Carroll: And the hits keep coming
When my family orders a product or service, we’re generally satisfied. But if our Denver Post doesn’t arrive, we’ll call the newspaper’s circulation department. If the cable’s down, we’ll call Comcast. Same with the Internet. Dealing with insurance companies usually is the greatest hassle, and 15 minutes on the phone with a representative is all you need to understand why America’s health care system is in such a dismal state.
But when it’s all said and done, we generally aim to air our frustrations in a respectful and constructive fashion, ultimately getting us the service that we paid for in the first place.
Back on New Year’s Eve, I wrote a column vowing not to get unhinged by nasty critics of this newspaper. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t continue to be baffled at how not everyone has learned the lesson that you catch more flies with honey.
Here’s a quick glance at some reader feedback from last week that serves as a lesson on how futile it can be to fire off an emotional attack as opposed to a reasoned one.
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This email came from a reader simply known as “gearhead,” who evidently has problems with our website:
“Who (sic) has the time or the patients to use your new format for the daily paper on line .today it took me and average of 20 to 30 computer clicks and moves to read one page..usurer friendly ..I think not..I’m sure it must take your employees a connectable longer amount or time to read your paper on line at work…money lost..and as for the advertising why spend the time working through the clicks and moves to follow it..keep up this format and maybe you should do more than move the office.”
Perhaps there’s a point to be made in this nonsensical email — that the reader hates our website — but does “gearhead” really think this is the way to go about it? Maybe gearhead found this email to be therapeutic, and if that’s the case, I’m elated for gearhead. But next time, please translate from gearhead to English, so that we can address your concerns appropriately.
More uplifting feedback came from a reader named “God of Aspen” — which narrows down the field of suspects to roughly 1,000 residents within city limits.
In any case, the God of Aspen apparently is a harsh one:
“Your (sic) new E-EDITION SUCKS BIG TIME!!! …one can NOT control the magnification, its either too large or too small…want one (1) single page showing on a full screen that one can increase or decrease to an acceptable size one wants…Please revert back to the way it was immediately…old way was much more user friendly and convenient…thanks…”
What struck me about God of Aspen’s email was that he (I’m assuming it’s a he since, presumably, a she would be a goddess) came out firing and then settled down with such niceties as “please” and “thanks.” It’s usually the other way around in which the disgruntled readers work themselves into a tizzy before striking the “send” button. I emailed God of Aspen back and said I’d be happy to help him over the phone. Hell, since it’s the God of Aspen I’ll even buy him a cup of coffee, unless he’s too consumed with the damning of this newspaper.
Another email was sent to reporters at both Aspen newspapers early Monday morning. And the writer signed her actual name, but we’ll spare her of a public shaming. If the words “F— you!” are any indication, her email expressed frustration that no one had emailed her back to address her concerns about dangerous chemicals in her apartment.
“Not one article was written about that. … Im sick of the aspen good ol boys club More like the dirty ol boys club.”
If the complainant had a point, once again it vanished in the vortex of her incoherent rant. And while we welcome all types of story pitches, “F— you!” is not the best way to go about setting up an interview. This next story pitch came from a woman who recently opened a cafe and wanted us to write about it. We tried to explain to her that we can’t write about every business that opens or expands, but perhaps if she offered a fresh angle, we’d get in touch with her.
“Guess (sic) the fact that (the business) is the ONLY woman-owned & operated full service grocery store in the valley & just recently nearly doubled our footprint from the original size after unanimous approval from Pitkin County P&Z is not enough??— (yes I feel this trumps all the media that the clark’s expansion in snowmass has received…I realize that was controversial in nature and mine was not….) and yes, we do feature the most local meat, produce and cheese over any other independent market in the valley! The fact that we are the ONLY espresso bar that features ONLY organic milk and other non dairy beverages in the valley….the fact that we are the ONLY market in Pitkin County that offers a win-win give back – reusable bag “token donation” program to 3 charities/non profits quarterly….the fact that we are the only market with an on-site cafe in pitkin county….what else do you need to qualify the opening of the cafe as “newsworthy” — please explain.”
An espresso bar that “features ONLY organic milk?” Then why didn’t she say so in the first place? Stop the presses, folks. We’ve got a hot one here.
Rick Carroll is editor of The Aspen Times. He takes comments, complaints, questions and news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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