Why I’m getting nothing done today (blogging is the least of my worries)

Do you remember back in the 90s when you had AOL, you’d get those crappy chainletters and spam not on a BCC list? Then someone would reply-all to the first one, and five others would reply-all to that one telling people they wanted to be removed, and then fifty others would reply-all to announce that you should stop replying-all… etc. That was when people were new to e-mail and hadn’t quite figured out that whole interwebs thing. I thought those days were over.

Then, I got an e-mail from the technology communications department. Standard BS about new systems, blah blah. I read it, deleted it, and moved on. Then… I got a reply from someone who had questions. Strange. why did I get the reply? My inbox syncs up again, and I get a few more. Great – people are replying to all. I spent the next hour caught in a storm of e-mails, unable to do anything but stare in awe at my screen while hitting the delete key. I work at a top-tier firm that interviews and screens candidates pretty thoroughly. Do these people really not know how e-mail works?

Since I was unable to get any work done during this time because I had to sort out client requests from all this junk (people kept changing subject lines, so I couldn’t even filter), I decided to just enjoy the experience and laugh. For your enjoyment (read: entertainment while you’re supposed to be doing work and don’t have reply-all distractions like this at your company), I’ve compiled some of my favorite little gems:

PLEASE do NOT Reply to ALL…..MY in box cannot take it… Reply to SENDER only…THANKS
Oh, only YOUR inbox? Ours don’t matter, but now that we found out that YOUR inbox cannot take it, we’ll fix this immediately.

Please remove me from this list. I dont know why I am on here.
The list exists because idiots like you are replying to it. You would not be “on here” if you didn’t reply.

Me tooo plzzzzzzz
Not only do you not know enough to delete the e-mails and keep your mouth shut instead of replying, but you write plzzzzzzz in business e-mails?

STOP THIS MADNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From a partner. Thanks.

A
Sent by Good Messaging (www.good.com)

Great insight from your Blackberry.

Yikessssssssssssss Stop
Apparently repeating characters is good business writing. It must have been a lapse in my education because I went to Cornell instead of Harvard. Silly me, picking the bad school.

Please everyone stop responding.
This one was sent six times in a row from the same person. Because THAT’S going to help.

“On occasion, misuse of the “Reply All” function has caused email storms, which have led to crashing internal servers, as well as discipline in many companies[citation needed]. In order to prevent misuse, some email lists have a restricted number of allowed senders.”
It’s too bad this Wikipedia entry went in one ear and out the other of the person who sent this, as they replied-all in order to educate the rest of us.

Same here PLEAS
Spelling doesn’t matter… we’re just deleting all of these anyway.

Hello! Communications team! Please make the e-mails to stop!!!! and remove from list. We can’t stand this anymore.
Any body can please take care of it. I not able to work…..Please…..stop this stop it
Since our tech team is in India, you should always write your e-mails to them in broken English to help them understand your meaning. I’m glad these two people helped me learn that.

If you move the large emails to a personal folder that should clear up your inbox issues. In the mean time, we can all think of deleting emails as a simple one calorie weight loss plan =)
This one was meant to resolve the problems of those people who said their inboxes were getting full. I was really tempted to write back for more weight loss tips.

STOP SENDING REQUESTS TO REMOVE!!!!!! JUST STOP REPLYING AT ALL TO THIS EMAIL. YOU ARE GAGGING THE SYSTEM.
Actually, if the system were gagged, we wouldn’t be getting these anymore. I’d like that.

Is this on on virus. Remove me
————————–
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

Yes. It’s called the Stupidity Virus.

So, we have this thing called the Virtual Private Network…do you think that’s what they want us to start using?!?
(The original e-mail asked us to start using the VPN). Obviously the reply-alls are just a ploy to get you to pay attention.

THIS IS BETTER THAN MYSPACE!!
I agree wholeheartedly. Both allow you to look at names and profiles of stupid people. But you replied, so I’d include you in that list.

THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS, PLEASE REMOVE ME FROM THE LIST SOMEBODY, PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Sorry, you didn’t use enough Es in your “please,” so we didn’t think you meant it. We’re keeping you on.

1. DO NOT REPLY TO ALL.
2. DO NOT REPLY TO “US VPN RETIREMENT” — THAT WILL AUTOMATICALLY HIT US ALL.
3. IF YOU WANT TO BE REMOVED FROM THIS MAILING LIST, FOLLOW THE SEPARATE INSTRUCTIONS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ORIGINAL.
4. NEVER ASK TO BE REMOVED FROM A MAILING LIST BY REPLYING TO IT — DUH.

This was actually useful… if only it hadn’t reached us via another reply-all.

And finally, since we are all expense-whoring consultants:
Does anyone know the charge code for time spent deleting these?

Fifty-seven minutes after the original e-mail, the flood stopped. We were relieved. Then twenty minutes later, someone sent a well-thought out PLEASE STOP REPLYING TO ALL IN THE LIST. And now the e-mails are back! I’m done cataloguing the funny ones though – I’m going to just try to keep picking through to find my client’s actual e-mails, and attempting to do work. We’ll see how long this lasts…

Comments

  1. Gosh, Laura, I got annoyed reading midway through your post. I’m excited that I made it to the bottom. Can’t imagine what’d it’d feel like to actually get these in my inbox. But I know what you mean. Brings back memories.

  2. 57 MINUTES????????

  3. Ah life in corporate America.

    Great post; some real gems from the crème of management consultancy profession!

  4. Haha – that’s so funny! I, like you, am shocked that people exchange such emails in a business environment. This happened to me way back in college so my friend sent the most hilarious email to shut them all up. It was a keeper for sure – too long to post here, but if you’re really curious, it’s archived here. Perhaps you could re-purpose it for your colleagues? :)

  5. Goodness. Seriously, I was laughing and imaging myself being ignored if I were in your shoes. I’ve never hit a “reply all” to tell others to stop replying to all. That just seems stupid. Oh well.

  6. wow, hilarious. the bigger the company, the harder it is to get anything done, i guess. anyway, i thoroughly enjoyed this post. when this kind of stuff happens, it makes you realize, you’d think it would be nice to be one of the “smart” people … but instead it’s just frustrating :)

  7. I work in IT.

    These are the people I talk to.

    All. Day.

    Oye.

  8. We’re all doomed. Doomed.

  9. Great post! Very amusing… Same nonsense happens at my office…

  10. Ahhh…I don’t miss corporate america at all. THere are annoyances in the OR too…but usually its patients complaining..and then I just give them drugs to knock them out. Too bad you cant administer e-mail anesthesia to put them all asleep..haha

  11. My first reaction? “OMG. This must be a joke.”

    I pity you.

    And the Viactiv chews are just like a vitamin. Anything with “added” calcium is just like taking a vitamin, sad to say.

  12. dear god! I have been on those before and they are the stupidest things ever!

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