What's The Worst All-Office Email You've Ever Encountered?

Copying a message to everyone in the office is bad behaviour and a career-limiting move, but often produces amusing results for those of us looking on. What's the most extreme example you've experienced?

Picture by Tuomas Puikkonen

At Mumbrella, Cathie McGinn shares a professionally embarrassing moment for one sender at (now-defunct) ad agency Photon, where staff were apparently often hired for their looks rather than their abilities:

There was a disproportionately large number of very pretty women with no clearly defined role. I remember one executive assistant sending an all staff email to ask the entire company how you entered a number in an Excel spreadsheet.

Seen worse than that? Tell us about it in the comments.

Inside Photon – where cross pollination was personal. Very personal [Mumbrella]


    One from someone in PR/BD, which simply read "No I don't, now leave me alone!!!"
    To my knowledge, nobody ever asked for context.

    Not a work one. This one is from Uni.

    A guy replied all to a job advertisement with his resume and academic transcript, noting that he had "pretty bad marks" but "a positive attitude" (He had failed 7 subjects in 3 years). To make things worse, he replied all again afterward, begging people to ignore the previous email.

    In the late 90s an admin woman at my company was organising the annual company dinner dance at a swish venue. Tickets were subsidised by the company (v.cheap). When a few widely circulated emails started asking for spare tix to sell to family members, this lady gave the entire company a blast via email saying she was disgusted that such vultures would misuse (sell) their company-subsidised tickets for their own benefit. When one person emailed her to disagree she blasted that person with several expletives, again using To:All. She quit a few weeks later.

    My mum managed to send an email to all the staff and students at the school where she worked.

    "Thanks Wendy for last night. I had a good time."

    This was at uni, not work.

    A guy sent an email to all the students doing the subject (a Programming subject) asking for assistance. A girl (I'm assuming his girlfriend) replied giving a suggestion and added something like "See you tonight sweety" with a very risque photo of herself. But she replied all, not just to him. Unfortunately she dropped out of the course.

    Head of Engineering of a division in a large Aerospace Company took offence to someone spilling, and not cleaning up, some coffee in the kitchen. He then sent a angry email to the entire division (several hundred people I'd wager) saying that he'd "give them a good rogering" if he caught the culprit. I think we all got a "proper use of email" email soon after but he was too old school to care. Old Bob H was certainly interesting to be around...

    I used to work for a large international, two letter computer manufacturer in the UK. I returned from lunch one day to find that someone in one of the London offices had emailed every UK employee to ask "Who has stolen my Snickers from the fridge?"

    Not really the worst because it was intentional.... i worked at a surf clothing brand for 3 years and we had an on going thing where the girls had a top 5 and the boys had a top 5 of their co-workers... on my last day as my fairwell i sent everyone my good bye with a list of my top 5. everyone had a laugh, HR was disappointed she wasnt in there

    I hate those 'reply to all' chains where everyone asks to be removed from The Mailing List. Then people tell them to stop replying by replying to all.

    It's for this reason why I physically separate the "Reply" and Reply All" buttons whenever I get a new computer/email client upgrade...

      I simply check my To: field obsessively (about 10 times) before sending anything slightly dodgy :)

      We had one of those reply to all chains that was sent to everyone in the company directory (about 6000 people). The email was about 4MB. It crashed the email server.

    I just had to show my boss how to take a screen shot and crop it, in Paint...

    Once someone sent around an email warning people about a credit card scam, our director then sent an emil back to everyone blasting people for forwarding emails like these because everyone knows and it's just spam. Meanwhile he consistently forwards everyone stupid chain emails with sexist articles about the difference between men and women, bad jokes and the like.

    We frequently get emails sent to the entire company from the director of the berating people for leaving clean dishes in the dish rack, with accompanying photos. Which wasn't too bad until we realised the people leaving clean AND dirty dishes around were his 2 co-director sons and his wife.

    I accidentally asked my entire department (including all the overseas offices) "What's for lunch?"

    Obviously it was meant for one individual and not 250+ people. I did get some good responses though inclduing a photo of a Dutch Meatball sandwich from a workmate in Amsterdam.

      Actually, I think this wins best.

    I worked for a multinational company with offices around Australia. Someone in our office had sent out a company wide email asking for his ladder to be returned. Not even a minute later we were flooded with emails from all around Australia with people in remote areas telling him that they hadn't seen his ladder. One guy even took a picture of a ladder in FNQ and asked if it was his... hahah.

    Anyone remember (or still use) the Netsend command?

    It was a common way our IT department chatted to each other.

    Unfortunately, one of the interns didn't believe a claim that /all would send a message to the desktop of every user on the network.

    That turned out to be all 1200 odd staff who received a pop-up box saying "I want to f%& you up the a$%&"

    The best bit was the audible shock that ran through the floor I was working on. Then the message broadcast over the PA system advising offering an apology and advice to close the message.

    Not exactly email... but in the ballpark.

      Thankfully the message was mostly inoffensive, but once an IT worker sent a netsend message to the entire Defence Restricted network (100K+ users and computers), with the name of a colleague in the message.

    It wasn't actually to all staff. But it was pretty close. He neglected to include about a dozen technical people, about half of our junior sales and accounts people, his boss, and a few other people.

    To: The CEO, The CFO, The Director, The respective wives of the CEO, CFO and Director, The heads of Corporate Sales, Accounts, Technical Support, Several mid level managers, Several junior technical staff, Most of the Senior Technical Staff, Some randomly selected sales and accounts people, That F$#<ing F$#<wit
    From: A Mid level Technical Staffer
    Subject: F$#< That F$#<ing F$#<wit



    Obviously, I've censored some of his language for work safety. He did not. He also changed the corporate address book so that the person he was aggrieved with showed up as "That F$#<ing F$#<wit."

    He was advised the next morning that his resignation would be accepted, and unfortunately his two weeks notice would not be required, he could finish up immediately. Which is kind of a pity, because the guy he was complaining about was very annoying and essentially incompetent, and apart from his inappropriate emails, the guy who sent the email was quite a good technical resource.

    Somebody at my office hit 'reply to all' to an alluser email instead of 'reply', and revealed to all that another worker had a penis piercing.

    The pierced guy left shortly afterwards...

    The chap in the photo should be more embarrassed about that thing on his head than whatever was in the email he just sent to everyone he knows.

    I worked for a small oil and gas company in Perth that was partnered with a HUGE oil and gas company in the US (HQ in Dallas, but offices all over the world). One Monday morning we got an "All Staff" asking if anyone had found someone's dog that had gone missing when they'd gone into work at the Dallas office on the weekend. I think the poor clueless girl was still getting stuffed dogs, pictures of dogs and dog treats by mail 12 months later, from all points of the globe.

    I used to work at a large public hospital... we're talking bout over 1200 staff, plus subcontractors.

    One of the admin staff sent out pictures of her grandchildren... often.

    Not sure which one is my fave, I have seen some pretty good rage-quit emails sent to everyone (one including a .jpeg os a guy with his head up his bum), but it's a tie between these two;

    - An open thank you letter to the anonymous person in the team who welcomed a sick colleague back from extended leave by 'slipping a pigeon in my chocolate hole.'

    - The woman who send a photo of a colleague's freshly newborn from the delivery room, and followed the email up with a 'DO NOT LOOK AT THE PREVIOUS PICTURE' email, where everyone who hadn't previously suddenly discovered a slightly out of focus, but still very evident 'southerly perspective' of the mother, still in stirrups, receiving well-lit medical care of a gynecological nature in the midground of the shot.

    Thank you email distribution lists. Your ability to amplify stupidity makes you truly worthy of our gratitude. [email protected]

    By my observation, if you have a girlfriend called Allison or a boyfriend called Allan or any other intimate partner whose name begins "All…" it is prudent to get into the habit of entering their name in the To field by typing their *surname*, thereby avoiding accidentally sending that oh-so-personal message to All your workmates.

    I subscribe to a science email newsletter, and one time someone "replied" to the message (the "reply-to" was the same as the "to"), saying something like "hi please add jake to your list". All the subscribers got this email, wondering what the heck had happened. The person obviously had no experience with computers (or capital letters, either!).

    Once, while working in a multinational outfit, received an 'all staff' email. Nothing noteworthy about the actual email, but got sick and tired of it after two dozen people or so replied to the original sender by clicking 'reply to all' and advising him "DO NOT SEND EMAILS TO ALL STAFF IT MEANS THE WHOLE COMPANY!!!!!!!!"

    So I flicked one back saying in no uncertain terms that if people felt they *had* to reply, they should hit 'reply' and not 'reply to all' or they would be as annoying as the original sender. Somewhat hypocritical I know, but within minutes I had no less than 22 emails from individuals thanking me, and about 10 people from my own office thanking me in person for having the balls to say what everyone was thinking.

    HR wanted to chat about it, but I simply asked them if they were going to chat to every single person who had 'replied all' to the original email. When they realized they would have to interview dozens of people or nobody, they chose nobody.

    Was a bit jerky of me, but then again I hated that job, and well, F*** da police.

    An office worker who purchased MS Office via a corporate licence for home use forwarded the email containing his licence keys to his home address... and a large IT Support mailing list.

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