July 26, 2007

Oh, the Annoyances of Modern Life

OVER AT DAVE BARRY'S BLOG, Dave's research assistant Judi Smith has written a post about an issue troubling millions of Americans -- that goddamned e-mail feature that pops up and asks you to send a reply to the sender informing them you have, in fact, read their e-mail.

Of course, I certainly don't mind sending a response if I have a business relationship with the person, and the e-mail in question is an important one and one where the sender truly needs to know if I got it. Unfortunately, this is only the case with approximately 3 pc of the e-mails I get that have the feature activated. As for the remainder, not only do I not know the senders from Adam, the topics of their e-mail are inevitably banal and useless. As such, I react like any American would in such a situation: I openly pray for God to quickly deliver His swift and terrible justice to the sender, and dispatch the wretched cur to the special place in Hell where such people go. (Flatterers: 8th circle, 2nd chasm).

I mean, look. I'm busy. If I'm interested in your e-mail, I'll -- wait for it -- actually write back asking for further information. Until then -- for the love of God -- chill. Sure, it may be that your e-mail is semi-interesting, and if that's the case I'll get back to you in a couple of days when I'm not busy with other, more important things that my bosses wanted done yesterday. In the meantime, have a nice lunch out. Have a martini. Make paper airplanes out of the Dunleavy Report and shoot them around your cubicle. Do not bother me.

And especially don't bother me with a follow-up phone call the next day enquiring if I got your e-mail. Holy cow. Of course I got your e-mail. If I was interested in it, I would have called you and we would have had a nice talk. Calling me -- especially if I'm up to my eyeballs in real work -- is not a way to get me excited and interested in your product or service.

I wish I knew who came up with the brilliant idea that such a feature was not only a good idea, but that it must be used on every single e-mail that gets sent out, no matter how trivial its importance. They could use a good kick. I mean, 99 times out of 100 a simple e-mail will do the job. They all get read. There's no need to be pushy about it.

If there's a silver lining to this mess, though, it's that most people -- being smart and industrious -- intuitively know that a simple e-mail works. They know that responses might not be immediately forthcoming, for one of 100 reasons, but they trust the information got there.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 26, 2007 02:27 AM | TrackBack
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