Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The danger of "reply all"

Dear assistant to our daughter's choir director:

If you're going to say something snarky about a child's parents in an email to your boss, you should make sure the child's parents aren't cc'd on your email.

And also, you shouldn't make assumptions about said child's parents based on the comments of a person who lost the child's paperwork and failed to notify the child's parents about the first choir practice until 15 minutes before the first choir practice started (and only because the parents called to ask when choir was starting). Because, you know what? The parents are perfectly justified in being a bit pissed off that the paperwork was lost and that they had to drive like maniacs in rush hour traffic in an unsuccessful attempt to get their child to practice on time.

And also, they had been told by two people over the summer that there was no need for their child to re-audition for the choir. It isn't surprising that they were a bit taken aback when they were told that their child, in fact, needed to re-audition and had missed the auditions. It isn't because the parents think their daughter is too good to be required to audition. They would have been glad to have her re-audition. If they had been told. But they weren't because the paperwork was never sent to them.

If you can't make allowances for our daughter to leave practice early a few times (because she's performing in a professional theater production with a major Chicago theater and has little control over her schedule), that's ok. Rules are rules and we understand that our daughter can't always do everything she'd like to do. There's no need to be mean just because we asked for permission to put choir second to another activity. We probably could have just done it - just pulled her out of practice early and dealt with the consequences later. But we were being up front and honest. We were acting like adults, which is more than I can say for you.

And also - BITE ME.

(Apologies to Kristen for stealing that last line.)

*Update* - We sent an email to this woman and various other people at the choir in response. It wasn't anything like what I wrote here but it was a bit pointed. Right after we sent it, one of the higher administrators at the choir called my husband and apologized profusely. Later, the woman who sent the email left a long and very apologetic voice mail. Although the beginning of the apology went something like "There was an email that was sent." "There was no intention to . . ." (It sounded like the kind of "apology" that reinforces the point of this post that people don't know how to apologize.) But apparently she was just warming up because by the end of the message she said "I beg your forgiveness and hope we can start fresh." You can't really ask for a better apology. There is a get together after today's practice so both my husband and I will be there and I imagine we'll have more apologies and discussions. I really hope we can move forward on a friendly basis.

*Update #2* - We went to an open choir rehearsal last night where parents were invited to listen in. There were apologies upon apologies - everyone from the choir director to the head of the community music school where the choir "resides" to the assistant who sent the email went out of their way to seek us out and apologize. My husband commented that in a way it's good that this all happened. Various people made assumptions about us based on a series of misunderstandings (none of which were our doing). Those bad assumptions would have continued - and maybe gotten worse - and we would have known nothing about it had this not gotten aired out. So, it looks like we will be able to move forward on a friendly basis. As my husband often says - everyone makes mistakes but if there's an immediate, appropriate and sincere apology, the hard feelings dissipate.


justacoolcat said...

I like your blog. The prior story of being rich never means having to apologise was horrible and this teacher needs to get said act together.

Kristen said...

Oh, I love it when people think they're being snarky via technology, and then they totally make fools out of themselves. Nice job, choir director assistant.

Haha, the bite me line makes such a perfect ending sometimes, doesn't it?? :-)

cmhl said...

ohhhhhhhh, dramatic!!! I'm glad it all turned out!!

(and, don't you know she just about DIED when she realised she has cc'd you on that email??? hehehehehe)

amy said...

that was great