I couldn’t believe my ears last week! A new customer in Israel asked if we could complete a few forms and return them, together with the invoice, by fax. Probably an older lady, I thought initially.
I think we ditched our fax machine about 10 years ago; it was just taking up space in our office. So, we simply converted the documents into PDF files and sent them off. Within 15 minutes, we got a response from Tel Aviv. “Could you confirm that by fax, please? Your email might be hacked”, they substantiated their request.
Hacked emails, I never gave it too much thought I’ve got to admit, but I guess it’s something that happens in Israel. After some detective work at our headquarters in the Netherlands, we managed to get hold of an old fax machine. All’s well that ends well.
The incidence with the fax machine reminded me of something that happened here a few years ago. It wasn’t our email then, but our mail items that were hacked, or for some unexplained reason never made it to the addressed. They simply disappeared.
We’re used to the fact that it takes a while for mail from abroad to reach us here. But at that time, it really got out of hand. At some stage, we hadn’t received any international mail for more than two months. No magazines, no trade journal, no bank statements. Nothing!
I decided to find out more at the nearby postal sorting office and found complete chaos. Dozens of post bags from Schiphol were just sitting there, untouched, in a corner of the room.
Fifteen minutes later, I was sitting on a stool, surrounded by bags of airmail, going through all the post. By the end of the afternoon, I happily returned home with a bag filled with mail. I hadn’t just retrieved a pile of letters and magazines addressed to ourselves, but also many items belonging to other Dutch people I knew. They just let me take them – no questions asked! Perhaps that explains why things get lost every now and again.
The postal service in Ecuador still isn’t great. The best way to send something is by registered mail, or by asking a colleague to take it. The homing pigeon also retired a while ago, after all.
Victor van Dijk
Area manager South America, Fleurametz