“I will confront you by Wednesday of this week” and other holiday stories

Here are some of my favorite highlights from last week’s post asking people to share their strangest office holiday stories. Honestly, #2 probably deserves its own post but here we go:

1. “A couple years ago, my company bought a plot of land with an old house on it next door that we planned on tearing down so we could expand. Then someone decided it’d be fun to host our holiday party at that house before it was demolished. (I don’t know why? Celebrating the expansion? Saying goodbye to this random house none of us had ever been in before?)

Anyway, lots of drinking and then someone pointed out how the house was being demolished next week … and utter chaos started. I have no one idea where or how it spread. Like literally, I was just chatting with a couple coworkers while hovering over the pigs-in-a-blanket, and then suddenly realized people were screaming and ripping down the banister to use the poles to stab holes in the walls.

There’s a reason I call that place ToxicJob and I’m not there anymore (still have friends there though). A lot of house-destruction-level pent up anger. Hahaha.”

2. “This happened about ten years ago, but the email I received from our boss was so epic I preserved it.

Context: The second year I worked at this company, our holiday party was held on a dinner cruise boat. Our boss footed the bill for dinner and an open bar, and a few other companies also hosted their own parties on the boat at the same time. Since I was underage at the time, I did not drink, and actually left early with my date. Everything was fine when I left. The Monday after, I rolled into the office– the first person there– and was greeted with this email from our boss [identifying details removed]:

‘Good morning to all. I hope all of you had time to recuperate and reflect about the unusual chain of events and circumstances at this year’s Christmas party. Some of you went home early and did not take in the full range of events.

Unfortunately, some of our staff got out of hand, including the spouses. Things were said, and things were done, that quite frankly were very inappropriate. Also, we had people from the adjoining group that decided to take advantage of our open bar and co-mingle with our group.

In regards to the inappropriate behavior, I am not going to go into all of the details, but let it be said that the root cause was probably due to the open bar. Some of our staff decided that the open bar meant that the drinking could be unlimited, not only in how much, but how they drank. As a result, some our staff and spouses decided that shots were OK. Shots were ordered for some who do not even drink. Shots are not OK at a company Christmas party. Other staff and spouses got multiple drinks at once for themselves and for people not even in our group. Others decided it was OK to get openly drunk and beligerent, to the point of making racial slurs. I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone from the other group after he decided to retaliate by groping my wife.

Having thought about the circumstances and the fact that we have to work together as a firm and team, some of you need to apologize for your behavior and/or for the behavior of your spouse. We specifically implemented a no fraternization policy and some of you could get fired on that alone, while other staff exercised no restraint over their spouse for their drunken condition. It is not OK for a spouse to misbehave, just because he or she is not an employee. Many careers have been destroyed, and people get fired, due to the conduct of their spouse. You are expected to excercise constraint over your spouse, or take them home. And if that cannot be done, then you should not bring your spouse.

In regards to the Firm’s policy on drinking, there will be no more open bars. Unfortunately, some of you and your spouses excercise extremely poor judgment. Because of this poor judgment, it puts the Firm at risk. Given the poor road conditions that night, some of you could have ended up dead. It is also unfortunate that a few have to ruin it for the whole group.

I would like to start the apologies by stating I am sorry for not handling the situation that I was confronted with in a different manner. I feel embarrassed, and it was not conduct befitting of the firm’s president. I also felt betrayed by some of you for patronizing the one individual from the adjoining group, who’s behavior was lewd and offensive, not to mention the outright theft by running up our bar tab.

I invite others to make some form of apology, either by email or in person for what they did or said, or what their spouse did or said. You can do this voluntarily, and you know who you are, or I will confront you by Wednesday of this week. I do not intend to ignore what happened. If I have to confront you, you could lose your job. I will be available Monday and Tuesday late afternoon, or you can email me and/or others. Let’s not let this one incidence stop us from being [#1 company in field]. We have a lot going for ourselves and let’s keep it going.'”

3. “A few years ago back at my toxic job, morale was fairly low, but we got an email for an all-hands afternoon meeting. Said email looked like an invite, had festive red and green, was in a invitational-type font, so we all assumed it was a holiday get-together. Nope. It was a meeting to determine why morale was so low, with managers basically sitting there and asking us to start telling them the problems. Since most of the problems were due to horrible management, everyone just sat there in awkward silence until management begrudgingly left the room. So then we spent a couple hours that we thought would involve snacks and socializing detailing all our issues with management, workflow, etc. Good times. It became known as ‘The Christmas Party That Wasn’t.'”

4. “At job #1 someone pooped in an attorney’s trash can one year during the office party.”

5. “The dreaded Elf on a Shelf got passed around the different departments. At the end of the day, someone from the department that had it last would go to another department and pose the elf. For the most part, it was okay: cute poses with rubber duckies, a little bathroom humor (the elf pooping a Hershey’s Kiss), that sort of thing… until my department got it. He was snorting hot cocoa using a $1 bill besides a naked Barbie doll. I work in HR. The department that left it was Legal! I don’t work there anymore and I’ve banned Elf on a Shelf from my current job.”

6. “At one tiny startup I worked at, my boss (our CPO) was a pretty douchey guy. He had recently hired a new PM (a younger woman just a few years out of college) who did not like him. However, unlike the rest of us, she decided to make her dislike known during our holiday party after she had a few drinks. She spent the whole time loudly talking about what an awful person/boss he was. There is still debate over whether she was fired or resigned the next day.”

7. “There was a workplace where the Christmas party was a big buffet lunch with theme entertainment afterwards. We did have to pay for our tickets, but not too much. They kept adding more themes onto the most popular ones from previous years, like line dancing from the western one and leis from the Hawaiian one. Also, there were once piñatas, so they kept doing those. The casino was so popular that they found more themes (Vegas, Mardi Gras, and I forget what other theme) that gave them an excuse to keep using the games of chance, which had mostly been custom-built on site. It turns out that it’s very hard to build a perfectly-balanced spinning wheel (like a Wheel of Fortune wheel), so I would just watch for a couple of rounds to remind myself which was the favored segment, and would then win more play-money playing the game of supposedly-chance than my colleagues who thought they were poker stars. And then there was an auction for all kinds of odd prizes with the play money, usually culminating in one of the male workers jumping out of a box in a costume. And did I mention that the play money all had the department head’s face on them, and there was a big discussion whether or not to reprint when we got a different department head, considering which of the department heads would be more offended not to be on the money.”

8. “At my first job out of college, I worked at a small transport-related company of about 50 employees that was privately owned by a couple … One year, Wife Owner, who fancied herself an artist and would often sing in the office (her voice wasn’t terrible but it was still really weird), decided we should make a CD of employees singing Christmas carols. Keep in mind that we did not have a bunch of moonlighting Broadway extras working there. I felt pressured to be on the CD and ended having to drive 25 miles on the weekend (unpaid) to a recording studio. I did draw the line at doing any solos and only signed up for the multi-voice songs, where I desperately tried not to stand out. Fortunately, I got accepted into grad school after that and never had to witness any further embarrassing company gifts. Apparently, the gift ploy worked in a sense, as I have run into people from the same industry who laughingly remember this company despite the fact that 10+ years later, they are no longer in business.”

9. “It’s around 2007, and traditional/hierarchical company is having a dinner party-dance at country club for Christmas. There is an open bar. Not exciting, until the DJ starts the best dance moves contest. People do horrible moves and everyone cheers, until the unit’s warehouse general manager steps out on to the floor. He asks one of the ladies to assist him with his move. And I still don’t know exactly how he did this so quickly, he wound up holding her over his head and twirling her around like they were a helicopter. One hand was on her neck and the other hand was between her legs. And then her wig started to shift (fortunately, it did not fall off). She was screaming the whole time. We were all horrified.”

10. “I work in academia, and at the last place I worked, we used to plan a small holiday party for some of the students who majored in our field and were graduating in December. One colleague was usually in charge of the food (because she was a control freak who didn’t trust anyone else to prepare it hygenically, but that’s another story). One particular year, she refused to tell anyone what she was bringing and insisted it would be ‘a surprise,’ but also insisted that no one else bring a single scrap of food.

The ‘surprise’ turned out to be her fat, overfed dog dressed up in a Santa Claus hat and a harness that was covered with hanging cookies—that had been banging against her fur and were also licked and sometimes half-chewed by the dog where she could reach them. My colleague was expecting everybody to worship her dog and happily eat the cookies. Instead, everyone else went, ‘Um…okay,’ and drifted off to the holiday party upstairs that had actual, clean, non-dog-tainted food.

My colleague was bewildered.”


{ 412 comments… read them below }

        1. AVP*

          But how did you leave early if it was a dinner cruise? I’m always so scared of those events because you can’t get off them!

          1. HappySnoopy*

            They explained in original post the first hour or was a harbor tour and the rest of the time, it was at the dock.

            I remember loving the description by a commenter who pictured OP and SO escaping by rowboat.

        1. Specialk9*

          “I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone from the other group after he decided to retaliate by groping my wife.”

          I just… Died here. What even.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I keep picturing that chain of events.

            Employee of company A: *uses racial slur*
            Employee of company B: *gropes company A’s CEO’s wife in retaliation???*
            CEO of company A: *punches employee of company B*

            I want a movie titled Office Holiday Party, based on this email.

            1. a-no*

              there is a move called Office Holiday Party and it’s pretty much just as wild. But sadly not on a boat

              1. Roguey*

                You mean Office Christmas Party? That was a wild party.
                (I’m actually a background person in it, and it was nearly as wild just being on set!)

          2. Anon anon anon*

            And that’s the president of the company. And other people have worse things to apologize for.

          3. HolidayPartyDisaster*

            It reminds me of the episode of 30 Rock where Kenneth throws a party and, the next day, Jack gathers them all to tell them never to speak of it again.

          4. Boop*

            I had to read that sentence multiple times. What the actual hell? What…happened…at this party?

            And the talking of “restraining” one’s spouse was…creepy.

        1. Snark*

          I want it chiseled into stone for the amusement of future civilizations and/or the sentient cockroaches which will succeed us.

          1. Jadelyn*

            I was thinking big-budget feature film, myself. Why restrict it to future generations and/or civilizations? Spread it around to the currently living, too!

              1. Lightly Salted*

                No, it should at the moment right before climax of the absolute most incredible act of hooliganism, and then the narrator explains from the very beginning how things got so out of hand. Like Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club” and “Invisible Monsters”.

      1. Crashboom*

        THAT WAS ME. I remember immediately emailing it to myself that day. Saw the AAM tweet asking for holiday party stories, dug into my emails and found it. It’s as beautiful as I remember. ;__;

        1. Mary*

          But what happened? Did everything he apologise by the deadline, or did they get [duh duh DUUUH!] Confronted?

          “I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone” is pure poetry, despite the hyper-correct commas.

          1. Crashboom*

            I said this in the original comment I left, but yes, people apologized (privately and by company-wide email) and nobody ended up fired.

            1. RB*

              Hey Crashboom, if you’re the one who submitted #2, I’m really curious as to how much you regret leaving the party early. It sounds like you missed a real sh__-show. That would have been pure entertainment gold.

        2. RJ the newbie*

          I just want to say thank you. My morning has been hell and that letter was the best laugh I’ve had all week! And I thought my former company’s dinner cruise was out of control!

        3. Wednesday of this week*

          “I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone from the other group after he decided to retaliate by groping my wife.”

          If the guy from the other group was “retaliating,” but your boss’ attack had not yet happened, then what was he retaliating for? Do you doubt your boss’ timeline of events here?

            1. Jadelyn*

              Since it followed the racial slur comment, I assumed it was retaliating for that. Although I’m not sure how groping is retaliation for anything except, idk, other groping? Of course if you got groped and are upset I don’t know that anyone would jump from there to “let me grope you back in retaliation”, so…yeah I’m out of possible rationalizations here.

              1. Anion*

                I picture the groper getting this really defiant look on his face, like, “Well, how about THIS?,” raised eyebrows and all, and staring the boss right in the eye while reaching out and pointedly squeezing the boss’s wife’s breast.

                I know groping isn’t funny, but it’s an amusing image to me, anyway.

                1. Lehigh*

                  If I remember the original comment thread correctly, it was a seemingly-consensual dance grinding on the boss’s wife by a gay guy, but the boss took offense.

                  Which makes a lot more sense, because IDK about you but I would never apologize for defending my partner – or anyone – from sexual assault, even if it’s “only” groping.

            1. Anonicat*

              I love how there’s a new one every couple of days. He sounds like he’s permanently pissed off.

              Although, I will applaud his insistence on no drinking/drugging and driving.

        1. Specialk9*

          “He was snorting hot cocoa using a $1 bill besides a naked Barbie doll. I work in HR.”


    1. Lily in NYC*

      We had hundreds of leftover small rubber ducks after a work event and something similar happened. Of course, I had to cross the line and I chopped off one of the ducks heads, XX’d out his eyes, and left a pool of blood next to it (ketchup). I think it was close to Halloween. I never confessed!

      1. paul*

        One of my coworkers brought in a plate of reindeer shaped cookies…with red food coloring up around where the shoulder would be, and a BB placed in the middle of it. Said she got the idea off facebook.

        Maybe marginally work inappropriate but we’re not particularly laced up and they’re good cookies. Just had a couple (bad diet, bad!).

      2. LeRainDrop*

        I also think #5 is hilarious! Full disclosure: the letter writer says the Elf pose was done by the legal department and I also happen to be a lawyer, so perhaps our humor is just a little twisted that way, you know? ;-)

    2. alana*

      I thought it was hilarious — Elf on the Shelf is a “tradition” about making kids be good, so the humor, in a workplace setting, honestly seemed apt. Admittedly, HR probably isn’t the right venue, especially if it’s a buttoned-up kind of office!

      1. LadyL*

        Agreed! Although because I am a trashbag of a human I probably would still eat the (non-chewed) dog cookies when no one was looking…

    1. MsChanandlerBong*

      She was probably thinking that everyone was just going to go wild over the cookies. My friend’s mom is like this. When we had my friend’s baby shower, her mom REFUSED to let us buy bottled water, juice, or soda. She was making her “special punch” (the typical melted-sherbet-mixed-with-soda concoction), and she did not want any other drinks there to take attention away from it. I asked her what she wanted us to do about diabetics and/or people who just didn’t want to drink punch. Her general attitude was, “Too bad!”

      1. Mananana*

        I spent several minutes trying to talk Mom out of making this punch for Christmas. She’s really the only one who likes it; everyone else takes a shot-glass size drink of it and then falls to the floor in a sugar-coma.

      2. Liz in a Library*

        I have a friend whose version of this is literally the sherbet melting into a bottle of vodka. It goes more quickly than is probably safe at every holiday party…

    2. D.W.*

      Right! That was just unnecessary. Like, seriously? You hang cookies from your dog and wonder why folks aren’t eating them? I would never eat anything from her again if she thinks that’s okay food handling etiquette.

      1. Specialk9*

        I’m confused why the person who was wild for hygiene was also the one to be so unhygienic! People are so mysterious.

        1. Tap Tap Jazz*

          My brother-in-law has Asperger’s, and he is the filthiest germ nut I have ever known. He reeks from never bathing, yet freaks out if someone touches the serving spoon before he does.

        2. PsychDoc*

          I wonder if she thinks that it’s bc it’s her dog, she doesn’t think about the germs. I admit, I’ll eat bread my cat has licked, but I wouldn’t do it it were someone else’s kid (that got a bit convoluted bc I went to someone else’s cat and thought no, I’d probably be fine with that; my kid? I don’t think so, but I don’t have one so maybe that changes things; someone else’s kid? Heck. No. Good – I found my line). But, and this is the most important part. I would NOT, under any circumstances, suggest that anyone else eat something that has touched my cat. Because my cat is cute to me, but that doesn’t mean he’s cute to the rest of the world.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I’m also confused if that was the ONLY food? Dirty dog aside, what kind of holiday office party only has cookies? I think people generally expect something a bit more substantial!

      1. Dove*

        Since everyone else went upstairs to get food at the holiday party, I’m guessing that they didn’t abide by her demand that no one else bring in any food for the party. But I agree that it’s bizarre that she apparently thought that however-many cookies she hung off of her dog were going to be enough to feed people at an office party!

    4. Peppermint Mocha*

      Am I the only person who thinks the image of that dog actually sounds pretty cute? That said, its very strange that she told nobody else to bring food. That would have been a great gag, not a serious event.

      1. BeeHoppy*

        If the cookies were individually wrapped in plastic bags it would be adorable (to me). But I know some of my colleagues still wouldn’t eat it.

      2. AngelicGamer aka that visually impaired peep*

        I could see myself doing it with fake / dog eatable cookies (there’s a place within walking distance to me that does them) and then have plates of cookies / normal food aside for after the joke. I see no reason to not have a dog + free food. However, I am a dog lover, so YMMV.

        1. Not Yet Looking*

          It would vary pretty wildly, I can confirm. I’m the one dog-lovers get mad at for “spoiling the party.”

    5. Lynn Whitehat*

      Here’s my guess. I bet she saw something like this on Pintrest or something, and decided it would just be amazeballs. Then when it didn’t work out the way she planned, there was no plan B. Especially since she had made a particular point of telling everyone else not to bring anything. “This didn’t work out like I envisioned… there’s no time to do anything else… the show must go on!”

      My high-school cross-country coach gave us the advice “nothing new on race day”. I have found it to be excellent advice for life in general. Don’t do ANYTHING as the piece de resistance of the holiday party that you haven’t done a bunch of times before in lower-stakes environments.

      1. Karen D*

        Argh. Now I have to go and search Pinterest for “hanging cookies on your dog.”

        (comes back)

        I am happy to report that Pinterest does not sanction this.

        1. Jadelyn*

          There’s something that exists out there that Pinterest does not sanction? The gods truly are merciful.

      2. HigherEd on Toast*

        I am the one who posted that story, and sadly, this was not the only time she did something like this, so I don’t think we can blame Pinterest (although she may have gotten this particular idea from a similar place).

        Other things she did:

        -Dress the dog up in green leafy garlands for St. Patrick’s Day. The dog ate the leaves (I don’t know what kind they were) and vomited in the middle of the main campus sidewalk.
        -Put a question about the dog on the final exam she gave.
        -Brought the dog dressed as Santa to a different department’s holiday party the year before the cookies thing. The dog tore the leash out of her hand, ran wild, and knocked over the table with the drinks, leading to a huge mess.
        -Attempt to dress the dog up as a horse for the day of a local horse race. I say “attempted” because by the time I saw them, the dog had kicked all but one of the hoof-shaped booties off and was munching on the bridle my colleague had attempted to give her.

        She was way, way too obsessed with the freaking dog.

          1. KTB*

            Me too!!! The dog is basically like, “you do you, but I’m not really going to cooperate. Good luck with that.”

          1. Decima Dewey*

            I’m envisioning some employee making a quick run to CVS or RiteAid and hurriedly buying a box of TastyKake cookies, or a couple of packages of Oreos.

          2. Boop*

            Agreed. It sounds hilarious, but is also SO inappropriate. Someone I would totally enjoy having in the workplace – in another department.

        1. Annabelle*

          Honestly this lady sounds a lot like my mom. Her dog has an entire closet full of clothes and costumes.

        2. Kate*

          Bravo!! Thanks for more stories. You story above was my favorite because it embodies the phrase “You just can’t make something like this up.” SO bizarre!

      3. Soupspoon McGee*

        I’ll have to get a sign that says “Nothing new on race day!” for my bathroom so I see it when I inevitably decide to try contouring my makeup right before a presentation.

    6. AnotherAlison*

      This seems like something one of my kids would come up with. Let’s put the dog in cowboy boots! Let’s put socks on the dog! Let’s pick the dog up and carry her around on our heads (she’s an English Setter).

      What confuses me is that the dog put up with it. Maybe it’s a regular thing for her to dress her dog up in food, so it was used to it.

      1. Specialk9*

        My dog would be utterly fine with wearing clothes -normally hated – if people food was part of the deal. Crunch crunch, nope I’m good.

      2. LS*

        My family’s cat would be totally fine when my brother and I dressed her up in doll clothes, put her in a doll pram on her back and pushed her around the neighbourhood. We would carry her by her legs, get her to drink from a cup and do all kinds of things we thought were playing and the cat never once complained. But if anyone else so much as tried to pat her, it was claws and fury! Some animals really bond to their pack’s kids!

    7. Baska*

      Also, while I know it’s sorta beside the main point, “unexpected dog = freakout for people like me who are allergic to dogs.” Yes, there are some pet-friendly offices, and people who work there generally know the score. But if your office *isn’t* one of those, the please, please, PLEASE do not bring your pets into the office without letting people know first!

    8. Tilly*

      I literally just snorted and had to read #10 out loud to my team because they wanted to know what was so funny. The poor dog having to wear cookies all day!

  1. The Ludaeig*

    Glad I am at home today reading this — if someone had walked by at work and seen my face, I don’t think I could have kept it together.
    Makes me glad that the horrible office parties I experienced in years past were small (actually, tiny) potatoes compared to these!

  2. K.*

    I missed a few of these! The dog one is hilarious – makes me think of Max from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Also how many cookies was this dog adorned with? Leaving aside the sanitary issues, she really thought the number of cookies that hung on her dog would be enough to feed a party?

    … That sentence is nuts.

    1. fposte*

      Random sentence generator would have taken eons to get it, that’s for sure.

      (Maybe dog was a Great Dane? For that matter, how were the cookies attached?)

      1. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

        I’m picturing a St Bernard, with the cookies where the little barrel of brandy usually is :)

      1. Antilles*

        If this is her idea of ‘hygenically’ prepared food, I have to wonder what she thinks unhygenic food preparation looks like.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      I’m pretty sure I’d still eat one of those cookies unless they were oatmeal. I let dogs lick my face which doesn’t seem any more hygienic than cookies attached to one!

      1. Teapot Librarian*

        I accidentally ended up with a cat’s paw in my mouth earlier this week. You know what cats do with their paws, right? Anyway, I lifted the cat up and went on with my day.

        1. Nea*

          Yeah, but it’s different when it’s your pet. You’re already dealing with everything it sheds on/drools on/walks in/leaves behind. Someone else’s pet, though….!

          1. Amber T*

            Yeah, the amount of gross things I do with my pets (“Did you just touch my food, kitty? Still gonna eat it.” “Did I just drop my pill near their food area? Still gonna need to take that.” “Kitty, is there a reason you’re very determined to stick your paw in my mouth while I yawn? Is there a reason I’m not pushing you off my lap? Mostly because you’re warm and cuddly and adorable and I’m weak to your cat-charms.”) is a tad embarrassing and something I’d only admit under my very-not real name on the internet.

            Only my cats though. Coworkers pets? Nope.

            1. I Love Thrawn*

              Speaking from personal experience – cats consider it a major score to get their paws in your mouth. They watch and wait for that purrfect opportunity.

            2. Liz T*

              The weirdest thing is that I’m reading these comments and thinking, “I wish my cat would put her paw in my mouth.”

              WHY WOULD I WISH THAT?

                1. Outis*

                  Oh my Lord. I am new here, lurking, and I’m laughing out loud. I so much needed this. I just came from an early Christmas dinner at which I discovered a piece of a food label that made it into my mother’s dressing. And found once we all sat down that I had no gifts–they were in transit from Amazon.

                  Thanks for making me laugh out loud!

              1. Kittyfish 76*

                I wish this too. My kitty is 19 and not very mobile anymore. I long for those young, mischievous days!

              2. Mookie*

                I feel this way about baby pet rats. From the second I adopt a new one a countdown begins until the first time they: eat from my mouth, lick my lips affectionately, delicately nibble my tongue, try to enter my mouth to hibernate there. In rat world, these are the highest of compliments, on par with falling asleep on your head or come galloping at you with great joy when you enter the room.

          2. Teapot Librarian*

            Not my pet! I was at an adoption event for my local humane society, picked the cat up, and OOPS!

      2. Emi.*

        What about the hair, though? I once ate cinnamon raisin toast with dog hair on it and I still can’t eat cinnamon raisin toast without gagging a little.

        1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

          Yeah, for me it’s more the hair. I let my dogs lick me but I know that they get into all sorts of stuff in the backyard. Even with regular bathing, they are still oily (just those types of dogs) and there’s always stray hairs and dander.

        2. SC Anonibrarian*

          i have cats, & woke up one morning and the inside of my nose was itching unbearably – just maddening. so i trudge blearily into the bathroom and try to figure out why my nose is in the itch dimension.

          and the tissue comes away from my face and the tickle turns into a scratchy feeling aaaalllll the way back into my face like in my sinuses and i stop moving and nearly throw up.

          i pull it together and yank the tissue away and my nose goes nutso, and i look down at the tissue while i’m frantically smudging at my nose to make it settle down, and y’all -there was a WHISKER. a whole long actual cat whisker had ended up in my nose. i just stared at it for a while.

          then i showed my husband because what even is hygiene or privacy when there was a cat whisker imbedded into your shnoz.

            1. Kathleen*

              My husband had a cat whisker in his *ear* one time. He complained about this very peculiar feeling in his ear, so I got out my handy splinter forceps and a flashlight and looked in his ear, and there in the very back was the end of a hairlike thing…which, after I grasped it with the forceps and pulled it out, turned out to be a full whisker (a short one, but still) shoved, like, a inch or more into his ear! Even thinking about it makes me feel squicky.

              1. Anonicat*

                My niece likes to rest her head on the dog while they watch TV (dog seems to like it too) and she’s had dog hair poking her eardrum often enough that now they keep a bottle of eardrops to make everything slide out easily.

          1. Amber T*

            Cats, man. Personal space does not exist. Apparently that includes even up your nose to the back of your brain.

          2. Adlib*

            That’s quite a feat for a whiskery to get up there!

            I routinely have cat hair in my eyes when I wake up.

    3. HigherEd on Toast*

      It was twenty of them or so. The cookies were attached to the dog’s harness, so kind of overlapping on top of each other. The dog weighs about 45 or 50 pounds.

      Definitely a case of “I have a cute idea so I am going to do it regardless of whether it’s sane/there would be enough cookies for everyone/the dog would behave.”

    4. Former Employee*

      I love “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and I especially love Max the dog.

      And I don’t even celebrate Christmas because it’s not part of my tradition/culture.

  3. fposte*

    Wow, I missed the dog service one. I am not easily put off food, but I wouldn’t have touched those cookies either.

    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      I misread it completely as saying that the dog was maybe wearing a backpacking dog harness, and the cookies were stored in the bags. I had to go back and re-read to see that the dog was DECORATED with the cookies. Ewww. Just, ewww. One of the times I’m really glad I just can’t eat cookies made with wheat flour. Silver linings, and all, you know?

  4. Higher Ed Database Dork*

    #10 – that one had me rolling. I can just imagine that dog walking around with the cookie harness. I love dogs, but I wouldn’t eat half-eaten/licked cookies that were hanging off MY dog, let alone someone else’s! That’s just too weird and funny. And I say this as a long-term university staffer who’s seen some weird characters over the years.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      My dog would have rolled over and over to bathe herself in the wonderful smell–I’m amazed there were any unsmashed cookies.

    2. Garland not Andrews*

      No kidding. I love my dog, but really she is a dog. She licks her butt and tries to eat cat poo! No way I’m eating something she licked!

  5. Muriel Heslop*

    #2 – what happened on Wednesday? And Monday and Tuesday as well. This one really begs a followup! I have so many questions.

  6. Lunch Meat*

    9 is especially horrifying to me. How did someone trained in dance enough to know how to pick someone up smoothly without injuring either of them come out of that training thinking it was okay to do so without your partner being completely and explicitly comfortable with you doing it???

    1. Emi.*

      I’ve swing-danced with men who did (less elaborate and intrusive) aerials without a lot of warning and it never bothered me. Maybe different social dancing circles have different norms?

      1. SarahTheEntwife*

        But there’s a huge difference between an unexpectedly acrobatic partner in an established dance community where you can be reasonably sure your partner knows that aerial moves are a thing, and roping a random coworker into dancing with you in what is both a possibly-risky and extremely intimate way.

        1. Pennilyn Lott*

          Nah, even in social dancing that’s pretty inappropriate. For a lead to assume that the follow they’re dancing with can safely do the move their about to pull out of nowhere is rude at best, dangerous at worst. (Not that I’m at all bitter at being dropped on the ground after explaining that I was recovering from an ankle injury…)

        2. Anonymoose*

          Swing dancer here! It’s a rule in my dance scene, and in a lot of dance scenes, to NEVER do an aerial without checking in with your partner first. A partner who isn’t ready for an aerial is a partner who is going to get hurt.

      2. Big Fat Meanie*

        I wonder if surprise air steps are more commonplace in ballroom/”east coast” swing circles than in lindy hop. Not assuming, just wondering.

    2. Manders*

      I’m a small lady, and it’s been my experience that a lot of men with a little bit of dance training like to show off by picking women up or spinning them around without warning them first. It’s rude, but it happens a lot.

      1. Birch*

        No dance training needed, it’s some kind of weird pseudo macho move and it’s awful. I’m a small lady too and have also experienced this. It’s rude and dangerous.

    3. Specialk9*

      He grabbed a female co-worker by the NECK and VAGINA, and lifted her over his head and twirled, without consent and ignoring her screaming. That’s horrific.

        1. Cleopatra Jones*

          Eh, any pair of pants or slacks can get you pretty close to the vaginal area. It’s covered but his hand still doesn’t belong there without her consent. And I pray to God that she didn’t have on some kind of flow-y dress because then he would have had almost unlimited access to her vag.

    4. Meyers and Briggs were not real doctors*

      I saw this happen at a formal dance once…and there was a wardrobe malfunction to boot. Everyone was watching her go along with it, with this OHMYGODWHENWILLITBEOVER face, when suddenly bam. Near full frontal. Thankfully no one was hurt but watching that made me very iffy to dance ever again, for fear of a man doing that to me unexpectedly.

      Seriously, men for the sake of all women, please just don’t ever do this.

    5. Meyers and Briggs were not real doctors*

      At a wedding, I got grabbed from behind in that one GREASE song where he picks her up from behind and like drags her off the dance floor… yea. I…had a bowels malfunction because of how I was grabbed around the belly and didn’t see it coming of course.

      Can I please reiterate PLEASE DON’T DO THIS EVER.

  7. CA in CA*

    I. Am. DYING at #2. Fully laughing out loud here. There has to be someone who stayed until the end of that party that reads this blog. Oh please let there be Christmas miracle and get us more details on that event.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      The person who commented gave additional details. I’ll link to the comment in a follow up.

    2. Muriel Heslop*

      Seriously! I need to know what happened on Wednesday (and Monday and Tuesday. And at the party.)
      I have so many questions and I need answers!

    1. fposte*

      Seems fair enough for the circumstances–if you can’t keep Bob/Jane from being a jackass, time to leave.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Yeah. Don’t let your spouse get drunk and act a fool seems completely reasonable at a work function.

      2. AndersonDarling*

        Yeah, I think it goes for any party. If your guest drinks too much then you both need to go home.

      3. Anion*

        Yes. When I attend my husband’s work functions, I’m constantly checking in with him: “Am I doing okay? Am I talking too much?” That sort of thing. (And I usually limit myself to three drinks maximum–one an hour, with water or soda as well.)

        My job at his work parties is to be supportive, impressive, and polite, and make him look good. I can’t imagine deciding to get rip-roaring drunk in front of all his co-workers and bosses–and if I did, I’d hope he’d hustle me out of there before I made a fool of myself, much less before I made a fool of him.

        (In fact, I just this morning sent off a thank-you note to his boss for last night’s holiday party.)

    2. chocolate lover*

      Wow is right. Though I did also find myself wondering how you’re supposed to get off of a boat while the cruise is still happening?

      1. fposte*

        OP explained that you were only away from the dock for the first hour or so–the rest of the time the boat was at the dock.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        The person who shared the story clarified that they only cruised for about an hour and the boat was docked the rest of the time.

      3. bohtie*

        other people have addressed this in the context of that specific letter, but an additional experience I have had is that many short cruises have a small boat attached to the main one that can take folks back to land if they need it. (Like, say you get a call that there’s a family emergency, or you get unexpectedly ill, or get really wasted and shoot off a fire extinguisher in someone’s face and the police have to be involved. That last one was highly entertaining when the perpetrator jumped overboard in an attempt not to get arrested. It didn’t work.)

        source: I go on a LOT of booze cruises; there’s a company here that does them with local punk bands. I don’t drink on the boat, because I get real seasick if I do, so I’ve borne witness to a fair amount of shenanigans!

    3. AnotherAlison*

      My personal experience has been that when I can’t keep my spouse under control, I also cannot get him to freaking leave. Not at a work event, though. Had to leave him at a fancy bowling alley once.

  8. Kiki*

    Between the holiday thread and today, I think I’ve read #2 at least five times. It’s not enough. I’m passing it around my office now.

          1. Specialk9*

            Ha mine too. I’ve stopped reading him Prudie, but AAM he has opinions on. They’re 1″ thick where mine are 1′, but it’s something. :D

      1. fposte*

        If you ever want to start your podcast, or just an annual Soundcloud, you could kick it off in fine style with that.

        1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          It would be an amazing album: Dramatic emails from coworkers feeling some kind of way.

          1. fposte*

            I was semi-serious–we get enough third-person reports of these things that it wouldn’t be mocking actual submitted letters, and some of them are quite high in the WTF.

      2. serenity*

        Is it just me, or did it feel like the boss who wrote #2 could be channeling the spirit of the late Tiger Oil boss from the 70s?

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I was rolling around, laughing and in stitches. I’ve read it and the follow up comments 4x, and I’m still laughing.

  9. Madame X*

    These are hilarious, especially #2, 5, and 10.

    The last one is as perplexing as it is funny. What exactly is her definition of hygienically-prepared food if she does not see any problem with bringing half-eaten/licked cookies that are riddled with dog hair for a Christmas party?

    1. M-C*

      I’m endlessly amazed at people who try to make themselves look friendly by displaying pictures of themselves french-kissing their dogs. That’s entirely too friendly for me, and for many people I know. Although it can be usefully informative, from the ones looking for dates for instance :-). My latest example was from a doctor, trying to sound scientific on his human-focused website, but prominently advertising his other dog-supplement website by such a kissing picture. Eeeeuw!

  10. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I have so many questions about #7.

    Could you trade the play money in for anything or was it just about bragging rights? Were there people line dancing in grass skirts?

    1. accidental manager*

      At the end there was an auction for prizes. Some of the prizes were ridiculous, some had been donated (travel mugs from suppliers), some were quite desirable, and the last one was always a giant box with a male employee inside.

      There was line dancing and there were grass skirts. I have forgotten whether they were the same people, fortunately.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        and the last one was always a giant box with a male employee inside

        Please tell me more about this. There are so many possibilities.

        1. Samata*

          Right?…so many questions…

          do they have cookies?
          is there confetti?
          are they dressed like Chippendale dancers?

        2. accidental manager*

          Sometimes it was a young conventionally handsome employee in boxer shorts and a goofy tank top. Sometimes it was an older high-work-status man in a baggy red union suit.

          I had the impression that they had volunteered. Typically everyone who had play-money left would hand it over to one of the people (usually women) bidding on the box, so it felt exciting and high stakes. I do not remember cookies or confetti, but there were noisemakers for sure, and then the prize would pose for pictures with the winner.

          The box was not brought into the room until it was time to bid on it, so I guess he would be in there about 15-20 minutes.

          1. J*

            I’m late to the game but, would the attendees be bidding on a “mystery” box and then find out which male employee was inside? Or would you know who was in there when you were bidding?

            1. accidental manager*

              It was a mystery box. Everyone would be looking around the room trying to count heads and think who was missing who had been there earlier.

        1. Meyers and Briggs were not real doctors*

          That’s where my mind went too! But the astute detective…well she raises more meaningful questions.

      2. Anonicat*

        “giant box with a male employee inside”

        I really should know by now not to be drinking while I read AAM comments.

    2. Charlotte Collins*

      #7 sounds kind of crazy yet fun. Like if Calvin and Hobbes came up with a holiday party. (Or Homer Simpson’s “perfect car” – it had everything!)

      At Oldjob, we didn’t have company-sponsored holiday parties. (Actually, there was one for executive management at “the” club in town. However, nobody else was invited or told about it. I only knew because a coworker’s boyfriend worked as a bartender there). The regular employees got tickets to a holiday movie. But the tickets were limited, and you had to email your request. Aside from a couple years, the movies were children’s movies, and the event was Saturday morning. They also had restrictions on which children you could bring. (Your own kids or grandkids were OK, but if you didn’t have a kid, you couldn’t bring a niece or nephew.)

  11. PizzaDog*

    #2 is honestly hilarious. I’m picturing Kenneth from 30 Rock after his house party – ‘and you, Harlem Globetrotter, does that name mean nothing to you anymore?’

  12. HR that Cares*

    The person that pooped in the trash can reminded of the lady who pooped on the bathroom floor at my wedding reception. The stay was only 2 feet away!

    1. a1*

      I was going to say maybe she was a squatter (someone that squats over the toilet w/o touching it), but the *2 feet* away kind of goes against that. Unless it rolled?

  13. Emi.*

    “I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone from the other group after he decided to retaliate by groping my wife.”

    I’M DEAD.

        1. nonegiven*

          One of the employees knew a guy in the other group and was giving him drinks from the open bar. I assume the retaliation of groping owner’s wife was for owner cutting him off from the bar, and then owner attacked guy from other group for groping his wife.

          The racial slur was by (I assume another) employee’s spouse and directed at the owner’s son in law.

  14. Leatherwings*

    That letter is the most amazing thing ever and this:

    I, myself, am guilty of attacking someone from the other group after he decided to retaliate by groping my wife.

    is my favorite part. WHAT?

  15. Rebecca*

    Reading these stories makes me so happy to work for the company I work for, and have the coworkers I have. Good grief.

  16. De Minimis*

    Our party is today, and I’m already gearing up to write a letter about our gift exchange, from what I’ve overheard from the people planning it. It sounds like some over-complicated mess, but maybe I’m wrong.

    One year we had the usual White Elephant gift exchange and then they did a thing where everyone just ended up with a random gift, making the gift exchange completely pointless.

    1. fposte*

      I thought White Elephant exchanges were supposed to be random. But then there always seem to be secret rules I don’t understand, so I’ve probably missed some.

      1. Antilles*

        As far as I can tell, there’s apparently several different types of ‘white elephant’ gift exchanges.
        I’ve always understood the term to mean “wrap some random thing you have lying around the house, do not spend money, try to make it funny”, then on your turn you can either steal someone else’s already-opened gift or open a new one.
        Other people apparently use it for legitimate gifts where you go out and spend $20 or something and only use the term ‘white elephant’ with regards to the gift-stealing part.
        And some people just use it to mean “random distribution of gifts” without even the gift stealing part.

        1. Ella*

          My sister is an adult with a developmental disability, and every year she goes to a “white elephant” tree ornament exchange every year with other adults from her day program. They call it a white elephant even though several years ago they had to change the procedure because none of the participants wanted to “steal” a gift from somebody who had already received one. They are all very polite to and careful with each other, it’s pretty great.

          1. Em*

            You’re making me cry at my desk. All of that is so cute. Not just them being so nice and polite and not wanting to steal the gifts, but I really love that they have a tree ornament exchange each year. That is lovely.

        2. De Minimis*

          The gifts are regular gifts [$20 max value], I think they misuse the “white elephant” term. This was a “gamed” gift exchange with drawn numbers, gift stealing, etc, but the gifts was decent gifts. The dumb part was that after all the gift stealing was over, they had everyone pass their gifts around in a circle while a song played, and the gift you had when the song ended was the gift you got. So the whole previous exercise was pointless.

          I didn’t really care, both gifts I got were about the same, I generally dislike the public spectacle of it all so I just wanted it to be over.

          1. De Minimis*

            And the same year, one of our employees threw a big hissy fit because he thought we should just donate money to other nonprofits instead of having a gift exchange. Thankfully he was overruled, but he refused to participate.

    2. De Minimis*

      And as usual, when I’m worried about something it ends up being fine.

      Creative way to do the gift exchange, but the “game” part had some structural problems to where it took a long time [probably a couple of hours?] and some people went for most of the time without having their name drawn.

  17. Sharon*

    Re #3: I’ve encountered a few meetings like this (not dressed up as party invitations, though). After some awkwardness, someone ventures a very delicately phrased summary of the issues, a few more people add on and it appears (to me) that a positive discussion of morale problems is executed – step 1 in getting problems solved. Then I hear in casual comments over the weeks and months following that meetings like that are not productive because workers just use them as bitch sessions. To be clear, if uncontrolled (unmoderated) they CAN become BS’s. But the ones I experienced were not, so the comments further damaged (my) morale.

    1. Former Employee*

      No surprise. When employees have low morale due to poor management, it is perfectly logical that those same managers expect that some mystical force outside of themselves is the cause of the problem. They then proceed to dismiss the negative comments from the employees as a bitch session and blame the employees for using the time unproductively. It is usually done with a scornful tone and derision being directed towards the employees. I don’t know if this falls under Dunning-Kruger, the Peter Principle, or some combination of the two with a dash of Incompetent Manager Syndrome.

  18. Coral*

    #2 sounds a lot like one of my office Christmas parties. Except at our the boss was just as drunk and got into a fist fight with someone from a group attending another Christmas party who had come over to take advantage of our open bar.

    1. Adlib*

      Ha! We had one of our parties last week (we do a breakfast this Friday) at a place nearby where a LOT of other companies were holding theirs. No fights though, but I did see my old boss in the area next to ours so that was fun.

  19. Murphy*

    You can do this voluntarily, and you know who you are, or I will confront you by Wednesday of this week. I do not intend to ignore what happened. If I have to confront you, you could lose your job.

    This just reeks of Liam Neeson’s “particular set of skills”/”I will find you…” speech from Taken.

    1. lurker*

      The LW said in another comment that the boss had been in the military. Maybe he has a particular set of skills, too…

  20. Jamey*

    She was afraid OTHER people would be unhygenic with the food and then BROUGHT IT ATTACHED TO HER DOG???? WHAT?!?!?

    1. Malibu Stacey*

      I’m guessing the “because unhygienic” was a ruse. She probably thought her idea was so adorable that she assumed everyone would, and didn’t want to give anyone a chance to get creative with their contributions and steal her thunder.

  21. LadyL*

    NGL #1, I would totally love to get drunk and destroy a house with some friends/coworkers. I used to be obsessed with the house-destroying party trailer for the first season of UK Skins when I was younger, and I always thought it looked cathartic on Property Brothers when they get the sledgehammers out. The hippie in me recoils from destroying/wasting stuff, but if it’s just gonna get torn down anyway then HECK YES LET”S RIP OUT SOME CABINETS

    1. fposte*

      There was a wonderful episode of Dirty Jobs where Mike Rowe went along with a guy (“Big Toot”) who hand-demolished a building. In an interview, Mike mentioned that they let other people take hits; he remembered one passing woman who was stressed to the gills about her upcoming wedding, and that being able to knock stuff out with a sledgehammer started her smiling and laughing.

    2. Antilles*

      It is super cathartic, particularly if you’re having a beer at the time.
      On Columbus Day a few years ago, a couple friends in government and I went over to a friend’s house and destroyed her old, broken TV. A real old-school TV with vacuum tubes and thick glass and wood paneling and the like, straight out of the 1970’s…so it took a surprising amount of effort to destroy. It was incredibly fun; if you ever get the chance, I’d highly recommend it.

      1. paul*

        back in high school, the school used to get an old beater of a car and raffle off swings with a sledge; you could pick your size (IIRC it was like a 3 and 6 lb sledge to choose form) and for 5 bucks you got 10 swings.

        They used the funding for supplies for stuff like shop and music class I think, and were smart enough to hold it around the end of the year; a *lot* of teachers and students bought a ticket.

        Kind of scary to see your petite, reserved English teacher and your huge lifting coach compete to see who could break the most of the frame.

      2. Detective Amy Santiago*

        There’s a place in my area where you can pay to break things. I think they also pay people for donating their old junk to be broken.

        1. Canadian, eh?*

          Yeah we have a “rage room” in my city where you can pay to break different kinds of things, including smashing glasses.

    3. LCL*

      I was at a house destroying party once. It was … unforgettable. We had the owner’s express permission, he was having the place torn down the next day.

    4. EddieSherbert*

      That was mine :) and in theory, I think it sounds fun too!

      But I’d only been at this job like 6 months, I was fairly new to the workforce, everyone in my department just oozed resentment, and I’d already witnessed about 3 red-faced-profusely-sweating screaming sessions from my grandboss.

      Then I missed whatever started the demolition and I just randomly turned around to see a riot!! AHH!

      …I figured it out like 30 seconds later, but for a moment there… Haha. Ridiculous!

    5. LadyL*

      In case anyone else who was into Skins wants to relive the house-ruining nostalgia:

      P.S. Keep an eye out around 1:15 for young Daniel Kaluuya, the lead of “Get Out.” He played Posh Kenneth on Skins, and was really great, so I’m stoked to see him in such a truly great role. I think “Get Out” is going to go down as a great moment in film history.

    6. AnotherAlison*

      My home was a gut job & we hand-demo’d it ourselves. Not as fun as you think. In our case, we weren’t tearing the building down, though, so the bummer part is when you have to scoop all the demo’d shit out of the house one shovel & wheelbarrow at a time.

      1. emmylou*

        One of my clients is a hospital that was demolishing an old building to make way for a new one. They had a fundraiser that involved people painting and doing graffiti on the walls of the building before de-construction happened. There was alcohol involved. Not surprisingly, some of the graffiti took a bad turn.

    7. mrs__peel*

      When my dad and his brothers were little, my grandparents were taking down a living room wall and let all the kids wail on it with sledgehammers. I always thought that sounded incredibly fun.

      1. Specialk9*

        One year my sister flew in for the holidays, got drunk, and decided that the long-considered wall demo should happen right then and took a sledgehammer to it, then flew home. Over the next YEAR, the rest of us fixed the mess – putting up beams and a column because surprise! load bearing wall with a tiled bathroom above, and of course all the key electrical and plumbing went through that wall.

    8. Anonicat*

      After some huge floods in my town, many people turned out for the Mud Army that went to stranger’s homes to help them move all the ruined stuff outside for pickup and clean what was left. The best part was kicking apart sodden flat-pack furniture.

  22. paul*

    The building demo party sounds like a blast tbh. Give me some sledgehammers, a sawzall and a few beers and I can be happy as a clam. Or in the hospital. or both.

  23. Red Reader*

    How on god’s green earth did she get her dog to NOT EAT ALL THE COOKIES? Like, I wouldn’t be able to finish tying cookies on my dog because she’d have eaten them off just as quick as I tied them on and I’d have to cancel the party to take the poor dog to the vet. I have a big dog, with an iron digestive system, but Jesus wept, she’d eat herself sick if I tried attaching cookies to her.

    1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

      I’m wondering that too! I’ve got two dogs, so I’d have to fend off the non-cookied one from eating all the others while I tried to arrange that. For my dogs, if it’s not on a plate, it’s fair game!

    2. Amber Rose*

      My uncle had a golden retriever that was that well trained. You could put a steak dinner on the floor in front of him, and even though he would tremble in every muscle, he wouldn’t eat unless told it was OK.

      But if the little fat cookie dog was as spoiled as it sounds, I’m guessing it wasn’t nearly so well trained. Maybe just a picky eater.

      1. HigherEd on Toast*

        This was it. A lot of them were attached near her back and tail (and, well, she was indeed a spoiled fat dog, so she honestly couldn’t twist around enough to reach all of them with the leash attached to her collar).

    3. Ginger*

      I made pumpkin bars the weekend before Halloween. We left the house for a few hours and came home to a trail of aluminum foil and a torn up paper plate. Our dog literally ate the entire plate of pumpkin bars down to the last crumb. I can’t believe she didn’t get sick. Then she gave us the evil eye for about half an hour when she realized we weren’t going to feed her dinner that night.

      1. Kuododi*

        DH and I have had a few wonderful dogs over the course of our life together. One of the funniest was a chow/husky mix we adopted from the local Humane Society. This dog was known for his prodigious appetite…but he managed to even surprise us one weekend. DH had brought me a jumbo bar of chocolate as a “just because”gift as I had been having a particularly rough week at work. (Think 5lbs of chocolate…. I love that man!)Well between us. We’d eaten the candy down to approx 1lb and wrapped it up in foil…put it on a high shelf in the kitchen and went to bed. Next morning we got up and the only thing left of that chocolate bar was little slivers of foil!!! Daffy dogs just grinning like a maniac and we’re throwing on clothes calling the after hours vet clinic to bring him in. Bottom line that dog had more lives than a cat and the only effects he experienced from his chocolate feast was chocolate scented belches….. lovely!!!

      2. Red Reader*

        The aforementioned big dog with a digestive system of iron has eaten entire pies, bowls full of wrapped candy, entire pounds of garlic smoked sausage, and I came home once to find she’d countersurfed for a Tupperware box of chocolate chip cookies and eaten them all – she was laying in the foyer next to the chewed empty box with her head on her paws looking very guilty and absolutely motionless, except for the tip of her tail which was a wagging blur.

        She doesn’t get into stuff often, but when she does, she goes big. (And she’s a hound mix, so very good at looking guilty.)

  24. Bagpuss*

    If I were a colleague of No.10 I think I’ d be wondering what on earth I might have eaten in previous years, when she’d insisted on preparing the food. I mean, if she thought unwrapped, dribbled-on doggy cookies were OK, what else had she decides was acceptable?

    1. Higher Ed Database Dork*

      I’m wondering if it’s one of those biases where you think your own dog (or children, or driving habits, etc) is wonderful and pristine and cherubic, but everyone else’s is dirty and gross.

      1. nonymous*

        well, I do think that the germs on my pets are safe for me, but that’s mostly because I figure my immune system has adjusted to an environment coated in their flora. But I’m fully aware that other people have not developed the same immunity to my dog’s slobber!

  25. Wendy Darling*

    The open bar letter just caused me to remember the party my AwfulJob threw at the company meeting… which I left when the VP+ level people started doing shots and hugging people. Quite explicitly, by saying to my neighbor, “The bosses are doing shots, I’m gonna bail.”

    I agree on that basis that shots are not appropriate for company parties.

  26. Grad Student*

    #2 is amazing and hilarious, but I also have to ask–given that everyone at the party did what they did, is that not a reasonable email for the boss to send the next morning? I.e., are we laughing at how the boss handled it, or just at the absurdity of the events described?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      A combination of the fact that the events happened at all and the weird tone of the email.

    2. Mary*

      It would be considerably less funny if the guy saying “you’re all terrible people and must apologise or lose your jobs” wasn’t also saying, “I myself am guilty of attacking someone”.

      1. Wednesday of this week*

        It seems he was trying deflect complaints of hypocrisy by 1) getting out in front of the attack story–though who knows what really happened; and 2) writing an extremely long and stuffy email to somehow dignify his position.

    3. oranges & lemons*

      What really cracks me up about this email is the formal tone. I don’t think it would be possible to compose any response to the events described with more panache than this.

  27. seejay*

    I missed the submission for this because I would have loved to tell the one about the PI company party where we decimated two bar fridges in the hotel rooms and my manager whipped out his wang in front of everyone so he could go to the bathroom while we were all hanging out in there… except you never do anything in front of PIs because they always have cameras and camcorders handy. So yes, someone did get photos of his willy but he was too drunk to care.

      1. seejay*

        Fortunately this was in the days before camera phones and the prevalence of social media so it’s not like it got spread everywhere, but seriously… don’t party with PIs, they record *EVERYTHING*.

  28. Amber Rose*

    At last year’s open bar Xmas party, my boss ended up riding a chair. Like. “Riding.” With all the wiggling eyebrows and nudges you can imagine.

    It was unsettling, and not even the strangest thing that happened that night. This year’s party is tomorrow, at a fancy hotel instead of the heritage museum we usually have it at. So maybe it will be more normal?

    1. Specialk9*

      So you’re not talking about sitting in the chair and rolling around the office… Was he straddling it like he was giving a lap dance?

      1. Amber Rose*

        Yes. Complete with lap-dance motions. Except there was nobody else sitting in the chair, which I am everlastingly grateful for.

  29. Drew*

    [making popcorn and settling in for a nice read]

    [five minutes later: crying from suppressed laughter and waving away my concerned officemate]

  30. kible*

    #10, which i hadn’t seen before, reminds me of some other comment story here about a lady that made cookies and commented that her various pets “helped” (meaning were probably on the counters shedding), and no one ate the cookies.

  31. fposte*

    Deserving of reposting is the beautifully told holiday party story of Rose who kicked her boss in the balls. Link in followup.

      1. Anion*


        That one was just before I started reading here. I’m stunned. Telling your boss to F off is okay because it wasn’t a work event? Wow.

        Was there ever an update to that one? I’m doing a search, but it would help to know if one exists.

      2. Mananana*

        Oh, that WAS beautifully told. I especially enjoyed “I wound up my well-shod size seven black pump, and gave Kevin a swift kick in the balls.” Thank you for sharing, fposte and RoseLaw.

        1. Specialk9*

          The most beautifully told story of someone acting utterly appallingly, and apparently without remorse.

      3. Former Employee*

        Thank you for the link to that amazing anecdote.

        I can only speculate, but I suspect that the reason Rose didn’t get in trouble was due to the fact that Kevin realized his comment could certainly be seen as racist. Therefore, what followed was a reaction to that and never would have happened otherwise. A smart boss doesn’t want to deal with the potential fallout.

  32. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

    Dog dressed as Santa: delightful.

    Dog dressed as Santa… with cookies attached to its body… that guests are then expected to eat… without any other food options at all: ಠ_ಠ

  33. Big Fat Meanie*

    9. Oh no . . . I’ve been a swing dancer for just under four years (lindy hop, bal, shag, solo jazz), it’s a major rule that you NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER pick someone up without their permission. Ever. Even in a jam circle. For some reason people have this idea that women think it’s fun to be spontaneously lifted off the floor and spun around, they go “wooo!” or “wheeee!” but actually most of us hate it with a passion. No.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      I remember the Mimi Imfurst incident on RuPaul’s Drag Race where she decided to haul a queen up and carry the over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes with the poor other queen pretty much kicking and screaming.

  34. Rebecca Too*

    I worked in retail for a very long time, and we sold “Elf on the Shelf”. After looking at them for MONTHS (they started arriving and being displayed in September!) we just got fed up. So, the closing manager would leave one Elf on the Shelf in a compromising or inappropriate position (but always hilarious) for the opening manager to find. And since we all took turns being the opening and closing manager, imaginations ran wild! It became a really great tradition at a time of year when very little is fun or funny in retail!

    1. Hanna_Solo*

      It has taken me forever to get my final project done for my Project Management class.

      This is the best procrastination site ever.

  35. Samata*

    How did I miss this thread???? These are beyond amazing.

    And man do I wish I a fly on the wall on the dinner cruise.

  36. Toadstool Sandwich*

    #9 is so horrible that I cannot stop laughing at the mental image.

    At my first ever job in my late teens, the company rented a hotel ballroom for the holiday party. Several people got wasted and began climbing the tables to dance. One of the women, who was 8 months pregnant, was pulled up onto a table so she could dance and the table collapsed under the weight. She ended up going into labor and an ambulance had to be called. People kept partying as if nothing had happened. I was beyond horrified.

    One older gentleman, who had suffered a near fatal accident in his teens and had a metal plate in his head, slipped on a spilled drink on the dance floor, fell and smashed his head into the floor and passed out. A second ambulance had to be called. At that point, people were practically swinging from the rafters and I left.

    The next week, I heard all sorts of stories from people of things that happened after I left. One girl puked under a table all over a colleague’s purse. Another girl broke a heel dancing and fell face first into a male colleague’s crotch. Another employee, male, stumbled and fell face first into a female colleague’s breasts and somehow tore her dress with the chain around his neck, exposing her breasts. Honestly, it all sounded like something out of Animal House- complete chaos.

  37. The Claims Examiner*

    I’m so honored I made the list as #4! I also have a copy of what is now known as “the poop memo” (among other weird memos) from that job that is unrelated to the holiday incident.

    1. Meyers and Briggs were not real doctors*


      Just kidding. I’m just heavily encouraging you :)

  38. HS Teacher*

    I kept meaning to post my holiday story and never did get around to it.

    I was working in my first job after the Army, so it would have been around 1993, and I was 21 years old. I was working for a small, independent insurance agency in the northeastern United States.

    They had always had their Christmas parties at a private club that was also exclusive. When I received my invite to that year’s party, I said, “I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed in that place. They don’t allow black people there.” The owner of the agency got a bit quiet and then left the room to along with two other principals. Then he came back and said they would have to have the party somewhere else. Several of my coworkers expressed displeasure because they really liked that venue, and there was no consideration given for my feelings. I was a kid, so of course I felt guilty.

    Unfortunately, the complaining continued during the actual party. None of them seemed to realize how awkward it made me feel nor care. Other than this, I didn’t have any problems there, but I eventually left to start attending college. It still irritates me that these people were that tone deaf. Even without a black employee, why would you have your party at a place like that?

        1. Meyers and Briggs were not real doctors*

          I can attest those places existed in my part of the Midwest in 1993. There were also a few hotels (2 in my hometown) that still practiced the “Sundown Town” guidelines…

        1. Anon anon anon*

          I get that impression too. I don’t have anything to do with country clubs, but I think some of them use coded language and an obscure application process to keep their membership, um, “exclusive”. I’ve heard that you have to get references from current members. They could easily say that the references weren’t good enough or something like that.

    1. Turtlewings*

      I’m bewildered that it was even legal for them to deny entry to black people. Or did I misread the date and it was actually 1953??

      1. Natalie*

        Private, membership based clubs aren’t subject to federal civil rights laws and are thus allowed to discriminate. Country clubs are fairly well known for having been white & gentile only (no idea if that’s still the case today, but it’s certainly the stereotype). Some states have their own rules that attempt to disincentive this – in my state a private club that discriminates doesn’t qualify for tax exempt status – but on the constitutional principle of freedom of association they can’t actually outright ban the practice.

      2. This Daydreamer*

        Oh, they would probably assure you that there is no such ban. It’s just that a club like that has a reputation to maintain, which is why they evaluate each applicant individually. They simply haven’t had any applicants of color who meet the standards they are expected to uphold. *barf*

    2. Specialk9*

      What the F-ing f-ing F?!

      That’s beyond awful.

      I thought I was generally clued in, but had no idea that was legal or still happening in the last quarter century.

      Man, this country is so fundamentally tainted.

      1. Anion*

        If you think this doesn’t/wouldn’t happen in another country, I promise you that you are dead wrong.

        1. Specialk9*

          I don’t believe that, I’ve lived in other countries, and seen Germans be racist against Turks and French against a variety of Arabs and Israelis against Arabs and Sephardic Jews, etc.

          But the US has built justification of slavery into our DNA and our bones are warped. It feels like our racism is more like South Africa, foundational and irradiated, rather than transient.

          1. Anion*

            I’ve lived in other countries, too, and again, if you think this doesn’t happen in other countries you are DEAD WRONG. (P.S. Just because the racism isn’t against black people in particular doesn’t mean it isn’t racism.)

            Of course, the US isn’t the only country that had slavery, either.

            1. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

              Commenting on how racism operates in the US is not the same as saying other countries don’t have racism, institutional or otherwise.

        2. I heart Paul Buchman*

          Clearly I can’t speak for all of the countries but in my country this is illegal. It is illegal to discriminate based on race (also age, gender, sexual orientation, parental status). We do have clubs that discriminate along cultural lines (such as the Italian club which is in my home town but even then everyone is allowed entry but not membership).

    3. This Daydreamer*

      Woah. I could sort of understand if they seriously didn’t know, but that bs was inexcusable the moment they knew why the venue was changed. And don’t get me started on that damn club. I hope you don’t feel guilty any more, and I hope everyone else involved does feel guilty. They should.

    4. Anon anon anon*

      I’m shocked that the co-workers were so glib and nasty about it. Upper management making a bad choice? I can see that. Maybe one of them belonged to the club and didn’t think about the obvious issues it brought up. People get shortsighted. I think it’s weirder that a whole group of people were so obnoxious about it. Sounds like a toxic kind of place.

  39. emmylou*

    These are so so amazing.
    I have one somewhat less epic memory from my first real workplace, in the early 90s. I worked in a PR/Communications agency that had experienced a recent merger. The Powers that Be kept trying to Blend our Cultures through socialization, but in retrospect, everyone was kind of a complaining baby.
    The first merger party was a cocktail party in a really fancy hotel, where one of the New People set her hair on fire on a candle, and someone else carved obscene graffiti into the gold flocked wallpaper in the women’s washroom.
    The holiday party that year was scheduled at a private club one of the Principals belonged to. They had set seating for dinner so we would talk to people we didn’t know, and my two bosses refused to “not sit with my friends” and made everyone else move. One of the new guys kept playing with this electronic gizmo we called “Dennis’ F– You box” that shouted obscene comments when you poked it. He kept poking it at people, until someone threw it across the room and the next day he refused to come to work because someone stole his F-you box.

    All of that was par for the course until a bunch of us wandered out to the terrace and ended up sharing a joint, and then my two bosses, one of VPs and I all got permanently banned from the club for smoking weed.

    This was also the agency where the head of our art department lost his living situation for some reason (gambling maybe) and was living in the darkroom and sleeping on the CEO’s couch for like a month before he got caught.

    There’s a reason I left that industry.

  40. Ramona Flowers*

    “And did I mention that the play money all had the department head’s face on them”

    I missed this before. Am dying

  41. Ramona Flowers*

    “She was a control freak who didn’t trust anyone else to prepare it hygenically”

    “that had been banging against her fur and were also licked and sometimes half-chewed by the dog”

    Words fail me.

  42. Anon anon anon*

    Top AAM takeaways:

    1) Alcohol and work don’t mix. Ok, maybe in moderation, but keep your level of sobriety within the legal limits for driving a car. I think that means less than one drink per hour, obviously varying slightly by body size. And if in doubt, don’t do it.

    2) Illegal controlled substances and work REALLY don’t mix.

    3) When someone has to bring food for the team, problems occur.

    I really wonder what happened on that cruise ship. The more I read this blog, the more I think that work-related “fun” things are just a bad idea. I mean there are ways to do it, but there are so many pitfalls.

    1. Meyers and Briggs were not real doctors*

      I dunno, I know some lefties who might consider themselves Outright Left! Lol.

    2. Becca*

      I think that was supposed to be referring to the way employees were giving drinks from the open bar to people from other groups which it wasn’t intended for, but that’s not what was said, so I’m not sure.

      1. Anon anon anon*

        I think the person who committed “outright theft” worked for one of the other companies and crashed the LW’s employer’s bar without being invited.

  43. Big City Woman*

    #9! Omigawd, #9 made me howl for being utterly bizarre! It was this sentence that killed me: “She was screaming the whole time.” Happy holiday memories, LOL!

  44. The Other Katie*

    There’s enough tantalising hints about what happened in that second one to stock a long and subplotful holiday comedy film.

  45. MissDisplaced*

    Gosh, I don’t have anything nearly half as weird and/or funny. I guess that’s a good thing!

  46. Front of the House Manager*

    The dog one has me losing it. I’m an animal lover. My roommate and I consider cat hair on a dish an occupational hazard of owning cats. But that’s in the privacy of our own home I’d be mortified if I brought something in to share at work and there was evidence of kitties on it.

    I almost appreciate the sheer ballsiness of the dog cookie coworker. That’s definitely falling under the category of no *bleeps* to give.

  47. Candi*

    I suppose it’s just as well the legal department in #5 didn’t have access to Elf on the Shelf’s pets.

    Yes, pets. Saw them at Target today. A dog and a reindeer.

    Oh, the office hijinks in coming years.

    #2 -still freaking hilarious.

    # 10 -still bananacrackers.

  48. Dorothy Docent*

    I work as a manager in a Victorian house museum. We do a free admission day during the holidays so visitors can see our Christmas decorations. Because it requires more staff than we ordinarily have, we get trusted volunteers to help us out on that day, and as a small way of thanking them, we have a buffet set up in the office area’s kitchen. The volunteers are encouraged to trade spots with one another when they need a break and come down and get some food or coffee. I try to coordinate all of this with the staff, making sure locations are covered, and dealing with the general mayhem that comes from large numbers of the public wandering about, but this holiday season provided me with a first.

    One of the volunteers hurried up to the reception desk and said there was a problem in the back I needed to attend to. I thought maybe one of the food containers was empty or there was a spill. But no – there was a large family back there, chowing down. They had spotted a door ajar and followed it into what is clearly an office area (the major hint being that it’s no longer a Victorian house, but an area filled with file cabinets, computers, and panel lighting) and through that into the very modern kitchen.

    They at least pretended to be surprised when I informed them this wasn’t part of the museum tour.

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