I work at a very small company, and a while back I was in charge of handling the customer service emails. For the most part, this is pretty routine, brainless work – perfect for the late afternoon when the sun is roasting me and my mind isn’t working all that well anyway.
Most of the emails I get are either polite, or curt (because, I’m guessing, they think a machine is at the other end, so there is little point in adding niceties). I don’t care either way and I respond in kind – politely.
Occasionally, you get a real dipshit that, completely unprovoked, lashes out in an email. In every single case I can think of, we have done absolutely nothing wrong–these people just have an axe to grind against the world and we’re just the most accessible target.
I don’t really lower myself to engage in a flame war with these people – but I will amuse myself at their expense. Talking down to these people is a lot of fun and pisses them off more than anything else.
Here’s an example.
In response to an automated signup confirmation email, one person wrote a pithy–and completely pointless–reply:
To which I replied:
Thank you for being our gay.
Funny, right? This guy didn’t think so. His response:
i am talking about you d i p s h i t
How dare he insult our automated email sender! I had to defend its honor. My riposte:
I suggest you take a class in b a s i c E n g l i s h then. Terribly sorry about the confusion.
Then we had “the doctor.” I got this guy’s email apparently the first day of a two-week vacation.
There is some personal information about me on your site that you must remove immediately. If you don’t remove it within 1 hour, I will sue you! (I am a lawyer AND a doctor)
So, I got back a couple of weeks later to read this guy’s email, and thankfully (whew!) didn’t see any papers served to our company. So I responded exceedingly politely, basically asking the guy what the hell he was talking about.
The reply went along the lines of:
I am in a relationship with a very nice French woman who was disturbed to find a personals listing I had posted a long time ago on your site. Please remove it immediately or I will sue you within an hour!
Since our company is the furthest thing from a dating service, I was still completely in the dark. I asked him ever-so-politely for a URL. In addition to threatening to sue me within an hour (for the third time), he provided a link to a review of an online dating service where this jackass had posted a personal ad in the form of a comment.
Let’s be clear about this: this guy was so stupid as to think a blog post about a dating service was the dating service, and that publishing a comment in the blog post would share his personal ad with thousands of eligible young women.
What a dumbass.
So I patiently explained in an email that this was not Match.com, that he had just posted a comment, but that I had deleted it. I wished him and his nubile French girlfriend a happy life together.
I got another panicked reply from Dr. Jackass later, saying that it was not removed. After a few back-and-forths later, it turned out that his girlfriend was still seeing the comment in Google search results. That’s because–you guessed it!–Dr Jackass used his full, real name in posting the comment. I explained that it would take Google some time for that deleted comment to flush out of their search results, and that he should take it up with Google.
Thankfully that was the last I heard from him.
Another person who didn’t understand the difference between a review about email providers and the actual email provider was a lady I’ll call Dumbelina.
I got an email from her saying:
I can’t seem to log into my email account. It says it’s locked or something. Please help me. There’s important mail I have to read.
I wrote back, and having learned from the Dr Jackass experience, asked her which email account she was trying to access. She said Yahoo Mail.
I wrote back.
You have reached us in error. We are not Yahoo Mail, and we are not in any way affiliated with Yahoo Mail. We’re [Our Company]. We have no way of helping you access your Yahoo Mail account, but you might consider contacting Yahoo if you’re still having difficulties logging in.
Crystal clear, right? The response I got back from Dumbelina:
I don’t know about this [Our Company] business. I ‘m just trying to log into my Yahoo Mail account. I can’t get in, and it’s been ONE WEEK since I’ve been locked out. There are VERY important things in that account that I have to access, and you are not helping me. HELP HELP HELP HELP HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can laugh now. Back then, I was cursing these people for being born.