Where’s the ‘ANY’ Key?

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Producers of The Office, take note. There is a plethora of material to be mined in the abuse of the Reply to All button. For those who have ever worked in an office – or regularly engage in the pastime of e-mailing – this post is bound to smack you in that proverbial funny bone. That’s right, no chuckles to be found, just teeth-chattering pain. If you fall into the latter camp and have neither worked in an office nor fired off an electronic missive, ya’ might as well wander down the dial to The Drudge Report or upskirt.com as I’m gonna’ be here for awhile. (Oh great!!! There go the Red States!)

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, when I handed the keys of this fine vehicle to Mook (errr… The Godfather – whew. (Pause – looks around) He didn’t… hear that? Did he?) – anyway, when I allowed Don Mookachino to register his rant on ‘my space’ – he touched upon this bizarre phenomena that afflicts office denizens the world over.

For those not-in-the-know, here’s the ten-second primer. When a person sends an e-mail to a larger distribution list (versus going mano y mano), all those who choose to respond are provided the opportunity to “Reply” (in several delectable flavors I might add – including Reply With History, Reply With Internet-Style History and my personal favorite Reply With Revisionist History. I can’t tell ya’ how many times I let the South succeed in secession from our blessed Union. Sayonara, ya’ banjo strummin’ bastards.) Anyway – I digress.

Now that’s bush-league. It’s techno savvy guys like me who know more advanced ways to… ahm… inter… face on this… Intro… net… gain… thingamabob.

Hence, the Reply to All button. Now I’m no Steve Jobs nor Jebediah Pixar but a 43-hour call to Tech Support in Isla Nublar taught me that by selecting this button, I am granted the opportunity to send my Reply (wait for it) To All those people attached to the e-mail I had previously received.

Will wonders never cease? Such a magical tool. If corporate culture has taught me anything, it’s that the modern business model is only as successful as the net efficiencies gained. For instance, why make an ass of oneself on a one-on-one basis, when you can proudly hoist yourself above the rank and file of your business brethren and declare once and for all – TO ALL – I am a world class donkey. That’s true efficiency in action people.

Reply to All abuse is my co-workers’ favorite past time – although turning our traditional parking lot of two car rows into three car rows when the slightest coat of snow obscures the line markers is a strong contender. I just love watching them airlift those Jettas out of the center sections.

My co-worker Garrett and I have dedicated a generous portion of our nine-to-five, keeping a watchful eye for the next flare-up. Like the mighty ocean, there’s an ebb and flow to this phenomena – and it too wields great destructive power. Over the years we have created an unofficial Hall of Fame of Reply to All transgressions. For the longest time, we have held the champ in our grasp, the picture-perfect example of Internet ineptitude. Like they do at the Oscars, I’ve brought a clip. This is pretty spot-on, only names and minor details were altered.

INFO SECURITY TO ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: Please find attached the TPS Summary Report for March 2006. If you have any questions or feel you received this report in error, please respond directly to me and we will remove you from the Distribution List. PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO ALL

RYAN COULTON response to ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: Why was this sent to me? I do not need this report.

INFO SECURITY TO ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: We’re sorry for the mistake. We have removed you from the distribution list. In the future, please DO NOT REPLY TO ALL

ED WINTERS response to ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: Hey, I got it too. Why did I get this?

INFO SECURITY TO ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: We’re sorry for the mistake. We have removed you from the distribution list. In the future, please DO NOT REPLY TO ALL.

JOE ROMA TO ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: Why did I receive this? Hey Ryan, are we still on for Veronica Mars tonight?

INFO SECURITY TO ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: We’re sorry for the mistake. We have removed you from the distribution list. Once again, please DO NOT REPLY TO ALL.

RYAN COULTON response to ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: Yup. You bring the hummus. Ed, you in? P.S. You guys are idiots. You just responded to the whole company.

ED WINTERS response to ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: So did you! Anyway, I can’t make it. I’m gonna’ be tied up at the free clinic. Say it with me. C’mon… NEGATIVE!!!

INFO SECURITY TO ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: We’re sorry for the mistake. We have removed you from the distribution list. FOR THE LAST F’N TIME. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND YOUR OWN BODY, DO NOT REPLY TO ALL.

-3 Days Pass-

OLIVER KARDOS response to ALL COMPANY DISTRIBUTION LIST: Hey I just got this thing working. I’m not sure why I got this report either. Guys, count me in for tonight, ah, I mean for, 3 nights ago. (inner monologue – What’s this? TO CONTINUE HIT ANY KEY) Where’s the ANY key?

Anyway – that’s pretty much how it goes and I’d say we have an explosion every few months. I won’t even go into the responses sent upon receipt of a generic TEST blast e-mail.

“What am I being tested on?”

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