This Stresses Me Out

, , , , , , , | Working | June 14, 2021

I’m working for a multinational company that employs tens of thousands of staff; our site alone has about 700 employees. One afternoon, as I am merrily doing some design work, I get an email from someone at the corporate office. It’s completely blank and has been sent to everyone. I figure that someone accidentally sent this to everyone, hit delete, and go to get back to my work.

Then, a little message pops up.

Message: “[Email Sender] has requested a read receipt when the email has been read. Do you wish to send? Yes/No.”

Oh, dear. I hit no, figuring the sender probably wouldn’t appreciate a reminder of what they did. I also wonder how many people have their settings to automatically send the receipt without prompting. I manage about twenty seconds more work when I get another email alert. It’s a reply to the original email.

Reply #1: “?”

Someone has decided that the best response to a blank email was responding with a single question mark. But the “best” way of doing this was to hit Reply To All. I hit delete.

Message: “[Reply Sender] has requested a read receipt when the email has been read. Do you wish to send? Yes/No.”

The reply had inherited the Read Receipt request. I imagine the IT departments across various sites not being very happy as the email server starts to fill. I imagine their collective moods worsening when the next message appears.

Reply #2: “??”

This is followed shortly by…

Reply #3: “???”


Reply #4: “????”

…as a few people decided that this is funny. I guess it is, to a point. I and a few of my nearby colleagues laugh at the stupidity of these people and how they are going to get some grief for clogging the mail servers. All of these want Read Receipts, too. I think we reach “????????” before the emails start to change.

Reply #5: “Please remove me from this email chain.”

This is sent to everyone, of course; there are a few of those.

Reply #6: “Please stop using Reply To All as you are making the problem worse!”

The odd thing is that it wasn’t one person who sends that message; there are several. And they aren’t doing it independently. Each email includes all the text from previous emails, and I can see the previous warnings there.

Reply #7: “You’ve just hit Reply To All to send the message; don’t do that!”

…and so on. I have no idea if those who are adding their warnings are trying to be funny or helpful or are just desperate to be the one who gets everyone to shut up by having the last word. In any case, the last word comes through a few minutes later with a site-wide email from our IT manager.

IT Manager Email: “Please stop responding to the email that was sent in error. These responses are clogging the servers. The email network will be down for a period while we remove these emails”

This email does not request a read receipt. 

A day or so later, I see one of the IT staff and ask him about the events of that afternoon. He visibly deflates as the memories come back.

IT Guy: “We had to disconnect our server from the global network to stop anything else getting through and then go through the servers and strip out every single one. It took hours!”

Me: “What started it all?”

IT Guy: “One of the accountants at corporate was trying to test something and accidentally managed to send a blank message to everyone. You know the rest.”

Me: “What about all those who responded? I noticed that there were a couple of senior directors from this site who joined in the, uh… fun.”

IT Guy: “They were all spoken to. They were told in great detail about server space, exacerbating problems, and exponential growth!”

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Daughter Of The Year

, , , , , | Related | June 12, 2021

My parents have decided to get divorced, and while they haven’t signed the papers yet, they’re living separately. It’s their anniversary today, and I see that my sister sent this to our family chat.

Sister: “Happy twenty-second and final anniversary, Mom and Dad!”

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The Sigh Of Relief Heard Around The World

, , , , , , | Romantic | June 10, 2021

I’m home from university during my first year. I’m out with some friends from my hometown, catching up over a few drinks. I get a text message from my girlfriend. I read the preview line of the message.

Preview: “Oh, my God, I think I’m pregnant…”

My heart stops, my blood runs cold, and the bottom drops out of my stomach. We’re both only eighteen and we have only been dating a month or two. Neither of us is in a position to be having a child. Not to mention, the few times we have been intimate, we’ve taken sufficient precautions, so the question of HOW this might have happened is also racing through my mind.

I open the conversation to read the rest of the message and begin to formulate a response. And then, I read the full text.

Message: “Oh, my God, I think I’m pregnant with an Indian Food Baby. I have eaten SO much curry! How’s your night going? xxx”

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Snakes Are Un-bear-able!

, , , , , , | Friendly | June 7, 2021

I am a born and raised city girl from California. I am chatting on Facebook with a friend in Australia about how she found two poisonous snakes in her garden mating and called someone to get them out. She knows that I have a hardcore snake phobia but also that I am DYING to go to Australia.

Me: “Please tell me they put the snakes in a bag, threw the bag into a river, and threw the river into the sun.”

Friend: “Oh, they are just part of the natural environment, like your cougars, bears, or rattlers.”

Me: “My dear lady, I am from a city where cougars are forty-year-old women with twenty-six-year-old boyfriends, bears are large hairy homosexuals, and rattlers are crappy cars driven by teenagers. I do not do ‘outside’!”

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All Women Learn To Fear The “Hey”

, , , , , | Romantic | June 1, 2021

I meet this guy at a party. At first, we hit it off, and we keep talking on social media, but after some time, he starts giving me some really creepy vibes so I cut back on talking to him. He is never outright rude but is persistent.

On several occasions, he asks me where I live and asks me for my number. Actually, he doesn’t ask; he says, “Tell me where you live,” or, “Give me your number.” Every time, I avoid telling him, and he replies, “All good,” but then a week later, he’ll ask again.

This isn’t enough for me to kick up a fuss, and as we have so many mutual friends, I don’t want to start any drama, so I reply civilly to his messages. This conversation is the turning point for me and happens during the peak of the health crisis.

Guy: “Hi, beautiful, how are you?”

Me: “I’m good. How are you?”

Guy: “Not bad.” 


Guy: “What were you up to today?”

Me: “Not much, just getting some work done before dinner.”

Guy: “Ah. I went out for dinner. To [Local Restaurant].”

Me: “Oh, I love that place!”

Guy: “After [global health crisis], can we catch up?”

Me: “Um… sure?”

Guy: “Where do you live?”

Me: “Far away from you, haha.”

Guy: “Where? Tell me.”

Me: “Why do you want to know?”

Guy: “No reason, just asking.”

Me: “Lol, well, just far away from you, haha.”

Guy: “I’m now living in [Suburb].”

Me: “Oh, that’s where [Mutual Friend] used to live. Did you always live there?”

Guy: “It was right next to his place. And no, before I was living near the beach.”

Me: “Lucky! I’ve always wanted to live by the water.”

Guy: “Mhm.”

Me: “So, you and [Mutual Friend] were almost neighbours?”

Guy: “Yep. Where do you live?”

Me: “I already told you.”

Guy: “No, you didn’t.”

Me: “Yes, I did. Far away from you, hahaha.”

He leaves me on “seen” for twenty minutes and then comes back.

Guy: “Are you free tomorrow?”

Me: “I have work tomorrow.”

Guy: “What time?”

Me: “Nine to five.”

Guy: “We can meet up after five?”

Me: “I think you’re forgetting a little health crisis that’s going on these days. It’s also my mother’s birthday and I’m making dinner.”

Guy: “Okay. What about Monday?”

Me: “Again. Health crisis. I thought you wanted to meet up after it was over? Also, Monday is my birthday and I already have plans with my family.”

Guy: “My birthday is Tuesday. We can celebrate together. I have a party on Saturday. Do you want to come?”

Me: “Hahahaha.”

Guy: “What’s so funny?”

Me: “For the third time now. HEALTH CRISIS. And I have told you before that I am living with my parents who have illnesses that make them high-risk and a sister who has asthma and is also high-risk. I can’t put their lives at risk just for a night of partying. Do you understand?”

He leaves me on “seen” for ten minutes.

Guy: “Can you do Wednesday?”

This led to me moving his messages to the “ignore” section of my inbox and essentially ghosting him. This happened about a year ago, and yesterday I was scrolling through my ignored messages for the first time. He messaged me eight times with a “Hey,” or “How are you?” over the last ten months.

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