Funny But True : The emails that don’t exist

To start off, let me preface this by saying two things:

1. This is funny because of the predicament and not the players. In no way am I implying that anyone is incompetent.
2. I have changed the names and story slightly to protect the innocent.

So I am having a normal day; the standard eight hours of meetings mixed well with eight more hours of managing the team and writing design/implementation plans, when into my cube walks Alex. Alex is a business analyst who is working on a new customer process.

This new process takes our existing platform and allows customers to avoid needing an email address or internet access to interact. Alex tells me that they had just purchased a new domain name and need to know the next steps for setting up an email domain and server to handle emails (using corporate email cluster is NOT an option).

Turns out the existing platform requires email as a primary key. Which means that even though the customer doesn’t need one, the database/process does. So the solution Alex brings me is to setup an email server and every time an account is created they will create an email for the customer on this new domain. Then they use the existing email notification components (of which there are many) without change. He asks me to setup an email server to receive these emails and immediately delete them upon arrival (since they are useless).

So I ask the most logical question: “Why do these emails need to go somewhere if you are just going to delete them?”. Why would we setup email infrastructure ($$$) and dependencies for something that has no value?

He answers: “Because the system mustn’t get any bounce backs or errors with delivery”

So I ask the new logical question: “Why even send these emails since no one gets them?”

The next reply: “Because we may actually populate their real email later and need to have the process send an email just in case”

Now I am really irked. The code is to complex to work around, the schema can’t be changed, and the process has to account for multiple possibilities. I ask my final question: “Why not only send an email if the domain isn’t the spoof domain?”

Alex looks at me and says: “Oh….. yeah that would work”, says thanks, and walks away.

And I am left wondering what just happened and why the infrastructure guy had to recommend a few lines of code to avoid a new email server.
Funny but true.


5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I could provide so many answers to, “why the infrastructure guy had to recommend”, but I’ll just sit here laughing to myself instead.

  2. Sigh.. to add to the silliness of it, I’m more surprised that it took 4 months to get back around to the same suggestion I gave them. I guess I should have written it down somewhere. 🙂

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