ThrowBlack Friday: Let me repeat that

At this retailer, the director in charge of stores decides that every time a store employee gets an email, a copy should automatically be sent to the employee's supervisor, reports an IT pilot fish working there.

"After many days of setting the autoforward feature on the mail server for each of our 120 store email accounts, it is now configured so that the low-level user's email is copied to the mid-level user, thus to the location manager and finally the regional manager," fish says.

"Complaints start immediately."

Store managers don't understand why they're suddenly getting two or three copies of each email sent to their store. Fish explains that the boss wants each manager to know what's going on in the store by getting copies of the emails.

Fish tells the boss about the complaints that managers' in-boxes were now triple the size they were before. No sympathy from the boss, though: She says the copying needs to be done, and managers can simply delete the extra emails.

Not long after, the boss sends a broadcast email to all store email addresses, officially announcing the email changes. "For the next 10 minutes, each send/receive session copies her on a dozen or more copies of the email until her in-box shows more than 120 copies of the email she just sent," says fish.

"She phones IT wondering why. We spend the rest of the hour explaining that with her design of email copying, she'll get copies just as the managers do, but being the top of the hierarchy she'd get the most of any user.

"After complaining about the hours of work caused by all these extra messages, she's ready for our suggestion: You can simply delete the extra emails.

"We're on Day 10 of the duplication of all duplication efforts. We'll see how much more of this our email server capacity can handle. But users beware: You'd better not be getting a juicy email from anyone. It just might make it to the top quicker than you thought!"

Sharky is spending this Black Friday observing retail operations first-hand, but what I really want is something money can't buy: Your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales like this one from the Sharkives.

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