I accidentally threw condoms all over my interviewer’s desk

A reader writes:

This week I finally landed my very first Big Post-Pandemic Interview! I studied hard, prepared extensively, and dug my circa-2019 interview clothes out of storage, along with my fancy business satchel and leather binder (the interview required me to bring a portfolio of prior work). I was ready to impress!

I sat down with my interviewer, feeling confident, collegial and chatty; got settled; pulled my portfolio out of my satchel with a self-assured flourish … and not one, not two, but FOUR CONDOMS came sailing out of my bag and went clattering across my interviewer’s desk. (Unopened condoms, to be clear, the kind you might grab a handful of from those fishbowls in certain bars and toss optimistically into your fancy business satchel, just before you spend an entire 16 months having zero need of neither condoms nor satchel … but condoms nonetheless.)

I did my best to gather them up quickly and toss them back into my bag, but clearly the damage was done. My interviewer even had to nudge one of them back to me so I could collect it. We both sort of awkwardly sputtered about it (she said something like, “Oop!”, I said something like, “Guess I need to clean out this bag!” which, ew) before continuing the interview, which I obviously have zero memory of because my brain was no longer anywhere near my body. The interviewer kept it professional throughout, to her great credit, but you can’t exactly put the condoms back in the bag, as they say.

Of course my question is, what do I do now? Do I mention the condom disaster in my post-interview follow-up email? Do I just write off this interview as a loss entirely and not even get back in touch? Do I need to worry about this looking like some sort of sexual harassment (I’m a youngish (gay) man, my interviewer was a woman maybe 20 years my senior)? Do I apologize profusely or pretend it never happened or try to get out ahead of it before I’m known forever in my industry as the guy who threw condoms around the room during his interview??

Any advice you have would be so, so appreciated. (Even if it’s just, make sure to empty out your fancy business satchel before your next interview, which, lesson learned!)

Oh noooo.

I’m trying to decide how I would react if I were on the interviewer side of this and … I would think it was funny! I would feel for you, but it wouldn’t change my assessment of you as a candidate unless you were interviewing for a job preaching abstinence or something. There’s a decent chance that your interviewer feels the same way.

It is very, very unlikely that your interviewer thought this was an attempt to harass her or introduce a sexual element into the conversation! (It would have been a terrible strategy if that were your goal.)

Having a hail of condoms explode from your satchel isn’t all that different from having tampons or a diaphragm case fly out of your bag at an interview. You don’t want it to happen, but it’s just evidence that you’re a human who exists outside of work. It’s a little embarrassing because we’re not generally thinking about those parts of life at an interview, but it’s not something shameful.

I would not mention the Condom Incident in your post-interview note! That would risk making it more awkward, and it’s not necessary — you dealt with it in the moment and you can just both move on as if it didn’t happen.

I very much hope you get this job, since (a) if you don’t, you’re forever going to wonder if the condoms are the reason why (when they really probably wouldn’t be) and (b) this has strong potential to become a hilarious story down the road.

Read an update to this letter here

{ 425 comments… read them below }

  1. Hills to Die on*

    OMG – you have all of my sympathy and I extend (no pun intended) a virtual hug as well. Life happens. I hope you are able to look back and laugh someday. I would definitely think it was hilarious if I interviewed someone and that happened. I don’t think I would hold it against them.
    Please let us know if you got the job!

    1. Heidi*

      OMG is right. But I also think it will get less mortifying and more funny as time passes.

      I agree with not mentioning it in the post-interview note. Everyone involved should just pretend it didn’t happen. I mean, what would you even write?

      1. Not playing your game anymore*

        If you get rejected, I’d be tempted to send an email to say: Just a heads up! I’m sure there were 5 condoms in my bag and I seem to be missing one now. I’m guessing, you found it and dealt with it. Hoping it hasn’t already turned up at an awkward time.

        OK, don’t do this. But the temptation is real.

        1. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

          @Not Playing Your Game Anymore-And now I’m cleaning my computer monitor off because I forgot the cardinal rule about drinking while reading the comment section.

      2. Happy*

        “It was great meeting you and I’m very excited (not sexually) about the job opportunity. Sorry about the condom ejaculation. Don’t worry, I’m totally not into you and never would be. Thank you for your consideration.”

        (Don’t send this.)

      3. Aggretsuko*

        “I believe in always being prepared, and I hope that was evident during our interview.”

    2. MistOrMister*

      I really wonder how I would react to this in the moment as the interviewer (as the condom flinger I already know I would do something absurd out of sheer nerves!). I probably would stare and then burst out laughing if this happened, because how could you not find it to be hilarious?

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I would also probably laugh hysterically. I’d like to think I’d follow that with “Okay, let’s pretend that never happened and start over! Hi, I’m Wendy!” but I don’t know if I’d have the grace to say that in the moment so I might just end up saying “Oh no! Oh NO!” while laughing. Which is what I do when my dog falls over or something.

        1. MistOrMister*

          Ha!! When one of my cats decides to topple off something I yell out an Oh No and flaip my hands around. After I know they’re ok I think about what happened and laugh like crazy. When a person falls (as long as they are not obviously hurt) I laugh hysterically and generally cannot manage to hold it in, which is what I think I would do if I saw condoms flying across the interview table :)

      2. CurrentlyBill*

        I’d like to think my response as an interviewer would be, “So have you always been an optimist?” or something similar. Sadly, I’m not quite that quick.

    3. Le Sigh*

      OP if it makes you feel any better, years ago I was unemployed and finally got an interview. I was prepared for anything they could throw at me — expect for a pretty substantial, shall we say, “wardrobe malfunction” right at the start of the interview. I died inside, powered through, and just went home to stare at a wall — though even then I knew it was objectively funny. But I got the job and mere months later I was able to add it to my catalogue of interview horror stories, opening with, “Oh you think that’s bad? One time I accidentally flashed my interviewer.”

      1. Been There*

        I got out of my car for an interview once and completely split the back of my skirt! Thank goodness it was a cool day and I had a long sweater on hand!

      2. Joyce*

        I once had a dress blouse that I would wear to interviews. (there would be years in-between) I always would forget that it would magically change colors in the “hot areas” Armpits.. etc. Not sure what kind of cursed fabric it was or whose idea it was.

          1. Le Sigh*

            I wore hypercolor the first time around and I’ve been thinking lately I needed to reincorporate it into my WFH wardrobe.

          2. knxvil*

            Most Hypercolor apparel changed from a light color to dark, but bless the person at the factory who said “What about a magenta shirt that changes to WHITE?”–I was the only one in school with that variant!

            1. Clorinda*

              Oh, I remember those! I craved them desperately, only to find out when my grandmother finally bought one for me, that my breasts were noticeably a different temperature from the rest of me (I forget whether they were warmer or cooler, but there was CONTRAST).

              1. Jessica Ganschen*

                I had the same problem! For me it was definitely that my breasts were cooler because of the padding on my bra.

                1. Quantum Hall Effect*

                  Yeah, you can see bras in painful detail with an infrared camera. Underpants, too, to a certain extent, but pants fabric tends to be heavier than shirt fabric, so the additional underlayer doesn’t provide as much contrasting insulation.

                  Also, breasts are mostly fat, which is insulating. The Army, I believe, developed this really cool (pun intended) heat absorbing vest with pockets of a wax-like substance to absorb body heat and cool the wearer off. Male bodied people loved it, female bodies people not so much. Turns out the insulating layer of fat on the chest impacted the effectiveness of the vest.

        1. too young to die, too old to eat off the kids' menu*

          I got caught in a downpour on the way to an interview and learned that my super cute, seemingly appropriate new dress became suuuuuper transparent when wet.

          Nothing like interviewing basically in your underwear while you and your interviewer awkwardly try not to acknowledge it.

          I did not get that job.

          I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to actually go through with it dressed like that instead of asking for a swag shirt or something.

          1. JLP*

            I had a similar experience. It was my first day of teaching as a GTA and got caught in a downpour on the way to the classroom. I was wearing a white blouse. Nothing like teaching a bunch of 18-19-year-olds in a see-through blouse.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        I managed to like the OP have something come flying out of my bag, stuck to my interview notebook – pair of binkies, and one hit the gentleman across the table from me in the nose. The other interviewer (a woman) just starts swelling up, and going off on how unprofessional it is to have binkies in my shoulder bag, when the guy cuts her off, says life happens and I have had far worse fly at me in the past. I pulled my heart back up from the basement to the fifth floor and we started over

        When I started work there six weeks later he asked to see pictures of my kids (and the other interviewer was “gone for other opportunities”). Almost three years on now I can laugh about the whole thing.

        1. Tell Me About Your Pets*

          A binky is a baby’s pacifier, to all those non-parent readers who might not know.

          1. Le Sigh*

            Lol my overtired eyes read this as “bikinis” at first and I had a good chuckle at the idea of someone getting hit in the face with a bikini top.

            1. Aldabra*

              Me too, except I thought it was bikini bottoms, either swim- or under- wear, and I was like “I’m not sure why they’d have one in there, but more than one seems very odd!”

              1. MistOrMister*

                I first read it as bikinis and also had a vision of multiple bikini bottoms flying all over. Then I realized it was binkies and forgot what that was and thought it was diapers and wondered how in the world do you not notice something as substantial as diapers coming out your bag? And how briskly are you whipping out your notebook that you’ve managed to fling diapers by someone’s face. I am ashamed at how long it took me to realize she meant pacifiers!

                1. Mannequin*

                  I can’t remember when I’ve last this hard at anything! Totally out of sympathy, because I read things wrong/weird all the time and have had similar thought processes, hahahahaha!

              2. Le Sigh*

                I’ve sometimes had a backup pair of undies in my bag during the before-times (mainly when traveling overnight and going straight to meetings, or something like that), though lord help me if I ever forget and fling my britches an interviewer.

          2. Sasha*

            I am glad you clarified, I was imagining something much worse (we don’t call them that in the UK).

            1. Violet Rose*

              Wait, I thought binky *was* the UK version, but I must’ve gotten my Former British Colonies mixed up. What do you call them?

                1. JJ Bittenbinder*

                  Which would have been an even funnier misunderstanding— if non-UK readers read a number of dummies came flying out and one hit one of the interviewers in the nose and we tried to imagine what sort of magic Mary Poppins bag could hold several crash-test dummies or (even more horrifying) ventriloquist’s dolls.

                2. Mannequin*

                  @JJ Bittenbinder- out of nesting.

                  I totally had a mental image of opening a purse and a bunch of mannequins springing out like when you open a can of peanut brittle that is actually a can of springy snakes.

          3. Astor*

            Possibly worth noting it’s a US regionalism! I’m not confident about other English-speaking places of the world, but people in England tend to call it a dummy, and in Canada we commonly call it a soother.

            I totally misread as bikinis the first time. But, yeah: people have stuff in their bags; they are people!

        2. Rbeezy*

          The female interviewer sounds awful! It’s unprofessional to have a pacifier in your bag? Is it unprofessional to be a mother with a life? Thank goodness for the other interviewer.

          1. Properlike*

            I love the other guy. I love that it was a guy. I love that the fathers of the world (and those who are understanding that “life happens”) are using those parts of themselves in public.

        3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          To all who I confused – I’m grateful to have given you a laugh.
          Yes I am from America, but have lived in several different regions of the country. Mini-Orchestra was a really tough teether, and at that point in time we were getting in another batch of three teeth at once. I’m fairly certain every bag or purse I owned had at least one binkie/pacifier in it.

        4. Former Employee*

          What a lovely man.

          After reading so many horrid tales at AAM, I’d sort of forgotten that actual gentlemen still exist and that they can be found in regular places of work.

    4. Romeo Delight*

      If I were the interviewer I would be tempted to joke and say “Dude, can I get one of those?” I’d find it hilarious and it wouldn’t factor in one bit if you were the one I wanted to hire.

    5. AnonAnon*

      +1 Hugs to you too OP! It’s unlikely that they will hold this against you.

      If it makes you feel any better, I can share my own condom incident at a new job. Keeping details vague below:

      I am a midwife by training. In my industry, vendors sometimes send us small samples of products related to our field, including baby wash, diapers, tape measures, and so on. As my career progressed, I decided to leave my bedside practice and go into a healthcare adjacent field.

      First few days into my new job, our front desk staff (youngish, early 20s male) called my office to tell me there was a package delivery addressed to me. I thought it was a little unusual because deliveries are usually addressed to our department, and I wasn’t expecting any deliveries, but I didn’t give it a second thought. I told the staffer to just open it and let me know if its something I need to deal with personally. They called me back sounding a bit embarrassed, said they opened the box, but didn’t know what to do with the content.

      So I walked out to the lobby. By this time, a few other staff members (also youngish, early 20s male) gathered around the front desk. My eyes got wide when I saw a stack of 500 condoms, with a red-faced staff sitting behind the tall stack, and others staff standing there with wide grins.

      It took me a couple of minutes to realize a vendor somehow tracked me down in my new job, and somehow decided I need 500 condoms there. It took me another couple of minutes to realize I had to quickly explain to the staff how these condoms got there, and emphasize they are NOT for my personal use.

      Luckily we all had a good laugh. A few years later they still occasionally tease me about this.

    1. TechWorker*

      I needed a smile, I’m sorry it came at your expense but this did make me chuckle! Good luck with the job hunt :)

  2. North Wind*

    “but you can’t exactly put the condoms back in the bag, as they say”.

    OMG, I’m sorry this happened to you OP, but this is gold; hope you’re a writer.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Came here to quote the same thing.
      Be careful how you talk to people; after all, you can never put the condoms back in the bag.”

      OP, if you were half as charming and genuine as you come off in your letter. You made a great personal impression on your interviewer.

      And remember another bit of advice, a little older than yours: this too, shall pass.

      But definitely don’t mention it in your follow up letter.

      Please follow up.

      1. I Herd the Cats*

        Honestly, this. OP, you’re a great writer. If I were interviewing you, I’d have chuckled about it later, and probably considered it grist for a future AAM column on awkward interviews. But I wouldn’t have held it against you as a candidate. So many of us, in our various imperfect human ways, have been there.

        1. JJ Bittenbinder*

          So many of us, in our various imperfect human ways, have been there.

          Exactly! Let those who are without sex cast the first condom.

          Or, something like that.

    2. The Rural Juror*

      Was the OP interviewing at the company where the Duck Club was located? Quack quack!

    3. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

      This will forever replace “you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube” in my personal lexicon.

      1. JJ Bittenbinder*

        I frequently say “can open; worms everywhere” but now need to shift over to “bag open; condoms everywhere”.

  3. pickaduck*

    Oh no this is so awful, but I do hope she has a sense of humor! I am a woman in my 50’s and would probably have never stopped laughing. I hope you get the job; at least she knows you’re responsible!

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      This! I am also of the generation when condoms/safe sex started to become part of the everyday conversation. (Remember fishbowls full of brightly colored condoms in the student center?)

      I’d feel for you, but also think you were: A) A responsible young man, & B) As bad at cleaning out your bags regularly as I am.

      Hope that next time you find money like I recently did.

      1. Properlike*

        That would be my go-to. “Oops. I had a volunteer gig promoting safe sex to young people and I see I didn’t clean out my bag as thoroughly as I’d hoped.”

        If it were condoms AND dollar bills, then maybe not so easy to explain. ;)

    2. DivineMissL*

      I agree, I don’t see it hurting your chances at all. OP, you say you are in your 20s and your interviewer was a female 20 years older than you. I’m a female 30 years older than you and I can assure you that I have seen condoms before and I’m not horrified by them – And I can also guarantee you that it was the funniest thing that happened to her all year! If it were me, I would have laughed with you and moved on. It sounds like you handled it perfectly. Also, your phrase “can’t put the condoms back in the bag” was the laugh I needed today. You’re a gem! They’d be lucky to have you as part of the team.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, I would’ve found it hilarious too. My long-ago university years were in the era when you couldn’t move without encountering a condom giveaway.
      Let’s hope that your interviewer isn’t easily shocked and also has a sense of humour about it!

    4. Canadian Valkyrie*

      I definitely would’ve said something like “at least I know you’re being safe/responsible” while laughing

    5. Mannequin*

      I’m a woman in my 50s and I agree. I’d laugh til I cried, and I’d also know that OP was responsible!

  4. quill*

    Well, worst case scenario, you now know that you will never have a more embarassing interview than this.

  5. Chauncy Gardener*

    I am an older woman exec and I would have laughed my head off at this. And probably hired the OP just so we could continue to laugh about it in the future!

    1. Hapless Bureaucrat*

      Indeed. If he managed to get through the rest of the interview with any semblance of order I’d hire him on that basis alone. Grace in the face of overwhelming embarrassment is a hell of a desirable quality.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Same! That ability to bounce back is worth a lot, especially if it’s a position that requires interacting with a lot of people.

        For what it’s worth, I feel like I might have said something like “soooo, you want to go outside, come back in and start over?”

    2. Sara without an H*

      Ditto. I’m not sure I could have kept a straight face.

      And if OP managed to remain coherent during the rest of the interview, I’d hire him without hesitation.

  6. beezus*

    My now-boss asked a question in my interview about 3 things to do with a pencil besides write with it (it was for an entry level role where my personality was really the deciding factor, so it wasn’t that weird) and I IMMEDIATELY blurted out “Stab someone with it” because my dad carries a metal 5mm Pentel and always found it amusing he can’t take his pocket knife on an airplane but can take his pencil which he thinks would be much more effective if he needed to stab someone. 7 years later and my boss still sometimes brings it up and we laugh about it. I hope this is you and the condoms, OP!

    1. MissCoco*

      Oh I would not do well on this question! What even were your other answers?

      I think I would go with fidget toy, percussion instrument, and then poke things, and I think the only thing it would reveal about my personality is that I’m unlikely to misappropriate office supplies for nefarious or creative purposes

      1. Marillenbaum*

        I’m just thinking of the one about the constipated mathematician–he worked it out with a pencil!

      2. Jamie Starr*

        Use it as a straight edge?

        Could be used to fasten one’s hair in a messy updo?

        Use the eraser!

          1. kicking_k*

            So do I, and my boss has had to tell me I had one in my hair when I was about to put a bike helmet on before now. (Facepalm…)

      3. The Prettiest Curse*

        After thinking about it for a couple of minutes, I realised that you could use a pencil as part of a tourniquet. Though hopefully not directly after stabbing someone with the same pencil.

          1. The Prettiest Curse*

            Ha, yes! I suppose of you thought of the tourniquet answer right after the stabbing answer, it would be a good save.

              1. Mannequin*

                My brain is obviously out of whack because I instantly thought “yes! you could totally use those as knitting sticks!”

                I don’t knit but I see & craft and know EXACTLY what needles, knitting and otherwise, are.

      4. Phony Genius*

        Anybody else remember rolling cassette tape back onto the reel with the help of a pencil?

          1. Jamie Starr*

            Ooh, I see your cassette tape rolling and raise you a use-it-to-dial-a-number-on-a-rotary-phone!

            1. allathian*

              I’ve done both! Granted, I was a tween when my parents got rid of our rotary phone, but I hated the dial because it hurt my fingers. So when I saw my grandmother, who had arthritis in her fingers, use a pencil for dialing, I did the same. I was a latchkey kid, so I was expected to call my mom or dad at work when I got home from school.

              1. Mannequin*

                I have done both as well, though I did the phone thing because it was just easier with my manual dexterity issues.

            2. identifying remarks removed*

              In a fit of nostalgia I bought a rotary phone last year – converted for modern use.

      5. too young to die, too old to eat off the kids' menu*

        Literally all I can think of is chew on it? Thank god I’ve never gotten this question

    2. She's One Crazy Diamond*

      I know it was a pen and not a pencil, but I found that scene in The Handmaid’s Tale so satisfying.

    3. Tessie Mae*

      OK, between the original post and this, I literally laughed with tears in my eyes. This is why I love reading stuff on this site.

      I would be hard-pressed to come up with three things.

  7. Concertina*

    Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I would be changing my name and selling everything to move to Mars if this happened to me.

  8. Zap R.*

    OP, a guy once did something similar while I was interviewing him except it was his drugs that went all over my desk. He had his weed in an unsealed bag so I had to hand actual buds back to him.

    Yes, you messed up in bizarre and hilarious fashion, but no matter what, at least you are not that guy.

    (Also, make sure you check the expiration date on those condoms!)

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Interesting. Both are embarrassing, but I think the OP’s shows responsibility, while this one shows really poor judgement.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Maybe he used an environmentally friendly paper bag instead of a ziplock. He was going green.

      2. Zap R.*

        Yeah, I enjoy partaking in the Devil’s lettuce as much as the next person it I have the good sense to keep my stash at home.

      1. Zap R.*

        Oh lord, I have no idea. The interview was for a job on a college campus so for all I know, it could have been Baby’s First Job Interview. It’s also possible Baby wasn’t the most experienced stoner.

    2. The Starsong Princess*

      Years ago, we were interviewing a woman and at the end of the second interview, she went to put the brochures we gave her in her briefcase. She accidentally dumped it out and it was empty except for cream and sugars. Which I later figured out that she stole from our lunchroom while I went to the washroom. She did not get the job.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Wow, it takes a lot of chutzpah to steal from the place where you’re interviewing. She must have REALLY liked those nasty little containers of cream!

    3. Firecat*

      Doesn’t matter for the OP, but never use a fishbowl condom. People stick pins in the middle.

        1. Emma*

          This is a very well worn urban legend. If you’re worried, just look at the packet – they don’t pierce easily so it would of be very straightforward to spot any holes.

      1. linger*

        Maybe, maybe not, but the entirely serious point is that you can’t guarantee a fishbowl has never been near a glassbowl. (This unamusing “practical joke” turned up as a plot element in The Cider House Rules.)

  9. Mental Lentil*

    You have certainly made an impression.

    That said, I’ve interviewed a lot of people and I would tend to think that you either a) forgot to clear out your satchel (we’re still in a pandemic, for ramen’s sake; nobody’s head is on straight at this point), or b) one of your kids or roommates was playing a prank on you. Because both of these happen, as we’ve seen from the teenager who edited his father’s resume.

    Try not to worry too much about this, and I hope you get the job!

    1. Non-techy tech editor*

      Thank you for the best thing I’ve read this week.
      Keeping fingers crossed you get to use those condoms soon.

      And please keep us updated and let us know if you get the job.

    2. Selina Luna*

      I remember that one. All I can say is, if my kiddo ever does something like that teenager, he would need to go stay with his grandparents for a couple days so that I could cool off. The kid in that story was just malicious.

    3. Mimi*

      This is not an interview story, but probably nearly as mortifying in the moment. It is not my story, but in some ways is the better for that.

      After college, I did a service year in a country that wasn’t Mali. My in-country bosses through the organization were a middle-aged Christian couple, both kindly and a bit straightlaced. They’d been doing this for quite a while. A few years before I was there, they had gone home for a visit, and airport security wanted to go through their bags after a scan. Mrs. Boss gamely opens up her suitcase, and… condoms EVERYWHERE. Fluorescent condoms. Hundreds of them. Bosses had no idea they were there, and were ABSOLUTELY MORTIFIED.

      It turns out that some of the supervisees had added the condoms to their luggage at the last moment, as a joke. (In fairness, the possibility of airport security opening up the bags had not occurred to them — they had intended this to be good fun in the privacy of some random hotel room, not public humiliation in front of dozens of people.)

      Luckily, living as an expat in not-Mali for many years encourages one to develop a good sense of humor about jokes that are on you, so by the time I came along it was just one of the many ridiculous stories that got told over tea on the verandah.

      1. Cercis*

        “Not Mali”? It was totally Mali, wasn’t it? My nephew worked there for a while with Mercy Corps and it sounded like an interesting place.

      2. AnonAnon*

        Oh wow. I dunno. I can definitely get behind having a good laugh with condom pranks, but I draw the line at sneaking things into people’s luggage for a flight. If security at the airport realize that there are things in the luggage not packed by the traveling couple, it can lead to all sorts of hassle for them. I would have been furious if my supervisees did this.

  10. You should stop*

    Oh. My god. This made my day.

    As I was reading it, my thought was just, “I’d feel the same way if someone accidentally pulled out a tampon,” which I have DEFINITELY done at less-than-opportune moments. I think most interviewers wouldn’t hold this against you.

    Thank you for a brilliant and entertaining retelling of this story, OP.

    1. Loz*

      I’d be the same, assuming there’s an implicit “from a handback/satchel” after “pulled out of tampon”.

    2. LTR/FTP*

      Yeah I inadvertently tossed a pantiliner at a coworker once. He silently picked it up and handed it back, and we never spoke of it again.

  11. Free Meerkats*

    I’m sorry, Mortification Week has already passed. You will have to submit next time it comes around.

  12. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    If you have the skills and ability, I would not hold this against you as an interviewer. And if you get the job and after many years of success at it when you interview someone for a position, try not to start laughing when they drop their satchel on the table in preparation to bring out their presentation.

    1. KateM*

      And as long as OP didn’t try to save the day by following it up with a lewd joke, of course.

  13. CarCarJabar*

    I, for one, would take this as a testament to your optimism, ability to plan ahead for potential opportunities, and safety mindset. You’re hired!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      “ability to plan ahead for potential opportunities”

      I am dreaming of a post-interview follow-up note that cites the condoms as evidence of that.

      1. Gracely*

        If there are any TV writers reading this site, I really, really hope they make this a scene in some future TV episode. It would be GOLD.

  14. the cat's ass*

    OP, I love you and AAM because where else could you go with this story, and be appreciated and supported, to boot?!?. I think you handled it pretty well and so did your interviewer. While it smarts now, you now have an amazingly funny story to tell in the future. From a hiring standpoint, i like to hire prepared candidates, and you certainly are! I hope you get the job!

  15. Eldritch Office Worker*

    I wish you could see my face right now (hand over mouth, eyes glowing with glee, desperately trying not to guffaw at my desk).

    I am sooooooooooo sorry LW. This is so funny, but I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way. Please do the recommended thing of putting this job out of your mind until you hear back (after a CONDOMLESS thank you note, act like nothing happened, please) but also make this a story you tell every person you’ve ever met, particularly if they’re nervous about an interview.

    Not that I’d recommend this as a strategy, but I think if I was hiring and this happened it would absolutely endear me to the candidate and keep them high on my list, all other things being square. I’d certainly remember them!

  16. Actual Viking*

    I would just think “whoops” and move on. Safe sex is a good thing.
    If the sight of 4 condoms makes you unravel to the point that you can’t move on and conduct an interview, then you need to grow up.

  17. Bella*

    As an HR Professional, I would have made a joke about not being able to get ahead that way around here and move on.
    This way I would hope to put the candidate at ease and not make a huge deal about it.

      1. Fran Fine*

        Yeah…there are certain things you can say in a book or in a film/TV show that sound cool and witty when coming from the mouth of a fictional character that just really don’t land well when said in a real world context. This would be one of those things.

      2. HannahS*

        Yeah, same. If someone accidentally introduces something sexual or nudity-related into the workplace, escalating it by making sex jokes shows tremendously bad judgment. Just because someone has some condoms in their bag doesn’t mean they’re up for joking about sex, and I think you can reasonably assume that “joking” comments that imply that the candidate wants to have sex with you to get the job are unwanted.

        1. Pocket Mouse*

          Agreed. I get you (Bella) are unlikely to encounter OP’s situation, but please take a hard look at whether that kind of response is okay. The feedback you’re getting here is that it’s not. (Except from another HR-identified person… yikes.)

    1. Recruited Recruiter*

      Also an HR Professional. I do not have the confidence to say that, but is a fabulous response.

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        It’s clever, but a bad response. Hope you come back to read the other comments on this thread.

    2. Elenna*

      IDK, if I were in OP’s place and I heard that I would just be worried that the interviewer thought I was sexually harassing her… I assume you’re saying that as a joke on the assumption that “obviously” you don’t mean it, but as you can see from OP’s letter they actually were worried about potential harassment.

    3. Generic Name*

      Ew, no. Please don’t tell a joke like that. ESPECIALLY as HR. That kind of joke could be construed as sexual harassment, after all.

    4. Empress Matilda*

      I think it could maaaaybe work under the right circumstances, but yeah – probably better not to. Definitely don’t use the words “get ahead,” because it could easily be misheard as “get head,” which is taking the conversation in an ENTIRELY inappropriate direction.

  18. LurkNoMore*

    Think that’s bad…new job applicant driving from another state get’s pulled over for speeding. Back in the day, if you got pulled over in the state where new job was located driving on an out-of-state ticket, you got taken to the station and had to post the amount of the new ticket in order to be released, cash only. New job applicant didn’t have enough cash and had to call person handling the interview to bail them out of jail. New job applicant ended up getting the job.
    One of our favorite stories about this person until they hit a golf ball into someone’s ear and then got into an accident driving that person to the hospital…

    1. Le Sigh*

      That’s an incredibly punitive and draconian policy, almost likes it’s designed extort cash from drivers….

        1. Miss Curmudgeonly*

          Illinois! And that wasn’t only for out-of-state tickets, but apparently they changed this in 2014. Before that, when I lived in Chicago, I got a speeding ticket and the officer took my license. I got ANOTHER ticket a month or so later (I was having a bad life at the time!), and I had to go to the station to post the cash. Luckily they handily had an ATM there in the station.

  19. glitter writer*

    I am a hiring manager at my company, and if this happened during an interview I would probably laugh so hard I’d cry. And I would not hold it against the candidate, but I would definitely remember the interview!

  20. Charlotte Lucas*

    And as a middle-aged woman (*sigh*), I have to say most of my cohorts would feel sympathy & find it hilarious. We’ve all accidentally pulled out something “feminine” or had a wardrobe malfunction at inopportune times.

  21. Emmie*

    That walk of shame was probably horrible.

    But hold your head high. Crap happens. You’ve made my day!

  22. Naomi*

    This reminds me a bit of the letter where the OP’s one-night stand and her boss’ one-night stand happened to be roommates, and she ran into the boss in the apartment the next morning. It’s crossing the streams of work and personal life in an embarrassing way, but no one did anything wrong and the best way to save face is to pretend it never happened.

    1. Wisteria*

      Reminds me of the guy who matched with interviewer on Tindr. They ended up getting the position, but not the job.

  23. Barbosa*

    This is the kind of story this website was so sorely lacking during these Covid times. Priceless.

  24. Anon to Avoid Outing*

    Somewhat frequent commenter going anon for this because if my former co-workers see this, they will know exactly who I am.
    I had a woman in probably her late 20s come in for an interview, and the front desk assistant seated her in the interview room. The front desk assistant stopped by my desk to let me know that my candidate was there. While he was telling me this, he also found fit to tell me that when she sat down, her pants had fallen down a lot, and her entire butt was visible through the mesh back of the chair. I (also male) thought about how to notify her without making her feel harassed. On my way to get the hiring manager, I stopped by the interview room, and with a female co-worker near the door said (somewhat loudly) “you might want to check your pants.” By the time I returned with the hiring manager, she was still bright red.
    She had a good interview though, and we hired her, but I still feel bad about how much I humiliated that poor candidate.

    1. Amaranth*

      Oh dear. Your heart was in the right place but both of you should have had the female coworker just wander into the room and ‘notice’. Kudos to that woman for holding together an interview with you afterwards.

      1. Anon to Avoid Outing*

        Hindsight is 20/20. I realized almost immediately that I had just ruined her day and her interview. After that, the response to anything mildly embarrassing around the office was responded to by EVERYONE by “you might want to check your pants.” Not the kind of thing I wanted to become legend for.

  25. Shira*

    My fancy new business satchel spent the pandemic as an impromptu diaper bag. I recently had my first in-person interview since who knows when – and I thankfully did clean it out beforehand, but my sister and I had a good laugh over what I might have pulled out if I hadn’t (personal favorite: shaky bells-on-a-stick musical toy). Condoms win though!!

      1. KateM*

        Then it looked like an exceptionally prepared candidate – to have both condoms and stuff for if condoms fail.

    1. Forrest*

      I casually pulled a mask out of my bag whilst chatting with a colleague (as we were about to go into a building) and only realised when I couldn’t find the strings that I was holding my toddler’s knickers over my face.

      1. Black Horse*

        Ok, I’ve managed to keep it together reading all these comments, but for some reason this is the one that has me in tears. I’m assuming said knickers had, like, cartoon characters on them or something similar. Brilliant!

      2. Persephone Mongoose*

        I’ve witnessed someone using a sock as a face mask, so I guess knickers could be adapted to work as well?

    2. Just Another Techie*

      I was interviewing while still pumping for the then-six-month-old baby. Totally had breast pump flanges fall out of my carry-everything bag at one interview — I’d work sneakers for the subway ride over and was trying to get my office shoes out of my bag in the elevator to do a quick footwear change. Everything came flying out right when the elevator stopped to let someone in, someone who turned out to be on my interview panel. I also had (clean!) diapers fall out at another interview. Received offers at both, although I was mortified at the time!

  26. ecnaseener*

    Don’t feel bad at all about “Guess I need to clean out this bag!” Think of all the worse things you could’ve said…like “At least you know I’m prepared for all possibilities!”

  27. Oxford Common Sense*

    I really wish that the interviewer is also an AAM fan and pops up in the comments to give her actual take…

    1. Worldwalker*

      Or maybe comes here some time later, and posts the other side of the story in one of the “weird incidents at intverviews” threads, so we can all go “Hey, we know that story!”

  28. WFH with Cat*

    Oh, OP! I am sorry … but I am laughing out loud. Not at your embarrassment, of course, but at your top-notch storytelling. “Because my brain was no longer anywhere near my body” is something I’m liable to quote/steal again and again.

    Best of luck and I REALLY hope you get the job!

  29. FD*

    the kind you might grab a handful of from those fishbowls in certain bars and toss optimistically into your fancy business satchel, just before you spend an entire 16 months having zero need of neither condoms nor satchel

    which I obviously have zero memory of because my brain was no longer anywhere near my body

    but you can’t exactly put the condoms back in the bag, as they say

    You genuinely really DO have a great turn of phrase, LW! You’re a really good storyteller. I hope you get the job and are laughing about this ridiculous situation for years to come.

  30. Jean*

    OMG, just the other day I was walking into the building a few steps ahead of my boss, and I was rushing to get my access badge out of my bag so I could open the door for myself and for her, and I ended up pulling out a condom along with it, which fell on the ground. SO EMBARRASSING

    1. Amaranth*

      We are now in a world with commercials about how to clean your butt of poop. A condom just says you’ve got common sense.

  31. The Crowening*

    Honestly, OP, this comes across (to me) as amusing and kinda charming. If this upset the interviewer at all, she wasn’t someone you’d want to work for, which would make this a very good thing to have happened. :)

      1. The Crowening*

        Well, yes. I wouldn’t *recommend* throwing condoms on an interviewer’s desk as a test. :) But, with the circumstances as they are…

  32. LizM*

    For what it’s worth, I had an interviewee who had several mishaps happen during the interview that were entirely outside of his control (none as mortifying as an explosion of condoms, though). I ended up hiring him because he took it all in stride and showed a great sense of humor about it, I realized he could handle the crazy thing this job throws at people.

    That is to say, crazy things happen in interviews. It doesn’t necessarily mean the whole interview was a bust.

    Signed, the person who has had (unused) diapers fly out of her work bag on more than one occasion.

  33. Goose*

    LW no matter what happens, know that you will be a legend here.

    I have had tampons and underwear (clean, thankfully!) fall out of my bag at inopportune times, so your ability to continue on with the interview makes you a hero in my book.

  34. TrojanMaker*

    OK, I’m tempted to send this to all of my coworkers because around here it would be odd to NOT have a condom on your desk.

    Setting that (those?) aside, best case scenario: ignore and go forward! and it sounds like you did.

    I also would of course ask to see them because we collect novelty condoms, too!

    1. ecnaseener*

      LOL i didn’t read your username at first and was very concerned at what the hell was going on in your office! (Anyone remember the letter about the sex club?)

  35. Dust Bunny*

    I am deeply and sincerely sorry this happened to you!

    Honestly, I’m not sure it would be that big a problem where I work, and I hope wherever this interview was is the same. We’re healthcare-adjacent so I can think of a lot of SFW reasons we would have condoms in our bags.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Side note: This was only at the grocery store so it wasn’t a huge deal, but the poor teenaged boy running the checkout . . .

      I handed him my fabric bags and when he went to load them up, commented, “Oh, there’s another bag in here,” except that it was actually the green lace lingerie set I’d picked up at the previous shopping stop. He was admirably chill about it, realized immediately what it was, and stuffed it smoothly back into the depths of the bag, and then buried it under pretzels and bean dip.

      1. Anon for this*

        On the day before I found out I was pregnant, I had every reason to believe I was not pregnant (let’s just say sometimes early pregnancy symptoms are very hard to distinguish from the monthly “You’re not pregnant!” message your body sends), so on my way to a friend’s house for a boozy brunch I picked up a just-in-case pregnancy test so that I could take my fertility meds the next day, and then went to buy several bottles of wine for brunch. Of course, as soon as I went to check out at the wine store, the pregnancy test fell right out on the counter next to all my bottles of wine.

        Of course you can have a drink during pregnancy if you want and I certainly did on several occasions, but … that wasn’t how I planned to make my statement in favor of moderate indulgence during pregnancy.

        (And I only ended up having one drink that day anyway because I suddenly started to feel very sick! Pregnancy hormones to the rescue!)

        1. Magpie*

          I feel the mortification. We had a party when I was about 7 months pregnant with my second and my first was still in a pushchair. I went to the off license (booze shop) to stock up for the guests. Turns out that when you’re heavily pregnant and your baby’s pushchair carry-section is full of wine, gin, and vodka, people give you Looks.

      2. Mental Lentil*

        buried it under pretzels and bean dip

        For some reason, I can’t stop laughing about this! That poor kid!

    2. lisa*

      I was about to say, any chance this job was in public health? Because they wouldn’t even blink at condoms in most public health adjacent places I’ve worked. At our annual meeting, our president would announce where attendees could get condoms if they needed them, during the opening plenary.

  36. SJ*

    OP!!! oh my god. I’m so sorry. but also: thank you soooooo much for this story.

    You handled everything perfectly!! Safe sex is important! oh my god I’m so mortified for you.

    But you did great!!

  37. anon this time*

    OP, as a mid-40s woman, if I’d been interviewing you, I’d have found it hilarious. But I fully appreciate your mortification. I recently organized a small in-person (outdoor) business event, including my boss, some out of town higher ups, and some people I’d never met before. The venue- a casual restaurant/bar with a large outdoor deck- told me they’d be doing trivia during the last half hour of our happy hour event. I figured, NBD, might be a little annoying but whatever. The day comes, and it’s “Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll” themed trivia. And some of the questions and answers are FOUL.

    I was SO EMBARRASSED to be hearing questions and answers involving, among other things, positioning, ah, family relationships, and pr0n plots, while trying to talk to my boss and our partners. Everyone else thought it was hysterical. I wanted to fall through the floor. So I have deep sympathy for the feeling that, while it might be funny to others, it was very much NOT to you!

  38. Elenna*

    Oh noooo. I really doubt this will affect the interviewer’s opinion of you, but at the same time I know I’d be dying of embarrassment in your place. I agree with Allison, just don’t bring it up again. Hopefully you get the job!

  39. michelenyc*

    I would have been rolling on the floor laughing. This actually reminds me of something that happened to my aunt and her friend. My aunt is only 6 years older than me; she is more like my sister. I lived with her for about a year. When I had moved out I somehow left behind a pair of black thong underwear (they were clean). She moved in with a friend of hers while they were both getting their masters and somehow the black thong became a joke with them. They would sneak them into each others school bag all the time. One of them was giving a presentation, when pulling out what they needed from their bag, out comes flying black thong underwear onto conference room table. Thankfully everyone was laughing.

  40. Dahlia*

    This is the best thing I have ever heard.

    OP, I would be telling this story forever about the best interview I ever did. This is amazing.

  41. anon for this*

    Oh nooooo. Not at all the same, but I used to work in public health/HIV research and we’d bulk order condoms to hand out to study participants. What our condom supplier did not tell us was that if we ordered a certain quantity, they would ship us a free surprise gift. It was several dozen rings of a vibrating variety, and we were certainly not prepared for those to just show up without warning at the office one day.

      1. anon for this*

        We found them a good home at an adult store that does a lot of community outreach and sex ed.

        1. Emma*

          The sexual health service that I worked at would have given them out as incentives for people to do STI screens.

          Our testing numbers among students dropped detectably when it got around that management had decided to stop ordering glow-in-the-dark sperm keyrings for the same purpose.

    1. also anon...*

      Ohh this reminds me of the time we ordered a headset at my office and amazon somehow accidentally packed a 3-pack of those same vibrating rings in with the computer headset. I was so thankful that I checked the box before handing it to our staff member, because she was NOT the type to laugh that sort of thing off!

  42. BlackLodge*

    I like to think I’d have the presence of mind to say something like, “wow, I can tell I haven’t used this bag in a long time!” But I probably would have spontaneously combusted from embarrassment.

    1. Fran Fine*

      Lol, that would have made me laugh even harder if I were the interviewer because, damn, I can relate.

  43. Lori Johnston*

    As a Manager who recruits regularly, I wouldn’t hold it against you for a second. I’d be glad I was talking to a responsible human :-)

    I used to travel for work a lot, short trips, so say an overnight bag with ‘work stuff’ packed in with, obviously, clean and dirty clothes and personal effects. No matter how neat I tried to be, I did worry constantly that I was going to arrive into a meeting and pull out my laptop or notebook accompanied by yesterday’s underwear. That never actually happened, but I did turn up to lead a guided walk in a volunteer capacity once with a pair of underwear stuck to the Velcro fastening on my jacket (both fresh from the wash and hence entangled). People…have underwear and condoms and tampons and…stuff!

    Let us know if you hear back about the job OP. I hope you get it if it is right for you!

    1. Windchime*

      My dad once went to his job at the post office to sort mail, like he did every evening. Dad was wearing a flannel shirt and didn’t notice till halfway thru his shift that a pair of mom’s silky underpants was stuck to the inside of his sleeve. He didn’t know what it was until he pulled it out in front of his coworkers.

    2. LTR/FTP*

      On the way home from a business trip, my boss and I were at the baggage carousel… my suitcase came along and when I grabbed it, its zipper decided to give up the ghost. The (admittedly overpacked) bag burst open and all of my dirty clothes came flying out onto the airport floor, bras and panties right out in the open. My boss, bless his heart, silently handed me a zip tie and then kept watching for his own bag.

  44. Pumpkin215*

    I don’t think you blew it (haha..). BUT, consider this- if all it took was an unfortunate rubber incident to take you out of the running, then this probably wasn’t the job for you.

    Stuff happens. We are all human. I’ve dropped feminine products on my way to the bathroom, farted while laughing and spilled gallons of liquids at work. My personal favorite, dumping a bag of Cheetos into my mouth as the new, very cute coworker walked past my desk. It was 10:00 a.m. (I was hungry!).

    I think you handled it very well and best of luck to you! Please update us!

  45. NYC Taxi*

    OP you’re fine. I interview people all the time and although I’d be trying not to laugh, I would be thinking, well, he exhibits good judgment with safer sex. If you seemed extremely mortified or like it was going to derail the interview I would have shared my story to put you at ease of the time I crushed an interview, stood up to leave and got my leg caught in my purse strap, bent down to untangle myself, proceed to hit my head on the edge of the interviewer’s desk, which made me take a step backwards still bent over, but I was still tangled in my stupid purse and it tripped me and I fell onto the floor.

    1. Camolita*

      Omg, LOL, I can totally picture myself doing something like that!!! Please tell me you got the job!

  46. SheLooksFamiliar*

    OP, I’ve had all kinds of things land on my desk while interviewing candidates, but never one condom, let alone four! What have I been missing??

    Awkward things happen and I don’t think this is a deal-breaker, and your interviewer sounds pretty chill. Even so, don’t bring it up again even to apologize for it. Just carry on like the professional you are – and anyone who could continue the interview after that is a total pro!

    Please keep us posted.

  47. Esmeralda*

    Handling a faux-pas like that with aplomb is a point in your favor, and if I were the interviewer, I’d probably note something like, “handles the unexpected with calm and good humor.”

    For sure you will not disappear into the mass of interviewees — I would never have to say, “Which one is he?”

    I’m betting you gave the interviewer a great story to share. And that she went back to her office and laughed and laughed.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Now I am imagining this being used as an interviewing gimmick to get attention.

      Candidate after candidate festooning the panel with condoms.

      1. never mind who I am*

        Molly Ivins once showed up for an interview with a six-pack of beer. But then, she was a Texan and a journalist.

  48. anon for this*

    So, it looks like I’m the only person who wouldn’t really think this was funny or cute if I were the interviewer? I get that people have sex, please nobody come for me!

    1. Mental Lentil*

      If it were done maliciously, then no, it wouldn’t be funny or cute.

      But the point is, people get to have personal lives outside of work, and unfortunately, in the Venn diagram of work vs. life, those two circles overlap in some peculiar ways. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s terrifying, and sometimes it’s mortifying.

      TL;DR: life happens

    2. Fran Fine*

      Whether or not I’d find it funny would largely depend on how the person who threw the condoms responded. I’ve seen some responses here from people regarding what they would have said in the moment that truly made me laugh, but some that would make me shake my head.

    3. Just an autistic redhead*

      I don’t think it’s wrong for you to react differently from the expressed majority ^_^ I think in the moment I would have probably felt the “oh noooo sympathy mild-horror-laughing-for-the-awkward” feeling. I think it’s more the Mortification Week humor than something you would outright tell as a joke, because its accidental nature and the way it’s told are kind of what’s funniest about it IMO. I haven’t really seen anyone saying it’d be cute though, and I can’t see how it would be that. But yeah. Not “joke-funny” but “empathy of the funny story”, to me.

    4. quill*

      In person I’d probably end up staring blankly, like I did the first time I encountered a loose condom in the wild.

      Since I’m not physically present for the hail of condoms, I find it hilarious.

    5. HannahS*

      I think a lot of people would find it a bit surprising or uncomfortable, which isn’t terrible. Most reasonable people wouldn’t hold it against a candidate, because it was an accident. Like Alison says, it’s as if any other private thing flew out of their bag, like hemorrhoid cream or dentures or a menstrual cup case. I don’t think people would find it as funny if it was a yeast infection kit, but whether we find it funny or not, life happens and sometimes people put stuff in their bags.

      1. Sasha*

        See for me, the weirdness would be “why on earth have you put condoms in your work bag?”

        Haemorrhoid cream, tampons etc you can probably assume are something the interviewee might need during the day. Lego or knickers I’m going to assume they didn’t put there themselves. But condoms, they I would find baffling, on a par with spotting some power tools in their bag under their resume. I wouldn’t hold it against the candidate, but I would be thinking “why is his bag full of condoms?”

        1. DesertRose*

          Except the OP explained why the condoms were in his work bag; he had gotten them at a bar, and I’m guessing he’d gone out after work, thus he still had his work bag with him, so he put the condoms there because it was a convenient place to put them.

          Don’t get me wrong; the whole situation is still awkward as hell, but I think everyone who carries a bag (be it a purse or a work bag/briefcase or book bag) has thrown things in their bag and then forgotten they were there.

          Given that, as he noted below, he’s been asked for a second interview, I think he handled the situation well.

        2. Emma*

          I once went to a bar with some mates, and when we went out to get cash I was drunkenly trying to find my wallet in my bag when my hand hit something big and solid. I said “What the fuck is that??”, pulled out a Stanley retractable metal tape measure, went “Oh yeah” and put it back.

          My mate’s response was to say “You are such a lesbian”, which was prescient!

  49. Robin Ellacott*

    Oh, poor OP! But joining the chorus to say if I interviewed someone this happened to I would feel bad for them, also find it very funny, and not care in the least about it when assessing them as a character.

    In fact, they would be memorable and I would probably have a certain sympathetic fondness for them.

    1. Robin Ellacott*

      Also we had someone leave behind a Viagra pill once. It was on the boardroom table when he left. He’d rooted around in his bag for a pen and I assume if somehow fell out then.

  50. Mental Lentil*

    I can’t wait for the letter next week from the perplexed interviewer saying “My interviewee tossed condoms all over the table and how do I handle it if it happens again?”

  51. Skyblue*

    Middle-aged woman here (I keep thinking I must have done the math wrong, but I double-checked, and it’s true). I probably would have reacted similarly to your interviewer because I tend to be at a loss for words when something awkward and potentially embarrassing happens.

    Honestly though, I think I would have to worry about being biased in favor of you as a candidate after that because I wouldn’t want you to feel bad about it, especially after getting all prepared and bringing your Fancy Business Satchel and everything. It definitely wouldn’t hurt your chances with me.

    I hope you are soon in a great job you love! It’ll be a great day when we can all laugh about this without reservation.

  52. RJ*

    OP, I feel your pain and embarrassment. But I have to say as someone who’s worked around safety and building standards for many years, if I were the interviewer, I would have a great deal of respect for someone who values safety. It’s probably not funny or cute to you now, but you’ll get some distance from it. You’re going to be OK. So many of us have horrific moments like this, myself included.

  53. Onward, Prophylactics! (the OP)*

    Hi, everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood gold-medalist condom-thrower, the OP!

    Reading all of these hilarious and supportive comments has me absolutely beside myself! The Condom Incident only happened at the tail end (heh) of last week, and I did spend all weekend post-interview wondering if I should just tie a condom over my head and walk into the ocean, so the speediness of Alison’s amazing response and all of the support I’m finding here has been more than welcome.

    I do have a teeny update, which is that just today I was contacted for a follow-up interview! It seems to be just part of the hiring process, but whether it’s a routine next step or some sort of cross-examination to make sure I’m not a (safe) sex maniac remains to be seen. You’ll all be the first to know once I learn more!

    1. Perplexed interviewer*

      Yay! And I really hope the job allows you to use your clear ability to tell a story really well. This is the best thing I have read in ages.

    2. knitcrazybooknut*

      Yay!!! Best of wishes to you! If you can handle that situation, you can handle a normal interview. Congrats and go get ’em!

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Awesome! *sends you good vibes*

      Also, uh… might I suggest you clean out your bag this evening? :D

    4. Reba*

      This absolutely sounds like a scene from Fleabag. You are a hilarious storyteller! I hope this incident quickly moves from active mortification to just a funny anecdote.

    5. MyDogIsBradleyPooper*

      Good Luck OP! For your next interview look the interviewer straight in the eye and wink at them as you open your bag.

      Also, forward them a link to the URL to show them how awesome this story is.

      And close your interview by telling them you had a dream about this incident how they brought it up 40 years down the road at your retirement party. They will hire your for sure.

    6. RosyGlasses*

      Your writing style gives me so much joy. Thank you for the smiles and hilarity that ensued today!

    7. nnn*

      Love your username!

      My inner comedy writer thinks you should accidentally drop packets of lube at your next interview.

      Do not actually do this!

    8. MicroManagered*

      Now you know, without doubt, that the condoms are not a factor in whether or not you get this job! I really want to be work besties with the guy who whipped out four condoms in his interview… That’ll be one hell of a happy hour story!!

  54. Ninotchka the Intrepid*

    OP, I’m so sorry this happened to you! Embarrassing things happen in interviews, so don’t worry too much about it. Just move ahead. In 1991, I went to a job interview while I was sick with appendicitis. Upon arrival in the lobby I checked in with reception, then immediately turned and vomited into a potted plant. I turned back at the receptionist, smiled (I kid you not) and said we’d need to reschedule. So embarrassing.

  55. AKchic*

    Oh dear, dear Letter Writer… I feel for you. On so many levels I feel for you.

    I am very sex positive. I am a former teen mother, and am extremely open about everything (in age appropriate ways) and am known for getting calls from other people so I can give *their* kids The Talk because they just don’t know how or are too embarrassed to do it.
    I’m also known for having way too many kids, many of whom are practical jokers, or at one time, were just too young to understand that stuffing things in mommy’s bag isn’t appropriate (mom does not need a handful of spaghetti from your dinner in her purse for tomorrow, I promise, dear 3 year old!).

    My house destigmatized condoms so by the time my oldest hit junior high, they were a bathroom staple. The youngest was 4 at that time and just hitting pre-k. He was also very much gunning for a baby sister (he was the youngest of four brothers in the house). His idea of ensuring he’d get a baby sister? Stuffing everyone’s bags and lunch boxes with condoms. He assumed we’d throw them away rather than keep carrying them around. Instead, we were all confused and a few teachers were a little surprised (and made some giggly phone calls to let me know). Poor kid didn’t understand that those weren’t for me, but at least he got the idea right that condoms were there to prevent babies (among other things)!

      1. AKchic*

        Absolutely not!
        I had gone into early perimenopause when I was 27 (he was born when I was 25). The factory is shut down and condemned. If we aren’t filming a Scoobynatural episode up in there, we might as well bulldoze it and put up a coffee stand.

  56. Snow*

    Just another data point… I’m in my late 30s in a non-academic data science field, and if I was interviewing someone and a few condoms accidentally fell out of their bag, I wouldn’t really feel any more awkward than if some band-aids or tampons had fallen out of their bag. It’s just a personal hygiene item that is reasonable to keep in a bag. It wouldn’t affect my opinion of them as a candidate.

    I wouldn’t comment beyond “Oops!” because it doesn’t really require any comment, you know? I wouldn’t have any comment on band-aids or tampons either.

    If they looked visibly embarrassed or upset about it, I might say “It’s really OK — God knows I have all kinds of stuff in my bag,” just to reassure them.

    In fact — even though I’m happily in a monogamous marriage, I should probably add a couple of condoms to my emergency mini first-aid kit. I keep a mini-cosmetic bag in my purse with travel bottles of OTC meds, bandaids, spare tampons, etc. And like tampons, condoms have plenty of uses beyond the obvious one, so they’re worth carrying even if I’m not likely to be unexpectedly having sex.

    1. Teapot Repair Technician*

      condoms have plenty of uses beyond the obvious one

      My imagination runs wild, but I’m too timid to Google it.

      1. saf*

        Go read Douglas Adams’s book “Last Chance to See.” It’s a very good book, and the best part is the chapter where they are trying to buy a condom in Shanghai to put over a mic to lower into the river to record blind dolphins.

      2. quill*

        One SFW example: if you work on a theater production they’re often used to wrap microphones to get best quality sound.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Also outdoor television productions use them to protect microphones from the elements.

          Or at least we did when I was in college.

            1. quill*

              We used ziplock sample baggies for our phones, but I was doing science fieldwork on the edge of a stream, not filming.

        2. A. Ham*

          Came here to say this! and not just for sound quality- it also protects the mic box from sweat. There are many boxes of condoms in our production manager’s office, and in the sound designer’s area.

          1. quill*

            I spent 4 years of high school theater firmly NOT wondering why the light and sound crew had so many of them around, before I learned that.

        3. Blarg*

          “Do we have any more of the non-lubricated condoms?” yelled the clerk as my 18 year old self attempted to purchase condoms for use as blood packs in a theatre show in college.

        4. Jackalope*

          Yeah, I have a friend who’s worked in theater on and off for most of her life. She says you can always tell the corner stores near the theaters, since they have a large selection of the non-lubed condoms (since for reasons that I hope are obvious, at other locations the lubed ones are more popular).

      3. DEJ*

        There was just a story about how a kayaker at the Olympics (who won several medals) used them to repair her kayak.

      4. Free Meerkats*

        One I’ve done is putting one over the muzzle of my rifle while deer hunting. Keeps the rain out, as well as dirt should one stumble and drop the rifle.

        1. never mind who I am*

          Which reminds me of the WW2 story where the British army were covering the ends of their artillery with something similar though not as easy to use. The request for condoms went up the chain of command until it got to Winston Churchill, who approved the request for artillery-sized condoms with two conditions: that they be labelled “Made in Great Britain,” and on the other side labelled “medium.”

      5. Wisteria*

        A condom was an integral part of one of the experiments in my undergraduate Senior Lab class (none of us wanted to think about the professor buying them).

  57. Spicy Tuna*

    Oh wow, not a great experience, for sure! If it makes you feel any better, I, a late 40’s female, would not consider a hail of condoms (in this specific context) a negative. In fact, I might consider it a positive, as in, this person is a responsible, conscientious planner! All good qualities. If you managed to keep your composure afterwards, even better – you perform well under pressure.

    I was once on a business trip to another country with my boss. The airport searched bags in the check in area. My bag contained my size A bra and a box of super tampons. The checker held my bra up to the light, stretched it out a few times and then went through the tampon box and pulled a few out. I guess to make sure the box didn’t contain contraband? At any rate, all of this searching happened with my male boss standing right next to me. I was moderately embarrassed; he looked like he wanted the floor to swallow him up!

    1. Wisteria*

      I guess to make sure the box didn’t contain contraband?

      I have heard that the individual packaging for some brands looks like plastic explosives. I have never attempted to fact check this.

      1. Sasha*

        The applicator can be stuffed with drugs, which will look like a tampon in the Xray machine. Obviously if the individual tampons are still wrapped up, that hasn’t happened.

        The bra thing I can’t explain.

  58. Judge Judy and Executioner*

    I once went to a job interview and was running late, got lost with parking, and ended up leaving my cell phone in the car that had my agenda. Luckily I remembered the floor to go on, and was able to fake it from there. On the elevator ride up, I realized that I had a giant bottle of lube in my purse that must have fallen in sometime over the weekend or during travel for a bachelorette party I was at. Luckily, no one saw it, and I ended up getting the job. A year later I told my manager my entire hot mess of an interview experience and it’s one of her favorite stories now. :)

  59. ooono*

    If I had been interviewing you I probably would have laughed until I cried. And not counted it against you.

  60. animaniactoo*

    LW, I really really hope you get the job and this is someday the hilarious story that you tell somewhere else about interviewing experiences.

    I would like to leave you with a phrase that covers a WIDEEEE range of “oops” moments in case you should ever be in need of it again:

    “Uh. Can we both pretend that didn’t just happen?”

  61. SuspectedDragon*

    I feel terrible for laughing, because in your shoes I probably would have just fled the scene/state/country. I imagine this will be a very funny story for you in a few years!

  62. Luke G*

    This reminds me of an old joke:

    A man is interviewing for a customer service job, and the interviewer says “You’re a great candidate but why do you keep winking at me?” The man says “oh, sorry about that, it’s just a facial tic. I can actually control it very well, I just need to take some aspirin. Here, let me show you.”

    He then proceeds to reach into his pocket and take out a few handfuls of condoms before finally reaching a bottle of aspirin. The interviewer is aghast. “Why would you think it’s appropriate to carry so many condoms?” The job candidate just sighs and says “Have you ever tried asking for ‘aspirin’ at a drugstore counter while winking?”

  63. LaDiDa*

    “ask you can see, hiring manager, one of my strengths is being able to forsee potential problems or roadblocks and prepare for them or avoid them altogether.’ :)

  64. mockingbird2081*

    I only have one comment and that is GREAT JOB!!! That was such a well written letter, you truly have a way with words. Well done!

  65. Tomato Frog*

    When I worked in circulation, a young man, maybe like 20, handed me his library card. Somehow, it came with another card and an open condom stuck to it…. I don’t know how the condom had come out of its wrapper, but it was obviously unused (my brain took that in first thing, bless you, brain). I think he registered it just as he was handing it to me. I said something like, “Oh, it’s got some other things stuck to it” and handed it back. I maintained eye contact the whole time, to allow for the polite fiction that I hadn’t noticed the condom, but in hindsight he might have preferred if I looked somewhere else because he had the most deer-in-the-headlights expression I have ever seen on a human face.

    I did manage to check out his books to him. I remember him with nothing but sympathy.

    1. Blackcat*

      “I did manage to check out his books to him. I remember him with nothing but sympathy.”


  66. Foot In Mouth*

    I think I’d have a hard time not going full Julia Roberts and saying “I’m a safety girl.”

    I think you handled it the best way you could. Unlike me, who would absolutely make it awkward.

  67. Nope*

    Oh, OP, I’m so sorry this happened to you! Hugs from Ohio, USA. And if you get the job (and I really hope you do!), PLEASE send an update and let us all know. Best of luck to you!

  68. Not that kind of lawyer*

    While it’s not quite the same thing, I remember reading an article about a President that went on the Tonight Show, (this was when Johnny Carson was the host). He spilled his cup on the show, and was totally embarrassed. Back before social media, they did a poll after his appearance and apparently his likeability went up as people saw him as more approachable and more like themselves. So maybe, this embarrassing moment will endear you to the interviewers? They will certainly remember your interview!

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I remember a prime minister spilling coffee & trying to clean up after himself. (Google says Dutch PM Ritte). I remember Johnny Carson spilled his own coffee (Google says it was interviewing Cybil Shepherd).
      There’s a classic Psych 101 example of an error making someone’s popularity go up by showing them as imperfect & human, but it’s a LOT more sobering — the Bay of Pigs invasion.

  69. nonprofit writer*

    OP, I know you are embarrassed but this is an amazing story! I used to work at an AIDS organization and if you had been interviewing there, you would have 100% gotten the job! And while I know our very professional HR would have frowned on senior staff telling this story during your first all-staff meeting (which many of them would have gleefully done otherwise), it definitely would have gotten around the office and you would have been the office superstar.

    But of course we were not your typical office–we always had the fishbowl of condoms on the reception desk that other commenters are remembering from college, and my former boss told me that during her first weeks on the job someone went running past her office yelling, “We need more condoms for the Christmas tree!!” (They were still in the wrappers and had ornament hooks stuck through them, for anyone who is wondering).

  70. Jennifer*

    I need to know more about the OP’s pre-pandemic 2019 life. Why were there so many condoms in the business satchel? Sexy overseas business trip? Work crush? I’m speculating wildly.

  71. Ana Gram*

    I would think this is hilarious and it actually wouldn’t affect my impression of you! I would tell my husband when I got home and I’d laugh my butt off though…

  72. Secretary*

    Just to commiserate, I hope this mortifying story makes you feel better OP!

    One time, I working as a staff member at a seminar. I carried around those little paper packs of advil because I get pretty terrible headaches. I don’t anymore (now I use the tubes), because they are so damn hard to open with short nails like mine.

    So I have this awful headache, and I’m talking with the facilitator (which means he’s the boss of all of us that day). I ask him, “hey, random question, do you have long nails?” and he looks at his hand and goes “I guess so”. I reach into my bag for an advil pack and ask him, “can you open this for me?”

    Except I didn’t pull out advil… I had pulled out a condom. Like you described. And asked this older, married male superior (I’m a woman) to open it for me. I wanted to crawl under a rock right there as I stammered and stuttered and swapped it for a advil pack. He silently opened the advil while looking horrified.

    At the staff meeting later that day, there was a lull in conversation and he goes, “Yo crazy thing today, Secretary tried to give me a condom!!” It became the joke of the weekend. I can laugh about it now. :) You’ll get through this!

    1. MyDogIsBradleyPooper*

      At work we have little packets of cloths for cleaning our safety glasses. They look like condom packages. I thought it would be funny to scatter them around my 14 year-old boy’s bedroom and then race upstairs to tell my wife there were condoms all over his room. The boy and I thought it was funny. The mother not so much!

  73. Nora*

    Great opportunity to say “while this is clearly embarrassing and inappropriate, I hope you can just mark it down as evidence that I tend to be responsible and prepared.” Lol!

  74. TS*

    One of my friends in grad school thought she was signing for a case of regular gloves, unfortunately she was signing for a case of lube and shoulder length palpitation gloves. I’m not sure the delivery guy ever recovered from her gushing about how excited she was to get her gloves in and how she couldn’t wait to use them. The poor man looked more and more uncomfortable as she rambled on. Needless to say she was mortified when she opened the boxes

  75. Nanani*

    That’s hilarious – and I’m so sorry for your embarrassment.

    Honestly, if you were mortified (as it seems you were) and not trying to turn it all into some kind of dirty joke (which it sounds like you didnt) then it really really wouldn’t read as harassment.
    And as you’d know as a reader of this site, weirder things have happened!

  76. whyblue*

    OP, so sorry this happened to you, but you (and the comment section) made my day!

    Also, is there anyone left over the age of 30 who has not had some sort of wardrobe malfunction / body malfunction / brain freeze / embarrassing slip of the tongue / other awkward and embarrassing moment in their professional life? I think pretty much everyone can relate!

    1. Quantum Hall Effect*

      Are there people who made it to 30 without having one of those moments in their professional life?

    2. Kevin Sours*

      I can’t think of any that got noticed. But I did discover, in somewhat dramatic fashion, that python dot com is emphatically not a website devoted to a popular web programming language. Sitting in a row of half height cubes. My first week on the job. But if anybody saw they never said anything.

    3. allathian*

      Yeah. My feet are short and wide, and my left foot is a size larger than my right, so it’s almost impossible to find nice shoes. When I do find them, I sometimes buy two pairs. I had a navy blue and black pair of otherwise identical shoes, and I once interviewed for a job with unmatched shoes on. Thankfully I didn’t notice until after the interview, or I’d probably been a total mess. I didn’t get the job, but I did get into the second round. That time, I triple-checked to ensure that I had a matched pair of shoes on…

  77. Marzipants*

    I mean, you demonstrated responsibility, strategic planning, and a can-do attitude right of the gate without saying a word. I think you deserve the job.

  78. SaffyTaffy*

    Kiddo, just so you know, I have a say in hiring where I work and this would not deter me from recommending you one bit. Frankly I’d be grateful for the future anecdote fodder.

  79. SomehowIManage*

    An interviewee once accidentally spat on me, and I didn’t hold it against her. I had a very hard time not laughing though, which was a little distracting. Don’t worry about it and move on. You’ve given her a story to tell forever. It might even show up here someday!

  80. lex talionis*

    I was telling my husband this story over dinner and he seemed a bit puzzled and he asked, was she previously a condom sales rep? Apparently that was the only reason he could come up with for having a brief case full of condoms.

  81. HereKittyKitty*

    If it makes you feel better my husband once sent a selfie of him and I to his mom while we were dating and there was a large box of condoms right behind our heads in the background. I was mortified.

  82. Variant of Concern*

    If I was your interviewer, I would find this hilarious and would be telling this story at cocktail parties for YEARS. Alison is right, it’s sure awkward but merely evidence that you are a human being.

  83. Loves to WFH*

    I’m reminded of a letter to Miss Manners years ago, when someone wearing an evening gown tripped, went face-first into the buffet table, and her breasts flew out of her dress. Miss Manners said that while you generally pretend not to notice an embarrassing accident, to just ignore something of this magnitude might imply that the woman did this sort of thing all the time.

    I think ideally, rather than just freeze, the interviewer should laugh (moderately!). Hand him the condoms that are on their side of the table, say something mild, and then move on with the interview without any further reference to it. :-)

  84. Nona*

    So, I have a somewhat similar story:

    I’m a woman working in a male-dominated industry. A few years back I went to a meeting at a partner institute to where I was working. The meeting room was set up with a closed rectangle of tables with empty space in the middle. When I took my laptop out of my bag, a tampon came flying out with it, and slowly bounced it’s way to land on the floor in the perfect center of the tables. At this stage, there were about 4 of us in the room, and since I couldn’t pick it up without climbing over or under my table, I decided to just pretend that no one noticed, and ignore it. As the room started to fill up, I realized I was the only woman there, and that we were going to spend the next four hours in an insufferably boring meeting staring at the tampon in the middle of the room, giving my many male colleagues enough time to figure out what it was and who it must belong to. To make this worse, I’m not originally from the US and I still use the tampons from my home country, which are literally just a tampon wrapped in clear plastic – it was very obvious what it was. Once the room was about half full (15-20 people) I realized it was only going to get worse, so I finally clamboured over my table to retrieve it as subtly as I could (which was not very subtly). At the time, I remember thinking that this would be funny if it happened to Liz Lemon, but it’s just downright humiliating when it happens to me.

    … but have hope Letter Writer! I now work at that institute.

  85. Jennifer Juniper*

    Thank goodness the LW wasn’t a woman!

    If that were the case, the job interview would have been immediately torpedoed. People still have stricter requirements for women than they do for men in the morality department. Some interviewers would have been disgusted and scandalized by the thought of a woman having condoms on her person.

    I am American, and many parts of the country are still reactionary.

    1. Jennifer Juniper*

      I wish there was a way to delete my previous comment. Nona’s story proved me wrong. I apologize for offending you all.

  86. Tasha*

    I’m imagining the interviewer writing to Allison: today’s candidate threw condoms on my desk. Do I consider this in my evaluation of him? It was probably accidental but who isn’t more careful about something like that?

  87. LongTimeLurkerFirstTimeCommenter*

    I can’t express how much I hope 1.) you get this job 2.) this post goes viral and gets picked up by every college career center and career advice blog on how to stand out as an applicant.

  88. Esmerelda*

    I agree with Alison, hope you get the job as well so you have a fun story to tell! :)
    A coworker, we’ll call her Jane, told me just last week of the memorable story that led to her meeting her current boss. Before Jane worked in the industry, she went to an conference. The conference hotel mixed up the rooms (due to similar first AND last names) and gave Jane the key card for her boss’s room. She walked in on Jill changing pants and standing clad in underwear. Jill is now Jane’s boss; they laugh about it hysterically now. Grand first impression stories make the world an interesting place, doesn’t it? :)

  89. Accountant_Who_Cannot_Add*

    This comment doesn’t add much and provides ZERO advice or input….but I just wanted to share with the world that this post really made my day and also, made me laugh and smile and gasp and smack my head, etc. Today was not a great day for me in all aspects, so a good diversion is much appreciate. Okay, now I’m going to scroll back up and read all of the comments.

  90. UKgreen*

    Oh, wow! This post (and the comments) have left me laughing till I cried. Honestly, OP, if I’d been your interviewer I would NOT have held it together, and I fear I would still be laughing now – but that’s in NO WAY a slight on you. I really hope you get the job – and I really hope that this story becomes as famous on AAM as Wakeen… :)

  91. forgotmyname*

    Oops! This reminds me of a time in my former career when I was at an industry event with several prominent people in the sports world. We were staying at a fancy hotel with a lot of security as a Super Bowl team had stayed there just a month before. You not only needed a room key card to access the elevator, but to get to your actual floor. So one evening after a few drinks, I am headed to the elevator to go back to my room, and the doors were closing as I was approaching. I threw my hands in, making the doors go back open and I slipped inside while all the men inside started laughing. One by one they got off at their respective floors, leaving me and a very prominent football executive in the elevator. I quickly realized that I had never selected my floor because I had never actually used my key to get in the elevator. And there was no way to select it now. Without even thinking, I blurted out, “Well…. guess we’re going to your room!” Then realized what I had said, turned bright red, and had nowhere to disappear. Even worse, I really DID have to get off at his floor with him, in order to wait for another elevator to get back to my floor. Oh it was just mortifying. He looked so taken back and probably scared I was going to make a move on him. Yikes.

  92. Anon in Ottawa*

    My friend was just telling me on Monday about a time she was interviewing a nervous candidate who PUKED from stress. Got her a garbage can in time, gave her a moment and then continued. Eventually gave her the job as otherwise her answers were the best. Apparently she was a fantastic candidate.

    So I think the question is how you handled yourself after the incident, but I’m sure a couple of condoms wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for many interviewers.

  93. Uranus Wars*

    I am so glad I saw this today. It started my day off on just the best note.

    And FWIW I am with Alison, if this happened to me as an interviewer I would think it was hilarious. If anything, it will be in the wins column for the candidate.

  94. Lalaith*

    I have a non-work-related stuff-in-my-bag story. A few weeks ago I flew somewhere for the first time in 2 years. I borrowed my husband’s backpack to use as a carry-on. This bag has a TON of pockets. I’m not sure I’ve even found them all. I certainly didn’t check them all before I headed to the airport, and apparently neither did my husband.

    So I’m in the security line, and TSA pulls me over to check my bag. I think it’s my headphone wires or external battery or something like that – no. The agent (after several attempts at finding the right pocket) pulls out A) a large bottle of sunscreen, and B) a windchime. Not a set of windchimes. A single metal tube. I didn’t know what it was until I showed it to my husband later (he’s a music teacher, finding weird bits of musical things in his stuff is normal to him). And I said that to the TSA agent – “I don’t even know what that is.” Brilliant move, there.

    The agent let me keep the windchime. He took the sunscreen, though.

  95. TootsNYC*

    This reminds me of my favorite koan of Mrs. Cosmopolite’s:
    >> It won’t get better if you pick at it.

    Some things are best not mentioned again.

    Technically, in old-school etiquette, one of those things is a fart.
    You are supposed to say “excuse me” when you burp, But farts are never to be mentioned by anyone at all, not even to apologize for them.
    From Miss Manners: “Unacceptable Noises. Miss Manners does not plan to mention them, chiefly because they are unmentionable, but you all know who you are. What they are. At any rate, there are noises that are acknowledged by neither the noisemaker nor the noise recipient, because socially they do not exist.”

  96. TootsNYC*

    As an interviewer, I’m always aware of the power differential–I have more than the candidate does. And the candidates is also more nervous, has more at stake.

    So when something bad happens like this, I actually give that candidate a little more consideration and kindness.
    Someone who was a medium candidate, I would look at their resume and test a little longer, and with a slightly higher willingness to see good things.

    I don’t think it has ever really changed my core opinion–if they were my best candidate regardless of the incident, they’d get the job. If they were a medium candidate, they’d get a slightly better shot at being seen as the best.

  97. LCH*

    “but you can’t exactly put the condoms back in the bag, as they say.” haha, aw :) I’m so sorry!! but as a sort of middle aged woman, this incident alone would not bother me as an interviewer. I totally see how it’s embarrassing (and if it happened to me as an interviewee, I would also like to sink through the floor), but as long as you were perfectly professional otherwise, probably no big deal.

  98. Veryanon*

    Hahaha, I had something similar happen to me, except I was the interviewer in this scenario. Many years ago, I worked for a staffing agency, and we always had candidates coming in to register, test on different software packages, etc. (A lot of this is done online now.) Anyway, a young woman came in to sign up, and she had a clear, see-through small plastic purse with her. As I was meeting with her, I happened to glance at her purse and noticed it was STUFFED with condoms. I’m not exactly sure what she was expecting from our interview, but at least she was prepared for anything!

  99. Derek*

    The OP should definitely take this incident with a grain of salt, then listen to 100 Bad Days by AJR. This will definitely make for a great story. All will be well.

  100. nozenfordaddy*

    I’m with Allison, if this happened when I (also a middle aged woman) was interviewing someone I would have found it hilarious. I probably wouldn’t have laughed at the time but you can bet once I was back in my office I’d have had a good chuckle. I get that it was mortifying for you, but it probably would have made my day as the interviewer.

  101. generic_username*

    I am laughing soooo hard right now. I literally laughed out loud.

    Also, what Allison said is spot on – your interviewer probably didn’t care. Hopefully the embarrassment didn’t throw you off too much in your interviewing. We need an update if you get this job!

  102. Florida checks in*

    Once an 8th grader was doing research on my laptop. The laptop was hooked up to my speaker system, which I forgot to turn off. Poor kid was on History.com or some such. You know how they sometimes play ads when you click on something new? The room was silent. He clicked. The ad came on over the speakers: Sex! Unprotected Sex!

    The kid is falling all over himself trying to get it off! I was laughing so hard it took me a second to get over to him and hit the speakers. He never quite got over the embarrassment, he was worried I’d think he was doing something he shouldn’t have been (never thought that and tried to reassure him), but the rest of us thought it was hilarious.

  103. Tamara*

    Oh, OP!

    I would find this hysterically funny and a nice way to build rapport with the interviewee. You’ll also stand out in their memory quite well, I think!

Comments are closed.