Spam or Harrassment?

Happy Monday!

I, unlike most people, enjoy getting to work early. It’s quiet, the phone isn’t ringing off the hook, and I’m pretty sure I get more done in the 30 minutes I’m at work before everyone else gets there, than I do the rest of the day… (sad, I know)

Anyway, this morning, I notice that one of the e-mail boxes that I manage has a pretty high unread count, and it’s very possibly spam from the weekend, but rarely is the count for this box more than 4-5. But today it’s showing 16! Included in this count is 6 calls and 2 e-mails from the same person… all this morning, all about the same thing. He wants off our e-mail list.

That’s great – I had him removed from the list on Friday. Now, I would guess we had a handful of e-mails scheduled to go out already, so it would make sense that he would get a few more before they stop, but this person is having a serious fit that he has received additional e-mails over the weekend! Even so far as saying “I am taking this as a form of harassment!!!”

So, my question to you is – Can marketing e-mails (aka spam, if you don’t want them) really be considered harassment?

Did you do that? Warning, you didn’t do that!

I am a firm believer in the saying “if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime”. So I always encourage those on the other end of the phone to do the registration process themselves, but I will happily walk them through the process. Unfortunately, sometimes that backfires on me… Yesterday, I had one such caller.

(M=Me & C=Client)

C= the system keeps denying my registration

M= oh, that’s not good (thinking, our system doesn’t deny registrations), are you at your computer now?

C=Yes, but I just want you to register me

M= well, it will take less time if you answer the questions over the computer because of the multiple choice options, but I will of course walk you through the process over the phone. (that was apparently improper information)

C=My name is (obviously, not the callers real name) “a..b..c..d..e..f”

M=Are you entering the information into the registration screen?


M= Sir, are you at


M=So, you’ll need to fill out the requested information on the screen, first name, last name, company name, and e-mail address.

C=Oh, you want ME to enter the information?


C=”a…b…c…d…e…f”   pause  “g..h..i..j..k”  pause  “” pause Now what do I do?

M= Select the Start Registration Button at the bottom

C= OK, now it asks for type of business, I selected that, now continue?

M=Did you also select the sub category for your business type?

C= I selected continue, and it is saying I didn’t select the sub category.


C=What should I select?

M=Well, what does your company do?

C=I’ll just select this first one – Now hit continue?

M=(Shaking head) Yes

C=So now it’s asking for more information. What is Title?

M=Your job title?

C=I don’t know what that is

M=Um, well, it’s what you do? the description of your job? So on your signature line for e-mails, most people have a job title under their name?

C=So, Sales?

M=Sure! (of course when I looked at the registration after he completed it, it actually said “Saler”)

C=What do I put in the address field?

M=(remembering the article my boss had just sent me about Disney’s approach to the “what time is the 3’Oclock parade”) You’ll want to put your business address in that field, if you’re business is in another country, you’ll just need to change the country field so that you can enter the address in the correct format.

C=Searching for addressentering information So now I hit continue?

M=Make sure to select the check box that says “I agree to the show policies”

C=Hmmm, passport information… “a…b…c…d…e…f” So now do I hit continue?

M=Did you select the check box that says “I agree to the show policies”?

C=I hit continue and I got a warning that says I didn’t select the box that I agree to the show policies.

M=Ok, so check the box that says “I agree to the show policies”

C=Now what, Continue?

M=(screaming in my head) If you checked the box that says “I agree to the show policies” then yes, hit continue.

C=So, when can I get my invitation letter?

M=Since you are a first time attendee, you’ll need to submit proof that your company fits into the category you selected during the first page of your registration. Once you complete your registration, you’ll get an e-mail that explains what can be submitted.

C=My invitation will be e-mailed to me?

M=You’ll receive your invitation letter once your registration has been confirmed, after business proof has been received.

C= OK, so what do I do now?

M=I think you just need to select Complete Registration

C= I don’t see complete registration. there are a bunch of buttons, which one do I choose?

M=Select the one that says Complete Registration, it is the last one in the list.

C=I have Upgrade, Add another, Child Badge, and Complete Registration – Oh, there it is!… Now I need to get my invitation letter, how do I do that.

M=As I explained earlier, you’ll need to submit proof that your company is a retailer. Once we have received that, and approved your registration, you’ll get a confirmation and your invitation letter.

C=Can I have your name?

M=Sure, it’s Sarah – s..a..r..a..h






M=Yup. (I’d given up by this point)

C=And what’s your phone number?

M=Umm (yes, this question threw me, coming from a person who just called me), you just called our number, but it is 555-555-5555

C=OK – so for my invitation letter, I’ll just get that via e-mail right?

M=Once you submit proof of business, and your registration has been approved, then yes.

C=OK – I’ll call back. Thanks! ‘Click’

I’ve been told that I am an extremely patient person, but I had to take a walk with the dog and a friend after that call.

Happy Saturday!

First thing in the morning = ?

Every morning I go to my office and turn my computer on, slowly it comes to life and eventually will bring up my log in, desk top, and my list of things to do. Unfortunately, I never know what is going to greet me once I open my e-mail and the 6 group boxes I manage.

Undoubtedly there are the 30-50 spam e-mails, some asking me to open some unidentified document, others written in another language, all of which I promptly delete. Then comes the good stuff… What crazy questions, subject lines, or other interesting data await me today?

  • Subject: UNSUBSCRIBE


  • “Your invoice had an amount of USD 13.000,00. We paid USD 38.904,00.” (Umm… why did you do that?)
  • “I get what you are saying, but” (No, no “buts”, obviously you don’t get what we are saying!)
  • “I have to book the hotel myself?” (yes, we are not a travel agency!)
  • “I was wondering if you still have vendor space available for the upcoming expo?” (we have 40 events within the next year… with very few being along the same industry line)

All in a morning’s work…


In the Beginning… I learned

At the age of 24, I started in my first full fledged “tradeshow” position. Even though I’d been around tradeshows throughout my life, I was GREEN! I consider myself a quick learner, and the programs the company used were DOS based (if you don’t know what that means, you’re probably significantly younger than me), so it wasn’t a difficult training, but learning to handle the people in the tradeshow world was a pretty significant learning curve!

Now, the “normal” person I’d learned to handle in the retail world would complain about a return policy, the cost of an item, or just plain didn’t want to pay, so they would walk out of the fitting room with layers upon layers of clothing on (which I then had the pleasure of calling the police as they walked out the door). Those people were a cake walk compared to some of the first, and continued, experiences I have had with exhibitors!

My first tradeshow memories include:

Someone walking out the door carrying an 8ft long table not belonging to them, clearly stamped with the company name it did belong to and that person’s reasoning that they should keep it was that they had had the table for years. Stealing is stealing regardless how long ago it happened!

Watching a “lost children” tent perpetually fill up with unclaimed kids throughout the course of a show. Apparently we were running a daycare and didn’t know it.

And my personal favorite early memory, the guy who was so irate with a probably $125 onsite service cost, that he felt that actually flinging the check at me like a frisbee would help make his case. It didn’t.

It took a lot of tears and frustration to get through that first year, but I learned not to take it personally and to laugh about the absurdity of the situations I was constantly involved in.

Learning Quote

“Right!?” because sometimes, I just don’t know if it should be a question or an exclamation.

After some careful consideration and a fair amount of procrastination, I’ve decided that it is time for me to start writing again. So, I’ll join the digital age and start blogging. For those who know me personally, know I’ve been in customer service of some sort or another since I could legally make wages, but during the past 8 years I’ve been providing customer support for tradeshows, conferences, and events. A world in and of itself, with little known to those outside the industry.

Honestly, the most dreaded question you can ask me is “What do you do?” But, why is that a difficult question to answer? Well, I do a LOT, sometimes resulting in 150 e-mails responded to and 30 phone calls answered in a single day (yes, that actually happened just 2 weeks ago). But saying, I answer e-mails and phones isn’t really what I “do”. Rather, I provide the support and expertise to pull off something so spectacular that I can only compare it to constructing, running, and deconstructing a small city in a span of about a week.

My goal is to share some of the quirky, crazy, awesomeness that I get to experience on a daily basis all while keeping my zen. So I hope you’ll join me on my roller coaster journey I call a job and maybe get a few laughs and insights along the way.