Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why you should never try to sort out an argument by email

I sometimes do admin stuff to help manage our building (which is split into several flats).

I always thought it was one of those thankless tasks where you never really get anything back. Until yesterday, that is, when an email ‘discussion’ quickly unravelled into something both horrible and fantastic.

Behold, what happens when the thin veneer of middle class politeness cracks and people say what they’ve really been thinking for the past two years. (I’ve changed the names, except for my own.)



From: Kate

To: Everyone



Hi folks,

[Introductory twittering about lampshades and stuff]

Alan, I know Steve spoke to you last night about moving your bikes from the hall. Can you confirm you'll be able to do that today? It's unfortunate we don't have the new bike shed ready to put them in yet, but we agreed in the last meeting that we weren't going to keep bikes in the hall once the new paintwork had been done as the walls were badly marked by them. As you are on the ground floor and have a garden, can you sort something out for the short term until we fix the bike shed situation?

Thanks,
Kate


From: Alan
To: Everyone

Hi Kate,

As per my chat with Steve, I’m happy to put something in between the handlebars and the wall, but with rain forecast over the next couple of days, I won’t be leaving mine and Carole’s bikes outside to get rusty. If you’re up for putting your bike outside, we can do that too.

Regards,
Alan


From: Steve
To: Everyone

For chrissakes! I'll keep my bike outside for a few days (in the rain or snow or whatever), and Alan can have space in the bike shed if it will help keep the peace.
Alan you still have Kate's bike shed key, correct?




From: Dave
To: Everyone

Yeah I’ll stick mine outside too


From: Alan
To Everyone

So to get this straight. You held a meeting which I wasn’t there for. Took some decisions, informed me of them in a somewhat arsy tone for the 1st time last night, and then again publicly in an email 12 hours later.

You lot can learn to behave in a slightly more civil manner if you want me to cooperate. Not impressed in the slightest, your bikes can go wherever you want them to go, for the time being mine is staying as is until a new shed goes up and you learn to keep a civil tongue in your head.

Rude, rude people.



From: Steve
To: Everyone

[Attaches minutes showing Alan was informed months ago]


From: Dave
To: Everyone

I just got a call back from Trimetals. They can sell us the bits to make it into a bike shed for £89 all in.

All in favour say I



From: Steve
To: Everyone

well that kind of depends if everybody in the house is prepared to use it if we do. but I say yes if so.


From: Alan
To: Everyone

Oh behave you snippy little man.


From: Steve
To: Alan

f*** off Alan you selfish c*** [asterisks mine]



From: Alan
To: Steve

Stop communicating with me.


From: Steve
To: Alan

i wish i had that privilege


[Those emails were just between the two of them but now Alan includes them for everyone to see]

From: Alan
To: Everyone

Steve,

Do you not think you’ve over-reacted a little here? You’ve been very rude for no reason, then quite catty.

Following it up with those choice words only points to you having a bad day or something.

Please let me know when you’re up for communicating normally again as I always thought we had a fairly harmonious thing going in the house.

Regards,
Alan


From: Steve
To: Alan

quite possibly yes, but that doesn't alter the facts that you are completely unwilling to make any effort to contribute to house affairs unless they fit your very exact requirements.

selfish=yes
cunt=probably not, I apologise.


[This next email is obviously written before the above but sent moments after]




From: Kate
To: Everyone

Alan,

There is really no need to be so defensive and personal. No one is being rude, just frustrated at a perceived lack of willingness on your part to compromise. Please find attached the minutes from the last house meeting, where it states clearly

[bunch of stuff basically proving he was told, just didn’t bother replying]

You seem to be happy for others to do the hard work of house admin, despite us all being equal shareholders, yet want to have your own way when it comes to decisions that affect everyone.

No one wants there to be any aggro in the house - we all have to live there after all - but your lack of consideration can be quite frustrating, even if it is not intentional.

Please can you keep your bikes in your flat until we can sort out the bike shed (thanks again Dave for going to the trouble).

Thanks,
Kate



From: Alan
To: Everyone

Really?

That will be why Steve sent me a personal email calling me a selfish c*nt.
I’m fairly shocked.



From: Steve
To: Alan

you must have seen it coming



From: Alan’s girlfriend
To: Everyone

Dear all,

Please everyone STOP

Bitching about our personality faults is not what I want coming across my screen this afternoon. JUST STOP

Alan and I are not comfortable leaving our bikes outside. We should have been at the last meeting to convey this to you.

We would prefer to leave our bikes in the same place for the time being. I’m sure everyone’s expectation was to have a clear hallway and clean walls. I’m sorry to disappoint you, I wish I could have given you prior waning about how we feel with regards to leaving the bikes outside.

I promise I will clean the walls and skirting and return them to pristine condition once we can move our bikes to the shed.

This is outrageous behaviour, I don’t want to live in a house full of idiots who aren’t able to be civil to each other regarding small stupid matters like where a couple of bikes are kept for a few weeks.

Carole



From: Alan
To: Dave

Hi Dave,

As you’re friends with him, please ask Steve to either apologise or not to communicate with me anymore.

I have nothing left to say after these outbursts, and anything further is likely to be physical.

For the record, there was never any issue with doing anything for the benefit of the house, I only took exception to the tone.

If you’re of the same opinion as him, well, that makes me sad as I always thought you could speak to me in a normal fashion.

Cheers,
Alan



From: Steve
To: Everyone

Dear all

I publicly apologise for awkwardness arising from my personal communication with Alan today.

This was a previously a private matter but now that it's been made public I understand how it effects everyone and certainly doesn't help house harmony.

However, it was a response to two insulting remarks levelled at both myself, my girlfriend and housemate.

I am willing to overlook these remarks and offer an apology directly to Alan about mine.
We're all grown ups after all.

regards
Steve

10 comments:

  1. That, Mr RMWLC, is absolutely, magically, systematically, inherently, fundamentally and mentally brilliant, and I thank you for sharing from the bottom of my heart.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did anyone else assume this all happened in Engine until about 60% through?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Blimey. Where do you live? The ghetto?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Come on everybody. Sing along now...

    "Neigh-bours.
    Everybody needs good neigh-bours..."

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is brilliant.

    Reminiscing the days when I lived with 6 lads, who work in advertising.

    I won’t deny that I was the cunt who would email everyone about the state of the house.

    After several replies later, all hell would brake loose.

    The thing is, we’d all go home and laugh about it, those people you mention, generally sound like a bunch of wining cunt buckets.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Actually I get on well with all of them. One of them even reads this blog (sorry ‘Steve’)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ha! that's pretty much how I remember it, except for the email that sparked it all off.

    The text limit won't let me write it here but the one from Alan at 14:27 deserves to be shown (along with annotation obviously).

    cheers,
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  8. You're right! Don't know how I missed out that classic. I've updated it now.
    I would like to reiterate that it still doesn't justify your response 'Steve'.
    From Dave (also known as 'Dave')

    ReplyDelete
  9. @RMWLC If you can live with that, fair play.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This would never happen in Parkmore Terrace.

    Thank you for sharing. I can't imagine what the atmosphere is like in your house at the moment.

    ReplyDelete

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