Mandate it ain’t.

A word that always bugs me is ‘mandatory’.  Not in its proper sense, but in the way that it’s used by every little oik behind a customer service keyboard and generally in a sentence including the phrase “company policy”. 

This was exemplified in an email I received today after making a polite request that someone fix something.  Since I need the income from my job  I won’t post a copy.  This is the reply I’d like to have sent.   

No, you twerp*, it is not ‘mandatory’.  There is no law that makes it so, and furthermore, to make a law that made your company policy ‘mandatory’, I would have to have given YOU the mandate to do so.   Sticking that slammed shut word in the middle of pretty much most sentences is a plain ordinary orwellian use of language – and rude to boot.  Got that?

*Strictly speaking, since a twerp means ‘pregnant fish,’this may not have been the best opener.  But what the heck.

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