I live in the suburbs of Perth … but lately, I’ve been making an effort to head into the city more, for a change of scenery.
So on Monday I decided to visit my favourite ramen restaurant for dinner.
Hayley was working that day. So I told her I’d bring the kids on the train, and meet her in the city after work.
But … things did not go as planned.
It started out pretty well:
I rock up at the station with barely 2 minutes to spare before the train.
It seems like I am not going to make it.
But with the efficiency of a Dad who’s got this down to an art, I park the car … unbuckle the kids … whip out and assemble the double-pram … load the children … run to the elevator … and arrive at the platform … all in time to board the train!
It’s all so smooth I can’t help but congratulate myself at how well I did.
I go to pull out my phone to text Hayley about my accomplishment …
… and find there is no phone in my pocket.
I check my bag.
I check my Apple Watch.
Then it hits me:
I had put the phone in the console of the car.
And in my ‘smooth’ kids-from-car-to-train manoeuvre …
I’ve forgotten to bring it.
My heart sinks.
This is literally the first time I have forgotten my phone in 10 years.
And while I don’t have “phone anxiety” or anything (my phone has no internet, no social media, and no notifications for messages of any kind) … I AM worried because I didn’t organise ANY concrete time/place details with Hayley.
I start to fret … until I realise:
It’s not a big deal.
All I need to do sometime in the next 45 minutes is find someone with a phone … and ask them if I can send one single text message from it.
How hard can that be?
Not hard, right?
There’s just one problem …
I’M A MASSIVE INTROVERT.
As I think most copywriters will understand, good copy skills do NOT translate well to good ask-random-people-if-I-can-use-their-phone skills.
But it’s okay, I tell myself.
I still have until the train gets to Perth to find someone.
I’ll manage to ask just one person before then.
There’s a girl across from me, listening to music. I resolve to ask her before we get off. But there’s still several stops till Perth. I have time.
Five minutes later, I … haven’t asked.
Ten minutes later, I … still haven’t asked.
Fifteen minutes later, I …
… realise we are at Perth Station.
And everyone gets off.
But it’s okay!
Because, I realise —
I still have until I arrive at the restaurant to find someone!
This extends my deadline by another few minutes.
I begin walking slowly through the Murray St mall, looking at people I could ask.
That guy in a suit?
No, he looks in a hurry.
That high school girl?
No, she’d think I was some creeper.
That big tattooed guy?
No, too intimidating.
I push my double-pram through the city, mentally disqualifying the hundreds of people I pass, one-by-one …
… until a few minutes later, I find myself standing …
… outside the doors of the restaurant.
Hayley STILL has no clue I’ve left my phone behind.
Or that I’m literally standing at the restaurant.
For all she knows … I could still be at home.
Why can’t I ask just ONE person?
Despite my growing distress, I still don’t have the guts to walk up to someone.
So I decide to backtrack to Perth Station and watch the people coming out, to see if I can spot Hayley.
I stand there for a few minutes, but … no dice.
I begin sadly trudging back toward the restaurant, wondering how I’m going to get out of this pickle.
And then, in the distance …
I see it.
It is salvation.
And salvation has taken the form of …
A PAY PHONE.
I forgot that those were even still a thing, but right now I am glad they are.
For a second, I worry that I don’t have any coins on me.
But then I realise: this is 2021.
Surely — SURELY — it will take my card.
I run up to the payphone, and find — yes!
It DOES have a card slot!
I pull out my bank card …
Bring it toward the slot …
And then, I see the text written there:
ACCEPTS PAYPHONE CARDS ONLY
This is a joke.
THIS HAS TO BE A FREAKING JOKE.
Because, I mean …
WHO THE FUDGE CARRIES A
PAYPHONE CARD IN 2021?!?
I sink to my knees in the middle of the Perth city crowds … and scream to the heavens.
… okay, so I don’t actually do that.
But I feel like it inside.
It’s still early, and my wife could be anywhere … and it could be hours before she realises something isn’t right.
I’m wondering if I should just give up, when out of the corner of my eye … I notice a Woolworths supermarket.
And then I remember … I think you can get cash out at those now.
I run over to the service desk.
“Can I get money out here?” I ask the lady.
“Sure can, hon,” she replies. “How much do you want?”
“Um … fifty cents?” I say hopefully.
She stops and gives me a strange look.
I cross my fingers …
… but she goes ahead and withdraws a 50c coin.
“There … you go,” she says, placing it in my hand suspiciously. “I’ve never had someone ask for just fifty—“
But I’m already off … and dialling Hayley back at the payphone.
I hear the dial tone … then ringing … and then …
Hayley picks up … and I crumple in relief.
I am able to explain my situation … and end up meeting my wife for a delicious bowl of ramen with the kids.
But I think the lesson is obvious for every copywriter:
… actually, I’m not sure what the lesson is here.
Don’t forget your phone?
Arrange meeting places ahead of time?
Buy a phone card?
Darn it, sometimes I just want to tell you a fun story about something that happened to me, okay?
But if you analyse the structure of this email (especially the length of the story) … it’s all a very good illustration of Rule #11 from my Email Copywriting Compendium.
(As well as Rules #16, #17, #18, #19, #21, #22, and … many more.)
If you’re still somehow stubbornly holding out, and you haven’t purchased the Compendium yet, you’re only hurting yourself.
You can get it for just $101 here … and it could transform the way you write emails.
(Payment only accepted by phone card.)