You’ve heard of fake news, but have you heard of a fake personal email? Well, I got one this week.
It has become more and more difficult for local businesses to attract our attention because they cannot afford ads on television, few people listen to radio, and flyers are often dropped directly into the recycling bin without being seen at all. So, they have to come up with more creative means of attracting more business.
I received one such attempt in my mailbox yesterday, and it kind of annoyed me. As I write this I’m still trying to figure out what it was that ticked me off. I’ll let you figure it out for me.
First of all, I received this in the mail, in a regular envelope with a regular stamp. It had my name and address in what appeared to be personal handwriting in blue ink but which on closer examination was a computer font designed to look like handwriting.
Then, when I opened it up I found a printout of an email. The email was not addressed to me, nor was it from me. It was an email between two employees of a local car dealership discussing me and my car. That was a little bit disturbing. Here it is:
As you can see, they refer to me by my first name and refer to my car by its year and model name. They want me to trade up to a newer model, but talking about me in the third person is really not a good way to go about it.
They also refer to me as “them” and “they” and, although I accept this as a legitimate use of the plural pronoun when you do not know the gender of the subject or if a person prefers they/them pronouns, otherwise it just feels odd. It’s just another indication that this was a generic letter with my name added in to the subject line and first paragraph.
The next thing you will notice is that a yellow sticky note has been attached to the bottom of the letter using the same computer-generated fake handwriting. Even if the writing were genuinely handwritten, it would still be tacky to send a printout of an email with a personalized sticky note attached. This does not even come close to resembling a professional message intended for me to take seriously.
Finally, I want to draw your attention to the Confidentiality Notice at the bottom. It says that this email is confidential and intended for the recipient only. Well, you totally blew that, Dave Vieira! You shared a confidential email with me. Well, sort of. You used it as a lazy way to avoid actually writing me a letter.
Yes, I know it’s just an ad, and I know that businesses often use computer-generated “handwriting,” but I am still bothered when someone communicates in a weird and slightly creepy way.
So, no, Toyota Northwest Edmonton, I am not interested in your offer. Your means of making the offer, though, is very interesting.