What’s the Most Dread-Inducing Email Subject Line?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 29 2012 5:35 PM

What’s the Most Dread-Inducing Email Subject Line?

A computer screen inbox displaying unsolicited emails

Photo by MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images

Remember all of those creepy “Hey,” “Hey,” So,” “Hey,” “Hey Again” emails you probably received from the Obama campaign this fall? It turns out that those subject lines were actually A/B tested and selected because their “casual tone” was most effective at raking in the fundraising dollars.

This got a few of us at Slate wondering. What are the most dread-inducing email subject lines to receive? In particular, what are the worst ones to get from a boss?


“Hey” would probably rank up there as something you do not want to see, as would “come see me in my office.” We asked our readers to contribute their own #ScarySubjectLines using the aforementioned Twitter hashtag and we got more than 100 replies in half an hour. Here are some of the spookiest ones that we hope never to read from David Plotz:


Some of our readers took the question outside of the office. These would be awful to read in any circumstance, but especially on your smartphone during a night out on the town with some friends:


Finally, there were those who took the question to dark, horrible places:


And of course, the scariest subject line of them all:


Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.



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