Not long ago, I attempted to pick up some clothes I had dropped off at a new dry cleaners. After presenting my ticket stub to the clerk behind the counter, the owner reappeared several minutes later – sans my clothes. With a puzzled look on his face, the owner said, “You were here yesterday! We gave you your clothes yesterday!” Feeling like I was in the middle of a Twilight Zone episode, it took 15 stressful minutes to determine that my clothes were handed over to another customer. Wait … what!?! Yes, the dry cleaners gave all of my clothes to a female customer named “Carrie Shapiro” not “Carie Shapiro.” How does that even happen? I mean … what are the chances of two customers named “Carie Shapiro” dropping their clothes off at the very same dry cleaners at the same time? I don't exactly have a common name -- and I definitely have an uncommon way of spelling my first name.
That isn’t the worst part of the story either. When the dry cleaners attempted to contact the customer in question, my "alter ego" explained that she was leaving town for two weeks, but would be happy to drop off MY CLOTHES after she returned. OMG! Well, I eventually got all of my clothes back. And, I never did use that dry cleaners again. I realize it was just a dumb, honest mistake. However, what if the situation involved more than just dry cleaning? Think about it. We’ve all mistakenly received other people’s mail from time to time. Yet, I've experienced the following in recent months:
- Somebody else’s credit card returned to me at a restaurant (which means some other patron got mine)
- Package meant for me was delivered and left at somebody else’s front door
- Prescription bottle meant for another patient placed in my mom’s pharmacy bag
- Text messages meant for others have been sent to my cell phone (which happened again yesterday and apparently, I’m invited to a huge party tonight at 10:00 pm)
The Moral Of The Story: You Can’t Be Too Careful These Days. It just goes to show how important it is to check, double-check, and notice everything. Sensitive information (and more) can inadvertently get into the wrong hands anywhere. And, interestingly enough, none of these instances even involved a computer hacker. Not exactly identity theft, but errors which could potentially turn into much bigger problems. And, let me see a show of hands if you need more problems!