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Horror Stories From the Inbox: Emails That Made Us Scream

by Verónica Jarski  |  
November 1, 2013

In honor of Halloween week, I'm sharing the scariest stories that I've come across lately. Yes, we're talking about frightfully bad emails.

Here's a look at the latest horrors that took over my inbox. (If you want to avoid becoming an email horror story, check out my post about press releases that actually get read.) I haven't put the names of the email senders because that'd be rude... but the quotes are, oh, so real.

The Adjective-Abusing Rambler

Being a tech-savvy blogger, I would be immensely delighted to work with your platform as a Guest Blogger, where I could unveil my core-knowledge and high-intellect to bestow resourceful-and-inspirational blogs for your end-readers. I’m sure that you would admire me, because of my proficient writing experience and fad for bringing the ingenuity in the write-ups about the latest web technologies & innovations going around in the Web Development & Design Realm, through my featured blogs that are as refreshing as morning dew!

Why It Made Us Scream

A well-placed adjective helps an image pop into the reader's mind. The email sender quoted above, however, overused adjectives---tech-savvy, immensely, resourceful-and-inspirational, refreshing as morning dew.

The adjectives also make the introduction feel overdone. Someone offering to "unveil core-knowledge" (hyphen not needed) makes me feel like something weird and cult-like is going to happen. I just want to learn something or have a person share info with me. Nothing needs to be unveiled, please.

The email itself is chock-full of other oddities (what exactly does a "fad for bringing the ingenuity in the write-ups" mean?), but I wanted to focus on the adjective abuse.

The Monstrous Misspeller

Dear Eronica Maria Jarski,

Why It Made Us Scream

My name is Veronica---not Eronica.

The issue isn't just that my name is wrong in the first line, but that the line shows (unveils?) the little importance my name has to the emailer. Typos don't bother me too much (they should, but they don't), but at least the name of the person should be correct. It's the very least you can do. Getting the person's name wrong makes a lousy first impression.

The Flashback Phantom

Hello webmaster,

Why It Made Us Scream

Does anyone still use this term? And I have a name. (No, it's not Eronica.)

The Hybrid Insulter

>Just wondering if you planned to publish the [...] article I sent you? I have had a few offers but would prefer it to go on My Daily Fix.

Why It Made Us Scream

This email was sent the same afternoon that I received the submission, so already, a tinge of desperation shows. Also, the email makes the recipient feel like she's not the first choice for the prom. "You want to go out with me or what? You know, I can get another date... Sabrina is much cooler and Taylor's way more awesome, but, FINE, I can wait for your answer."

Plus, the blog is not named My Daily Fix. It's the Daily Fix. Again, the importance of using the right name cannot be overstated. (Says Eronica.)

The Exclaiming Executioner

Hey there!

I came across your blog a little while back, and I really enjoyed the content of your posts!

The reason I'm contacting you (other than to tell you how much I enjoy your blog!) is because I saw that you were interested in accepting posts from guest authors, and I had a few questions for you!

Why It Made Us Scream

The above email is an example of what I call "Death by Exclamation Point." The first one is fine. We can be enthusiastic! But then, every sentence is enthusiastic. And if you're that excited about everything, you must not really be excited about anything. Every exclamation point after the first one feels like another little nail in the coffin of my interest.

The Confuser

Hello Ms. Veronica,

I would like to contribute my article here about the 7 Steps to Achieving Great Conversion Rate Optimization.
do you think this idea would fit on your websites?

Why It Made Us Scream

The email start is confused. On one hand, the author uses punctuation and makes a stab at being formal with Ms. Veronica, but on the other hand, if anything, I'm Ms. Jarski, not Veronica (and never Ms. Eronica). And the punctuation is all off. If everything had been in lowercase, I'd chalk the quirk up to a mini tribute to the poet e.e. cummings (that punctuation rebel!), but alas, the hyper attention to detail and then the lack of it is confusing.

Your Turn

Have you seen emails that made you scream lately? What did they get wrong?

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Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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  • by Lori Fri Nov 1, 2013 via blog

    I'd be willing to bet that the person who addressed you as "Ms. Veronica" was raised in the Southeastern US where that form of address is commonly used as a (familiar) sign of respect instead of the more formal "Title LastName". When I transferred from the Northeast to a corporate office in the Southeast it took me a while to get used to being addressed as "Ms. Lori" by my employees and friends but I soon came to appreciate the respect it implied. I still use that form of address with certain friends even though I moved to other parts of the country many years ago.

  • by Wally Fri Nov 1, 2013 via blog

    I tend to scream at every restaurant email I get via Fishbowl. One email slips through with a sliver of broken code, not a big deal, but sending the same broken code month after month is ridiculous.

  • by Courtney Herda Fri Nov 1, 2013 via blog

    I hate hate hate any email that tries the "You asked for it, and we're giving it to you." It's so awful and I cringe every time I see it.

  • by Lee Sharp Fri Nov 1, 2013 via blog

    My personal pet peeve is an e-mail that is one to two lines of content, and then ten lines of signature. Bonus points for a sig saying I agree to not disclose this unsolicited bit of drivel you sent me.

  • by Elaine Marquis Fri Nov 1, 2013 via blog

    These are all rather funny examples, but I think the adjective-abusing rambler takes the cake.

  • by Andrea Sat Nov 2, 2013 via blog

    I have to say this whole article made me scream with laughter! Thank you so much for sharing.

    I too have received an email with "webmaster", brutally poor English, and punctuation. Alas, never any Ms. Eronica though. :) It makes me want to write them back and tell them they need to hire a business the one they are writing to hire them for whatever service they are soliciting.

  • by Kendall F. Person Sun Nov 3, 2013 via blog

    What a fun discussion. Just had to join in. My favorite is the email that attempts to convince they read your blog, or post or tag line, but its obvious they did not (which is where I thought you were going with The Exclaiming Executioner). Thanks for posting and I enjoy your community here very much.

  • by Pikku Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog

    Howlarious post Eronica, oops!

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog


    Hm, that's interesting. Perhaps you're right... It was the juxtaposition of the seemingly formality of "Ms. Veronica" and the lack of punctuation in the sentence that followed that struck me as so odd.

    Ms. Veronica on its own... I could get used to that. ;)

    Thanks for the insight!

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog

    That sounds so annoying. It's definitely scream-worthy!

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog

    You asked for a reply, and I'm giving it to you!

    Thanks for commenting. :D

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog


    Oh, yes! That's another one. I should have added that one to the list, for sure. Thanks for the reminder.

    I'm so tempted to add a long siggy here, but I'll spare you.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog


    Glad you liked the post! Thanks for commenting.

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog


    I do, too! I want to write back a little bit of advice regarding how to write a business-worthy email, but I never do.

    I wrote a blog post instead. Hee.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog


    HAHAHA! That, alas, sounds familiar, too. I've received emails from folks saying they love the Daily Fix so much and that their post on how to use exercise equipment would be perfect for it.

    Hm. Not quite the right match.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Mon Nov 4, 2013 via blog

    (wince) and (giggle)


  • by Amanda Tue Nov 5, 2013 via blog

    We like to do dramatic readings of the really bad ones in our office. If you don't laugh them off -- or write about them in a hilarious article -- you'll get infuriated.

    One email I received wasn't the worst content-wise, but it was sent to my personal email instead of my work one. I ended up caring more about learning where they found that address and ignored their pitch.

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