General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Blank Emails

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Free Range Hippy Chick:
DH commented to me today that he had received a blank email from the woman from whom we are renting a house for a week this summer, presumably because the final payment was due this weekend (he's made the payment). I was bewildered, but he tells me that he has been informed by someone else that this is now a standard means of sending a reminder, on any subject. Payment is due now? I send you a blank email. I'm expecting you to send me details of our next contract, and you haven't done it? I send you a blank email. You have an appointment with me tomorrow? I send you a blank email.

Now presumably it's not totally blank: presumably the header says 'Payment Due' or 'Terms and Conditions' or 'Your Appointment' but even so, it strikes me as odd. I can't decide whether or not I think it's rude, although I'm tending that way: it feels to me like an electronic version of the way a small child comes and hovers beside you when the ice cream van comes, without ever saying 'Auntie Chick, may I have an ice cream?'

On the other hand, it does seem to be that it would be a grossly inefficient way of reminding anybody of anything. If I haven't remembered that I promised to send you details of how to find that odd little antique shop, I'm probably still not going to remember if you send me a blank email. I'm just going to think that your email has been hacked and is sending out random spam, and I'm going to send you a message to that effect.

Has anybody else come across this? Am I (as usual) years behind the times and grumbling about something that's standard practice?

Sounds pretty silly to me--why wouldn't you write a short note?  Unless all of your friends are psychic, it just doesn't make sense.

No you're not behind.  This is definitely not standard as far as I know

I haven't heard of this at all.  Taking quite a chance here aren't they?  I mean if my options are to remind a person in words to pay me or just send them a blank email in the hopes that they'll remember that they should pay me, I'd be going with the first option

It is not something I have seen.  And it feels very abrupt.

If there is a subject line that covers everything that needs to be said (something like "Last Payment Due Now, Please Remit," I suppose I can see it.  Sort of.  I think it would seem more natural to say something, even something short like "Please contact Jenny at 867-5309 with any questions" in the body.

Even when all I am doing is letting a client know that their large attachment arrived in my inbox (sometimes our system chokes on the big ones), I always send an email.  And a blank reply would seem very strange.  At a minimum, it will have my contact information and say "Attachment received.  I will contact you with any questions after review."  Otherwise, the email just feels abrupt and annoying to me.


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