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Reply All: Holiday Potluck Email Descends Into Chaos After Being Accidentally Sent To 25,000 Utah State Government Employees

A seemingly innocuous email exchange about a holiday gift potluck went awry after it was mistakenly sent to more than 25,000 Utah state employees. 

A cascade of curt, angry and confused responses poured in to a "reply all" email chain Friday that initially sought to discuss a holiday potluck. Utah Department of Technology Services employees took to social media to urge the tens of thousands of respondents to stop replying to the email chain that deluged state employees, contractors and businesses across Utah.

And as commonly occurs amid corporate and government "reply all" chaos, the thousands of "Sent from my iPhone" messages demanding to be removed from the email thread only deepened the communication quicksand. 

GettyImages-103254047 A seemingly innocuous email exchange about a holiday gift potluck went awry after it was mistakenly sent sent to more than 25,000 Utah state employees. Getty Images Justin Sullivan/Staff

"So this is happening right now. It’s Replyall-gate 2018. Adventures in state government. #ReplyAll Actually don’t reply all," wrote Joe Dougherty, a Public Information Officer for -- perhaps ironically -- the Utah Division of Emergency Management. 

Dozens of responses posted to social media by Utah state government employees and affiliates ranged from inquisitive, "Is it a white elephant type of swap?" to comical, "I'm sorry you have to uninvite the entire State Government," to the downright angry, "Remove me from this email thread now!"

The thousands of polite responses asking to be removed from the "reply all" emails clogged up phones and state employee computers for several hours Friday morning. But those seemingly helpful replies along with dozens of "EVERYONE STOP RESPONDING" responses only amplified the crescendo of emails.

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 10 A seemingly innocuous email exchange about a holiday gift potluck went awry after it was mistakenly sent sent to more than 25,000 Utah state employees. Screenshot: Twitter/Joe Dougherty

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox added a little humor and weighed in on the "cc" calamity Friday afternoon, "This is real and it’s an emergency. Started out as a potluck and $5 white elephant gift exchange in one department and someone accidentally cc’d every state employee. I fear this will never end."

"This was a genuine crisis, but it happens every day on a smaller level. Some people simply can't not #replyall, so prevention is key: send large group emails to yourself w/ bcc to other recipients, and hope somebody doesn't 'loop' others in," tweeted Josh Loftin, Director of Communications and Public Information Officer at the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. 

Salt Lake City's local CBS affiliate KUTV reported that neither the offending sender nor the department they worked in was publicly divulged as of the end of the workday Friday.

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