One of the slightly daft things I do with the internet is SweetCollect which basically has a bunch of offers of various sorts, and gives you free sweets for each one you sign up to. As a result I have an email address or two which are basically just for signing up to random websites I have no real interest in at all, though I check the mailbox regularly to delete them all and spot more opportunities for freebies. Today I got a message from one of them, which looked like it came from an american opinion poll site, offering condolences and support as a result of yesterday's bombings. It actually made me cross enough to reply.
From: "Anne Parks" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "Eleanor" <email@example.com> Subject: American Consumer Opinion® #4770910# Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 18:24:25 -0500 Dear Eleanor: As the terrible news of the blasts in London resonate in everyone's heart, we send you our support, and hope that you and your family are well. In a world which sees terrorism on the rise and everyone's life increasingly affected, we believe that it is only by supporting and helping one another and by making greater efforts to communicate across national divides that people can stop the violence and find peace. We share your grief and pain, and we would like to extend to you the good wishes of all American Consumer Opinion® panel members around the globe in this difficult moment. Sincerely, Anne Parks Vice President American Consumer Opinion®
From: "Eleanor" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: "Anne Parks" <email@example.com> Subject: American Consumer Opinion® #4770910# Date: Fri, 8 Jul 2005 09:12:56 +0100 While I am sure your message is meant with all the best intentions I am afraid I find it incredibly disturbing to be offered condolences for something which doesn't actually affect me, and from someone who doesn't know me at all. I really can't find words to express how completely inappropriate it is. As someone outside London, whose friends are all safe and well I am amazed and slightly cross to be contacted in this way, but if I had been caught in the chaos or if I or someone I knew had been injured I imagine I would be extremely angry to receive such a patronising message of sympathy with such little consideration of the facts. Despite the horror of those who were caught in it, and the media fears that it would be much worse, this is quite a small incident and to make such a fuss about it is simply to glorify the terrorists involved. Yours, Eleanor Blair
It doesn't seem to have helped much as I'm still cross, and I don't think I've done a very good job of explaining why. Seeing a black ribbon icon on Google UK today reminded me of it and made me more annoyed, even if it does link to useful friends and family contact details.
In other news we just had a security alert at work: "suspicious package on the office floor, could staff and students please avoid this area". So we went and had coffee upstairs. Unfortunately they worked it out quickly so we had to come back. Julia said she saw a large suitcase sitting by the ladies loos earlier so it was probably that. Wonder how long places will continue to be more paranoid. Not that it was very useful in terms of evacuation, no-one who actually works on our floor was quite sure what we were supposed to do.
Oh and if you fancy free sweets yourself let me know, I get a bonus sweet for every friend who signs up :-)