Posts Tagged ‘email fun’
During my break from personal blogging, it saddens me to report that people haven’t gotten any better at telling the difference between me and Joan Rivers. The E! channel’s Fashion Police show is currently back on the air, which means that every morning I wake up to a barrage of emails and tweets about a show I haven’t even watched, much less presented/produced. Witness:
From: Someone who doesn’t know the difference between Amber and Joan Rivers
Sent: 01 September 2010 02:20
To: Magic Amber
Subject: The fashion bullishit show
I am whatching the Fashion Police “show” I think you don’t have people have a knoledge, mrs plastic Surgery, Miss I was fat forever, and I don’t know Who’s the gay guy… What they talk and the criticism is sooo poor and low,I am sorry but can you get better people on you show?
Thank you ,
Person Who Thinks Amber is Joan Rivers
I did have to laugh at “the criticism is sooo poor and low”, though, especially with THIS person’s piece of criticism being of such a high standard, and not at all “bullishit” (which is totally going to be my Word of the Week)! Oh, kettle, you’re sooo “poor and low”! Looks like kettle doesn’t have a “knoledge” of who is Magic Amber and who is Mrs Plastic Surgery and Miss I-Was-Fat-Forever. (Is it just me, or do these sound like characters you’d find at the top of a more adult version of The Faraway Tree?*)
(At least she said thank you, though. That was polite.)
Here is a handy clue for my correspondent, and all the other people who have been contacting me this week to complain about the plastic surgery etc:
(*There totally should be a version of The Faraway Tree for adults. Maybe I will write it, once I’m done with presenting US cable TV shows. Whoops…)
P.S. Speaking of weird email, Darika Aherns of Grapevine Consulting is currently running an excellent series on blogger outreach on her site: I answered a few questions about how PRs interact with bloggers here.
(Edited to add: We’re having an issue with the links at the top of the page at the moment, but Terry is looking into this and it will be fixed as soon as possible.)
Foot fetishists. They’re everywhere, aren’t they? And by “everywhere” I mean “they’re on eBay”. In large numbers, apparently.
Last week I decided to sell some shoes, you see. (I know! Me getting RID of shoes rather than acquiring them: who’da thunk it?) And as with every other time I’ve ever tried to sell shoes on eBay, this brought the foot fetishists out in droves.
It always happens the same way. A question floods in. The question is from a man. First of all, the man comments on how “sexy” the shoes I’m selling are (Note: always “sexy”. Never “cute” or “beautiful”or “stylish”, or any other of the dozens of words you could use to describe a pair of shoes. Just “sexy”.) Sometimes he’ll say that he wants to buy them for his “girlfriend”, but other times he’ll just miss out this part and leave me to conjecture what someone named “Jim” or “Pete” or “Brian”, or whatever, wants with a pair of size 4 ladies shoes. Then comes the kicker:
“If it’s not too much trouble,” Brian will say (for he is a polite young man at heart), “could you take some photos of your feet inside the shoes? It’s, um, so I can see how high the heel is, because there’s no other way to know that than by looking at a strange woman’s feet.”
Now, you could argue that this is a perfectly reasonable question for Brian to be asking. But in response, I would argue that Brian is a foot fetishist. He is only interested in seeing photos of my feet in high heels. It’s just a feeling I get. A sixth sense, if you will. There’s always just something a little bit off about these messages. Something that triggers my “this is a foot fetishist” alarm. Also: women never ask these questions. I mean, I’ve been using eBay for years. In that time, I’ve sold a lot of shoes. NEVER have I received a question from a woman who’s asked me to take some photos of my feet in the sexy, sexy shoes. And in all the time I’ve been buying shoes (which is… a while) I’ve never emailed a complete stranger and said, “Oh, hai, could you send me some photos of your feet, please?” It’s just not done, is it? OK, sure: sometimes a shoe looks different on the foot than it does in the image. Sometimes you really do need to see it being worn to know what you think of it. But, I dunno, something about asking a stranger to photograph their feet for you just strikes me as odd. Maybe it’s just me?
The final clue that all is not what it purports to be on Planet Brian/Steve/Tony is the final line of the message which always, without exception, says something like, “By the way, could you please not publish this question on the auction listing? Just send the photos to my private email instead.”
Uh-huh. FOOT. FETISH.
I should add here that I have nothing against people with foot fetishes. I really don’t. I honestly couldn’t care less what people do in the privacy of their own homes, or what turns them on. Each to their own, after all. It’s only when they try to involve ME in their little fantasies by, say, trying to trick me into sending them photos of my body parts, that it starts to bother me. I know it’s not actually harming anyone (although it IS wasting my time, given that these people have no intention whatsoever of bidding on the shoes), but even so, it’s still devious and underhand, and, you know, some women charge good money for those kinds of “services”.
(That was a joke.)
With that in mind, I’m afraid to say the latest “can you send me photos of your feet” message was the one that tipped me over the edge. In fact, I was so annoyed to be receiving this request AGAIN that a red mist of anger descended over my eyes, and in my haste to send my “Actually, no, I won’t be emailing photos of my feet to strange men on the Internet,” response, I may have accidentally checked the box that says “publish this question and my response on the listing”. Whoops. My bad.
Still, I guess there’s no harm done. If it WAS a genuine, reasonable request, people will see it as that and think no ill of my high heel lovin’ correspondent. And if it turns out that Brian IS actually the kind of man who tries to get women to send him photos of their feet for his own, er, use, well, so be it. After all, if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking people to send you photos of their feet, then there’s no reason to be embarrassed, is there?
From: Peter’s #1 Fan
Sent: 09 March 2010 04:48
To: Magic Amber
Where is PETER??? we want peter backl Peter had knowledge and opinions that mattered.
Joan is funny, the others are boring and bland. bring back peter,kate
Peter? PETER? Are you out there, Peter? Because I think Kate wants to speak to you in all lower case, Peter, and she seems to have decided to use me as her intermediary. If you’re reading this, Peter, I’d really appreciate you stepping up to the plate and answering your own Email From Crazy People, and letting me get on with answering mine. You have knowledge and opinions that MATTER, Peter! Use them!
Also, Others? Y’all are boring and bland, BRING BACKL (sic) PETER! Whoever he is.
A comment I received on Saturday morning from a reader known as “Dillon”:
“I personally hate gingers. the red hair is not pretty, dye your hair please! i live with a ginger and she is the worst person ive ever met. she is mean about everything and never stops complaining. not to mention she smells like tuna. don’t even get me started on the freckle situation. all im saying is that gingers really have no souls, they are heartless little gingers.”
Thanks for stopping by, Dillon! I, too, hate people who are mean! Please don’t ever breed!
Dear People who keep sending me hate mail relating to the E! Network’s “Fashion Police” show,
I AM NOT the E! Network. Or, indeed, Joan Rivers. And I don’t have Kim Kardashian’s number either, so no, I can’t pass on your message to her. Oh, and I have no idea who ‘Guiliana’ is (see: NOT THE E! NETWORK, above), so I really can’t comment on whether or not her head looks like “a giant pea trapped in a worn out floor mop” although I’ll certainly be Googling that as soon as I finish writing this.
To get back to the topic, though: please stop sending me angry messages about people’s pea heads. If you absolutely MUST waste your life sending complete strangers abuse via the internet, at least make sure you get the RIGHT stranger. I have my own hate mail from lunatics, I don’t need to get Joan Rivers’ hate mail too, OK? Don’t they teach you kids ANYTHING in school these days? GOD. When I was a kid, we knew how to properly address hate mail. This was all fields, then…
I would have sent this to you personally, of course, but the first email just made me shake my head and say, “Terry, we got us another idiot, here, open up the Idiot File!” and the next person had managed to make their reply email bounce back. (Which was stupid, by the way. How can I reply to your concerns about the whole pea-head thing if you won’t tell me who you are? I mean, YOU know who I am, so … oh no, wait: you don’t, do you? You think I’m Joan Rivers. There’s no point in me even writing this, is there?)
Magic “Not the E! Network” Amber
I’ve been ill. I’ve been ill in a “having to take time off work to flop uselessly on the couch surrounded by tissues and lemsip” kind of ill. A “can’t stop talking about how bad I feel” kind of way. So I haven’t been blogging. I can’t write when I’m ill: or I can, but I just write a bunch of maudlin, woe-is-me rubbish. Sometimes I even put in song lyrics and everything, like an emo kid. Instead of all that, then, I bring you an email I received yesterday:
From: Hot Looks Lover
Sent: 21 January 2010 17:22
To: Magic Amber
Subject: i love hot looks
i’m [name removed] and i love to paint my nails especially with hot looks nail varnish. can’t wait for more colours to come out, i just love your products and the names.
from [removed] XXX
Ps. i think you should do a plum colour with sparkles in and call it revive at midnight.
Oh, damn! Can you believe I COMPLETELY forgot I was the owner of a nail polish brand? Which I apparently named, er, “Hot Looks“. (Note to self: stop drinking.) Now that I’ve been reminded of this totally neglected aspect of my career, however, I will endeavor to get off my lazy ass and make that bad boy a success! Under my expert guidance, Hot Looks will become a nail polish brand to be reckoned with! I will begin by making a plum colour with sparkles in it. I think I will call it “Revive at Midnight”. (No one ask me WHAT is being revived at midnight, OK? Because I have no idea. Vampires, maybe? The thing that lives in my attic?)
I also received an email yesterday that opened with the line, “We would like to send you some of our eyelashes.” Until I realised they were talking about FALSE eyelashes, I was totally freaked out…
It’s started again: the whole “let’s pretend Amber is running a shop!” thing, I mean. I’ve had a good few weeks WITHOUT being constantly asked about my “stock” and where I ship to, but this morning I woke up to this:
From: Woman Who Thinks I Have a Shop
Sent: 05 August 2009 02:39
To: Magic Amber
Subject: guerlain kohl kajal eyeliner
I am wanting to purchase Guerlain Kohl Kajal Eyeliner online. Do you have it in stock?
Woman Who Thinks I Have A Shop (Australia)
And no, WWTIHAS. No, I don’t have it “in stock”, on account of how I AM NOT A SHOP. But still they contact me. Last week, I got this:
From: Ponds Hand Cream Woman
Sent: 02 August 2009 20:04
To: Magic Amber
Cc: Magic Amber
Subject: ponds hand cream
i puchased some ponds hand creame and it was very watery..my address is [removed] [name removed]!
If I was American, I’m guessing the correct response to this would be a chirpy “Thanks for sharing!” But I’m not, so I just thought, “The HELL? That’s … fascinating… about the Ponds Hand Cream and all, but you know, why are you telling ME”? And why the address? What was she expecting me to do, turn up at her house to inspect the watery hand cream in person? And even if I DID sell Ponds Hand Cream(e) (Which, just to be clear, I DON’T), did she think I’d just send her a new one, on the strength of a one-line email? Sending complete strangers on the internet your address: not really such a great idea, no?
Also, note that this person was so keen to tell me about her watery hand cream that she put my email address in the CC box as well as the “to” box. Yes, the SAME email address. So I got two copies of this email, which, first thing in the morning, when I’d yet to have my coffee, convinced me there was some kind of watery hand cream epidemic going on, and that I was The Chosen One, who would have to fix it.
But no: it’s just yet another epidemic of people thinking I’m a shop. And there’s really nothing I can do about it.
Oh, GOD. Godgodgod.
Remember that time I mis-typed my mum’s email address when I was adding it to my Outlook address book (because, hey, we ALL spell our mother’s name wrong sometimes, don’t we?), and, as a result, spent a few weeks sending emails that were meant for my mum to a bloke named Norman instead?
Or the time – OK, the few times – I sent emails intended for my mother to SKY NEWS by mistake?
Remember how I swore I’d finally – FINALLY – learned my lesson, and would never, ever be that stupid again, because, seriously, who keeps making the same stupid mistake, over and over and over again?
That would be me, then.
See, my email does this thing. Every time I reply to a message, it stores that person’s email address in its memory, and it keeps it there FOREVER . And ever. And when I open a NEW email and start typing in the recipient’s name, it tries to guess who I’m going to email, and it pops their address into the “to” box. This is how I have narrowly avoided sending my mum’s messages to a person named “Mumtaz”, who once emailed me in 2007, several times this year.
But this post is not about me misdirecting emails to my mother. Not this time.
No, this post is about how a gentleman named Terry, who is not my husband – I repeat, who is NOT my husband – received a message from me yesterday. A message that – you guessed it – was not actually meant for him! Because THIS Terry – Terry-who-is-not-my-husband – wrote to me a few months ago with a question about my website. And I replied to him. And yesterday, for reasons best known to itself, my email program decided that every time I started to type the name “Terry” into the “To” box on an email, it would assume I was trying to contact Terry-who-is-not-my-husband. As opposed to, you know, Terry-who-IS-my-husband.
Yes, Terry and I send each other emails. Yes, even although we sit next to each other. This is not as mad as it sounds, though, as these would be work-related emails, ones that have maybe come to me by mistake, say, and which I have to forward on to him. Or they’re sometimes links to funny stuff we’ve found on the internet and want to share. Or, as in this case, they’re maybe emails I’ve received that I THINK may be spam, but that also may not be, and that MIGHT just be important, and because Terry happens not to be at his desk at the time, I forward them on to him with a note saying:
“I get this crap a lot now.”
And then three kisses – xxx. Which I’m sure Terry-who-is-not-my-husband appreciated. I mean, I hope he did, because it was HIM I sent that email to. Yes. Oh hell, yes.
It could’ve been worse. I mean, given that I THOUGHT I was emailing my husband, it really could have been worse, couldn’t it? I COULD have sent him the email saying, “What’s that smell, has Rubin farted again?” for instance. Or I COULD have sent him one saying, “GOD, everyone who emails me is a total asshole, srsly.”
So, you know, silver linings!
Of course, there is a way to stop your email from automatically filling in some poor random person’s name when you start to send an email. It’s a really easy way. You, of course, already know how to do it. And, it’s like, you’d think I would have known too, no? Or would’ve at least tried to find out the first few times I pulled this stunt.
But no. Not I.
Because I do this crap a lot now. And I don’t seem to be able to stop myself.*
(*I have now managed to delete the email addresses of Terry-who-is-not-my-husband, Mumtaz, Sky News and Norman-from-Canada from my computer’s memory. They won’t be hearing from me again. Someone else might, though because I didn’t get to be this stupid by actually learning from my mistakes.)
One morning last week, Terry and I returned home from the gym to discover the light on the answerphone flashing. Amongst the usual work-related messages that had been left (for Terry, obviously, not for me. Because I don’t actually “do” phone calls.) was a message from a Mystery Woman. “Please call me back,” said the Mystery Woman, in heavily accented English, before giving her number and then hanging up. It was actually quite thrilling, to be honest, like the start of an adventure novel which sees our intrepid, titian haired heroine travel the world, battling against the clock to solve the Mystery of the Mysterious Caller. Oh no, wait… I’m confusing myself with Nancy Drew again. Sorry. Where was I?
So, the Mystery Woman left her number. And that was it. No salutation, no indication of who she was, or what she was calling about – nothing to even tell us which one of us she was trying to reach. I mean, it could have been Rubin for all we knew. He gets a lot of calls like that: some of his friends have no manners AT ALL, really.
Well, Terry and I thought about this for about two seconds (and I Twittered about it, obviously), and decided that, nah, if it was THAT important to her, she’d surely call back. And she did. And do you know who our Mystery Caller was?
She was a telemarketer.
Yes, she wanted US to call HER, so she could try and talk us into buying something we didn’t want or need. Seriously, how cheeky is that? Very cheeky, I’d say. It’s bad enough that they call us all day long (Yes, we signed up to the Telephone Preference Service, but it doesn’t apply to business numbers, which ours is, and it also doesn’t stop people calling you from foreign call centres.) but expecting us to call them back? Seriously?
I thought this was a one off. But then yesterday night, an email flooded in. The subject line said “Can you call XXXXX?” (Company name removed to protect the very guilty) The body of the email contained… well, nothing, actually, other than the email signature of the person who sent it, which included the person’s phone number.
Well, of course I COULD phone that company. But the thing is, I didn’t want to. Not with my new knowledge of the way certain telemarketers have apparently started to operate, anyway, and actually, not before then either, to be honest, because I think it’s just horribly rude for a complete stranger to demand that you call them without saying why. No?
Instead, I emailed the person back to ask why they wanted to speak to me. This one turned out NOT to be a telemarketer. He was, however, a journalist who wanted my help (in the form of some quotes) for an article he was writing, and he went about asking for this help in just about the rudest way possible – and I say this as a former journalist myself. My rule of thumb when dealing with people like this is that if they can’t be bothered to be even reasonably polite when they’re asking for my help I can’t be bothered to help them. So I stopped replying to his emails, and when I got home from the gym this morning, I discovered that he had tried to call me no less than nine times. NINE. TIMES. Because, as we all know, if someone is out when you call them, phoning back repeatedly, at three minute intervals, is the best way to make them magically re-appear. Only not really, obviously.
The lesson in all of this? It pays to be polite. Also, if we didn’t have to have a phone for business reasons, I’d throw ours out of the window. Twice.
There’s a full moon tonight. If recent circumstances hadn’t made this fact painfully obvious to me already, I’d have realised as soon as I received this email, earlier today:
From: An Idiot
Sent: 11 March 2009 14:01
To: Amber, Verbal Punching Bag of the Internet
i’ve reviewed books for the new york times, discussed the art of writing on npr’s fresh air with terry gross, and many other high points in my career as a freelance writer, and so i came to your site seeking enlightenment if not some freelance gigs, and what did i see, first thing?
do you have an interesting object?
tell us it’s story
you need me. you need an editor. you really do.
I’ve removed two words which may or may not have been the author’s name from this literary feast (it was hard to tell due to the basic lack of writing skills) to protect the guilty but the rest is exactly as I received it, including font and funky yellow highlighter.
I think it becomes even more amusing when you realise it was written in response to this post at WritingWorld. Just in case you can’t be bothered reading it, it’s a post about its/it’s confusion, and I used an advert by a major publishing house as an example of how even the biggest companies sometimes get it wrong. It was the advert text that my correspondent is quoting here, and obviously, I’m not the best person to judge my own writing, but I thought it was pretty obvious that the incorrect “it’s” was an example, and wasn’t written by me (although I’m happy to admit that I get it wrong too, sometimes, even although I’m perfectly well aware of the correct use of the apostrophe). Apparently not, though.
That aside, I find it both shocking and amusing in equal measures that someone would send an email like THIS to ask me to employ them. Because, oh yeah, I’m going to totally want to take on a member of staff who wrote to me to slag off my website and try to make out that I’m an idiot who can’t spell! Doesn’t everyone want employees like that?
More importantly, though, if I WAS looking for a freelance editor (which I’m not, by the way), I’m thinking I’d probably go for one who wasn’t such a stranger to capital letters and punctuation, you know? One who, perhaps, knew that “ayieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” is not a word, and that “help” only has the one “p”.
Sadly, these kind of emails have become the norm for me recently, and to be totally honest, it’s kinda killing the Internet for me. If it’s not people writing to hurl abuse at me, or treat me as their own personal Google, it’s people commenting here to tell me they don’t like my face and that I should change it, or leaving nasty comments at The Fashion Police because a post from two years ago is now – surprise,surprise! – out of date, and the dress in question is no longer available. (Quite how this is my fault is beyond me, but apparently it is. I’m slowly starting to realise that almost EVERYTHING is my fault. Everything.) And if THAT isn’t enough, people are still confusing me with Rihanna, and writing to me AS IF I AM HER.
(Note: I am not Rihanna. NOT. RIHANNA.)