Monday, June 6, 2016


It's not always a good thing for your writing to be seen. Janet Reid's post today somewhat touches on this theme - in a classic example of the old "How can you know my writing isn't good enough!?" rant which exemplifies where the writing is weak.

My own example today was at work. In an interoffice envelope from some other quarter of the company, I received a letter forwarded along to my boss, but actually addressed to "Mr. Contact Unknown, Owner" (incorrect company name).

Rest assured that my boss will see this letter, and its envelope - both identically incorrect - but not for the reasons hoped-for. I shared the thing all over my corner of the world, because everybody needs a laugh. The consensus was twofold: one, that we NEED TO DO BUSINESS with these folks as quickly as possible. And two, that my planned response of "Actually, it's Ms. Contact Unknown" is the best possible one.

Best. Mail merge. Ever.

Also, nice putting your best foot forward, company.

Image: Wikimedia

All this has only the most cursory relation to writing, or even to Janet's post, linked above. Mostly, I'm sharing it because it's funny, and I hear humor is a good way to prevent blog readers' boredom. And I care about y'all. I really do. I don't want you coming here getting bored.

So you're welcome. Mr. and Ms. Anonymous Reader. Happy Monday.


TCW said...

Nope, nowhere near the best mail merge ever. That was one sent from a bank to its most important (high net worth) customers. (And this is absolutely true.) The bank neglected to merge in the actual customer names onto the template. Several thousand really important customers therefore received a letter that started 'Dear Rich Bastard'.

DLM said...

Hee. Well, okay - that one is legend (even though it WAS true). But this one is mine!

Donnaeve said...

Do folks at your office ever make the mistake of hitting reply all when they have snarky reply to share with a particular recipient perchance?

That used to be the email etiquette fail for some I worked with in my previous corp life. That, and putting everyone's name in a TO: area instead of the CC: spot when only one person was being directly addressed, and the others were supposed to be copied just as FYI.

Yes. Email etiquette snafu's like that used to irk me. :)

DLM said...

I've seen that, but more common is the "reply-all party" where some message goes out to G-d and everybody without using the BCC field, and people to whom it's not relevant use reply-all because they are morons, then other people respond to them to ask them not to use reply-all, then still others complain about all the reply-all messages, and some schoolmarms helpfully reply-all again to delicately explain about the whole reply-all problem ...

When this happens on an enterprise level, and thousands of people are affected, it's pretty disruptive to everyone's productivity.

One of my work pals came in a couple days ago and greeted me, "Hello Ms. Contact Unknown." Hee.

Lilac Shoshani said...

I'm a space cadet and pretend to live in NYC time-zone-wise, which means that my chances to make embarrassing mistakes are huge. Once I replied to my best friend's email, but I signed her name instead of mine...Now imagine doing that to an agent… ;-)

DLM said...

Lilac, you got the Pillsbury Doughboy chortle out of me there!

TCW said...

I did once send an email to my wife suggesting that we book a different hotel because the one she wanted was unrealistically expensive. I put this as a comment on the quote from the hotel, intending to forward it, but I hit 'Reply' instead. I got a response from the hotel saying it was interesting to see how clients made decisions and offering a substantial discount!

We enjoyed the holiday.

DLM said...

Tom, that's the best story - and kind of a fun part of the holiday!