Pitch Be Crazy (or How I Respond to PR Emails)

Posted on
Jun 12, 2012

As a writer, I am constantly concerned that something big might escape my notice, and when a new social trend is born, when something of cultural significance occurs, I will emerge from a bathroom that smells of methane and will ask the masses: What did I miss? And they will roll their eyes and feel embarrassed for me, as I did for that man who I encountered on a bus in mid-September, 2001, when he asked someone if they had heard about these planes crashing in New York (as he had just found out about them), and it was all the rest of us could do not to shout, HOW COULD YOU HAVE NOT HEARD ABOUT THAT?

Fortunately, I have a constant influx of press releases sent to my inbox against my will, the contents of which consistently reassure me: I have missed nothing. Nothing but hyperbole and useless gadgets and the opening of exhibits I will never see; I am repeatedly told which destination is the new summer hot spot, to the extent that surely, as a race, we are running out of locations. Soon we’ll be told that we need to spend our summers on a remote island off the coast of Madagascar that doesn’t appear on any known maps, or on the back porch of Lake Placid resident Murray Skolnitck’s home, for these are the only two places that have not yet been covered extensively by every major travel publication out there.

For the record, I’d take Murray’s place. But I happen to find Lake Placid totally delightful.

Having been pushed to my limits by this endless stream of PR pitches (some of whom – shudder – actually used the word “staycation”), I have decided to respond to several of them today. I’ve only posted the first line of their emails, because that’s all I can read before I start screaming at my monitor, begging it to reveal how these monsters of publicity found me in the first place.


PR Agency: With summer just around the corner I thought you would have interest in this new trend in teen travel.

Me: Is the trend “giving blow jobs to strangers”? Because let me tell you, that has been around for decades.


PR Agency: How are you? Below are the least expensive hotel rates in 10 of the world’s top cities by redacted (a site that features properties that average 40 percent less than typical nightly rates in cities worldwide).

Me: Who are you kidding, Julie? You don’t give a damn how I am.


The buildings ... they're so FLAT-FRONTED.

PR Agency: The flat-fronted buildings in the Grunerlokka District of Oslo, where the actor Anders Danielsen Lie and the model Iselin Steiro live, are crisp, stately and designed for sunlight.

Me: Dude, seriously? Pretty sure you’re just making up fake Scandanavian words. In fact, I rearranged the letters in “Grunerlokka” and was able to spell, “AKK, LOG!  RUN! … er …” Coincidence? I DOUBT IT.


With summer vacation season almost upon us, now is a good time to remind your readers that crime never takes a vacation and in fact, crime increases between six and sixteen percent during the summer months.

“It’s true,” admitted Crime sadly. “I never take a vacation. People think my life is so easy. That’s it’s just a non-stop, drug-addled whorefest. But you know what? I AM EXHAUSTED. Just once I’d like to take a flight without concealing a condom full of cocaine in my rectum. I’d like to buy my kids clothing that isn’t poorly counterfeited (“NIKEY?” WTF, China.) But there’s never a day off for me. I mean, that meth isn’t going to cook ITSELF, people.”


Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Pretending you care is only making this situation worse.


Happy Friday! On the move to a sun and sand filled destination this Memorial Day?

Yes. If by “sun and sand filled” you mean “rain- and ennui-filled.”


Whether you’re traveling out of town or opting for a local staycation –



My name is Sarah  from redacted, and I noticed from your blog that you’re a big fan of world travel.

Pretty astute there, Sarah. Try not to get eaten by wolves, okay?


I would like to know if you would try our product for free, and write an article about it afterward.

That doesn’t sound like free, Josh. That sounds like some sort mafia-type deal where I get my legs broke if I don’t claim your product gives me a girl boner.


Redacted is giving consumers insight into their own vacation behaviors and those of their fellow global travelers via its new “How the World Vacations” infographic.

Cool. I made my own inforgraphic:


It felt like it’d never come, but summer is finally here.

Where do you live, Lauren? Because in my world, summer is not here. Not technically, and certainly not metaphorically. You know what’s here? Fall, maybe. Or perhaps a really miserable beginning to spring. Or a new season that exists only in the Northwest, which is the meteorological equivalent of stepping in a patch of wet carpet with your socks on. I call this new season “sponge.” IT LASTS FOR 11 AND A HALF MONTHS.


Imagine it – the scent of fresh lemons and the aroma from freshly chopped herbs circle through the kitchen.

Awww, that sounds really nice. Especially since I forgot to empty out the trash before I left for the weekend, and my kitchen now smells like a mixture of failure and a scent I have dubbed “zombie orgy.”


I write to ask you to help in a creative effort by my office to educate consumers about the pitfalls of internet scams.

That sounds great, Barbara! Send me your SS#, your date of birth, and your mother’s maiden name, and we’ll keep in touch.


She has been beheaded twice, lost an arm, and been daubed with paint at least seven times.

I give up. Courtney Love?


The ultimate competition is about to begin…and it’s NOT the Olympics…


Take THAT, Michael Phelps.


We are a professional manufacturer which researches and produces CNC Lathe, Vertical Lathe, Gear Hobbing Machine, Boring & Milling Machine, Conventional Lathe, and Machine Center and so on.

Holy crap. This may be the greatest press release I’ve ever read.

Our company has awarded certificates of “ISO9001:2000” quality system and CE and so on … Our products sell well in Asia, Africa, America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, such as: Iran, India, Canada and some other countries.

Wait, not the certificate  of “ISO9001:2000” quality system? OH. MY. GOD. No wonder you are selling well in “some other countries.”

By this email, I sincerely invite you to be our guests in the Exhibition Trade Fair in Moscow in 28th, May, 2012. And our exhibition booth number is in the annex. Please kindly check it.


Leave a Comment

  • Diana

    Looks like you’ve taken Rand’s advice to include infographics on your blog seriously 🙂

  • God, when will I be a famous blogger and start getting all these mails?

  • I am kind of excited about the new “Best Sandwich” show with the guy from “Man vs. Food.” The latter grosses me out sometimes but I can’t stop watching. Also, yum.

  • more like this, please. me likey..

    ps. the bastards from the lathe company got to me, too. see you in moscow, babycakes.

  • You haven’t lived until you’ve had an ISO9001 approved gear-hobbing.

  • I laughed out loud at least twice. “Zombie Orgy” was too funny. And then the “infographic”. The saddest part is your incredible wheel-o-travel is roughly 1,000x better than some of the other infographics I come across out there.

    I don’t envy your inbox.

  • I think the internet needs more pictures captioned “Take THAT, Michael Phelps”

  • Cam

    Sponge season! Yes!

  • I know for my staycations, I like to put on a little Kenny G, get the wood-fire pizza oven going and make sure I’ve got reruns of Joanie Loves Chachi on the DVR

    • Everywhereist


  • How can you say no to a request like “Please kindly check it.”?

  • Hello blogger!

    I have been following your “blog” for many decades and I think it is going well on the subject of Travel and Lifestyles. Serious congratulation is had to you by way of me, seriously! I have told many people and we all agree, you have a blog.

    I have decided to show how gratitude-much we am for your amazing work by giving you a free article that you DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR, prepared by my team of writer, on any subject you like except with a small 600-word section inside it on Latvian immersion heater covers.

    For this I charge you nothing. You have complete editor. *Complete*. This is one hundred cent legitimate.

    I also have adding you to the blogroll on this major “web-site” here: http://www.7872654velourcovers.ru

    For these things I require very little, as follows, right now please

    1) Immediate say yes to everything, which is zero-brain, haha! Haha. Ha. Helpful if you do all this today.

    2) Add link to your blogroll today. We will check.

    3) Say when article needed and guaran tea you will social media at least 10 days every day.

    4) If you are interested in Extra Service I am confirmed to be able to pay $5 if in your next article you insert this phrase naturally and in context without being unnatural:

    “Recticreme Active Fizz Technology leaves private surfaces perfectly clean and infused with a zesty fragrance”.

    5) Tell your friends, at least 20.

    I hope you will enjoy to keep up with the good “work”!

    – Mike (Internet Guru).

    • Dawn Ricklefs

      I know this is a zillion years after the fact, but I just found this site and this post, and I am LMAO at work. My boss thinks I’ve lost it! Absolutely hilarious, Mikeachim!

  • Ruth

    SPONGE. So perfect. Happy Sponge! See you this weekend for the Sponge Solstice Festival!

  • Chris

    Rand vs Food! Coming soon…

  • Kim Voon

    I’ll admit that I came here because of Rands but I’m staying cos you say all the things I would, in public, to an audience of thousands. (Whilst I kinda half grumble it to myself out of earshot)

  • I think the official scent of the season of sponge is zombie orgie.

  • Andi

    Wait. Canada qualifies as Southeast Asia?

  • SNORT.

    Gmail Filters are my best friend. The problem with having been a magazine staffer and then guidebook author, followed by a freelancer AND blogger for five years means I get upward of 300 (pointless, stupid, error-ridden) press releases A DAY. Normally, i just empty the filtered folder at the end of each afternoon in extreme annoyance, but after this post, I may have to make it into a nightly drinking game with Scott…

  • Lea

    AWESOME. Couldn’t stop laughing, some just sound too familiar…

  • I may have laughed so hard while reading ‘Crime’s monologue that I peed a little.

  • Once again I have fallen behind on my RDA of Everywhereist. I come back today and am rewarded with “girl boner.”

    You are my favorite writer who is not me. That is all.

  • Hilarious! I had to re read this post like five times because I was laughing so hard I kept missing entire sentances.

  • Deepa

    Boring machine? That is GOLD!

  • Haha. The infographic is amazing.

  • Lynne

    You think this is bad. Try getting travel, food AND music PR emails every day. Because, you know, I’m really going to spend time telling the world about every band who announces the cover art for their upcoming debut EP that nobody will pay attention to anyway. It’s all I can do to get rid of them in time for more to show up.

  • I won’t send you an email (even though I found your email address) I am just going to comment 7 days late so you likely won’t read it. I am going to spend my summer vacation travelling to Canada to visit my relatives. This is because I like Canada and generally like my relatives also. Also there are festivals to attend in Edmonton in August and I hear they have a few nice bakeries that make delicious cupcakes. I thought about sending you a formal invitation but then discarded that idea. One doesn’t need a formal invitation to visit Canada in summer and go to festivals in Edmonton and eat cupcakes. So rather that clogging your inbox with another pitch for a great travel destination I will write a 7 day late, boring comment on your blog. And if you ever get the desire to go to Canada and attend festivals and eat cupcakes be sure to let me know! I probably would not be able to join you or show you around or anything like that because I am already going. Perhaps I could just read about it on your blog.

    That was a really long ass comment….maybe I should write a blog

  • Tracey Workman

    As a PR professional, if you ever wrote me back with any of these responses, you’d wholeheartedly be my hero. While pitching bloggers is part of our job description, it can sometimes truly be a joke. I promise, from this point forward, I will stop asking bloggers how they are, because you are right — I really don’t care! I think I’ll just demand, “Publish my article, now will ya!” 🙂

  • Alastair McKenzie

    This one just in (a few mins ago)….

    Hi newsdesk@travel-lists.co.uk,

    I hope you’re well and had a good weekend. I’m not sure whether you’re working on a last minute travel essentials feature or not, but if you are, the attached information about Dizolve laundry detergent sheets might come in handy. If you have any questions, need any images or want samples for a review just let me know.

  • I love you. Dying over these. Makes me (almost) want to receive some press releases so I can mess w/people!

  • Ohhhh wow. As a publicist myself this makes me sad. I’m just glad I work for a small agency and as a freelancer so I get to decide what pitches I write and who I send them to. I’d like to hope that most of mine are at least slightly on target!

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Take note: if you ask your husband if you can move to NYC roughly four dozen times, he will start to cave a little.
  • Incredible reading by the love of my life to a packed room at NeueHouse Madison Square. So proud of you, @randderuiter, and the amazing emcee work by @michaeliconking.
  • Re-posting this photo that @wilreynolds took of us and his youngest near the beach outside of Lisbon. We're back home now, and I can't decide what I miss more: this little guy and his brother, or Portugal. Actually, scratch that. I know.
  • This place looks like a damn fairy tale.
  • Lunch with a view of the water, and some of the best seafood of my life.
  • The entire drive from Sintra to Lisbon looks like this. It's just miles of blue sky and rocky beaches.
  • No filter. This is just what Sintra looks like.
  • This street artist does amazing collages of animals from hunks of discarded plastic he collects (part of an effort to raise awareness about some of the most vulnerable victims of pollution). They're all over Lisbon, but we managed to get a close up view of this one.
  • Thousand watt smile on the little dude, and I am done.
  • Those eyes though.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.