About a week ago I got a phone call about a problem on one of my bridges that was under construction. I took down the information and sent an e-mail to the consultant who designed the bridge asking them to analyze it and come up with a solution, keeping track of their labor so we could assess the contractor for the time they spent on the problem. I never heard anything back, so I asked again yesterday morning (thinking I should just call, but e-mail is just so easy, plus I copied his boss and the DOT project manager). The DOT guy was mad that a week had gone by with no answer, so he replied to even more people and said he wanted an answer right away. Still nothing. I called the consultant that afternoon and asked if he had gotten my e-mail. “What e-mail?” he said. I had problems in the past with their company blocking my e-mail so I asked him if he had a personal e-mail address I could send it to. He still didn’t get it. I told him I would just print it out and fax it to him.
After I faxed it, I went over the e-mail to see if I could find anything that might have flagged the mail as spam (one time I used the word “free” in a subject line and it was blocked). In the very last sentence I found the problem: I had left the “s” off of “assess”. An automatic courtesy censor had prevented my e-mails from ever leaving the building.