what’s the best/funniest/weirdest email rant you’ve ever received at work?

Last week’s post about a 12-paragraph midnight rant about office supplies revealed that we all love a good rant, especially when we can just watch from the sidelines.

So we need more. This is a call to share the best office rant you’ve ever received via email (or voicemail or other methods, for that mater). We’ll define the scope of acceptable rants as widely as possible — customer rants count, as do blaze-of-glory resignation letters. You can summarize the rant below, or you can post it in its full glory if you’re willing to.

I feel obligated to mention that if you post the actual rant, there’s a chance that the rant author could someday find it here. It’s a  small chance, as the universe of blog-comment-readers isn’t a massive one, but a chance nonetheless, so proceed with that awareness.

{ 1,189 comments… read them below }

  1. Dorothy Lawyer*

    We are outside counsel for a large property management company, and this voicemail actually came to the client, but I think it counts. Property management company accidentally put a notice on tenant’s door that she owed $X, and had to pay it by Y date or eviction proceedings would begin. Tenant did not owe the money. Instead of politely explaining to the manager that she thought it was a mistake, she left three (3) profanity-laden voicemails, which also included threats, for the legal department. Needless to say, even though she didn’t end up owing the money, landlord terminated her tenancy for the abusive language and threats to staff. I read transcripts of the voicemails prior to trial, as did my legal assistant — at one point, in response to a particular suggestion regarding what the listener should do with her anatomy, legal assistant said “I’ve never heard that before – how would you even DO that?!” Me neither… no idea… At trial, two additional property managers showed up because they were afraid the tenant would become violent (and in this particular courthouse, there’s never a bailiff when you need one). My witness played the audio of the voicemails for the judge. It was all I could do not to laugh, it was so funny! I’m bad at controlling my face, but I think I did a very good job. Tenant’s defense? “They made me mad.” Judgment for landlord.

    1. Lillian McGee*

      Yikes! We were considering representing a tenant who was accused of threatening her landlord with violence. Her defense? “I would not have threatened her. I would have just done it.”

      We did not take her case.

      1. Dorothy Lawyer*

        Ooh that’s one of those situations where you hate to send a non-engagement letter because you don’t know how they’ll react…!

      2. Guy Incognito*

        My neighbours defence to a weed dealing charge was and I quote

        “I wasn’t dealing, I just had more than I needed and sold it”

      3. Vicki*

        He had it coming
        He had it coming
        He only had himself to blame
        If you’d have been there
        If you’d have seen it
        I betcha you would have done the same!

        (Chicago The Musical – Cell Block Tango)

    2. OM*

      “Property management company accidentally put a notice on tenant’s door that she owed $X, and had to pay it by Y date or eviction proceedings would begin.”

      This… is not a minor mistake. Threats and repeated angry calls on the part of the tenant are inappropriate, but I understand her anger more than I sympathize with the management company or the dismissive tone of “Instead of politely explaining to the manager that she thought it was a mistake…”

      1. Hlyssande*

        Yeah, I can definitely sympathize with the tenant there. That would send me into an absolute panic.

        1. MashaKasha*

          Yup, it’s a pretty huge screw-up and I would be panicking as well if I were the tenant.

        2. Solidus Pilcrow*

          I was in a similar position once where an eviction notice was posted on my apartment door by mistake. I was in a panic, but managed to contact the leasing office in a calm manner and clarify the situation, without making threats or swearing. (It was a multi-building complex and the notice was intended for the same apartment number in a different building.)

          1. Boop*

            This type of mistake happens in my apartment complex pretty often. I once had a mailman try to deliver a package meant for the same street and apartment number but different street name. I also got a notice on my door that the maintenance man couldn’t get in to fix something and I need to come to Maintenance to have my key copied, but the reason his key didn’t work is because he was in the wrong building…

            So I would check my records to see if I missed something, then contact the office and explain. If you treat the person you speak with well, the whole process is easy and painless.

            1. Jinx*

              Yeah, I lived in an apartment complex that did stuff like this pretty often. Their payment system didn’t handle change very well, so when we moved to a different apartment in the same complex their system failed to comprehend our move and routinely tried to say we were late on the old apartment’s rent. Even though it was straightened out with the office, for some reason they couldn’t stop the automatic emails from coming on a monthly basis.

              The annoying thing about that particular management was that they would wait to post / email those notices until right before the office closed for the weekend. Drove me nuts having to wait to talk to someone.

        3. Saturnalia*

          I’m with you on this. A former property management company decided to let me know about a fee incurred when I signed my second year lease by posting an eviction notice on my door for charges unpaid. I was too shaken to do aught but walk to the office and grovel, but I can understand other emotional reactions too. Eviction is a terrifying concept.

          The lady in the office explained it was standard operating procedure. Didn’t seem to understand why that might not be the best approach with multi year tenants. That was my last year there, obviously.

      2. Erin*

        My apartment management company did the same thing to me. Funny though, I have my bank send a check to them once a month automatically. When I confronted them about it saying I’ve always paid my rent on time, there must be some mistake they responded by saying “they’d been having issues with their USPS mail being delivered and it wasn’t their fault that the check didn’t arrive in the mail. I needed to pay the late fee and rent or would face eviction.” Some very choice words were said. I then emailed them proof from my bank that it was sent, requested the late fee be removed and any trace of a late rent payment be erased from their records. Then I broke my lease two months later because of their horrible maintenance.

      3. aideekay*

        I received one of those notices!

        The property management company changed after a sale and they apparently reconciled their books with some different calculations. My initial deposit and first month’s rent had been prorated and I’d been living at the unit for a year and a half (with 100% on-time payments) before I received a notice.

        The notice was that I was seriously delinquent with my rent and that I needed to provide a cashier’s check in the overdue amount by Friday at 5pm (3 days later) or they would begin eviction proceedings.

        Understandably, I freaked out. I’d never missed a payment! I’d never even used their grace period, I always submitted my check, by hand, to the leasing office by 5pm on the 1st. How much did I even owe…??

        … $0.01. They changed their rounding on the original amount due and decided that I had owed $0.01 for 18 months.

        In the end this was just a stupid automation thing that no human had bothered to deal with. I went to the office to straighten it out, naturally, and had a 30-minute conversation with one of the agents over how I was certainly not going to write a damn check for $0.01, why can’t I just give you the penny or, better yet, you just waive the damn thing.

        I left after I wrote them a check. A $0.10 piece of paper worth $0.01, negative when you take into account the amount of time it takes to process it and reconcile the account.

        I moved away as soon as my lease was up (though that was also because they were raising rent 18%….).

        1. Cath in Canada*

          I heard a story once about someone getting increasingly irate letters from a phone company, demanding that he pay the outstanding amount or else his service would be cut off. The outstanding amount was $0.00. Eventually he had to send them a cheque for $0.00 – it was the only way to resolve it.

          1. DesertDweller*

            I found out when applying for a government job that I was in default on my student loans for the last 18 months. For $0. They sent me the credit report. It literally listed me as in default for $0. When I paid the last of the balance, the lender had hit the button for “default” instead of “paid”.

            You better believe there was swearing involved in that phone call.

        2. Schnauz*

          Something similar happened to me – it was approximately $0.50 that I owed, due to a miscalculation on their part for the previous month’s water bill. So their mistake, but they put it on a “pay now or be evicted notice”. I was not a happy camper. No surprise, this was a crap place, run crappily to such an extent that I was able to break my lease 3 months early with no penalty.

        3. Rana*

          I once paid my college 5¢ to ensure that my tuition balance was cleared. Luckily it was a small college so it was simple for me to pay it in person, they accepted cash, and the person handling it agreed with me that it was ridiculous.

      4. CM*

        I agree, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to laugh over evicting someone from their home.

      5. Tacocat*

        This situation happened to me and it was really upsetting. In our case, they just completely misfiled our payment record (which they received on time and deposited). However, we did not swear or threaten. We expressed our frustration with the mistake and continued with our plans to move out at the end of lease. I’m emphatic, because we were very angry and frustrated. However, we still acted professionally and that enabled the problem to be resolved. Basically, as anger inducing as this situation is, multiple profanity laden calls are still not warranted.

      6. Rafe*

        Oh definitely — big apartment complexes in metro areas do not mess around and now leave such a tiny window of room for even a mistake by their own office. For example, in the last five years my landlord changed the (hundreds and hundreds) of leases at its complexes to:

        o require electronic payment of rent on the 1st of each month;
        o if electronic payment is not received by the 3rd, there will be a penalty imposed — and it’s no longer a flat fee but *a percentage of your rent* (I forget what percentage — I don’t miss rent payments, though when I was young I did and of course not out of spite — but it shocked me because it jumped from a $25 or $35 late fee to a minimum of something like $150);
        o eviction proceedings will begin on either that 3rd day or the 5th day of the month;
        o NO RECEIPT PROVING PAYMENT, with the policy instead being that “Your returned check is your proof of payment;
        o despite all this, constant issues with the electronic payment portal not working and emails about how residents this month should provide a paper check; and
        o even when the electronic portal is working, and residents pay by the 1st or days before the 1st, the complex does not process payments through the bank until after the 3rd.

        It is not an overstatement to say I lived in a state of extreme anxiety the first, I don’t know, half year or year of this, worrying that because I couldn’t verify they had received and were processing the contract-required electronic payment, that they’d either slap me with a penalty that is now a percentage of the rent or even begin eviction proceedings before I could know there had been a personal mistake, an office mistake, a glitch in the system, or a banking mistake. And of course the office is extremely casual about resident concerns like this, they don’t want to hear it and really don’t want any in-person or on-the-phone interaction with residents, period.

        1. Honeybee*

          I don’t understand how they are currently functioning. If they refuse to process payments until the third of the month, how can they begin eviction proceedings on the third of the month? And if residents pay electronically there is no “returned check,” so how can that be used as proof of payment?

          These are not actual questions for you. These are just appalled rhetorical questions.

      7. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        The apartment I lived in senior year of college did this to me 3 times. I always paid my rent on time and in person. The people in the office were absolutely incompetent. They would post the notice outside my door (where anyone walking by could just take it) instead of posting it inside my apartment or sending via certified mail (which was specified in my lease as the appropriate way to contact me). I would have to print out my cancelled check from my bank website and show them that I indeed had paid my rent AND that they had cashed my check. I only lived there a year… but 3 times in a year? I had the composure not to throw an epic fit/rant, but you better believe that after it happened the first time, I started insisting on a receipt. The complex wouldn’t give me one, so I accepted them photocopying my check and signing that they received it on the photocopy. So glad I don’t live there anymore.

        1. Noah*

          “I accepted them photocopying my check and signing that they received it on the photocopy. ”

          That is a receipt.

          It would have been illegal for the LL to go into your apartment to post the notice.

          1. Petulia*

            The last time we lived in an apartment complex this was handled by them just shooting papers under our front doors. It worked pretty well.

      8. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

        Yeah, same. Not that threats are ever appropriate, but profanity…? My sympathy is with the tenant, here.

      9. LadyCop*

        Yep. I’d probably left a good profanity laden voice mail…esp because my old land lord was staffed with vindictive snakes.

      10. jenifer*

        Yeah, I’m going to be honest: management companies are pieces of shit who treat tenants like dirt. Consistently. That action — lying about owing money, threatening eviction — is either a massive blunder that the company should have been penalized for or a deliberate attempt to get the tenant to move out (possibly a rent-controlled situation?) not one that we should be laughing at the tenant about.

        Frankly, prioritizing a management company over a tenant smacks of classism.

        1. Grey*

          management companies are pieces of shit who treat tenants like dirt

          Not all of us :) Resident satisfaction and resident retention are among our top goals.

      11. ivy*

        +1 holy hell, this. You are telling someone to pay up extra, unexpected, substantial sum (usually the biggest monthly expense), and telling them that they will be evicted, and you don’t think this is a big deal? WTF. I would expect the management to be apologetic to me. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

      12. Jj*

        I have diagnosed PTSD as a result of growing up homeless. If was threatened with eviction due to an error it would definitely cause me psychiatric issues and behavior I may not be able to control.

    3. Artemesia*

      Well of course threatening violence is scary and inappropriate BUT tacking a public notice on someone’s door that they are being evicted is an incredibly careless and hostile act. It publicly labels them as deadbeats and should at minimum have resulted in some sort of preemptive financial settlement. Of course threatening death pretty much wipes out the tenants high ground here.

      1. Bookworm*

        I’m with you. The landlords should have been incredibly apologetic for putting her in that fearful position.

        That said, I’m inclined to give Dorothy the benefit of the doubt and assume that the voicemails included serious enough threats that the landlords were right to be concerned for the safety of their employees.

      2. Rants on Anon!*

        I’m not a lawyer, but did property management and have gotten my real estate certification.

        It’s not meant to be hostile per se.

        Evictions–for good reason–are heavily regulated by law. Part of that process is meant to ensure that tenants have a chance to respond to an impending legal action.

        An eviction notice is a legal document that has to be served, and the way it is served is generally decided by state law. Most states do not require personal service (which is when someone presents you with the papers). However, the landlord still must show that they did their best to deliver the documents to the tenants. In many states, this is done by what’s called the ‘nail and mail’ method–which means mailing one copy via certified mail to the tenant, and physically posting one copy in a conspicuous location. The idea is that there should be as little ambiguity as possible that the landlord provided notice, and the tenant was given an opportunity to get the notice.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          Yup. In my state, they are required to tape a notice to the inside of your door if you are not home.

      3. Dorothy Lawyer*

        Maybe, but that’s how it is done everywhere. Landlords do not enter a tenant’s home to post late notices. Arguably, email is better, but not all tenants have email or check it daily. Regular mail isn’t quick enough.

    4. My 2 Cents*

      Um, I’m sorry, but you sound like horrible people. You made a mistake, a HUGE mistake, and are mad that the tenant got upset? You deserved the salty language thrown at you, you threatened someone’s home and were wrong, and then you went ahead and took it away from them anyways.

      1. duck-billed*

        Hear, hear. Being threatened with eviction is a terrifying thing for many people, who can’t just afford movers and storage units at a whim, and having an eviction on your record means it’s nearly impossible to get a new place to live. And notice that the tenant left three voice mails – which means nobody bothered to return her calls. So she was falsely accused, ignored, evicted, and is now a ‘hilarious’ anecdote. Ugh, I hate this story.

        1. KT*

          I cant even imagine. Some poor woman working hard to keep a roof over her head, comes home to an eviction notice, calls and ends up getting voicemail repeatedly…her neighbors all saw the eviction notice and think she’s a deadbeat….and we’re supposed to laugh at her for being angry?

          Your company SERIOUSLY screwed up. The response should have been an apology and a discount on rent.

        2. Dorothy Lawyer*

          She left three voicemails in one evening. Back-to-back. Threatening the safety of staff. No, the whole situation was not funny – most of these situations are not going to be funny. A small part of each of these situations is funny – that’s how most people cope.

        3. chocolate lover*

          Actually, it doesn’t automatically that no one called her back. I’ve had people call me repeatedly within a 10 minute period and leave multiple messages. When I was in a meeting, and still unable to take the call/hear the message/respond.

          I would probably have a heart attack if someone mistakenly told me I owed a lot of money and was going to be evicted, but it still doesn’t justify threatening people.

      2. ToxicNudibranch*

        Mistakes happen. This was a big one.

        I’m pretty confident that if the voicemail had been merely full of rage, insults, and a lot of yelling it wouldn’t have been a huge deal. However, when someone (even someone legitimately wronged) issues threats, that’s pretty serious too.

        There’s a world of difference between “How fucking dare you!?!?” and “You better hope I don’t see you Jessica, because I’m going to beat your head in.” Being angry or rude isn’t wrong in this case. Making threats to someone’s person is.

        Re: holding in laughter, sometimes angry people say funny things. It doesn’t distract from the legitimacy of their anger, but when I was working tech support for a cable provider, I once had someone whose service had been cut off due to a system error. It was during a big game. We were working to fix it like mad, and this lady was screaming (literally screaming) at me that she hoped a flock of birds flew in my window and shat all over my sofa. It was funny. It was objectively funny. I didn’t laugh at her, but you bet your bottom dollar I cracked up the next time I placed her on hold.

        1. Dorothy Lawyer*

          Yes! The laughter was because of the specific suggestion re what the recipient should do with certain parts of her anatomy… I had never heard it before, and it seemed impossible. The threats were not funny, and nor was the tenant’s frustration. I can understand frustration over landlord’s mistake – I’m freqently frustrated over my landlord’s minor mistakes. But screaming and yelling and swearing are not professional and the threats take it over the top. And THREE voicemails are over the top.

            1. Dorothy Lawyer*

              Let me clarify – 3 voicemails. In one evening, after the office had closed. Back-to-back.

                1. Any mouse*

                  I havent received an eviction notice but I did mistakenly get a notice that my insurance was being cancelled. Which is a huge fear of mine. I called up the offices but the department I had to deal with was closed and there was no way to leave a message. I was livid and scared when I finally talked to someone. I know I sounded panicked and I wanted to curse them out instead I didnt. I was able to find out it was a mistake and get the issue resolved without resorting to threats of violence.

          1. jenifer*

            yeah, that’s not a minor mistake, though!

            I hate to be part of the pile-on, but I’m currently in a fight with a landlord who is doing their best to make me move (it’s a rent controlled apartment that they want to raise the rent on) and the idea that they could “accidentally” serve me an eviction notice, then ignore my phone calls all night, AND THEN have their (high powered) lawyers (who I have no chance of fighting in court because I don’t have the resources) laugh at me on the internet for my frustration and, frankly, fear?

            yikes.

            1. Laufey*

              They didn’t ignore her phone calls though. She called three times on one night, after hours. And we’re not laughing at her for being angry and upset, we’re laughing at her for threatening a person (so credibly that a court feared for the the safety of the threatened person) who had nothing to do with the eviction. If she hadn’t threatened death/assault over the telephone, three time in one night, the eviction would have never happened, because it wasn’t supposed to. But rather than saying, “You have the wrong apartment. Fix this,” she opted for a more violent option, and then faced repercussions for that.

          2. Laura*

            I’m not defending her threatening you, but calling an unwarranted eviction threat a “minor mistake” is pretty messed up. That’s a big mistake, the kind of mistake that could reasonably cause someone a lot of fear and panic.

      3. Shell*

        They deserved the language, perhaps, but certainly not the threats. If the threats were to a point that the landlord had to bring in additional people at court because they were afraid the tenant would get violent, that sounds like pretty scary threats.

        If the tenant had just limited it to cursing, my sympathy would be fully with the tenant, and I doubt the landlord would’ve done anything other than apologize profusely. It sounds like they evicted the tenant for abusive language and threats.

        1. Mazzy*

          My thoughts exactly. I was once threatened by someone in my building strung out on drugs, and to hear a stranger describe how they are going to come back and kill you – it was very scary, and you don’t know if they are actually going to do it. If someone issues a specific threat, I’d err on the side of caution.

      4. Dorothy Lawyer*

        This was a tenant who threatened the safety of management company employees (in THREE voicemails), so much so that they legitimately feared MY safety when we went to court. Definitely the management company made a mistake, but nothing excuses making threats like she did. There is, of course, more backstory to this, which I won’t get into. I evict multiple people per week from public housing. I don’t enjoy it. BUT, 99% of the time, they are people who had chance after chance to make things right (ie, pay their rent, get their utilities turned back on, have unauthorized occupants move out) and fail to do so. There are hundreds of people on a waiting list in my city to have the opportunity to live in public housing — people who have not already breached the trust of the public housing department and really need that unit.

        1. Anon for this one*

          +1

          I work for a Housing Authority. We do not enjoying evicting people or threatening eviction against people, and we certainly apologize when we make mistakes. However…we also send out probably a hundred evictions every month, and the vast, vast majority are not in error. The language in our notices, the timing and way in which we post and/or mail them…all those details become incredibly important on the rare and unpleasant occasions that we do have to take someone to court. Difficult as it may be for a tenant to remember in the heat of the moment, an eviction notice isn’t a personal “gotcha,” or an attempt to publicly shame anyone–it’s the necessary first step in a potential legal case. :/

      5. Noah*

        No. Dorothy Lawyer didn’t make the mistake. The client posted the erroneous eviction notice, which was later discovered to be in error. The lawyer never tried to enforce that eviction notice.

        But when the tenant got the notice, she didn’t “get upset.” She threatened people with physical violence. Repeatedly. That’s not just some “salty language.”

        Imagine you run a bakery and a customer comes in and threatens to kill you. You wouldn’t do business with them. Why should a landlord have to do business with people who threaten them with violence?

        Don’t get me wrong, landlords do lots of sketchy stuff that is not okay. And, sure, posting an erroneous eviction notice isn’t a good thing to do (it’s not good for the tenant or the landlord, actually). But evicting somebody for threatening you is not one of those sketchy things.

        1. Capt crunch*

          So the lesson is: when ranting, make sure your death threats are sufficiently baroque as to be un-credible. Eg im gonna have a pack of rabid hyenas gnaw your balls off.

          1. ToxicNudibranch*

            Well, yeah. Duh. It means you get the joy of threatening + you still get to maintain the element of surprise :)

            When you actually do arrange for said pack of hyenas to do some scrotal chomping, your victim is still going to be completely shocked, no matter how many times you warned them.

      6. Grey*

        Is there no limit to the abuse one should accept if they make a mistake? As a manager, I’ll always let a resident vent. A few four-letter words are no big deal. But when you tell me I’d better keep my door locked, tell me you’re going to hang me from a tree, or tell me about the shotgun I can expect in my face (all of which I’ve heard), you’ve crossed the line and have become a liability. What if you harm another resident while I had knowledge of your temperament? I’m not going to risk anyone’s safety nor am I going to risk the lawsuit.

        It sounds as if the OP’s resident crossed the line in this case. A judge who’s heard all of the evidence has agreed. We don’t have all of the details, so I don’t think it’s fair to question the judgment.

    5. mcfly85*

      Of course nothing excuses profanity or threats of violence, but this management company really did an egregiously horrible thing to this tenant. As someone who’s received a notice like this before by mistake, it’s a truly terrifying thing to experience. When it happened to me, I came home from work on a Friday evening after a stressful work week, of course the rental office was already closed, so even though I was reasonably sure it was a misunderstanding, I ended up awake all night, sick with worry. I wasn’t in a position to be able to afford to consider moving, I have dependents, etc.

      I didn’t leave a profanity-laced voicemail, but only because I knew that being pleasant and understanding about it on my end would yield a better result. But I can TOTALLY see how someone just slightly less rational or under slightly more pressure would do so. It wouldn’t take much.

      Interestingly, it’s experiences like that from my own life that I often think about when I get crazy voicemails or emails from customers (customer service is one of the many different parts of my job and I don’t provide people with anything close to life-essential services like housing). Whenever I get a really crazy customer rant, I think to myself – damn, I didn’t even do this when my HOME was threatened, and they’re throwing a tantrum over this tiny little minor thing in their lives. It helps me to laugh at those situations and keep things in perspective.

      1. Dorothy Lawyer*

        I agree – it was a bad mistake, and yes, I have been on the receiving end of such mistakes. But you just can’t behave that way, you can’t threaten people.

        1. Michael Scott*

          Your client threatened to put this tenant out of her very home on erroneous grounds, and then actually did so. I’d probably feel pretty threatened, too, if I were in her shoes. That she lost her home but no one was hurt goes to show which of these threats — of an eviction or the impractical use of an unspecified body part — was the more credible.

          1. Laufey*

            The landlord terminated the lease of a tenant that threatened to assault/kill his staff. It’s fine to be angry when your landlord makes a mistake. It’s not fine to threaten people so much that a court – a neutral third party – thinks the threatened person is in danger.

    6. Kapers*

      Yikes. I don’t agree this is worth sharing during best/funniest/weirdest rant time, akin to a fired-up 12-paragraph email about a petty thing like office supplies. That story was funny because the stakes were low. And not for nothing, but this retelling failed to include any of the portions meant to be funny.

      Instead this reads like a tragic tale of a poor person with possible mental health issues forced from public housing (where the alternative is often homelessness), provoked into rage and panic by unfounded threat of eviction that resulted in actual eviction, and on top of that, mocked!

      Poor person with possible mental health issues failed to react like a “professional” when told she is losing her home, loses home anyway; Goliath wins. Ha? Or, it’s a tale of criminal threatening. Ha?

      Either the content of the voicemails is funny and should be mocked, or it was worth evicting someone over. I can’t read it both ways.

      1. Dweali*

        It’s a pretty big leap to read mental illness into someone who’s excuse to the judge was “they made me mad”

    7. azvlr*

      I had the reverse happen to me in court against my landlady. She tried to withhold my very sizable security deposit after I had scrubbed and sweated to clean that house. I admitted to the damage that was mine (guitar meet ceiling fan), and proved that some damage she was trying to charge me for was already there when we moved in.

      She kept telling the judge, “I’m just so angry! She’s such a mean-spirited person.” while I presented the facts in a calm manner.

      The judge saw fit to award as much to as he could squeeze from the shitty lease agreement – more than $900.

  2. Kyrielle*

    I have only once or twice encountered a workplace rant, never in print that I can recall.

    I did once get a (justifiedly upset at the situation, although perhaps not justified in venting it on me) client (and, I believe, former drill sergeant) reading me the riot act over the phone about a critical problem when I called to work on it at 3 am, though. It was quite impressive. (And she was, as I later came to know, normally a very nice lady to work with. 3 am with a repeat of a problem we’d been trying to nail for weeks was her breaking point. Well, I think it was another more senior person’s breaking point, but same net effect.)

  3. Jake*

    Believe it or not, I’ve never actually seen a workplace rant. At least not one that was more than a one on one venting session.

    1. OfficePrincess*

      I was on the receiving end of multiple rants during my call center days, but I blocked out all memory of the details for my own sanity.

      1. BananaPants*

        My husband worked for 3 years as a CSR for a major wireless company (one currently in the news in the US). The rants from customers were epic – and over relatively minor things. No one was losing a house, no one was dying, it was just that a teenager on the family plan felt like sending 10,000 texts in a month at 20 cents apiece and left mom with a $2K bill. So yeah, ranting customer, be pissed off – but be pissed off at your kid for screwing up, not at the CSR whose job you’re threatening if he doesn’t reverse the charges for 9800 extra texts. Maybe let him explain the options available that will let you pay far, far less than a $2K bill before you tell him you hope he dies in a fire (literally).

  4. Mint Julips*

    I had this co-worker who was having a truly rough time and she would find the most inopportune moments to go off on how everyone was horrid at their job and how she was the only person in the entire team that was qualified and the Director and the CIO were useless.
    One day she decided that she was going to dole out her 2 cents during an organizational townhall and it didn’t go over well – she was given a bit of a talking to.
    I think that spurred her on even more than before – I’m not with that organization anymore and don’t know what her life has been like – but she was entertaining to say the least.

    1. AJ*

      We have one woman who hijacks -every- townhall to rant about the slow elevators in the building. Like, berating the director for not doing more to make the elevators faster. At the most recent one, the director announced that all 4 of the elevators were being renovated over the next year! Everyone turned to the woman who complains about it hoping for a smile or something. She raised her hand to speak. When called on, the only thing she said was “So this means the elevators will be down for the next YEAR? I can’t believe this. Can we space it out longer so only one is down at a time???” and continued to rant and complain until the director cut her off mid sentence.

      She works on the second floor.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I worked in one building where EVERYONE complained about the slow elevators constantly because for security reasons you couldn’t take the stairs to most floors and the elevators were so slow that if you got caught at “rush hour” (so, 8-9am, 12-1pm, 5-6pm) it could take 10+ minutes to get an elevator. I had people come late to meetings I was running because they were waiting for the elevator. *I* was occasionally late to meetings because I was waiting for the elevator. It was nutty!

            1. Karowen*

              I think he meant the “couldn’t take the stairs to most floors” reference. I’m guessing the doors were normally locked, but they’d be automatically unlocked if a fire alarm went off?

              1. Charlotte Collins*

                I’ve worked in a similar building. Usually you can get to the stairs, but you’re committed to either going to the lobby or to wherever you have access at that point. And the fire or tornado alarm will create a situation where the doors automatically unlock so people can leave.

              2. alter_ego*

                I actually help design life safety systems for high rises. Under pretty much no circumstances will the stairwell be locked from the outside on an upper floor, and they’ll never be locked from the inside on the first floor. But they will be locked from the outside on the first floor, and from the inside on the upper floors. So you can get into the stairwell from an upper floor, and go down and out, but you can’t get in on the first floor and go up to another floor, nor can you get in on an upper floor, and go up to a different upper floor.

              3. Wendy Darling*

                Basically for security reasons the stairs were set up so you could get INTO the stairwell from anywhere but could only exit in the lobby.

                1. Cruella DaBoss*

                  I found this out the hard way after I wound up in the kitchen of the hotel we were staying in. Oops

                2. TootsNYC*

                  and in some places, going into the stairwell triggers an alarm (unless you have a key that opens the door). In those cases, the stairwell is considered a fire exit.

                3. Mallory Janis Ian*

                  I found this out after our academic building on campus was renovated with modern, up-to-date everything. Before we moved out for renovations, I could use the back stairwells to go into any floor of the building. After we moved back in, I used the elevator to go to the top floor, and then I was going to go down the back staircase and make pitstops in professors’ offices on the fourth floor and the second floor. Once I got into the staircase, however, I couldn’t get out of it. Even when I got to the ground floor, I couldn’t enter the hallway and go back into the building; I had to exit through a door that led out onto the lawn and then go all the way around the building to get back in.

              4. Koko*

                Per fire code, upper-level stairwell doors can be locked from one side, such that you can’t exit on those floors, but at least one stairwell on every floor needs to have doors that let you *into* the stairs, and the ground floor egress has to be unlocked for all stairwells.

                In other words, you can always exit the building using stairs, but in secure buildings you often can’t get off at any floor other than the ground floor.

              5. snuck*

                Most buildings I”ve worked in have access to the stairwells by swipe card. You can access the fire stairs from the floor, but to come off the stair well into a floor you have to have the access card.

                All people can go down them, and out to the ground… but you can only go onto other floors if your card has access privileges. So if you are working in a building with many companies, and your company is on level 4, 5, 6 then you can probably go up and down the fire stairs for those floors, but not into the other ones… and everyone can get out the bottom.

            2. Anonymous for this One*

              Actually, there are more and more high rise buildings where elevators ARE used for occupant evacuation. It’s part of both the elevator code and the building code. They found after the 9/11 attacks that the time needed to evacuate a high rise via stairwells is too long and that disabled building occupants are at significant risk. If elevators remain functional (as some of the elevators in the WTC towers did) then they can be safely used to make egress much faster.

              Under nearly all circumstances when certain fire alarms are activated, all elevators in a building are immediately recalled to a designated level and parked there – you will not be able to use them to evacuate even if you wanted to. In many jurisdictions firefighter’s service (which requires a special key) is available (in many buildings it’s required), which allows the fire service to rescue trapped occupants on higher floors and to move equipment through the building to fight the fire. They still have to be recalled first, though.

          1. Rowan*

            In a lot of buildings, the doors to the stairs will let you out from your floor, but not in. Once you’re in the stairwell the only unlocked door is on the ground floor (or basement, or wherever leads to the emergency exit). Obviously you wouldn’t take an elevator in an emergency.

            1. Ted*

              Fun fact: the elevators are still totally usable and may even be safer than the stairwells. The only reason you aren’t supposed to use them is so that the fire department can.

              1. Paige Turner*

                Huh, really? That sounds like a much safer option if you are on a really high floor, or if you’re disabled. My building has those “evac chairs” but those seem tricky at best.

                1. Oh, I'll Answer The Phones.*

                  Evac Chairs?
                  I’m totally picturing those slow mechanical chairs for disabled people that move down the stairs via the wall, with some older gal in one, shrieking “Aint nobody got time for this!!” while looking over her shoulder at the advancing flames.

                  i crack myself up.

                2. The Cosmic Avenger*

                  They’re not bad if you know what you’re doing…however, most people won’t know what they’re doing, and it can be dangerous to both the patient and the rescuer if you drop them while you’re below them, or if you injure your back or foot and become another casualty in need of rescue. When we had a fire alarm in our building years ago, an older woman was having trouble getting down the stairs, and this other random guy and I were both trying to help her. We decided that since we didn’t see any smoke or fire, a four hand seat carry would still let us move fast enough, so we just gently walked down with her like that.

              2. auntie_cipation*

                I always assumed that an additional (if not primary) factor was that, depending on the nature of the emergency, one would never know if the power might be cut off, and no one wants to be trapped in an elevator during an emergency. I know many buildings have backup emergency power specifically for such situations, but I for one would hesitate to be dependent on THAT, as some emergencies might damage that infrastructure as well.

                1. Kelly L.*

                  I think I always just thought the fire would burn through the elevator cables or something!

                2. Anon for this one*

                  I’m an engineer who happens to know a lot about both fire protection and elevators. When certain fire alarms go off (not necessarily the building fire alarm), elevators are recalled on what’s known as Phase 1 emergency recall. They all go to their designated recall landing (or alternate landing if the alarm that initiated recall is on the recall floor), open the doors, and will not respond to hall calls or attempts to use the car operating panel. If you don’t have a firefighter’s operation key, the elevators are not going anywhere until recall is terminated.

                  Firefighters use elevators all the time to stage equipment to fight the fire, evacuate disabled occupants from an area of refuge, etc. Because of requirements in the building and elevator codes, elevator hoistways and equipment are some of the most survivable parts of building infrastructure (fire rated walls, requirements for backup power, etc.). I’d be pretty comfortable riding in an elevator on firefighter’s service if it was necessary.

              3. Artemesia*

                Elevator shafts are chimneys and it is common for people to get stuck and then have smoke sucked up the shaft. Stairwells are designed to keep out fire and smoke.

                1. Anon for this one*

                  That’s inaccurate. It’s very rare for passengers to be entrapped during a building fire and be exposed to smoke in the shaft due to stack effect. Because of emergency elevator recall and how it’s initiated with respect to the building fire alarm system (ref. ASME A17.1 and NFPA 72) there is little opportunity for occupants to be entrapped unless the elevator itself is on fire (which is extremely rare and difficult to have happen).

                  Elevator hoistways, like stairwells, produce a stack effect that often requires pressurization or smoke management systems to compensate. That’s a fire protection function intended to reduce smoke spread through a building; it has nothing to do with entrapped passengers because that situation shouldn’t occur to begin with.

              4. Chriama*

                Funner fact: When I was younger I remember I was in an office building or somewhere with my mom, and the elevators all had a sign that said “In case of fire, do not use elevators.” So of course I thought that meant you shouldn’t use the elevators in case there’s a fire. After nervously taking the elevator a couple times with my mom (can’t she see the sign? Why is she such a risk-taker?) I finally asked her why we were taking the elevator when the sign said not to. She was more confused at my confusion than amused at it though.

                1. eee*

                  I thought the exact same thing when I was a kid! Glad to see someone else interpreted it that way. But I thought it must just be like a legally required warning, like how cigarettes have to say they can kill you. “we know you’re gonna use elevators anyway, but we have to warn you you shouldn’t use them, because there could be a fire”

              5. The Strand*

                No, no, no. That is not the only reason.

                Watch the movie “The Towering Inferno”. (An Irwin Allen production! With Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and… Fred Astaire? He’s actually really great.)

                Anyway. “The Towering Inferno” shows an excellent example of what happens if your call button short circuits and your car opens on the burning floor, instead of the bottom. Now, this is supposed to be less common with newer models (no heat sensitive buttons etc), but why take the risk? A commenter on the Straight Dope message boards (discussing the legend that a burning car would *always* open on a burning floor) also describes other reasons why you’re not supposed to use them, for example the chaos that can happen when too many people pile in at the same time. (Something else you can see in “Inferno”).

                Some of what the commenter talks about is common sense: the elevator rolls down a shaft. Think about chimneys: heat and smoke rise up a shaft; and your elevator car is an enclosed space in the middle of this heat and smoke. Maybe you’re headed down into a floor where the fire broke out; it would have been safer in the stairways (also a shaft) because they’re fortified against heat, more than an elevator’s car. Now, the smoke and heat rise into and around your car, an enclosed space where you’ll struggle to breathe; or maybe the act of your car moving down pushes the smoke and heat onto new floors.

                Bear in mind also that elevators, unlike stairs (which you take under your own power), can be shut down when the power goes. Now the fire fighters have to worry about saving your butt before something goes wrong with the system. There’s some detail on this online at Google Books, where Elevator and Escalator Rescue: A Comprehensive Guide is available for preview. Page 171 goes into the risk to fire personnel if they use elevators or need to rescue people from elevators. If it’s dangerous for fire fighters to rescue you, it’s really dumb to get yourself in that situation in the first place, when you have a choice that usually works better (stairways).

                One more thing. One of our relatives was seriously injured in a horrific fire (think Coconut Grove, but more recent) and now travels around the country to talk about fire safety. For any AAM reader who might actually be a manager! and have buying power, he really recommends safety sprinklers as a life-saver… he asks people to consider them in their home.

                1. Oh, I'll Answer The Phones.*

                  We have sprinklers in our apartment!
                  Which had us literally running through every room and scanning the outside hallway for irate neighbors when we burned some especially thick bacon one morning; we were convinced the sprinklers were automatically connected to the fire alarm, and hundreds of gallons of water (possibly chemically-treated? idk) would start pouring into ours & our neighbors’ apartments.
                  Guess we ignored the room on every building labeled “Sprinkler Control Room”.
                  But our apartment office people at least know we are very concerned-, conscientious-of-others’-belongings-renters… who are unfortunate chefs.

                2. Anon for this one*

                  No. Whatever you may have seen in an old movie or read on a message board is not accurate.

                  Elevator recall is required when certain fire alarms go off (these alarms are inside hoistways and control spaces and in elevator lobbies). What happens is that all elevators in the group are immediately sent to their designated recall floor without stopping or opening doors – unless the alarm that initiated recall is ON the designated recall floor, in which case it goes to the alternate floor. Upon reaching the recall level, the elevator stops, opens the doors, and will not move without a firefighter’s service key (if enabled). The purpose of an alternate recall level is so that elevators aren’t recalled to a floor where there’s a fire in an elevator lobby. Elevator recall is immediate upon activation of specific alarms; by the time the fire truck leaves the station to respond to the building alarm, elevator recall is already complete.

                  As for traveling past a fire floor during recall, that’s not a big risk. Elevator hoistway walls have to be of fire rated construction, the same as evacuation stairwells. The scenario that you relate of the car going through smoke and flame is highly unlikely in a residential or business occupancy; by the time fire is involved enough to have broken through a hoistway wall or the landing doors, the elevator will have *long* since been recalled. An exception to this would be if the hoistway itself was breached or if the fire started in the hoistway – like what happened in one of the WTC towers when the plane flew into it. That’s very rare, though.

                  Your odds of being entrapped in an elevator in a burning building or of riding an elevator and having the doors open onto an inferno are exceedingly low. Like, you shouldn’t even worry about it.

                  The primary reason elevators are recalled so fast is to prevent entrapment either from overloading by panicked passengers or power loss in the building. The firefighters do NOT want to have to try to break through walls into a hoistway to rescue trapped passengers, which is risky even without a fire raging elsewhere in the building. It’s also so that the elevators are available to the firefighters on Phase II operation for staging equipment to fight the fire.

                  Your relative is correct on residential sprinklers; I want them in our next house.

            2. LBK*

              Yeah, that’s how our building is. Which was a fun surprise when my department moved over from a building where the stairwells were all unlocked and my coworkers had to call for help when they tried to take the stairs back from lunch.

        1. Cath in Canada*

          I used to work in a building with terrible elevators. They were terrible from the first day we moved into the brand new, purpose-built 15 floor building. I know someone who got stuck in one of them for two hours on the very first morning!

          – You still often see hand prints all over the inside of the doors where people have had to physically force the door open at their floor.
          – The doors close very quickly and don’t always detect an obstacle reliably.
          – The programming is messed up – if they’re coming up from the basement they don’t stop in the lobby, even if you hit the up button before they start moving.
          – The parkade basement levels are programmed as priority floors, but if you want to leave the B1 level (where the mail room, shipping and receiving, showers, and bike room are) you’d be faster to take the stairs up to the back of the building, then walk around the entire building to the front door, where you can take a second set of stairs up to the upper levels, than you would be to wait for an elevator any time between 8 am and 6 pm.

          I still have to visit that building every couple of weeks, and I know to build in 5 minutes of elevator delay time before any meeting – and also to push the down button in the lobby and go for a quick detour to the basement before going back up. It’s faster.

    2. MsMaryMary*

      I attended a townhall once where someone stood up to complain about staffing, saying it was ridiculous to expect people to work 70-80 hour weeks on a regular basis. The director holding the townhall turned red in the face and basically told the guy to quit whining. That went over like a lead balloon, and in about a month we had a new director.

      1. Athena C*

        We had that too! With the VP of our department, and someone asked about the 11 hours of OT we were working every week.

        I’ve never seen the colour drain out of management’s face so fast. VP was not best pleased.

      2. MashaKasha*

        Nice.

        I was in an all-hands department meeting once where we all took turns standing up and explaining to the corporate CIO that outsourcing the tier 1 helpdesk of a manufacturing company with a 24×7 production cycle to a third party was a bad idea. Something like 15-20 of us took turns speaking and presenting different arguments to prove that this change was not working and was hurting the business. He looked humbled! He sheepishly explained that this was the first he’d heard about it, and that his direct reports had only been giving him positive feedback (duh, they didn’t want to get fired for giving him a negative one, which had happened before.) He then flew back to corporate HQ, blamed the whole “outsourcing not working” situation on the woman who was in charge of the helpdesk, reprimanded her for the change that he had made and forced her to support, and considered the issue resolved.

      3. SusanIvanova*

        Silicon Valley TeaNirvana merged with LA DinerCoffee. There were layoffs at the merger, and then over the next six months SV people started leaving after getting frustrated with the lack of direction or understanding the difference between a tea ceremony and a quick cup of joe. Now, SV was booming at the time – dangle your resume, especially from TeaNirvana, and recruiters leaped like piranhas – but LA, not so much.

        About the time maybe a third of the remaining TeaNirvana engineers had quit, there was an all-hands where someone asked upper management – almost all DinerCoffee – what they were going to do about it. The VP of engineering leaned forward very intently and said, much like Smokey the Bear talking about forest fires, “only you can protect your job.” *Not* what we were asking. I think another dozen resumes went out that day.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          It took me until I hit “engineers” in the second paragraph to realize this story was not actually about a tea shop and a coffee shop undergoing a merger.

          1. Vicki*

            I figured it out with the first word, but then, I’m rimed here for anything that includes “Tea”. (Or Fergus, Jane, or Wakeen).

  5. Guy Incognito*

    The best email I have seen was sent to several hundred people in response to reply all being misused and contained the line

    “If you are looking for sympathy, you’ll find it dictionary somewhere between shit and syphilis …….”

    1. Rebecca Anne*

      I absolutely love that line. I am totally going to steal that and use it in my non-work conversations.

      I imagine that it went down like a ton of bricks though…

      1. Guy Incognito*

        I found it really really funny, but it was at a professional services firm (not quite big 4 but close) so the office was really formal and stuffy, not only that but the distribution list included the CEO and other board members.

        It was not well received.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          We had a reply all fiasco at my company last year when our imagining center was trying to figure out where to send a legal notice (a contact person wasn’t listed, nor was a division name – just the general company name). They ended up forwarding an email with the notice attached to the entire company of 5500+ people asking, “Does anyone know who this belongs to?”, and about thirty or forty people actually replied all saying, “Not mine.” Finally, one of the division managers responded, “Would you dummies please stop hitting reply all!” Executive-level people had been in that “dummy” group – I cringed when I thought about the stern talking to he was going to get after that.

          1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

            I was stuck in reply all hell and finally replied with instructions on how to stop replying to all.

            I then got a bunch of replies of thanks and an actual phone call of gratitude. ….leave me alone! I appreciate it, but you are now defeating the purpose. I just want to work!

            That was a weird day.

    2. Ellie the EA*

      OMG – my husband (retired Army SGT MAJ) uses that all the time! I never thought I’d hear another person say/write it. (there are days I wish I could say it at work)

      1. Granite*

        That was always one of my Dad’s favorite lines. No military service, maybe he picked it up in jail? (Vietnam era draft resister.)

      2. Crissy from HR*

        My partner (Army E7, 6 years from sweet sweet retirement) and my retired Marine father pull this one out All. The. Time. in conversation. I can’t imagine either emailing it to their entire staff– just snarking at them individually.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      OMG, I wish we could embed images in comments JUST FOR THAT ONE!

      Actually, I might as well try it:

    2. I'm a Little Teapot*

      Oh yes. Though I’m not sure this thread can rival “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at work?” – which is one of the wildest, funniest things I’ve ever seen on the Internet.

      1. Folklorist*

        Haven’t seen the Married with Children gif, but I had a major flashback to my childhood when I saw it! I remember that! Awesome.

  6. CursedAnon*

    I manage my company’s general info email account. About a year ago, I received a very strongly worded email alerting me to the fact that my organization had been cursed by a witch. Said witch, offended that we declined to move her forward in the interview process and, hearing from a friend’s cousin’s dog-sitter’s barber’s uncle that we had Done Him (the uncle) Wrong, concluded the only reasonable action to take on her part would be to curse us.

    The curse was unspecified, but alluded to a number of unpleasant outcomes for all of us. She recognized that although we are, in fact, a statewide company staffed with many many people uninvolved in hiring decisions in her city, we are all unfortunately tainted by the same brush and therefore must suffer the consequences of our being employed by such a vile company.

    The curse would be lifted should we decide to rethink our decision not to interview her (no word on whether we’d also have to Undo whatever Wrong we perpetuated on the friend’s cousin’s etc.).

    I pondered on the email and then forwarded it to HR, as it did technically pertain to a human resources matter. HR has undergone a number of abrupt changes since then, so maybe the curse is really in effect.

    Whatever, though. I was wearing my hamsa necklace that day, so I feel I am protected. HR can fend for themselves.

    1. Florida*

      My dad told me a story recently. About thirty years ago, there was this group of real estate investors who were buying a foreclosed property asked him if he wanted to go in with them. He declined on this one. The owner (who was not happy that his property was being foreclosed on) said that he was putting a curse on the property. All three of the investors died very young. My dad is still alive. Probably just a coincidence, but it’s a funny story.

      1. anon for this one*

        I work in a library where one patron returned a book on satanism and casting spells that has fire damage. Patron told us that Satan had set it on fire and that we needed to bill satan for the damage instead of her. The person who spoke to her explained that the book had been in her care while it was checked out and the patron was responsible. Of course the patron protested but we still held her feet to the fire for the fine, so to speak.

      1. JMegan*

        That is my favourite AAM line *ever.*

        And honourable mention to CursedAnon for this: Whatever, though. I was wearing my hamsa necklace that day, so I feel I am protected. HR can fend for themselves.

    2. Punkin*

      That last sentence made me laugh out loud. HR at my workplace is notoriously unresponsive, so I am OK with letting them fend for themselves.

    3. Liane*

      Wow! Am I the first regular commenter to recall the hapless manager who needed advice on dealing with a toxic employee who terrorized co-workers with threats of casting curses on them?
      Please link, Alison, or someone.

      1. A. D. Kay*

        Every time I recommend AIM (which is a lot), I always mention this story. Where else can you get great career advice AND read about employees casting magic curses on their coworkers?

      2. Mookie*

        She’s a very busy witch with extremely high standards, because apparently John Cusack has also displeased her.

    4. Dorothy Lawyer*

      Oh my gosh, this poor woman was rejected yet again from your company (which undoubtedly declined to interview her based on her membership in some protected class) and she does something about it and you LAUGH at her!

      [sarcasm above]

      This is one of those situations where, yes, someone was desperately upset (possibly justified, possibly not) and did something about it. And we laugh. Because what else can we do?!

  7. starsaphire*

    I was working at a data analysis firm back in the good old days of dial-up, and our IT guy quit late one night. I was only a temp, so I never got to see the legendary three-page letter he sent to everyone in management. However, he did send it at about one in the morning, and it was studded with phrases like “we should eat the rich” and included a truly imaginative, albeit thoroughly biologically impossible, suggestion as to what we could do with his job.

    For about a week, we all looked over our shoulders every time the door of the server room opened, but that was the last we heard of him. I prefer to believe that he made a bundle in the first dot-com boom, and hared off to an island somewhere to enjoy it alone…

    Looking forward to everyone else’s stories!

      1. starsaphire*

        My pleasure! Just wish I’d had more of the letter to share with everyone.

        To be fair, he had a lot of good points about the management, and it did eventually take 3 people to fill his job, so I don’t really blame him for going off the deep end.

  8. Regular commenter - former telemarketer*

    I’m going anon today. This is a little bit different from the letter last week. Actually, I think the customer was right.

    There was a time in my life when I was just entering the work world. I worked for a telemarketing firm that made calls for charities. Two of the charities we called for were on the Tampa Tribune’s list of worst charities. One of them was just shut down. I openly called this telemarketing office “The Scam Center”. I even called it that to manager. It was in the early days on the no-call list and very few cell phones, so it was cold calling to everyone with a listed number.

    A frequent question callers had was, “How much of my money goes to the charity?” Well, depending on what charity, the answer was anywhere from 10%-60%. When I first started, I would tell people the appropriate number. If it was the 10% charity, I would get a huge rant from customers. This one guy yelled at me for several minutes. Granted, I just muted the phone and didn’t pay much attention, but still, it was annoying. (Although he was 100% correct.) Not being one to touch a hot stove twice, I quickly learned that if someone asked that question, and I was calling for the 10% charity, I would say, “Never mind. I’ll put you on the do not call list.” and hang up on them.

    1. Squirrel*

      Totally off-topic but, are you still in the Tampa area by any chance? If so, so you have any good resources with regards to job leads for this area? I’m looking to move on from my current position at some point on the near future.

      1. Regular commenter - former telemarketer*

        No I’m in Orlando (an hour from Tampa). I’ve never been in Tampa but I read their paper. (And the worst charities article became national). If you have any questions about the I-4 corridor area, feel free to ask on Friday or Saturday open thread and I’ll answer if I can.

        1. Oh, I'll Answer The Phones.*

          Mom moved to Orlando not that long ago. (I’m in the Midwest, and nowhere fun.)

          I sent her a long text updating her on something she was helping me with, like what all I had accomplished to progress it, and got back “Yeah? Well I’m at the beach.” Plus a picture, for proof.

          Come to think of it, she sent me the same reply/picture deal (diff pic) when I told her Merry Xmas, this past year, too…

          1. robynwithay*

            I may or may not do that to my parents who still live in New England. It also may or may not happen when they send me pictures of blizzard weather and I’m just being a snarky buttface. ;)

  9. Snarkus Aurelius*

    Many years ago, I once got an email that said the dishwasher was “hungry” for dirty dishes and it gets “upset” if we don’t “feed” it with the dirty dishes sitting in the sink.

    I was 32 years old, the receptionist who wrote it was in her early 40s, and the youngest person working there was 23 so this was not a daycare.

    I already hate office-wide emails about kitchen duty because I make a point of never using any of those resources for the explicit purpose of NOT doing kitchen duty, but this condescending email made me roll my eyes harder than usual.

    1. sally*

      Here, it was a note saying that the “dishwashing fairy” could use some help with all the dirty dishes left in the sink on a regular basis. Fair point, but when I did start washing my dishes right away (instead of leaving them and coming back later, only to find that someone else had already washed them – which I believe is what everyone else was doing too), my favorite coffee mug was stolen. Can’t win.

      1. Lee*

        The best note like that I’ve ever seen was when I worked for a well-known shopping site. Someone put a note in the kitchen that said “Clean up after yourself! We work for [website].com, not [website].mom!”

      2. Jules the First*

        One office I worked in sent around a note announcing that the dishwashing fairy was going on strike due to the large recent increase in workload. What appeared almost immediately in the break room? A tip jar labelled ‘dish fairy bonus fund’. This is what happens when you work with snarkers. Much funnier though was the fact that ever after people would place dirty dishes in the sink, look both ways, shove a quarter hurridly into the jar, and then flee.

        1. Batman's a Scientist*

          I love this.

          But it’s also why I think everyone should just bring their own dishes. That’s what we do and we never have problems of dishes piling up because everyone takes care of their own shit.

          1. CarrieUK*

            I once worked at a place where one of the senior managers went ABSOLUTELY CRAZY during lunch one day and threw all of the crockery and flatware into the bin.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      At LastJob, someone put up the standard sign in the shared kitchen “Your mother doesn’t work here, clean up your own dishes.” However, for one co-worker, his mother really did work there too. So I penciled in an addendum, something like “Except for Fergus, since his mother does work here.”

      1. Hattie McDoogal*

        There was a mother-daughter pair at my last workplace, so when management put a notice up admonishing us to keep the staff room clean they had to word it something like, “For most of you, your mother does not work here.” It just didn’t have the same punch.

        There were also a pair of brothers who worked there, along with their dad, who was a dishwasher, so he really was cleaning up after them.

      2. Windchime*

        I’ve seen that email at work, too. One time I penciled in, “You’re not my Mom–you can’t tell me what to do.”

      3. ReadyForFriday*

        At one workplace, someone put up the sign,”It brews the coffee when it takes the last cup, or it gets the hose again.” HR took it down later that day, but everyone talked about it for months.

      4. Creag an Tuire*

        I kinda hope his mother appended “Fergus, you’re a big boy, you clean up your own dishes too.”

      5. MommaTRex*

        My sons’ mother is a slob, so they would just laugh at the “your mother doesn’t work here, clean up your own dishes” note.

        1. Creag an Tuire*

          A fair point — if my mother worked here, the office would be cluttered and full of cats, and I’d still have to wash my own damn dishes.

        2. Connie-Lynne*

          If my mom or dad worked there, my dishes still wouldn’t get done. That was a job for the children in the family starting in 1976!

        3. NotAnotherManager*

          We used to have those in my office, and I noted to a number of people over the years that, if my mother worked here, she’d tell me I was an adult and could clean up after myself. She’s a big fan of fostering independence and had us taking care of a lot of stuff from a young age. I was baffled when I met people in college who didn’t know how to do laundry because their mom always did theirs – I was doing family laundry from about age 12.

    3. 2 Cents*

      At my last job — a book publisher — someone posted a typo and grammar error-filled note above the sink that read in part “Wash you’re dishs.”

      1. LawPancake*

        Whenever someone messes up homonyms like that (they’re/their/there, your/you’re etc…) I always try and use punctuation to make it correct. Ergo, “Wash, you’re dishes.” or “Wash! You’re dishes.” Presumably directed at the dishes themselves or perhaps, the message is intended in a metaphysical sense, we’re all one with the universe and should thusly wash since we too are dishes..

    4. Stranger than fiction*

      Oh thank you for reminding me about a letter someone posted in the kitchen at an old job. There was always a gnarly old, surely smelly, dish sponge on the sink. So one day someone took it upon themselves to throw it away. Next day there was a letter posted above the sink- from the sponges point of view- going on and on about “I may look tattered but I can still do my job and my owner misses me we had a longstanding relationship…”

      1. super anon*

        but… sponges are a safe haven for bacteria and have to be thrown our regularly anyway! i’m really hoping the writer of that note doesn’t use sponges for years and years. D:

    5. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

      A previous job had a sign that said “Clean Up After Yourselves, Your Mom Doesn’t Work Here!” which I though was really funny because there were four mother/child sets working at that store.

      1. moodygirl86*

        Our work kitchen has a sign that says, “Hi, I am the Washing Up Fairy. I am currently on holiday; please wash up your own dishes until I return.” Not that any eejit listens…

    6. Amadeo*

      I printed a little sign for the fellow at my last place of work who always ended up doing the dishes in the little scullery (wasn’t really a kitchen) with the sink, fridge and microwave. It was an MLK meme with “I have a dream that one day, the dishes will be done, not by the person that needs them, but by the person that used them.” or something to that effect.

      I always did wash off my plates when I was done if I used them, but I think I might have been the only one. I found myself washing silverware a lot if I needed a fork.

  10. Lore*

    This is only tangentially work-related–that is, the person making the call thought she was calling a medical office but in fact was calling a friend of mine. Who saved the voicemail for years. If I remember correctly, it began “Dr. Kim, if that’s even your real name,” went into some detail to the effect of: “You promised to call me back. You lied. You promised to send me my test results. You lied. You promised your office would follow up. You lied.” But the part I will never forgot–because it became a catchphrase that my friends and I still use many years later–is “I am tired. Of doing business. With liars.” Unfortunately, the caller did not leave a name or phone number–which if the same was true when she really was calling Dr. Kim, would explain why the office never called her back!

    1. danr*

      At my old firm, some direct phone numbers were the same, except for area code, as some doctors in the big, famous hospital across the river. Certain patients would call, not listen to the person answering and insist that the doctor stop hiding and talk to them.

    2. Anonsie*

      I’ll be straight, I deal with doctor’s offices often enough to be 100% of Ol Yeller’s side here.

      I’M TIRED OF DOING BUSINESS WITH LIARS TOO, MAN. I’M TIRED OF IT TOO.

    3. plain_jane*

      I am tired of getting voicemails from a doctor’s office for a person who isn’t me. I’ve called them back to tell them they have the wrong number on file, but to no avail. Now I just delete.

    4. calonkat*

      Our home number is the toll free number for a dealership’s auto repair shop if you forget to dial the 800 part. I had one guy call and he just wouldn’t believe that I was not his dealership. He got so annoying (and rude) that I finally scheduled his service, then called the dealership and warned them to expect him on that day/time (and that I DID try to tell him he had the wrong number!)

  11. IT_Guy*

    The worst one that I know of was done by Neal Patterson CEO of Cerner and in the two days following the leak of this email, Cerner stock dropped by 25%…..

    Here is the email:
    —————————————————————————————————————————-
    From: Patterson,Neal
    To: DL_ALL_MANAGERS;
    Subject:MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE: Week #10_01: Fix it or changes will be made
    Importance: High
    To the KC_based managers:

    I have gone over the top. I have been making this point for over one year.

    We are getting less than 40 hours of work from a large number of our KC-based EMPLOYEES. The parking lot is sparsely used at 8AM; likewise at 5PM. As managers — you either do not know what your EMPLOYEES are doing; or YOU do not CARE. You have created expectations on the work effort which allowed this to happen inside Cerner, creating a very unhealthy environment. In either case, you have a problem and you will fix it or I will replace you.

    NEVER in my career have I allowed a team which worked for me to think they had a 40 hour job. I have allowed YOU to create a culture which is permitting this. NO LONGER.

    At the end of next week, I am plan to implement the following:
    1. Closing of Associate Center to EMPLOYEES from 7:30AM to 6:30PM.
    2. Implementing a hiring freeze for all KC based positions. It will require Cabinet approval to hire someone into a KC based team. I chair our Cabinet.
    3. Implementing a time clock system, requiring EMPLOYEES to ‘punch in’ and ‘punch out’ to work. Any unapproved absences will be charged to the EMPLOYEES vacation.
    4. We passed a Stock Purchase Program, allowing for the EMPLOYEE to purchase Cerner stock at a 15% discount, at Friday’s BOD meeting. Hell will freeze over before this CEO implements ANOTHER EMPLOYEE benefit in this Culture.
    5. Implement a 5% reduction of staff in KC.
    6. I am tabling the promotions until I am convinced that the ones being promoted are the solution, not the problem. If you are the problem, pack you bags.

    I think this parental type action SUCKS. However, what you are doing, as managers, with this company makes me SICK. It makes sick to have to write this directive.

    I know I am painting with a broad brush and the majority of the KC based associates are hard working, committed to Cerner success and committed to transforming health care. I know the parking lot is not a great measurement for ‘effort’. I know that ‘results’ is what counts, not ‘effort’. But I am through with the debate.

    We have a big vision. It will require a big effort. Too many in KC are not making the effort.

    I want to hear from you. If you think I am wrong with any of this, please state your case. If you have some ideas on how to fix this problem, let me hear those. I am very curious how you think we got here. If you know team members who are the problem, let me know. Please include (copy) Kynda in all of your replies.

    I STRONGLY suggest that you call some 7AM, 6PM and Saturday AM team meetings with the EMPLOYEES who work directly for you. Discuss this serious issue with your team. I suggest that you call your first meeting — tonight. Something is going to change.

    I am giving you two weeks to fix this. My measurement will be the parking lot: it should be substantially full at 7:30 AM and 6:30 PM. The pizza man should show up at 7:30 PM to feed the starving teams working late. The lot should be half full on Saturday mornings. We have a lot of work to do. If you do not have enough to keep your teams busy, let me know immediately.

    Folks this is a management problem, not an EMPLOYEE problem. Congratulations, you are management. You have the responsibility for our EMPLOYEES. I will hold you accountable. You have allowed this to get to this state. You have two weeks. Tick, tock

    Neal …..
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
    Cerner Corporation http://www.cerner.com
    2800 Rockcreek Parkway; Kansas City, Missouri 64117
    “We Make Health Care Smarter”

      1. The Bimmer Guy*

        Yep. You’re being fired. Here’s a few million dollars’ worth of severance pay for your trouble.

      2. Bowserkitty*

        I looked at Wikipedia and it seems he’s still CEO, 15 years after this happened. Yikes. I wonder what the fallout was beyond stock.

    1. orchidsandtea*

      That’s sickening. “I know this isn’t a measurement of productivity, but I’m using it anyway. Also, in case you weren’t swamped yet, I’ll cut staff by 5% and give you more work to do. Show me you’re suffering or I’ll show you a suit in a tantrum.”

    2. Analyst*

      OMG he is bananas. Did they end up making those time changes so everyone had to work long hours?

    3. Eric*

      Dear Neal,
      Based on your comments regarding the parking lot, I assume this means you have approved a 100% increase in my salary budget to pay overtime to staff.
      Best,
      Eric

    4. PeachTea*

      To be completely honest, I live and work in KC and know Cerner well. When I was in college (2 years ago), I was a server at a downtown bar. Cerner employees came in EVERYDAY for Happy Hour from 3-6. And played a lovely game of check roulette (they put all their credit cards in a hat and the server picks one at random to pay the bill).

      So while this email is over the top and I’m sure the group of employees who came out for HH everyday were an outlier, it kinda made me laugh a little.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        The sad thing is he was probably right on a lot of points, but didn’t handle it well.

        1. Bookworm*

          Yup. Although, as a CEO, I think we can expect that he would do a better job of executing.

    5. The Bimmer Guy*

      Why would anybody targeted in that letter feel compelled to keep it a secret? Why wouldn’t one of those managers decide to just casually and anonymously “leak” it? Especially as a CEO, you have to realize when you’re handing someone–or several people–the knife with which to stab you in the back.

      Beside which, the grammatical errors, punctual errors, and ardent use of capital type should be embarrassing…

    6. HRChick*

      So, he’s saying that all employees must work MORE than a 40 hour work week? And if they’re not, managers have to schedule meetings to make them stay later? And, how does measuring productivity by parking lot spaces available make sense? Especially since he’s requiring employees to clock in and out?

      1. Faith*

        This is so common in the world of professional services. I have some friends who worked for a public accounting firm and were dinged on their performance reviews for leaving at 5:30 (because they had nothing to do). The reasoning was – what if a project came up at 5:35 and there is no staff left in the office for the management to call on? After this incident, they dutifully stayed until 6:30 pm playing solitaire on their computer and browsing Facebook. What sucks though is that this extra hour at the office was also counted against them. One of the metrics they were being evaluated on was percentage of time worked that could be billed to a client. So, an extra hour spent doing nothing just lowered their billable percentage. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      2. starsaphire*

        One morning at OldJob, the VP stormed into our office at 7:30 AM with his underling, ranting about “look at ALL these HARD-working people, at their desks where they belong!” (spoken, of course, very sarcastically.) He was almost screaming. We had already been under horribly unfair conditions, and further punishment was leveled on us later that day.

        The kickers:

        1) The official start time in that office was 8 AM.
        2) I had been there since 7. There were FOUR of us in the room who actually were already hard at work when he barged in there, and he didn’t acknowledge a single one of us.
        3) The small handful of people who actually *were* showing up at 9, dicking around on Facebook all day, and leaving at 4 didn’t get affected by the punishment — in fact, one of them got promoted.

        Yeah, it wasn’t long before I quit. I understand that VP isn’t there any more either; there was something about an “early retirement” and then some quiet changes were made…

      3. alter_ego*

        The parking lot things is really annoying me because if 50% of employees show up at 6 AM and leave at 4, and 50% show up at 9 and leave at 6 (I know my office is pretty stratified along those lines), then yeah, the parking lot will only be 50% occupied when he checks at 8:30 and 4:30.

        It’s shitty no matter what, but it also isn’t logical, and isn’t that the greatest crime there is?

      4. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        My last job stated in the manual that our work week was 45 hours. And when took a vacation day, we were required to take 9 hours :/

      5. Atalaya*

        Cerner recently bought a business unit of the company I work for. One of my favorite coworkers got transferred to Cerner and she told me that her group was told that their work week is a minimum of 50 hours. She took the retirement package.

    7. Katie the Fed*

      The guy is definitely an ass, but you have to kind of admire the way he lays it all out there. Because I think a lot of CEOs think this way – he just had the balls to say it. Of course, what he thought was awful.

    8. A Teacher*

      Apparently Paypal’s CEO didn’t learn anything from it:

      To San Jose PayPals,

      I need your help. As you know, I travel to our offices around the world quite a bit. In many of the places I go I have been struck by the commitment of our PayPal teams and their determination to make the world a better place.

      But here are two brutal facts that clearly show our San Jose employees lag behind our colleagues in other locations.

      PayPal It, our program enabling you to refer businesses that don’t accept PayPal has seen the least amount of leads in *absolute* and relative terms vis-a-vis ALL other locations. Offices with under 100 employees beat us by an order of magnitude (total PayPal it leads to date: 126,862, San Jose leads: 984…).

      Product usage data is similar. Employees in other offices hack into Coke machines to make them accept PayPal because they feel passionately about using PayPal everywhere. I don’t see these behaviors here in San Jose. As a matter of fact, it’s been brought to my attention that when testing paying with mobile at Cafe 17 last week, some of you refused to install the PayPal app (!!?!?!!), and others didn’t even remember their PayPal password. That’s unacceptable to me, and the rest of my team, everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That’s the only way we can make them better, and better.

      I know there are people on our campus in San Jose who are here to make a difference every day. So I’m turning to you passionate PayPals who are here for purpose more than paycheck. We need your help. I need you to make it clear to colleagues, who display these types of behaviors that we won’t tolerate these anymore. My intention is to make San Jose (and every location) a place that retains, and attracts talent that’s passionate, and engaged. We can do it together. By demanding more of each other.

      We all have a lot of different opportunities out there, and many of them would require less sacrifices to our personal lives. My team and I are here because we believe we have the opportunity of a lifetime to build something that will transcend us, and will impact hundreds of millions of lives around the world in a meaningful, lasting way.

      We have much work to do to reach greatness. We’re not perfect by any stretch of imagination. But passion, and purpose will help us get there faster.

      In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere. A life devoid of purpose, and passion in what you do everyday is a waste of the precious time you have on this earth to make it better.

      Onward with passion, purpose, and gusto!

      David

      1. JMegan*

        PayPal employees are actually called PayPals? Yuck.

        *makes mental note to never apply anywhere that uses cutesy nicknames for their employees*

      2. CM*

        This PayPal one doesn’t seem that bad to me — certainly not on the level of the Cerner one. Seems pretty reasonable that if you work somewhere that provides a service that many people use regularly, employees would be expected to use that service, at least when somebody is watching (like in the company cafeteria). Sort of like if the CEO of Ford sent out an email saying, “Why is my parking lot full of Toyotas??” — that seems reasonable.

        1. Bookworm*

          I mean, I’m sympathetic to the message, but it’s a really ham-handed way to deliver it.

          I doubt it was effective for building team management, which is not an unreasonable thing to expect from a CEO.

        2. Jinx*

          I agree that encouraging use of the product is reasonable, but when the benchmark is “hack the coke machine so you can use PayPal for your two dollar purchase”, it’s much less reasonable.

        3. Vicki*

          Only when someone is watching (there was the apocryphal(?) story of the Coca Cola delivery guy fired for drinking Pepsi on the job.

          But my car is my car; I drive that when I’m not at work. If you want me to use the company’s products 24/7, I will be billing a LOT of overtime (while looking for a different job).

      3. SusanIvanova*

        I’ve worked with a few ex-PayPal engineers. They were good engineers, but from the way they described the processes they had to work under, I wouldn’t install the app either.

      4. LizB*

        Employees in other offices hack into Coke machines to make them accept PayPal because they feel passionately about using PayPal everywhere. This is GOLD. Holy cow.

      5. Vicki*

        “In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere. A life devoid of purpose, and passion in what you do everyday is a waste of the precious time you have on this earth to make it better.

        Onward with passion, purpose, and gusto!”

        Ugh. This is just, so… ugh.

        I worked at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale. A lot of us frequently would have to remind each other that we were not the company’s target demographic (which is in the midwest US and/or Japan).

        The internal employee-to-employee IM system was Y! IM; I used it.
        The internal employee-to-employee email system was NOT Y! Mail (I did not use it).

        A company buys my good work and quality of output. They buy my hours from the time I come in to the time I walk out the door. They do not buy my loyalty to their product,

        I have never understood why they would think so. My least favorite possible interview question is “Why do you want to work for CorpCo, Inc?” because the only true answer is “I like the job as described and would be very good at doing it.” (unspoken: I would have applied for the same job at CorpCo’s largest competitor if they posted it.)

      6. Vicki*

        “We all have a lot of different opportunities out there, and many of them would require less sacrifices to our personal lives. My team and I are here because we believe we have the opportunity of a lifetime to build something that will transcend us,…”

        He’s still talking about PayPal, right? It’s a payment application/website/product.

        It’s not a religious experience.

        1. Mookie*

          This is how bitcoiners talk, I’ve found. Very cult-y and, of course, very vague and aspirational.

          1. The Strand*

            All kinds of people in the dot com years talked that way, but they got over it (usually when their companies failed). It’s Round 2…

    9. Charlotte*

      Googled this one, from around 2001. Looks like he is still CEO, so it did eventually blow over.

    10. SCORM Hacker*

      I started working at Cerner about a year after that email went out (early 2000s, if I’m remembering right). It was pretty much like that email described for quite a while (I lasted 4 years until my doctor wanted to put me on blood pressure meds at age 32 and I decided it was time to get out ASAP). But if it’s any consolation, I have friends still there who report it’s a lot less stressful place to work today and they’ve lightened up on all the mandatory overtime, etc. Though I’m pretty much scarred for life from that place (and I’ve been gone awhile!)

    11. Mazzy*

      Wow. I work alot but that doesn’t mean I am in the parking lot at 7:30AM. 7:30!!!! How many people get to office jobs that early??

    12. AnonNurse*

      Yeah, so I use a Cerner product at work. It sucks and I can now see a small glimpse of why the training and support for Cerner products also suck. If I was treated the way this letter describes, I wouldn’t care either and would do a terrible job. Wow.

        1. Anonsie*

          It’s funny because, when you use their stuff, don’t you just feel like it’s a window into a company that’s this dysfunctional and mismanaged? Like, this is only confirmation of all my suspicions based on the user experience alone.

    13. Vicki*

      “Something is going to change.”

      “in the two days following the leak of this email, Cerner stock dropped by 25%…..”

      Yup. Something changed.

    14. Vicki*

      Marissa Mayer used the “number of cars in the parking lot” measurement to cancel most telecommuting, set up Friday afternoon all-hands meetings, and do similar things after she came to Yahoo!.

      I was RIF’d 7 months before she started. Before she came in, I was really annoyed at having been “let go”. AFter she started changing things, I was extremely relieved.

    15. Anonsie*

      Cerner products are garbage and I’m tickled that the company is exactly as much of a f**kwit fest as I’ve always imagined.

  12. Fantasma*

    I worked at a publication where a writer sent a 3,000+ word resignation that went viral in my industry — it was, as expected, rambling and bizarre and spanned everything from the personal to the political. I believe she does Twitter rants as well. She’s a successful novelist now.

      1. Fantasma*

        The most recent thing I saw (and this was a few years ago) was that a book had been optioned for TV and she accused the producer of racism in the adaptation.

      1. Fantasma*

        Look up Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez resignation letter — it’s posted online. People in the newsroom were like “Wow, she could not have blown up her career better with dynamite” and at the same time concerned about her mental state because the email was all over the place.

    1. The Strand*

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. I really enjoyed her first novel, and the script adaptation WAS crap, whitewashing the characters, but act two, the “Feminist and the Cowboy” book, freaked me out. (First, she writes a creepy memoir, saying she enjoys being dominated by her new boyfriend… then she dumps him, comes forward and says the relationship was abusive.)

  13. JBurr*

    This isn’t so much a rant as a plea, but it still makes me chuckle every time I reread it.

    ***WARNING: GROSS***

    “I’m not really sure how to put this, but straight forward. There is blood on the wall (once again) in the bathroom in the file room. I’ve personally walked in on something much worse than that – blood all over the toilet seat.

    Please respect each other and any visitors we may have and look over the bathroom when you are finished and clean up any bodily fluids, used paper towels, etc.

    If you happen to know that you left your bodily fluids on the wall, please clean it up today.”

      1. Athena C*

        I was at a restaurant, and someone had *drawn a picture* on the wall of the bathroom with what looked like blood.

        Yeah, that was fun telling the cashier.

      2. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

        So I get what can only be described as “explosive” nosebleeds and yeah, blood will end up everywhere. I always try to diligently clean it up, especially if I’m in a public place but… yeah. Blood on the walls is a common occurrence in my life.

          1. Xanthippe Lannister Voorhees*

            Even years later the first couple seconds are still pretty terrifying

        1. BananaPants*

          I believe it; one of our kids has a mild bleeding disorder. Nosebleeds result in one parent stopping the bleed and comforting the kid, while the other mops up the blood.

          She has a sixth sense about them now. She’ll announce, “I’m going to have a nosebleed” and she looks totally fine and then seconds later there’ll be blood everywhere.

      3. Jennifer*

        I’ve seen BART bathrooms with so much blood all over the walls it looked like someone had been murdered.

        1. starsaphire*

          There are still BART stations with bathrooms? They’ve locked/blocked off most of the ones I know of. Or made them employee-only.

          I got in the elevator of Union City BART one morning, and got right back out again. Only time I have ever willingly taken the stairs. Someone was being helped into an ambulance, thank goodness.

          BART is not a happy, joyous place. *shudder*

        2. Alli525*

          Not the BART, but early one morning I had to take the Metro North out of NYC to meet friends upstate for a camping weekend, so I’m lugging a duffel bag and a camping hammock (yes, it’s as cool as it sounds), probably 50+ lbs on my shoulders and back, so of course I make a beeline for the elevator to the train platform instead of taking the stairs like I usually do. I get on the elevator, and it isn’t until we start moving that the other passenger on the train makes eye contact with me, then pointedly looks down at the floor near where I am standing.

          A used tampon. Right next to my foot. You’d’ve thought I’d seen a roach crawl across the elevator floor for how fast I scooted.

    1. The Bimmer Guy*

      Something like that happened at my job, too, a month ago. I was out that day, but the managers individually called all of their direct reports in for meetings, due to an edict handed down by HR. During those meetings, the managers announced new policies that “all feminine hygiene products and bodily fluids (specifically blood) are to be properly disposed of”, and that “feces and other discharge should be flushed down the toilet, rather than smeared all over the walls and floor.”

      Apparently, these two incidents had happened in the ladies’ restroom (I thought females were supposed to be the *clean* ones) had occurred the day before. Why anyone would make a policy like that is beyond me; anyone trifling enough to smear poop all over the walls and floor and menstrual blood all over the toilet…isn’t going to follow a policy. They’d done some layoffs and firings that day, so it was probably a disgruntled ex-employee, anyway.

      My boss tends to be rather deadpan, so I *really* wish I wasn’t absent that day, and had gotten to hear him announce these new policies in person.

      1. Amadeo*

        Oh no. In my experience (with the extra disclaimer that this is my experience) the public women’s bathrooms are always way more disgusting in much more creative ways. I have no idea *why*.

        1. Oh boy*

          As someone who spent a stint one summer cleaning bathrooms, I can vouch for this. The women’s bathroom was always more a mess…..

      2. Anonybrarian*

        It was our experience that when some Middle Eastern folks came to visit our campus, there was quite a culture shock about restrooms. Apparently they typically did not use toilet paper and instead used their hands to remove excess waste, then would wipe the hands on the wall, and then because toilet paper obviously isn’t used to clean hands, would flush paper towels down the toilets which caused yet more mess. Not good, and not something we normally think to cover in multicultural understanding sessions…

        1. AnonT*

          When I was in college we had several students from another country where toilet paper is thrown in the trash can, not flushed. The poor cleaning staff in the dorms were very upset by what they viewed as people being gross for no reason, and the students were even more confused that everyone just flushed the paper (apparently they thought it wrecked the plumbing to do that).

          Chalk that up to cultural differences I never knew existed!

          1. Izzy*

            Not necessarily just cultural. In some countries, especially in rural areas, waste pipes are too narrow and do become clogged with paper. In the home where I stayed in one of these areas, toilet paper went in a special trashcan, and burning it was a weekly chore. Yuck, but that may be where it is coming from.

          2. Ignis Invictus*

            This is actually very common in Mexico. The plumbing / sewage systems can handle human waste but not toilet paper, toilet paper goes in the trash. At OldJob, when your facility hosted a group from one of the Mexican facilities, signs were posted requesting that restroom users flush toilet paper.

      3. Cecily*

        When I was a house manager at a venue/dance studio, any problems in our (shared with some offices) bathrooms were ALWAYS in the women’s bathroom. The men’s room took like two fucking seconds to clean – sure, there’d be some very definitely water on the counters and paper towels on the floor, but that’s easy. But the women’s room… oh the women’s room… At least I can say the problems were always when we were coming in first thing (all our stuff was at night), so, not caused by OUR patrons.

      4. The Strand*

        Unfortunately, something similar is going on at my workplace right now. Someone is leaving crap ON the seat in the women’s bathrooms, in my current building. I’m talking a fully formed rice sculpture just sitting there, as if to say, “Hey you, want to make something of it?”

        I will pick up toilet paper off the floor and just flush it, I will flush or even unclog a toilet, but that is a bridge too far, sir. Ma’am.

    2. Alli525*

      Thing is, I really don’t see anything funny about a coworker thinking it’s acceptable to leave human waste all over the employee bathroom. It’s bad enough that the men in my current office think it’s acceptable to leave piss all over the floor – I can’t imagine blood. (I am a woman. I know a thing or two about blood. But I also know a thing or two about cleaning up after myself.)

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Literally, just yesterday, I went to use the restroom here and the seat was up. No biggie I just grabbed a seat cover to touch it with and put it down. But first I noticed two boogers on the rim, as if some guy was standing there peeing while flicking boogers down on the toilet!!

        1. Tris Prior*

          My former workplace apparently had an issue with men wiping boogers onto the wall above the urinals. A passive-aggressive sign went up: “please stop wiping your boogers on this wall.”

          The next day: sign is completely covered in boogers.

    3. AnonymousMarketer*

      Wow, I thought this only happened in our office! We have notes about this and people squatting on the toilet (one broke right off the wall once).

      One time, the office manager had to send out an email that basically said, “please do not put your feces in the trash. It belongs in the toilet so it can be flushed.”

      1. robynwithay*

        Wait. Squatting ON the toilet?! Like feet on the seat squatting? What is the point?!

        1. BananaPants*

          In some parts of the world, it is normal to squat – there’s such a thing as a squat toilet. I’ve seen signage where Western-style flush toilets are used with a little pictogram showing that you do not squat on the toilet seat.

    4. One of the Sarahs*

      Oh my goodness, this reminds me of an all-office email we got, saying, basically, that the man who was leaving blood in the male urinals needed to make sure he flushed, but even more importantly, he needed to go to the doctor immediately. It felt really uncomfortable to read, and it was gross, but it was the only way the Facilities Management team could reach out, and they were super-worried about whoever it was.

    5. anon for this!*

      This is so gross, but I’ve been the person to leave bodily fluids before. Stop reading if you hate menstrual cups. It was in the early days of having my Mooncup, and I had an extraordinarily heavy period that week. I tried to take it out and lost my grip – don’t know how to explain it, but the walls snapped back against each other and a small amount of blood ended up on the ceiling, which was too high to possibly do anything. I had to look at it every time I used the bathrooms for two years until they were refurbished (luckily it was also a customer bathroom, so it was never brought up). These things can just happen!

      1. Anon for now*

        Fellow menstrual cup user here, and I have definitely had some minor spills (nothing that got on the ceiling though – that is impressive!). Thankfully they have all happened at home and been easy to clean up.

  14. The Cosmic Avenger*

    I’ve seen a few of letters from the public to a medical research organization where the letter writer is sincerely convinced that they have the cure to the major disease that is the main focus of the org, and the subject of many billions of dollars of research every year. One purported that sleeping under a particular kind of tree cured this disease; another said standing on your head could cure it. Both were unrelentingly sincere, in every page of their multipage, hand written letters. One looked a bit like a ransom note, with lots of small clippings pasted in and copious notes (from the author) in the margin, such that even if they had transcribed a journal article it would have been completely incomprehensible.

    1. Ama*

      As the person in charge of answering the emails to my org’s general email for questions about research grants, I have been on the receiving end of some email versions of those.

    2. Joan Callamezzo*

      I don’t work for a medical research organization, but once an elderly gentleman faxed us a multi-page, badly-typed missive on the extraordinary disinfecting and healing powers of vinegar. Vinegar can set broken bones, vinegar can cure cancer, vinegar will extend your life by decades. Yay, vinegar!

        1. Joan Callamezzo*

          Ha, thanks. I noticed some other Parks and Rec usernames here, and they always amuse me, so. :)

      1. Anna*

        The podcast Sawbones just did an episode on apple cider vinegar and another on hydrogen peroxide. Very interesting stuff!

    3. the gold digger*

      Like the guy who’s been sending found objects like Barbie doll heads that his dog has brought to him to the Smithsonian, convinced he has found evidence of a species that predates homo sapiens.

      1. Elsajeni*

        My husband studied archaeology in school and did some summer field work, and apparently this is an extremely common occupational hazard for archaeologists. People are ALWAYS turning up at university archaeology departments wanting to show someone the dinosaur egg (vaguely egg-shaped rock), ancient arrowhead (vaguely pointy rock), missing-link fossil (chicken bone), etc. they found in their yard.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          And they’re equally lost, because dinosaur bones are the purview of paleontologists, not archaeologists.

      2. Anon for this*

        The Huntington Library constantly gets letters from people who think they own a miniature version of “The Blue Boy”.

        Most of them are paint by number kits from the 1940s and 1950s.

    4. Cath in Canada*

      We apparently had someone show up at the door once, saying that he needed to “talk to a scientist IMMEDIATELY”. He wouldn’t say why, or specify what kind of scientist he needed. He was given our info@ email address and escorted from the premises.

      Someone else once showed up with a paper bag full of feathers and asked if we could sequence the DNA from them for him. Wouldn’t say why. He was directed to our Sequencing Services page. Never heard from him again.

    5. Silver*

      A public service org in the entertainment sector I worked for years ago would get pitches from people like this. 10 densely covered pages on how they were the best person to make a documentary about peeing on bananas and the curative effects thereof (apparently they had been receiving submission for about 10 years from this person).
      We would also get people sending in home made video rants on all sorts of issues.
      It’s fair to say these were not assessed as worthy of funding and were at best a joke around the office.

  15. KT*

    I CAN WIN ALL.

    This was from a Fortune 500 company with 5,000 people in one location. It came directly from the Security Department and went to all 5,000 employees on-site, and to an additional 5,000 across the globe (we had additional locations in Belgium, London and Tokyo).

    This is verbatim (only edit is the deletion of phone number):

    “Subject Line: ***Alert*** Microwave Use
    Within the last few weeks, there have been 3 safety incidents as a consequence of improper microwave use. The most recent incident resulted in a burnt napkin being found in the trash can. None of the incidents were reported at the time of occurrence. Near-by staff noticed a “burning smell” and called the site emergency number to have Facilities respond and investigate.

    Below are considerations to keep in mind when using the pantry:

    When using a microwave, please remain in the pantry area to monitor the operation.

    Recycled paper products should not be used in a microwave unless they are specifically approved for microwave use. Some recycled products, including paper towels and waxed paper, may contain minute metal particles that can cause sparks or flames when used inside a microwave.

    Note: If you are unsure if a cup, bowl, etc., is microwave safe – please do not use it. Instead use non-disposable dishware.

    If a fire occurs while using a microwave oven, turn it off immediately. This will stop the fan so it won’t continue to feed air to the fire inside. Call the site emergency number to report the incident to obtain immediate response. The site emergency number is XXXX. Please do not place a “burnt” item into a trash can, as this could still be smoldering and lead to another fire or dangerous situation.”

    It had 2 attached photos: 2 of a burnt cup and one of a burnt napkin

    1. The IT Manager*

      Although this was apparently in response to calls to the emergency number where people responded to investigate, and not just a messy kitchen.

      And I had no idea that one should not use recycled paper products in a microwave.

        1. OfficePrincess*

          Agreed. I do it all the time. On the other hand, my workplace has first-hand experience of why you should never microwave work gloves.

          1. KTB*

            Or sweaters. That genius decision evacuated an entire four floor office building for the better part of two hours.

    2. Annie Moose*

      I firmly believe my current employer would do this. A few years ago there was a legendary moment at a safety meeting in which a small set of stairs and a railing was produced so an executive could demonstrate for us all proper usage of the railing when walking up and down staircases. It was at least 50% tongue in cheek… and about 50% not.

      1. One of the Annes*

        I worked a seasonal job at the IRS, and they had a job aid explaining how to use the revolving door. I thought this was hilarious, but no one I mentioned it to seemed to see the humor.

      2. mander*

        I kid you not, we had a safety talk about the proper use of staircases on my job site a few weeks ago.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          I recently injured myself on a staircase at work. I was following all safety procedures. Sometimes, gravity and poor design team up to kick your butt. (Or break your bone…)

    3. MsMaryMary*

      We once got a location-wide (couple thousand employees) email at OldJob asking people to please stop burning popcorn in the microwave. In defense of the facilities people, if you burnt popcorn in the cafeteria microwaves, it set off the fire alarm. The fire department had been out four times that month and they were NOT PLEASED.

        1. MsMaryMary*

          The fire department really was really not fond of us. We also failed a fire drill because it took so long to get everyone out of the building. After all the false alarms, people weren’t super excited or prompt about leaving the building when the alarm went off.

        2. Bowserkitty*

          I think that happened at OldJob after I left. My best friend (who still works there) said too many people had accidentally dialed 911 (9 to get out, 1 for long distance…and all it takes is a slip of the finger) and the bill was getting high.

      1. Paige Turner*

        FOUR TIMES?
        Honestly after the second time, I’d totally understand if they removed the microwaves.

      2. Dr. Johnny Fever*

        I worked in a location where microwave popcorn and popcorn machines were banned because or smell and mess.

        The vending machines were stocked with microwave popcorn which no one bought.

      3. PaperbackFighter*

        We used to have a chronic problem with burned popcorn in our office. It improved after the microwave broke.

        But once, when the fire alarm went off, one guy wasn’t able to go down right away for various reasons. He heard the fire department come in and, once the cause was ascertained, yell “FUCKING POPCORN!” Those poor guys.

      4. Charlotte Collins*

        When I was in college, some popcorn that was left in a microwave on the fourth floor caught fire and meant that the entire 12-story building had to be evacuated. The second time that semester. At 3 am. During finals. In the Midwest. In December. My room was on the top floor.

        My hatred of people who leave popcorn in the microwave too long burns deeply.

    4. Vicki*

      Well… they are talking fires after all, not just, e.g., smelly food.

      At one company where I worked, every time someone burnt the microwave popcorn (which seemed to be about once every 6 weeks for one floor) or burnt the coffee dregs in the coffee pot, the fire alarm would go off, the building would have to be evacuated, and the fire trucks would come and firefighters would go in to make sure there was no actual fire.

      Every few months. In a 4-storey building. That can be embarrassing and potentially expensive for the company.

      So, ya’ll laugh. But honestly, this letter makes some sense.

      1. Anonsie*

        It’s the scope to which the letter was sent, rather than the content, that makes it amusing imo

    5. Clewgarnet*

      We had a microwave-related fire in my office the other week.

      Something caught fire in the microwave. The person responsible then took the burning object out of the microwave and carried it across the kitchen – passing the sink on the way – to put it into the bin.

      Unsurprisingly, this didn’t end well.

      Sadly, I didn’t save the tactfully worded email about NOT BEING A BLITHERING IDIOT.

  16. Sarashina*

    Ohhh, while I have any number to choose from, my favorite rant is the rant that wasn’t. Our most rant-prone member of the department has long struggled with the fact that the front office closes for lunch on Fridays, whereas my boss and I take turns going to lunch during the week.

    Whenever we get back from lunch and have a voicemail, it’s usually her, to the tune of “I guess you’re not there, I don’t know if either of you are even in the OFFICE today, I guess I’ll just have to answer this question myself,” etc. So when we returned one Friday to see the voicemail light, we thought we knew what we were in for. But then we hit play, and it was just:

    “(HEAVY HUFF OF A SIGH)… (several seconds of silence)… (click)”

    I’m pretty sure we still have that one saved.

    1. The Bimmer Guy*

      That one made me laugh the hardest of all of these. She *literally* just phoned it in that time.

    2. Oh, I'll Answer The Phones.*

      I have a favorite saved voicemail :

      (spoken slowly, with lots of pauses:)

      “This is Juan Garcia…….
      Somebody called me from your company……(dog barks)…. And I don’t know what they want.
      I mean… (dog) …. if you want to call me back, that’s fine……..
      ……Bye.”

      No return #, no company name, no project reference. K, Mr. Garcia, you’re getting saved for as long as I’m here.

      1. Boop*

        Oh yeah, I’ve gotten voicemails like that. I especially enjoy the ones where they say they got a message but they don’t know what it says because they haven’t checked. WTF?!??!?!?!!!!!

      2. Jessica*

        I worked at a nonprofit for 2 years. We saved a message on the answering machine for the entire time I was there.

        “This is Rhonda Wade. I’m in need of your services. Get back to me immediately.”

        No phone number. And we ran a high school program, so…there were no services to offer. Sorry, Rhonda.

    3. littlemoose*

      My dog does that heavy huff when he brings us a toy and we don’t throw it for him. I cannot even imagine getting something similar on a work voicemail.

        1. Hornswoggler*

          That’s not a normal thing for a dog to do unless it’s go a problem like eczema or parasites. You should take her to the vet.

  17. The Other Dawn*

    When I was a bank teller, there were always rants.

    My branch was downtown in a low income city, so we had a very diverse clientele, most of which were low- to no-income. Back then, we were still issuing paper food stamps and cashing monthly welfare checks. Due to our location, our lines were typically out the door and around the corner on the first of the month. Especially so when it fell on a payday and social security checks were issued early because of the weekend.

    One day a black woman came in and wanted to cash a paycheck that was not drawn on our bank, and she didn’t have an account. I was very nice about it (I was actually nice back then), but she wasn’t happy. I reiterated that I couldn’t cash the check, I’m very sorry, etc. She started yelling at me that the bank sucks, it’s a stupid policy, and that I’m an “old, white bitch.” Yeah, I’m white and I’m probably a bitch sometimes, but I’m NOT OLD–I was 21 at the time! Basically the manager had to come over and remove her physically from the branch. Our manager was awesome and she would always back us up. She didn’t take any BS, which was a necessary trait in our branch sometimes.

    At another branch, the manager had to physically toss someone out because she was causing a scene and threatening us (I don’t remember what it was about). He tossed her out and then locked the door behind her. She turned around and kicked then glass door as hard as she could. Luckily it didn’t break. It was amusing to watch.

      1. dr_silverware*

        That’s…really really sad. :/ I hope the first woman had an account at any bank so she could get the money she’d earned without losing some of it to a sketchy check-cashing place. I really am sorry you got yelled at, but I hope she was able to make rent/pay for food that month, aaghh

        1. The Other Dawn*

          The bank the check was drawn on was directly across the street. When I told her they would be able to cash it, she complained the she “didn’t feel like walking all the way over there” and then back to her car on this side of the street. And it wasn’t a 100.00 check. It was over a thousand dollars and it was a weekly check.

          1. dr_silverware*

            Oh thank goodness. Thanks for the update, I was getting seriously D: D: over someone’s past self.

        2. Preux*

          She certainly could have cashed it at the bank it was drawn on. Being as it was a paycheck, it would almost definitely have been a local bank. Sounds like she just didn’t bother to read the bank name on the check and went to the first bank she saw (or, as happens sometimes, her pay checks used to be drawn on that bank and her company had changed banks).

          1. Connie-Lynne*

            Ha, you would think that but no.

            When my brother and I lived together, he did not have an account so he went to the local BOFA, which his check was drawn on. Oh, except that it was on a branch two hours across town from his employer, a local college.

            The bank refused to cash his check without him opening an account. The manager came out to give us the hard sell. I left, drove us two blocks to my bank (Sanwa), where they greeted me by name, I explained the situation, and they proceeded to cash his checks all summer. Despite his not having an account with them.

            Yeah. Local employer != being able to cash checks.

      2. Fenchurch*

        I too was once a bank teller. My branch was right next to the only bus depot for the county, the Salvation Army shelter, and down the road from the mental institution. On days like that, all you could do was brace yourself for the inevitable wave.

        The worst was the year that both February AND March 1st were on a Friday.

        1. TychaBrahe*

          Because February has exactly four weeks during non-leap years, in those years February 1st and March 1st always fall on the same day. That happens to be a Friday 3/4 * 1/7 =~ 11% of the time.

    1. CMT*

      Stories like this one don’t give me the same kind of gleeful schadenfreude that ones like tantrum-throwing CEOs do. Obviously the woman’s behavior wasn’t acceptable, and you definitely shouldn’t have had to put up with it. But it’s not punching up, like some of these other stories are. I just end up feeling sorry for everyone involved.

    2. Food For Thought*

      Sorry that you were screamed and cursed at! Just a note, the fact that you placed her race and behavior next to each other makes the readers mind think the former caused the latter which is how a lot of stereotyping happens.

        1. Doriana Gray*

          I’m with Food For Thought on this. She didn’t need to specify race to explain the “white bitch” thing. Most likely the person saying it wasn’t white so it was an unnecessary detail.

          1. TychaBrahe*

            I agree that using the more generic “person of color” would have been more egalitarian. But if you think that charges of racism always cross color lines, you are mistaken. Customer complaint sites like Retail Hell and Customers Suck have many stories of White customers accusing White clerks of racism and the same of Black customers accusing Black clerks.

            1. Doriana Gray*

              Person of color is even worse. Why not just say, “This woman” and leave it at that since the point of the story was this woman’s absurd reaction, not her race?

              1. Anonsie*

                I kind of feel like this type of thing is the one and only exception to the “race isn’t relevant to their behavior” rule. If you’re trying to relate a situation in which a person explicitly contrasted their race to someone else’s, including the one mentioned by name and then pointedly omitting the other is a weird kind of eggshell walking at that point. Like sure, here you can tell it without, but telling it with is hardly blowing a dog whistle (in this case).

            2. JennyFair*

              Anthropologically speaking, on a worldwide level, racism is generally between groups that Americans and even Europeans would consider the same ‘race’. I.e. one group of black Africans against another group of black Africans, or one group of Asians against another group of Asians. (And I say this as an explanation, not as an agreement on the idea of ‘race’, which isn’t an actual thing, but is instead a social construct that has no biological meaning)

    3. Megan*

      Working in customer service you discover that plenty of people’s first response when they don’t get their way is either racism or a personal insult! This lady covered all the bases.

    4. chocolate lover*

      Oh the days of being a bank teller. I have several but this is the one that still stands out 20 years later.

      A local campus police officer came in to cash a check from the university credit union. When I told him that his university ID was not sufficient identification according to bank police, and explained the other required types, he threw a major fit. He said he HAD other IDs, but he had no intention of showing me, and didn’t see why there were necessary. Claimed that his coworkers cashed their checks all the time without doing so. Well, a) if tellers had previously verified ID for a particular customer, they could vouch for the customer and b)if any of the check recipients had identification issues, the credit union would call us with a description of the individual and the check, and vouch for them. but no tellers knew this customer, and the credit union hadn’t called us.

      He loudly started walking up and down the aisle, loudly pronouncing how he was “standing here in full regalia, with his walkie talkie going off” but we didn’t trust him or believe he was who he said he was, among other things. My manager saw this going on, and didn’t even bother to intervene himself – he went to get HIS manager, one of the vice presidents. Who thankfully backed me, because I was following bank policy, and asked if the man had any other ID. He insisted that he did but that he shouldn’t have to show us. He then proceeded to call us all racists, and said that he “could sooner rob this place with my gun than get you to cash my check,” and I think that was when security escorted him out. I was completely wound up and worried that he might come back and threaten/assault one of us after the gun comment. I did eventually learn that many people threatened, but I never saw anyone actually follow through on it.

  18. Tom*

    I’m a church worker. Rants are pretty common. Some of the more interesting ones I can remember:

    * Pastor usually ended his Sunday worship announcements with a statement like “unless there are any other announcements, let’s begin”. One Sunday, a church member took this opportunity to scold the entire congregation, because only 2 people had shown up to some charity event that weekend (that we weren’t hosting). She spent about 3 minutes rehashing the same complaint.

    * This one happened after taking a new job. About a week before I showed up, I received an email sent to the council and staff from a church member. It was about 3 pages long. The crux was “My wife has stopped coming because she hates our pastor, I also hate our pastor, and I’m not the only one. He needs to be fired as soon as possible.”

    * I made a change once that resulted in several church members receiving communion after the service ended, as a group. I’d asked if this would bother any of them ahead of time, and received no response. But apparently they all thought I was kidding, and several were pretty salty the day it happened. One in particular tore into me for several minutes after the service, even going so far as to call me a heretic.

    1. Serin*

      Oh, church work. I once received a long letter in spiky handwriting from an elderly lady who was upset to have received a mailing that said, “We’re writing to members we haven’t seen for a while. Call us if we can help you.” She was very angry because she mailed us her contribution every week.

      The pastor said, “OK, so she mails us money … this is not the Book of the Month Club.”

    2. SusanIvanova*

      Not a rant, just an odd request: I’ve got a friend who handles the sales for communion wafers, which is run by nuns. He got a letter from a church asking for a religious discount.

      1. Batman's a Scientist*

        I love this. LOVE IT. I wonder if non-religious organizations can get secular discounts?

      2. Vicki*

        The standard price _is_ the religious discount. We charge more to anyone else.

        Funny thing, though… we never have anyone else order these.

        1. The Strand*

          I’ll order some for the lulz, if you want… Then you’ll have the “non-religious weirdo who ordered a box of wafers and three choir gowns” story!

        2. Bowserkitty*

          I have good memories of sneaking down to the church kitchen to pilfer the cabinets for these cardboard wafers when I was suuuuuper hungry during sermon. (I can’t remember my age but I know I was younger than 10.)

          Add me too to your “non-religious weirdo” list story like Strand! :D

    3. J.B.*

      Although – doesn’t your pastor know not to invite announcements? They all tend towards the long :)

  19. Circ*

    I work at two different public libraries in two different cities. I regularly get yelled at for fines that are entirely the patron’s fault, whether it’s thirty cents or over a hundred dollars (and I’ve heard of more, but have not handled those myself). My favorite is when the patron threatens to never use “this” library again and will only be going to the adjacent town’s library. I always have to check myself before saying, “Well, I can’t wait to see you there, too!” I recently had someone tell me thirty cents a day per item was an outrageous amount for an overdue fine. I have sympathy for those who are living in poverty and rely on the library for a variety of things and, when their account is blocked because of overdue fines (which only get worse when sent to collections…), but then there are others who are regular abusers of the library.

    1. Anon Public Library Manager*

      I once had someone scream at me about how they were going to the next library over (also in my system), because the manager there “was old enough to know how to handle a situation like this”. The situation was breaking an extremely firm policy that there was no way she could get around, I made it up to her by waiving a bunch of her fines, and the manager at the next branch over was definitely no more than four years older than me.
      The same lady called me a few months later (not knowing it was the same person on the phone) one minute before we closed to ask me about a job opening we had. She said, “I’m going to apply for it. It’s not like you work very hard at the library.”

      1. Snazzy Hat*

        Pleeeeeease tell me her rejection letter said something like, “Considering how rudely you have treated our employees in the past, we are confident that, were we to hire you, you would continue to treat them and our patrons in a similar manner.”

        1. Anon Public Library Manager*

          We never interviewed her, so she got the canned response from the HR system.

      2. Liz in a Library*

        When I was hiring student workers at my old library, it always astonished me how big the Venn diagram overlap was between applicants and horrible patrons…

        1. AnonT*

          Lol, I work in a library too, and man. It seems like librarians are some of the worst offenders when it comes to being terrible patrons. If any regular folks did the same things some of the librarians did, we’d probably hate them.

          The best so far was when one of the librarians had a hundred dollar plus overdue fine for an interlibrary loan book. When their name showed up on the blocked accounts list, they just said, “Oh yeah, don’t worry about it. I know the head librarian at the library we borrowed it from, they won’t actually charge the overdue fine as long as I return it eventually. In the mean time, I just keep overriding the block so I can keep requesting things.”

      3. Tomato Frog*

        I was JUST thinking about a patron who was unfailingly rude to staff at the library where I worked — and then came on one day and asked why she never got interviews when she applied for jobs there.

        1. The Bimmer Guy*

          I’m not surprised. There are a lot of industries where patrons / customers are rude to employees, but have the nerve to apply for jobs there because “they feel they could do a better job.” And then they wonder why they don’t get called back for their applications. It’s like… “Honey, we might not have been able to call you back because we used *your* application to clean the pee stains off the floor in the bathroom, and the ink smudged.”

          1. Bowserkitty*

            In the past I honestly considered trying for the post office because it seems every single desk clerk at my local office is a grump and incredibly slow at their job. I’m a naturally cheery and bright person so I wanted to add some diversity to that :/ But the other part of me wondered if they were that way BECAUSE of the job.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      I worked in a shoe repair decades ago, and there were two in town. The guy who did a lot of the repairs worked at both places, and was at our business when a lady came in. She was ranting about how lousy the work was at that other place, which is why she came to us to get it repaired, because we did good work. He was listening and remembered her — at the other place she was saying how lousy we were.

      1. Circ*

        Ooh! That’s even better! At least with the two libraries, the policies, fines, etc. are all different, so even if I did see her there, how I’d handle the situation would be different. But that — ha!

    3. Lucky Charm*

      One of my first post-college jobs was at a library. Though it wasn’t written into the official job description, dealing with whiny customers (our director REFUSED to call them ‘patrons’ – she thought it was demeaning) was one of my top responsibilities.

      A lot of the rants I dealt with concerned our computer lab. This was back in the day before pretty much everyone had a home computer. One of the most memorable rants came from a guy who was upset that we wouldn’t let him watch “adult videos” on the computer, which by the way was in a very high-traffic, wide open part of the library. He. just. couldn’t. understand why this was not okay.

      Good times.

      1. Circ*

        The customer/patron language is interesting. One of the libraries I work at is moving toward using “customer” more than “patron.” I’ve always preferred “patron,” both as a user and employee of the library. I think “customer” implies things it shouldn’t in this scenario and it has the potential to give users of the library more power than they “should” have. “Patron” sounds more intimate and comfortable to me, anyway, though I can’t put my finger on why.

        Oi. Recently we had a patron urinate in the stacks but he(?) left — no one actually witnessed it but I understand the regular employees have narrowed it down to a regular offender.

        1. Lucky Charm*

          I completely agree with you that using the term “customer” tended to give the people who visited our particular library more power. I pointed that our to our director, who was not pleased. She was all for giving them more power, even when it meant the customers/patrons were exceptionally rude to the staff. The ironic thing is that she was super mean to our customers/patrons most of the time.

          1. Charlotte Collins*

            I like “patron,” because you aren’t really a customer to the library. Your taxes pay to support it, but individuals choose whether they’ll patronize it.

        2. Cafe au Lait*

          I agree on the customer/patron language. I thought it ‘gave’ ownership of the building and materials to the users but not to the staff. The world “patron” allowed me to control the situation better. To me, one of the best examples was food in the library. Our policy was ‘snack food’, not ‘dinners or lunches.’ “Customers” decided that food *was* appropriate and they were *entitled* to eat it where and as they saw fit. It didn’t go over very well when I asked them to leave. Whereas “patrons” understood the parameters and that this policy allowed everyone to have the same experience.

          (Community college library in a downtown environment).

    4. apopculturalist*

      OMG. My sister works at a library and has SO. MANY. GOOD. STORIES.

      For example, there’s one regular visitor who is always rude to my sister, April. Always. Openly complains in April’s presence, asks “what’s wrong with you” and “why can’t you do this?!” (When “this” is something that’s against library policy.) Then April told me of this interaction:

      Rude guest: (rants about something) “You’re eyes are clearly telling me you’re frustrated by this conversation.”
      April: Well my eyes can’t talk, so that can’t be true.

      And then she continued about her business. What a badass.

      1. Anna*

        Does your sister read Unshelved? I’m beginning to think it’s based on true stories after reading this thread.

    5. J*

      I’ve worked in public libraries for a decade and I do think $0.30/day/item is very high! It’s typically around $0.10-$0.15/day/item in my state. I’ve worked in 3 different systems in different parts of my state.

      1. Court*

        It might be high comparatively, but when you think about it? $0.30/day still isn’t a bad rate when you consider buying the book would range from $15.00 – $30.00.

    6. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

      My friend who works at a university library once emailed a student about some fees for overdue or lost books and received as a response: “unsubscribe”

    7. anon for this*

      We had a patron whose every interaction with us ending up with his screaming obscenities at us for doing things like ask him for his library card so he could check out and other perceived injustices. We had to threaten to call the police on a weekly basis with this guy. He asked the library to purchase a book for our collection called ‘Dating for Dummies’. We checked it out to him and he raised all his usual histrionics and for the next few weeks, we could see ‘Romeo’ going around the library and trying out the advice. We just shook our heads.

  20. Z*

    Less a rant and more the most polite Shut the F* Up email I’ve ever seen.

    I work for a law firm. We recently settled a dispute to our client’s immense satisfaction. Another partner didn’t like the parameters. So my boss sends him an email (with me BCCd) that basically said, I know you don’t like it, I’m not thrilled about it either, but this is exactly what the client wanted to keep your opinion to your damn self.

  21. Andrea*

    This is mean.

    Why are we shaming people who have a bad day at work or other personality problems? That’s what I’ve seen.

    1. B*

      Overrated word – “shaming.”

      We can discuss situations without it being “shaming.” We are discussing the content of the emails – not the people.

      1. Andrea*

        Hey, my coworker doesn’t get it, is OCD, is crazy, is stretched to a breaking point. That’s so funny! Mean girl/guy stuff is the root of so much work stuff. We go to work to show how good we are, definitely more deserving of raises, etc. The competitive in group/out group thing is alive and well at work. People who don’t mind the group dynamic are often a little off–often times due to personality or mental health issues. Mocking the afflicted is shaming and shameful.

        Most people at work “get it” and don’t go off on rants. The ones who don’t “get it” often have other things wrong. Why are we glorying in their crazy?

        1. RKB*

          I’ve yet to see anyone make fun of any sort of mental illness or breakdown. The most popular posts seem to be about bodily fluids, microwave management, and terrible managers. I myself posted about a plant. I think you are reaching too far here.

        2. Anna*

          Even the one that was probably specifically because of stress due to thinking they were losing their home called out the poster to remember that would be awful for someone to have to deal with.

          I would also hazard that most people who are terrible to others in CS situations or B2B situations are not having a break down or have an illness of any sort; they think they can bully and yell to get their way.

    2. Katie the Fed*

      I kind of felt that way about last week’s letter – it sounded like the email sender might have just been going through a really tough time. I know I wouldn’t love some of my anxiety-ridden stress-related communications made fun of (and I’m pretty sure there’s a recording of me on a United Airlines customer service call that is probably played at every holiday party for laughs).

      BUT – it’s also anonymous here so I think it’s fairly harmless.

        1. The Bimmer Guy*

          I’m sure the BMW dealership has one like that from me, too (P.S. — despite my handle, I no longer drive BMWs for a good reason).

        2. Witty Nickname*

          If the Salvation Army donation dispatcher was recording my pregnancy-fueled rant the day I stayed home from work so they could come pick up some heavy furniture that we were donating (and couldn’t move out by ourselves) and the pick up crew went to the wrong apartment, marked my appointment as “didn’t answer the door” and then told me I’d have to do it all over again…

          I laugh about it now. They can play it to as many people as they want. I was pretty ridiculous.

          (Also, they came back that day. Then they said they couldn’t take the furniture piece anyway because it didn’t meet their requirements, and I burst into tears. They left, and then came back a few minutes later and said they would haul it out and just put it in their dumpster for me because they felt sorry for me).

      1. Paige Turner*

        Washington Gas can probably hear me grinding my teeth on the phone with them a la Marge Simpson. I’ve managed not to let any profanity slip out, but I still made it pretty clear that I think they’re The Worst (they are the worst, but there’s basically nothing I or the call center employees can do about that).

      2. anon for this*

        I would rather vent anonymously than respond in kind at the time. Knowing that I can let off steam helps afterwards with the day to day stress of difficult situations.

    3. fposte*

      And the rants are often pretty hurtful and leave novice employees bruised and frightened; understanding that they are not uncommon and are easily survivable can be really helpful.

      1. Althea*

        Exactly! I made a joke about it to someone on the receiving end of a rant – someone being subject to a lot of email “yelling” despite most of the topic being out of her control. It really helped her get a laugh out of it. Rants aren’t harmless, and it helps to look at them as amusing.

      2. Paige Turner*

        Yes, the “I’m not alone!” realization does help, and reading this kind of stuff helped me thicken my skin. See also: Notalwaysright dot com.

    4. My own rant*

      I’ve just shared my own rant below, it’s all good fun and like Katie the Fed says its anonymous.

    5. CC*

      I kind of agree, and I suspect some of the stranger and more unusual emails people may have gotten may be less “a person blows their top” and more “psychotic delusions”, which is less entertaining and more sad.

    6. Katniss*

      Well, if they’re just having a bad day and react by acting abusive/ranting at others, they deserve shaming.

      As far as personality problems go, we have no way of knowing one way or the other if ANYONE has those, so any negative story on any site ever would be mean.

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I don’t necessarily agree. I think it’s compassionate to say “Wow! That email was really over the top. Are you doing ok?”

        You never know what someone’s going through.

        But again, since it’s anonymous, I can enjoy a good laugh.

    7. Squirrel*

      Everyone pack it in. We can’t have fun because of one person’s personal experience, and we all know that an anecdote for one person holds true for everyone else.

    8. I'm a Little Teapot*

      Assholes like Neal Patterson (the scummy CEO above) deserve, at the least, to be mocked and shamed. Their behavior is seriously hurtful to people far less powerful than they are, in addition to being ridiculous. I honestly don’t give a flying flip about his feelings hypothetically being hurt in the very unlikely event that he reads this. And it’s not like we’re stalking people or Twitter-mobbing them or something; most of these posts don’t name any names, and the ones that do were already pretty well-known.

      If you want to see what really cruel behavior looks like, see yesterday’s post about the “internet hate mob.”

    9. Lily in NYC*

      It’s anonymous. It’s human nature. It’s cathartic. I don’t feel remotely guilty laughing about bad behavior meltdowns. I laugh at myself way more than I laugh at anyone else.

      1. Andrea*

        Not so anonymous. I tell many people, mentees included, to follow this site. It has a wide audience.

        Would you want something you wrote showing up in this thread?

        1. Lily in NYC*

          Sure, how would anyone be able to tie it to me? It’s not like my real name is Lily in NYC.

          1. Andrea*

            The 12 paragraph rant last week had me flipping it to my husband, who works in a similar educational environment. Not even 6 degrees.

            1. Lily in NYC*

              I have no idea what you are saying here. How does showing it to your husband change anything? It’s still anonymous.

            2. NoProfitNoProblems*

              If you’re that strongly against ‘shaming’ rants like this, then I really advise you to stop sharing them when you see them.

        2. Nervous Accountant*

          I wonder about this., not for this particular topic, but about being anonymous. I’ve recommended this site to a few of my coworkers and friends/acquaintances…I’m pretty sure that if someone were to follow my posts they could figure it out, but maybe it’s my own insecurities here saying that (like why would anyone wanna follow me??) etc.

          1. Granite*

            Another forum I used to frequent referred to it as being pseudononymous.

            I tend not to bother trying to be anonymous, many folks who know be in real life would recognise my writing style, especially when combined with other details I’ve shared. I just want to be un-googleable. As in, googling my name will not turn up any of my social media activity.

            1. Granite*

              Further, there’s a running forum where I will talk about my results, including race name and time, which can be linked to me through publicly posted race results, so I’m absolutely not anonymous. But googling my name will not bring up that post about how the race went.

              1. Elsajeni*

                This is the way I approach it, too. If someone who knows me IRL stumbled across my online presence, they’d probably be able to figure out who I was — my writing style is recognizable, I’ve used my real first name in a few places and posted photos of myself in others, I’ve referenced enough of my somewhat-uncommon hobbies that you could put two and two together, etc. But someone searching my name wouldn’t find my blog, and someone reverse-searching the stuff on my blog wouldn’t be able to link it back to my name.

            2. Talvi*

              Pretty much this. I use the same 3-4 screen names across a variety of sites (with varying degrees of googleability – “talvi”, for example, is a common noun in Finnish and therefore not terribly googleable). But none of my screen names are associated with my IRL name – I’ve checked (which is good, because I’m pretty sure I’m the only [Real Name] on the planet). Does that mean it’s impossible to link me to any of my screen names? No, but it’d take a lot of work.

      2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        I think those posts where people have posted their own rants on this thread are fantastic.

    10. Emmy*

      Which of us hasn’t slammed her coat in the door when trying to make a dramatic angry exit? Okay, maybe just me…. Or left her bag behind and had to come back to get it… … just me again? I laugh about it now. You can laugh about it too. It was silly. It was foolish. It was over the top. It was funny. (Mental illness is not funny, but tantrums by grown people who really do know better? Can be very funny.)

    11. Hellanon*

      I disagree. These kinds of rants – email, phone, etc – are usually attempts to bully or intimidate the recipients into doing what the ranter wants. Pointing & laughing in an anonymous internet forum is a good way to bleed off the stress that ensues when you’re on the receiving end – and whether they’re overtly aggressive or passive-aggressive, responding appropriately to a rant *in the moment* can be really challenging. Especially if you’re being yelled at, metaphorically speaking, by someone in the boss or client category…

      1. Katie the Fed*

        I don’t know if that’s true (“attempts to bully or intimate the recipients”). Sometimes people are just all out of coping skills. I think I’m a little more compassionate about this because I’ve suffered from anxiety intermittently throughout my life, and there are definitely times when it’s just not possible to cope rationally anymore.

        Like, I was at a wedding, and my friend (the groom’s) mom was just flipping out at a caterer for something. But it wasn’t hostile – I could sense that element of desperation and exhaustion and stress in her behavior. I just went over to her and gave her a hug and told her what a lovely wedding it was and asked if she’d like to get a drink, and she burst into tears. She was just that stressed.

        So I think that’s some of what you’re seeing in these rants. Not everyone is an asshole. Some people are just at the end of their rope. So I totally get Andrea’s point that it’s not cool to make fun of people in those situations. But I think since they’re all anonymous it’s ok.

        1. Nicole J.*

          “Like, I was at a wedding, and my friend (the groom’s) mom was just flipping out at a caterer for something. But it wasn’t hostile.” This might have felt pretty hostile to the person on the receiving end though.

          1. Sarashina*

            Yes, this!! As someone in a position where people tend to unload on me, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt wherever I can, and as someone with pretty persistent anxiety, I try not to conflate people who are overwhelmed with people who are looking for a punching bag. But just like I don’t know what’s going on in their life, they don’t know what’s going on in mine, either, and in the moment these things can feel really hostile.

            1. I'm a Little Teapot*

              I also have an anxiety disorder and when I was younger and it was poorly controlled I went off on some truly epic rants. I’m very ashamed of them, but they probably felt pretty hostile to the recipients, and they have a perfect right to laugh at (or be angry/upset at) me because of my shitty behavior.

          2. Observer*

            It almost certainly did. I’ve seen this play out on occasion, and really I don’t care how nice a person is, these rants are very hard on the person on the receiving end. I’d do a lot less laughing and have more sympathy if an apology followed at some point.

    12. NK*

      Today I cried (like serious tears) while getting lunch because I couldn’t get the “redeem” button on the groupon to work and the place was being inflexible about it. And this six-months-pregnant woman was HUNGRY! Thank goodness my husband was with me and the guy at the lunch place relented.

      I’m sure the guy had a laugh at my expense later, or at least a good story to tell. Maybe it’s mean to laugh about a crazy hormonal pregnant woman, but I don’t blame them. And no one they tell the story to will have any idea who I am.

      1. catsAreCool*

        I hope people don’t laugh at tears the way people make fun of those who act like jerks.

  22. AcademiaDork*

    I have one from a student I worked with a few years ago when I was doing IT support. I was trying to help “Tina” take a math test online – she needed to update the Java on her computer, and that would fix the problem. However she totally refused, and kept saying someone was hacking her math test every time she tried to take it. I knew for certain that updating Java would fix her issue, but after several emails back and forth, she still wouldn’t do it. Other people tried to help Tina, but to no avail. Eventually she sent a long email to the chancellor of the university system (big state university) saying that she was being hacked repeatedly, that it was probably the federal government as they had been trying to keep her from going to college ever since they booted her out of the army, and that she lived out in the country because it was harder for the government to track her down that way.

    As expected, the chancellor handed her off to our provost to deal with, and after many more emails (she refused to communicate any other way) in which we tried to help her, she finally told us that we must have moles from the federal government at our school and then she disappeared. Some days I wonder what happened to Tina…

  23. super anon*

    i wish i still had the text of these emails, but a recounting will have to do i suppose.

    during my undergrad years i worked for a brief time for a family run business (husband & wife) in their home office. i had been tutoring the owner’s children for a year, and during the summer they asked me if i wanted to work in the office. i said sure, because i only had 2 months between classes that year, and what could possibly go wrong for 2 months?

    in short – EVERYTHING. the place was insanely dysfunctional. to an absolutely absurd degree. the wife went away with the children to Europe for most of the time I was there. Every day she would send us emails of what to do. Execept they were usually written in bright red font, in caps lock, in comic sans. They would also always be 1000 words or more, and full of ?????!!!!!!!!, usually after every line of the email. She would send us these emails at 2 AM our time, and they call us 5 minutes after the office open to demand to know what had been done, and why we weren’t working fast enough. She would call multiple times throughout the day and yell at us – sometimes she would even call to yell at us and write an email at the same time!

    The final straw for me was when she came back from her trip. Her husband had been working with a Chinese distributor to have their product begin distribution in Asian. The distributor wanted to know our sales figures for the last quarter, and also to see our warehouse to get a feel of how our North American distribution worked and if the process was suitable for the Asian market or if we would need to change it. When the owner came back she was furious. She was convinced that the Chinese distributor was actually a Chinese spy sent by the Chinese government to steal her industry secrets and information and to take back to China to create a knock off of her product (note: at this point there was already several Chinese knock offs of the product) and to steal all of her profits. When she found out the Chinese distributor had seen one of our warehouses and knew our sales figures, she absolutely lost it. She was running through the house screaming at her husband and throwing things at him (during business hours! while her employees and children were there!). She opened the office door and screamed at us too, telling us that she knew we were always conspiring against her, we were horrible employees and that we had betrayed her by letting this Chinese person into her business. We should have known that the Chinese couldn’t be trusted. This went on for 30 minutes. It ended with her scream threatening to close down the business and to divorce her husband for how badly he had treated her.

    I decided the next day to quit – and I did. When I quit she withheld my last pay cheque from me, and then made me come back to get it 2 weeks later from her office. When I got there, her and her husband berated me and told me everything that was wrong with me and how I was a terrible employee, and how because I had quit I would never find work again and all employers were like this so I would just have to get used to this kind of treatment. It was a 20 minute conversation, and they only gave me my cheque when I threatened to report them to the CRA for tax evasion (they said that all of their employees were contractors so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on their wages, or benefits, etc) and to the labour board. The best part? After all of this, they still expected me to come back to tutor their kids like nothing had happened!

    I heard later that their business continued to operate for a few years, but they had begun to withhold payment from employees after they quit (they only hired 1st & 2nd year university students who they figured didn’t know their rights and wouldn’t complain). Someone went to the labour board and the CRA – and they are now being audited for tax evasion and tax fraud, in addition to an investigation by the labour people, where they will likely have to pay a ton of fines. They’ve also been banned from using the local universities’ job board to recruit students. Needless to say, I found several other jobs since, so I think it all worked out in the end.

    1. Chickaletta*

      Oooh, I love a good ending. This is what I secretly happens to my former boss and his wife. They didn’t yell, but they’re clueless about their industry and avoid critical safety measures in order to save money. If OSHA ever shows up on a work site they would be shut down immediately. As far as I know they’re still in business, but it’s only a matter of time. They also can’t budget and have a serious cash flow problem. How they’re operating a business with employees is beyond me.

      1. Allison in Alaska*

        I am decidedly not a safety professional, but in my industry we cater to many companies who do safety incentive programs (we provide the branded items, come up with programs, etc). I was at a safety conference recently to touch base with a few clients, and heard stories from some of the guest speakers about some of the super-preventable workplace fatalities that took place in our state last year… it was truly sobering and horrifying. I ate lunch with a group of OSHA inspectors (they were much nicer and more fun than one might think!), and I learned that as a former employee you can definitely file an online complaint anonymously against a former employer. This might be way overboard given that I don’t know the context of the industry your former boss was in, but if you truly think current employees could be in danger, it’s possible to alert OSHA and have a local inspector check in – without your name coming up. I learned that these type of complaints are generally treated as non-urgent, but are almost always followed up on. Just food for thought!

      2. anon for this*

        You can do a lot of things and people won’t report you. Everyone assumes that you are following the rules. Union Carbide (of the Bhopal disaster infamy) built a plant in Seadrift Texas without getting any permits to do so. They got the permits after it was built. My details are fuzzy but read An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas by Diane Wilson if you want your eyebrows raised way high.

        1. The Strand*

          Thanks for sharing this book. Corpus Christi has an interesting dynamic from what I hear (friend lives down there), makes me wonder if it was easier to do that than in some places. Not that I am blaming the townspeople, but some towns have the NIMBY-alert system set up tighter than others.

    2. Snork Maiden*

      What is it with people who go absolutely off the deep end and then keep expecting you to show up like it never happened?

    3. MsChanandlerBong*

      OMG, did you work for my FIL? He is absolutely convinced that all of his competitors in China and Korea are constantly spying on his website and looking for ways to undercut his business. In fact, he refuses to create a price list because he’s afraid one of the “spies” will get the list and slash their prices so he can’t compete. So if a potential customer asks for a price list, his secretary has to tell them there isn’t one.

      1. Collarbone High*

        I’m going to be laughing at “spying on his website” for the rest of the week at least.

  24. KT*

    Oh, and this isn’t a rant, but my favorite voicemail message of all time.

    For same Fortune 500 company mentioned above, when there was a big milestone, major leaders would do an all-employee voicemail so it would be the first thing we saw/heard in the morning. It was a big deal to have one of these voicemails go out, and it happened only for the biggest of events (i.e.e exceeded our profit expectations by 200%).

    Well, the company Sr. Vice President was assigned to do an all-employee voicemail announcing the launch of a new product. Such a message is carefully scripted, reviewed by lawyers, and practiced a thousand times.

    So she did the voicemail, and it was beautifully done, very professional. But then she ended it with:

    “This is obviously a major milestone for us and I thank you all for your hard work. LOVE YOU, BYE!”

    You could tell the “love you” was just a reflex she added to the conversation because there was a pause, then a “AHHHHHHHHH!” before it ended.

    She tried to recall it. It didn’t work. It was both hilarious and sad and we all saved it.

    To this day, whenever I leave a voicemail message, I tell myself the whole time ‘Dont say I love you, don’t say I love you”

    1. Sarah in DC*

      aww, I actually love this one, I think that’s kinda sweet. I once ended a voicemail “Thanks, Sarah” as though I was signing an email and I inadvertently called a coworker who reminds me of a close friend the silly pet name I call that friend this week. At least I never called a teacher Mom :)

        1. Vicki*

          Does she start them with “This is Mom, in [Town]”?

          I know someone whose mother did this all the time.

          1. mander*

            My Dad often starts voicemail with “this is your father speaking”. As though he sounds like anyone else!

            1. Alix*

              I once confused a family friend with my father over the phone, and recently I had to interrupt my upset sister to ask if this was really my sister calling, so I’m actually grateful when people do this.

          2. Usually_Lurking*

            I always use voice-to-text and speak my text messages. One day at work I left a voice message for someone and realized after the fact that I had actually said “comma,” “period,” and “exclamation point.” Felt like an idiot but it was never mentioned.

      1. Lioness*

        I did…
        I was having a personal crisis at home, so I am deep in thought and teacher came over to my desk and yelled at me and asked “are you listening?” I was yanked out of my thoughts so quickly that I automatically replied “Yes, mom”

        My friends did no let me forget it for the rest of the year! And this teacher was colorful, so it was like ‘ha-ha you’re weird teacher’s weird daughter… ha ha”

    2. Sarahnova*

      That’s hilarious. And fairly cute, if you ask me! I think she would have become my favourite leader, instantly.

      1. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

        It’s the pause followed by the “Aaaaaaahhhhh!” that really elevates this one to legendary status.

    3. Marzipan*

      I am really glad everyone else in my office has gone home because I’m sitting at my desk, cackling away.

    4. Snazzy Hat*

      Last week I accidentally gave my father an air-smooch over the phone. My s.o. & I do that to each other, and as I was saying goodbye to my father (“Love you!” / “Love you too”), I was in the same room as my s.o. and just smooched at the phone on reflex.

        1. Jinx*

          I’ve actually tried to avoid making “love you, bye” a habit when talking to Mr. Jinx on the phone. Not because I don’t love him, but because I’m *totally* the type of person to do something like this.

          1. George*

            Some friends had a parrot, whose most common phrase was “bye, love you,” because the wife ended so many phone calls with that phrase.

    5. Mrs. Fergus*

      One of the vendors at OldJob had the same unusual first name as my husband. You don’t want to know how many phone calls I ended with something like “thanks, Fergus! Love you!” out of habit.

      …fortunately, I told him “Huh, my husband’s name is Fergus and I’ve never met another one” the first time we met, but still.

    6. Marissa*

      My dad’s a physician and used to do dictations. One time, we were going on a family vacation, and he had to record his outgoing message for when he’d be out of his office. He kept ending all his sentences with “period” (as in vocalizing the word in the message), and it took him about 10 times to get it recorded normally. My mom and I were laughing and laughing, and he had to keep waving at us to shut up and go away so he could try again.

      1. Cathy*

        When I was in my pediatrics rotation in nursing school, one of the local docs was sitting comfortably in the nurse’s station, dictating notes into his little recorder. Picture this cheery, portly little doctor sitting, legs wide spread, elbows on knees and chatting quietly into a loosely held recorder. Up comes one of our recovering patients, a cute little toddler about 3 years old. Faster than a striking cobra, she snatched the recorder out of his hand and sped off down the hallway, delightedly babbling in incomprehensible babyspeech into the recorder. As he straightened up to go after her, the doctor looked at all of us with a huge grin and said “I can’t wait to see my secretary try to transcribe THAT!”.

        1. Carpe Librarium*

          My dad told me about a slightly older colleague of his who was very proficient with dictation, and this colleague would put little jokes in amongst his formatting comments to amuse the transcribers.
          Every now and then my dad would hear typing briefly stop as poorly muffled snorts of laughter emitted from one end of the office.

    7. Gillian*

      This would make me like my company’s leadership more. Makes the “suits” seem much more human and like real people, too.

    8. Lily in NYC*

      I accidentally signed an email I sent to the entire office by writing “Love, Lily”. I got teased for a long time over that.

    9. Cat like that*

      My MIL often does talk-to-text rather than typing on her phone. One day I got a voicemail from her that went, “Hi [Cat like that], I’m calling to see what time you’re coming over next weekend. Period. Wait…damn it!”

    10. Rebecca in Dallas*

      Bahahaha! That is really funny and cute. And I’m terrified of it happening to me.

  25. KarenT*

    I think I’ve posted about this here before, but I’ll share one of mine.

    I was working at a large publisher that had a beloved but fairly cranky admin assistant. Pretty much everyone in that office respected her because she was so good at her job, but everyone was also afraid of her. The company president and the VPs were having a meeting with some VIP authors and they asked me to take the minutes instead of her as I was moving on to the project team. So I’m sitting there, a very entry level employee (like 2 months out of university) and all the VPs and the president’s blackberries buzz at the same time. They all sort of discreetly pick up their phones and all started snickering. I was curious, but of course didn’t say anything.

    I go back to my desk, log in to my email, and there’s an email from the cranky admin that was in all caps (Paraphrased below):

    TO THE PERSON WHO TOOK MY THREE HOLE PUNCH, YOU NEED TO PUT IT BACK IMMEDIATELY. I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE, BUT IT’S MINE AND I NEED IT, SO YOU BETTER PUT IT BACK NOW. THERE IS A THREE HOLE PUNCH IN THE PHOTOCOPY ROOM THAT IS FOR EVERYONE. THE ONE ON MY DESK IS MINE SO PUT IT BACK NOW OR THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES!!!!!

    1. KarenT*

      And having spent most of my career in publishing, I could tell you author rants that would rock your world, but that would be horridly unprofessional of me!

      1. former publishing anon*

        Same. I’ve worked in fiction, non-fiction, and academic publishing and I finally made the jump to working on stuff that didn’t deal with authors because I was over their bs.

        A former coworker who went on to work on some pretty VIP stuff twitches whenever a certain author and their popular TV adaptation is mentioned in casual conversation because of some bad experiences.

      2. Doriana Gray*

        I was an intern in college at a literary magazine. We had an entire wall devoted to all the angry missives our editor received throughout the years. Oddly enough, most of these rants came back on the form rejection letters we sent the authors. My favorite letter that was written on this form said how dare we reject his story for publication. Clearly we don’t have any f*%#ing taste, we don’t know true talent when we see it, and when he becomes a famous novelist, we were going to wish we had treated him with the respect befitting a literary genius (no joke). Then he ended the letter by saying, “F*%^ you, f#*% your magazine, and f*%+ your life.”

        Another one of my favorite author correspondences wasn’t a rant, but it still cracks me up to this day. A guy sent us an email with his story attached, and in the body of the email where people generally give the name of their piece, the word count, and a brief bio with a request to consider their submission for publication, dude wrote, “PUBLISH THIS” in all caps. He didn’t sign his name, didn’t give contact information, nothing. I was impressed with his forwardness and would have happily taken it to the table read for consideration – except the file wouldn’t open. If you’re going to demand publication, the least you can do is put the submission in a .doc file.

      1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        Me too!

        I have a wooden 12-inch ruler that I picked up for $1 during the back-to-school sales. You would not believe the lengths I have had to go to to track that darn thing down. People routinely nick it off my desk.

        1. SusanIvanova*

          There used to be a cube in a high-traffic area with a clothes hanger hook hanging over the side and a note underneath it: “You can get clothes hangers hooks from the office supplies room. Please stop taking this one.”

            1. Marillenbaum*

              I’ll lend you my label-maker! I’ve labeled all of my personal office supplies: tape dispenser, stapler, cute pencil-box.

      2. The Alias Gloria Has Been Living Under. A.A., B.S.*

        Yeah, office supplies on the admin’s desk =/= community property.

      3. Alli525*

        6 months ago, my pens started going missing – but only the good ones, the gel pens that I buy for myself instead of using the standard-issue Bic. I started hiding them, but of course I’d forget occasionally and the next morning it would be gone.

        3 months ago I took a post-it, wrote “PLEASE STOP STEALING MY PENS!!!” in Sharpie, and clipped it to my pen holder.

        Last week, I walked over to the copier and found my best Sharpie – that I had actually labeled with my name – sitting there like it was NBD. I did not sleepwalk and put it there, I promise. So now my pen holder (post-it still attached) is covered by a kleenex, and I am no longer going to lend ANYONE any of my office supplies. I have HAD it.

        1. Vicki*

          I always locked up my pens at night, leaving a few cheap company-supplied pens scattered on the desktop.

        2. Anonsie*

          I keep my nice office supplies in my damn purse. Ain’t no one stealing my nice pens and fancy pants highlighters.

    2. FD*

      I do sympathize–I usually bring some of my own supplies to work and have to lock them up so they don’t get swiped. But still, an all caps email about it with threats of dire consequences…is probably not going to fix it.

  26. Stephanie*

    I have none, but commenting just so I can subscribe to the comments.

    *goes and gets popcorn*

  27. B*

    I worked at an engineering magazine. I had an old guy (in his late 80s) email me dozens and dozens of times demanding something was wrong and that I fix it and credit him. (It was not wrong, I checked). He escalated it by calling me a “mere woman,” being completely patronizing, and insinuating that since I wasn’t an engineer I was unqualified for my job. Don’t have copies of the emails anymore but they were insane. He also discussed going for walks with his wife, and Demi Moore movies for some reason. He was unhinged.

    1. Sarahnova*

      While that is some sexist bull crap, I think being accused of being a “MERE WOMAN” would crack me up.

      1. AMG*

        I worked with a middle eastern man who would call me a ‘snaky woman’. I consider it a compliment, especially since I was calling him out for repeatedly committing fireable offenses.

    2. SystemsLady*

      I AM an engineer and have had similar things said about me once or twice.

      Though at least it was behind my back (“thank goodness the woman is gone” kind of things) and the clients that hired them won’t be hiring those contractors again.

      Incidentally, both men who said things like that were arguing with me and both were objectively incorrect/had no idea how my field works. Seems to be a pattern eh.

      1. SystemsLady*

        One of those also accused me of being irrationally emotional…while being completely irrationally angry himself. I was trying to de-escalate and get away from him to more rational lines of conversation without yelling back at him, and everybody in the room made sure to tell me later I’d done the right thing and he was out of line. sigh.

        1. Lioness*

          As a woman in a male dominated kind of role, I completely sympathize!
          I was called “little lady” before. I was treated like I was a high school kid. And the “emotional” ugh!

  28. Lillian McGee*

    I actually wrote this one… It makes me cringe in hindsight but it got a good response at the time!

    I hope everyone is having a lovely day. I truly do. And let me also say that I sincerely enjoy working with all of you and I am extremely lucky to feel this way.

    Now, about the microwave…

    I know most of you are, at this point, rolling your eyes and shaking your heads. Another nagging housekeeping email, right? Maybe. But what Fiona and I just cleaned out of that microwave wasn’t just inconvenient. It was disgusting, unacceptable, and most of all, avoidable.

    When Benjamin Franklin quipped, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he was almost certainly foreseeing the fundamentals of microwave maintenance. When you heat liquid to a certain point, it boils. Boiling liquid can splatter. You know this. And still! You heat your food without a cover over it. Why?? (To those entirely unfamiliar with microwave use—a simple paper towel is usually sufficient to prevent your food from splattering all over the inside of the device.)

    Accidents happen. Here again, though, you can prevent a simple splatter from becoming a hideous baked-on blight that may or may not eventually gain sentience. If your food splatters while heating, wipe it off with a paper towel. You can tell whether your food has splattered by simply looking into the microwave as you remove your food. Leaving your splattered food intact and allowing others to continue to use the microwave will cause the mess to harden and become increasingly difficult to remove. Most importantly of all, science has not yet determined the level of microwave radiation needed for pasta sauce to achieve consciousness. Heat with caution.

    All this of course leads me to what Fiona and I dutifully scraped out of the microwave this afternoon. A spill, somewhat recent, that had been half-heartedly blotted with a paper towel, promptly abandoned after said paper towel became stuck to the substance, and then repeatedly re-heated, causing the substance to cure and harden to the rotating glass surface. Fiona was able to extricate the caramelized mess with a knife, and I managed to dislodge the innumerable barnacles of pasta sauce off the rest of the inside.

    That machine is, as of 12:15 p.m. on April 16, 2013, immaculate. I trust, my dear colleagues, that you all agree with me and will endeavor to see that it remains that way by:
    1. Covering your food while heating it;
    2. Cleaning up whatever splatters or spills immediately; and
    3. Lovingly reminding your colleagues of #1 and #2 when you see them being willfully ignored.

    With unending love,
    Lillian

    1. NoProfitNoProblems*

      My goodness. I love this email.

      “barnacles of pasta sauce”<–That is good stuff right there. I'm going to have to steal that phrasing someday.

    2. OfficePrincess*

      LOVE IT. I’m not sure what my coworkers think of the sounds coming from my cube right now, but there are tears.

    3. SaraV*

      Most importantly of all, science has not yet determined the level of microwave radiation needed for pasta sauce to achieve consciousness.

      Science fair experiment for some readers’ children? It could be groundbreaking! ;)

    4. The Bimmer Guy*

      That doesn’t so much seem like a rant as bit of good-natured snark. I like it. You don’t come off looking like a mad person here.

    5. Marillenbaum*

      Frankly, I would have been delighted to see an e-mail like this: it’s so charming and dignified!

  29. Circ*

    Oh! And there was also the patron who was looking for a book by an author. The author (we’ll call him Williams) had several nonfiction titles on related topics, so, according to the Dewey Decimal System, they had the same call number (001.24 WILL, for example). The woman wanted book 3 of 4, went to the shelves, and found the call number for that book — which, of course, was the same as the other three. The third book wasn’t on the shelf and, furious, the woman insisted different books could not have the same call number and it was misleading. She went on and on about how she was older than I was (not by much, it seemed) and how, in all her years, she’d NEVER seen a library have books with the same call number. I tried explaining that because the author had written multiple books on the same topic, that it was entirely possible for this to happen. She had originally brought it up by suggesting there was a cataloging mistake but when I assured her it was correct (after checking, of course), she blew up. I guess my nearly-completed MLIS is worthless since this woman knew better than I did (ha!).

    1. Pinkie Pie Chart*

      We got people coming into the library all the time asking for “the red book.” Being a complete newbie, I didn’t realize that was an actual legal book and had no idea what they were looking for. Ditto “the blue book.”

      1. anon for this*

        Our plum book, blue book, red book and beige books each have been recovered with vinyl covers that do not match their titles. I don’t know who sent these off to the bindery with orders to cover them in their current colors but I hope they were fired. We have to continue these bad choices since they are series or recover the whole lot of them.

        Plum book – now online – lists gov jobs that are open after each presidential election. Not covered in plum
        Beige book – Federal Reserve Board reports. Send out bound in beige but no longer covered in beige.
        Blue book – used for law citations. Not covered in blue.
        Red book – social security reference book. Not covered in red.

        Our Black’s Law is covered in black though!

      2. Withans*

        One of my friends took Chemistry at undergrad and for his course there was a textbook that was only ever referred to as ‘the green bible’, even in lecture notes. So he dutifully went off to the library and got out the big green chem textbook. He spent the next year wondering why the page numbers he was given never seemed to match up with his copy. Turns out ‘the green bible’ was an even bigger, greener chem textbook…

  30. Kelly L.*

    This is from two jobs ago. I was working in an academic department. I wish I had the text of this, but it was over the phone, and it’s been probably 5 or 6 years and I can’t remember all that was said.

    The gist is that this woman said she had once donated some money years ago–to the department? to the whole college? it was never quite clear. But she was upset that she’d sunk money into us, because she was not pleased with the aesthetics of the work currently being produced in our field. Not by our students or alums in particular, mind, just everybody in that whole field in the whole world. Thus began a 45-minute (not exaggerating) rant in which I could not get even one word in edgewise. She would consider forgiving us for the sins of our field, by the way, if we roped our students into doing some pet project of hers that had nothing to do with our field.

    When I finally extricated myself from the phone, I called development just in case, because it was tangentially a donation-related matter, and found that she had made basically the same phone call to them. I have no idea how she even had enough voice in her larynx to say all of that twice.

  31. sajohnso23*

    I used to work in politics and worked for a candidate who was running for Congress. For two years this man would call every few weeks and go on a vitriol laden rant about all the reasons the candidate wouldn’t win. You couldn’t even respond to his arguments because he just kept going on with his race tinged rhetoric. The main message of his argument was the candidate had no chance of winning because of their political party affiliation and the color of thier skin. His rants had nothing to do with any actual policy or grievance and when he did complain about the government it was usually about something the government couldn’t do anything about.

    One day when he called I calmly explained what the government could and couldn’t do to help him and he hung up on me.

    She won. He stopped calling. I still wonder why someone would need to call and rant that many times and how much better that kind of energy could have been used to helping actual people and their situations.

    1. Lola*

      I used to work for elected officials and I would get these calls all the time. A lot about how they saw my boss on TV and they were un-American, and you are what is wrong with this country, how we were all in the pockets of corporations/unions/whoever, etc. One time, I was trying to get a guy to wrap up and I interrupted him to say thank you for calling and I got “I’m not done, let me finish little girl…” very condescendingly and I promptly hung up on him. He called back and demanded to speak to the “little b**** that hung up on him.” A lot of crazy people. I feel like every elected official has one.

      Best rave I ever saw, back before there were emojis, were these handwritten letters from this older woman who would use stickers instead of words. She would say “Keep up the good work holding those corrupt politicians at bay. You are the only one with” stickers of sports balls (soccer, basketball, etc.) “in this town. Good” sticker of the number 4 “you.” We would get one once a month and they would always make my day reading them.

      1. Anna*

        I’ve been in the offices of US representatives and senators when they’ve received what are clearly these calls and I am always so impressed with how gracious the front desk staff are and how they always take down the person’s information (if they want to leave it). It’s impressive.

        1. Youth Services Librarian*

          and if you ever wonder where these people get the addresses, phone numbers, etc. well…it’s why a lot of librarians have weird information like the Pope’s address memorized. and most of these people will kindly rehearse their rants for us as well.

  32. Janice*