Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Don’t You People Listen?

Rol was right. It is damned annoying when people don’t read things properly. In Rol’s excellent blog post yesterday he described his frustration at sending an email to someone that quite clearly posed 2 questions only to have one of the questions completely ignored in the reply.

I totally understood where he was coming from. Totally understood the growling frustration that you feel afterwards. Because now you have the do-I-send-then-another-email-asking-the-second question-again-or-do-I-just-give-up-on-it-altogether dilemma. Because if you chase it up you inevitably feel like you’re being a nag or just plain anal.

But this innate understanding wasn’t good enough for the universe or life or whatever master-force controls my destiny. Oh no. I had to have my understanding refreshed, updated and made more piquant...

I’ve just sold something on eBay. What isn’t important but whilst emailing the invoice I also added a little paragraph giving my address (the object is to be collected in person), phone number and a list of days and times when I’d be home to hand the object over.

I then had a reply to this email asking me where I lived! What? Didn’t they see my address in the email?

To add insult to confusion the buyer then stated that they worked in Leamington and wanted to know how far away I was because they worked in Cubbington.

Eh?

Now for those of you that don’t know Leamington Spa, Cubbington used to be a neighbouring village some miles away from Leamington proper. Over the last 50 years it’s been swallowed up by Leamington’s expanding waistline and is now a geographical belly-button. So yes, Leamington is Cubbington but Cubbington is not Leamington. There is a difference between the two. Especially if the buyer is planning to walk to my house.

Anyway. I gritted my teeth and replied with another email. I told him he was about a 20 minute drive from my house and politely referred to the fact I’d given him my address in my previous email. I again stated what times and days I’d be free to receive him. After work any day but Thursday – I specifically can’t do Thursday as I have a prior engagement that night that I totally can’t get out of.

I sent it off.

I had another reply. The buyer apologized for not seeing my address in my previous email. He’d now found it; thank you. Now he knew where I lived he’d probably come round on Thursday or Friday but wasn’t sure which yet; he’d ring me to let me know. Did I have a mobile number?

Aaaargh! Yes. Supplied in my original email along with my fecking address and the times and days I was available! And I can’t effing well do Thursday! I quite clearly said that!

Christ, how many emails do I have to write? How many times do I have to give out the same information before it sinks into this guy’s cranium? It’s not like the emails were awash with metaphor and hyperbole... they were the bare skin and bones of necessity. There were no excess words into which the salient facts could have got lost. They stood out like a couple of leylandii in the desert!

How can someone read an email but not actually take on board what the bloody words mean?

Is anybody listening? Ever?


38 comments:

Nickie @ Typecast said...

what?

Steve said...

Nickie: grrr!

MOTHER OF MANY said...

I don't think they are.
I recently tried to purchase an item online from Peacocks and when I had gone all the way through the purchasing I was told the item was out of stock.
However , going back to the online catalogue the item was still listed as in stock but other items were clearly marked as out of stock.
Emailing the company to explain the problem with their computer system I received the reply that WE CANNOT SELL YOU SOMETHING WE DO NOT HAVE IN STOCK!
Well duh......I emailed you to make you aware of the fault in your system which other online companies seem able to deal with without that happening.
Did they even read my email all the way through?
I don't think so!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Ah but you see, that's where us women have an advantage because we can get away with nagging. Well, I can anyway.

CJ xx

Being Me said...

Oh you're going to get a lot of those "What? EH??" types aren't you... so I shall refrain.

What I also wanted to say was, I think Ebay is the place where people' brains and logic goes to die. I mean... UGH! You can put as much info in the listing itself as you like, it doesn't matter. They're going to ask you a question. So you can reply and make your response public so that others can read it too. But NO! There's still going to be several more people who ask the same bleedin' question, even when the original listing AND now the public response to the first question is all there. In plain English.

Anyway. I Agree with you. And by the way, did a bit of reading and that Rol is a funny, funny (angry, snarky, but spot-on-the-money) man.

OMG. Too long? Again??

Previously (Very) Lost in France said...

Aaaaarrrggghhhh! I was having a nice day until you reminded me of these halfwits. I seem to have to deal with an inordinate number of them. Off to therapy again.....

Steve said...

Ally: people either don't have the time / don't take the time or they are, I am sure, dyslexic. It may be the latter in a minority of cases but the majority is the former. People scan read. They gloss over. They pinpoint a few nouns and then make up the adjectives themselves. Couple that with a computer and you have an online ordering company just raring to go.

CJ: did you say something? Us men are biologically and socially engineered not to hear nagging. We don't mean to be ignorant we just... anyway better get on with something useful... ;-)

Being Me: how right you are. I've been selling loads of stuff on eBay this year, trying to reverse the tide of pennies heading out of my door, and no matter how much information I post with the item I get dozens of questions asking for information that was listed with the item in the first place. It's like people only look at the pictures, say "der", press the Bid Now button and only then wonder what exactly it is they're bidding on. The fact I can sometimes make money out of these idiots at least makes it worthwhile. P.S. I'm sure Rol will take your comments as a compliment. P.P.S. You are never overlong you are always just right. ;-)

Steve said...

Previously (Very) Lost in France: just bear in mind that if you have to repeat yourself 5 times to your therapist then things are really bad...

Michelle said...

So many conversations I have had like this and it drives me bonkers! Freecyclers seem to be the worst! I offer to give something away for free and tell them when they can collect and then I ask which day they will come and they give a totally different one and say they can not do the ones I specified - well sod off then! grrr Mich x

Nota Bene said...

Look...they clearly don't want it. I'll have it, I'll come and pick it up on Thursday...where did you say you live? Or perhaps you can send it to me.

Val said...

Two things. First off, the guy is either an idiot or is licking toads. Or both.

Secondly - you can get his phone number from ebay and contact him. Then it just remains to be seen if he's able to understand a human voice or not.

Rol said...

The problem is, nobody has a decent attention span anymore. We're all bombarded with so much information, we cherry pick not just what we take in, but what we read in the first place.

Not that I'm defending him, he's quite obviously a tit.

Still, "Rol was right", there's three words you don't often see together.

Steve said...

Michelle: which has fast become my attitude exactly! Grr indeed!

Nota Bene: I'm tempted to fire it out of a tank... whoever survives the impact can keep it. ;-)

Val: a toad licker? That's a new one on me. As for contacting him... I don't think I could keep myself calm and polite. I imagine it would be like talking to Frank Spencer.

Steve said...

Rol: it took me 4 attempts to type those 3 little words. They didn't come naturally, I'm telling you...

Kelloggsville said...

There's a fatal flaw in your logic : you are assuming that everybody starts on the same intelligence playing field or that we all are concentrating on your message 100% as we read it. When I ask a 'DOH' question it's usually because I was in a rush, being hassled by kid,husband,dog,etc at the same time whilst trying to work out what the hell it was I bidded on at 3am after the second bottle of wine and why I thought it was a good idea! Did I get the jist of your post right I just skimmed the stuff in the middle ;0)

The Dotterel said...

Clearly one of my former students and a sad victim of the dumbing down of English education... either that, or a teacher. My money's on the latter.

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: look, are you coming round Thursday or Friday to collect your purchase? Make your mind up!

The Dotterel: you could be right as to the latter. His grammar were terrible.

;-)

English Rider said...

So many of my "techie" clients only read part of an email, and receive a million of them every day, that I have perfected a technique of putting what's important in the "Subject" box, so they don't even have to open it. Oh, and never more than one subject at a time. They are also continually checking email and texting while supposedly in conversation with me face to face. Where's my gun?

Steve said...

English Rider: that's a brilliant idea regarding the email subject line. Unfortunately I think were I to adopt that technique at work I would soon be given the sack. Apparently my superiors don't like the phrase "so what are you lot going to do about it, you arseholes".

English Rider said...

I would just put "Quoi?" and pick up the phone.
This all started for me years before email. I had a friend who moved to the U.S. and became so important and busy (in her own mind) that she had a rule about never opening her personal mail until she had time to respond. She didn't find out I was pregnant until well after my daughter was born. When I found out what was going on I would still write chatty letters to her but put important info on the OUTSIDE of the envelope.
Another annoying trait people have is redialing the number that just called them, rather than listening to the message that you just painstakingly left, especially if you are asking them to call you on another number. I use my cell to make a lot of business calls so that I won't miss the response if I'm out of the office.
Keep writing this stuff. It's going to take a lot to change the world.

Steve said...

English Rider: there's nowt so queer as folk, as some wise man from up North once extroplated. I'll keep writing. Keep tapping away at the old keyboard. Mainly because I can't afford the explosives I'd need to wake the world up the way I'd like.

P.S. If the FBI are reading, that's just, like, a metaphor for what I'm feeling now and not a genuine global bomb threat. Of course, I'm assuming you've actually read this far down and haven't just scanned through whilst looking at porn on your other browser tabs.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

People don't read long e-mails is my experience. I keep mine as short and succinct (ie idiot-proof) as possible and generally find they are read and replied to.

Kelloggsville said...

Always beginning and the end never the middle so my understanding is I'm to pick the bomb up on Thursday - glad we cleared that all up

The Poet Laura-eate said...

However almost every time I order a drink in a pub, the barman seems to be completely deaf I find and either serves the wrong thing or says 'Wha?', even though I've probably got one of the clearest voices they'll ever come across.

Gappy said...

Ha ha! Your buyer's a 'derbain' Steve. Did I spell that right?

Wanderlust said...

What would really be unsettling would be if they guy stopped by to pick up the item and you realized it was your accountant.

Vicky said...

Ahh, but did you ever think that the reader of the email was a man and was doing "the man look" sorry Steve just had to get that in as my boss recently lost his swipe cards for the office, he told me had looked twice in the car for them, but they were obviously "man looks" as he now has them again LOL

The Sagittarian said...

I'll reply to your email on Thursday.

Steve said...

Laura: but that's just it. The email was short. Just 2 sentences. this is my address and mobile number. These are the days I'm available. That was the whole email!

Kelloggsville: but do you know where you're supposed to take it? See! Always read to the end!

Laura: bar men are a breed apart. An anomoly of the gene pool.

Gappy: you did indeed. I feel gratified that you have used that word in honour of me. I am proud of the association. I think.

Wanderlust: my acountant?! Ha ha ha ha ha! I don't have an accountant. I have my own personal bailiff and he never reads emails or letters, preferring to deliver his messages in person.... *gulp*

Vicky: sorry I seem to have lost your comment. It was here somewhere I'm sure...

Amanda: is that Thursday NZ time or UK time?

The Sagittarian said...

Yes.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

These comments are nearly/just as/better (you choose) than the original post. Funny and intelligent writing such as yours attracts the same (oh, does that include me then?!)

Steve said...

Amanda: thank you. At least we're clear on that.

Trish: this blogging malarky is always a collaborative process... and at least implies that people are reading and understanding...! Hopefully.

vegemitevix said...

Then there's those folk who obviously have far better things to do than actually pay attention when someone is talking (or writing). All the world revolves around them!

Steve said...

Vegemitevix: alas, I seem to move and work in circles where those people outnumber everybody else...!

the fly in the web said...

He is French?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: ah. At last. That explains everything.

LöstJimmy said...

I'm out of the office right now but I'll pick up your email upon my return...

Steve said...

LöstJimmy: I'm sorry. We could not deliver your email. It may be a fault with the address or the server. Please try again later.