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View Full Version : Brief Rant about Entering Addresses On-line


AnneMarble
10-27-2007, 12:01 AM
To a company that shall remain nameless, but their initials are A.l.l.s.t.a.t.e.

Why is it such a big deal if my address contains an ampersand? It's 2007, for Pete's sake, so your on-line forms should be able to accept ampersands in the address line. After all, your own correspondence prints my address with an ampersand. And I typed the ampersand because I was trying to replicate the original so that your stinkin' site didn't once again claim I didn't exist. Duh!

And if your software can't hack ampersands, then at least include a warning on your freakin' page so that I won't waste five minutes of my life wondering why the freakin' page won't accept my freakin' address. Not to mention the fact that earlier, it didn't recognize me because I entered my name with middle initial with a (gasp!) period. Oh God forbid I should include a period after an initial. I thought that by definition, initials were followed by periods. :tongue I understand the need for security, but this goes beyond security to bad interface.

Puff puff puff. OK, all better now. :D (Although I still need to get my new password from the blankety-blank site.)

BarbJ
10-27-2007, 12:11 AM
What a stone-age hassle. Hmm - trying to figure out the initials; what was the name of the company? :tongue: (Remember, they say you're in good hands, not user-friendly hands.)

Haggis
10-27-2007, 12:18 AM
You ought to be able to buy insurance to protect you from these kinds of things.

DamaNegra
10-27-2007, 12:22 AM
Stupid post of the day:

What's an ampersand?

cray
10-27-2007, 12:23 AM
&

AnneMarble
10-27-2007, 12:34 AM
You ought to be able to buy insurance to protect you from these kinds of things.
Great idea! But wait, I still wouldn't be able to log on to buy it. :cry:

Stupid post of the day:

What's an ampersand?
Those questions aren't stupid. It took me years to figure out what ... was called, and there are lots of other pointy and squiggly things I can't name. (Uhm, that doesn't sound right.)

benbradley
10-27-2007, 12:57 AM
To a company that shall remain nameless, but their initials are A.l.l.s.t.a.t.e.

Why is it such a big deal if my address contains an ampersand? It's 2007, for Pete's sake, so your on-line forms should be able to accept ampersands in the address line. After all, your own correspondence prints my address with an ampersand. And I typed the ampersand because I was trying to replicate the original so that your stinkin' site didn't once again claim I didn't exist. Duh!

And if your software can't hack ampersands, then at least include a warning on your freakin' page so that I won't waste five minutes of my life wondering why the freakin' page won't accept my freakin' address. Not to mention the fact that earlier, it didn't recognize me because I entered my name with middle initial with a (gasp!) period. Oh God forbid I should include a period after an initial. I thought that by definition, initials were followed by periods. :tongue I understand the need for security, but this goes beyond security to bad interface.

Puff puff puff. OK, all better now. :D (Although I still need to get my new password from the blankety-blank site.)
Yes, it sux, er, sucks. Having done some programming myself, and having actualy read some of the RFC's and stuff about various parts of the Internet, I know how to "defensively" fill out forms. For example, when you use your credit card to buy something online, you're usually asked for your name "as it appears on the card." I put it in exactly, with my middle initial capitalized, and without a period, because that's how it is on the card. I put my address in the same way each time. I've never had a problem with entry of my info, unless I just plain forgot some data field.

One of the Internet RFC's, regarding general commands and parameters from other computers, says something like "be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." This means when you're assembling a command packet to be sent to another computer, you follow the guidelines exactly, and when you receive something, and it's not quite right, you interpret it as broadly and as best you can so that things 'work.' As a person manually typing data into forms, I work the same way. Sites accepting my name as it is on the credit card should be able to deal with a period after my middle initial, but I act defensively and don't put it in.

I've seen a few (very few) sites that say something like"you can use these characters: letters, numbers, and &%-#,." I think most bank site passwords even REQUIRE your password to have several such characters. If a field doesn't say what it accepts, I'd hesitate to even use a hyphen in a hyphenated name. Some programmers (or more likely, the managers who micromanage the programmers) may declare that a "full name field" is a string of letters, a space, and another string of letters, and nothing else. That leaves out all the Peggy Sue Smiths.

Gravity
10-27-2007, 01:05 AM
Great idea! But wait, I still wouldn't be able to log on to buy it. :cry:


Those questions aren't stupid. It took me years to figure out what ... was called, and there are lots of other pointy and squiggly things I can't name. (Uhm, that doesn't sound right.)

Keep your freakin' ampersand, Anne. With me, it's an umlaut or nothin'...:D

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-27-2007, 03:29 AM
I wish I could tell you the bucolic insurance company my agency represents was better... but, alas, I can't. Their programmers didn't even give me room for an apartment number for our clients. The city line isn't long enough for me to put in 'Oklahoma City'. ::sigh::

Maryn
10-28-2007, 04:57 AM
Anne, if I promise not to drop in unannounced, will you share your address? Because I can't quite conceive of an address with an ampersand, yet I trust you've got one.

Better, can you create a similar not-my-address example?

I've had similar problems with UPS packages to our son at college. At the post office, they recognize Annandale on Hudson, NY but at UPS you have to write it Annandale-on-Hudson or it doesn't exist--even though it's wrong with the hyphens according to the people who actually live there.

Maryn, humming Steely Dan's My Old School:
California... tumbles into the sea.
That'll be the day I go back to Annandale.

AnneMarble
10-28-2007, 07:39 AM
Anne, if I promise not to drop in unannounced, will you share your address? Because I can't quite conceive of an address with an ampersand, yet I trust you've got one.

Better, can you create a similar not-my-address example?
The street address has an "and" in it, but I often use the ampersand anyway (because it's long enough as it is).
Not-my-address example:
Something & Whatever Boulevard


I've had similar problems with UPS packages to our son at college. At the post office, they recognize Annandale on Hudson, NY but at UPS you have to write it Annandale-on-Hudson or it doesn't exist--even though it's wrong with the hyphens according to the people who actually live there.
Now that's just weird. You'd think they'd make allowances. I guess that would be too much to ask. :tongue

benbradley
10-28-2007, 08:23 AM
Now I'm reminded of something else altogether, yet related...

USPS has a zip code lookup for any US address here:
http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp
When I was selling used books on Amazon, anytime I got an order I would put the address in there, for several reasons: It would verify the address as being real, and would give me a 9-digit zip code which is rumored to help speed and/or assure delivery (especially helpful with Media Mail which can legitimately take over three weeks), and would also put the address in a "standard" format that USPS really likes. I recall having a problem with one address in some town in Alabama, it would say there was no street with that name in that city. I eventually looked on Mapquest (or was it maps.yahoo.com? I use both) at the city, just going through (I think around the 5-digit zipcode the customer gave me), looking for the street name. Then I saw it: the actual street name was two words, not the one word the customer had typed (or vice versa, I forget). The USPS site took the two-word name with no problem, and I was able to mail off the book with confidence it would arrive.

I've seen this with city names as well - I used to live in Stony Brook, New York (not a bad little town, for being on Long Island), but I've also seen the single word Stonybrook as an apartment name. This carp can be confusing, especially because the software doesn't know to try different combinations of things by removing a space, or adding a space between obvious words. At least Google has a sort-of spelling checker and it will sometimes come back with things such as:
Did you mean: obsequious
when you do a search on obsequias.

I really like the word obsequious.

ScarlettLeopard
10-28-2007, 08:58 AM
I can't sign up for anything online that requires address verification so I feel your pain. Apparently I used to have a street name but either it was never in the city or it was annexed and now I have a county road address. All county roads were officially numbered two years ago (no more rural route addresses here) but apparently the USPS hasn't caught on yet...

Unique
10-28-2007, 05:58 PM
USPS has a zip code lookup for any US address here:
http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp

Oh, Gack! Don't get me started. I took the +four right off an envelope - HA. Where I live doesn't exist! NOPE - Sorry - try another string of four.

See? All this time you've been communicating with a figment of your imagination. Me. :tongue

sassandgroove
11-01-2007, 12:49 AM
My address exists. It even took the town, even though technically I live in unincorporated Jefferson county. I thought I lived in town until we rec'd a petition to let the town annex our neighborhood. Go figure.