Alice writes Bob an unsigned note, typically a secret admirer type message. Carol finds the note, misinterprets it and believes it was written by David. The note continues to be passed around until all characters have misconceptions about one another.
- A variation is played on Haruhi Suzumiya, when the class representative Ryoko Asakura leaves Kyon an anonymous note in his Inside Shoes locker. Kyon first thinks the note was written by Mikuru, but then he corrects himself: the note was a simple sheet of paper torn from a notepad, and it would be Mikuru only if the note was written in scented decorated paper sprinkled with glitter. Massive mayhem ensues. Decidedly not of the romantic variety.
- Some of the mayhem is of the romantic variety, or at least looks a lot like it.
- He later finds a letter actually written in decorated paper by Mikuru... only problem is, he's only partially right...
- Another variation occurs in Love at First Sight, where a lovestruck man dictates a love letter to Yuki to Kyon. Naturally, this means Kyon writes the letter in his own handwriting. It led to some awkwardness when explaining the situation to Yuki, but it got worse when he threw it out and Haruhi saw it.
- In the aptly titled Law & Order: UK story "Mixed Up Messages," Ronnie receives a text message from Matt—a picture of Alesha, wearing Matt's shirt, with him teasing her about how beautiful she looks. He promptly matter-of-factly tells Matt to be more careful about who he's sending messages to, thoroughly enjoying how horrified Matt is upon realizing his error. (For added bonus, they're having a Secret Relationship in this story and Matt is not only horrified that he's inadvertently revealed it to Ronnie, he's terrified Ronnie's going to blab to everyone else).
- A couple plans a Florida vacation. Since she has a few things to take care of first, he arrives a day before her. He gets settled in and tries to send her an e-mail, but mistypes the address. As luck would have it, the message went to an elderly widow who had just returned from her husband's funeral. She took one look at the message, screamed, and fainted. When her family ran to see what was wrong, they read:
- Happened in P. G. Wodehouse quite frequently.
- A Yellow Raft in Blue Water: Rayona picks up part of a letter at Bearpaw State Park that her current caretakers Sky and Evelyn mistake as a letter sent from Rayona's parents, which actually turns out to be a letter sent by the parents of another person, Ellen DeMarco, working at the state park.
- Our Miss Brooks: The plot of "Bones, Son of Cyrano".
- The classic example is from the sitcom Mama's Family, but most long-running sitcoms offer a variation.
- Good Morning Miss Bliss, "Love Letters"
- Are You Being Served?, "Dear Sexy Knickers"
- In Kenan & Kel this leads the later of the titular duo accidentally stealing someone else's girlfriend. Hilarity ensues.
- The Comic Strip Presents film Mr Jolly Lives Next Door features an escort agency accidentally receiving a letter meant for a hitman. The message? "Take out Nicholas Parsons".
- A variant of this trope in FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman's Season 2 Premire nearly costs Ruff his show. When Ruff wants to sell snack molds to promote his second season, the molds aren't working. He writes a letter to the mold maker, but he forgot to check WHO he's sending the message to and accidentally sends it to every newspaper in the country! Right after he meets his intern Blossom, the Board of Health plans to shut down his show.
Ruff: Aw, no, wait, no— Oh, man! I just accidentally sent that to every newspaper in the country!
- In Full House, a prank love letter was left to one of the girls. It then gets delivered to the wrong girl, who distresses over it and misplaces it. Repeat for every other character on the show, except the intended recipient.
- In an episode of My Name Is Earl, Earl helps a man who'd written a love letter Earl had prevented from being delivered by spending time with the intended recipient so she won't get involved with anyone else before the sender can get back into shape again. When she finds the letter, she thinks it's from Earl. Unfortunately, Earl's interested in her, too — she can spit and she likes Lynyrd Skynyrd! — so he lets her go on thinking he'd written it.
- Final Fantasy IX, in which Eiko leaves a note for Zidane. It never reaches him, and is eventually intercepted by both Steiner and Beatrix, who each think it's from the other.
- Incidentally, the game was greatly inspired by Shakespeare, who absolutely loved this kind of plots.
- In one episode of The Simpsons Lisa develops a crush on school bully Nelson. She is too scared to approach him and so writes a "Guess who likes you" note and asks Milhouse to pass it to him. Nelson does not realize that Milhouse is acting as an intermediary and so the resident Butt-Monkey ends up in the hospital.
- In an episode of Total Drama, Bridgette and Gwen find a love poem, and each believe it's from their respective love interest. Hilarity Ensues as they try to prompt Geoff and Trent into admitting it. Turns out it was from Harold to LeShawna