[Note: For the final chapter of this saga, after you finish reading this post, head over to: Conclusion of the Statewide Chronicles.]
There are apparently a lot of "b.*hilburn"s out there, because the number of people that give out my e-mail address, intending to actually give out their own, is really fairly astounding. I have received car quotes, social media account information, even legal documents from law offices, meant for other people.
In general, if I receive an e-mail and it presents an opportunity, I'll respond to it. I have had some pretty entertaining conversations, but for the most part, after a few messages back-and-forth, someone catches on and the fun stops.
Someone usually catches on, that is. Statewide Remodeling, even when they recognized that they were e-mailing the wrong person, never stopped including me in conversations. I, of course, was happy to help.
These are the Statewide Remodeling Chronicles.
[Note that I have changed the names of everyone involved =) ]
Feb 6th, "Irby-135125"
> Hey Guys I got a work order change from Paul today for the Onyx Pan for the Irby Job. It says change the onyx pan from “Blue Glass” to “Bone. I looked up Onyx orders in production and saw that John Howard had ordered a Bone Onyx Pan. I never received any notes on this job so I am asking you to research this to make sure this is the correct pan and the right size! > Bob Bridges
What you can't see from the above is that Bob actually signs his e-mail with HTML text. Great big text that says "BOB BRIDGES".
This was the first e-mail I received from Statewide, and so I decided to jump in. I thought Bob's signature was rather unique, so I decided to just sign my e-mails like, and as, Bob. I responded:
Negative, the pattern is full. You should use the Blood Red Pan for the Kirby Job. Bob Bridges
Unfortunately, no one responded to my message. The next e-mail in the chain was from Bob, and was rater a let-down.
Please respond Bob Bridges
Autumn closed the conversation.
Houston office ordered as needed on this job. Thank you, a
Usually, after I respond to an e-mail conversation, someone in the organization 'fixes the problem' and removes me from future communications. At this point, I figured my fun with Statewide was likely over - especially since no one responded to my message.
Thankfully, it was only the beginning.
Feb 7th, "RE: Blue 93871"
It actually continued the very next day. I woke up to find this in my inbox:
> I think I found it!!
> Glacier Bay 3 Function Showerhead and Hand Shower Combo Kit in Oil Rubbed Bronze > Model # 58002-5016 > Internet # 202963113 > Store SKU # > Store SO SKU# > Thanks, a
Nobody else had responded to the thread yet, so I decided to keep pretending I was Bob. I didn't know who they thought they were e-mailing, after all, and Bob's signature was just too glorious not to use.
That looks like it. Thanks for finding it! I've ordered quantity 600 so we won't have to worry about finding them again. Have any of you ever used one of these? The best part is that you can use the hose to clean your bum while still standing in the shower. It's like a bidet-shower-combo. Also, I'll note that at first glance I thought this was a picture of a noose. Bob Bridges
Unfortunately, once again, no one responded to my message. Surely, I thought, the fun was over.
Feb 22nd, "RE: Baker Luxery?"
A couple of weeks later, though, I received the following:
> I got the info on everything but the luxury for Baker, I checked the site and didn’t see an order for it either. Was I wrong and they didn’t need it? > Thank you, Autumn
Bob responded fairly quickly:
> You should find it in the order history I believe it was ordered last week > Bob
I decided maybe nobody was responding because maybe nobody liked Bob. I decided, instead, to sign my name as Autumn.
Ron, don't worry about this order. I wrote a GUI application using VB and tracked the IP address of the distributor to a factory in Wisconsin. We tried to send Chuck Norris in, but after that whole accidental massacre when we walked down the street with a you-know-what, we could only get Steven Segal. That said, once Steven got in there, he just got weird and started talking about wacky spiritualistic crap, so we nuked the warehouse from orbit. You'll have to re-order whatever it is you ordered the first time. Best, A
This was actually a reference to what I can only describe as one of the most cringe-worthy attempts by Hollywood to sound technical. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, be sure to watch it here - it is only 15 seconds long.
And, lo' and behold, Bob actually responded to me!
> Sounds like you need a new warehouse too I ordered one “Rush” from Waypoint, paid the premium, It will take an extra 2 weeks … But it’s solid Hickory
"Hah! Awesome!" I thought. Someone actually responded to one of my messages and played along. Hopefully they thought it was funny and got a good chuckle out of it.
But then, a couple of hours later, Bob responded again. Suddenly, he didn't sound so funny, and actually managed to read the "From" field in the e-mail header and see it was from "Ben Hilburn", not Autumn.
> Ben, Autumn, and Terry, Drugs can be a good thing but sometimes taken in excess or with alcohol they can distort reality and make you do and write strange things. Just say no. > On a lighter note, does the acrylic for Baker need to be re-ordered? Because I saw it in the order history, it looks like it was already submitted. Or was that just the drugs and alcohol talking. > .;O
Wait, what? Did he really just chastise me under the assumption that I use drugs... or something? Hysterically, he didn't address his little speech just to me... but also to the two other employees in the e-mail conversation. Sorry,
Autumn and Terry!
This was, surprisingly, not the strangest thing I would hear from Bob.
Feb 22nd, "Ray #32135"
Later, the same day, I received another message from Bob.
> Per Dal Tile (Tammy) Ray job was shipped on 2 pallets 2 separate dates. Look for the other pallet you should have received it on the 20th. I had them note your file to ship only complete orders no partial no different days no backorders. > Bob
I decided maybe Bob only responded to my last message because he liked Steven Segal. I kept the story going, and this time signed my e-mail as the Statewide Remodeling Shipping department.
Pallet bravo has gone rogue. We have tracked it over the Oklahoma border. It is traveling north at an alarming speed. We believe it is heading for the Canadian border, commander. We have sent our best Texas Rangers after it. Chuck Norris wasn't available, so we settled for Steven Segal. Will update you again once we catch the pallet. SWR Shipping Dept
The response, FROM BOB:
> Ahh a pallet emergency, a mystery, it’s like a mammogram. > Rango
Wait... mammograms are mysteries? And who is 'Rango'? Dammit, Bob.
After a month of not hearing anything, I got very excited when this landed in my inbox:
> Please have presite guys use the revised presite form attached > Thanks, > Bob Bridges > Statewide Remodeling > Purchasing Department
"BOOM! Yes!" I thought. Let's get this party rolling. I decided to just start signing the e-mails as myself. Clearly, at this point, if I haven't been removed from the mailing list, I'm probably not going to be.
Ron - You forgot to attach the form. plz advise Thanks, Ben
Sure enough, Bob delivers.
> OOPS My bad. > [Attached document]
Unfortunately, the document was incredibly boring. So boring, in fact, that I just let the conversation die. I know. Sad.
June 10, "Presites"
Weeks went by and I hadn't heard from SWR. Sure enough, though, I eventually received something. This time, it was from someone I had never heard of. Let's call him "Zach".
> Jamie- Tuesday at 9 > This is a northside job it is listed as beening in richmond. > Duran- Wednesday at 3 > Keith- Thursdau at 2 > Thanks, > Zach
Excited to once again be at the job and helping out, I responded:
Guys, I just got back from the Duran presite job today. I'm pretty sure they were just pranking us. It was just a bunch of frat guys holding stereos (yeah, battery-powered stereos... from like the 90s) blasting Duran Duran. I'm pretty sure it was this song:
Can't be sure though. I got out of there as fast as possible. Cheers, Ben
Zach must have not found this amusing, because he didn't respond.
June 12, "Customer Black"
Two days later, though, I got another e-mail from Zach.
> I called to set up presite today Mr Black said he wanted to cancel his project for now. Will you please contact him? > Thanks, Zach
And Autumn joined the conversation, too!
> which Black job and Sent to the Sales Rep and Jennie for follow up. > Thanks, A
Apparently, SWR is very concerned about its employees doing drugs. Thus,
I thought I should warn them about this 'Customer Black'.
All - I just heard back from the sales rep. Apparently he wanted to cancel because Brown's house is actually a crack den. He said there is so much crack in there, that our workers would be crack-addled hooligans after spending just a few minutes in there. He did offer to pay for the job with some crack rocks, though, if anyone is interested. Cheers, Ben
Again, no response...
June 13, "Larry Porter"
The next day, I got another e-mail from Zach.
> Just recieved a call from Mr Porter stateing that he hadn't recieved a call, He wants to talk to you about a discount. I asked if he decided weather he wanted us to replace the back wall of the shower or put a trim piece around the caddy. He would not give me an answer. He said was going to go down to the Home depot and talk to them. Just wanted to give you a heads up. > Thanks, > Zach
"I got this!", I thought. I quickly fired this off to Zach.
Zach - We *cannot* lose Mr. Porter's business. Replacing that shower wall is the only way we will have enough money to run the AC through the Summer. Unless you want the office to turn into a Norwegian Sauna Contest, we need to stop him from using Home Depot. Clearly, the easiest method would be to physically stop him from actually getting inside of Home Depot. Here is the plan: 1) Find an intern. 2) Give the intern a bulldozer. 3) Tell the intern to drive the bulldozer into the power boxes outside of Home Depot. Home Depot will then shut-down for repairs, and Mr. Porter will have to use us. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Cheers, Ben P.S. I'm expecting a bonus for my brilliant ideas.
Rather unfairly, I think, I was never granted a bonus.
May 1st, "Customer Pierre"
This conversation turned out to be my favorite, of all of them. It all started with this:
> Spoke with Ms pierre agreed to meet with her tomorrow between 3-5. > Thanks, > Zach
I remembered a funny story about my parents accidentally walking into a strip club when we had just moved to a new town, because it actually just looked like a really classy steak restaurant from the outside. My response was:
Great! Last time she wanted to meet at a local strip club. Try to talk her down to at least Hooters, this time around. The previous meeting was uncomfortable, and rather expensive. Regards, Brian
I'm sure why I signed it as 'Brian', but they weren't responding to my real name, so maybe another name change would do the trick.
The response I got was my favorite message of the entire charade:
> You are kidding right? > -Paul
I almost fell over laughing when I saw this. I quickly responded with:
Paul - No dude, not at all. It was really creepy. I'm just saying, use the buddy rule. Don't let Zach go alone, for sure. Regards, Brian
That's it, so far. I haven't heard from SWR in a little over two months, now, but I'm hopeful the fun isn't over yet.
Twice during this process, SWR actually contacted me on Twitter, apologizing for including me in their e-mail conversations... and twice I continued to be included, hah.
It's been a blast, so far. As this guy says, "live a little" =)