Sunday, October 22, 2006

Things People Do That Are Just Plain Stupid #2

#2 is writing ATTN: on the envelope.

The envelope will go to the person who it's addressed to, until my understanding of the postal system is severely mistaken. Yet, many people feel compelled to add a line such as this:

Agenta McAgent
ATTN: Agenta McAgent
Agenta McAgent Literary Agency
999 East 28th Street
New York, NY 10001

The intention is obviously to try to bypass the "lackey" (me) and land right on the agent's desk, as if our mail is processed by a machine designed to such things, or as if I am as dumb as bricks. I have never once seen an ATTN line (or anything else meant to indicate who it's supposed to go to beyond the address) and said, "My G-d, this is clearly a query letter not meant for me, the person in charge of reading query letters, but for my boss, who is busy on the phone with an editor. I'd better interrupt her phone conversation to pass this on." We're on to you. I do the queries unless I'm out of town. No amount of sneaky tactics can change that.

Actually, there are some envelopes I pass on immediately to my boss when I sort the mail. These are known in agent-speak as "bills."

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your sense of humor is wonderfully refreshing.....thank you! :)

Dan Lewis said...

Agenta McAgent
ATTN: Agenta McAgent
Agenta McAgent Literary Agency
999 East 28th Street
New York, NY 10001

CONTENTS ARE TIME-SENSITIVE

DO NOT DISCARD

OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS

ECR-WSS CAR-RT SORT
POSTAL CUSTOMER

McKoala said...

LOL, enjoying your blog! And you're Miss Snark's new best friend - she linked to you again today.

Simon Haynes said...

Now you've done it. Avid readers of your blog will now start sending their queries in window face envelopes with a fake utility logo on the front.

Anonymous said...

Excellent.

Proving, as always, that a lot of people are idiots.

Bonnie Shimko said...

This was very funny. So I guess writing PERSONAL on the envelope wouldn't work either.

Dave said...

In this day and age, how dumb can you be about mail?

I used to work for the Federal Goverment and every piece of mail was (1) x-rayed, (2) opened with special gloves, and then (3) delivered.

If it didn't have a return address it was sent back, even a box or package, sent back. NO EXCEPTIONS.

If it was personal mail, it was refused. So no magazines, newspapers, etc... I remember getting a call from a vendor that the company bill was returned because they had a funny and cute way of addressing the envelope.

I am amazed that anyone opens certain envelopes in this day and age. (and even though they are not after you, they might be coming after paranoid little me).

Christa M. Miller said...

Now you've done it. Avid readers of your blog will now start sending their queries in window face envelopes with a fake utility logo on the front.

Don't forget the FINAL NOTICE notation.

Rashenbo said...

No kidding... they will write "BILL" on the cover in an attempt to pass by. Although, I'm sure the person in accounting would be asking themselves... "um... why am I getting this garbage." Unless of course there is no accounting person.

I guess I'm always surprised by the tactics of other people. But at least they provide entertainment for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

This may be me, but when you're sending a query to a large agency -- _why_ wouldn't you put it to the attention of the specific agent you're querying? Do all agencies have one 'lackey' who goes through the mail - or might a larger agency have an assistant who deals with certain agents specifically? Just wondering. I always address my envelope to the agency itself - and put it to the attention of whichever agent I'm querying. If I'm somehow doing this incorrectly, please let me know! (g)

writtenwyrdd said...

I knew my plan to use big glitter confetti in the envelope was better than my friend's plan to write "Attention: To The Fairest (fnord)" on the envelope.

Hail Eris!

Bernita said...

If the agency name is different from the agent who requested material or to whom the query is specifically directed ( as per website instructions) surely there cannot be anything wrong with "Att:".
That's not nervous overkill.

Simon Haynes said...

"If it didn't have a return address it was sent back, even a box or package, sent back. NO EXCEPTIONS."

How?