Email vacuum

"Do businesses put email addresses on their websites for purely decorative purposes?" asks a Westmere reader. "In the past fortnight, I have emailed three firms (in three different lines of business) to inquire about stock availability and received neither acknowledgement nor reply. I used the email approach because I realise staff are under pressure that phone calls, if they don't get lost in "please hold" limboland, can add to. But if they provide an email address, perhaps they could check their inboxes occasionally."

Right name for the job ... aka nominative determinism

1.

"When at school in the UK I had a teacher called Miss Persil (well known washing powder) who married and became Mrs Allbright."

2. "I was watching the weather segment on a regional TV channel in the UK and the presenter's name was Sarah Blizzard!"

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3. "Growing up in Kaukapakapa in the 1970s, the headmaster at the local primary school was Arthur Flay, the shopkeeper Jack Tucker and the butcher Ken Shanks!"

4. "A law firm I worked at in the 1970s had a tea lady by the name of Mrs Brewer."

5. "In the early to mid 1970s the cooking teacher at Birkdale Intermediate School was Mrs Fry and the cooking teacher at Birkdale College was Mrs Baker."

6. "In the mid 1970s my parents bought the last empty section on Manly Beach Whangaparaoa from a surgeon named Dr Gash."

7. "We had a dentist called Nash, the gang in the pub called him Nash The Teeth."

8. "Has anyone mentioned Dr Hackett who was a surgeon at Rotorua Hospital?"

9. "For many years the Kapiti District Council's dog ranger was Don Wolff."

10. "I remember when the Chief Whip in Parliament was Bill Birch."

Deadly wit

A reader writes: "Mary Death's name was the cause of a lot of black humour at the Hospice — patients would say that they weren't ready for her, could she come back in September and so on ... One man reeled back in the lift and cried 'Oh. what an awful name, why don't you change it ?' She asked what he thought she should change it to. 'Susan, or anything, I've never liked the name Mary.' Oh, the wit."