August 30th, 2012

When you accidentally cc: the wrong (or right) person

As I've mentioned before, my Gmail address gets all sorts of randomly misaddressed mail. FirstnameLastInitial is a pretty common address pattern, and lots of people send me mail that is meant for other people. Quite a few extra-dumb people give out my address, mistakenly believing that it is their own.

A couple of days ago I got this:
Ladies and gentlemen,

We have a request for a "dish" to be installed at a homeowner's residence to discuss and vote on. Mr (Dude) of (Mr. Dude's Address) wants to change his TV connection from Comcast to Direct TV. In order for him to do his, he has to have a "dish" installed in the front of his home for proper reception. In our CC&Rs in section 8.12, it states the following:

No alteration to or modification of a central radio or television antenna system or cable television system shall be permitted , and no owner maybe permitted to construct, use, or operate his own external radio, television antenna, or other electronic antenna without the consent of the Board. No Citizen Band or other transmission shall be permitted on the Property.

Attached is a picture (another to follow) of what the "dish" would look like after installation. Keep in mind that the "dish" would be 2 feet shorter because the mounting pole will be inserted in the ground. Mr (Dude) also is willing to put some landscape plants to "hide" the base. However, the "dish" will still be visible.

I respectfully ask for your input, direction and vote as to approve or disapprove this request. Please, if you can, go down to his home and look for yourself. I am available to assist in any manner deemed necessary. If we need to have a short meeting, I can do that also. Mr (Dude) is planning to have this installed on Thursday afternoon should we approve.

Thank you and regards,
(Some hoser)
The message was addressed to about ten different people. I quickly responded, with a cc: to everyone, informing them that they had the wrong address. Nonetheless, I soon found myself cc:ed on email of the sort that only a homeowners association can have, wherein they discuss the minutiae of their CC&Rs and their Architectural Rules and Guidelines. Of course, they cite chapter and verse of both, and examine the conflicts between the two documents.

It was clear that they were struggling and needed help. Luckily, the person they were spamming has artistic and technical skills, as well as the ability to use Photoshop. I spent some time creating mockups, and sent them the following message.
Ladies and gentlemen,

I know that I was included in this email thread accidentally, as I am not a part of your homeowners association. Frankly, I have my own HOA to deal with... if you are so inclined, I would be happy to share our fascinating discussions of trash room etiquette, smoke from the nearby restaurant, 2 a.m. music, or our recent emergency plumbing issues. I can assure you that the details of the items that were cleared out of our pipes will cost you your appetite for at least a day-- they are recommended reading for any weight loss plan.

Even though I notified you all after the first message that I was receiving your mail erroneously, I have followed the continuing discussion with great interest. Over the last couple of days I have come to share your concern for the aesthetics of your lovely neighborhood, wherever it may be. Because I was so moved by your plight, I have taken the liberty of putting together a couple of proposals for hiding what is indeed an unsightly satellite dish, and transforming it into an asset to your neighborhood.

I am enclosing three proposals for your consideration. Please feel free to use any of them without compensation or credit-- my design skills are my gift to you.

Oakland, California
I do hope that I've been of assistance to them! Here are my proposals.

Dish Camo #1
Dish Camo #3
Dish Camo #2