I am of the generation that mailed birthday invitations with red, yellow and blue balloons on them; with block printing about who, what, where, when and why; and with a postscript message like, “Bring lots of nice presents!”
Last Monday, I got an e-vite for my friend Bob’s surprise birthday party. I down-arrowed line by line, hearing things like, “Join the e-vite team” and “Be the first to…” but nothing about the date, time or place of Bob’s birthday party. I decided not to respond “YES” or “NO” without knowing when or where, so I just closed the e-vite and figured I’d figure things out later.
Last Tuesday, I got an e-vite reminding me that an e-vite to Bob’s birthday party had been emailed to me. I checked this one out line by line, too, hoping for somebody’s name and phone number to RSVP to, but found only a “MAYBE” button, so I pressed Enter on that. I figured I could buy some time while I figured things out.
Last Wednesday, I got an email from e-vite welcoming me to the e-vite team. Maybe pressing the “MAYBE” button had enrolled me in the inner circle. I read this one, too, line by line until, way at the bottom, I found a “NOT NOW” button and clicked on it. I figured stalling them was my best tactic.
Last Thursday and Saturday, I got e-vites reminding me about the other e-vites. I don’t know why they gave me Friday off, but they did. I read these two, too, and heard a more strident, demanding tone. But still no when or where. I clicked every link in the e-vite, figuring they’re smarter than I am and they’ll figure it out.
Sunday, I called my friend Bob so I could ask him when and where his birthday party would be. I figured somebody had probably already spoiled the surprise part of it, so why not ask him directly. Bob told me his birthday party had been the night before and where the hell was I, everybody was wondering. I wished Bob a happy birthday and kept my technologically-challenged excuses to myself.
I haven’t gotten any more e-vites to Bob’s birthday party. I figure they figure if you don’t tell them what they want to know, they cut you off. Still, I’m on the lookout for the e-vite that says, “Take a Minute to Rate Bob’s Birthday Party.” I think it’s important to provide feedback when solicited and, boy, will I give them an earful.