Monday, March 1, 2010

Skimmers

Dear People who opt to skim rather than thoroughly READ email: 

I understand you have an incredibly busy schedule and can only afford to spare a small portion of a few seconds (as opposed to say, maybe ten entire seconds) to read emails. I know you are pressed to scan the page for key words and phrases so you can attempt to glean any and all necessary data. 

You poor thing with your cell, Treo, Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry, AND laptop beckoning you at all hours of the day and night. You are so busy. I know you have 300 emails in your inbox. I know you are up to your retinas in electronic communication. But I want to make a tiny suggestion. When I send an email (work related primarily because we all know we take all kinds of time to read our personal emails) here is what should not happen: 

My email: All: We are meeting to discuss X on Monday at 4 pm in conference room Z. 

When you are cc'd with about 20 other people, you should not hit REPLY ALL asking "What time and where?" 

Be a lamb and do me a quick favor. Reread my email (which is positioned about one inch below your response) and you will clearly see WHEN AND WHERE. 

If you do not have time to read my one sentence clearly and absorb all of the info, you likely have no time to send a reply (asking a foolish question) and absolutely no time for me to snark you like a hurricane. While I wanted desperately to "reply all" as well, I didn't need to did I? Because everyone else who read your response thought awww, poor little kitten, you need to read your emails. This happens. With regularity. 

Since you don't report to me, I won't have the opportunity to chat with you at your annual review and coach you on the importance of reading emails in their entirety. The emails you receive are at most a few paragraphs so don't balk like you are being asked to read John Locke's Second Treatise of Civil Government. 

Read thoroughly. It can only make you look smarter. 

The good news is, since you don't read thoroughly, there is no fear of you reading my post and realizing it is about you.

111 comments:

blueviolet said...

Yes, I'm positive that everyone was thinking "poor little kitten" when they saw that. LOL

Matthew said...

As far as I'm concerned, the button marked 'reply all' should be renamed 'broadcast stupidity'. That seems to be its only function.

Vodka Logic said...

Your blog will be the ONE thing he/she does read. Serves them right if they do and realize it is them.

Love your choice of words...lamb and kitten.

I do hope you feel better now. btw what time and place? xx

Ellie said...

Again, I'm so glad I don't work with other people. I would have to kill them all. and then I'd never get anything done because I'd have to constantly readvertise and interview... and NO-ONE would be intelligent enough to pass the interview so...

Gah. I need a hot chocolate and bed. Possibly my own.

Buckeroomama said...

He definitely deserves a snarky reply. :)

Mommakin said...

You're so vain. I bet you think this post is about you...

While I have hit 'reply all' rather than 'reply' on more than one occasion (once using the f word - and I don't mean phonics - in a note to my husband that was cc'd to his supervisor... oops)I totally get your frustration.

And I never cease to be amused by how self-important people are. I hate to sound old, but sometimes I miss the days when we weren't so constantly - accessible.

jinksy said...

I fear the ability to read is often sadly lacking in Blogland, too. Perhaps people can only assimilate pictures these days. As their eyes have been bombarded by graphic picture signals from TV, perhaps they begin to forget what scripts, calligraphy and fonts have to offer them.

Ellie said...

Wow. I could have SWORN I left a comment here just before. However, it was something of a rant, so perhaps it's better for all that it just evaporated into the ether.

ajm said...

"Snark you like a hurricane" is now my new favorite phrase! :)

singedwingangel said...

roflmbo.. trust me when I say that it is sometimes no better in the outside world. I have had tons of convos with people who only read a PART and then email back.. Had a woman on cafemom who was the world's worst for hitting reply all with ANYTHING even stuff we did not originally receive..

Brian Miller said...

lol. yep, felt that pain before...

sissie said...

Good Morning JennyMac!
I make sure that I read everything because I do not want to look like an idiot when I comment or respond.

Points well taken.

Sissie

Pam said...

Clearly you are asking entirely too much of that person.

What I do is put the date and time and subject of the meeting in the subject line. That way they don't even have to open the email if they don't want to.

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

This post applies to kids who are watching TV too.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Is "poor little kitten" like "bless your little heart"?

I love Southern phrases. You sound so nice, but you're really imagining a million ways you hit people over the head without getting caught.

No One Reads The Copy said...

Not even going to get into my disdain for the cowardly BCC feature, but nothing grinds my gears more than Reply All. It's used to publicly shame people when the sender is too scared to do it in person - or lazy!

The other day, I sent an email with the subject: THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED and the body of the email went on to repeat that and say it would be rescheduled shortly.

Someone emailed back and said, where is this meeting?

<>

Nisa said...

Oh my goodness. That is pretty... well, silly comes to mind. I think that's the polite way to put it. Haha!

citymouse said...

Ahhh... gotta love it, huh? You should just reply to the silly response by saying "See below". Make 'em work just a little.

Slamdunk said...

No doubt.

My personal favorite is an email (I try to keep them as short as possible for the skimmers) that asks three questions--that I bulleted for maximum exposure--and I get a response including only one of the questions addressed.

Mr. Condescending said...

Heh just like when people skim posts too, and leave a irrelevant comment!

Aunt Becky said...

What assbags. I'm serious. I hate people like that. *makes stabbing motions*

Chrissy MacCEO said...

OMG! That would urk me to no end!

Not sure if you subscribe to my site, but all of my followers lost my feed when I made the switch to WP last weekend--so if you can go to my blog and re-subscribe or re-add yourself to my Google Friends, I'd really appreciate it :) www.lifeasaceo.com

My name is PJ. said...

It is only when things have cooled and congealed that skimmers get the fat of what's offered. That will henceforth be known as soup philosophy.

'Poor little kitten'!!!!! You're sarcastic enough to be a relative of mine. Take a bow, JMac!!!!

MOST EXCELLENT!

Will Burke said...

As mych as I want to believe in natural selection, stupid people breed too.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Poor Little Kitten?
You always get me like that Jenny!!!

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Heehee, too funny! Happens all the time for me. Usually it's a client and I can't be snarky (unless I know them really well, and I do have several of those that I can smack around). But seriously - a one line email? Kitten must stand for Dumbass in the South ;)

And you know I read every word, even though I still can't see well!!!

A Year on the Grill said...

OH NO, I read your post carefully and you are talking about me!

Jennifer Juniper said...

Oh don't I know it!

Hey, you should write about folks that don't read their emails some time...just kidding :)

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

Ahh, stupid people. Don't you just love them? NOT!

Shorty said...

This is also a huge pet peeve of mine, too. My most recent occasion of dealing with such a doofus was the February newsletter that I published for a non-profit that I'm on the BOD of. A new member replied to the newsletter, therefore the email comes directly to me, and indicates that he would like to participate in a specific committee advertised in the newsletter. Funny, there was at least two separate references to the committee chairperson's contact info... Anyway, I obliged with the usual niceties and forwarded the committee contact info to him again, indicating that a planning meeting was coming up at the end of the month and I was confident the chairperson would love to hear from him. What did he do? Just hit 'reply' to me asking for the time/date of the meeting I referenced. I deleted his message. If he couldn't figure out who to appropriately reply to then he didn't need to serve on the freakin' committee. (or at least that was my justification...)

kilax said...

Oh gosh, my team leader does this, and makes herself look like an idiot ALL THE TIME. She doesn't even realize she's doing it to herself though. It's really bad. She thinks she read something and will write an angry response (or make me write it, even worse) but she the response is warranted.

Jen said...

Guilty!

I promise from now on, I will read carefully.

;)

Eva Gallant said...

Good one! I had a boss that always used to dumb things with email. I'm not sure she even used to read the ones she sent! lol

bluewhitelife said...

Ugh that's the worst! It's inevitably the guy who will let you ask a question, wait 5 minutes to finish what he's doing (while you're standing there,) and then take 29 minutes to NOT answer your question too. (can you tell I have someone in mind? haha)

BigSis said...

One of my pet peeves too. It kills me at work. I work at a financial institution. If that's how employees (some pretty high up) handle email, what exactly are they doing with our money?

Shell said...

I love that this person did a reply all, though. Show everyone else their stupidity.

Erin said...

I confess to skimming on occasion....GUILTY as charged!

But I agree with the other person up there who said the "Reply All" button should be outlawed. I'm afraid it will bite me in the arse someday. I don't use it often for that reason.

The Boob Nazi said...

haha I hate people.
Or like the people I become friends with on facebook I haven't talked to in a while. They're like, "What are you up to?!?!? Are you in CA?!?!?"
I'm like, read my networks, my info, or anything on my wall. It's NOT DIFFICULT.

Christine Macdonald said...

Thank you for this. May I print and tape to some foreheads at work?

SmartBear said...

I would have replied back and told the jackass a different place and time...because I am cruel like that.
I read everything....really. You're too funny to just skim.

Little Ms J said...

Hello. My name is Ms. J and I am a Skimmer. I will read the first sentence in it's entirety. Maybe even the first paragraph. Once you move into the second paragraph or you use, oh say, type 14 font in a disgusting shade of green... I'm out.

Brevity is key in an email. Especially if you can't stick to Arial or Times New Roman in black.

Oh, and if there is anything that sparkles or a glamour shot of you I don't read it either.

Simply Suthern said...

It became a big issue at the office. Finally the office manager started putting "READ THE WHOLE EMAIL" in the Subject line. I abhor the REPLY ALL Button. Admin sends out a blanket email to everyone. Then the reply all folks kick in and you spend the day deleting crap and if an attachment is invovled it shuts down email.

Bossy Betty said...

What was this post about? I just skimmed it. Could you send me a five word synopsis? Also, when there's a meeting scheduled, could you just come and get me? Cause I'm real busy checking my real e-mail on Yahoo.

Leiah said...

Awww Mommakin took my response...now I got nothing.

And because I tend to be a little quick-witted (or smart-a$$ed depending on your level of PC) I probably would have replied with something not quite so nice and used the term Rainman. Probably a good thing I'm the only one on staff right now.

Herding Cats said...

My workplace functions on email, and there are at least a dozen of my coworkers who behave in the suggested fashion of "skimming." It drives me mad. And that they hit "reply all?" Are they being serious? I make MAD fun of them in my head!

confused homemaker said...

I should print this & pass it out to everyone I come into contact with. Especially students who don't seem to read anything through. ANYTHING.

Barbaloot said...

Oh-that reply all button is the bane of my existence. Why do I have to be subject to other's conversations once the main email is over with?

Too Many Hats said...

"reply all" always scares me, I try never to use it.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Too funny. Poor little lamb.

Monthly Mandy said...

I had it worse than you Jenny Mac. I used to receive these kind of emails FROM MY OWN BOSS. She'd march over to my office, ask me a question and I'd smile and say, "Oh, didn't you see the email I sent? It covered that very topic...." It killed me! So glad that my boss now is a two year old who hugs and gives kisses and is happy to read my notes, books and more.

Dumblond said...

Good stuff.
You should make it a policy that anyone who responds to emails with a question that is already answered in said email shall be made to open up the next meeting with a song and dance routine.
Complete with costume.

JenJen said...

Matthew's comment: broadcast stupidity...
hahaha.

This made me laugh. Once a direct did something similiar, hit "RA" and said something like, "we have to do this shit again for Xperson?"
yes. He got to go home early that day.

Kristina P. said...

What a great post! I love kittens too! That's what it was about, right?

Lisa Anne said...

I HATE people who hit reply all. I don't know you so don't email me. LOL

Peterson Family said...

I repeat the same thing over and over to people every day. Some people are just idiots and no amount of time spent reading through an email will change that. It will frustrate you and make you want to scream, but they live in their own world!

MommaKiss said...

I'm so glad you mentioned the BCC field.
Wait - what were you talking about ?

Heh. Some people just love being "so important" and "so busy" - fun to watch, actually. I'd have hit "reply all" and pointed out his asinine (sp?) mistake.

"And so our stories go..." said...

On my e-mail, I don't have a reply all. I have, "Opps, how the hell did I do that," button.
Mary

Kim said...

TOOO Funny...

Vivienne said...

I hate (and I mean HATE) the "reply all" option. It is contagious. If one idiot uses it, everyone else in a thread does too.

If a coach sends out a parent email letting everyone know practice ends a half hour early, don't reply all to let everyone know you "Got it! Thanks!"
Don't make little quips and reply all so the masses can enjoy your inside joke.

And yes. You are right. Read the effin email people. geez.

You know what JennyMac? Not everyone is as organized and sharp as we are. (And I blame them for it.)

Tsquared417 said...

We have a "We Hate Reply-All" club at my work. It should be outlawed. It's almost always a stupid question or comment.

Rene W. said...

I agree 100% with Matthew's comment above - duh!

Big Mama Cass said...

I am a bad skimmer :( I know it's a terrible habit.

Summer said...

BHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Christopher said...

I hate the Reply All button. People misuse it so much and it makes me want to strangle them. But instead I just don't read their emails... oh wait.

Pricilla said...

Heh heh
STILL has not learned to check WHERE one's emails are going.
tsk tsk

Emily said...

I once had a co-worker like that...it's so frustrating!

Plentymorefishoutofwater said...

I only skimmed this post but from what I read it was good...
*Read about my dating disasters at plentymorefishoutofwater*

Ashley Stone said...

haha, I totally agree! This JUST happened to me, I sent someone a work related email with 2 questions. Very short! She answered one, ignored the other... do I write her back and say "um... you didn't answer my other question." haha. I hate that!

undomestic chica said...

Happy Monday! I gave you a blog award, check out my blog to find it :)

Existential Waitress said...

People are just dumb asses...that's just the reality I'm sad to say.

TS Hendrik said...

One sentence long and they couldn't read it through? Yeesh...

Maybe they only understand written language if it's in texting lingo.

Conquer The Monkey said...

Ohhhh, I know the type...and they tend to make my blood boil. Please tell me you had a chance to make some type of snarky comment? I hope it's not a female co worker, it reminds me more of the males I used to work w/ at the big firm!!!

Johana Hill said...

Total asswipe. I can't hide my disgust when I'm asked foolish questions.

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

My hubs does that, not only on emails and MY posts and what not, he listens that way too. Drives me mad.

Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner
www.mawhats4dinner.com

The warrior in me said...

OMG!! I'm falling off my chair now! You had me in splits girl!

And just to let you know- i read ALL of your post here- very fun!

brainella said...

Aren't you expecting just a bit too much from people for them to read AND comprehend?

Yankee Girl said...

Yeah, I definitely feel badly for those who broadcast their stupidity.

Mommy Lisa said...

i.feel.your.pain. ;)

T!nK said...

hahaha! love. this.

DeNae said...

I'm sorry, what was this post about? I was skimming...

Allison said...

Lol, awesome post. I kinda did a little "oh snap" when I finished reading it. You go girl!

Grand Pooba said...

Hahaha! Love that last sentence!

Rebecca Knight said...

HAHAHA--it's like you're inside my brain blogging my thoughts!

These people make me crazy, and though I try to be patient, I instead imagine that everyone else reading the reply is exactly like me and eye-rolling at their screens in unison. Judging them.

JUDGING.

mbkatc230 said...

I recently sent an e-mail informing staff of a mandatory meeting. I had one gal ask if she had to come, because she had lunch plans. I told her it was a mandatory meeting for all staff members. She then asked if she had to be there....MY light bulb finally clicked and I asked her if she knew what mandatory meant. She did not.... She does now.... Kathy

Mighty M said...

I agree with you 100%. I especially love when people "reply all" to discuss something that involves maybe one other person on the list.

Happy Monday!!

Secretia said...

I understand you, because I found out years ago, that many people are just not listening or paying attention at all.

Secretia

Christiejolu said...

I know someone who skims emails then asks questions that were in the email to begin with. Very frustrating! I am with you on this!

Liz said...

Oh maaaaan, that drives me craaaaazy.

Ela said...

So 5 o'clock in room Y?

GAH, "skimmers" drive me nuts! Thought it's even worse in person. The bobble heads that nod in silence repeatedly when not asked a yes or no question.

p.s. Thank you for sharing that success story with me via email. If it works, you'll be one of the first to know :)
Oh and I slept like a BABY last night...woke up every 3 hours and cried a little each time. GAH!

Happy Monday :)

secret agent woman said...

That would make me crazy. Its the quivalent of someone nodding blankly as you tell them something and then saying, "Now what?"

HalfAsstic.com said...

Huh. I am realizing something about myself by reading your post.
I must be at least a little bit mean because I would have immediately hit Reply All and informed everyone do disregard the previous email from (whoever), and just go ahead with the instructions as they were previously given. And that he'll figure it out eventually.
Or not. ;-)

simplysandi said...

Hilarious... Perfect way to end my day.. now all I need is a glass of wine. Thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

LOL! Aren't lawyers supposed to be smart?

Dual Mom said...

People like this just need a karate chop to the throat to pull their head out of their ass.

It happens to me all the time at work and sends me completely around the bend!

Matty said...

He needs a wake-up call. Such as a sarcastic reply like this one. It would get his attention.....oh yeah....if he reads it.

sharonheg said...

I feel your pain. I'm currently in a similar situation, albeit not a work-related one.

I'm a member of a hobbyist's group and if we have questions for our "leaders", we're supposed to write an email to Admin @ Company Name Dot Com. Well, I had a problem and wrote there and they didn't reply. The question I had needed answered had a deadline, SOOooo after not getting a reply for 5 business days, I wrote on their Users' Forum, saying that I had tried to contact Admin but they didn't reply and there's a deadline and can someone help me and my email address is BlahBlah @ MyEmail Dot Com.

I got one message back, telling me that I needed to email my problems to Admin.
I got a 2nd message that said yes, sometimes it's frustrating and we're sorry and whatever but please write it as an email to Admin.

I finally got it through to them that I HAD written to Admin. The reply was requesting my email address so we could discuss this is email.

Head, meet wall. Bang against it many times.

Kerr said...

I know exactly what you mean. So frustrating to deal with ppl like that!

Michael Rivers said...

I go thru this all the time. Do people not read what they are sent?!

Leah Rubin said...

Wish I'd said that!

And ditto to the people who reply to everyone on the distribution, when we don't give a &*#$ about how you're far too busy and important to come to the meeting. Just tell the sender, got it???

Corrie Howe said...

I try never to reply to all. Just so that I don't make a fool of myself...that that it would ever happen.

Ed said...

Not sure what this post was about, but I bet it was good.

carma said...

very Carly Simon at the end of this post :D

And yeah, I have no patience for folks like that - and those who hit "reply all"- just broadcasts to everyone else how much of an idiot they are

M-Cat said...

Oh my heck, this has become such a problem at my company that IT had to develop something so that when you put your distribution list in the BC - if they hit reply all, it won't go anywhere.

Saved hundreds of stupid people confirming that they are dumbasses.

Ms. Salti said...

I don't know why, but stupidity will never cease to amaze me!

GypsyNurse said...

Brilliant!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

See this is why I love you so much. You are just like me and dont beat around the bush. You rock JM!
<><

AmyLK said...

So frustrating but I think "kitten" got the message! At least I hope they did!

JoeyRes said...

Burn! I am so annoyed by the portion of our population that is either reading challenged or just incapable of paying attention. Sort of sad your coworker looked like a moron in REPLY ALL mode.

Heather Taylor said...

Hehe, so true! Loving the "snark like a hurricane", very funny!

strokeofliving said...

I just love work idiots, they are my favorites. If this dweeb did ever actually READ this post they would think it was about someone else. Yeah, idiots have egos. In cases like this, "I bet they think this song isn't about them, don't they don't theeeey?"

That was my best Carly Simon impression.

Kato said...

Oh goodness JennyMac. Oh goodness. This one hits way too close to home. I send many many emails in a day and nobody reads them thoroughly. So I attached a little ditty at the bottom which states,

"Please advise that you have recieved and read this email in it's entirety"

Wanna know who resonds to that? No one. That's who.