A while back I discussed the ever-annoying “reply all” emails that lazy individuals e-vomit into inboxes. In those cases the senders are aware of their messages, albeit possibly only semi-consciously.
So what about accidental emails like the one I sent in college to a non-responsive interviewee in which I was complaining about said interviewee? It was meant for my instructor, and it got to her eventually, but not before I angered the unintended receiver and made him think twice about speaking to my class ever again. Shit.
Some of goof-ups are harmless, sure. And sometimes flub ups simplyteach us the hard way to be more careful.
But some of these mistaken messages could be harmful. Take the congratulatory email the University of California – San Diego sent to 28,000 rejected students (in addition to 18,000 accepted students) last month. Ouch! While apparently the admissions staff “acknowledged the pain” they caused and spent time replying to every inquiry, I have to wonder: If they aren’t sued for this, when will the next similar situation occur wherein the faulty sender is?
This is difficult to read, isn’t it?
I know it is. And I know better than to send an e-blast to 10,000 people in which I used it only on underlined links. But earlier last month I got catch up in the excitement of spring, in the beauty of coloring in a pretty design.
So what happened? I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from constituents writing nice, simple emails with phrases like “yellow print is illegible.” And I was happy to take the time to listen. I wrote each back, thanking them for their note and promising not to use yellow again. No biggie…I was just glad for their input.
Also, recently, I took the time to write a huge company to simply ask for discount on an order. (They had screwed up a previous one.) It worked…I got 10% off, no questions asked.
These instances just go to show what emails are sent and read by people—no matter the size of the organization. And, sometimes, if we take time to share our preferences with companies, then that is all it takes to get what we want.