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Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, April 18, 2006 1:29 PM
What's With These People?
Kevin Salwen on Technology

What is it about email that makes people do the things they do? People who are acquaintances (not close friends) or the parents of my kids' teammates somehow feel they are welcome to send me crap -- I can't think of another way to say it. Today, I received an email with the subject line "Baby Porcupines" from a person I haven't spoken more than 3 sentences with at any time.  Inside the email: a photo of baby porcupines and the line "Who'd have thought baby porcupines were cute?" Who'd have thought? Who'd have cared? Who'd have deigned to send this idiocy?
The worst, in my opinion, are the chain emails about faith. A guy I've had lunch with once now includes me on a list of emails that urge me to proclaim my faith in Jesus -- and to trumpet that loudly to others. (Can I at least finish my Passover matzoh first? :-))   Finally, I sent back a note that I am Jewish. I think I'm no longer on that list.
What's the correct response or etiquette with these people? Do I just hit delete or say something?


Monica Ricci - 5/7/2006 11:18:51 AM
More often than not, I too, get annoyed by those things that well-meaning people send via email. In the spirit of "don't sweat the small stuff" I typically just hit delete and move along with my day. If it were to be ridiculous to the tune of someone sending me something every day, I'd probably say something. But in the grand scheme of things, this one for me falls under "pick your battles". ~Monica
Florence - 4/20/2006 2:42:09 PM
I hate it when they say "if you're my firend, you'll send this back to me". Here's my standard reply to that one: Dear beloved friend, Thank you for including me among your list of friends in your recent forwarded email. Its content moved me deeply until I got to the end and read that I would not be regarded as a true friend unless I sent it back to you. You see, friend, my feelings for you can not be limited to or judged by such trite conditions. Therefore, I will take to heart the message you intended for me to get, but I will not forward it back to you or all my “friends” and ask them to place any such conditions on our relationship. Rather, I will count my friends by the place they hold in my heart and hope they will do the same for me.
Coley - 4/19/2006 12:50:42 AM
Can't stand them either-- usually. I do have a couple of exceptions: 1. I end up rolling (literally) on the floor laughing; or 2. There is a personal note with the forward (to me, not ten million people) and I see that I'm the only recipient or one of a max of 3 other recipients. If somebody gets a forward and thinks of me specifically (not just in some long list of people the send all the junk to) then I think it's actually nice to get them. But then, when those kind come they are relavent to me and I usually do end up rolling on the floor laughing or truly inspired when I get hand picked spam.
Mr X - 4/18/2006 11:10:45 PM
I agree!
Janet Auty-Carlisle - 4/18/2006 9:50:09 PM
One man's treasure is another man's trash....My favourite has been the one(s) that I get telling me to share with as many people as possible within a certain amount of time and, God forbid, if I don't, all hell will break loose. Then, they back it up....so and so did not forward this and they were dead by the end of the week....so and so did not forward this and their house burned down two days later....gmab....I just hit the delete button. Best invented button on my keyboard...Living la vida fearless, Jan
Julie - 4/18/2006 5:28:49 PM
The worst ones, of course, are the ones that start like this: "I never forward these, but this one was so funny, I couldn't resist." Resist, already.
Kevin - 4/18/2006 4:51:06 PM
Touche, Grant!!! So, these two guys go into a bar....
Grant Henninger - 4/18/2006 4:00:46 PM

Kate, that's a great response. I think it is even better now that you work for yourself.

Kevin, if I don't get too many emails from the person I just delete them without saying anything. If I do get a ton of chain emails from a specific person I blacklist their email address. Sure, it means they can't send me anything at all, but it also means I don't get any more crap. Of course, I don't tell them I've done this, I'm a bit passive-aggressive that way. Oh btw, did you get that email about the unicorns I sent you? I thought it was cute.

Kate - 4/18/2006 3:00:51 PM
I used to have reasonable success when I would cut and paste this response: "Funny! But, if I get personal e-mails at work, I'll get fired. Please take me off your list and be careful...your boss might be watching." This may be harder to sell now that I work for myself, but I can honestly say my boss never wants to see 19 Reasons to Be Friends or animal videos again.
Whitney - 4/18/2006 2:29:27 PM
I feel your pain, Kevin. It seems to be getting worse with each passing month, not better. It's your mailbox, so it's your right to decide what you want to see in it. It's bad enough that we can't come up with a foolproof way to kill spam from strangers. But enduring spam from friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and family is just too much. The spam becomes even more annoying when junk e-mail is the only thing friends and family EVER send to you...and your pleas to substitute the junk for a two-line e-mail just quickly letting you know how they and the family are doing repeatedly go unheard. (Select All Addresses is easier to do than typing one sentence, apparently.) For the five years, I've been in a recurring cycle where I spend months silently deleting all the crap that gets forwarded to me. Then I snap and send a polite e-mail saying I have too much work-related e-mail coming in and don't have the time to spend sorting the work stuff from the "fun stuff". The spam flood stops...for awhile. Then the cycle begins again. After finding a flood of this junk in my Inbox this weekend, I sent another note asking people to stop. Because some of my friends only recently became active on the Internet, I added a note that after 10 years, most of the stuff they're seeing now for the first time -- the dancing leprechaun, the faith e-mails, the visual illusions, the tired old jokes about the "war between the sexes" -- I've seen multiple times. And even if I found them amusing or entertaining on the first read, they've long since lost their appeal. The next time this starts up again, I'm shutting down my current e-mail address, getting a new one, and refusing to share it with the chronic spam offenders. I feel your pain, Kevin.
Bill - 4/18/2006 2:15:44 PM
I agree...some people just have too much time on their hands.


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