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your_firedI was sent an email yesterday that originated from a café in a largish town in Victoria, and has since gone viral and been featured both online and in printed media all over the world, on Facebook, Twitter and heavens knows where else. It’s about a silly email mistake, and is also a lesson on a) never disrespecting a customer, and b) never ever putting negative comments in writing. Here’s the email trail, profanities removed:

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From: Morrissy Family
Sent: Tuesday, 28 July 2009 12:41 PM
To: Abbey Sherwell
Subject: soft cafe group may results summary

Hi Abbey,
May 2009 results collated on my own spread sheet are as follows:
Gross Turnover $8,537
less discount ($2,024) 25% with cap at $15 for $60 spend
Net Turnover $6,513

255 vouchers average $33 per voucher
$8537 divided by average spend per customer = 580 people

We were unable to train staff before May to document the spend when cap was reached, so I took an average of those who spent more than $60 to gain a more accurate total spend. Is our spend high based on your averages , can you give me some feedback from your prospective and industry averages, Thankyou, Craig Morrissy

—– Original Message —–
From: Abbey Sherwell
To: Morrissy Family
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 12:55 PM
Subject: RE: soft cafe group may results summary

Hey,

This guy is a dick…as you know, I have been trying to get him to track and he has decided to do it himself in some kind of f*****d up way! Is there any way we can put these results into our spreadsheet to get some kind of ROI?
Basically from what he’s given me, he has earnt 8,537 from the program and invested 2,024. He’s had 255 vouchers but that is from all 3 locations.

Why are all the people I deal with so f*****d in the head???

Abbey Sherwell | Account Manager
The brand new 2009/2010 Entertainment Books are here! Many community and fund-raising organisations now have the books available. Visit

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From: Morrissy Family
Sent: Tuesday, 28 July 2009 1:00 PM
To: Abbey Sherwell
Subject: Re: soft cafe group may results summary

Thanks Abbey, recieved your feedback,
cancel our business with you immmediately, please inform your boss that vouchers will not be redemable at our cafes from tomorrow.
Craig Morrissy
I’m involved in a few networks of business peopele aroung Geelong, I can insure that they will be all recieving a copy of your email.

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—– Original Message —–
From: Abbey Sherwell
To: Morrissy Family
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 1:07 PM
Subject: RE: soft cafe group may results summary

Craig,

If you could let me explain, I would appreciate it.

I know it looks awful but it certainly was not as intended.

Abbey Sherwell | Account Manager
The brand new 2009/2010 Entertainment Books are here! Many community and fund-raising organisations now have the books available. Visit

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From: Morrissy Family
Sent: Wednesday, 29 July 2009 10:40 am
To: (email addressees removed)
Subject: Fw: soft cafe group may results summary

To all business people on my data base,
this is no joke, be wary of what marketing groups you align and trust to be supportive of your business.
Craig Morrissy

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Wow. How many of us have accidently hit reply rather than forward on an email? I know I’ve done it a couple of times, thankfully with no bad consequences beyond having to apologise and being slightly embarrassed. What Abbey did wrong here (apart from not checking who she sent it to!) was putting in writing negative thoughts regarding one of her customers.

Maybe Abbey was having a bad day. Maybe this was the 37th email she’d had that day with incorrect figures. We all have days and customers who totally drive us up the wall. It’s not at all uncommon for any of us to need to vent sometimes about the customer from hell. (Anyone want to hear about the schizophrenic client I had who ended up stalking me? *shudders*) However; there’s a time and place and appropriate means to do so. Email is not it. Any form of writing is not it.

Go and complain to someone in person. Talk to them. Yell at a tree if you need to, and you can kick and hit the tree too. Then when you feel better and slightly calmer, go back and deal with the customer.

I think Abbey and Craig have both learnt of the power of viral marketing, or at least the viral aspect of it. In these days of instant email, twitter, facebook and other forms of social media, anything that is put in writing is able to spread across the world within minutes. Think before you write, think before you post something. If your words were spread through the internet, would you be happy to have them read all over the world?

Abbey Sherwell was fired from her job because of her email.