Sep 16, 2006

Melon E-Mail

About five years ago, I worked for a contractor that employed technical writers. They prided themselves on the highly professional quality of the product and services they offered. I took that to heart.

So, one day I got an e-mail saying that the company was offering a new "benefit". I'm thinking, cool! will it be tuition reimbursement? cash? they already gave us our birthday off so that isn't it. It turns out that the owner of the company had a brother who is a fruit farmer, and the benefit is that each of the employees will receive one free melon. We were also offered the opportunity to purchase additional melons at a greatly reduced price.

To me that sounded like a silly benefit, so I ignored the e-mail. Well, then I got another e-mail with more information on this new melon benefit. I started calling these "Melon Mails". After that I think that I got several others. One was an "oops", I forgot to, and the other was an e-mail to let every one know that there was going to be a schedule change for when/where we should collect our melon benefit.

At that point I had had enough, and I wrote the following to the administrative assistant that was sending them:
"Is there any way I can opt out of getting future e-mails about fruit? I could sure go for a free box of home made Toll-House cookies! or how about beef jerky!

"And when we pick up our cantaloupe where do we put it? Maybe inside our car where the temp will reach 110. We could just line them up in the break rooms and mark out names on them in wax pencil!"


I thought I was kind of funny actually, but dearly hoped that I would quit getting melon mails.

Instead I got a terse response from the VP:


"I am goin to give you the benefit of the doubt that your response was a weak and inappropriate attempt at humor.

"One of the things that is different about [our company] is that we have a CEO who does attempt to provide employees with some of the little things as a way of saying thankyou."

[o.k. show how much you care with a $2 melon]

"Generally when an offer such as this is made and you wish to decline the appropriate response is 'no thank you'."


The e-mail goes on from there, but . . . uh. . . even now I look at it and have about a 45 min. Aspie tirade that I want to launch into. Such as how can a $2 piece of fruit be considered a benefit!!! I'm not even sure what melon's cost. It's a good thing the CEO. . .

Can a sole proprietership company with 80 employees and one office have a CEO?

Sorry, what I was going to say is that it's a good thing the CEO didn't have an uncle that worked for Hanes! Then I would have received Undie E-mails! If her sister owned a company that made laxatives, then instead of a series of e-mails, we would have had a running dialogue.

I'ld better stop right there. My relational thinking is taking this to places that it must not go.

No real point or inspiration here, just a simple Aspie ramble.

Do you wonder why I brought this up now? My wife was going through and shredding old files and trying to decide what to keep. She found my old employment records and the e-mail thread was in there.


Adam Parmenter

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