It's Not Dell Hell

published: Wed, 20-Jun-2007   |   updated: Mon, 18-Feb-2008

My little corner wasn't in Dell Hell at all. It was in my own private one caused by an over-zealous spam-blocker.

You would have thought that by working for Developer Express, whose emails with download details sometimes get mysteriously caught by customers' spam-blockers, I would have bloody well checked that possibility out. Mmm? Ya think?

I have a two layered approach to spam filtering my account, mainly because of the sheer number of spam I get per day. First line of attack is SpamAssassin running on my mail server. This is truly a marvelous program; using various heuristics it filters out possibly 98% of all spam. So out of three hundred or so spam a day I receive, it nukes all but about 6 or 7. Then I have SpamBayes running inside of Outlook, and it catches pretty much everything else.

I have time to check the ones SpamBayes catches, but I certainly do not have the time to check the ones SpamAssassin nets (these go into a special folder on the server that gets cleaned out regularly).

Well, Dell did send me an email to say my order had been cancelled. In fact they sent two. Neither bounced, so SpamAssassin must have caught them. They must have been of a form that triggered something to label them as spam. My job now, should I decide to accept it, is to either tweak SpamAssassin's rules or to regularly scan the trapped emails to make sure they aren't valid. Urk. I now wonder about any other non-spam emails that I've just purged without checking.

Heh, on the other hand, I wish SpamAssassin would catch those chain email blasts that "friends" send around... I swear that if I see another "Don't buy gas on this date, let's show them oil companies!" or a "Bill Gates will give you money for using Outlook for your emails" blast I will dress in black, camouflage my face, pack an Uzi, and slip into the twilight world...

Where was I? Oh, yes.

I was contacted by a customer advocate at Dell, possibly through a friend's help at Dell Ireland (thanks, Derek). Brilliant job title and function, by the way. Already I felt good: Jackie and I were going to face the cruel world together, etc. After some investigating on her part, she found out what had happened.

It seems there was an initial delay on the gift card (don't know why). They sent the an email to inform me of the slight delay, and when I didn't respond, sent the second. Once I'd not responded to two emails, they decided that there was something weird going on (was it really me who'd ordered, etc), and cancelled the order.

Jackie then re-instituted the order for me. Everything's right with the world. It's awesome.

And, no, I didn't blow up to make her do it. Geez, people, I'm British, right? Reserved and polite, that's me.

So, without further ado, I unreservedly apologize to Dell. Sorry, guys! I was completely in the wrong. (And if someone could send my thanks to Savitha N, my Dell chat buddy, I'd be most grateful.)

(Sudden thought: what if Jackie's a man? Suddenly I'm covered with confusion. More apologies? Aw, hell!)