Let's hear it: How about your e-mail slipups?

This afternoon I found myself crafting two virtually identical e-mails to two different vendors that we are considering for a major contract. Most of the content was in Word attachments, each one crafted for the specific vendor.

As I had the two messages open, side by side, I realized how easy it would be for me to have accidentally swapped the identically-named attachments, sending stuff intended for one vendor to the other. I found myself checking and rechecking before I had the courage to click the Send button on each one.

I don’t know that this would have affected our bargaining position at all since they both know about each other, but it made me think: how about folks who frequently deal in delicate subjects over e-mail – there must be some pretty good e-mail blunders out there.

Care to share?

There was an email dialogue going on between a couple of us employees and the human resources manager. What I thought was a funny and snarky relpy to one of the employees that made fun of the HR manager was actually a funny and snarky RELPY-ALL. :smack:

The HR manager happened to be at lunch and I ran into her office and deleted the email from her computer immediately after my panic attack.

I’ve relayed this story before here, so forgive me if it sounds familiar.

The manager of our testing lab sent an email to all employees that we would be having visitors (VPs or customers, don’t remember which), and that we should “remove all trash from the lab.”

Thinking myself a wit, I decide to forward the message to a buddy I worked with saying “I guess we need to get Dana out of the lab!” Dana was a young woman in our group with a bit of a loose reputation.

After I hit the SEND button, I realized that I didn’t type my buddy’s address in the TO: field. Since the message didn’t bounce, I knew there was only two possibilities:

  1. I hit REPLY intead of FORWARD, in which case my slandering of the co-worker went to the lab manager. Not Good.

  2. I hit REPLY-TO-ALL, in which my comment went to every employee on the site. WAY BAD. END OF EMPLOYMENT BAD.

Once I realized the latter possibility, I could feel the blood drain out of my face. This was before I knew about the recall-message function, but that never recalls all the messages anyway.

I ran to lab manager’s office, and was relieved to see I only hit “REPLY” He even let me delete the message without him seeing it.

If I had simply hit a different button that day, I would have been fired.

I sent a report to my boss, and somehow a gay hook-up site was attached to the email instead of the report (he’s straight). I checked the sent file to make sure the email was sent, and discovered the wrong attachment was sent.

I sent him another email immediately saying that the email was sent from home, and I was sorry for the wrong attchment.

His response – Understood, no need to worry.

I’m in IT. Once I was assisting our HR department in negotiating for the purchase of some software. A vendor sent an e-mail to my HR counterpart and me, giving us a song-and-dance number regarding a point I’ve since forgotten.

I forwarded the e-mail to my counterpart, appending a note that said “this guy’s stonewalling us; are we sure we want to do business with someone so difficult to deal with?”. Or words to that effect.

I hit “send” and then - you guessed it - realized I had done a Reply-All rather than a Forward. The vendor got my pissed-off reply.

Funny thing, though - the vendor responded to my e-mail, assuring us that he was not stonewalling us, and ever after he was the most compliant and responsive of the bunch.

He still didn’t get our business, though.

A girl I know had a different kind of mistake happen at work about six months ago. She was sending out an email to a client and had cc’d pretty much all of her bosses. The email was supposed to have a budget schedule attached but instead, she attached … her resume. Ouch!

She got lucky, though, the client thought it was funny and made some remarks like “At least now we know she’s qualified!” On another note, within a month she’d moved onto another job.

Fun and games with the Reply All button. (Incidentally, I have now removed that button from my toolbar, so if I need to Reply All I need to go through the menu to do it.)

Nothing job-endangering or anything. Just embarrassing.

I’m a relatively new employee at my company (less than a year), and HR sent an email out to all staff to get our updated emergency contact information. I blithely typed it out and hit Reply. I thought. And worst part was that it didn’t just go to the office staff, but to “All Staff including Executive.”

I’ve also had one or two email snafus where I sent out resumes to apply for positions where I accidentally left my signature enabled. I have a fairly somber email address that I think is appropriate for using when applying for jobs (no w1ldandcr4zygurlz@hotmail.com), but I usually have some very wierd and/or funny sigs. So it’s not surprising I didn’t get any job offers from those places.

I very quickly learned to set the default to not include my signature.

What is this “recall-message” function of which Revtim speaks?

I confessed to mine previously

At my old-old job (two jobs ago), my boss and I were reviewing applications for my position (yep, I had already given my notice, so what was he gonna do–fire me?).

Based on the resumes, I had rated the list of applicants into three categories: The “A” list, the “B” list, and the “C” list. (Self-explanatory, I’m sure.) Then I realized that I hadn’t received a cover letter for one of the applicants who’d submitted his application electronically. I asked my boss for it, and he e-mailed me what he had, which was basically a one-sentence throw-away; something to the effect of “Here’s my stuff” (with the resume, etc. as attachments).

I just have a special little soapbox in my heart regarding good cover letters. I won’t hijack this thread with my views, but suffice it to say that I was not pleased with this dude’s “cover letter”.

“That’s it!” I fired back to my boss via email, “Take him off the ‘A’ list!”

About 20 minutes later, our assistant forwarded a call to me. Apparently one of the applicants had received–you guessed it–the email meant for my boss. AND of course he wanted to know what “Take him off the ‘A’ list” meant.

Which is when I realized that I’d also sent another applicant, who’d committed the same transgression, an email that said, “What is with these people???”

Heard from her, too.

But by the time I did, I was fully prepared with my lie–er, um . . . answer.

You have to be on a corporate network that supports it, like Outlook using an MS Exchange server. Basically, you go into the message in your SENT folder, and under ACTION is a “recall this message” function.

It doesn’t seem to work sometimes for some reason, and of course people may read it before you have a chance to recall it.

My first big boy job out of college…

My manager and I had a good rapport and were very jokey with eachother.
One day we get an email from a woman in another department asking us to do something for her. I had oddly already done it for someone else so I just sent it to her. I emailed my manager and said “Go ahead and disregard her stupid email. I already did it.”

Apparently… I was dumb and hit Reply All.
My manager had to do some fancy dancing to get me NOT fired.

I used to do tech support for a small company that was contracted to a much larger company. Oftentimes a customer would call in and say “I called here yesterday and spoke to someone named Ralph. Can I speak to him?” Some techs, against policy, would send e-mails to everyone named Ralph in the company. These went to all of Ralphs in the Much Larger Company.

We had a lot of techs named William. After enough of these types of e-mails to every William in both companies, A certain Mr. Gates finally said “Enough!”

Well I have never done the “Reply All” mistake - though I have been on the receiving end of many of them. Slight Rant - I can’t stand it when an email is send to an address with multiple users, and people start using “reply all” to say that the email doesn’t concern them. There was this one time where an email was sent to an address-group with about 75 users - it took a good 125 emails before everybody would stop using ‘reply all’…Even VPs were doing the ‘reply all’ routine…GGGRRRRRRRR

Anywho - like I said I’ve yet to make the ‘reply all’ mistake, but there have two occassions on which my boss made me use the ‘recall’ option. Apparently it’s not considered professional to use sentences like “I told you this many times before” and “What part of my prior emails are just not getting”

I once started a Pit thread on this, but maybe about a year ago some moron at work got hold of the latest “Gas Out” plea to stick it to the greedy oil companies by refusing to buy gas on an upcoming day. Said moron forwarded it to every single mailing list at work, about 35,000 people. A flood of Reply to Alls came back, first with answers like “Yeah, this is a great idea, let’s stick it to the man!” Then a new flood came back with “How did I get onto this mailing list? Please take me off of it.” That was followed by a flood of Noachian proportions of replies that said “I agree. Please take me off the list too. Thank you.”

All told, several hundred replies to all, each one to 35,000 recipients. I was sorely tempted to reply to all with comments on their IQs and perhaps a few well-placed allusions as to their questionable ancestry. I thought better of it. I instead e-mailed IS with a plea to stop the madness.

I used to work in the support centre for my company’s website (I now manage developments for it), and was often in charge of sending emails to our customers to inform them of any new developments, or operational difficulties.

Our website is sold to these customers for them to get business, so they are all rivals of each other, competing for online custom. It is therefore important that when you send an email to all of them, explaining that there is a problem with one of the servers and it’ll be fixed in 20 minutes, that you put all the email addresses in the “bcc” field so they can’t get the email addresses of their rivals.


Oh well, I learned that lesson pretty quickly. And was used as an example to ensure that any new support team members didn’t make the same mistake!

And it’s really amusing when someone sends a message to all of a company’s clients and then tries to recall it using that function! Outlook and Exchange don’t protest that you can’t recall messages sent over the Internet - they just send an automated canned message that says something to the effect “Joe Blow would like to cancel message ‘Some stupid message’”. One of the best ways to get me to sit up and pay attention to a message is to get one of those canned cancellation messages shortly after!

Heh, very true!

I once sent an email in which I described in salacious terms the drool-worthy American accent of a guy I’d spoken to on the phone when I’d attempted to contact a professor at another educational institution. I was sending it to my female friend, who knows - and shares - my weakness for male voices which are a) warm’n’deep and b) American, so I was quite descriptive.

Oh, yes. So very descriptive. And more than a bit pervy. I was out to entertain, you see.

And then I typed in the first couple of letters of her name, hit [tab] to bring the whole name up, hit send. Except somehow I missed getting first 2 letters of her name into the address bar - don’t ask me how… trying to get it done speedily because I was on company time, I guess - and hit [tab] after the third letter of her name (ie, the first letter that actually appeared in the ‘to’ field).

And sent it to a different friend.
A *male * friend. :smack:
A male *American * friend. :smack: :smack:

It could have been worse, though. Fortunately, he’s a true gentleman and didn’t hold that one over my head. (I don’t know that I’d have been able to resist poking fun if the tables’d been reversed, honestly.) Also, if it’d accepted the [tab] command after the second letter instead of the third, I’d have emailed that message to [all staff] instead.

So really, I came out of that one a lot better than I deserved - and learned a very important lesson: if you’re contemplating emailing anything the least bit dubious in nature, check, double-check, and triple-check the address field first!

A few years ago I was editing a book. I sent the disk to the publishers office and recieved this email message from them:

Dear Meow,

Thanks for the dick.

A few minutes later, she emails me again:

Of course, I meant disk.