Yesterday I was visited by the Ghost of Dotcom Bubbles Past. It took the form of a letter from the parent company of a dotcom startup that employed me briefly in 1999 and 2000. I was going to paraphrase it, but I think you'll appreciate it best if I just reproduce most of it verbatim, with names changed to protect the disorganized and wasteful:
Dear Average Jane:
As a result of a review of our outstanding amounts and supporting records, you may be the owner of funds held by GIANT, FAILING PUBLISHING CORPORATION (formerly doing business as Smaller, But Equally Poorly Run Publishing Corp.)
Please note that no additional information is available with regard to this amount. If you cannot verify the amount provided, and your records show that no amounts are due from GFPC, please check the corresponding box below. Upon receipt and verification of your request we will process any indicated refund.
Date of check: November 16, 1999
__ No, I have not cashed the check referenced above and would like the check reissued.
__ I cannot verify the details associated with this amount, but to the best of my knowledge there are no outstanding amounts due from GFPC.
__ Yes, I previously received the amount from GFPC and no additional amounts are due.
Wow, how random. I think I'll have to go with answer #2, because if I thought I'd been owed $573.02 for the past five years, I wouldn't have waited for them to review their Post-It note collection and get back to me.
It will not surprise you to learn that this same company continued to deposit my former boss' regular pay into her bank account for months and months after she resigned, despite the fact that she repeatedly notifed them of their error. They also kept my health insurance active for many months after I resigned, but I didn't realize it until it was too late to take advantage of the extra months' worth of $5 prescriptions. D'oh!
The last time I thought about GFPC was the summer before last when I rented a car in New Hampshire. The rental car company rattled off an address I barely recognized and asked if it were mine. When they mentioned a corporate discount rate, I realized it was the address of GFPC headquarters. All those years ago, I traveled a lot on business and my credit card number became linked to GFPC's rental car discount card. I still use the same credit card, so as far as the rental car company is concerned, I'm still eligible for the discount.
It's not $573.02, but I'll take it as long as it lasts.