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Marketplace

The nest is full

Oct 11, 2019
Automatic Reply

Automatic Reply: “I’d love to ‘Help!,’ but I’m out of the office”

Maria Hollenhorst Aug 28, 2019
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The Beatles on the steps of an airplane, waving to their fans in 1964.
Evening Standard/Getty Images

Automatic Reply celebrates the pithy, surprising or otherwise amusing out-of-office email messages pinging around workplaces.


Eric Robben is a lawyer at a food company in Chicago. He also loves music. This is the out-of-office email message he set up before going on vacation this summer.

“THE SHORT VERSION: I am out on holiday until July 1. If you have an immediate need, call or text (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

THE BEATLEMANIA VERSION:

I would love to help, but I am out of the office.  So you won’t see me for a week.  But don’t worry: it won’t be long until I return on July 1.

You didn’t ask me why, but I want to tell you: it is my son’s 13th birthday, so the two of us left to drive my car on a roadtrip.  (13 years old! It seems like just yesterday he was a little child.  I am really excited and hope this trip is something he still remembers when I’m sixty-four.)  

This boy and I will be watching baseball, listening to rock and roll music, and there’s a place in West Virginia where we will be climbing rocks.  (Do you want to know a secret? I have never climbed rocks in my life.  What if I fell? What if we get stuck up there and they don’t let me down?)  We also have a ticket to ride some rollercoasters at an amusement park; it would really please please me if it doesn’t rain that day.

I’ll be back in a week, but if it is something important, I want you to call or text me any time at all on my cell phone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.  Maybe I’m a loser, but honestly I feel fine about getting calls if it’s the kind of thing that can wait for no one.  (For example, if the taxman visits, it’s hard to act naturally and a lawyer can help. Don’t carry that weight alone.  I want to hold your hand through the process.)  NOTE: if you call when I am rock climbing, I’ll return your call when I’m down.  

If you try me and get no reply, you can get by with a little help from my friends: our legal assistant Jacqueline can assist.

If you can let it be until I get back, that will be even better because things are likely to be a little helter skelter this week.  We all know what goes on during roadtrips.  

I will do my best to make any outstanding assignments come together as soon as I can. 

If you are a law firm calling about overdue bills to say “you never give me your money,” please don’t bother me.  I am sure that we can work it out.

Okay, I’ve got a feeling that this Out of Office gag has gotten a bit long long long, so this is the end.

P.S. I love you.

It’s your turn. If you’ve ever received an out-of-office email message you found amusing, tell us about it here:

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