For your consideration, a series of emails (some details changed to protect the innocent):
First, This Guy writes this email, after my Creative Director calls him at my request because he would NOT email me back —
Do you have a final working [redacted] that we can see? [Redacted] needs to see the site in order to create the web store. The sooner we are able to start on [redacted] the sooner it will be available for the client.
That seems innocent enough, except for the fact I've emailed this guy four times and called and he hasn't responded. Not to mention (see link above) our previous interaction. All I am asking are basic development questions about the web store he's referring to, which for reasons that elude me he refuses to answer.
Then, trying SO FREAKING HARD to be friendly and nice and amenable, there's me —
I'm going to be super frank to help us get things done but please know I am a really friendly person who just wants everyone (you, me, and our mutual client) to be super happy. Here goes: I feel a little bit like I am talking in circles to you, because I have tried to contact you a couple times and not heard back. The one time I did hear back you said something about Squarespace which made no sense given the in-progress link I'd sent you of a hand-coded, custom website.
This is what I need to know... [technical doxxing technical developer questions].
I believe [This Guy's business name] is flexible and does great work — I've seen that live [redacted example] — but I want to know what their code looked like when the developer turned it into you, and was that ideal. I don't know if you're a developer yourself but I would love to speak with one of your developers.
Then, coup de gras from This Guy —
We do not need your code. Once we see the design then we can ask questions if needed.
I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS HERE. I AM DEVELOPING THIS THING HOW DO THEY NOT NEED MY DEVELOPMENT WORK? HOW IS IT. WHAT IS IT.
So I am about to send —
Respectfully, that makes no sense to me. How can you see [redacted] if it's not developed? Are you implying that [redacted] develops [redacted] based on image comps? Because if so, that was not made clear to me and it's a very important distinction. I need to know [redacted's] development process, which is different from processes used by other [redacted platforms], because it affects mine. It makes me extremely nervous that you say you "do not need" my code, because if I'm developing [redacted] you should.
Should I hit send?
ETA: 'effects' to 'affects' now fixed. Still worried about being seen as super aggressive, now less worried about being outed as a bad writer. (No, but seriously, thanks to everyone who's replying.)
I did not hit send; instead I ended up talking it over with the Creative Director on the project and calling him at her suggestion. I was on the phone for 20 minutes and this guy... is just The Worst. I thought if we talked it would humanize me in a positive way and let me explain why I need to know the answers to the questions I keep asking, and he just refused to acknowledge anything I said. He literally repeated himself verbatim over and over and then, condescendingly said: "This is not that hard."
I countered that by asking if he was a developer, and could I please talk to one if not? (He is not, obviously.) He did not like that AT ALL. It was the worst business-related exchange I've ever experienced, and probably the most blatant not-blatant sexism I've ever witnessed... it's hard to describe, but it was so obvious. So right now the Creative Director (also a woman) and I are trying to figure out how to make sure when this project fully derails it is 100% this dude's fault.