Thursday, September 29, 2005

Unmemorizable Unique IDs

Have you ever ordered some service, or lodged some complaint, with a utility company over the phone and received an "order number" or a "ticket number" in return? Have you ever been tricked into reaching around hurriedly for pencil and a scrap of paper in order to write it down for future enquires? Have you ever wondered why you would need to provide the order number for an enquiry instead of just your name and address, or any of the million other pieces of personal information that they will ask you for anyway?

I have. And it struck me today, while I was wading through a call with SBC, that I cannot come up with a single sensible explanation for this behavior, beyond the possibility that they have no understanding of database normalization and keys.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably because you can haven them readily identify which issue you are calling about. Giving the date alone won't work because you may have several complaints that day. You may or may not remember the time so an ID will certainly help.

2/01/2007 11:56 AM  

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