Saturday, September 24, 2011

Murder in North Yorkshire

I can't give you too much detail about this story, to protect the innocent. And the guilty.

In this case the guilty party was my son Olli, but his guilt wasn't really as bad as it sounds. All he did was kill the wrong person.

He works for a company which has a scheme that families can belong to. They pay into it and get benefits from the scheme. Olli's job is to decide how much they can get.

But, of course, if one of the family dies, then that family member doesn't pay into the scheme any more. I think that's fairly clear.

So an elderly man, whom I shall call Old Man, rang Olli and said, sadly, that one of his family had died and that her name was Shirley Knott. (Actually that wasn't her real name. Shirley Knott is a bit of an Annette Curtain or Lydia Dustbin kind of name, and I've just invented it, and I'm rather proud of myself.)

Knowing, of course, that the devil is in the detail, and so it's vitally important to check, Olli said that he was sorry to hear that, and asked for Shirley Knott's date of birth, to check that he had the right person.

"I can't remember her date of birth," said Old Man, sadly.

"Don't worry," said Olli, soothingly, "can you give me the postcode instead?"

Old Man gave Olli the postcode. Olli checked that there was indeed a person called Shirley Knott living at that address. He transferred her into the category of Dead Customers and was about to say goodbye to Old Man.

And it was only then that he noticed that there were two people with exactly the same name living at that postcode.

"Aaaaah," said Olli. "There seem to be two people called Shirley Knott at this address."

"Oh yes," replied Old Man. "One's my daughter and one's my daughter-in-law. I forgot to mention that. You wouldn't want to put the wrong one down as being dead, would you?"

Well, of course - - Murphy's Law - - if a thing can go wrong, it will - - -

And the way their system works is that once someone is listed as Dead, it is impossible to undeadify them and put them back into being a live customer again. Whoever wrote the software didn't believe in reincarnation, clearly.

Olli decided to follow the proper procedure in such cases, which was to panic and then to go home for the weekend.

He did leave a note, however, to his colleagues, to say that if anyone from that family happened to ring over the weekend, they were not to say anything about Shirley and her deadness.

On Monday he will have to see if the Top Manager has a Special Button to be used for bringing people back to life. Otherwise he will have to talk to the IT department, probably bribing them with chocolate. And if all that fails, poor Shirley will just have to remain dead until the day she dies.

8 Comments:

Blogger Silverback said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:53 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

Ahhh the power of life and death - glad it's in such capable hands.

The software was obviously never designed to be used in China !

2:54 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

What will Olli find to do when sitting in his virtual cell awaiting a virtual murder trial while virtual warders rap on his door? Shirley Knott was a wonderful human being who didn't deserve to die that way.

3:45 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I hate to say it since Ollie is involved, but we have an old saying in the computer business that if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out. The only garbage now, though, is that the birth date of the living dead Shirley should be exchanged with the birth date of the living Shirley, and the newly created Shirley can just go on about living the other Shirley's life until it/she expires. Since she is the last Shirley, there won't be a problem at the second demise, and Ollie will be in the clear.

If some little problem should happen to arise down the road, Ollie can simply say, "Shirley, you jest" and blame it on computer error.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

10:42 pm  
Blogger JeannetteLS said...

Well, this seems to be a common problem these days. The last time my son and I refinanced the home my late sister and I had owned for fifteen years, we had an interesting problem. We did a credit check of course, here in the USA, and it turns out I'm dead. I had no idea. It delayed the whole process mightily. Didn't matter that I could prove I am I, as the Lord of La Mancha said. I had to prove that it is not I who died on August 31, 2006.

After my sister's death, hers and my credit reports were combined. And I could not chance telling the post office she had died because they probably would have stopped my mail as well.

It is five years later, and her mail is forwarded to me here. I have a sense of humor about it, but it's very hard being confused with a person who has died, especially when the loss was hard.

I will be Jean L., Jean, Jean E. Jeannette E. and well, occasionally, Jeannette L. for the rest of my life. While I DO see the humor in it all, I hope Shirley does as well. The latest glitch is that someone put my name with her year of birth. I am old enough, please! I don't want to be 67 before I hit 60! Good luck.

12:58 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

Oh no - you couldn't make it up! Hope things get sorted out without too much trouble tomorrow.

10:23 am  
Anonymous Oliver said...

She's alive now!

(Remind me to tell you about the man who didn't live in Slough).

5:59 pm  
Blogger Jan Blawat said...

Do I know him? I live in Sloughhouse.

5:15 am  

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