Blog: I've got mail, but probably don't want it

First published in Helen Mead Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Lancashire Telegraph columnist

I’m away on holiday this week – but I haven’t left an automatic email message telling people that. It’s not because those sort of emails are among those that people find the most annoying, but because I wouldn’t know how to set such a message if I wanted to.

I don’t suppose that even if I had left such a message, people would find it irritating. It’s not as if I’d be telling them I’m off to the Maldives or the West Indies. ‘Helen is away in Whitby’ wouldn’t ruffle too many feathers, I’m sure.

Thinly-veiled bragging about great holidays is among the top ten emails most likley to make workers’ blood boil, a survey found. Personally I’m far more cheesed off by people forgetting to resume normal service after a holiday. ‘Samantha Turner is on holiday and will be back on June 30’, an email will say in reply to one you sent on July 16. It comes as no surprise to find that this is the most annoying email sin.

Other annoying electronic messages include trying too hard to be funny, rudeness and being too familiar.

I don’t like over-familiarity. I’ve received messages from people who, from their upbeat ‘Hi Helen! How’s it going?’ I’ve assumed to be close friends.

I’m also sick of being plagued by emails from insurance companies I haven’t even heard of but who seem to think I have a policy with them, and ‘would you like to update it?’ Random emails from supposed financial institutions appear with alarming regularity. The other day I had one asking for £29.50 I owed for an unnamed product I’d apparently bought from an unnamed company. These sorts of e-mails are hugely time-consuming as you feel the need to check them out in case there’s some truth in it.

Maybe not annoying in the conventional way, but massively irritating in their ability to disrupt your working day, are those emails that, try as you might, you can’t ignore. They pop up with alarming regularity. I got two today: ‘Indonesian baby on 40 cigarettes a day’ arrived first, then, immediately after, ‘Anaconda vomits entire cow in Brazil’.

Many of these involve watching short films – I wouldn’t recommend the latter unless you’ve had lunch – and while being repulsive, are also compulsive.

‘Cat learns boxing on TV’ is another one that stopped me in my tracks.

While there is no doubt that it has speeded up a lot of processes, email wastes as much time as it frees up. And that’s super-annoying.

Comments (10)

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1:20pm Tue 23 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

The trials of modernity, and why I don't bother with emails. We are not close friends. Have a good holiday.


lol - lineage of love.
The trials of modernity, and why I don't bother with emails. We are not close friends. Have a good holiday. lol - lineage of love. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Tue 23 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

Goodbye.
Goodbye. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Tue 23 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

I'm going on facebook.
I'm going on facebook. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

2:43pm Tue 23 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

ken_shuffles@yahoo.c
o.uk
ken_shuffles@yahoo.c o.uk Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Wed 24 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

Freedom is a feeling, it's not an idea.
Freedom is a feeling, it's not an idea. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

1:03pm Wed 24 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

Communication is only ever as good as the feeling that is being communicated and new technology does not add or take away anything from this. I could write a book on women who ignore the need to communicate the feeling they have no matter what access to technology you put in front of them.
Communication is only ever as good as the feeling that is being communicated and new technology does not add or take away anything from this. I could write a book on women who ignore the need to communicate the feeling they have no matter what access to technology you put in front of them. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

2:25pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

Can't get on rev's thread due to banned words limit being exceeded. Can't get on at the library cause some tw@ts hacked into the system and none of the staff seem to be admitting it's been hacked into or simply, as is more likely, just don't know. I abandoned you, and you rejected me, which makes us both feeling even. Timeless, even.
Can't get on rev's thread due to banned words limit being exceeded. Can't get on at the library cause some tw@ts hacked into the system and none of the staff seem to be admitting it's been hacked into or simply, as is more likely, just don't know. I abandoned you, and you rejected me, which makes us both feeling even. Timeless, even. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

2:28pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

It might be more productive to get a second hand laptop wifi whatsit from t'market.
It might be more productive to get a second hand laptop wifi whatsit from t'market. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

3:08pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

Fourteen years in bed ?
Fourteen years in bed ? Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

3:30pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Ken Shuffles says...

I have to see you again.
I have to see you again. Ken Shuffles
  • Score: 0

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