Highlands by Design

Insanity? This is WINGELLO!!

We do get some strange emails sometimes, and sometimes they’re worth sharing. The human condition is delusional, and this is the empirical data to prove it. Normally we do not mock people’s lack of knowledge and understanding, but threats of lawsuits are so common (for some reason we get them a little too frequently), the absurd nature of chaos must be displayed.

Them:

“The railway does not cross Garbutts Road in Wingello as your map suggests. I have already lost one property sale because of your inaccurate map and if it is not corrected I will consider litigating for my real estate loss. In other words fix it or I will sue you.”

Note

The map in question is the Wingello map. The railway is the zoom bar.

Us:

Hello (name deleted),

I hope you had a great day, but judging from the tone of your message, you must have felt a little irritated. Let’s hope we weren’t the cause of that. Angry people are never fun to deal with!

Ok, let’s cast all pleasantries aside and dive straight into the business talk. It’ll be a long email, but bare with me, as ignoring what is said will not be in your best interests.

Firstly, we were initially confused as to what the problem was, but thankfully we’d since worked out what was bothering you. In regards to why we found it confusing, we understand that communicating effectively doesn’t hold any real value in the current social climate, but it’s always good to back up personal grievances with some documentation/examples… but hey, you were obviously feeling quite vitriolic, so we’re ok with that. I could almost visualise the shaking of fists, out in the open air towards the heavens, cursing all that is Southern Highlands portal websites. I must say though, it’s a terrifyingly amusing image. I might put it up on my wall, next to the mental pictures of the broken hearted junior lawyer who had…. well, you know the rest of that story. We actually like the Wingello map as it is, and well, we’re just too lazy to change it. Sorry, but it will stay as it is. When you have a little more experience, maybe you’ll realise why. I suggest asking some of your more Net savvy friends, they’ll show you the light.

Secondly, I’m sorry you lost your property sale. I know how tough that must be. Let’s assume I was ready to purchase your property. Being the good capitalist boy, I’m committed. Committed like milk, straight from the cow! I have the deposit in my left hand, key in the ignition, and I’m all ready to hand over the cash to the real estate agent. But first, I just have to see the property. I like to play it safe, you know? You must know… it’s the mentality of those afflicted with the middle class mindset… what we armchair philosophers tend to consider the banality of a common mind. So I’ve seen the potential a property in Wingello might hold, analysed the charts and statistics, and hell yeah, I’m not only committed, I’m devoted now. You my friend have a sale! But hang on, as I arrive in Wingello, I think to myself “there shouldn’t be a railway line here!”. Now I think I’m lost. What in the Lord’s name is going on? This moment may have just unsettled my sense of all that is who I am. Ohh no, I have lost my identity. So let’s recap… I’ve just driven an hour to Wingello to purchase your property, but, well yeah, the railway line (or lack thereof) has unsettled my well being, my sense of self. I have no option but to drive back to where-ever I came from, my tail between my legs. Apologies in advance, cause obviously some random map on some random website had affected my ability to think logically. Makes perfect sense! This is a case you’re bound to win! Well done.

Thirdly, I loved how you how you confirmed that litigation referred to the impending doom of a lawsuit. It was as if you had already held the assumption that the people who built the Southern Highlands Online website are obviously illiterate beings from a class structure foreign to all that is the bourgeois bubble of the Southern Highlands. It is true though, we are the proletariats, and we shall rise! I wonder whose backs will be against the wall when the revolution comes? We do love to joke about such things.

In regards to your lawsuit of doom, we have 3 lawyers already lined up, but we’re unsure of which one to choose. We have Bob Loblaw, Denny Crane, and Lionel Hutz. I’ve watched them many a time on the television, and man, they sure are amusing. Given the absurdity of your threats, I think we may go with Denny Crane for this case.

Now this next bit is important!!!! It’s the finale.

Would you mind if we put up your threat and the follow up responses on our website? I’m sure a lot of people would really enjoy them (this sort of thing is always very popular on the internet). I can also put up a link to your (deleted) website if you like. Who knows, that sort of thing might generate a lot of business for your ‘real’ business. If we do not hear back from yourself, or your lawyer, we’ll just assume you’re fine with this type of publicity. It’s exciting isn’t it? The new ‘legal threats’ section will most likely be found on www.highlandsbydesign.com, but it may be better suited to the Southern Highlands Online site. We haven’t decided yet.

Now of course we’re (semi) joking, cause we’re reasonable people you see. But who knows, one day we might find ourselves driven to such a drastic solution, if only to stop people sending idle, and quite laughable legal threats to undeserving businesses. We’re all trying to survive.

And so here we are… a difficult problem arises.

The fact that your threat can be taken to be quite serious, implies to me at least, that this is the sort of thing you would do with a certain frequency. If there’s ever a problem, or things just don’t go to plan, you find a scapegoat, instill a fear of God into them, and then you feel all better in your comfortable little existence. A false sense of power is a funny thing. Now most people back down when they are threatened by lawsuits, but we understand the law to a certain extent, and we certainly loathe the tactics employed by individuals such as yourself. Honestly, the tone of your threat makes me very seriously want to publicly ridicule your email… but, you can be thankful that people like us, the common people if you will, aren’t really all that vindictive. We probably get a couple of these types of emails every six months or so, but never has one been so blunt and to the point. I don’t know what’s in the water down here, but it really does bring out the worst in people.

So now I guess we’re at the crossroads. What I hope is this… that you, the (self proclaimed) esteemed (profession deleted), realise that what you have committed is a morally and ethically heinous act, and it’d be nice to receive an apology of some kind. It’d also be fantastic if you’d apologise to every other business or person you had ever legally threatened, after-all, is that a stress anyone really needs? We’d also like documented proof of all these apologies. I’ve since notified Denny Crane, and he will be expecting them sometime in the next 12 weeks. Now I know what you’re thinking… you don’t deserve to be spoken in this way… you’re (possibly) one of the middle class elite (now really, does such a thing exist?). Well, sadly, in a society as bankrupt as the one in which we live, status means nothing. I guess we’re now the harbingers of bad news. Can we be sued for that as well?

I look forward to hearing from you soon :)

John

PS. Please note that none of the opinions I’ve expressed in this response are the actual opinions of Highlands by Design. Highlands by Design actually has no opinion regarding anything. “Middle of the road”, that’s Highlands by Design’s motto!

Them:

Why not just get things right. Why not just accept what you have provided is wrong and could adversely affect property sales in Garbutts Road. Are you bi-polar perhaps? Can you not accept that you have made a mistake.

Why write protracted rubbish.

Your remarks about lawyers are ludicrous. My brother is, in fact, an eminent SC, so you are a joke. Incidentally, three of my (reference to professions deleted) are also qualified in law.

Your puerile remarks about my business or status are simply inane. I am one of the few (profession deleted) in this country who has been sustained by my skill, and who employs several staff. That’s why I am up in the middle of the night (deleted) and (deleted). And what has that got to do with you or my complaint. It is frankly none of your business. I was referring to my property investments.

Your prolix message was only half read which was frankly more than it deserved.

And no, my remarks are not meant for publication.

Just get it right. There is no railway crossing Garbutts Road. Fix it.

Us:

Ohh Lord, life is so ridiculously sweet sometimes, that it leaves me to wonder if ghosts wear the dreams of those without a respect for the absurd. Guess not. I had a feeling I was walking into something out of Candide.

Anyway, the railway line, as you call it, is actually a vertical zoom bar for the map. The 2 stations (+ and -) will zoom in and out of the map, as well as give you a visual representation of how far you are zoomed in. You should try it, it can be a lot of fun. Anyone who has actually used the web portion of the Internet in the past 24 months would most likely realise this. We understand that people unfamiliar with the mapping system (which is actually developed and hosted by Google… you may have heard of them) wouldn’t understand it immediately, but I certainly wouldn’t expect them to contact the websites in question to threaten them with idiotic lawsuits. In future, I would recommend you direct your threats to Google directly, as those types of design decisions are actually up to them.

It’s a shame though, I was really hoping you were going to attempt to sue us. It honestly would have made our week!

Ohh, and I think I will post your threat on the Internet, but I’ll be sure to obfuscate your identity. Unlike you, I do respect the people in this world, regardless of how naive and ignorant some of them may be :) Sometimes we’re handed such comedic gold, it would be a criminal act not to share them with the world.

Virtual Hugs and Kisses,

John

Them:

The map traverses Garubtts R=oad on your map. That does not occur, no matter how you try to twist it.

Just fix it.

Remove the map from crossing Garbutts Road.

Them again (a few hours later):

The most absurd thing about this is you. You cannot accept that you made a mistake. There is no railway line crossing Garbutts Road. Nothing to do with Google but rather your mistake. In your map the line clearly traverses Garbutts Road, but in reality is not near Garbutts Road. At no point does Garbutts Road run alongside the railway, traverse the railway line or is even adjacent to the railway line.

Purely and simply you have stuffed up. Change the map or you will soon learn how serious I am.

Fix it and don’t communicate with me again or I will seek redress regarding that also.

Comedic gold is your ludicrous and indulgent writing style. I am convinced it is some kind of mental orientation.

You have made a mistake. Just act like a normal, mature adult and fix it. Try growing up or seeking assistance to remedy your inability to accept your inadequacies.

Us:

You know at first I couldn’t really tell if you were trolling or not. The funny thing is, I’m still not sure.

Well the problem is this… we can’t fix what isn’t broken.

We can have the zoom bar removed from the map, but the fact that only one person out of the 10,000 or so that visit the site each week has a problem with it, it doesn’t make good business sense to remove an integral feature of the mapping system. It would also take a couple hours of work to have the said zoom bar removed, which would involve downloading the customised mapping product we had developed to integrate with Google Maps, editing the numerous Javascript and Python files, testing to see if our changes have caused any potential problems, re-uploading everything back up to the server, and then restarting the Zope instances that run the site (as well as a variety of other websites). As you can imagine, this is something we prefer to avoid. We also have far more important things to do (like take out the garbage, listen to music, twiddle our thumbs, etc). I’ve tried to explain that the zoom bar is not a railway line, but obviously when someone believes they are right, they won’t be proven wrong. Ohh well, you can’t say we haven’t tried.

I do have one question though. Do you honestly believe that the Wingello map on the Southern Highlands Online has caused you to lose a property sale? If so, how? A lot of people are curious to know.

As this is unavoidably heading into Pynchonesque fueled territories, let me share a little secret. There are pigeons who sing songs of utter despair. In far away lands, I see them. They fear their doubt, and the whitewashed legs of diplomacy. They were built from the remnants of everything that is goat’s milk and reason. For we are the dreamers!

Ohh, and I’m of sound mental health. Thanks for asking :) Let’s hope we can kiss and make up when this is all over.

John

Them

It is clearly wrong. Your intransigence indicates your reasoning capacity. Obviously, your remark regarding one person out of 10,000 says it all. Clearly, if it hadn’t affected them the others would have no reason to complain. You know little about the law. The law will not take into account how it affected the other 9,999, only how it affected the person making the complaint.

I had a potential client interested in purchasing a property who was deterred by your incorrect map, which indicated a rail track across Garbutts Road. I had difficulty convincing that person that there was, in fact, no rail line crossing the road, or in fact in the vicinity of the road. They then assumed that it was planned for some future time. I lost the sale.

Obviously, your cohorts are as limited as you.

I will pursue this because it has already adversely affected a property sale.

Please refrain from further correspondence with me or I will have to consider it harassment.

Do the right thing and fix your mistake. This will then be resolved.