I have a name that’s not common in my generation, but is common in older generations. When I signed up for email, I chose the simplest form of my name. Now that the other 50 or so people in the US who have my name are also using email, I am having problems with receiving their personal emails.
The emails from someone’s husband stopped after I replied to him several times. Now that stores ask you if you would like your receipt emailed to you, I am having a new round of problems. Part of me thinks “Learn your own email address, dammit.” And the other part of me thinks “Well, what if she really needs this receipt?”
It’s always a repeated case of someone giving out the wrong email address, but I don’t actually know what their correct email address is. Am I obligated to do anything here? How do you handle emails not intended for you?
The wrong email problem happens to me a lot, ever since I realized my school emails were going to expire and grabbed jackie[mylastname]@gmail.com as a grown-up, non-work-affiliated email address. While my last name is pretty uncommon, there is a Jacki [Mylastname] who I’ve gathered is a lawyer in New York — and many, many people mess up her email (I actually figured out what it was because someone had even typed it out properly farther down the email thread!). I soon discovered that getting emails intended for someone else is kind of like getting a wrong number… except that the sender has no idea, they may have already sent you sensitive information, and they’ll likely do it again unless you say something.
I have a standard response I use in that scenario:
Unfortunately it looks like you have the wrong email address (I live out in California). I believe the one you’re looking for is jacki[mylastname]@gmail.com (note that there is no ‘e’ in Jacki). I recommend that you go into your contacts list and make sure to update it so your email program doesn’t autofill the wrong one in the future.
Most email clients allow you to save canned responses to use at whim, so you can insert whatever standard text you like and then tweak as necessary. Most everyone I sent it to has responded back with an apology and a thank you. One time I did have a woman slip up after I had already responded, so I told her again and ignored any further messages with a clear conscience (and eventually the emails stopped).
I don’t think the problem will ever quite go away, but making it as painless as possible to deal with has worked well for me. One day I may even have the ovaries to email Jacki herself and tell her to make extra sure people can spell her name right, but for now I’ll just deal with the occasional message that floats my way. Your mileage may vary based on how popular your name is, so it’s totally your judgment call if what you get warrants a response.
Homies that are constantly intercepting personal emails: what’s the new-era solution for getting someone else’s virtual mail?