"Does you got a buy it now innit".
Idiot. The lack of question mark was the least of it.
Shortfalls in understanding what communication can do for us exasperates me. We should respect it more. Commercial advantage is trashed because people and business don't get communication, whether spouting it or hearing it, and, what's more, many in-comm-petants are so engrossed in what they want to say that they don't realise how few of us want to hear it.
We look for two things in communication: entertainment or advantage. If it does neither for you then it is pointless. If it hasn't grabbed you in the first sentence then you sh
See what I did there?
Anyway, so, good stuff - whether intentional or not - sticks with us.
"What is Aleppo?" said US presidential candidate Gary Johnson when asked on MSNBC what he'd do about it. Political death.
"Very few of our customers have to wear suits for work. They'll be for his first interview or first court case," said a director of Topman. Funny at the time - provided you weren't about to buy a suit from Topman. Innit.
Arriving at a big-budget oriental-themed corporate do: "If you would draw up under the Lagonda, sir," said the security man. I think he meant pagoda. Anecdote gold-dust.
Anyway, I have an expensive hobby involving older cars and racetracks. I buy and sell car bits on eBay according to my need, largely within a like-minded community.
So when I listed a hard-to-find item and received the message "does you got a buy it now innit" I decided defence of communication principled over profit.
I refused to sell the bit to him until he asked me properly, feigning an inability to understand. He responded with a series of progressively more Ali G-inspired, but equally anti-principled, innits. I didn't sell. He lost out. Opportunity missed, and a victory for language.
It would have cost him £50, but probably increased the value of his car by a grand. Bro Innit was pandering to language fashion.
It was about him, not me. And while he was clearly aware of what he was doing (once I got his postcode it didn't take long to identify him as white, middle-class and living with his parents in a very nice area) - and he was trying to buy rather than sell - his communication still meant opportunity, and commercial advantage, was lost.
The vast majority of commercial communication is samey-me-too stuff which is, at best, expendable, mainly, shall I say, because the creators are unaware how they come across costs them business. The form most of us would recognise is a version of David Brent, and the delivery process we would recognise would be the e-shot, although there's acres of press releases that never make it into the public domain because they're crap too.
Anyway, my first received email every morning is inevitably an ill-thought-through 4am-sent sales mailer - yeah, right - masquerading as a sincere personalised "opportunity" from Innit and Brent, the well-known database management operation. Rather than sincere, it's actually disrespectful, contemptuous and lazy. Delete.
And, what's more, a Trump-standard Deathcomms 1 first impression is carved in that granite back wall of your mind until the end of time - or whenever Trump tweets a misspelled nuclear war-starter.
I'd say 99% of outbound unsolicited business communication is an utter waste of time and money.
But how much of it is failing to correctly represent and communicate a great money-making idea?