Today I received a jewel of a misdirected customer email from [arts company redacted]. It wasn’t very elegant, but what it lacked in lapidary qualities it made up for in spontaneity.
What was really amusing were the frantic “Recall message” requests that followed – three in close succession. (These don’t work, alas, unless the recipient is on the same Exchange server. Just thought I’d mention that.)
So what do I do?
The really gracious thing would be to do nothing. Putting myself in the other person’s shoes for a minute: they will already have experienced the sudden sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach, the self-kicking and the embarrassment, and they’re perhaps still waiting in anxiety against the possibility that I will complain to the organisation. (I won’t – the message was ill-judged but hardly offensive.) That’s suffering enough, and life’s too short.
However, the gracious response deprives me of the chance to send a devastatingly witty riposte – I have one ready. So it’s not nearly as much fun.
On the other hand, such a riposte is rarely as clever or witty as you think it will be when you hit Send, as this morning’s message beautifully demonstrates (especially if you’ve first hit Reply instead of Forward as you intended). So while I’m sorely tempted to write back, I won’t.