My head may spin off my neck and roll on the floor. I write clearly. I write clear emails. All questions come at the end of the email. So why do people to whom I send clear emails with questions at the end not answer the question? I would not mind if I were told, “I don’t know.” But that doesn’t happen. This does:
A friend decides to sell his books. He puts them on Bookmooch. This is a kind act. I follow the link, I mooch a book, a pop-up tells me I have to join bookmooch, followed by more pop-ups of confirmation, redirection and finally, a pop-up that tells me I don’t have enough points. No explanation. I write friend, summarize above, ask how to mooch a certain book. Do I get an answer that tells me how to get a book on the list? Nope. The return email says, “Bookmooch is great. You should get rid of your extras there, too.” Well, I won’t have any extras if I can’t get them. And now, of course, I have an account with a place I don’t want an account with.
Move on. I’m supposed to be interviewed on a radio show. I want to know three things: what date, what time, what place? (We’d agreed on the topic already.) My email said, “Please confirm date, time and location for interview.” Eight words. It took five email exchanges to get all the information.
Today I get an email about the interview that is so garbled I think it’s written by a cat chasing a bug across the keyboard. It is punctuated with random strings of dots and hyphens, and either someone will be sitting on my lap during the interview, or two people are booked at the same time. It’s not clear. Oh, and the topic has been changed to art therapy (I’m not an art therapist) And I’m supposed to “bring cards for their groups.” I have no idea to what or whom “their” refers to. Or the cards, which may or may not be business cards.
If this happened once or twice a year, I wouldn’t mind. But this happens frequently. Four or more times a week. It proves that multi-tasking doesn’t work nearly as well as you think it does. If you are driving, please don’t email me. If you are on the phone, please don’t email me. Please, by the sun god Ra, read the email I sent you, think it through, then answer the question I asked. Otherwise, I’ll send you a Tweetpix of my head rolling on the floor after it has popped off.
–Quinn McDonald is banging her head on her desk, thinking of the time she wastes sending emails only to have to follow up with a phone call, just to get an answer.