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!!

A Woman’s Truth At Every Age


I learned the truth at 17, and all the ages in between.
If men all saw what women see, then there would be equality.

Age 11—I must endure boys at school feeling privileged to touch my body without asking. They run up behind me between every class to rub their hands down my back.

“CARPENTER’S DREAM!” they shout: Flat as a board, easy to screw.

Run away, laughing. The back-rubbing is to see if they can yet feel a bra-strap–which they cannot.

This sexist shaming by boys of pre-teen girls helps drive demand for an unnecessary new product called “junior bras”:

Cup-less flat elastic bands that fasten in the back like a bra, junior bras simultaneously represent the sexualization of female children, and their subordination.

Age 11.  This Still-Little Girl Had to Be Shamed About Not Having Breasts!?

Innocent Age 11. This LITTLE GIRL Was Shamed For Not Having Breasts!?

Age 13—My father’s friend Mr. B.—the same man who kindly carried me home once when I was hurt—is at a party thrown by my parents. He comes into my bedroom. Says “Bite the other end.”.

Leans in, inches from my face, a tiny cocktail weiner now poking out between his teeth. I back away in horror.

This is the first time any male has tried to kiss me.

Age 14—6:00pm. Summer. My friend Vicky and I are sitting on the grass in my front yard, chatting. A car slowly drives by, pulls up to the curb. A boy yells out: “Hey, you want to go to a party?” We assume it’s someone we know—the sun is in our eyes—but we decline.

Two boys, about 16, get out, run over, leap on top of us, and start tearing away at our clothes. On my front lawn, within sight of anyone who might go by. Or come out of my house. It is still light out.

Vicky and I each try, silently, to fight off our separate attackers. I now learn boys are far stronger than girls.

Across the street, Mr. G. comes out on his front porch. He is a New York City detective. He turns to go back inside.

Don’t you SEE us, Mr. G.? What’s WRONG with you?!

[*To be clear, he DIDN’T see us.]

(Why didn’t I scream? Was I breathing? I remember the boy’s fingers over my open mouth part of the time. Was everything happening so fast I was in shock? It was very fast.)

The boy atop me gets frustrated at how effectively I am resisting, so he stands up and JERKS down on my ankles, throwing my arms up over my head. That lets him leap at me long enough to tear open the buttons on my summer blouse. I am so embarrassed.

This is the first time any male has seen my breasts.

And now I am getting very scared, and I am trying to hurt the boy. So is Vicky. The boy raping her decides maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. He calls to the boy raping me, and they run back to their car, which has other boys in it. I guess they were the audience. The car drives off. Vicky and I run inside my house, fixing our clothes. We don’t tell anyone what happened.

It is interesting that the boys were eager until we grew more violently fearful. Based on my own experience working with rape survivors, terrified resistance will not normally save you.

Had these boys thought their manliness would overwhelm our femininity and we would just spread our legs and welcome them while they raped us? Could they have believed the myth that we would LIKE it?

Babe at Age !2

Happy Age 12: One Year From a Pedophile, Two From Rapists.

Age 15—I am standing at the end of a school hallway and overhear two boys, approaching, discussing me. They don’t know I can hear them. One says:

“Hey! That’s B. Outlier! She puts out!” The other boy says “Eww!! I wouldn’t do it with HER!!”

I have never even kissed a boy at a party.

Age 16–I am given my first-ever compliment from any man or boy:

“Your *ss is your best feature. You should back up to people to be introduced.”

Age 16, still—A knock at the front door. It is the boyfriend of my older sister Macy. When I open the door, he begins to yell at me furiously.

I don’t understand. What have I done to him? He is not my boyfriend. I have nothing to do with him!

He is from Italy. He is an oldest son dating an oldest daughter. That makes him responsible for the behavior of all of her siblings. And he has heard about me:

I am sleeping around. A slut. Everyone knows it. It is such common knowledge, so talked about, that word has spread from our highschool over to this man’s nearby place of work.

Even though I have still never even kissed anyone.

Exactly why does my sister’s boyfriend—or any man other than my lover or gynecologist–think it is his right to have anything to do with my vagina? Why does my entire school—and town, apparently—want to criticize what my vagina has been up to?

Whose penises are they criticizing?

Age 17–I go to Spain with the Spanish Club. Our teacher tells us ahead of time that we girls must wear only skirts. Pants will make us appear “loose” to Spaniards.

In Madrid, in the subway and in the public market, the crowds are so thick that you are pressed on all sides, unable at times to move. I cannot escape the horror when male strangers behind me choose to reach up under my skirts, push aside my underwear, and insert their filthy fingers inside my vagina.

This is the first time any male has touched me between the legs.

Age 17, still—I now have a boyfriend. After some time, I decide to have sex. But I pretend to get carried away in the heat of passion, because good girls don’t want to have sex before marriage.

Age 17, still–I summer job-seek, as do my friends. The guys are offered high-paying factory jobs, or jobs with the county. They tell of days spent goofing off. We gals hear “Guys need the work more.” or “The work’s too hard for women.” We can get only low-paid work: Chambermaids, telephone solicitors. No goofing.

Age 17, still–I tell my boyfriend I am breaking up with him. He rapes me, to try to win me back. (It doesn’t work.)

Age 17--Quite the Year.

Experienced Age 17–Quite the Year.

Babe at 17-HS Graduation YB

Age 17–Yearbook Photo. ZERO Makeup.

Age 18—My sister Macy is marrying. I am the Maid of Honor. I meet the Best Man for the first time at the rehearsal. Quietly, so that no one can hear, using many different adjectives, he tells me throughout the rehearsal how extremely ugly and offensive I am.

I am stunned, and devastated. I have always known I was extremely ugly [abusive childhood], but a freedom to despise me for it is heartbreaking. I go home that night and weep. I can tell no one. The man is a beloved friend of the entire wedding party.

He continues his secretive abusive behavior at the rehearsal dinner, and the day of the wedding.

Age 19—I have purchased my first long dress: A spaghetti-strap gown at a thrift store. It’s bronze satin, fitted at the top, sweetheart neckline, flowing skirt, with a pattern of cherry blossoms.

I model it for my friend Maria, walking across the dorm lounge to her room. On the way, a male I barely know volunteers his opinion:

“You should never wear dresses that expose your shoulders. They’re far too bony.”

I never forget his remark, and never bare my shoulders again.

Age 20—Two good-looking, intelligent men want to date me. After I choose one, the other begins to publicly insult my looks and abilities.

If a woman openly and repeatedly yelled insults about a man across lounges and volleyball courts, men and women would think her odd: Overly angry, perhaps mentally ill. I think they would start to avoid her if she persisted.

This man’s friendships with both genders continue uninterrupted. As far as I know (my friend is his friend), no one remarks on his inappropriate behavior.

Age 21—I am hit on by my 50-odd-year-old boss. (Find a young woman who hasn’t been sexually harassed at work.)

Age 22—I am hit on by my 40-odd-year-old boss. I am sickened that he had also hit on my predecessor—a 16 year-old.

Age 22—I swore I would never be a secretary. I am an Executive Secretary, serving as sole business and personal secretary for a Vice-President, and to his 45-person staff, doing all filing, supplies ordering, business typing, and maintaining of frequent updates to company and technical manuals.

A few of the males I serve never bother to learn my first or last name. One day, one of that group is standing nearby when he overhears that I have a degree in Linguistics and Literature. He says “I didn’t know you had a degree!”, and immediately tries flirting.

I tell him that I don’t respect the attitude that people who have attended college are more worthy than those who haven’t. He never quits flirting. His little brain must not have earned its degree.

Age 24–As I run or bicycle next to public roads, young men in cars yell whatever they feel like at me. Sometimes, a car swerves at me so closely it scares me half to death. Sometimes, a cup of soda with ice hits my back. More than once, while biking, I am slammed with a hand, hard, on the rear, bringing me close to crashing.

Age 25—I think I have been hired by an exciting, dynamic firm based on my stellar accomplishments in computing. I attend my first company party, where I and another female are literally cornered by the 50-plus-year-old company president and a visiting Board member.

I learn I was hired because it was assumed I will be the company Party Girl: Give a laugh and spread my legs eagerly for any male employee who wishes it.

Age 30—I am promoted to Director. A pr*ck working beneath me—M., a transfer from the user side of the house—begins spreading poisonous lies over on the user side of the house about, not only me, but our entire operation. My boss calls me in:

“What do you think we should do?”
“Well, J., here’s the problem,” I say.

“M. has been trying to get into my pants for a year, and I’m not interested. He is seriously p*ssed, and even MORE so since I started dating someone else. Now, you’ve promoted the woman who rejected him to be his boss. He will destroy this entire operation rather than report to me.”

“But you’re absolutely the best person to run the show–and we need you to get this project done!”

“I agree. But it can’t work this way, and we both know the politics: M. has to stay involved, given his connections to the upper echelons. The only way this can work is if I report to M. Then his f*cking oversized ego can stay satisfied.”

I resign as Director, accepting an invented title to keep my salary. M. is named Director and boss of me, and becomes sweetness and light.

The sh*t.

Age 35–Looking to change companies. My I.T. skills and experience should net me six figures. Nothing. A headhunter explains:

“Erase some work history, get some plastic surgery. Pass for 25.”

Really Angry Baby Face

Is THIS Young Enough?!


.
.
Age 50–The first time any woman tells me I look nice or am pretty.
Age 57–The first time any man tells me I look nice or am pretty.
 
.
.
Babes Ratty Face Close

Age 58–Do You Like Me NOW?


.
.
I’ll be 60 soon, but the picture was too good to waste.
.
.

What Not to Give Your Mother-in-Law for Christmas


“Who is this?”

“Danny’s Demolition. We’re offering a 20% discount this week on tear-downs and we heard there’s an immediate need at your address.”

I pounded END, and added even MORE egg powder to the bowl.

Then I turned back to Hell House.

I was twenty-five years old and had never before tried to bake and assemble a gingerbread house, but how hard could it be?  I was a decent cook, and a pretty good baker.

I did have a habit of not following recipes exactly, but I thought that, in this case, I’d better.  This house was to be the very first Christmas gift for my future mother-in-law. I was going to impress her. 🙄

The house would have cobblestones–halved hazelnuts–coating the chimney and the low walls surrounding its snowy yard.   The windows would be glowing stained glass, formed the way lollipops are made, by melting, coloring, and candying sugar syrup.
😛

At no point did my fiance Joe let me know that his mother had worked for years as a professional baker, decorating cakes–including gingerbread cottages. 😡

I slid my first-ever gingerbread roof and wall pieces from the oven. Perfect! After they cooled, I began the assembly process with the stiff, dry Royal Icing, made per the instructions, using toothpicks and books to pin and prop pieces in place until the icing dried and held.

Except it never did. I may as well have been constructing a house of cards in a breezy causeway. As soon as the icing dried, and I removed pins and props, it was Jericho all over again.

Cheesy Walls of Jericho

Does This Pre-Fallen Model of Jericho’s Walls Look a Little Cheesy to You?

Again and again I re-propped and re-glued, and again and again roof and walls came crashing down. Soon, each crash was accompanied by a soft, swishing sound, like slush falling:
“Shhh–”
followed by a sharper rapping sound, like when sleet hits:
“–it!”

😮

Those sounds kept repeating, growing rapidly in volume as the “Shhh–it” storm increased in its fury.  Then, the sleet apparently turned to rain, for drops suddenly began falling down upon the hellish house, causing the Royal Icing to develop Royal Dripsicles.

I sat down and finished bawling. Then I sat back and took an objective look at Hell House as it stood thus far:

After multiple crashes into the snowy interior, the swayback roof now sagged dangerously, and the two halves had a noticeable gap between.  One corner of the house failed to meet its neighboring corner by almost a half-inch.  And there wasn’t a prayer of the stained glass windows fitting their openings.

Gingerbread Boy Vampires

I Envisioned the Home’s Only Future Occupants

What to do?! ❓

Hmmm… There WAS a bit of ginger-y dough remaining… 💡

…A sleigh and Santa could close the open roof…
…A cypress tree could mask the gaping corner…
…Some simple window sashes could disguise the too-short lollipanes! 🙂

As for that Royal Pain-in-the-Icing, if more cream of tartar didn’t do the trick, I’d get the caulk gun, dammit.

At last.  Finished. Ho-ho-hope future Mom liked it, because by now, she was the only one who would.

All that remained was to pack the house inside a giant box and carry it on a plane.

Eight hours later, I was in future mom’s kitchen, performing Royal Splicing on Santa and his sleigh. Reattaching a roof. Performing Christmas miracles with a broken cypress tree–or was it a cedar of Lebanon?

All of this effort accompanied by more slushy, sleety sound effects–in the spirit of the season.

On the blessed day, upon opening the box, Santa and his sleigh were found to be sliding dangerously backward down a ridgeline into an ice-skating pond of Royal Goo, congealed in the deepest depression of the roof’s swayback.

Future mom wisely did not comment upon this, recognizing the situation for the slippery slope it was. 😉

After the story of its unique local weather conditions was told by Joe, The Gingerbread House from Hell was rechristened forever The Sh*t House. I was so traumatized by the experience that it was almost ten years until I made another gingerbread house.

* * *

It didn’t come out any better!

Dinosaur Eating Gingerbread House

“Call for the Royal Caulk!”

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