TORONTO – Statistics Canada reported today that roughly 9 out of 10 emails sent during August were out of office messages.
Out-Of-Office-Traffic (OOOT) spikes are expected in summer as workers follow annual migration patterns away from urban centres to anywhere they can allege has weak or no Internet access in order to avoid obtuse management requests, pointlessly cc’d email chains from colleagues, and unreasonable client demands. But Data Flow Analyst and report author Yordy Milchev said this year’s figure represents an all-time high.
Competing email systems frequently instigate bot wars capable of producing hundreds of millions of emails an hour. Milchev cited the example of Nancy Johnson-Funt, Assistant Manager at a Lethbridge Suzy Shier store who sent a flurry of outgoing emails to try and “get on top of things” just before activating her holiday absence message last month. Her actions triggered a reciprocal loop with 132 different recipient systems before her store’s antiquated Dell server caught fire from the computing load and burned down both the clothing outlet and the adjacent food court’s longstanding Cinnabon franchise.
Milchev says despite these troubles, the lessons from this summer’s OOOT wars are useful. “We are trying to get our computers to understand that most of the workforce is on vacation. Right now, they can’t quite figure it out and end up fighting each other. Let’s just hope the OOOT bots don’t evolve and invent their own language like those Facebook ones, or we’re really screwed.”
At press time the nation’s workers were grudgingly returning to their desks and blearily wading through an average of 12,600 OOO messages each before resuming their normal duties.