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.



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


Dear Ms. Z:


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:

Ducreaux Booyah



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


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


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.


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!


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 ( 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: (
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 😛 )



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.)

Uh-Oh–I Don’t Think Our WordPress Overlords Are Gonna Lick This.

Gotta appreciate all the thought that went into the newer WordPress editor.

Zero On a  Platter

(Some Exaggeration Possible for the Sake of Exaggeration)

What kind of genius chooses as the first update button the one which causes you to lose everything you’ve entered so far?:


The same one who places Preview directly next to Trash?:

Trash and Preview Buttons

“Oops! OH, NO!!”


And tell me: WHY put Preview BEFORE Save Draft, rather than t’other way ’round? Is it because you’d rather see what you’ve done before you’ve done it?

Preview and Draft Buttons


But the crowning achievement of this web page artiste is to place
Save Draft directly adjacent to Publish:

Draft and Publish Buttons

“Oops! AHHHHHHHH!!!!! Kill me now!!!!”


Our WordPress Overlords. Ya’ gotta love ’em.

Anyone with half a lick of sense would have the buttons in this order:

All Buttons in WP Editor

Draft, Preview, Publish…That OTHER One.

See how the related first three are in increasing saturation of the same color? I find little touches like that helpful. How about you?


Those lickless WP people. One must simply shake one’s own two-sense-lick’s head and quietly forge on.



This post and the one which shall immediately follow (both of which together constitute a brief intermission from the Autocidal Life series which shall resume directly afterward) are entirely the fault of a friend who shall remain nameless but who has gold in her attic. Or bronze in her belfry. Or something like that.

SHE has been FP’d. (It is mere coincidence that the latter sounds uncomfortably close to a rude teenage act of disrespect.) So if anyone comes gunning for anyone, let them set their sights in HER direction. I think the FP acts like gold coins and extra lives in video games. She should be okay.

(As if anyone hasta’ worry: Those who might be inclined to come a-shootin’ would hit wide right or left of what they were aiming at, judgin’ by those editor buttons.)



I used to be smart, and program rings around computer things. And then I was dumb. I am grateful to the WP folk for providing a tool for free that lets me blog. A tool that often works. If I were doing the coding, it would never work.

Dear WikiDudes: I will be your best Wikipedia editor ever!!

Dear Wiki-Lords,
Wikipedia is super-duper awesome! I love how you used to be able to look up and learn anything about anything really fast and easy.
The thing is, dudes, now the ‘pedia has grown into a world-wide-serious mo’fo’, with long articles and really big words. (Kinda not so simple and helpful as it useta’ be, I think, but I’m no WikiDude, so what do I know?)
THAT’s why I wanna come work for you. What d’you say I help you out with your weensy widdle editing problem?
You know–the one where it was perfectly acceptable for a bunch of pathetic loser trolls
Hello Loser Man
to go into the entries of well-known gamers and insert lies about them? And keep doing it, without having their editing privileges revoked?
“Media and gaming culture critic Anita Sarkeesian was called a “lying whore,” and game developer Zoe Quinn was labeled a prostitute. Fellow developer Brianna Wu’s page claimed she gave her husband AIDS because she was raped by her father who first infected her.”
–Lauren C. Williams in Think Progress article “The Five Horsemen of Wikipedia Paid the Price”

I’m thinking if some Bible-totin’ Christian trolls had edited a Muslim married guy’s entry over and over to say he whored around and gave his wife AIDS, you dudes would have done something sooner. Or if skinhead white trolls had targeted a black guy and said those things over and over– Come ON, dudes–what do YOU think!?
But I could be wrong, Wiksters. You are the experts, after all. What I do know is that you lost a lot of editing power, ’cause when you finally DID do something, you not only told the trolls they were naughty and couldn’t edit anymore, but you told your own editors they were naughty too, and couldn’t edit anymore (!).
Shame on them, for repeatedly removing those lame-#ss trolls’ malicious, childish lies!! Bad editors, bad!!
Bad-No Wagging Finger Man
Anyhoo, since you’re down a few editors–and you were already down a hella bunch of lady editor types (less than 15% girl dudes, huh?)–
I’ve checked out your Manual of Style, and it’s all “No problemo” from my end! I’m rarin’ to get started snippin’ and rippin’!
“Wikipedia articles should be well-written and consistent with the core content policies:”
No original research.
Check! Everything I learn comes straight from others. Or I make it up on the spot.
Neutral point of view.
Check! I’m nothing if not fair and objective. Ask my downstairs neighbor.
Che– Uh…
Hey, ‘Pedia dudes–Two out of three?
No Weasel Words:
“Research has shown”, “It is often reported”, Many are of the opinion”, etc.

Some people would say you guys are too picky.
No Editorializing Adverbs:
Clearly, Unfortunately, Happily…

Luckily, I don’t use any of the ones you list.
Skip Judgy “Said” Synonyms When You Quote:
Denied, Surmised, Insisted…

If you insist.
No Compounds and Neologisms
(Made-Up Two-part Words or Brand-Spanking New Words)

OMG! I know. ‘Cause, doesn’t it drive you cray-cray when you have to google abbreviations or new expressions you don’t know yet? That’s where that morning dose of Buzzfeed education comes in handy–amirite? BTW, this is such a coincidence,’cause just recently, someone seriously got on my case for using BTW in a blog post and not explaining it.
😈 (SWIDT?)
No Contentious Labels or Puffery
No Derogatory or Complimentary Terms)

Got it, dudes: Aside from listing their deeds, Nelson Mandela and Hitler are to be described in the same breezy, offhand way.
Be Direct. Don’t Use Euphemisms and Idioms.
Except when labeling derogatory or complimentary terms for Wikipedia’s editing style manual (see previous rule).
No worries: Any indirect fishy words and phrases will join their brethren and sistren down in Davy Jones Locker o’ Bones once this straight-talkin’ straight-shootin’ Aspie-girl gets through pickin’ off those perplexing Pisces!
Shooting Fish In-or-From A Barrel

I’ve Heard This Is the Recommended Method🐱

Use Specific Times, Places, and Events.
A WikiPedia Article is Forever.

This one reminds me of a little anecdote:
Oh, don’t worry: I’ll be brief, AND avoid idioms and euphemisms–whatever THEY are! (I’m sure if I don’t know what they are, that must mean I don’t use ’em–am I right? Gotcha there, eh, your WikiNesses–Ha ha ha!)
When I told my BFF yesterday that I planned to apply to WikiPedia, she was sure I was wasting my time.
“YOU? Seriously?! Remember when we drove all the way to T., and you drank all of that —, and then kept me up all night singing? Do you really think you are the sort of person the WikiPeople are looking for?”
Yes. Yes I do.
Miss Outlier
cray-cray-No one says this any more–do they?
BTW-By the way.
OMG-Oh, my goodness! (golly! gosh!)
SWIDT-See what I did there? (Usually refers to a pun just made.)
There are bunches of people getting paid by commercial corporations to edit Wikipedia entries–had you known that? You can imagine that they are not motivated purely by public-spirited humanitarianism. Writers are given explicit instructions to fluff up entries or remove negatives.

Three links I thought were interesting:
bad companies are paying;
why not let good companies pay;
should you worry.


How the Other Half Shops

Some of We Women Actually Hate This Sh*t

They don’t know I’m not one of them. What a strange feeling.
Today, suddenly, for the first time in my life, salespeople are falling all over themselves trying to assist me.

“Are you finding everything you need? Is there anything I can get you? My name is Glinda. Please ask me for help if there is anything I can do for you.”

I’m shopping on the west side of town, where the monied people live. I’m visiting monied people boutiques. Apparently, when monied people shop, salespeople talk to them—even with them. Everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by the warmest of smiles and greetings:

“How are you? Wasn’t today the most lovely day?”

By their responses to me, I now know that my outfit looks upscale and smashing. My shoes are expensive black leather flats. The shirt is 100% linen. The skirt, 100% cotton, with a high fitted waist and covered buttons down its entire length. Both shirt and skirt are patterned with black and white flowers. (Everything I am wearing came from my own secret shopping source: The oh-so-exclusive Bon Vilhelm [a.k.a. “Goodwill”]. )

“Your braids are simply adorable. Do you do them yourself?”

These west side salespeople don’t even look like those in the stores I normally frequent. Sometimes, one of these willowy beauties tries to extend a conversation with me, as if we are friends. This, I find most difficult. In these halls of high fashion, I don’t know the secret codes and handshakes. What if I verbally misstep? Which is exactly what occurs. The dream comes to an end abruptly. I have been chatting in a friendly fashion with two charming saleswomen. At last, looking at the many purses surrounding us, I ask:

“Do you have any black handbags?”

A squeal of brakes. A smell of burning rubber.

“I’m looking for a simple, black handbag, without a designer name showing.”

The temperature drops. All smiles and friendly conversation cease.
It is not because I disdain the brand-name basis for today’s high handbag prices. (Certainly reason enough to carry a bag worth the GNP of a small nation.) It is not because I refuse to be a walking sandwich board. (After all, isn’t my female body created solely for servile and decorative purposes?) It is because, had I truly belonged at this altitude, these ethereal angels would not have had to explain the obvious:

Black handbags? Not this season.”

I decide that I will not tell them that I carry the same black handbag every day of the week, every season, no matter what color outfit or shoes I am wearing.

It would probably make them retch.


WHAT Color Purse?

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