10 Email Pet Peeves That Grind Our Gears


To whom it may concern,

I have not the time nor the energy to Google your title in order to find out what your name is. So I simply include this initial formality in order to attract your attention and make me seem a little more eloquent than I actually am.

I am in fact about to spam you with useless information, completely irrelevant to your Monday morning - your life in general really, and I am unapologetic about this. Because this is my job.

If you don't reply to this email, I'll probably write again - on this very thread. Because I'm a pest, and I think you do have the time to reply to me. And even if you don't, I really don't care.

It's unfortunate that 90% of the emails we receive go something along these lines, and we could sit here all day and remonstrate about how annoying the phrase "just circling back" is, or how unnecessary we deem the "quick follow ups" on a Friday evening. But we won't. We'll let everyone else do the talking.

Below are ten of our favorite pet peeves sent in to us by the masses, enjoy.

Amy Poehler. Photo courtesy of Vulture

“Is your message really that important?”
- by Helen Zuman, writer

Biggest email pet peeve: When someone sends a message marked "high importance" (with a red exclamation point). Sometimes the exclamation point sends the message to my junk folder; other times it just sits in my inbox, annoying me.

“Oh hey, friend, why doesn’t your unsubscribe button work?”
- by Ksenia Newton, marketing manager

My number one biggest pet peeve is the inability to unsubscribe! There are two scenarios that tick me off: 1. The Unsubscribe link is nonexistent or so hard to find within an email that I have to use CTRL+ F in order to find it. 2. The unsubscription path is too long and too complicated. For example, I get an email and click on the unsubscribe link that takes me to a new window that's asking me to LOG IN to update my subscription preferences. I never signed up in the first place - SPAM.

“I’m too Lazy to Spell Your Name Correctly”
- by Shea Drake, tech & business writer

My number one pet peeve is when people misspell my name. It's technically RaShea, and I thought going by Shea might prevent so many misspellings, but no. I still get "Shae" or "Shay" all the time. The spelling is literally in front of someone!!

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

“My gender identity is important”
- by Sydney Liu, CEO of Commaful

I often get emails saying "Ms. Liu" because my first name is "Sydney". I usually politely correct the sender, mentioning that I'm actually a guy.

“Answer my damn questions, plural”
- by Brenda Jones

I hate when you email someone and you ask 4 specific questions.....and they only answer 1 back.

“The - be my friend for 3 days - mass email”
- by Dan Nainan, comedian

Do you ever get these? A mass email from someone who is visiting, say from LA to here in New York and sends out a mass email that they're going to be here. Okay, so if you're too lazy to email me individually, then I have no desire to see you. I just press "delete".

“Please, don’t continue our two-year-old thread. Send a new email”
- by Jacob Paulsen, online marketing consultant

When people find an old email conversation and hit reply but address an entirely new topic that is in no way related to the old email thread or the subject line which is now being reused. This is generally done when people are incapable of using their address book and only know how to find someone's email address by searching through old emails and then again incapable of editing the subject line before hitting send.

“Don’t manipulate me via CC”
- by Dr. Tammy Lenski, mediator and author

The tweaking CC is the copying of an email message to someone the sender believes has power over or influence on the recipient. In conflict at work, for instance, the sender may CC a supervisor or colleague -- or worse, a large chunk of the workplace community. They do it in the name of keeping that other person in the loop, but most of the time it's a thinly veiled way to strong-arm, rattle, or inform on. The tweaking CC raises defensiveness and can escalate tensions quickly.

“I bet you say that to all the Stacys”
- by Stacy Harris, publisher

I hate "personalized" email list blasts that go something like this:

"Dear Stacy:

I hope this email finds you well..."

I'm sure the readers of Stacy's Music Row Report will enjoy...

The sender never gives any reason why my readers will enjoy whatever is being pitched but the rest of this generic "pitch" usually follows this bit of false intimacy, from someone I've never met and with whom I've never initiated contact, yet suggests an interest in "my" well-being, courtesy of mail merge.

“The Reply or Reply All conundrum - get it right”
- by Susan Stalte, nutrition consultant

My top email pet peeve is when a person doesn't respond by choosing "reply all!" It shows a lack of attention to detail. Nothing that I would ever mention to a person, but it just requires more work if I've realized that someone was left out of the email chain at one point in the discussion.

3 Min Read

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.