Category Archives: rants

Stop reading.

Stop reading this right now.

Seriously.  Stop it.

You can’t stop, can you?

Or can you?  Have you stopped?  If you have, I’m applauding you.  You can’t hear it because you’ve stopped reading but trust me, you are awesome.  And you know what else you are?  You are a LIAR.  Because you are still reading.  You’re still reading because you don’t listen to authority and you’re not about to let some stupid-ass warning keep you from doing whatever it is you want to do.  And you know what?  I am with you.

WE’LL READ WHATEVER WE WANT TO AND NO ONE CAN MAKE US STOP.

THIS IS THE REBELLION OF PEOPLE WHO WILL READ NO MATTER WHAT.

HIGH FIVE, US.

High five, indeed.

An open letter to the Girl Scouts: UPDATED (AGAIN)

UPDATED BELOW:

My daughter, Hailey, has been in Girl Scouts for years.  I was never a big fan of Girl Scouts but I am a giant supporter of my kid and if she likes Girl Scouts then we will be at every damn meeting while I huddle in the corner of the room, smiling at the other mothers while unsuccessfully pretending my social anxiety disorder isn’t completely obvious to everyone.

And, for the most part, it’s quite lovely.  Except for twice.  One of those things I’m still working on and will write about soon because I can’t do it without screaming a lot.  The other can’t wait because girl scout cookies go on sale tomorrow and I have serious reservations.

I contacted the CEO who told me to email the social media team, but so far I have no good answers so I’m just going to put this letter on my blog and maybe it will cause someone in head office to say, “This lady is 18 kinds of wrong.  Let’s straighten her out right now, and make sure that we answer people when they badger us because they might be psychopaths with blogs.”  Or maybe it will cause someone in the head office to say, “YES.  YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT AND WE CAN DO BETTER.”  Or maybe they’ll say, “Your daughter is kicked out of Girl Scouts.  Good luck starting your own club, loser.”  And that would be unfortunate but I’ve promised Hailey that if it does happen I will help her create the “What-If-Doctor-Who-Went-To-Night-Vale-and-then-the-Zombie-Apocolypse-Happened Prep Club” and she was mollified.

Now, enough preamble…here’s the letter:

Hi there. My name is Jenny Lawson and I’m having some issues I can’t seem to get answers to.

My daughter is 10 and has loved Girl Scouts for years but there are a few issues we have concerning cookie sales and I’ve been unable to get a straight answer from anyone I’ve contacted. Two issues:

1. I’ve read on the Girl Scouts website that the current pension deficit issue will cause most local councils to see a 40% increase in pension expenses starting the day girl scout cookies go on sale, and a 62% increase over the next three years. According to the girl scout.org site “For many Girl Scout councils, this means that the pension expense will suck up money that would normally go toward operating expenses such as staff salaries and benefits, camp maintenance, outreach programs for at-risk girls, scholarship support for low-income girls, and general programming.

I know you’re currently trying to get congress to grant legislation to help you but I haven’t heard of any progress on that, so I’m under the impression that as it stands, cookie sales that previously went to scholarships and camp maintenance will now be used to pay pension debt.  I’m reading of many historic camps that are being closed or sold.  It’s a concern for many reasons, but particularly because the girls in our troop were always able to say that cookie sales help at-risk girls and support community camps. We haven’t been able to get any verbiage to respond to people who will ask why girl scout camps are being sold and whether the councils will be able to support scholarships as they have in the past.

2. The digital cookie sales that will allow girl scouts to sell online starting this year: From what I’ve read online, if my daughter sells a box of cookies to her nana online, her nana will be charged $4 for the cookies and $11.25 for shipping. So of the $15+ sale for one box of cookies my daughters troop will see about 60 cents. Is that right? Was that the most competitive shipping price available? Were there other bids?

Also, I’ve heard there is a handling fee of $1.25 if you pay online but have the girl scout deliver the cookies to you. Why is that, when the girls offer free personal delivery when ordering in person?  (I’ve also seen it called a “credit card fee” for girl scout delivery, but that number seems incredibly high if it’s a processing fee, and credit card surcharge fees are illegal in our state.)   Does the girl scout troop get the delivery fee?  Do people who buy boxes online but donate them to the official Girl Scout charity have to pay those fees as well?

I hate to be nit-picky but it seems like an extremely questionable business model and my daughter has been taught by the Girl Scouts to ask questions when you think something is wrong, and to make good financial decisions, so that’s why we’re asking you for a real response so we can make a decision on whether her time is best spent selling cookies, or doing something with a greater return to her community.

Hailey is currently working toward her Bronze Award, focusing on the Girl Scouts Journey which concentrates on stopping harmful gender stereotypes, and one of the inequities we’ve discussed ourselves is that, on average, women often accept and are paid less than their male counterparts. We looked at the breakdowns and agreed that this years cookie sales program undervalues her contribution, but we also thought it was important to voice our concerns, to work hard to make sure we understood the reasoning and facts, and to try to make this organization a stronger one by asking the hard questions. I hope that you’ll be able to answer us before cookies go on sale.

As always, good luck.

~ Jenny Lawson

UPDATED (day 2): First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Secondly, thanks for the great feedback.  It’s both relieving and disconcerting to see that so many of us have the same concerns, but I think that’s a really helpful thing for the Girl Scouts to know.   The good news is that last night the Girl Scouts twitter account said they’d touch base with us after the holidays, and this morning the CEO (Anna M. Chávez) DMed me to say they’d follow up with us tomorrow.  Hopefully they’ll have a good response explaining the details, or expounding on how they plan to improve in either deed, transparency or communications. It’s not ideal, but it’s a step in a good direction and hopefully one that will make the organization stronger.

Also, Hailey has decided to pass on the online sales thing this year, but my sweet daughter will probably be one of those excited young girl scouts manning a cookie booth outside a grocery story because she loves being an extrovert (I suspect she was switched at birth) so please keep in mind that the little girls asking for sales are not privy to -or responsible for- all of these complicated issues and should never be yelled at for their excitement. It’s fine to say “Sure, I love Do-Si-Dos” or “No, thanks” but yelling at small children isn’t really kosher. I know I probably don’t have to say this out loud for any regular reader with common sense, but just in case this gets to someone who isn’t a regular, please remember that children are children and are affected by your interactions.

If you’ve read my book you’ll know that already because my dedication page reads:

jenny lawson book

In other words, that shit sticks, so be nice to small children. That’s just basic human decency.

I’ll keep you posted on what I hear.  Also, Hailey was extremely excited to hear how many of you were interested in the Doctor Who/Zombie/Night Vale Club.  She’s designing a logo right now.  No dues.  Requirements: Be kind to one another.  And always carry a towel.  (We just finished The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy.  ‘Nuff said.)

PS. Some of you are saying that the shipping is for a case at a time and that you can’t order less than 6 boxes at a time, but I just checked it myself and was able to place an order for one box of cookies.  It was $11.25 shipping.  Also, it looks like if you choose to have your local girl scout deliver it or if you donate the cookies to the USO you’ll be paying a “handling fee” for online orders.

Here’s the breakdown:

S&H

Click image to embiggen.

 UPDATED (Day 3):  So, I don’t know what to tell you.  I was told the Girl Scouts would follow up with us today, but when I sent a tweet reminding them that we were promised a response, the Girl Scouts twitter account (very sweetly) said their Chief Digital Cookie Lead had sent me an email this morning.  I searched everywhere but turns out she sent an email to some random woman whose email is nothing like mine.  I asked their twitter person to just forward it to my email but they said the Digital Cookie Lead would have to do that and “she’s out of the office on holiday but should follow up soon.”

My response to them:

“I appreciate the thought.  Honestly though, I’m so disappointed.  Hundreds of people who are involved in Girl Scouts are on my blog asking for answers and no one representing the Girl Scouts has responded to any of our concerns, and more keep arising.

At this point I have to assume that the lack of a good answer is our answer and that’s very disheartening.

Also, I realize you personally are not the entire Girl Scout Organization and your hands are probably tied yourself, but if you have the ability to pass this up to someone who will listen it would be nice to know that these concerns are at least known.  Responsive and effective communications, transparency, and dialogue are so important.

Also, as a suggestion: Perhaps next year the online sales program should not be launched on the same week that the Digital Cookie Lead responsible for it is off on holiday.

I wish you good luck and I hope that these issues can be resolved in the future. I know you’ll agree that our girls deserve that.”

If any real response ever comes I’ll pass it on here.  Until then I’ll be buying Thin Mints because I like the cookies and love to see happy kids giddy over making a sale, but not necessarily because I think its a good investment in the girls.

UPDATED (Day 5):  Just got an email from the Girl Scout Social Media team.  It answers a few questions very well, is vague on others, ignores some altogether, and a few of the answers seem questionable, but frankly I’m just happy to see that someone is paying attention and responding.  I’ve also invited them to come here to respond to your questions.   Thanks for hanging in there, you guys.  And thanks for pushing for answers.  At least a few of them are here, and that feels like a small victory for all of us.  :

Response from the Girl Scouts Social Media Account (January 5th):

Dear Jenny,

Thanks for reaching out to express your concerns and apologies in the delay in repsonse over the holiday.

As you know, the Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. It is a shared goal of our movement to maximize the dollars available to serve girls.

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) made great effort over the past year working nationally with councils on two separate relief efforts to ease the financial burden stemming from the liability in the National Girl Scout Council Retirement Plan.

In April 2014, we were able to announce that GSUSA had officially signed an agreement with the IRS as fiduciary of the Council Pension Plan to extend the amortization period by more than four years. President Obama also signed into law H.R. 4275, a relief package unanimously passed by Congress that will smooth out council contributions over the next three years by allowing council pension plans to go back under the Pension Protection Act. Girl Scout councils and supporters nationwide united to contact over 100 Congressional offices, and wrote over 1,000 letters. The legislative support for the movement is truly historic—in fact, only 0.3 percent of Senate bills (three other bills) had such a high level of support. In addition to relief efforts, GSUSA included $1M in its Fiscal Year 2015 budget for pension assistance to councils participating in the National Girl Scout Council Retirement Plan.

To share a bit about our movement’s structure, each of the 112 Girl Scout councils have their own nonprofit status, budgets, operating models, camps, programmatic offerings, and cookie selling periods. Financial decisions such as whether or not to sell or close a camp based on usage, costs, and other camp property, are made by each local council.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program has been providing girls with educational and confidence-building experiences since the first recorded cookie sale in 1917. In keeping with tradition, the revenue from cookie sales will continue to benefit individual girl scouts. While a council may at times tap cookie money for core expenses like programming or staffing, the primary beneficiary is the girls, who decide how to spend their troop cookie money to reinvest in their communities and to have new learning experiences.

As Digital Cookie is a brand new initiative, we can understand that people need to become more familiar with the ins and outs. Shipping costs are in line with established industry standards from reputable companies, and comparable to what customers would pay to ship cookies. With time, we hope that the scale of sales through this part of the program will drive down the costs of shipping and handling.

We would like to assure you that Girl Scouts is committed to bringing girls a dynamic, exciting, and, most of all, FUN Girl Scout experience—one they cannot get anywhere else.

Thanks again for seeking clarification. We’re working to update our website and hope this note has addressed your concerns. Best wishes to your daughter, we hope she has a ah-mazing year with her troop!

And so there we are.  What have we learned?  We learned that the pension issue could have been answered a month ago when our troop first sent letters asking what it meant and then I wouldn’t have written this post in the first place.  But I did, and it was good because looking at the comments you can see real issues…some that we can change and others that we can’t.  We know that often the issues we think we struggle with alone are actually far-reaching, and are worthy of addressing.  We’ve learned that a large corporation cannot be all things to all people, and that the success of your troop depends almost entirely on the skills and choices of your specific troop, leaders, volunteers and local council.   We’ve learned that no one really knows entirely what is going on.  (I suspect we already knew that.)

But the thing I learned the most through all of this is that the woman who started the girl scouts was a bad-ass who looked like she would kill you and eat you if you messed with her or her girls.

Juliette Gordon Low

There wasn’t a commercial cookie program when she was around (aside from sporadic bake sales of homemade cookies) and I suspect if she was around now she’d be asking a lot of these same questions, and pointing to her 1917 quote on the importance of “Thriftiness” being taught to girl scouts:

“The most valuable thing we have in this life is time, and most girls are apt to be rather stupid about getting the most out of it….Money is a very useful thing to have.” ~ Juliette Gordon Low

Of course, this was a woman who found out that her dead husband willed all of his money to his mistress and she was like, “Aw, HELL NO.  LAWYER UP, Y’ALL, BECAUSE THIS BULLSHIT WILL NOT STAND.”  (I’m paraphrasing.  BTW…she won that half million dollar lawsuit, against the advice of friends who advised her to not make waves.)

But there’s another quote from her that probably fits better here, even though it’s a bit poignant for this sort of irreverent blog.

Juliette Gordon Low on Girl Scouting:

“I realize that each year it has changed and grown until I know that,
a decade from now, what I might say of it would seem like an echo of
what has been instead of what is.

The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.” 

This might not be what Juliette had in mind when she starting Girl Scouts, but I’d like to think that our work today to ask the hard questions and fight the good fight would have earned a small nod from her.  And possibly a raised eyebrow at all the cursing.

Probably both.

I am the suspicious activity on my account.

For the last couple of years our credit/debit card has been cancelled over and over because of “suspicious activity.”  I never know that my card been cancelled until my card is turned down by an uncomfortable cashier, and that’s always nice because it’s such a great self-esteem booster when your card gets declined at the drugstore when you’re buying toilet paper and milk.

The really crappy thing is that 90% of the time the suspicious activity on my account is me.  You’re protecting me from me.  Yes, strangely-judgmental-bank, I’m the one buying tiny cat wigs from Asia, and taxidermied pegasuses, and giant metal chickens.  And then I go to buy a two-head bob-cat and my card gets declined I have to get on the phone to explain to the bank that I’m the one who bought a box full of cobra and that I don’t appreciate their implied criticisms, and then they say that they’re very sorry but that they’ve already cancelled the card and I’ll have to wait until they mail me a new one.

This would be fine if I had another credit card to use, but I don’t because I don’t want to have to pay fees on a credit card when I should just be able to use my debit card for everything if it wasn’t constantly being cancelled.  At this point I’m considering calling my bank every day with notes like, “I am currently looking for infant-sized Wolverine gloves, so please don’t cancel that transaction that when it happens.  PLEASE STOP JUDGING ME, First-National-Bank-of-Canceling-My-Shit.”  (To clarify:  I need tiny gloves with sharp knives sticking out of them, which would make a baby look like she’s Wolverine from the X-Men.  Not gloves that would allow babies to handle wild wolverines.  That would be fucked up.)

Frankly, if I had a dollar for every time my credit card got canceled I wouldn’t even need a credit card because I could live off all those dollars.  Which I guess I would just stuff in my mattress because my bank would just hold all those dollars hostage as well.

I know they’re trying to protect me, and that’s awesome but it’s getting fucking ridiculous at this point and I’m wondering if it’s just me having to replace my card all the time, or if this is happening to other people too, or if maybe my husband has made a deal with the bank to automatically cancel anything I try to buy that looks awesome.

So, poll time:

 

**************

And now, time for the weekly wrap-up:

sid

 


Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit that I’m vaguely involved with on the internets:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Crumple + Toss, a bad-ass stationery shop that caters to paper lovers of all kinds.  They are awesome.  From them: “Sure, we got your typical “With deepest sympathy” cards, but we also have “This fucking sucks. I’m sorry” as well. We have wedding cards that say “shit.” We have flowers AND cats. And flamingos. And moose. The fun doesn’t stop with cards with profanity, cats and awkward compliments. C+T also has a shit ton of super awesome notebooks, list pads and stuff. Come see what we gots. You won’t be disappointed.  And if you are, well, that’s your problem.”

Facebook will remind you how fucked up you are and also try to make money off of it.

I was just on Facebook, and this popped up in my feed as something suggested for me personally:

squirrelbutt

And first of all, it’s disconcerting when you get targeted advertising for half a dead squirrel, and it’s not even the good half.   Why send me this ad?  It’s as if Facebook said, “Hey, we saw this asshole and thought of you.”

And then it’s even more insulting because it’s all “Still interested?” as if they’re implying that this was something I was definitely interested in at one point.  And no, I’m not interested.  That’s why I didn’t bid on it when I saw it yesterday, eBay.  I was just looking at it.  STOP MAKING WEIRD ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ME.  It’s creeping me out and it’s also making me feel bad about my internet surfing because probably everyone else is getting targeted ads for pretty dresses or new phones, whereas my page is all, “THIS ASSHOLE COULD BE YOURS.”

Stop being creepy, Facebook.  You’re making this weird.

People with ADD are too easily distracted to be expected to remember to reorder their ADD meds. And that’s why this post exists.

I have lots of things to write about but my head is too full to get them all out.  Every day this month has been filled with joy and terror and confusion and self-doubt and gratitude and horror, and then my mind is filled up with stories that I need to get onto paper, but they all get jammed together.

It’s like when you were six and you were trying to get money out of your piggy bank, but it didn’t have a stopper so you just turn the glass pig upside down and shake it violently and loudly as each penny drops out of the opening, but then it would get jammed with pennies and you’d have to sneak a knife out of the kitchen to shove it up the thin opening, and it totally worked, but then you wiggle the knife a little too hard and suddenly the glass opening of your piggy bank  shatters and you panic and try to put the pieces back together because you instantly realize that the bank was worth way more than all the pennies inside of it, but you slice open your hand on the broken glass, and that’s when your mom realizes it’s gone terribly quiet and she walks in to find you cross-legged, wide-eyed, holding a knife and covered in blood, and she screams “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” as if you might have murdered your little sister, but you explain that your sister is fine and that you just got stabbed by the piggy bank, and that you’re really sorry and will take any punishment she metes out but that “it sort of seems like being stabbed is punishment enough,” and then your mom is like, “JUST PUT THE KNIFE DOWN, JENNY” as if you’re some small, terrible mugger who murdered a pig for a bunch of blood-soaked pennies.

And that’s what my head is like right now.  It’s awful and wonderful.  And it’s full of blood and stories and (metaphoric) broken glass and far too many run-on sentences.  So tonight I’m going to turn my head upside down and shake until things come loose, because sometimes the only thing harder than writing is not writing.

This post has no real point except to say that I’m still here and that one day very soon I will have shaken free the final page of the book inside my head so you can read it.  But for now I’m leaving you with a song I listen to when my head gets too overwhelmed and when I need to be reminded that writing is very much like life, in that it is sometimes incredibly hard, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also incredibly worthwhile.

We are the Government

This post is fairly ranty and not just because spellcheck keeps telling me that “ranty” isn’t a real word.  It is a real word and I’m proving it right now, spellcheck.  Question me again and I’ll explain why “stabby” is also a real word.

If you don’t live in America you can skip this post.  If you do, then you’re probably with me when I say that if I could have one minute to have a sensible heart-to-heart with our government I would take a deep breath and smile supportively and then say, “GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, YOU ASSHOLES.  YOU’RE RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE.”

This is not a partisan post and I live in a politically mixed marriage so I have the ability to see both sides.  I’m also a normal human so, additionally, I have the ability to see both sides of two children fighting over the playground slide, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to just sit there while the kids pull out gasoline and proceed to see who can burn the slide down fastest.  In other words, I’m pissed.  I’m seeing friends furloughed.  I’m seeing people I love out of jobs.  I’m seeing people unable to get the basic care needed for their children to survive and thrive.  This shit happens every day, but it’s not every day that it’s the fault of the government shutting down.  I don’t expect that anyone in the government will read this.  They don’t care about little old me and that’s pretty obvious.  I’d like to think that if enough of us banded together they would care, but it’s probably not true.  The whole nation is looking at them with disappointment and they’re still blaming each other.

That’s not what this post is about though.  You can find people complaining about the government all over the web if that’s what you’re looking for.  What I’d like to do instead is to feel a little less helpless about what’s going on.  So instead of pressuring the government to just DO THEIR JOB I’m going to instead write about a few things that we can do to pick up the slack they’ve left behind.

Right now WIC is running out for many, blood drives are being cancelled from lack of workers, people are out of work and worried.  So how can we help?

Call your local food bank, or church to donate.  Food is good, but money is better as they can use it for perishables.  Or donate to Feeding America.  Every dollar pays for 8 meals and you can do it online.  It’s crazy easy.

Donate blood if you can.  Click here to find the nearest place taking donations.

Send grocery cards to people you know who are struggling…particularly those who rely on WIC, or who are government employees who are working without pay, or are furloughed.  If you don’t know of anyone, call your local Women’s Shelter.  There are a lot of people (especially single moms) who rely on the Women’s Shelter for help and they can pass on the cards or diapers and such to people who need them.

Be nice.  This one is hard because right now everyone is a little freaked out about the fact that our Government is basically the equivalent of your dad not coming home because he’s passed out at the bar.  Tensions are high.  It’s easy to blame each other or lash out at whoever we think is the biggest asshole in the asshole parade, but that’s not solving anything.  Take a deep breath, remember that we have each other’s back, and do what you can to help…even if all you can do is pass on a helpful word, or a link to great resources, or a thank you to the men and women who are working without pay or who are sitting at home waiting for this shutdown to end so they can get back to the work that’s piling up.

We’re all in this together.  And in the absence of the government…we are the Government.  

That’s a scary thought.

PS. Any other ways you can think of to help?  Leave it in the comments.  Please try to avoid partisan blamey comments and don’t fall for it if someone leaves one.  The whole point of this is to not get caught up in the same BS the government is fighting about.  We’re better than that.  Or at least, I hope we are.

Two uncomfortable truths: New Merida looks a little whorey. Fewer people care about this than you would think.

Ugh. 

I sort of already hate myself from weighing in on this but people keep asking me to tweet about it and forward their petitions, and I really thought it would quiet down by now but it hasn’t, so I’m going to give my big, fat, stupid, irrelevant and probably wrong opinion on the changes Disney made from the original I-might-trust-her-to-babysit-my-kid-when-she’s-a-little-older Merida to get-the-fuck-away-from-my-husband Merida.

There are all sorts of calls to action to get Disney to admit that the new Merida looks a bit skanky and they’ve met with some success and that’s awesome.  Go team.  I hope you succeed.  But (in my opinion – stop yelling at me) the majority of people do not give a shit.  Mostly because we’re busy personally teaching our kids what strong women look like instead of letting Disney do it for us.  And in a way, Disney did us a favor here.  Did you have a talk with your kid about the new Merida? Because if you didn’t you missed a good opportunity to see where your kid stands on this, and to talk to them about over-sexualization.

I showed the new Merida to my eight-year-old and she assumed that it was Merida’s evil twin.  Which actually would make an awesome story, and personally I plan to tell stray children I see buying backpacks with the new Merida on them that the original Merida was eaten by the new Evil Merida because she was so hungry.  And they will probably believe it because seriously, look at her waist…the girl needs a damn sandwich.

Anyway, my incredibly dumb and probably ill-informed point is that it’s really uncomfortable to see a strong, child-like character get tarted up and flash bedroom eyes at you, but it’s equally sucky to rely on a giant corporation to teach your kids what strong women look like.  Strong women look like Amelia Earhart, Rosie the Riveter, Asmaa Mahfouz, or Elizabeth Smart. Or Wonder Woman, or Sally Ride or Sojourner Truth, or Amy Poehler, or Ada Lovelace, or Anne Frank.  Or your grandmother.

Or you.

I support and admire the men and women who speak out in the cause of feminism, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are so many amazing women who may never end up on a lunch box (Wonder Woman and Word Girl excluded) but who can make a great difference in the life and perceptions of our sons and daughters.

Okay.  Your turn.  Who’s your favorite female hero?

PS.  There aren’t any right or wrong answers here.  It’s totally okay to like pretty dresses and sexy princesses.  It’s totally okay not to.  No judgment.  Probably.

UPDATED: And then the PR guy called me “a fucking bitch”. I can’t even make this shit up.

SEE UPDATES BELOW…

I know I just posted a few hours ago, but I’m posting again because you all know how dedicated I am to writing about PR pitches (both good and bad) and this one just can’t wait.  I got a form letter email pitch (more than one, actually) about a Kardashian sister being spotted in pantyhose.

Actual line from email:

“The Kardashian’s once again show they are right on trend, and this is on (sic) Mommy’s are all going to want to follow.”

As I do with all unsolicited form-letters about celebrities-doing-shit-no-one-cares-about, I replied with my usual, simple response:

me: And here’s a picture of Wil Wheaton collating.

I got a response from the woman who sent the original email:

Hi there,
That wasn’t very nice. We send certain pitches out to people so they have the chance of getting more hits on their page. We’ll make note of this email in moving forward and remember if we have any advertising opportunities with any of our clients not to go through you.
Best of luck to you.
Best,
Erica

That sort of email might be threatening to a blogger who makes a living by getting advertisers who go through PR companies, but I’m not, and (as far as I know) neither are most people.  For the most part, my blog is supported by people.  People who are bloggers.  This becomes relevant soon.

I wasn’t going to respond, as she did have a point, but then a VP of the company (Jose) hit “reply all”.  With me on the reply-all.

Jose:  “What a fucking bitch!”

Wow.  I sort of felt bad for the guy (as I’ve accidentally fallen victim to the reply-all trap as well) and I considered just cowing down and remaining quietly chastened by this man, but then I remembered that this isn’t the 18th century and that I’ve never taken a high road in my entire life.

My response:

Hi. This is sort of why “reply all” doesn’t usually work well for
companies. Unless, of course, you decided that “What a fucking bitch” was
a great response from a public relations company. Personally, I preferred
the “Best of luck to you” one, which was much more honest and cutting,
while still being professional.

If you’ve read my blog you would know that a great deal of my blog deals
with the importance of public relations companies doing research before
sending form letters to bloggers. Specifically, I’m very vocal about
ridiculous pitches involving celebrities using products. So much so that
I made that actual Wil Wheaton collating paper page to combat this very
sort of thing in a quick and painless way. My blog has nothing to do with
fashion, the Kardashians or pantyhose…none of which I understand, to be
honest. Plus, you’ve sent me this form letter TWICE today. I only point
this out so you can delete this *ahem* “fucking bitch” from all of the
mailing lists you have me on, rather than just one.

Also, I apologize if you were offended by my email. Honestly, I’ve been
sending that thing out to PR people for the last year and this is the
first time I didn’t have someone respond with either a laugh, or with a
simple “No problem. We’ll remove you from the list.” In fact, many PR
companies have turned this entire thing around and sent really hysterical
exchanges to me, which I’ve used to promote their great work in
understanding (and working with) the unique personalities of the very
bloggers they’re trying to reach out to. Just a thought.

Hugs,
Jenny (aka “fucking bitch”)

I don’t know what I expected, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t this:

Jose: I get it and I was out of line by saying that however you put way too much effort
into your approach. A simple “I don’t cover this, no thanks” or “Please remove”
would suffice. To go out of your way to be snarky and rude is a little
inappropriate. Again, I should’ve been less harsh – but I also feel like your email
was rude and unprofessional as well. We will do a better job to research who we are
pitching but maybe you should be flattered that you are even viewed relevant enough
to be pitched at all instead of alienated PR firms and PR people – who are actually
the livelihood of any journalists business. Don’t be offended, you started the
cursing game so maybe we should all just laugh it off and plan not to work together
in the future.

Wow.  Jose was sticking to his guns.  Sadly for both of us, so was I.

My response:

“You should be flattered that you are even viewed relevant enough to be pitched at all.”
You sure know how to flatter a girl. Are you even in
public relations? Am I on Candid Camera? Because I’m kind of baffled.

Please stand by for a demonstration of relevancy.

And then I tweeted to @BrandlinkComm to let them know that one of their VPs just sent me an email referring to me as “a fucking bitch.”  And many, many of my 164,000 followers replied and retweeted in the most clever and hysterically awesome ways imaginable.

And it was beautiful.

PS.  The reason I post this is not to have everyone go all angry-villager on the company.  It’s to remind other bloggers that there are some amazing and wonderful PR companies out there who will do their research and will make your life wonderful.  And there are other PR companies that will try to shame you into posting their irrelevant spam and threaten you with talk of not using you in the future for when they’re doing advertising.  Those PR firms are assholes and you should probably question everything they say.

You are amazing.  You are relevant.  Your work is worth protecting and standing up for.  And you will find wonderful PR companies to work with over time.

Even if you are “a fucking bitch.”

UPDATED: I love you people. Really. Thank you for always having my back and for being so supportive during this weirdness. Jose has apologized, and I’ve been assured by the woman in charge of the company that they are aware and are handling it the best way they know how, so let’s give them some air and let them have the chance to do that. *deep breath*

Now let’s all go have a drink. Make mine a double.

In fairness though, calling it “catvertising” was a pretty brilliant idea. Still suing though.

2008:  I write about my idea to advertise on the side of wandering, stray cats.

2009:  Warner Bros. begins advertising on the side of cats.  Calls it “catvertising”.  Is lauded for their innovation.

Someone.  Is getting.  Sued.

 

How did the hamsters even *get* jet lag?

Hi.

Just got back from Utah.  More on that later, but right now I just want to say that my blog and email have been ill for the last 24 hours, but I’m moving to a bigger server so it should be fixed.  Also, I am severely jet-lagged so I have nothing funny to say.  Except that I just looked up “jet lag” on Wikipedia and it said that scientists have helped hamsters recover from jet-lag by giving them viagra.  Which means that at one point there were a bunch of people flying hamsters with tiny erections to exotic locations in the name of science. Which I think is just proof that scientists are high all the time.

Also, I’m pretty sure cancer still exists, right?  Meanwhile, people are bringing drugged, involuntarily-aroused hamsters on planes, and I’m not even allowed to bring my diet coke through security.  This is exactly the kind of thing I’d take a stand against if it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t even know what the hell I’d write on that picket sign.

PS.  The study also notes that the hamster study “is considered an off-label use by the drug’s manufacturer“.  Which seems like a lost opportunity, because who doesn’t want to use erection meds to cure your hamsters of jet-lag?  Apparently the people who make viagra don’t.  Because they hate your hamster.

PPS.  I can afford the upgrade so no worries, but if you want to help me pay for the bigger server you can buy something at my horrifically inappropriate store. Or you could send me a briefcase of unmarked bills.  Or get me a grant for hamster-erection studies.  Apparently there’s a lot of money in that.