Go Ahead Hit Reply All-I Will Hurt You

On the long list (and growing) of modern inventions designed to make life easier/better/faster that in turn ruins our lives, at the top of my list has to be email.

I asked my husband what his emails look like on the worst days at work. He replied, “Hmm…maybe upwards of 300. That would be a pretty crazy day.”

300.  That sounds terrible. And none of those are from West Elm or Schoolhouse Electric. He doesn’t even know about West Elm or Schoolhouse Electric. And West Elm and Schoolhouse Electric, you better not tell him about what we have going on. You need me.

Aside from West Elm and Schoolhouse Electric and every place I have ever ordered from, tried to get a coupon from, given my email on a tiny slip of paper to and daughter companies of the above etc…the bulk of my emails originate from things relating to my children. I have 3 children that range from Kindergarten to 8th grade. Annually, they participate in school, dance, scouts, soccer, choir, orchestra, camps, church, birthday parties, etc. Emails come in every day from one of the above. Here are a few tips for organizations about sending out mass emails to me if you don’t want me to make fun of you:

  1. Don’t put ALERT, URGENT , PRIORITY, or IMPORTANT in the Re: line. You just got yourself an automatic delete. If it were truly any of those things…you wouldn’t send it to me in an email. Hey…send a carrier pigeon. That I would notice.
  2. Check your group email lists. If I have a kid in rec sports and you send me a bunch of crap about traveling. I hate you now.
  3. Don’t send me an email about something happening 8 months from now. I delete those too. You’ll tell me again at least twice or change the date.
  4. Quit asking me for money via email. I currently get emails asking for money from 1,2,3,4,5,6 institutions of higher learning…1 that has yet to yield a graduate from this house.  I love to support the organizations that are near and dear to this family.  Call me. I’d love to talk to a real human about it.
  5. Don’t send me a bunch of drivel that is already on your website or at least don’t contradict your OWN website. (That happens a lot)
  6. Don’t keep my name in some sort of email purgatory 4 years after we are part of your organization. I’ve unsubscribed. You keep sending stuff. I’ve broken up with you. Go away.

School is the biggest offender of email glut…out of necessity (3 kids, 3 grades, blah blah).  HOWEVER…Three types of email originate from school. I get weekly updates from (4-5) of the teachers and the principal. Our district often pats itself on the back for their wonderful communication. True, you could never claim they didn’t send you information. The are winning the volume war.  However, if there is a non-school day it means 5 phone calls, emails, announcement on the website, coverage on local media, coverage on social media.  I wouldn’t get that kind of coverage if I had a family member win a Grammy.  School is a bit trigger happy over there because there are many emails that require follow-up emails because of an error in the original email.  But again…good job school…if it crossed your mind you sent it to me and you could never say that you didn’t tell me.  I can’t find many of them because you sent me 20 emails when I was away for one week ( I counted) .  You win.

Second, special events emails from various district sources such as choir concerts, fundraisers, after school clubs, invitations to be part of this or that, volunteering opportunities, updates, summer classes,etc.  Great.  I write it down in my paper calendar because I am part Amish and because when my husband’s phone crashes I can laugh at him. Done.

Third, parent to parent emails to coordinate school events like classroom parties, book fairs, talent shows and the like. This last category is a problem. It’s a problem because despite the fact that anyone with functioning corneas can see 47 people in the group email list AND can see the specific instruction to “reply directly to me” they hit Reply All.    25% of the population hits reply all. I made up that statistic. It feels like 25%. On a light day.

Here is an example:

To: Jen, (and 15 other moms)

From: Poor sap who signed up to run this circus

Re: party donations

We need cups, napkins, water bottles and m&m’s.

Please reply to me and let me know what you can contribute.


(cute emoji)


Then all hell breaks loose. The rest of the inbox looks like this.


To: everyone

Re: party donations

I’ll bring cups. Do you want plastic or paper?

-b 🙂


To: everyone

Re:party donations

I think paper. Don’t you think? Also, do you guys have the hockey tournament this weekend? I could swing by and get them if you don’t have time. No problem!



To: everyone:

Re: party donations

No b..don’t bring cups. I already have some. I wish WE could be at the tournament but Susie has a dance competition.

(sad cat face emoji)    -Z


To: everyone

Re:party donations

Oh thanks Z!  Ok…Should I bring plates then?  Let me know.

🙂  ~b


To: Jen (+15 other moms)

From: Poor sap who signed up to run this circus

Re: party donations

Thanks so much for jumping in ladies! Actually, the Andersons who own JUICE BARN have donated custom juice boxes with everybody’s name on them so we don’t even need cups!

Let me know who can bring plates.  We still need plates!

Thank you! (hearts, rainbows, unicorn graphics)


NOOOOOOOOO!   I want that hour of my life back. Now I regret offering to bring something and have developed some frosty feelings toward a few people I haven’t met yet.

School moms…I do love you. I would not trade you for any other group of school moms on earth.  I know this because I have friends that are in other areas of the state and country that don’t have this team of people who could run a state or country if need be.   Many of you would drop everything and pick up my kid if I needed it and so I’ll bring the plates into perpetuity but I don’t want to discuss it in emails.

I could be wasting my time in dozens of other ways…like reading a blog about too many emails.

cc: Everyone

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