Office potluck planning spirals to hell after reply-all email sent to 25,000 employees

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Thousands of Utah state government employees last Friday perhaps became aware that Carol in human resources makes a mean spinach-artichoke dip, or that Barry in accounting won’t be able to participate in this year’s white elephant. That’s because a harmless email about an office’s holiday potluck gift exchange was mistakenly sent to 25,000 state workers, who, by Murphy’s First Law Of Office Email, began replying-all asking to be taken off the reply-all thread.

According to inbox screenshots posted to social media from Utah state employees, at least one of whom updated their Twitter bio to read “#ReplyAllGate victim/survivor,” the thread blazed a trail of digital mayhem:


Even Utah’s lieutenant governor couldn’t untangle his inbox from the quickly spiraling white-elephant tornado, which threatened to engulf every inbox in its path. He tweeted: “This is real and it’s an emergency. Started out as a potluck and $5 white elephant gift exchange in one department and someone accidentally cc’d every state employee. I fear this will never end.”

But it did seem to subside after a few hours. KUTV reports the flood of emails had slowed to a trickle within a few hours, but not before 25,000 employees found out that Stan in marketing had recently discovered his walnut allergy.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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