood the problem, the solution was for me to ignore the messages.
And then I did the thing I was really trying to avoid doing. I reset the password using the information I could guess at from the many alerts and emails I’d received and changed the email address and Apple ID on the account to an example.com account. There was literally no other way to stop the deluge of messages and I figured sooner was better than later or never. I then promptly registered my dot variation as an alternate email so it would not be available to be some other hapless soul’s Apple ID.
Don’t get me started on Jim Dodd. There are so many of them I’ve lost track.
There was Jim Dodd of the filled-out and complete with yes, all the numbers loan application. I replied to the bank that sent it to me, “You’ve got the wrong email address.” Funny, never heard back from them.
There was another Jim Dodd of a dealership truck purchase. Finally might be off that list.
There was Jim Dodd of the dick pics. Massive, massive facepalm. I think he was emailing them to himself? Not something I really wanted to belabor, so those were just deleted without a helpful email to let him know about his mistake.
I try to help where reasonable. I have called a fair number of customer service lines trying to fix something that isn’t my problem. I ignore and delete the things that aren’t my business. But for the love of GMail, please build your future systems with email address verification and a way to handle incorrect email addresses in accounts.