It happens in just about every office, and it’s guaranteed to annoy: the “reply all” storm, that bane of modern office life in which an e-mail goes out to a large list, and many people respond by hitting “reply all,” thus clogging everyone’s inboxes.

The Department of Veterans Affairs got hit with a doozy of one on Thursday. It all started out innocently enough (as they all do). This one was a “test” message from the IT department that went to a large distribution list.

Of course, the smart alecks among the recipients couldn’t resist the bait. Several offered sassy replies. “I don’t want any tests usually this means more work,” one jokester wrote. “Did I get an A?” another asked.

Then, inevitably, the backlash began, with recipients e-mailing the entire list to tell them to stop e-mailing the entire list. Others wrote asking to be taken off the list, thus only creating more junk mail for everyone.

It’s unclear how many people were affected, but one recipient estimated it to be hundreds, possibly thousands — some of whom were not even in the VA, but rather at other federal agencies and even Capitol Hill offices.

Replies were coming from all over the country, we’re told.

“Yes, there’s something like that going on here,” VA spokesman Mark Ballesteros told the Loop late Thursday. “We’re working to address it.” While responses to the e-mail were piling up in his own inbox, he said nevertheless it hadn’t affected his ability to do his job.

Sounds like plenty of folks can skip the gym today — they’ve gotten enough of a workout in just hitting “delete” button.