True story

As you know, I’m going to be moving back to Calgary in December. The exact timing for that is still being determined, but let’s just go with the broad stroke: we have a lot of stuff that needs to be done as part of moving back.

One of those things — rather obvious to anyone who’s ever been responsible for their own utilities — is making sure that the electricity, gas, and water are put back in our names. And there’s no time like the present to do the research about services, plans, companies, and so forth.

One obvious choice, at least in Calgary, is Enmax. It’s a city-owned utility that provides electricity (its original function), water, and has a license to also distribute gas (we’ll ignore, for the moment, that the “distribution” is exceedingly virtualised). I’ve used Enmax for every house I’ve lived in (at least within Calgary), and having everything on one bill is a big plus.

Add to that the desire to have green energy, I also wanted to look into their Greenmax programme, as it’s something I’d like to support (at least until I can afford my own solar panels). As I started hunting around in the site, I came across something that made me genuinely laugh:

If your mailing address is outside of North America, please contact us at 310-2010 (toll free in Alberta) to verify details.

If you’re wondering why I’m laughing, it’s because of the “310” number. It doesn’t work outside of Alberta (at least so far as I know). It’s also a real misnomer because it doesn’t include an area code, either. Certainly, there’s an assumption that you somehow know that Calgary’s area code is “403”, but too much assumption becomes presumption.

At any rate, I found this so humourous, I tweeted it. Go on, follow the link. I’ll wait.

Now you might be wondering what the heck the “#” is in that content. If you’re not familiar with Twitter, you’ve probably never seen a hashtag. That’s what the “#” is. Hashtags enable someone to search for tweets (a post in Twitter), so they can follow an event, for example. In the case of companies, it’s handy to flag them specifically.

The “#fail”? Well, that’s a note that something is wrong. Possibly horribly wrong. It’s half-Twitterese, and half-internet geekery.

Now, I’d posted that tweet figuring that I’d never hear anything of it. It’s one of those things with Twitter — you expect, if anything, for your friends to make smarmy comments about the things you say and do. (Yes, @humantorch, @jthale, and @froosh_ca, I’m looking at you. Jerks.)

Well, apparently, Enmax is much further into this internet thing than I was giving them credit for. Someone was watching the #enmax hashtag. Someone saw it. And they showed it to their marketing consultant. The marketing consultant… well…

He doubled over laughing.


Because Dan knows me … very well. (Dan used to be the President of Critical Mass — he’s now a principal of The Evans Hunt Group — and was even my direct boss for a while.)

Dan dropped me a line with the correct 877 number. And I suspect that he had some influence on the copy in Enmax’s website, because I can’t find the original quote anymore (it used to be on Enmax’s Sign Up page).

[Insert singing dolls here.]