Sometimes members say I sound a bit "exasperated" or "blunt" on the phone. I do try not to, but the following is an example of why I might!
We are organising a dinner next February to celebrate Sir John Stanley's 40 Years in Parliament. Expecting the event to be over-subscribed I emailed our key active members an advanced booking form, to ensure they could book tickets before they went on sale to the wider membership.
One senior member subsequently emailed a councillor (why he emailed a councillor and not the office) to complain that he had not been invited. This complaint produced the following additional work.
1. The councillor who received the complaint forwarded it to me, asking why (x) had not been invited.
2. I checked our MailChimp account and confirmed that (x) had been invited, and he had in fact opened the email at 2.35pm on 12 September. I said I would send another invitation.
3. I emailed (x) to smooth his ruffled feathers and to confirm he had been invited "but here is another copy of the invitation in case the original has gone astray".
4. (x) emailed back "I am unable to open the attachment".
5. I replied "there wasn't an attachment - the invitation was in the body of the text, please scroll down."
6. (x) emailed again "I have deleted it now - why can't you send it in the post?"
7. Invitation posted at a cost of 65p in stamps stationery
8. A week later, another email from (x) "the form arrived but I have lost it, can you send another?"
9. I replied, "No, we have already spent money on postage and an hour of my time on this, and the Association is not making any profit whatsoever. Please just send a cheque for £40 with a note attached explaining who it is from and any dietary requirements."
10. Another email, "I don't want to come unless I can sit on the same table as (Mrs Y).
11. "Yes, there are seats left on (Mrs Y's) table".
12. "Oh good, please reserve that seat for me and I will pay you next time I see you."
13. "Sorry, we are not holding seats for anyone without payment, kindly send a cheque and I will book it for you."
14. "I haven't got a freepost envelope as I lost your letter. Could you post one to me"
13. "Dear x, the reason you didn't receive a freepost envelope is because I didn't send one. The dinner is not a fund raising event, it's a thank you dinner to celebrate Sir John Stanley's 40 years in Parliament. The Association is not making a penny profit, in fact it will be losing money due to the considerable time I will be spending organising it. At the Executive Meeting in May, you complained about the postage costs and implied the office could be more efficient. Yet already, to book a ticket for just one event, you have generated 11 exchanges of email, added to the postage bill be requesting a written invitation, which you subsequently lost. Now want me to use even more resources by posting you a freepost envelope so you can use it to return your cheque at the Association's expense! The office address is 91 High Street, West Malling ME19 6NA. I hope this is all clear and I look forward to hearing from you.
14. "I don't know why you agents are all so rude....."