Thoughts on Emails
Timely Replies, Concise Messages and Cautions About Autofills
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
As I write this month’s column, the full force of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on Texas and is heavy on my mind. I have many friends who live there and are dealing with the aftermath of this life-changing event. Personally, while I feel very badly and helpless about what they’re going through, I’m also feeling grateful and fortunate.
We’ve all heard that old saying: “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Thankfully, a lot of people are doing a great deal about the “weather.” With recovery efforts likely to last years, I hope we can all put some money to work to help those who’ve been affected. If you’re feeling grateful and fortunate, please step up! It’s never been easier to give with so many online organizations from the Red Cross to the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt’s YouCaring page (which had crossed the $20 million mark at this writing). It’s as simple as dashing a quick email off to someone, which leads me to this…
A friend recently told me about an email he sent to an executive at a Fortune 100 company that went unanswered. He was upset that he hadn’t gotten a response, not even a canned email thank you saying the message was received. We talked about this for a few minutes and I asked him if he responds to every email he receives. He said he doesn’t. Of course, I laughed and asked him, “So what did you expect? You don’t reply to everything and the company you run is small compared to the business you wrote to. Don’t complain that you didn’t get a reply.”
Naturally, my friend thought what he wrote was so important and compelling it would have surely brought a response. Maybe eventually it will, but we shouldn’t make more of ourselves or our concerns, especially in today’s communication-overloaded workplace. The dream of an empty inbox is probably realized only by those who either don’t do too much or aren’t involved in a lot. For the rest of us, managing a great deal of email correspondence is the norm.
I may be unusual, but I respond to every email I receive, whether they’re addressed to me or not (usually misaddressed thanks to autofill, but more on that later). If you send an email to me, I figure I owe you a response in a timely manner. To keep my inbox clean, I’ve taken to deleting emails after I’ve replied, trusting much to my memory (see the August Jersey Jack column) or to the people communicating with me.
So many email threads are like watching a reality show where most of the episode is repeated again after the commercial. Let’s get to the point of the email soon, please! One of my friends writes emails that are so long and verbose that after the second paragraph I either want to delete it or give it to someone else to read and summarize into a single sentence for me. Why do I need to know the history of the world as a preface to him making some pointless remark about his problem of the day? Just tell me what your issue is and if I can help solve it, I will.
How many times have you received an email destined for someone else? I may be unusual, but I even respond to those. I guess when you start entering an address with the letters “JA,” there are many names from your address book that could come up. Because of autofill, I’ve received legal briefs, financial information, sales orders, employment applications, credit applications, wire transfer confirmations and even complaints about my competitors over the years. I’ve done the same thing myself, sending a few messages to the wrong people, too.
Here’s an old joke that our Pastor Fr. Alex said today at Mass. It’s about sending an email to the wrong person and perhaps a bit more. (Author unknown.) Enjoy:
A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minneapolis and flew to Florida on Thursday, with the wife flying down the following day.
The husband checked into the hotel and with a computer in his room, he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the message.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Seattle, a widow just returned home from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email since she was expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read:
To: My Loving Wife
Subject: I’ve Arrived
Date: September 2, 2017
I know you’re surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.
P.S. Sure is hot down here.
So, the next time you’re about to hit “send,” double check that the message is going to the intended recipient, and while you’re at it, make sure your message is concise.
Also, please remember the work of rebuilding following a natural disaster takes far longer than our collective attention span. Continue to give to those efforts.
Pinball Love in Poland
Jack Guarnieri recently traveled to Poland where he attended the Mihiderka Pinball and Food Festival in the southern town of Bytom. While there is way too much to cover in the space we have here, among his stops was a hotel in Chorzów that also has a pinball-themed youth hostel called Pinball Rooms. Jack phoned while traveling with friends between Kraków and Warsaw and animatedly talked about meeting the hotel’s owner, Eugeniusz Wiecha.
“As we walked through the place, which was incredible, I see a framed photo of myself on the wall with text talking about my contributions to the pinball industry. It was a surreal experience and was certainly unexpected…and very humbling.”
For more information on this Polish pingame and food fest, visit www.pinballnews.com/site/2017/05/17/mihiderka-pinball-food-festival-2.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011 he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.