February 7, 2009
The Half-Life of Names
A few weeks ago we got what has become a commonplace, but ultra annoying notification from our bank – one of their credit card processor’s systems had been broken into, and our credit card data may have been compromised.
So, a week later, our debit/credit card was going to be deactivated, and they would send us new ones.
As promised, a new card for me (but not Anh… odd) came in the mail. I opened up the card, and went to activate it, but noticed that the name on the card was “Michael J. Wallent”. Odd, it was addressed to “Megan Wallent”, but the card said otherwise.
Oh well, another trip to the bank…
Before I had a chance to go get a new card at the bank (they can print them right there!), we were out at a restaurant that didn’t take Amex, and I had to use the new (Michael) card.
When the bill came back, the name on the receipt was “Megan J Wallent”…
Super odd… the envelope was addressed right, the card was printed wrong, but the magstripe was right.
I went to the bank (finally) yesterday to get a new card, and they thought this was odd too. The person who I ended up talking to was the same woman who processed my name change last year, and she remembered me… Surprise! She said that they likely had three systems, all of which needed to get updated, and there was a problem somewhere.
This isn’t the only time I’ve run into “Mismatches” – my health info at work was wonky for a while – and the internal Microsoft charity site still isn’t updated. (Many of the sites that are “extranet” – and hosted by third-parties haven’t been updated).
I went to go get a new phone yesterday too. I hadn’t ever updated my name with the wireless company. When I gave the sales guy my phone number he said
“Is this account under ‘Michael Wallent’?”
“Is Michael here?”
“I changed my name, its me.”
And we proceeded on… No biggie.
I’m glad that the mismatched name thing has never given me grief… Your “old” name has a “half-life” – like Plutonium. My guess is that the half-life of a name is about 9 months… if you have your name on 50 things, it would take more than 5 years for all of the kinks to work out of the system…