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Friday, November 13, 2009

Conversations with a Bot

I had placed an order for some books at Betterworld.com, which resells old library books and recently asked about the order's delayed arrival. The books arrived yesterday, so I shot off a quick email to let them know.
First reply :

"Hi Sujatha,

This is an automated message to let you know that your message has been received. A Better World Books human will be replying to you shortly.
Thanks for your patience!
Sincerely,

Indaba, the Super-Cool Email Robot"


Next email:

"Hey Sujatha,

We're just checking in to see if you received your order

Miss Happiness Godden
) from Better World Books. If your order hasn't blessed your mailbox just yet, heads are gonna roll in the Mishawaka warehouse! Seriously though, if you haven't received your order or are less than 108.8% satisfied, please reply to this message. Let us know what we can do to flabbergast you with service.

Humbly Yours,

Indaba (our super-cool email robot)"


to which I replied:

"Hi Indaba,

Miss Happiness arrived in good shape and promptly within a few days of shipping. Now, the only thing we are missing is 'Little Peach' ( Just kidding, 'Little Peach' is a little doll that gets left out in the mailing in the story, not real life.)

Are you sure that you are an email robot? I thought robots aren't supposed to have a sense of humor.

--Sujatha


To which I again received:

"Hi Sujatha,

This is an automated message to let you know that your message has been received. A Better World Books human will be replying to you shortly.
Thanks for your patience!
Sincerely,

Indaba, the Super-Cool Email Robot"


-------------------------


I can tell this is going to be a fun correspondence ;)


---------------

From my comments:


Alas, it was a sweet but short relationship. To wit, the final correspondence came just now from Joe at customer service, suitably respectful and impersonal in tone:

"Hi Sujatha,
We appreciate you letting us know that you received your order. We hope that you'll visit BetterworldBooks.com the next time you need something good to read.
If you were happy with our service, please be sure to spread the word among your family and friends.
Happy Reading,

Joe,
Better World Books"
---------------------

Farewell, sweet Indaba!


---------------


Just now, I received another email from Joe, who appears to be an email robot as well. Here's what it said, in response to my email about Miss Happiness.

""Hi Sujatha,
We appreciate you letting us know that you received your order. We hope that you'll visit BetterworldBooks.com the next time you need something good to read.
If you were happy with our service, please be sure to spread the word among your family and friends.
Happy Reading,

Joe,
Better World Books"


I'm mad! I want my Indaba back. So I have now sent them this email in response:

"Where did Indaba vanish? I want Indaba!

--Sujatha"


Maybe Indaba will now reply....I'll keep you posted.

---

Sure enough, Indaba is back!

"Hi Sujatha,

This is an automated message to let you know that your message has been received. A Better World Books human will be replying to you shortly.
Thanks for your patience!
Sincerely,

Indaba, the Super-Cool Email Robot"


Ad...infinitum...


Or, not.

"Dear Sujatha,

Don't worry, Indaba hasn't vanished. He's just on vacation... to Bermuda, I think. He returns every time you order a book through Better World Books.
Sincerely,
Joe
Better World Books "

So Indaba must have been emailing me from Bermuda. Wow, talk about a work ethic!

9 comments:

Munimma said...

yeah, do keep us 'posted'!

Sujatha said...

Alas, it was a sweet but short relationship. To wit, the final correspondence came just now from Joe at customer service, suitably respectful and impersonal in tone:
"Hi Sujatha,
We appreciate you letting us know that you received your order. We hope that you'll visit BetterworldBooks.com the next time you need something good to read.
If you were happy with our service, please be sure to spread the word among your family and friends.
Happy Reading,

Joe,
Better World Books"
---------------------

Farewell, sweet Indaba!

Ruchira said...

Hi Sujatha,

Love the new look of F 'n' S.

An Accidental Blogger human will be commenting here shortly.

Ruchira, the Not-So-Cool Blogging Robot.

Sujatha said...

Ruchira,

That should have been "Ruchira, the Super-cool Blogging Robot", really!

Lekhni said...

Tsk, tsk. I can see you'd much rather have conversations with super-cool (cryogenic?) robots, but you're going to have to make do with comments from not-so-robotic cool bloggers like Ruchira (and me, of course ;))

Sujatha said...

Bots come in various shapes and sizes, just like fairies (Tooth Fairy, Tickle Fairy, etc.), and Indaba is an email-bot. Some are even dedicated chat-bots, like Alice.

But bots don't get by the filters for comments. I need humans like you and Ruchira to do that!

Lekhni said...

Maybe you should disable the filter and let the poor bots comment too, then ;)

Just kidding. But why the filter? Are you getting a lot of spam?

Sujatha said...

Occasional spam, enought to be annoying. Yes, I proudly discriminate against Spam-bots. Email and chat bots good- spam bots bad.

(Google bots are welcome ;)

Lekhni said...

Also, Yahoo search bots and Bing bots (that sounds like Dingbats) :)