“Here’s the article we discussed,” said the e-mail. It was from a writer I know. But I wracked my brain and couldn’t remember discussing an article with her… ever.
Fortunately, I figured out that she was probably trying to reach another editor we both know. So I passed her article on. Problem solved.
Getting e-mails by mistake happens to me about four or five times a year. I’ve never gotten any that were particularly interesting, but I’ve heard some juicy stories…
There was the boss who got an e-mail from an employee… who was venting about the boss’s bad management tactics.
There was the guy who got raunchy pictures of a bachelor party he didn’t attend… pictures the sender mistakenly sent to his entire e-mail list.
And there was the woman who got an invitation… to a party she wasn’t actually invited to.
When you get a sensitive e-mail that wasn’t meant for you, what do you do?
In an article for MSN, Miss Manners suggests that you make no mention of the specific incident. Merely send a note to the sender that says, “You might want to take me off your group listing – I have been receiving e-mails about matters you may not want me to know about.”
Unless the sender keeps e-mailing you by mistake or the information is time-sensitive – like the article I got – you might just consider deleting the e-mail… and never mentioning it.