Emailed Holiday Greetings

Who doesn’t enjoy Aunt Grenadine’s holiday emails? She attaches a four-page narrative laboriously typed out in Wordstar on her trusty IBM XT. This is where you learn that your cousin Maud’s 35-pound Siamese finally succumbed to type 1 diabetes and your second cousin-twice-removed Regan, against all expectation, graduated from middle school. She also fills you in on all the family lore and legend that happened to cross her mind recently.


While they might not be literary gems, they are priceless compilations of your family’s history and news. They may also be pleasurable to read if Aunt Grenadine knows that a Wordstar document should be edited while being created, not on a printed hard copy. It might be noted that Aunt Grenadine sent her holiday newsletters by regular mail until her mimeograph broke and in desperation she asked her nephew to set up an email account for her.


Aunt Grenadine’s missives are one kind of email holiday greeting.


There is another type. That is the tacky, aggravating spam sent out by businesses and other people who should know better.


This second type consists of a seasonal clipart image and a message telling the addressee that his or her patronage and friendship are so greatly valued that the sender is compelled to extend this personal wish for a wonderful holiday and joy everlasting. The whole thing is about as sincere as “Your call is vitally important to us; please continue to hold.”


Fortunately, this cheap, trite marketing ploy has not been very widely copied. Insincere holiday greetings are still a very small part of the daily flood of unsolicited commercial email. Most businesses have some sense of good public relations. Let’s hope they don’t jump on the hack bandwagon.


Emailed holiday greetings including only a generic avowal of the unbounded esteem the sender has for the addressee are simply bad manners. If a business is determined to importune everyone in the largest email database they can find, there should at least be a reward for the addressees. Offer a useful download or a coupon for a free box of cookies. If the email confers more than a valueless offer for a “free review of your investments,” at least the recipient gets something for the bother of reading yet another advertisement.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200

©2017 John B. Payne, Attorney

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