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Subject:People who don't know their own email addresses
Time:10:00 pm
In the ongoing saga of People Who Are Too Stupid To Know Their Own Email Addresses, I've recently gotten emailed order confirmations for two different people, on two separate websites. They are obviously separate incidents, and at least one of them is a new player in this particular flavor of dumbfuckery.

The email that I received included full order details, including snail mail address, phone number, and login credentials to the website that they ordered from. In neither case do I have a contact email address for Ms. Patti B. Dumbfuck, for the obvious reason.

Every time this happens, my email address inevitably gets added to the website's email marketing list, which means that I either have to jump through unsubscribe hoops or get a bunch of spam. It's not the end of the world, but it's really annoying.

I'm torn between wanting to be helpful to these morons and wanting to annoy them as much as they've annoyed me. To that end, I'm wondering which of the following steps my friends would consider ethical and/or reasonable.

Which of the following is an acceptable response?

Sending them a copy of the invoice via snail mail, with a request to stop
16(18.6%)
Calling them on the phone and requesting that they stop
20(23.3%)
Trying to hunt them down on Facebook to ask them to stop
11(12.8%)
Logging into the online site to remove my email address
16(18.6%)
Logging into the online site and closing the account
10(11.6%)
Logging into the online site and requesting that the order be canceled
6(7.0%)
Responding to the email and requesting that the order be canceled
5(5.8%)
Logging into the website and attempting to reroute the order somewhere else
2(2.3%)

Something else?

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jcdill
Subject:Phone Calls
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-25 06:36 am (UTC)
I see we are at 100% (4 for 4) in agreement for the phone call idea.

(Aside: Why does LJ compute that as 25%?)

One reason the phone call is a good idea is that it's 2-way communication, you avoid the problems with 1-way communication being taken the wrong way.

If you call and get voicemail, I would leave a generic message along the lines of "I'm calling to discuss your recent order from $businessName for $products, please call me back at $phone at your earliest convenience" rather than try to explain the real reason you are calling. Again, to avoid the 1-way communication problem.
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Subject:Re: Phone Calls
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-25 06:40 am (UTC)
Being taken the wrong way how?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


dd_b
Subject:Re: Phone Calls
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-25 09:00 am (UTC)
Any way they want. If it was clear how it could be taken wrong, it wouldn't be as big a risk, you could work around it.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


jcdill
Subject:Re: Phone Calls
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-26 05:37 am (UTC)
IME, people who are too stupid to know better than to repeatedly type someone else's email into a web form (for things they are signing up for or ordering) are easily confused by many other things. Anything you send to them is likely to be taken the wrong way, because they are Just That Stupid. With a phone call you can correct any misinterpretations they come up with immediately. If you snail-mail them a letter then they may get mad at *you* and cause *you* problems you could have avoided with a phone call.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


evwhore
Subject:Re: Phone Calls
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-27 04:22 am (UTC)
Yes. I mean it could easily be just a simple typo or something, but from a conditional probability standpoint, there is a higher than average chance this person is going to be annoyed at you or act like it's somehow your fault that they mistyped your address instead of their own.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


adbjupe
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-25 11:55 am (UTC)
Your ethics will keep you from annoying them as much as they've annoyed you.
You are a geek with some OCD thrown in. It takes a geek on the other side to get as annoyed as you over this. It would take nukes, or topless royal pictures to annoy Patti B. Dumbfuck.
(Reply) (Thread)

Mark Rafn [dagon.net]
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-25 04:03 pm (UTC)
Additionally, it's a bad goal. Annoying them won't actually make you happier (though fantasizing about it might). There's also an assymetry in number: there are far more idiots than annoyed geeks.

You might consider trying to annoy the admins of the website that failed to do e-mail address validation.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


bldrnrpdx
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-26 02:54 am (UTC)
Ethical & Reasonable: 1-4
Entertaining and wouldn't lose a night's sleep over it: 1-7
Would seriously consider it but probably not do it: 8
(Reply) (Thread)


yesthattom
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-26 03:26 am (UTC)
I get a lot of phone calls that are wrong numbers. I find that many ask for the same person. Being polite never worked and I didn't want to be rude. So instead I started telling the person, "Joe? Oh, he's moved to Los Vegas. Yes, would you like the new number?" (then I'd make up random digits).

As a result, Joe started telling his friends, "Dial my number REALLY CAREFULLY there's some fucked up crazy person at a similar number". I'm sure Joe also started asking his friends to read the number back to him.

I don't know the equivalent for your situation would be. Maybe canceling the order then mailing the person a printout of the email with your email address circled in red and a note:

Either:

"You ordered something and gave them my email address by mistake. Don't you know your own email address? Don't worry, I solved the problem by canceling the order." If they write to you to ask why that "solved the problem" just tell them, "I didn't want them to email the package to me." (the fact that you can't email someone a physical object makes this awesome)

or

"It was my birthday and I can't believe you were so cruel as to order the gift I'd always wanted for yourself and rub it in my face by having the company email me the receipt. You ruined my birthday. How terrible of you, considering that my [relative] just passed away. Could you make my birthday any worse? I hope you don't mind that I canceled the order. Stop being so inconsiderate!"

Tom
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jcdill
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-10-18 06:20 pm (UTC)
I just tried to post a comment with a link to XKCD's comic on this topic. LJ says my comment was marked as spam. :-(
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2013-10-19 07:10 pm (UTC)
I also posted it to Facebook before I saw yours.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] People who don't know their own email addresses - Patti
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