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post #27
bio: jen

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Extreme Emailing
At my job, a lot of emailing happens. Much of the all-office emails I receive are of a mundane nature---I'll be out of the office, such and such is rescheduled, etc. But sometimes I receive an email that is so mundane that it actually becomes quite brilliant. Ever the anthropologist of absurdity, I have collected some of those emails deleting any names but preserving the text, so the reader can see the true lyricism of inter-office emailing.

First is an email about a communal printer. Note the long sentence detailing the horrific consequences of not reloading the paper.

Just as a reminder - could people who are printing out large amounts of stuff on the communal printer, please occasionally pick up their printouts and check if paper has run out?
As often happens, people will print out large amounts, not check it, the paper runs out and then a large line of printouts gets backed up waiting to be printed -- inconvenient if all one wants to do is print out a couple of pages and then suddenly must wade through mountains of stuff that gets printed once more paper is added.

Next, we learn about the copier, a complex machine filled with many different sheets of paper. Sometimes, accidentally, color (gasp) paper is left in the machine. So thus, the emailing begins. . .


And of course, we get the proper follow-up:

In addendum to (name deleted) email from yesterday, after use of color paper in copier, please take it out of the copier. Thanks!

But color paper turns out to be just the tip of the copier iceberg.

Copier just jammed and I can't see where there are any jammed papers. (Name deleted) was also having problems w/ the copier jamming before I. If anyone figures out, let me know.

Fortunately, a solution was found:

I just opened the copier and found a jammed piece of paper inside. I removed it and now it seems to be working fine. Whoever belongs to the form that was being copied, you can find it on top of the machine. It's all better! Welcome back, copier!

Like many offices, my office has a kitchen area. Much is written about the kitchen area including this email in which the writer seems to actually enter the refrigerator if you read the ‘there' as referring to the refrigerator and not the kitchen area. It's a fabulous example of magic realism obtained through bad grammar.

EVERYONE please make sure the refrigerator shuts tightly, especially if you've just placed an outsize bag or container inside. It was standing slightly ajar when I just went in there.

Then, riffing on the act of closing doors, this email came down the pike.

Further to closing doors. Please if you leave the building around 5:30 PM LOCK the front door on your way out. Those of us in back are often the last here and don't realize that everyone else is gone.

But the action does not end with the refrigerator door. In the email below, we learn proper coffee maker technique.

When you make coffee, please be sure that the upper right hand corner of the filter is locked into place so it isn't dangling in the least. If that doesn't happen we are going to break this one in the same way we broke the last one. Whoever made it today didn't lock it in; and I frequently find that to be the case. Thank You for your attention to this.

This email garnered a response which was sent to the entire office. If one office worker is guilty, we all are guilty.

I, sad to say, am the guilty party ... I neglected to put the little filter basket in the coffee maker, too. I only realized my error too late ... it may have something to do with the 4:30 AM wake-up call I get from my baby these days, but maybe not ...!!
My apologies –

The coffee maker broke a month later.

We all have our pet peeves. Some of us don't like the sound of vacuum cleaners. Some of us think it's too warm. Some of us think it's too cold. Some of us don't like dishes left in the sink. Some of us leave dishes in the sink. . . .

If you have left the dirty dishes bowls and plates in the sink, could you wash them so the rest of us can use the sink? There are plenty of paper cups, bowls and plates there for those who don't want to wash dishes or are too busy to do so.
And the proper penitent response:

Its me, I left the dishes in the sink from lunch today!

Having covered refrigerator woes, coffee maker technique, and dirty dishes, I found lunchtime kleptomania in the epic poetry below.

Dear Colleagues:
I worked late tonight and was very disappointed to find that someone had thrown out leftovers from my lunch that I planned to eat for dinner. Oddly enough I had thought about writing my name on the bag, but I didn't have a pen in the kitchen and I figured it would only be in there for a few hours. I thought we had gotten past throwing out each other's lunches after others had been victims and spoke out about the frustration, inconvenience and waste of money resulting from this thoughtless act.
There are not so many people working here that it could not be determined who belongs to what by intercoming everyone if there is a fear that old food has been left to rot in the refrigerator. On the occasions I know of, the food was not old, but had been placed there that day with the intention of eating it that day. I can only determine that someone has an irrational fear of food stored in a refrigerator.
Who among us feels the compulsion to empty the fridge each day of food that he or she deems to be inappropriately stored? I don't feel that we should have to live in fear that we can't use the communal fridge lest we lose our meals to the garbage can. I want to know who is doing this and why? I have a feeling that it has always been the same person and that that person has never owned up to what he or she has done... and continues to do it... How can we make you stop? This is really unfair. I should not have to consider risking food poisoning by leaving my lunch in my office all day to make sure I actually get to eat it.
Going to bed hungry and missing the last of my leftovers,

Okay, a little melodramatic, and the whole pen thing, come on. But still, something peculiar was going on. The following response arrived in my Inbox.

While I have never thrown anything out from the frig - I did accidentally take home your plastic bag last night, thinking it was mine. When I looked in it this morning and saw Turkey, I still thought it was mine. I had Thanksgiving leftovers too. While I thought I had only veggies left, I became pleasantly surprised at the Turkey, thinking that I didn't notice the first time that they had included Turkey in my leftovers and was so happy to have it for lunch. After reading your email I realized what had happened, so you do have Turkey for lunch today, and I am sorry for the mix up.

To this day, no one has been caught stealing food, and since this email, no other food has disappeared from the frig (or I mean fridge). Both parties are alive, well, and eating refrigerated foods on a regular basis.

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