Ask Ms. Outlier: How Should I NOT Write a Marketing Email?


I recently received a profoundly ill-thought email from a company wanting me to perform a service for them. After calm consideration, I decided to tell them exactly what I thought.

THEIR EMAIL TO ME

Hi,

First off, I came across your site and wanted to say thanks for providing a great resource to the lupus community.

I thought you might find this infographic, which displays the effects of lupus on the body,interesting and helpful for your readers:

Loopy Lupus Lady

Not Their Graphic, But the Single-Most Perfect Illustration of Lupus’s Effects I’ve Ever Seen

Naturally, I’d be delighted if you share this embeddable graphic on [here appeared a link to one of my lupus posts–the ninth] and/or with your followers on social. [sic] Either way, keep up the great work !

All the best,

Ms. Z., Assistant Marketing Manager
Money-Making Medicine, Inc.®

Gwen Doubts

Gwen Has Some Doubt About the Sincerity Level Here

MY EMAIL TO THEM

Dear Ms. Z:

SUMMARY

You want me to link to your for-profit site, but offer me not one penny-per-hit for doing so. No problem.

As long as YOU include on YOUR site a link to my first lupus post:
https://outlierbabe.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/autocidal-1-feels-a-pea/

Ducreaux Booyah

.

DETAILS

Suggestion 1: Reword Future Emails

Exactly on what basis do you, Ms. Z, feel it is appropriate for YOU to thank ME for providing a great resource to “the lupus community” (Do you speak on behalf of that community in some capacity?)? And for you to encourage me to “keep up the great work”?

Let me clarify for you, Ms. Z.:
I am in no way your subordinate. I am at least your equal.

But I, a patient with systemic lupus, will now more appropriately take this moment to thank YOU, Ms. Z., for providing a great resource to the lupus community, of which I am a member, by sharing that graphic.

Double Booyah Baby

You Only THINK This Image is a Non-Sequiter. I Wanted a “Double Booyah”, and This is What Google Returned. This Cutie Must Have Awesome Booyah Power To Overpower Google’s Web Crawler

Might I suggest, Ms. Z., you modify the wording of your solicitation letter in case it offends others you contact, besides me?

Suggestion 2: Read What I’ve Written

My website statistics reveal that you looked only at only the final one of nine lupus posts written: A post which would have been confusing had at least the one prior post not been read.

I suspect you did not read even that one post, Ms. Z.

.

You might try the series sometime. Although yet needing some revision, and with chapters to come, what is posted so far is still excellent.

Blowing Own Horn

I May Not Really Be This Confident, But I Was Gonna Sound Confident to THIS Woman, By Golly

–O. Babe

GLADENDUM

To Ms. Z.’s credit, she sent the following apology, which I felt treated me and my input with respect. As a result, I shall include a link to the graphic on the appropriate page of the series, in whichever century I finally go back and wrap up that series.

Hello O.Babe,

I want to sincerely apologize, it seems my email came off condescending. That certainly was not our intent, and I think your feedback makes a lot of sense upon reading back over our email. I will be sending your feedback along to our team to relook at how we reach out to the community.

My Work Here is Done Cat

.

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Ask Ms. Outlier: How Can I Have FUN With My Customer “Service” Experience?


These are the really, truly letters sent to and received from yet another company with an impressively-obtuse customer service representative.
 

WHAT I SENT THEM

Dear WeFindYouForever Fence Co.,

I can’t TELL you how EXCITED and THRILLED I was to start receiving emails from your company, out of nowhere, YEARS after I made what I recall as a couple of scouting queries about a fence for the backyard of my
four-bedroom house in Florida.

I SO look forward, now, to wrapping one of your wonderful fences around the interior space of my current home:

A 700 sq. ft. condo in Southern California with no backyard–or front yard, either!

Pygmy Goats Behind Wrought-Iron Fence

Perhaps I Can Make an Indoor Corral for My Pygmy Goats? (Shown Here in Their Former, Outdoor, Quarters)

I’ll be the talk of Los Angeles!!

Please: Send me all the info you have on every fence style you offer.
And by all means, keep those emails pouring in!

Smooches! ❤

Miss Outlier

P.S. DO tell me you offer snow fences–I'm most 'SPECIALLY interested in those.

Snow Shark Eating Leg

I Don’t Want Any of THESE Getting Into My Kitchen!


 

HOW THEY RESPONDED
 
Dear Ms. Outlier,
 
Good afternoon!
 
Thank you for your interest in our company and products, we really appreciate it! We have an almost unbelievable amount of information and number of fence/gate products available online.
 
I would recommend taking a look at our website (DumberThanAFencePost.com) to see what style you are most interested in, once your search is narrowed we can work toward filling your specific need. Here is a link to our wooden snow fence: (ImNotSnowingYouImReallyThisThick.com).
 
Thanks again, have a great day!
 
Will “Likely” B. Promoted
 

Plato Always Be Kind Quote

Uh-Oh: I Don’t Think This Post Passes Plato :/
(If I Were a Kind Person, I’d Be More Sorry 😛 )


 

ADDENDUM

In the interests of honesty, I did change one line, and slightly disguised the website, company, and employee names so that all the fence companies in all the world–all of which read my blog–can spend a day scrambling to wonder:

“Was this us?”

(More likely, they would spend a day scrambling to locate their snow fencing brochures.)

The Dreaded Many-Eyed Watcha-ma-tingle! (A “Wee Turtles” Adventure)


With its many arms, how can you run away?
With its many eyes, where will you find to hide?
You’ll know it by its– its– I cannot say;
“Indescribable!” Further adjectives defied.

Jonah was three and Justin four when Jonah was invited to Morgan’s birthday party. This was close to Halloween, so naturally the children were to come in costume.

“What would you like to go as?” I asked little Jonah.
“A ‘Watcha-ma-tingle!” cried out an excited Jonah.

(Oh, terrific. What the heck…?)

“Honey, Mommy isn’t sure she knows what a Watcha-ma-tingle is.”
“It’s a Watcha-ma-tingle!”.

(Of course it is. Stupid Mommy.)

Terrifyin', Ain't It?

Terrifyin’, Ain’t It?

“What does one look like?”
“Like a Watcha-ma-tingle.”

(inner head slap)

Demonstrating my Asperger’s, I turn to Jonah’s big brother:

“Justin, do YOU know what a Watcha-ma-tingle looks like?”
“Yes, Mommy. It looks like a Watcha-ma-tingle.”
 

NCIS Head Slap

I’m Literally Feeling One of the Joys of Parenting

I finally wise up. After learning the boys have no pictures of this mysterious creature in any of their books, nor at any at their preschool, I ask for details about its appearance. These come in a rapid stream, with both little boys jumping up and down excitedly, shouting them out:

“It has lots of arms!”
“Lots and LOTS of arms!”
“They stick out all over!”
“And lots of eyes!”
“All over its head!”
“They stick out too!”
“It looks really silly!”

OOhh-kay, then. I guess I have enough to go on. Six pair of black pantyhose later, I have constructed a sort of cape of octopus-like “arms”, stuffed with fiberfill.
 

Black Pantyhose Octopus Costume

A Bit Like This, But I Would NEVER Do That Embarrassing Center “Leg”


 

A sad flattened kickball with a slow leak is sacrificed.
 

Kickball

A Happy Pre-Leak Kickball

I cut it in half. Applying a black magic marker, several white ping-pong balls are transformed into eyeballs, and applied with hot glue to the half-kickball. Jonah’s eyeball-hat is ready.

It is now two days before Morgan’s party. I call Jonah, and Justin, over for the trying-on. I tie on the arm-cape, place the eyeball-hat, and position Jonah before the full-length mirror.

“Is that what a Watcha-ma-tingle looks like?”
“YES! That’s a Watcha-ma-tingle, Mommy!” both boys gleefully shout out.
 

Best Mom Award from dreamstime.com

royalty-free image from dreamstime.com

I am so proud. Jonah and Justin take joyful turns playing at being the Watcha-ma-tingle. Afterward, I put the costume away until party day.
 

DAY OF THE PARTY

We must leave at 11:00. It takes only ten minutes to drive to Morgan’s. It is 10:30.

{{ominous music}}

I call Jonah over and put on his costume.
He bursts into tears.

“What on earth is wrong?!”
“THIS isn’t a Watcha-ma-tingle!” he sobs.

Of course it isn’t.

Yet, I foolishly try to convince my weeping three-year-old otherwise:

“But it has lots of arms, sticking out! And lots of eyes sticking out! And you and Justin SAID it looked like a Watcha-ma-tingle!”

Justin pipes up:

“Mommy, that doesn’t look ANYTHING like a Watcha-ma-tingle”.

The traitor.

(Just you wait ’til you want that second helping of mashed bananas tonight, buddy…)

NOW what? It’s not like I was going to force my toddler to wear a costume he hated in order to teach him a lesson. He was too young to understand it.

I took off Jonah’s tingly bits and tossed them in a corner. I dried his eyes and told him everything would be all right—because that’s what good mommies and daddies do.

I went into the boys’ bedroom and found the oldest plain sleeveless shirt he owned (we live in L.A.—it was a beautiful warm day ) which happened to be a “muscle shirt”.

I quickly used fluorescent green iron-on letters to spell out “POWER MAN” across its front.

I grabbed a pair of the coolest mirrored Ray-Bans I could find.

I came out to where Jonah sat and said
“How’d you like to go to Morgan’s party as the coolest super-hero EVER? You’re going as ‘POWER MAN’!”

Then I showed him the coolest shirt and glasses ever.

Both kids bought it! Jonah couldn’t have been more excited. He couldn’t wait to get that shirt on. His costume was a hit at the party, and a good time was had by all.

Power Man Lego

I was SO Freakin’ Ahead of My Time. Now, There Really IS a Power Man Super-Hero!!

Score one for Mommy.

Take THAT, Watcha-ma-tingle!
 

Two Wee Turtles

Watcha-ma-tingle Slayers:
Two Wee Turtles (a bit older)


 

POOH-DENDUM
(ew–that sounds a little bit dirty, thanks to St. Augustine)

Weeks later, I’m sitting with the boys, watching one of the Winnie-the-Pooh videos I’ve recorded for them off the TV (I didn’t allow them to watch television because of the ads), when suddenly they start shouting and jumping around on the bed:

“There it is, Mommy—Look, look! THERE’S the Watcha-ma-tingle!!”

Winnie-the-Pooh is coming over the crest of a hill with all sorts of debris stuck all over him. Piglet, not recognizing Pooh within the mess, thinks he’s spotted a new type of monster: A ‘Watcha-ma-tingle’.

Jonah and Justin are right: The costume I made looked nothing like a debris-adorned Winnie-the-Pooh.

If only we’d had Google Translate back then to help out in little clarifying discussions between Adult Aspies and Wee Turtles.
 

The Dreaded Many-Eyed Watch-a-ma-tingle--In the Flesh!!

The Dreaded Many-Eyed Watch-a-ma-tingle–
In the Flesh!!

One Sweet Boy (Happy New Year, Y’All!)


Sitting on the front stoop of the first house I own, just a-starin’ out at our new street, on the first day I move in. A five-year-old boy comes walking down the street alone. Where’s his mom or dad?

He walks right up my front walkway, up my front stairs, plops himself down on the stoop right next to me, and puts his hand up on my knee. Friendly-like.

“My name is Sean”, he says. “I’m five.” Then he just sits there, staring, just like I’ve been doing. But he adds a great big sigh. Way too big for his five-year-old boy’s body.

 
 
“It sounds like something’s wrong.” I say.
“It is.” says Sean. “We’re movin’ away today.”

I’ve fallen instantly in love with this small blond boy who trusts a total stranger. I’m sad too, now, to hear I’m to lose him already.

“All my friends are here,” Sean laments. “I won’t know anybody where we’re goin’.”
“Yes. That’s true.”, I say. “It will sure be hard leaving all your friends behind.”

“Yup.”

We sit a little bit longer.

“Did you know any of your friends when you first moved here?”
“What d’you mean?”

“Well, when you moved to this street, did you know any of these kids here?”
“No.”

“And now they’re your friends, right?”
“Yeah.”

“So, maybe the same thing will happen at your new house.”

I stay quiet, letting him think about that.

“Yeeahh…you could be right.”

A little more think time. Then I ask:

“Do you want a cookie? I just baked some.” (Happy day!!)
“Yeah.”

We sit and eat some cookies.
 
 
Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
 
“Well, I’d better go back home now.”
(Noooo! So soon?)

“Okay. It was nice meeting you. Good luck in your new place.”
“Thanks. Bye.”
 
 
Sean was the first neighbor I met on my new street, and the first one to leave.
 
 
Two years later, I gave birth to my first son.

Anyone want to guess his name?
 
 
ANONYMENDUM

A certain son is referred to by Justin in other posts on this blog. Just roll with it.
 
 
COINCIDENDUM?

My comments on Grandmalin’s Just Jazzy post may or may not be pertinent.


.

A Chicago Childhood, Aspie-Style


This post is long? Too many words? Good bet your pals aren’t Aspie nerds!
😀

When I am almost three, we move to Chicago, to a cozy brick house on a corner with a front stoop, and back wooden stairs.

Brick Stoop

In the summer, the tall hedge between our back yard and the neighbors’ looks like a fairyland. It is covered in lightning bugs lighting up and turning off their rear ends. It’s very, very pretty to see every summer night.

Coke Bottle Fireflies Animated Gif

Our Hedge Had This Many, All Over It

I am sitting out on the front stoop one day when a bird lands next to me. I have never seen such a bird before! It is a very bright red, and it has the most unusual head I have ever seen. I am so excited, I run inside to tell my mommy about it:

“Mommy! There’s a red bird outside, and it has a point on its head!”

Smiling Cardinal on Berry Branch

See him grin at how photogenic he is?

She says that it is a “cardinal”. From then on, I always like to see cardinals. They have very cute pointy heads, and I will forever think they are special.

Our back yard has violets that grow among the grass. They’re beautiful and if you pick them, they smell nice.

Violets

Dime-Sized or Smaller Blooms

There are also some pea plants growing in the grass. That is because we enjoy having big pea-shooter wars with the boys who live down the street. We duck under the back wooden stairs to shoot our peas from a safe place.

The hard dried peas really sting when they hit you, but the wars are fun. It costs a nickel to buy a shooting straw with a small paper bag of peas.

Pea Shooter and Peas

Fun!

The boys we war with are Stewie and Howie. They’re the same boys who put on puppet shows on some Saturdays. All the kids go to them. They are pretty good. A lot of times, they make us laugh.

The shows are free, but the bags of popcorn cost a nickel. Since everyone buys popcorn, I guess Stewie and Howie do all right for themselves.

My best friend Sharon lives kitty-corner [diagonally] from us. Her big sister is my big sister Joe’s best friend, so that is nice.

Some wild kids live next to Sharon’s house. They are all boys, and there are a lot of them. Sometimes, they take things that don’t belong to them. One day, one of them takes my Blue Fairy book and runs into his house with it. I am really sad and mad. It is my favorite book, and I want it back.

I tell my daddy, and he tells the boys’ daddy. The boys’ daddy goes into their house and comes out with a book he thinks is the right one. He gives it to me. It is not the Blue Fairy book. It is the Green Fairy book. I want my own book back, but I’m too embarrassed to tell him that he got the wrong book. At least the Green Fairy book is a good book, too.

Next door to our house is Jimmy Nothnagel. Jimmy is the luckiest kid ever, because he has a real set of playground monkey bars in his own back yard. They’re the kind that are shaped like a standing-up tube with the bars rounding off at the top.

That is our perfect rocket ship when we play Rocky Jones. Jimmy plays Rocky, and Joe always gets to play Rocky’s girlfriend, Venus*. It isn’t fair. I want to be Venus sometimes.

Rocky Jones and Vena

Dang, Venus! 😮 Good Thing There’s No Wind in Space!

Joe and I watch Rocky Jones and Buck Rogers and Commando Cody on television, and we also watch some Westerns. One day, while we are watching Wyatt Earp**, the phone rings and I answer it. The man asks to talk to our mommy.

I ask him who he is, because I have been taught how to answer a phone the right way. He says his name is Wyatt Earp! I tell Joe, and we both go running into the kitchen.

“Mommy! Wyatt Earp is on the phone!! He’s calling us!!”

It is pretty disappointing when our mommy tells us later that it wasn’t the real Wyatt Earp. It was just an insurance salesman who had Wyatt Earp’s name.

Do you think he tried to call people during that show’s time on purpose, so they would talk to him because they thought it was the TV man?

Joe and I go to the bakery by ourselves when our mommy needs a loaf of bread. It is safe for little girls to walk by themselves through the city and go to the bakery.

Every time we go to buy the bread, the baker gives us a big bag of broken cookie pieces, and we get to eat some on the way home. We love going to the bakery.

Whenever it rains outside, we get very excited, and run to our mommy. She gives us our bathing suits, and a bar of soap. We go outside in our bathing suits and have a soapy shower in the rain. It’s a lot of fun.

Sometimes, we sail our soap boats down the river that the rain makes on the side of the road.

Ivory Snow Soap Boats

One day, we’re playing in that river. We’re making a dam of leaves and pieces of wood stuck in the sewer opening, so that the river starts to turn into a lake. When the cars drive through it, very slowly, they make big waves.

A grown-up comes outside and tells us that we’d better not do that, because the sewers are very important to take the rain water away, and if we dam them up, and other kids do that, the city will flood!

We get very worried, and take apart our dam. We never make that bad thing again.

One summer night, my mommy and daddy are going to have a backyard party. My mommy makes some special food for the party. One plate has little flowers on it that you can eat! Mommy says they are “radish roses”. She lets me taste one, and it is delicious.

Mommy goes inside to make more special food. When she comes back outside, the flower plate is empty. I ate all the roses. Every one of them was just as delicious.

During the party, I watch the lightning bugs decorate the twinkling hedge all night.

On Saturdays, we can go to school if we want to. I can go, too, even before I’m old enough yet for school. Saturdays they have play time at the school.

One time, when Joe takes me, they are playing the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. The children make a line, and take turns being the goats, and climb over a school desk—that is the bridge. I get my turn to be the troll underneath.

I am sitting under the desk, and the first little billy goat comes trip-trap trip-trap over the bridge. As she trip-traps across the desk, her little goat leg comes hanging down in front of the mean troll. The tender goat flesh looks delicious, and I am a mean troll who is going to eat her.

After I bite her hard on the calf, the teacher won’t let me be the troll any more, even though I thought I was doing a very good job.

It's Called ACTing, Lady.

It’s Called ACTing, Lady.

Sometimes, a tired man comes up our backyard wooden steps and knocks on our back kitchen door. It’s a different man every time, but he always has old clothes on. My mommy makes a big meat sandwich for him and gives him something to drink. I know this is my mommy being nice.

One day, my daddy is outside. He is feeding peanuts to the squirrels, because he likes to do that. When he comes inside this time, his thumb is bleeding a lot. The squirrel thought his thumb was a peanut, and he bit it.

Apology Squirrel

One time, my daddy is gone for a long time. When he comes home, I don’t remember him. A big man with shiny teeth and shiny glasses tries to bend over and hug me, and I am scared of him. It takes me a long time to remember my daddy again.

Joe and I have a lot of fun inside our house, not just outside. We do two things that are fun:

We can stand up on the big padded rocker and hold onto the back, facing it, and rock really hard. Sometimes, the rocker tips over. That is scary, but the next time we still rock on it again.

Another thing we do is on the stairs. The stairs to the upstairs have blue carpet on them. We sit on a mattress and slide on it down the stairs all the way to the bottom, like we’re riding a sled. We do it over and over.

One time at night, I am very sick. I can’t get any breath, and I am feeling scared. My mommy takes me out of bed and carries me downstairs, and rocks me and rocks me in that big padded rocker until we see the sun rise.

She sings “Turra-Lurra-Lurra” to me. I like that song.

One day, I am out on the front sidewalk, riding my red tricycle.
I am leaning low over the handlebars, peddling and peddling as hard as I can. I want to see how fast I can go. I am happy. I can go very fast!

Happy Child on Red Tricycle

Look At ME!!!

The tricycle hits a bump, and I tip over forward. My chin hits the sidewalk.

It happens in front of the Nothnagels’ house, and that is where my mommy is. I go up their stairs and into their living room. Blood is coming out of my chin.

My mommy is sitting talking with Mrs. Nothnagel, and she is also sewing some red corduroy overalls that are small. Maybe they are for my little brother. When she sees me come in, she takes the needle out and pushes the red pants onto my red chin. I think that is pretty interesting.

I don’t remember hurting. I have a nice scar now.

Another time I get cut is when I am chasing my big sister. She is escaping, and I don’t want her to. She runs out the kitchen door.

I put my hand out to push it open and chase after her. My hand goes through the door glass.

I remember sitting in the kitchen chair afterward with the sun shining in the window and my mommy doing something with a cloth. After that, we are at the doctor.

I get to see the inside of my wrist before he sews it shut. I like to see what the inside looks like. I didn’t know it looked like that!

One thing I really like about Chicago is getting to go to the fires.

Whenever there is an old, run-down house, the firefighters drive around the neighborhood and pick us kids up. We get to ride on their big firetruck and watch them burn the house down!

There is nothing better than that, I think!

Happy Girl At House Fire

🐻

Footnotes

* Venus’s correct name was Vena, but we thought it was Venus. Our name makes more sense for a space-explorer.

** Wyatt Earp was a real person

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