By: George Noga – June 1, 2013
How often do you receive paternalistic, proselytizing and presumptive emails, both personal and commercial, that contain animadversions in the form of footnotes or subscripts exhorting you to “do not print” the email to “protect the environment”? If you’re like me, it’s far too often. This is nothing more than your friends or the businesses you deal with gratuitously foisting their politics on you.
Friends or companies, who normally would not initiate a political discussion, somehow believe it is acceptable to derogate you thusly. Businesses that do this would not deign to attach email subscripts urging you to vote a certain way. They would not presume to lecture you about abortion, gun control or gay marriage. Yet somehow they arrogantly believe it is copacetic to inflict their somewhat extreme environmental views about paper products on you.
I decided to fight back. Upon receiving an offending email, I always attach (without comment) my own footnotes to the reply; I have one for personal emails and one for business. The following paragraph contains my footnote for personal emails.
Footnote or Subscript for Personal Emails
“Please feel free to print this email along with all the attachments. Trees are a farmed product grown expressly for paper. It makes no more sense to conserve paper to save trees than it makes to conserve cloth to save cotton. Paper is natural, organic, biodegradable, renewable and sustainable. Working forests employ millions of Americans and help the environment by providing clean air and water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. There are more trees planted commercially each year (by a vast margin) than are consumed; there are more trees than 100 years ago. In a very real sense, failure to print can hasten the conversion of forests to strip malls and parking lots. Therefore, by all means print this email and take satisfaction in knowing you are doing your part to help the environment and to save our American forests.”
Subscript for Business Emails
For commercial emails I use the above paragraph, i.e. the same one as for personal emails. Then I add the following paragraph strictly for business.
“Your company’s email contained a footnote admonishing me not to print it for the ersatz purpose of protecting the environment. By doing this you gratuitously injected contentious and argumentative politics into what should be purely a business relationship. Surely, you would not deign to tell customers how to vote; therefore, why do you assume it is acceptable to foist other political views? Politicizing a business relationship is bad business for many reasons:
- If your company doesn’t believe this to be a divisive political issue, it is ignorant.
- You are wrong; conserving trees grown for paper does not help the environment.
- Even if I agreed with your politics, I would deeply resent your presumptive and unwarranted intrusion into my personal life.
- Inasmuch as I both disagree with your politics and resent your intrusion – I will not do business with your company and hereby demand you remove my name from all lists.
- Injecting politics into business always is a losing proposition. Do your shareholders
- know about this and do they approve?”
You have my permission to use or to modify the above language without attribution. If you disagree with the “do not print” warning or even if you are agnostic or supportive but don’t like people cramming their political views down your throat, then – by all means – fight back!
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