When Life hands you lemons, write a blog post about it


So many things that make you shake your head, and wonder what the world is coming to!

  1. A moment ago, someone I have never heard of sends me an email (name redacted, but I’m not preserving IP for someone who hasn’t the courtesy to find out anything about me):


I thought you might enjoy knowing about my Shakespeare’s SSS adaptation mentioned on NNN Book Critics Circle Roundup Blog and most recently in the XXX Island News:

UN Owen*

(* points for you if you recognize the name and source)

NNN and XXX are links. The email address looks fairly normal (a Verizon.net address), but I’ve NEVER heard of this person, am not interested in Shakespeare’s SSS, and certainly not in an adaptation! And anyone who thinks you will click on links in an email from a stranger has rocks in his/her head. Not in this world.

2. From a supplier of plastic bags:

“Dear WWW,

I am not sure if you received the “15% off Trash Bags & Can Liners” email promotion that was sent to you last week.

I was just making sure you didn’t miss out on this great special offer as it ends Today, Friday, March 25th.

You can use the coupon code TB316 at checkout to receive the 15% discount or call me directly so that  I may assist you.

As always, I thank you for your past business and look forward to helping you again very soon!

Senior Sales Representative
PPP plastics company
(###) ###-#### ext. ###
MMM@’PPP plastics company’.com

P.S. Happy Easter!”

with my grumpy response:

“Dear MMM,

This kind of aggressive marketing – we buy your bags for a specific purpose maybe every couple of years – is why I just unsubscribed.

If you had looked at our buying history, you would have known that.

The pushy mail marketing turns people off.

Please do not respond.


Am I being too harsh? What if I were Jewish? Or Hindu? Or had issues with – oh, just about anything. I’m already creeped out enough by ‘personalized’ mail that comes to me on my birthday with ads for local establishments I would never use because they sell things like nail extensions. Honestly, what in my buying history implies I have EVER used a plastic nail extension – I’m female?

3. From SurveyMonkey, which I checked out once because MailChimp – which I was also checking out ONCE – landed me there and I couldn’t figure out how to undo having created an account:

“Case study: Unlocking market trends with targeted surveys

Get insights from real people, really fast

Buy survey responses →”

They don’t know me from Adam. I have ONE book on the market. If I could figure out people to survey (I did look at their categories of available people for sale), I wouldn’t need to do a survey. As I said, ONE book. Couldn’t we be acquaintances first?


This is a tiny sample – I have a bunch of emails from people trying to sell me their services the instant I registered my copyright and published a book (hello, if I already published a book, I don’t need your services!).


Because it is rude, intrusive, insists on some of my time and attention, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME and MY needs.

This is just the tip of the iceberg that lands in my inbox – as it must be landing in other people’s (no, I don’t think I’m specially targeted).

I have Mail set up to divert most of it; one out of 100 or 200 is something that shouldn’t be in the Junk file and I need to see, or I’d delete them automatically. The rest is bad enough – I do NOT use Vi@gra, don’t want my teeth whitened by an anonymous product, and certainly don’t want investment advice from you.

But I am SO not enamored of the ‘targeted’ advertising that isn’t. Targeted. It is lazy, annoying, and extremely unlikely to get a response. Okay, make that COMPLETELY unlikely to get a response.

And it sucks up precious time and energy dealing with it.

And no, I can’t remove my email addresses from circulation – I need them.

Hugh Howey’s blog post today says privacy is dead and good riddance

I disagree (about the good riddance part).

Invasion of privacy has reached astronomic proportions – and is likely to get worse.

Is there an answer other than disconnecting the internet, that vast necessary resource for writers? Beats me.

But at least I get a blog post out of it occasionally.

And practice writing snippy responses with nuance to Senior Sales Representatives – who usually wouldn’t take my calls if they were real, at real positions of authority, at real companies who valued my business. If they didn’t make exactly the right kind of plastic zipper bag we use for heavy duty freezer bags (not their intended use), we could have saved them hundreds in advertising over the years. By telling them to jump in a lake long ago.

End of rant. Thanks for listening. Please feel free to include any rants you feel coming on – in the comments.

10 thoughts on “When Life hands you lemons, write a blog post about it

  1. Janna G. Noelle

    I feel your pain. I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to protecting my email address. I often refuse to use services that require you to provide an email, and for those services I do use, I have separate email addresses for different uses that filter into individual folders in my main email account.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Janna G. Noelle

        Oh, I totally get that; the two go hand in hand. Every time you provide your email address, some marketer starts building a corresponding profile and mining additional information to go with it.


  2. Jennifer

    I hate spam. Most of the spam I get is a consequence of reviewing on Amazon and, because I only review books (and very few of those reviews are a consequence of direct contact) it’s easy for me to delete the rest. Respond? I have, once or twice, to ask people to delete my eMail address from their mailing list, and they have. I’m grateful. I don’t have my eMail address publicly available on my Amazon account anymore, but I did once. And lists of eMail addresses have been compiled and (probably) sold on. I hate the intrusion.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      You understand. It’s visceral I don’t want people treating me as if they know me when they don’t, or having information I don’t give them specifically along with permission to use it. I keep cutting those ties when I find them. Intrusion is the right word.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Catana

    I’m surprised you bother to open any of those. I automatically trash them. If you respond, you’re tagged as a live one, to be spammed until the sun burns out.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I choose VERY carefully which I respond to; if I think they may learn something from it, I consider it. It doesn’t happen often. I had to go back through the trash to find some of these.

      You are right – I do not want to be a ‘live one’ which is why I don’t respond to the Vi@gra ones, or the investment ones, or the… – they are trolls and there is no learning possible for them.


  4. juliabarrett

    Eh… social media. It’s a love/hate thing. In many ways we’d all be better off without it, yet social media does have value.



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