“Now I know my pet carrier didn’t just grow legs and walk out of the office itself. I understand if you mistook it for your own, but if the culprit would stop by my desk to drop it off this afternoon, Crash and Burn would certainly appreciate it. For the record, Crash and Burn are kittens.”

I was fine putting up a couple bucks for the Polar Plunge once a year. I was thankful for the alert when the building management decided to run a fire drill before lunch. I had no problem ordering Girl Scout cookies by the case. I even purchased a few $10 frozen pizzas to help a kid fund a trip to DC. But, as with nearly every tool created to make our lives easier, the privilege is abused and I’m sent interoffice memos so often that my spam filter has started picking off colleagues.

Is it ever necessary to send the entire company an email about a fundraiser? Maybe I’m old school in that I prefer the anonymity of filling out a form taped to the fridge in the kitchen, but I’ve developed this twitch that automatically strikes CTRL+D whenever I see To: Everyone.

You may find it a delight – maybe you receive less than 150 emails a day, but I’m pretty sure (after conducting the least scientific survey ever) that it nags at those who receive some 20 messages a day.

At first, I thought it was a convenience. The cleaning crew was coming on Wednesday, then the switch to Thursdays and the subsequent email. Then the switch to Tuesdays with a friendly reminder to clear off your desk (improbable) if you wished for a desktop wipe down. This was followed by a reminder to fill out the cleaning crew survey, especially if you took the time to eat the accompanying Andes chocolate candy — "It takes just as long to fill out that survey as it does for that chocolate to melt in your mouth."

Interoffice alerts have included:

  • Coffee (see: Crisis).
  • The kitchen – “These dishes won’t wash themselves.” Or the classic, “I don’t come to work so I can be your mother.” — I love that one. I like to follow it up with a story about a family fallout that has left me in emotional shambles. I typically get a hug with the apology.
  • The garbage — You don’t know how to tie a bag of trash? Really? C’mon.
  • Take your kids to work day. — Shelve this idea for an entirely different column on separate lists for those with child and those who have yet to spread seed.
  • Voting — with not-so-subtle hints to which party the email sender’s straight ticket ballot will be in favor for.
  • Office building campus mixers – Yeah, let’s put editors, mechanics, sales people, warehouse employees and telemarketers in an unfinished level of the building and see if they want to dance to the Rolling Stones after they finish their salads. I’ve yet to see a successful social business gathering without performance-enhancing beverages. 
  • Appropriate Halloween costumes — I thought I was in the clear as the Bad Idea Bear, but apparently, if you haven’t seen Avenue Q, a teddy bear telling children to drop out of school (most column-appropriate example) is humorless.
  • Holiday parties (see: campus mixers).
  • The farmer’s market in the parking lot – Four card tables with dying flowers and withered peppers does not a farmer’s market make.
  • Parking spaces – Another favorite. I can’t help but enjoy the fury of a man or woman victimized by a parking space thief. “I’m not sure whom you are, but you must be new. If the owner of a red Dodge Neon could please move his or her car, my arthritis would appreciate it.” Did you ever notice that the affected person is never the appreciative one? It’s always the cat, dog, chicken, aching back or knees, nose, social status, etc.
  • Appropriate summer attire – Guilty, I prefer man shorts to jeans.

The list goes on. I’m bound to add to it, and chances are it may cause another all-staff email.

Now, to the owner of the pet carrier, life’s too short and the workday is too long, so play Encyclopedia Brown for half a day and solve the case of the missing cage. I assure you, the cage is not in the lowest drawer of my file cabinet. Crash and Burn, run free.  
What’s the story at your office? Are your all-staff emails more humanitarian, human resources or pleas to see if anyone has an idea of who is keying cars in the parking lot? Send me an email: