A Potluck Invitation Left 25,000 State Workers Stuck in Reply-All Email Hell

After someone accidentally sent it to almost every government employee in Utah.

by Nicole Clark
Dec 10 2018, 8:46pm

Screenshot via Twitter user Joe Dougherty

Most of us who've been in a massive email chain know the number one rule: never, ever reply all. And especially don't reply all to tell other people not to reply all, a move that will only lead to heartbreak and rage, and probably encourage others to continue replying all to say the same goddamn thing. The second rule, obviously, is to not waste your time asking to be removed from the list. It's probably not going to accomplish anything, and you just wind up spamming everyone.

Unfortunately, people never learn. In an email nightmare come to life, someone accidentally sent 25,000 Utah state workers an invitation to what was supposed to be a small potluck on Friday, CBS affiliate KUTV reported. Starting at 9:30 AM, recipients began to reply all, with statements like "Perhaps people could not respond to all," "Please remove me from this email," and "STOP THE MADNESS!!!!"

Obviously, a 25,000-person potluck is way, way too big, and Utah State officials took to Twitter to share the immediate fallout from the cursed email. Joe Dougherty, the Utah Division of Emergency Management's public information officer, jokingly referred to the fiasco as "Replyall-gate 2018."

One state worker seemed particularly aggrieved about the mistake:

Even the Lt. Governor of Utah chimed in:

Around 11 AM on Friday, Dougherty tweeted that the email chain replies were finally beginning to die down. According to KUTV, "Neither the offending sender, nor the department they work for were identified."

All things considered, this could have gone way worse—let's not forget the time an IT contractor emailed all 1.2 million NHS employees, sparking a reply-all fiasco that resulted in 168 million emails and crashed hundreds of thousands of Outlook accounts. So remember, friends: Please, for the love of God, double-check the recipients before you hit send.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Nicole Clark on Twitter.