Saturday, May 06, 2006

Did Somebody Mention Schadenfreude?

From a June 2006 Consumer Reports article on the privacy concerns associated with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) (online site is subscriber only):

But when Consumer Reports asked to discuss the subject with executives at Alien Technology, a leading manufacturer of RFID equipment, Linda Prosser, vice president of corporate marketing, forwarded the request to the Zeno Group, an outside public relations firm, writing in an e-mail: "I am concerned that this is a privacy story. Don't commit to our participation until we get a better feel for it. We can use the 'everybody busy at the big trade show excuse' if needed." When a Zeno representative finally responded to the interview request (mistakenly attaching the entire string of e-mail communications in the process), he regretfully informed us that no spokesperson would be available because of the big trade show.

Talk about being in the wroooooooooong line of work.

Hilarious as this is, you can't help but feel a sympathetic knot in the gut for the immense whomping sensation of "oh SHIT" that this guy must have felt when he discovered what he'd done.

My old sales consultant "Suzi" was really bad about doing that sort of thing. Once she had me put together a special version of a proposal for our vendor to review, in which I had to leave out all the pricing so he wouldn't see how outrageously we'd marked up his product. He emailed Suzi his approval of the product description, and she intended to forward his email to me with appended instructions on how much the pricing should be for the client version. Only I didn't get the email directly from her. It was forwarded to me by the vendor, to whom she had absent-mindedly sent it by hitting "reply" instead of "forward." In the same way, she once bitched about a troublesome client in what was supposed to be a forwarded email to one of the account managers, and accidentally replied to the client instead; and (one of my favorites, though internal and not damaging) she once sent an email to Magda and me instructing us very emphatically to pay extra attention to every tiny little detail in a sales proposal we were working on. Magda had to forward the email to me because it was addressed to her twice and I was left off.

But unlike Suzi, it seems likely that this poor PR guy lost his job over that blunder. Of course, PR people are soulless life-sucking bottom-feeders, lower even than marketers, so you can't feel all that bad.

Maybe this incident will open his eyes and he'll seek an honest living. I wish him luck.


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