Previous “In My Inbox” posts

Also, Summer Probably Should Be Canceled

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Back on Mother’s Day, I ran a virtual 10K road race. With a virtual race, all the entrants run the specified distance on a specific day, then submit their results. I had a fine experience in May, though my first place victory among male runners was somewhat diminished by the fact that a cheering section of exactly one person saw me win.

That cheering section was my partner Maggie, who rode her bicycle to meet me at several spots along my improvised race route, toting a cowbell to encourage me. Near the end of the run, we managed to confuse the hell out of some passersby in hilarious fashion. Said passersby apparently noticed her waiting, then heard her as she began ringing the bell. Shortly after, I came running into view with a prominent race bib on, and flew right past them. Maggie said they then spent an amusing amount of time watching the road I’d come from, apparently hoping to spot more runners.

Anyhow, that particular race was created as something which would take place in person, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced an overhaul. When the organizer shifted things for our new reality, I figured I might as well still take part. Of late, however, I’ve received quite a few emails attempting to get me to sign up for races that are virtual from the get-go. Personally, I don’t find that concept very compelling. I suspect I’m far from alone, which probably explains the extra aggressive marketing I’ve been getting for these pseudo-events.

Recently, one email (entitled “Summer is NOT canceled!”) included this bit of nonsense:

I don’t think we can. I think that’s kind of the point.

Two Emails in Two Hours Is a Bad Sign

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

At 6:31 PM last night, a well-known theatre in Princeton, New Jersey sent out an email with the following subject line:

  • Subject: Arts and Culture Matter

Exactly 100 minutes later, a second email was sent:

  • Subject: My Apology

Yeah.

The apology was solid, noting the “very poor choice of words…in the subject line for today’s email”, which “came across as if we were equating arts and culture with the Black Lives Matter movement…not a belief that McCarter or I hold”. Of course, with a bit of thought and more judicious editing, the need for a second email. could have been avoided entirely.

Take heed, marketers. The lessons from Rothy’s screw-up six years months weeks ago don’t just apply to COVID-19.

We All Hear a Yellow Multipurpose Machine

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

Planning for an extension of transit service north of Boston began all the way back in 1990, but it took more than two decades of planning and delays before the Green Line Extension finally broke ground in 2012. Though it’s likely difficult for residents to believe it, the project is now getting somewhat close to completion. Some of this construction is taking place relatively near me, and I receive occasional updates on it.

Last week, I was alerted to some night time work which will be done over the next several weeks. Here’s an excerpt from that email:

Somerville and Medford residents living near the GLX MBTA rail alignment— especially residents between Lowell Street and College Avenue—may experience elevated nighttime noise levels over the next few weeks.

“Elevated nighttime noise levels” certainly sound unpleasant, but I suppose to make an omelet, you need to break a few eggs. The email detailed the work to be done, and then explained:

The yellow Multipurpose Machine will be on the rails most nights to support this work and the vehicle is required to sound its horn when it stops and starts. Additional heavy machinery in the rail alignment is expected to produce elevated noise levels which may be disruptive at times. The scheduling of the work at night is because its completion requires at least one line of track to be out of service.

The emphasis in the above quote is added, and it bears repeating. In addition to all the noise which naturally accompanies the laying of new train track, a support vehicle used in this construction is required to sound its horn when it stops and starts. That sounds like it’ll be quite a night, or several weeks of nights. It also seems like adding real insult to injury for those living near this construction.

Fortunately for me, I don’t live near this construction, so I won’t be impacted. As a result, I’m most interested to know more about the “yellow Multipurpose Machine”. It’s capitalized as if it’s a proper noun, and yet at present, the only Google search results for it are from this exact press release.

Look at Me. Look at Me.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Yesterday, I received a flurry of emails from various charities to which I’ve donated. They all wanted me to be aware of a new global day of altruism created in response to the COVID-19 outbreak: #GivingTuesdayNow. The name’s a bit clunky, and I’m not sure if you pronounce the hashtag, but it’s a worthy idea.

However, multiple emails I received used a subject line I found rather aggressive:

  • Today is #GivingTuesdayNOW!

Between the phrasing and the emphasis, it’s like they’ve commandeered the “holiday”, and they’re that guy in “Captain Phillips” who tells Tom Hanks “I’m the captain now”.

Anyway, I hope you had a very merry #GivingTuesdayNow yesterday. If we’re going to make a hash of the calendar with repeated Black Fridays and the like, it’s good that we can at least double up on giving back too.

Lean Into That Name

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

I recently received a fairly unnecessary email from American Airlines, detailing their new safety procedures for travelers. However, despite the fact that I have no plans to fly in the near future, this text caught my eye:

  • Kurt Stache, American’s Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, talks about our new requirement for wearing masks in flight…

As did this image:

It was difficult to be sure of what I was seeing with that massive play icon obstructing things, so I clicked to watch the video. Here’s a still:

Alas, my fears were confirmed. American Airlines Senior Vice President of Customer Experience Kurt Stache has no mustache.

Kurt, what are you doing with yourself? How do you not grow yourself a nose neighbor? You can’t be just out there living life looking like a nerdier Joe Buck, while you’ve got a phenomenal name like “Kurt Stache” at your disposal:


L: Joe Buck; R: Kurt Stache

No, you have to lean into that kind of name. Embrace it! Go Rollie Fingers with it:

Or Groucho Marx!1 You’ve got the eyebrows for it:

Give us something, man!


Footnotes:

  1. Did you know Groucho Marx’s mustache was fake? I did not! I’ve never seen his films, so I’m perhaps mostly familiar with him via novelty Groucho glasses:

    Now of course those are fake, but the eyebrows and mustache are quite bushy. And yet, in his vaudeville days and in most of his movies, Marx used simple lines of grease paint. Once you really look, it’s obvious:

    I was so blind. Even more confusing, in his later years, Marx grew a real mustache. ↩︎

Be a Goodr Influencer

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Speaking of influencers, discount sunglass maker Goodr is appealing to influencers in their own unique way. At $25 a pair for quality polarized sunglasses, the company probably doesn’t have a ton of advertising cash to waste. Instead, Goodr is laying the disdain on thick, with an email campaign entitled “Influencers Welcome….to Pay Double”:

Text asking “Why do all the people with all the money and already living their dreams get all the free stuff?”

From the very real optional doubled pricing to a very sarcastic post on their site, it’s clear Goodr is no fan of influencer culture.

Unsolicited Link Requests

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

I’ve been publishing One Foot Tsunami for over a decade, with a new post every single weekday. That’s led to an archive of close to 3,000 posts covering a broad range of topics. The site also does fairly well in search engines, appearing high in all manner of search results.

As a result, I frequently receive spam from folks who’d like me to link to their sites on the web. This generally takes the form of some sort of non-sequitur, such as when I wrote a post joking about setting up an online dating profile for a mobster, and a spammer wanted me to link to their tips for online dating.

Here’s another recent example:

  • While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page:

    onefoottsunami.com/2019/08/21/the-majestic-mattress-migration/

    My team actually just published a comprehensive article on “How to Pick A Mattress – A Step by Step Guide For Choosing The Perfect One” which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.

If you visit that OFT post, you’ll see it was about a herd of air mattresses that were blown through a neighborhood in comical fashion. It’s not likely anyone is even going to read a post from so many months ago, but if they do, it’s probably not because they’re mattress shopping.

These unsolicited link requests often amuse me, but the one I received yesterday was really something. Have a look:

A spam request to link to “The Ultimate Pet Nutrition Guide”.

Let’s break this down:

While researching on your website (https://onefoottsunami.com/2013/10/14/news-anchor-eats-cat-barf/), I saw that you linked to a website about pet nutrition.

That URL alone should tip you off that I definitely did not “link to a website about pet nutrition”. If you’ve got a strong stomach, give that post a read. The archived video is still available, and still awful.

I wanted to share The Ultimate Pet Nutrition Guide , since it’s clear you want to help pet parents, too!

Actually, I really don’t think that is clear.

Do you think it would be possible to add a link to this guide on your site in order to share this valuable knowledge with even more pet parents? If you share it on your social media pages, even better!

Would it be possible? Absolutely. Am I going to do it? No I am not. I will, however, mine this stupid spam for a bit of new content on the site. Does that help?

The Dream Remains Alive

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Since 2012, I’ve been hoping Mike Carp would make his way to the Los Angeles Angels, joining an elite school group of players who share a last name with a type of fish. In 2015, a minor league contract brought Carp close to the right city, but the wrong team. In 2016, he fell out of pro baseball entirely, before his 30th birthday.

However, Google Alerts never say die. A recent email showed me that Carp is now playing for the New Britain Bees, an independent league team, as he attempts a return to the majors.

A Google Alert with news on Mike Carp

Better still, the Alert included news of recent Bees game, where Carp had an RBI base hit. Keep it up, Mike, and hopefully the Angels will come calling soon.

Please, No Double-Dipping

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Earlier this month, I noted a goofy email I received from vegan restaurant chain byChloe. The email arrived on June 1st, and declared “Summer is here!”. As June 21st was the first day of summer for the Northern Hemisphere in 2019, I pointed out that this email was almost three weeks early.

About 10 days later, I learned of the concept of meteorological seasons, as opposed to astronomical seasons. I took the time to add an update to my original post, giving byChloe a pass for this.

However, I’ve now received a second email from byChloe. This one came on June 21st, the astronomical start of summer, which is certainly the most common “start of summer” date in use. Its subject declared “Summer Starts Now!” and the body again said “Summer is here!”.

This email is correct, but come on! The byChloe marketing team is clearly trying to double-dip, and that’s just lazy. It’s especially gross behavior for a restaurant.

Stop, I Don’t Collaborate. Listen.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

As the owner of a website with a decent Google PageRank, I frequently received unsolicited emails asking if I’ll post various content to this site. For the most part, I ignore these solicitiations completely, and hope in vain that they’ll stop showing up. However, I recently saw an email in my inbox that gave me a good laugh:

Email asking if I would accept a sponsored post from Papa John's

I am, in fact, not “[i]nterested in collaborating on a sponsored post with Papa John’s”.

I’m not sure if Paige is aware of several past posts about Papa John’s or not. Those who are will likely realize this would not be a very good fit.