What to Do If You Get Emails for the Wrong Person

Opening my email to see an invitation to a fall lunch, I rolled my eyes. Not because I’m not a fan of lunches (quite the contrary!) but because this invitation, like so many other emails I had received, was intended for someone else.

When I got my email address back in the early days of building Gmail, I felt lucky to have a simple, straightforward address. But it quickly turned into a curse. There were other E Hugs, and their friends and family were quick to hit send before checking the spelling in the “to” field. I was invited to handbag-making classes, dentist appointments, and Shabbat dinners. I learned about hairdressing jobs and the arrival of my orthopedic shoe inserts. I was once asked to check out a bat mitzvah program.

At first I did what any kind person would do and informed the sender of their mistake. But they still came. Why were there so many emails? And why are there so many repeat offenders? If I had to sign Amanda’s bat mitzvah program one more time, I was going to scream.

Driven by desperate fervor and a slight streak of mischief, I decided to try a different tactic. Maybe this would teach them a lesson, I thought, or at least shake things up enough for them to pay attention. I was going to start responding in character.

I wrote:

Thank you very much for the invitation to your fall lunch!

I love lunches, especially in the fall. I can only imagine the tables covered in seasonal leaves and decorative squash! Personally, I love making one of my famous pumpkin pies (no cheating with those store-bought cans of pumpkin!) and adding it to the spread. The last time I brought one, the mayor’s wife even asked me for my recipe! I had to tell her that unfortunately this requires condensed milk, as she has a dairy intolerance.

However, I regret to inform you that I will not be able to attend, as I live in Toronto, Canada, which is 8 hours and 18 minutes away, according to Google Maps. Especially since the Gardiner Expressway can become very congested during rush hours.

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