The dangers of "Reply All"

I received more than 100 e-mails at work today. 6 of them actually pertained to me. Well, really 4 of them pertained to me, 1 was an announcement about Baker’s stock purchase program and 1 was a schedule for upcoming classes I might want to register for, but that’s not the point. The point is that I got over one HUNDRED e-mails that I did not need. At all. How does this happen? That’s right, reply all.

It all started around 10:30 am, when I got an e-mail that didn’t make any sense to me. I assumed it was addressed to too many people since the “to” line just said “Internet Users.” Sure enough, a few minutes later the sender sent a recall notice on the e-mail so people would ignore it. Only people didn’t ignore it. A few minutes later the e-mails started coming in. The “I don’t think this is for me” and “I don’t know what this is about” and “I think you sent this to the wrong person” type. The first “Please stop replying to all” came 15 e-mails in. Of course, that didn’t stop people. I got an indication of just how many people were “Internet Users” when I started getting e-mails from outside the US. They came from Canada, Venezuela, Italy, Russia, Norway, Egypt, Trinidad, China, Tunisia, Brazil, Scotland, and various other places. One of the e-mails later in the day confirmed that “Internet Users” included every single Baker employee. More than 36 THOUSAND people world wide.

While I was at lunch I got 62 of these e-mails. It was quite interesting actually. The e-mails from people for whom English is obviously not a first language:
“I BELIEVE YOU WRONG ADDRESS”
“Stop to send to everybody”
and the angry e-mails:
“Please STOP I don’t care!!!!!!!!”
“Take my dam name off this list please!!”
(I personally would have gone with, “Take my name off this damn list please” myself, but then I also try not to misspell words on e-mails that go to 36,000 people)
There was the one that was written in all caps in 72 point font and included more than 50 exclamation points. There was also the one that just said “stop.” Only “stop” included the letter “p” 133 times. Seriously, I counted. Also, it was all in caps except for the last “p”. Again, seriously.

Do people just not have anything better to do than send these e-mails? And aren’t the people sending out the “please stop filling my inbox with useless e-mail” being a little hypocritical? What about the guy who sent the “stop replying to all” e-mail 3 times? Did he think people would pay attention to the second or third since they obviously weren’t paying attention to the first? The best was the people who’s e-mail included a request for a read-receipt. I hope they got THOUSANDS. Then maybe next time they’ll think twice before hitting reply all.

So there’s my public service announcement for the day- be careful who you send your e-mail to. Otherwise someone might blog about it and make fun of you.

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9 thoughts on “The dangers of "Reply All"

  1. I was going to type, “Look I spelled everything right.” Then I re-read it and I put friend instead of friends. He he! At least it isn’t going to 36,000 people.Caleb is still cracking up.

  2. The brilliant IT people at my company reply all to reply alls saying “do not reply all, it overloads the server!” Hmmmm…There is also another genius who hasn’t figured out how to use the out of office feature and sends a company wide (11 facilities) email every time he goes on vacation. Thanks buddy, I will make sure to write that down. Pure awesomeness.

  3. I feel your pain and have had that experience myself. It is amazing that people reply to all.Sort of a side note…be careful about mentioning your company’s name on your blog. Many company’s seach the internet for the company name. I’ve known people to get fired and/or lose an opportunity because of a personal blog. The Schrenks blog is set to public, so anyone can google search to find our blogs.

  4. Brittany- sure you can link it. I thought it was pretty funny:)Salina- yeah, I try to be careful about that which is why it doesn’t say the whole company name. The word baker is generic enough that to find anything on my company you have to search the whole name.

  5. Wow. When I worked for the Navy, it happened a lot. I just had some major flashbacks reading your post! They should remove the reply all button from some people’s email.

  6. Funny! I love those days…makes the workday interesting. It reminds me of Michael Scott sending the picture of Jan to Packaging@DunderMifflin instead of Todd Packer.

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