The events story happened a while back, but I was reminded of it recently after sending not one, but TWO emails to the wrong people. Luckily, neither was embarrassing (one flight itinerary, one reference to calling someone whose phone number I don't actually have.) Unlike the story which follows!

Since this is unlocked, I am changing names and identifying details.

I got a mass email about something like save the whales from a person whose name I read as... I'll call him Josh Rosenthal. Josh Rosenthal is a guy I know, about my age, not a close friend but a buddy I occasionally hang out with when our paths cross. A funny guy. I've told him stories about my dating woes, and he laughs.

I replied, "Hey Josh, long time no hear! What's up? Did you hear that Felicia [a mutual friend] got engaged? Not much is up with me, but I did go on a date last week - and no, I didn't get laid. When I got into my car, he tried to kiss me. I ducked and he stuck his tongue in my ear. And that's the most action I've seen all year. Hope all's well with you."

Readers, I mailed this missive.

The next day, I found this reply: "Hi, Rachel, all's well with me. Who's Felicia? I hope the incident you mention wasn't too disturbing. Stay safe."

I read that in some confusion. Surely Josh knew Felicia. And what was with the weird response to my tongue-in-ear story?

Then I double-checked the sender. The save the whales email had not come from Josh Rosenthal, but from Josh RosenBLUM - a movie producer quite a bit older than me, with whom I had a purely professional relationship, as in I'd pitched a movie to him a while back, which apparently put me on his mailing list.

And to whom I had randomly sent a non-sequitor, TMI message about getting my ear penetrated, in response to a mass mailing about whales.

I was so flustered that I attempted to cover my ass by writing, "Hi, Josh, Felicia is [another producer - this is actually true] whom I mentioned during my pitch [who knows, but I certainly could have]. I mentioned the date because the guy in question was a big environmental activist, and your whale message reminded me of that. [Not even remotely true.] It wasn't disturbing, just a bit ungentlemanly for an activist. Best wishes, Rachel."

And then I clicked send.

An instant later, I thought, "What the hell was I thinking? Why didn't I just explain what had happened? That would have made so much more sense and been less embarrassing than what I actually did. Now, rather than sending one inappropriate message followed by an explanation and apology, I've sent him TWO inappropriate and bizarre messages!"

Has anyone else been the victim of internet crossed wires, or compounded an innocent mistake with an attempt to cover your ass which made it much worse than if you'd just confessed? Please comfort me with your own stories of humiliation and woe.

From: [identity profile]

I was waiting for that tag.

I will try to think of some embarrassing stories to share with you. I'm sure I have some.

Well, actually, ha, the most recent involved e-mailing praise to a television show creator about episodes of his show that I had downloaded, which would not really have been a problem...except the show hadn't premiered yet and he was confused as to how I'd seen them. Oooops. Luckily, they were probably press screeners, and now I have been guilted into paying to watch the show legally from now on.

From: [identity profile]

I was waiting for that tag.

That should so totally be the title for the second volume of her autobiography.

From: [identity profile]

I just clicked the tag and didn't see the story about finding that HELP I'VE BEEN KIDNAPPED book. That should totally be included.
zdenka: Miriam with a tambourine, text "I will sing." (getting the hell out)

From: [personal profile] zdenka

*clears throat* This took place when I was in late high school or early college. I used to have a quote as my e-mail signature -- serious or silly, and I would change it depending on my mood. (This incident is why I stopped doing that.) I also had my e-mail set to add the signature to every message automatically. With the program I was using at the time, this meant it would add the signature without showing it in the window where I was typing the message.

I was utterly mortified to realize that I had sent a job-related e-mail to a potential employer with part of the Camelot song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail appended to it. Oddly enough, they still hired me . . .

From: [identity profile]

This one was really bad. I co-authored a textbook with some colleagues, and we weren't thrilled with the lack of promotion from the big-name publisher. Nevertheless, we agreed to do a second edition, and had sent that in to the copy editor. A message asking if we'd like to do a second edition came from someone who'd just taken over the acquisitions editing from the guy who'd originally signed us. One of us replied to her that it was already in the pipeline, and I thought I was replying only to my co-authors with something snippy about that kind of confusion probably showing how little interest they had in us. Of course, I'd replied-all, and the new editor got it. I will say that she handled it well, but I've often wondered if that meant there was no chance we'd ever get good marketing (we didn't, but managed to get enough sales from the various editions that we did ok). But still. Really, really dumb of me.

From: [identity profile]

No, but a friend of mine accidentally hired someone via email by adding them in a cc for a job offer. Oops!
ext_6382: Blue-toned picture of cow with inquisitive expression (Default)

From: [identity profile]

I once sent a gossipy text message about the guy who I suspected was pursuing me (er, in the romantic sense, not the sense of actually running) to the guy who I suspected was pursuing me. The text had been intended for my best friend, and their names start with the same letter. /o\ I think I even named him, so had no plausible deniability! I kind of knew I was doomed so when he texted back I replied airily, "Whoops, sorry, that wasn't meant for you."
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

From: [personal profile] zeborah

Not email but on the internet:

I used to maintain a small fanfic archive, and in lieu of better tools I coded the indexes in html by hand. I had a template for the details of each story:
<P><A NAME="thingy"><A HREF="/thingy.txt"><B>Title</B></A></A>, Codes, rating
<BR>By <A HREF="mailto:address">author</A>
<BR>Teaser: blah (kB)
and then I'd do find/replace on each element.

One day I forgot to find/replace "blah" with the summary of the story.

The author... was unhappy.

Fortunately after I'd explained and grovelled sufficiently she forgave me and let me put the story back up. But after that, I changed the "blah" in my template to "etc", just to make sure it didn't happen again.

From: [identity profile]

I have done precisely the first part--mail out the TMI e-mail to the definitely-wrong person**, but when it comes to step two, I normally go into a huge "Oh, so sorry, wrong e-mail, how embarrassing, ha ha ha, well, at least I didn't send you my terrorist plans; that would have been really awkward"-type message.

Your solution shows crazy creativity and reminds me of a friend of mine who, sitting on a train with a stranger who idly asked her where she was applying to college, wove a completely fabricated story about her future plans.

**Once I sent an invoice to a friend who had the same name as the person I was invoicing. Another time I wrote to the dad of someone I don't know because when I typed "Dad" in the "to" box, it autofilled in with this other guy's dad...

From: [identity profile]

I'm currently sending a lot of queries to various literary agents, and a few months ago, when I was first starting out, I sent one to a literary agent whose blog I really enjoy. I rewrote a lot of the query to make it personalized to him, plugged in his name on my template, and sent it. And then I realized that my template had a woman's name there before, and I forgot to change "Ms." to "Mr."

Thankfully he was incredibly cool about it (even though he still wasn't interested in the book), but it was pretty mortifying.

From: [identity profile]

When I sent a cover letter out for a job, the person it was addressed to had a gender-neutral name. I guessed, and sent it out addressed to "Ms." Which was the wrong guess. Luckily, he is quite used to that happening and it didn't register, and he is now my boss. :) (This is also the job I managed to apply to twice, as it was listed in two different places with two different contact people. I suppose I came off as more eager than clueless...)

And on the gender-neutral front, I was accepted to grad school and sent a letter informing me that I was awarded a TAship that was signed by my future adviser, who had a gender-neutral name. I phoned up partly to inquire about the TA duties and partly to ascertain the gender of the professor for letter-writing purposes, and it turns out that they had a gender-neutral voice as well. (I eventually got there, and met her, but it was confusing for a while.)

From: [identity profile]

I'm sure I've misaddressed an embarrassing e-mail at some point in my life, but my brain is protecting me from shame by not letting me remember the event.

I know there were occasional cases at my previous job where an internal e-mail I wrote or replied to was later forwarded to a customer, but I was never terribly upset in such cases, because a)it wasn't actually my fault that other people didn't actually read e-mail before forwarding it and b)I never wrote anything really inflammatory even in internal e-mails, saving comments such as "Five dollars says he forgot to put on pants this morning, too" and "I think she put the umbrella in the microwave again[*]" for IMs or actual conversations.

[*]I could explain this but it's less interesting than it sounds. In particular, it does not involve an actual umbrella or microwave.

From: [identity profile]

I don't have an email problem, but a problem with my mouth making up excuses before my brain engages.

Case #1:
Boss: Are you coming in today? I wanted to talk to you about Project X.
Me: I don't think so...I swallowed a nail and don't think I should go to work.

Now this was complete and utter bs, as I was simply hungover.

Case 2:
Boss: I think you should come to the candidate seminar today. It's from 11-1 in the conference room.
Me: I can't go, I have herpes.

What I /actually/ had was an article on herpes that I'd been reading, but it took a lot of explanation to make that clear.

From: [identity profile]

When I was in my teens I once told a school teacher in great depth how a low-budget comedy film I'd seen the previous night was the worst and most amateurish thing ever, to which her reply was "My cousin wrote that". And I'd specifically said that the plot twist a third of the way through was unbelievably idiotic, so I couldn't even blame the director and cast.

From: [identity profile]

Aw. I always think it's really rude when someone is criticizing something and the other person pulls out the 'yeah, the creator is actually me/my wife/my father/my BFF/whatever'. I mean, come on. That just ends up embarrassing everyone horribly. Presumably the other person wouldn't have shared their criticism if they knew you knew the creator, so do them a solid and just smile and nod.
ext_3386: (sleep)

From: [identity profile]

I do that crap all the time. I should really learn to stop criticizing things. :/

From: [identity profile]

Old style version, but the same basic issue:
My grandmother, many years ago, once wrote two letters: one cool, polite letter to her wayward sister who was currently causing the family some concern; one heartfelt venting letter to their brother in which she detailed, at length, all the ways said sister was screwing up/ embarrassing the family/ ruining her life/ needed to grow up.

She got the envelopes mixed up and send the wrong letter to the wrong recipient.
Her sister never really spoke to her again.

From: [identity profile]

It's happened to me a couple of times. Last semester, I wanted to email a girl in one of my writing workshops about a story she'd submitted. (I'd been absent from class the day she turned it in and needed a copy.) But I didn't know her email address or last name. She had a pretty unique name, though, so I checked the student directory and found two people with her name. One was listed as being abroad for the year; the other was listed as living in the dorm I knew my classmate lived in. So I emailed that person.

Yeah, turns out the girl in my class had been abroad the previous semester, and the university had forgotten to change her status in the directory. It wasn't too embarrassing, since the email I sent was pretty straightforward and businesslike, but I still felt stupid.

I've also been on the receiving end of this: I got a text about a year ago from a friend saying they thought they'd left some shoes at my house, and if I found a pair, could I please put them outside so they could pick them up? Problem was, at that time I hadn't seen that friend face-to-face for over a year, and she lived several hours away! The text had my name in it, too, so I guess she either has another friend with the same name and mixed us up, or the autofill went a little crazy on her.

Ah, technological mishaps.

From: [identity profile]

I was on the other end of a story like your first. About 10 years ago or so, when I was a young college students, I started getting flirty emails from an email address I didn't recognize. I emailed back, but he wanted to keep being an anon admirer. At some point, I mentioned my roommate and confused him. Turns out to be a high schooler at my old high school who thought he was emailing a classmate of his who shared my (highly common) first and last name.

From: [identity profile]

I once sent an email to a friend at [name] instead of [name] and it went to a stranger; we wrote back and forth for 6 months and he even sent me a postcard from Europe (I mean, we figured out pretty quickly he was a stranger). It was a fun flirtation until we met in person and it became clear that we weren't compatible at all, which somehow was obscured in email (we were a little abrasive in a way that was glossed over, plus when he pointed out the other 5 women he thought might have been me in the cafe we were supposed to meet at when I was late they all looked different from me in key ways).
ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (STS Haru facepalm)

From: [identity profile]

I have been somehow lucky/paranoid enough not to have ever directly missent something myself, but I have been rather more tangentially involved in a couple of cases of other people's embarassing email mishaps:

- Once on the job, involving correspondence with one of my then-employer's lawyers about some third party's complaint about one of our customers. (ISP gig, I don't remember the precise details of the particular incident but it could have been something involving allegations of copyright infringement, online harassment, etc.) I don't remember who initiated the correspondence, if it was our side running something past the lawyers for legal feedback on the situation or vice versa with them coming to us with technical questions, but either way around the third party's complaint/demands were something fairly ridiculous and non-actionable. Our lawyer had sent said complainant their usual polite-legalese form letter version of "bugger off, we can't/won't do what you want us to", and forwarded me a copy along with some very informal and not at all complimentary remarks snarking about the complainant...and somehow CC:ed the complainant on this version, too.

- Once on my own time, an ex (who I was still involved with at the time) wrote a really adolescently giddy, florid, mushy love letter to another woman he was crushing madly on...and fat-fingered his address book to instead send it to a social mailing list that pretty much included ALL of our mutual friends. (It wasn't an exclusively monogamous relationship and at the time I was aware of and OK with the flirtation, but other than a couple of particularly close friends, most of the other listees did NOT know all of this at the time, and I really hadn't signed on for "broadcast your mash notes in public to EVERYONE" levels of TMI...)
weirdquark: Stack of books (Default)

From: [personal profile] weirdquark

I once received an email from my mother that she meant to send to a friend of hers which mentioned what she thought was going on with my sex life. She was more horrified and embarrassed than I was; I thought it was kind of entertaining.
weirdquark: Stack of books (nothing is more interesting than go)

From: [personal profile] weirdquark

No, she was wrong, but I could see why she was assuming what she did, given a conversation we had had about something else before that. And for some reason I felt the need to correct her. TMI for everyone!

From: [identity profile]

When I was in high school, I was an admin on a Pern RPG. (Which is probably embarrassing enough all by itself! But I digress.) I was playing the head steward at the Weyr, and was also on the OOC council that helped figure out who ought to be able to Impress what dragons. (In general, it wasn't hard at all to get a chromatic dragon, but since metallic dragons had status and added RP responsibilities, we kept a tighter rein on them.)

I also played in a few other games where I was not an admin, including one where I was playing an Impression candidate (a young woman in the line for a blue dragon).


Anyway, this was all done on a text-based chat RPG, called a MUSH. And if you meant to say something to one person (say, on a chat channel, or in a direct message), but you said it to someone else, it was called a 'mav,' for reasons I no longer remember.

Anyway, so this guy was interviewing for a bronze dragon. He was a total emo dramamonger: imagine someone who was trying to do a Sasuke impression and overshooting. And, in the admin chat channel, I said, "OMG, is this guy trying to impress bronze or trying to convince us that he actually is a (drama) queen dragon?"



Who, naturally, thought I was talking about him.

I explained, but I doubted at the time and still doubt that he believed me. Then I dug a hole and buried myself in it.

From: [identity profile]

Heh. Back in the days when I MUSHed there were definitely lots of mispages, and things meant to be paged or whispered that were instead broadcast to the room. But sadly I can't remember any funny stories about them.

There was a Pern area on TinyTIM, where I hung out. Ever drop by there? Ever run into R'nice? (I think he was on other Pern MUSHes.)

From: [identity profile]

Oh oh oh, here's a good one. I was setting up grad school interviews, and although I'd already scheduled several weekends with my top choices, I thought that if School offered me a visit, why not take the free trip? Also, I had a friend from that city, so maybe we could see each other. I had a lot of weekends booked, so I couldn't make one of their official weekends, but they were willing to schedule another day. I tried to make it a day my friend was going to be there.

This was all done through e-mail, of course, replying back and forth. Until one day I got an e-mail from the woman coordinating my visit. An e-mail that I was clearly not meant to get, as she was complaining to another person that I seemed more interested in seeing my friend than visiting the school. Which, to be honest, was true. But still.

I sent a polite e-mail saying that I was no longer considering them as an option.
ext_124701: negativised photo of me (freaking out)

From: [identity profile]

A play I designed costumes for just closed. I was headed into my office and I walked past a guy sitting and reading. He looked up and said 'hi'. He looked really familiar, like one of the actors in the show, but a bit different. I figured he'd gotten a different hair cut, as many actors do, once they don't have to have a specific look. So I said 'hi- oh, you're still here?' because they usually leave the day after closing. He answered 'yeah, until 9, the phones aren't ringing'. Then I realized that he was one of the telemarketers who work next to the shop, who I didn't know from adam. I scurried away, embarrassed, and a bit later I was walking down the hall and he waved at me from his desk like we were buddies.

From: [identity profile]

Back in the GEnie days, when everybody in the sf world hung out in the IRCs, you could have five or six private conversations going on in addition to the public one.

And you could forget the / before PRI and the name of the person who you were sending it to, or your computer could quietly burp a space, because your screen was constantly filling with text. So . . . you not only display your private message, but whom it was sent to.

From: [identity profile]

Not email, but-- I once accidentally printed a draft of my dissertation outline on the back of a piece of fanfic. (Snape/Harry. Filthy, smutty Snape/Harry.) I didn't realize until my advisor was walking out the door with it, to go make a photocopy.

She came back with a very studied blank expression on her face, handed it back to me, and neither of us ever said a word about it.

From: [identity profile]

Luckily I tend to say things right to people's faces, so my slightly horrifying tendencies to text people messages about them TO THEM by mistake are usually quickly remedied. Still, multiple incredibly awkward moments over the course of my life.

From: [identity profile]

I did something like this about two days ago. Very long involved story, but suffice to say that I sent a slightly snippy message replying to what I thought was just an inter-organizational memo about a meeting with a time-conflict, only to find out minutes later that I'd actually replied to an party invitation for the organization AND all of our clients as an appreciatory gesture. *whoops* To be fair it wasn't really my fault, as the woman who sent out the invite didn't make it clear what the event was in the invite, and several co-workers and myself were never given a heads up about the party before the invite was sent out.

From: [identity profile]

Two people came to my place of employment within a month of one another with the same first name. I cannot count how many times I've sent email/called one when I meant the other.

From: [identity profile]

Two incidents, the first happened to me:

- There was this guy I was flirting heavily with until his behaviour annoyed me and suddenly I couldn't be bothered. So I dialled down the frequency of contact etc etc. And then one day I was told that I needed to be hospitalised. Got a text from a colleague asking about some project or the other. So typed out a long email - who'd take over what part of the project, who will co-ordinate it for her, etc etc. Apologised and said I have to be hospitalised and no idea for how long. Blah blah. And then accidentally mailed it to the guy in question as the only difference between their names was that she had an 'a' at the end of her name and he didn't. Which meant that he took it as an invitation to call/text me daily about my health and instead of fading away into the sunset, I had to be polite enough to actually furnish some sort of an answer to his daily query...

- A friend of mine went for a breast examination [family history of cancer] and the doc is young and cute. She found him hot and after the examination, she wrote a nice, long and explicit text squeeing about how hot he is and how he'd be welcome to touch her breasts and other parts whenever he felt like it...and sent it to him by mistake. I got a panicky phone call the moment she realised what she had done....
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rosefox

Not my story, but one that might cheer you: Many years ago, [ profile] mactavish was hanging out on IRC and sent a direct message to a friend essentially saying "OMG, that guy [ profile] deyo is so hot". Except instead of going to her friend, it went to the main channel, where [ profile] deyo was hanging out. They're married now, and one of the happiest couples I know.
ext_108: Jules from Psych saying "You guys are thinking about cupcakes, aren't you?" (dc: not even supposed to be here)

From: [identity profile]

My current manager at work is kind of a control freak and constantly sends out these snotty emails about what she feels are unacceptable levels of cleanliness in the women's bathroom. (90% of the time these emails are not, as far as I can tell, reality-based.) Now, key point here, she doesn't send these emails out as mass emails to the "" email, she just manually cc's all the *female* employees.

So last week the email program helpfully auto-filled an address for her as she was typing out this list, and long story short, instead of cc'ing "Mary Smith" at the front desk on the very important "Ladies, flush more neatly" email, she cc'd "Mary Jones" who is our main contact person over at the company that is our BIGGEST MOST IMPORTANT CLIENT.

It was kind of awesome.

From: [identity profile]

save the whales from a person

I still don't get why we should save the whales from this person. I mean, he's just one guy?

ext_124701: negativised photo of me (Default)

From: [identity profile]

oh, also,

I had a computer problem at work, so I checked a recent email with the new group address we were submitting problems to. I sent it and within 5 min my email began filling up with unfamiliar addresses, all saying some variant of 'I don't think this email's for me'. Turns out the group address included the group 'all people the company's dealt with ever'. So lots of people from all kinds of state organizations and companies. And none of it was my fault, but I had to apologize to everyone who emailed back.

From: [identity profile]

I have one story a little like that but it's too embarrassing for an unlocked post, and otherwise too embarrassing as well. So another time, but meanwhile, you are NOT the only one.

From: [identity profile]

One story I can tell here: I messed up someone's daughter's memorial book at her funeral by crossing out everything I wrote in, and then writing "crossed out because I am a dumbass," and then crossing THAT out. I am going to hell for that.

From: [identity profile]

Most of these stories are hilarious.

The worst one I've witnessed involved someone sending private medical information for a family member accidentally to an alumni mailing list. That one was heartbreaking, because it was clearly an accident and there was nothing that could be done other than a follow-up note asking people to please delete the note unread. (I'd already opened it, but immediately forgot the names of the people involved, which is almost as good.) That one was not the least bit hilarious, even in retrospect.

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