An open letter to Candys Exporters

>> Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Job Vacancy‏

To: Recipients
From:     CANDYS EXPORTERS ( Your junk email filter is set to exclusive.
Sent:    Wed 10/01/14 4:30 AM
To:    Recipients (

Good day, Our company base in UK, USA, Canada and other part of the world. We need representatives that can help us pay our Workers, if you are interested get back to us.

Please access the attached hyperlink for an important electronic communications disclaimer: http:█████.██.██/███████████████

Dear Candy (Candys?) or Whomever It May Concern,

Wow.  Okay.  Where to begin?

So, first off, I'm really unclear as to whether you are someone named Candy who doesn't understand possessives, someone who exports candy and doesn't understand plurals, or someone named Candys in which case carry on.

If, however, you're the first of those, you probably need to know that in English we put an apostrophe before a possessive, like so:


...indicating that you, Candy, possess something; presumably an export firm in this case.

On the other hand, if you're someone who exports sweets, you probably would want to call yourself

Candies Exporters

...or perhaps even:

Candies Exporter

...which would get rid of an unpleasant sense of having too many sibilants.  Though it would not get rid of having a really generic name for your firm.

I do my best to be charitable about matters grammatical.  For one thing, I do all sorts of eccentric and even improper things with English grammar, some of them deliberately because I think things ought to be done that way and some of them inadvertently because I'm an idiot.  As a native speaker of Standard American English, of course, I can get away with a certain casual attitude towards my tongue, the kind of contempt bred by familiarity.  I also try to be charitable about grammar because I tend to prefer descriptivism to prescriptivism, meaning that I see language as a constantly evolving and flexible thing across time and space; so I prefer discussions of how grammar is actually used by speakers and writers, and how usage has changed over the years, and the interesting things you learn by comparing regional dialects, to pedantry and dogmatism about "correct" usage (especially since at least half the time you find out that the "correct" usage is wrong--e.g. everyone who ever said "ain't" ain't a word--or is some arbitrary preference someone imposed upon everyone else because he could--e.g. Noah Webster just deciding one day to remove the letter "u" from a bunch of words where it was paired with an "o" because, by God, it was his dictionary with his name on the title page and he could do whatever the hell he wanted to).  Finally, I also try to be charitable to grammar online because the wonderful thing about the Internet is how international it is, and a certain humility is in order when you realize that some French or German writer's terrible English grammar is much better than your nonexistent French or German.

Still, with that latter bit, one might humbly point out to a non-native writer that a properly-placed apostrophe would bring the boring name of their firm into consistency with commonly accepted usage.  And if you are a native writer, well... I'm sorry, but shame on you: I know that apostrophe placement is a rule that people mess up so frequently it's almost more-honored in the breach, but it's an easy enough rule.  I don't want to betray my gut-level sympathies with descriptivism by suddenly turning into a grammar scold, but the way I would describe the possessive usage in English would be, "We typically put an apostrophe in front of the 's', except in the case of 'its', which is messed up."

There are other grammatical issues in the body of your request.  "Our company base in...," seems like it's missing a verb somewhere.  Your capitalization is eccentric, though not unprecedented.  "Good day," is most often written as its own clause with a period at the end of it, even though that technically makes it a sentence fragment (I think you could also use a semicolon, although semicolon usage is to English grammar what the Rule Against Perpetuities is to law: nobody actually understands it and anyone who claims to is most likely lying).

Grammar is an easy place to start, but it's probably the least of your problems, frankly.  We need to talk about your business practices.

Specifically, you seem to be confused about how a business operates.  Generally speaking, when you have an employee, you pay that person.  You don't seek out representatives to pay your employees for you.  Or, even, to help pay your workers.  There may be exceptions: you might pay a fee to an employment agency that covers the pay of temporary workers, and then the employment agency cuts the paycheck to the temp, but that doesn't seem to be what you're after.  Or, if it is, you're doing it wrong.  What you should be doing is, you should be looking up "Employment Agencies" or "Temp Agencies" online or in the Yellow Pages of your phone book.  Not hitting up strangers for money.

I understand the appeal of the idea, of course.  If you could get someone else to pay your workers for you, that would probably take a big chunk out of your expenses, thereby raising your profitability.  It's just that no one is going to take you up on that offer.  I don't even know what your employees would think: "Soooo... I put in forty hours exporting candy this week and now I need to hit up some guy I never heard of for my check?"  And how on Earth does your benefits package work?  Are you expecting random people you e-mailed to pay for insurance or contribute to a retirement fund?

No, I'm pretty sure this clever plan of yours suffers from the tragic flaw of so many clever plans: it's completely unworkable.

Really, what you need to do is, you need to pay your workers yourself.

Now, it may be that I've misunderstood what you're looking for, but if so, I don't see the point.  It may well be that you plan to pay your workers yourself, but you need help for the act of paying: that is, you give me the money you're paying the worker and then I give the money to your worker.  Why?  I don't understand.  Don't you see these employees more often than I'm likely to?  Wouldn't it be easier to just hand them their checks?  If you're going to mail them, why mail them to me instead of simply mailing them directly to the worker?

It just seems easier if you cut out the extra step.  Unless it's some kind of tax thing--taxes are very confusing, I admit--but then I'm even more certain I'd rather not get involved.

Finally, I am curious about the nature of your business--not that I want to get involved (the whole thing sounds like a pain in the ass, honestly), but because one always wonders about "exporters".  For instance, do you actually export candy, or do you export other things?  Do you import anything?  If you have an office in the United States that sends something to a sister-office in the United Kingdom, does that still count as an "export" because it crosses international borders (I would think that it would), or does the in-company transfer mean it's some sort of lateral pass?

There's an old Seinfeld running gag, I think, where George pretends he has a company that only and exclusively imports but doesn't export, or maybe it's the other way around, but then at some point when he's pressed he expands the lie to say he imports and exports; the gag works, I think, because we all wonder about this, and because there's something exotic about being involved in the import and/or export business.  Those of us who aren't in the biz imagine it involves traveling halfway across the world to a warehouse in Senegal just to pick out the best-of-the-best whatsits before traipsing off to Bali to argue with bazaar merchants about the wholesale costs of somethingorothers.  When probably the business only involves lots and lots of ledgers and poorly-connected phone calls to vicious and unintelligible sweatshop overseers, and arguments with customs officials over the fact there are only two copies of the dot-slash-number-slash-letter-dot-number so-and-so forms attached to the file and there ought to be three even though no one ever even looks at the third and it in fact gets thrown away as a matter of protocol.

James Bond's cover was that he worked for a firm called "Universal Exports".  I'm sure he was asked these questions all the time: "James, have you ever suggested to your boss that you could double your business if you also imported things?"  "You don't import universes, do you?  Ha-ha!"  "So does the company name mean there's anything you won't export?"  Et cetera.  Of course, "Universal Exports" didn't really export anything, it was just a reason for Bond to pretend he was traveling to one of those Senegalese warehouses or Bali bazaars to pick whatsits and argue somethingorothers when he was really going to Jamaica to murder a bunch of guys and their squid and to screw a woman who may have been mentally handicapped, her claim to having read half a  encyclopedia set notwithstanding.  Presumably, there were a lot of dreary poolside conversations where Bond had to stand around and field awful questions about exporting (and maybe importing), but Ian Fleming understandably spared us:

Bond stood by the barbecue and regretted wearing the sandals instead of dockers with socks, because the mosquitoes were utterly ferocious this afternoon.  His martini was warm and had been made with a bargain-shelf gin instead of his preferred vodka, and his host had been unclear about the amount of dry vermouth to be used, preferring for some reason an unpalatable one-to-one ratio that he erroneously and apologetically claimed would make up for having run out of ice twenty minutes ago.

An overweight securities broker who needed to put his shirt back on, both to avoid a nasty sunburn and to spare the gathering the sight of a bosom more ample than that of most of the wives in attendance, bombarded Bond with a barrage of questions about the export business.  What did the future of exports look like?  Had Bond ever considered imports?  Was it possible to get Brazilian lawn furniture through Customs without paying fees if it were bundled with, just say hypothetically, gravel?  Had Bond ever met so-and-so, who wasn't in the export trade per se, but worked for a rail freight company, which was basically the same thing, wasn't it?  This, Bond reflected, was why he was an alcoholic sex addict.  He wondered, not for the first time, if his double-0 license to kill would cover pushing a half-naked overweight securities broker into a scum-covered swimming pool and holding his head underwater until their host learned how to make a cocktail, which, by the taste of it, might take years.

Anyway, I was just wondering.  Cheers.  And good luck with your future sentence composition and business endeavors.

R. Eric VanNewkirk


Warner Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:04:00 PM EDT  

Irregardless, this ain't someting to ignor

Nathan Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:49:00 PM EDT  

It's a well known fact the all import/export companies deal exclusively in olive oil.

Nobody knows how other products get moved around the world. Or why someone in Italy would be willing to buy 10,000 gallons of olive oil two weeks after selling 10,000 gallons of olive oil.

Another of life's mysteries.

John Healy Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 5:11:00 PM EDT  

How many trees has Noah Webster saved by eliminating those completely unnecessary 'u's? How many barrels of ink were saved? How much money has he saved our economy. Thank you for reminding of this great American, Eric.
It's amazing that anyone would put that much vermouth in a martini. Poor Bond.

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