Perhaps living in New Zealand makes me sensitive. Or maybe my journalism training means I worry about language and accuracy.
Either way, I’m not impressed when a late afternoon mail arrives starting: “good morning”.
I accept “good morning” means the sender is at least thinking about good manners. Good morning is better than starting a mail with “Oi stupid!” or worse.
And I feel the author’s pain about wanting a more original start than the standard “Hi Bill”. Or “Dear Mr Bennett”. As a writer I like to vary words and not repeat myself.
At least not too often.
“Good morning” mails often don’t arrive in the morning. Not even when the mail is sent in the morning.
Much of my mail comes from Australia which is usually two, sometimes three hours behind New Zealand. When the Bruces and Shelias in Sydney are still boiling up their billy cans for the first brew of the day, I’m ready for lunch.
Public relations people send a lot of the offending messages. When an Aussie PR sends me a personal “good morning” that arrives in the late afternoon, it tells me that they haven’t bothered to stop and think before sending.
In fact, the chances are that the “Good Morning” message is just a bulk press release sent out to dozens of people in Australia and New Zealand.
The subtle, unvoiced subtext of such a message is “we’re happy to take money off of our clients to service New Zealand media, but can’t make an effort to do the job properly.”
One last thought:
Senders have no control over when readers see their mail, this make it presumptuous to start a message that way even when you’re in the same time zone as the reader.
You’ll still be polite or friendly if you start the mail with hi or hello followed by the person’s name.