I pit rude strangers on e-mail! (Lame)

My main e-mail account uses my entire first and last names. Both of them being relatively common, I get a lot of e-mails not meant for me (mostly for one particular person, who has the same name as I do, but uses her middle initial with it…people often forget to use it). Because I am a (relatively) nice person, I always e-mail the person back, to let them know their e-mail went to the wrong Sarah, and that they should check the address. I have even tried to translate this into French (badly, I’m sure), since many of the e-mails she gets are in French. It really, really irritates me that almost NEVER do I get an e-mail back that says “OOPS! Thank you for letting me know! Sorry to bother you!” (One person e-mailed me back once, which is how I found out about the middle initial.)

You know, I really do have better things to do than to let all these people know that they are too dumb to get an e-mail address right, but I would hate to have my e-mails lost in cyberspace, so I do it to be nice. It would be nice for people to realize that there is an actual person at the other end, who took the time to help them out. One of the e-mails even involved travel plans…a flight number, the time the person needed to be picked up at the airport, etc. You would think a person would be grateful to know that it didn’t get to the right person, but I guess not.

I know this is utterly lame, but it really does kind of piss me off.

They could feel that they’ve already bothered you once and emailing you again would just add more?

This was my thought as well. I often get e-mails for the wrong person - someone who works at the same University as I do and has the same last name and who’s first name starts with the same letter as mine.

I also reply to the person that they have the wrong address. Some people will write back and appologize. Some will write back and thank me for letting them know. Some will write back and demand that I forward their message to the correct person and/or solve the problem they were writing about themselves. To the last type I have a standard response:



Ugh I get this a lot too on my gmail account that uses my full name. Last one was from a mortgage company and had a PDF of confidential material attached (I didn’t open it but from the body of the email I am pretty sure it was a loan offer at a pretty nice APR - woohoo, I’m getting a house! :p). People can be really careless. Once I got an offer to go to lunch with someone - in Montreal. If only I’d had a plane ticket…

Usually I get a “oops” or “thanks for letting me know and sorry to have bothered you” (the mortgage guy was especially nice). I can’t imagine the nerve of some people to respond with a demand to forward their mail.

The closest I ever had to something like that was some random IM. Some guy (?) just comes out of nowhere and demanded to know who I was. I told him he’d have to tell me first. Butthead says I’m on his buddy list so I must know him. When I replied that I didn’t, he then unloaded on me for being rude. I’m guessing it was an idiot classmate that copied all the AIM handles from the class website and added them all when he was drunk or something. That’s my best explanation.

I used to get regular e-mails that were intended for someone else with the same name. Thing is, they were e-mails from his boss. Announcements of meeting times, specific questions-- stuff that (I assume) this guy needed to see. The first two or three times, I replied back that I was a different person with the same name, I didn’t work at that company and was not associated with this other person at all. There was no acknowledgement, and the e-mails just kept coming. I kept imagining this poor guy, never knowing what was going on and never getting his work done, because he was missing all of these e-mails from his boss. After a few months they stopped. I wonder-- did he finally give his boss the correct address, or did he get fired for ignoring his e-mails?

Yes, I’ve thought about that, but in my book, the time it takes to click on one more e-mail is nothing, and I would gladly do it if only to find out that someone appreciated my effort on their behalf.

If I were you, I would soon stop being soft-hearted, and cease to let people know they’d made a mistake. The amount of grief this will cause ought to teach them a lesson.

For every person like you who would appreciate the acknowledgement, I bet there’s a lot more who would be outraged at the additional e-mail they have to open. That’s my guess anyway based on what I’ve seen about people grumbling about how much e-mail they have to open.

On preview: If it bugs you not to get acknowledgment, I’d stop correcting them.

Aw, I can’t do that, because I don’t have the problem that Autumn had, where he keeps correcting the same person. I have never had the same person make the mistake after I corrected them, so if I stop doing it, I will be punishing people for the rude folks who came before them. That’s not fair…I have no way of knowing whether they will be just as rude! :slight_smile:

But do people really get outraged about opening an e-mail that they can tell is a response to what they wrote? Most e-mails, if the person is responding to you, say "RE: <subject line> on them.

I have had a bad experience with rude strangers and emails myself. This guy, one “Confusing F. Pernicious”, will not listen when I tell him I am not interested in his pills.

::shrug:: Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that. I just hear a lot of griping, it seems, from other people about how much e-mail they get. I was just guessing that people would be upset about that too. Perhaps others can answer that.

I wouldn’t know. On my main account, I don’t get any spam or any glurge. The two glurge messages I got I told the senders to please take me off their distribution list. So I don’t have the problem of too much e-mail. If I did, I would switch the name of my account.

But what about the one (or more) person who would have really really appreciated the fact that you took the time to point their error out to them? To me, it is worth it to do it for 20 ungrateful people just for that one person. (Although I also have to agree that it’s possible they are not ungrateful, but simply don’t want to bother you futher)

I get this regularly too. I got an AOL account early and so people make the mistake regularly. I am always polite and email back a quick note that says: I’m sorry, you have an incorrect email address. Good luck finding the correct one.

I sometimes get a thank you in return. Some of the other response have been interesting.


One guy, a lawyer who had sent me a contract I probably shouldn’t have seen:
Lawyer: Incorrect?
Me: Yes
Lawyer: What do you mean?
Me: I’m not who you think I am.
Lawyer: Who are you?
Me: I was trying to be courteous by letting you know that you have sent a confidential document to the wrong man. I thought you would want to know. Either way, please stop emailing me.

Over the years I’ve had scores of others, but you get the idea.

I share my name with a professor of english at a university here in the UK.

Our hotmail accounts are almost the same - I have an underscore, he has a hyphen - so I often get emails from his students.

The best ones are those asking for essay extensions - any written in bad grammar get sent a reply requiring a two A4-page explanation of why the extension is needed, delivered to “my” office by the next lunchtime. :slight_smile: