A twilight zone of my own making

If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck, right? Not necessarily.

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail, clearly and properly addressed to my company, from one of our out-of-state distributors. Inside was a copy of one of our invoices to that distributor.

This is all perfectly normal as far as it goes (it is common enough to send a copy of an invoice along with the check in the amount of that invoice) except that the check was missing.

I showed it to Stephanie, our bookkeeper, with a chuckle; “Oops, it seems they made a bit of a mistake there. No check. I guess I’ll have to call them…”

But since Steph is the one who prints the invoices and posts the payments, she looked at the invoice date and number, because each distributor and account status is familiar to her.

It turns out that it was not our distributor’s mistake, but our own.

It was a VERY recent invoice, you see. We had mailed ourselves one of our own invoices, by simply reversing the positions of the two address labels. The post mark being from a nearby town and dated one or two days earlier was another clue, only noticed after Steph had identified the problem, but who studies post marks before opening mail from regular associates?

Fortunately I didn’t get so far as calling the distributor to tell them about “their mistake”.

Spending time reacting to complete misinterpretations of reality. How much of our lives are spent doing that? That’s a much deeper, broader point, see.

Hm; now if we would take to sending ourselves the checks along with the invoices, maybe we could cut out the distributors and customers altogether. Then we could call ourselves The Federal Reserve or something.