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October 1, 2007

Pls Don’t Tell Me Pls. Thx.


When you’ve been in business for awhile, there are certain things you just know. And if you’re the kind of client who is going to annoy me to the point where I will ultimately determine you are not worth the trouble, you may very well alert me to this fact with six little letters.


The first three are “pls.”


The second three are “thx.”


You write these sorry excuses for words in an e-mail to me, it will be over between us before it even began.


As you may have already gathered, “pls” is supposed to mean “please,” while “thx” is supposed to mean “thanks” or “thank you.” So why would I object to being told please and thank you? What’s the matter with me? Aren’t these two terms the epitome of politeness?


Ah! That’s what they want you to think!


When someone e-mails me and says “pls advise” or demands something, only to attempt to soften it with “thx,” what exactly has that person just told you? You know very well what:


I am a very busy and very important person, and I cannot be bothered to type entire words to you – especially sentiments that I may or may not even mean. So I’ll toss a “pls” your way to pacify you, or I’ll whip out a “thx” because I need to go on the record as showing some degree of gratitude, but let’s get real. You’ll do what I say because I’m the client and you have to, and I am more important than you and you know it. So deal with it. Pls and thx.


You know this guy. You’ve probably dealt with him. He does stuff like this: He tells you he wants you to do something. You say you’ll be glad to, as long as he sends you one little thing you will need to do it. He says he’ll send it right away.


He doesn’t. A week passes. He sends you another e-mail: Pls update me on the work you owe me. Thx.


You remind him that you were waiting for him to get you something you needed. Oh yeah yeah yeah. He sends you another e-mail: Pls call me to discuss. Thx.


What was stopping him from calling you? Why should he call? He’s too important!


So you call as soon as you get the e-mail. You get his voice mail. You tell him you were calling as he requested and that he can call you any time to discuss it, then you leave your cell phone and your home phone – if you still have one.


Twenty-four hours pass. You don’t hear from him. You call again. You get voice mail again. He replies with an e-mail: What did you need from me again? Thx.


You know perfectly well that you’ll be staying up late tonight to get this done for him, because he needs it tomorrow. And you also know perfectly well that he will never acknowledge his own role in holding it up.


Well, you should have seen this coming. It all started with the “pls” and the “thx.” Someone who can’t even be bothered to write out entire, one-syllable words isn’t going to lift a finger to facilitate your serving him, or make any serious acknowledgement of your contribution.


It is also likely that you can expect another e-mail from him, sometime after you send out your invoices.


Pls explain charges. Seems high. Thx.


I warned you. Don’t blame me if Mr. Pls & Thx stiffs you. But thx for reading. And I really mean that.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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