The Bitterness Blog

Email Abuse: Just Because You’re Sending It Doesn’t Make It High Priority
February 11, 2009, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Work Bitching

You know what I don’t love? When I am sitting at my desk, daydreaming about a week-long power outrage that requires shutting down the office but doesn’t affect the county I live in, and I am suddenly jarred out of my reverie by three excruciatingly loud, consecutive beeps.  I have just received a high-priority email, and in case the obnoxious sound accompanying it wasn’t clear enough, the email itself comes equipped with a bright red exclamation point. 


There are instances in which this emergency tagging of an email would be entirely appropriate, like if the email was serving as notification that the building was burning down.  The problem with high priority emails is that anyone can send them and that person alone makes the judgment call that said email does indeed qualify as high priority to anyone other than himself.  In my experience, this email tool is highly abused.  We all deal with managers who do this to remind subordinates that they are in charge; it’s a pointless display of power, but at least it’s coming from someone who holds some modicum of authority and it’s regarding business matters.  However, I recently experienced a particularly egregious example of high importance emailing gone wrong which I feel compelled to share:

The body of the email was empty, but the subject heading said it all: 

I’m hungry for McDonald’s where is the closest one how do I get there?


No, really, I shit you not.  Run-on sentence aside, the best part was that the lady who sent it to me wasn’t even an actual employee; she was a temp brought in as an extra pair of hands for a project with a specific end date.  In the company hierarchy, she was basically the most unimportant person in the building.  Now I would have been annoyed had this particular email been sent even without the high priority tag, because if you are sending me an email you are obviously in front of your computer and your internet connection is obviously working.  A wealth of knowledge is at your fingertips.  Figure it out yourself.  But to send it high priority is to imply that I should stop what I’m doing and put your craving for Mickey Dee’s and your astonishing laziness at the top of my to-do list, and that is unacceptable. 


I contemplated a response to this email and decided that I was incapable of forming a reply that wouldn’t get me fired (something along the lines of, “Are you fucking kidding me?” was running through my head) so I ignored it.  About an hour later this imbecile showed up at my desk and asked me if I had received her email.  I said, “Yes I did.”  She looked at me funny and I’m quite sure I looked at her funny back.  Apparently she had decided she would rather wait for an hour in hopes that  I would supply her with directions than just look them up herself.  A few seconds of silence followed before she proceeded to explain to me that she wanted McDonald’s but didn’t know where the nearest one was and needed me to give her directions.  I told her I don’t eat fast food, but I’m guessing she eventually found her way to a Big Mac.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Are you fucking kidding me?!? That is exactly what I was thinking as I read this! It is quite possible that there are some specific employees there that could have written that email — I won’t name names! 🙂

Comment by Michelle

you should have replied with this link: (

Comment by megan elizabeth

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