23 April 2013

Don't throw Greek mythology at me - I'll throw it right back at you.

From a SAS vendor who I've told a number of times that I didn't think the university would benefit from purchasing the service...

Hi Monta,

Do you know the myth of Sisyphus? In a nutshell he was a king in Greek mythology condemned to hell and his punishment was rolling a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll down before it reached the top....for eternity.

I thought I had the persistence of this mythological king but you've outlasted me. So this is my last attempt to reach you. If you are interested in saving money, you know I am. If not, I won't be pushing this boulder any longer. 


My response:

I know you probably meant this to be humorous, but I really didn't find it so.

As an almost one-person shop for much of the university's web presence I am incredibly busy. It was not by choice that I have not responded. I get dozens and dozens of product promoting emails and calls each week. Even though we have spoken before and I recognize your name and product that does not mean I have time to call or email you.

Your labors might see Sisyphean to you... mine often seem Herculean - and I mean when he had to clean the Augean stables...

I am quite alright with you taking me off of your contact list. In fact, please do so.


Anonymous said...

But you had the time to write that e-mail to him and then even make a blog post about it. Sounds like you could have just responded earlier or left him alone instead of being rude when he makes a joke. It's frustrating to not be able to get an e-mail response.

Monta May said...

Anonymous commenter - while I did write the reply email on the clock, I wrote the blog post after work, on my own time. And probably the two together didn't take me more than a couple minutes.

You pretty much missed the whole point of the email and the blog post - his email to me was out of bounds, especially since I had told him more than once that I doubted that we would be interested.

This came across as some attempt to be cutesy, a pseudo-intellectual marketing tip - one you learn at some bargain-basement seminar or free webinar.

The point I was making is before you use an analogy in your communications, be sure you understand the allegory. Sisyphus was a really bad guy - greedy, deceitful, lecherous, untrustworthy and cruel. He deserved his punishment. To turn Sisyphyus' punishment into a metaphor for persistence tells me the sales person didn't have an understanding of the myth at all. Sisyphus wasn't persistent, he was damned forever to be tormented in order to balance the evil he did during his life (and his afterlife).

And if you want people to take your comments seriously, don't hide behind an anonymous identity when you post or comment.