Reader Submission — A Catty Email

“Ramona” asks:

I emailed a coworker for an update on behalf of a customer who inquired.  I copied the customer on the initial email.  My email contained nothing inflammatory, and the reason for reaching out to this coworker in the first place was to seek resolution for the customer. She bcc:d my manager on this as well. Here’s the run down of the events:

1. Customer emails me for help

2. I email “Mildred” because this is her area of expertise and cc the customer

3. Mildred emails me and another coworker back with her answer.

4. I forward her answer to the customer and cc her.

She sends me this little note:

“In the future, please do not forward or copy a customer on an email that I did not include the customer on. I specifically replied to only you and Gina on my response because it was not for customers eyes. “

Is it just me or is that a tad bitchy?

The Catty Team Reply:

Wow, Ramona!  We certainly think it could have been viewed considerably less catty if Mildred hadn’t blind copied your boss!  Granted, it wasn’t a friendly email, but it could have been perceived as a request and not a totally catty bitch! With the blind copy factor to be considered, we definitely label Mildred a Level 5 Catty Bitch!

When in a professional environment, we always try to keep our cattiness relatively tame.  That doesn’t mean you should take that kind of behavior lying down, though!

We recommend, in light of the details you provided, that you send back a sugary sweet email, that has a little kick — kind of like Memphis-style Barbecue!

Of course, you know you’re not obligated to use our suggestions, but we’ve composed two different email responses — one we wish you’d say (because it would just feel good), but that we wouldn’t advise you send; and one we think might resolve the issue, put the catty bitch back in her carrier, and leave you looking like the purr-fect goddess you are!

Option 1:  Catty Bitch Back Atcha:

Dear Mildred,

I’m sorry that customer service isn’t your top priority as it is mine.  I’m also sorry that you are employed here.  If that ever changes, let me know and I’ll bake the farewell cake — with arsenic.    The next time you decide to blind copy my boss, be sure and know that she’s a personal friend who will call me and mock you with me.  We both hate you and think you look terrible in those leggings you wear on Casual Fridays.


Option 2:  Smoothing the Waves and Earning a Promotion:

Dear Mildred,

I’m sorry that I forwarded information you felt was not ready for the customer. Clearly, eliminating them from the thread left them believing you had not answered the message at all, and since you are on top of the issue, I did not want them to get the wrong impression and feel neglected when that is not the case at all.

In the future, in an attempt to prevent this issue from occurring again, please add a paragraph to the bottom of your email either stating that you have already contacted the customer separately, or tell me what I should tell them so that I can provide the service they have grown to expect from me. Either way you choose to proceed I will happily comply.

Again, I am sorry for misreading your intention. Since the context of your email was not inflammatory, I thought your omission was not intentional.


We strongly recommend Option 2, even though Option 1 will feel really, really good.

Good Luck, Kitten!

Kara, on Behalf of
The Team
#amibeingcatty #level5cattybitch

P.S.  Blind copy your boss on your response!  Two can play at that game!


4 responses to “Reader Submission — A Catty Email

  1. Oh Kara…you are good!

  2. Thanks, Kitten! 😀

  3. OK — here goes.

    Ramona was wrong. I recommend option 3 — a sincere apology, with all underlying cattiness eliminated.

    Electronic mail communication etiquette prescribes that if someone does NOT “reply to all”, they made an intentional choice to exclude certain people because they did not want the content of the email shared with them. This is ESPECIALLY true if they reply to some of the original recipients, but not all. I don’t think it was (or ever would be) necessary for Mlldred to add anything to the email about who the intended recipients were — in my mind, she handled that when she chose her recipients. If a similar situation occurs in the future, Ramona should assume it was an intentional exclusion. If she questions whether or not that was the senders intent, it would be Ramona’s responsibility to ask if the exclusion was an accidental or intentional BEFORE sharing.

    So, was Mildred’s response catty? Well she didn’t sugar coat it. It was to the point and made her expectations clear. (And reading between the lines, I’d say she prescribed to the same e-mail etiquette protocol as I do.) For all Ramona knows, Mildred was crafting her own response to the customer, picked up the phone and called, or otherwise reached out.

    As far as Mildred ccing the boss — I think a lot goes into whether or not that was an appropriate action. Did the information help or hurt the company/client relationship? Did it hurt Mildred? (ie: is she a commissioned sales person about to loose sale, or a client to a competitor?)

    So, in MY office, what Ramona did would have serious faux pas. Ramona owes Mildred an apology.

    PS: Regarding this sentence: “Clearly, eliminating them from the thread left them believing…..” the client would NOT have KNOWN they were eliminated from the thread if Ramona hadn’t forwarded the information. Now they do. So now, the client got info not intended for them AND knows (by ‘standard’ email etiquette) they were intentionally excluded from Mildred’s response. :/

  4. T.O.,

    Thanks so much for responding! And I totally see where you’re coming from!
    Email etiquette is always important to consider.

    Fortunately, we’re all on the same page, and your input is as valid and important as what I posted in my initial response. I’m THRILLED that you read, and wanted to share with Ramona your opinion on how to handle the situation.

    Now she has a second, unbiased opinion on how to proceed!

    It’s very clear to me that our readers ROCK!

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