DEAR MISS MANNERS: If you send an email to a business or company asking which department or individual handles a specific matter, is it polite to send the person who answered your email a thank-you for the information?
I know it's polite to thank someone in person who points you in the right direction to have your questions or concerns taken care of, but what about email? I don't want to clutter up someone's business email inbox, but is it rude not to thank them for the information they provided?
GENTLE READER: Although email etiquette is evolving, Miss Manners still believes that a service rendered deserves a thank-you.
She realizes that saying so will clutter her own email inbox with truculent explanations that everyone's email load is already burdensome; that if every transaction required a thank-you, the internet would be overwhelmed by the increased traffic; and that as a thank-you contains no new information, it is a waste of resources.
Yet she believes that a society that treasures endless social media posting, mass forwarding of jokes, countless customer satisfaction surveys, and other correspondence of questionable value, has no basis for objecting to a two-word email expressing gratitude and satisfaction. Not every transaction requires a thank-you in email, any more than it does in person. But it is perfectly correct in the situation you describe. Unappreciated thank-yous can be deleted in an instant.