Monday, December 14, 2009

Guarding your regards

Some of you might find this familiar, my feelings on why you stick your Kind Regards where the sun doesn’t shine has been amended for publication in today’s SMH, under the Heckler column.


KR, it says. Right there, at the end of the introductory and unrequested email about his PR firm. Just before his name. KR. I have no idea what it means.
Keith Richards? Keep Right?
And then it dawns on me. ''KR" is short for Kind Regards. This man, this PR man who is looking to make a good first impression, not only uses the most vague and insincere closing since "Yours most humbly affectionate" thankfully fell out of use but he can't even be bothered to write it all.
Kind regards is foul enough, Victorian and vague, yet capable of starting an arms race of affection. Someone signs "Kind regards", and then someone trumps that with "Kindest regards" and things get totally out of control with "My most kind regards" and "Yours with the kindest of regards" and "Prostrating my most humble self to offer the very kindest of my kind regards".
Or the person who plays the strong silent type and writes merely "Regards" with no indication of how kind they are.
And exactly how kind are these regards? Do they have a redeemable monetary element or are they affection-based only? Would you pour a cup of tea on me if I were on fire, or say "Get well soon" as I was carted screaming in agony into the ambulance?
Kind regards. Can you vague that up for me? For added Victorian style you can for no apparent reason capitalise everything. "Kind Regards." It's especially good if you wrongly put a capital R on regards but forget one on your name. Or just dispense with the piddling words altogether and go with "KR".
How informal! Readers love your relaxed attitude and have nothing better to do than decipher your cryptic missives. Nothing says "cool but can't be arsed" like not bothering to finish your words.
Or not. Look, I have had it with clever buggers telling the world that correct grammar and capitalisation are "dated", that we should be mixing it up with txtspk outside of texts. The first purpose of writing is not to be funky and modern, but to be readable. You are writing so that other people can understand you. Have the courage to master basic communication.
Capitalise correctly. Use punctuation. Go crazy; care about your customers' reading experience. Or prepare to have people look at your garbage and conclude you are morons who can't be trusted with a keyboard, let alone a PR budget.
My response? PFO.

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