Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Ham Sandwich

-----Original Message-----

From: Willis, Regina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 9:39 AM
To: sydflr22A - Senior Associates; sydflr22L - Lawyers; sydflr22S - Support Staff
Subject: My lunch...
Yesterday I put my lunch in the fridge on Level 22 which included a packet of ham, some cheese slices and two slices of bread which was going to be for my lunch today.

Over night it has gone missing and as I have no spare money to buy another lunch today, I would appreciate being reimbursed for it.


Regina Willis



-----Original Message-----

From: Scott, Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 9:55 AM
To: sydflr22A - Senior Associates; sydflr22L - Lawyers; sydflr22S - Support Staff
Subject: RE: My lunch...
Regina

There are items fitting your exact description in the level 23 fridge. Are you sure you didn't place your lunch in the wrong fridge yesterday?

Regards
Elizabeth



-----Original Message-----

From: Willis, Regina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:06 AM
To: Scott, Elizabeth
Subject:
Elizabeth

Probably best you don't reply to all next time, would be annoyed to the lawyers.

The kitchen was not doing dinner last night, so obviously someone has helped themselves to my lunch.

Really sweet of you to investigate for me!

Regina Willis


-----Original Message-----

From: Scott, Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:14 AM
To: Willis, Regina
Subject: RE:
Regina

Since I used to be a float and am still on the level 19 email list I couldn't help but receive your ridiculous email - lucky me!

You use our kitchen all the time for some unknown reason and I saw the items you mentioned in the fridge so naturally thought you may have placed them in the wrong fridge.

Thanks I know I'm sweet and I only had your best interests at heart. Now as you would say, "BYE"!

Regards
Elizabeth


-----Original Message-----
From: Willis, Regina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:15 AM
To: Scott, Elizabeth
Subject: RE:

I'm not blonde!!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:16 AM
To: Willis, Regina
Subject: RE:
Being a brunette doesn't mean you're smart though!

-----Original Message-----
From: Willis, Regina
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:17 AM
To: Scott, Elizabeth
Subject: RE:

I definitely wouldn't trade places with you for "the world"!

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:19 AM
To: Willis, Regina
Subject: RE:
I wouldn't trade places with you for the world...I don't want your figure!

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, Elizabeth
Sent: Thursday, 1 September 2005 10:23 AM
To: Willis, Regina
Subject: RE:
Oh my God I'm laughing! happy relationship (you have been with so many guys - yep really happy relationship with Trevor JONES), beautiful apartment (so what), brand new car (me too), high pay job (I earn more)....say plenty more.....I have 5 guys at the moment! haha.

--------------


Links:

The Register

Snopes

This one comes as advertised: it happened at a law firm in Austrailia in 2005. Nobody knows who actually took the sandwich, and it's somewhat of a moot point, as both senders involved were fired.

From the Register's article:

An Allens Arthur Robinson spokesman confirmed that "anyone involved in passing on the e-mail would be disciplined", explaining: "Email is a business tool, not a personal messaging system - the use of it in this case was not in any way acceptable, nor is that the way we expect people to treat their work colleagues."


Yowza. Here we see a company actually cracking down on "passing on" the e-mail, which brings with it an interesting point; the additional liability for anyone who just forwards an improperly sent e-mail outside the company. Lawyer-types do have a general rule in litigation that unintentionally disclosed documents should be returned immediately and ignored - this happens, in these days where opposing litigants serve motions on each other via e-mail. It seems like the office here is adopting somewhat of a similar policy. I haven't read anything anywhere about anyone other than the two flame combatants being disciplined, so it's possible that the original forwarders only recieved a talking to.

As for the senders, well, this is an example of the sort of message you don't want to use a department-wide e-mail for. Have one's lunch stolen from a work refrigerator is frustrating; but really, did the first sender actually think someone was going to cop to the theft and pay her back? It's doubtful, particularly considering her tone. I can think of two basic explanations that would come to mind upon finding that someone stole my food out of the fridge: the first, that someone mistook it for their own lunch. You'll note the irrepressible optimisim and believe in the basic decency of human beings. Still got it, Mom. The next, that someone took it out of an evil (or at least hungry) heart, and ate it filled with shame (and ham). Trailing along behind would be the slight chance someone mistook it for a lunch that had been in the fridge long enough to become a science experiment and threw it out; that certainly can happen. But in the most likely scenarios, it was an honest mistake or a theft for which one isn't inclined to confess.

Yet it's that second possibility that the original sender has latched on to - you can tell from the accusatory tone of her message - and she attempts to shame the person into 'fessing up. Ballsy, yes, but more importantly a message like that really does beg to be lampooned.

Which is where the responder comes in, and boy, is reply-to-all the worst way to deal with this. The original sender even says so, which is, really, awesome. This makes the art form of unintentionally forwarded e-mail post-modern; it is now aware of its status as art. It knows what it does is wrong.

Obviously these two have some sort of history. The exchange goes from Zero to Snippy in about 1.5 messages. The brakes - which is to say the self-awareness that this exchange is inappropriate for common office e-mail chatter - come off just as quickly. In a real sense, these employees might have avoided sanction if they just took it private or, better, yet, stopped sending e-mail about it all together. Instead, the old ghost that stands six feet in front of them and taunts "Are you going to take that from her, in front of everyone?" has claimed another poor soul or two. The urge to counter-show-up someone who's just shown us up in front of an audience is the genesis of so many e-mails like this, fights in nightclubs, and international military conflicts. It's one of those annoying aspects about being human, and one that almost never pays off as well as it promises to. Because the last word in this e-mail exchange is, of course, the company's. And both senders look equally rediculous.

So, the next time someone steals your lunch from the fridge at work; try leaving a note. Or maybe, just let it go.


1 comment:

theauxphou said...

Why are the aliases used? The Snopes article publishes the girls' real names so I don't see how it would be libelous.