coworker and I are in trouble for public email dispute

A reader writes:

In my office of several hundred lawyers, it is common for people to send jokes and charity calls to closed email groups. I sent an email charity call to my fellow trainees (about 30-40 people), and a colleague sent a reply-all that just said “*delete*”. This colleague has a habit of replying to group emails with somewhat rude remarks, and I was tired of it. I also felt angry that although my country is in the top 5 on the Gini inequality index, and even as trainees many of us make over 20 times the minimum wage, charity is seen as an annoyance (I recall the same colleague sent a similar response to a trainee asking to switch her day of pro bono duty with someone as she had a meeting that day). So I did something which may have been a bit rash, and also a bit out of character as a normally polite, introverted worker: I replied-all to his reply, saying that I hadn’t realised $10 was such a big amount to him, and perhaps we should take up a collection for him instead.

Well, he flipped! I got two (private) responses from him in short succession, the second of which threatened legal action for defamation if I didn’t publicly apologise! This, to my mind, is an attempt at workplace bullying, and I was having none of it. So I replied, apologising for hurting his feelings – but copied in the closed group on the email chain that now contained his private threats. Needless to say, there was loud laughter in the office when people saw his threats. I realise that this was also rash; I just felt I’d had enough of his bullying ways.

Then, to pre-empt him, I called my direct HR report and asked if I should be concerned. She thought the whole incident quite silly and said it didn’t sound like an HR issue at all. She even advised me not to bother apologising. However, as I got off the phone with her, I saw an email where the relevant colleague forwarded the whole email chain to our most senior HR execs. They have now scheduled a meeting for tomorrow.

This seems like such a pointless issue – it’s like the schoolyard bully running to the teacher when he doesn’t get his way. But I am still anxious, not least because the incident began with my sending a non-work-related email from my work address to 30-40 people, and HR might take issue with that. Should I be worried? Is there anything I should know/prepare?

You’re both wrong here, and you should both apologize.

Your coworker is ridiculous for threatening legal action over this — particularly since what you did is far from defamation. There’s no faster way for someone to make themselves look ridiculous than threatening to sue for something that doesn’t violate any law.

However, you were in the wrong yourself. You are absolutely not entitled to pressure other people to donate to charity, particularly at work. It’s one thing to send out an email advocating for a favorite charity, but the minute that you attacked someone for not responding favorably, you were way out of line. It’s legitimate for people to ask to opt out of these solicitations entirely, and they should be able to do so without being subjected to criticism.

You then compounded the situation by forwarding his email to your whole group.

I don’t know if this guy is a bully or not, but the specific behavior you’ve recounted here doesn’t really sound like bullying, and your viewpoint that “this, to my mind, is an attempt at workplace bullying, and I was having none of it” needlessly escalated things. You ended up causing way more drama than was needed.

So you both behaved badly here — and while he was certainly ridiculous, you actually behaved a bit worse. I would apologize to your coworker for implying he was in any way obligated to donate to a particular charity, and for forwarding his correspondence to the rest of your group. And when you meet with HR tomorrow, I would make it very clear that you realize you were out of line and that you’ve apologized for it.

Your coworker should apologize too, for overreacting with that silly legal threat, but you can’t control what he does. You can only try to repair the way you look in this.

{ 203 comments… read them below }

  1. Rachel - Former HR Blogger*

    The OP sounds like the bully here.

    My company (a non-profit itself) has banned email solicitations to prevent these types of issues. People are allowed to make in person solicitations to their friends but cannot send out email solicitations to large portions of the company.

    1. Grace*

      There’s an additional reason that employers should ban solicitations for charity: According to the federal government’s rulings (United States), it makes a company’s “non-solicitation” policy legally null and void.

  2. kristinyc*

    Wow. I have to say, I kind of side with the “bully.” I get about 200 WORK-related emails a day. If I were getting a lot of charity requests as well (even for charities I was interested in supporting), I’d be REALLY annoyed.

    Sorry OP- you sound really entitled and like you think everyone should support your cause just because you sent an email about it. If you had just left it alone, the other guy would have looked rude, but your response made you look way worse. If I had been someone else on the email chain and saw that exchange, I wouldn’t want to donate to your charity.

    When you meet with HR, could you maybe suggest creating a different, less invasive way for people to share this type of information? Maybe a message board (online or actual physical bulletin board) or email listserv that people can choose to sign up for?

    1. A Bug!*

      I have to agree with this. From the question, it seems clear to me that the OP was already aware that the “bully” was not going to appreciate receiving that e-mail. This signals a certain level of inconsiderateness on the OP’s part.

      If you are sending non-work-related e-mails at work, it’s important to choose your recipients very carefully. The response was maybe a bit brusque, and the subsequent threats were certainly silly, but none of it would have happened if the OP had been more thoughtful in sending the original e-mail.

      One more thing I’d like to bring up, and that is the OP’s original “reply-all”, with the suggestion that $10 is too much to spare on the “bully’s” part. I’m actually a little aggravated at this. I am a person who donates generously (as compared to my annual income). However, I choose the recipients of my charity very carefully. As a result, I generally decline to donate when solicited by others. OP, what a person does with his money is his business, and you shouldn’t be making comments like that, period.

      1. Paralegal*

        Especially since there are 30-40 people on the email chain. $10 to each of their pet causes could really start to add up!

      2. Naama*

        That, and saying “maybe we should take up a collection for you” would be an insulting thing for any CC’d coworkers who are *actually* having money problems to see.

        1. Naama*

          Faux-edit: not necessarily insulting, but it could be. Or it could be seen as poverty-shaming, unwelcome pity, or condescending to people with money problems in general. When you reply-all, you really have to consider all the possible ways your recipients could interpret something.

      3. Anonymous*

        “OP, what a person does with his money is his business, and you shouldn’t be making comments like that, period.”

        This was the first thought I had when I was reading this letter. It’s incredibly inconsiderate to assume that people can “spare” $10, when in fact, that $10 could mean the difference between paying rent or being on the street. The example might be a bit extreme, but there are many people – me included – who budget down to the penny and there is no room for an extra, unbudgeted $10.

        1. kristinyc*

          Well, and even if you know for a fact that they’re well-off financially, it’s not your place to tell someone how to spend money. Period.

  3. moe*

    These mass emails are such a terrible idea! I’ve seen so many flare-ups like this when a mass email causes annoyance, and an annoyed recipient sees an opportunity for snark with an audience. If you must, do it by bcc, imo… or better yet, not at all. Why was this guy on the recipient list if you knew him to be a bully, anyway?

    I’m curious about the language that these are “trainees.” OP, are you both new to the company, or especially junior? If so, the judgment here was especially bad…

  4. Lisa*

    One piece of advice: counting to 10 can minimize the risk of short-fusing like this. I can absoulutely imagine how each person must have felt the need to be the last one standing and how these things can escalate into a real war. If I had been either of the persons I cannot guarantee that I would not have reacted exactly the same way….or maybe not if I would have taken a time out. Never underestimate the power of a glass of water/coffee/whatever and 5 minutes away from your desk :)

    1. Natalie*

      Absolutely! I’ve been on the receiving end of curt or rude emails from people far above me a couple of times and simply talking myself down from responding right away has probably saved my job.

    2. khilde*

      Or if you still feel the need to type a response: Do it in a word document and then ‘x’ out of it when you’re done venting. No chance that thing can accidentally be sent. I’ve done this before and it helps tremendously.

  5. Laurie*

    Agree with the first two commenters, and with AAM. I personally dislike being hit up for girl scout cookies, and supporting co-workers’ nieces’ school bands and the local community church and whatever else is going on locally. I have a very specific opinion of where my charity dollars should go, and I take care of it (or increase it) every year. If I am made to feel bad about not forking over another $10 for a cause I don’t feel passionately about, I might feel angry too. Like AAM said, this escalated needlessly, but the OP was in the wrong in (A) sending out an email soliciting $10 and (B) chastising a coworker publicly.

    1. The gold digger*

      Amen! I don’t mind if the Girl Scout herself comes to my door, rings the bell, and asks me to buy cookies – my rule is that I buy from any kid brave enough to do that. This year, there was one.

      But I do mind when parents sell on their kids behalf. First, the kid is supposed to be selling the stuff. What kind of lesson are you teaching your kid? Second, when it’s my boss selling on behalf of his kid, there is extra pressure. I don’t want to spend $3 on a bad candy bar! But I want a good review. And third – well, I guess there is no third.

      But don’t try to shame me for not supporting your charity. You don’t know how much I do give and it’s none of your business.

      1. Anonymous*

        My understanding is that girl scouts are no longer allowed to go door-to-door because of security concerns, so this leads to the parents feeling like they have to sell the cookies for their daughters. Most parents I know are polite about this…they will tell a few work friends that they are a cookie source, and leave it at that. However, some go overboard. I was once unlucky enough to work with a woman who plastered our workplace with GS cookie fliers, sent out emails, etc. She also sold lia sophia but that’s a story for another day.

        I think the OP’s heart is in the right place and he is genuine in his wish to further the goals of the charity he supports. He may want to be just a little more discreet in making future requests.

        1. Andrea*

          They certainly can (and do!) go door-to-door, but–and this was true in my day as well–a parent should go along, too. My mom or dad used to park at the end of the street and then stand on the curb while I did the selling (and then we could run to the car and get the rest of the cookies if I sold more than I was carrying). I had Girl Scouts come to my door this year (three different groups). And besides, the booths are always better chances for bigger sales for the girls–like when they set up at the supermarket–and they still do that.

          1. Jamie*

            I think this varies depending on where you are. My eldest is 21 and our schools and village sports activities had banned the door to door selling before he was old enough to participate.

            It’s been at over a decade since I’ve opened the door to a kid selling something.

            Personally, I can’t understand the mindset that thinks sending kids door to door blurring the don’t talk to strangers line – as well as annoying their neighbors – was ever a good idea.

            1. Long Time Admin*

              “Personally, I can’t understand the mindset that thinks sending kids door to door blurring the don’t talk to strangers line – as well as annoying their neighbors – was ever a good idea.”

              Very true! Consider: now the child thinks she “knows” this person and this person is not a stranger, therefore leaving a trusting child vulnerable. It scares the living hell out of me when parents don’t think all these things through.

              1. Jamie*

                Exactly. Before anyone sends their kids door to door they should check out the sex offender registry online for their area. Even if they are with their children when selling they should check out the registry and see how many people in their immediate area they will be encouraging their kids to speak with and “know.”

                Very few parents would be comfortable with the door to door thing if they did this first.

        2. Jamie*

          Most places all you have to do is put up a notice that you are selling GS cookies and they sell themselves.

          I don’t see that as selling for a charity though, I see that as an outreach program getting thin mints in the hands of those of us without other access to Girl Scout cookies. An act of mercy in and of itself.

          Seriously, though – IMO there is no place for charitable solicitations at work. Period. It shocks me that all workplaces haven’t issued outright bans on this.

          And as a mom who would have refused to let her kids go door to door with the fundraising crap even if that hadn’t been banned… schools and activities need to find better ways of raising money than having a bunch of parents shill crappy candles, gift wrap, and world’s finest chocolate bars (which I don’t believe are the world’s finest, fwiw.) Might I suggest working out a deal with the scouts so you can sell thin mints?

          I never sold anything, and I wouldn’t let my kids annoy their relatives by hawking their crap. I wrote a check, like my father did before me, and hope my children will follow suit when they are old enough to have kiddos selling this stuff.

          1. kristinyc*

            When I was a kid, my dad would take me into his workplace to sell cookies, and I always sold at least 100 boxes at his office. (But I did the selling – he walked me around the office, and I had to wear my uniform and talk to people). But looking back on that – he was a VP, so it’s very possible people felt pressured. I wonder if I should feel bad about that… :)

            1. Jamie*

              It would have been pressure if you were selling gift wrap…but as it was cookies he was actually the VP of Happiness allowing you to bestow chocolaty goodness on his reports.

              Sorry – my husband is on this new no sugar thing at home and I’m being supportive. Outwardly supportive, but considering my reaction to this topic and very real frustration that I have no access to thin mints I think I’m having some kind of sugar withdrawal.

              1. Jamie*

                I couldn’t reply to kristinyc’s comment directly – but THANK YOU for the link. All these years later you are still spreading cheer and chocholaty goodness.

                And yes, discovering turducken cookies the same week by husband goes no sugar is a sure sign the universe hates me.

              2. kristinyc*

                You’re welcome :)

                I found it last year since it was my first year in NYC and I was worried I wouldn’t have a cookie source.

                This year, I actually ordered from a friend in my home state (even though shipping cost the same as the 5 boxes of cookies..). Totally worth it. :)

          2. Laura L*

            I see that as an outreach program getting thin mints in the hands of those of us without other access to Girl Scout cookies. An act of mercy in and of itself.

            Darn right! I was ecstatic when one of my coworkers sent an email (well, two, but only two) letting everyone know that her daughter was selling girl scout cookies.

            I definitely support selling girl scout cookie in the office. Or anywhere.

          3. Ange*

            This is kind of random, but I was at the mall looking for new work shoes, something I’ve been saving money for. I walked past the girlscouts that I guess had posted up at an empty kiosk and were selling the cookies right there. I saw one Mom, anyway this is something someone must’ve worked out for them. When they asked I said “I’m sorry girls, I just don’t have the money today but it’s good to know it’s that time of year again!”. A girl shouted back “Then what are you doing at the mall?!” Apparently to my not having the money- the nerve!

          4. Anonymous*

            This year, my son’s school held a Fun Run at the beginning of the school year and asked the parents to donate, with the understanding that the Fun Run would replace all of the other fundraisers (gift wrap, cookies, etc.) for the rest of the year.

            The school made more money than it ever did with the other fundraisers, and I was very happy just to write one check, and not have to sel th over-priced items.

            1. Jamie*

              Our local high school does a craft fair every year and people come from all over to attend this. It’s apparently a very big deal to crafters and those who like buying them and they make into 6 figures every year.

              There are ways schools can earn money by providing an opportunity to buy stuff people clearly want – rather than asking the kids to bother people individually.

      2. Emily*

        This is my policy, too, in part because when I was a Girl Scout, my parents wouldn’t sell on my behalf, and as hard as I worked to sell myself, I could never compete with the girls whose parents did all the selling for them. (No, it wasn’t an incredibly competitive activity, but there were special badges and recognitions for top sellers.) Even if door-to-door selling is less common or impractical in your area, it’s quite common for Girl Scouts to sell at tables, supervised by adults, at supermarkets or the post office, etc. I don’t even particularly like the cookies, but I do see it as a charitable contribution to an organization and I’d rather make mine directly to a Scout, or like kristinyc, to a troop in my hometown, than just sign up on the bulletin board at work.

        1. Laura L*

          And prizes! Don’t forget the prizes!

          I won a cool book about how things work one year. But I think my dad took the forms to his office and, for a few years, I was the only kid on my block who was a girl scout, so everyone bought from me.

          You’re right, though, taking the forms to work unfairly advantages certain kids.

  6. Joey*

    For anyone out there saying that your company is insensitive to your kids fundraiser this is exactly why companies have non solicitation policies. It creates unneeded drama.

    1. MaryBeth*

      Not to be rude, but don’t companies have non-solicitation policies *mostly* to keep unions/ union organizing agendas out of their company? companies don’t allow girl scout cookie emails/ flyers so that they don’t have to allow union organizing meeting emails/ flyers. the “less drama” is a bonus :)

      1. Natalie*

        In the US that wouldn’t matter – you can’t forbid or otherwise stymie union organizing in any work place covered by the NLRA, which is most of them.

      2. Joey*

        Of course some companies do, but if a union is trying to organize at a company a non-solicitation policy is not going to stop them- they’ll work around it. That’s a band aid approach to a bigger problem. And Natalie below is absolutely wrong- yes an employer can prevent you from doing non work related business on company time as long as they’re consistent. They can’t allow solicitation and just exclude unions from soliciting. But, for most companies I think it’s about maximizing productivity and minimizing all of the non work related distractions.

  7. Interviewer*

    You may be generally aware of what people make, but you have no idea (a) what they already do for charity, and (b) what income they have available for charity. When you are the one with your hand out for your pet cause, you should not pass judgments on their choices they make about those things, either. I think it reflects poorly on both you and your cause -not just to him, but possibly to others who were in on the email chain.

    Good luck to you.

    1. jmkenrick*

      Additionally, some people choose not to donate to certain charities for their own personal reasons.

      1. Anonymous*

        It should also be noted that smart donors do not donate just because Jim at the office ask them to. If you’re making a charitable donation you should do your own research and find out if it is, in fact, a cause that you would like to support.

        An example: a colleague of mine was asking for donations to her church, I looked into it more and found the specific area they were doing fundraising in was a campaign against gay marriage. I support gay marriage, so I chose not to support her church campaign. Had I not asked more questions and assumed the money was just going to the church for something like repairs, I would have been giving money to a cause I don’t support.

        1. Daniel*

          wow I cant believe people are allowed to raise money for something like this, it must be against all regulations and if HR get wind of it I am sure that this person would get into a lot of trouble.

        2. jmkenrick*

          Exactly. Also, some charities are, frankly, more organized and better able to allocate funds than others. It makes sense to research the cause and make sure you’re confident your money is being used effitively, rather than just getting lost in buracracy.

  8. Anonymous*

    I absolutely HATE being included in mass emails, especially when they’re asking for money! Responding with “delete” or “remove from list” is a pretty standard reply and I don’t think it’s offensive at all. If you know a person isn’t interested, why not save you both some time and frustration and just take him out of your email group?

    Also, just because someone doesn’t want to donate $10 to YOUR charity, doesn’t mean they don’t support something else. (And even if they don’t, what business is it of yours?) You also don’t know someones personal situation, just because you think they make a lot of money doesn’t mean they don’t have financial difficulties or personal financial committments.

    Also, when you constantly have co-workers/friends/family asking you to donate to their cause that $10 here and there can add up fast!

    1. Andrea*

      Yes, this–why include this person in the emails at all? I give to charities that I feel passionately about, and I’m not interested in justifying or expaining why I give to this one but not that one. Know why? That’s private. And honestly, I don’t think that replying with “delete” is rude…curt, sure, and I would have asked in a full sentence with the word please. Sure, they’re both at fault, but I feel like the OP is counting other people’s money and that he feels entitled here, and that’s just obnoxious.

      1. Vicki*

        Actually, relying to all with “delete” is neither rude nor curt, just stupid (as it does nothing but show that you don;t know how to use the email system. :-)

        1. Emily*

          I think the “delete” message could be interpreted in two different ways—does it mean “delete my email address for your mailing list for things like this” or is it a mass suggestion to everyone on the list to “delete” the message?

          Regardless, I think the best way to resolve the situation between these two employees probably is to meet and apologize—their issue has less to do with whether soliciting for charities via work email is appropriate/justified and more to do with appropriate etiquette and mediating a spat.

          And, the best way to prevent similar situations in the future is to establish a policy that is specifically about mass email solicitations.

    2. Jamie*

      I think OP took offense to the fact that the co-worker sent his “delete” e-mail to everyone on the list, not just the message itself. I agree OP overreacted, but I think it was more to the public nature of the response; OP was likely embarrassed at being called out on her solicitation.

    3. JT*

      I’d rather get a mass email asking for money than a direct solicitation (assuming it’s a cause I don’t care to support). It’s far easier to ignore something generic sent to a bunch of people than a one-on-one request.

  9. Satia*

    When I worked for a company, I made it a point to get up and talk with people face-to-face because I know how much harder it is to get upset with someone I feel I know, even if I only know them professionally.

    I am not going to reiterate what others have said but to be ridiculed because someone chooses not to participate in something that is not mandatory is sophomoric, at best. None of us know the “bully” didn’t want to contribute. For all we know, he may be financially supporting relatives who are unemployed (in this job market, would that be surprising), care-taking an elderly parent (which is an expensive undertaking at best), or have other charities to which he is already committed. I don’t contribute to every cause even when I am flush and what I choose to do with my money is my decision.

    But imagine what might have happened if the OP had put a face to the email, had made an effort to learn more about the “bully” and learned that any one of the above speculations are true. Then when the OP saw “delete” there would have been understanding, compassion, and acceptance.

    Perhaps the problem here is not in how email is being used but how email is being over-used. Had there been a relationship, even if predominantly a professional one, I have no doubt none of this would have happened.

  10. Anonymous*

    Wow, each of your responses to the “bully’s” e-mails were way more along the lines of bullying than the person you are declaring a bully. His original response was rude, but your response to his rudeness was equally immature and definitely even ruder.

    1. A Bug!*

      No kidding. If I’d been in the “bully’s” shoes I would have been livid. I don’t want to donate to your charity, so you’re going to publicly belittle me for it? The more I think about it, the less sympathy I’m able to muster for the OP.

      Sorry, OP. Whatever the behaviour of the other party, you definitely need to be giving him a sincere apology. An apology that is not contingent on his own apology, an apology that is not contingent on him gracefully accepting it. No excuses, no “I hope you can forgive me.” Just an admission that you were wrong, an apology for your behaviour, and perhaps a short explanation as to why you understand you were wrong.

      If I were in your shoes, I would publicly apologize and offer to donate $50 to the charity of HIS choice.

  11. ruby*

    I’m glad I don’t work there! If the company has any common sense, they will use this incident to put an end to non-work-related mass emails and specifically charity solicitations.

    Email makes sending ill-advised missives incredibly easy and extremely tempting. I have fallen into that trap too many times in the past. What I do now when I feel the urge is open up Word, write my scathing email reply, get it out of my system, delete it and move on.

    1. JT*

      “non-work-related mass emails and specifically charity solicitations.”

      I think a bit of training on email etiquette would make more sense then banning stuff. Unless there is a big volume of personal emails, I don’t see what’s so bad if it’s done right (clear subject lines, no mass email with everyone’s address in it which can lead to reply-all storms, etc). And having some email chatter about things we care about can help build a sense of community.

      If people don’t want to give, they can ignore the message.

  12. Anonymouse*

    I’m not seeing how the OP thinks they are in the right by attempts at extorting money out of a colleague by publicly shaming them?

    The OP here is clearly the bully who stepped over the line and started swinging when their attempts at control were rebuffed. It was they who started this ball rolling.

  13. Mike C.*


    What pisses me off even more is that things like wealth inequality in the US really upset me too, and you’ve gone and made the problem worse, not better. You’ve turned off a bunch of people who may or may not have been open to your message by engaging in this drama.

    Good work! I hope someone revokes your email privileges.

    1. JT*


      There’s so much overreaction in this thread. The spamming at work is at best annoying, but is also a reflection of people want to share what they care about and raise money for it. The shaming that the OP did is totally wrong, but I’d far prefer to work somewhere without strict rules about this and instead rely of people’s judgement – and actually make people aware of issues in this sort of thing so they can have good judgement. That’ll benefit them as employees.

      I’m lucky I work in a such a place.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I suspect that reaction is coming from people who have dealt with soliciting being done inappropriately — where they’ve been pressured or made to feel obligated to donate. And now they’re hardcore against it for that reason.

        1. Long Time Admin*

          That would be me.

          I like to keep work and my real life separate. When I see a fundraiser flyer in the coffee room, sometimes I contribute, sometimes I don’t.

          Just don’t add me to your email sucker list.

      2. fposte*

        I think it’s a problem to imply that people didn’t have awareness until a person asking for money brought it to them, and that the amount one individual cares is more important than what everybody else has prioritized in their work day and life.

        I’m currently okay with our workplace’s allowing charitable solicitations, but it’s definitely been done problematically by some people and it’s been coercive. I actually think that a group email, to which subscription is *optional*, for this purpose, might be a reasonable way of handling announcements of taking donations. But honestly, I don’t think even Girl Scout cookie signups should be posted in a public place–it’s not appropriate to make it an office issue how much anybody else gives.

      3. Jamie*


        There’s so much overreaction in this thread. The spamming at work is at best annoying, but is also a reflection of people want to share what they care about and raise money for it.”

        IMO at worst it can be more than annoying – it can be divisive and there is no place for that in the workplace.

        I’m not talking about selling stuff for a kid’s soccer team – that’s just annoying. But people who care enough about causes to wish to raise money and awareness tend to be passionate – and that’s a great thing – but it can bring political and other arguments to the workplace where they have no business being debated.

        Support my animal charity. Why do you want to raise money for animals when kids are going hungry in other countries. Sponsor a kid. Why do you want to sponsor a kid in another country when we have kids in America going to bed hungry. Many charities are also tinged with political, racial, or religious slants which is great – citizens should be able to support whatever moves them. But co-workers shouldn’t have to deal with it, debate it, or hear about it.

        Because anything along these lines could be construed as pressure by someone. The rules to avoid that would be so complex it’s ridiculous. I don’t want to worry that my not contributing to the bosses charity will have any hidden impact on my career.

        People should be able to go to work and earn a living without having to deal with the personal causes of their co-workers.

        I’ve personally seen it where someone mentioned a church rummage sale and the next thing you knew abortion was being debated in the lunch room. I was asked my opinion and my opinion was that I had work to do and bowed out of the room.

        The problem with allowing people to use their judgment is that some people’s judgment is questionable at best.

        1. HRanon*


          And add- those with questionable judgement also tend to spend an inordinate amount of work time on these non-work activities, discussions etc.

  14. Ms Enthusiasm*

    OP, I don’t believe that technically just replying with “Delete” can be considered rude. You mentioned that he has replied with other rude comments in the past but maybe they were just short and to the point? If people are very busy they might not always have the time to put a lot of thought into such a reply. I can somewhat understand that it might have been a little embarrassing and annoying for you that he replied ALL but this is where thick skin is needed. You shouldn’t take it personally; he could have replied like that to anyone. Sure everyone should make an effort to be extremely polite and gracious – especially in email when things can be taken out of context – but sometimes this isn’t possible. You need to let things like that slide. Maybe this guy replies a little too often with the “short” replies but if that is the case then that is his problem. Eventually the higher ups will start to notice if it bothers them.

    1. Lisa*

      great advice! It is absolutely possible that he did not mean anything at all by his reply, he just wanted to be taken off the recipient list. By giving him the benefit of the doubt the OP could really have been above it all. I think it is a bit naive to expect all positive replies to such mass emails…they should consider how they feel about spam in their private email account…you get the idea.

    2. ThatHRGirl*

      EXACTLY. Even if OP thought it rude, it really doesn’t warrant anything more than an eye roll and a delete of the email. I want to know how junior the OP is…

  15. Katie*

    While Mr. *delete* could probably have been more polite, his behavior was not bullying. OP, however, by publicly chastising her colleague for not wanting to spend $10 on their pet charity (or, what’s probably more accurate, objecting to receiving non-work e-mails in his work inbox) and then forwarding around a private e-mail specifically to subject her co-worker to the ridicule of others absolutely does sound like an office bully.

    If I were the OP, I’d be far less concerned about the fact that I was sending non-work e-mails from my work address to a work mailing list (although if that’s frowned upon, then it sounds like Mr. *delete* should find it pretty easy to defend his behavior) than I would be about how my own childish, rash, and vindictive actions reflects upon my professionalism and ability to work with others.

  16. Aaron*

    I’m going to jump in and defend the OP a little bit–OP has admitted his e-mails were sent in anger, but if this list was typically used for jokes/charity appeals then a reply-all e-mail saying “*delete*” could be quite rude. If you’re the person who does this on lists, either get off the list, or have whoever administers the list clarify that the list is for work purposes only.

    Plus, I’m guessing OP is in South Africa, and, depending on the charity involved and racial balance of the office, replying “*delete*” in response to requests to donate to specific charities could come off as basically racist behavior, which is something anyone in similar situations should go out of their way to avoid.

    All that said, OP’s responding with a joke at the other person’s expense is inappropriate, don’t get me wrong. OP, just go in to the meeting and explain what you felt. Then explain you realize everyone is entitled to do what they want with their own money, and apologize for both your e-mails (you’ve admitted you realize both were sent in order to make the other person look bad). You can’t control what they other person says.

    Your goal is to get out of this meeting with this behind you–as a trainee, you really want to be known around the office for your work, not as “the person who got into a fight over a charity donation.” Even if you win the fight, it’s a really, really bad thing to be known for. (Moe: I’m not 100% clear on this as I’m in the US, where it doesn’t work like this, but my understanding is trainees are trying out for attorney jobs, and it’s not uncommon for as few as 1 out of 10 to end up landing permanent positions in some countries/firms).

    1. Anonymous*

      I would like some clarification…

      OP Said that it’s common for things like jokes and charity requests to be sent out to closed email groups, does this mean it is a list that is signed up for and monitored by an administrator (as Aaron has suggested) or is it this person making a list from their own address book?

      If it is, in fact, the OP making their own list from their address book, I feel the “delete” request is perfectly fine. If, in fact, it is a list that the other person signed up for then I do think their response was innapropriate.

      1. Katie*

        The e-mail list is for OP’s work training group and is pretty clearly meant for work purposes. If the other person is required to be on this list for work reasons, then they shouldn’t be receiving e-mails about personal stuff.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, I’ve got some sympathy for the silent recipients of this list, who can’t unsubscribe or block senders because they have to read it for work, and who really wish they didn’t have to paw through jokes and charity solicitations to get work information.

    2. Under Stand*

      OK, since you find “delete” not a good way to get off said list, what do you suggest he put to get removed from the list?

      Second, what the snot difference does it matter the racial makeup of the charity. You are stepping dangerously close to one of my pet peeves: a certain “charity” here in the US that is very racist because they only pay for children of one race to go to college and how dare anyone challenge them on it.

      Third, the comment from OP was not a “joke”, it was a coercive effort to shame the recipient into “donating”.

      1. moe*

        Recipient could certainly have replied to the sender alone with his request to be removed. I agree that the reply-all “delete” response was unnecessary (though certainly not nearly as egregious as what OP followed up with).

        1. Under Stand*

          How so? Did they know that the OP was the one who put the list together? Perhaps they did not know who made the group. Odds are that the person who started the list got the email that he wanted off. That means it was an adequate way to let it be known he wanted off the list.

          1. moe*

            Even if that’s the case, “*delete*” is a snarky way to go about it. When was the last time you conveyed a respectful request to coworkers with a one-word email?

            1. Diana*

              I agree. When I first read it, I believed the *delete* was a way of publicly letting the sender know the e-mail had been deleted. My response would have been a snarky (in my head) “so you had to let me know you deleted the e-mail before you deleted it?” as I deleted his *delete*.

              Some recipients of the *delete* may not have understood it to mean “delete me from this mailing list” or “do not send me further solicitations” or something to that effect. I only picked up on that meaning from reading the comments. So really *delete* was not an adequate way to let it be known he wanted off the list since the single word is open to misunderstanding. Even “remove from list” is much more clear to that purpose.

              1. Diane*

                Totally agree with you, Dianna. I thought the *delete* meant “Hey I’m deleting this annoying email” and am making that publicly known.

        2. Student*

          Remember, not everyone was born with a blackberry in their hands. Perhaps he honestly does not know how to get off the email list, and decided that this was worth trying since it works on many automated lists. Perhaps he doesn’t know how to distinguish the list administrator from list members from the email sender from the other cc’d email recipients. Or maybe he meant to hit “reply” and his finger slipped.

          At any rate, this haggling over whether “delete” counts as rude or not seems like navel-gazing. Unless I’m missing some secret meaning of the word, and it’s really a coded slur against the sender’s mother. I have a hard time picturing Miss Manners taking umbrage with this email, and it’s obvious that the recipient of the “delete” email understood full well exactly what the email was trying to convey, even before it was sent.

          1. moe*

            No, it seems pretty important to the question whether OP had a legitimate reason to be upset or not. Granted, (s)he chose exactly the wrong response, but I absolutely see why “*delete*” would rankle.

            IME, lecturing others about how irrelevant a line of conversation is, is both rather silly and guaranteed to ensure at least a few more responses on it. Especially after inserting one’s own opinion on that same, irrelevant topic…

            1. fposte*

              Sure, but you still have the choice. I could take this email in the way that rankles, or I could take this email as insignificant–what is better for my future career and co-worker relationships?

              Even if offense is given, you still have the option to refuse to take it. (People who think of this as being a doormat have clearly never experienced the pleasure of watching somebody’s frustration when they can’t manage to wind somebody else up.)

            2. Student*

              Perhaps our main difference of opinion here is that I don’t think that any one-word email , outside of an ethnic (or similar) slur, deserves the response that this got. Even an ethnic slur would merit more of a trip to HR, the boss, or the sender’s cubical, rather than a public pissing match.

              My understanding of your comments is that you think the retaliation was merited if “delete” can be considered justifiably offensive enough. My thinking is that, no matter how offensive this word is, it doesn’t justify the resulting retaliation that happened here.

              This response was more like finding a spider on your desk, and using a flamethrower to address the problem. The actions serve no one in the long run. The flamethrower is never appropriate in the office, whereas perhaps you can find some justification (or at least acceptance) for it at home or in general public discourse.

              1. moe*

                Huh? I said the first email was “not nearly as egregious as what OP followed up with.” Of course I don’t think the response was justified, which is why I explicitly said so. But by all means, please keep putting words in my mouth! Discussions are infinitely more interesting that way.

          2. Ellie H.*

            I think it’s abundantly clear that by “*delete*” the coworker meant that he was deleting the email. Why would that mean he wished to be removed from the list? It is really obvious to me that it was intended rudely for the sole purpose of signifying his negative reaction to the OP’s email.

            1. MaryBeth*

              Totally agree. I immediately thought that the coworker sent “delete” to mean: I’m so not interested in donating to your charity that I feel the need to publicly state it. As I read the OP’s letter, I did feel like the coworker was being snarky just for the sake of it – most people would opt out by simply deleting the email. Instead, the coworker sent an email letting everyone else know that he was deleting it and not supporting the charity.
              Was it rude to the point that this email convo was escalated? No. However, it was rude.

            2. Twentymilehike*

              I have to say that I don’t agree that it was clear that’s what he meant. A lot of automated emails lists will say to respond with “delete” in the message or subject line. My initial impression was that the “bully” isn’t very technically savvy and has used this technique before. Perhaps he doesn’t understand the “reply all” feature, as I know a few people (like my poor old dad) who just don’t get it. They just don’t get the Internet much at all! I really think the OP should have approached him privately with, “this is not an automated list, but I can take you off it if you like. I’m not sure if you were intentionally being rude, but your one word, reply all response upset me.” End of discussion.

      2. Joey*

        Are you insinuating that affirmative action is racist? You can’t possibly believe that simply promoting a specific minority group means they feel their race is superior or that theyre intolerant of other races?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, I think that’s way off-base too — there are tons of groups that exist to help specific disadvantaged groups and there’s nothing racist about that — but I’m going to preempt any potentially offensive comments by asking that we not debate it here.

        2. Under Stand*

          I am saying that the United Negro College Fund is racist. Change the second word to Caucasian and tell me you would not find it racist!

          I have no problem with helping “disadvantaged” people. I do have a problem when everyone finds helping the “advantaged” group who really are not advantaged to be racist.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s not racist to pick one disadvantaged group to focus on helping, and you can’t possibly be seriously arguing that African Americans are “advantaged” in this society.

            But if you are, we’ll never find out because I clearly stated above that I do not want to host a debate on this topic here, and I’m going to require that that be respected.

            1. Jennifer*

              I love your site, Alison. I’ve said it before and I’m happy to say it again: you provide excellent advice – both in the original posts and in by participating in the comment discussion.

              But not only that, you also demonstrate how to “manage” (i.e., clearly setting boundaries and then holding people accountable to them). Given that this is a blog about how to manage, I find these real life examples much more helpful than if you had to moderate each post before it went live. Thank you!

      3. KayDay*

        Reply to OP option: “Dear OP, please do not include me on any solicitations for donations anymore. Thank you.”

        Reply-all option: “Dear All, I have noticed an increase in the number of non-work related emails using this list. Could we all agree to please only send work-related emails? I am sure that the IT department could set up a group for those of you who are interested in receiving personal requests. Thank you.”

    3. fposte*

      Unless there was a “translation,” the OP probably isn’t in South Africa because of the $. But Namibia, for instance, does use $, is right up there in the Gini coefficient, and may well employee a similar trainee system. Certainly a different system than the U.S., though, as you correctly pointed out.

      1. Aaron*

        Thanks for the info! I (ignorantly) didn’t realize English was the official language in Namibia–you are quite possibly correct.

  17. Natalie*

    Leaving charitable solicitations aside, I wish everyone would avoid the urge to reply-all when it’s not necessary. If I was in the breakroom and two co-workers started arguing I would leave, but I can’t get off the stupid email fight, and it’s just embarrassing for everyone.

    It’s almost never necessary to reply-all.

    1. A Bug!*

      ITA. I feel like people should be required to go through a “netiquette” course before being given unrestricted access to professional e-mail systems.

      (Now that I think of it, the reply-all situation would have also been avoided if OP had the courtesy to place the cc’s in bcc instead.)

      1. kristinyc*

        My team uses it on all of our project emails so that if one of us is out, someone else can seamlessly pick up on projects.

        But, if a manager wants to address an issue or mistake, she replies directly to one person asking about it, not the entire team.

        It’s a lot of emails, but it works for us.

      2. KayDay*

        Well, not so much in a work-related context. I use reply-all all the time for normal work emails. My colleagues are more likely to be annoyed at not being cc’ed on relevant communication than they are if they get a few extra emails. It’s really frustrating when I’m left out of a email exchange and then later need to have someone forward me the earlier emails.

    2. Anonymous*

      I think this is really the root of the problem. Once it became a public fight, neither could back down and save face.

  18. Nev*

    AAM is right, no question that OP has to apologize. But before declaring that OP is herself a bully I’d rather take a closer look at how the conflict escalated. The OP hasn’t elaborated on that but it looks like she has a opinion about the coworker, so she read his message in the context of the coworker’s previous behavior. And that’s why the OP got angry and replied so hasty. Another reason might be that the OP is quite sensitive to her charity cause, and took the *delete* message personally. My add-on advice is:
    1. Try not to send non-work related emails whatsoever. We all suffer from considerable email loads, so I will not appreciate your charity call even if I’d support it under different circumstances.
    2. Never get into a work related or non-work related heated argument over email. Deal with it face to face with your coworker or with your manager. It’s a litmus test if you really have a strong position to defend, or it’s just the emotions running high. It also gives you time to choose better your battles, and to think twice on the wording you’re gonna use.
    3. Don’t get offended at your work place, even if someone is deliberately trying to do so (which is not the case in the OP’s situation). Remember you’re being paid to perform your duties to the best of your ability. Leaving your ego and emotions at home will truly help you advance in your career.

    1. Anonymous*

      +1 to point #3

      It took me a while to learn that, but it was worth all the bumps and bruises

      1. Nev*

        Me too :) I’ve made all these mistakes along the way and learned a ton from them. Also being somehow happy for the OP that she’s bumping into such a situation relatively early in her career. The damage control is much easier – just offer a sincere apology and move on.

  19. Jaime*

    I think the best response would have been for the solicitee to privately email the solicitor or list admin to have their email removed from the group. However, they’re not the one who initiated a “public” forum and it’s not business-related. In those cases, you have to be ready for people to respond in “public” and shouldn’t take it personally. This is a pet peeve of mine, if you want a private response then don’t start the discussion in a public forum without explicitly asking for private feedback.

    In fact – anyone who does these personal solicitations via work email should include (prominently) something like this “This email is to make you aware of an opportunity for ______. In no way should you ever feel pressured to donate or participate; this email creates no expectations or obligations on the part of the receiver. If you do not want to receive further emails, please email _______ to have your information removed from the list.” Ideally, if a company approves of a large amount of these kinds of emails, they have some employees who’ve volunteered to act as coordinators. They would be a central contact for people wanting to advertise for their causes and would maintain the email list so people are not bothered. My ideal would be a breakroom type area where people can post flyers or posters – no emails, lol. I don’t even like receiving emails from my own company’s pet charities.

    1. Anonymous*

      Agree, there needs to be a non-email-sending way for this type of thing. In a couple of places I worked at previously, they had set up an online “classfieds” forum for employees to post anything ranging from selling goods to wanted ads for rental places, etc. It was completely separate from work email and employees could choose to log on to check out the listings at any time.

  20. Michael C.*

    You should try to create distribution groups for this sort of thing. Distribution groups exist for this reason!

  21. Anonymous*

    I have started replying to requests for charity donations with “I will donate to yours if you donate to mine”, and a pause while they consider it. My charity was chosen with care, and I welcome donations to it. However, I don’t solicit donations unless someone else gives me a reason. Fair’s fair, after all.

    1. KayDay*

      I don’t like that idea, it creates a lot of pressure–what if you donate to someone who has a cause you really care about, but your cause is something they do not support? Or what if not everyone in the office has a “pet” cause? I think it’s best to have pressure-free charity for all. At my old office, a couple of colleagues brought in Girl Scout cookie order forms and/or charity walk sponsorship, but it was all really informal and low pressure, so it worked well (“Hi guys, FYI, there is a cookie sign up sheet in the break room if you are interested!”). My new office doesn’t have any one do that, so I haven’t had Girl Scout cookies in 3 years :(

      1. Anonymous*

        My guess is, Kay, you don’t work in education. On average, there are four requests per day for something. It is ALWAYS worthy. Class supplies, foster kids “ageing out”, at-risk kids making it into a great college but not having any clothes, families with multiple severely disabled kids, arts programs getting cut but one of the kids could go to Julliard and needs some help…I am not talking about a form left in a conference room for cookies here. That one’s totally easy to say no politely to. The ones I get, not so much. But Border Collie Rescue has my heart.

        I am just saying, it’s tough out there.

        1. Jamie*

          Border Collie Rescue is a wonderful place to leave your heart.

          I have two Boradors myself (border collie/lab mixes) and although we adopted from the local animal shelter the breed specific rescues do such wonderful work.

          Some of my co-workers know we do some work for the local shelter, and I’ve been asked about donating food and blankets, etc. When asked I happily tell them where to donate, what items are needed, and will even find a place local to them. The key is I do this when asked – I’d never solicit that.

          1. Anonymous*

            Jamie, I made friends with pros at the local tennis club. They give me used tennis balls to take to the shelter. BC Rescue gets some too, of course!

            1. Jamie*

              I’m totally stealing this idea and will stop by our local golf course, which has tennis lessons, and hit them up for the used balls – I never thought of that! Thanks!

  22. Charles*

    OP, you sent an email in ANGER to one individual whom you do not like, clearly with the intention of belittling him in front of others; and now you’re asking if you should be worried? For real?

  23. The Right Side*

    This is exactly why I only say things like OP in person – b/c anything in email OR even telephone really, can be used against you later… if I’m going to tell a coworker to put his big girl panties and grow the f*** up – I prefer to say it to their face. Just sayin’.

    1. Jamie*

      There isn’t really a way to say that to someone’s face without it being used against you later, either.

      Just saying.

    2. Anonymous*

      I find it effective to lean in and poke them in the chest with my finger while I’m saying it. It really drives the point home.

  24. Student*

    Maybe he doesn’t like or trust your charity – not all charities are created equal, as I’m sure you know. Maybe he has other charities that are more important to him. Maybe he doesn’t like or trust you – if this is a $10 issue, then it sounds like one of those drives where he is supposed to hand you cash and hope you give it to charity instead of keeping it for yourself. Since you obviously don’t have a close working relationship with him, I can see how he might not want to blindly trust you with untraceable cash (I do not believe this is what you intend to do, but it’s not an unreasonable concern when handing cash to a stranger).

    Yeah, he over-reacted to your childish behavior. He’s not blameless in this conflict, and in an ideal world he’d apologize for threatening to sue. However, you thoroughly trampled workplace etiquette in multiple ways and probably sullied your office-wide professional reputation. Apologize to him, don’t expect an apology back or a working relationship with this guy in the future, remove him from your charity spam list, and move forward with your life. Hope for both your sakes that everyone forgets about it in a month.

  25. Erica B*

    holy cow! I agree with others here, in that the OP was in the wrong. What a mess. I have kids and fundraisers. I bring them to work, and mention to them IF they are interested, I have them and when the date is. I do not get upset if they choose not to participate, and I am thankful if they are. That is all and that’s as far as it goes. If I want to send out a mass email, it’s to family and friends or on facebook where if people are interested they will let you know. I don’t think his response was out of line at all!

  26. anth*

    I commend you AAM, I wouldn’t even know where to begin (and god bless those who work in HR and have to deal with this)!

    Everyone needs to remember to use email and reply all appropriately.

    We had an incident at a company I worked for that was doing a bone marrow donor screening for a friend of someone, that was looking for people of a certain racial/ethnic descent. Someone accidentally (I presume) replied all with “I’m glad I’m not in that demographic.” As someone who *really doesn’t like needles* I don’t blame her for feeling that, but she got a bit of a talking too for being insensitive and for abusing the reply all.

    1. ThatHRGirl*

      I would be extremely pissed if someone took up my time dealing with an idiotic issue like this. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two (or at least OP) are so junior that this ends up getting them fired. No one, not HR or Management, should have to waste valuable time dealing with this kind of immaturity.

    2. Anon*

      Just for the record, there aren’t any needles involved in a bone-marrow-donor screening. It’s just a cheek swab to put your info in the database and it could not hurt less. Needles only get involved once you’re a potential match to a specific patient, which is comparatively quite unusual.

      1. A Bug!*

        Yeah, there are tons and tons of people in the bone marrow registry that never get a call. It’s tough to match bone marrow, even if you’re closely related. This is why they desperately want more people on the registry, to increase the chance that one of them will match a patient in need!

        I am totally in favour of everybody getting on the bone marrow registry because it’s a fairly simple procedure, the marrow grows back, and the recovery time is relatively quick.

        However, it’s a bit appalling that a company would be soliciting potential donors for a specific person!

        1. Anonymous*

          Yup! Since I am not genetically related to my family I made sure to sign up for the registry. No fuss no muss!

        2. Andrea*

          Not to get too off-topic, but just in case people don’t know, donating bone marrow is kind of a big deal. Against all odds, I’ve been a match twice for non-relatives, and I’ve donated once (the other time, the recipient’s condition worsened and he was no longer strong enough for the procedure, though I was ready to go). They have a surgical procedure, which is less used nowadays (except if the donor requests it or if the patient is a small child), and a slightly more newfangled one that involves injections of somewhat experimental drugs. Depending on where the donor is located, travel is usually required. And long before all of that even happens, there are several blood draws and lots of tests, like chest x-rays, etc. I’ve had the surgical procedure done, and it was at least 8 weeks before I did not have any pain and could do things like bend over, go up stairs, get in and out of a bathtub, and walk my dog–and I’m young (32 at the time) and healthy. I freelance, so I just had to take time off without pay, so it was both a physical and financial hardship for me. (Some people can’t donate because they can’t get time off from their employer.) That said, I would absolutely do it again, and I encourage people to get on the registry. But if someone is too afraid of needles or hospitals to actually donate–and I’m saying this as someone with a deep dislike of hospitals and a distrust of medical people–they should be given a pass. What if they got on the registry and ended up being a match for someone but decided that they just couldn’t get over it to donate? Then the patient would be told that the donor chose not to pursue it, which is a disappointment at best and a death sentence at worst.

          1. Andrea*

            Sorry–I was unclear–it was at least 8 weeks before I could go up stairs and bend over, etc., without pain. I could do that stuff, it just hurt.

            1. Andrea*

              Aw, thanks. I feel good about it, but it’s not for everyone and it can be risky. It’s not like giving blood, but sometimes people who haven’t done it don’t know.

          2. A Bug!*

            I’m sorry! I didn’t realize they still commonly did the surgical procedure. My understanding of the standard procedure was that a person would need to take a few days off work and then stay away from strenuous activity for a few weeks.

            Thank you very much for the correction and detailed information; I appreciate it very much and hope others do, too.

            Thank you also for being such a generous person to go through with marrow donation, despite the hardship, twice! The world could use more of you.

            1. Andrea*

              Oh, please, no thanks needed (I only donated once…so far, ha!). I just wanted to try to educate a little bit. In my case, I was able to get back to work fairly quickly, but I’m a writer, which isn’t very strenuous, and I work at home. My recipient was a small child, so the surgical procedure was preferred, but I probably would have elected to do the surgical procedure (with the regional anesthetic, which is how I did it) anyway, because I would have had to travel for a few days with the other procedure. It’s just a bit more involved than most people know. I still encourage people to get swabbed!

  27. KayDay*

    Wow…I wholeheartedly agree with AAM on her reply (they both were wrong, the OP was very wrong), but I am quite surprised the criticisms of some of the comments here.

    According to the OP ” it is common for people to send jokes and charity calls to closed email groups” (I am assuming there is an ‘alias’ for the team, e.g.; in their office…whether or not you agree with sending mass emails, you have to respect that the OP was reasonable to send the request, given her corporate culture. (I am assuming it is as common as s/he says.) Perhaps this incident is good motivation to institute rules about sending solicitations, but personally, I don’t think sending a solicitation is the problem, it’s the way we treat people who would prefer not to participate.

    Secondly, what’s with all the people defending Mr. Delete’s rude response? The commentors here are usually overwhelmingly in favor of polite but direct communication. A reply-all saying “delete” is neither. Mr. Delete absolutely should have responded differently, either declining directly to the OP, or even reply-all-ing with a polite plea to not send such requests.

    The OP was actually very rude and bullying in her response, yes. And it sounds like s/he, while admitting some fault, doesn’t quite understand quite how malicious s/he was being. Mr. Delete’s “I’ll sue” response was ridiculous, but at that point what could have easily been a polite discussion of “please don’t send mass requests to me” had already turned into a completely unnecessary feud that makes both parties look terribly immature. Both should apologize; the OP in particular for taking the disagreement from simply rude to vitriolic.

    1. Jenn*

      According to the OP ” it is common for people to send jokes and charity calls to closed email groups” [snip] in their office…whether or not you agree with sending mass emails, you have to respect that the OP was reasonable to send the request, given her corporate culture. (I am assuming it is as common as s/he says.)

      I have my doubts that it is reasonable to send out jokes and charity requests based on this part of the OP’s letter: “But I am still anxious, not least because the incident began with my sending a non-work-related email from my work address to 30-40 people, and HR might take issue with that.” It sounds like while it may be common, it isn’t approved.

  28. Kelly O*

    I don’t think it normally does a lot of good to point fingers or blame, however in this case, the OP was so far out of line, the line started turning into a dot.

    At least in my world it isn’t unreasonable to reply with a “unsubscribe” or “delete” if you want to be removed from a mailing list or group. There is also the distinct possibility that the responder (who I refuse to call a bully because there was initially no bullying involved) may have accidentally hit reply all. If the reply was sent quickly, it could very well have been an honest mistake that no one would have noticed had the OP not chosen to respond.

    See, this is the thing, and I may catch some flak for saying it, but it’s what I honestly believe. Just because someone treats you rudely, you do not have free license to treat that person rudely. Dr. Wayne Dyer says that how people treat you is their karma and how you react is yours. (I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis. It’s on a sticky note on my monitor just so I don’t forget it.)

    So the OP sends this email. Right or wrong, good use of company resources and time or not, it gets sent. And she gets a short response. So here is the choice – do you blow this up, or do you just think “oh wow, Jane’s having a bad day again” and delete it?

    I’m not saying there aren’t nicer ways to say it. I’m just saying that sometimes you have to stop and take a breath to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

    (And we can consider this Exhibit 593255842 why you shouldn’t allow your work email to be used for personal reasons, ever. Use work email for work, and if coworkers are cool with getting your solicitations, give them your Gmail account and deal with it that way.)

    1. Blue Dog*

      Three cardinal email rules: (1) no personal charity requests, offensive jokes, or discussions of politics/religeon/or any other issue which could cause workplace division; (2) “Reply to All” violations should be avoided if at all possible; (3) unwarranted “Email Expansion” is generally a bad thing in that it takes a private conversation public; (4) never reply in anger.

      Basically, every chance OP had to make a wrong decision, one was made.

      As for the alleged bully, I don’t see “delete” as an offense at all, although I personally would have used “unsubscribed.” If there was any slight offense, it was in saying “delete” to all (again, another RTA violation).

      The bully’s comments back were made in anger and inappropriate, but it is better than him coming down and confronting you in anger (which could have turned physical). In fact, you are pretty lucky he did this, as it could be the only thing that allows you to keep your job. You seem like a pot-stirer. Companies don’t like that.

    2. Liz*

      ” …how people treat you is their karma and how you react is yours.”

      I’m putting a sticky on my computer too – brilliant!

  29. Ry*

    OP, I haven’t completely formed an opinion yet. I’d like to see your reply to all this chatter, if you have time to give one.

    To answer your specific questions: Yes, you should be worried, in the sense that you should think about professionalism and being hasty. We have all been that angry! We have all been tempted to just hit “send!” And those of us who have acted on impulse have felt ashamed and worried… so you’re not alone.

    That said, think about writing a *draft* of an email the next time you get upset, with NO recipients in the “to” box so you can’t accidentally send it. Write it, get all your venting out, and save it in your drafts. If it’s still worth sending in two days, or a week, send it. If it embarrasses you, or gives you pause, when you reread it, don’t send it.

    And then, try not to perseverate, because worrying too much never helped anything. As for your second question, whether there’s anything you should know or prepare, the answer is yes. You should know that public shaming is usually ill-advised, even if deserved, because it usually makes the shamer look bad (there are, of course, notable exceptions, just like with any rule!). And you should prepare as genuine an apology as you can muster, and a promise (if it’s one you can keep) that you will use better judgment in the future!

  30. Anonymous*

    I would love to see a post about charity in the workplace and when/if it is appropriate to ask co-workers for donations.

    This isn’t something I personally engage in, but I seem to get asked at least once a week at work to give money to someones kid/school/cause.

    1. Andrea*

      I personally contribute regularly to causes that I feel passionately about. One of those is Girl Scouts. I was a Girl Scout for 10 years, and I know how worthwhile it is. So I always buy cookies (and I donate to them separately). But I NEVER buy from the parents–only the girls themselves. When I was a scout, that was seriously discouraged and considered unfair. I’m not sure if it is still frowned upon, but either way, I don’t like it. If kids have fundraisers for activities or schools or whatever, they should be the ones soliciting donations…besides, much of the time, there are contests involved, too, and the kids compete for prizes, so their parents shouldn’t be the ones doing the selling. And if everyone followed that guideline, the majority of the donation-soliticing in the workplace would disappear (at least, based on the workplaces I’ve experienced and heard about).

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I totally won a stuffed green frog for selling some high number of boxes of Girl Scout cookies when I was a kid. That is all; I just wanted to brag.

        1. Andrea*

          Awesome! I won a stuffed unicorn (for second prize) when I was 9. I don’t even remember how many boxes I sold that year.

          1. khilde*

            Ughh!!!! I hated those types of incentives/prizes when I was a kid!! {groan}. I was not and am not a competitive person so I knew there was no way I was ever going to sell enough boxes to get even the lamest prize available. My parents didn’t take the order forms to their offices and I just in general hated the pressure of that. Don’t get me wrong – I totally would have LOVED to win the frog or unicorn….I just knew right off the bat that there was always going to be an Alison or Andrea who would totally kick my ass at it. :)

    2. Wilton Businessman*

      Charity email solicitations should not come from an individual at a company unless they are in HR and are speaking for the entire company.

      Otherwise, it depends on your culture. In my office you can have something on your desk and if somebody asks to help out they can. But anything posted in public places must have the “approved by HR” stamp on it or they rip it down. I’ve been in places where they hang a sign-up sheet in public, and I’ve been in places where somebody has something every week.

    3. jmkenrick*

      Personally, I think there’s nothing wrong with people promoting a particular charity – however, I think requests like that should be more like invitations – very not in your face.

      For example, I think it’s totally acceptable to alert collegues (who you’re friendly with, not the guy three floors up who you’ve never actually spoken to) about a charity fundraiser you’re participating in as an FYI. But then you don’t get follow-up, or ask them why they’re not participating. You just let them know, and if they want to follow up, great, and if they don’t, you deal with it.

  31. anon*

    Wow, I hope the OP gets into trouble. I’m sorry but hostile cc-ing is my pet peeve. Emailing someone a nasty email is one thing, but cc-ing private correspondence is quite another.

    The thing is that the OP is worried about HR when s/he should be worried about professional reputation. Don’t you think people will remember that you can’t be trusted? Especially as a lawyer. You’ve shown that you completely lack boundaries and, believe me, people will remember it.

  32. Harry*

    Good one and the reason why I do not further forward these type of emails. I also delay the sending of my emails by 15 min. to make sure i think about what I wrote in the heat of the moment. Saved me a lot of face!

  33. Wilton Businessman*

    Overall, you both effed up. Get your mea culpa warmed up and move on. Expect to see a new policy on workplace email just because of you two knuckleheads.

  34. Ellen M.*

    OT: I just noticed AAM’s avatar took off her hat and scarf! Spring has sprung!(?)

    1. Dana*

      Not here in central Ontario (Canada)! It’s the coldest day of the winter so far – although it is also nice and sunny, so I can’t complain too much.

      1. Ellen M.*

        I can’t help with the avatar (sorry), but it has been unusually warm here in NYC for *weeks and weeks* now. It’s weird. Enjoyable, but very unusual.

  35. Shayna*

    Step away from the reply all! And while you’re at it, give up on the mass email blasts.

  36. Liz*

    I would just like to jump in to say that people who announce “I don’t have to tolerate bullying” as they blithely escalate the situation by doing something even more mean to the other person are my second-highest pet peeve, right behind the kind of people who actually want to get involved in other people’s fights to encourage the two combatants or otherwise take sides. You always find these types together, and they both make my head hurt every time they talk.

  37. Ellie H.*

    I am really surprised you are all being so harsh and negative toward the OP. As KayDay emphasized above, the OP clearly stated that it is COMMON to send jokes or charity solicitations over this list. So despite the fact that it may not have been “officially sanctioned” by HR, it was clearly NOT inappropriate for her to send this initial request, no matter how irritated you are all by the idea of it.

    I’m more sensitive than most but I think that in this climate where it is acceptable and “done” to send solicitation over the list, the coworker’s “*delete*” is egregiously rude. I guess this makes me immature but I don’t have much of a problem with the OP’s response. To my mind, the OP wasn’t sneering at the coworker’s lack of finances but at the rudeness of his response. (To those of you who think the coworker was innocently attempting to auto-unsubscribe from the list or even making reference to a desire to be unsubscribed . . . come on.)

    I on’t get why you are all grasping at any excuse to discredit the OP’s charity and to defend the coworker’s desire not to give to this charity. It’s equally likely that he is a self centered jerk who enjoys being rude than that every cent of his hard earned paycheck goes to supporting sick family members and worthier charities than the OP’s. I’m not saying it’s MORE likely, just EQUALLY likely. Are you all really so busy and important that the thought of one more annoyingly unsolicited email fills your heart with empathy for the coworker? I just don’t get what the big deal is. Especially as the HR rep already said that it seemed silly and unimportant to her. I agree that it seems like a bad situation where the better choice would have been NOT to escalate, but I don’t think the OP needs to feel bad about himself because of this, and hopefully it will blow over and both of them will be less reactive in future.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      One issue with the OP’s response is that it likely made other people on the list very uncomfortable, implying that there was something wrong with them if they didn’t donate … and shaming people if their finances don’t allow them to donate. Think about the letter-writer we had a while back who couldn’t afford to buy dress pants when her office changed its dress code and was embarrassed to speak up about it — this stuff can really be sensitive.

      1. jmkenrick*

        I agree. I think her response implied that him not donating meant he must be poor, and if he’s not poor, then he should be donating. I don’t think that’s appropriate. Especially if those requests ARE common, it’s dangerous to establish a culture where people are shamed for not donating.

      2. Ellie H.*

        I guess I just don’t see it as the OP shaming him or anyone else for “not being able to pay,” but instead responding in kind to his rude response. I recognize that she specifically targeted his ability to pay. But, I kind of think that by sending something rude and provocative, he sort of subjects himself to an “if you can deal it out you should be able to take it” type clause (yes, this is a totally petty behavior pattern for the workplace, but I’m looking at the incident on its own terms). I agree that the issue of other colleagues reading the exchange and feeling uncomfortable is problematic but none of them chose to sneeringly flaunt their disinterest so it seems obvious to me that they are not targeted. It just seems so patent that the OP was being rude because he was rude, not because he didn’t want to give to her charity. It doesn’t seem like she cares at all about who does or doesn’t choose to give to her charity. Presumably many other individuals do and don’t give to each others’ charities and the workplace rolls on harmoniously. I don’t have a lot of money but I still give to charity, and also I’ well adjusted enough that I do not feel ashamed or uncomfortable when I decline a charity solicitation. It just doesn’t seem like that huge of a deal to me to be presented with an opportunity to give to charity and to choose not to do so.

        Also, as the OP is not in any kind of position of power over her fellow employees, whom she is apparently on the same level as, I don’t see why it should make anyone feel uncomfortable or shamed for not donating. If there is a culture of issuing charity solicitations over the list, presumably some people donate sometimes, some people never donate, and everyone’s ok with it. If the coworker, or anyone else, has a serious problem with this list, he should make a formal and measured complaint rather than being rude and deliberately provocative in a reply-all message. Maybe none of us would choose to perpetuate a workplace culture where it’s ok to send charity solicitations and jokes over the list, but it clearly has been tolerated by this office for quite some time (I think the OP would have mentioned if this incident inspired some kind of piling-on where suddenly everyone started bitching about how much they hate charity solicitations and everyone thinks they should be abolished) so if it works for them it’s not even relevant for us to say “Stop doing this, it is terrible.” Given that the culture of sending charity solicitations over the list is *already in place*, it just doesn’t seem relevant AT ALL to me whether or not we think it’s an ok practice, and I think that it is clouding the issue.

        1. Kelly O*

          Once you experience being called out for not participating in a particular activity, or donating to a particular fundraiser, you will totally understand why it can incite such a response.

          Let me share a personal example. I worked for a relatively small, local company once. We got hit up every time someone’s kid was selling wrapping paper, candy bars, hams, magazine subscriptions, etc. At first I tried to do a little bit for each kid, and then it just got to be too much. I didn’t say a word to anyone, I just stopped. Most people understood and didn’t say anything. One person took it as a personal offense because I’d bought a magazine subscription from Joe’s kid three months ago and now I won’t buy one from her kid? (Which was clearly because not only did I not like her, I did not want to support her kid, or that kid’s struggling school.)

          I did what you’re ‘supposed’ to do – I went to her, explained that I just couldn’t buy from everyone and had made the decision to just stop to avoid being accused of playing favorites, and that I hoped she understood. Which she didn’t. And proceeded to make a public, snide remark about me and another coworker during our next company-wide lunch.

          One of our bosses understood and said something to her, but it sure did not help her attitude toward either of us, and I didn’t stay too much longer after everything should have blown over.

          So it’s a company where the culture of allowing that is in place, and most people play by the rules. However you get one who doesn’t, and life can become fairly miserable. What could have been kept between two people becomes public knowledge because someone takes it personally, and the next thing you know you’re getting the side-eye and people stop asking you to go to lunch because the Solicitor General is telling them all how broke you are, and how you shouldn’t ask so-in-so because clearly he (or she) is nearly in line for the dole.

          That is part of why I am so very much against even allowing this sort of thing to happen using company resources and company time.

        2. fposte*

          Responding in kind (and even this is assuming that it was meant rudely) would have been “Well, delete you!”

          Shaming somebody for not having enough money to give was an escalation, and a shaming that was sent to everybody on the list ends up insulting everybody else who didn’t give either.

          People have the right not to give money to work colleagues’ causes without being insulted. The OP breached that right.

          1. Ellie H.*

            She was NOT “shaming” the colleague for “not having enough money to give.” She was snidely mocking his rude response. She doesn’t believe he doesn’t have enough money to give, she believes completely the opposite. People have EVERY right not to give money to work colleagues’ causes. I think that once you write something rude and insulting directed at a specific person in a public forum, you are justifiably in for getting something rude and insulting directed at you written back.

            Of course, all of this is totally inappropriate for work. But I think the OP’s response was absolutely, absolutely NOT more rude than the coworker’s “*delete*” reply.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I know that her intent wasn’t to shame people struggling with money issues, but I do think that was the effect of it. Imagine the letter-writer we had a while back who couldn’t afford dress pants and was embarrassed to say so. What kind of impact would an email like this have had on her?

              1. Ellie H.*

                I think that you have a good point there. It’s easy for people to take things personally – we know or can extrapolate the true intentions of the OP because we have her point of view but that would not necessarily be revealed to someone simply reading her emails.

              2. fposte*

                Right. I understand her intent was to mock the colleague for having money and not giving (though the OP really has no idea how much money this person has to spare), which is a problem in its own right; but her actual, snide words used the notion that the colleague didn’t have money as a point of snideness.

                Either way, it’s a hell of an escalation from a curt “Nuh-uh.”

    2. Katie*

      I’m not defending the *delete* guy’s behavior in the least. He was absolutely rude and certainly could have found a more appropriate way to vent his frustrations. That being said, the OP behaved no better by escalating the issue first with a childish taunt and then by forwarding private e-mails to his/her entire group.

      To me, the fact that this was all over a solicitation for charity is more or less beside the point. OP doesn’t get a gold star for supporting a charity, and s/he certainly doesn’t get one for holding up a coworker to public ridicule for not being interested in the charity s/he supports. And I’m willing to put money on it that the *delete* character was more ticked off that a work distribution list was using once again as a personal mailing list than they were over anything relating to the charity. What is at heart is that both parties acted in a way that was rude, immature, and completely inappropriate for the office, and neither had the good graces to keep their coworkers out of their disagreement.

      I hope HR tells them both to grow the heck up and keep their personal crap out of the office mailing lists.

      1. Katie*

        I wanted to add, the “but everyone else is doing it” justification for acting in a way that 1) is against office policy, and 2) obviously irritates some of your coworkers is not much of a justification. If OP’s office does have a policy that personal e-mails should not be sent over work distribution lists, and someone on OP’s distribution list regularly complains about the fact that work distribution lists are being used for non-work matters, then the correct thing to do is to stop sending personal e-mails over the work distribution list. Not to argue, “Well, all the cool kids are doing it, so deal with it,” and proceed.

        Politeness is a two-way street. If you continually engage in a behavior that you know bothers one or some of your office mates, particularly when it is against office policy, you don’t get to clutch your pearls and feign shock and hurt when that person responds by being rude right back.

  38. MaryTerry*

    Picture this: you’re on the telephone at work, scanning through your email messages at the same time: Newsletter – drag to “to be read” folder; message from boss – drag to “handle immediately” folder; message for Nigerian prince in UK to send me lottery winnings – delete; Linked-In discussion group update – scroll through to see if any relevant discussions then delete; message from closed ‘trainee’ work group (better read that right away) – drat another joke/spam request! – I hate even getting those even at home from my friends/family – delete – no wait – reply “delete” and send, oops did that go “reply all”?; oh well, delete message; Message from mom asking why I ‘never’ visit – delete; appointment request – check calendar & accept…

  39. Anonymous*

    The only bully here is the OP. You NEVER mention someone else’s financial situation whether you know the ins and outs or whether you are at work or on personal time. It’s just one of those things you never discuss. Some of you might disagree. I was raised differently, and I actually had a friend try to do something similar like the OP (pointing out a financial situation when the other person disagreed to something) and she and I are no longer talking.

    I don’t understand why the OP just didn’t cut him off the email list before when he started with the rude replies. While he might have an issue in expressing himself in a polite disagreement, it should have been a hint he didn’t want the junk emails. And sure, he might have been wrong to threaten a lawsuit, but when someone starts making stupid financial innuendos like the OP did, it is certain to make matters worse.

    I’m curious as to what comes out of this HR meeting tomorrow.

    1. jn*

      Exactly .. and how DARE OP presume that ANY amount should be trivial because they all make “20 times” more than minmum wage. You have no clue what their financial responsibilities are… Plus, while we’re getting there…its still not illegal to have more money than the guy next door. Its your business if you want to redistribute YOUR wealth but not you dare tell me how I should spend my money!

  40. Amy*

    In this case, the “reply all” button was childish. If she had an issue with the guy then a reply stating “that was rude, just delete it, tell me you don’t want my junk mail” (or whatever) and move on. I don’t think he was out of line for saying it was defamation of character. It is similar to her saying “why you cheap cheap _____, how dare you not support charities and maybe you’re too poor, how that must be” Reply All? No.

  41. Amy*

    I hope AAM posted this question before the meeting with HOUR and someone gives us an update, I am curious. Are any of these 200 some lawyers disposable, has anyone heard of a suspension due to immature or unnecessary drama like this? Yikes….

  42. Anonymous*

    A trick I use with e-mail/comments is this: I read them several times with different tones of voice. Without body language, words can be very subjective. (Think about all the ways one can use the f word!) I one worried a response here was worded badly. There was one response that could – and I stress COULD – be interpreted as curt/sarcastic/etc. Thankfully I took the time to think it through, rather than starting a ridiculous argument. (Because, yes, I would have come off as overreacting!) E-mail is the same way. The OP reads “delete” as “DELETE!!!!”, when I think it is quite possible the reply all was an accident. Read it as a dry “delete.” Yes it could go the other way, but it seems like such a small thing to get heated up over.

    1. Ellie H.*

      I just don’t understand what a “dry ‘delete'” could possibly be in this circumstance. What exactly do you mean by that? I think the OP would have said if they used some kind of byzantine email program where you could unsubscribe from lists by replying-all with text commands. She interpreted it as intended to be rude based on previous incidences of him being rude over the email list and it seems like everyone understood the situation to be as she described. Also presumably if he had meant it differently from the way she took it, he would have clarified his original intent in his replies. In this case there is no way not to read “*delete*” as deliberately provocative and dismissive.

      1. fposte*

        Those byzantine mail programs are called listservs :-). They get “unsubscribe” sent to the main list all the time.

    2. Daniel77*

      this is my “like” button for your comment :) great advice and absolutely practicable and sensible.

  43. OP*

    OP here.

    Thanks so much for the quick response! I realise that I handled the
    rudeness badly – it was the kind of email that said “please visit the website and make a donation”, so I certainly did not expect everyone to contribute (and would not have known whether they did or not), but my response had the wrong effect of making it look like people had no choice.

    Regarding the “bullying” behaviour, I realise I premised my response on past behaviour of his (e.g. miming violence towards me while standing right behind me once, some past nastiness towards a black colleague and friend of mine he hardly knows, which we both interpreted as racism). Given his usual blustering behaviour in the office (and the fact that he is a huge male and I am a tiny female), most people responded by congratulating me on taking him down a notch! Nevertheless, I realise now that THIS instance of rudeness on his part was not bullying at all, just rude, and that I came off looking worse than he did. Had it been someone else making the same comment I would probably have rolled my eyes and moved on.

    I also realise it is dangerous (as one of the commenters mentioned) to send group emails about things close to your heart, as it creates a risk that you will take non-personal responses personally. In this case I had met the founder of the organisation and then received an urgent email regarding her upcoming eviction which was going to leave 100 kids without food or education,

    The meeting has now taken place. The outcome was that we both apologised in the same email group the original chain was on. I was surprised to find that the charity-solicitation issue was not even mentioned (probably because, as one of the commenters guessed, this is indeed South Africa, where poor people are left to starve unless they can get a $40/month child grant, and pretty much every charity issue is also a race one). I do see, though, that I took the issue too far and felt too self-righteous (“the children are about to be evicted! Who cares about politeness?!”) to see the issue clearly.

    Thanks for your much-needed perspective on the matter (and to the commenters for delivering a consensus of uncomfortable truth!)

    1. Anonymous*

      OP – I can totally understand how someone can be so nasty in his ways, but when we have this anger stored towards this person that when we unleash it, it can turn around to bite us. While I have not had someone say any racist remarks or make obscene gestures behind my back, at least none that I’m aware of, I have had people just be rude and forget their manners. I really wanted to write back a strong worded email to let them know they were rude (what happened was they asked me for advice, I answered, and I never received a word back, not even a thank you), but friends told me I would look wrong in reprimanding them. So instead, I’m just not going to answer them if they solicit more advice.

      From now on, learn who your audience is with those emails, and I would highly suggest leaving that man off of the list. He obviously doesn’t want to participate, which is his perogative.

    2. ThatHRGirl*

      “it was the kind of email that said “please visit the website and make a donation”, so I certainly did not expect everyone to contribute”

      Actually… when you say “please visit the website and make a donation”, it sounds like you are expecting everyone to contribute. Perhaps a better way to say it would have been “please visit the website when you have time, and make a donation if you are able”, or something to that effect.

    3. Charles*

      “Thanks for your much-needed perspective on the matter (and to the commenters for delivering a consensus of uncomfortable truth!)”

      With this comment I can clearly see that this incident must have been a once-off for you OP. For anyone to admit that the truth is/can be “uncomfortable” shows that they are, indeed, a bigger person (despite her physical “tiny” size) than most.

      I don’t know if you are a lawyer yourself or not; but had this incident happened at a law firm in NYC, the lawyer, no matter who was right or wrong, would have trumped the non-lawyer. So, if you are not a lawyer, and SA law firms have the same insane culture as NYC law firms then that speaks volumes about your character!

      Best of luck with your career at that Firm, and good luck with your charity.

    4. Ellie H.*

      It’s nice that you wrote in with an update and I’m glad to hear that the meeting seemed to have few ill consequences for either of you (I do feel personally vindicated that your supervisors didn’t mention the charity solicitation issue as I have been ranting on here about how that’s irrelevant to your problem! :) ) I feel much more sympathetic toward you/vicariously pissed off at your coworker than a lot of people on here, probably because I have a pretty reactive personality myself, but I think that others’ comments are probably a much better perspective from the workplace point of view, which is after all what you had wanted advice on.

      Good luck with your work with the organization!

  44. Anonymous*

    Oh man! This is now my official favorite thread! This tops BOTH “coworker combs hair with a fork” and “coworker conducts sex-trade business while at work”.

  45. Harry*

    ditto! thanks for the update. I also have my share of emails where I wish I could take back. This is why I have a delay send set on my outlook so I can go back and retrieve / edit emails before they are really sent. Saved me numerous times!

  46. BadMovieLover*

    The “bully” instigated the spat when he sent his “*deleted*” message to all the recipients. Couldn’t he have just deleted the email without saying anything?

Comments are closed.