the stolen toilet paper, the fake committee, and other petty moments at work

Last week I asked you to share stories of petty moments at work — your own or other people’s. Here are some of the stand-outs.

1. “At one of my early jobs one of my coworkers was a, shall we say, interesting character. She was called out about something in a meeting and was fuming at the rest of us. The next morning she came in, went into the rest room (so I hear) and then went into her boss’ office to quit on the spot. She left without a word to anyone else.

Later it was discovered that she had removed every roll of toilet tissue from the rest room.”

2. “Had a client tell me to move their name down 1/32nd of inch on their biz card. I changed the name of the file to indicate it was revised, sent it back to them with a cheerful ‘here you go!’ and they replied back it was perfect!”

3. “I…once made up a non-existent ‘change management committee’ to avoid this kind of thing (endless requests for minor changes). There was a form. The form was *very* detailed.

It was at a government job, as a web developer, with a lot of middle managers. There was a lot of bueracracy in everything else, but we were friendly and would generally just change things on request, at least for internal sites. This…was a mistake, because no one else could get anything done, so they’d go on the warpath about font choices. When I started telling them there was now a change management committee for the internal site, no one questioned it, and the requests disappeared after we introduced a form (we still fixed and improved things, just stopped swapping fonts every week). We even held committee meetings, which were really a extended coffee break.”

4. “I got fired from a position, in a pretty awful way. I was mad and then spent the next few months randomly writing ‘missed connections’ ads on Craigslist, posting various manager’s office phone numbers as a call back.”

5. “Once upon a time, I worked as (what was essentially) a copy editor for a healthcare company, in an environment that I would definitely label ‘toxic.’ Most of my job consisted in making comments in PDF documents – remove this comma, we can’t legally use that word, etc., etc. and people would invariably try to avoid making any edits (even stuff that was an obvious typo or a legal liability) and complain the whole way through. Couple this with a boss who was a people-pleaser, and it was eventually decided that, even though PDF comments are already the easiest thing in the world to read, we needed to write out a separate description of every single comment whenever we submitted any edits: where the comment was in the doc, what the comment was about, and the rationale for making the comment.

My colleague and I did so, with some grumbling. ‘On page two, second paragraph, there is an comma that needs to be removed. We adhere to AP style, which doesn’t use the ‘Oxford’ or ‘Serial’ comma.’ Then, our boss told us that people were complaining we weren’t ‘detailed enough’ in our descriptions.

Fine. You want to play that way? My colleague and I would turn five small comments into 500 word essays. ‘On page two of the attache brochure, inside the green box in the second paragraph, three lines down, in between the fifth and sixth word, the comma should be removed. This comma is an Oxford comma. An Oxford comma is also known as a serial comma…’ [insert explanation of what an Oxford comma is, along with examples, then conclude by stating that as we adhere to AP style, we do not use said comma. However, the AP itself has some exceptions…you get the picture]

We did this for a couple of weeks before they finally said: ‘Okay, maybe you don’t have to be *so* detailed.’”

6. “I’m a graphic designer for a company that has a lot of athlete ambassadors, and thus a lot of my coworkers fancy themselves elite athletes as well (they’re not). For a New Years post on social media, we had a ‘meet the team’ post where everyone on the team had a picture and a bio of them using their favorite athletic product we manufacture. I have one coworker that particularly thinks he’s god’s gift to the world and has a huge ego about his supposed athletic ability, and it drives me INSANE. So as the graphic designer, I built out all of the posts before posting on the brand’s social media. This coworker put one of his personal records in his bio, so I decided to take his bloated ego down a couple pegs and added a zero to the end of his record time. After it was posted, he noticed immediately and had a total temper tantrum, crying about how people are now going to think he’s super slow! It was so *chef’s kiss* satisfying.”

7. “When I worked as a cashier in Target, if a customer was especially horrible to me (seriously though why are some people so mean to cashiers) I would start to scan the items on the conveyor belt slower…and slower…..a n d s l o w e r.. .. .. . .a n d s l o w e r . . . . until I could see them seething at my incredibly frustrating pace. I would take their money and punch in the amount slowly and bag their items at the same pace too. And to make sure they knew I was being a d*ck specifically to THEM, I would then make sure they saw me scan and bag the next customer’s items very fast as they collected their bagged items. I’m lucky I never received a complaint.”

8. “I once worked a soul-crushing job in a very toxic place. The company was having some financial struggles, and they were doing a lot of hasty layoffs and trying to guilt everyone into saving as much money as possible. I finally found another job, after 8 years, and I gleefully put in my 2 weeks’ notice. The place had gotten so stingy in the past 2 years, that they completely stopped buying office supplies. A lot of people brought their own and kept them locked in their desks, but the remaining supplies were hoarded often and there was a lot of drama surrounding the sharing of these supplies. The office only had one good, heavy-duty stapler, and our office produced reams and reams of paper reports needing said stapler. It sat in a place of honor in the middle of the department, and screaming matches erupted if it was moved even an inch from its spot. Taking it back to your desk, for even a moment, was career suicide.

I staying late on my very last day in the office, and I took that stapler with me when I left for the last time. I have it at my desk at home, and I barely ever use it, but it’s my trophy of pettiness. I was underpaid by 30% there, lied to when I brought it up to management, and pressured to donate my time to the company ‘off the books’ all the time. I now have a much better job and a really great heavy-duty stapler.”

9. “A manager at our small not-for-profit would often eat in the resource library that doubled as a meeting room. Sometimes she would bring her daughter to work and the daughter would do craft projects and make a huge mess. This meant staff would be scrambling for other meeting space, but the executive director never said a word about the mess or the room being used as a daycare. The manager would often direct the receptionist (a revolving series of temps) to clean it up at the end of the day. This would include lunch containers, food spilled, and glue and glitter all over the table and require a lot of scrubbing.

Our board personnel committee used that room for a committee meeting before the regular board meeting. One night, supposedly because we were so busy doing board meeting set up in the other room, the receptionist ‘forgot’ to clean the small meeting room. The first board member who walked in said, ‘What the HELL happened in here!?!’ and the receptionist sweetly said ‘Oh, that’s X’s daughter’s playroom. Sorry, I haven’t had time to clean it up the way X likes yet. I usually bill an extra 15 minutes to do it after my regular work day.’”

10. “A coworker, Jane, was very protective of her lunch hour (and the culture of our office was you eat lunch when possible and sometimes that might be late or early to accommodate other meetings) so her attitude was out of sync with the office. We had a grand boss that liked to schedule meetings right at lunchtime, and when Jane asked for them to be moved for her lunch grand boss said just bring lunch in with you if needed.

So Jane brought in a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly jars, and a tray of cheeses and proceeded to make everyone in the meeting a sandwich and cheese plate during the meeting. Neither she nor the grand boss blinked at this and for awhile we all had yummy veggie trays, sandwiches, and once a full salmon (like the ENTIRE grilled fish cut into servings conference table side) during lunchtime meetings. It was the craziest showdown ever- and both people were pretty miserable so it was great to watch.”

{ 395 comments… read them below }

    1. The Original K.*

      #9 is … [chef’s kiss] brilliant. I love her for that – strikes a nice balance between being petty and sticking up for oneself.

      I want to know what happened to the manager who let her kid use the room as a playroom, and the ED who allowed her to do it!

      1. Old Dinosaur Lady*

        I want to know, too! Praying that they both got in a heap of trouble, and would live to know for sure.

      2. some dude*

        I am baffled that she didn’t clean up after herself or her kid. I think the receptionist handled it beautifully.

    2. SheLooksFamiliar*

      Anyone who has the wontons to do what the receptionist did should be the Queen of Everything.

    3. HA2*

      #9 is incredible. I missed it in the comments, but it’s just so perfect.

      I bet X had to answer some very pointed questions about it, but the receptionist got to be completely innocent and matter-of-fact. So great.

      1. PJs of Steven Tyler*

        I do this sometimes; I call it The Marilyn Monroe. Be VERY innocent and wide-eyed. We had a useless jerk at my old job who would come in at 10:30 (start time 8:00), do her makeup in the bathroom until 10:48, leave at 11:15 for a two-hour lunch, and leave for the day at about 2:45. She once took four work weeks to do what others did in one eight-hour day. One day she wore jeans, which was a HUGE no-no in the president’s eyes. I was fuming and had had enough. So when the president came to talk with me about an assignment, I said, “Oh! I’m so glad the jeans policy has changed and we can wear jeans now!” And he said, “WHO SAID THAT?!?!” And I said, “Oh, well, [Useless Person] is wearing jeans, I assumed we all could now.” I have never seen that man walk so fast in my life – he practically ran to her cubicle to call her out on the jeans. I left the company shortly after that; the Useless Person was a symptom but the president’s inability to create any rules was the disease. I still remember the totally innocent, wide-eyed look I pressed on my face as I threw her under the bus, though, and I will use it again in future if necessary.

    4. Waiguoren*

      It’s an absolute masterpiece of passive aggression, used for the side of righteousness and justice. I, too, applaud her.

    5. Reliquary*

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure #9 is my favorite. Petty… but for justice and the public good!

      1. Cat*

        10 makes a a little sad because it feels like a mossed opportunity. I’d love to be fed snacks or grilled salmon during meetings. if the coworker had approached it as a fun funny favor to the office and the boss had appreciated it as such it would have been so awesome.

  1. CatCat*

    #10 just sounds so wonderfully awkward for all, and yet there is also food so maybe worth the trade-off.

    1. CmdrShepard4ever*

      I think it is one thing to occasionally have to schedule meetings during lunch time, it is another thing entirely to purposely enjoy to schedule lunch meetings like the boss seemed to be doing. I can’t blame the coworker too much for this, and she followed the grade school rule of if you bring food bring enough for everyone. If it had been me, I would have eaten my food during the meeting, and then still taken my lunch hour before/after the meeting to just nap, read, netflix, etc…

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Ha! We’re on the same page. Whenever anyone schedules meetings during my lunch hour, I go to said meeting, but also take my hour either before the meeting or after. I understand that it’s sometimes hard to arrange meetings of multiple people when availability is all over the place, but seriously, sometimes it seems like meeting organizers don’t even take that kind of stuff into consideration, and unless the meeting’s a lunch and learn or there’s some pressing deadline on a project looming, it can wait IMO.

        1. not a dr*

          Though different people prefer different lunch hours, so even if you think a time is safe someone likes to have their lunch at 2pm.

          1. CmdrShepard4ever*

            I agree some people like to take lunch at 11 am or as late as 2 pm. But most places I have worked the usual lunch time is 12-1 or 1-2, I think a majority of people go at this time. At one job that required coverage we alternated lunch with our cube mate, if one person went at 12 the other person went at 1. In rare circumstances both people could be out at lunch but it usually required approval from a supervisor and someone else to cover.

            I think people should really try to avoid meetings between 12-2, yes sometimes it can’t be avoided, but it shouldn’t be a habit to have meetings at that time. It would be nice if 11 am or 2 pm meetings could be avoided but having meetings during that time are more understandable.

            I have taken lunch as early as 10:30 am or as late as 3 pm depending on personal or business needs, but I usually take my lunch at 1.

          2. Antilles*

            I mean, yeah that’s true, but there’s a difference between “a time that conflicts with one person’s unique schedule” and “a time that is likely to conflict with most people’s schedule”.

          3. I was young once*

            I had a boss who worked a shift 2 hours earlier than mine. So she took her lunch break 2-3 hours earlier than me. Fine. Burt she would shedule EVERY meeting at my typical lunch. Again, fine. BUT she would then spend all day delaying the meeting by 15-30 minutes. Not really long enough for me to grab lunch, or an errand or whatever I wanted to do with my time. So say the meeting was planned for 12. Too early for me to have lunch when I came in at 10. But she’d push it at the last minute. Like I’d hear from her at 12:30 that she want’s to do 1. But I needed to run an errand. So I’d go to ok, I’ll do lunch after the meeting. Then at 1 she’d push it 15 more, then 15 more…. until it was 3-4 o’clock and I was starving and hangry. When I pointed this weekly dance out to her, she offered me a granola bar.

        2. Alienor*

          Ohhh nothing burns me up more than being scheduled for a meeting from 12-1. It’s not that I’m married to that specific time – I could eat lunch a little earlier or later – but on a lot of days I have solid back to back meetings for most of the day, so if I don’t have that hour in the middle I probably won’t get to eat at all (and our office culture really doesn’t allow for eating lunch meetings unless it’s specifically a catered lunch).

          1. Lavender Menace*

            I’ve started declining 12-1 meetings when I have back to back meetings, and on days where I’m likely to get backed up, I’ve started blocking off my lunch hour. I need to eat or I’ll have a migraine by 3 pm!

        3. Me ... just me*

          I’m on the East Coast of the U.S.A., and I work closely with some people that are on the West Coast. They have no issue scheduling meetings at 9am their time (noon, ET), but I seem to always get a deluge of requests to change the time if I should happen to schedule a meeting at 3pm my time (noon, PT).

      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        That’s how meetings at lunch/actual lunch breaks should work though. When we have BBQ’s, I always tell everyone to go ahead and take their regular lunch and that the BBQ time is work-time, therefore they should be on the clock.

        Lunch break isn’t only about the meal part, since many don’t even eat during it, they munch at some other time during the day. Lunch is simply time off from your assigned duties/work in the middle-ish of the day. This is extremely even more so when people are hourly and your state has mandated rest breaks.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      And you know they came this close to someone being swatted with a salmon.

    3. Working Mom Having It All*

      Yeah I can see this being the beginning of something really cool, to be honest.

    4. sally*

      I can understand how it could happen though. I have to take medication twice a day without food (or without having recently eaten) so I have to time my meals pretty carefully.

    5. Emily K*

      Honestly Jane is a freaking genius. If she had made this big showy production of eating an elaborate meal by herself the boss could have immediately shut it down as an obviously passive-aggressive display and tell her to bring less elaborate lunches.

      But because she’s feeding everyone else, too, she puts the boss in the position where he looks like a curmudgeon if he’s the one who takes the free lunch away from everyone else in the meeting. This is some Blair Waldorf level brilliance.

    1. Delta Delta*

      I like that one, too. My mother in law did some temp work in the 80s and apparently there was a person there who was so protective of her stapler she put her name on it with a label maker. MIL stole that stapler at the end of her temp term. Husband has since stolen it from his mother, and we refer to the stapler by the name on the label.

    2. London Calling*

      That person is my hero(ine). That is what I would do, knowing the mayhem it would create in a toxic office and hugging the thought of it, even if I wasn’t there to see it. Superbly, irredeemably petty.

      1. Sab*

        Nah, supreme pettiness would have been to sabotage it so it didn’t quite work properly. Damaged enough to keep jamming but not quite broken enough to be replaced.

        1. London Calling*

          Evil. The thought of people shaking it, taking the staples out, shaking it again, reloading it with staples…

      1. Ham and mayonnaise!!*

        Yes, like from Office Space. “Um, I believe you have my stapler.”

      2. Kathleen_A*

        Mine, too! The only thing that could have made it better is if she’d somehow managed to record the wailing and lamentations and cursing and accusations in that awful office the next day. But a gal can’t have everything.

    3. Jadelyn*

      That was the one that had me ROLLING. OP oughta get that thing bronzed and mounted to a plaque or something.

    4. Lucy*

      Stapler is also my favourite. Not even seeing the aftermath, just enjoying imagining it. /chef’s kiss/

    5. Burned Out Supervisor*

      That was my favorite too.

      If the stapler person was me, I would be buried with it at the end of my very long and petty life and then send a letter to the company about where they could find it.

  2. RJ the Newbie*

    I am loving #3. My old office did something similar to vet general office grievances/complaints before we had an HR department.

    1. fposte*

      I love that it just kept on going for a while and that she elevated it into a perk for others.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’m hoping she thought to pay for it from ….(wait for it) …. PETTY CASH.

        1. nobodyssister*

          I imagine David Caruso whipping off his sunglasses as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” starts to play.

        2. EinJungerLudendorff*

          I hope she didn’t use messy ingredients. Or she would have to wear a pettycoat.

  3. CatCat*

    I admit that I am getting some vicarious petty satisfaction from some of these. Especially #4 and #8.

    1. Former Retail Manager*

      Same here! #4 is my husband’s go-to for anyone who wrongs him severely, except instead of ‘missed connections’ he’ll do free English bulldogs accompanied by an irresistibly cute picture. I may have to alert him to the missed connections angle.

  4. WellRed*

    I do wonder if number 9 resulted in any changes in this situation. Also, I love them all, but but 5 is awesome!

  5. LaDeeDa*

    #5 I love sooooooooo much!!! ” [insert explanation of what an Oxford comma is, along with examples, then conclude by stating that as we adhere to AP style, we do not use said comma. However, the AP itself has some exceptions…you get the picture]”

    Love it!

    1. TootsNYC*

      what I love is that they included my preferred term for it: serial comma

      I always say, “I’m opposed to the Oxford comma. Vehemently. I do, however, think there is great use to the serial comma, and so I have changed the style of my publication to use it.”

      1. bookartist*

        You are my hero. Unless you were educated in the UK, calling it the Oxford comma is to me an unbearable pretense.

          1. Nanc*

            I always thought my British godmother was saying Oxford Karma when she talked about her work! When I followed in her editor footsteps the penny finally dropped.

          2. Lucy*

            To the extent that we care, I guess we do. I’m not sure the argument is as heated over here. We do punctuation differently from y’all in many ways already.

            But bear in mind that using “Oxford” as an adjective isn’t always neutral in all social groups in the UK. Those educated at certain other universities or The University Of Life will use it with a semi-ironic sneer. I daresay there are some who eschew the punctuation as a result!

            I honestly don’t know what serial commas have to do with Oxford though.

            1. Vemasi*

              I assume they were just one of many places that included it in their preferred style and it Became Known more so than anywhere else. And then perhaps you could assume someone had gone to Oxford by reading something they wrote.

              1. Gerta*

                According to Wikipedia, the Oxford Style Guide is one of very few British style guides that recommends using it, so in UK terms it would stand out. As opposed to in the US, where it’s apparently more common.

          3. Uk-er*

            Never heard of it until found Americans arguing about it on the net.

            Also as a general rule

            Cambridge = Good

            Oxford = Evil

        1. TootsNYC*

          Oh, and, I think it’s a generational thing. I learned about it in the late 1970s, and that’s what it was called when publications were all taking it OUT, so there were lots of conversations with lots of types of editors.

          Then for many years nobody talked about it much, except to briefly train a new copyeditor (and its use was sort of evenly split–“old-fashioned” publications used it always; “hip, modern” publications avoided it unless the structure required it–and NO publication had a rule that said “never use it even if it would be confusing without).

          Then suddenly everybody was talking about it again (the last 8 or so years), and its term had changed. And there was a song…

        1. RandomU...*

          Just plan your own funeral then you can have whatever you want on your tombstone :)

          “Here lies LaDeeDa. Forever chasing rainbows, pudding, and commas.”

        2. Sara(h)*

          AP developed this rule only to save space; it is part of the “punctuation only when needed” rule, which originated because, when manually setting type for a newspaper, every character and every space mattered. These days it’s kind of a moot point because, well, computers. Other top grammar guides such as the Chicago Manual of Style and Strunk & White’s Elements of Style mandate the use of the Oxford comma (or serial comma if you prefer).

    2. Public Sector Manager*

      The overly detailed memoranda reminds me of my first job out of law school.

      I was working for this attorney who originally had me classified as an employee. We would discuss all my research and draft memoranda at the end of the day so the attorney could take client meetings and make court appearances between 9 am and 5 pm.

      After about a year of working for him, the attorney illegally switched me to an independent contractor. I had no savings so I couldn’t just quit and hope to find a new job right away. The attorney still wanted to talk about my research, etc., at the end of the day. He explained to me that by doing this, he wouldn’t have to pay me for my downtime between when my work was done and 5 pm because I was now an “independent contractor.” When I said he should still pay me for my downtime, he responded with “take it as a loss and deduct it from your taxes.” (Which isn’t even a thing with cash basis accounting).

      I convinced him to install on the wall one of those file holders just like the ones they use at a doctor’s office for your chart. All my work went into the file holder. I kept my drafts of court filings professional and the appropriate length, but anything for internal consumption became excessively long. The first holder had just one pocket. I was able to fill it so full in 2-3 days that the attorney couldn’t take any paper out of the holder without taking it off the wall and trying to pry the pocket open without breaking it.

      Rather than say anything, or take papers out during the course of the day, this attorney went from a single file holder to one with three pockets. It would take me only a couple of more days to fill that one up too.

      This went on for 3 months until I could get a new job. Petty but very satisfying.

      1. Lavender Menace*

        He explained to me that by doing this, he wouldn’t have to pay me for my downtime between when my work was done and 5 pm because I was now an “independent contractor.” When I said he should still pay me for my downtime, he responded with “take it as a loss and deduct it from your taxes.”

        Whaaaaaaaat. He deserved what he got!

    3. ThatGirl*

      My pedantic reply is that the AP Style rule is actually to use the Oxford comma if *not* doing so would cause confusion. It’s just not used in all cases. :)

      1. Emily S*

        Which has always bugged me, because to my mind it always causes confusion to leave it out. Not in the “Stalin and the strippers” way where it’s really outlandish, but it always just ends up looking like the last two items in the list are a single item that and the list is weirdly missing the “and” in between the last two items, and I’m thinking, is there an “and” missing? Is that comma supposed to be a semi-colon?

        Actual example from a document I was working with today: “We have the capacity to innovate, collaborate and create transformational change.” It’s not confusing in the sense that you don’t understand what the writer is trying to say, but I can’t help but read that as a comma separated list of two items that seems grammatically incorrect, like there should be a third item after “collaborate and create transformational change” that somehow accidentally got deleted.

        This effect is even more pronounced if there are any items in the list that contain the word “and,” like if the above had been, “We have the capacity to innovate and improve our lives, collaborate and create transformational change.”

        1. Koala dreams*

          My mothertongue is Swedish and Swedish doesn’t use the Oxford comma, so to my eyes it always looks wrong to insert it, even though I know it’s a thing in English.

          1. Vemasi*

            I usually don’t notice it when I’m reading, but when I’m writing most of the time I feel uncomfortable putting an Oxford comma. I’ve had to write a lot of signs and announcement emails, and when you start to make what I would consider a list within a paragraph, it is usually better to just make it a list with returns and bullet points. So it just weirdly nags at me. Otherwise, I always go with the verbal flow of the sentence in my head, so I don’t even follow the rule of thumb of consistency.

    4. Burned Out Supervisor*

      I call that malicious compliance. It’s so awesome because you’re exposing the absurdity of a rule by doing exactly what you’re told.

  6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

    Number ten truly tops the rest, though I KIND of wish I’d thought of #4 when I left a truly toxic job for someone who delighted in tormenting my reports.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      Nah, number 1 is still my favorite just because of the randomness of it all, lol. Like, why are you stealing all the tp out of the building because you’re mad at one person?! This company must have sent her over the edge to leave people in such dire straits.

    2. Christmas Carol*

      In Word, you can set your AutoCorrect to replace with as you type. I personally would never suggest you change the settings on someone else’s copy of Word, but if you are constantly having to revise anothers work………………

  7. giraffe*

    It happened before I got there, but at a previous law job there had been a legendary spacing war. In some long external document, the comms person had written it with one space after each period and the executive director (a lawyer) changed them all to two. Apparently the draft went back and forth many times, spacing changing each time, and each person getting more and more stubbornly heated. Everyone was warned not to say anything to the ED about how many spaces to put in anything after that.

    1. CmdrShepard4ever*

      This I believe a leftover convention from typewriter days when a double space after the period made things easier to read. From my understanding double space after period is still the convention in most law jobs. It was at my job at a large 200+ lawyer law firm.

      1. giraffe*

        Yes, I worked in a law office for a long time and I know that. The comms person’s argument was that because it wasn’t a legal document and was for external readers, it should not adhere to the double space. The exec refused to budge.

      2. Autumnheart*

        According to the standards at my employer, two spaces after a period is appropriate for printed material, one space after a period is appropriate for electronic communications (websites, emails, etc).

      3. CatMintCat*

        I was trained as a typist in the early 1970s and worked in law for some years. The double space after a fullstop appears to be engraved in my DNA. I really have to work to NOT do it. Muscle memory is a powerful thing. There are two spaces after every fullstop in this post.

        1. Emily S*

          Huh and hah! It looks like AAM doesn’t allow the double-space because your post was slimmed down to just one space! (If you highlight the space you can confirm there’s only one character space between the period and next letter.)

            1. JediSquirrel*

              It takes up space in the database. On a website like this one, the database is probably huge, and developers do what they can to keep it whittled down to size.

              1. Ariaflame*

                HTML condenses all white spaces to one unless you use a special character to tell it to keep the spaces

                1. Anomalous*

                  Our company wide database uses multiple, significant spaces in its most important ID names (think an account number). So N___234 is different than N_234. (I used underscores instead of spaces to show the point.) This creates havoc with our Oracle-of-the-Month web interface to our database, which always try to strip them out, and then can’t do the search correctly.

                2. Lemmy Caution*

                  Eh? ”significant spaces”… I don’t know what that database designer was on, but I want some of the same!

      4. SusanIvanova*

        On iPhones and iPads, if you type two spaces after a word it’ll change it to a period and a space. It’s much easier than trying to find where the period is hiding, and I’d bet they picked that shortcut because it’s the sort of thing people who learned typing on typewriters might discover by chance.

        1. Shoes On My Cat*

          Really? Cool! Thanks for the tip.
          -hah! Yes, it just worked. I heart you!

    2. bassclefchick*

      It may depend on when/how you learned to type. I am old. I learned on a typewriter and ALL of my college papers were done on an IBM Selectric. I had typing class and the standard was TWO spaces after a period. Typing is very much muscle memory. I’ve always typed two spaces, I always will. My brain may know I don’t need to use two spaces, but my muscle memory refuses to get the message.

        1. fposte*

          I haven’t yet. A lot of software automatically takes it out for me, and I am very grateful for that.

        2. LCH*

          i only just broke it in the past 5 yrs. because doing something the same way for over 15 years prior makes it a hard habit to shake.

        3. Vemasi*

          It’s one thing to put it in, it’s another to go through something typed by someone else and change it (either way, adding or removing), in a passive-aggressive cold war, lol

      1. DataGirl*

        I still do 2 spaces. I know you can use 1 in electronic documents, but I’m baffled that anyone actually cares enough about it to fuss at anyone who uses 2.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          Yeah, I just silently edit it to one whenever I’m revising someone’s draft.

          1. JaneB*

            I actually do find it easier to read stuff with two spaces (need to be a fast reader, mildly dyslexic tendencies), so I put them in drafts I have to read…

            1. Tom & Johnny*

              Agreed. That is why I use two spaces and stand by it. It’s not just some old dinosaur way that I lumber around about and refuse to give up. It has a practical application of making a document more instantly readable. You can move much more quickly through material that is period double spaced.

              1. iglwif*

                Same way you take them all out — search for a period followed by a space and replace with a period followed by 2 spaces.

                (I do not find material with 2 spaces after each period quicker or easier to read, unless of course it’s written in a monospace font, which is the context in which 2 spaces after a period is appropriate. And if someone did hand me an editable document written in a monospace font, I would immediately replace it with a proportional serif font, take out all the extra spaces, double-space the whole thing, and zoom up to 120%, because those things are what make documents easiest for *me* to read. But everyone’s different!)

                1. Vemasi*

                  I had a professor who was in his last year before retirement, and he had very specific rules for the format for essays. Not because he was exacting, but because he had bad eyes. 18 pt font and double-spaced is what I remember, but I think he had margins rules as well. He was the most precious old man and he got teary in our last class, which was his last class ever. Obviously, all assignments were in word count and not page count.

          2. Emily K*

            Same, Find and Replace is a beautiful thing.

            I have one coworker who I think types a space after a period when she’s thinking of what to write next, and then when she picks up her train of thought and resumes typing she hits another pace. At least, this is my theory because I kinda do the same thing sometimes, though I don’t let it stay that way. Sometimes it seems she had a few false starts before figuring out what she wanted to say and there will be 3 or even 4 spaces.

            But I just Ctrl + H, find two spaces, replace with one space, and then hit “Replace All” as many times as it takes until it returns zero changes.

        2. PhyllisB*

          This reminds me of when I went back to college in the 90’s. If you had to type up papers at school you had to go the library which still had electric typewriters for student use.) (Computer lab was only for students taking computer classes.) Anyway, one of my classmates asked me to type up her paper for public speaking because she didn’t know how to type. I got permission from the instructor, with strict orders not to EDIT ONE WORD. I agreed. Well, after she turned it in, he came looking for me to inform me that instead of indenting 5 spaces (still the thing for paragraphs) I had indented SIX SPACES!! Stop the presses. A little checking turned out it was a defective typewriter. The instructor and I were friends, so I let him know I thought he was making a mountain out of a molehill.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Honestly either way works fine for me — but it’s a lot easier to get rid of random extra spaces in the body of a document if you go to single-space at the end of sentence. That way it’s a global “all stories” replace-all task. Fast, done.

          1. Bee*

            This (which really matters since I work on books), and the real reason I broke my two-spaces habit: it was sometimes make-or-break in the 140-character days of Twitter.

          2. Mongrel*

            If it’s just end of sentences you should be able to search for “. “, most pieces of software are fine with searching for a space. If it balks or removes the space try a wildcard after the space I.E. “. *”.

            1. Elysian*

              But searching for one space after a period will also catch all the two spaces after a period instances, so it is easier to find and replace “. ” with “. “

          3. Vemasi*

            It’s also easy to adjust the spacing without physically (digitally) adding another space by using style sheets. So if you later decide you need more spacing you can apply it universally. Styles are amazingly useful, especially with long documents, and it is a big no-no with them to add multiples of any kind of spacing, because it will mess stuff up. It is better to use the styles and page breaks and whatnot.

        4. Michaela Westen*

          I use two spaces if I feel it makes the item easier to read. I guess it depends on the font.

          1. Iris Eyes*

            It was origninally related to font. For monospace fonts (where every letter takes up an equal amount of width on the page, like on a typewriter) the standard was/is two spaces otherwise it was more difficult to read. Also in handwritten things most people put a slightly wider space after sentences than they do between words.

            Because letters are more tightly grouped it isn’t necessary to use two spaces.

        5. Asenath*

          I don’t fuss about it. I taught myself to type – later using one of those computer programs to improve my speed, and didn’t learn about the double-spacing after a period, or for that matter, many of the other rules about layout of paragraphs and so on until I had made my own preferences a habit. Fortunately, I don’t work with anyone who has strong feelings about spaces after a period. I did have one person who objected when I used a slightly obscure British English spelling – it was something fairly trivial (to my eyes) involving doubling the final consonant when adding ‘ing”. I’m in Canada – Canadian spelling (there is, officially, such a thing) is sort of between that of the US and UK, but like many Canadians, I am influenced by US and UK spelling, and sometimes I’m not sure which is which. Anyway, my more-senior co-worker disliked my spelling of that verb, and although it was OK in the UK (I checked), I just went ahead and changed it at his request.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        But the lawyer opened an *existing* document and laboriously put them all back in!

      3. Phyllis*

        I have given up trying to convince our admin (who is so awesome in every way) to give up the thumb double-tap on the space bar. I’ve just trained myself not to see the extraneous spaces in her documents.

    3. Murphy*

      Ha! My boss does two and it drives me nuts, so whenever I’m editing or commenting on a document, I just change them all without telling him. As far as I know, he’s never noticed or changed them back.

          1. Pipe Organ Guy*

            If one looks at typeset material from the 1950s or 1960s, it’s extremely rare to see a double space after a period. Books, magazines, newspapers–they all followed the single-space-after-a-period convention. And the fonts were always proportionally spaced. Sometimes typewritten documents would be reproduced in printed form; that was done photographically. There were typewriters that could produce justified, proportionally-spaced text; IBM made at least one. But they were expensive, and needed operators with skills beyond just typing. Producing fully justified copy was time-consuming.

            I think I’ve run across ONE example from the 1960s of proportionally-spaced text that also included double spaces after periods. It looked weird and amateurish, and was jarring to see in the booklet accompanying a world-level major record company’s prestigious set of records.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          In a document that uses a proportional font (i.e., just about any font that doesn’t emulate a typewriter), it’s unnecessary (because that space is built in), it looks bad, and it makes the document longer.

          (Oxford comma for the win!)

        2. Mockingjay*

          Electronic fonts are kerned. The spacing between characters is adjusted – usually closer – to provide a pleasing look. Usually easier to read.

          Typewriter fonts are tracked. The space is the same between each character, so double space is used after a period to provide a visual break.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            All of this. Double spaces after a period in a Word document create visually unappealing breaks and also looks like something’s missing at the start of the sentence.

            1. Kathleen_A*

              Exactly. And if you justify your text (which is never necessary in my Word documents but is in one of the publications I write for and edit), you can end up with a hole in the middle of your paragraph that looks big enough to drive a semi through. I mean, bad things can happen even with single spaces in justified text, but double spaces magnify the problem significantly.

              I learned on a typewriter, so it did take me a while to train myself out of the double-spacing habit, but not really *that* long.

              1. Mr. Shark*

                Yes, I did this too. I spent my youth on a typewriter and did copy editing, word process and publishing tasks during college and in my first RealJob, and had to train my mind to switch to one space between sentences. It really isn’t that difficult if you are typing on a consistent basis. I also had to wait until my Supervisor, who was in charge of our product, moved on to a different job in order to completely switch our documentation over.
                We did have a lot of justification in our publications (newsletters and proposals), so it was even more important to get rid of excessive white space.

            2. Emily K*

              You know, it always surprises me when I realize how strongly I feel about things like font, line height, and kerning considering I’m not in any sort of design/typography field where any dogmas or rules have been imparted to me.

              I also find the double space very visually unappealing, creating an impression of disjointedness.

        3. Miles*

          If it’s the type of document that has multiple authors working on it, I feel like it looks disjointed and weird when there’s sometimes two spaces and sometimes only one. I know I’m a bit of a stickler for making formatting and terminology consistent throughout a document and most people may not notice or care about a formatting inconsistency, but it bugs me when I see it.

          1. Mr. Shark*

            It’s not too difficult to do a find/replace all for period and double spaces, though, if you want to correct that.

        4. iglwif*

          It matters because when you’re working with proportional fonts, the second space isn’t needed, and using two spaces creates weird-looking gaps.

          Using two spaces is totally appropriate when you’re working with monospace fonts (Courier is an example), like on a typewriter: when every letter, no matter how narrow or wide, gets the same amount of horizontal space in the line, you need an extra space as a visual cue that this isn’t just the end of a word, it’s the end of a sentence.

          But with a proportional font (practically any Latin-alphabet font that *isn’t* Courier lol) it looks a bit silly at best, and unprofessional at worst.

          In an email or a letter, who cares. In a published document (like a brochure or a report or a newsletter), definitely worth caring about!

        5. Vemasi*

          Well if Murphy is editing the document, they might need to add to it, in which case they would have to laboriously remember to add two when typing as well, otherwise you would have inconsistent spacing throughout the document. If Murphy does all the end work, everything should probably be in their style.

      1. Red Wheelbarrow*

        I was so happy when I realized that I can use the Replace All feature in Microsoft Word to replace all double character spaces with single spaces. Now when an author sends me a document with double spaces after the periods, and I need to fix it for layout, it takes two seconds. And I’ve stopped swearing silently at authors who use double spacing!

    4. Holly*

      I’m a lawyer and at my last job it was the mandatory convention to draft legal briefs with two spaces in between sentences. It’s definitely conventional in law for court papers, but definitely does not apply to marketing/communications about law… that’s might be the root issue here…

      1. Anomalous*

        I recently needed to give an affidavit in a minor HR matter. A very nice lawyer interviewed me, and then transcribed my comments and sent them for me to review and finalize. You guessed it — double spaces after every sentence. It looked horrible. So I did the search and replace and fixed them all. After all, if I left in double spaces, it would be obvious that it was not MY statement.

        I also changed the line spacing from the Word default “single” (which varies from one line to the next) to “exactly 1.15”. To her credit, the lawyer didn’t comment on my changes, but instead thanked me for getting the affidavit back to her so quickly.

    5. Hello!*

      I actually read a very interesting article recently about subtle ways that managers figure out someone’s age so that they don’t hire older people and doing the double space after a period is a tell-tale sign that someone is older and thus less likely to be hired.

      1. Kathleen_A*

        I don’t really think that’s all that valid. I know some fairly young people (early 30s) who somehow acquired the double-spacing habit and never got over it.

        1. pope suburban*

          I’m in that age range, and I was taught double-spacing all through school, across the country. I was part of the first generation to have classroom computers and computer labs (from first grade on), so we definitely had the tech. I don’t recall any of my college professors ever saying anything about double-spacing, nor did I ever get dinged for it. I stopped doing it after I read some articles about style guides changing, but it took a bit to get out of a decades-long habit. No idea what they’re teaching now, but I suppose I could ask my teacher and professor friends.

        2. Lucy*

          Such as my spouse. It’s baffling (we’re the same age) because he’s never even touched a typewriter, and he’s a techie so understands perfectly well that MSOffice kerns them nicely. Whyyyyyy?!

        3. Kat in VA*

          Heck, if you double space at the end of a sentence on an iPhone or iPad, it will automatically put in a period for you!

        4. JustaTech*

          I double-space between sentences because not only was that how I was taught to type, but that was also how I was taught to write (printing, not cursive). In first grade it was “one finger between words, two fingers between sentences”. (I’m in my 30’s.)
          I’ve never seen anyone care enough to change it in any document I’ve written, but I don’t add it to other people’s documents either. It took me long enough to learn to pseudo-touch type that I’m not inclined to try and break the habit.

      2. Bee*

        This is an odd tactic to me, because I’m 30 and I only learned not to double-space like four years ago.

        1. Cathie from Canada*

          Yes, it was pretty recent for me, too – maybe 2010 or 2012. I remember how startled I was when I first started reading that single-space was now the preferred format. It was EXTREMELY hard for me to stop double-taping the space bar after every period.

          1. Vemasi*

            Probably a lot of the people teaching typing to the computer generation were themselves entrenched in typewriter ways. Personally I used a typewriter at home a lot because we weren’t wealthy enough to have a functional printer but my mother brought an electric typewriter home from work. If she had taught me typing I would probably have used double spacing, but I just hunted-and-pecked until I took computer typing in middle school.

      3. Emily*

        That seems pretty inaccurate. I turn 28 later this month and double-space after sentences. (I’m not so attached to it that I would be upset or defensive if I had to change a document I had written, but I suspect that even if I were trying to single-space, a few double spaces might slip through.)

      4. Jadelyn*

        …it’s really not. I’m 33, I double-space after a period because I learned to type from my mother, who learned to type on a typewriter back in the 70s when it was really necessary to do so and passed along the double-space thing to me, and quite frankly I see no reason to bother changing 20-some years worth of my typing habits. There’s no universe in which you’re going to convince me that having two spaces instead of one is disruptive enough to be worth the effort of trying to break the habit of it. (Honestly, I’m baffled that so many people here care enough to go edit it out in someone else’s work. Why does it matter so much to some of y’all? Not being snarky, I just really don’t get it.)

        1. Bend & Snap*

          It’s AP style to have one space. My workplace follows AP style guidelines and it’s important to keep the single space for consistency and, frankly, modern-looking communications.

          Whether it matters depends on what you do.

          1. Fortitude Jones*

            Exactly. I’m in proposal development, and every place I’ve worked follows AP style. I was also a journalist, so the AP style guide was my bible for a time, so that’s why it matters to me.

          2. Vemasi*

            It’s also good practice to use single-space in long or public-facing digital documents anyway, as you can adjust it using style sheets if you need it double-spaced. That way you avoid missing any, or hanging spaces.

        2. Kathleen_A*

          There are a few – a very few – instances in which it really can make a difference. Most of the time it does not, but yeah, it actually can make a difference. It probably doesn’t for you, though, Jadelyn.

        3. coffee cup*

          I mean, if you work somewhere that requires you not to do it because it’s not the style, then you have to be convinced whether it’s something you’d personally do or not. All the time at work I have to edit to style when a lot of the time it’s things I’d never do in my own writing. I can’t possibly bother about being asked to do that – it’s my job. If I’m checking someone’s work and they’ve double spaced, they’re going to be asked to change that.

        4. Teapot Chief of Staff*

          Because if the document you’ve written is then laid out by a designer, the double spaces are a complete pain.

        5. Mr. Shark*

          If you’re producing professional looking documents, especially if they have columns versus just one big Word-type document, the removal of the extra spaces makes a distinct visual difference. For most purposes in business where the aesthetic isn’t necessary, it really shouldn’t matter much.

        6. Emily K*

          The best way I can explain it, is that two spaces after a period has a similar effect on my brain as when the teacher erases the chalkboard but misses 1″ of chalk writing, or when the corner of a label is peeling off something, or a painting is hung crookedly. It seems visually disordered to me and just creates a sense of, I don’t want to call it “anxiety” in the like, anxiety attack sense, but it is a kind of low-level anxiety in that I can’t stop thinking about it and focusing on it, that can only be resolved by tidying the offending disorder.

        7. PhyllisB*

          I learned to type in the 60’s (you’ve never lived until you have to type a stencil!!) I always did the two spacing. I was also taught to indent 5 spaces for a paragraph. I learned to scrap the indent rule (though I still do in in hand-written letters.) But I didn’t realize the double space was not A THING anymore until I started reading AAM.

      5. Pipe Organ Guy*

        Wouldn’t work on me. I’m in my mid-60s, and broke the double-space habit many years ago, probably not too long after Times New Roman became the big new thing, back when the LaserJet was the new, wonderful, expensive office toy.

        1. MJ*

          Same here. It’s easy to get out of the habit, even a few decades down the road.

          Hate the double spacing on non-typewriters.

      6. Emily K*

        This honestly kind of sounds like one of those hiring urban legends, like, “75% of all jobs are unadvertised,” that recruiters use to convince you they know things you don’t that can prevent you from making terrible mistakes that mark you as unhireable. While age discrimination is a real thing and I don’t doubt there’s some manager out there who is looking for secret signs of age and deciding that the double space is a reliable enough marker of being old AND they don’t want to take any chance however remote of accidentally inviting an old person to interview that they bin all resumes with double spaces.

        1. Emily K*

          …I can’t imagine it’s very widespread, was supposed to be the ending clause of that sentence.

      7. HRJ*

        Nope, it’s not. I’m in my mid-20’s and I learned two spaces in typing class. And then I went to journalism school and learned that you should only single space. And the reasoning given was that it was because journalists are always trying to reduce the number of characters used so the most information possible can be fit into a column inch, so it was pretty much a journalist thing.

        And for the record, this journalist thinks the argument can always be made to use serial commas because I think they are almost always needed for clarity, even in simple series. (And get off my lawn with this singular they nonsense.)

        1. Barb*

          There are people who want to be referred to with only singular “they”, so it’s pretty unkind/impolite to ignore that based on entrenched (and historically inaccurate) understandings of grammar. Be pedantic with grammar generally, fine, but not when interacting with other people. Things change socially, and language changes with them.

          1. Dollis Hill*

            Agreed 100%, I know so many people who use they/them pronouns, and it’s so rude to dismiss that as “nonsense”.

          1. HRJ*

            Xe, ze, hir, and I know there are a number of others that have been proposed and sometimes used.

            1. Ev*

              Yeah, but the thing is, those aren’t my pronouns and using those pronouns to refer to me instead of they/them would be as inappropriate as using “he” or “she” would be.

              People trump grammar every time.

        2. Nanani*

          Thanks for the reminder that people can be quite young while still having bigoted, ignorant, and agrammatical beliefs.

      8. JTL*

        I work in publishing, and can confirm that a resume with two spaces between sentences would possibly be cause for rejection, especially for a non-entry-level job. If a person claimed to know Chicago style but used two spaces, it would indicate they were lying or at least exaggerating their competence the same as a spelling or obvious grammar error. I don’t know that it has anything to do with age, though.

  8. Polymer Phil*

    #10 (the coworker protective of her lunch hour)
    I worked with someone like this, and I think she was oblivious to how it made her look like a stereotypical driver’s license photo center worker.

    1. blink14*

      To be fair, many people, including myself, have medical reasons for eating at the same time every day. My colleagues know not to schedule a meeting at 12 pm, because I go to lunch then, every day. I’ll occasionally have an event (with lunch) over that break, or I”ll take my lunch earlier to accommodate, but it doesn’t happen often.

      And also, who regularly schedules meetings during the standard lunch hours? And why? A meeting that runs long or is last minute is one thing, but to schedule meetings consistently at the standard lunch time hour is rude and doesn’t take anyone else’s time into consideration.

      1. Sutemi*

        When you regularly have meetings with colleagues in California, New York and London, there are only a few good time slots. The New Yorkers will be eating lunch during a lot of those meetings.

            1. Tom & Johnny*

              And a lot of those companies provide food for those meetings, or make food readily available in snack bars and convenience centers.

              It’s one of the reason tech companies and multinational companies with meetings across time zones have stocked food bars. It’s not just a cute employee perk thing. It’s to make meetings like that functionally possible.

              1. Lavender Menace*

                Yeah, this. I work at one of those kinds of companies and if you schedule a meeting at 12 pm you better believe I’m showing up with my lunch. (Also, if I was meeting with East Coast folks I wouldn’t schedule the meeting at 12 pm – it’s 3 pm there then. I’d schedule it for around 10 or 11 at the latest.

          1. Lis*

            Any multinational will come up with this, especially in the periods where the US has changed for daylight saving and the other country hasn’t so a 2pm meeting becomes a 1pm meeting for a few weeks. I’m very flexible on lunch times but I do keep missing meetings that are between colleagues in mainland Europe and China because its 7am my time.

            1. Vemasi*

              It’s one thing for teleconference, but it sounds like this was just a regular office meeting that the boss liked to schedule during everyone’s lunch (probably because no one else had conferences scheduled during that time and he didn’t want to put in the effort to actually check anyone’s schedule).

        1. Media Monkey*

          on when youa re in the Uk and have clients in continetnal europe at GMT+1. so they want calls at 2pm their time/ 1pm ours. and they are they client so not much we can do.

      2. fposte*

        This has come up before, and even in a lot of workplaces without remote attendees there is no “standard lunch hour.” People around my building take lunch any time from 11 to 2. We schedule meetings every hour between 8-5, no exceptions.

        1. Emily K*

          My workplace is the same way, and generally you still have time for lunch somewhere in that 11-2ish window every day because we have shared calendars and most people will make a point not to schedule a meeting from 12-1 if someone else in the meeting has something on their calendar from 10-12 and 1-3 unless it’s a really large group and there’s no other time that isn’t at least as bad for someone in the meeting, and then it’s booked with apologies. And nobody begrudges a colleague who’s in back to back meetings all day bringing food to a meeting, unless they’re too socially unaware to understand that you don’t bring spaghetti and meat sauce or a plate full of crunchy tacos or something else messy/smelly/noisy that’s going to be a distraction to others.

        2. iglwif*

          Yep. No such thing as “the lunch hour” anywhere I’ve ever worked!

          Also, I have a lot of noon-ish conference calls because I’m on some committees for my professional org–which is international–and there’s a pretty limited number of time slots that work for everyone.

      3. NoMeetingRequired*

        I work in the Central time zone, and my team is in Pacific. I get lunch-time meeting requests all the time, because my noon is their 10 a.m. I’ve given up educating them about the time differences, and just schedule my meetings at 2 p.m. Central (noon Pacific).

        1. Mr. Shark*

          The reverse is true as well. On the West Coast, we get a ton of lunch time meetings because it is late afternoon (3pm) in the Eastern time zone, so there’s really no consideration of lunch hours. That time is usually key because it is pretty late in the day so they are trying to get in a meeting before the business day is done.

          1. Emily K*

            As an East Coaster, I do however do my best not to book my West Coast colleagues for meeting any earlier than 8 AM their time and even that only when it can’t be avoided. We have flexible hours so most of our West Coasters work 7-3 or 8-4 to better overlap with the East Coast team and because they’re all California stereotypes who like to get up early for work so they can take off early and spend the afternoon rock climbing! /g/

      4. Lily Rowan*

        Assuming 12-2 is “standard lunch hours,” that is a quarter of the work day, so I can see being unable to avoid it all the time. I also know I assume that “everyone” eats at noon, so I don’t think twice about scheduling a 1pm meeting, but I’ve realized that’s not great for everyone!

        1. CmdrShepard4ever*

          It is one thing if 12 or 1 was the only time that worked for everyone or if as others have said the field is one in which meetings are easier to schedule during lunch time. But it is different to me if the boss just happens to like/prefers to schedule meetings during lunch time, even when everyone is available at an earlier/later time.

          1. CupcakeCounter*

            I regularly scheduled meetings during the lunch hour because it was the only time I could get a HUGE group of directors into the same room at the same time. After the 3rd month in a row one of them finally said “why is there no lunch at these things?” and had his admin set up food for them going forward.

            1. Cathie from Canada*

              One way we could get faculty to serve on university committees was to hold the meetings at noon and serve lunch – the free food was a bit of a draw! After a while, I got sort of tired of it – I was the administrative staff for these committees, so two or sometimes three days a week I would end up working straight through the day.

      5. Holly*

        Lunch meetings/working through lunch/eating whenever you have a moment is the convention in my field. Someone would look extremely out of touch if they said they thought a meeting during the standard lunch time hour is rude. There is no standard lunch hour in my field.

      6. Drax*

        it’s also an office culture thing too. I work early, and I’ve worked a few jobs where we work early – meaning we’re all starting at or before 7 AM. At my one job that meant most of us had lunch between 10-11 AM instead of 11-2 PM and we’d all host meetings at noon and never thought twice about it.

        In hindsight, it was probably rude to the other people we were inviting from outside companies but we were a culture of early lunch so we never really thought about it. I still get mad when someone schedules meetings at 10 AM because I am not a breakfast eater and that is my ‘lunch time’ years later but I don’t think twice about 11-2 PM window meetings.

      7. Asenath*

        We don’t really have standard lunches. Most people go 1-2; but many (including me) go 12-1. Some go whenever they get time.

        What annoys me is when people invite me to an afternoon meeting based on the more common workdays – which end at 4:30 or 5:00. My workday is 8:00-4:00. Sometimes I can point out that the meeting ends after I’m scheduled to go home, and it will be changed, but sometimes that doesn’t work (depending on other’s schedules; there’s an entire category of people who need meetings to START at 4:00 or even 5:00 PM, and sometimes I have to attend. But I get time off in lieu.

      8. Introvert girl*

        It has to do with costs. Having a meeting with 20 people equals 20 paid hours where little work is being done, whilst having that same meeting during a lunch hour is much much cheaper, even if you provide food for your employees.

    2. TootsNYC*

      also, you know, lunch is often mandated by state law. And a person ought not to be pressured to work through.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        For this one I definitely picture someone paid hourly with the hours 8-5 and a one hour lunch. And when the boss schedules meetings over her lunch she doesn’t get to leave at 4 because coverage. But it’s just this one time, so take one for the team! Says the salaried person who can choose to leave at 4.

        1. blink14*

          I read this less about working through a lunch break and more about the timing. If I’m asked to a meeting that ends at 12:30, I’m taking 12:30 to 1:30 as my lunch break, not just 12:30 to 1 (given that my lunch break starts at noon on most days). I read it more that the actual time of day is the problem.

      2. Moray*

        Lots of states require employees be allowed a lunch break, some of them say things like “can’t be in the first hour or last hour of a shift” or something like that, but none of them say that it has to be the exact time the employee prefers or the same time every day.

        1. Jadelyn*

          California requires it be taken before the end of the 5th hour of one’s shift, and you must have a half an hour for it. So for me, I start work at 8:30 and have to clock out to take my lunch before 1:30. I prefer a later lunch so I usually clock out at around 1 or 1:15; if someone schedules a meeting from 12:30-1:30 I have to clock out for my lunch by 12 at the latest so I can get my half hour in before I clock back in and go to the meeting. And if it’s one of Those Days, I might have a meeting running 11-12 which runs over, I can’t clock out til 12:15, now I either have to take a 15 minute lunch, be late for the 12:30 meeting, or wait til after the 1:30 meeting is over before I clock out, which now means I’m outside of the 5-hour window. It’s not always as simple as we might hope, to make sure hourly folks get their lunch break when they’re supposed to.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            In the scenario you described I would (and have) said to my boss “I can take my lunch at 12:15 and be late for the 12:30 meeting or I can take lunch after both meetings and the company will incur a meal penalty, which would you prefer?” Sometimes I’m off the hook for one of the two meetings and sometimes they just pay.

            1. blaise zamboni*

              My office runs into this EVERY MONTH with staff meetings. We have coverage needs all day before and after the meetings, especially for our lowest-paid part-time people. So every month, at least one of them has to run out during the staff meeting to clock out at 5 hours, and then he has to return and sit out the rest of the meeting. And then he doesn’t get another actual break. Our company policy is to “not allow” meal penalties (or any other penalty or overtime), so we get vague threats about the trouble we’ll be in if we incur a penalty or if we aren’t available during our scheduled time.

              Anyway, that’s all just to confirm that in this (illegal, obviously, but realistic in my experience) sort of scenario, employees will get very, very resentful of lunch meetings. And those meetings can be a huge PIA to schedule and work around.

      3. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

        Nobody said she couldn’t take a lunch break. If the manager scheduled meetings at the time she liked to eat, then she could either bring her lunch to the meeting and take a break after, or just wait to eat lunch. It’s called being reasonable, and when you’re tying to schedule meetings for multiple people, you’re never going to please everyone. I hate lunchtime meetings too, but I work with people all over the country so sometimes it’s necessary, and in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal.

    3. Dahlia*

      I think me being passed out on the floor from a blood sugar crash would probably make me look worse than eating lunch when I need to, but that’s just me.

    4. Puggles*

      Thank you for providing a little blurb of the story so I didn’t have to scroll up to figure out what you’re talking about!

      1. Tom & Johnny*

        Most Americans have to interact with the driver’s license office a handful of times over any given decade, give or take. It’s the most common citizen-meets-bureaucracy interaction that the average number of people can relate to. And it’s really not that bad. Nonetheless, there’s a stereotype of the common driver’s license lady being rote, mechanical, over burdened, and joyless. Someone with no power who exerts power over the citizenry she’s forced to interact with in her soul sucking job on a daily basis. The commenter was implying that anyone who insists on taking their lunch break (which is protected by law, and which they may have good medical or personal reasons for needing), is a petty tyrant who insists on controlling those around them through low level rules rather than intelligence and logic. It’s a specious argument, and condescending.

      2. silverpie*

        They are notorious for clocking out at exactly closing time, no matter who’s in line or even mid-test…

        1. Polymer Phil*

          This was my point- that a drivers license center worker will take her break at exactly the scheduled time, even if there’s a long line. Not out of laziness, but because government agencies are very rule-bound. Of course, it’s infuriating to the people standing in line.

          My coworker used to put up a sign in her cubicle saying it’s her lunch hour and to come back later. It would have been fine in some workplaces, but was out of step with a culture where everyone else would take a short, early, or late lunch on a busy day, and a long one on a slower day.

    5. Tom & Johnny*

      I have worked in offices where staff went to war over this, and with good cause. Not driver’s license offices either. I studiously did not involve myself in the wars, but quietly supported the rights of hourly workers and low-level salaried staff to to NOT be required to give up their statutorily protected meal breaks for the convenience of people who could put teens through expensive private schools and colleges without a sweat.

      Occasionally is one thing. As a matter of course, as routine office culture, it’s a problem.

      Staff in one of the offices raised an insurrection and between HR, upper management, and staff, the deal was struck that if a lunch meeting *did not* serve food, then staff could claim wage hours for the meeting, and still take a lunch break afterward. If a lunch meeting came with food, then staff did not take their own lunch break afterward. I still think staff should have lobbied to protect their time away from the building, but I thought that was a semi-fair compromise.

      BS lunch meetings simply for convenience stopped, and fed lunches happened when it was truly necessary. It worked out well.

      Do not cheat people of their ability to eat at the times their body needs food. It’s paternalistic, unethical and entitled.

    6. Polymer Phil*

      To address some of the other comments, we were indeed a workplace that frequently did telecons with other countries at inconvenient times, but the coworker in question was usually not involved. She was perceived poorly not so much for taking lunch at the same time daily, but for being fiercely opposed to answering any work-related questions between 12 and 1.

    1. ..Kat..*

      I would love to be a coworker with Jane. She can make me a lunch plate anytime. Personally, I think a grand boss who routinely tramples on employee break time is a jerk.

  9. wafflesfriendswork*

    As a former temp receptionist who was assigned ridiculous personal errands by my boss at one placement, #9 makes me GLEEFUL.

    And #10! Just. Just well done. Love it.

  10. learnedthehardway*

    I worked in a private / partner-owned business that was sold to a very large, publicly traded company. I guess most of the partners agreed, but obviously not everyone, because one particular partner (who had incredibly good fashion sense, and always dressed in designer clothing) wore unrelieved black for a whole year afterwards. They wore all designer, high end clothing, so none of the former partners (now VPs) or the new ownership could say anything, but it was crystal clear that SOMEONE was in mourning.

  11. eplawyer*

    #8 made me wonder if we ever got an update from the letter writer who was mad no one else was martying themselves to save the company a few bucks after an office wide memo about cutting costs?

    #9 is just pure awesomeness. Just wonderful. Oh darn, forgot to clean up the horrible mess that our ED won’t stop the manager from making. Just FYI, glitter and glue is the hardest substance known to man once dried. If it got on the “good” conference table, I would have had a fit.

    1. Scarlet Magnolias*

      Yes revenge on the creepy maintenance guy- Glitter crafts for 3 year olds!

    2. Working Mom Having It All*

      I’m just shocked at EIGHT YEARS of “having a hard time” and “cutting costs”. Yikes.

    3. Phoenix Wright*

      the letter writer who was mad no one else was martying themselves to save the company a few bucks after an office wide memo about cutting costs

      Was that the person who asked not to have their retirement contributions matched, or their insurance cut down? Because that was so strange. That memo didn’t even appear to be addressed to them, but they took it way too personal and harmed themselves in the process.

      1. Clisby*

        I think so. It’s like she was taking it on herself to save the company finances, and couldn’t figure out why nobody else was doing the same.

  12. Murphy*

    Wow, I’d missed some of these!

    The toiler paper one was my favorite, but I’m laughing at the “Missed Connections” one, which I’d actually missed when it was posted.

    1. Move Over Thrawn - Florian Munteanu is BIGGER than you!*

      Yep, #1 is my absolute favorite. The stapler takes second place.

  13. Princess prissypants*

    I missed the original post but I have one to share.

    At a small university with a shrinking budget and even shrinkier student base, my department chair rotated (as was normal under the term-based system) to someone totally inept, dysfunctional, petty, and incompetent, if not downright malicious.

    For some examples, she embezzled money from the department to fund her own work (rather than say, write research grants), killed every single initiative from the old chair including things that were actually working and making the department stand out in good ways and even grow in a culture of downturn, lied and gossiped to staff members about each other, actively sabotaged the work and reputations of other newer (and more productive) faculty members, and beyond. She was just a terrible human being and an even worse manager. There were many meetings with incompetent administration who always wanted to give her “another chance.”

    Over the course of the year that I tried to stick it out under her, she got meaner and pettier in her handling of me. I had been exempt (rightly so) and on a year-long position (rightly so), but she reversed both of those to tighten her control. My job required that I move frequently among the classrooms and other areas in our building so I was frequently not in my office which was right next door to hers. Because she was always “losing” her own stuff (she thought someone was stealing/moving stuff, but she would really just leave something somewhere and forget) and expected me to find and return her missing objects, when I wasn’t where she wanted me to be at exactly that second she would freak out. She asked me to post my schedule, so I did. She tried to give me a specific schedule, but my availability didn’t allow for exactly what she wanted. So one day she said to me, “I need to know where you are at all times.” I said, “well, I’m usually in room X and then room Z.” She said, “No, I need to know where you are every minute you’re here in case I need you.”

    So as my job would require me to travel room to room, I would go back to her office and say, “I’m going to be in room X/Y/Z” every time I changed location. The first time I went to the bathroom in between she freaked out, so I decided to add my bathroom to these little check ins too. Of course being a faculty member and chair meant there were always students and other people dropping by. So I would stand outside her office door directly in her sightline, wait until that person left, say “I’m going to the bathroom” then go to the bathroom, then come back and say, “I’ll be here for a bit” then go back and say “I’m going to the X room for a while.” It didn’t last much longer once she realized that I was spending more time standing outside her door waiting than actually doing anything else.

    The dean finally cut her four year term at two and half and rotated someone else in permanently but she is very much still there. Tenure is such a sticky wicket.

    1. Cowgirlinhiding*

      Wow – did we work for the same person? I had to carry around a portable phone (before cell phones were really big) but there were places in the building that didn’t get good reception, think 4 story building. Anyhow, I was actively applying for jobs, interviewing but wasn’t landing anything. So I quit, gave 3 weeks notice and left without anything lined up because I couldn’t take it any longer. I worked a temp job for a month then was hired on at a really great company. I had the best boss in the world! He did tell me that this horrible person had intercepted my reference check and gave an extra horrible reference (like I would hire my dog before Cowgirlinhiding etc). Luckily great new boss made HR call and talk to my listed reference person and I landed the job. I did go back and file a grievance with old company on said person in case she was doing the same thing to other former employees. Karma – I double my salary at my new job and she still works in same job 20 years later at same crappy pay.

  14. Chocolate Teapot*

    1. There used to be large packs of toilet rolls in the work lavatories, but no longer, since somebody was spotted taking an entire supply.

    10. Brilliant. I have never forgiven a former head of division for making us stand up for 2 hours for (a walking) lunch whilst she spouted rubbish.

    1. KRM*

      My department got laid off a few months ago, and one of the contractors was so angry about it that she stole all the food (other people’s food! food that belonged to people who did not get laid off!) in the fridge. All of it. Half a stick of butter. Frozen food. Half a leftover salad from a day ago. Everything.

      1. Tom & Johnny*

        Oh my god this is fantastic. This is better than the toilet paper. My god. I can just imagine it.

        Your chicken korma, I took it. And the bowl of pasta salad, I took that too.

        The molded over mustard no one uses, it’s mine now. That crusted over frozen entree that is more ice cube than food product, it belongs to me now.

        Your kid’s birthday cake you were saving until today, not anymore!

        This is so terrible and nonsensical that it’s fantastic.

        1. Fortitude Jones*

          LMAO! And your additions made me actually laugh out loud – I can see this movie in my mind, and it’s awesome.

    1. rmw1982*

      Agreed. Some of these stories were hysterical. Could this be done a few times a year?

  15. Sleeplesskj*

    These are all award winning ahhhhh but #10… I would have paid to see that! Jane is my personal hero.

  16. Mwahahaha (evil laugh)*

    After being gone from bad job for almost a year, my email with them is still active – I suspect they keep it live in case clients try to contact me. I still get the forwards and see what emails come into the account, but I do not have access to the account itself. However, I can release or whitelist items from the SPAM filter through a link in the emails directly… which I do religiously every week. And anytime I hear about them doing something shitty to a former coworker or something dumb in the industry, I sign my old email up for more newsletters. I don’t think anyone actively monitors that address, but I get a great deal of petty satisfaction that my old email gets literally hundreds and hundreds of email items every single day. When I am really in a *mood*, I will also sign my toxic old boss up for all the newsletters, too.

    1. This one here*

      When I’m online and a “sign up for updates” link pops up, I put in the email of someone I used to work for. Even if it just means they get an email saying to complete registration, well, they’ve gotten that email.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’ve always suspected someone did that to me. Ever know one of those people who take an instant dislike to someone and give them the silent treatment ever after? We had one of those in IT. I was invisible. At one point I was getting thoroughly graphic vile spam emails from adult industry. I was supposed to go to Mr. Silent Treatment, so I did. I requested help many times and was totally blown off. Eventually I went to HR for help and they told me to talk to IT. I tried to explain that I’d done that and was told “oh just delete them”. At which point I lost my cool and forwarded my email history of repeatedly requesting a spam filter…along with ONE day’s worth of unsolicited X-rated emails. She was appalled that I’d sent it and obviously ready to discipline me — and then I asked if she’d read that I’d been asking for three months and the attachments were just what had arrived that day. “This is enough to make me dread coming to work in the morning” got through to her. IT was told to set up a spam filter, even if they WERE going to be moving to a better email provider soon that would have it built-in.
      Strangely? The email guru I’d been told to go to isn’t the one who handled the spam filter. Strangely?? Shortly thereafter I started getting emails from network security firms. But I could filter them, so what the heck.

      1. This one here*

        Oh my! None of sites I’ve done that for are “adult”. It’s mostly fitness, and food.

    3. EvilQueenRegina*

      While attempting to save a loved one from a scammer (a long story) and Googling the phone number the scammer was using, I came across an email address it was using for a different scam. Said scammer has now been signed up for stuff.

  17. Sales Geek*

    Dang, the stapler story reminds me of something I should have posted. At the beginning of my career I worked in a local branch office of a large, well-known computer hardware/software company. Our office was dedicated to one very large customer and we had around 65 people working there. When I first started out at this location all office supplies were in a locked cabinet. Things like paper, pens, tape, etc. and nothing of any value. In order to get any office supply (whether a stapler or more staples) you had to get the key from the office receptionist/manager.

    I was working a lot of nights and weekends at the time and unless I had thought things through during normal business hours it was not uncommon to find myself there at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night. I asked if they could just leave the cabinet unlocked so I could get the special slide paper (for overhead projectors) required for the customer or user group presentation.

    Nope, no can do. I asked why and the receptionist told me that it was because other of my office team were stealing the really top-notch Scotch tape for wrapping presents. I cannot make this up.

    I took this to the sales manager and pointed out that we had over $300,000 in brand-new personal computers sitting on everyone’s desk. Not a single PC was locked down and they were easily seen through the office windows. I asked why they bothered locking up $65 worth of office supplies when a lazy thief would just liberate all of the PCs instead. Plus, this was in the Good Old Days and every year we had an office Christmas party with Santa, good food and presents for all the kids that had to have cost thousands. Why not throw in ten bucks of tape?

    After that discussion, the cabinet was unlocked. That’s probably the largest contribution I made to that office in the nine years I was there…:-)

    1. Cowgirlinhiding*

      Bravo!!!! I know that this is a small office, but there are some of us that use tape. I had to order my own tape dispenser because the office manager didn’t think that I needed one and would keep forgetting. WTH! I use tape, OKAY!
      Again, thank you for liberating the office supplies. I am going to use this, one day.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      We lock up the printer toners and I thought it was some weird theft issue. It turns out that no, it’s just so that people would stop taking a replacement, forgetting to tell purchasing to purchase a new one and then run into that nasty moment where your printer is out of ink, for real, like no more shakes left in the darn thing and no spare because somebody forgot to mention to order it. *face palm*

      I cannot ever imagine locking up tape.

      But also…why didn’t you just keep the slides in your desk when you knew you’d need them on the weekend? Take more than you need and keep them in your drawer 0.O

      1. Kiwilib*

        Our toilet paper (as in within the stalls) was locked. You could release the next roll (if it was put in the right way which it often wasnt), but not steal it. I used to argue the same – I had access to thousands of dollars of equipment but you don’t trust me not to steal your cheap flimsy 1ply?

        1. WillowWeep*

          Oh, man, I am a grown-ass woman and I hate hate hate fighting for my toilet paper out of those #*%&^@ dispensers.

  18. Erin*

    I can’t believe #5 went on for a COUPLE OF WEEKS before they were asked to trim it down.

    But #3 is genius, I think that has to be my favorite.

  19. BethRA*

    I think I’m in love with Jane Side-of-Salmon.

    I also do a version of #7 when I’m driving: honk at me because I won’t run a red light, or pause to let someone cross the street, or because not braking will cause me to take someone’s door off? Prepare to finish your journey at ”
    I could walk faster” MPH.

    1. Rainy*

      In my state, if a pedestrian is in a marked crosswalk, it is state law that drivers must stop.

      I cross a marked crosswalk on the way into my building. Just today coming back from lunch, a woman dodged into the left turn lane to try and avoid stopping for me. As I always do, I hit her back window as hard as I could (I like it better when I’m reading a hardcover book, for obvious reasons) and flipped her off. I’m so tired of drivers thinking that the law doesn’t apply to them, and trying to murder me as a result.

      1. Dahlia*

        Yeah, when you’re the one driving the thousand pound death machine, maybe you could be a little cautious. I do enjoy not dying.

    2. Drax*

      See that’s fair, but in my area there are people that think you doing the speed limit (or within 5 of it) you are speeding so they slow down to ‘punish you’. I once followed someone for 10 blocks holding my horn down until they felt embarrassed enough to drive faster. I was doing 45 in a 50 zone when they rudely cut me off to drive 10.

    3. nonegiven*

      I’ve had to do that when driving in fog on a two lane highway. The big SUVs seem to want to ride my bumper for 50 miles. Their lights reflect off the fog and my side mirror. No can do. I slow down in 10 mph increments until they go around. The last one, I had to pull off the highway and stop. It still took a few minutes before they pulled back onto the highway. I pulled out behind them once they got clear.

    4. Tom & Johnny*

      I’ve found that turning on my flashers magically stops all manner of roadway fuckery. I can’t explain why.

      Ride my bumper? Flashers. Ohhh, look, they go around me.

      Speed up out of no where and blink your lights in my mirrors? Flashers. Oh wow, they just zoomed out sideways to go around me.

      I do not drive like an old lady, I simply live in an agressive driving city. People love to actively harass, tailgate, box other drivers in, and all manner of truly dangerous stuff.

      I can’t explain the magic spell emergency flashers seem to put on them which compels them to eff off and pick some other driver to agress on. But it works.

  20. Hiring needs a selling edge*

    To show my manager that her idea that I didn’t need to cc her on important RFQ emails was irresponsible, I followed her instruction and did not cc her on an email I sent to a sales rep with an RFQ worth several million dollars. Predictably after the RFQ closed she called me in a pique of rage demanding to know why she wasn’t looped in. Obviously, she already was aware of the RFQ and wanted to blame me for losing the tender. Anyway, I simply referred to our conversation where she said it wasn’t necessary to email her. What’s funny is that the conversation happened at the beginning of the RFQ when I called her to ask if she wanted a cc on the same RFQ. I loved malicious compliance with that manager.

  21. Close Bracket*

    #4 is not petty. It’s verging into harassing territory. It’s like the modern equivalent of writing somebody’s phone number on a bathroom stall. I don’t know the gender of the managers in question, but if it the ads were written from the point of view of a female whose missed connection was male, I guarantee some of the responses included inappropriate pictures. It’s also traceable and open to prosecution, depending on the volume and nature of responses.

      1. Close Bracket*

        Ok, you are probably right about the office phones being land lines. I forget that company cell phones are not actually that common. So no pictures. The rest stands, though, including the probable nature of any calls if the ads were written from the pov of a woman whose missed connection was a man.

  22. Alice*

    I missed #7 in the original post but I kind of do something similar too when I cross the road. Cars are supposed to slow down near zebra stripes but nooo some drivers are clearly in a hurry and can’t afford to waste 30 seconds or so that would let people cross safely; so they see me about to cross and speed up instead, to try and pass before I do. Well, sometimes they do that and I have to stand back to avoid getting hit. But if they have to stop… especially if they slam on the brakes and look clearly annoyed while doing so… I’ll just start crossing the road… very… veeery… slooowlyyy… and I hope they are watching me when I read the opposite sidewalk so they can see me speed up and walk off at my regular brisk pace.

    1. Environmental Compliance*

      In my college days, walking to class *through campus*, which was indeed over a few streets, I would stop walking in front of the car who was trying to run a red (there’s a reason there’s signs saying no right on red here, folks, you have several thousand students walking to classes) and just unblinkingly stare at them and shake my head slowly for a few seconds.

      However, when someone would slam on the brakes and end up parked on a crosswalk, my husband was known to just walk over their car. Still a little surprised he never got in trouble for that.

    2. Rainy*

      For the ones that stop short, when you walk in front of their car, do it super close and then pretend that you are stepping over something tall right in front of their car. It makes them super paranoid. I’ve seen someone actually get out of his car and come around to look.

    3. pope suburban*

      I will absolutely lock eyes with anyone who wants to roll through a stop sign or a red light when I’m crossing the street. I don’t jaywalk, I obey lights and signs, I’m not putting any drivers at risk of an accident with my behavior, so damn right I will shame someone who thinks their whatever is more important than my life and limb.

      1. The Quilted Quince*

        +1 I will stare down every car that comes towards the crosswalk to remind them that there’s a human being between these lines.

        And when I approach a stop sign, say like the four way in my neighborhood, I will do athumbs up/ thumbs down for people who do or don’t stop at the stop signs. Just yesterday a guy took time to come back to ask me what the hell I was doing. I said, “Those stop signs sneak up on you huh?” Boy that really pissed him off. I think it’s funny that his ego was so bruised by my thumbs down that he had to come back and confront me.

  23. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox*

    I totally missed last week’s call to action, but…I used to work retail and I had a couple.

    1. V similar to the Target employee: If someone was being terrible and I happened to have to open a roll of pennies, I had a choice: pop the roll open and just take out the change I needed or make them wait while I freed every coin from its plastic prison. It was only a few seconds’ difference, but it helped my peace of mind.

    2. If I was packing groceries and someone was being awful, I’d shove their lettuce between frozen items in hopes that it would freeze on the way home. In all likelihood, they probably just had nice, cold lettuce, but it made me feel better.

    3. If someone didn’t like my answer, I’d repeat my sentence verbatim until they either changed their question or stopped asking. I didn’t do this often — only when someone very obviously wasn’t listening. But it was effective. Hahaha…

    1. Ham and mayonnaise!!*

      Lol, your last example is brilliant! Also, I appreciate your fellow Parks and Recreation user name.

    2. TootsNYC*

      3. If someone didn’t like my answer, I’d repeat my sentence verbatim until they either changed their question or stopped asking. I didn’t do this often — only when someone very obviously wasn’t listening. But it was effective. Hahaha…

      This is actually a very effective tactic for dealing with nosy or pushy people as well.

  24. NoName*

    Love these! I work for a very OCD, micromanaging, narcissistic manager who drives everyone crazy. We have a refreshment station for our customers, and one of my responsibilities is to maintain it and refill the paper cups when needed. The cups are stacked in a basket that doesn’t work great because the stacks of cups just fall over and end up on the floor (and heaven forbid that I put fewer cups than the manager specified during my training, even though I could simply refill the basket more frequently with no trouble.) To keep the cups in the basket, I “swirled” the stacks to nestle the cups more securely. It fixed the problem and looks nice too. The manager walked by, saw the swirled cups, and straightened them. A customer got a drink, and a couple cups fell on the floor, which was an unnecessary waste. So I swirled the cups again. My manager walked by a few minutes later and did a double take before straightening the cups again. I waited until he was out of sight and swirled the cups again. He straightened them. I swirled them. This happened at least a dozen times the first day of the “cup war.” We’ve been at it for nearly 2 years now…the manager has given up to some extent, but I’m still swirling those cups every chance I get!

    1. CrickettheCat*

      It looks like my comment from before may have been deleted, and I apologise if it was worded poorly. But the gist of it was that it is never, ever okay to use “OCD” as an insult, or conversely to insult someone for having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

  25. Soanon*

    I should have posted this one under the other thread, but here goes.
    At my current job, until this March, I was working with someone who is, I am convinced, the single most annoying person I have ever worked with in my life. I’ve had good and bad managers, but throughout my career, I’ve generally been able to get along with just about everyone I come into contact with. I’ve been in the workforce since 1984, so I’ve met literally thousands of people over the course of my working life. Not this woman, brother. In all seriousness, it was like she was deliberately going out of her way to be mean (in a very sugary-sweet way, if that makes sense). One of the many, many things she did that drove me crazy was that she would constantly tell me I smelled like chemicals. I asked her if she had an allergy, she said she didn’t, she just was very sensitive to the smell of chemicals.

    I don’t smell like chemicals. For various reasons, I use unscented laundry products, and I don’t use a lot of personal hygiene products that are scented (maybe hand lotion once in a while, but that’s it).

    So I decided to get my petty revenge by getting a scented dryer sheet and hiding it in our shared work space. She never did figure out where the smell was coming from, but she hated it. It was a small thing, but it would make me smile every time I thought about it.

    She retired in March and I removed the dryer sheet before the new person started.

  26. PhyllisB*

    This reminds me of when I went back to college in the 90’s. If you had to type up papers at school you had to go the library which still had electric typewriters for student use.) (Computer lab was only for students taking computer classes.) Anyway, one of my classmates asked me to type up her paper for public speaking because she didn’t know how to type. I got permission from the instructor, with strict orders not to EDIT ONE WORD. I agreed. Well, after she turned it in, he came looking for me to inform me that instead of indenting 5 spaces (still the thing for paragraphs) I had indented SIX SPACES!! Stop the presses. A little checking turned out it was a defective typewriter. The instructor and I were friends, so I let him know I thought he was making a mountain out of a molehill.

      1. ECHM*

        I learned to type on a typewriter in about 1992. Some of my classmates were learning on computers :) but I think having to press the keys harder made me a better typist.

      2. Nanani*

        My high school still had typewriters in the early 2000s. Required up until they updated the curriculum right after I graduated.

      3. PhyllisB*

        I know, but this was like 1992-93 and computers were not a big thing in our area yet. Most offices were still using typewriters, with a few using word processors.
        Like I said, we had a computer lab but only students taking computer classes were allowed to use them and then only for class assignments.
        The thing that got me about this incident, is who takes the time to count spaces of an indented paragraph? I think I also told him he had too much time on his hands if this was his main concern. Its a good thing we were friends. He actually laughed when I said that.

  27. Kate*

    Similar to #7, but non-work – I live in a city where you often get honked at for things like coming to a full stop at a stop sign, stopping before turning on red, not blocking the box, etc. Well, once I was on a narrow residential street and the car behind me honked angrily when I came to a full stop at a stop sign. I proceeded to drive 5 mph under the speed limit all the way to the main road, with them honking all the way behind me. So satisfying.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I always very dramatically pull over to the side, or off the road somehow.

      Partly because I don’t want them tailgating me or shooting me.

      I take a little satisfaction in considering it to be a sarcastic, overly dramatic move.

      1. Drax*

        in my defense, the person I was talking about cut me off to drive 10 km/hr because driving 5 under the speed limit was “too fast” in their minds. They literally passed in a parking lane beside me to do so as it was residential.

        And I did not honk multiple times, I have an older car where if you press and hold you get this beautiful long uninterrupted beep.

  28. Pampaloon*

    I once had this ridiculous whack a doo boss who loved to make pronouncements in staff meetings that were intended to be directives that we followed up on in later meetings. She was so incompetent that most of these were absurd and she never remembered them on her own from week to week. I volunteered to keep minutes and only recorded the ones that were reasonable. In hindsight I’m sort of horrified at myself but at the time it seemed a perfectly reasonable way to combat the silly wasteful things she demanded. I guess I’m lucky I never got caught.

    1. RandomU...*

      Hah… this reminds me of when I got called out by a former boss for not doing what he asked until the third time he asked for it. He was the type who would ask for something, then never use it, forgot he asked for it, or later decided it was unimportant. I didn’t do this consciously, but he and I realized I was doing it at the same time.

      Boss: Random, the animal crackers sorted by animal types?
      Me: Oh sure, I can do that

      …a week goes by

      Boss: Random, did you get those animal crackers sorted?
      Me: Nope, sorry haven’t had a chance yet

      … a week/month/quarter goes by

      Boss: What happened to sorting the animal crackers?
      Me: Oh, yeah, I can do that
      Boss: I think you wait until the 3rd time I ask for something before you actually do it.
      Me: Huh… you may be on to something there. Would it be better if I asked you if really meant it when you ask for something? In all fairness you do forget about a lot of it.

      We had a good working relationship so this wasn’t as egregious as it sounds (although I wouldn’t recommend anyone try it).

      1. Cathie from Canada*

        When I worked in the Dean’s office, a department head once told me that he ignored the deadline for everything I sent him until he got my third notice. So I told him, thanks, from now on I’ll just label everything I send you “third notice”!

  29. sunshyne84*

    #7 Seriously, people go shopping and lose all their senses; telling how you’re supposed to do your job, asking for the impossible, it never ends with some folks.

    #9 Epic, I stan!

    #10 sounds like a win for all!

  30. 867-5309*

    OP #5, You are my hero. I love you. I will build a shrine to your awesomeness. So amazing.

    1. Czhorat*

      Sorry, Jenny, but I disagree.

      OP5 lost me when they talked about removing the Oxford comma. I can’t support such a monster, no matter how delightfully petty they might be

  31. Elle*

    #7 – Good for you. People are AWFUL to folks who work any sort of retail and there’s always this air of “I’ll never get in trouble because I’m always right.” When I worked at a grocery store, I used to give mean people the filthiest change possible. I would dig around for the most ragged dollar bills and greenest pennies. Satisfying AND un-complainable.

    1. Drew*

      I was copied on an exchange with a customer who was dissatisfied that we weren’t “doing everything in our power” (meaning sending them free stuff AND a refund AND an apology AND AND AND) to fix an error. This exchange got escalated right to the president of the company. (Small company, but still, he usually didn’t get looped in on this sort of thing.) The customer, now convinced that they were going to get what they were “owed” and probably get someone in trouble, proceeded to recap their version of the dispute and concluded with “I am sure you will agree that The Customer Is Always Right and take the appropriate steps to fix this intolerable situation.”

      President replies: “I agree 100% that we need to fix this. [Other employee], please refund the full purchase price of this customer’s order and then block them in our sales portal so they will never again be inconvenienced by having to deal with our website or purchase system. [Customer], it is my experience that, like you, the people who bleat that The Customer Is Always Right are usually not worth the money they grudgingly send us. Thank you for alerting us to the need to save you the trouble in the future. Goodbye.”

      That guy was a pain in the butt in a lot of ways, but if you mistreated his people, watch out.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        The president’s response was wonderful. More bosses need to defend their customer service oriented employees like this.

      2. JKP*

        Also, people who shout “The Customer is Always Right” don’t actually know what that sentence really means. It’s not about them individually, it’s about them collectively. It really means “The Market (in the form of your customers) is always right.” It means that if you as the company think your red widgets are the best and everyone should buy your red widgets, but the green widgets actually sell the best, then you need to adjust your business strategies to give the customer(s) what they actually want and make more green widgets.’

        1. SusanIvanova*

          I’ve also heard it as them being right *in matters of taste*: if the customer thinks the yellow shirt is perfect but you think it makes them look jaundiced, tell them it’s perfect.

        2. Aleya*

          I was told that “The customer is always right” actually was a slogan, and the company who came up with it shortly went bankrupt.

          (After some double-checking with google, I found it’s not true, but it’s still a fun story to tell.)

  32. Quickbeam*

    I love #10. Never got lunch in 20 years as a clinical nurse. Now in an office setting I am fiercely protective too.

  33. Goya de la Mancha*

    I would have liked to hand the Ego-Maniac from #6, the change committee form from #3

  34. Jennifer*

    I need to work with Jane. I have a bit of respect for people who are willing to dig into their pocketbooks to support great acts of pettiness.

  35. Butter Makes Things Better*

    Alison, I would read an entire book of these and then use it a reference guide for situations worthy of elegant revenge.

    Note to the commentariat: Depending on family temperament, some of these would work quite nicely in home-front wars too. You best believe I’m waiting for the perfect time to spring Jane’s salmon on some folks …

  36. Wing Leader*

    I definitely feel #7. I used to cashier in a restaurant, and whenever someone was nasty or rude to me, I would go out of my way to charge them for every little thing I could (and I could get away with it because our owner was greedy as hell…he wanted us to charge people per lemon in their iced tea). If it was a normal or polite person, I’d let them get away with not paying for smaller stuff. But rude, nasty, or mean? You better I believe I charged them.

  37. Anon for this*

    “When I worked as a cashier in Target, if a customer was especially horrible to me (seriously though why are some people so mean to cashiers) I would start to scan the items on the conveyor belt slower…and slower…..a n d s l o w e r.. .. .. . .a n d s l o w e r . . . . until I could see them seething at my incredibly frustrating pace…”

    OTOH, cashiers with a ‘tude are the reason some people use the self-checkouts.

    1. Rainbow Roses*

      But the OP only did this with horrible customers. She is fine with normal customers. Those horrible customers won’t use self-checkout because who will they abuse?
      Also this *is* about pettiness ;-)

      1. Vicky Austin*

        As I said below, I would be PISSED if I was standing in line behind the person who the cashier did this to, especially if I was in a hurry. This one has the potential to negatively effect people other than the intended target.

        1. Former Cashier*

          That’s true! I did this when I was a spiteful immature college student. I would never do something like that now.

      1. Clisby*

        I hate the self-checkout. A cashier would have to be pretty abominable for me to switch.

    2. Nanani*

      No, people use the self-checkouts for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with an individual cashier. Only buying a few things and the express line is closed, prefer to self-bag, just plain prefer it, lots of things.

  38. animaniactoo*

    Ohhhh, I was out sick last Thursday and I *clearly* missed some epic goings-on.

    Not my pettiness, but someone I know – back in the days of Linographic typesetting and the Quadex/Compugraphic/Agfa. He’d watched the people ahead of him who were theoretical freelancers, but in reality full-time employees, not get paid for the final work when they were laid off.

    When it was his turn to be laid off, on his way out the door he inserted magnetic slivers into the boxes that held all the 8″ floppy disks that he had spent the last two weeks creating an organized system of fonts for uploading when needed.* He had a backup set at home that he was willing to sell to them for the price of his last 2 weeks paycheck if they’d ever reached out. And if they didn’t? No skin off his nose. He didn’t have the paycheck and they didn’t have his work.

    *Back in this day, the system could only hold about 50 or 60 fonts at a time and when you’re a type shop, you use a lot more fonts than that.

      1. animaniactoo*

        This story is soooooo much better when somebody understands exactly what it means that he did that. LOL.

  39. Vicky Austin*

    If I were in line behind the person #7 was being a dick to, I would be SO PISSED at them, especially if I were in a hurry!

  40. JG Wave*

    I was reading some of these to my mom and she had a great contribution. She has a job that involves sitting on the floor with kids a lot, and she and her coworkers often wear fun socks because the kids love them—socks decorated with hamburgers, pugs, and giraffes, for example. Management at her company is pretty horrible, and in the last few years they’ve have incredibly high rates of turnover. (Her workload has doubled and she hasn’t had a raise in 12 of the last 20 years at this company.) Sometime last year, my mom was at a novelty store that had a lot of fun socks, including one pair that read “F*** this s***” with a picture of a smiling child. She has been wearing those on days when she’s in the office, where she’ll be stuck in meetings and no one can see her socks! It’s especially funny to me because my mom NEVER swears irl.

    Fittingly, just today she got a job offer with a 50% pay bump, so hopefully her days of blowing off steam via petty, profane socks are over.

    1. Narise*

      She should mail the socks to someone in management at the company after she’s gone.

    2. Essess*

      I bought a pair of silly socks with line drawings of faces (men and women and cats) with the word a**h*** under each human face and ‘not an a**h***’ under the cat faces…. I only wore those around the house. I was in a rush to get to the airport one morning and I wasn’t thinking about it so I had those socks on. Of course, that was the first time ever that the TSA thought there was a suspicious bulge in one pant leg and made me lift my pant legs which exposed my socks with profanity all over them that I bet they thought referred to them. I was SURE I would end up getting extra screenings because of that.

  41. Phil*

    #1 reminds me of Elaine’s revenge in Seinfeld. “I don’t have a square to spare!”

  42. just an office worker*

    I missed the initial letter but I have a good story….

    Many years ago, I had a soul crushing job at a tow truck company. The pay sucked and there were no benefits but I needed a job. The first few years were good &I enjoyed the job but it became a very toxic environment that sucked the life out of me. Day after day I had to put up with abusive customers and abusive co-workers with ZERO support from management and the owner. I had to take the abuse & treat the customer with respect, always. I was subjected to sexual harassment, misogyny, gender discrimination and many other things. I was hired to work the front desk and 6 months later had to take on the roll of dispatcher after the dispatcher quit & we couldn’t find anyone competent enough to do the job. I also became car saleswoman. I didn’t get a raise either. Meanwhile there were male employees hired AFTER me, to work in our branch offices doing 1/4 of what I did (I answered their phone lines, did their data entry, paperwork and nightly deposits) who were paid more than me. The owner constantly complained about me to the bookkeeper because he was so far removed from the front office that he didn’t know how it was run so he thought I browsed the internet all day. Every day the bookkeeper got pulled aside by him & she had to defend me. Then all of a sudden, the truck drivers all started half-assing their paperwork, writing down only a first name and vehicle type which prevented the bookkeeper from billing the insurance co or road club. Either she or I would have to spend hours going through dispatch logs to find out WHO the roadclub/insurance co was and what the policy number/purchase order was. Bookkeeper got fed up and complained the owner and…..the drivers ALL BLAMED ME. They said I wasn’t giving them the information! He immediately convicted me of the crime even though there was proof I wasn’t guitly, I always sent over all the information–see, everything was sent to them electronically via a messaging system & the information was stored by the software program we used. Instead of asking me for an explanation or looking at the electronic records, I was chewed out during a company-wide meeting in front of everyone and told to start sending over all the information & printing each drivers daily log & staple it to the written daily dispatch log. Thats when I snapped.

    The drivers were paid commission. 80% of the calls we got during the week were from roadside assistance clubs. They didn’t pay much but it was made up for in volume. Most of the roadclubs were a real pain in the arse to deal with. They were rude & impatient and liked to send over the minimal information which meant I had to contact the customer (if there was even contract info) to find out where they were. Did I mention I had to answer 6 phones lines for 2 different companies? So yeah…it really ticked me off when they didn’t do their job correctly & I had to waste time doing it for them.

    So…..I started giving them all 2-3 hour ETAs. Knowing they would say “thanks but no thanks” and call another tow truck company. Sometimes, they would call back and take my 2 hour ETA when no one else gave them a better ETA. The company lost a lot of calls because of what I did. Again, 80% of our business during the week came from the roadclubs. I passed a lot of calls over a 3 month period. Which meant the company made less money & the drivers made less money.

    Also, I started giving the higher paying jobs to the drivers that were actually nice to me & stood up for me. FWIW, the road clubs usually paid $25 for a tow. Cash customers paid $50 and up.

    In hindsight, I realize now that the road club employees were in the same boat I was, just as burnt out as I was, underpaid & overworked. I do feel bad for making their jobs harder & not being very nice to them at times. But I do not feel bad about the financial implications this had on the owner of the company and most of his drivers. Fuck the owner of that company and fuck all the drivers that got me in trouble because they were too lazy to do their jobs right!

  43. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    #10 is the best because she didn’t just bring her own lunch, she brought EVERYONE’s lunch. That’s so over the top.

  44. Narise*

    She should mail the socks to someone in management at the company after she’s gone.

  45. Lurk Til I Can’t Help Myself*

    #8 you are not alone. When I left my most toxic healthcare job, I filched the Ambien stapler, and all of the Viagra pens.

  46. cncx*

    when i worked at starbucks, i had a regular who was very particular about not having foam on her lattes. very particular.

    i usually made her drinks well and in fact she liked my foam free lattes out of all the other drink makers on staff.

    one day i had a line out the door, there was an event. when i tell you i had at least fifty people in line i’m not exaggerating. what does no foam lady do? stops me in the middle of making one of the other forty nine people’s drinks to ask me to scrape the foam off for her because there’s too much foam. there was maybe a millimeter of foam and probably because i had so many drinks in the queue i was making a lot of milk. anyway.

    i looked her dead in the eyes, poured the drink out and made a new one from scratch after i was done with the four or five others i was making and pulling shots for. she was like *oh no you don’t have to do that” and i was like “but your drink has to be perfect. ”

    you make me scrape foam because you can’t use a spoon when i have a line out the door, you’re gonna need to wait five more minutes.

  47. Put the Blame on Edamame*

    #7 reminded me of how I used our loyalty cards back in my bookselling days. We had one of those spend a tenner, get a stamp, when the card is full you get ten quid off your purchase. Of course, some people are total jerks about just about anything – including stamp cards. If I had a customer be nasty to me about the stamp card (or anything else), the next customer who came along who was civil to me got an extra stamp. I often told the lucky customer why I was doing it, too – as long as they didn’t look like a narc.

    1. Dollis Hill*

      OMG, are you me because I used to work in a big UK bookshop with these stamp cards and used to do EXACTLY the same thing!

    2. Sleepless*

      I’ve gotten a fair bit of swag from cashiers when I was nice to them after the person before me wasn’t. A 10% manager’s discount, a coupon for free pizza, that kind of thing. I am always nice to service people. Life’s too short.

  48. MatKnifeNinja*

    My state has that horrible, you can turn right turn on red once the traffic clears. It has come to be you can right turn regardless who or what is in the crosswalk. No one slows down. It’s a big game of Frogger.

    If someone is in the crosswalk, I won’t creep slowly around them. I don’t even sneak half my car into the crosswalk. This infuriates the idiot behind me, who then lays on his horn and is losing his sh*t.

    For the idiots who have rode my butt a few good miles. I’ll pop my hazards on and let the light cycle again. I know I’m taking a chance of getting a bullet in the head, but I’m sick of people thinking their huge Escalade trumps everything on the road.

  49. Workfromhome*

    #3 is near and dear to my heart. In my former job they decided that we need to record ALL our timein a CRM system even though we were not hourly nor did we bill clients hourly. It was incredibly tedious as yopu’d often be working on a project that took say 3 hours but if you took a phone call for 15 minutes about something else you needed to record that seperatly. The CRM system was not designed at all for our type of work (it was a sales system) so it was very awkward to use but the company mantra was “If its not in XYZ system it didn’t happen”. So we started pushing the boundaries to see what would happen. One co worker would add an entry just about every day 1 hours -time to add items into XYZ system to show how time consuming updating the system was. Then adding 15 minutes -went to bathroom. Continuing on to 30 minutes-Sat in chair thinking about what to add to XYZ system. When they got on some people that there notes were not detailed enough I decided to call their bluff because no one believed that anyone actually went though the reports and read all the comment. I copied and pasted several paragraphs of works of fiction (Alice In Wonderland) into the notes to see if anyone would notice….they never did :-)

  50. Sharrbe*

    I worked at a fast food restaurant in college. One night, about 10 minutes before closing, a group of about 20 drunk frat guys came in. You can see where this is going. I was on register taking their orders and by the third guy I was fed up with their incoherence, lack of attention to what they were doing, and overall obnoxiousness that I just started making up orders for them, including drinks, and taking their money. As the food started coming out, I’d hand it to whoever was nearest to the counter and they’d ask “Did I order this?”. “Yes, you did.” “I did? Ok.” Then I told them they had to go outside to wait for their friends. I was only 18 at the time, I was a very shy and nonconfrontational person, but that night those guys pissed me off so badly. My manager (who hid out in the back during all of this) came up to me after and told me he was impressed how quickly I got them out of the store. I didn’t tell him how I did it though.

  51. MissDisplaced*

    An ENTIRE grilled salmon in a meeting. Priceless.

    Eat-in meetings are kind of the norm where I work. Sometimes it’s the only way to capture the managers… Entice w/food.

  52. Degen From Upcountry*

    The salmon of pettiness is the best thing I could have possibly read here.

  53. PhyllisB*

    I know, but this was like 1992-93 and computers were not a big thing in our area yet. Most offices were still using typewriters, with a few using word processors.
    Like I said, we had a computer lab but only students taking computer classes were allowed to use them and then only for class assignments.
    The thing that got me about this incident, is who takes the time to count spaces of an indented paragraph? I think I also told him he had too much time on his hands if this was his main concern. Its a good thing we were friends. He actually laughed when I said that.

  54. Bananatiel*

    #2 isn’t getting enough love in the comments so as a designer I have to say I have 100% done that before and gotten away with it at least twice in the last few years.

    I’ve also definitely pulled a #8– though I thought I was taking something that no one would notice since it was in the depths of a storage closet where things really and truly went to die (it smelled like some small animal had actually died in there, so I might mean literally). Of course, someone totally did notice (though it was months after I left) and they actually confronted me about it via email. I’d love to know if LW ever got a text/email about that stapler lol.

  55. VALCSW*

    I love #8’s stapler story! I would keep that stapler until I died & bequeath it to my children in my will. Bravo!

  56. IOnlyTookASmallPlate*

    I have one that just happened.

    I work in higher education and today is graduation day for one of the schools. There was a luncheon for the staff that helped out. A colleague and I, who both worked the office while everyone in the department was out helping were told by our boss to go grab some food as there was a ton of it. We get back and the executive secretary for the department snapped at us for going to get food. She did this with TWO PLATES IN FRONT OF HER from the luncheon. Two plates that she brought from home to get food, because they are bigger. Was she a volunteer at the luncheon? No.

    My colleague who is normally quiet and calm lost her shit and yells, “TWO PLATES WOMAN. TWO GODDAMN PLATES.”

    I am currently locked in my office crying from laughing.

  57. Nonny*

    I have a toilet paper story of my own that I have to share.
    I once worked in an office that shared a hallway and two single-person bathrooms with another business. That business had another location a few blocks away. The building that we worked in had a cleaning service that supplied toilet paper for the bathrooms. At some point, someone from the other business started stealing the toilet paper from the shared bathroom and bringing it to their other location (that’s what we and the cleaning staff assumed, anyway, though it’s possible they were stealing it for personal use.)
    The cleaning staff got fed up with this and started hiding the extra rolls of tp in a hidden area under the sink, rather than just leaving them all out on the counter. That worked for a few weeks, and then that stuff started going missing too! And it was pretty obvious who was doing the stealing: the cleaning crew would put several dozen rolls in the bathroom on Friday night, by Monday morning they would all be gone, and the other business was the only one in the building open on weekends.
    Eventually, the cleaning crew asked if they could store the tp in our office and ask us to just keep the bathrooms stocked with a roll or two at a time. We agreed.
    The first week we did this, the owner of the other business came over at least once a day to complain that there weren’t enough extra rolls in the bathroom. Not that the bathrooms were actually running out (we kept a close eye out to make sure nobody ended up in, ahem, an awkward position), just that there weren’t enough extra rolls sitting on the counter at any given time. We very neutrally told them that the cleaning crew had asked us to do it this way. There was some huffing, but they gave up. Mostly. They still complained at least once a week whenever the stores were too small for their liking, but, as I said, we never let the bathrooms ever actually run out.
    And wouldn’t you know, the amount of toilet paper used in our building went waaaaaaay down! But the complaints didn’t stop. One day, we came in and discovered a 24-pack of toilet paper situated on the counter in the ladies’ room with a massive, sparkly now on top. We were puzzled. Obviously nobody in my office had bought it so we assumed it was someone from the neighboring business. We just didn’t know what they meant by it. Surely they were implying that it was supposed to be a “gift” of some kind, but to who? An apology gift to the cleaning crew for stealing their toilet paper for months? An apology gift to us for the backlog of petty complaints over tp? We never figured it out, and we decided ultimately to just not acknowledge the toilet paper. We didn’t open it or move it, and sometime that same day the toilet paper and bow arrangement was moved into a cabinet out in the hallway. It was gone the next day and we never found out what they did with it. The complaints about the toilet paper running low never stopped, though.

  58. Wired Wolf*

    Our recently-departed toxic manager pulled out all the stops on the petty train for her departure. She tried to get myself and a CW–the two hardest workers in the department–written up last year as scapegoats for her and AM’s incompetence/serious unprofessionalism, and there were a lot of ordering errors that cost the company a decent chunk of change (she didn’t know what she was doing and rather than letting us help, doubled down on her bad practices). She was probably given the choice of resigning or being fired with the reason going on record.

    She didn’t train her replacement (who made a lateral move, so he knew a little bit about the department from us, but not what he needed to know) and her manager knew even less about our internal workings so…yeah. We need to clean up a LOT of ordering nightmares from her and her AM…and she left Replacement Manager with only the barest hints of what she had been planning to put in place regarding upcoming displays, planograms, etc. Also a few open orders of product that we didn’t need or flat-out don’t sell. New Manager is trying to fix everything, but I have a feeling it’ll be at least a month until ordering gets back to need-based normality and it’s the start of graduation/summer tourist season. Worst possible time to get backed up in the warehouse.

    A few items that are coming in still have her name on them, so the warehouse manager is sorely tempted to refuse them as “no such recipient”…which is technically true.

  59. Misono*

    I worked for a government department, dealing with student loans. The amounts we were able to offer were means-tested, based on household income, and we couldn’t make any exceptions within the legislation.

    One day, I had a letter in from someone demanding we give them more money, as they didn’t have enough to maintain their lifestyle. Looked at the file, and the household incoming was around 8x the average, so there was really nothing that could be done even if I’d wanted to. For some reason though, the letter really annoyed me in the circumstances, but I still had to respond, so I did. They received from me a letter, perfectly worked and accurate as to why we couldn’t help, but with some slight formatting issues.

    Oh, and the first letter of each line spelled out “F*** off”.

  60. Crewman #6*

    We hired a new women, Cersei, for a director role at a non-profit. She is young and pretty, but I would describe her work style as “ambitious at ANY cost”. I watched her throw two co-workers under the bus for things that weren’t true. (I overheard one conversation, then heard her go to the CEO and say something completely different happened.) Both of them lost their jobs.

    When the former CEO moved on, the board voted Cersei into the new role. She proceeded to hire the Beautiful People into new positions she created. Yes, they were good at what they were hired for, but these people were seriously young (no one over 30) and good-looking.

    At our national conference, we wanted to have a staff picture of everyone (eight people) in front of our step-and-repeat. We took multiple pictures and I (in my 40s and fat; not just chubby but FAT. 280 pounds) was in all but one. When they published pictures on our Flickr account, they only used one staff picture; the one without me. You should know that for that event they also posted blurry and low-level lighting pictures, too. I was in none of the candid shots either. She just didn’t want me messing up the aesthetic.

    It is also her style to give flowers for nearly every important event for staff (except birthdays). New baby, recovery from illness, deaths in the family, etc. When my brother died, guess who did NOT get flowers?

  61. River*

    I used to work at a mall many years ago. Of course you get many personality types and I remember one day this annoying woman, in her early to mid 20’s came in and really was being difficult with our staff. From being annoyed that we didn’t have a shirt in stock in her size to not being nice to us, we pretty much all did not want her in our store. That day I remember I was assigned at the cash wrap and she was buying a purse, sunglasses, some clothing, I forget what else. But because she was rather snooty/snobby/rude I intentionally left the security tags on some of the items so that awkward alarm would go off when she approached the entrance/exit of the store. Lo and behold it did and she seemed upset she had to come back. I removed the security tag from one of the items and told her she was good to go. The alarm went off again because I intentionally did not remove the tag from another item. Customers looked at her, staff looked at her, she was pretty much the center of attention during those moments. I think she got embarrassed by this because she thought that we thought she may have been shoplifting. Unfortunately mall security were not in the area at the time, otherwise they probably would have had to escort her out. I wasn’t at the store for too long after that incident but I never saw her again for the remainder of my employment at this place.

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