If you gossip via e-mail with the same regularity as breathing, it might be a good idea to scan the “To” field before hitting send. Two recent reply-all gaffes are making that crystal clear once again.
First off, we had the British wedding planner who rejected a man and a woman desperate to hold their nuptials at a luxury hotel in Buckinghamshire. The wedding planner cc’ed them on the slam.
“I know this probably doesn’t sound very nice, but I am trying to put this wedding off as I don’t think they are the type of people that we would want to have at Stoke Park,” the wedding planner wrote in her reply-all e-mail, the BBC reported last month. (She’s since been disciplined.)
Pauline Bailey, the 27-year-old bride-to-be, said she was both devastated and crushed when she read the words, especially as the wedding planner “seemed lovely” when they had met in person. The bomb landed in Bailey’s inbox when she followed up to inquire about the venue after 10 days of silence from the staff. (She suspects her fiancé’s eyebrow and ear piercings might have played a role in the rebuff.)
Although the hotel sent an apology the same day and offered to host the pair, they didn’t take the bait, launching a discrimination claim instead.
Not all reply-all gaffes are this brutal – some simply hint at a more innocent incompetence.
Which brings us to Max Wiseltier, a New York University student in computer science, no less. Wiseltier was attempting to forward an e-mail about paperless tax forms – not exactly scintillating stuff – from the bursar’s office to his mom, but ended up cc’ing 39,979 fellow students. Not having done enough, Wiseltier followed up with a reply-all apology. The result was nothing short of a “replyallcalypse,” the Toronto Star reported.
Many students became disproportionately outraged by the student’s all-too-human error. Others were amused, as one student seized on the opportunity to “thank the entire student body for the past four years,” the Star’s Noor Javed reported.
As for Wiseltier, he was not in fetal position all night, but cracking up. “I think the best thing to come out of these e-mails is a rekindled sense of community at NYU (even if it’s based on being stupid),” he told the Star.
Are you guilty of a mortifying reply-all gaffe, or were you the victim of one? How did you clean up the mess?
Editor's note: Pauline Bailey is 27-years-old. Incorrect information appeared in the original version of this article.