Communication Skills

When sending a thank you (definitely) does more harm than good

This post is about email etiquette, how a thank you can blow up, and what to do about it.

A few days ago I did a favor – a 15 minute telephone interview for a colleague in the multi-level marketing business. Everyone is just trying to make a living these days, and I felt that if I can help her out by providing a couple of solid selling and motivation tips, I was happy to offer my time. She made it clear there was no budget but I’d be exposed to 20,000+ sales folks and she’d mention my stuff. The proverbial “win-win.”

At the end of the call, she asked me to email  my street address to her. I knew that meant a token of appreciation would arrive and though totally unnecessary, I gladly gave her my address.
The box arrived this morning – a large box – and I was excited to open it to see what she sent. Inside was a yummy terry cloth robe and probably $250 or more worth of Spa type products. I was delighted, and felt quite appreciated until…
I noticed the packing slip.
Stapled to the slip was a copy of the email I had sent to her with my address:
(Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk to your <MLM> family. Here is my address…)
and the email  she sent to the person in charge of shipping that said:
I need to send a thank you for an interview. How about a robe and that Spa line that we have excess of????? Or just send whatever you think… I don’t pay these folks and she normally charges so a little gift from us will be appreciated. It doesn’t have to be huge…
Ouch.
So, what do you think? Should I tell her  I received her email so:
-she doesn’t ever write one like that again
-she speaks to her shipping person
-no one else feels un-thanked
Or should I just let her continue to embarrass herself?
Your comments please. What would you do?

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