How I learned to stop worrying and love the mail

Well, I’m being productive, aren’t I? Fourth post in 2 days! I know I should be doing other things, but seriously, I really feel that not enough people know this or actively use it. If you do, good for you, I may be just about the last person to find this out, so bear with me. There may be that one person that thought this would never work.

Whenever I shop online, I find that I save about 1$ having my stuff shipped to a delivery point rather than to my house through regular mail. You order the stuff, you choose payment (local/pre-paid) and then you wait for the package to show up at some tobacconist’s or book store. Then, you tell the clerk your password (usually a short number) and you get your stuff. Simple, isn’t it?

One thing that always confused me was this: If I get the stuff delivered to a location other than my house address, why the fuck do I need to input my address at all? That’s when it started. I ordered some stuff before, but now I started playing around with it. John Simmons (my go-to fake name) was the first to be tried out, but I kept the address real. Then, I tried the same town, but a different number (Wow, I now live at my neighbors’ house). After that, I started adding other people’s names, but always when I knew it was a real address. Now my neighbors are buying my shit for me!

Nothing happened. No secret police, no Post office fraud squad, nothing. In retrospect, it feels almost disappointing. I expected at least a look, a smirk, a weird stare, something. Even when I bought in the name of a female family member, the shop clerk never checked anything. Just beep boop, paid for, goodbye.

After these experiences, my paranoia started playing with me, but this time in a kind of a good way. I don’t put my real address in the WHOIS, I don’t write my real address on here, I take care not to put my details too much out there. All my photos are stripped of metadata before posting, for fuck’s sake! Why, after so much trouble, is my real address still in some storage room in some bullshit shop?

I decided to do the following:

  • pay for all that shit in-place (partially to see if clerks check ID when the stuff has to be paid for on-site)
  • Make a different name for every transaction (name, address)
  • Give a month between each and every purchase at the same shop (to prevent the awkwardness when Mr Stephanopoulos and Mr Heinz are one and the same)

Point 1 and 3 are simple. The first may turn out to be pricey (paying in person costs more than paying before), but point 2 is where I was bummed out. I know that I have almost no fantasy. Every time I had to pick out a name, it would be like pulling teeth. After the third attempt, I’d probably give up.

Yes, I’m a lazy cunt.

But then, what can’t be solved by a strong mind can be solved with a bit of lazy spaghetti code.

Behold! the website I need is Fake Name Generator and a bit of bash bickering.

First, I curl the website (which generates all the data about a person), then sed all the superfluous stuff out. After that, the script displays a nice list of Full name, Address and town.

It works great! I aliased the one-liner to namegen and every time I want a different identity, I just pop one command out and I got it!

Alternatively, I could just get myself a nice autotyping script and get all my data filled out for me!

In the meantime, however, here’s the script!

curl --silent ''| grep 'div class="info"' -A5 | sed -E -e 's/\ \ //g' -E -e 's/<br\ \/>/\n/g' -E -e 's/<...?.?>//g'| grep -v class

It’s a simple one liner, some sed substitution, and finally a grep to get rid of the tags.

The result looks like this:

Sherry S. Gingrich
3805 Adams Avenue
Beltsville, MD 20705

I’ll probably forget, but I’ll try to test this in as many places as I can. Also, if I don’t forget, I’ll do an update a few purchases from now to let you know what it’s like.