Saturday, October 27

Eek-Mail or How the Internet almost got me fired

I always thought it was an urban legend. After all no one really did things like that, no one could really be that stupid.
Of course, I always pride myself on being the exception to any rule.

I had a client who couldn’t get to a phone so we were communicating exclusively by E-mail. This was a definite benefit as I had to turn her claim down and I wouldn’t have to listen to her yell at me.

So in a concise professional email I explained the reasons we were repudiating the claim.

An hour later she replied.

Subject: Ref Claim
Dear Simon (Hey! We're on first name terms now. )
i understood that the externals were covered but believed the internals to be covered under accidental damage. Please review and get back to me.
Review and get back to her? What, does she think I’m in customer service or something?

Dutily, I asked my senior to repeat what she had already said and emailed the client back, adding a couple of in-depth explanatory paragraphs and signing off with - ‘I trust this explains our position,’ the polite way office workers have of saying ‘Shut the f**k up.’

Twenty minutes later she replies, again.
Subject: Ref Claim
Simon (not Dear Simon any more I see)
I am well aware that my externals are not covered but believed the internals to be so. Please review and get back to me.
Have a nice weekend.
As you can imagine, I was somewhat annoyed by now and my idea of a nice weekend was one that didn’t involve her. I clicked reply, and stared at the screen for 20 unproductive minutes while I worked out what there was left to say.

Finally, I gave up and emailed my senior instead.
‘I have explained this repudiation to the insured twice and she still keeps insisting we should be covering the internals.

Maybe you can explain this better than me?

She works week days so we can only contact her by e-mail.’
I clicked send and watched as my e-mail disappeared into the bounds of cyberspace. There was just one problem. I hadn't changed the address. I’d just sent it sent straight to the insured.

Naturally, I did what any internet savvy person would do in this situation. I panicked. For a brief, horrific, moment I longed for a simpler time before technology when I could have got my hand stuck in a postbox whilst trying to get the letter back

I was overcome with nerves, I'd screwed up. I'd made a classic stupid mistake and sent a mildly insulting e-mail straight to the person I was mildly insulting.

I had a desperate and inexplicable craving for dark chocolate.

A moment later she replied,
Subject: Ref Claim
I think you meant to send that to your supervisor.
I'm working from home on Monday if you'd prefer to talk on the phone.
I jumped up, stabbing for the off button as if my monitor contained a naked picture of John Goodman, ridding my screen of her cyber-terrorism. Gingerly, I rang my senior and reported the mistake, checking the number twice before I dialed. And then I left the office.

But as I walked home, the last words of her reply stuck in my mind like a record suffering from an ugly scratch.

'Do have a nice weekend.'

Roll on Monday


Linda said...

Well, really now, it could have been so much worse. You could have really gone off the proverbial professional deep end and called her all sorts of names and questioned her parentage before sending it off to who you thought was your supervisor!

I'm afraid I've done the same thing (though not in a work environment thankfully!) and there really does need to be a way to retrieve emails sent to the wrong address however, that said - one has to know that one sent it to the wrong address before getting an email back letting you know you did so! Oops!

Dale said...

I've done worse than that with sending an email to an unintended party and my sister had a classic as well that made one of her coworkers cry. I of course, laughed.

Melanie said...

Well, now- like Linda said- it could have been a lot worse. You were very professional in your email to your supervisor.

Hope things turned out okay!

The Freelance Cynic said...

Well yes, I realise it's all quite mild on comparison. I did consider making it worse for humourous purposes. But honest Simon wouldn't let me.
Honest Simon is just so unfunny

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