what’s the pettiest thing you’ve done at work (or seen done)?

One thing that’s funny about work is that people can really, really worked up about things that they’d be far better off just letting go — think, for example, of 12-paragraph rants about office supplies or the person who threw away a coworker’s mug as an act of revenge over work assignments.

I want to hear about the pettiest thing you’ve ever done at work, or seen done. Share in the comments!

{ 2,082 comments… read them below }

  1. No Mercy Percy*

    Two of my coworkers fighting over a shared Excel file. Delilah would keep unsharing the file, thus kicking out Ripley. Ripley in turn, who gets in before Delilah, unshared it and locked Delilah out. Their manager Sylus had to intervene.

    They share a cube next to me, so I had a very entertaining front row seat.

      1. Minocho*

        Is it Thursday yet? (My game this weekend is cancelled for Mother’s Day. Totally legit, but I want to play!)

    1. No Mercy Percy*

      Thank you, fellow Critters! Fortunately, today is Thursday! Go home, watch the show live, and not work tomorrow is how I want to do this. :)

        1. Peggy Sue*

          Huge TAZ fans right here. I’m on my third re-listen of Balance right now.

        2. whingedrinking*

          Huge TAZ fan! I went to PodCon in January and was delighted by how many cosplayers there were. (Quite a lot of void fish. Void fishes?)

      1. Anna*

        *raises hand* I have shamelessly stolen from the Balance Arc for the game I run for friends. My heart is so happy to see fellow fans here.

        Also, can we geek out this weekend on the off-topic thread so we don’t continue to derail? :)

    2. Ben H*

      Goodness, shared files are the worst. It’s too easy to accidentally delete hours of someone else’s work, and can be difficult to track changes.

      I’d suggest your office select a more manageable solution.

  2. LSP*

    I had a coworker just stop speaking to me completely out of the blue (as far as I was concerned). She would literally turn away from me if we were in a group and I was speaking, and she wouldn’t look me in the face, like ever.

    I had no idea what had happened, as we had been pretty friendly before, and I cannot think of a single episode where things could have gone wrong. I considered confronting her, but since we didn’t actually need to talk to each other for work (we worked in the same section but did not actually work on any of the same things), and she was a woman in her 60’s who decided to freeze me out instead of communicating with me, I decided I didn’t really care what her reason was. I saw her get seriously angry at other people for really stupid reasons, so I figured something similar was happening here. Eventually she retired and I moved on and her not speaking to me never caused me a problem, but she was obviously seething over something only she was aware of.

    1. Troutwaxer*

      But how could you not know about the terrible thing you did to her? How could you not know? (I had a girlfriend like that once. It was hell.)

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        I had a friend who did that. She knocked it off when I refused to grovel, and we’re friends to this day. I suppose it helps that she was a literal child at the time.

    2. MCL*

      We have a support staff member who does that (they facilitate shipping/mail delivery for my building). It’s always for a petty reason. Luckily I don’t have contact with them much, but it’s super dramatic and has to be frustrating for their manager.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        I wont put up with that then.

        I had one person I (eventually…after many, many conversations) had to say to them: “Do you *want* to work? Do you want to work *here?*” They said “yes,” so I told them, then grow up and be professional.

        It worked and she’s still here five years on. ‍♀️

        1. AnnaBananna*

          I tried that once, and it got worse. It got so bad that I had to start taking her off tasks because she had become this seething tornado of emotional vexation, and I don’t have the patience for that crap. She too was older. She didn’t take the news well that she was no longer responsible for departmental purchases. The next day she deliberately used her pcard to purchase personal items and then tried to hide it. (of course it didn’t occur to me to take the pcard, because Emergencies) I was able to catch it while reviewing her expense reports and she was out. She was incredibly well loved, and this was not the first time she had freezed me out.

          Not surprisingly, even though she was ‘well loved’, the culture changed dramatically for the better when she was gone.

          1. AnnaBananna*

            For the record, I tried to manage her with kindness for almost three years until I started looking for reasons to let her go.

    3. snarkarina*

      I’m currently involved in a similar situation, but I know what my infraction was (I have been given some plum assignments she was passed over for, but I can’t control what those above us decide to do).

      I will smile and be polite all the same and will occasionally address her directly in group settings putting her in the position of either HAVING to respond or freeze me out with witnesses. It’s funny that sometimes being the bigger person can be petty in and of itself. ;-)

      1. Yvette*

        ” (I have been given some plum assignments she was passed over for, but I can’t control what those above us decide to do).” Honestly for some people that is all it takes and in her mind you probably sucked up or curried favor in order to get them.

        1. Crooked Bird*

          But if SHE’d gotten them of course she would not have been culpable. That would have been merit-based.

      2. Alexander Graham Yell*

        I responded below about this exact thing! In the end, I was actually given a bump in my performance review (that came with a very comfortable bonus) because while she froze me out I remained cheerful and kind and tried to include her in things. (I also created a paper trail asking for things so I could document her not responding to me while she was supposed to be training me.) I wasn’t trying to be nice, I was trying to make sure everybody saw that she was being super rude and I love that it worked.

      3. The Cosmic Avenger*

        YES! I’ve said it before, but when people are being passive-aggressive, acting like you’re 100% without a clue can often drive them NUTS because, like you said, they either have to give up or get extremely explicit about their aggressiveness. Works best when there are witnesses. :D

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Hahaha, yes, this works really well. I used it on BullyBoss at OldExjob all the time. It was glorious to almost hear the wind go out of his sails.

        2. Helena*

          Remember there was that letter about a poster who got disciplined for failing to notice she was being frozen out by the office mean girls?

          She was completely oblivious, but had accidentally reacted in the most effective way. They were furious she hadn’t noticed.

        3. Elan*

          I tried to do this with the mean girl at my office–she started side-eyeing me, looking down her nose, being super chilly if she had to speak to me, for no apparent reason–with no success. For a year I tried being polite, cheery, treat her the same as everyone else in the group, and she persisted in trying to make me feel her dislike (and ramped it up by beginning to do the same to my work friends). So as a last resort I’ve tried pretending I just don’t notice her (we don’t work together directly, so it’s not hard), and instead continuing to be friendly with all of her friends, and…that has actually kind of worked? Suddenly she’s tried being nice to me (but I don’t “notice” her, so I act surprised that she’s there). It’s the weirdest thing.

      4. LSP*

        That’s exactly what I did. I just acted friendly and polite and like nothing was wrong, because as far as I know, nothing was wrong. *shrug*

      5. btdt7*

        I’m going to be a contrarian here since I had a more senior workplace bully who would try to put me “on the spot” by fake-chirpily addressing me in front of others. I did finally confront them in front of others by asking to be left alone, and asking that they only speak to me when they had to for business reasons.

        The nature of what they were doing was harassment (I am leaving out a LOT of other behaviors, mistreatment and undermining activity). I had one person ask me what took me so long.

        The “publicly shame them into greeting you” stopped immediately after I spoke up, along with a bunch of other things and the person quit a few months later. The entire office mood was dramatically better after they left. Now they are Facebook- and real-life- trolling their ex’s new significant other with similar behaviors.

    4. Hooray College Football*

      I had something similar happen, but I knew what she was angry about, because she went to my boss to complain that I had accused her of something based upon the fact that I had shared a case that I thought was of interest to our law practice. She actually took it personally, as in, I was implying the facts of the case were applicable to her. Nutso. After that, we both transferred to different branches, but she continued bad mouthing me to anyone and everyone. Even the new people got an earful about me, but especially the managers wherever she went. I didn’t worry too much, because she had a pattern – eventually everyone ended up on her bad person list. They eventually learned that she was the kookasaurus. I had a special email folder with an automatic rule for her junk mails labeled “crazy Jane.”

    5. Boop*

      Until you got to the part where the coworker retired I was wondering if you worked in my office! EXTREMELY similar things happen here.

    6. SignalLost*

      I had that happen! To this day, the best I can come up with is that my life is pretty high-drama and she handles stress even less well than I do so my life, the life *I* was living, was stressing her out. The other option is that the office sociopath (seriously, we did personality tests and everyone else scored at least 90% on empathy; this woman scored less than 10%, agreed it was accurate, and noted it was something her relatives said about her to her face) was manipulating her, which is highly plausible; the woman who stopped speaking to me is the last person left from when I was there, aside from the sociopath – and now it’s just the two of them.

      It was really hurtful at the time – we were good enough friends we were thinking of starting a side business – but in hindsight I just want to ask what the hell is wrong with her. The silent treatment isn’t actually normal for adults in professional relationships.

      1. Anon for this*

        I had a new boss give me the silent treatment over something relatively ridiculous. It was the impetus to start job searching. Two months later I was out for a better paying job with a promotion at their only competitor. I’m not the only one who experienced/left over this type of behavior, I do not know why the CEO puts up with it.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          I had a boss just kinda ghost me once. She didn’t cancel my 1:1s she just stopped showing up to them and didn’t answer my follow-up emails.

          She only ever talked to me to yell at me so I was actually cool with it?

    7. magic dave*

      oh man I worked somewhere where 2 best friend/colleagues fell out because the manager went with one person’s idea over the other’s. The one who’s idea wasn’t picked obviously felt deeply betrayed that his friend thought he had a better idea and he just refused to speak to him, making work difficult. He was (fairly quickly) told by our boss that he didn’t care if they were friends but that he’d better start acting professionally or there’d be trouble. Other guy basically had no idea how he’d lost his best friend

    8. Tea Earl Grey. Hot.*

      Oh, lord. I’m dealing with this with colleagues in their 30s (which I also am). They will talk to me for work reasons if they absolutely have to, but it’s clear that they’re annoyed about something and unfortunately I don’t have the ability to read minds that they do. The one I have to talk to the most frequently also has an I Am Always Right And The World Is Stupid attitude (which has gotten her into trouble more than once), so I tend to grey rock at her when we have to interact – especially because she seldom is right.

      I don’t get the silent treatment. Just say what the problem is so you can resolve it! Come on!

    9. AKchic*

      I have a boss who does this. He won’t even forward emails to me. Then he found out I was documenting his lack of communication, and how he was making coworkers communicate on his behalf when he found out I was documenting the information freeze, so he finally started talking to me again. Too bad I didn’t stop documenting the childish behaviors, and already reported them to HR and the union.

      He’s had so many grievances filed against him, and I’ve already made it plain that if this company wins the contract again, I’ll be leaving because the company has no intention of replacing him, even with all of his problems.

      1. Still_searching*

        I have this as well, can you share with me how you documented – I am at a loss of how to document this

        1. Cats and dogs*

          I don’t know how they did it but you can keep email folders of all of your correspondence so if you reply following up, make sure to reply to your previous message with no response to show you are following up because no response and always bcc yourself and put it in the folder. (I know it’s in sent but this makes it easier to keep track of.) I had to do this with an employee who ghosted a position that a colleague in a different office and I were co-managing.

    10. CupcakeCounter*

      I have a coworker who will do this whenever you even think she might have done something less than absolutely perfect. We are currently in a standoff because she made a major error that cause significant impact for a lot of people that weren’t her. After spending 3 very stressful days getting it fixed she made a comment about me being behind on my work and how it threw off her schedule. I very quietly lost my shit on her.
      Her response was a shocked face, a “you sound like you are mad at ME” comment, followed by walking into our bosses office and shutting the door. Yup – the 43 year old mother of 4 tattled on me.
      I did not get into any trouble since the incident was very well documented and I owned my portion of the issue immediately.
      I also received chocolate from 2 coworkers for telling her off. They aren’t her biggest fans either.

      1. RUKiddingMe*

        Wait, wait…SHE did a major screw up and then complained that your time spent on fixing it was causing her issues? Oh god please I need details of “very quietly lost my shit on her…” if you care to share. My haw is on the floor over here.

    11. oldfashionedlovesong*

      This happened to me too! She was in her 30s, I was in my 20s, and we’d actually been quite friendly up until that point for almost two years. But one day literally without warning she stopped speaking to or looking at me. To this day I have no idea what I did to her, although I had seen her treat other people the same way over a tiny slight that sometimes they didn’t even realize they’d done (not smiled at her in the breakroom, etc). At first I tried engaging with her like normal, but she just would give me one-word answers or ignore my questions entirely. If I was talking towards the end of a meeting or asking a question, she would just walk out of the room. This affected my relationship with the rest of her team (one other colleague and a manager) because the three of them were all extremely close and collegial and spent a lot of time together in the manager’s office which was right next to my cubicle.

      I happened to be (very secretly) job hunting at the time, because the entirety of that place was a flustercluck I needed to escape. So it just so happened that about 8 weeks after this started, I submitted my 4 weeks notice. Her manager cheerfully said to me “oh that’s why you haven’t been chatting with us much lately!” I was so browbeaten by everything at this point that I just said “oh, yes, I suppose so” when really I wish I’d said “No, it’s because T has been giving me the silent treatment for the last two months!”

    12. Wantonseedstitch*

      This happened to me with a roommate in my sophomore year of college. We started out by becoming friends really quickly, staying up late and chatting until the wee hours. Then, at some point, she stopped talking to me unless it was to snippily nag me to wash my dishes or something. When I had friends over to the room, she ignored them too (even if she wasn’t doing homework or anything). I never figured out why it happened, but I went from feeling hurt to just rolling my eyes about it.

    13. ginger ale for all*

      I stopped socially talking to someone at work. She would use what she found out about people and twist it to evil ends. I would work talk to her but nothing more. Cordial work wise, distant socially. I didn’t figure it out until a few years in that she only had acidic gossip about other people.

    14. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      “seething over something only she was aware of” sums up a lot of work interactions. This is what keeps AAM in business!

    15. Square Root Of Minus One*

      Happened to me too. Apparently she was mad I wasn’t seeking her approval about something that was my responsability and not hers, and beyond being dismissive and irritated with me all the time, she went to tattle on my boss about my work ethic, and to who know who else. Luckily my boss knows better, but my standing with my team, my self-confidence, and any trust I could have in her all lie shattered on the floor.
      Given the numbers of comments on that one, it seems to be a populated category of people.

    16. Vicky Austin*

      That’s never happened to me with a coworker, but it has happened with a suitemate in college. To this day, I have no idea what I did to piss this woman off, but I clearly did something as she refused to talk to me. It wasn’t even a case of her just being a jerk, either, because she was nice and friendly to everyone else.

    17. Cakezilla*

      I had the same thing happen! Thankfully it only happened after I put in my notice to leave the job (the person apparently thought I was “betraying” the company by leaving), so I didn’t have to deal with it for that long. But I still end up seeing her at a lot of professional events, and even two years later whenever I run into her she just glares at me.

    18. Jo*

      One of my former managers stopped speaking to me when I wasn’t performing well at work. It was due to me letting things slip somewhat then dealing with some mental health issues so I struggled to get back on track. I also didn’t loop her in on this, so to be fair I can see why she got annoyed and jumped to conclusions, however pretty much any other manager I’ve had, if they have to bring up a performance issue or feedback, they do it then move on. With this manager, every time I went over to speak to her, I’d get glared at. She made it clear she didn’t have patience for me or my questions, made snide comments and it got to the point where I’d try to speak to other managers if I had needed help with something. She made it clear I was a nuisance and that she didn’t want to have to deal with me. She was supportive if you were performing well but took it as a personal affront when I wasn’t. I know it was ultimately me that let things slide and it’s not her job to mollycoddle her team but the way she dealt with it was pretty rubbish.

      1. bleh*

        I had a colleague (in her forties) stop speaking to me and another colleague for SEVEN YEARS. We had made mild criticism of her work, which is apparently not done in CrazyJane world. She also: openly cried at meetings, lied about the other colleague “threatening her,” continued to lie even after going to arbitration and being told (by an arbitrator who is not meant to take sides) she was wrong. Because she was in the mommy club, everyone allowed her to continue, despite how disruptive she was. I left.

      2. Chrissimas*

        I had a former boss that stopped saying Good Morning to me or basically any social niceties once I was no longer her #1 worker. She was just horrible.

        1. starsaphire*

          I had a former boss who would give me the silent treatment every time I took a sick day. No lie; I asked a co-worker to reality-check me and the co-worker said, “Yep, she does it to me too.”

          The whole next morning, until lunch time (because our team often lunched together) Boss would walk past your desk, no look, no wave, no words, no reply to your “Good morning,” nothing. Then around noon, everything was normal again.

          Weird. Soooo weird. Soooo pointless.

    19. I was young once*

      My boss stopped speaking to me. I think she just decided she didn’t like me. My office was by the front door so she walked by every time she came or left the building. She would walk through the front door, pause and glance into my office as she said good morning to the woman at the front desk. She’d then make a sassy side eye and would walk away. And in case that was not conveying her point, she wold bring in cupcakes. Three cupcakes to be exact. And there were 4 of us in the department. I was then clearly not asked to take a cupcake.

      1. ginger ale for all*

        Perhaps on a three cupcake day, it might be the time to innocently say that you thought she was on a diet? I would only think this though but not say it.

      2. Sad face emoji*

        Haha I also have a cupcake story… one day my boss brought in two of everyone’s favorite cupcakes, but only one chocolate one… you guessed it, I was the only one who liked chocolate. She asked me to pick first, I looked in and immediately saw what was going on and feigned disinterest. She then angrily said that everyone was waiting and I was holding them up. So I took the chocolate one. “Figures” she said.

          1. Deejay*

            She’d probably have taken offence at that too. “Oh, my cake’s not good enough for you?”

        1. Adminx2*

          The pettiness in ME suddenly envisions a slow motion “dropping” of the cupcake all over her shoes.

          1. Over 60 & Forever Young*

            W.O.W.!! How awful that you experienced such petty “ish”… relatable sadly. And upsetting in a low key way that something as heavenly as cupcakes would be used for evil purposes! All kinds of wrong!

    20. NicoleK*

      I stopped socially talking to someone at work as well. I got tired of hearing about her anxiety, insecurities, and overall incompetence. Additionally, at the time, I was pretty much helping her do her job. Carrying her weight at work became too much. Now, we only communicate about work and mainly through email despite our cubes being next to each other.

      1. Loux in Canada*

        If I hadn’t moved divisions, there is a good chance I would have eventually done this with a coworker of mine who sat not two feet away from me. That, or I just would have stewed quietly and eventually exploded. :) She would ask me questions a few times a day, and when I mentioned it she said, “I don’t ask you that much! I just like to confirm things!” Yeah, but I was kind of known as the resident go-to/tech girl in our little section of 8 people… so everyone asking me things a couple of times a day/week really added up!

    21. BlackCatMama*

      I’ve been on the other side of this. A woman who I was really close to started to behave in really toxic and self destructive ways (heavily drinking, drug use and cheating on her husband) and wanting me to participate. I wasn’t interested in the path she was on and tried talking to her about it multiple times because I was concerned. She simply called me judgmental and that I needed to be more supportive. I distanced myself and didn’t share with anyone what was going on. I later found out she told a large group of people we both knew that I was a terrible person, a horrible friend and she had no idea why I threw our friendship away. It was very isolating and sad but I refuse to enable toxic behavior.

    22. Nobody Nowhere*

      Oooh, I have one of those. She’s very good at the tasks associated with her job, but randomly stops speaking to different people in the office. Some of them don’t work directly with her & really haven’t had the chance to piss her off. She’s done the same to me from day 1, alternating with periods where she speaks to me with her voice dripping contempt, like a cartoon villain. It’s really quite amusing when viewed from a distance.

    23. Snub Nose*

      I did this with a coworker, though not quite to the point of turning my back. I’m a trans man, which she knows, and she (unrelated to our work together) signed an open letter saying that trans women aren’t real women. She was obviously very puzzled about why I shifted from being warm and friendly to being terse and cutting conversations short, but I honestly felt no need to enlighten her. It’s up to her to reconcile the concrete reality of having a trans coworker she likes with the abstract politics of TERFiness that are an unexamined part of her passionate feminism. (Ironically, the passionate feminism was part of why I liked her so much. Oh well.)

      1. LabTechNoMore*

        Yea, I did this to my coworker who monolouged about Israel-Palestine every chance they got (I’m Palestinian, which he knew because he specifically asked my ethnic background, whereas he has zero personal connection to the conflict, cultural or otherwise.), called me a terrorist his first week on the job, and was relentlessly contrarian about my work. Looped my boss in, drama ensued, followed by my giving the silent treatment, but enjoy my job 1000% more now that I can get back to fretting over normal work problems again.

        1. LabTechNoMore*

          Oh! But back on-topic, and on a lighter note: as part of the above ensuing drama, I agrily threw away the office sugar cubes (twice!) to spite everyone.

          NB: I’m the one who brought them in. …Both times.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          He *called you a terrorist* the first week you worked together??? He’s lucky he didn’t get fired on the spot.

          1. LabTechNoMore*

            Boss was out that week, and he used it in the context of grossly mischaracterizing how another demographic views people of my background, so calling me that word by proxy. And that wasn’t even the most offensive thing he said. He’s the armchair cultural anthropologist-type racist.

            …I’ve decided I’m going to throw away the stirrers today

              1. Over 60 & Forever Young*

                + 1 million!! @LabTechNoMore, I’m sorry you were subjected to this. Revenge of disseminated sugar cubes and coffee stirrers is justifiably warranted.

    24. Epitome of passive-aggressiveness*

      I also had a colleague stop speaking to me out of the blue once. It was really awkward because we worked closely on a number of projects. Eventually the other person told me that they’d stopped talking to me because I was being passive-aggressive to them. (And the silent treatment isn’t passive-aggressive?!?) About a year later, they suddenly started acting normally again. It was very weird, and they never explained what I had done. We don’t work together anymore, luckily.

    25. Bluephone*

      I had a coworker like that. And if she did deign to talk to you, she was rude and bitchy anyway.

      She left almost two years ago and even but though there’s been a lot of negative things since then (all new executive staff, changes to our paid leave, threats from a fired employee, etc), knowing that Frosty the Bitca isn’t here has made it much easier to deal with those other problems

    26. Loux in Canada*

      Hey I had this happen to me! I was a student employee at a company and this dude in his late 50’s, who was previously very friendly with me, just stopped talking to me out of the blue. I was so distressed. I had no idea what I’d done. Later on when I was almost done with my work term, he comes up to me and says, “So, do you know why I stopped talking to you?” Uh, no… “Well, that one day in the cafeteria I was teasing you and you said, ‘Just wait until I go to HR!’ I know it might be a joke to you, but this is my livelihood and I can’t have you risking it.”

      1) I would never have gone to HR, 2) yeah I was dumb but I was also 19, and 3) why not just TELL ME???

      In the end I realized that, honestly, he had kind of been making meanish jokes for a while and it was really bothering me. I guess I kinda snapped. He wasn’t that nice after all, honestly, in hindsight. Now that I’m a bit older I can recognize these situations a lot faster, and handle them much better; mostly, by not “feeding the troll” and removing myself from the situation.

      Phew. That was a rant. I actually had completely forgotten about that situation until I saw your post. Man, factories are petty places.

    27. 2 Cents*

      This happened to me to, except coworker was my age and I ended up leaving before she did (she might still be there). We had to communicate for work but it was so awkward. Eventually, I came to terms that it was HER problem, not mine, since I had no clue what I’d done.

  3. esra*

    I cannot wait to read these.

    I wish I had some good petty stories, but I’m not subtle enough. Working in marketing, you end up getting to see people’s most petty sides come out when it comes to leftover swag and free stuff. No one is more fussy, petty, and downright insufferable than when they’re complaining that the free t-shirts you designed for a trade show don’t match their skin tone.

    1. Jessen*

      As long as you don’t design white t-shirts. For a volunteer project that requires working outside. In summer.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Just imagine being female and getting rained on with males around. It can get ugly.

    2. zapateria la bailarina*

      OMG THIS. i HATE dealing with complaints about the free stuff i order for trade shows.

      the most recent one i received was a sales guy complained that we didn’t have any shirts in size medium… when literally 6 months ago he’s the one who told me not to bother ordering shirts smaller that size large.

    3. Peaches*

      Seriously! I don’t work in marketing, but my company an annual trade show where we give out about 75 free prizes via a ticket drawing (we have about 150 guests, so about half win free stuff). At our last trade show, we had several nice ballcaps with our local NFL team logo on it. My coworker walked one of the hats over to a lady whose number had just been drawn for the prize and said, “here you go! Do you like the Chiefs?” The lady, arms crossed, looking completely ticked said “Not really”, grabbed the hat apathetically, and slid the hat across the table she was sitting at as if she was just disgusted by it. Later, my coworker and I passed by the same lady, who was complaining to another person that it was “completely unfair that some people had won TVs, while she had only won a hat.” Our trade show is free for guests to attend! She should have been thankful she won anything.

      1. Liz*

        OMG people can be so petty and childish! Her behavior reminds of tricky trays I’ve attended. Which essentially is gambling; you buy tickets, put them in the container of the prize you want to win, and if your number is picked, you win. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been and heard people pissing and moaning because they haven’t won anything and other tables are covered in baskets. I sometimes want to say to them “you Do realize this is no different than putting your $20 in a slot machine and hitting the button until its gone?”

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          These are the same people who very much don’t understand the way gambling works.

          I love hearing people whine about the Monopoly game they do at Safeway/Albertsons. “Nobody has ever won the jackpot, what’s the point?” It’s a free game of chance, you’re going to buy those groceries anyways, either play and see what happens or just don’t. They live to complain about how everyone is a crook and a thief because they don’t get free buckets of money for existing. Even if we gave out buckets of money, they’d complain that it’s all 20’s or not enough 100’s or something.

          1. Nobody Nowhere*

            “Free buckets of money just for existing.” This has to be a thing in some parallel universe, probably designed by Terry Pratchett :-)

          2. Idran*

            To be fair, it did legitimately turn out that the McDonald’s Monopoly game was a big scam (by an employee, not the company) to funnel jackpots to whoever a specific person wanted to get paid off that ended up tying into organized crime and a big FBI raid.

            For real, look it up. It’s wild.

            1. Story Hospital*

              Is that why they don’t do McDonald’s Monopoly anymore? I honestly miss it. I thought it was a lot of fun. That scam story is wild, though.

              1. Autumnheart*

                I never won anything good in McDonald’s Monopoly, and thought on many occasions, “This is BS! This game must be rigged,” but I was still surprised when it was revealed that the game really WAS rigged!

                I don’t live in a Safeway market, and I miss a good store contest.

                1. Jennifer Juniper*

                  I should hope not! You’d have no privacy if you lived in a grocery store :D

            2. R.J.*

              One summer they did one with scrabble stickers, where you were meant to send in whole words for a prize. My brother and I spent a road trip working to spell “gimmick”!

            3. Róisín*

              I spent way too long reading articles about this thanks to you, and I am… gobsmacked. What a tale. Someone should make a movie about this.

          3. RUKiddingMe*

            I won $1000.00 this year. I never get anything other than a “free bagel or donut.”

            1. Bryce*

              Nice! I won a loaf of bread. By chance it was fresh from the bakery and tasted great.

            2. Former Employee*

              I got the “free bagel or donut” coupon, which I need to give to a friend before it expires.

              I ‘d never played before and can’t believe how many duplicates pieces I got. I also can’t believe how tedious it gets, matching all the little pieces to the “board”.

              I would have been happy with a $5 or $10 win. I wonder how many players actually win even such small amounts and what that represents, as a percentage and in terms of the odds.

              A $100 win is pretty impressive.


              1. Bryce*

                The App is very useful for that, they have a “game piece tracker”. You still need the actual pieces to win but you can just scan a QR code on the back and it’ll tell you if you have any new ones and keep a checklist. Near the end of the sweepstakes (when I’ll usually have everything but one piece in every category) this REALLY cuts down on the time required to go through them.

        2. TootsNYC*

          actually, one of the ways people cheat on those is to wrinkle the piece of paper they put in.

          I was drawing names from a hat for a bunch of prizes once, and I flat-out threw the crumpled one back in when I realized I’d drawn the same person’s name four times in a row for the same reason (as I tossed the slips in my hand inside the jar, the crinkled one settled in).

          i tried it once myself later for a drawing at work and won–I felt kind of guilty, so I shared the prize with my team.

    4. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Last year we did a grand prize drawing at the end of the summer. The winner of said grand prize (which had been living in my office while we waited for her to pick it up, and was so much fun that I was sad to have to look at it and not be able to use it) complained about how we had gone for a lower quality brand and that the prize was too “juvenile” for her to enjoy. She asked if she could have another prize instead, and I said I had to check with the higher-ups who were in charge of the contest. She took the original prize home that day, and when I called her to say that we did have an alternate prize we could trade her for she asked if she had to have the box to trade in the original prize, because she had thrown it away. And then she got mad at me when I told her she needed the original box if she was going to exchange the item.

      All of this over something she won for free from the public library.

      1. I Speak for the Trees*

        Wow. I feel you on this. I work for a non-profit and have had people complain about raffe wins, etc. Granted, sometimes I see their point – like when the bald guy won a very expensive salon cut and color – but usually it’s just complaints for no reason. That said, the woman who won the “vibrating massage pillow” (meant for the lower back or feet, but the butt lots of jokes) was extremely gracious about it even through she didn’t really seem to want it

      2. Dewey Decimator*

        I think I have met that patron in my library as well. I also had a woman complain that the prize drawing was fixed, simply because she didn’t win. I would also like to point out that I never had a kid complain. They just like winning. Sigh.

      3. Vivien*

        I was in charge of a raffle at my work that invited the public in to show off our new products. Two ladies found the FB event for the raffle, had absolutely NO INTENTION of purchasing any of our products, and camped out right next to the raffle bowl the entire time (making it hard for me to do my job at the front desk) and got mad at me for shuffling the bowl of tickets after they waited to drop their tickets in at the top right before the drawing.

    5. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

      A friend works for a large bank in the investment department for people who have investments of more than 50 million dollars. They put on “how to invest” educational events in places like Aspen that she gets to plan. Of course there are goodie bags with things like iPhones. She has stories of these millionaires – some celebrity ones – asking if they could have extra goodie bags for, you know, their daughter and son who didn’t come along.

      1. esra*

        Oh, the stories I could tell about celebrities being cheap af when it comes to swag. No one, no one is cheaper and grabbier than the wealthy.

  4. Paloma Pigeon*

    Toxic co-worker took offense at Dilbert (Dilbert!) comics that were posted in the kitchen and had been posted for years before she was hired because one of them dealt with salary negotiations and she had decided to advocate for raising salaries of program staff who didn’t report to her and she accused our Executive Director of posting them as an act of harassment. This person was a piece of work, to say the least.

    Here is the Dilbert she found offensive: https://dilbert.com/strip/2013-02-16

    1. SusanIvanova*

      The VP of our smallish tech company decided to move people’s offices around just because he could. He even admitted that was the reason. So someone put up the then-recent Dilbert where Wally is gloating about being in charge of cubicle assignments and calls himself “Lord Wally the Puppet Master”.

      It whooshed over the VP’s head. He signed the next email about office assignments “Lord VP the Puppet Master”.


      1. Richard*

        Sounds like he got the joke to me. Just because someone doesn’t care that you’re making fun of them doesn’t mean anything whooshed.

      2. Jadelyn*

        I mean, he obviously got it. He was just the type of person who finds people being upset with him entertaining.

    2. holly*

      Honestly, I think that is a pretty inappropriate comic for anyone at a directorial level to post, regardless of timing.

      1. Shad*

        I’m not seeing where it’s suggested that it was actually posted by a director. I took the entire accusation, both perpetrator and timing, as something toxic coworker imagined.

      1. Black Bellamy*

        This is why I can’t appreciate Degas the anti-semite, Caravaggio the murdering whoremaster, Gaugin the syphilitic pedophile, and of course the raging misogynist Picasso. #notallartists!

          1. Kettles*

            I think they meant Picasso and Adams shared similarities in terms of misogyny and general terribleness – in that class they’re fairly comparable.

        1. Kelsi*

          I mean you can divorce the art from the artist if you want to, but all the folks you mentioned are dead and are not receiving direct or indirect financial support (and yes, sharing comics counts as indirect, it’s advertising) from my consuming their art. So it’s not really a good comparison.

          Maybe talk about Johnny Depp, Orson Scott Card, Woody Allen? And you’ll find there are plenty of people (myself included) who can’t appreciate their art or find it within themselves to support it because of what sort of people they are.

          1. Vicky Austin*

            Or talk about Harvey Weinstein? Bill Cosby? Louis CK? I can no longer appreciate any of their art/comedy.

            But what did Orson Scott Card do?

              1. I'm A Little Teapot*

                From what I’ve heard, he’s just pretty nasty. Goes beyond homophobia.

                1. many bells down*

                  Yeah, I had a fantasy novel of his, “Hart’s Hope” and WOW it’s messed up. Waaaaaaay beyond homophobia.

                2. Vemasi*

                  Yes. You would think from Speaker of the Dead and other writings that he is pro-equality, but he is homophobic and I believe anti-semitic. He also talks over women in panel discussions.

            1. On Hold*

              Orson Scott Card is an enormous homophobe and has thrown a huge amount of time and money into it. If you want to be upset about him, google around for his multi-page essay about how he doesn’t hate us, he just despises us and everything we stand for.

              1. Vicky Austin*

                Ugh. I have several of his books and I’m going to consider getting rid of them.

                1. Elizabeth West*

                  I had a couple of Dilbert books (I bought them at the flea market, so he didn’t get any money). When I found out what Scott Adams was really like, I threw them away. Right into the bin on top of the nasty old banana peels.

              2. Phx Acct, now with dragons*

                UGH. Heyzuz chucknuts. I’ve got a kid named Ender.

                Is 14 too old to rename?

                1. Autumnheart*

                  That’s funny, I know someone whose kid is named Ender. So either you’re the person I know, or there’s more than one.

            2. D'Arcy*

              Orson Scott Card literally called for keeping anti-sodomy laws on the books for the purpose of “sending a clear message that [LGBT people] cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens”, and also to be selectively enforced against “uppity” gays in order to terrorize people into being straight or at least staying in the closet.

            3. MM*

              In addition to the points about homophobia below, he’s also a raging misogynist crank. Goes on and on about how the gynocracy is trying to feminize men by buying them v-neck sweaters.

          1. Rachel B.*

            Degas may or may not have begun life as an anti-Semite, but his work from the Dreyfus affair on makes it very clear that he absolutely was one. For example, take a look at his Portraits at the Stock Exchange, particularly the face you can see in reflection. Gauguin was not strictly a pedophile, but he had sex with, raped, or took as mistresses a surprising number of very young teenaged girls, in Martinique and especially Tahiti.

              1. Aro*

                It sounds like he might have been an ephebophile (attraction to adolescents) instead of a pedophile (attraction to pre-pubescent children). Both are equally icky, but there is a technical difference.

            1. Kelly*

              Gauguin is problematic in more ways than his sexual relationships with teenage girls. He was also awful to his long suffering wife, abandoning her and their kids to move to different places in search of the exotic, from the Caribbean and eventually to the South Pacific. He was also very much of his time in his attitudes towards the people in Tahiti with his colonialist attitude. Most exhibitions on Gauguin over the past 30 years acknowledge that he was a terrible person to the women in his life and his appropriation of non-western cultures in his work.

        2. Susana*

          Oh! I was in Oporto, Portugal, traveling alone, and there was a big Dali exhibition, but at a museum not really in the center. I love to walk, and kind of underestimated how far it was. I walked maybe 5 or 6 miles to the gallery, but so glad to get there to see the work of an artist I’d always loved. Then, I’m reading all the bio stuff at the opening of the exhibit and learned he was a Franco-ite. I sort of felt like throwing up or leaving, but I had come so far! So I saw the exhibit. Took a can back to the center and had a lot of port.

      2. Rita*

        In one of my jobs at an online publication, our editor-in-chief was just a terrible writer and not the sharpest pencil in the box. It was my job to edit his work before it went up, and there were inevitably a ton of mistakes to fix (the one I always remember was using “epitaph” instead of “epithet”). I didn’t even usually do an actual edit, just fixed obvious errors. Nevertheless, when he got the doc back so he could post it, it would be redlined to high heaven.

        Every time this happened, he would spend the rest of the day combing the site for mistakes in other people’s pieces, and would call them out as he found them, often in articles that were months old.

        I hated the days when I knew I’d have to edit his work.

        1. Susana*

          But..spellcheck issue maybe? I filed a piece once in which I meant to say Democrats were determined to defeat Trump. Except that I wore “defat” Trump and spellcheck didn’t catch it. Fortunately, I caught it before it went into print – but after two editors missed it…

      3. Teapot analyst*

        I used to have a Dilbert about planning sick leave in advance, because we had a manager who was trying to make that the policy (the manager was offsite, so it wasn’t confrontational but rather supportive of a coworker who needed more sick leave). I took that down at some point, and would refuse to put up Dilbert (because Adams is a jerk), although now I rely on XKCD and this one:

        1. T R*

          Interestingly, I tried applying for sick leave in advance at my work recently (doctor’s appointment, and I wouldn’t be working for the rest of the day.) The tool we use would not allow me to apply in advance – we can only apply on the actual day, or after the fact.

      4. Frank Doyle*

        Being a bigot towards LGBT folks is not “politics.” Being a pedophile is not “politics” either.

        1. Steven Meowder*

          I’m not going to turn this into an LGBT debate, and to be honest, paedophilia was the last thing on my mind when I posted this. But there are plenty of other political issues – abortion, illegal immigration, gun control (again, not here to debate, just listing some examples). It’s not always about the gays.

      5. Steven Meowder*

        Those ban attempts go both ways. Look at the attempts from leftist groups to shut down movies like Unplanned, Gosnell, or The Red Pill. And this week there has been an outcry from liberals to shut down South Park, which I think is hilarious because when the show started, conservative groups were the ones to complain.

        1. RUKiddingMe*

          You know this isn’t a political forum. Maybe don’t start in on politics when no one else was?

          1. Steven Meowder*

            Oh sorry, my bad. I’ve seen progressive talking points discussed often on here, so I just assumed conservative opinions were also allowed…

      6. PhyllisB*

        I’ve always loved Dilbert. I don’t know anything about Scott Adams. What makes him such a jerk?

        1. Anastasia Beaverhausen*

          “The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.”

          Yeesh. I just did the D: face.

    3. Paper Librarian*

      Any chance the co-worker took offense because she’d heard Scott Adams was a misogynist? I honestly don’t know too much about him or his cartoon, but I’ve heard rumors he’s pretty anti-woman for over a decade. Not to say that exempts her from being a piece of work. XD

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        It’s not rumors, it’s explicit things he’s said, like “women are treated differently [than men] by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone.” I used to love Dilbert, had a couple of his books, was proud to be labeled ‘Alice’ by the tech support team I was leading, back in the early 90s. I threw them all away / stopped reading when he started saying things like this.

        I pray the XKCD guy stays as reasonable as he seems to be.

        1. Lucy*

          Oh lawks.

          Randall at XKCD has some good history of sensitivity so I’m confident in supporting him.

          1. Hey Karma, Over here.*

            Randall is a bit harsh on people who are not as scientifically talented as he, but overall, he’s good guy.

            1. Lucy*

              Except there’s the underlying joy of “lucky ten thousand” so at least he acknowledges that he’s being mean when he does sneer.

              1. Lucy*

                “Saying ‘what kind of an idiot doesn’t know about the Yellowstone supervolcano’ is so much more boring than telling someone about the Yellowstone supervolcano for the first time.”

        2. Vicky Austin*

          I’m as feminist as they come, but as I am not familiar with that quote, I wonder about the context in which he said it. If he was saying that he personally felt that women were on the same level as children and people with intellectual disabilities, then yeah, that’s misogynist. However, it’s also possible that he was saying it in the context of, “This is how misogynist men are, they treat women like they’re immature or have low IQ’s, and I hate it and it has to stop.” It’s hard to tell without the context.

          1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup*

            He’s… said other things that make his context very clear. Search wehuntedthemammoth.com for his name if you’d like to be disappointed.

          2. Peridot*

            It’s really, really obvious. He’s done and said a lot of things that place him squarely in the “terrible person” camp.

          3. Locket*

            The context isn’t great, either.

            “The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone. You don’t argue with a four-year old about why he shouldn’t eat candy for dinner. You don’t punch a mentally handicapped guy even if he punches you first. And you don’t argue when a women tells you she’s only making 80 cents to your dollar. It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.”

            “I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group. I’m saying that a man’s best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar. If he’s smart, he takes the path of least resistance most of the time, which involves considering the emotional realities of other people.”

            The context is gross to both men and women and anyone in-between. I don’t recommend it.

            1. Adam Scott*

              I dunno, sounds to me that he’s merely suggesting that if you’re arguing with someone who wholeheartedly and adamantly thinks the thoroughly debunked wage gap is real, then it’s probably not worth spending your energy on them.

              I’d say it’s more poor wording than evidence of misogyny.

              1. Vicky Austin*

                The wage gap has NOT been thoroughly debunked. There is plenty of evidence of it from many credible sources.

                1. Adam Scott*

                  Like who? I’ve seen it thoroughly torn to shreds.

                  There is an *earnings* gap explained by career and lifestyle choices; but there is no wage gap. It is illegal in essentially all western countries.

                2. Autumnheart*

                  Wage theft, union busting, and firing people for medical reasons are also illegal, and rampant.

          4. Ego Chamber*

            “It’s hard to tell without the context.”

            Alternate option: If you’d like the context, seek it out. If we’ve all misjudged due to lack of context, point that out. I find it pretty gross that gross people are so often defended sight-unseen by people who want to lean on “the context” without actually knowing anything about the context.

            (I’m not attacking you, this isn’t specific to you, just a general problem I have with this argument.)

            1. TootsNYC*

              I find it pretty gross that gross people are so often defended sight-unseen by people who want to lean on “the context” without actually knowing anything about the context.

              Especially in the age of Google.

              Do some research before you argue. And do the other folks the courtesy of assuming that THEY didn’t make their judgment without a little research of their own.

              Unless YOU are in the habit of making a judgment without research, there’s no reason to assume that everyone else is. And if you do your own research, you’ll discover whether their judgment has context.

              Knee-jerk defending people is Not Cool. Especially not when you can find it with a little time.

              If it’s worth the time to argue back, it’s worth the time to research first so you have more context YOURSELF.

        3. Lynn Whitehat*

          Exact same.

          Reading comics is a voluntary leisure activity. I can no longer enjoy Dilbert.

        4. PhyllisB*

          Jules, I didn’t see your response when I asked my question. Sorry to hear Scott is a scumbag.

      2. Paloma Pigeon*

        No, unfortunately. And I am so upset about Scott Adams being a jerk, because Dilbert comics kept me sane for so much of my 20s when I worked a series of temp jobs.

        Honestly, if she had just protested them in general or said ‘Hey, I think these are inappropriate’, it would have been fine – but it was the fact that she accused our boss of putting them up on purpose to harass her, when 1) they were up when she came in to interview, for heaven’s sake, let alone for the months before the whole salary thing came up and 2) our boss could not pick Dilbert out of a comics page if his life depended on it.

    4. Vicky Austin*

      First of all, I love your screen name. Since paloma means pigeon, your screen name is essentially Pigeon Pigeon!
      Also, your comment reminds me of the time a coworker got in trouble for posting political cartoons on the bulletin board. While most of the people in that office had left-of-center political views and it was generally a safe place to vent about Donald Trump, the executive director felt that posting the cartoon went too far.

        1. Decloaking for important commenting*

          I thought Paloma meant “dove”! Uh-oh, I have a friend who either seriously misunderstood the provenance of the name, or played a huge joke on her child…

          1. Just Employed Here*

            Wikipedia tells me

            “The distinction between “doves” and “pigeons” in English is not consistent, and does not exist in most other languages.”

            so I think your friend’s kid will be OK…

          2. J Kate*

            Doves and pigeons are in the same bird family (Columbidae). The Spanish word (paloma) is the same for both of them!

            1. Carpe Librarium*

              Yep, I just call them all pigeons.

              White = dove = bird of purity/peace
              Not white = pigeon = rat/vermin of the sky.
              Racism bleeds into aspects of society in ridiculous ways.

              Though to be fair, I don’t know much about pigeon naming history and when they were determined to be the same from a taxonomy standpoint, it could have to do with local varieties in different regions and the languages of those areas across.

              1. Vicky Austin*

                Racism does effect all aspects of society, but I don’t think the use of the word “pigeon” is necessarily an instance of racism. It’s my understanding that all pigeons are doves, but not all doves are pigeons. Also, pigeons weren’t always considered to be the filthy rat-birds that they are today. For several centuries, people kept them as pets. The flocks of pigeons that hover around every train station in America are the descendants of pet pigeons that escaped.
                The dove of peace is a different bird species that lives in the Middle East and was mentioned in the Bible. It’s merely coincedence that this particular dove only comes in white, while pigeons come in all colors. I’ve even seen an ocassional white pigeon in a flock of grey, brown, and black birds.

              2. Pandop*

                Not all pigeons are considered vermin – my neighbour breeds racing/homing pigeons. I have never known what in the UK we refer to as doves being used in this way, which is another way to distinguish them over here.
                Pigeons = useful pets
                Doves = ornamental pets

              1. Róisín*

                I was going to point that out. I was taught the word as “dove” and discovered later that it’s also the word for pigeon. Languages are neat.

    5. Gumby*

      Heh. I was very very tempted at one point to put up some Demotivators (from Despair.com) to replace the “company values” posters that the former tenants of our office space had up. I did not do it but when I mentioned the urge to a co-worker they really wished I had. I think they might be more of an ‘okay in your own office but keep it out of the hallway’ thing.

      1. Pebbles*

        One of the managers here has the “Meetings” one: “None of us is as dumb as all of us.” :D

      2. starsaphire*

        I had a friend who actually did do that — and NO ONE noticed. For, like, years.

      3. Grey Coder*

        I couldn’t think of anything to contribute to this thread, but you’ve reminded me that I gave a Demotivators calendar to one job as a parting gift when I quit, with carefully selected relevant posters.

      1. Vemasi*

        It’s weird, because a lot of them can be read in a feminist way. Much like Orson Scott Card with Speaker for the Dead, apparently a lot of artists and writers just… accidentally? have good messages? That they explicitly don’t believe in?

        1. Charamei*

          A lot of writers and artists accidentally put bad messages into their work, too. It’s not too surprising that it sometimes happens the other way around (although it is a much more pleasant surprise).

        2. Just Employed Here*

          I think it shows they’ve really thought about it, intelligently and from different points of view.

          Then they’ve somehow got stuck on an inexplicably stupid point of view (maybe for emotional reasons or something), and have decided that that’s theirs.

  5. AndersonDarling*

    At a potluck, co-worker put beer in the cheese dip because a rival co-worker was AA.
    She told me after the event that she put a few drops of beer in. I don’t know what she thought would happen since it was a giant bowl of dip and there wouldn’t have been a way to taste it. It was just a sad, petty power move.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        Yeah, the co-worker had some serious issues with working with others, but that crossed into evil maniac territory. Gossip, okay. Stink eyes, okay. Sneaking something into someone’s food? That crosses the line.

        1. Drew*

          I once made queso can carne where the meat wasn’t immediately obvious and realized as the office vegetarian was about to take a bite that I hadn’t labeled it. Horrified, I tried to stop her, but she just shrugged and said, “I’m already cheating with cheese, a little beef isn’t going to kill me.”

          Still feel bad over it, though.

          1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            “Cheating with cheese”? What? Cheese isn’t cheating when you’re a vegetarian.

            It’s nice that you felt bad and took her dietary restrictions seriously even though she was some kind of fad vegetarian who was getting vegetarian mixed up with vegan, argh. That’s why people don’t take vegetarians seriously all the time *twitch*

            1. Veggies*

              That’s harsh. I eat mostly vegetarian for health reasons, but sometimes it’s just not feasible, and since I don’t have a moral problem eating meat, it’s ok for me to eat it once in a while. Just as it’s ok for a diabetic or someone with heart problems to eat foods they typically should avoid once in a while.

              1. confidante's inferno*

                Sorry, I disagree. You don’t eat much meat, and that’s fine – but you’re not a vegetarian. Neither is the person in the story, if she’s willing to eat beef (and maybe non-vegetarian cheese).

                1. Mike*

                  All cheese is vegetarian, just not vegan.

                  Vegetarian just means you don’t eat meat (also there’s no motivation implications behind the term like vegan has). That said lots of people use “vegetarian” as an easy short-hand for their diets despite it not being completely accurate (maybe they only rarely eat meat or only one type of meat) and a “cheat” here or there doesn’t negate your overall diet.

            2. Green great dragon*

              There’s vegetarian cheese, and there’s non-vegetarian cheese (it’s the rennet).

            3. Prof. Kat*

              Some cheese is cheating, yes. Lots of cheeses (true parmigiano reggiano, gruyere, and others) contain rennet, which is taken from the stomach of a calf. There is vegetarian rennet, but only some cheeses are made with that. When I was vegetarian, I didn’t give up the naughty cheeses, but other folks choose to draw a line, and they’re technically correct.

            4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              In some countries, vegetarian means vegan. So it may not be a mix-up for that person, even though it may cause confusion for other folks who have a different context.

            5. JHunz*

              It’s equally – or more – likely that the person you’re responding to was the one mixing up their dietary restrictions

            6. StaceyIzMe*

              I don’t agree. People can exercise their personal agency about what they eat just as much as they can about any other area of their life. Are you vegan until noon, low carb until tea time and gluten free until the evening snack? Fine. As long as I don’t have to observe the same restrictions, tolerate excessive virtue signalling or pay more than a reasonable upcharge for my own special requirements/ preferences, it’s not my issue to bother with. If you wax on about the glories of organic produce, the anti-inflammatory properties of tumeric or the reasonable cost of lunch at McDonalds, I’m here to nod agreeably, maybe learn something interesting and serve what I can reasonably manage when hosting. Try to take away my privilege of choosing (literally or metaphorically) and I reserve the right to consider you a bumptious cretin.

              1. StaceyIzMe*

                Oops, missed the comment upthread where someone snuck beer into the dip. Yeah, that’s just wrong.

            7. ChimericalOne*

              That’s harsh. And not necessarily accurate, either. There’s a reason why vegetarians sometimes label themselves “ovo-lacto vegetarian” — not all vegetarians are. Veganism is simply a subset of vegetarianism. Non-vegan vegetarians *may or may not* eat some combination of eggs, dairy, and honey. And she may have been a generally-vegan vegetarian.

              I’m not sure if you’re also judging her for “cheating” on whatever restrictions she chose to apply to her diet, too, but if so, that’s also not helpful. I’m someone who practices ethically-conscious eating (in the form of greatly reduced meat intake, consumption of vegan egg/dairy substitutes when practical, seeking free range eggs and grass-fed beef when I do consume animal products) and I find it much simpler to just tell people I’m “mostly vegetarian” (nobody really wants the long explanation above, and the label “ethically-conscious eating” tends to devolve into the aforementioned long explanation). And that quickly gets shortened to “vegetarian” in pretty much everyone’s minds. I try not to eat meat in front of my coworkers so they don’t get confused (or judge), but I do eat meat about once every month or two from a specific “cheat” place, and overall, reducing my meat intake from multiple times daily to once a month is vastly significant in terms of environmental impact.

              I’ve maintained this diet for 5 or 6 years now, as well. So, just because someone eats a little cheese or beef doesn’t mean they’re participating in a passing fad when they use the term “vegetarian” to describe themselves.

              (Honestly, we don’t all need to go fully vegetarian or vegan to save the Earth. If everyone cut meat back from “daily” to more like “monthly” or “quarterly,” we’d be in a much, much better place from that alone.)

          2. Jadelyn*

            …I mean, “con carne” literally means “with meat”, so…my sympathy is kinda limited.

            1. MM*

              She said it wasn’t labeled. So the name of the thing really doesn’t come into it.

          3. Mike*

            Reminds me of the comic Leftover Soup comic where the chef comes running from the kitchen to stop his vegan friend from eating a dish with fish sauce in it.

        2. Minocho*

          I mark ingredients on my potluck food (I have friends with allergies), and I make my dishes vegetarian friendly, usually with a separate thing meat (as appropriate to the dish) that can be added by non-vegetarians.

          Mistakes and oversights happen, but violating someone’s food on purpose is just terrible. And it can be very dangerous!

          1. Bryce*

            Thank you. It’s always frustrating to try and track down who made what, find out what’s in it, and get to the table before everyone’s mixed up the utensils and cross-contacted everything anyway.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        It is horrible but also incompetent. Which I guess if you have to be horrible you may as well do a super crappy job and have no actual effect (it’s the horrible thought that counts).

    1. Observer*

      I think that “petty” is too kind for that.

      If I heard of someone doing that, I don’t care why, it would TOTALLY change my perception of that person, and I would stop trusting them.

    2. AppleStan*

      That is…beyond horrific.

      So what happened if someone who is allergic to beer or the ingredients in beer had eaten that dip?

      What if the person who was in AA also had some (unshared) reasons for being in AA, like it was a mandatory part of a suspended sentence, and they had to be tested for alcohol?

      You. just. don’t. mess. with. someone’s. sobriety!

      I think I wouldn’t trust that person with a paperclip after that disclosure.

      1. AndersonDarling*

        OH, I never trusted her before that event. She would fabricate battles with people so she could win them. She always saw competitions in what people ate (My food is healthier!), what they did on the weekends (I watched better stuff on TV!), and every detail of everything. It was a very toxic environment so none of it stood out more than the other craziness of the department.

        1. Bilateralrope*

          If someone tried something that petty with me, would it be wrong to try to lose as hard as possible ?

          Or at least claim you did if she cant prove anything.

      2. Teapot analyst*

        A few drops in the food isn’t going to have any noticeable effect. She’s doing it to make a point, not to influence anything. I still think it’s horribly wrong, but it’s a moral point and very unlikely to be a physical one.

        Food often has a bit of natural fermentation. One prevalent example is soft drinks:

        1. Worst Allergies*

          I beg to differ. I’m highly allergic to hops, and extremely sensitive to them in ANY context, so a teaspoon of beer might have been enough to set me off and send me to the hospital.

          1. Teapot analyst*

            I’m not denying that it could be a problem for other reasons (wheat for example), but a few drops of alcohol in a large container aren’t much different than many commercial foods.

            1. valentine*

              I assume she was lying because people will admit to lesser crimes to float the idea. Had AndersonDarling approved, the fiend might’ve confessed to a/the larger amount.

        2. D'Arcy*

          “A few drops” isn’t going to have any noticeable effect if you’re only worried about getting drunk, but it can have an enormous effect on food sensitivities and allergies. Speaking as a former EMT whose best friend has a “drop dead” level allergy to milk, I have absolutely no tolerance for people fucking around with this.

      3. PersephoneUnderground*

        Yes, that’s really messed up! It actually could have made them violently I’ll if they were taking Antabuse (a common medication given to people in alcohol treatment for the explicit purpose of preventing you from drinking because it makes even a tiny amount of alcohol cause vomiting). Doctors warn people on it to be extremely careful about even having small amounts of alcoholic ingredients in their food, such as red wine sauce, even if the alcohol is cooked off it could still cause a reaction. So yeah, she’s lucky they weren’t taking that medicine or it was little enough not to trigger a hospital trip. Seriously not cool. This has been your PSA, when someone in AA says they can’t have alcohol, they might mean more immediate and extreme consequences than you think.

    3. The Tin Man*

      That right there is a garbage human being. I mean what even was the endgame, to get the rival off the wagon? To “prove” alcoholism isn’t a thing? To show anyone she told this to that she is a terrible person who should not be trusted with anything, personal or work-related?

      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        I was coming to say this. That isn’t just petty—it’s vile. And disgusting. And despicable. And 1000% garbage human behavior.

      2. dumblewald*

        Ugh. I think it’s probably a personal satisfaction thing. While it would t be physically harmful, I have several coworkers who don’t drink for religious reasons – this would be cruel to them as well.

    4. Fiddlesticks*

      Wow. I would have reported that woman to HR, stat. Putting things in people’s food could easily be the slow start to full-on bunny boiler.

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      OMFG what if they were taking that medicine that makes you sick if you ingest alcohol O_O

      That’s up there with “They’re allergic to shell fish and the secret ingredient is shrimp juice haha haha haha”, disgusting.

      Messing with food can carry heavy legal consequences. Especially since she’s telling people about it. A delivery driver recently shared a video of him dipping his junk into someone’s food because of a reaction to how little they had tipped.

      1. costume teapot*

        THIS. So much this. I’m on a medication right now that putting alcohol into my system could actually cause fatal liver failure. I have to get my liver functions tested routinely to get ahead of any damage to it. I absolutely do not want someone else making the decision to risk my life like that.

      2. PersephoneUnderground*

        Yes, this – Antabuse is the med. I explained just how hardcore it is above.

    6. Bunny Girl*

      Yikes. One of my favorite cupcake recipes is a chocolate stout cake with whiskey chocolate filling and an irish creme frosting. I made it once for St. Patty’s Day at the (really, really) laid back job that I had but I put a sign right in front saying they were made with alcohol so that anyone sustaining for any reason could skip the treats that day.

        1. Bunny Girl*

          Oh sure! I use Tasty’s Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe, but just bake it in cupcake tins (Wilton has a good conversion chart for baking & temp depending on what cupcake tin you’re using). Then when those are cooled, scoop a little of the center out with the spoon. To make the whiskey chocolate, put some milk chocolate chips over a double boiler with about a tablespoon of Irish whiskey. Melt that and if it seizes up, just add a little Crisco. Take that off the double boiler for a few minutes then fill the cupcakes with it. For the frosting, you can just use your favorite buttercream frosting (I like the one from Two Sisters) and swap out your milk for Irish Cream and be a little more liberal with it than the recipe lists for milk.

        2. Pippa*

          I’m not the person you’re asking, but I often use Nigella Lawson’s recipe for chocolate Guinness cake. It’s delicious and really reliable – comes out great every time! I’ll put the link in a reply if anyone wants it. (Also, sorry if this is getting too off-topic. But cake!)

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        I have a colleague who makes liquor-infused cake but the alcohol is OBVIOUS. I mean, you can quite literally smell the liquor and I have joked that you could light a match nearby and set off some of the fumes. And she will only share in-person and warns everyone anyway.

        We probably shouldn’t be eating cake that potent at work, but hey.

        1. the_scientist*

          ha, my dad gets one of those rum cakes from a coworker every year and I swear I get a buzz from one slice….you can smell it from across the room!

        2. Human Sloth*

          I do this with Rum balls at our end of the year party. I do label them, but only people with no sense of smell would need the warning. It is indeed a very Merry Christmas.

      2. louise*

        I’ve made these cupcakes for years using Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe. When I went wheat free* and lactose free, I swapped out Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour and vegan sour cream and I swear the cupcakes got even better, which has never in the bet history of the world been said about GF treats.

        *Guiness isn’t necessarily wheat free, but I’m not allergic; merely gut sensitive to high concentrations.

    7. an infinite number of monkeys*

      At such a small concentration that seems unlikely to be enough to cause a problem, but still. That’s really, really, REALLY bad.

      An event I help coordinate involved a dinner. Our sponsoring host provides the meal, with strict instructions that no alcohol is allowed (the attendees are government employees attending the dinner as a work function and we are not permitted to drink on duty). I realized halfway through bread pudding that I was getting a slight buzz on, asked the host, and she winked and said it was made with bourbon – that was her sly little way of getting around our fussy old regulations. But at least one of our attendees abstains for religious reasons, and others might well have very good reasons I’m not aware of (and as an event organizer, never need to ask, because there’s not supposed to be any alcohol available anyway). The sponsor/beneficiary relationship makes it very difficult to be ungracious, but next year’s instructions for hosts will make that restriction MUCH clearer. You can’t sneak mind-altering substances into people without their enthusiastic consent, ffs.

      The things you think you don’t need to tell people. Ugh, I’m still pretty steamed about that.

      1. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

        Timothy Leary, who isn’t exactly known as a voice of moderation, gave two commandments for the “psychedelic age.” One of them was “thou shalt not alter thy neighbor’s consciousness without his consent.” This person thinks she’s being clever and rebellious, but that’s the same attitude that puts acid in the punch at a party and doesn’t people it’s electric.

        I’m not anti-alcohol, or anti-most other drugs; I am strongly opposed to dosing people with anything, including alcohol, without their knowledge and consent.

        1. Grapey*


          I made ‘special’ brownies once (clearly ‘marked’ with cosmo sprinkles) and an acquaintance tried to trick another abstaining friend into eating one of them. Acquaintance was promptly told off and is not allowed back at any of my parties. Friend could smell the special ingredient from three feet away and was not actually tricked.

          One, do not use my special cosmos brownies for evil and trickery! Shame! I try to foster a culture of trust at my parties.
          Two, special brownies take a lot of time and ingredients to waste on someone that doesn’t want one.

          1. PhyllisB*

            When my son was in drug court I would occasionally go with him to his weekly court sessions. (No, I wasn’t being helicopter mom, the judge encouraged and welcomed family attendance.) One of the young men was being sanctioned for failing a drug test and getting arrested for beating someone up. He explained he had been at a party and someone had put marijuana in the brownies served. After he had eaten several, the “friend” gleefully told him what he did. Thus, resulting in the beating up. Not the best response maybe, but this young man was on the verge of being sent to prison for non-compliance, so I could understand his reaction. On a side note, I think the judge did, too because all she did that day was assign him community service, and set back his time in drug court.

        2. Salymander*

          Slipping something into another person’s food or drink, even a tiny bit, is reprehensible. It goes beyond petty, and into Disney villain territory.

          When I was in high school, a boy I was acquainted with showed up at my house one day. Uninvited. He offered me alcohol. At the time, I did not drink. I get migraines, and alcohol is a massive migraine trigger for me. I politely refused, and told this boy the reason because he seemed annoyed. So he *knew* the potential consequences.

          We were sitting in the kitchen drinking iced tea, and I turned away to answer the phone. When I next took a drink, there was just enough alcohol in it to be detectable. Jerkboy just smiled, and tried to lie about it, like I was just imagining things. He smiled and laughed like the whole thing was a joke, until I dragged him out of my house by the ear and slammed the door in his face. He said he was just tired of me being an uptight b*”*h. Pretty sure he had a lot of nasty ulterior motives, but I think mainly he just thought it would be funny to mess with me. Of course, it was the 1980s, so there were no real consequences for him.

          Fortunately, the alcohol he used to dose me “on the sly” was peppermint schnapps. When my iced tea suddenly smelled like mouthwash, it was really obvious what Jerkboy had done. Thus, I was able to avoid the days of blinding pain and puking misery that a migraine brings.

          I still worry sometimes that Jerkboy has improved his illicit dosing technique over the years. If someone will purposely risk another person’s health in that way just for a joke, they are clearly lacking in some very fundamental ways. Honestly, who does that? The thought that someone’s *adult co-worker* did the same thing *at work* just baffles me. WTF? Are they so out of touch with acceptable behavior and lacking in a moral compass that they think this is normal? This must be like working in an office with a Disney villain in disguise. Again, I say WTF?

      2. Jules the 3rd*

        If you were getting a buzz, that’s definitely enough to mess with people on certain meds. I know someone on anti-psychotics who got hallucinations from some liquor infused cake. He thought it wouldn’t be a problem, because it was so little, but it was.

      3. Observer*

        Please make a HUGE fuss about it – don’t wait for “more explicit instructions” next year.

        If there was enough bourbon for you to actually get a buzz, even the slightest, there was enough in there to be potentially dangerous to people. I’m NOT catastrophising here. There are SO many reasons for people to NEED to stay away from alcohol, that in any significantly sized group, you are almost certain to find at least one or two. So, when the alcohol comes in a bottle and people can drink other things, it’s not that big of a deal because you can just not drink. Even people in AA and the like can sometimes deal with it – or they have the option to bow out. But when you do stuff like this you force people to do things that could seriously hurt them.

      4. AMPG*

        I was once at a lunch sponsored by the federal government with multiple international guests, including some from Muslim-majority countries, and the vendor served a dessert with alcohol-soaked fruit in it without telling us. As soon as I tasted the dessert I turned to my tablemate to warn her not to eat it, only to find that she had already eaten most of hers (not recognizing the alcohol taste). Then one of the waitstaff came over and started to admonish her, because she was apparently supposed to have asked for a replacement dessert, except that none of us had been told there was alcohol in the dish, so wouldn’t have known to ask. It was a terrible situation all around.

    8. JJ Bittenbinder*

      There was a well-known Reddit thread a year ago in the legal advice sub, where a woman wrote in and said she had been tricked into eating something that she should not have at work (she keeps kosher and a coworker who knows this made a pie crust with lard and told her it was made with butter). A few posters connected the dots and were able to supply the OP of that thread with a thread that her evil coworker had posted the week before, in which the evil coworker had complained about this woman rejecting office culture and getting upset that they threw her a baby shower (against the employee’s religion) and it slowly came out that the evil coworker really was targeting this employee and creating a hostile work environment. It was completely wild.

      This situation you just described reminded me of that. Way to go, evil coworkers, who mess with everything a person holds dear and relies on for survival.

      1. DoctorateStrange*

        I remember that! I hope the woman that was Kosher got justice. I can’t imagine working with someone with such animosity.

        1. JJ Bittenbinder*

          There was an update in which she said she had retained a lawyer and they were “settling out of court, to minimize publicity”, so I’m hopeful she got some good cash, had a peaceful rest of her pregnancy, and is happily doing whatever she wants to be doing.

          And I hope her former manager is tricked into eating something unpleasant or somehow gets what she deserves. May every driver right in front of her slow down just as the light turns yellow, or may her every sweater sleeve get caught in her car door.

          1. Librarian of SHIELD*

            Okay, “may your every sweater sleeve get caught in your car door” is officially my new favorite curse.

      2. SeluciaMD*

        This was the first I’d heard of this Reddit thread and thank you very much for alerting me to its existence. Holy crap that coworker was banana crackers of the first order! Talk about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Reddit was a nice conduit for karma there… :)

        Why can’t some people integrate the concept that what makes *them* happy does not necessarily make *other people* happy? Crazytown!

      3. iglwif*

        That once happened to me — that is, the person who fed me (and another Jewish vegetarian; yes, she knew we were both Jewish and both vegetarians) pie made with lard didn’t explicitly tell us there was butter or Crisco in there, but she did wait until we’d eaten the pie to loudly announce that lard was the secret ingredient in her exceptionally flaky crust, and laughed at our horrified reaction. I did not sue her, because what would be the point of suing a gigging jazz musician, but I never ate at her house again after that.

    9. Kms1025*

      thats beyond petty…thats some serious vindictive asshat material right there…akin to putting sugar in a diabetics food!!!

    10. That Californian*

      When I was staying at a hostel in Italy, because of a language difficulty a sober traveler at several bites of his tiramisu before realizing it had alcohol in it. The poor guy spent the rest of the meal wondering if he had fallen off the wagon after 10 years. I tried to reassure him that it didn’t count because it was an accident and not that much, but he said, “Yeah, but if I say that my brain might try to tell me all sorts of other things don’t count. I don’t know what to do.” He said he was going to call his sponsor to talk it through, and I hope he did. He was just so sad.
      I always think of that experience when I’m tempted to think someone else’s restrictions aren’t that big a deal. We don’t know what the stakes are in other people’s lives.

    11. Frankie*

      Wow, drugging the cheese dip to mess with someone’s sobriety!! That’s not petty, that’s extremely messed up.

      I wouldn’t trust that she put in “a few drops” either.

  6. Putting Out Fires, Esq.*

    We had a terrible facility for a while and cleaning was…sporadic at best. Theoretically someone was supposed to be vacuuming but this was clearly not happening. There were dead roaches around (this is the South and enormous roaches are a fact of life and not themselves indicative of cleanliness) that no one would pick up. So one of my coworkers made a post-it note tombstone for one that had been there for several days. The “tombstone” stood for a week.

    1. Clorinda*

      A colleague of mine left a French fry on her classroom floor to see how long it would take to get swept up. Answer: five months, and the students weren’t sure if it was swept up or simply disintegrated over spring break that year.

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        Our janitorial services in our dorms during my undergrad were absolutely horrible following a staffing change…to the point where the ongoing joke was to leave partially full soda bottles in a stairwell, adding one or two a day. I think they got up to about 30 before anything was cleaned (and by cleaned, I mean they threw them away, not mopped or anything).

        Thankfully by the end of that semester the college fired that company and hired a new company that was much, much, much better.

        1. Putting Out Fires, Esq.*

          I’ll be honest, I go back and forth over blame for janitorial services and the idea that grown adults need to be responsible for cleaning their environment, but that facility was hell in so many other ways and we’re already doing emotionally-hard jobs. It was one indignity TOO FAR.

          1. SignalLost*

            I’m of the opinion you should keep your workspace clean (tidy I don’t care about) and clean up messes, but I’m glad janitorial services are there to do stuff like vacuum (my office’s days end at different times; vacuuming EO(m)D would be disruptive to someone else) and I can’t imagine toilet paper would ever be restocked.

            1. Cathie from Canada*

              Side note — at the university building I worked for, the cleaning staff had adopted the practice of not throwing out any almost-finished toilet paper rolls — conservation, save the planet, etc. Eventually, the toilet stalls were littered with almost-finished toilet paper rolls, stacked precariously on top of each of the big fresh new rolls in the toilet paper holders. So I know it is ecologically unsound, but one day I got so fed up with dealing with all the tp scraps from the partial rolls that I just threw them all out, stuffing them deep into the garbage bags and making sure nobody else saw me do it.
              I guess offices make us all a little crazy sometimes!

                1. jb*

                  Because office toilet paper is generally the crappiest of single-ply kinds, and good TP is cheap.

                2. Camellia*

                  This could be considered theft, unfortunately. It doesn’t matter how much or how little is left on the roll.

              1. Bryce*

                I’m guilty of that at home, I wind up with a “take care of it later” pile of tubes on the back of the tank.

            2. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

              Our building is owned and maintained by a separate facilities company – who have taken the draconian view that there must be no personal rubbish containers since they have perfectly serviceable rubbish bins in a central location on each floor. This is despite the fact that one floor had those little fruit flies buzzing around said bin for MONTHS last year.
              They’ve even taken steps to THROW AWAY personal rubbish containers found on people’s desks! As in perfectly serviceable plastic tubs that people keep pens in, or other desk detritus. No thought to whether they actually contain rubbish – no! They look like a bin, therefore it contravenes their stupid policy.
              (I’m personally annoyed because my friend was bought one of those mini skips for Secret Santa, and we used to share it and keep paper clips, the rubber band ball and the occasional semi-important post it note on it – and then it was gone. Nothing else on the desk had been touched – so we know the desks hadn’t been *gasp* CLEANED!)

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                Our office has done away with garbage collection at the desks. They give you a little bin to put minor trash in, which you then have to dump in the main bin yourself. Yet, the janitorial staff will come by, wipe down your desk (rearranging stuff, grrrrr.), but leave the on-desk garbage bin right where it was. The will vacuum the floor, though.

                This is in a crummy new open plan office, of course.

                The whole place is designed and built like people were an afterthought, the aesthetics come first, hipster and bro-culture values come next, and real people come dead last.
                – The dining/break area seats are all dreadfully uncomfortable (cheap plastic bowl chairs in the cafeteria and eating areas) and either too low (like for kids) or too high (like bar seating.)
                – The conference room seats are all too narrow for anyone not fitting the bro standard size 40 regular men or size 12 women, and don’t adjust.
                – The desk seating only fits “most” (young, thin, able-bodied), but they stole the ergonomic chairs from all of us who had ergonomic chairs. It was more important that the desk seats be “identical” than for people to have chairs that fit.
                – Half of the conference rooms have bar stool type chairs and high tables, which a lot of older and disabled folks can’t use. It’s ok, according to the university ADA office, because the other half are normal. When they end up all full, I’ll be screwed.
                – The shades auto-adjust with the sun brightness. Kinda cool from an ecological standpoint, but the glare is hideous, especially since the light level is auto set to bright, not dim. I end up adjusting the overhead lights multiple times a day.
                – All of the parking lots are a minimum of 500 feet from the buildings, even the disabled spaces, but the service vehicle spots are right up against the buildings. It takes me 10 minutes to limp from the parking area to the elevators.
                – The average age of the employees is 44 and almost 30% women, but everything is designed like it was for 20 year old brogrammer men.
                – You have to be your own janitor, and empty your own trash. The janitors come by and mess with your desk to clean it.

                1. Annabelle*

                  Hi Curmudgeon – you should be able to push back on the ADA parking lot requirements with your office/university. The ADA requires that parking is in the shortest accessible route to the building they serve. If there are spaces that are currently closer than your lots, then they should be providing ADA specific parking spots in that location.

          2. Environmental Compliance*

            For the college, all they were hired to do was clean bathrooms & restock, then vacuum the hallways and mop the stairwells. And I’m not convinced they actually ever went into their janitorial (locked for students) closets to get out a mop bucket.

            Students were still responsible for keeping it tidy, and cleaning their own rooms as well as reporting common area messes, but the reports went nowhere and that’s how we had the Soda Bottle Pyramid.

            1. Artemesia*

              When janitors were employed by public schools they reported to the principal and the schools were clean. Privatizing the service and hiring a company with a cut rate bid almost always led to filthy schools where cleaning was done ‘to the rule’ not the need and skimpily at that. At my kids school someone barfed on the wall in the restroom and it was there literally all year dried and disgusting.

            1. Vemasi*

              It depends, some are not. It depends on their contract. Some are hired only to vacuum and clean windows and empty trash. Or less than that, or more. Some offices probably pay to have someone wash their break room dishes, but most do not. It depends. Companies should be clear to their cleaning staff and their regular staff about what is expected of them in terms of cleanliness.

            2. StaceyIzMe*

              It may also be that the company they work for is being paid, but they are not being paid commensurate with the work needed. Also, there are messes in schools, businesses and other public spaces now that people would have been shocked to make years ago. I’ve been surprised by the messes in restaurants, bathrooms, on airplanes and in other shared spaces. It’s not a good look for any of us.

          3. km*

            At my last job, there was one single-occupant bathroom (small office). So happy about my new job having janitorial services so I can stop cleaning people’s pubes (one person was… a shedder), feces, and bodily fluids off of the toilet. (The guy who cheerfully admitted to always forgetting to flush was a special delight. I knew so much about his bowel health.)

      2. Bunny Girl*

        We had a manager who used to hide whole vegetables behind the food line because she didn’t think the night shift was cleaning behind it (we were). I just remember moving the line to clean it and it was a 25 minute mystery trying to find out why there was a whole cucumber back there. That manager was an ass.

      3. 2horseygirls*

        We had the test pretzel that a co-worker dropped, and decided to leave as a test.

        I got tired of hearing the complaints, so I brought my Dyson from home one night, and went over every nook and cranny. It was an average size office with eight cubicles + manager’s officewitharealdoor – I emptied the canister 5 times and actually overheated it – I thought my husband was going to kill me for a few seconds until I realized it would cool down.

        1. TootsNYC*

          My mom worked for state government and was always encouraged to keep the morale of her team up with any non-financial ways. So she said, “Can we have a CLEAN bathroom?” The powers-that-be would put in a request for a cleaning, and it was still sort of deep-level grimy. They’d mop, but there was still gray in all the wrinkles and crevices and corners.

          So one weekend she asked if anyone wanted to volunteer, and they went in and did a REAL cleaning of the bathroom, to show the janitor folks what the workers meant when they said “a clean bathroom.” It sparkled apparently.

          And when she told her supervisor that THIS was what they meant, the supervisor wrote her up for asking her people to work on the weekend.

          But they had a really clean bathroom!

      4. Vemasi*

        The company that runs our school’s cleaning staff recently started hiring current students??? And since then no one has swept or vacuumed in the library even once, and they only empty the trash like one a week. They were already not ever dusting the shelves, so I’ve been doing that. Now I have to get down on my hands and knees and pick up individual spiral-notebook leavings and hole punches from under tables.

      5. Purplestar*

        OMG, I dropped a Cheerio on the floor under my desk…left it there to see if the cleaning company was sweeping…it stayed there for 6 weeks until I sent a photo of it to the franchise owner. I just absolutely refused to pick it up. Fortunately (?) I took over the contract and we now have a new franchisee who sweeps under the desks.

    2. MCL*

      This reminds me of the growing memorial decorations around the corpse of a raccoon in Toronto when the city took a really long time to come dispose of it. I think he was surrounded by candles and flowers by the time a waste management worker eventually scraped him off the sidewalk.

      1. Clorinda*

        That’s actually lovely. Canadians can do pettiness with real style. (I grew up there, and I say this with love.)

        1. learnedthehardway*

          My current favourite is that someone in my hometown put a “For Rent” sign on a pothole and took out an ad in the local newspaper about it, describing the pothole has a “3 bedroom with all amenities”.

          1. Pebbles*

            Just this week in my local area one guy was so fed up with the potholes that he went and bought a bunch of supplies, then took his truck out to each of the potholes to fill them himself. He had a sign on the truck saying “Repairing road with my own money. Donations Welcome”.

            1. Nicelutherangirl*

              He must be related to the self-sufficient, government hating Ron Swanson, though Ron would not have asked for donations.

          2. Mr. Tyzik*

            There was a guy in the UK who got long-standing potholes fixed in his neighborhood by spray painting penises around them.

            The ones he tagged were fixed within 2 days.

            1. Cathie from Canada*

              Love it — brilliant idea! Here in Saskatchewan, where the winters are cold, the grain trucks are heavy, and there are 26,000 km of highways, it is a continuing challenge for any government to keep up with pot holes and frost heaves — we often say we have two seasons, winter and construction. CAA runs “worst road” contests every spring, and I frequently read about community volunteers trying to fix their own potholes on highways that can be virtually impassible. Must pass on to them the penis spray idea!

              1. Llama Face!*

                Yep, from another Saskatchewan resident. (Hi neighbour!)
                That old joke about europeans driving on the left and Saskatchewinians driving on what’s left gets circulated every year, for good reason.

          3. RabbitRabbit*

            There’s a Chicago artist named Jim Bachor who fills in potholes with mosaic artwork. He wears an orange hi-viz vest, puts out orange cones, the whole thing.

            1. TootsNYC*

              Several years ago there was an artist in the NYC subways who used to fill in gaps in the tile with white-tile mosaics. He got in trouble because sometimes he removed loose tiles near the spot he was working so he could get a really good seal and “fix” in that spot (and so they didn’t just fall off on their own later); they claimed he would create the gaps. He was like, “I don’t need to create them, buddy–and I don’t make them bigger, because part of the fun is fitting the artwork into the constriction.”

          4. Middle School Teacher*

            Someone in my city has been planting flowers in potholes. I believe they are petunias.

            1. Wendy Darling*

              I read an article about a town that planted a small garden in a very large and long-tenured pothole.

      2. Tesserae*

        I was just about to mention that! Somebody started it by placing a photograph of a raccoon in a decorative frame next to the body & it just went on from there.

      3. Smidge*

        There’s a dead bird on the top of a skyway where I live, we may or may not have post-its on our window RIPing our dead skyway friend. He’s been there 6 mos so far, because cleaning the tops of skyways is not a thing.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I should have done this for the armadillo on my block last year–it took eight weeks for him to decompose. In the heat of summer.

    3. Holly*

      This reminds me of when I was in a job where I had to schedule people for training classes at certain sites. When a site would close up, myself and my colleague I was friends with (we were young seasonal help) drew a pictures of the tombstone with the site name on it so no one would book people there. We received a complaint from our manager that it was offensive to someone because of their religion.

      1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

        I an a colleague are in charge of the Team Newsletter, which no one takes seriously except our manager, who sucks and isn’t going to change. For this edition I proposed an Obituaries section for the people who left the team (quit, fired, transferred, whatever) because it’s been a revolving door for the last 3 years. I don’t expect that’ll make it past the planning meeting but it made me feel a little better.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          There was a point where our company hadn’t changed out a photo of customer support & tech support for years so many had left so…we Xd out the ones who had left and labelled it the same way as our Survivor pool. And kept adding Xs until one day someone from Marketing spotted it in our department and it was 70% outdated people. They rewrote that brochure.

    4. AnonEMoose*

      At our local Renaissance Festival, someone started a memorial to a dead mouse found on the grounds. This…escalated. To the point that someone built a mouse sized model of a church building. Complete with a wedge of cheese as the steeple topper. A couple of years later, it’s still there.

      1. AKchic*

        I love this. We get bears at our renaissance site. And moose. And just about any other Alaskan wildlife critter in a city area backed against a national park (we’re on 10 acres).

        I don’t think anyone would ever notice a mouse-sized church, though.

        1. AnonEMoose*

          The church isn’t the size of a mouse…it’s a size that mice might be able to attend. So it’s something like 18 inches or so high at the top of a steeple. I do have fun watching people notice it…little kids get absolutely fascinated.

      2. Hlyssande*

        YES! I remember that one! There was actually a funeral service for the mouse – I managed to pass by while it was in progress.

      3. Llama Face!*

        That is really cute. (Of course the only thing going through my head now is, “What is this?! A church for MICE?? It has to be at least…. 3… times the size!”) :D

    5. Live & Learn*

      Years ago a roommate and I had a BBQ at our place and with people coming and going all day flies got in the house. While I was in class my roommate killed all the flies in the house but left their bodies in place. I picked them up with sticky tape and taped them to her bedroom door with a note that said “you know what you did…”

    6. Mockingjay*

      We too have a slack cleaning crew. We have a dead Palmetto bug in the corner of our office, near my officemate’s desk. It’s been there for A YEAR.

    7. sunshyne84*

      hahaha I had a teacher in middle school that did this. He called himself The Roachfather. One of my best school memories!

  7. Petty*

    I work for a book publishing company, and we published a memoir by someone who was particularly odious. Every time I found a copy of the book on our free book shelves, I threw it directly into a recycling bin.

    1. Arielle*

      I did this with a donation to the thrift shop I worked at in college, except it was a whole set of audiobooks on cassette tape which were super satisfying to throw in the dumpster.

      1. Watry*

        I too did this a couple of times, straight into the recycling box. Wasn’t going to put those on the shelves, regardless of policy.

    2. Mim*

      I, um, turned a biography about a particularly odious, hateful poltician in the “new books” section of the children’s library so the spine faced in. I was pretty pleased that none of the librarians (who keep on top of things and definitely would have noticed) felt they needed to correct the orientation of the book for weeks.

      This was as a library patron, not employee, so I guess it’s OT. but yeah.

      1. Janie*

        My library owns a copy of a really nasty, fat-hating children’s book. I may have, when I was working there, thrown it behind the (solid wood) bookshelf at one point.

      2. Alli525*

        Yep I do this at bookstores occasionally. I’ll tuck a book behind another one, or turn it around so the pundit/politician’s face isn’t showing.

      3. Artemesia*

        I did that sort of thing at book stores regularly — put the odious biography under the pile of biographies of decent humans or travel books or whatever was less a blight on our souls

      4. Edith*

        We did something similar at my library, albeit not a public library, with a beautiful brand new hardcover set of a rather odious series of religious novels someone donated. They didn’t spend a second in the main stacks, instead going straight to closed storage. They’re still in the catalog and available to check out, you just have to ask for them at the circulation desk, which to my knowledge has never happened.

        Most of the books in storage are pretty old, so these stick out like a sore thumb. I’ll admit I get a chuckle whenever I come across them.

      5. Vemasi*

        Someone was doing this to a biography of a particular, possibly current president that I put out in our biography display, slapping it facedown. I appreciated the sentiment, but I did keep correcting it because I put it out there so students could educate themselves, not as an endorsement.

      6. Emma*

        Ha! I worked at a library when the 50 shades of grey books came out. I don’t tell people what to enjoy, but I was extremely angry that they were being marketed as kinky smut when they were actually a fictionalised textbook on domestic violence.

        So I reclassified all the copies as crime thrillers instead of romance.

        No regrets!

        1. Vemasi*

          Oh my gosh, hahaha, that’s so nefarious!

          Seeing how the warehouse has categorized the books they send us is one of the perks of my job. I do not know what they could possibly have been thinking sometimes.

      7. Elizabeth West*

        I have turned many a magazine around in stores when it had somebody I hated on the front. Books, too.

    3. Elitist Semicolon*

      At my old job, our department was required to attend a multi-day training in interpersonal communication run by an outside organization and which used a text published by a different outside org with very close ties to the Mormon Church. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with this in my sub-unit (which taught communication), and a couple of us skipped the training. One of my colleagues did us one better: she skipped the training, disassembled the book, made a beautiful array of paper flowers from the pages, and then placed the vase in the middle of our waiting area.

    4. Cat mom*

      As a librarian, I can imagine wanting to do these things, but at the risk of sounding like a pedantic bore, find that it collides with my training in ethics, censorship, and personal rights in the U.S. (Books actively promoting hate, self-hatred or violence in Youth and YA may be covered by different standards.) No judgments on others’ choices here, but this would bother me personally.

      Many years ago my local public library was asked to rent meeting space to the local John Birch Society for a day. After checking their policies and consulting with the Board, they allowed the rental. They also chose to close the library – with lots of advance notice – during the meeting as sentiments were running very high, which was controversial. I found this both ethical and difficult, and used it as an opportunity to discuss censorship as a slippery slope.

      Again, no judgments in a topic on pettiness, but rather a note on the ethical dilemmas faced by some librarians. Peace.

      1. Anomalous*

        With all respect, I think your library made the wrong call here. Not about renting to the Birchers, but in closing the library to the general public. In doing so, they elevated Birchers’ needs and views above everyone else’s.

      2. Academic Information Wizard*

        As a fellow librarian, I feel you on this. I may not like a book’s author/topic/whatever, but I can’t censor the collection and my patrons based on my personal feelings. I’m lucky enough to work in an academic library, so I’ve only ever dealt with one book challenge (50 Shades – it was not fun!)

      3. Classroom Diva*

        I appreciate you, Cat Mom! I was reading these comments and cringing.

        In a society that is founded on the free exchange of ideas, no one should be hiding books, turning them around, destroying them, or otherwise making them unusable with very (very) few exceptions (such as those you mentioned).

        Sometimes, people forget that there are alternative opinions, and–whether you like them or not–others are free to hold them and disseminate them. Moreover, if someone actually read opinions other than their own occasionally, they might find that they have more in common than they thought even with their “enemies,” and that others don’t necessarily fit easily into the “box” that has been created for them. Stereotypes and mischaracterizations abound.

        Thank you for being an ethical librarian. I really mean that. I was beginning to get depressed.

      4. Zweisatz*

        I understand where you’re coming from and I do believe it really depends on the author and book in question. But I subscribe to Karl Popper’s idea that “In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance.” Where you draw that line is another question.
        But you know, as a German that speaks to me.

      5. Salymander*

        You make a good point.

        I am always tempted to hide, flip around, or otherwise mess with certain books/magazines featuring really reprehensible people. It is kind of satisfying and funny. Some folks are just so awful and toxic, I cringe when I see their image.

        But, when my daughter was looking for “Catcher in the Rye” at our public library, we couldn’t find any of the 6 copies that the library possesses. None had been checked out, not for ages. The librarian said that someone had been hiding all the copies of all the books that they deemed offensive. They were all hidden somewhere in the library. Apparently, this is a *thing people do* to guard our morality. Like some sort of censorship police gone rogue.

        My daughter and I searched for ages, and we were able to find two of the copies. One had the bar code, title and author’s name blacked out with sharpie. It had been hidden behind some reference books. The other copy was turned around backwards and then reshelved in the wrong place. Where the other 4 copies are, we may never know.

        I am still tempted to turn over books or magazines featuring certain (repugnant, reprehensible, odious, disgusting, corrupt) people, because some public figures really do suck. But censorship sucks, too. And it is dangerous. No matter how tempting it is to mis-shelve “50 Shades of Abusiveness” or turn over a magazine so I don’t have to see a certain political figure’s sneering face.

  8. Justin*

    In my previous job, I had a weird, bad arrangement where, most of the time I worked in one builidng doing one thing and then sometimes down the block doing another thing.

    The staff at thing 2 were very, very, very, very, very close to each other (to the point that one had a baby and the others literally chose the child’s name), so when a new supervisor (who worked in the other building) basically was like, you are all not able to manage this place without supervision, she hired a director. They were big mad.

    So right before the director was due to arrive, they all switched their desks so she’d get the “worst” seat in the shared office.

    Joke was on them since she liked the seat, the place improved, and they all slowly left one by one.

    1. Justin*

      (To clarify, my supervisor was role x, and that woman also supervised these people, who were my peers in rank, though they didn’t treat me as such. Our mutual supervisor left and was replaced by a new person who saw their arrangment as being faulty (because it was) and made said changes. Far as I know the director is still there with a much better – and not weirdly intensely close – staff.)

    2. Elizabeth West*

      one had a baby and the others literally chose the child’s name

      Oh my damn.

      1. Over 60 & Forever Young*

        +1 – Literally thinking exactly the same – weirdness at a whole extra level!

    3. TootsNYC*

      Oh, that desk thing reminds me!

      I got a job in a grouping that had been 3 people; my position (person 2) used to report to person 1, but didn’t anymore, I now reported to the same person she did; and I supervised person 3.

      About a month after I got the job, I went on my wedding/honeymoon for 3 weeks, hiring a freelancer to help handle the workload, and she reported to person 3 since I was out. During that time we moved into our new building, and person 3 and I were put in a two-person office, with one seat by the window and another by the door.

      Since I was out, the freelancer would need to sit at my desk, and person 3 and person 1 thought it was not seemly for a freelancer to sit by the window for 2 weeks. So person 3 took that desk, and put the freelancer by the door.

      When I came back, I was expected to sit by the door. I thought, I won’t be petty, I’ll see how it goes. My boss tells me, move desks if you want, and I warned them when they did this that you might want to change things.

      I discovered that people were confused about who was in charge–some of them, who’d worked with me before the move, would flat-out ask, “who do I tell?” and the new IT crew would ask my junior for permission to turn our computers off for updates.

      We had to get a new filing cabinet, so my boss said, “when you move that in, you change desks, that’s an order,” bcs she knew I was hesitant to create unpleasantness.

      I did, and the two of them (1 and 3) kicked up a big fuss.

      I was telling my mom about the confrontations, and I reported that Person 3 had said, “Is this some sort of power play?” and my wise mom said, “Did you respond, ‘Yes, it is–and I win’?”

  9. Yikes*

    My executive director repeatedly ate my food from our fridge, so one day I threw his in the garbage. I’m not proud of myself but…he makes 5 times more than me and ate my expensive fruit salad from my lunchbox.

    1. Yikes*

      Oh! I also poured out his lactose-free milk after one particular incident where he ate my whole lunch. Put the container back empty.

      I am not a crazy person! These passive-aggressive things are totally uncharacteristic of what anyone who knows me would think of me. This is what working in a toxic workplace will drive you to do. I’m embarrassed just writing it!

      1. AppleStan*

        Crazy people will infect you with their crazy, and it takes a moment to “readjust.”

      2. MD*

        Don’t be embarrassed. I honestly don’t understand how people don’t realize that eating other people’s lunches is theft. Just because you get rid of the evidence, does not absolve you of your crime! (I am clearly passionate about this topic)

        1. Yikes*

          He didn’t even get rid of the evidence in many cases. And there’s only 6 of us in the office so it was particularly obvious!

        2. Me (I think)*

          You mean, all that delicious food in the fridge isn’t first-come-first-served? Who knew?

      3. Luna*

        If passive-aggressiveness is the only language they might understand, one cannot be faulted to try to ‘speak their language’ to them.

      4. Anon for This One*

        True pettiness would be topping off his lactose-free milk with regular (lactose-included) milk. Or perhaps simply replacing it all. [evil grin]

        1. Phoenix Wright*

          I wouldn’t advice tampering with their food. Adding something unpleasant or spicy to your own, however, is fair game. After all, it’s your food and nobody else is supposed to eat it.

        2. Lenora Rose*

          Not petty, and not something to grin about. Repugnant. Beyond petty and into outright evil. Possibly physically dangerous. That kind of thing hospitalizes people.

          Throwing it out probably leaves him with an annoyance for an afternoon, rather akin to eating Yikes’s nice fruit salad. Swapping it might leave him sick for a week or worse.

        1. Yvette*

          No, it is done for the self-satisfaction! :) And can also serve as a sanity saving vent. (And I totally get it!!)

          1. Jennifer*

            Sometimes it just feels good. I don’t recommend doing it often. Just every blue moon, let your petty flag fly.

        1. Observer*

          I sure do. And, for instance, I understand why they poured out the milk and put the container back in the fridge – sure it’s petty but the boss knows that their lactose free milk is gone. In other words, the idea is to annoy him. But I suspect that throwing out the lunch didn’t bother him.

          1. Petty Betty*

            Something tells me if you were my coworker, Observer, my petty behavior would be directed at you… :)

              1. Clisby*

                Yes, you should have EATEN his lunch, crumpled up any wrappers, and put that back in the fridge.

                1. Salymander*

                  My father in law was tired of people stealing his ice cream. They would sneak in and eat “just a spoonful” as it somehow seemed ok to them to steal just a little bit. They would eventually eat all of the ice cream, and leave the empty container in the freezer.

                  My FIL was tired of finding the empty ice cream container in the freezer, so he started filling the empty containers with water. He got a big kick out of the whining coming from the kitchen every time a sneaky co-worker tried to swipe a cheeky spoonful of ice cream. Eventually, the freezer had about half a dozen containers of “ice cream” that he used to hide his actual ice cream. It was a pretty good system.

          2. Vemasi*

            I mean, there’s the slight possibility that he would be annoyed his food was gone and then realize that’s how he makes other people feel. Slight. Because most people learn that other people have feelings before preschool, and if you’re stealing workplace food as an adult you obviously don’t care.

            But yes. Vengeance.

      1. SheLooksFamiliar*

        The purpose of this thread is about being/feeling petty, not accomplishing anything in particular. It’s okay to talk about these things, Observer!

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I totally get it. Once might be an accident, but he repeatedly does it. AND he makes way more money, which makes his theft all that much worse!

      What if that was literally your only meal for the day? Food insecurity is a real issue in America.

      1. Yikes*

        Yup. I had to go out and buy a new lunch or sit hungry through the rest of the day.

        I guess I was hoping that he’d have to use regular milk in his coffee or have to forgo coffee altogether and suffer equally.

        1. Caitylynn*

          I would be tempted to go up to them and ask him, “why did you eat my lunch?”. Was there a possibility of also eating his lunch in return?

          1. Yikes*

            Unfortunately, I’m a vegetarian so his food was never an option. I didn’t have the guts to do the actual right thing which would be to call him out on it. He’s a bit of a bully.

            1. OhBehave*

              Now that you’ve given notice, it would be a great time to unleash. He sounds like a jerk who would retaliate if you stayed and called him out.

            2. Essess*

              I would add up the amount of money that you had to use to get new food, plus the amount of money you spent on the ingredients for the lunches that you didn’t get to eat and submit that to the company for reimbursement for feeding the Executive Director.

        2. StaceyIzMe*

          I don’t get why you didn’t start keeping your lunch at your desk (if you have one). Wondering if you were going to have a meal midday isn’t a great thing to have to stress about.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              meh, I bring my cold / frozen food in an insulated lunchbag every day. Sometimes it works. Sometimes you’ve got a 2hr commute on hot busses that makes an insulated lunch bag not work.

              BUT: Yikes is the best judge of Yikes’ situation and options, and frankly, Yikes should not *have* to protect her lunch from a predatory boss. Asking her why she didn’t do that is kinda victim-blamey.

    3. Shades of Blue*

      LOLOLOL. You really got me at “expensive fruit salad”. You did what you had to do!

      I honestly do not understand why people steal other people’s food. Do you both still work there and does he still steal your food?

      1. Shades of Blue*

        PS – if you want to keep your food at your desk, those lunch pails from Costco + the included ice pack (I use two ice packs sometimes) really keep my food cold! Maybe not CDC-approved level cold…but it’s good enough :)

        1. Jojo*

          I hope he got a seed stuck in his teeth and it got infected and he needed a root canal

      1. Yikes*

        Yup. He also cut into someone’s birthday cake and ate a slice and they had to sing happy bday to her around a half-eaten cake :-0

        1. Observer*

          Now, that’s REALLY petty. And no good excuses or good stories either.

          How does anyone deal with him?

          1. Yikes*

            Many people just hope to outlive him I think!

            This is a weird workplace in that some people live on-site in a high-cost area in very niche positions and therefore are more committed to keeping their jobs than the average person would be.

            Also many of them are equally as dysfunctional and this kind of stuff is “par for the course” among them.

      2. Avatre*

        Oh, as a 14-year-old I was briefly the victim of a kid in the grade below me taking the cookies out of my lunchbox. And the soda, when I had a cold and was getting ginger ale! I would find the straw, but no can. My mom made my lunches at the time so it was some days before the existence and identity of the soda thief were discovered (on the day my entire lunchbox briefly went missing and was rediscovered sans sweets), and I was not happy. Sooooo my lunch got kept in my locker after that, which is what I probably should have done in the first place (long story, but I was naive and had been leaving it unguarded). Sadly I don’t think much of anything happened to the soda thief…

        In any case, stealing from other people’s lunchboxes is DEMONSTRABLY JUVENILE behavior and I am not opposed to answering it in kind if necessary. :)

        1. Yikes*

          Oh that makes me so sad for you! I’m going to pretend the kid was super hungry and didn’t have another way to eat. Soda was such a treat!

        2. Salymander*

          This happened at my daughter’s school. Someone was sneaking into the hallway and stealing desserts from people’s lunches. There were no lockers. Thus person also stole school supplies and personal items, and purposely vandalized some of the backpacks. This was reported to the school repeatedly, but no action was taken for months. One of the parents of these kids was especially upset, threatening legal problems.

          What we didn’t realize was that the school had an unused camera in this hallway, and the administration started using it once the kids reported this problem.

          The kid who was the culprit was actually the child of the mom who threatened the school with legal trouble. Her child was on a special diet due to a family history of health problems, and she started stealing because she wanted to eat dessert like everyone else. I guess it kind of snowballed from there.

          I am not a big fan of cameras in schools, and I felt bad for this family, they were actually really nice and just frustrated with the whole situation. The kids were in 5th grade.

          The idea that an adult (especially someone in authority!!!) is stealing their co-worker’s lunch is just bizarre. Who does that? My daughter’s fifth grade class was horrified by this behavior by another kid. For an adult to behave like this is baffling.

          The fifth grade lunch swiper is now a very responsible and trustworthy seventh grader. That is a lot more than anyone can say for the adult lunch thieves of the world!

    4. Irish*

      Lol I did this once because my boss started eating my expensive, nice pesto. And yes, I’m still clinging onto that grudge for dear life.

    5. Nous allons, vous allez, ils vont*

      Yeah, this is petty but what an asshole. He deserved it. And worse!

    6. Another solution*

      I would start bringing lunches filled with either food he doesn’t like or food that he’s allergic to. There was one AAM posting where a guy got in trouble for having his lunch too spicy/accused of attempting to poison someone else because that someone else ate his lunch and had some issues after eating the super spicy food.

      1. Yikes*

        Not gonna lie, when I read that letter, I had a lot of fantasies about putting something unsavory in my food! But all I really wanted was to be able to eat my own damn food lol.

        1. Over 60 & Forever Young*

          The “special chocolate pie” from the movie The Help comes to mind!

    7. Kat in VA*

      Oooh this reminds me of the AAM letter where someone’s boss repeatedly and unashamedly ate her lunch all the time!

  10. This Space For Rent*

    I’m not sure if this is what you are looking for, but at one of my early jobs one of my co-workers 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.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      LOL! This one is my favorite so far. I mean, I get being embarrassed to be called out in a meeting, but quitting over it?! And then stealing the TP so nobody else can wipe their behinds?! LOLLL!!! Talk about overreacting.

    2. Murphy*

      That is epic.

      Not work-related, but when my mother comes to visit, she’ll turn the toilet paper roll around the other way because she doesn’t like the way I put it on. I’m not talking about a new roll, she’ll turn around the roll that’s currently bein used.

        1. Jessen*

          Rolling forward is how you find out that your cat just unrolled the entire roll while you were at work.

          1. Murphy*

            Neither my mom nor I have cats, which is the only good reason to put your toilet paper that way.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Toddlers and dogs also do the same. My dog never outgrew it…after 14 years of that dog I just get used to reaching the other way.

          2. nonegiven*

            We did that, then a little one started shredding it still on the roll instead, so we had to hide it. One of my son’s cats figured out how to get hold of the end of the paper and unroll it by pulling.

            1. Lissajous*

              I got a kitten last year, I can once again put toilet paper on the holder – rolling forwards even! – but it took a few months.

              After he discovered the joys of pulling all the toilet paper down, I started by not leaving anything on the holder at all, for about a month. No fun to be found here!
              Then I left an empty roll on the holder, again for a few weeks. I never found that knocked on the floor. The next step was when I had a nearly-finished roll, I put that on the holder, but with the ends taped down so it was no more entertaining than the empty roll, even though it was now the same colour as the Fun Thing!

              Then I did the same thing with a half finished roll, and now I can use my toilet roll holder again.

              (The kitten is a Burmese, and now a year old. An affectionate delight, but also a little monster and oooh does he have the brains.)

      1. Lioness*

        My mother actually has two toilet stands/holders?(English isn’t my first language). She has one over and one under. Guess she had enough of guests telling her.

        1. Edith*

          “Toilet paper roll holders” would be the inelegant but correct term. At least in my neck of the woods.

          This is such a hotly contested subject and I never understood why people who have this disagreement with their family members/housemates don’t just install a second toilet paper roll holder and have one of each. It seems so obvious to me.

      1. 2nd time commenting, yo*

        That is soooo funny and definitely my fave! I will TAKE THIS TP as retribution!
        It makes me wonder how people decide the petty act – I guess if I was going to to rage-petty I’d take the pen/highlighters/markers of various colors and notebooks because I love office supplies…LMAO!

    3. Bridget*

      I love this. I love this so much. I had to stifle a laugh.

      I can appreciate the level of this pettiness.

    4. Curmudgeon in California*

      That is epic level petty, and probably a satisfying level of spite.

      There are places where I’ve worked that I wish I had done this…

  11. Skittles*

    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!

    1. NYCProducer*

      Absolute genius. I would live off the feeling of triumph in this case for MONTHS, maybe years!!

    2. SignalLost*

      That’s not petty, that’s sanity-saving. (No, I cannot move this stupid thing half a pixel to the left, do you know how big a pixel is? I also can’t move it half an inch to the left without destroying the whole layout. Also, pixels and inches aren’t the same thing!)

      1. Tau*

        This reminds me of the joy that is layouts in CSS. You want the button red? No problem! Round? Sure! With a dark outline? There you go! Five inches to the left of where it currently is? Uh… if I’m not back in three days send a rescue team, I’ll probably be somewhere in a pit formed of documentation muttering the word ‘flexbox’ to myself over and over.

        1. Anonomoose*

          I…once made up a non existent “change management committee” to avoid this kind of thing. There was a form. The form was *very* detailed

          1. Anonomoose*

            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.

            1. Skittles*

              This is amazing. I wonder if I could implement something like this at my job…

            2. EinJungerLudendorff*

              Can we build a small shrine in youd honour?
              Because that is a fiendishly clever solution. And it made life better for all involved to boot.

          2. Vemasi*

            Making up forms is a great way to make people stop complaining. My boss has one for parents who want a book removed from the library. You have to CITE INSTANCES with PAGE NUMBERS, and thus have to actually read the book, instead of being reactionary to something you read about it on Facebook. Most are never heard from again. And then if a book really is not appropriate for high schoolers, it keeps my boss from having to read the whole thing to find out.

            1. Anonomoose*

              I am a huge fan of your boss, and it’s considerably less petty than mine

            2. GovSysadmin*

              I run our site’s anti-spam system, and I’ve had users complain that it was flagging their advertising emails from Best Buy and other things that are obviously non-work related as spam. I just reply with a cheerful, “Sure! Could you please provide the business justification for overriding the scanner so I can record it in the change notes for our Cyber Office?”

              For some reason, they usually drop their complaints at that point.

            3. Paris Geller*

              The library I work at has one too, and I take great pleasure in using malicious compliance to show patrons how much work they have to put in to challenge a book. You want a reconsideration form? Sure thing! Let me print that with you. Okay, now let’s go over it. Here’s where you write down quotes and page numbers, here’s where you give your own thoughts on the book, here’s where you have to suggest alternatives (this one is my favorite).

        2. SignalLost*

          I adore CSS for this very reason! I first learned HTML in the pre-CSS days when I was bored at work and it was a revelation when I finally (many years later) officially learned CSS. PHP is awesome for the HTML side if it makes sense (I tend to work on sites that function best as a mix of PHP and WordPress) but even with PHP changes can be tricky to apply site-wide.

          I do not adore middle-manageritis, where people who’ve never designed anything want to have “input”. Their input is always, always, always in this vein, and there are only so many ways I can say “I can’t do that because it will completely break the layout”.

        3. Inca*

          And flexbox *improved* options massively. There was a before-time. With border-collapse and the IE magic of ‘hasLayout’

          1. Oranges*

            If you want the bad old days… email coding. Where we still code like it’s 1995.

            1. Bored IT guy*

              Was about to say just this, but you’ve already said it.

              Why can someone not add a standards compliant rendering engine to Outlook? And why does the same version of Outlook render the same email differently on different computers?

    3. Phil*

      This is sort of thing is very common in my old career, sound mixer. Recording consoles are covered with knobs
      and sometimes producers will ask us to change something, we’ll-well, not me because I didn’t do it-go for the knob and look like we changed it, not turn it at all and the mix is better!

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Ah yessssss, the optical illusion trick. Sure I changed it, doesn’t it look so much better?

    5. Montresaur*

      High. Five. On one of my first projects ever, a micromanaging director asked me to move part of a design three pixels to the left. I wish I were exaggerating, but I will never in my life forget that request. He was a peach to work with, as I’m sure you can imagine.

      1. SignalLost*

        I legit had and won an argument about three pixels in a dropshadow on a printed product (it absolutely would have been noticed) but the whole “move it 3 pixels left” is just code for “I want to feel involved.”

        1. Montresaur*

          There are of course legitimate reasons to make seemingly minuscule changes (like in your example); what makes my example petty is that it was done entirely because the director liked to find someone to pick on. He’d make requests like this just to see how much a person would take. What a waste of time, resources, and good will.

          1. Cedrus Libani*

            I’ve worked near a boss that would send everything back for corrections at least once, no matter what. Their team had long ago realized this, and would intentionally seed all of their work with at least one small but obvious mistake. Boss would notice, they’d remove the “mistake”, and then they wouldn’t have to waste time on whatever nonsense the boss would have made them do if they’d sent a polished final draft instead.

            1. Vemasi*

              Some people feel that, if they are asked for feedback, they need to give some feedback. In some situations this is great, in others less so.

          2. Cathie from Canada*

            Sybil: [something something something]
            Fawlty: What do you want NOW, Sybil? Should I move the hotel five feet to the left?

    6. Choux*

      Hahaha, this reminds me of the time I worked at a big bookstore. We had one customer who would come in and order like 9 copies of the same paperback romance novel, come in, and then meticulously inspect every single one for any slight imperfections in the corners (paperbacks were notoriously easy to “dent” on the corners). Then she’d either buy one if it was “perfect” or reject them all and we’d be stuck with them for three moths until we were allowed to return them.

      One day she came up to the customer service desk with one of these books and asked if we had any in the back (so she could inspect them for perfection). The sweetest woman who worked at the store had finally reached the end of her rope, so she took the book and said, “Let me go see.” She took it to the back and SHRANK WRAPPED it and brought it back out, saying, “We have one that hasn’t even been unwrapped yet!” The customer beamed and said, “I’ll take it!”

      That employee was my personal hero.

    7. anon for this*

      I was taking a sound design class in college, and the teacher joked that if she could pass on one piece of wisdom to us, it would be this: when running the sound board at a show, if anyone asks you to adjust the volume a tiny bit, just mime adjusting the sliders until the person invariably gives you a thumbs up.

      I was able to put this piece of advice into practice within months.

    8. LurkNoMore*

      My sister did this at a 5 start hotel bar every time someone complained that there was too much or not enough vermouth in their martini. She’d bring it back to the bartender and the bartender would dump it in a new glass and send it back out. It worked perfectly…one time, a woman even leaned back and sighed….”Perfect!”.

    9. LunaLena*

      This is, sadly, a common thing in many creative fields. Some people are just so convinced that their eye/ear/nose/tongue are so superior to others, that they notice things that the average schmoe won’t and it makes a difference to their creative vision. Or sometimes they just need to feel involved in the creative process.

      I have heard that some people (usually graphic designers or writers) will deliberately leave a couple of minor errors in their work when they send it in for approval. The recipient can then point them out and feel the satisfaction that they’ve Made A Contribution, it saves the designer or writer some sanity, and if the recipient fails to notice, they can discreetly correct it before sending over the finalized version. Everyone wins.

      1. HelloCupcake*

        As a designer who handles the majority of client communications for my team, I do this when I have a client who says “I have an eye for detail” or “I’m a bit of a grammar nazi” because then they really zoom in on those typos and leave the beautifully done design alone.

    10. Curmudgeon in California*

      The way I’ve heard this type of thing is “They just had to piss in it to make it theirs.”

      I will leave minor typos or double words in works for hire for just for that reason. If they don’t find them, I fix them. If they do, they now have “ownership”. Win-win.

    11. Fae Kamen*

      My dad was a newspaper editor and claims that he was so detail-oriented people called him “Mr. 1/32nd of an Inch” because of the changes he could spot. I guess he would’ve been onto you! ;)

  12. Anon former media grunt*

    I was underpaid and overworked in a former toxic job and admit I was not my best self at the time. We had a (very highly paid) designer who kept churning out really similar looking designs over and over. I was in the office late one day and put all of them out on the table in our publisher’s office. When they were all together you could really see how absurdly lazy the designs were. The publisher had a talk with him after.

    1. Observer*

      I don’t think that that’s petty. And I can understand why it made you nuts.

    2. Youngin*

      I work with a ton of interior designers and its kind of shocking how many of them are a one trick pony. We have built 6 homes for a client and every house, while being vastly different on the outside, had the same look on the inside. One day i was taking my niece around with me to see the homes and when she walked into the 3rd of the 6 houses she was like “Didnt we already see this house twice?” The client happened to be there with us at that house and he looked shocked. They didnt use that designer again

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        I used to watch a lot of design / home refurb shows, and iirc, that was the thing that separated Joanna Gaines from pretty much everyone else (eg, Property Brothers, though ok, neither of them is a designer): She could do multiple themes. Someone wanted rustic, ok, that’s her main comfort area and popular in her town. But I saw her do Bohemian, mid-century Modern, and marry some disparate interests, and pull them all off.

        1. litJess*

          Ha, meanwhile I was going to ask if Youngin worked with Joanna Gaines. But that could be because I have a firey hatred of open-concept living spaces. Leave me my walls, woman!

        2. Mink*

          When was this, because her designs are all the same now and appear to have been that way for a while.

      2. JHunz*

        How old was your niece at the time? Was she old enough to realize what an epic burn she was putting down, or was it completely innocent?

    3. Jaydee*

      “Hmmm…for the Teapots Unlimited Gala program I think I’ll do layout 1 in blue and yellow. For the Chocolate Teapots shareholder meeting, I’ll do layout 1 in green and blue. And for the Llamas R Us benefit auction I’ll do layout 1 in orange and green and change the teapots to llamas.”

  13. Petty Chief*

    This happened just recently.

    Our group has been reorganized several times in the last year. Because of that, our group listservs are messed up, and some people are not on them. We are having a mandatory all-hands meeting. I heard it mentioned in passing, so I went to our group’s admin and asked to be put on it. Honestly, I wasn’t annoyed because I know that the listservs are just messed up (not her fault). I told her that one of the bosses said they weren’t on the invite either. She argued with me and said yes there were. I didn’t feel like arguing with her, so I just forwarded the meeting invite along to one of the boss that was missing. I didn’t realize that sends her a notification, and she told me they were already on there (they clearly weren’t! I could see the guest list!)

    After looking at the guest list again just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I told her that I had noticed that a few people were missed.

    “Well I hope they contact me like you did to get on the invite.”

    I sent her an email back telling her, they wouldn’t even know about it because they aren’t on the listservs, so if there were emails, they wouldn’t have gotten them.

    I eventually just emailed all of the people I noticed who weren’t on it directly and told them to email the admin to get on the email invite.

    So effin dumb.

    1. Lola Banks*

      To be fair, if you’re on the original invite list, you wouldn’t see the people that the host subsequently adds to the meeting ( in Outlook anyway)

      1. Trout 'Waver*

        That depends. When you change the guest list, you have to choose whether to send updates to all guests or just added guests.

      2. Adereterial*

        Yes, you would. You don’t get a notification but you can see who is on the invite list by going into the appointment itself.

      3. a good mouse*

        But if you open the calendar event in outlook you should see everyone, even newly invited people. Just went through that the other day joining a project and having a friend double checking I’d been added to everything he had before I even accepted the invites from the original forwarder.

        1. Clawed*

          Seconding the above from Lola. I have had this happen in Outlook. A colleague will forward an invite of mine on to someone multiple times, even after they have accepted it, because she doesn’t see them on the invite. Unless the organizer (me) sends out an update to all recipients with a change like this, an attendee on the original invite isn’t going to see who was added by other users, including those they added themselves via forwarding.

  14. Snarkus Aurelius*

    My boss was so outraged over how filthy the coffee maker and fridge were that she took them away and would only give them back if we could “prove” we could keep the kitchen clean.

    Good thing I never used either one of those resources!

      1. The Original K.*

        Ha – the first thing I thought was “She took away the fridge? How? Where did she put it?”

        1. EinJungerLudendorff*

          My first thought was: “A fridge the size of a whole dorm? How did she move THAT thing?”

    1. NotAPirate*

      Coffee pots and fridges become the most petty stomping grounds. I swear it’s not worth the hassle, companies should just suck it up and pay for a regular cleaner. There’s way too many dynamics at play among employees, (job titles, hourly vs salary, gender, age, tenure at the company, etc) that complicate who’s turn is it to clean it. People who would normally clean up mild messes end up avoiding doing so as then everyone else thinks it’s their responsibility and takes it as permission to leave it a mess, etc. I’m so jaded on communal kitchen stuff.

      1. Not a Blossom*

        I swear, I think my current office is magical because we have multiple groups in the same suite and the kitchen is NEVER a problem. It blows my mind because at my old job, the fridge was a horror show.

        1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

          I *wish* I could find the seriously petty email sent by one of my coworkers while at our previous building, basically complaining about the communal fridge. It was a work of comic genius, but I swear I could see his eye twitch every time he went in for milk.

        2. JulieCanCan*

          It’s funny, I have taken over light cleaning in the kitchen area and coffee machines (we have a keurig, a nespresso, a french press, 2 different teapot-type things, and one device I don’t understand and no one uses but it makes some hot drinks. This is for 6-7 employees. I also occasionally sweep the kitchen floor and wipe down counters and the top of the fridge, and any areas that needs it. I really don’t mind and people are pretty clean in general. I don’t clean dishes or mugs that people leave in the sink – I clean my own stuff and everyone else is an adult and fully capable of washing their plates and mugs if they use one. We don’t have a cleaning company that cleans regularly ( we have to schedule monthly cleanings for the vacuuming and more intensive stuff ) and every time a co-worker sees me doing any of the cleaning or sweeping, they act surprised and baffled and say something like “wow! Thank you so much for doing that!” like they don’t realize someone has been lightly cleaning and has to do thay in order for the place to stay looking nice. I want to say SO BADLY “Who do you think keeps it from turning into a dump? Some kitchen fairy who sneaks in at night to clean??” I mean I don’t want recognition but it’s weird that they think the floor sweeps itself and counters are shiny and clean with people using them daily.

          I don’t know what I’m bitching about, I guess it just annoys me that it’s magically clean for people and people seem shocked to realize a person is actually handling it and they act like it’s so surprising. Like “oh wow you’re actually doing this and keeping it non-filthy? We never considered how it happened!”

      2. Cloudy with sunny breaks*

        The best office I have ever worked in was one that rented office space to small companies. I think the largest groups took up maybe four offices? Most people were really polite and the best part was the office manager was amazing. She covered the front desk, we had someone to talk to when loud phone guy started swearing so the whole area could hear, and she was in charge of the kitchen. The kitchen was always clean, well stocked with all kinds of coffee and snacks. Did I mention clean? And snacks? Having someone who was paid to take care of the kitchen was truly the best thing ever.

      3. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        The Big Boss of our office hated the dirty dishes in the sink enough that he had a box that was basically the Dirty Dish Jail.
        Everything would get dumped into the box, uncleaned. I think his plan was to throw out the contents, and he may have, sometimes.

        1. Lucy*

          When spouse and I were first dating as students he lived in the British equivalent of a college dorm, in a sort of apartment with four others. Their (long-suffering) cleaner used to box up their (crusted) dirty dishes so she could actually clean the sink and kitchen surfaces underneath.

          I was so appalled by this that I (obviously) washed every single thing in the dang box whenever I was there. I don’t think that really helped, except that it probably made her feel marginally better when I was around …

          1. Vemasi*

            I lived in one of those apartments studying abroad. I was the only one who did dishes. Honestly I was okay with it, as we were only there a few months. The thing that annoyed me was that people would take the dishes (and pots and pans) into their rooms to eat and leave them there. The doors had electronic locks so I couldn’t get them, and I didn’t want to buy anything for myself because we were only there for the summer! There weren’t enough pans to start with, as I think they were all things left behind by previous residents, and I could never track the others down to ask them for their dishes (we all had different internships and were always out with our coworkers 0n different schedules), and we all had pay-as-you-go phones without texting. I just wanted to boil some ramen, for Christ’s sake!

      4. Bee's Knees*

        Our janitor keeps the kitchen(s) clean, but I cleaned the keurig shortly after I started, just because I didn’t know if it had ever been done, and it made me feel better using it if it was clean.

      5. CB*

        Our office manager/administrator implemented a “monthly fridge clean out” that seems to have worked well for us. On the last Friday of each month, she takes anything out of the fridge that is expired or not clearly marked, and then does a quick wiping down of the inside of the fridge. We only have ~30 employees, so it works well and only a few feathers have been ruffled for people who ignored the big sign on the fridge all month.

    2. Zephy*

      At OldJob, it was apparently quite a challenge for staff to keep the employee break room clean. It started with passive-aggressive signs about cleaning up after yourself, which escalated to the HR lady (she was the entire HR department) threatening and then making good on the threats to throw away everything still sitting in the fridge and sink at 4 PM every Friday, then assigning cleaning duties to individual departments on a weekly rotating basis. Because apparently we could afford that pettiness, and could afford to contract an outside company to vacuum the hallways at night, but we couldn’t hire a second custodian, heaven forfend. And I guess we didn’t want to give the job to a volunteer? It was an animal shelter, we made heavy use of volunteers. I get the optics of assigning a volunteer to clean a staff area aren’t great, but the volunteers were allowed to use that space, too.

      1. StaceyIzMe*

        I’m bad, admittedly. I think everything should be thrown out at the end of the day (barring the obvious exception of “people still in building, working” past 5 pm. The facilities are there for use during the work day. It’s not a place to store your personal supply of creamers/ condiments/ leftovers. For anything that could be brought in to have on hand for the day, a container/ bottle/ baggie/ miniature other thing exists so that you can portion yourself out an appropriate supply, serve it out to yourself and move on. Gallons of milk, whole cantaloupe/ honeydew/ other melons and bags of lunchmeat/ cheeses/ breads take up more room than is proportionally available for individual use. (Also, if you have an insulated container large enough to hold a meal for a family of five, please bring extra cold packs and don’t shove the whole thing in on top of someone’s brown bag or small container of leftover Chinese food, it’s not nice.) I’ve come into a commercial kitchen to prep a meals for special events and it’s always a hassle to figure out why ten pitchers of water and a filthy double commercial cooler and food warmer almost invariably await. Yes, I’ve communicated a request for space in advance. Yes, I’ve made sure to leave the space tidy after use. Yes, I and other volunteers still wind up cleaning up in a big way before any major food prep or storage. It’s not just one party. It’s the little encroachment here and there by people who’d never behave that way in their own homes that makes it hard. Guess what? The last few events have featured prepared, carefully stored (as in SEALED!!) items on the menu because no one wants to have to clean at that level before even shopping/ prepping /cooking. That’s my petty thing. It’s volunteer work, but maybe it counts a bit. Now I need to work on releasing this annoyance…

        1. bayoucitybeancounter*

          The insulated lunch bags in the refrigerator really get me. Do the owners not understand how insulation works? You’re insulating your lunch FROM the cold of the refrigerator. Sheesh.

          1. henrietta*

            Yeah, but you’re also insulating your lunch from casual eyes, who might not be bothered to open up the bags to see/take what’s inside them!

          2. Qosanchia*

            Whenever I do that, it’s because I’m insulating my lunch from the world until I can get it into the fridge. Usually, I don’t much care if my lunch warms up, but if I’ve got something a little temperature sensitive, and one or more client site visits before I can get to the office, I need the insulation for safety, and then I never feel like I have time to unpack my lunch into the fridge.

          3. TootsNYC*

            yes, but it’s better than using the bag to insulated my lunch from the warm room! The freezer pack inside will continue to keep it cold inside, but it won’t have to fight against the gradual warming of a 72-degree office, and instead will just fight against a 42-degree fridge.

        2. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

          Ah, well, we used to have gallon containers of milk, but that was because it was communal – the validation team (about 6-8 people) would club together at the beginning of the week to buy one bottle between them. Of course, if you weren’t on the validation team and you needed milk…

          Office kitchens really are petridishes of pettiness (among other things – yuk!)

          1. The Gollux (Not a Mere Device)*

            I worked one place where not only were the containers of milk communal, they gave us a choice of dairy or soy milk. And I think replaced it once a week; that’s a pretty small expense for employee morale, especially since it means people aren’t ducking out at random times to buy a cup of coffee with milk and sugar.

            1. StaceyIzMe*

              Just had a small but jarring flashback! In one office where I worked on contract for a time, they used these individual creamers that always tasted “off” to my palate. (Minny Moos or something similar.) To this day, the sight of that brand makes me shudder.

              1. Curmudgeon in California*

                Working in an office with “creamer” or fake milk is why I switched to black coffee long ago.

        3. MillenialAnon*

          In my last apartment I did not have storage space for a week’s worth of food, because of how much space in the fridge my roommates would take up. I took to buying a week’s worth of freezer meals or grab and go salads on Mondays, leaving them in the fridge at work, and eating them over the week. If I hadn’t been able to do that, I would have needed to go out for lunch literally every day.

          1. lnelson in Tysons*

            I do not miss having to share a fridge with three other people. Especially when one of the roomies always seemed to need 2+ of the four shelves. Fortunately the store was on the way home so getting food for one or two days wasn’t as hard.

          2. Bee*

            Or you could have talked to your roommates about them taking up a disproportionate amount of space in your fridge?

            1. Pomona Sprout*

              Why do you assume MillennialAnon didn’t try talking to their roommates?

              In my experience, people who are that selfish in their use of common spaces don’t care that they are inconveniencing others, and talking till you’re blue in the face doesn’t help.

      2. Two Dog Night*

        As a shelter volunteer, I (reasonably) cheerfully* clean up all the dog shit necessary, because that’s part of the job, but if I were assigned to clean the employee break room? I’d be out of there so fast you wouldn’t see me.

        *We currently have one dog who poops in her kennel multiple times during my 90-minute shift–I think it’s an attention-getting tactic. I’m not so cheerful about those clean-ups. She’s going to make a great pet, but, man, the shelter environment is really not for her.

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Assigning cleaning duties to people/departments makes me rage. The only place that ever tried to make that happen was also the only toxic place I’ve ever worked, go figure.

        Otherwise we either hire someone to come in and deep clean every week/two weeks and make it someone’s job, assign it to someone on light duty, etc. But we’re a place where you’re not swamped with duties, so it’s easier to use these as “filler” tasks for whomever is looking to stay on the clock for the entire day.

        And even our CEO unloads the dishwasher because he’s not above such things.

        1. Grandma3*

          I and a colleague at a former job would clean the fridges every other week. I would send out an email with an amusing header (think, “Desperate smells call for desperate measures.” ) and let people know to either label or remove their leftovers or lose them. We went draconian a few times and people started cleaning up after themselves. I will say throwing out stuff was really cathartic.

        2. anon for this*

          For a while when things were very slow in my industry, my company got rid of our janitorial services and assigned various tasks to various people. I just never did mine. That’s not the job I applied for or agreed to.

    3. AKM*

      As a low-level admin who also gets frustrated by how gross people leave things (and then I’m expected to clean it), I fully support this decision.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        Yeah… We one time locked the break room for a day with a sign on the door because no one was cleaning up after themselves. It was disgusting.

    4. iglwif*

      I once worked in an office with poor insulation and really terrible air circulation, where everyone was always cold and many people had space heaters in their offices / near their desks (paid for by the company! It was bad but not THAT bad). The building was full of paper and other flammable stuff, so turning off your space heater before leaving for the day was pretty important.

      One co-worker forgot one night and our boss noticed and *confiscated her heater*, leaving in its place a note about how she shouldn’t be using it if she couldn’t remember to turn it off. There was a lot of upset and apologies in the aftermath of that one!

    5. KatieA8978*

      I had this at a workplace of mine as well!

      The kitchen wasn’t kept to the HR Director’s standards (utterly immaculate), and she sent various emails around threatened ‘consequences’ if it wasn’t kept pristine. One coffee mug got left on the bench (by the Managing Director) and she blew a gasket and took EVERYTHING out – toaster, microwave, etc – except the kettle, teabags and coffee bags, and stored it under a table in my office. Everyone blamed me because she said “XXX has your things in her office” with no explanation as to why.

      Also, all the milk bottles got replaced with the little tiny milk sachets you get in hotels (about a 1 tsp of milk per sachet) because staff were using “too much” milk on their breakfast cereal, which “cost the company money”. I’d saved the company over $25k a month in expenses from the last administrator (who ordered everything online and bought all the expensive brands because she’d never had a corporate card before) – but about $5 a week in milk was too much!!

  15. anony-Nora*

    Had a coworker whose personality really changed when she suffered a loss in her family, and she got really hostile toward me for no reason I could figure out. At the time, we’d send work to another department and when they returned it to us (in one big pile) we’d go through and give it to the person in our department who’d handled it previously; since she was giving me the silent treatment, if she got work that I had previously done she’d wait until I left the room and then throw it at my desk.

    I mean, at least she waited until I wasn’t at my desk to throw it. I was not sad when she quit.

      1. Ego Chamber*

        She still needs to behave like a grown up at work though, not like a frustrated toddler. If she can’t manage to not be hostile to coworkers, she should take some leave or work from home or whatever other solution keeps her from acting out until she can work through her grief in a useful and productive way.

        No one needs to deal with that shit at work, I don’t care what the excuse is.

  16. Muriel Heslop*

    I teach middle school. My days consist of pettiness. And that’s just the moms!

    I’m only slightly kidding – the moms are more petty than the kids.

    1. lurker*

      Middle school teachers unite!

      Parents are the worst. Though the most satisfyingly petty thing I ever did was with a student; I allow students a 3×5′ index card for every test, and they are allowed to write whatever they want on it (takes the pressure of memorization off and lets me focus on whether they get the concepts). I had a student bring in a whole 8×11 page and expect to be able to use it for the test. I tore it in half, asked him which half he wanted to use, and let him keep that half while I threw away the rest. The story made the rounds of the whole school by the end of the day. It was quite satisfying (and, I hope, a learning experience for the kid)!

      1. Environmental Compliance*

        I had to laugh at the (I can only assume) 3×5′ typo rather than 3×5″… because I had a college professor make that typo and someone actually brought in a 3×5′ notes sheet to an exam.

        1. curly sue*

          I love that kind of thing. I had worded a bonus question poorly on a quiz I gave, and it had gone through for a couple of years with students reading it the way I assumed it would be read. Then I had one who read it clearly, and by the absolute letter of the law earned seven extra bonus marks instead of one. Ended up with something like 104% on the test. All you can do at that point is salute and revise it for next time.

          1. C*

            In a science class in high school I got a question of ‘How would you describe (x)?” and…I had no idea what the actual answer was. Couldn’t even bluff it. So I answered “Very carefully using lots of big words.”

            I got credit for that answer. Not sure if the teacher found it funny or was grading her 30th test and just wasn’t really paying attention anymore or what.

        2. Drew*

          I figured out how to set my old 24-pin dot-matrix printer to make REALLY tiny type that was still perfectly legible. I used those settings to make 3×5 note sheets for tests for several college classes. After a while, I had friends asking me to do it for them, too, which funded more late-night burger runs than I care to admit.

          One prof in all that time said, “You know, I intended for this to be a handwritten sheet,” but he didn’t make me stop using it. It wouldn’t have mattered — what I usually found was that I went to so much effort making those sheets that I had memorized the contents anyway. :-)

          1. Snargulfuss*

            Exactly! I had teachers tell us that this was their way of “tricking” us into studying.

          2. Environmental Compliance*

            When I was TA-ing, I had a kid write in both red and blue pen on the notecard. She had beautifully precise handwriting, and squeezed in the letters as small as possible. I was confused until she pulled out 3D glasses – so basically, she had twice the note cards.

            We did tell her that technically she can’t do it again, but also definitely marked her test with an extra couple points for sheer genius.

            1. Owler*

              I loved that you acknowledged her creativity while still clamping down on future repeat behavior.

              1. StaceyIzMe*

                Yikes! You could photograph any amount of data and bring a magnifying glass or slide your readers down your nose. Wonder what 1 point font looks like in Arial Narrow?

            2. Vemasi*

              I thought you were going to sat that she cross-wrote it, like Edwardian letter-writing where the postal service charged by the sheet of paper. Using separate colors for that would be a good tactic.

          3. The Hamster's Revenge*

            I had to use an engineering notebook in college (1990)…the blank green ruled kind where you numbered the pages and had to sign and date every entry in case it were to be used in a court case. We had to use pen, of course, and mistakes could only be lined out (and signed and dated).

            It was ok for the smaller sections, but the analysis sections could go on for one or two pages and while I could make my handwriting sufficiently neat, it was incredibly time consuming and my hand would cramp up. So I busted out my 9 pin dot matrix printer, typed up my analyses and taped the print out into my notebook which I signed and dated.

            The instructor was so angry he turned purple. He remained purple when he called around to folks in the profession and they all agreed that they had been doing it that way for years because paid professionals didn’t have time to waste on hand writing something which could be printed. He had to allow me to continue printing and taping things into my lab notebook and he held that grudge against me for the rest of his life, so I am told.

          4. TootsNYC*

            what I usually found was that I went to so much effort making those sheets that I had memorized the contents anyway.

            I’ve heard that this is actually the point of that permission; it motivates you to study more precisely (you’re choosing what’s the most important thing to remember).

            So if your college colleagues were giving you the stuff to type in and print out, or asking you for the formatting to use on their own notes, that study trick was working. If you were passing your own out, they missed out on something valuable!

        3. StaceyIzMe*

          Okay, the really bad side of me loves the kid who had the brass to pull that…

      2. Tinybutfierce*

        BLESS YOU for allowing that notecard. I’ve forever had a terrible memory, especially for dates and numbers, and your take would have saved past school-age me a whole lot of grief about feeling stupid for not being able to recall details of things I knew I otherwise understood.

        1. lurker*

          Yeah, especially in a day and age when everyone has Google in their pocket, I feel like memorization is a huge waste of brain space.

          1. Lucy*

            I have a LOT of things memorised for work but every week I’ll have a moment of “hang on, is India 30 months or 31 months” and have to check a bookmark. Save brain space for processes, not data!

          2. Gumby*

            I feel like memorization is good brain-training regardless of what you memorize. But I do see a benefit in not judging whether someone has learned a *concept* by testing their *memorization*. And I say that as someone who memorized my way through the second half of calculus in high school and didn’t *learn* it until college.

            1. Vemasi*

              I wish I would have been made to memorize fewer dates and mathematical formulae, and more poetry. In middle school we had to memorize Jabberwocky, but I would have liked to do some Shakespeare quotes while we were reading Hamlet in high school.

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                We had to memorize and recite one poem…and got extra credit for doing another. I was the first to ask if I could do a third, and he gave me a copy of the poetry text to keep because it made him do happy.
                Calloo! Callay!

                1. Vemasi*

                  That’s awesome.

                  My sister took non-AP senior English, and they had to memorize a sonnet. She chose the one from 10 Things I Hate About You, since she already knew half of it by heart. She also went first for reciting (for extra credit, and even though she had been absent since it was assigned and only knew about it because a friend told her), and even though everyone said how smart that was, no one else switched to that one even if they had several more days to memorize.

                  She also chose the three shortest books from a list to report on for her senior project, which no one else thought to do (it was 1984, Brave New World, and something else like that).

              2. TootsNYC*

                My husband the history geek has persuaded me that dates are important–they help you link cause and effect.

                I said something about attitudes about trips to the New World and Sir Walter Raleigh, implying that people had reacted X way because of Raleigh’s funding of Roanoke, and he said, “Roanoke hadn’t been founded yet–it wouldn’t happen for three years.”

            2. Loiosh*

              I really wish I could learn to memorize. Obviously I can at some level, mainly through repeated use, but for whatever reason conscious memorization of something for which I have little use on a day-to-day basis requires extraordinary effort – like flash cards for weeks to get info to stick long enough to take a test. I had an awful boss who expected me to recall sales projections, cost projections, major milestone dates, part numbers, etc., when he asked for them in meetings and would visibly get huffy if I said “let me open my computer and pull up xyz spreadsheet so that I can give you an accurate number.” (Of course, he’d also get upset if, after he pressured me into not opening my computer, whatever number I thought it was turned out to be wrong.) I was so glad when he moved on.

          3. Bryce*

            My dad was a physicist with a large wall full of reference books. He summed it up pretty well: “I don’t remember every equation in those books, but I know where to find every equation in those books.”

        2. Yvette*

          I would get through tests by making cheat sheets that I never actually used to cheat. Just making them would fix it in my memory. Another trick would be to memorize a simple example of say, how to divide fractions and at the start of the test write it somewhere in the margin and then use it throughout. I never had a teacher have a problem with that.

      3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        Being allowed to have a notecard would have saved me the time it took to pencil in all the assorted formulas into my graphing calculator case all those years ago *grumble*

    2. DataGirl*

      Speaking as a parent, parents are horrible. They are one of the main reasons people burn out in jobs or volunteer roles working with kids, in my experience.

      1. CristinaMariaCalabrese (do the mambo like-a crazy)*

        Yep, that’s why I stopped working in special ed! Loved the kids; 85% of the parents were MONSTERS.

    3. iglwif*

      As a parent, I can only shake my head and agree that parents are way worse than kids (even middle school kids, who can be pretty horrid).

      Which is why I tend to stay as far away from school-related activities involving other parents as I possibly can XD

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      Omg middle school moms. I had two siblings last year- one in grade 7, on in grade 8. This year I have neither. Apparently the mom went to Grade 8 teacher and in a fit frustration said “I guess you’re just not very experienced, like Miss Middle School Teacher is!” I keep getting glared at by Grade 8 teacher, and I wasn’t even there!

    5. Mimi Me*

      I dunno…I’ve encountered some incredibly petty teachers. My son had a teacher who I swear would have won the Gold Medal in pettiness if it was a sport. He came home one day, furious because the teacher had ripped up his homework. Apparently they had taken a test and he finished early so she told him to do some quiet work until everyone else was finished. He started his homework because he’s one of those kids who prefers his after school time to be filled with fun things. As the teacher was making her rounds to collect the finished tests, she noticed that he had just completed his assignment. She took it from him, told him homework was for home, and ripped it into shreds right in his face. I happened to be meeting with her two days later about something unrelated and asked her about it. She was so smug when she admitted to doing it. We had a lot of issues after that. :)

      1. StaceyIzMe*

        Exactly! The Petty Shoes fit on the feet of any demographic. And while parents can be really difficult, teachers sometimes try to “re-diagnose” a kid who has already seen the neurologist/ speech therapist/ reading specialist and start punishing the kid for being difficult when they don’t follow the IEP. Hand to God, a lot of trauma has been caused by this.

      2. Curmudgeon in California*

        WTF? I always did my homework in other classes. If a teacher had ripped it up I would have pitched a fit, and so would my mom.

        Instead, in one junior high class I was so obviously far ahead of the other students that the teacher said “Just work quietly on other stuff in the back”.

        Petty was when my second grade teacher would keep me in for recess and after school sitting on the floor next to her desk because I literally would not finish a page of simple, dull math problems. I’d do the first row, to prove I knew it, then I’d get bored, and saw no reason to do the rest. She insisted. I refused. She kept me in for recess and after school to make me do them. I still refused. This was in the 60s, when little girls had to wear dresses. My parents actually pulled me out of school for few weeks to get it resolved. She had to relent.

        1. Lucy*

          In my last year of school I was taking more classes than anyone else (unusual combination of subjects) so reached a deal with my maths teacher that I would do half the homework – the first quarter and the last quarter. That meant I’d always have done the introductory easy questions and the “you definitely get this” difficult questions, without spending hours wading through the intermediate wastelands.

          With hindsight I can see that we were actually both incredibly lazy.

        2. Bryce*

          When grading papers back in college one student got fed up with the repetition and included with her homework a page-long rant of “why do I need to keep doing these, you just blah blah blah.”

          Unfortunately she had the wrong method. “blah blah blah” was completely incorrect.

  17. Dismuse*

    After I was diagnosed with coeliac disease my boss would only ever order pizza for work lunches and meetings. ‘Oh you can find something,’ he’d say. I would bring my own lunch and just spitefully eat bacon sandwiches at him over the table (he was vegetarian). So both of us were on the hook there.

    1. AnonEMoose*

      Mmm…bacon and spite…! (I don’t blame you a bit. These days, finding a place that can handle gluten free is just not that difficult, and as a vegetarian himself, he has NO excuse.)

    2. StaceyIzMe*

      I love this!! Some people are a little “extra” about food and believe that people fake or exaggerate allergies and other health conditions. Good for you!

    3. InsufficentlySubordinate*

      Passive-aggressive Bacon Sandwich sounds like a band name. Folk punk, maybe?

      1. The Hamster's Revenge*

        I was graveyard and had an afternoon meeting once a month that I had to get up very early to attend so I would grab golden arches for my “breakfast” and eat at the meeting (company culture was fine with this). I did this for several months until another attendee joined and she was a militant vegan. She saw me with my hamburger and had a shrieking harpy freakout in front of everyone over my pro-torture and certain death food choices. She then sanctimoniously got out her tupperware of plain brown rice and chowed down.

        You bet your sweet bippy that I ate my hamburger *AT* her from then on out.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          I would have started getting doubles with bacon just to be mean… Militant vegans bring out the pettiness in me.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            Me, too. I’ll do what I can to accommodate dietary needs, allergies, and so on – at minimum, if I bring in baked goods, I’m happy to explain ingredients, let people know that my kitchen has peanuts, tree nuts, and gluten, and so on.

            But lecture or attack me about my food choices, and the Gloves Are Off. I want to be clear that I would never, ever deliberately feed someone anything I know they can’t or prefer not to eat. That is absolutely unacceptable.

            But I could see myself eating a bacon cheeseburger or pulled pork sandwich or medium rare steak AT someone who had a fit about my food choices. And since I grew up on a small farm, I will see your attempted gross-out tactic and raise you with various stories from my childhood.

            You want to talk about concerns with industrial farming and so on? Sure! Want to discuss ways to eat local, cooking more at home, talk about your garden? I’m totally there for that conversation. Try to tell me what to eat or impose your morals on me? NOPE!

    4. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I wish instead of a gluten free bun, you had just sat there eating bacon between two slabs of ham. Like your own version of the KFC double-down.

    5. Lynn Whitehat*

      I’m a vegetarian. I used to work for a company that used to order “both kinds of sandwiches” (turkey and ham) for working lunches. I think people wanted me to be pitiful and hungry. I got delicious take-out meals that everyone envied instead. “Oh no! I’m fine! Don’t worry about me! Mmmmmmm….”

      1. Vemasi*

        My friend’s (gluten sensitivity) workplace offers to let him order from wherever he wants on days when they order in and they’ll pay for it, but he finds it easier (both effort-wise and social-wise, as he finds bringing it up each time awkward, even though the office manager is totally willing and would be mortified to find he was scared of talking to her) to just bring in a big ziploc sack of pepperoni and cheese chunks. He is content with this. His wife and I agonize over the missed opportunity to get free delicious takeout.

    6. Trisha*

      It’s too bad that he was like that. We have a pizza place that offers gluten free pizzas, vegan pizza (with vegan cheese) and can cover just about any dietary concern. I always go out and ask for people to let me know if they have dietary concerns so we order inclusively. It really is petty of him not to.

  18. Me*

    I post passive aggressive comics on my white board about work. Like dilbert but not. Carefully curated and totally about my boss and useless coworker. Everyone knows who deals with them knows what they’re about despite me never saying. Sometimes you take your power back in the ways you can…like little funny comics that make you smile.

    1. jnsunique*

      In one of my trainings (Six Sigma/Lean Manufacturing), one of the trainers said that level of workplace morale is inversely proportional to the number of Dilbert comics that are posted by employees. Said as she showed an appropriate Dilbert strip. In my experience that is totally true! Even if yours are not actually Dilbert, I think the spirit applies.

      1. BeachMum*

        A very, very long time ago, I worked at a large company. They brought Scott Adams in to speak to those at and above a certain level. I think my face and stomach ached from laughing so hard. However, my boss was the pointy-haired boss, and part of my laughing was watching him laugh, clearly unaware at how similar he was to the pointy-haired boss.

        Before I quit, much of my desk had Dilbert cartoon taped to it and I had two Dilbert books on the shelf.

        In the span of about three months, my entire department (about eight people) left because of this guy, but he thought Dilbert was hilarious.

    2. Drew*

      At an old job, I had a small cork board at my desk and would occasionally post Dilbert strips to it.

      One day, my boss saw that I was posting one (that was a not-very-subtle dig at my boss) and read it. “That’s really funny,” he said. “Good thing you don’t work in a place like that.”

      Readers, I started job-hunting in earnest that day.

      1. Me*

        The people its about never realize it and everyone who works with them 100% does. It’s almost like a secret society :)

      2. AnonEMoose*

        I once started job hunting because Dilbert felt too true to be funny anymore.

        1. The Hamster's Revenge*

          After our company flattened performance review rankings into three bands of “go pack up your stuff”, “y’all” and “boss’ fishing buddy”, we all started referring to each other as “Beverly”. Management was not amused.

      3. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

        My father’s office is covered in Dilbert and similar comics, and I think, he, a supervisor, has put up a couple of them by way of acknowledgement that the situation is not always ideal. It’s a local-ish government department of civil service employees, and sometimes there are too many things that are Do This Now priorities (i.e. we’re legally mandated to deal with this in a timely manner…but one of our legislators just called and “asked” us to do this other thing)

        This is the one I think is posted in his office: https://www.flickr.com/photos/srab/8431782653

    3. Machiavellian*

      Oh this reminds me of when I was in a high school world history class with a terrible teacher. This teacher did not know her subject matter, did not understand how to control a classroom and mostly all of us students just mocked her behind her back. One day we were having a class discussion about a reading we did for homework in Machiavelli’s The Prince. Everyone in the class in this discussion realized that we were all talking about our teacher and her inability to command respect, love or fear. She never caught on.

    4. iglwif*

      I used to exchange relevant Dilbert comics with a former boss … relevant to our mutual annoyance with their boss / my grandboss.

    5. JustaTech*

      When my company (pharma) was owned by some deeply amoral people I posted a picture of Frances Oldham Kelsey (the pharmacist who prevented thalidomide from being approved by the FDA in the US) on my cube wall.

      Super obscure way of saying I thought our overlords were evil? Yup.
      Did at least some of my coworkers (and bosses) get it? Yup.

      1. emmelemm*

        I love it. Just obscure enough that every time you look at it, you know what’s up, but very little chance of it coming back to haunt you.

    6. Mimi Me*

      My last company gave us these branded coffee mugs that were painted with chalkboard paint so you could write things on them. I displayed mine on the top of the filing cabinet and every day I would write something new – always in a foreign language and always critical of my job / co-workers / boss / company. I started to gain a bit of a following which is how I got caught – my boss noticed the people who would stop to write down what I’d written and then go translate it. He did the same – on a day I’d written something about him. My mug disappeared the next day.

    7. Pandop*

      My previous line manager and team leader were very anti-headphones in the office, even though they were allowed/common elsewhere in the department (they have since left and headphones are a-ok now), as they decided that they would be ‘distracting’. So for years I had a magazine cutting about how listening to music improved accuracy in data entry (which is quite close to what our work was) pinned up. Didn’t help, but made me feel better.

  19. Kari from Up North*

    I work at a hospital. And there are some employees who entitled to park in patient parking. Where my office is located, patients walk past me everyday and I hear their complaints about our parking lots. So one morning, I stood in the lobby and as employees came in from the patient/visitor lot, I said in my sweetest voice: “Awww, parking must really suck today?” Without fail, they would say ‘yeah’. And then in my most mom tone of voice, I said, “And it’s really going to suck for our patients later today because you parked there.”

    Three out of the four, turned around and moved their car. I called the director of the one that kept on walking.

    1. Shrunken Hippo*

      As someone who has to go to hospitals on a regular basis I thank you for this!

    2. Gymmie*

      Not petty – just needed.

      Not at work, but we were at line for a hayride with my 5 and 3 year old. Some teenagers just cut the whole line right in front of us. In a very calm voice I said “you know, I’m trying to teach my children they need to wait their turn, and seeing you cut in front of the line makes it hard to do that”. They didn’t say anything, but sheepishly went towards the back of the line.

      1. Michelle*

        I hate line cutters with a passion. When I go to an event that I know is going to be popular, I always, always come early to get a decent place in line. When people come in and starting chatting with the person they went to Pre-K with a few spots in front of me, I wait a few minutes to see if they are to move to the back of the line. If they start trying to “blend” in the line, I call them out, “Excuse me. I know you are talking to your friend, but the back of the line is there (pointing)”. Most people will move on back, but if they don’t, I wait until I see an employee , call them over and loudly “tattle” on the line cutter and the employees make them move to the back of the line. I did this recently at Endgame with a group of young adults who tried to cut the line I had been standing in for 2 hours and when the employee (manager in this case) made them move, the entire line clapped.

        1. Nep*

          I had a friend hang up and sulk at me for a day because I refused to let her jump registration line for Dragon*Con. I had been in line for 3 hours at that point, and was nearly at the end. I even offered to wait in line with her again.

          I am no longer friends with this person.

            1. nym2*

              It’s gotten better, depending on the day… I work behind the reg desk. Preregister and come in on Thursday or Friday, pretty good. Onsite Saturday morning, not so much. Secret hint: if you’re registering onsite, bring cash, not card, to pay. That line goes tons faster.

        2. JKP*

          We don’t have movie lines anymore since all the theaters around me have reserved seating. I don’t miss waiting 2 hours to see a great movie, but it also means you have to buy tickets many weeks ahead for that popular release.

        3. Vemasi*

          My college used to have an annual speaker/interview, and one time there was an EXTREMELY high-profile person signed up. We queued up starting the night before tickets became available, IN NOVEMBER. The president of the university showed up in the morning when the box office opened, announced that she was releasing all the reserved faculty seats to students, limited everyone to one ticket (so that people who weren’t in the line all night could not have their friends get tickets for them), and called in university police to ensure that no one cut the line. I think she also had Catering hand out free coffee and hot chocolate. I think everyone who slept out for tickets (the line went around the building, across an entire courtyard, and around the library by the time I got in it at 8pm) got one. We appreciated it a lot.

      2. Choux*

        Ha, I had some dude try to cut in front of me in a line once. He put on a big charming smile, turned to the guy behind me and said, “I’m sure this lovely young lady will let me in front of her!” And I said, “No, she won’t.” That smile disappeared IMMEDIATELY. Get to the back of the line, bro.

        1. Luna*

          When you told him you wouldn’t, did you have the same ‘big charming smile’ on your face?

        2. AnonEMoose*

          That was so gross of him…I’m glad you shut him down!

          I’d also be willing to bet that if you had let him in front of you, he’d have tried hitting on you while you were both in line and you were therefore something of a captive audience.

          1. TootsNYC*

            well, you know, once someone has done you a favor once, they are more likely to do it a second time or to want to be helpful or positively disposed toward you.

            (recent research)

        3. starsaphire*

          Queueing up to get in to a concert one evening. My friend and I were waiting patiently in the correct line. Some dude and his two tweenage sons started to cut the line, at which point friend made a very pointed comment.

          Dude pasted on a huge smarmy smile and said, “Boys, your dad’s gonna teach you how to cheat like a man!” and sailed on up to the front of the line.

          My soul wants to believe that someone ganked him out and sent him to the back, but there were SO many people that I lost sight of him immediately and have no idea what really happened.

      3. Salymander*

        Nicely handled.

        My daughter’s playgroup used to meet at a local playground. One day, a group of teenagers decided to all climb to the top of the preschool playstructure and sit there screaming curse words. They were looking at all the parents with a triumphant expression, as if daring us to complain. Most of the parents were unsure about what to do, and a few were getting really angry and superior, which would have just made things worse.

        I went over there and just said that they could yell whatever they wanted to, but maybe they could avoid doing it in the preschool play area, as it would be hard to explain to my daughter’s teacher why she suddenly started telling her to f##k off. The kids all laughed and looked a little sheepish, but they walked over to the skate park instead.

    3. anonymous beky*

      Bless you for doing this! I once had to bring a sick, tired and cranky toddler to the doctor, but ALL the patient parking was taken. I had to lurch through ice and snow, carrying my mad toddler from 5 rows back of employee parking. I can guarantee that there were at least a dozen of employees parked in patient parking. Because I worked there. And recognized all the cars.

  20. Washi*

    One of my coworkers, when she wants my help with something, just says my name progressively louder while sitting in her cubicle across a large room from me. I pretend not to hear her until she gets up and comes to my desk. We have been doing this for months and both refuse to back down.

    1. NotAPirate*

      If ever there was a case for workplace IM. Then she could request your attention without getting up and you could have an avenue that wasn’t just shouting back across the room that you need to finish something first.

      1. AppleStan*

        I love you forever for knowing this. And mad that I didn’t say it first.

        Lana. Lana. Lana. (Deep Breath) LAAAANAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    2. Robert in SF*

      I just reply with “I’m over here…” in a Marco/Polo kinda sing-song tempo…

    3. Owler*

      After Robert’s post, I kinda hope you answer your coworker’s call out of “Washi?” with a loud, affirmative “POLO!” and see if any of your coworkers catch on.

    4. DaniCalifornia*

      OMG we had a temp who did something similar this past busy season. One Saturday it was just her and I, so I put my headphones in because she had a habit of asking really inappropriate questions about anything and everything, so I wouldn’t have to talk to her. She kept scraping her chair (no wheels) against the ground and it makes a REALLY LOUD noise when you do so against the concrete floor. It got longer and louder and I could easily hear it above my music. Well she kept doing it and I would hear her mumble something each time. She finally walked over to my desk and touched my shoulder and I took out my earbud and she’s miffed because she was doing it to get my attention! Like, no. You say my name or come over. We sit 10 ft apart.

  21. Moray*

    A former coworker had a spreadsheet in the shared folders. She was awful to me–think stereotypical rich mean girl, only in her late twenties.

    She’d accidentally left her personal budget on the second page of the spreadsheet. There was an income line for “salary.” And beneath it, one for “mom and dad.” The “mom and dad” number was higher.

    The nice thing to do would be to clue her in that she’d left it there, or quietly delete the page. I…did not do the nice thing.

      1. Moray*

        It was in our shared files; I just casually mentioned to a friend or two that there was an interesting second page.

        1. Mickey Q*

          My boss once left a letter on the shared drive from the insurance company telling him his viagra would no longer be covered.

    1. irene adler*

      Seems some people, like the mfg. manager who is a bully, or the clueless CFO, like to scan personal papers on the shared copy machine.
      Personal papers = completed tax returns, loan applications+W2+multiple years of tax forms, medical prescriptions, titles to vehicles

      But they don’t realize everyone has access to these. Yes, I saved copies of everything.

      I know way too much information about these people. Damaging information. I’m not going to share it with anyone, but it’s fun to fantasize about what might happen if this info got into the wrong hands.

      And it’s depressing that both of them make more than I do. A lot more.

      1. StaceyIzMe*

        I dunno about this. Yes, they left the data out there. But it doesn’t seem ideal to hold onto it. If it’s found in your possession, what would you say? (Also, is it legal?)

        1. irene adler*

          Nothing. There’s nothing to find- at work. And no basis to search my home.

      2. Suuuuuper anon admin*

        My boss mails me all that documentation so I can stamp his name on it and send it out for him! And I do a lot of work purchasing with his credit card, so I have his signature, his cc and the cvv…plus I know the limit on his crazy high card, too. I could cause a lot of mayhem…

        Depressing is knowing that if it ever came to it, my boss could literally expense my salary on his credit card with room to spare for more work expenses.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          Yeah, it really doesn’t sound petty as much as incredibly shortsighted at best, incredibly malicious at worst. Petty is passive-aggressively inconveniencing someone, not threatening to severely damage their life.

          If you’re not planning on doing anything with it…why in the world would you keep it??

      3. JustaTech*

        Tangential: our HR asked everyone to photocopy their passport because we’d had a bunch of organizational changes and basically HR was starting from scratch. My lightly paranoid coworker announced that every thing that was copied, scanned or printed on that printer was saved in the hard drive, and would HR be making sure that the copier hard drive was wiped before it left the building?

        No one else had any idea about this (myself included). HR just kind of shrugged.

        Lots of people scan and copy personal stuff at work, because who has a decent scanner at home?

        1. Chinookwind*

          I remember when a news show up in Canada came out with that tidbit and my workplace, which dealt with lots of confidential personal info to verify who was taking our licensing exams, all called up our CTO the next day to find out what the procedure for decommissioning the copiers he was planning on replacing.

          Turned out he had also seen the same show and was writing one up right that moment. I believe that a lot of companies started to do that at the same time.

        2. Qosanchia*

          I don’t know about your office (obviously) but a lot of places have it in the policy that scanner/copier hard drives are wiped before the device is replaced. There’s usually an option for this in the copier menus, and for a lot of data security reasons, it’s probably good to note that to IT before you ship the old one off.

        1. Anon82*

          Sounds like the first three minutes of every career-themed Lifetime movie. What a loon.

      4. Bryce*

        I’ve got a very simple email address (been using gmail since the beginning) and get a lot of mistyped things. I assume it’s folks who think gmail will somehow know it’s meant for username3526543, or are username at personalemail and typed gmail by reflex. Anyway, I like to flex my “hacker” skills and see what damage I can do with them. Nothing actually damaging, and I don’t save the info, I just make note of what I *could* have done and in some cases tweak noses to make it clear they need to look after info better. For example one person’s travel itinerary included their address so I knew where they lived and when they’d be out of town. They were local so I was tempted to leave a note, but chickened out. Another one was a receipt for a gas card. From that I could get into the gas station account which had a phone number, and I texted them their new password. Got a confirmation for $200 broadway theater tickets once, and another time I got an order confirmation with address for some stuff that wasn’t illegal to ship but was definitely illegal to grow. Sent that guy a postcard with “enjoy your salad and double-check your email on receipts” because I was feeling mischievous that day.

        People (including me) really don’t pay as much attention to that sort of thing as they should.

        1. Bryce*

          (for the Broadway tickets that was past my “be an imp or ignore” threshold and I contacted the theater to let them know. Wrong side of the country anyway.)

        2. Róisín*

          Ooh ooh, I have this story too! I have a doppleganger in Chicago who shares my full name – first, middle, and last. My email address is lastname.firstname — hers is lastnamefirstnamem where that last M is our middle initial. I got SOOO many emails for her. Food delivery. Appointment confirmations. Even a follow-up from a personal trainer! I knew her name, nickname, address, boyfriend’s name, favorite foods, etc etc. What I didn’t know? Her correct email address. I tried emailing back the addresses that were real people (not mailing lists) asking them to double-check with her and correct their records. Didn’t work.

          Once I got a BANK DEPOSIT CONFIRMATION, I decided enough was enough. I went back through the not-mine emails and found that clicking the link to her profile on a food delivery email just opened the profile — no password necessary — and gave me her phone number. So I texted her! And we figured out what was going on.

          I still! five years later! get emails for her. If they’re automated I can frequently change the mailing address myself by opening her profile and adding the final letter (Gmail doesn’t recognize full stops; they’re purely cosmetic), which is about as close as I can get to nefarious. Most of the time I just forward her whatever the email was with a nice note, and she thanks me and we go about our days.

          Double-check your email addresses folks!

          1. Mine Has One L*

            My personal e-mail is a common firstname/middlename combo, so I get piles of misdirected e-mails. Flight itineraries, reminders for breastfeeding conferences, requests to do alterations on wedding dresses. There are are least 4 people with similar names who I get mail for from time to time.

            The two most amazing ones:
            1. I got a multi-document attachment full of candidate profiles for a C-level position at a bank. Psychological profiles, salary history, videos of interviews.
            2. I got all of someone’s OK Cupid messages, and could click through them to have full access to her profile. I immediately notified OKC to shut down the account, but had some minor fun altering small details (making her 31 instead of 21) and seeing if she noticed. The most romantic message she received during my brief window of access? A guy who simply messaged “Hey, babenugget”.

  22. Bucket of Slop*

    One person had placed a bucket in the “kitchenette” (an area with microwaves, refrigerators, water cooler, but no sink), because she claimed people had dumped coffee/water/etc in the “tray” of the water cooler, or in the trashcans in the area, so she provided the bucket for them to dump their water.

    OK, fine, but the bucket didn’t get dumped or rinsed out every day so it began to smell like a bucket that didn’t get dumped or rinsed out every day that had days upon days of old water/coffee/etc., even though less than 1/4 of the bucket had been filled (it was a good sized mop bucket). No amount of rational conversation from any number of people would convince her that this bucket was unsanitary and smelly to those who had to work around the kitchenette (her office was down the hall, so she never had to smell it unless she came in for water) nor would she even think about dumping her precious bucket until it was 1/2 way full.

    Some anonymous person decided to take her at her word…and dumped old water in there. Old flower water. From flowers that had been delivered about a week before. Someone else dumped old coffee that had been sitting two or three days but had “non-dairy” creamer in it…and that stuff doesn’t look or smell pretty when it’s older.

    She was furious about her bucket, and went storming up and down the halls, but no one snitched.

    The bucket was removed that afternoon.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Yesssss, I think I would fit in well with these people and their bucket sabotage tactics >:]

  23. Data Maven*

    Some of our ice cube trays went missing (not that anyone but I ever filled them). So I created a full blown Missing poster with a detailed description (including lengthy prose describing the fact that no one ever filled them) and posted them all around the office.

    1. AnnieK*

      My soap!

      There’s a shared washroom on our floor. The soap there is Foul, to the point where I honestly gag when I smell it. One other person in my office reacted as strongly to the soap, so I brought in a little bottle and the two of us carted it back and forth when needed. And then. I accidentally left it in the washroom and it disappeared. It was tragic.

      I made a wanted poster with a picture of the soap (text: HAVE YOU SEEN
      OUR SOAP? A small container of [brand soap] was left here last week. It is greatly missed. If found, please return to [office].) and posted it directly in the eyeline upon entering the room. It was well-designed and eye-catching and people enjoyed it.

      The soap was never recovered. The next week, the poster was gone as well. (I think the building cleaners may have taken both.)

      A couple weeks later, in payment for a non-work-favor, one of my colleagues surprised me with a new bottle.

      1. JustaTech*

        Let me guess, Dial Gold?

        The worst soap ever.

        I had a job once where I was expected to shower and *wash my hair* in Dial Gold. I did not.

    2. Leah*

      somewhat related: a couple of years ago my mom had an issue with her ankle that required she ice it three times a day. She took an ice tray from home and kept it in the freezer at her office so she could ice her ankle after lunch, and eventually she noticed that some of the ice cubes in it constantly went missing – not a big deal, she usually never used all the ice in the tray, but annoying because 1) she had to refill the tray more frequently, and 2)people shouldn’t take other people’s things without asking first.

      So one day, a few months later, she was taking the ice cube tray off the freezer when one of the office interns passed by and said something along the lines of “oh we’ve been taking some the ice from your tray to chill our drinks, no biggie right?” To which my mom responded, “you know this is TAP water ice, right?” (where I’m from tap water isn’t safe to drink) Needless to say the intern was SHOCKED. Word spread quickly and no one stole ice from her again after that :’) It wasn’t petty per say because she wasn’t using tap water just to be petty to the thieves – why waste drinking water if the ice was just to ice her ankle, not drink – but mom was sure happy to be rid of the ice thieves and was satisfied to finally let them know exactly how they were playing themselves.

  24. The Cardinal*

    Someone took my lunch – which were datgum LUNCHABLES – from the office fridge!!! And yes…I ranted to some of my colleagues like a madman.

  25. NicoleK*

    I tracked my two coworkers start time for about a week and a half. Coworker 1 came in 1-3 hours late everyday. And coworker 2 only worked 34-36 hours a week despite being a full time employee. I never did share the info with our boss because it wouldn’t have matter anyway. Boss is clueless, conflict avoidant, and passive.

    1. irene adler*

      I did this too!

      Discovered that one 8-5 employee was seriously over reporting her hours. One example: she arrived at 10 am and was gone by 3:15 pm. Yet her time card (ours are handwritten with # of hours worked -not start and end times) indicated 8 hours worked. There were many incidences of this sort.

      Yes, I went into the accounting files and copied her time cards to verify/document.

      She was a complete brown-noser to the managers so I knew that they wouldn’t do anything about this. But I kept the documents anyway. Just to remind myself that while managers may be in charge, they sure don’t have a very good bullsh!t detector.

      1. Marge*

        Oh yes, at same job as from my comment below, our manager started requiring people put in their time to the minute on their timecards because some people were fudging. Not as much as in your case, but it was a real problem because of the nature of our work and coverage/workload issues. 8:52 is not the same as 8:30 when the phones come on at 8:30 and are ringing off the hook. 12 – 1:12 lunch is not the same as 12 – 1 lunch when the person who is supposed to go at 1 is waiting to get to eat their freaking sandwich.

      2. Karo*

        Was she salaried? And is it possible that she was working longer hours other days? I’m salaried and have to do a time sheet, but my instructions are to report 8 hours every day, regardless of how much I’ve worked.

        1. irene adler*


          I was doing extra hours (10 hour days or weekends). Never saw her around.

    2. Marge*

      I have done this, and also tracked phone calls answered. Though honestly I don’t think it was all that petty because there was someone who was straight up not doing her share of the work, and it was better to approach our manager with solid numbers. The numbers weren’t even close — it varied between 80/20 and 70/30 split, not the 50/50 it should have been.

    3. RobotWithHumanHair*

      Oh god, I did this with my annoying coworker in my last job too. Had a whole record of his tardiness, failure to execute tasks, rudeness to faculty members, etc. Never gave it to my boss either because my boss lovvvvved him. I either did it for my own satisfaction or to cover my own butt in case his various shortcomings at work ended up shifting blame to me.

      1. NicoleK*

        This! Everyone loves coworker #1 too. And our boss has been propping her up for the past 6 years.

    4. AB.*

      I have also done this! I was one of the few women in my team and one of the guys is an arrogant, entitled mansplainer (we are both in different areas now). He would snap at me if I wasn’t back answering the phones right after I returned from lunch. But he would leave HIS off for three hours or more – we had the exact same role and responsibilities. So I took screenshots of every time I had to take a phone call while he was being lazy and gave them to our boss when he was at his worst. I also reassigned the work I was assigned on top of that to compensate for my time lost for his laziness.

      Needless to say he had his tail between his legs for a while after he tried to confront me about it.

    5. Petty crap (literally)*

      Me too for this one. Customer service role, small team, literally no way to justify your job if you weren’t at your desk answering the phone and seeing in customers. Co-worker regularly spent up to 3 hours a day plus his hour lunch MIA. I tracked him on a spreadsheet. With comments. But never shared it with anyone else.

      Boss knew he was missing a lot as I was regularly asked where he was by boss and many other colleagues. Started answering have you checked his other office? He hides in there playing on his phone and managing his fantasy sports team for a few hours a day to them all. People started going into the gents, looking for his shoes under the door, and just asking him their work related questions while he was sat there on his phone. I took great joy from thinking of them bothering him while he was ‘on the throne’ and he used to complain about how people had started bugging him in the toilet all the time (eheheh), but if he was legit on there that many hours a day he needed help and another job. Covering for him for 3 hours a day was not really tenable so he’d have needed a job not so sensitive to actually being present at your desk during business hours to do it. Also, the customers were a great and loyal bunch but as I was senior and conciencious I used to get a lot of sad faces/voices going ‘slacker said he’d do x but I never heard back’ or ‘slacker said he’d send that out/book me in/get some info for me but he never called me back’ calls and I’d end up doing the thing because it was a 5 minute task which would make a customer happy at the end of five minutes. Manager’s answer to ‘i can’t continue to deliver my customers the level of service they deserve whilst also covering for slacker’s customers’ was ‘stop covering for slacker and just make him do the thing and tell his customers he’ll have to call them back’ and that was manager’s right to request we dealt with it that way, but it was my right to love my customers and being good at my job too much to accept giving half the customer base crap service so she didn’t have to manage a crap worker.

      I’ve moved on to a great new job in a great new industry. Our confrontation avoidant, unwilling to manage manager took a new job in another department where they don’t need to manage anyone and slacker got a new manager, I’m guessing more willing to manage him on his poor performance. He moved onto a new job in the same industry recently which would be a considerable step down but which would also give him a bigger team to share the workload and frustration of him never being present to do his job, IE more places to hide from the fact he’s a dead weight not an asset. So glad I left that field.

      1. AB.*

        Oh yeah that’s the worst. And using shame via their own customers is highly effective.

      2. whingedrinking*

        Over at Captain Awkward, there was a letter writer who wrote in once because after work or on the weekends, her partner would grab his iPad or a book and park himself on the toilet for hours and hours on end. Not only was it so egregious that they missed social engagements over it, but he wouldn’t even let the LW in to pee when she needed it and she found herself urinating in the kitchen sink. Twice. The partner simultaneously claimed there was nothing wrong and that he had to be in there because he needed the toilet that badly. (A doctor’s visit suggested that he had a bit of indigestion but nothing that would merit literal hours of toilet time.) Various people in the comments pointed out that if he actually physically required the commode for that much of the day, it’d make it pretty hard to hold down almost any kind of a job. But maybe it was just this guy.

        1. Róisín*

          Was this also the guy who left broken glass on the floor, or was that a different guy? Because I feel like it was the same guy

          1. whingedrinking*

            That was a different person, although as I recall Broken Glass Dude had a real cornucopia of issues and turning a shared bathroom into a private hermitage probably wouldn’t have been out of character. I seem to recall that both LWs declined to post public updates but were okay with letting CA know they’d vamoosed and were happier for it.

            1. Salymander*

              I think Broken Glass Dude and Neverending Bathroom Dude need to become pals, get a place together, and inflict their habits on each other instead of on unsuspecting romantic partners.

    6. JustaTech*

      I thought about doing this with a coworker’s sick time, but then I thought of what the AAM commentariate would say (it wasn’t impacting my work at all) and I didn’t. But some days I think about it.

      1. Kitryan*

        My coworker uses his PTO (one basket) up too fast and is then out of unallocated time by the last quarter of the year – and comes to work sick because of this.
        He is now entitled to X additional days, due to how long he’s been here. There isn’t always someone on staff who changes over to get those extra days every year so in my experience, you have to point it out to the PTB to get your extra days – that’s what I did a few years earlier and when I did, I pointed out that another person had also earned their extra days. Once it’s included on the PTO chart (which is generally circulated) then it’s an established thing and you don’t need to ask in subsequent years.
        I told coworker about a month before the new year that I thought he had enough time in to qualify, we had a whole discussion about it and then when the new PTO chart came out, he didn’t have the extra days. I considered bringing it up to him and I considered telling the PTB — then I thought about how much gosh darn hand holding he needs-about EVERYTHING.
        So, he can figure this one out on his own I think.
        And as far as I can tell, he hasn’t remembered the conversation and isn’t the kind of person who reviews the employee handbook ever, so who the heck knows if he’ll ever get those days. NOT MY PROBLEM.

    7. BeeBoo*

      I did this too at my first job– but for a 1.5 year period. Every day. Every time she came late, left early, took a long lunch, spent more than 15 minutes on a personal call (which all these things happened so often that it took a good amount of time each day to track this list). I also in the next column listed how many hours of overtime I worked each day. I have no idea why I did any of this as I never shared it with anyone and all it did was aggravate me….

      1. office life sucks*

        Maybe you wouldn’t have needed overtime if you had been MYOB. I can’t believe how many people on here think it is their job to track their coworkers. You are getting paid to do your job, do it and go home. Geesh.

        1. StaceyIzMe*

          Well, yes and no. In offices with a set amount of work shared among people with the same or similar roles, it’s not as simple as “do your job and leave them to do theirs”. A lot of managers don’t deal with “dead weight” if there is any other option and will not confront a slacker until they have NO other option. So, while I agree in general terms that MYOB is the way to go, I can also see where standing up for yourself (by pointing out how many calls you take or documenting obvious favoritism when your boss is on your case without reason) is one reasonable response.

    8. The Hamster's Revenge*

      My coworker would come in on Monday morning, fill out his timecard (handwritten) for the entire week…including weekend overtime…sign it and then just…………….go home. We were mechanics and it was 1996 so there was no such thing as WFH.

      He’d come back the next week and do it again. He had a pager and if it went off, he would come in to do whatever and then go home again. Sometimes he wouldn’t be on site for more than 2 hours a week and he got away with it for the whole of the 3 years I was there and may still be doing it to this day.

    9. BeachMum*

      When I worked for a very large company, we had flex-time. One employee claimed she arrived at 4 a.m. every day, so she could leave at 1 p.m. However, I often arrived around 7 a.m. (crazy job) and saw her in the parking lot. I casually mentioned it to someone who had a big mouth and the ear of senior management.

      Petty, yes. But it was challenging to work with her because she was never there and worked slowly. (Although, it you’re working 15 fewer hours each week than you’re supposed to, I guess not everything will get done.)

    10. Peridot*

      Yep, me too. I had a coworker who got busted for coming in late, based on when her machine was turned on. So she’d come in, turn on her computer, and then walk a few blocks to get a leisurely breakfast. I felt like saying “I can still see you, you know…”

    11. Vemasi*

      My friend tracks all her coworkers’ PTO. Technically this is her job, as the accountant/payroll clerk/default HR, but she definitely does it in a petty spirit, as everyone takes way too much PTO and it infuriates her (since the boss doesn’t care when his favored employees do it, even though they do the least work). She also tracks the one non-hourly employees’ non-paid time off, since she always complains that she doesn’t make enough money but takes long vacations all the time. All she does with it is fume to herself, though (since, as stated, the owner doesn’t care to pay attention).

        1. Arianrhod*

          And then I outed the name I was going to use to be anon! Luckily I decided not to post that one anyway.

  26. (Former) HR Expat*

    I see a lot of petty things in my line of work, but most are run-of-the-mill like -employees having PTO requests denied (for legit reasons), then calling off on that day. The best example I’ve seen of a petty response is an employee who trashed the break room because he heard a rumor (from a terminated employee) that other people thought he died. This was on a campus with several thousand employees. His rationale? I wanted them to know I was alive. My response? You could have also gone to the staff meeting before lunch. That would’ve done the trick.

      1. (Former) HR Expat*

        Same coworker sent us a demand in a letter from his lawyer that we pay him 6 million dollars because someone called him African American. He claimed it was discrimination because he’s originally from South Africa, became an American citizen, but was white. This guy was nuts.

        1. Femme d'Afrique*

          That is HILARIOUS! To mess with people, I occasionally refer to Charlize Theron as being African American because she technically is, in the absolutely most literal way. It usually takes people a minute, some get offended, others find it quite funny. But to sue? And for 6 million dollars? LOL!

    1. Chinookwind*

      As someone who had her parish priest announce from the podium that they were replacing me as volunteer choir manager because I had moved suddenly when really I was a) replaced so they could pay a friend of the council president to do it, b) gone for a week due to a family emergency, and c) learned about only after reading an email from a friend there asking why I never said goodbye, I can understand the anger and betrayal he feels.

      Trashing something would never feel as good, though, as walking up to the church congregation and responding to the questions of “where have you been posted” with “I was visiting a dying relative, we still live here, and he lied to you all,” turning on my heel and walking out.

      I heard through the grapevine that said priest was transferred out within 6 months (and put out to pasture due to dementia)

  27. Angwyshaunce*

    Once after an annoying management decision, I went into the break room and turned all of the (20 or so) chairs around so that they stuck out instead of fitting neatly under the tables. Not sure what I was trying to accomplish – probably to just blow off steam by causing a minor disruption.

    1. Tenley Bnak*

      I don’t know why but this made me laaaaaaaauuugghhhhhh — so perfectly petty! Completely pointless and unnecessary and I love it!

    2. Old Admin*

      That still was OK in my book.
      I once was in a terrific argument with the PC admin “moderated” by the technical director. Said admin was trying to take away my keys in a power grab, thus crippling my work there.
      I did win after a very long fight, but was so worked up I went to toh company BBQ area on the roof, yelled, and smashed a lounge chair to smithereens. (And I’m a woman.)
      Nobody ever said a word about that afterwards, even though the entire office heard the ruckus.

    3. Legal Rugby*

      This reminds me of he description of stitch’s programming in Lilo and Stitc, “His destructive programming is taking effect. He will be irresistibly drawn to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone’s left shoe.”

      1. The Hamster's Revenge*

        My D&D group, circa 1991, would (all 13 of us) would put on our black trench coats and head down to the parking lot where all the ricers would hang out on Saturday nights for their impromptu car shows. At midnight we would gather around a parking lot light, hold hands and sing “Kumbaya (my dark lord)”, mutter nonsense incantations and generally pretend to be holding Satanic rites. It was tough to tell who the cops hated worse, us or the hooligans.

        1. YouSuck*

          WTF…did you seriously just call people RICERS?! Gross, dude. Alison’s, please delete this comment!

          1. Qosanchia*

            I’m not going to dispute the outrage, since the term is a bit out of line, but as far as I can tell, it’s approximately on par with “hooligan,” with the exception of time.
            For what it’s worth, I think it’s been self-adopted as a descriptor by the street racing community that it describes, I’m not sure how they feel about it being used by non-members of the culture.

          2. JJ Bittenbinder*

            I thought a ricer was someone who did outlandish, overdone mods to their car?? What do you think it means?

          3. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I just looked it up and apparently it stands for Race Inspired Cosmetic Enhancements; it’s people who are really into race cars. It doesn’t appear to be a racial slur.

            1. SWench*

              Alison, I think it is. The RICER acronym is sort of after-the-fact construction for a slur that already existed. Some references:
              1. “Rice Burner/Rice Rocket — Asians — Person who drives an Asian car that has modifications which are supposed to make the car look faster. No gain in performance is achieved. Shortens to Ricer” from the The Racial Slur Database at http://www.rsdb.org/races
              2. “Rice burner is a pejorative, used as early as the 1960s, originally describing Japanese motorcycles,[1][2][3] then later applied to Japanese cars, and eventually to Asian-made motorcycles and automobiles in general.[4] The term most often refers to vehicles manufactured in East Asia, where rice is a staple food.[5][6] Variations include rice rocket, referring most often to Japanese superbikes, rice machine, rice grinder or simply ricer.[4][7][8] The adjectival variation riced out describes the result of “overmodifying a sports compact, usually with oversized or ill-matched exterior appointments”.[9] ” from Wikipedia on Rice burner at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_burner

          4. The Hamster's Revenge*

            Everyone involved was just as backwoods white as white can be…often referred to as rednecks. Ricer refers to one whose vehicular fashion choices run to “basket handle spoiler on the trunk lid of a FWD car”, “decibels equate to horsepower” and “stickers make it go faster”. They want a tuner, but stop at a cheap bodykit.

            I’m sorry I offended you, but it is an established term in car culture and although it is often a pejorative it is basically divorced from anything actually Asian.

            1. Pizza Boi*

              Except it isn’t divorced from anything Asian. They are called “ricers” as a shortened form of “rice burner.”

              I also grew up in a shitty conservative white state, but we have to acknowledge where our language comes from. This phrase is negative, and it is totally about the origin of this style of car mods. It is similar to using the phrase “gypped.” Lots of folks don’t realize it but it is insensitive.

              You don’t have to stop using it but you should know that when you do, folks are going to think certain things about you as a consequence.

  28. Ging.*

    Company President got fed up with the amount of reminders our admin had to send about the cleanliness of the men’s room and penned this email himself to send to all employees:

    “To further clarify in layman’s terms – If you can’t piss in the bowl without leaving half of it on the floor – stand a little closer or take a seat if it’s too short!

    When you’re done flush and put the seat down! Oh and by the way you probably have to be reminded to wash your hands as well!!

    If this problem persists we will find out who you are and make you wear Depends around the office.”

      1. Anon82*

        OMG TIGER MIKE!! The ones that start with “By God you will not…”/“You sons of b…” are a Forever Mood.

    1. Fortitude Jones*

      I completely understand your president’s frustration. You should not have to tell grown adults this.

    2. Treecat*

      My husband works at a Large American Aerospace Manufacturer That Has Been In the News A Lot Lately For Bad Things (ahem) and the bathroom stories he comes home with are jaw-droppingly horrific. From the dude who pissed on another guy’s shoes at the urinal to the guy who shat all over himself in the stall then washed his clothes in the toilet, to constantly clogged toilets, to a toilet flood that was so bad it damaged the building and workers had to be moved somewhere else… let’s just say that engineers apparently have intestines full of exploding sludge.

      One day my husband was using the urinal and a custodian came in to look at a clogged toilet and just exclaimed aloud “What the f*ck are you guys EATING?!”

        1. Treecat*

          IN THE TOILET INTO WHICH HE HAD JUST EXPLOSIVELY POOPED (and all over himself. I mean, I wasn’t there, but it was apparently… bad.)

      1. The Hamster's Revenge*

        Oh, hey! I worked at LAAMTHBINALLFBT recently for a few years. There was an enormous flood from the men’s room that sent hundreds of gallons of water cascading across the shop floor about a year before I left.

        Someone had jammed coveralls into the each of the commodes.

        1. Treecat*

          Honestly, as a woman, you’d be fine with regard to the bathrooms. It’s a heavily male-dominated workplace, and our female friends who work there say the ladies’ restrooms are perfectly clean. Now, are there other issues you’d likely face as a woman in a heavily dominated male workplace? Absolutely. But not the bathrooms.

    3. R2D2*

      As an admin who has to carefully pen these “reminder” emails, it’s so refreshing to read such a blunt, angry one! :)

    4. anon for this*

      At one of our sites the gal who cleaned was incredibly fed up with the condition of the main mens room. The manager responded by taking that off her list, assigning a cleaning rotation of all the guys since they couldn’t be trusted to not make it disgusting (including himself even though he didn’t use that bathroom), and bought her a gift certificate for a massage.

    5. Tin Cormorant*

      I saw such an email myself at one of my first jobs. I’m female, working in a field that’s something like 95% male, so the restroom I saw was rarely used and immaculate at all times. I can only imagine the kind of filth the men had to deal with from all the stories I heard.

      1. 2horseygirls*

        I work in a small office (6 employees) – I am the only female.

        One week, our cleaning person (who comes on Wednesday mornings) couldn’t make it {I forget if it had just snowed 18 inches or she had had her root canal, but it was a serious and legitimate reason}.

        The owner looked at me and said, “What are you going to do about the bathroom? It is getting disgusting* in there.” [Worth noting: there are male and female bathrooms.]

        * Disgusting = nothing even in the same universe as described above; there were probably water spots on the mirror or something.

        I replied, “The one room I have no reason to go into, ever?” **

        He blinked at me, and walked away.

        I am assuming it was handled by the menfolk amongst themselves until the cleaning person made it in later in the week.

        ** Worth noting: I cleaned the entire office for a year and a half as a continued cost saving measure from the office manager I replaced. Once we had the cash flow, that was the first thing I hired out.

        1. SeluciaMD*

          **Way to manage like a boss! (Sorry if that’s weirdly redundant LOL)

          I also salute your response to the owner. That is some master level misogyny there dude!

    6. lnelson in Tysons*

      I remember working retail (FYI I am female) yelling at the guys that one of them should be the ones cleaning the men’s toilet at the end of the evening. I guess that are too well aware of how gross their gender can be (not that all females can claim this, I have seen some than pleasant things in the ladies’ lou. Come on how hard it is really to flush?)

  29. PineappleAirfreshener*

    A former job had an extremely strict no scent policy. At the time we had an employee Cersei who was very sensitive to scents (And who the policy was essentially created for). Cersei was also a germ freak and made it well known. She had an air purifier on her desk and made comments about catching colds all the time. We had another employee Sansa who had terrible allergies. She would blow her nose (loudly) several times a day and also sneeze loudly.
    One day Cersei’s desk got moved next to Sansa’s. Every time Sansa would sneeze or blow her nose, Cersei would spritz a homemade essential oil (don’t ask me how EOs were ok but other scents were not) concoction in her direction “to kill germs”. One day Sansa had enough and confronted Cersei and they got in a screaming match.

    Several days later all employees were given company branded air fresheners for our cars (again please don’t ask me why they did that with all the “scent drama”.) It was pineapple scented. Were instructed to not open them at work. A day or 2 later Cersei swore she smelled something in cabinet above her cube. She cleaned it out. Got management to wipe it down with bleach. Had fans going in cube… the whole 9. Later it was found that someone had shoved an air freshener in corner of her cabinet. That day Cersei turned in her 2 weeks. We never heard from her again. Pretty sure Sansa did it, but it was never known who actually did.

    1. Jaid*

      Oh, man. I remember finding something methanol scented under my desk drawers when hunting a ruler that fell behind (a bottle of tea tree oil?)…and the night shift lady who shared the desk with me had been complaining about odors… Forget her, she kept stealing my coat hooks because my sweatshirt hung over on her side of the cubicle. By about two inches.
      She resigned and I have a much nicer desk partner.

    2. Amphian*

      I’m someone who is allergic to many manufactured scents but not natural ones like essential oils, so that isn’t actually uncommon. That said, when I had to ask one of my coworkers to stop wearing perfume (because she was in the cube next to me, I was supposed to be training her, and it was making me sick), I stopped wearing my essential oil perfume, because that seemed only fair.

      1. Curmudgeon in California*

        I have the same issue, artificial scents set me off, most essential oils are fine (except lavender and musk.)

        I still don’t wear my expensive BPAL into a fragrance ban area.

    3. Kettles*

      Can’t really blame Sansa. Cersei was deliberately triggering her allergies with plant extracts that have zero germ repelling properties (with the possible exception of tea tree). Sansa wouldn’t have had to be petty if Cersei had been disciplined appropriately.

  30. Lakshata*

    This was on the way out of one of my previous jobs. A manager had a talking to with me saying I didnt look like I was working enough. We had a ticket based system that tracked how many tickets were closed and on my last day I printed those out and taped it to his monitor. I had done the most tickets over the last year by a decent margin.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Seconded. The more frustrating issue here is that if Lakshata could print these tickets out and see that, the manager should have been able to as well.

    1. The Tin Man*

      No, see he didn’t say you didn’t do enough work – he said it didn’t LOOK like you were working enough. Clearly looking busy is more important than actually getting things done.


    2. RobotWithHumanHair*

      Oof, same thing at my last job. I was taking care of probably 95% of the tickets and would get chewed out when a single ticket wasn’t handled…that came in after I was gone for the day…when my coworker SHOULD have been handling it.

      1. Phx Acct, now with dragons*

        Same. At my “fun” job was doing accounting in addition to my normal CSR/chat tasks. Jerk boss wanted me to “track my time”. So I pulled a report that showed I had done 36,000 incoming emails and chats the year previous- but that didn’t include internal emails or chain emails.

        I sent her the report… She never asked again.

      2. Orange You Glad*

        This is why I’m pushing for a ticketing system for the requests that come into my department. It’s important to have quick turnaround time on them but I’ve also been promoted above a level where I should be fielding all the requests (esp the lowest level ones). I push for those below me to work these items but they ignore them and leave them all for me to do at the end of the day. As soon as something isn’t responded to within 1 day, my boss chews me out even though I shouldn’t be doing them anyway.

  31. Jennifer*

    I once worked for an attorney that was a sole practitioner. Just the two of us in the office. She did personal injury cases, among other things. A chiropractor opened in the same office park a few doors down. We thought it would be the perfect partnership. We’d send clients her way and vice versa. On personal injury cases we didn’t get paid until the insurance settlement came in.

    Not longer after she moved in, the lawyer and the chiropractor had a disagreement. I don’t know about what but knowing them it was over something super petty.

    So when an insurance check came in, we cut the chiropractor a check for her services and I offered to walk it over to her office. It was literally a few steps away. No. The lawyer PUT IT IN THE MAIL! I felt so bad because the chiropractor was just starting out, didn’t have many clients and really needed the money. She’d been calling about it. She had to wait an extra day or two because of pure pettiness. And when she called, I had to tell her the check was in the mail. Still one of the pettiest things I’ve ever witnessed.

    1. Middle Manager*

      I could kind of see it if it was certified mail that needed a signature to CYA, but if it was regular mail…

      1. Jennifer*

        Yep, just plain old regular mail. Super petty. We had a copy of the check for CYA purposes.

    2. NYCRedhead*

      After working for two, I think solo practitioners are solo because they can’t work with other people.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I could never sink this low because I’m too cheap, even when stamps weren’t 55c, I didn’t want to waste them *sobs*

  32. Never letting it go*

    I don’t notify specific staff when certain office supplies run out (even though I absolutely could) and wait for other people to freak out about it- particularly coffee.

    This is only because said staff is supposed to do inventory as part of their job and they outsource it so student workers because they are “so busy” yet said staff person has plenty of time to read books at their desk constantly.

  33. Precious Wentletrap*

    Took all the expensive beer out of the happy hour fridge as a “severance payment” upon layoff. I don’t drink beer. It went to friends and family who surely enjoyed it.

    1. WellRed*

      I did this once. We had a bunch of beers in the fridge left over from an in-office event at which they served basically nothing I could eat. Took ’em all home! Even the ones I didn’t like

    2. MsPantaloons*

      Oh! I didn’t think I’d have anything to share but this reminded me of the executive who, on his termination, marched into his office, rolled the chair out from behind his desk, rolled it to the parking lot, loaded into his car, and drove away.

    3. I Prefer Chardonnay*

      Also not a beer-drinker, and I did something similar! I worked a temporary freelance gig at a fancy ad agency that maintained a fully stocked beer fridge. Every day that I worked on-site, I would take home one beer. Over several weeks, I had an amazing collection at home. My guests were always so impressed with the breadth and variety of my selection. Not even sure why I did it. Something petty about there being no special treats for non-beer-drinkers.

  34. CatCat*

    I was voluntold I had to be on a party planning committee by my boss. I had ZERO interest. I attended the committee meetings because I had to and in those meetings I just (1) agreed with whatever the people who wanted to be there wanted to do, and (2) agreed that people who were not me would be the best ones to take on relevant tasks. So I did absolutely nothing for the committee.

    1. Ammonite*

      A friend at my old job was similarly voluntold to be on the “social committee” i.e. “women in the office come up with things to improve morale.”
      The directors were convinced that if we all became friends we’d be happier employees (and just…forget? about our terrible pay and no vacation time?). My friend convinced the committee to show movies for the last few hours of the day instead of having parties. Then, as the movie played, people would slip out the back. By the time the movie ended, basically no one was left in the office.
      It worked because the directors never came to the movies (they had no interest in taking part in their own socializing idea). They would see the dark room, hear the movie from the outside and assume anyone not at their desk was in there.
      So my friend basically worked out a way to give us all free afternoons a few times a month.

      1. JustaTech*

        As someone who has been stuck on the “social committee” for several years now, I am totally stealing this idea!

        We kind of did it a few years ago for Star Wars day (May 4th); someone rented Rouge One and brought in popcorn and candy and set it up in the biggest conference room. I think I was the only one who actually watched the whole movie.

  35. Potato*

    When I was in college, I interned for several years at the corporate office of a large retail chain store. When my team was moved to a new floor, we began to share space with another team (the “bargain” goods team) that had previously had the space to themselves.

    At some point, I was assigned a cube that was technically empty, but was used by the bargain team to store a large number of sample inventory items they (unnecessarily) kept on hand. The bargain team was pretty unhappy about it—especially my cube neighbor—and made a big show of emptying out the inventory and stacking it against the wall outside my cube.

    From that point on, any time I was out of the office for more than a day (which was often, since I was an intern and in school at the time), I’d come back to find my cube filled with the bargain team’s inventory again, plus inventory stacked in front of the entrance to my cube so I couldn’t get in. Getting my cube neighbor to help move the clutter became a dramatic weekly affair, punctuated by my cube neighbor’s frequent eye rolls, grumbles, and calls to her mom (!!) to complain.

    1. Phoenix*

      I currently am experiencing a similar situation! I’m a student assistant who works on a different floor from the team I support. The people on my floor ignore me completely. No hi, no small talk, i doubt they know my name. However, they’ve stored a bunch of stuff in my cubicle. So when they need something they’ll just… come into my cube silently and stand behind me rummaging around for things… never saying a word to me. This is not a large cube. They’re standing directly behind me. Once I didn’t notice anyone coming in, then heard a cough behind me and nearly screamed!

      1. Troutwaxer*

        My response would be to come in really, really early one day and move all their stuff to their own cubicles, or to some available shelving.

        1. Curmudgeon in California*

          First I would move it to the farthest closet or cabinet from my cube.

          If they found it and put it back, I’d move it to a different floor.

          Third time it would hit the dumpster.

          I am VERY picky about my space.

      2. Fortitude Jones*

        That is beyond disrespectful. Are you able to escalate this situation to management if you don’t feel comfortable saying something to them yourself? The least they can do is ask and say hello to you when they’re trying to get something out of your space.

        1. StaceyIzMe*

          Yeah, I don’t get how this is “okay”. Get the stuff out of your cube and don’t allow anyone to crowd your space like that, it’s a form of bullying. Not your stuff? Not your problem.

      3. LCH*

        or strike up a friendly, chatty convo every time someone comes into your cube. i dunno, becoming a real live person in their view might help them quit being such jerks. make them feel bad about using your cube cuz you are just so nice and don’t deserve it.

        1. Vemasi*

          Or, alternately, if they continue to ignore, it will be in the most awkward atmosphere ever, in which you are having a cheerful conversation with dead air and they have to acknowledge internally that they are being an ass.

      4. not really a lurker anymore*

        Roll your chair backwards into them. “Oh, I didn’t realize anyone was there.”

      5. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Tell your boss the next time you’re there. If you lose time moving boxes every time you come in to the office, that’s a loss to your department’s budget. It’s not even a politeness thing — it’s wasteful. It’s also possibly political — in some offices, desk space is argued over at great length. Your boss will probably want to tell their boss to keep their stuff out of your department’s assigned space!

      6. Real_Ale*

        Perhaps try changing your diet to increase your, uh, gaseous output? Then you can take joy in the certainty that just when you have quietly cut one, someone will step into your cubicle to retrieve something.

    2. 2nd time commenting, yo*

      That is SO RUDE! If I were you I would start coughing, fake sneezing and whatever else grossness you can muster when they come into your cubicle.

    3. Less Bread More Taxes*

      Very unrelated, but how were you an intern for several years? Surely at that point it’s just a part time job?

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        In some places “intern” is used interchangeably with “student worker”. (Not that I agree with this, just observing a usage.)

  36. softcastle mccormick*

    I have a very competitive, nosy coworker, Susan, who likes to be the source of all good ideas in the office. When a different coworker, Jen, was complaining about the difficulty of a newly added workload and convoluted, unclear duties with no SOP, I took some time out to sit down with her and make concrete suggestions, map out all the new duties, suggest a workflow to her, and scheduled an Outlook meeting with our manager the next day. Susan sat quietly at her cubicle while I did this, seemingly working on a project.

    Instead, she had typed out everything I suggested, created her own version of the SOP and wrote her name at the top. She came into work an hour early and scheduled an Outlook meeting /one hour earlier than mine/ so that she could pitch all the ideas and workflows to the boss under her name. By the time I realized what happened (when she came out of the meeting), our boss was like, “Oh yes, Susan planned everything out and it’s all going forward as she suggested! What did you have to talk to me about?”

    I learned an important lesson that day.

      1. softcastle mccormick*

        No, she’s afraid of our boss, Susan, and of confrontation in general (kind of why I offered to help her out and get things sorted in the first place), so she just gladly accepted the changes and went on.

    1. Yvette*

      That is beyond petty. That is mean and conniving and self serving. I hope somehow, somewhere she got what was coming to her.

    2. Myrin*

      OMG I need to know if you were able to rectify this with your boss? Surely Susan must’ve been aware that Jen would be able to corroborate that it was indeed you who’d helped her?

      1. softcastle mccormick*

        Unfortunately, Jen and our boss do not get on well, and she generally mistrusts information Jen gives her. Because of this, Jen goes out of her way to avoid bringing things to our boss unless absolutely necessary, so no, I was not advocated for. This is my first job outside of college and I’m starting to realize what a frustratingly toxic place it can be at times, even if it’s not the type of “fast-paced, hours upon hours of extra work, verbally abusive boss” environment I often associate with the term “toxic”

        1. Mockingjay*

          “Toxic” can also be stultifying levels of inertia: endless excuses for work not completed, passive-aggressive emails (CC’ing the boss on everything), teams of Me, Myself, and I…

    3. AppleStan*

      Please…please…please tell us that the boss eventually realized that Susan had stolen your ideas, or that Susan was most assuredly not a team player?

      1. softcastle mccormick*

        Nope! The perfect storm of our boss being super absent and Susan being such an incredible brown-noser keeps our boss from seeing her true nature. It’s to the point where an anonymous complaint was made about her to HR for sexual harrassment (she shows us joke-y porn videos on her phone, talks about sex all the time graphically, etc), and our boss isn’t even taking it seriously because Susan has her so wrapped around her finger :(

          1. softcastle mccormick*

            They’re trying as best they can, but our boss (entire department manager who answers to the CEO) fights tooth and nail for this coworker. In fact, she was upset that someone “went behind her back to HR” instead of bringing the complaint directly to her. It’s a mess.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              If /when you & Jen land new jobs, please for the love of bacon pants* tell HR this is one of the reasons you are leaving so that the next hires don’t suffer the same way.
              (*Why yes I read Carolyn Hax too.)

        1. AKchic*

          Oh my… just…

          I have no words. Other than the names I’d like to call Susan. She will have no friends in her twilight years, and will age alone and be left to wonder why.

          1. Drew*

            My mom is a very sweet Southern lady with an absolutely sadistic streak that she almost never indulges.


            She was on a school committee with some woman who was trying to force the committee to do things her way (they did not) and was openly mocking people who disagreed with her. My mother didn’t see any reason to force a confrontation, so mostly just stayed quiet…until the time the other woman took a call from her child during a meeting and was just as disrespectful and mocking to her own child as she was to the other people on the committee.

            When the woman hung up, Mom said, quietly but not THAT quietly, “And that’s why some people never get visitors in the nursing home.” Apparently the other woman sat there, shocked, for most of a minute before bursting into tears and resigning from the committee on the spot. Mom said, “I’m not proud of what I did, but if those tears now spared her children tears later, I’ll take it.”

            1. JustaTech*

              My high school ceramics teacher said something similar to a classmate who was in hysterics because her parents decided (April her senior year!) that they weren’t going to pay for college. Not couldn’t, wouldn’t.
              As my classmate sobs and hyperventilates the teacher says “Just remember, *you* will choose their nursing home.” As the implications of this dawn on all of us, my classmate stopped crying.

              (My classmate did manage to find a way to pay for college, and I don’t know if she’s ever forgiven her parents.)

              1. Not-so-little-anymore sis*

                …you know, when the day comes, I think I’ll let my big sister have the final call. (She’s autistic and our parents are overprotective to the point of being controlling, so she still lives at home. One day I will be financially stable enough to say to her, “if you ever want out, call me and I’ll buy you the freaking ticket.”)

          2. softcastle mccormick*

            It’s funny that you say that, because a lot of her problems stem from the fact that she has very few friends outside of work (they’re all romantic interests), so she treats us like “girlfriends” and shares very personal information with us that would be more appropriate with non-work friends over margaritas. Truly she is unable to connect with other people and retain these friendships because of her personality/social cues issues and we are just a captive audience.

            1. Chinookwind*

              And experience has taught me that the worker who has the boss wrapped around her finger will eventually mess up so vividly that even that boss can’t deny her manipulation. And he will resent being manipulated so much that he will move up her retirement date by a few years and have her disappear quietly without a retirement bonus or any supporting words from him.

              Only the lucky, patient and thick-skinned types will live to see it, but there will be a minor going away party that Susan won’t want to attend “because she is shy” where the boss will buy everyone else cupcakes. For the record, the cupcakes tasted delicious. :)

            2. Anon M*

              If Susan showed me porn videos or graphically talked about sex, I would fake gag and tell her I couldn’t watch/hear anymore. If she didn’t stop, I would fake gag some more and jump up and run out of the room for 10 minutes. Every single time.

            3. 2horseygirls*

              Love your user name! Now I have to go home and binge watch the DVDs I got from my family for Christmas a few years ago :0

              1. 2horseygirls*

                My comment was directed to softcastle mccormick . . . .

                You’d think after years of following AAM, I would know how to comment correctly ( lol )

        2. Jules the 3rd*


          Document document document. Capture some of the video names if you can, write down date / time / exact quotes / any identifying details (eg, ‘he liked that my curtains matched the rug) . That stuff needs to be Shut Down.

        3. Jennifer Juniper*

          Ewww. I’m wondering if Susan is sleeping with the boss? Given her behavior at work, that wouldn’t be surprising in the least.

    4. The Hamster's Revenge*

      My supervisor had assigned me this huuuuge project in December one year. I had to figure out what needed to be done, how to do it and then do it and I had no help because no one had ever done something like that before. I was 25, I was gung-ho and I did it, by George. In the end I had a spreadsheet that was 3 pages wide and 10 pages long, if I’d needed to print it out. The ‘i’s’ were dotted, the ‘t’s’ were crossed and I finished up the extensive documentation in October the next year, just in time for my performance review.

      I found out in my review that my supervisor had taken my project, reassigned it to his golden child, had him take my name off everything and submit it as his own. I got a “did not meet expectations” that year because I hadn’t accomplished anything. :(

      1. Michelle*

        Oh, hell naw. I would have thrown a “conniption” fit. Please say you have new job.

      2. SeluciaMD*

        WHAT. THE. EFF.

        I am so sorry this happened to you! That is just despicable. There’s no other word for it.

        No, wait, I’m wrong.

        It’s contemptible. Disgraceful. Reprehensible. Downright shameful! That guy is a total dick. I don’t know how much time has passed, but if you wanted to push back in some fashion – even if just to rectify your boss’ (grand boss? whoever did your review but isn’t the asshat who stole your work for his schmoopie) opinion of you and to show that you actually worked your butt off – you are well within your rights. And something tells me that if you offered to walk that person through your process for building that epic spreadsheet and get IT to pull up the work log time stamps on your original document, I bet you could very clearly demonstrate who really did that work.

        I’m so steamed on your behalf!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

        1. The Hamster's Revenge*

          Thank you for the outrage on my behalf! It was nearly 20 years ago and it taught me a number of valuable lessons. This supervisor was also responsible for the infamous, “You’re taking up a job a man needs” and “Teamwork only counts when you’re doing it with people you hate” speeches. He was a numpty (informal British: ineffectual person) Sorry, I got scorched above because I referred to a group by a bit of innocent slang that someone took very badly and I don’t want to upset anyone again.

    5. Curmudgeon in California*

      That’s straight up bullying conniving gaslighting b*tch territory.

      I strongly recommend looking for a better job, just for the sake of your sanity.

  37. Fortitude Jones* </