Monday, March 9, 2009

Poor Nathan

I was sitting at my desk this morning, minding my own business, when I received an email from Nathan that I didn’t completely understand. It was a request for proposals. I don’t normally do proposals, so I was curious why I was getting it. I read on only to run into four acronyms in the first paragraph that were neither obvious to me as to what they were nor were they spelled out. It crossed my mind that this email probably should have gone to a much smaller, much more specific crowd. I decided that it didn’t pertain to me and I deleted it…going back to my own work.

The next thing I know, I’m being interrupted by my email again. That’s not unusual. I do customer support, so my users often contact me via email. When I opened my Outlook, I had two dozen emails…all with the same subject! And that subject was the same as the email I had just deleted. But those two dozen new emails kept growing. I couldn’t keep up with them!

The first email was someone showing interest in getting involved. I thought he simply made a mistake by telling the entire group about it. So, I deleted it. The next 99 messages were folks that weren’t nearly as interested…and getting less and less so with every email that came across.

Now, the obvious question is – WHY on earth would you ‘Reply to All’ in this instance? Do you need everyone to know that Nathan inadvertently sent you an email message? It happens. Get over it. Most of us did. Or do you want everyone to know that you simply don’t work on proposals or at least proposals for this type of work. I can assure you, most of don’t really care what you’re doing…or not doing. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not really any of my business to know what you do. I know that it appears that I’m speaking for a large crowd here, but I think I’m making some pretty safe assumptions.

I would have thought that most people would either simply delete the email or reply only to the sender. And I have to admit, this may have been a total accident (the ‘Reply to All’ part) for one or two, but for 99 people?! At first, I found it a little annoying. But as the madness continued to grow, I found it totally entertaining. Oh, read on my friends!

After receiving several generic emails stating ‘Not me’ or ‘You have the wrong John/Jane Doe’, one of the emails showed a whole different shade of what-the-heck-were-you-thinking.

  • Hey, Tim! How are Faith and the kids? And how’s that new album coming along? - Terry
Now I’m all curious about Tim and his new album. Music album (CD) or photo album? If it’s music, I wonder what kind of music our friend Tim creates. Too bad Tim didn’t ‘Reply to All’ just to fill us in. Come on, Tim! Inquiring minds want to know.

After a couple dozen more ‘Not me’ messages, we started receiving the ‘Stop replying to ALL’ messages. Now is that not the silliest thing, doing a ‘Reply to All’ just to say stop using the ‘Reply to All’ option. I totally wanted to reply back ‘like you did?’ But there was NO WAY I was joining in the madness. I was sitting back and enjoying the entertainment. Final count shows 33 employees did a ‘Reply to All’ to ask everyone else NOT to.

I know it sounds completely get-a-real-life on my part, but I actually read every one of the messages that came through with this subject. I couldn’t help it. It became addicting. And like I said, some of them were humorous to me. (I admit, it could be because I’m tired from not sleeping very well last night.)
  • I think something has gone completely wrong. – Thomas
Thanks for YOUR play-by-play, Tom. See, he thought it was funny too. Though I’m sure Nathan was crying by this point or at the very least, hiding from his boss.

Finally, after opening (and laughing at) 64 of these emails, someone suggests that Nathan has sent his original email message to the wrong distribution GROUP as opposed to 63 inadvertent users. Duh! I mean really, what are the chances that Nathan picked the wrong John/Jane Doe from the email list 63+ times?! This was a brilliant insight from Robert. Though I shouldn’t slam on Robert too much; I was still receiving emails from individuals who thought it was all about THEM!

And then there was one that was all about revenge.
  • Sorry to ‘Reply to All’, but I wanted those people who let me know they weren’t supposed to be on the email list to know – instead of deleting one email that didn’t pertain to me, I now have to delete 100 – thanks - Matt
Huh, at this point, I’d only gotten like 70 messages. I wonder why Matt received 30 more emails than I did. Well, that’s just not right.

After 74 messages, Nathan attempted to recall the original message. TWICE. Nice try, Nate. I feel for you, man. I’m glad it wasn’t me…thrilled even. But I appreciate your effort…not enough to ‘Reply to All’ and share my opinion, but I see what you were trying to do there.

Oh, one of my favorites!
  • Stop hitting ‘Reply to All’. It does not appear that my stomach can withstand the vibro-acoustic environment generated by my blackberry in response to this email chain. – Shandy (sent from her blackberry)
I am NOT making this stuff up! Now this person was so moved to ‘Reply to All’ that she took the time to peck out all of those letters on her blackberry, no less. Holy wow, now that’s determination. Those things aren’t the easiest to type on. She must have been sitting in a really boring meeting…going through each of those email messages and drafting her witty retort.

This one was great. And although he is obviously addressing Nathan, he of course did a ‘Reply to All’.
  • It appears you’ve sent this to the wrong planet… - Leonel

But to add insult to injury, Ricky insisted on attaching a 2MB attachment with the following illustration:

Thanks, Ricky. Nice visual. Where were you an hour ago? But hey, way to go with the wasting time AND space! (email inbox space, that is)

This one must have come from a manager because I haven’t seen anything since. But honestly, I was thinking this same thing a good hour ago. The voice of reason…

  • SAIC is supposed to be made up of a lot of smart people. I am shocked by how many of you have responded with “remove me.”—we are obviously ALL on the MIBU-ETP distro list. And this email was obviously erroneously sent to an incorrect distro list. Use your brains folks, it’s what you’re paid for. DELETE it-- forget it and PLEASE IMMEDIATELY STOP responding to all. Thanks, Sharon

Amen, sista. Entertainment is over. Time to get back to work.


Christy said...

These "chain emails" as I call them totally crack me up!! Like you I, too read ALL of them totally amazed of all the well.... "people" who reply to all. All the world of Crane..... Love ya sister!

Blissful Babe said...

That is too funny!