Got a smelly coworker who just doesn’t get the hint when you suggest breath mints? Want to tell that loudmouth in the next cubicle to shut up about her personal life?
These days, revenge isn’t served cold but quickly and anonymously via email. If you want to send an anonymous message, try one of these six services, ranging from passive-aggressive, pseudo-helpful to downright rude enough to get your head beaten in if you said it in person.
I tried six, prompted by reader who asked for advice on how to tell a colleague who wore too much perfume.
“How do I tell my friend or my coworker that her (fill in the blanks) makes me sick?”
- AnnoyingCoWorker: My thinly-disguised message to a colleague (to say hi and not criticize) was thought funny. Another person was annoyed when I fessed up. She’d deleted it immediately.
- NiceCritic.com: As the name implies, the site provides a range of pre-written messages that are so polite and trivial to be downright asinine. My favorite: “You may not realize it, but you tend to touch the monitor screen when you are pointing at something and it leaves a smudge.” Where I come from that’s a hanging offense. Smudging the computer! Oh dear. I wouldn’t want to tell someone that to their face. They could be carrying a gun or, let me think, some Windex.I sent one to a loud but lovely coworker, John Walston, telling him to pipe down, and got this message when I asked for his reaction: “If I piss you off, then have the guts to tell me yourself…. don’t send me some stupid anonymous message, you f..ing wimp. Stand up and be a man (or woman). So I’m loud…. buzz off…”
- ThePayback: This service, perfectly suited for the passive aggressive moaner who doesn’t dare to be honest, promotes itself as “revenge at its best.” It lets you choose between naughty and nice e-mails and letters. For $3, you can send someone who’s always later a “nice” e-mail with a watch enclosure.” All the letters begin: “Someone who really cares about you wants you to know …”| Yes, they care so much they don’t want to be fingered or blamed for making the criticism. Or you can go the whole poison pen route and send something in the mail. At least, USPS will get some moola for your meanness.
- Venompen is not as nasty as it sounds or the green logo suggests. My test email to MomstoWork cofounder Joy Larkin arrived within seconds.
- Betterme is the pick of the sad and cowardly bunch. It tries to position itself as a tool for employees, or anyone for that matter, to give and receive feedback anonymously. It has some big name companies using it, like Citrix and Disney.
- CrazyCoworkers … by now I was running out of friends to annoy so I was happy to only stop by this site, a slimy place where you can “rant, complain, vent about your co-workers/bosses anonymously.”
Really think your advice is helpful to a friend or colleague? Say it, or write a letter. Owning up or putting your name to something shows you care enough to put yourself at risk.Just need to rant and rave? Get a blog. I did.
Have you ever used one of these services? Do you think they have a place? Or do you think they’re slimy, lowdown, cowardly-custard tools of the weak and pathetic?
We asked Slate.com’s Dear Prudence: “Are Anonymous Email Services for Cowards?”
Photo credit: I just love the photo above by Lisa Dragon on Flickr.com. Check out some of her other beautiful pics. Available under the Flickr Creative Commons License.
About the Author: Julie Power is a writer and editor with experience in both the United States and Australia. After living in the United States for 16 years, she recently returned to live in Sydney with her husband and twin boys (9 years old). Follow @juliepower