Lost in Identity Limbo … Silly Rules
Gladys has started a new LinkedIn Group ‘Rules Say Must Not’. She’s looking for silly or dumb rules. I’m sure you know some — we run into them all the time! Share for the fun of it. (Prizes offered for the best — uhm, worst — including an iPod!) See http://goo.gl/0tLD3 … Here’s my own first post.
A recent graduate from a top-ranked university registered for the MCAT, the gateway test to medical school. Let’s call him Jeffrey Hamilton (not his real name). Someday Jeffrey, known to all as Jeff, will make a great doctor. But Jeff made the mistake of actually calling himself ‘Jeff’ in registering and paying for the MCAT. Go figure.
Jeff knew the MCAT rules called for two forms of id. (Rule 1: A person’s name must be verified by two government-issued identity cards.) Not a problem. He had a passport and a driver’s license, both with photos and signatures. (Not great photos, but you know how id photos go.) He had not signed either one with his full name – just ‘Jeff Hamilton’.
As the date of the test approached, Jeff was talking to friends who had already taken the test. Just to make sure, it occurred to him to check whether his having registered as ‘Jeff’ instead of ‘Jeffrey’ might cause any problems.
As it turned out, big problems. The full names had to match. (Rule 2: A person’s full name must be given in an MCAT registration.) Only “Jeffrey” (the id’ed person) could take the test. ‘Jeff’ (the registered person) could not. O.K., he had messed up.
So ‘Jeffrey Hamilton’ (the real person), being a poor recent college graduate, naturally asked for a refund of his registration fee (considerable for college kids). Not allowed – the rules said must not.
You would think that ‘Jeffrey Hamilton’ (the real person) had to be either ‘Jeff’ (the registered person) or ‘Jeffrey’ (the id’ed person). Since ‘Jeffrey Hamilton’ (the real person) could not take the test, he must not have been ‘Jeffrey’ (the id’ed person). So he must have been ‘Jeff’ (the registered person). But ‘Jeff’ (the registered person), couldn’t take the test, nor could he get a refund, even a partial one. (Rule 3 (presumably): A refund may be issued only if the name of registered person matches the full name on two government-issued id’s.) Bottom line: Poor Jeff was not himself. He was lost in identity limbo.
Tags: Business Rules, Rules, silly rules
Ronald G. Ross
Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.