Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sending flowers when you don't know her address

I had an interesting problem recently. I wanted to send my new love flowers, but she lives hundreds of miles away and I don't know her address, and she's a very private person (to the point of paranoia, frankly), and our relationship is very new, so I didn't want to rock the boat (or spoil the surprise) by asking her for her address.

I considered my options.
  • Ask her employer for her address -- a no-no. Definitely not a good idea, and it would be unprofessional, frankly, for her employer to give me her address. (She works at home, incidentally.)
  • Ask a mutual friend. Not possible: I don't know anyone who has her address.
  • Do a reverse phone lookup? I only had her cell phone number. (That's all she has. No landline.) And with a reverse lookup on a cell phone, address info doesn't come free. You have to pay for it. It's only $5 in many cases, but still -- why pay $5 if you don't have to? (Actually, I did go this route -- and got an address that was years out of date.)
  • I could ask her directly. But I didn't want to do this. It would raise suspicion -- and spoil the surprise. I wanted the flowers to come as a surprise. That was the whole point.
I hit upon a brilliant solution. My web-savvy love interest, it turns out, has her own vanity domain name (e.g., firstname-lastname.com). Knowing her, I knew it would be a genuine domain name (not an alias), registered with a real domain-name registrar. (And I was right.) And I knew that her address would be on file with the registrar -- because it's required. You have to give an address when you take out a domain name. I did a WHOIS search and found out that her vanity domain name was indeed registered to her -- and there was her address! The registration information was two years old, but I knew she was probably still at the same address, because she had told me once that she hates nothing more than moving.

Sure enough, I sent flowers and they arrived at the right address. Mission accomplished!

But the mission didn't go entirely well. More about that in my next post.


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