It was a festival day (The harvest festival of Pongal) and I was busy organizing what needed to be done for the puja. Obviously I was not logged in to my work email but kept tabs on the email client on phone that regularly updates my email as and when they arrive in my in-box. I represent the interests of a web design company from India in Singapore and part of my responsibility is to answer emails and send quotations for project enquiries.
When the phone vibrated indicating that I had new email, I opened it to read. It was an enquiry from a blogger asking for a quote to redesign her blog. She had marked a link to her blog for us to check before we sent her a quote.
Typically, I would wait to log in on my computer to check links but this one was from a blogger and the link was to a food blog. To point to a blog to someone who blogs about food (too) and expect her not to look up the blog pronto, is like giving a bone to a hungry dog and asking him to chew on it later…or something like that. The blog topic piqued my interest and before I knew it, I was on her blog checking the contents.
Excuse me for digressing here but I think you will need a little background information before you appreciate what happened next. I am extremely sensitized to errors in English grammar, sentence structures, (not so much to punctuations or typo), sentence fragments, verbiage, phrasing and similar errors in written English. I have a very canine sense when picking errors in English the way a dog’s olfactory receptors can pick scents. I was not like this until about a decade back when an opportunity to be an English language trainer saw me in a boot camp of learners who were together working on losing their ingrained errors in English, finding new ways of writing; speaking and picking errors in other peoples English.
So there I was glancing at the content and you can guess what jumped out at me. Without giving it another thought, I passed a nasty remark (“Terrible blog”) and did not realize (until much water had flowed over the dam) that I had replied to her email with that comment instead of forwarding it to my colleague in India for his opinion – which is what I typically do, in such cases.
A few minutes later, my phone vibrated with a new message notification and I was in disbelief when I saw the same blog owner respond with a ‘What do you mean terrible blog?’
Have you heard the term ‘break into a sweat ’? I experienced it today. Just when the realization of the goof up dawned upon me, I panicked. It was not because I feared for my life, or that the blogger was coming to look for me for a justification but just the fact that I was so careless caused a few minutes of panicky sweat.
My first thought was to not mention this email exchange to my colleague. Why make it known to more people how careless I was? My next thoughts were to ignore the email and not respond to this blogger. Let her assume that her email was never read. Just when I was weighing my options, I get another ping on my phone from the same blogger that read- “Is their [sic*] any way u [sic*] can help me to [sic*] make my blog look better? ”
That is when I decided to do the right thing.
I wrote an apology to her (Sorry, the comment was not meant to be sent to you. But since I have sent it to you, may as well say why I said that. You have to correct plenty of English errors in your blog.) I followed it up with an email to my colleague, coming clean on the goof up. Thankfully for me, he is blessed with a fantastic sense of humour and sent me a blunder-o-blunder comment in keeping with the theme of today’s festival. (The moment the milk boils over and bubbles out of the vessel, the tradition is to shout of “Pongal-o – Pongal)
I have heard back from the blogger a few more times today, but none of the emails are bordering on hate or any other intense negative emotion. I am guessing I saved my reputation by offering an apology.
Have you got into a similar situation when you have said anything tactless or embarrassing? Here is your chance to come clean. Share your experience!
*sic – is used when writing quoted material to indicate that an incorrect or unusual spelling, phrase, punctuation, or meaning in the quote has been reproduced verbatim from the original and is not a transcription error (that is, it appeared thus in the original).