Having been away for a week, I’m a little nervous.

A few weeks ago, I managed to live through a day where no e-mail messages made it to my in-box. It took a while to find out, because I could send messages; but the replies didn’t make it through.

Of course, I had a satisfying chat with Bell’s customer service folks in another country:

Me [after visiting the Bell web site, which proclaimed its e-mail service was “available”]: I am not receiving e-mail.

Bell: Please do not worry. This is a problem on our end. Our server level technicians are already working on the problem and it will be fixed as soon as possible. We really appreciate your patience.

Me: Oh, then why does it say “this service is available” on the Bell site?

Bell: I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. [Notice question not answered.] You will be able to send emails but there is a server issue which is causing a delay in receiving emails.

The problems lasted just the one day, but I feel compelled to add “as far as I know.” Because now, when I don’t receive a prompt response to an e-mail, I begin to wonder if the person sent it weeks ago, and is now getting cheesed off with me for lack of response.

All of this to say, please be sure to respond to people. If you don’t have the answer, a short note to acknowledge that you got the request and are looking into it is perfect. Even saying “I’m crazy busy, will answer some day” works for me. And if you didn’t get a reply within a day or two from a person who usually gets back to you quickly, there’s no harm in calling; sometimes that’s when you’ll find out he or she is away.

Or am I expecting too much?