what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at work?

On a post last week, commenter Joey said: “I used to work with a guy that did triathlons and biked 12 miles to work in the Texas heat. He’d wear his Lance Armstrong wear on the way to work, strip down in the staff bathroom, use a wash rag to take a bath in the sink and get dressed for work. He didn’t wear underwear under his bike stuff.”

The gauntlet has been thrown down. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at work?

(Edited to add: People who don’t normally read the comments, READ THESE. We’re only 12 in as of this writing and they’re already amazing.)

{ 1,330 comments… read them below }

  1. Phoenix*

    OH MAN I HAVE ONE. The office I used to work in had a bedroom in it – fully furnished, with a bed and sheets and a dresser and side table (but no windows). At one point, the (very scary and extremely hated) manager was LIVING in the office with his wife and their two dogs. She would walk around the office in her house robe and slippers, carrying one of those dogs. She’d page her husband over the loudspeaker to come to his office, where they’d proceed to argue very loudly for the whole office to hear.

    When the HR manager tried to call the company insurance company to see how much of a liability it was to have an employee and his wife AND DOGS (I can’t get over that part) literally living in the office, the manager slapped the HR manager hard enough across the face to leave finger-shaped welts and give him whiplash. The manager was not fired or reprimanded in any way.

    Oh, how I don’t miss that place. That was the tip of the iceberg.

    1. tt*

      There are so many things wrong with that scenario, I think my jaw dropped.

      Did they ever get rid of that manager (and wife and dogs)?

      1. Phoenix*

        Copying part of a reply to someone else:

        The manager eventually left for unrelated reasons – the juicy gossip is that he had gotten a customer pregnant at a company event several years prior before his retirement, and coming back to our state had put him in the line of fire for child support because she hadn’t been able to find him before. The manager certainly did leave town with no notice (like we literally found a note saying he was gone on a Monday morning), and there were certain other corroborating events. Whatever the reason, the HR manager came back to work when he left.

      1. Phoenix*

        Oh, yes – the employee who was assaulted was out on disability (for both the whiplash and for diagnosed PTSD – I totally believe it) for a while, and did press charges. I don’t know what the outcome was there.

        The manager eventually left for unrelated reasons – the juicy gossip is that he had gotten a customer pregnant at a company event several years prior before his retirement, and coming back to our state had put him in the line of fire for child support because she hadn’t been able to find him before. The manager certainly did leave town with no notice (like we literally found a note saying he was gone on a Monday morning), and there were certain other corroborating events. Whatever the reason, the HR manager came back to work when he left.

      1. Phoenix*

        That was my reaction – I was on vacation when the assault happened, so it was relayed to me when I came back. If I’d been there, I don’t think I would have been able to restrain myself from quitting on the spot, student loans and crappy economy be damned. As it was, I was there for another four or five months before I managed to find a different job.

    2. Muriel Heslop*

      That is completely unbelievable! And was there a special reason your office had a full bedroom? Just curious. Seems like an invitation for disaster (as you have proven.)

      1. Phoenix*

        I heard later that the owner’s son had lived in it previously, so it was likely just an office that had been set up for him as a bedroom? It was definitely courting disaster – but the manufacturing and lab portions had so many safety and OSHA violations that the bedroom would have looked like nothing in comparison.

      2. neverjaunty*

        In some industries (law, IT) it’s not unusual for people to pull all-nighters and I have been at places that had a “crash room” for people to grab a little sleep – basically a repurposed supply closet. Not a fully furnished bedroom that anyone LIVED IN though.

        Oh wait, untrue. One former employer had a remote/satellite office that was a two-room suite (bedroom and office) so people working out of that location didn’t have to try and work from their hotel room. That got shut down the day a support staff member showed up at the office for a late-night project and walked on her manager going at it with a prostitute.

      3. MaryMary*

        I worked for a very small business (I think I was employer number five), and the owner had a bedroom/living area set up in a corner of our office with a futon. There was also a full kitchen and bathroom in the office. The owner split her time between our office and her home in Florida, and spent a decent amount of time on the road, so she was probably only around a quarter of the time. It was a little odd, but she was always fully dressed and professional when the rest of us were in the office.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I used to work at a lab where the owner lived in another state. He had a Murphy bed in his office and when he was on one of his monthly visits, he would sleep in the office to save money. There was a shower in the basement so he could wash up.

      1. Chloe Silverado*

        This isn’t my story, but I used to work for a homebuilder in their Design Center. We had fully mocked up rooms showing the various finishes and upgrades you could select. It could be a scenario like that?

        1. MJH*

          It’s like that episode of Are You Being Served? where they all have to live in the department store set that’s meant to look like a house.

      2. Phoenix*

        Copying my reply to someone else:

        I heard later that the owner’s son had lived in it previously, so it was likely just an office that had been set up for him as a bedroom?

      3. Agile Phalanges*

        I can’t speak for the original comment writer, but felt compelled to add a comment about why my (now-former) company had a fully furnished bedroom. When designing the building, the CEO included the bedroom as a way to save on hotel costs. As the corporate office of a company with other facilities in other locations across the country, we often had employees from one of those other locations as visitors to our location, often for an entire business week.

        The CEO figured that, rather than pay nearly $200 a night (including taxes) for these guests, they could stay on site for basically free, and designed the building accordingly. There was pass-through kitchen, and the door could be locked to keep people from the rest of the building out of the kitchen (or lock the door between the “apartment” and kitchen, instead or in addition). Then there was a living room area, quite spacious, with a couple of couches, a TV, and even a Wii. That room was sometimes used for meetings when we didn’t have out of town guests, but became their living room when they stayed on site. Then there was a very small bedroom, just large enough for a bed and one nightstand.

        Only a couple of people felt comfortable enough to use it, but one person was a little TOO comfortable. He was from one of our more eastern locations, and didn’t realize that a lot of people in our west-coast-based corporate office would come in quite early and work hours more compatible with the eastern location, so he was making himself a nice little breakfast in the kitchen, in his tighty-whities, without having locked the door between the rest of the building and the kitchen. Someone walked in to make themselves toast or get coffee or whatever, and they both got quite a big surprise.

        I don’t think ANYone used it as a hotel room after that, and the space soon was relegated to storage and meetings. The larger room was a great multi-purpose room, and we had cooking demonstrations, yoga classes, and more in there. The former bedroom was nearly useless, though, and was mainly used for storage.

      1. Phoenix*

        The HR manager did press charges, as well as being out on disability leave for a month or so – whiplash and PTSD. I don’t know how the charge-pressing went, though.

        I wasn’t at work the day it happened, or I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have been able to keep from quitting on the spot. One employee did – the poor guy had only been there for two days!

    3. Windchime*

      I love the idea of the wife wandering around the office in slippers and housecoat, carrying a dog. That is just so horribly bizarre. I’m glad you got out of there.

      1. Phoenix*

        Thanks – so am I!

        Typing all this out is making me appreciate my nice, normal job all over again…

        1. SerfinUSA*

          I worked for a person who falsified many documents to get financing for a house in the US built (she and hubby were Canadian citizens). While the house was being built, they lived in a room of the fabric wholesale/import warehouse her business was in. The building used to be a cabinet finishing place, so had a nice big bathroom with shower.

          It was really gross. Both of them had no class, no manners, and hubby would take naps on the breakroom couch, or be in the bathroom for long stretches of time, preventing workers from using the facilities. He also walked around the warehouse farting and cracking jokes about it, chatting with friends on the phone about his bathroom achievements, and showing us inappropriate vacation pictures of his wife.

          Wifey, on the other hand, was more about using employees as servants, enlisting (coercing) our assistance in defrauding her bank and insurance company, not to mention cheating customers. I could write 5 or 6 paragraphs on her other abuses…

          I did enjoy quitting that job in a blaze of verbal fury though. She came in one morning calling me out for helping another employee contact our state employment agency about time card doctoring. I was furious, and cut her off with the statement that she was lucky not to be deported for criminal activity. There was a brief interlude of me loudly mentioning how interested her customers might be in documentation of her constant cheating, some chit chat about customs, insurance fraud, etc. I closed with a rousing “I quit! And if I get any trouble filing for unemployment there will be hell to pay.”
          She did make trouble, and she was rewarded for her efforts. The unemployment office was quite impressed with my documentation of her ‘managerial style’ and awarded me benefits. And some anonymous person tipped off her biggest customer (someone who makes red carpet gowns for celebrities) about the cheating.

          She is no longer in business, but I still bear the scars of that 1.5 years of my life.

          1. SweetSweetBerryWine*

            Whoa. Please tell me you filled out the IRS whistle blower form! You could also get money. I called the EEOC and they didn’t care but believe me the IRS just LOVES to hear about people not paying their dues. I hope you’re okay and not too permanently scarred. I dealt with Baptists who brandished guns at work and threatened to kill me.

            I reported them to the police and was told it “was not their problem”. Yeah…

    4. Forest Plot*

      Did you work in a department store? As a kid, I always wondered if people lived in those fake rooms showcasing beds. The hard platforms under the bed spreads confused the heck out of me.

      1. Leah*

        There’s a whole book about kids running away from home to live at the Met Museum. I always thought that they should have tried to live at Macy’s , although it would have messed up the rest of the story line.

        1. Phoenix*

          I love that book! It’s called “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” – it was a childhood favorite of mine. :)

          1. Abradee*

            I used to work at a very large organization in a big city where housing is unbelievably expensive. This place also has an internship program that college kids and recent grads come from all over to participate in. Urban legend has it that there was once an intern from out of town who managed to get away with sleeping under his desk at night (George Costanza style, I suppose) in order to avoid spending money on temporary housing. He almost got away with it but was eventually caught right before his internship was coming to an end.

            Whenever money was tight or I was having housing issues, I would concoct an elaborate (though not serious) plan as to how I too could live at work without getting caught. Man, the money I would have saved on rent! And no commute!

            1. Joel*

              a similar thing happened with an NYU student who was caught living in the library ~2004. I don’t remember if he lived there for his entire college career or just one semester/school year.

    5. Liz in a Library*

      Whoa!

      I always thought it was strange that the store my mom worked for recently (and which was open to the public) was also the owner’s home, with her bed directly behind the register (with no barrier from public view, including through the full front glass windows).

      This adds an extra special level of crazy though. Geez!

    6. Vicki*

      I know about a company that had 4 little apartments (one in each corner of the office floor) with engineers living in them. I wondered: what if you leave the company? You lose your home!

      The employees used the company break room kitchens and apparently, during working hours, other employees used the bathrooms. Most weird.

      The county had them in some sort of work/living zoning.

    7. SF*

      Everything about this is so bizarre that it sounds like someone describing a dream. “For some reason there was a bedroom in the middle of the office, and the boss and his wife were living there, I think? And they’d yell at each other in their pajamas, and dogs were everywhere. Then one day he hit someone for no reason and left these weird marks on their face. Oh, and then I realized I was naked and had to take a geometry test I hadn’t studied for.”

  2. KayDay*

    There was a zumba class right outside my office (as in, outside under some trees) during lunch today. There’s nothing like hearing a song while at work to make you realize how inappropriate some of the lyrics are. And as much as I love zumba, I’m not sure I would be comfortable with my colleagues seeing me shake my tail feathers like that . Although, seeing that it was a zumba class made it less weird than when it was just some guy sitting around listening to reggeton under a tree in a tank top and shorts (before the class started)….the grounds surrounding our building are secure, so I had been wondering if I needed to alert security to an “intruder”.

    1. Fact & Fiction*

      I’m laughing at this because I’m a Zumba addict and go to classes 4-5 times a week. How funny to have to listen to that at work, though.

    2. Wren*

      My in laws are obsessed with line dancing. One time, my husband and I had a giggle on finding a printout belonging to my mother in law for a routine danced to “Smack That.”

  3. Apollo Warbucks*

    When I worked at a DIY store, I saw the cleaner performing a sex act of the manager in the bathroom, during the night shift

    1. reader*

      Had a co-worker who dated a former co-worker before I started who told me that had sex in the store room.

    2. MaryMary*

      At my former employer, a group of employees walked into a conference room for an early morning meeting and found two of their colleagues having sex. Even after being interrupted (maybe they didn’t notice?), the love birds finished before leaving the conference room.

      The worst part is that both of those individuals were married, and one was married to another employee.

      1. Haha!*

        Either this is more common than it should be, or I know where you work! I’ve definitely heard this story before.

      2. Ewwwwww*

        At one place I worked, a couple of people in a different department liked to make use of a storage room in their department. What they didn’t seem to realize was that it shared a very thin wall with another department’s employee restroom, and everything they did or said could be easily heard. Most people were very cautious about using that restroom.

    3. Bea W*

      Had a couple of co-workers who parked up on the roof the garage during lunch and did it there before returning to work. They’d walk back to the building separately to not arouse suspicion (or perhaps other things).

    4. Agile Phalanges*

      Not my story, but a former co-worker had previously worked for a company that manufactured high-end motor-coach-sized RVs (caravans in Australia, and possibly the UK too?). Two employees were caught in the act inside a coach that had just been completed and was about to be delivered to the customer. As I understand it, the employees were fired, and the coach was gutted and completely refinished. Not sure WHAT the employees did in there that it couldn’t just be cleaned, but I guess the company had high standards, which is nice to know.

    5. MisterPickle*

      “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that? I tell you, I gotta plead ignorence on this thing, because if anyone had said anything to me at all when I first started here that that sort of thing is frowned upon… you know, cause I’ve worked in a lot of offices, and I tell you, people do that all the time.”

  4. E.R*

    My boss, the CEO, has changed in front of me, top to bottom but leaving his underwear on, twice during conversations. The second time I saw it coming and tried to back away, but he followed me because he still had more to say. He does this to everybody, its just more uncomfortable for me because I’m a woman and he’s a man and I don’t know where to look. For anyone thinking this is some form of sexual harassment, you have to take my word for it that it’s not – he’s simply the weirdest person I’ve ever known.

    1. sjw*

      I had this happen to me once as well. I am female as was my boss, who I did not know very well. While we were meeting (door closed) she suddenly starting changing clothes, stripping down to undies while we talked, as if nothing strange was happening.

      She was later fired for behavior that stemmed from her raging alcoholism.

    2. KellyK*

      It doesn’t have to be malicious or deliberately making you uncomfortable to be sexual harassment. I’d say that certainly qualifies.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Agreed, although I can understand E.R. deciding to let it go if she’s sure that it’s just a profound lack of awareness and there’s nothing sexual about it.

    3. blu*

      I believe you. My old director used to come in my office and sit at the desk across from mine, through his leg up and then rotated out in the swivel chair. He would then sit like that, spread eagle, for the entire conversation. He was completely oblivious and it became a running joke in the office to refer to it as “leg sex”.

  5. anon*

    ~1000 person muti-floor office with attached cafe that apparently was not good enough for one woman who kept a coffee maker and WAFFLE IRON in her cube. She’d literally make waffles mid day like it was perfectly normal.

    1. Stephanie*

      And she just kept the batter in the fridge? I had to hide my space heater from facilities because of safety worries, but this lady got away with a waffle iron?!

    2. Judy*

      Sometime before 7 am, there was a guy that made bacon in the microwave every morning for a while. His truck had a camper shell, and it turned out that he was living in the truck, which seemed to involve lots of cooking in the office, and sleeping in the conference rooms. I had to wake him once when I had an early meeting. It also involved a round of the office around 9:30 am to make sure there were no donuts or anything out anywhere in the building.

      1. De Minimis*

        I heard about a guy like that at my current job, he was let go not long before I arrived…he was living in a camper and kept pestering co-workers to let him park on their property. He was also stalking some of the female employees, but I think he was fired for taking apart expensive equipment for no apparent reason and then not being able to put it back together again.

        1. Molly*

          He was stalking female employees, but *messing with equipment* is what got him fired.

          I only wish I were more surprised…

          1. De Minimis*

            It may have been a combination of things….one of the women he was freaking out was a manager, so he might have ended up getting canned even if the equipment thing hadn’t happened. The stalking was borderline—a group of women would walk every day and he’d join them without being asked, one employee found out that he had been in her neighborhood late one night [she lived in another town.] Just a lot of weird behavior.

            What seems to happen here is that people have a pattern of things that get them in trouble, but then it’s some other event that actually results in termination. I think maybe if he had not creeped people out they might not have fired him for that.

        2. Wander*

          One of my coworkers right now keeps “joking” about how people should let him set up his trailer in their backyard and live there. I’m pretty sure he’s not serious, but with the way he keeps carrying on about it, even after clearly being told no, I’m not sure.

          1. VintageLydia USA*

            My FIL does the same with hubby and I. He says he’s joking but sometimes I’m not so sure…

      1. Gene*

        For our small office of 5, we have two waffle irons and an electric griddle. Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day!

          1. Gene*

            Best was the morning we made a crock pot full of sausage gravy, brought in a half-gross biscuits, and invited everyone in the plant for morning break.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              My company does that for charity–they collect donations and you can get a big old plate of biscuits and gravy and sausage. Right now they’re having an ice cream social on the patio (though I’m having to avoid the treats right now because dieting).

              I love this job.

        1. SerfinUSA*

          My partner & coworkers celebrate Våffeldagen once a year, with everyone bringing assorted fixings.

          1. Anonylicious*

            Oh, my goodness. I had never heard of Våffeldagen before, and now I have a new favorite holiday.

            1. Jazzy Red*

              And behold, waffles will come thundering down from the sky riding on a sausage horse…

              Judgement Day and breakfast, all at the same time. Works for me.

      2. Jamie*

        Me too – if that waffle iron woman ever applies here I’ll lobby hard to get her hired.

        And this post today, when I have 2 audits to oversee and a meeting? Really? I need to close this right now and block AAM from my network until my day is over.

        And the first commenter wins as far as I’m concerned. Bathrobes, domestic bickering, slappy the manager…I don’t know what can top that.

      3. Melanie*

        I have a Nespresso machine in my cubicle, and no the coffee at work isn’t good enough:) Of course anyone is welcome to use it, and in my former place of employment people started buying their own pods to use it. I hope thats not really that strange:)

    3. TaterB*

      When I was teaching, my principal had a Fry Daddy in her office. To her, it was no big deal to offer us fresh fries (or fish) during staff meetings.

      As with many other stories, that was just the tip of the iceberg.

      1. Stephanie*

        Ew. Her office must have smelled terrible. Did she just have old grease sitting around everywhere?

      2. Lizzie*

        I would love it if my principal did this. She does consistently supply us with bagels and cookies, though, so I guess I can’t complain.

      3. Jean*

        I am reading and cackling and splitting my sides! Haven’t laughed this hard at an online forum since reading the “Weirdest Things Flung” comments on Flylady’s web site. (People fessed up, online, to tossing out stuffed animal heads, dead washing machines, decades-0ld jars of home-canned food, false teeth, you name it.)

    4. AdAgencyChick*

      I don’t know, there’s someone in my office who brings in his waffle iron once a month or so and makes waffles for the team. I don’t eat them because I eat Paleo, but everyone loves it. Gets him plenty of goodwill, and he cleans up after himself so why not?

      1. Anon for today*

        Yeah, there was a thing at one of my offices called “breakfast club” where groups of people brought in breakfast on Fridays. It started out simple, like donuts or quiche, but some groups took it pretty far. There was definitely a manager in one of the groups that brought in a waffle iron, batter, fruit toppings and bacon for his weeks and set them up in the empty cube next to his desk. Breakfast burrito bars and crockpot oatmeal bars also made appearances. Then that empty cube got a blender and the people in that group started making smoothies regularly … I was just waiting to see what small appliance showed up next in that cube.

      2. Allison (not AAM!)*

        I used to work at a small tech startup, one of the engineers brought in his bread machine, and a couple of times a week he’d make us fresh bread – all kinds – sourdough, cinnamon raisin, whole wheat… We’d take turns bringing in butter and fancy jams, and those were some of the best days. Unfortunately, it was costing me money to work there (I did say startup), so I had to leave. But I’ll never forget Dave and his bread…

      1. Mabel*

        I know! I have some frozen waffles, and I’m working from home today, but I should not eat them now. Too much starch in one day is not good!

    5. Hilary*

      Was she Leslie Knope?

      “We need to remember what’s important in life: Friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

      1. Mints*

        I’d be so happy working with Leslie Knope. I also realize the waffles are weird, but if I liked the people and it seemed clean, I think it’d be a perk

  6. Stephanie*

    Some people decided to dress up for Halloween at FirstJob. Somebody dressed up as Pinhead from Hellraiser and went all out, including the pins, white greasepaint makeup, and long-ass robe. It was creepy.

      1. Anonathon*

        I just spent 5-10 minutes googling “why does Pinhead have pins in his head?” It is hard to find a concise answer!

          1. Anonathon*

            Aha! According to the Hellraiser wiki: “Hell took him, placed nails in his head, and gave him no memory of his former life. He was now evil.” … I guess that wasn’t too helpful.

    1. Claire*

      Last Halloween at our school we had a supply teacher show up (on her first day!) in full costume, makeup and wig as a zombie. At a high school. No one else, staff or pupil, was dressed up. She told the entire staffroom at break that we were weird for not doing it, threw a hissy fit because the cake club (group of staff who baked cakes to share with other members of the group) didn’t offer her cake, and refused to come back to our school ever again.

      1. KerryOwl*

        I actually think the strangest part of this story is that NO ONE in an entire high school dressed up for Halloween. Where are you located?

        1. Anonsie*

          Where I went to school it wasn’t allowed and you would be sent home immediately. Staff weren’t allowed, either.

        2. Claire*

          I’m in Scotland. It’s just not a thing we do in school. We have a Halloween party for the youngest students (in S1) in the evening where they dress up in costumes and do activities and games and a ghost tour etc, but not during school hours.

          It was so out of place that everyone still talks about the weird supply teacher who was a zombie. It’s been several years, and some of the kids still laugh about her.

          1. hellokitty*

            Our office manager decided to get in the Halloween spirit and gave us all that disgusting peanut butter taffy. I said I felt sorry for her because no one was eating her candy. Someone else mentioned that he felt sorry that she was the only one in costume. Up to that moment, I hadn’t realized she was wearing a costume. (Hygiene and fashion were not her thing.)

      2. Willow Sunstar*

        I find it odd that someone would dress up on a first day without trying to first find out if it was a. normal there and b. allowed by the dress code.

    2. Not sure I should put my name on this, so I won't*

      Many years ago, one of our senior managers – male – arrived for Halloween dressed as “Little Red Riding Ho” – he proclaimed himself as such. Mini skirt, fake breasts and skimpy top, wig, high heels…. He swished.

      One of the men in sales came as a nun the same year.

      It was hilarious.

      1. EG*

        One of our department managers offered to dress up as anything for Halloween to the department who donated the most for a local charity. The winning department selected Ariel from the Little Mermaid, and he went all out with wig and costume, even makeup. Funniest thing ever to see him go outside on smoke break, since we share the smoking area with two other buildings. Another year he was Shirley Temple. Of course, the year he wore a pregnant nun costume and traffic kept slowing down to watch him on smoke breaks was even better!

      2. Liane*

        Just last night, oddly (very oddly!) I was thinking about an evening shift at work a few years back. It was around Halloween and I was helping a woman, when this male customer was shopping nearby. He was wearing a very similar costume, with very, high, spike-heel sandals. The lady & I both kept looking at him, then looking back at each other, and then, when he was out of earshot, discussing whether it was just a costume or if he was a cross-dresser. I think a couple other customers in line weighed in. I later learned that it was the latter, he was IT at the local Big University and he always dressed like that and was known for it.
        __
        Me, I stick to my Jedi robes for working Halloween. It’s the full handmade movie-quality costume I wear for appearances except that I have a toy lightsaber on my belt rather than the expensive and fragile prop-saber. Of course, I never win the prize–that goes to someone in a $30-40 off-the-rack costume.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yes! He looked exactly like guy in the movie. Public transit commuting was pretty common at that job, so I wonder if he took the Metro dressed as Pinhead.

        Also, I loved the Metro November 1 (or the day after weekend Halloween celebrations)–it was amusing seeing hungover people still in costume taking the Metro home.

        1. Molly*

          I live in Boston, and we have a guy who routinely rides the trains dressed authentically as Ben Franklin. I’d love to see him sitting next to a Pinhead or Freddy Krueger at Halloween…

          1. Lizzie*

            I want to see this. My commute would be so much more interesting if there were costumed historical figures. What line?

          2. Molly*

            Ummmm I am also Molly in Boston and my mom and dad go to this one bar just to get beers with him sometimes.

    3. Cath in Canada*

      We once had someone show up in a “Halloween costume” that looked more like full-on bondage gear – all leather straps, and not much coverage. I don’t know what he was thinking, especially because he’d been there for a few years and the most anyone else ever did for Halloween was wear a silly hat. Nice six-pack though :D

      1. Anon for this!*

        When I was 23 and teaching, I dressed up for Halloween using anything I could find. That year it was a red wig and a lot of bruise makeup from Walgreens. I SO did not think it through because some parents thought my haphazardly placed bruises made it look like I was a drug addict. Oh yeah, it was a middle school. I am dying of cringe right now.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I had nothing one year at a job where we DID dress up. I dug around and found this fake tattoo that looked like a bullet hole, so I stuck it in the center of my forehead and put on pale lipstick. People were all, “Why are you not wearing a–GAH!” :)

          1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

            As a person who is less than thin, I’ve thought recently that a perfect Halloween costume would be to stick a zipper on my forehead and go as a Slitheen.

      2. Anonymous*

        My office has a costume contest that’s not well participated in (at least these days). One of the older, fairly heavy gentlemen dressed up as Superman one year. Unfortunately, he’d bought a cheap, off-the-rack costume that was fairly thin and was a little too small for him, and he didn’t wear anything under it. It was the most awkward trick-or-treat and group photo ever – even in the photos you could clearly see EVERYTHING through that costume. And the worst part – management wouldn’t even bring it up with him or tell him he couldn’t be in the photo.

  7. PEBCAK*

    More funny than weird:

    My company held a lactation class for new mothers one day at noon, and the memo said, “Lunch will be provided. Please bring your own beverage.”

      1. Mommaries*

        As someone who is currently breastpumping in her low walled cube, why is everyone looking at me weird?

  8. Diet Coke Addict*

    As a teenager I worked at a big warehouse-style shoe store. We had a customer come in wanting a shoe sizer (those metal things that slide to tell you what size shoe you wear) and measured his hands with it. Then he would corner the sales staff one at a time and proceed to tell us all his revolutionary theory that everyone’s feet and hands were exactly the same size. Nothing could convince him that this was not the case, not even the evidence of his own feet and hands not measuring it. Those were “an aberration in the data” and it was “true for most people.”

    My very first job ever at age fourteen was at a local ice-cream shop. The owner was so dreadfully cheap that when the chocolate ice cream got low, he would send one of us to the Jewel down the street to buy two quarts of generic chocolate ice cream and mix it in to the Edy’s in the display case. Instead of just ordering more. He also made all his ice-cream cakes in the dead of winter and left them frozen in the display case for seven or eight months. Once there was a power outage and the cakes dripped onto each other–I watched him tell a customer the drips and splatters of chocolate ice cream on a white vanilla cake were “for decoration” despite looking exactly like you would expect splattered chocolate ice cream to look.

    1. Eliza Jane*

      The hand-foot guy is I think my favorite example of willful ignorance ever. This is always true! The fact that every piece of evidence I’ve ever found contradicts it does not change its truth!

      1. James M*

        I feel only pity for people who cling so hard to “facts” that are continually contradicted by reality.

        1. Jamie*

          Don’t pity us, we’re happy in our delusions….as long as you aren’t smacking us in the face with reality.

          And everyone loves being audited because they understand it’s a useful process and they appreciate having their deficits pointed out and then having me track their progress in fixing them. They DO love it and they DO love me for doing it. I believe it therefore it is so.

    2. Rose*

      Why would you need a shoe sizer to measure that?? Couldn’t you just put your hand next to your foot? It’s kind of the best part.

      1. seesawyer*

        Well obviously there’s something wrong with that measurement method, as it didn’t show his hand and foot being the same size. Therefore he needed better measuring tools. …Now I am picturing this guy escalating from placing hand and foot next to each other, to a ruler, to the shoe sizer, to like lab-grade calipers, each time sincerely believing that the better tool will get him the answer he wants.

    3. E.R*

      I love the hand-foot guy. If I dug far back enough into my employment history, I could find so many colleagues and customers just like him.

    4. Carrington Barr*

      The lengths of your hand and foot do not correlate, but the length of your forearm (from the inside of your elbow to the inside of your wrist) and your foot DO.

      1. Elsajeni*

        1. This is true.
        2. I’m going to really enjoy spending the rest of the day picturing hundreds of AAM readers, all over the world, furtively bending under their desks to compare their feet to their forearms. (Like I… totally didn’t just do.)

        1. TK*

          I had never heard this fact before in my life, and I just saw it on Reddit two days ago, and now I’m encountering it here. Isn’t there a name for that sort of phenomenon?

            1. MommaTRex*

              Thank-you!!! I’ve been trying to find the name of this for a couple of years, but in a twist of irony, I didn’t hear the phenomenon mentioned more than once!

          1. Tinker*

            Er, that was meant to be the furtive shifty gaze of someone who totally did not just do that.

        2. Salyan*

          And…. I now have great respect for anyone who can actually get their forearm next to their foot to measure it. :-P

      2. Spidergirl*

        Well my weird office story is that my boss just walked into the office to find everyone upsidedown measuring their feet against their arms to test this…

      3. teclatwig*

        Ouch! Just pulled something…er…while *not* contorting myself to confirm. Not at all, nosirree….

        In other news, I am so chuffed that the measurement from my elbow to my wrist is exactly one foot.

        1. teclatwig*

          Hey, that sounded like a joke. Darn, I wish I were that clever. I meant 12″, a useful measuring stick.

      4. Mabel*

        A (thin) friend swears that if she folds a pair of pants in half and can reach the waistband completely around her neck that they will fit her waist (in other words, her waist is twice as far around as her neck). I don’t think this could work for everyone.

        OK, just measured my neck. I WISH my waist was twice the circumference of my neck!

    5. kris walks around*

      Was the ice cream job in Illinois? Sounds like an ice cream shop operator in my hometown.

        1. kris walks around*

          Yes! Hello from an ex-Illinoisan! I had my share of crappy teenage jobs in Palatine, but at none of my jobs did my boss wake me in the night to make me try to salvage melted ice cream.

          1. Diet Coke Addict*

            Oh my god! Yes, that shop was just as horrifying as the place looked from the outside–the last time I was there visiting my parents, it had closed for good. (Or perhaps due to rampant health code violations, I don’t know.)

            1. Current IL*

              This guy was selling “31 flavors” for many years before “Eddys”. Think the franchise may have been revoked. He was a charecter.

              1. Diet Coke Addict*

                I am so entertained to find other AAM readers who know exactly who I’m talking about!

                1. cuppa*

                  My brother lived down the street from there for about 10 years. Glad I never got ice cream there.

      1. Cristina in England*

        I always thought that people who obscured almost every detail in their posts were slightly paranoid about being identified, but I guess I was wrong!

        1. Cristina in England*

          (obviously no one in the ice cream thread is trying to obscure detail, I mean people who are afraid of being outed to their managers for complaining about them, etc)

  9. ThursdaysGeek*

    I’m so looking forward to reading all the comments on this one!

    I kept black widows as pets at one job, but they came with the office and all I did was contain them. (And feed them. And name them. Perfectly normal, I tell you!)

    1. Mike C.*

      You remind me of one of my advisers in college. We were at the field station when he turn over a bucket, got really excited and told us all to gather around. He then points and shouts, “Aren’t those the biggest black widow spiders you’ve ever seen!? Look at the size of the hour glass!”

      Admittedly, it was pretty cool…

    2. KerryOwl*

      My husband and I have adopted the spiders that made their webs on our front porch. They’re not black widows (though we have seen those in our yard as well) but they ARE really big and creepy. He feeds them daddy longlegses.

        1. KerryOwl*

          I agree! But they are also apparently very delicious, and we are not going to run of out daddy longslegses any time soon. Mama’s gotta eat.

      1. Katie*

        Aww, daddy longlegs are the only spiders I can tolerate. My roommate and I have an “agreement” with the ones that live in our house. They get free reign of all corners and crevices and eat other bugs/spiders to their tiny little hearts’ content. As soon as they enter the shower, all bets are off–die, sucker! Die!

        It’s a relationship of mutual respect and understanding.

        1. ThursdaysGeek*

          Ah, see I keep jumping spiders as my kitchen spiders, to eat the other bugs. Besides, they are cute and fuzzy and they look at you. I’m pretty ambivalent about daddy longlegs, although I’d probably remove them from the shower and take them outside. Normal bathtub spiders go down the drain, because there’s no ambivalence there!

          1. Rana*

            I love jumping spiders. Once I was even able to play with one on my computer screen; it kept chasing the cursor!

        2. Elizabeth the Ginger*

          You might not be seeing daddy longlegs, but cellar spiders. They’re similar-looking (and equally harmless) but daddy longlegs (a.k.a harvestmen) are not actual spiders but from another branch of the arachnid family. They have only one body segment, not two; they don’t make silk and therefore can’t make webs; they usually live outside; and many of them are scavengers that don’t eat live prey but instead consume dead stuff (dead bugs, leaves, etc.). Cellar spiders have two body parts like other spiders; they make messy (not neat and spiral-y) webs in garages, attics, basements and windows; and they do catch live bugs. Their webs aren’t sticky – it’s just the tangled, irregular shape that traps bugs.

          Wikipedia just told me, however, that both these critters are often called “daddy longlegs,” though that disagrees with the books on spiders here in my classroom. :-)

            1. DMented Kitty*

              Ugh, I hate those things. They keep trying to fly into our patio doors, although we have a screen — but that means I don’t want to use the patio doors to get out. They do disappear when the day gets sunnier.

              And yes, I typically leave the daddy longlegs/cellar spider alone, don’t cross my path, I won’t cross yours. And the tub is off limits for anything creepy-crawly.

              Also, those house centipedes — UUUUUGGGH. Surprisingly, I am OK with millipedes, though.

          1. UK Nerd*

            In the UK, daddy longlegs usually refers to the crane fly, which isn’t an arachnid at all. This is why I now don’t call anything a daddy longlegs.

    3. Jamie*

      And that does it…I will never look for another job because that might be awaiting me.

      I physically froze in fear reading that.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        Ah, but Jamie — I’m a database geek — maybe you’ll hire me! :)

        (Don’t worry, I don’t plan on moving away from the Pacific NW, so you’re safe.)

    4. Monodon monoceros*

      There was a spider (no idea what species) with an amazing web in my office window earlier this summer. I watched that cool spider do web maintenance for weeks, and then I went on vacation and when I came back the spider was gone and the web was a mess. I’ll admit I was sad and probably spent way more time than I should have wondering where the spider was and if it was OK.

    5. StellaMaris*

      To each their own, but weren’t you worried about liability issues? Black widow bites can be very dangerous, if the person bitten has other kinds of allergies. My nephew has a peanut allergy, got bitten by a black widow, and spent a week in intensive care.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        They are very dangerous; it doesn’t sound like the allergy made it any worse. That’s the reason they went into a jar: because when I started they were just hanging around the office. Oh! You mean I should have squished them?

        1. StellaMaris*

          Squish or confine, your choice. Since I am mortally terrified of anything with more than four legs, I would have called the exterminator from my cell phone, at least a block away from the office! What’s even worse is that brown recluse spiders are now being found in the Chicago area, and that just makes my day in all kinds of ways.

          1. Hlyssande*

            There’s a picture set floating around on tumblr and cheezburger where someone found an egg sac in their tennis shoe, then found the proud mama deeper in the shoe. It was a black widow.

            The third picture is the shoe, sitting in a flower pot, on fire.

            Yep.

          2. Contessa*

            I’m with you on this one. I would be down the hall in the janitor’s room begging him to GO KILL THEM WITH FIRE RIGHT NOW! I’m an avowed leggist, but I’m only prejudiced against anything with 6+ legs because I’m okay with starfish.

          3. Jessica (the celt)*

            Are brown recluse spiders uncommon in the Chicago area? I’m originally from West-Central IL (near Quincy), and my grandfather was bitten by a brown recluse over 10 years ago, so I didn’t realize they weren’t further north already. He was diabetic and hadn’t realized what happened (also had eye problems, so he didn’t realize it wasn’t just a “regular spider” that had bit him or that it caused such a bad reaction) until my uncle noticed it when he was putting on his socks one day. He had a nasty wound due to the venom’s effects, and it took ages to finally heal up after he received care. Whenever his wound care nurse would come to change bandages out, he’d ask everyone if they wanted to see the wound (no one did), and he had a gross scar where his skin was all dented from the loss of flesh. Yuck.

    6. EngineerGirl*

      This reminds me of the rats we found in the girls locker room when we were in junior high. The science teacher (a woman) caught them and put them on display in cages in her class. This immediately made enemies with the gym teacher who was embarrassed over the lack of cleanliness of the gym.

    1. Anon*

      Austin represent! I would NOT be shocked for a second that this biker is an Austinite… we are an interesting city!

      1. WorkingMom*

        When it comes to the triathlete biker, I just *have* to say that you’re not supposed to wear underwear with bike shorts. I realize that part of the story was about a 10th of the weirdness. But I cannot help myself. I feel the need to point this out, haha.

        1. Nikki T*

          I sort of read it as an assertion that he was just standing, naked, bathing at the sink, rather than the fact that he wore no underwear under his bike shorts.

          1. Mabel*

            What happens? I used to ride about 20 miles every Sunday morning, and I wore underwear because I didn’t know I shouldn’t. I don’t think that was a long enough ride to cause problems. What happens if you wear underwear under bike shorts?

        2. anita*

          bike commuting isn’t weird. I ride 18 miles each way because it takes just as long to drive. totally normal not to wear underwear under your bike stuff. i guess the sink part is unfortunate, but if more employers encouraged alternative modes of transportation this would not have been an issue.

          1. CTO*

            Biking to work isn’t weird (I do it every day, too) but it’s super weird to strip down and bathe in the middle of a multiperson bathroom. That’s definitely a line no one should cross, even if their employer doesn’t offer a bike-friendly alternative.

            1. Erica*

              Well, when it comes to not biking at all vs. being a little “weird,” I’m going to go for weird. Then again, reasonable bike-commute-friendliness is a hard limit for me when it comes to jobs.

    2. Cog*

      Definitely had a “You know you’re a triathlete if…” moment here, because my reaction was “Huh? That’s perfectly normal!” (I’ve never been to Austin and my workplace thankfully has an actual shower, but… yep, triathletes are weird. :-) )

  10. Jake*

    I went out in the field and came back to my bare footed boss kicked back in my chair with his bare feet on my desk. He also had a block of cheese and a knife sitting on my desk, indicating he had been using my desk as a cutting board.

    He asked me earlier that day not to go in the field unless it was an emergency. Well I went out to the field to solve an emergency, but I lingered an extra half hour to observe the concrete pour right next to the emergency, so I had my hard hat covered in concrete splatters.

    When I walked in the door he was facing away from me and said, “where you been?” With a mouth full of cheese. I told him about the emergency but not the concrete. Without turning around he said “so… When I turn around your hardhat is gonna be clean. ”

    At this point I gave up and said, “that’s not accurate.” He laughed and said, “get your ass to work on that proposal.”

    I then had to help my bare foot boss out of my chair because it was too low to the ground and he couldn’t get out himself.

    To this day I have no idea how long he was there or how he knew I’d stopped by that concrete placement.

    1. MR*

      Well, concrete does have a distinct smell…so he probably smelled the concrete on you without actually needing to see you…

      1. Jake*

        While concrete does have a distinct smell, how did he know it would only be on my hard hat? I had taken precautions to keep my clothes clean, so the only concrete on me was small specks on my hard hat and a small chunk on my boot.

  11. Zach*

    To the original commenter:

    Umm, you *don’t* wear underwear under cycling shorts. If you do, you’ll have all sorts of problems.

    I guess I’m one of those weird people, too. I go for long road/mountain bike training rides before or after work and will wear my cycling kit for those rides. For pre-work riding, I’ll shower at home, get sweaty during my workout, then freshen up in the work bathroom.

      1. Zach*

        Now that I don’t do!

        Some folks treat bathrooms like locker rooms. If you are a bike commuter/jog commuter and your office doesn’t have good places to change, the bathroom is your only alternative. it sucks.

            1. fposte*

              Why should I care?

              I mean, he can bring water into the stall and rinse over the bowl if he’s determined, but the default isn’t “it’s important to allow people to bike in and wash,” it’s “you don’t get to stand around nude in the bathroom.” If you can’t figure out how to bike in and wash without standing nude in the bathroom, that’s not work’s problem.

          1. Wren*

            When I was a student, I changed out of my cycling clothes in the bathroom outside of the stall, but then, student life has different customs than work life. I don’t think I’d do that now in my work life.

            In any case, people seldom entered while I did my quick change (other than the other cycle commuting student my class,) and if they did, I’d just say a quick, “pardon me,” and quickly get on with it.

      2. Kevin W.*

        I do (after morning runs, not bicycling), but it’s a single bathroom with a locking door that I use, so perhaps not that weird. Coincidentally, that bathroom has a shower in it as well (part of Green certification for our building)…but said shower hasn’t worked for the past 4 months, so it’s been all ShowerPill wipes and no-rinse shampoos for me in there.

    1. fposte*

      I believe Joey’s point about the underwear was that this guy was therefore standing naked in the shared space of the work bathroom. If this is you, I think people would like you to move that into the stalls.

        1. Fact & Fiction*

          I would think the professional thing to do would be to go in the stall, put at the very least pair of underwear on, and then take the birdbath by the sink.

        2. Molly*

          …not your coworkers’ problem. No one wants to walk into the bathroom and see their marketing manager stark naked. Awkward!

          Also, I think damping a washcloth at the sink then bringing it into the stall would be very easy, as would just packing and putting on some underwear.

          1. Traveler*

            There are also wipes and things you can buy and keep in a bag you bring with you to take a quick wipe down.

            1. anita*

              none of these suggestions work for women who are susceptible to infections. it’s the management’s fault for not encouraging multi-modal transportation.

              1. Shell*

                If a terry-cloth wipe isn’t suitable for cleaning off, then perhaps biking to work isn’t the mode of transportation for you. Take the bus?

                I’m all for multi-modal transportation, I can but don’t drive, but come on. While it’d be great if every workplace has a shower, if that option isn’t available the answer is NOT to subject coworkers to naked bodies.

                1. Karowen*

                  Let’s just make a general rule: Unless you are (a) a sex worker (b) on fire or (c) in an actual shower where people at least know to avert their eyes, you should never be naked at work.

              2. Molly*

                Several of those options would be fine if you were through, but that’s hardly management’s problem. Your work isn’t really obligated to provide you with showers or a locker room. I wish I could bike to work, but it’s not possible in my area. I don’t blame my management; I take the bus then bike later. It’s great when management can provide those things, but it’s far from an obligation.

              3. phxchic*

                There are witchhazel wipes that comes individually wrapped just for this. You can also buy anti-bacterial wipes at a home health store or larger pharmacy if so inclined. I’ve done both with success.

                OT – best way I’ve found to prevent nasty infections in my bike shorts is taking acidolphilus supplements daily. That helps regardless of ride length.

    2. Lizabeth*

      Yes, you can…the trick is to find very, very, very flat seamed underwear. Never had a “problem” yet.

    3. Gene*

      Underwear under cycling shorts is a quick route to ER quality chafing. I had a seam come loose in a set of cycling shorts on the second day of STP (Seattle To Portland ride) one year and had to take the next three days off work because I couldn’t wear pants while the hole in my inner thigh healed.

          1. Gene*

            Many of the regular commenters here have seen a photo or two of me in a kilt. Sadly, safety requires that I wear long pants.

        1. Who are you?*

          There’s probably a manager somewhere in the world who would insist that this isn’t a good reason for calling in sick though. Probably the same manager who told me, hours after my grandfather died, that work needed me more than my grandfather did now.

        2. louise*

          My husband almost called in “no pants” once after he forgot to move his load of work clothes from the washer to the dryer. I think he ended up a little late and with damp seams, IIRC.

        3. Anonymous*

          I just read that while scrolling through without reading the context first, I choked on my coffee.

      1. Cristina in England*

        If you’re just commuting, you probably don’t need all the special gear. Triathletes would, of course, but it is possible to commute to work by bike wearing pretty normal clothes, not even bike shorts. Or bike shorts with underwear.

        1. ella*

          I realize I’m posting this so late that nobody will see it, but I agree. Not so long ago I was commuting almost 40 miles per day by bike. I had a couple of pairs of mountain bike shorts that I always wore (loose shorts with a gusset so I wasn’t sitting on seams), but I didn’t wear padded shorts underneath. I definitely wore underwear, and not flat-seamed underwear, either. I never had a problem.

          Maybe all y’all need new saddles that don’t tear up your inner thighs. ;)

          1. Rebecca*

            Agreed, as well! I commuted about 20 miles a day by bike for years in a hilly city and did it all in my work clothes. Never had an issue other than needing about 5 minutes to cool down on warm days.

            1. PoisonIvy*

              Everyone’s body composition and temp is different. My commute is 16 miles round trip and if I wore my work clothes, I’d be spending my entire morning in damp, sweaty dresses. I don’t even want to think about the underwear situation. I wear full cycling gear, then I change (in the single bathroom, not the communal one). My manager (who also cycles) always marvels that I come in looking like a sweaty mess, yet 10 minutes later I’ve done a “glamourous transformation” (her words).

  12. Jenn*

    When I worked in TV news we were across the street from a bar. One year, during a drinking holiday (Cinco de Mayo or St. Patrick’s Day- something like that) everyone went to get drinks. One guy got drunk, came back to work to bug the overnight crew and peed himself. He then slept in his car rather than driving home drunk (points for that, I guess) and came into work the next day with his pee-dried pants and worked a shift.

    1. Rose*

      +points for never driving drunk even when you’ve peed yourself, -points for not just taking a cab home to change out of your pee pants

  13. Eric*

    I once worked at a pretty buttoned-up real estate management office. One random afternoon, one of the older women that worked there was wandering around the office with an open can of Coors Light… and as far as I know, no one said anything.

    1. E.T.*

      I used to work in commercial real estate. Yeah, it was pretty normal for brokers in my old office to drink in the afternoon. Usually at 4:00pm, brokers start bringing their wine and glasses out of their desk drawers, and we all would do a little wine tasting. Or we would go to a bar or happy hour somewhere. Most clients gifted us wine, some of the brokers had the wine from their wine clubs delivered to the office, and we’re in Northern CA (one big wine country), so there was always wine around.

      I later heard via office gossip (so not sure how accurate it is, but that’s people said) that half of the brokers in my old office had DUIs.

      1. BTownGirl*

        Yup! When I worked in commercial real estate, one of my coworkers used to bring up Slurpees on Friday and mix them with Patron. Classy, I know. However, it tastes glorious and it, frankly, I probably owe my marriage to my then-coworker-now-husband to the 800 oz of liquid courage known as the Patron Slurpee.

      1. Chinook*

        When I worked for a weekly newspaper, we would crack open various alcoholic drinks once the paper was put to bed. The stash was under the coffee machine where anyone coming in could see it.

        1. JournalistWife*

          My husband is a weekly editor and his old boss/paper would do that, too! Lots of times they worked until midnight finishing the paper (since the weekly came out the morning after night-council meetings) so I guess it made sense that they’d want a beer (or many) after, but the owner was also a raging alcoholic and I was relieved when hubs found a better job where that wasn’t part of the office culture.

    2. Anonyby*

      Sounds about right to me. My real estate company will often have beer and/or wine at office parties and lunch meetings. And with my current office, you can pretty much count on not being able to find the manager and administrator after such events if they’re at one of the local restaurants, because they’ll still be there nursing beers.

  14. nep*

    Mine’s not related to a co-worker. More like a co-critter. Thought it was pretty weird till I read some of these. Jeeeeeez.
    Anyway — after some super heavy rains in West Africa, a huge frog in the office toilet when I lifted the seat to use it. And it was a fairly posh little office building– not some makeshift space.

    1. Frances*

      Heh, that just reminded me that mine is probably the time my boss’s pet ferret (she was a family therapist and brought him in to relax her younger patients) was wandering around my desk, climbed into the wastebasket and somehow got under the trashbag (which was tied around the rim). Thankfully I heard him thrashing around trying to get out and ripped open the trashbag before he suffocated.

    2. Kirsten*

      I worked in the Florida panhandle for a while, and our building dated back to the Seminole wars (think pre-Civil War). Capturing lizards and releasing them outside was a regular part of the job. A little traumatic at first for a Midwestern girl like me…

    3. MaryMary*

      We had a snake problem in an office I worked at. I never saw one myself, but I’m told they were of the garter snake variety. We also had a rodent problem, which was probably related to the snake problem. An exterminator solved both problems.

    4. ThursdaysGeek*

      We had an door to the outside next to my office, and we’d open it on nice days to get some fresh air. Right outside was a sage rat colony (Washington ground squirrels, like a little prairie dog), and one time one came in, down the hall, and was by the HR and owner offices before I discovered it and captured it. After that, I made a barrier in the door so they couldn’t get in.

    5. Judy*

      One day in my office I heard some scritchy scratchy noises. I happened to be looking up when the raccoon lifted the ceiling tile and peered down at me. I banged on my desk really quickly, and it went away.

      Building maintenance put a live trap above the ceiling tiles in a nearby hallway and baited it with vienna sausages. They caught a raccoon 2 hours later. I did hear the next week that several people in my area of the office had heard something in the days before I saw it.

      This was office space in a building with lots of warehouse space, I’m sure it got into the building through a large door and found its way up.

      1. Meg Murry*

        Oh, the raccoon just reminded me! I worked in a factory that used lots of water in its processes, enough that we had to run a water treatment section to remove most of the chemicals in the water before sending it to the sewers for further treatment. That section of the plant never smelled very good, especially in summer when the solid sludge truck hadn’t picked up in a while. The factory had giant ovens too, so it was usually at least 80 degrees in the winter, and could get to 110 in summer. But one week it was smelling especially bad. My coworker kept saying “It smells like something died in here.” and I kept telling him, “yeah, I know – please go do a more thorough cleaning of the water treatment area and I’ll call for an extra sludge pickup.” Even after extra cleaning, it still smelled there. Finally, the coworker started hunting down the smell, and found a family of dead baby raccoons under a pallet that must have gotten in the dock doors, eaten some of the chemicals and died under there. I felt bad for not listening when he kept telling me that something was wrong, but I was glad I wasn’t the one who found them and had to clean it up.

        Then there was the day the live raccoon came into the plant in the night and the second shift manager called the police wanting them to send animal control over. The police were not amused, and didn’t send anyone over. The raccoon finally disappeared, and the next day I got a call from one of our customers saying that he apparently hitched a ride in one of the open top containers of products we shipped to them and ran a muck in their plant too until he disappeared – possibly in a container to one of their customers?

        1. Chinook*

          “Then there was the day the live raccoon came into the plant in the night and the second shift manager called the police wanting them to send animal control over. The police were not amused, and didn’t send anyone over”

          Lucky police. DH’s job with the national police force includes the title of “conservation officer” which means they do get called to random wildlife and farm critter calls. One of them involved a goat and they told a rookie that he had to put him in the back of the cruiser (while the rest of them held back laughter – normally they just shoo them off the road until the owner comes). Rookie, a farm boy, managed to catch the goat and put him in the back seat to take him back to the owner. Unfortuantely, no photos were taken.

          1. Aisling*

            My boyfriend also put livestock in the back of his patrol car once: it was a calf. He knew who it belonged to, and it was the easiest way to transport!

    6. fposte*

      We have bats. What I don’t understand is why, in a three-story building, they’d end up in the basement.

      1. Mander*

        I used to work in a university museum in a historic building that was home to some sort of endangered bat species. One day I came to work to find an upended trash can with some books on it in the middle of the main hallway — the curator had trapped a bat that had managed to get inside, and she was waiting for the bat specialist to come over from the biology department to pick it up.

      2. Liina*

        Bats like an environment that is extremely stable. And basements are – stable in humidity, temperature etc. At least here in Europe bats hybernate and live in caves and tunnels – pretty similar conditions to a basement.

    7. Peep!*

      I used to work at a library for a while that was an old fancy building complete with drawing rooms and fireplaces and weird nooks and crannies… my coworker rescued two baby possums from the window wells, three birds from the fireplaces, and a baby raccoon somewhere else.

      There was also the random jackass who dumped a pet cockatiel on the grounds… I found him sitting on a car and popped him in the purpose-built bird aviaries leftover from when security guards used to live on the property! Luckily one soft-hearted employee took him home. :)

      1. Fish Microwaver*

        Had a possum fall through the accostic tile ceiling one night after heavy rain, in front of a co-worker from Africa. She screamed the place down. So funny.

        1. Peep!*

          Ha! I think I would’ve freaked out, but laughed — possum was probably as scared as she was. Hee.

    8. Helena*

      I once attended a conference in a remote mountain location (think ski chalet). It was a nice day outside, so we had the door to the outside open to let in the fresh air. Apparently attracted by the smell of our morning bagels and cream cheese, a bear wandered in. Shouting by the people closest to the door scared him off.

      The guy who was talking did not see the bear, and thought we were making the whole thing up to get out of his talk. When several of the more foolhardy people ran after the bear and snapped a picture, the lecturer grudgingly accepted the bear’s existence, but he insisted on getting his 15 minutes of bear-disrupted lecture back.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        My friend’s seminar was once interrupted by a massive spider that ran through the audience, making everyone squeal and lift their feet off the floor; she thought we were pulling a prank, too! But the bear story is a whole other level of awesome

  15. Alter_ego*

    My male boss sometimes makes my male coworkers follow him to the bathroom while he pees if they go to him to ask a question. So like:

    Coworker: *walks into boss’ office* “hey boss! Can I ask a question?”

    Boss: “sure! Follow me!” *gets up, walks down hall to bathroom. Begins to pee* “so what’s up coworker?”

    So happy that because I’m a woman, this has not happened to me.

      1. Cat*

        I used to work with a woman who had gone to law school back in the ’60s when the profession was 99% male. She made a point of having business conversations with other women in the bathroom because men had done that as a way of excluding her for so many years. I thought it was kind of cool.

      2. Eric*

        Uh, well, sort of.

        LBJ was infamous for making his staff stay in the (stall-less) bathroom while he pooped.

        1. Molly*

          I think I’m comfortable saying there is no version of that, regardless of inclusion, that deserves to be called “good.” It’s 100% terrible and shameful behaviour no matter who he was doing it to.

    1. MsMollyD*

      I worked in book publishing and the office was mostly women. Our editor in chief would do exactly this. Start a conversation, and have one of us follow her to the bathroom to continue it while she peed. This office also had my boss who once sat down on the floor in front of my desk and cried because a FedEx shipment was late. She also reportedly threw her phone across the office once just as the company’s CEO walked by. He just looked at her, said “bad day, huh?” and kept walking.

    2. Nina*

      I had a coworker who would follow me to the bathroom when he had a question. And this was a one stall, small office situation. So he’d be standing right outside the door. I would tell him “Uh, can you give a minute and I’ll answer your question once I’m done?”

      What a weirdo.

    3. Loose Seal*

      I had a male co-worker follow me into the Ladies’ Room and stand near the sinks to continue his conversation while I peed in the stall. To be fair to him, we did have a unisex bathroom with three stalls in our building but the one I went in wasn’t that one.

    4. LV Ladybug*

      That reminds me of the movie Working Girl, where Tess goes into the men’s restroom to tell her boss about a possible deal. He stands in the stall and demands for her to give him more toilet paper.

    5. Ornery PR*

      I was working on a movie once, and during a short lunch break, I accidentally spilled soda on my boss’s shirt/tie. He was the writer/producer, but also the lead actor and had a scene coming up for which he was already in wardrobe. So the two of us ran into the bathroom and started trying to wash his shirt and tie in the sink. So, not only was his shirt off, but he thought it was appropriate to pee right there, since we were in the bathroom and all (no stalls, just a toilet and sink). I was pretty mortified, and yelled at him to stop, but he didn’t care. He just told me to turn around. Us walking out all flustered together from the bathroom, him topless and me carrying his shirt, into a busy courthouse (we were filming on location), must have been quite a hilarious scene to watch. Though the continuity girl didn’t think it was so funny.

      1. AIP*

        Aww and for a second there I was thinking it was Tommy Wiseau and you worked on The Room *”Oh, hi Ornery!”*

  16. ExceptionToTheRule*

    We have a male employee (with all sorts of personal hygiene issues) who has more than once missed the urinal in the men’s room (which is in a stall) and peed on the shoes of the guy standing at the sink.

    1. Amy B.*

      I have at least 3 teenaged boys in my house every weekend and I am very familiar with “misses.” (Shivers) That’s not a miss! That’s a malfunction.

    2. Mints*

      Omg! How far away is the sink? Is he even trying? Does he have an anatomical anomaly?
      (I’m just wondering out loud)

      1. ExceptionToTheRule*

        If it’s anything like the women’s room, we’re talking about maybe 24 inches from center mass of the toilet to center mass of the sink, but again, it’s a stall, so I don’t begin to know how the geometry on that works…

    3. Jen*

      We’ve had a person here just leave a load in the middle of the hallway. I ain’t kidding. They have such horrible hygiene issues that they’ve been talked to multiple times about it by HR and supervisors, but doesn’t do any good (and no its not an issue related to health or disability of some sort, they really just are that disgusting). The company wants to let them go but are afraid to do so (rumor is this person threatened to sue), so it just continues. You can tell when they’ve been in the vicinity by the smell.

      A person in another division was caught using towels from the locker room to clean himself up after #2, and rather than thrown them away put them with the other work clothes/dirty towels to be shipped to laundry. And I can’t tell you how many women don’t wash their hands after using the facilities which drives me nuts. I think we need to start requiring company wide training on basic hygiene!

      1. Anonymous*

        For a little while we had a mysterious mad pooper. He would stuff the men’s room toilet full of paper towels, then “ice the cake” and flush a few time to make it extra special. He apparently would also save some poop and leave it in random places – hallways, conference room tables, microwaves, under the printer, anywhere that was not locked up. I say save because the poor unfortunates who had to clean it up reported it was always cold, and there’s no way we would fail to notice poop staying in the microwave for long enough to get cold during prime lunch hours.

      2. Jean*

        Haven’t these people read the memo?! The only appropriate extracurricular place to poop is in the potted plants!

    1. Rose*

      Someone did this at my summer job in college. We all worked there for like three summers in a row. No accent, no accent, SUDDEN BRITISH ACCENT. We were all baffled. Last year you had a Chicago accent and we all knew you then!

        1. Chinook*

          Yeah, but changing your accent after being abroad is a sign of someone with a good ear for accents. It took me 6 months back in Canada before I stopped talking “ESL English.” And don’t even get me started on the Scottish accent that kept slipping when the only English I read or heard outside the classroom was in the form of Diana Gabaldon books.

          1. Mabel*

            Sometimes I’ll come across words that I don’t know how to pronounce or spell in U.S. English. There are a couple of words I learned in Spanish, and I never knew the English version. And there are a couple of words that I first saw spelled out in Australia, so I always get mixed up with how they should be spelled here (U.S.). And then there are the words I mispronounce (or more likely, avoid saying until I can look them up on m-w.com and listen to the pronunciation) because I have only read them, never heard anyone say them out loud.

      1. Biff*

        It’s possible they studied in England for a year. I pick up accents very easily (natural mimic), and if you left me in England for a year…. I’d sound like a brit.

        1. Rose*

          Nope, she hadn’t, and I know that is a thing, but this was a very strong, very forced accent.

          We had a bunch of British employees and she claimed it was from spending so much time around them.

          1. UK HR Bod*

            I’m a northern Brit exiled to the south east. My accent is pretty indeterminate, but a few days back up north (or even spending time with northern colleagues), and it starts heading back up the M6.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I tend to do that as well. When I came back from four years in California, people here in the Midwest were saying I sounded like a surfer chick. I still don’t call soft drinks “pop” anymore; the soda thing stuck.

          1. From the Midwest btw*

            That’s because the soda thing is correct. I’ll never be convinced otherwise.

        3. Girl Thursday*

          I worked in international education for years where most of my colleagues had spent several years abroad. No one had affected speech and we would have thought it was really weird if someone claimed to have this gift for picking up accent just by listening. No one just picks up accents. Nor did our international students suddenly start sounding like Americans, even in the English speaking classes. If you want to speak with an accent, you’re going to have to practice it.

          I know people who’ve tried to drop their accents. Most of them think they have just because their friends no longer mention it. But in most cases the accent is still there, and fairly obvious. And they still say things like, “I’ve gotten rid of my accent, but….”

          1. Bea W*

            Some people do have a gift for it. I would pick up very quickly as a teenager any time I traveled and it was actually frustrating because people thought it was weird. I spent a week in Alabama and it was only days before my accent had acclimated. Calling home waa not fun. Same when I went away to boarding school, and then coming back home for a couple weeks, I would be back in in my native accent. I remember talking to friends on the phone during breaks and not being understood at times because I lived just outside of Boston with native Boston family in an area with a ridiculously thick accent. I really did not have control over that, and it was’t a concious decision.It just happened.

            I don’t think I’m as susceptible as an adult but I work and spend most of my time around people who are not from here, and people are surprised I am from here because they don’t hear that accent. Then if I happen to be talking to family or have to say a local place name (or the word drawer) it flies out in my full native accent and shocks people. I’m not exaggerating. People have slammed the breaks on conversation right there and asked me to repeat what I just said because it’s just really jarring to hear someone speaking fluently in some non-descript accent with full command of the letter R completely lose it in a split second over a word or two. Put me in a room with my dad, and it’s all over. If I’m in a mixed group I’ll flip flop back and forth.

            Language came easily to me as well half my lifetime ago. I flunked most classes in high school except foreign languages. That was a no effort A+. I wish I still had that ability today!

            1. anon-2*

              I grew up in New England – with a New England accent – but intentionally lost it when I spent some time in Canada. I wanted to fit in there. I have never lost my Canadian accent. And the “native Boston” accent now is irritating for me to hear at times.

              When I’m on the phone with someone from another part of the world – Australia, South Africa, England, etc. , after a short period of time, my accent adapts to theirs. It’s somewhat deliberate, as I want to be able to be understood by whomever I’m talking with.

              It just happens.

            2. LostYankee*

              I do the exact same thing! Grew up outside of Worcester, but went to school in the South and stayed here. My accent has mellowed over the years, but put me on the phone with someone from back home or get me talking about New England (…or give me some alcohol) and I become incomprehensible to my coworkers. There’s some words that I’ll never lose the accent on — ‘water’ being one of them. I get friends all the time making me repeat myself because they think how I say ‘water’ is the funniest thing they’ve ever heard

          2. Little Mermaid*

            Hmm…I’d say that that depends on the people? English is my first foreign language and I guess first I had a very clear accent from my native language. Then I moved abroad and spent a lot of time with Americans (from Wisconsin), so my English got quite American. Then I dated an English guy (from the South East) for over a year and spent a lot of time there and my accent changed again. Then there were a lot of Aussies (first flat mates, then a boyfriend) and my accent, again, changed. It had changed to an extent that random Aussies would come up to me and very excitedly ask, if I was Australian, too (I live in Europe).
            I never “worked” for these changes. I just pick up the way people talk around me.

          3. DMented Kitty*

            I’m half Filipino, my dad is Chinese, but we converse in (US) English usually as it’s the common language understood with me and my mom. My first language was English, then I started learning Tagalog. Tagalog then became my most used language with my school friends. Tag-lish (blend of Tagalog and English) is more common with younger generations, and that’s what I officially used through grade school up until college and work.

            My English is not bad to start with, but my pronunciation got rusty, as you typically develop some sort of accent using Taglish, and people kind of look at you funny if you actually try to speak the ‘perfect’ English — it’s some sort of a thing where “oh you’re speaking ‘States-side’ and you’re not at our level anymore” (because developing country vs. first world country).

            When I went to the US for work, I wasn’t the type of person who hung out constantly with Filipino coworkers (I do occasionally), so I was actually able to get back into speaking regular English without feeling weird. Although I still switch back to the Filipino accent when I talk to my family or people from the Philippines. A lot of US coworkers, including my now husband, have asked me where I learned to speak English without so much of a Filipino accent — it’s my first language, and I read books, and sometimes I read it aloud in my head in perfect English, and sometimes I talk to myself in English too, so that helps.

            I think I went way off-topic, but the talk of the ‘accent’ just make me think it’s all interesting how we learn to adapt.

          4. The Bookworm*

            I grew up in the Midwest, but went to college in the deep south. I quickly picked up a southern accent. For a while it was so thick my mother couldn’t understand what I was saying.

            I’ve tried to drop the accent, but years later I’ve only partially succeeded. To this day, if I’m around someone with a thick southern accent, I’ll start talking with one too. And no, it isn’t intentional.

            1. LostYankee*

              I come from New England, but came to university in the Deep South and the Southern accent mellowed my native one pretty quickly. I’ve heard it’s the easiest American accent to pick up, since it softens so many sounds.

          5. LawBee*

            responding SUPER LATE but just to say that I used to sound like Scarlett O’Hara, and now I sound like I’m from Ohio. People from Ohio have even argued with me about where I was born. It does happen.

        1. HRC in NJ*

          I totally have this. If I go to the South, it’s “all y’all”. It matters not who is around. And I’m not making fun of y’all blokes, nytha!

    2. TK*

      I had a suitemate in college who was an obsessive Anglophile. He would occasionally fake a British accent just because– he wasn’t trying to convince people he was British, it was just like… a hobby. But he wouldn’t do it jokingly, it would just temporarily become the normal way he carried out conversations.

      That was perhaps the least odd thing about him.

    3. Natalie*

      My cousin of some degree (1st cousin once removed, I think) did this to me one year at a family reunion. It was baffling.

    4. Red Stapler*

      One of my classmates in college did that too, though hers went in and out. She did try to convince a few people that she grew up in England. She also brought tea to seminar every morning and when she finished she’d wipe the bag all over her face cause “it’s good for the pores”. She was an odd duck.

    5. Mints*

      Haha I have a friend who did this at a party (there was drinking involved).
      And another friend who picks it up when she’s talking about Britain, or like Dr. Who. But she also just likes accents and isn’t actually trying to convince anybody.

      Doing it at work doesn’t seem like it could end well at all. Oh, actually, if you were assigned a temp job for like a week it might be fun

    6. Peep!*

      Argh, me too — except she was a student in my grad school program as well as being a sort-of-coworker at my work study job.

      The worst part was, my classmates BELIEVED her and were all impressed with her (HORRIBLE) accent. I was more annoyed with them for being fawning over the “British” person, really… it was so bad, how could you not know?

      I never understood why she did it — especially because the place we worked had a TON of international scholars coming in for research, and many were from the UK. Hello, they’re not going to be impressed, if anything, they’ll run far away from the crazy accent person.

    7. Anonymous just in case*

      I had a friend fake *speaking* other languages…she’d say some make up gobbeldygoop and try to pass it off as different languages. I don’t know if she convinced someone, somewhere, and tried to spread this idea to others or what. It was bizarre. Unfortunately, she kept picking languages that I either speak, or have heard spoken a lot and understand pretty well. I finally called her on one, and she said, Oh, that’s Russian. Forgetting that was my major. When I pointed this out, she said, I get so mixed up! I meant German. It was a kind of Frenchy/Spanishy-sounding gibberish.

      1. Urban_Adventurer*

        Did your friend do this on Ellen? Because I saw a segment in this when I was trapped in a doctors waiting room.

    8. First Time Commenter*

      I currently have a co-worker faking a Southern US accent. It just appeared one day. It’s not any particular type of Southern US accent. Just a generic I-think-this-is-what-Southerners-sound-like accent.

  17. Anonasaurus Rex*

    A user called the IT helpdesk with an issue, but all us techs were out doing stuff so he left a voicemail. When I got back I tried to call him to take a look at his computer with our remote viewing software, but he didn’t answer. The department was very close to my office area so I took a little walk down there to see if he was around and what I could do. I walked in on him looking at “singles ads” except the singles were topless women on an adults seeking adults for adult activities type of site.

    1. JAM*

      We had a site like that as a customer once, so my team were looking at it for purely work related reasons. A higher up came by when one of the team was looking at a much tamer dating site (also work related) and got very concerned, good thing he didn’t come by when we were working on the other one!

      1. Dani X*

        I had a friend who worked for a company that did advertisements for adult websites. Which led to a statement in a department meeting

        “when i walk by your computers all I want to see is porn”

        (part of the job involved making sure the ads were on the sites and working properly)

    2. Jen RO*

      My boyfriend’s brother develops websites for a porn streaming company… so he gets to do fun stuff like watch a 5-minute porn video at all available resolutions to see how it looks better. It stops being exciting after the first five minutes… (But apparently he shocked the cleaning lady who had no idea why there was a bored looking programmer looking at porn all day.)

      1. Stephanie*

        When I worked at the Patent Office, I met someone who was a reviewer for the adult toys patents. He said something similar–“Every once in a while, you get something crazy, but the novelty and excitement ends pretty quickly and you realize you just have a bunch of vibrator applications you need to review to make quota.”

    3. Former Professional Computer Geek*

      I just have to say – people who work in IT-help/support fields see this kind of stuff alllll the time.

      I’ve heard of places that have told their employees, “We give you a laptop/computer to use at home. Please do your adult viewing there.”

      I worked one place that had a fairly laid back attitude about many things but no formal statement about what could and could not be viewed at work. One day a senior manager’s laptop broke. The tech who worked on it told me, “I know our policy is ‘if it’s not illegal we don’t see it’ (where illegal meant things like kiddy porn which, thank god, we never had to deal with), but that laptop had so many pictures of fake boobs that I thought all the silicone would make the laptop 10 lbs heavier!”

  18. Muriel Heslop*

    I was working at a high-end restaurant frequented by celebrities. Aerosmith was dining there one night and as I was working the front desk, a woman charged by me in pajama pants, slippers, and a t-shirt, one pink sponge roller dangling from her hair, and two school-aged kids in tow. I asked if I could help her and she shouted, “my husband is eating here” and she continued up the stairs so she could find her husband…or Steven Tyler, who was seated at a neighboring table. He was really nice about it but it was totally bizarre. This was the pre-cellphone era so the husband had obviously used a pay phone to notify his wife.

    The race is close between this and the time I caught a mom and her boyfriend making out before a parent conference. That was really just awkward.

    1. Traveler*

      Oh wow. I feel like that probably happens a lot to celebrities. It must be difficult to ever go anywhere in peace.

      1. Deedee*

        Muriel said that the lady’s husband was sitting at a “neighboring table” to Steven Tyler. The husband had called her to tell her he was sitting near Aerosmith.

  19. The Other Dawn*

    When I worked at a grocery store as a teen, I worked with a very nice woman. I think she was about 50 yrs. old. One afternoon, as I was leaving, I noticed her waiting outside the store for a cab. She was standing near the carriages with an intent look on her face. I said, “goodbye and hope you have a nice weekend,” but she didn’t answer. Then I realized why: she was standing by the carriages, peeing. When she came out, her clothes were absolutely soaked. She got her groceries and got into her cab like nothing happened. I felt so bad for the cab driver to have to deal with that.

    Another time she came through my line with her groceries and paid with money she took out of her shoe. She didn’t have any socks on. Yeah.

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      Oh my god, my dad worked at a grocery store as a teenager and told me two stories over and over again. The first was a woman who took a wad of sweaty cash out of her cleavage, licked her finger and peeled off two bills to pay with. (This was the story I heard as to Why You Never Put Money In Your Mouth.) The second was a man who was waiting in line to buy a package of hot dogs, got hungry, opened the package and started eating the hot dogs like popsicles in line.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yeah, it’s amaing to see where people pull money from. Lots of money lives in the cleavage of mature women. And that’s why I don’t put it anywhere near my mouth!

        I’ve never seen anyone eating hot dogs in line, but many times people would eat grapes throughout the store. They could never understand that this was stealing because grapes had to be weighed. If the bag weighed one pound when they picked it up, and 1/2 a pound when they checked out, they only got charged for 1/2 a pound. I always estimated the extra weight and charged accordingly.

        1. Fact & Fiction*

          I can understand eating one or two grapes to make sure they don’t taste like crap (I am a persnickety grape eater haha), but that is just plain wrong. Some people!

          1. L McD*

            As someone who worked in grocery stores for years you’d think the stealing part would bother me more than anything, but for some reason all I can think about is how incredibly gross and dirty grapes are before you wash them. I have to imagine they taste horrifying, based on the average color of the runoff water when I wash my grapes at home.

            1. Fact & Fiction*

              Yeah…when I do this, it’s a battle between my OCD “ewwww!” side and my “grapes are too darned expensive to waste X-bucks on a bunch of gross grapes I won’t eat) side! I grew up poor so my thrifty side usually wins out.

            2. bearing*

              Last spring my four year old sat at the counter while I was putting groceries away and not paying attention, and ate a number of the newly-bought grapes that had not yet been washed.

              6 hours later he was in bed clutching his stomach and wailing and wailing and wailing. 4 hours after that the vomiting started. He vomited so forcefully that he ruptured capillaries in his face; probably not coincidentally, a few months later, we discovered an inguinal hernia.

              We wound up taking him to the ER for rehydration, twice.

              Yeah, neither he nor I will ever eat unwashed fruit ever ever again.

          1. H*

            Hey, if they would put POCKETS in my clothes, I wouldn’t have to tuck cash in my cups. I got change for a $20 a couple of weeks ago, bought a Diet Coke, folded up the remaining singles and fives and tucked them under my bra strap because no pockets. Then I went on about my day and completely forgot the money was there. Got a good laugh later that night at bedtime when a wad of cash fell off my person and onto the floor. Husband wanted to know if I was switching careers…

      2. Kimberlee, Esq.*

        My old boss eats those vegetarian hot dog things, right out the package, regularly. Doesn’t refrigerate them, either. Just keeps them on his desk.

        He also eats lentil soup right out of the can.

        I think those two things, plus tater tots and cheese pizza at bars, were the only things I *ever* saw him eat.

      3. Loose Seal*

        I was working as a teller in a bank when a regular customer who worked at the nursing home came in to make their business deposit. When I pulled the money out of the bag, it was wet. I didn’t think that much about it because a lot of our business deposits had wet or damp money (we were the primary bank for a lot of whitewater rafting places) and we were used to drying it out. So I started peeling it apart and counting it when she said, “I hope it’s all right. One of our residents peed on it and I tried to wash it.” I dropped it like a hot potato, went to get the gloves we had for that sort of thing, and then proceeded with the transaction. (We had biohazard bags to put biologically-soiled money in to ship it to the Fed to be destroyed.) I just wished she had told me up front that it had urine on it so I could have started out with the gloves on.

        1. Lizzy May*

          One time as a bank teller, I had a client come in to deposit a bunch of twenties. This woman was in her 20s, put together and friendly. About four or five bills in, I get one that is covered in what had to have been dried blood. I asked her about it and she was like “what? I didn’t even notice.”

          Seriously people, never put money in your mouth. Money is disgusting.

          1. Bender B Rodriguez*

            My ex is a numismatist (especially paper money) and a germaphobe. It baffles me how one can collect something covered in that which is feared.

    2. Us, Too*

      I worked in the drive thru of McDonald’s as a teen and had a number of strange things happen with people and money. A few highlights:

      – the woman who retrieved her money from her bra. She was very busty and really had to dig around to find what she wanted. Then she handed me not only bills, but the change. So she apparently kept bills and coins in her bra and the coins filtered down to the bottom of the cups over the course of the day.

      – I had someone mumble something to me once after I told them their total. It sounded like “Hold on, I have exact change”. I put out my hand to accept the money and she she leaned over and spit the coins out into my hand! I know it’s rude to shout, but I was so shocked that I stood there speechless.

      1. Fact & Fiction*

        … … …

        I am just trying to process this one. That is one of the WEIRDEST things I have ever heard. That is way weirder than the keeping money in your bra thing…

        … … …

      2. Adam*

        What is it that makes certain women decide to keep money in their bra? For safety? For the giggles? Really I’m kind of confused why anybody would do that aside from the occasional joke.

          1. littlemoose*

            Yes. I got handed many sweaty dollar bills from an older woman’s bra when working retail as a teenager, and it was so repulsive! This is why God gave us purses, ladies.

        1. Anonsie*

          Everyone I’ve ever seen do it did it because what they were wearing had no pockets and they didn’t want to carry a bag for some reason or another– either because that was their “thing” or they had their hands full and it would have been awkward. I have also heard of people doing it avoid being robbed or pickpocketed though.

          1. Adam*

            These are all possibilities I considered, but if you’re doing it to ward of potential robbers might a lot of them watch you long enough to figure out where you’re storing things anyways? As The Other Dawn said, it became plainly obvious to her where the money was being stored.

            ….My apologies. This got more uncomfortable then I was originally anticipating it would…

            1. Fact & Fiction*

              Well, as far as pickpocketing goes, you are MUCH more likely to notice someone trying to “casually” lift money from, you know, your chestal region than a really good thief going after your wallet in your pocket. =)

            2. Anonsie*

              If they know where it is then they know where it is, but most pickpockets or muggers or whathaveyou won’t have watched you long enough to know it’s in your bra– unless you go rifling around in there a lot, I suppose. The one day I did it to avoid being pickpocketed (I was going somewhere really notorious for that) I put it in there at home and took it out when I needed it later by pretended to rifle through my bag but actually quickly snatching it from my shoulder (it was under the strap on my shoulder) instead. I have always wondered if anyone noticed or if I was as slick as I thought I was.

              In my defense 1) it was my shoulder shoulder so it wasn’t in a… Terribly gross place? 2) it seemed like a good idea at that exact moment?

          2. Michele*

            My friend is a bartender and at the end of the night she would put all of her tips in her bra before getting on the subway. If someone is going to rob you they are going for your bag or pocket not down the front of your shirt.

        2. Marina*

          Because far too much women’s clothing doesn’t have pockets. My aunt keeps her cell phone and keys in her bra too.

            1. Natalie*

              Keys, I can’t fathom. Cell phones are fine, though – I’ve tucked my cell into my bra before when I’m just running down the hall or whatever.

                1. S from CO*

                  The receptionist (she is busty) at my office keeps her cell phone in her bra. It was really odd the first time her bra started ringing while I was having a conversation with her! Now I am used to it.

              1. Jess*

                I do this, particularly when I go running in clothing that doesn’t have any pockets (most running shorts/leggings do but not all). I always stick my phone in my bra and the keys when there’s no other alternative. Honestly, I have large breasts and very little feeling in them. I don’t feel the keys once they’re in there. I also keep money in there from time to time. When I do while running, I usually stick the money and an ID in a plastic baggie so it doesn’t get that sweaty and gross.

        3. Bend & Snap*

          I sometimes keep my debit card in my bra, if I need to be hands free and don’t have pockets.

          1. Meg Murry*

            Yup, definitely put my ID and debit card in my bra in college one night for going out to a bar, and woke up the next morning with it still stuck to my skin even though I had taken off the bra to sleep.

        4. Jen RO*

          Wouldn’t it… hurt? I mean, I wouldn’t like something that is not soft fabric near my boobs…

          1. L McD*

            No more than a pokey underwire, that’s for sure.

            I do this with my phone in rare circumstances – almost never in public – and you don’t really feel it. People can see it, though, which is one of the main reasons I only do it if I’m listening to music while I walk my dog or something. Out and about, I’m carrying a purse.

            Incidentally I’ve found it’s a spectacularly unreliable place to store things. If you bend or twist or move your arms in just the wrong way, stuff starts falling out. Or maybe that’s just me.

          2. Aunt Vixen*

            I only ever tuck things in the top corner, where the strap meets the cup. It’s the most flexible place – everywhere else the bra is, like, up against skin and actually doing work, and foreign objects wouldn’t be comfortable if they even fit at all.

            1. KJR*

              My sister has a mini gun and holster that hooks onto the center of her bra. She uses it when she goes running. I’d be scared to death to do this, but to each his own I guess!

        5. Betsy Bobbins*

          If you don’t carry a purse and have no pockets it’s the logical next place. :)
          It works best for credit and key cards, but lipstick is not advised.

            1. Smilingswan*

              It doesn’t get all melty? That would worry me. I sometimes carry my cell in my bra, and it’s only visible when I’m putting it in or taking it out. I am well-endowed, and have to use a padded bra for lift, so it’ll hide anything.

        6. SA*

          Women’s pants don’t have pockets that are sized to actually carry anything – which is why women have to carry purses to hold their cell phones and wallets – so if a woman is going somewhere where she doesn’t want to carry a purse, it’s sometimes necessary. (That said, the only circumstances I’ve ever done it in – and I think this is true for most women – is going to a bar or a club, where carrying a purse can be unsafe, either because you might hit someone with it on the dance floor or because there may be pickpockets. Doing it at the grocery store or something like that??? Ew.)

          1. Natalie*

            Even if they are big enough to carry things, they are the stupid ramp pockets and everything falls out the second you sit down.

          2. Any Mouse*

            For awhile the only bras I could find that were comfortable had the added plastic air packets to push the boobs up that could be removed, I didn’t need the extra padding but I need some padding. But I found that the pockets made a great holding place for money, ID, and my keys when I was going out and I could put that all in my bra without it ruining the shape of my bust or being to uncomfortable. Actually I’d put just my car key (and leave my house key locked in my car). I’d show my ID to get into the club, go to the bahtroom, stick the ID in my bra, and then when I needed money go to the bathroom to retreive it. The money wasn’t sitting directly againt bare skin and I never tried to fish anything out in public.

        7. Arjay*

          I think it’s generally a lack of pockets and a desire not to lug their gigantic purse around. I’ll confess that I’ve tucked a little money purse in there before, but the money isn’t against my skin, both for my skin’s sake and the cashier’s sake. And I will take it out, hopefully surreptitiously, before I approach the checkout stand.

        8. Cari*

          My sister does it on nights out. Well convenient if it’s not practical to carry a bag or purse, but at least she acknowledges it’s sweaty boob cash :D

          Women’s clothes tend to not have pockets, even trousers (jeans being the exception, but even then they’re ususlly to small to be functional).

          1. Kelly L.*

            My mom taught me about shoe money before a junior high dance. She didn’t tell me that only works for bills. Yes, after I bought my soda, I was trying to dance with quarters clinking around in my shoe. Don’t do this.

            1. Meg Murry*

              You can do 1 coin. In college we used to go to Mexico to party, and there was a toll bridge you had to walk back across to get into the US. It cost 25 cents at the time, so you always put a quarter in your shoe so that even if you got pickpocketed or somehow lost your wallet or purse you could still get back into the US.

        9. Cath in Canada*

          One of my doctor friends has told me stories of elderly women having medical difficulties after keeping their money, um… elsewhere. Apparently it’s A Thing in countries that were occupied during WWII.

          1. The Real Ash*

            That’s an urban legend, and it’s always from a “friend of a friend” or something.

        10. HR Diva*

          Silly Sally laughed and laughed when her boyfriend tried to take off her bra – she kept her money in her shoe!

        11. Nat Fish*

          I’m late to this party, but I love telling people about my time working in a certain theme park in the South.
          I had to take plastic cards for my role, and the places those cards would come out of would astound you. Being plastic didn’t help the cards – they’d still be wet and gross and just…warm. Women routinely pulled them out of their bras and tank tops, waist bands (those shorty shorts pockets just weren’t big enough), babies’ mouths (true story), etc. I got at least 5 shoe cards per day from both men and women. Absolutely disgusting. All of us kept hand sanitizer in our pockets.

        12. Observer*

          Lack of pockets and safety / avoiding pickpockets. As others have noted, it’s relatively easy to pick a shallow pocket. And it’s also relatively easy to grab a purse from someone’s hand. Also, having a pocketbook can be a pain.

          When I was young, and we didn’t have pocketbooks, we would either wrap the money in a paper napkin or use a plastic baggy. My favorite was a napkin outside of the baggy. That kept the money reasonably fresh, but avoided the yucky feel of the plastic on skin (especially in hot weather, when you are less likely to have a pocket.)

        13. Molly*

          If I’m going dancing or to a concert and don’t have pockets, I can easily carry the minimum requirements that way (house key, cash and cards, ID).

          Rarely, it’s because I’m in a suit (women’s suits sometimes have pockets, but you’re supposed to leave them sewn shut) and don’t want to haul my whole briefcase on an errand.

          That said, I always palm the cash discreetly BEFORE approaching the bartender/merch seller/etc. Just rude to dig through one’s underwear in front of someone.

          1. helix_luco*

            why are you supposed to leave them sewn shut? if you’re supposed to leave then sewn shut, why were they put there in the first place?

          2. Morgan*

            No, you are not supposed to leave them sewn shut. They are *basted* shut (sewn with long stitches, so not strong and meant to be taken out), so they hang better while on store racks and tried on. But customers remove the stitches after purchase. Kind of like removing the mattress tags! I used to crack up when riding escalators in DC area metro stations, as I’d often see women who left the basting stitches on the rear vents of their overcoats.

        14. Lizzie*

          I used to keep money in my bra all the time when I was in Peace Corps. Most of my clothes (stuff made by the local tailor) didn’t have pockets, and pick pocketing was a big problem in the capital city, so I was reluctant to carry a purse. I would carry my cellphone in my bra too. Sports bras work best for this.

        15. LadyTL*

          My solution to avoid putting money in sweaty places was I got a fancy dress utility belt. It has a bunch of pockets but I can strap it over anything. And since it looks so nice no one gives me any funny looks over it. Win-win!

          1. Eden*

            No choice? Only if you refuse to carry any sort of bag, purse, pouch, pack, sling, clutch, tote, satchel, or sack, sure. There are plenty of small, easily carried, unobtrusive bags out there, so I see no reason anyone needs to be subjected to sweaty boob money.

          2. ella*

            Apparently I’m the only woman who’s thought to just not wear women’s pants. I wear nicely-fitting boys’ pants and put everything in pockets.

            1. Hapax Legomenon*

              I have too much butt for boys’ pants but not enough of anything else for men’s pants. I’ve tried men’s pants on before and have developed jean envy…men’s jeans feel like they’d last more than six months without developing holes.

            2. Jessica (the celt)*

              Nope, I’m there with you! I wear guys’ pants all of the time (even dress pants sometimes), and it’s great to have nice, deep pockets to keep things in when I don’t want to carry my purse. It’s easier to find pants that fit my height and waist than to wear women’s pants, which are more generic to size differences.

            3. Bender B Rodriguez*

              Sometimes I plan my attire for a metal concert around whether it would be okay or awkward to have a purse with me. Headbanging and standing around for death metal or black metal? No restrictions on pants/skirts, and a purse on my shoulder. Dancing my butt off to folk metal? Pants with large deep pockets, and no purse with which to accidentally smack someone including myself.

        16. Ewwwwww*

          I had a boss once who kept EVERYTHING in her bra. She always had money (bills and change) in there, along with lipstick, notes to herself, and occasionally, feminine hygiene products. She also wore a lot of low-cut blouses. Once in a meeting with her boss, she leaned over and accidentally dropped a maxi pad on the floor. Being a polite sort, he picked it up and handed it back to her, with no comment. After that, she did quit overloading her bra, at least.

          She also used to climb under her desk to talk on the phone with her friends. You’d see the phone cord trailing across the desk and underneath, and hear a kind of low buzz, with an occasional cackle. She’d stay there for an hour at a time.

        17. Natalie Anne Lanoville*

          I do it all the time, and it’s because… no pockets, and wherever I’m going I don’t feel comfortable hauling my purse out of my backpack, or my wallet out of my purse.

          It doesn’t get sweaty tho. :)

      3. MaggietheCat*

        Oh my goodness! I just had an uncontrollable laughing fit in my very quiet workspace reading this.

      4. LBK*

        I can’t believe there are so many comments about keeping things in your bra and none about the person that was KEEPING COINS IN THEIR MOUTH AND THEN SPIT THEM INTO YOUR HAND. BARF.

        1. fposte*

          Barf but don’t accidentally inhale–those would be one hell of a choking hazard. I guess at least you could collect the change in compensation for a Heimlich.

    3. I'm on lunch*

      Super late on this, but in college I worked in an office where part of the job was accepting returned keys at the end of the school year. One kid returned his room key, and it smelled SOOOO BAD we literally had to put it outside. It wasn’t dirty or anything, we tried washing it, but the metal had been permeated with his sweat from being next to his skin while running all the time. After that I don’t know if I could force myself to knowingly handle cash from anyone’s underclothes …

  20. Oryx*

    At ExJob I was a prison librarian. Oh the stories.

    Inmates frequently masturbated in front of me, another guy gave himself a tattoo with a regular ink pen and it got infected (the pictures were not pretty), but this one time I was sitting at my desk and at the back of the library saw movement and this…*thing* come heading straight for me in the air. Thank god for wheelie chairs because I never moved so fast in my entire life.

    It was a bat that was making beeline for the picture window behind me, thinking it was open (it wasn’t) and knocked itself out. So then it’s on its back on a big pile of books and trying to move but can’t and it’s daytime and I’m all WTF there’s a BAT and one of the inmates came over and wrapped it up in his coat and took it outside. For months afterwards, my workers continued to make fun of me for how fast I moved out of the way in that chair but I swear that thing woulda hit me right in the fact if I hadn’t.

    1. SnoopyDance*

      I briefly worked as a librarian and have a boatload of stories. My two favorites…

      – When we would find random empty bottles of wine in the children’s library restroom

      – The customer who was an aspiring rapper (who also worked at a fast food restaurant and was living with a lady old enough to be his mother) who brought me a dozen red roses one day at work. I was out for lunch when he came by to deliver them, and my boss flat out told him I couldn’t accept them. He later got banned from the library for using the computer lab “inappropriately.”

      1. SnoopyDance*

        Oh and another great story…

        A couple once got amorous in the computer lab and I had to kick them out. About a month later, I saw them in Walmart and the woman said to her man, “Look, there’s the witch that got us kicked out of the library!” She ran over to me and punched me. I literally had to tell myself that I had more class than to get in a fist fight with a library patron in the middle of Walmart.

        1. Diet Coke Addict*

          I am trying so, so, SO hard to restrain myself from laughing hysterically in my office that I’m tearing up. That is amazing.

        2. SerfinUSA*

          Sometimes I search keyword “library” in our local craigslist casual encounters ads. And yes, plenty of people are looking to hook up in the public library, and also in the university library where I work. Ugh!

        3. Suzanne*

          I used to work in a public library, and one of my co-workers told me about wandering down a row of books and finding a flasher in all his glory. She told him, “Put that thing away. Nobody wants to see that!” He did. I have to admire her quick thinking.

          At another library, there was a very obvious cross dresser that would come in every few months, dressed to the nines with glowing make-up, walk around the main section of the library never looking at any material or speaking to anyone, and then leave. Kind of our own one person fashion show.

      2. Liz in a Library*

        I can’t hold a candle to some of these stories, but things I’ve found in my former library include:

        -A plastic chair full of urine, no longer warm (I got the honor of cleaning it; I’m not a sicko)
        -A pair of shoes, perfectly aligned facing the wall in a blind corner, far from any furniture
        -Nail clippings, so many times
        -Paper products covered in blood, by the computers
        -An epilator
        -Security tags from stolen books, everywhere you would think of and several places you wouldn’t (such as behind the faceplates of electric sockets)
        -Steak

      3. squid*

        I worked in an academic library for a couple of years.
        Favourite story: someone took down hundreds of books from the shelves and made a fort one day.

        1. anon-2*

          Radio stations often pull promotional “stunts”.

          A station somewhere claimed that they had placed $100 bills in books in a certain library, to encourage people to read.

          You can imagine what people did next.

      4. Jessilein*

        I worked in a public library years ago, and my favorite stories there were about the guy who crawled around on his hands and knees licking the electrical outlets, and another guy who claimed to be Jesus and tried to get a library card with his name on it (he was turned down because he didn’t have anything to show to prove his identity).

        I also worked in Barnes & Noble around that time, and people did all manner of disgusting things in the bathrooms there, like taking books in to read for their longer bathroom visits. One woman used to come in and trim her bangs in the sink…and leave the trimmings there. Blechh.

    2. Kirsten*

      I worked as a therapist in forensic psych (and now regular psych). I totally get these stories. I can’t think of any specific stories I could share without breaking confidentiality, but you know any job that involves delusions, six page dress codes, and specific precautions so you don’t end up being the cautionary story they tell at orientation is not going to be boring.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Always be careful when the first day on New Job you have to sign a paper saying you will not write a book.

        1. Liz*

          I genuinely don’t think I could ever take that job. The first sign of disenchantment with a workplace, for me, is using it as a setting for a murder mystery.

      1. Oryx*

        I’m probably closer to Andy, although obviously without having been incarcerated :)

        People always ask if we had a little cart the inmates push around like in Shawshank. They ask it kind of jokingly, but we actually DID that the inmate works would take around on Sundays when the actual library was closed.

          1. Oryx*

            I don’t think I got far enough into watching Oz to see the librarian! I will say I love how in the 2nd season of OITNB they had a ton of scenes in the library.

    3. Library Staff*

      I work in a public library in an average-sized city. A few highlights:

      – We have an entire wall of photos of banned patrons. Most were banned for drug use (usually heroin) or sex acts (usually prostitution) in the bathrooms.

      -The lady who ranted for several minutes about how we were “abusing” the plant by the radiator, and shook a handful of dead leaves in my face

      -The lady who likes telling racist jokes to staff

      -The guy who tried to destroy one of the public computers because “Jesus told him to do it”

      -The guy who said he would “press charges” because we wouldn’t let him access his account without an ID

      And the “winner”…

      -The computer user banned for alternating between porn sites and photos of children receiving medical exams

    4. Another Damn Librarian*

      At my old library job at a for-profit college (I know, but I was stupid and fresh out of grad school) we had an older gentleman who would sit at a library computer all day – literally 8am to dinnertime. Eventually we got complaints that he was looking at porn, and had IS take a look at his computer. Lo and behold, he had two folders, labeled as follows: ASS and JESUS.

      The former was all really gross porn, and the latter was pinterest-y inspirational quotes about being a Christian.

  21. some1*

    I worked as a cashier in a convenience store during high school and the summer after, one town over from my high school. My high class was less than 300 students; I knew everyone in my class at least by their face.

    Summer after graduation, a girl comes into my work wanting cigarettes and I card her. She says she doesn’t have a license but has a school ID and she just graduated. She shows me an ID from my high school. I tell her I know she’s lying, take out *my* school ID, lay it out side by side with hers and point out where on the IDs mine read “12” (for grade) and her’s read “09”.

    1. Alexa*

      Similar thing happened to me. I was a cashier at a gas station one summer and a girl comes in to by cigarettes, I ask for an ID and she puts down one for a girl I graduated with (not her). I say, “You’re not Laura. I went to school with her.” She grabbed it and ran out the door.

    2. Anonymous*

      More license fun!

      I once had someone who came in when I was working at a store that sold cigarettes. She gave me her license and had scratched out part of the 8 to make it a 3. The scratching was fairly obvious.

      She also missed the part where the date of birth is actually a part of the license number for this particular region.

      1. Liane*

        Yet more license fun! In my state, the state alcohol & tobacco agency uses underage agents to check whether retailers are “carding” (checking IDs) of purchasers. One day, an older cashier, Rita, told us about a transaction she’d just had with 2 agents. Customer A was a young woman who asked to purchase cigarettes & tried to use a piece of paper with her name & (supposed) birthday written on it as ID. Yes, a plain old piece of notebook paper! Of course, Rita refused the sale & A went on her way. Customer B, an older man, was next in line. He told Rita, “Good thing you didn’t let her buy those–she was Tobacco Control Board.” Rita, no fool, replied, “Yes, & so are you.”

    3. Prague*

      I got Elvis once years ago, from a guy with a Tennessee license in Pennsylvania all the time while underage. I’m not talking about him dressing up like Elvis – he actually had made a copy of Elvis Presley’s driver’s license, picture, name, and all. He said he got away with it all the time by flashing his wallet quickly.

  22. Adam*

    In high school I worked for a family style pizza restaurant. At one point I found out that a certain group of fellow employees were taking breaks to go smoke pot. Thing is they would light up in our walk-in freezer. Knowing nothing about pot, I’ve always been curious if the cold enhanced the experience or not.

    Honorable mention 1: Worked at a bar/restaurant in a casino during college for a bit. The cashier position was the most boring as you stood in one spot for the whole shift and did nothing but people watch. This made it all to obvious when people would sneak away to a not-so-secret corner and start making out, as in speeding past second base making out.

    Honorable mention 2: Worked at the college library while in school as well. A woman came in with her baby to complain about the overdue fines levied against her for un-returned books. She was entirely in the wrong and no matter who explained that to her she just got more and more angry. Finally we had to close for the day. So to make a point (the point being that she was an absolute pill of a human being) she sat down in the middle of the library in the prime foot traffic location and proceeded to change her baby’s diaper, and grew quite indignant at our request that she do that somewhere else.

      1. Adam*

        I know that now. For me doing it in the walk-in freezer was the interesting part. Most of them claimed they couldn’t be in there for more than a few minutes at a time because of the chill.

        1. AVP*

          I wonder if it’s a hot-box effect because you’re locked in a small enclosed space that’s presumably very well sealed.

          I also wonder if it affects the food being stored in there?

          1. Adam*

            I don’t know about the physics of pot smoke, but I think they’d have had to stay in there for quite a while and smoke quite a bit to get any sort of affect like that. Plus the refrigeration fans were pretty high and could get the air up top circulating pretty fast. Really I think they did it because there were enough windows that they could see out to know if any customers came in but no one on the outside would have been able to tell what they were doing.

            Also none of the food was stored open air, but in plastic bags or sealed containers. I think the health department would have docked for that, so fortunately that wasn’t a concern.

            1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

              Yeah, I bet it’s the fact that there was enough air circulation in there that it would whisk away the smell, and probably fairly low-traffic, so they didn’t have to go outside to smoke, could see customers, and be relatively certain that the smell/smoke would be gone by the time someone else went to pull something from the freezer.

        2. Natalie*

          From what I remember it’s nearly universal to smoke in the walk-in. I always assumed it was because the walk-in is sealed, so the restaurant won’t end up smelling like smoke.

      2. Snork Maiden*

        It’s common here too, to the point where one restaurant (allegedly) was keeping it in the cooler and selling it out the back door. A handy sideline for delivering food, as well.

        1. Eden*

          My first job was a server at a Western Sizzin’–I did all the jobs because I found out later, all the other employees were in the back, smoking pot. It’s really hard to keep up with the workload of five people.

          At this same job, when I went to pick up my paycheck, the person in charge of handing them out tried to convince me I had already picked it up, and he didn’t have it. I insisted, and finally got it. I lasted there maybe a month.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        It’s been going on for over 30 years. One of my first jobs everyone went in the back room to smoke pot. Even people who did not work there. Under the heading of trying to get along with people, I would chat with them but I did not partake.
        When that police officer walked in, I was voted most “straight” and I had to go wait on the officer. Back then MJ was a felony charge. I have no clue why the officer got what he wanted and left. I thought for sure we were caught. He had to have smelled the pot smoke on me.

      4. Mouse of Evil*

        In high school, I worked at a dollar theater for a while. All my friends worked there too. Every night after the early rush was over, the owners and their friends would vanish into the office to smoke pot, leaving the theater in the hands of a bunch of teenagers until close. Nobody ever wanted to go bother them, but if you had to go knock on the door and ask a question, they’d open it and smoke would just pour out.

        After a few months, they “laid off” the three of us who probably seemed the most likely to tell our parents or the police. And yes, I really did just figure that out–30 years later. :-)

    1. Traveler*

      Ugh. I have experienced the changing baby in the middle of the floor in a busy place of business. So gross.

      1. Morgan*

        Yes, it is gross. But I finally noticed, after having my babies when I was in my late 30s, that many, many places of business lack changing tables in their restrooms. It is incredibly difficult to accomplish routine errands while also caring for infants, and I happened to have twins.

        So when I read such posts, my first thought is to wonder how the business’s restroom was equipped.

        1. SweetSweetBerryWine*

          Actually due to the fact that many people having kids nowadays are the type who shouldn’t most places stopped having changing tables installed. I’ve worked a seasonal job and asked the manager because a customer complained about her screaming baby having no place to be changed. The parade of screaming infants and angry moms made me roll my eyes. Where were the men? Goofing off?

          Why? Well because a baby supposedly DID fall off a changing table and the crappy excuse for a mother sued and won. Now sane people busy with kids had to deal with this like the men do by having no access to changing tables in public bathrooms.

          My own personal reaction to all of this was why not have the husband watch their own kid to begin with so a woman wouldn’t have to waste a whole day shopping with a screaming infant in tow? I don’t get it.

    2. Molly*

      I wonder if there exist pizza places where no one smokes pot. I mean, statistically I suppose they must exist, but common sense says no.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        ::raises hand:: I once worked at a Round Table Pizza in San Francisco for over a year and no one smoked pot on the premises.

  23. sjw*

    Once hired a woman who asked if she could “move some stuff” into her new office the weekend before she started, to which we agreed and issued her a key ahead of her start date. We arrived the following Monday (she didn’t start for another week) to an office PACKED, floor to ceiling, with, among other things:
    -a vacuum cleaner
    -a microwave
    -a mini fridge
    -a toaster oven
    -a coffee maker
    -several suitcases (old style hard side ones
    -boxes and boxes and boxes
    -what appeared to be a collection of some sort of collectible nonsense

    The above list is only the stuff I can remember. Fast forward about six months, she was terminated. She couldn’t leave until her husband came with the truck to load her stuff. It took, I’m not kidding, six HOURS. (and as HR I had to hang around until they finished). I think they slowed down on purpose to keep me waiting. I think I left about 9 that night.

    1. Karowen*

      So many questions…Did she ever give an explanation as to WHY she had all that stuff? Did she ever use all of it? Did she think this was normal?

      1. Adam*

        Total armchair psychology here, but maybe this person’s behavior is some sort of subset of a hoarder mentality? Like she needs all that stuff there ‘just in case’?

        1. Abby*

          I worked next to a woman who was a hoarder. She had an office with a door and could barely get to her desk. Her office, no sweat but I got bugs in my office because of nasty stuff in hers. I didn’t have food or even a plant in my office but I still got bugs.

    2. C.*

      This one is kind of sad – sounds like she was a hoarder. I’m curious as to what she was fired for.

      1. sjw*

        Well, the real irony here, she was hired as a licensed clinical COUNSELOR. (I did find that a large number of mental health professionals were a little bit cracked themselves). Honestly, I can’t remember why she was fired. It was a good dozen or more years ago.

        1. Molly*

          My most neurotic and troubled university friend (who once ended a friendship because the friend got intentionally pregnant, and “she knows that I hate babies”) is now a therapist. That worries me so much about her poor patients. (She and I haven’t talked in years, though, so maybe she turned it around.)

        2. CA Anon*

          My crazypants childhood neighbor is now a child psychiatrist–I am truly frightened for her patients. She was my babysitter when I was a kid and she was nuts then, but everyone thought I was making stuff up or being dramatic because my little sister loved her. Fast forward 20 years and she’s still living at home (she claims that she can’t afford to move out because of her student loans) while abusing her parents for not loving her enough (her parents are wonderful, lovely people–she’s a narcissist who can’t understand why her parents couldn’t pay for her medical school after fully funding her undergrad at a stupidly expensive private school that they couldn’t afford).

          She claims that she wants to treat children so “they don’t have to grow up damaged and unloved by their parents the way she did”. OMG. And she shoved her hands through a window while yelling at her mother a few years ago. I can’t imagine letting her within 100 yards of kids, let alone those with mental health issues.

    3. HistoryChick*

      I work in the museum/historic site field. At a previous job in a city, we had a parking lot next to the museum (a historic building) and behind one of our 18th century historic buildings. I was walking out to my car and I see someone up in the corner of the parking lot in a hooded sweatshirt and layered clothing. When he saw me he left – quickly, running. (Sidenote: It was not uncommon in this area of the city to see drug deals in enclaves and once I saw someone drop his gun on the sidewalk in front of me.) Well I thought I should check out what was going on in the parking lot. When I got up there, there was a fire that the person had set – at our historic structure. Thankfully it was small enough at the time that I could stomp it out with my foot. And it turned out to be a bag full of poo. Apparently (according the police who answered the 911 call) sometimes homeless people light their poo on fire. What a day!

    4. Mary*

      Ugg, I had to wait until 6 pm last night for one of my staff members whose contract was completed to clear out her office. I thought she would never finish and all the time she kept telling me how much she loved working there and how she hoped we would take her back on again etc etc. Sad but I just wanted to get home.

  24. Heather*

    I worked in a place where a staff member wore the same thing every day: blue cords, a blue checked long sleeved shirt, and a blue cardigan with leather patches. Now I don’t know if he had multiple versions of each item or if it was literally the same article of clothing every day, but for the three years I worked there his appearance never varied once.

    1. Mrs. Badcrumble*

      I used to have a coworker who had this pair of tan-and-white-striped seersucker pants she wore in the summer time day after day. Her record was 19 days straight, if I recall. She never smelled, but she had *plenty* of other issues (obsessively rearranging the Keurig pods…doing yoga handstands in the bathroom…laying on the floor faking chest pains while being escorted out of her last day….) I think it possibly stems from the fact that her grandmother kidnapped her for witchcraft purposes when she was 3. (According to her.)

      1. Heather*

        Wow! He was peculiar, but his oddness is sort of a known trait of people also in that particular line of work.

    2. Bimmer Guy*

      I thought that only cartoon characters could get away with wearing the same thing every day…lol

      1. mirror*

        My co-worker does this as well! I found it a little odd when I first started, but he’s actually a really nice and totally normal guy. His outfit is a black long sleeve button down shirt and black jeans with big black military-style boots. He wears this outfit 99% of the time–once I saw him wear a dark green button down shirt!

        1. Wren*

          I had an instructor that always wore a black t-shirt and black jeans. I wasn’t consciously aware that this was his “uniform” until one day, I thought someone in my peripheral vision was him and was startled that it was someone else and realized that the only reason I thought it was that instructor was that the person standing in my peripheral was wearing an all black outfit.

    3. Lori*

      I had a coworker who did the same thing actually! He was always dressed nicely, but it was always khaki pants and a short-sleeved blue dress shirt. But was always clean, well-groomed, and never smelled.

      We finally asked him about it one day. Turns out he was just sick of having to figure out what to wear each day and he hated shopping. One day he finally found an outfit he liked and that fit him. Then he purchased 20-some identical shirts and pants and just rotated them through the laundry. He said it was great because he never had to worry about what to wear. He said that eventually the day would come when the shirts would get too worn to wear, and then he would just find a similar shirt and order more.

      He was an engineer. In hindsight it was actually quite brilliant and no one really seemed to mind.

      1. blu*

        I think Engineers are a special type of person. We had one who wore what appeared to be the same denim skirt every day (we are business casual) and two Cindy Brady style pony tails. She had to be near 50.

        1. Molly*

          I love pigtails and kind of wish they were remotely acceptable at any time other than, possibly, “alone at home lifting heavy things.”

      2. Artemesia*

        That is pretty much what I do — I have 5 pair of black jeans that fit well and a dozen or so fitted black t shirts (and in winter a dozen or so cotton turtlenecks — and that is the base most of the time — topped with jacket, or dressier sweater capey thing, or travel shirt with the roll sleeves and hidden pockets — 90% of the time.

        When I was working, I had a few more things, but mostly built everything around basic black.

        I hate to shop for clothes and have no interest in clothes — envy the fact that men have always been able to buy clothes that fit and can wear the uniform every day.

        1. Kelly L.*

          This is me with black dress pants. Right now I actually do only have one viable pair because the other has a broken zipper. I need to shop. But ideally, I have about 3 pairs of black slacks, and I always buy about the same fabric texture and they’re all flare leg. No one but me ever knows how many pairs there are at any given moment! :D

        2. Molly*

          This is what I like about wearing suits to work. A few black/gray/black pinstripe suits and a bunch of cheap cotton ~fancy tank tops and ta-da, professional uniform, no effort. I wear the same pearl set every day, and the same shoes, but clients and coworkers see the shirt colours changing and that seems to be enough!

      3. Jillociraptor*

        Did y’all watch Doug, the Nickelodeon cartoon? They ran with the un-reality of cartoon characters always wearing the same clothes and sometimes showed Doug’s closet, which was just row after row of his signature cargo shorts, white t-shirt and green vest. It sounds very efficient.

        1. Natalie*

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure mine is going to think of this at some point. As long as he picks a good outfit, I guess I’ll live.

          1. Jen RO*

            I usually go shopping for him, and I make sure that he has a variety of t-shirts. He only likes plain t-shirts, so I just get a lot of colors and models, where possible… At least he won’t look like he wears the same one every day!

      4. TK*

        My mom used to work with a guy who did much the same thing. He apparently ordered all his clothes from a catalog (this was the early 90’s, before buying online was really a thing) and had blue shirts and yellow shirts, and just wore one or the other every day.

        About a year before he left her office, he got married, and I think his wardrobe got significantly more diverse then.

      5. Mints*

        This sounds like a Sheldon Cooper move. Mr. Mints actually did buy several identical shirts and pants when he stared this business casual job. HOWEVER, they’re in assorted matching colors, so he can switch up various shades and patterns of grey, white, blue, and black without much thinking

      6. Doug*

        I have the same setup going, but I take this thread into account and instead it goes:

        4 pair pants of varying cuts, khaki and dark blue jeans
        5-10 shirts, all of which goes with any pair of pants

        I don’t spend any time choosing what to wear. Underwear, socks, undershirt (white crewneck tee), shirt, pants. Enough variation in shirt and pants so maybe people don’t notice unless they’re trying, but enough similarity in shirt and pants to let me just collect one of each and put them on. Pants get two days, everything else gets one.

        With all the little ways that we spend our time, collecting, maintaining, organizing, and selecting clothing just does not seem like a way I want to spend mine.

      7. BeBe*

        Sounds like Steve Jobs. This also mostly seems to be an engineer type trait. They just really don’t want to think about mundane things like clothes.

      8. RecruiterM*

        Had a co-worker like that. He simplified to black jeans and white t shirt. And a $5 meal at McDonalds every day. And, 2 years after buying a condo and using plastic flatware from cafeteria at work, deciding to ‘invest in soup spoon’.
        One Halloween we were all going to dress like him, do not remember why we had not.

    4. Traveler*

      Interesting. There is a movement in some parts of the business world (mostly entrepreneurial) that you wear a “uniform” everyday – because it is a waste of time and energy to pick out an outfit each day. Considering he didn’t smell bad and the clothes were clean – maybe that was his thing?

    5. Mary (in PA)*

      Awww, if this is weird, then I am super weird. I wear a black T-shirt, dark jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a hoodie if it’s cold. (I work for a T-shirt company and this uniform is actually on the more formal side.) I am a child of two engineers and my dad does the same thing with his own “uniform” – white shirt, khaki pants, brown loafers, every day. Though he does change up his tie.

      1. Mints*

        I think if it’s black, white, or jeans, it’s not really noticeable, because it can be a uniform (even a self imposed uniform). The weirdness is when it’s a distinct outfit (blue cardigan with leather patches? not really a staple)

    6. Jennifer*

      Hah, we had an instructor at my volunteer job who always wore the same outfit. We were flabbergasted when he changed from black to khaki pants.

    7. Megan A.*

      I had a coworker who did the same thing, but he was color blind and lived alone. He said he was worried he’d put together some weird combination of colors, so he just bought multiples of the same thing.

    8. Another Heather*

      Whoa. I worked with a guy like this, too.
      He wore the EXACT same clothes (not the same style clothes, the SAME exact clothes) every single day.
      He would wear them daily until his twice yearly vacation time came up. By this point, his clothes would be ratty, his shoes worn, and he smelled like a homeless person.
      When he came back from vacation, he’d have a fresh version of the same outfit and the cycle would begin again.
      I think people tolerated it because he was the smartest person in any room, awesome at his job, a great teacher and one of the nicest people on the planet. But still. Come on, man.

    9. EAnonymous*

      We have one software developer who always wears a black shirt and khaki pants. Always. I’ve seen him a couple of times out and about on the weekends, and he’s always wearing the same thing. He never smells, so it’s probably that he has multiples of each, but it’s still kind of strange.

    10. TychaBrahe*

      I have this weird issue where my two eyes see different shades of red. I have a horrible time matching colors, like does this shade of red clash or not with this particular shade of blue. As a result I have found it easiest to have five identical black twill drawstring waisted skirts and a variety of solid colored tops.

    11. coconut water*

      Oh that reminds me of one. A coworker who was known for antics to draw attention to herself, wore the same jeans
      and red & white checkered shirt to work frequently. Once someone counted and said the longest stretch was nearly every day for like nine weeks straight.

  25. CheeryO*

    When I worked fast food, a group of possibly high young guys came through the drive through with a crocodile puppet. The puppet ordered, presented a credit card, and accepted the food. I heard them howling with laughter as soon as they pulled away from the window, and I have to admit that it made my day too.

      1. A Non*

        She said “possibly high”, not “high school”, but yes – I wish this was more people’s idea of causing trouble!

    1. Amy B.*

      I did this when I went through the drive thru with my teenage daughter. I threatened to do it, she said I wouldn’t, so of course I had to. She was mortified and tried to melt into the seat. The clerk appeared to enjoy it though.

      1. A. D. Kay*

        That’s hilarious! I might need to kidnap one of my teenage nieces or nephews just to do that.

    2. AB*

      I worked as a cashier/ customer service at a local hardware store in high school. I kept a monkey puppet at my register and would make it dance and make faces at kids when their parents weren’t looking. The store owner would use it to talk to employees when he wanted to get us to do something we didn’t want to (like cleaning the bathrooms), he even had his wife make a little store apron for it.

    3. manybellsdown*

      I was a drama geek in high school, and we were rehearsing a production of “Wait Until Dark”. The main character in that play is a blind woman, so one of our props was a white cane courtesy of a legally blind student who loaned it to us. One day we went out for lunch, through the drive through of a fast food place, with the driver of the car holding the white cane and tapping it on the wall of the building as we went through. The poor employee was so confused: four people in the car and we let the “blind” guy drive.

  26. Lore*

    I did not witness this in person, but I’ve seen the pictures (and several coworkers were there) so I know it really happened. At an in-office Halloween party, our CEO did karaoke to “Sexual Healing” while wearing lederhosen.

    1. Chloe*

      Wow thats awesome, I heard that song for the first time in years on the radio yesterday, and was kind of amazed at how….raunchy it is. Normal now for songs to be very sexually explicity, but this was ahead of its time. Funny/disturbing to think of a 6 year old me singing along to it…

  27. Steve*

    Like Joey, I worked with a guy who biked to work and felt the need to clean up before going to his office. We had a showroom with lots of plumbing displays including whirlpools filled with water, working sinks, showers, and toilets. There was even a water heater since some of the displays featured temperature related features. They were set in mock ups of real rooms, so full bathroom suites were set up in rooms that would look like a typical customer’s bathroom.

    He got there a full hour or more before the showroom opened to the public, so he used one of the bathrooms for his morning routine. The kicker was that this wasn’t plumbed potable water. It was all connected to a recirculator so that we didn’t have massive water bills from running the displays every day. He showered in his own filthy grey water for months before anyone caught onto what he was doing. God only knows if he was using the toilet in there as well.

    1. A.*

      I thought the first post about the manager and his wife living in an office bedroom would be the winner, but this takes the cake. WOW.

    2. supernoob*

      Winner winner, chicken dinner. Poor ignorant rule-breaker showering in his own urine- that mental picture just kills me

  28. Sadsack*

    I don’t think this beats Joey’s story, but anyway…I used to work in a cubicle across from a guy who brushed his teeth at his desk. He would go fill a coffee mug with water, then brush his teeth, dipping his toothbrush into the mug, and spitting into it. I was so shocked I couldn’t even say anything at all. I couldn’t figure why, since he was getting up to put water in his cup and then getting up to dump it out, couldn’t he just go in the bathroom to brush? I didn’t know him very well and wasn’t sure how to tell him to quit it because it was revolting. I have no idea what the other cubicle dwellers nearby thought about it. We all didn’t sit near each other for very long because we all got laid off.

    1. TK*

      People have weird hang-ups with hygiene routines. I had a roommate in college who very obsessively and thoroughly brushed his teeth at the same time every night. He had a whole very specific routine to how he did it. On the other hand, he’d wear the same pair of gym shorts to bed every night (and this being college, often for a good part of the day) for literally months on end without ever washing them.

    2. eemmzz*

      I had a coworker I once sat next to who liked to keep mouthwash at his desk and would swill it around his mouth for about 10-15 minutes before he’d go and spit it out. I could hear it as it was quite loud

  29. Anonymous For This*

    At a prior job, the CEO was known for social faux-pas an inappropriate behavior (for which he’d been sued in the past). During a company holiday party, he asked a particular employee to stand on the chair, so everyone could see “how great she look(ed) in that dress.” At another party, he made a comment during his speech on a coworker’s recent boob job (again–pointing this employee out and asking folks to admire her). Of course, this is the same guy who threw post trade show parties at bars and would show up with 3+ call girls in tow. And there was the time he got veneers and laser hair removal and wandered around the office asking people to admire his hairless chest and arms, while grinning madly. Oh! And the time he had a nude poster of himself in the office. True story, folks. I could write a novel about this man.

    1. LBK*

      Oh! And the time he had a nude poster of himself in the office.

      I don’t know if you watch Parks & Rec but this reminds me of the enormous nude self-portraits hanging in Jessica Wicks and Nick Newport’s house. Hilarious.

      1. Anonymous For This*

        It was apparently a gift he gave to his wife. They got divorced, and he had been cleaning out their shared house and brought a bunch of stuff–that included–into the office. Our on-site cafe workers convinced him to leave it in the cafe (it was short-lived).

  30. First Job Problems*

    So when I was in high school and college I worked for a grocery store chain. Now the store I worked at for a few years was in….a unique location. Half of the customers were nice, normal suburban people. The other half…I don’t know, maybe they lived in the sewer system and were inhaling fumes or something. I seemed to run into a lot of the weird ones but my co-workers had the “I met the nicest little old lady today” stories.
    Anyway, there was this family of a grandmother, two daughters and like half a dozen children that came in once or twice a week. This is unrelated to this particular story, but the grandmother had an electric wheelchair that she had modified the seat from a normal seat to a RECLINER. Like a living room recliner. She also didn’t wear clothes, just had a BED sheet wrapped around her. She smelled and looked like her flesh was rotting off her bare feet.
    So one day, one of The Recliner Woman’s daughters took her own approx 3 year old daughter to the bathroom(which was, very unfortunately, right next to my storage room). I watch them walk in, NBD. Few minutes later, 3 year old RUNS out giggling. NBD, right??? WRONG. She was pantsless. Her mom follows, laughs and says to me, “aren’t kids the darndest things?” I just nod, hoping the pants are somewhere in a pocket I can’t see.
    Ten minutes later, she walks back by and says, “SHE LEFT HER PANTS IN THE BATHROOM! Can you believe THAT?”
    I still can’t believe it took ten minutes to notice, but what do I know?

    1. Rat Racer*

      The first part of the story is horrifying, but to the part about the 3-year-old running out of the stall pants-less: I could totally see my 3-year-old doing something similar, although the scene would been me running after her and desperately trying to catch her. 3 year olds have no sense of modesty or propriety, I tell you!

      1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

        My 3-year-old niece loves nothing more than to get naked (or as close to it as mom and dad will allow). When you go over to their house, you never know what she will be (or won’t be) wearing. If she’s not running around in her underwear, she’s got on a swimming suit (usually over the underwear). Yesterday she came to my mom’s wearing underwear, a swim suit, shorts, a skirt, and the owl shirt my mom had given her for her first day of preschool.

        I wonder if she’s tried to take her clothes off in preschool yet. She just started on Monday. . .

      2. Lynn Whitehat*

        My 3-year-old did this to me at the airport. He insisted on using the men’s room by himself, and then came out with his pants around his ankles. “I did it, Mommy!” Yay! Are you SURE you didn’t miss a step?

    2. Anoners*

      My bf works in retail. Someone used their baby stroller to steal merchandize (with the baby in the stroller). Turns out they were also an illegal immigrant, so probably got deported. SMH.

      1. littlemoose*

        Hiding merchandise in strollers is a very popular way to shoplift, actually. I saw it a lot in my retail career. The worst are the ones who put the merchandise (clothes at my store) under their kid to steal it. It’s so gross to use your children like that.

        1. Newb*

          Or, sending their child to pick items up and walk out of store so the mother can blame the child if she gets caught. Months and months later the mother was finally banned from the shop. The terrible thing is that the child doesn’t know any better and will grow up thinking that this sort of thing is totally ok!

  31. Amanda*

    I used to work front desk for a library/archive in Boston. We had a patron come up to the desk one day and when I asked her what I could help her with that day, she explained that she believed she was the incarnation of the Duchess Sophie, wife of Archduke Francis Ferdinand (the one whose assassination sparked WWI). She believed it was her calling to start an international police force to right the world’s wrongs, and she felt called to our space (both the library and the public plaza it adjoined) because she knew that’s where she’d complete the manuscript that would summarize her philosophy and create her global police force. She was immaculately put together, wearing flashy jewelry, a nicely tailored suit, excellent haircut, the works. If she hadn’t come back repeatedly over the course of the summer I would have guessed she was dared by someone to try the story out on unsuspecting strangers.

    1. Frances*

      Oh man, when I worked for a program that specialized in ancient history we used to get some weird inquiries but they thankfully stuck to emails and phone calls.

    2. BRR*

      Everyone I know who works in a library has the best stories, I was listening to two people go back and forth and it was insane.

    3. So Very Anonymous*

      I worked in a library that had the papers of a notorious occultist/magician. We could generally always spot the people who were coming to look at that collection.

    4. Girl Thursday*

      Friend of mine worked at a consular office and dealt with a breakdown of a woman visiting an ashram. The woman refused to sign anything with the name on her passport because that wasn’t who she was anymore.

  32. JAM*

    The first thing that came to mind is several members of the team I was part of phoning round local sex shops to find out if any of them stocked blow-up cows. It was one of the guys birthday and they wanted to buy him this for some bizarre reason that I don’t remember. They didn’t find one sadly – the AAM letter that could have provoked would have been a corker!

    1. SerfinUSA*

      I purchased a blow-up sheep (called the Love Ewe) for party/band room decor when I was but a youth. It always wound up under the christmas tree, posed indelicately in front of the vintage plastic light-up Santa. I think the ex got custody in the divorce divvy.

      1. Windchime*

        I once got a Toy Story “Woody” doll from a fast food restaurant. I had him pinned to my bulletin board at work. Co-workers used to make fun of me for having him because of his name (grow up, people!).

        One day I came to work and he was off the bulletin board and posed in a very compromising position with a Barbie, who had her skirt up around her waist. I had to admit that was pretty funny. (We were all a bunch of women and it was just a silly joke; no harassment).

        1. fposte*

          We used to do what we called the Holiday Litigation Scene, with Santa’s sleigh mowing down various toy animals and action figures.

  33. jag*

    The apartment provided by a school I worked at had a couple tarantulas come visit one night. That was not pleasant.

  34. steve g*

    Not as weird as some of the others but weird/funny nonetheless – about seven years ago at previous job, my weird coworker who made it clear she had anxiety and had no friends came back after christmas wearing a sweatshirt with a big guady cat on it…at a place where ladies whore dresses and men ties….the funny part was, she didn’t wear it ironically, she seriously thought it was a nice shirt and asked us if we liked it.

  35. Vanessa*

    I once worked in a retail pharmacy, and a man sauntered up the aisle towards the register, whistling along to the saxophone solo from Careless Whisper (which was playing on the in-store radio). My coworker and I flipped a coin or something to see who would have to wait on him and she lost. Upon concluding his register transaction, he grabbed her hand, and exclaimed, “You have exquisite hands! Have you ever considered being a hand model?”

    I almost ruptured all my internal organs trying not to laugh at her misfortune.

    1. Valar M.*

      Haha. Lucky you for winning! This reminds me, when I was in my late teens and worked at a restaurant, we had a regular who always came in, he was always very pleasant but about 20-30 years older than me. One day he suddenly blurted out that I had stunning eyes and he was a photographer and I should totally pose for him some day. My face must have betrayed how creeped out I was, but I recovered and just thanked him for the compliment. The next week he came back in and apologized, telling me his ex wife told him that I was probably very creeped out by it and he should apologize and explain that he didn’t mean it “that” way. Which I appreciated, but was also further creeped out that he and his ex wife felt the need to discuss me?

  36. VictoriaHR*

    I used to work front desk at a staffing agency, with one other person in the office, a branch manager. We used to get some interesting folks. One girl was so unhappy about it not being payday (that would be the following Friday) that she threw her peanut butter and jelly sandwich at my manager, and then yelled at her that she now had nothing to eat.

  37. The Other Dawn*

    Not something I saw, but something that happened to me.

    I worked at a bank for 17 years. Five years into it, my branch was bought and we became a new bank. On opening day I got a bizarre phone call from an older woman. She asked a few questions about her accounts and then launched into a story about how her boyfriend worked on Mars and she only got to see him on weekends. I played along, figuring it was someone from another branch messing me with (turned out it wasn’t). I asked what he did for a living (investment banker), did he enjoy his work (loved it), and “Wow! that must be such a long commute. Do you do something fun on the weekends when you see him?” She then said she had several accounts at our bank. One was her Meow account that she used for vacation. Another was her Fluffy account for the bills, etc. This went on for about 10 minutes. Finally, she thanked me, wished me a good day, and she hung up. That was it. Never heard from her again. It was so bizarre and people didn’t believe me when I told them about it.

    1. Hooptie*

      Alison, you should do a thread on call center stories…

      Here are my weirdest ones:

      This reminds me of the time, many years ago, when I took a late afternoon call on our consumer hotline. It was from a lady in New York City, and after I answered her product question she very matter-of-factly told me that she was watching aliens land on the roof of the building across from her apartment. She also went into detailed stories about which celebrities and political figures were part of the Illuminati. I wish I could remember the rest of the call.

      Another time, I worked in a call center while working my way through school. We used to take calls for all kinds of companies, including Hawaiian Tropic Swimwear. Well, we would get calls from men who thought that the call center reps were the girls in the catalog.

      “Thank you for calling Hawaiian Tropic Swimwear. This is ‘Jessica’; how may I help you?”
      “Which one are you?”
      “Excuse me?”
      “What page are you on?”

      And it only got worse from there. If you are thinking ‘gross’ you are right.

      I am not kidding. We used to call the catalog ‘the poor man’s Victoria’s Secret’.

      3rd story – same call center

      We also took calls for a very upscale catalog company. One of the other reps (a man) was absolutely in love with Loni Anderson. Somehow the stars aligned and she called in to place an order and he answered the call. Since he now had access to her personal information (including her phone number) he started stalking her. The whole situation ended up with threats of legal action and he was fired.

    2. Meesh*

      I once worked at a bank in technical support. I had a lady who would call me daily for roughly two weeks, convinced I was the lab conducting her child’s paternity test. Despite my attempts to explain the mistake, she continually accused me of withholding the results out of spite. I can understand crazy, but the only way to get a hold of me then was to go through 7 different levels of options, i.e. Personal banking > current customer > online banking > etc. The fact that she could replicate that sequence daily meant she wasn’t picking options randomly and would have had to think about which option (dividends, RRSP, interest) would most likely tell her the name of her baby daddy.

  38. olivegrove*

    I used to work in an old-time photo studio, which had more than its share of weird moments, but this was one of the more amusing ones. One of our sets was for a “bathtub scene,” usually done by a couple. One time, we had a man and his wife come in wanting to do this scene. He was wearing jeans, so we offered to give him a pair of shorts to change into so none of his clothes showed once he got in the bathtub. He was a pretty big, muscly guy, and our shorts were all in women’s sizes, so we had to give him the biggest pair we had–pink and covered with teddy bears.

    I think he was already pre-embarrassed before he went to change, but it got worse for him once he came out of the changeroom. The shorts were absolutely skin tight, and unfortunately for him, while he was changing, a family of 20 had come in to ask about prices, so he had a full audience as slunk across the room in his teddy bear shorts looking like he wished the earth would open up and swallow him. His wife found it completely hilarious.

    1. Hiring Manager*

      This sounds like one of the photos you see on Facebook as the most awkward family pictures

  39. PJ*

    At a startup I worked at once, we hired a product manager who turned his cubicle into a Tiki Bar. Straw umbrella, neon sign and all. He even hauled in sand to pour on the floor of his cubicle. It was a pain getting all the sand out of there after he got his butt fired for being way more concerned with is cubicle decoration than the product he was supposed to manage.

    1. ryn*

      Ugh, I dated/worked with a guy who could have easily done this. I’m pretty sure it’s not the same guy, as he for sure would have bragged to me about doing this sort of thing. It just freaks me out how many guys there are out there who will pull this kinda crap at work.

  40. AnonyMOOSE*

    Worked as an RA at my university and was privy to the largest drug bust on campus. Got a call from a resident that their upstairs neighbor was have a very loud party and wouldn’t quiet down. Protocol means we head over, knock, announce that it is the RAs, ask them to turn down music, and make sure nothing illegal is going on.

    Well we knock, announce ourselves, they answer the door, and a massive cloud of pot smoke blows in our faces. When there are drugs involved, we are instructed to just immediately call campus security while not letting them shut the door. We’re instructed to try and keep people there, but never physically restrain them or anything like that. We thought that because it was a second floor apartment and we had the entrance blocked we wouldn’t have any trouble keeping people in there. False. When people see Campo and the police showing up, students start jumping off the balcony like crazy people.

    Well cut to maybe 15 minutes later, we’re working with police and Campo to write a report, and all of a sudden a kid comes running out of a closet and jumps of the balcony. Apparently the residents were running a massive drug ring. They had several pounds of pot and thousands of dollars in cash stuff all around their apartment.

    1. Kay*

      Wow! I was an RA at my university as well and we had an incident I don’t really know how to describe one night when I was on call. I was asleep and got a call from another RA that she heard gunshots… I told her that they don’t pay me enough to go towards that, to call security/the police and hung up and went back to sleep. I got another call maybe 20 minutes later requesting that I come downstairs to the lobby. My boss’ boss had locked and chained the doors of the building because there was an inexplicable riot outside. To this day I have no idea what it was about, but campus security was called, the city police was called. I think there were even cops from a neighboring college campus. I heard that one kid got tasered because he punched one of the cops. It was a CRAZY night. Not my favorite on-call ever…

      1. AnonyMOOSE*

        On-call nights are the worst. I one time got a call from a girl at 3 in the morning because she was locked out of her room within her apartment. Not her apartment her room. Seriously, you can’t sleep on the couch and call me at a decent hour? So silly.

        1. Annie*

          To be fair, I once lived in a strange dorm-apartment where each bedroom had its own bathroom, and if you left your key in your bedroom, the door automatically locked behind you and you were without a way to go.

        1. A.*

          Not my school, but the same thing happened here. Kids had broken bones and twisted ankles from jumping from a second-story student apartment after police showed up to a house party that featured, let’s say, drugs of the green variety.

    2. Memories*

      OMG! this reminds me of when back in the day I was an RA and one of our residents did some stupid stunt and set himself on FIRE! I was in my junior year of school and couldn’t figure out how someone could be that stupid and do something so weird!

      1. dahllaz*

        I once worked for a construction company that did a lot of insurance work. We once went to a dorm because a student had set firecrackers off in the room. The room needed repairs, but the hall, stairwell, and the comoon room a few doors down also needed cleaned.
        I’m not sure if they were injured or not, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    3. Shhhh*

      I was an RA. Those stories are the best. In my time as an RA, I had a resident who was mad at me toss a lit firecracker into my room while I was there. That was terrifying. I’ve had residents break into the electric panel and turn off all the lights for the whole building, try to tear the fire alarms off walls while wearing half a halloween costume, jump out of windows, get into a fight that resulted in a girl loosing a hair extension, and more drug busts that I can remember. Still I loved it.

      On the fun side, the very best part of my job was the awkward knock on my door at midnight when a resident would come looking for a condom. They were always to embarrassed, it really amused me.

    4. Dorth Vader*

      I was an RA, night security (after I retired as an RA, because one doesn’t just leave ResLife) and worked summer utilities and conference crew in college. Weekend 2 or 3 of my first year as an RA, me and one of the other newbies busted a 24 person party which ended up being the largest of the year. There was also the time when my then-fiancé-now-husband were on together and a kid tried to convince us that his can of Bud Light was Pepsi. No, everyone in my family drinks cheap beer. I know it when I see it.

      Over the summer we were going to paint one apartment that looked like the residents had been kidnapped. Their crap was everywhere, there were holes in the walls, a stop sign in one of the bedrooms, skiing stuff, possibly drug paraphernalia, the works. I stopped into central office one day to chat with an RD who was doing the write up and EACH resident (4 men) was charged over $1000. Four thousand dollars for cleanup and repair. It was ridiculous.

      Last but not least, I was two weeks away from “retirement” at the end of my junior year. I was sleeping on my couch and my fiancé was on my lofted bed (the couch made it easier to respond to stuff) when I heard my doorknob rattling. I thought the jerks next door were just being funny until they got into their room, but the rattling grew more insistent. So I woke my fiancé and opened my door. One of my neighbor guys tried to push past me, muttering something about needing to lie down. I blocked the door and tried to get him to string together a coherent sentence, and eventually we got that he was locked out and on a ton of drugs. So I went to get the key and told my fiancé to be prepared to call 911 just in case. Got back upstairs and the kid was asleep in the hallway. I went to wake him up only to notice that he had vomit down the back of his shirt. So I kinda gently kicked him a few times until he got up, I put the key in the door… And it had been unlocked the whole time. Not thrilled. He came up to me the next day and apologized, saying that his friends had given him weird drugs. I told him he needed new friends.

      Summer conferences were the best. No overdoses, no roommate problems, just mainly a bunch of teenagers being corralled by their counselors or fully-fledged adults who came to campus every year and remembered you from summer to summer. I miss that.

    5. Anonyby*

      I wasn’t an RA, but I have a “fun” dorm story. For reference, I always lived in what were officially freshman dorms (I was never close enough to anyone to be able to go into the upper-level housing, so it was easier to just have a roommate assigned by the school, which pretty much meant freshman dorms).

      Anyways, one year near the end of fall/winter semester finals week we had a nasty wind storm blow in during the night. It ended up blowing down one of the huge trees on campus, a bunch of branches, and knocked out power to the whole area, not just the city we were in.

      And one of the guys on my floor went crazy that night, AFTER the power cut out, trashing his room and taking a bunch of his roommate’s prescription drugs. They had to call the cops to haul him away. (And the power didn’t come back on until almost a week later, by which everyone was gone on break.)

    6. Anx*

      I suppose this isn’t strange since it became relatively common, but it did strike me as odd at first:

      Urine in bottles all over the place. I worked in housing in college and every year at least one person would leave bottles of urine in the hallways or in their rooms. It did make me sort of uncomfortable because I thought it could indicate a mental health issue in some cases, but I didn’t get involved with that aspect of it. Also I never knew how to address the fact that it was often not healthy looking (very dark).

      1. PinkiePie*

        I went to a women’s college. One of the girls was seriously crunchy granola and would keep her reusable tampons in jars in the communal bathroom. Clear, glass jars. Gross!

  41. ExceptionToTheRule*

    Additional thinking leads to additional stories. I worked retail in high school & college at a department store. It’s since gone out of business and I think I know why.

    I once had to take a return on a 19 year old outdoor trash can (heavily used). It had a 20 year warranty on it and had developed a small hole in the bottom of the plastic, so the guy returned it and the manager on duty authorized the return. A couple years later, at a different location, I had to take back a used toilet seat because “it wasn’t comfy enough.” It had stains.

    To this day, 20 years later, I’m not sure which of those was grosser.

    1. Stephanie*

      Oh, ugh. Retail. I had to do inventory at a retail job, which included scanning damaged items. I was assigned to lingerie and was given a box of “damaged lingerie” to scan. Luckily, the manager just let me estimate the number of items instead of having to scan every piece of damaged lingerie.

      That same store, someone pooped in the dressing room. The juniors’ dressing room.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Me too! I would bet that almost any retailer with a fitting room has found poop in those fitting rooms at least one time.

          1. Nina*

            Wow. Not having worked in retail before, I can’t believe how common this situation is. I can see an accident happening with a child, but the adults?

            Maybe it’s some type of compulsion, or the thrill of pooping in public and not getting caught?

          2. littlemoose*

            Yep. Thankfully I never witnessed it in all my years of retail, but my coworker once stepped in (!!!) poop in a fitting room.

      1. seesawyer*

        When I cashiered at a department store, Corporate would send outside teams to do yearly inventory while the staff did normal running-the-store stuff. I guess the inventory teams were used to the absurdities of the job; at one point I was walking past the lingerie section and heard one of the inventory folks make a crack about spending his days surrounded by C-cups.

    2. Diet Coke Addict*

      Oh god, I used to work at a high-end tea shop and a woman came in with a baggie of wet, used tea leaves and tried to return them because they “weren’t what she wanted.”

      1. Stephanie*

        Ew. I got my laptop from Costco. I was having issues and the concierge phone service wasn’t any help. So I went into the store to see if they could help me. I was there for about two hours on the one. Costco takes anything back.

        I saw:
        -half-eaten 10-lb bags of nuts
        -a blender base (just the blender base)
        -A spa? I guess the spa was somewhere else, but I heard the customer saying she wanted to return her spa.
        -Obviously worn clothes

        1. De Minimis*

          I took some moldy peaches back once, but I hadn’t opened the container [and had just bought them without looking closely.]

          I have heard they will cancel the membership if it’s obvious someone is abusing the policy.

      2. ggg*

        I know someone who worked at a shoe department, who had to accept the return of (a) a pair of shoes with a toenail in it, (b) a pair of shoes with a used maxipad in the box.

        The person in (a) was very defensive. “You have to take them back! Store policy says so!” The person in (b) muttered something about the cat, in a totally nonchalant manner, and did not seem embarrassed in any way.

      3. littlemoose*

        I had one lady try to return a two-year-old pair of boys’ jeans (she had the receipt) because her son had outgrown them. Uh, it’s a clothing store, not a clothing library.

        I also had a customer try to return a dirty and obviously worn pair of jeans because they were too long. I politely informed her that we could not return worn merchandise. She got angry and demanded to know what the F she was supposed to do with them. I suggested perhaps getting them hemmed at a tailor. She became enraged and went on a profanity-laden tirade.

        1. CTO*

          I worked at a store with a famously generous return policy (which has since been tightened somewhat), so we witnessed an endless variety of questionable returns. One of my favorites was the woman who returned two-year-old used pants because she lost weight and they no longer fit. We also had people who would clearly “rent” thousands of dollars of stuff and return it a week later, claiming that every single item failed to meet their needs. Sometimes we also had returns that were 10-15 years old.

    3. SaraV*

      My husband used to work at an athletic shoe store. A gentleman came in with a return, claiming the leather had ripped on his shoes, and he only bought them x days ago. The store manager opened the box to look at the shoes, and there was the razor he used to cut the shoes lying in the box.

      I currently work in the back office in a retail setting, and my assistant store manager told of this past weekend when a customer stumbled and hit her head on the floor, bleeding profusely. This happened when a) a lot of associates were at lunch, and b) the store was having a big sale, so it was rather busy. Long story short, she was very glad to have the following day off to decompress.

    4. Liane*

      Cleaner than some of the others.
      1–A couple days ago, my supervisor, Janna, was covering my lunch or break and returned a large jug of laundry detergent a customer brought back. She refused to return his second jug because he’d used 1/2 of it. After he left, Janna became suspicious–a little late–because the measuring outer cap was missing and checked the contents. It was filled with water! Janna was annoyed with herself and I tried to console her by telling her about the time I accepted a return of powder detergent and the box was really full of dirt! Another coworker, who was my supervisor at that time filled in details I’d–mercifully–forgotten: it was FOUR boxes and 1 was partly opened but the dirt was covered with a thin layer of the white powder!
      2–Today a woman exchanged her young daughter’s new jeans because they were too small–common thing, huh? BUT…She found the right size, took the kid into the fitting room and changed her jeans–the one the girl was wearing was the pair she was returning! I was speechless–yes it can happen, believe it or not! Which is why the transaction got done–none of us could think what to say. I pulled a defective ticket and personally took the jeans to our claims person, to explain why it should go back on the shelf, just in case he or the senior woman didn’t read the ticket.

      1. CreationEdge*

        #2 could easily happen. Sometimes you can’t tell if a child’s clothes fit well enough unless they’ve worn them for a bit. If they wore their new Christmas clothes (very common) and then during the day found they weren’t comfortable and needed to go up a size… Why go home first? Especially if you’re traveling for the day or not going to be near the store again anytime soon.

        Just because the kid fit in the clothes doesn’t mean the clothes fit.

    5. Rebecca*

      Oh, I can’t even remember all the crazy things that happened in my years working retail.

      – Poop on a pile of clothes in the junior’s fitting room during Easter weekend (biggest sale of the year). I put on gloves and threw the whole pile (clothes and all) in the garbage. Loss prevention wanted to if I had taken the tags off so they could adjust our inventory. Um, nope.

      – A teenage girl who got stopped by our loss prevention team because she was wearing two pairs of jeans. Well, she hadn’t stolen either of them. She was wearing two pairs of jeans because she had started her period and didn’t have any pads or tampons. I still don’t understand why she thought this was the best solution.

      – Blood-soaked underwear stuffed behind a handbag display. Oh, also a customer once brought me a pair of jeans she had picked up to try on and the inside was covered in blood.

      – A woman walking her dog (not a service dog and not a little purse-size dog) through the store. The dog lifted its leg and peed on a display of handbags. This was when I was working at a high-end department store, those bags were hundreds of dollars each.

    6. AIP*

      I didn’t have that many horrible returns during my time in retail at a national company. Although I did have one where I felt sorry for the lady who came in to get a refund/exchange on a jumper her mother-in-law (or some such relative) gave her for Christmas. I didn’t blame her as it was ugly, but it also didn’t look familiar and I recongised the label as the design from 15-20 years previous. The product code was so old if wasn’t even on the ante-deluvian computer system. She was so upset as she obviously thought it was a slight by the MIL.

  42. Jamie*

    Not my story, but from a former workplace before my time…

    Saturday shift the factory workers called the big boss at home because they heard a horrible growling noise in the front office. Thin walls, but the office was locked so even if someone wanted to they couldn’t go check. They were terrified there was a large animal in the front office and so he had to come down and investigate.

    One of the managers who wasn’t working that day sound asleep under the conference room table and snoring loud enough to wake the dead. Apparently he’d tied one on the night before at a bar down the street – and decided to go into work and sleep there instead of going home.

    How loud do you snore if you can be heard through a factory wall?

    1. Peep!*

      I feel your pain… I can hear my parents snoring upstairs when I’m downstairs…. through the floor.

  43. dmk*

    I’m sure others who have worked retail have similar stories, but one afternoon (during the holiday rush) when I was manning the changing rooms, I opened a changing room door on a couple having sex — full on, clothes all off, sex. They were sitting on the bench in the changing room and their feet were not on the floor (hence why I thought the room was empty and opened the door). I quickly slammed the door shut and booked it for the wrap desk to tell my manager, and then I took my break, because, ew ew ew. While I was on break, they apparently came out of the changing room, fully clothed again, and proceeded to purchase several items — and I got credit for all of them, because they said I’d been helping them (I had not been helping them). I guess if a sales associate walks in on you having sex in a changing room, the least you can do is make sure she gets something out of it?

    I quit that job shortly after that and have not worked retail since.

    1. De Minimis*

      One of the places I used to work was located near a country/western nightclub. Our shift ran till half-past midnight, and one Friday as we were all leaving we encountered a cowboy couple having sex on the hood of the car in our parking lot.

      1. Arbynka*

        Were they fully undressed as well ? :) Yes, for some people having sex in public is exciting, a big turn on, the extra adrenalin and all, but to actually get all clothes off… that is quite the commitment :)

  44. De Minimis*

    I’ve mentioned this fellow before, but a former co-worker at the postal sorting facility would wear various military fatigues to work each day [many of which seems to be from countries that no longer existed] and would practice karate forms while working….he also liked to yell out bible verses. We all just kind of had to work around him sometimes…he was not a bad worker usually but he did not pay a lot of attention to what was going on. The cardinal sins at the Post Office were poor attendance, theft, or threatening people. He didn’t do any of those, so he was okay.

    His wife was even crazier and was tough to work with…she reeked of perfume that smelled like a rancid coconut.
    She was a casual so they sent her out the door when she got into an altercation with someone. I guess up to that point people had just put up with it, but this one guy finally had enough. She was just off and people didn’t like working with her.

    There were two other women there who were supposed to be mean, most people stayed out of their way. I had trouble at first with one of them, but never had problems with the other. It was often speculated what would happen if the two of them ever tangled with each other, but they worked different shifts so it never happened.

      1. De Minimis*

        He just had way too many varieties for it to be just from here….

        Someone there also would drive a military transport truck to work sometimes. It took up 4 spaces in the parking lot. Never figured out who drove it, there were several possible suspects.

      2. spocklady*

        So I recently found out that there are people who collect different kinds of camo (usually from various militaries) – maybe that’s what he was doing?

        1. De Minimis*

          Collecting is one thing, but that’s what he wore, every day…I worked with him for a little over 3 years and never saw him wearing anything else.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          U.S. Cavalry used to have a section in their catalog where you could get military surplus from around the world. I have a big old Swiss army coat I got from there for $32. It is pure wool, with big buttons that have the Swiss cross on them, and a giant collar you can turn up and button so you look like Jecht in Final Fantasy X. I’ve had it for probably 25 years. It refuses to wear out. :)

      3. Arbynka*

        It is amazing what all you can find. Back in CZ, they just had this amnesty thing – for certain time you could bring in illegaly owned guns and ammunition without it resulting in any legal trouble. So this elderly woman walks into a police station, says with smile “I have something for you”. Officers look into a bag and jump back. She brought in this long grenade. She found it when cleaning garage.

      4. Tinker*

        Ebay, maybe?

        I’ve got a rule that I usually try and avoid wearing the current camouflage pattern of the US military, so as to reduce the prospect of looking like a wanker. There are limits to the effectiveness of that rule, though.

      5. ExceptionToTheRule*

        If you were in high school (or in the military or foreign service or whatever) when the Berlin Wall came down and went to Europe, soldiers from the former Soviet Bloc countries would sell or trade their uniforms for about anything American.

  45. HRC in NJ*

    I worked on the same floor as a hoarder. He hoarded copy paper to the point we had to lock it up. He would save leftover pastries from meetings and store it in the freezer for months – but he never ate it, and got quite indignant when it was thrown out to make room for others’ lunches. One day, as bait, I left an expired can of soup on the filing cabinet across from his desk. It sat there for a week. Then I took the soup and put it in the trash can of the person next to him. The following day, I saw the soup in one of his under-desk bins.

    1. Sascha*

      There’s a guy who works at my university’s help desk like that. He is a food hoarder and will take any and all leftovers – even if they aren’t offered to him, or it’s in the trash. One coworker caught him eating moldy hummus one day. Apparently he has a bookshelf full of expired food that he hoards.

  46. Us, Too*

    I have a bunch of them.

    – This is actually not uncommon, but I worked in the drive thru of a fast food restaurant and was inadvertently participating in selling drugs. My manager would accept money from a “friend” of his in the drive thru, then go disappear and come back with a bag then hand it to me telling me to give it to the car in the drive thru. I was too desperate for the job to ask him about this and too naive to consider he was doing anything other than maybe giving away free burgers (and pocketing the difference) to his many, very scary looking, friends who came through all the time.

    Also, a guy drove thru several times a week in his El Camino. He always wore a black t-shirt with “F*ck You” written in fancy calligraphy on the front. His (enormous) Rottweiler rode in the “truck” part (back) of the vehicle. He always ordered the same thing. A burger meal and a 20 piece order of chicken nuggets with BBQ sauce. He was a big, scary looking guy so I didn’t think much of him having such a large order. He came through one time and I forgot to give him his BBQ sauce, but he fortunately checked and noticed my oversight before he drove off. As I was handing it to him I apologized and said he must be a big fan of our BBQ sauce because he never changed sauces. He responded that it wasn’t for him, it was for his dog! He demonstrated: he opened the box of nuggets and a sauce, dunked one, then tossed it out his driver side window for his dog to catch in mid air from the back of that El Camino! We shared a laugh and he drove off. And, sure enough, his dog managed to catch every nugget I could see him toss out his window as he left!

    1. Betsy Bobbins*

      I’d like to know how he knew his dog preferred dipped nuggets to undipped ones. I’m pretty sure my dog would just be happy to get a nugget, let alone hold out for one that had sauce on it.

    2. CheeryO*

      That’s hilarious. I worked at Tim Hortons and occasionally saw people give plain donut holes to their dogs, but catching chicken nuggets is amazing.

  47. Laura*

    Weirdest thing I didn’t see at work, because I wasn’t in yet:

    I got in one day to be told that one of our newer hires had caused a police raid on the office that morning (innocently). He liked to wear black hats and a black trenchcoat, and he had to walk to work. The weather was clear that morning but the forecast was for rain, so he brought his umbrella. His full-size, old style, black umbrella with a carrying strap, which he used.

    Yep, someone in the office building across the street called it in as “OMG, a guy with a rifle in a black trenchcoat just went into the office building across the street!!!” Only good thing is it was probably about 7 or 7:15 am, so at least there weren’t _too_ many people in yet to be terrified by the very serious police search of the building. Did I mention that we were on the third (top) floor of that building, and our door was at the far end of the hall from the elevator/stairs? Not knowing where he went, I assume they had to search *every single space* of the building on their way in….

    Luckily, by the time they got to our office, his coat and umbrella were hanging up and his hat was on the bookshelf. Reportedly things calmed down quite a lot very quickly at that point.

    Weirdest thing I have personally experienced at work:

    In that same space, we had a wall shared with a day-trading firm at one point. They went out of business and were closing down, and the three people who had the office on that shared wall were worried because there would be random *screaming and pounding* from the one guy who remained in there cleaning it out.

    One of the times it happened, one of the three people picked up his computers and moved into our computer lab to get out of that room. At that point I’d had enough and went down the hall, knocked on the door, and asked the gentleman to please not do that as it was making some of our people uncomfortable. (I was the team lead at that point – not a managerial role, but slight supervisory elements.)

    The guy who answered the door was older, slightly balding, with a very grandfatherly face…and when I politely, even diffidently made my request, he was visibly *mortified*. I think he’d forgotten there might be people on the other side of that wall. That was the end of the pounding and screaming.

    1. Artemesia*

      There was a news story about a swat team being scrambled because of a report with a guy with a rifle on a campus — same deal — some professor walking carrying a full size umbrella.

      I used to worry about carrying a flip chart in its carrying case, especially at airports, but never had problems with it.

      1. Anonymous*

        We also had an ‘armed gunman’ alert on campus once, but it was someone carrying an inventory scanning device

        1. Cath in Canada*

          My former workplace had the bomb squad out once because someone who worked at our very high security facility that had had bomb threats before thought it was a good idea to get an antique thermometer he’d ordered sent to him at work. It came while he was away on a 3 week vacation, in a poorly-wrapped, poorly-addressed package with about a million stamps on it (i.e. hadn’t been taken into a post office for weighing); the mailroom guys scanned it, saw all these weird tubes and metal bits, and pulled the fire alarm immediately. We were evacuated in the middle of a cold wet Scottish winter day for 2 hours, and we were on a rural campus so there wasn’t anywhere else to go for those of us who didn’t drive to work. Better safe than sorry though!

    2. SerfinUSA*

      OMG! I completely forgot that I had been felony stopped after carrying two toy machine guns to my car after work. It was a very silly work environment (24/7 alarm dispatch center) so toys and pets were common. It was also located in a high crime area, complete with undercover stake outs. I got about a block away before the lights & sirens hit and cops jumped out, knelt and drew guns on me. Holy crap was I freaked.
      Turns out a cop noticed me furtively carrying the partially concealed weapons to the back of my seriously beat hooptie.

      Everyone got a good laugh once they checked things out, and I was cautioned to be more careful when transporting toy guns. Luckily this was long before the crazy shootings that happen now, or I might have ended up shot.

  48. LBK*

    Unfortunately I don’t have any good crazy coworker stories but I’ve got a few good ones from working at a well-known electronics retailer with a tech support area:

    -Customer came in with a jammed DVD player asking if we I could take it apart to get the disc out. He actually didn’t care that much about the DVD player, he just wanted the disc out of it and he would buy a new DVD player if we needed to rip it apart to get the disc out. I managed to get it apart…and discovered the movie inside was some super creepy horror/blacksploitation/softcore porn thing. I did end up giving it back to him and he had the most disturbing shit-eating grin on his face when I did.

    -We had display models of our portable DVD players out on a shelf (the ones with a built-in screen). The units were strapped down but you could still open the disc area. I watched a guy open one, take the demo disc out and put something else in…mostly out of curiosity I waited to see what popped up. It was hardcore porn. I ran over and told him he needed to leave, although for some bizarre reason I let him take the disc with him. My coworker asked me about that, why I didn’t just kick him out and throw away the disc. I think I was just too shocked to react logically.

    -Customer brought in a laptop with extremely incriminating stains on the keyboard/screen. His browser history popped up while the techs were diagnosing and it was literally nothing but twink porn.

    -WARNING: THIS ONE IS SUPER DISGUSTING. NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH. Customer brought in a laptop that was completely infested with some kind of tiny bugs – they brought it in in a box, and when the tech opened the box they were blatantly pouring out of the keyboard area and crawling around the box. She almost threw up. Fortunately I wasn’t there for this one.

    And of course there was the guy that was caught masturbating in the middle of the sales floor. Being in the service industry in a city is always entertaining (that doesn’t even cover the stuff that happened when I worked at a coffee shop).

    1. De Minimis*

      We had a guy like that when I worked at Borders, he had really bad BO and you always had to watch him around the magazines. Our store generally didn’t like to bar people, but he was an exception.

      There was also someone who was always pooping on the floor in the men’s room but that apparently is so common in retail that I hesitate to say it’s even weird.

      1. LBK*

        Yeah, we had people poop in our bathroom sink at the coffee shop a few times. I think that happens everywhere, though…sadly.

        1. Sadsack*

          I used to work in a liquor store. A customer came in to buy some booze. After the customer paid for his whiskey and left the store, I noticed that he left behind a huge puddle of urine in from of the whiskey and a trail of it up to the counter and out the door. I later learned from the sotre owner that the customer had a colostomy bag and it must have broken. He must have known that the urine spilled out, and figured he might as well just go with it.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        When I used to work in the deli in CA, we had a lady come in one time and left a virtual poop explosion in the bathroom. It wasn’t smeared on the walls or blatantly not in the toilet; it must have been some kind of accidental pants bomb, the poor thing.

        Guess who had to clean it up!

    2. hhhhhhhhi*

      Re: the bugs
      This happened to my partner’s laptop! It got infested with mold mites or something. But it wasn’t as bad as you described.

  49. TheExchequer*

    These stories make me glad that probably the strangest thing to happen to me at work that did not involve customers was me having to clean out the dead ants out of the freezer. (On my very first day of my very first job ever).

  50. A. D. Kay*

    I was going to tell the story of the the space alien manager who put his filing cabinets in the ladies room, and then later that day opened the ladies’ room door to tell us to get out so he could access them. But now that seems anti-climactic.

  51. Mimmy*

    Well, my story is rather boring compared to the ones already posted:

    I was temping at a professional association a few years ago, which often held workshops for members to get continuing education credits. I don’t remember what the topic was on this particular day, but my supervisor and I were in her office and we started to hear stomping and hollering–the best way to describe was that it sounded like it was a way to get the participants excited, but I don’t think that was the purpose. My supervisor and I looked at each other and were like, “What the…..”. I can only imagine what people in the floor below us were thinking!

  52. Suz*

    I was visiting one of our manufacturing facilities. While I was there, one of the truck drivers had a spill while loading his truck and had to be taken to the hospital because he neglected to wear his safety gear. While he was at the hospital a drunk, disoriented hooker crawled out of his truck. She had no idea which state she was in, let alone which city. Lesson of the day – Always wear your PPE when traveling with a hooker.

    1. SerfinUSA*

      I worked at a warehouse in an industrial area that backed up to a huge trade show building parking lot. It was often empty and must have seem secluded (apart from the loading dock and large windows of our warehouse 20 feet from one end.
      A car pulled into a space directly across from the huge window at my work area, and some rather interesting activity commenced inside. I called over a couple of coworkers, we watched a bit, figured out what was going on, and our peals of laughter drew the rest of my coworkers. The business owner opened the back loading door and started yelling at the car. Windows rolled down a few inches, soiled tissues came flying out, car took off. Bleah!
      Not too far from this area, a certain phone booth as used as a shelter for prostitutes soliciting customers. The method of signalling availability was to wave a kleenex at passing cars.

  53. Barbara in Swampeast*

    I was working in customer support. There were two other women in the office space with me and it was a SLOW day with very few calls. I wasn’t paying attention to what the other two were talking about, but they turned to me and asked about my sex life!! They wanted to know how often DH and I had sex. Since it was just the two of them, I figured why not. Then someone walked into the run and they asked her and she answered. Then someone else came in and answered the questions. Then word began to spread and people came into our office and shared how often they had sex!!!!!

    I got into trouble a few weeks later when I asked the Director if we could read books in between calls. Trouble from the Director. Evidently she thought discussing everyone’s sex life was ok, but reading wasn’t.

    1. Wren*

      When I was a student, I worked polling stations for elections a bunch of times (Canadian federal and provincial, general and by-elections.) One time, an old lady who was headed to a poll other than mine at the same location harrassed me about reading when I had no voters. I was the deputy returning officer for that poll, and my poll clerk tried to get me to just put the book away until the lady left, but it’s never been in my nature to roll over, even less so when I was younger, so I just repeated like a broken record that I was allowed to read when there were no voters to serve until she gave up.

  54. Gotta Stay Anonymous*

    I worked in admin at a large food bank – not a food pantry, but a food bank, that supplies food to food pantries. (Check out Feeding America for more on food banks.) A few times a year, we’d get MASSIVE quantities of cereals, in big drums. Thousands and thousands of pounds of cereal. One of the volunteer gigs was to shovel it into one-pound bags to distribute.

    Anyway, we once found an employee who successfully hid in the cornflakes at the end of his shift. He was there overnight, eating the dry cornflakes and everything else in the warehouse. I don’t know why. Maybe he was hungry himself. But he was legitimately IN THE CORNFLAKE DRUM with only his head exposed when he was caught the next morning. (Surprise, some staff got there at pre-dawn to start the distribution routes.)

  55. kdizzle*

    Back in my youth, I worked in a hospital filing medical records. A middle-aged woman who worked there was clearly crazy and unhinged. We worked different shifts that overlapped by about an hour. Each day, I would come into the office and she would get upset with me…”I know you used the copy machine last night. That’s my copy machine and I’d prefer that it wasn’t touched.” Except…it wasn’t her copy machine. It was the one office copier for the entire floor of 40 employees. She kept accusing me of using her personal items when she was away, but these things were in no way personal items (copy machine, industrial shredder, full sized refrigerator). I just laughed it off until one day I came in and saw that she had actually created labels for these items: “Missy’s Copy machine! Don’t Touch!”

    Not surprisingly, she was fired soon after for sleeping in the file stacks.

  56. AVP*

    When I was young I worked at a small company as their receptionist, but was promoted to office coordinator when someone else left, and replaced with K, who was right out of college and had apparently been an amazing intern the summer before.

    So I was surprised when K seemed like the worst employee ever, but I wasn’t his manager so I didn’t know if I should say anything. Once I asked him to file some paid bills in the “paid bills” file, and he put the whole packet under ‘B’ for bills (instead of the different vendor folders). Then the next week he comes in with terrible scratches all over his face and announced that he had been attacked by his housemate’s cat, but that his housemate had told him that the cat was a higher priority in the house so K should just deal with it. We asked why he didn’t put a lock on the door and…it turned out his whole bedroom was infested with black mold, and he was afraid that closing the door at night would make it worse. But like, all of his clothes and all of his stuff and probably his body had black mold living on it. Which is so dangerous and bad for you! We sent him to the doctor and he never came back. Turns out he had gone off his meds after graduation. Later that year, one of the other coworkers had a costume party where the theme was “the future.” He came wearing a dress because in the future “none of us will be male or female.” I actually loved this guy and follow his life on Facebook with a mix of horror and jealousy.

  57. Sascha*

    I work tech support at a university, and one of the weirdest experiences I had was trying to work with a student who thought hackers were getting into her computer every time she took online tests. She provided screenshots and it was immediately evident that she simply lacked a certain plugin to make the tests work. But no matter how hard I tried to convince her of this, she said it was the hackers, accused me of being in league with them, and also accused me of working for the government in a conspiracy to prevent her from getting an education. She then emailed the president of the university and caused a big commotion because she claimed me and my office were part of this huge conspiracy, and at one point, refused to talk on the phone to anyone because she claimed the phones were too easily hacked and we would incorrectly record the conversation and say she had lied about stuff. It all ended with her sending a few more nasty emails to everyone about how the government was out to get her, and that’s why she lived alone in the country. After that, we never heard from her again.

    1. SerfinUSA*

      Ugh!
      Reminds me of a work scenario with unshareable details. But meth can often cause that level of techno-paranoia.

    2. Jennifer*

      Oh goody, we have someone like that that e-mails all of our higher-ups, including the chancellor and the president of the entire university network.

    3. ella*

      We had a customer at my library who was banned for a variety of behaviors that I won’t go into here (let’s just say they fall under the general headings of “being rude to staff” and “vandalizing library property”), and a topic of conversation for other behaviors (driving a car that had aluminum foil obscuring all of its windows, setting up camp in a study room with a desktop computer with two monitors that he brought into the library in a suitcase, telling us he worked for the CIA, etc). After he was banned from multiple libraries in our system he started sending letters to the director of Human Resources accusing all of us of racism and of hating him because he’s black and that not letting him use the library is a violation of his civil rights.

      The director of HR is black. As is the security guard who banned him from our library. As is the manager of the other branch library that banned him. I really wish I’d been a fly on the wall for the, “It’s not that you’re black, it’s that you’re crazy” conversation.

  58. Eden*

    This is more of a ‘weirdest thing heard,’ but I once answered the phone at my veterinary job and took a call from an old man who had the following question: “If a hyena and a Rottweiler were to get into a fight, which one would win?”

    He apparently was calling because a Rottie-owning friend of his had bet him that his dog could best a hyena. I told him I had very little data on this, but that I’d have to go with the hyena. He was overjoyed.

  59. Anonymous for this*

    I work for Nike, and I think much of what goes on here would be considered weird elsewhere.

    It’s not uncommon at all to see people doing random sporty things in what’s otherwise a corporate setting. You might walk into the wrong meeting room by accident and see a row of people doing burpees with electrodes attached to their calves and mismatched shoes on their feet. (Product testing, obviously.) You might see a group of guys from Digital Tech running around campus with five different models of our wearable devices on each arm. (Again, product testing.) You might see someone wheeling a shopping cart full of baseball bats across a courtyard from one office building to another. You definitely see people working in sporty attire that wouldn’t fly in most offices.

    You’re also likely to see famous people on campus.

    A year ago, during our “Basketball Never Stops” campaign, we’d set up hoops and buckets of basketballs in random outdoor spaces all over campus. We were sitting on the patio outside the cafeteria right beside one such space when Lebron James walked up and started shooting hoops. My boss, who is from another country and has never followed basketball, said, “Whoa! That guy looks like he could be a real basketball player!” Everyone cracked up.

    Another time, Roger Federer came to campus for a Wii Tennis tournament. (He was awful at Wii Tennis but very, very gracious and funny. Key moment: when he muffed a shot and muttered something unintelligible and the referee shouted, “Language violation, Mr. Federer!”)

      1. A Non*

        Calisthenics drill. Jump as high as you can in the air, put your hands on the floor and jump your feet backwards, do a pushup, jump your feet forward to your hands, repeat. They suck.

      2. Stephanie*

        I do high intensity interval training and they loooove burpees. They are also like to do a variation called the thurpee, which uses dumbbells and ends in a shoulder press (instead of a jump). They suck. However, my shoulders haven’t been this defined since I did color guard in high school. I actually am ok with wearing sleeveless things now!

    1. Camellia*

      My daughter, who is now 29, loves musicals as much as I do (yay!) so for her 9th birthday I bought her ‘Calamity Jane’ starring Doris Day. She loved it so much she made her best friend watch it with her during her next visit. Her friend said, “That blonde lady sings pretty good!”

      And my daughter’s first crush was Yul Brenner from ‘The King and I”. I never thought too much about it until, many years later at a family gathering, someone asked, “Who’s the sexiest star out there right now?”. In unison we both replied, “VIN DIESEL!” then looked at each other in horror. We never speak of that. Ever.

    2. Michele*

      I was working at Nike when Roger Federer played the Wii match. Such a nice guy. My most interesting fit session was for a jock strap.

  60. JBeane*

    I used to work for a small company whose CEO drank a lot. Every occasion was an occasion for wine, and actual holidays involved lots of hard liquor. During one Christmas party the liquor was flowing and most of the company’s employees got drunk enough to abandon the “official” party, including VIP clients, in the conference room. Instead this cohort of about 30 people met in a dimly lit, large back office and proceeded to get REALLY unprofessional. There was a lot of drinking, swearing, and dancing. One employee’s boyfriend worked the room and sold weed out in the open to compliment the liquor (he later said it was his most profitable day that month). Two tone-deaf colleagues debuted an opera they had been working on for years, which centered on the true-life foibles of the much despised CEO. To cap off the night, there was a dirty dancing contest that culminated in a 6’3” man losing his balance and falling directly onto a 5’1” woman who was walking by. He won the contest. When one of the managers came in to find out why everyone had abandoned the official party and were neglecting their visiting clients, he was literally chased from the room. It was the wildest party I’ve ever attended in my life, and I can’t believe it happened at work.

  61. Ms.Elyse*

    I once had a boss who thought we had to bond to be able to work well together. She felt like we had to become “two people with one mind and one body.” I was very young and had no idea what she was talking about. She invited me over for dinner and was breastfeeding her son (which is great, I had no problem with that at all). She stopped abruptly and handed me the kid and ASKED ME TO FINISH BREASTFEEDING HER CHILD. She felt I needed to force lactation in order for our bodies to “become one.”

    I quit the next day. I reported everything to HR, but they told me that since it didn’t happen at work, it wasn’t appropriate to follow-up with her. I have no idea what happened with her, but she isn’t currently listed as staff on the orgs website.

      1. Hermione*

        No seriously, how exactly did you escape from that situation? “Oh sorry, I’m more of a formula type?”

    1. Peep!*

      I thought recirculating bathroom guy was the winner, but this is the new winner. WHAT. Horrified.

    2. littlemoose*

      I’m flabbergasted that HR thought this wasn’t a work issue! She was your supervisor!
      Also: EW.

      1. Another unnamed*

        Argh argh. AB+ can’t donate, because they have all the antibodies; O- is the universal donor.

        Sorry!

        1. Euchre*

          Wellllll, if you want to get pedantic, AB+ can still donate. Just only to other AB+ people.

          BUT, FORCED LACTATION?!?! Oh my god, I don’t even know what I would do. Run?

    3. So Very Anonymous*

      OMG. How on earth did you step away from the situation? I mean, obviously, one quits, but what did you say in the moment? That’s the kind of thing where I’d come up with the right wording maybe three days later or something. Like maybe explaining how the whole “breastfeeding” thing works.

  62. Kara*

    My dad owned a business up until a few years ago (where I worked on occasion), and the last receptionist he had had a serious love of her children. By ‘serious love’ I mean this: when my dad decided to remodel part of the office about two years before he sold the business, changing the front office (where she worked) that allowed patients to enter her office when they made payments or scheduled appointments to a window counter setup that overlooked the lobby and did not allow patients into the reception office. When the time came to clean out her office for the renovations, my dad and another woman who worked there spent a few hours removing her personal belongings because she had refused to. The majority of the items? Pictures of her children – 243 framed photos, to be exact.

    After the remodel was completed, my dad bought the receptionist a digital picture frame and told her she could put as many photos on that as she liked, but no other frames were allowed in the office space (he didn’t want a bunch of holes in the freshly painted walls). She was extremely bitter about this.

    Side note, another story if you will, regarding this employee – when my dad sold his business and started cleaning out his office, she kept asking if she could take pieces of furniture home for her to use. My dad, being a nice guy (seriously, he let her amass a collection of 243 pictures of her kids over four years – saying no was not his strong suit) and needing to get rid of it anyway, started letting her take what she was asking for. In the middle of the process, his wife (who also worked there) discovered that this employee was actually taking the furniture home to sell for extra cash, not for personal use. That put a stop to my dad’s generosity – the rest of the furniture ended up in storage until it could be sold for the business’s gains.

      1. Kara*

        Hah – the same way she had a job after she wore flip flops, capris, and a cami to work (dress code is scrubs), used a back room as an after-school day care center for her two kids, and practically set up a pantry under her desk. My dad was not the ‘manager’ type – he’s an entrepreneur. He didn’t care much past that as long as the patients were happy. Growing up watching all of this happen is actually one of the reasons I’m in the career that I am now – I had a great example of what NOT to do as a manager, and now I’m a management consultant training business owners to focus on not allowing their businesses to be run the way my dad’s was.

  63. Programmer 01*

    Our current office rented a kangaroo. Not for any particular reason. They just wanted to see if they could get it approved as a business expense. It was. We had a kangaroo for a day. They are remarkably cuddly.

    Same office, you will frequently find umbrellas covering the gameplay department because the window leaks every time it rains, to the point where “It’s raining in Gameplay” is a normal day. We have not bothered to move, but have constructed elaborate gutter and bucket systems that mostly keep the computers, and our shoes, dry.

    Same office has permission to set fires in the trash cans in the winter because it is so cold everyone is wearing two coats, hats and trying to type with gloves on. “Not the plastic trash cans, though,” says operations. “They could release some chemicals and like, create a hazard.”

    SAME office eventually had to evict the flamenco dancing classes above us because THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD WHAT WAS THAT CONFERENCE CALL ABOUT?

    A place I worked about 10 years ago was on the 8th and top floor and the only restrooms were on the 1st floor. People would go up to the roof and pee off it rather than walk down the stairs. Like, in groups.

    Same office had to install a secure prototype lab for this top-secret “gaming phone” that was being developed (pre iphone), which included sensors in the walls in case someone tried to… tunnel through, I guess? This was an incredible example of how the company tended to pocket most money and get by with the lowest possible bidder:
    – They built it in part of the large open office… directly under the only AC vent in that area of the building. Temp in the prototype lab was generally around 5 degrees C. On the other side of the door? 30+. Computer parts on the outside were melting and frequently releasing the mysterious blue smoke that powers them while people inside had to be rotated out to prevent hypothermia in the middle of summer.
    – There had to be a secure, non-connected PC where the phones could be loaded with the SKs. This was accomplished by building a tiny, airtight closet in the prototype lab whose door could only be opened by one of two passkeys in the building. The manager had to go in, close the door, load the phone, and then —
    – Oh, did I mention they forgot to install a passkey reader on the INSIDE of the auto-locking door?
    – And that the only other person who had the passkey was out that day?
    – Because AIRTIGHT and COMPUTERS go together well, right?
    – And the fire department set off the wall alarms when they broke down the security door to rescue the manager.

        1. Spouse*

          Really? My husband worked at Nokia as a software engineer for almost 10 years, but he doesn’t have nearly as many interesting stories of his office…

          1. Programmer 01*

            I worked at a third-party test studio for most of the “dumbphone” years, where we had bin after bin of every make and model of cell phone ever invented and had to test games on each and every one, as they all had their own quirks. It’s probably getting that way with Android phones again, but we’re talking carrying a suitcase of 40 cell phones across the border, one SIM card, and trying to explain what in the world you’re doing to customs. It also meant 40+ hour weeks of playing sudoku on a motorola single-colour screen. Ugh. I did testing, then localization, and finally got into software porting and from there it was a much easier step into consoles.

            The place was a zoo, and not always in a good way, but I got to work with studios I otherwise never would have, like Disney and Blizzard, and it definitely showed me that this was what I wanted to be doing, just… on a slightly more professional level.

            Now I am, except more professional apparently = kangaroos.

            1. Programmer 01*

              ALSO did he get to play with all the different hardware that was big in Japan? Because I worked on games for every single one of these up to the N90 and just looking at them is making me nostalgic in a full-body-shudder kind of way (not because of the phones, because of the office I worked in. Please see, peeing off the roof):

              http://imgur.com/OWm3O

              Now THAT is a blast from the past!

      1. Programmer 01*

        I’ve also worked on its successor, because the N-GAGE was such a hit (?????), but it was canned because the iphone was revealed about 6 months before it was set to launch and it blew it out of the water. That sucker could play snake in 3D, though. Such video games! Wow.

    1. Karowen*

      I think I want to work with you. A kangaroo?! That’s awesome. (I’m willfully ignoring the parts about fires in trash cans and rain in the office.)

      1. Mints*

        Same. I’m deciding how many exotic cuddly animals I need to deal with the rest.
        Also, are you in Australia? How do it rent a kangaroo? At first I thought it was some equipment I’ve never heard of (Cat, Catepillar)

        1. Programmer 01*

          We are about as far away from Australia as you can get, but we have a bunch of folks from Australia, so they were very much amused by all the fuss over a ‘roo.

          I have no idea how you rent a kangaroo, the PR department is made of magic and pixies. They also rented us an ice cream truck recently. My life is so much better knowing these things are possible.

          1. Kerry (Like The County In Ireland)*

            The Bloggess rented a wallaby for her husband’s birthday a few years ago. She lives in Texas. There’s some company that will bring an exotic animal to your home, office or party, I guess.

            1. Programmer 01*

              Hah, that is awesome! There were handlers who made sure we weren’t bothering the kangaroo, but they got caught up in “ooh, video games” a lot.

              We tried getting some NEVER BEFORE SEEN kangaroo motion capture, but after two sensors were attached the roo had had enough so we didn’t push it. To date we have not managed to mocap an animal, but the narrative team keeps hoping. Even dogs are faked, which is sad but hilarious in the raw footage (a guy with a rope wrapped around his forearm, and another guy laying on the floor tugging at the rope and growling, makes very convincing dog-biting animations!).

            2. Jennifer*

              I’m assuming this is the same place that rented the sloth to Dax Shepard for Kristen Bell’s birthday….

      2. Liz in a Library*

        I am obsessed with the walk-in kangaroo enclosure at my local zoo. Kangaroos! So close!

    2. First Job Problems*

      I can’t decide which part I love most.
      The kangaroo? Cute, Cuddly…ok. I can work with that.
      Raining in Gameplay? I’m sure the guttering system was very advanced.
      The trashcan fires? CLASSIC.
      I’d like to apply to be your job shadow. You sound like you work for EXCELLENT companies and I’d like to spend my day witht hem too!
      My office is empty, it’s raining outside(not inside) and I’m decidedly jealous of the kangaroo.

      1. Programmer 01*

        Video games. It’s like the circus, but with more computers. I cannot imagine a “normal” day of work when people are walking by in spandex jumpsuits covered in ping-pong balls, or someone from the audio room is asking if I can come make cat noises for 10 minutes or so, or the animators are acting out combat moves in slow motion.

        1. manybellsdown*

          I have done some voice work for video games. 10 minutes of cat noises sounds right. I spent half an hour once trying to make noises for various deaths “okay now … like you’ve been stabbed in the stomach.” “umm can you give me a hit in the head with an axe noise?”

          1. Programmer 01*

            The best part is having to repeat it 4 or 5 times, which is really hard when you’re just making stuff up on the spot! People are super shy about being recorded so the audio team tends to ambush people as they walk by and shove them into the tiny, sweltering recording room. You may not leave until you have created foley.

        2. C Average*

          This sounds all kinds of awesome. I want someone to interrupt my workday to ask me to make cat noises.

          1. Programmer 01*

            I mean, I could ask you. It’d just be even weirder.

            On a similar note, I am getting the audio team a Cat Keyboard as a ship gift for the latest project, I expect it to be put to good use on Nextgame Blargh 2, the Blarghening. (I’ve said what I work on before here, but I’m a little more cautious since E3 exploded on us and some really crappy blame-shifting happened).

            B. Meowsic Keyboard, guaranteed MINUTES of amusement.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VADA_m1ny7k

      1. Programmer 01*

        I love that this is the response when I describe working conditions that are as far from professional as I can imagine. It’s just great — I like working here, but good grief the stuff we put up with. I’ve worked out of hotel rooms, out of a van to get a US cellphone signal from the Canadian side of the border, I’ve had to submit code ON PAPER for someone else to type in because there weren’t enough computers… this is by far the best place I’ve ever worked, and YET.

          1. Programmer 01*

            We always need playtesters, is that close enough? Preferably people who have like, played a video game before.

            You, too, can have an exciting career in video games starting like that! Next you can be QC and your manager will throw bananas at you, yelling that any monkey could do your job! (True experience) (Free bananas!).

            1. The Real Ash*

              I feel like you’re trying to trick me. I’ve heard about the horrors of being a playtester… But video gameses! *drool*

              1. Programmer 01*

                Playtesters are our once-in-a-while focus group people who come in, play the game a while, submit feedback, and we analyze the hell out of what they did and try to come up with solutions beyond “they were rolling their face on the keyboard”.

                QC/QA testers, those are the poor souls who are kept in the pit and poked with sticks. It’s how I started, it was grueling and seriously unprofessional at times (and decent money if you’re non-exempt as you work scads of overtime), but the QC where I work now are actually more curators than testers and are worth their weight in gold. I am much happier fixing bizarre gameplay bugs with 15 clear reproduction steps and an attached debug output than trying to suss out what the issue is off a badly compressed screenshot and the summary “game acts weird”.

    3. Rana*

      I think it says something about your workplace that the kangaroo rental sounds practically normal! ;)

  64. BRR*

    I worked at a bar in undergrad and I had to kick a guy out because he was very drunk and urinating in the corner. The weirdest part was he came back two hours later and appeared stone cold sober and I had to explain to a completely coherent person that a couple hours ago he peed on the wall and floor.

      1. BRR*

        Same clothes and a distinct hair style. Not many men have curly gray hair that hits just above the shoulder.

  65. Behind the rack*

    I was working as an assistant manager at TJMaxx while in high school. It was the holiday season so the store was quite busy. I see a mom and her 3, maybe 4 year old son in the women’s section. The little boy was very upset – throwing a typical tantrum and the mom just ignored him. I then realized that the little boy was crying and saying “Momma, I have to go to the bathroom now!” The mother continued to ignore him and walked to the other side of the rack. Next thing I know the little boy pulls his pants down and takes a nice poop on the floor in the middle of the store. My manager at the time looked at me and sighed and said “would you mind cleaning up the swirly doo-doo?” That was so not in my job description.

      1. Arbynka*

        Omg, she should have cleaned it up. If any of my kids did that, I would be darned if I let store employee to deal with it. Then again, I never ignored my kids when they were that young and needed to go to the bathroom. When your three year old says she needs to go the bathroom now, she needs to go now. I still remember my sprint to the nearest restroom at the Heathrow, holding my son and pushing a stroller with my daughter….btw, we made it :)

        1. De Minimis*

          The rule at Borders was that the manager in charge had to deal with all poop cleanup.

          I did have to watch the door once when the female manager had to clean up a poop in the men’s bathroom.
          Unfortunately some kids immediately showed up and had to go, so I think I ended up letting them use the women’s room and wound up having to watch both doors….

          1. Arbynka*

            I suppose if it is a rule but I would feel very guilty and uncomfortable if my child made a mess like that and someone else had to clean it up.

            1. De Minimis*

              I think that was assuming the pooper [or their parent in the case of a child] didn’t clean it up. The main issue we had were people deliberately going on the floor in the bathroom and leaving it.

        2. Anx*

          I’d actually prefer to clean up an accident than have a customer do it. I think it makes more sense for a staff member to clean it up, that there’s more of an assurance that the area would be properly disinfected and that the person cleaning up washes their hands immediately and thoroughly.

    1. Traveler*

      Yeah. I used to work at a museum, and I was on my break in the cafeteria eating lunch. Same thing – parent ignoring child, and the kid just started peeing in the seat, a little waterfall cascading down to the floor in the middle of this packed cafeteria and the woman was just too distracted to be aware.

        1. Wren*

          yeah, I bet it’s traumatizing to have your parent ignore you that way, resulting in your humiliation.

    2. literateliz*

      Wow, apparently this is more common than I thought? The exact same thing happened at the clothing store I worked at in college, except a customer stepped in the poop (!!!!) and no one knew where it had come from so they had to review the security footage. They assumed it was a small dog, but nope. Same thing–mom ignoring the poor kid–except instead of pulling her pants down, the kid squatted for a moment, then shook it out of her pants leg.

      The coda to this story is that about 4 years later, I was working at the downtown flagship store of the same chain, and my coworkers asked me over drinks what my craziest story from my previous store was, so I told them that story and they were appropriately shocked and appalled. The next time I came in for a shift one of the guys I had told it to came running up to me and was like “OMG! The day after you told us that story, a homeless guy came in and did the exact same thing and shook it out of his pants leg!” (And that store actually had a public restroom.)

      1. dmk*

        In addition to walking in on a couple having sex in a changing room when I worked retail, I should note that it was also VERY common to have to clean up human waste from the changing rooms — most often vomit, but sometimes poop. Dirty diapers wedged under a bench were also very common.

        1. Stephanie*

          So many dirty diapers. So many. (And not just in children’s.) After a while, I didn’t even bat an eye. And I worked at a nicer department store at an upscale mall.

      2. jillsyb*

        I could not stop laughing as I imagined the little kid shaking the poop free, but a full grown man? Hysterical laugh tears.

    3. Anonymous for this one too!*

      Ugh, at my last job, I worked with doctors, and not Doogie Houser, real grown-up doctors. One day I spot one coming out of the bathroom (single toilet room), and he tells me to that the toilet isn’t flushing and I need to put a sign on the door that it’s out of order (I should mention this was a small clinic, we didn’t have a janitorial staff or even a cleaning person–we did it all ourselves).

      So I go in to see if there’s anything I can do to fix it…and he has apparently taken an epic crap, which is filled with what look like twigs and snails…I can’t even imagine. I had to don gloves and spend like 40 minutes cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces.

      What kills me is that he was just going to walk away and the magical poo fairies would make it right, or maybe the place would burn down or something and no one would have to know.

  66. Kyle*

    One of my coworkers (A) had one of her supervisees (B, a professional in his 30s, working a job that requires a masters degree) drive several miles out of his way to pick up her neighbors’ farm share/CSA vegetables because their cat was in the hospital. B brought the box of vegetables in to work the next day and A gave them out as gifts to people who stopped in to her office that day.

    Although she wasn’t my supervisor, A had been asking me to do a lot of work for her in the weeks leading up to this incident, and I had been starting to worry that *I* was the unreasonable one for not agreeing to do the work (I did, technically, have the time). After the great Cat Hospital Zucchini incident, I realized she just had absolutely no boundaries and I felt much more comfortable pushing back!

  67. Noelle*

    My boss would write novels with erotic sex scenes in them and then make me proof read them. At work. While he sat in my office staring at me.

    1. Liz in a Library*

      Ew.

      I had a boss who wrote porn at work, but thankfully never asked me to proofread (just left it up on his computer 100% of the work day). That is the pits.

  68. bjellybean*

    This JUST happened: I was in the ladies room, and from the other stall I heard, “Oh my god, there’s a fish in the toilet . . . I just peed on a fish.”

      1. HRC in NJ*

        From Diff’rent Strokes: “Those who come from the sea, shall return to the sea!” Flush. Fish funeral.

    1. Bathroom Screamer/Singer*

      And now my whole office knows I’m reading this instead of working because I can. not. stop. laughing.

  69. Hous*

    The lady who brought a bunch of weird stuff to move into her office reminded me of getting my current desk at work. It’s a very nice desk, but whoever had it before me did not clean it out, and it was just completely full, every drawer. A lot of it was stationery, as you might expect, but there was also:
    -birthday candles
    -ziplock bag full of paper napkins
    -SO MANY ketchup packets
    -matches (multiple books)
    -canned tuna (expired in January 2012, this was in April 2013)

    1. De Minimis*

      This reminds me of a story I heard about a former employee. She retired, and the facilities/IT crew came along to clean up the office. I am told that when they opened her file cabinets, they found nothing but empty file folders and a ton of promotional coffee mugs from health insurance providers. The speculation is that she either took all her files with her [although if so she probably would have taken the coffee mugs too] or that she may have gone years without actually producing or filing any of the documents she was supposed to be working with. Apparently she was never in her office and always wandering around the building, so most people suspect it was the latter.

      They also had the clinic administrator retire and not tell any of the coworkers about it….the department only found out when the cleanup crew came to remove her nameplate and box up all the stuff from her office.

    2. JMegan*

      My job periodically involves organizing “clean up days” for various departments to go through their desks and get rid of all their old paper files. And inevitably, people find some very strange things (which *always* belonged to the person who had the desk before them, of course!)

      I can’t remember them all over the years, but my favourites have been a complete set of dental instruments (in a government policy office, which is nothing at all like a dentist’s office), a coconut bra, and a life-size cardboard cutout of Austin Powers.

      1. Bender B Rodriguez*

        I told my s.o. about this, and he responded, “I had a teacher in high school who had not one, but two different life-sized cardboard cutouts of Austin Powers in the classroom.”

    3. KJR*

      My co-worker inherited a desk with a middle drawer with one section filled entirely with clipped fingernails.

    4. Windchime*

      Ha, the expired can of tuna reminds me.

      I have a colleague in my old office, over 100 miles away. Somehow, at least four years ago, we started hiding a can of expired tuna in each others’ cubes. It started out simply; I would tuck it behind a book on his shelf, he would slip it into my lunch bag when I was away from my desk. It got more and more complicated; I once found it in a thick phone book that he had hollowed out a circle-shaped hole in to perfectly fit the tuna can.

      I have been working over 100 miles away for over three years now. I recently found the tuna can (which expired in 2009) in a box shoved way under my desk. I have no idea when/how it got here. I never confessed to finding it; however, I made elaborate arrangements to have it transported secretly back to him and I believe it’s now taped to the underside of his office chair. We’ll see how long it takes him to find it.

    5. Jennifer*

      We had a chick quit and she left behind her paperwork for her boudoir photography business. Alas, no photos.

    6. salad fingers*

      Hmmm, I have matches, a bag with napkins and birthday candles in my desk at work — didn’t realize this was weird…

    7. Zooooom*

      At my last job, the person before me (who, I found out later, was technically still working there–she was on some kind of indefinite disability leave that she kept extending by threatening to sue our employer and our supervisor) left detailed files of all the grievances she had pursued against various people: her kid’s school, our department, our employer, one of her doctors… it was all there. Sometimes I’d get calls from her lawyer’s office on my voice mail at insanely early hours of the morning. I so wish I had been there just once to tell them that as far as I knew, nobody by that name worked in our office (which was technically true; nobody officially told me about her disability and litigation, I just heard about it through the office grapevine).

      What really ticked me off was that in those files I found out she was STILL making more money than I was, and had better benefits, even though she actually had not been at work for more than a year when they hired me to replace her. In her time before that, she had spent about half the time out of the office and, according to co-workers, was on painkillers for the condition she claimed was keeping her from being at work on the days she was there. Somehow her condition didn’t keep her from doing all kinds of fun and interesting activities that she duly logged on Facebook, so it’s possible that by now they’ve canned her. I don’t know, because I started my exit strategy the day I found out about her salary and benefits compared to mine, and implemented it a couple of months later. :-)

  70. Sheena*

    I didn’t actually see this, but I did see the email about it. Years ago, I worked at a prestigious university as the manager of a psychology lab. One day, all the labs received an email from the office informing us that maintenance had found a bucket of brains in one of the lecture halls and could whoever it belonged to please retrieve. So, that was probably the weirdest thing some poor worker found. And no, I don’t know for sure whether these were human or animal brains, although I’m certainly assuming animal.

    1. hermit crab*

      Hahaha! I made it this far through the stories without breaking down and laughing, but this one got me! BRAINS!

  71. Lurker*

    I used be in charge of booking group visits at a museum. One afternoon someone called and said, “I have a question about touring the museum. I’m a nudist, can I come to your museum?”

    I said, “Pardon me?”

    He says, “I’m a nudist, I want to visit your museum, can I?”

    My first impulse was to laugh and think it was a prank call but since I had to treat every person as if they’re serious I told him he was welcome to visit the museum but I’d need to check our policy since I’d never had that question. (I was thinking no way would they allow someone in the museum naked, but I didn’t want to discriminate so I decided to double check.)

    I added that I didn’t think it would be allowed because we had to abide by City ordinances and I doubted nudity was allowed in public–I asked if he was from the city where the museum was located and if he was able to walk to the store without clothes. He said, “Sometimes. I try to if I can.” We decide that he will call me back in about an hour to see what our policy is, because he’d really prefer to visit “bare-a**” if he can. (I wonder if there are varying levels of nudity and maybe “bare-a**” is a technical term, like a g-string instead of full frontal.)

    I checked with the operations and security departments, as well as the local police precinct. As I suspected, nudity in a public building was against the law and those breaking the law could be fined.

    So he actually called back and I told him that he was welcome to visit the museum, but that I had checked with our security department and the police department and that he would need to wear clothes–a shirt, pants or shorts, and shoes. He said, “Really, because I’ve been to other galleries and they didn’t mind.” I said that since we were a public institution and we had to adhere to city, state, and federal laws. Desperate, he asked, “What about body paint?” I said, “No I’m sorry, you’d need to wear clothes.”

    As far as I know, he never visited.

    tl;dr: A nudist wanted to visit a museum where I used to work.

    1. Hous*

      I worked at a children’s museum for a while and saw a lot of weird stuff, but I think my favorite (?) was a woman who came in wearing a t-shirt reading “Blow jobs is better than no jobs.” I spent a long time thinking about how anyone could possibly wake up, think, “Going to the children’s museum today!” and decide that was the shirt to go with.

        1. Natalie*

          I find the juxtaposition bizarre – those two things aren’t related in any way I can think of except for the rhyme. It might as well say “rainbows are better than the federal deficit.”

          1. Hous*

            I always assumed that the shirt wanted to argue it was better to be a prostitute than unemployed, but went for rhyme scheme over coherency.

            (And Jamie, the grammar was the first thing I noticed too! I think some of the words were also spelled with zero instead of O, but it’s been too long for me to remember clearly. The grammar has remained with me.)