a coworker of the cheap-ass rolls legend speaks out

Remember the letter-writer angry that someone else brought “cheap-ass rolls” to an office potluck when she had already signed up bring rolls herself (#2 at the link)? A commenter recently mentioned that she believed she worked with this letter-writer and — as said letter has become somewhat legendary in these parts — she agreed to share more about her experience:

So this is the story of the Cheap Ass Rolls person at my company, who pretty much identically matches your post except for the being new part. I suspect it is my coworker and that was added in so that if anyone recognized her they would assume it was someone else, just a guess. Or there are two of them out there!

Background on this person – even before the roll event, they were abrasive, would take everything the wrong way, snide comments, get offended if you said hi in the hallway, get offended if you didn’t say hi in the hallway, etc. It was ridiculous and I would go out of my way to avoid her. Just a draining, toxic, personality. She was in a different department from mine and I was lucky that she didn’t work at all with my team, but the people that did work with her complained that she flat out would refuse to do certain aspects of her job and essentially made people miserable.

So my company had a Thanksgiving potluck lunch each year where everyone signed up to bring something beforehand, sign-up sheet on the kitchen door style, the company provided ham and turkey. When I went to place my dish in the conference room she was in there, very upset (think red faced and angry – not crying upset), and loudly questioning everyone – it took a minute to figure out what was going on, but she had brought King’s Hawaiian Rolls, pretty much every flavor they had in the cute little 12-pack roll size. I believe there were three stacks (by flavor, maybe 3 or 4 packs per flavor?) and then several bags of assorted store brand rolls – it was likely Kroger or Publix, but I didn’t really pay attention to them. She was asking everyone who brought the other rolls in a very irrational manner, asking for opinions on if people liked Hawaiian rolls in an accusing way, kept whining about people bringing things they didn’t sign up for (I think we – gasp – ended up with more than one mac and cheese and more than one green bean casserole). Even when I said what I brought – holding the dish in my hand – she demanded to know if I was sure I didn’t bring the other rolls. I dropped my dish off, labeled it, and excused myself from the room as quickly as I could, it was pretty uncomfortable. More and more people were bringing their items in as I made my escape and I could hear the same accusations being made.

So… 30 minutes or so goes by, everything is set-up, it’s time for everyone to pass through the conference room to get food. She stood at the door to the room, asking people (some for the second time, like me) if they were sure they didn’t bring the rolls, going on and on. The door to the conference room was close to the end of the table that had the rolls on it, so she could see who was taking which roll, loudly berating those who took the offending rolls, asking people not taking any rolls why they weren’t taking hers, etc. I made my way around the table and then escaped again, she was still accusing people of bringing the store bought rolls, it was very uncomfortable. And yes, the phrase, “who brought these cheap ass rolls” was mentioned a few times. I forget how close the lunch was to your post, but it was close, only a few days.

Days later I heard her ranting and raving about the rolls, who brought the other ones, why would people bring something they hadn’t signed up for, it kept going. To my knowledge the offending extra roll bringer was never outed, if it had been me I never would have admitted it as I am not sure what she would have done. Again when I saw your post I just knew it was her…there was a Secret Santa thing that had just been started, there was a big meeting for her team after the lunch…there were new people who had started, but she wasn’t one of them, she had been there about a year and a half. Now she may have been new to working with a team that I am not aware of vs meaning new to the company the way it came across, but this also could all be a big coincidence.

I really wanted to ask her if she read AAM, but I figured that would cause issues if I was correct that it was her, and I didn’t want to get into it as she was so aggressive.

Another story about her – I don’t know the details, but I believe she created a fake dating profile for someone in her department and was responding to the people that responded to the ad as if she were the coworker (who knew nothing about it), and I believe HR got involved in that situation but it was all very hush hush, so no more dirt there. But again, the toxic personality. I honestly don’t know how she is still employed, but she is.

What may be also be of interest is our local grocery store puts the King’s Hawaiian Rolls on sale all of the time – usually either BOGO or 2 for 5, so she didn’t even spend that much!


I had questions, which she kindly answered:

How were other people reacting while she was having the rolls-based tantrum? Were people just trying to ignore her or giving each other uncomfortable looks? Did anyone tell her to chill out?

It was more of the uncomfortable looks and ignoring her, the HR person who coordinated things being set up was trying to placate her, etc. I don’t think anyone told her to chill out and even during the lunch when she was calling people out on their roll selection or lack thereof I am pretty sure she was ignored. At least I don’t recall any of the conversation.

Did the person who brought the cheap-ass rolls ever own up to it?

Nope! If they did I never heard about it. I can’t even think of a person that it would be – no one in our office stood out to me as the “cheap” type or a disruptive off the list potluck person. I do wonder if someone on her team brought them in on the sly.

Do you personally feel like you’ve had a brush with a legend?

Ha! She was more scary than anything, maybe a brush with a nightmare! And granted I realize it still may not be the same person – but it really seems way too close to me to be someone different.

{ 566 comments… read them below }

    1. Grapthar's Hammer*

      Yeah, this was almost as satisfying as the updates to the legendary ‘my co worker stole my spicy lunch and complained t9 HR that I was trying to poison them’, which was amazing in the unexpected twists it took.

    2. Minerva*

      RIGHT? This is something I never expected but sorely needed.

      I also appreciate the co-worker confirming that the super special rolls were just King’s Hawaiian rolls. The Publix by me also regularly has them on BOGO. The store brand “cheap ass rolls” (especially if they were from the bakery instead of the bread aisle) may have actually cost more!

      1. Former Young Lady*

        Yes please!

        Of course, I’m the kind of person who thinks Hell itself is probably just a big company potluck, so maybe that’s kinda mean of me.

      2. wendelenn*

        Don’t forget Burnt Soggy Banana Bread Lady from some time last week (not sure I can find the link!)

    3. Darsynia*

      This update makes me wonder if the original letter was written by a coworker to the cheap-ass rolls person in order to relieve some stress about the situation and be validated as to how completely ridiculous it was!

    4. PurpleHeartRed*

      Now we wait for update #2. If this person is in fact a coworker of the Cheap Ass Roll person, CAR will go on yet another manhunt to see who ratted on her to Allison!

  1. T. Boone Pickens*

    The update I’ve always wanted, but never felt I deserved. 2021 on AAM. What a time to be alive!

      1. Rainer Maria von Trapp*

        Honestly. Not all heroes wear capes.
        (And also, your name is most excellent. Pull the lever, Kronk!)

      1. TiffIf*

        Or an update on the woman who quite without notice because her boss (the LW) wouldn’t let her have time off for her university graduation.

        1. SheLooksFamiliar*

          That’s the update I hope we get in my lifetime, too. The boss was so clueless, and I hope the new grad is enjoying a great career with supportive management.

          1. Jessica*

            I hope that after a few years of enjoying a great career with supportive management, she takes all she has learned from (a) working in the original LW’s industry, and (b) working in a sane workplace, and founds her own startup doing whatever the LW’s company did, is a huge success, hires away all his best workers, and drives his company into bankruptcy.

            Until we get the update, that’s what she’ll be doing in MY fantasy! It’s also hilarious to imagine her discovering ten years from now that AAM exists, maybe being like “oh this is a great blog, I’ll start reading it,” months pass, and she spots the first reference to herself and thinks “wow, something like that happened to me early in my career,” then somebody links to it and there’s enough detail for her to realize that she’s always been an AAM legend and superhero, and that at every moment of success she’s ever had in her career and life, there were legions of fans inaudibly cheering her on!

      2. Insert Clever Name Here*

        If Cheap Ass Rolls’ coworker found us, who knows! Maybe we’ll even hear from the employee whose boss wouldn’t let her go to her graduation!

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          I hope the Leap Day birthday employee will find her boss’s posts here someday and weigh in :D

        2. Worldwalker*

          I want to hear that she founded a startup that just bought out her former company and fired her boss.

      3. Skytext*

        I want an update on the boss who wanted people to CAMP in State Parks while on business travel! I think about that one all the time lol.

        1. dozinoff*

          I actually had to do that. We were in cabins, but they were rustic. Had to do all our own cooking, etc. It sucked.

      4. Cruella DeVille*

        Wait, what about the part where the LW thinks the anti-cheap-ass-rolls person may have created a fake dating profile for someone on her team???? The plot thickens….

      1. __ID__*

        Yes!!! I can’t tell you how happy this update has made me! And I can’t believe that no manager pulled her aside and told her to STOP already with the roll interrogation thing! This update is internet gold!!!

        1. PennyHartz (real name Jill)*

          Gold, Jerry, GOLD!

          I also cannot believe that no one took her aside and said “ok, enough about the rolls, you are making people uncomfortable, please let it go.”

        2. Artemesia*

          Amazing isn’t it. I can imagine someone grousing once that they went to all this trouble to get the (disgusting sugary) Hawaiian rolls and someone else went ahead and duplicated their effort with the cheap ass rolls. BUT one grouse is while inappropriate is entirely different than interrogating each person who came to the potluck and questioning people’s food selection as they ate. What kind of workplace allows that to go on and on? Sounds like the kind of management that ends up with employees like this.

            1. Heidi*

              I was also wondering what she was planning to do if she found out who it was. In the original letter, I got the impression that the OP was just fuming silently about the rolls. But to be all, “Who brought these rolls? Why aren’t you eating my rolls?” is just totally out of line.

              I wonder if the actual bringer of the cheap ass rolls will rise from obscurity and claim their rightful place among legends someday.

          1. Freya*

            I just went and looked up the ingredients list and nutrition values of the Hawaiian rolls in question, and there’s enough sugar in them to make me ill. I am not taking pills for a *roll* tyvm!

        3. MusicWithRocksIn*

          I feel like most of my managers would have looked the other way. I can only think of one that would have absolutely done something. No, wait, two actually – one was one of my best managers and one was one of my worst, but they both would have taken it on themselves to solve it – most of my other managers would not have involved themselves in what they didn’t see as a business issue.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I would have probably gotten in trouble because I would not have been able to stop myself from saying something like, “Nobody cares, Jane, you can never have too many rolls at a potluck, hush up and let people eat!”

            That’s the polite version.

    1. RC*

      Am I the only one who now headcanons all the fellow employees getting on top of the conference table Dead Poets Society-style, shouting, “O Captain, my Captain! ’twas I brought the cheap ass rolls!”

      1. Drama Llama's Mama*

        I was thinking more Spartacus-style. “I brought cheap-ass rolls!” “No, I brought cheap-ass rolls!” “I brought cheap-ass rolls!”

      2. Former Young Lady*

        This is just to say
        I have purchased
        The dinner rolls
        That were not

        And which
        You were probably
        Hell-bent on perceiving
        As insults to your very being

        Forgive me
        They were delicious
        So cheap
        And so ass

        1. Calamity Janine*

          the last two lines of this parody are especially perfect, and i now desperately want a dramatic reading of it

  2. plest*

    Oof. I feel sorry for roll-bringer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I feel mostly sorry for the co-workers who just want to go to work to earn a paycheck and not deal with this type of drama, but there’s got to be something seriously wrong for someone to wildly overact so badly over Hawaiian Rolls of all things.

    1. Gerry Keay*

      Yeah I don’t know if I feel sorry for them necessarily, but it does seem to me like there’s uh, something else going on there because this is simply not a proportional response. And if not, they’re truly one of the most bizarre people I’ve ever heard about!

      1. RunShaker*

        unfortunately, there are people like this. Early in my career I experienced someone that would threaten to go to HR on you for innocent type of questions. We had horrible flooding in the area many years ago in which it affected a large number of employees. The company asked the managers/team leads to let their team know that company would be offering assistance. She went off about reporting me to HR and that it was none of your business speech. I was a team lead at the time trying to learn the ropes to be a manager. I just looked at her and moved on to next person.

        1. Anonym*

          Report you… to HR… for sharing assistance resources? Or for saying that those affected needed to indicate they were affected… to receive the assistance? Wild. No other sensible response seems possible. Well handled.

          1. Tin Cormorant*

            For… implying that they are in need of help? For asking any questions whatsoever about an employee’s private life outside of work? That’s all I can think of.

        2. Jennifer*

          I got reported to HR once for politely declining a doughnut. The person thought I was gluten-free so had gotten me a gluten-free doughnut, but I was doing a Paleo challenge at the time and also wasn’t eating sugar, so no doughnuts at all for me. I said “thank you, but I can’t eat doughnuts right now”. And a few days later I was talking to my manager and HR. I wish I was kidding.

          1. HoHumDrum*

            I would love to hear more on exactly how that conversation went.

            I once got reported to my boss for offering to teach my coworker how to make coffee.

            1. Jennifer*

              Honestly, I was just really surprised. I was only a few years into my career and I just didn’t understand why this was something that they felt needed to be a conversation. At this point, it was about 7 years ago. I think I asked what I should have done and I don’t remember getting a concrete response

          2. Usagi*

            People can take the weirdest stuff personally! I’m Japanese, and used to work on a team where that was pretty novel. I had a coworker (who to be fair was kind of strange in a lot of other ways) who taught herself to make picked mango (which is not Japanese in the slightest)… for my benefit? And then brought me some. Thing is, I’m allergic to mango, so I politely declined and thanked her anyway.

            In retrospect, she had been talking about mango a lot the days leading up to that, I guess to gauge my reaction? And I know I told her several times about my allergy during these conversations.

            HR called me to chat the next day, and actually sided with her. I apparently was being rude for rejecting her time, effort, and mangoes. The conversation took a sharp turn when I brought up how no one asked her to do it, and it was kind of racist of her to single me out and make supposedly Japanese food (again, pickled mango is not Japanese at all) for me. Not to mention the fact that she knowingly tried to feed me something I’m allergic to — not that I would’ve died, mind you, but HR didn’t really need to know that.

            This is a very large corporation too. It was one of my earlier jobs so it didn’t strike me as too weird at the time (though it definitely was weird), but looking back I do wonder how a large, international corporation like that ends up with an HR person who is that much of a dingus.

      2. Let's not name names*

        Yes, there are some crazy people out there! As a student I had a weekend receptionist job. The woman I worked with wasn’t my boss, but worked more hours than I did, so she was my self-appointed boss. Mostly it was fine, but one of my responsibilities was ordering office supplies, including coffee, tea, etc. One day, I come in to work, and she’d written the most aggressive (only passive in it’s email format) message about how I’d over-ordered a certain green tea, how there was obviously more than one box of this in the supply closet, and how if I couldn’t be trusted to do my job, there was others who would “gladly.” Worst, part was, she was sitting right next to me as I had to read this and then confront her about it. My real boss stopped it when I told her about it, but it’s just to say there are people out there just furious about the most minor things, ready to take it out on anyone. Beware!

        1. turquoisecow*

          I mean, tea doesn’t go bad that quickly so it wouldn’t be a huge deal if you had extra. Not like you ordered extra milk or cheese or something.

          1. JKateM*

            I ordered extra cheese once for an event we were putting on and like half of it unfortunately wasn’t used. We tried to get employees to take it home but no one wanted it. But no one wrote me any aggressive emails about not doing my job right. . . The most that happened is we kind of laughed about how the event wasn’t as well attended as we had hoped (it was outdoor/drive through but right at the time when everyone was getting vaccinated and wanted to get back to “normal.”)

            1. Usagi*

              People rejected cheese!? Next time please send it to me, I will be glad to take it off your hands.

              (Please don’t really, mailing cheese sounds kind of gross. I do love cheese though)

            2. LinuxSystemsGuy*

              Our admin ordered too much sushi once (I know that sounds impossible, but it was a *lot* of sushi), and yet despite it being quite expensive and quite perishable, we all managed to avoid passive aggressive emails. People make mistakes.

          2. CalypsoSummer*

            Maybe it was an especially vicious type of tea, of which it was safe to have one (1) box; but when there were multiple boxes, their animosity fed off each other and they were emboldened to take full-talon swings at people who opened the supply cabinet.

            “Marsha! What happened?”
            “Oh, it’s just the tea boxes again — be careful if you have to get more coffee filters, okay?”

            1. paxfelis*

              Or maybe it was a particularly fecund variety, and if a Mommy tea box and a Daddy tea box love each other very much they will have a large litter of loose-leaf.

        1. Insert Clever Name Here*

          It’s not outside the realm of possibility that a reader recognizes a situation as happening at their company. There’s been more than one LW who mentions in comments or an update “apparently my coworker reads your blog too!” and even two letters resulting from the same event (the intern who wrote in about the dress code, then another person from that intern class asking how to move past the incident).

          1. Empress Matilda*

            Yes, and also the day-long job interview that turned into making dinner for the C-suite. I believe that story went viral, so the person who recognized the situation may not have been from here specifically, but they definitely recognized it from the internet somewhere.

            1. JSPA*

              if I remember right from the comments, the dinner-making was a recurrent hiring thing, and each batch of candidates is quite large, so there might be a couple of hundred people (or more) who’d recognize the situation.

            2. Worldwalker*

              I run into AAM readers all over (there’s a whole flock of us on Not Always Right, for instance) and I originally came in a few years ago following some story I came across in some long-forgotten place. People tell the stories to family, friends, and co-workers, and co-workers, and they get around. Ripples in a pond and all that.

              1. another Hero*

                I’ve run into an AAM reader at an actual job before lol. luckily it was a pleasant one where I had nothing to write in about.

              2. urban teacher*

                I was in an HR class and another student and I both said “Why can’t she use Ask a Manager for inspiration instead of having us memorize material?” We then explained to classmates why Allison is awesome.

              3. Allornone*

                Ah, Not Always Right. Another of my favorite procrastination sites. I may be out of retail (hopefully forever), but I won’t forget where I came from.

                1. Ashkela*

                  Reminds me of customers_suck from the old days of Livejournal. I have three lifelong friends that I met in that group (and an ex or two lol).

                2. Nick Savage*

                  I had unfortunately never seen that website before. Thanks a lot for ruining the rest of my week’s productivity!

          2. Eden*

            I’ve been recognized for a far more mundane situation I wrote in about, and 90% sure I recognized a coworker once but felt it would be awkward to ask if it was them. It happens.

          3. Insert Clever Name Here*

            Incidentally, literally the next post on AAM today is an update where the original OP said a coworker recognized the situation.

        2. Kimmy Schmidt*

          I’ve definitely met some people (relatives mostly, not coworkers) who would definitely react this way.

          1. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

            I have had a coworker who was just so reactive to every perceived slight, to the point where I wouldn’t even mention any spelling errors because she would take it as a personal attack. As a natural proofreader, it was painful to have to look at the mispelling all day (think Specials board in a restaurant level of prominence), but it just wasn’t worth the fallout. I always thought it must be exhausting to live like that.

        3. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

          I mean, if they’re recounting events that actually happened, how is it too “just so”? This isn’t someone writing fiction, people comparing it to another story, and them saying, “Never heard of it”; it’s allegedly a thing that happened and that multiple people witnessed.

          1. Worldwalker*

            Truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.

            We might not all have cheap-ass rolls stories, but I think most of us have seen at least one situation that would be too implausible — or too cliched — to make good fiction. The kind of thing where you say “Wait, Jane just did *what*???” and then probably let it go, because it’s not worth the drama.

            1. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

              I worked retail for 4.5 years and as an executive assistant for another 3.5. I feel this SO hard.

            2. Radical Edward*

              Truth is always, always stranger than fiction! My entire work history centers on customer service and client relations, and I have Seen Some S(tuff). Including social media shenanigans that make that fake dating profile fiasco seem downright unimaginative. And in a workplace where *that* sort of behavior brings zero (visible?) consequences, it’s unsurprising that coworkers didn’t feel it was worth the probable backlash to comment on intrusive, food-based rants.

        4. MsClaw*

          Eh, lots of people have had wacky coworkers. If you have never worked with someone this bazoo, count yourself lucky. Yes, anyone can be a dog on the internet, but this doesn’t strike me as impossible. I’ve been lucky enough to mostly work with competent people, or run of the mill dumdums. But I have also amassed enough real humdingers in a 20+ year career that people might think I was making them up too!

        5. So they all cheap ass rolled over and one fell out*

          It’s missing an “and then she quit in a huff”, which means either the story is true or the “fake” writer is really good at their “job.” Either way, worth the read!

          1. Coworker of Cheap Ass Rolls Person*

            She is still there – my guess is covid and WFH helped her stay employed. This is if my roll person is the same as the original LW from 2019, I admitted to the discrepancies to be as truthful as possible, I promise!

      1. Mel2*

        Yeah, the fake dating profile is a bit in the veins of the Netflix series “Clickbait.” Minus the actual murder, of course.

        (Is this a spoiler for the series? Should I do spoiler warnings here? Apologies if I should have.)

        1. R*

          Oh, I don’t know if it counts for that show. I feverishly binged all but the last 15 minutes and shut it off, angry.

    2. Rayray*

      Agree. I imagine it was probably someone who needed something quick, easy, and cheap so they could participate and they probably couldn’t have imagined someone would get so irate over it.

      1. Donna*

        Some people are so weird about potlucks. At my former workplace, some of our staff complained about the monetary value of the food brought (beans vs. a store-bought cake), whereas others complained if something was store-bought instead of homemade (again, beans vs. a store-bought cake). And someone else was closely monitoring the amount a person brought vs. what they ate so she could complain to our boss. (I never found out who it was, but learned about it from a staff-wide email admonishing us not to be so petty.)

        And then there was the never-ending saga of the leftovers. Honestly, if I was my boss I would’ve fired everyone and started over with a entirely new staff.

    3. EPLawyer*

      Oh there’s DEFINITELY something going on. They like to cause trouble. The cheap ass rolls incident is one thing. But apparently she created a fake dating profile for a co-worker and was responding to people on it. Like WHY???????? All HR did was talk to her? Her boss needed to fire her ass over that. This wasn’t just complaining or being abrasive. This was just weirdly fixated on a coworker for some reason.

      I believe its real because people do crazy stuff.

      1. Heffalump*

        If I were managing her I’d say, “Straighten up and fly right, or I’ll give you something to be unhappy about, like a termination notice.”

    4. Detective Amy Santiago*

      See, I’m the asshole who would have proceeded to buy “cheap ass rolls” and anonymously leave them all over the damn office after that.

        1. Katie*

          Are you sure? Don’t forget the OG letter said “They can take (Secret) Santa and stick it up their ass!”

      1. Observer*

        Why? What fun is there is setting off someone whose default setting is “abrasive, rude and perpetually aggrieved”?

        1. Sleet Feet*

          I’m with you. I don’t like drama and would not enjoy people kicking the hornets nest that is this person.

    5. CallingtoConfirm*

      That roll thing is totally something that would happen to me… buried in a project and suddenly realizing I need to contribute and then just bringing rolls because, like wine/plates/napkins, they are the standby of the bad cook invited to a potluck. Yikes!

      1. No Longer Working*

        I purposely brought cheap-ass rolls, and a sliced cheese plate, to a holiday potluck because I don’t trust the lukewarm home-cooked foods served to be safe to eat, and I wanted something I could eat! Ergo, cheese sandwiches.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        That reminds me of the time a relative texted me on the Fourth of July and asked me to bring hamburger rolls to a family cookout we were attending. I had to go to three different convenience stores since almost nothing was open. When I got there bearing the overpriced cheap-ass gas station rolls, I discovered that 1) SHE was responsible for them, and 2) someone else had bought rolls because they figured (correctly) that she would drop the ball. Not only did she drop it; she kicked it at me! I resolved to ignore any future requests from her.

    6. Mimi*

      Years ago I had a student would could interpret ANYTHING as a personal affront. In many ways she was a nice, caring person, but for some reason she defaulted to assume that things someone else did that she didn’t like were intended as a personal slight. We did a lot of work along the lines of “Jane isn’t having her lunch AT you, she’s just eating her lunch — she probably didn’t even know that you hate onions.”

      I immediately thought of her the first time I encountered the cheap-ass rolls letter (though I very much hope that my former student is not that LW and has learned a lot about interpersonal relationships).

      1. Caliente*

        I feel like I’ve known a couple people like this, maybe to a lesser degree. It’s actually quite sad because no one ever wants to be around this person and they can’t figure out why they’re lonely. Yet if you try to kindly tell them, they will lose their shit on you. Then they get hardened and meaner…It’s a very sad circumstance, particularly in younger people who get so alienated from others yet yearn to be with them.

      2. Victoria J*

        What I find fascinating about the original letter writers story (which is not something that shows in this protective if it’s the same woman) is that she both perceives slights in ordinary actions AND conveys them that way.

        In that version she didn’t confront anyone directly. She showed her anger by going off to eat by herself and believed that was an obvious message.

        And that seems to make sense. If you always display your answer in weird passive aggressive ways it’s easy to see why you might see that in other (less bizarrely passive aggressive) people’s behaviour.

        I kind of hope there are two cheap ass roll women just because the self reported version is psychologically more interesting.

        1. Cat Tree*

          Yeah, that stood out to me too. Like, if someone at my work just left the potluck to eat at her desk, I would never suspect she’s upset. I’d just assume she had an urgent deadline or something. And if she then didn’t sign up for Secret Santa I would assume it just slipped her mind or something.

          It makes me wonder if she was raised to never be allowed to express her needs. I’m reading a lot into this because my mom was sort of raised that way. She never asks for anything, then just fumes until she explodes and yells. The most she’ll do is sigh dramatically. Now that I’m an adult and recognize her hints, I’ll even offer to help with things and she’ll refuse my help and still be mad if I don’t help. It’s exhausting! But on the other side, since she doesn’t ask for things and only hints, when someone asks her for something it feels extremely direct and commanding so she feels like she can’t say no. So her church asks if she’s available for some event that she doesn’t want to do, but she feels like she has to do it and is annoyed. From the outside you’d never even suspect that she constantly has these big feelings about being burdened by a bunch of demanding ungrateful people.

          1. BBQ Shapes*

            I went through a phase of being like that as a teenager. My parents didn’t know how to deal with emotions so their approach was ‘Oh, you’re sad? Let’s go to the park and forget about it.’. They had the best intentions, but it meant that I felt that I wasn’t “allowed” to show emotions. The result was a lot of passive aggressive sulking and reading into things that weren’t there. But that was when I was in high school. At 18 I moved out of home, found some friends who listened to me, and put in a bunch of hard work learning to self-soothe. I have some sympathy for your mother and the original letter writer, but everyone has to grow up at some point (or at least make an effort to improve, nobody’s perfect).

    7. FrenchCusser*

      This is the type of person I just shake my head about and wonder, ‘How does someone get to be like that?’

    8. Tabby*

      Right?! Not everyone likes those particular rolls. I can take ’em or leave ’em, but prefer to leave ’em if there’s a different option. Why that woman was so pissy over it is beyond me.

  3. Liz*

    This is my favorite update ever.
    I am a little disappointed that Alison’s prediction (if you don’t simmer down you’re going to be out of a job soon) didn’t come to pass, though. She sounds like a nightmare.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Perhaps as difficult as she was, she recognized the truth in what Allison had to say and started working on her issues.
          The dating site story is rumor after all, so it may have been before the letter.

          1. blood orange*

            I like your positive take, and hope that’s the case. I’ll be the negative nelly to say it’s more likely she’s protected in some way. Either a political connection, or her position, etc. As I was reading this update, that’s what I was thinking.

            1. DANGER: Gumption & Cheap Ass Rolls Ahead*

              I just assumed she worked for government, academia, or some other industry where firings basically require the equivalent of running over your boss’s boss while driving a company car when drunk and watching porn on your work phone

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                I don’t know. I work in government now & have seen people fired for less. On the other hand, I worked in a private sector job where you could behave however you wanted if you were buddies with the right people.

              2. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

                I dunno that any of those things will get you fired from academia. Rank plagiarism will, though.

              3. Sail On, Sailor*

                “I just assumed she worked for government, academia, or some other industry where firings basically require the equivalent of running over your boss’s boss while driving a company car when drunk and watching porn on your work phone”

                But even then the employee would file a grievance and appeal when the ruling went against her. (In my experience with academia)

            2. Nanani*

              Or just bad management engaging in some sunk-cost thinking (“Better the difficult employee than training a new person”)

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Sounds like everybody acknowledges she’s a nightmare though. And even OP wonders how this person still has a job..

    1. Covered in Bees*

      I had assumed that the original LW had bought a single pack of rolls, not the stacks described. It doesn’t change my opinion of the incident but it’s nice to have a clearer mental image.

      1. Darsynia*

        I’ve concocted a story in my head where said roll-complainer thinks that more people should enjoy Hawaiian rolls and she’s doing a service by convincing people to enjoy them, but only if they’re the only rolls there, as people default to what they know. So the fact that someone else brought other rolls is a HUGE problem because people will flock to those familiar rolls and not her hidden secret best rolls that she’ll get credit for introducing to her coworkers!

        This person’s only recourse was to disparage the interloper rolls as ‘cheap-ass’ to persuade the others to avoid them! It is a PUBLIC SERVICE.

        Also, I think they wanted credit for buying ‘the expensive rolls’ at a discount cause they knew they’re buy one get one at Kroger.

    2. Cait*

      All we need now is for Cheap-Ass Rolls Lady to team up with Sharon Weiss and her burnt pie so they can face off at the next company potluck!

  4. oh*

    I just can’t believe HR didn’t do something more. If that happened at my company she would have been told to go home or worse.

    1. numerouno*

      right?! how did nobody tell her to knock it off? there’s gotta be someone in a senior management position who can tell her this isn’t acceptable workplace behaviour- or anyplace behaviour, honestly!

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yep. No doubt, it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but either the HR organizer or her manager should have pulled her aside and given her the options of behaving like a reasonable human being and ending her roll witch hunt or leaving.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          We see managers who can’t seem to do that all the time here. I sometimes feel like I’m watching an episode of Three’s Company and yelling at the screen, “Just SPEAK UP!”

  5. QKL*

    I’ll admit, if I really didn’t like someone and something this petty would set them off, I’d totally be the cheap roll bringer and I’d sit back, shut my mouth, and enjoy the show.

    1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

      Same. I never did claim to be a particularly nice person and if they had gotten on my last nerve a few months ago I might do this. After all, it is just extra rolls

      1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

        Well, and too, I just don’t love King’s Hawaiian Rolls. I mean, they’re okay, and always a safe choice if you have to bring in rolls, but I’d just as soon have a nice crusty sourdough or Kaiser roll. They might have been brought because someone wanted something not on the list, and just decided to bring it. Such a thing would be a mostly unnoticeable expense for anyone above the “entry level” type employees.

        1. Emotional Support Care’n*

          Lately I’ve been craving cheesy Kaiser rolls. And I’m the type that would absolutely supply some extra for others as an alternative, because it seems rude to bring only enough for yourself when there’s a potluck, y’know?

        2. The Rural Juror*

          My father loves cheap ass rolls. My mother will spend time making delicious yeast rolls for holidays, but always has a pack of the cheapies just for him!

          It would totally make sense to want more than one option, especially since Hawaiian rolls are sweet.

            1. Bob-White of the Glen*

              Agreed – hate sweet rolls, unless they are supposed to be sweet with cinnamon and icing! But if I bring good sourdough rolls, I am not going to throw a fit because someone else brings Hawaiian rolls!

      2. Archaeopteryx*

        For less than $5 you can have extra bread options AND start a three-ring circus that lasts for weeks.

    2. Your Local Password Resetter*

      I would be so tempted to secretly bring in cheap rolls every day after that.

      Just a single roll on her keyboard, every morning.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        And amusing bit of snark comma but let’s not really do something like this. There’s no need to escalate to bullying tactics even if the person is a pain in the patootie.

    3. Gracely*

      And whatever she signed up for at future potlucks, I’d absolutely bring a cheap ass version of that, too.

      1. Cat Lady*

        Lmao that would be me too! Oh, what’s this? You brought homemade mac and cheese with gourmet cheese and designer noodles? I’m gonna put my bowl of KD right next to it, hope you don’t mind. >:)

        1. AnonInCanada*

          You. I like you! Better yet, buy the no-name brand Mac & Cheese! Why splurge for KD? Be real cheap-ass!

          1. JKateM*

            When I first read this story it definitely reminded me of the time when our (very sweet hearted) intern brought Kraft mac and cheese to our thanksgiving potluck (when someone had brought “real” mac and cheese.)

          2. Hosta*

            “Mmm, I love those little pockets of cheese powder between some of the noodles. You just don’t get taste like that with the fancy stuff.”

    4. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Lol – I suspect somebody did exactly that. Would be even better if they were one of the coworkers she was constantly terrorizing.

      Wonder if the fake dating profile was Roll Freakout Person’s way of retaliating against their “Chief Suspect” in the cheap rolls debacle?

    5. fposte*

      Though I also would have had the impulse (since I have the seniority to bear it) to take the blame/credit even if I didn’t. I probably wouldn’t–more likely I’d have said that people bring what they can afford and this takes the fun out of the potluck, so please don’t–but it can be entertaining to wade languidly into a stakeless battle.

        1. Dr. Doll*

          fposte has almost perfectly described the academic workplace, except it’s not “wade languidly,” it’s “ride in at a gallop, firing wildly” into the stakeless battle.

            1. Rainy*

              The kind of grudge that divides departments, leads to endless battles over the same 50 library books, and where hapless grad students are required to pick sides before they even get the key to the copy room. It only ends when one of the principals dies.

      1. Threeve*

        I would be tempted to go off on Hawaiian rolls. There’s so much sugar in them! They’re practically dessert! The name is offensive to people of Hawaiian descent! If we’re only going to have one bread product available, what kind of idiot would think Hawaiian rolls are appropriate???

        1. Aitch Arr*

          I hope you are kidding.

          Hawaiian rolls are based on Portuguese sweet rolls and are considered a part of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.

          The brand itself has an interesting history. Owned by a Hawaiian family.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I am glad I am not the only one who thought about saying, “I brought the cheap ass rolls!”, just to watch her totally lose it. And that is so very wrong of me. There is that social responsibility component where I could be the trigger for her table throwing episode. I definitely would not want that.

        In the end, the worst part of this story is that management (TPTB) did NOTHING. In this day and age, people who cannot keep their temper in check need to be asked to leave. It’s so irresponsible of management to do nothing. While her temper tantrum might appear funny to some, management’s lack of reaction is down right scary. Not feeling safe at work is a good reason to start job hunting*. I’d have no problem explaining this on my exit interview.

        *I have worked several places where it was not unusual to see a coworker go to the hospital as a result of something that happened at work. Here’s the BUT: There was a plan in place to deal with injuries and other issues and the plan was followed.

    6. PotluckRebels*

      I do not come from a place that does much potluck, but I would not have considered ‘rolls’ to be stepping on anyone’s toes. There is never enough bread! A couple of bags of cheap rolls for people who missed the fancier rolls just seems considerate. Like tossing an extra bottle of hot sauce on the table.

      1. IndustriousLabRat*

        Right?! I assumed that the Cheap Ass Rolls were brought as an afterthought/accompaniment to a dish that traditionally goes with Cheap Ass Rolls! It’s not like the Bringer of Bargain Buns had even to have been thinking of them as a primary contribution! Who eats green bean casserole with Hawaiian rolls, anyway? :)

      2. Nanani*

        Especially since not everyone likes hawaiian rolls in the first place!
        More rolls, just like more condiments, is never a bad idea.

      3. Clorinda*

        They may not even have been cheap, really. They might just as easily have been good fresh bakery rolls. King’s Hawaiian is not the Royce of rolls.

      4. Antilles*

        I said this on the original post, but in my perfect world, every single potluck would have multiple types of rolls.

      5. Berkeleyfarm*

        As the potluck thread and its comments show … people are weird about potlucks and get very competitive (and/or take it really personally) if someone brings “their” item. Most times the latter is innocent, sometimes it is a deliberate attempt to show up/compete with someone else.

        Grocery store rolls is definitely the former.

  6. AE*

    This is amazing. Thank you so much for the context, OP, and thanks Alison for the follow-up questions. I for one am very, very surprised that Ms. Offensively Inexpensive Grain Products has stayed employed at this organization for as long as she has.

      1. Betteauroan*

        I wonder if someone in upper management is being blackmailed by her. She sounds like she has a few screws loose and needs mental health treatment badly.

  7. ecnaseener*

    Thank you for sharing! Disappointing that she seems to have achieved Missing Stair status instead of ever facing any consequences.

    1. Airy*

      It’s so weird to compare how hard most, well, I’ll vaguely use the term “normal people” try to behave well at work and do a good job because we don’t want to cause needless trouble for people or risk our employment, with the way people like Cheap Ass Rolls feel fully justified in behaving and most of the time nothing happens to them.

  8. Hills to Die On*

    I would so bring in rolls all the time from then on with a note: “It’s cheap roll Friday! Help yourself! Signed,” …and then sign the name of the Abrasive Bringer of Hawaiian Rolls.
    Would have to be sure not to get caught but honestly, I would do it as often as I could get away with.

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*


      (Glad I’m still at home because otherwise my coworkers would be wondering why I’m cackling like a demented cookoo clock.)

  9. HolidayAmoeba*

    Thank you kind person for acknowledging that people this ridiculous really do exist and there may be *shudder* more than one of them.

  10. Kate in Colorado*

    Does anyone else feel like they experienced a Christmas miracle? l0l This is the update we’ve all been hoping for!!

  11. Guin*

    This is just amazing. I would be tempted to bring in “cheap-ass rolls” at least once a week, perpetually, and leave them out in some public place for free snacks.

  12. Veryanon*

    I work in HR and sadly, people who are this petty (getting wildly upset over something super minor) take up way too much of my time.
    At my current job, there is one lady who constantly complains if anyone in her work area makes any noise at all. We work in an open environment around manufacturing! People are using machinery as part of their jobs! There is no way to eliminate noise, and any suggestions we’ve made to her – ear plugs, white noise machines, noise-dampening padding for her cubicle, moving her work station to a less noisy area, etc. – have been shot down by her for one reason or another. I finally gently told her that I was out of options and asked her if she had any suggestions. Of course she did not. But she continues to complain and now I just tell her that if she can come back to me with any suggestions, I’m willing to consider them.

    1. PhysicsTech*

      That’s what I love about this letter too, the outside perspective of unreasonable people vs their views and opinions on the matter.

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Some people aren’t happy until they have something to complain about – because complaining makes them look more important than they really are (because they are occupying so much of HR/Supervisor/office manager’s time).

      (They really aren’t important, they are just the missing stair that for whatever reason has yet to be replaced.)

    3. Heffalump*

      On the other side of one wall of the room I work in, there’s a test lab that makes noise from time to time–nothing outrageous. One of the engineers told me that some years ago a contractor was working in this room, and the noise from the lab started up. So the guy went in the lab and told the people there, “Stop making noise, you’re bothering me.” One of the people had been a direct employee for 15 years. A quick phone call to the contract agency, and end of the contractor’s assignment. If he had politely asked to be moved to a location away from the lab, that might have been doable.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        A writer friend of mine works for a company located next door to a ballet studio. So they get music and the loud thumping of dancers’ feet on the wood floor. I don’t know what the walls are made of in that building, but he posted a video and it’s like you’re in class with them. It would drive Veryanon’s coworker bananas.

    4. ENFP in Texas*

      People like that frustrate the heck out of me, and I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with them regularly. Some folks look for things to be upset about and shoot down any suggestions to improve the situation, because they seem to enjoy the “poor me I’m such a victim” mentality.

    5. Generic Name*

      I think people like this are in need of a friend or therapy. They have a clear need to talk to someone and don’t have the social skills to find friends or the money for therapy. I worked at an airport and my counterpart handled the noise complaints. One retired gentleman called about nice a week. The airport was in an urban area and had been around since the ‘40s. Mitigation projects had been completed (replacing windows in schools and houses in the flight path), so there was t a ton my coworker could do. She eventually realized that the guy was just lonely, so she normally chatted him up for 15 mins or so and he hung up satisfied. He was much less annoying to her after that.

  13. Kate in Colorado*

    Follow up question: how did you find the followers of the Cheap Ass Rolls saga? How did you stumble upon our collective curiosity?

    1. Be kind, rewind*

      I’m curious, too. Looks like the coworker found the reprint of this letter a week or so ago!

      1. Coworker of Cheap Ass Rolls Person*

        Hi – I am a regular AAM reader. I actually saw the first post when it came out (I read daily) and my jaw dropped as it was so close (but as I said to Allison, not 100%) to what I had personally experienced. I may have made a comment on that one but I may not have – I almost never comment, and if I did I couldn’t tell you what name I used as I generally make a new one every time they are so far apart. Several of my other coworkers had seen it and had the same thought, we speculated about it briefly but to my knowledge no one ever spoke to her about it.

        I know elsewhere someone speculated my response was fake and I get that, though I have not seen black mirror so I am not sure what they are referring to in that comment, about the dating site rumor I heard. I assure you (as much as anyone can believe an internet commenter) that everything written above is true.

  14. Silver*

    That last part about her impersonating a coworker on a dating app???? That’s straight out of a crime thriller

    1. Worldwalker*

      In high school, I had a history teacher who was a real jerk. He bragged about the “pranks” he’d played, like cancelling a friend’s honeymoon reservations in Aruba (or somewhere like that) so the poor couple got there and had no hotel room. That kind of jerk.

      Well, I don’t know who did it, but one year — I think it was the year after I had him — he was out of town for Christmas break, so some enterprising student(s) put a classified ad in the local paper, posing as him, saying he needed lots of used Christmas trees for a class project — just drop them off in his driveway. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of community-minded people (or at least people who didn’t want to haul the things to the dump) “helped out.” When he got home from his vacation, apparently his entire driveway and front yard were full of scads of ex-Christmas trees that he was stuck getting rid of.

      Impersonating someone on a dating app is not that much of a step beyond a classified ad, nowadays.

  15. The Prettiest Curse*

    Wow, I really thought that we’d never get an update on this one, but here we are reading Cheap-Ass Rolls 2: The Saga Continues.
    I can’t wait for Cheap-Ass Rolls 3: Hawaiian Rolls Aren’t Even That Nice, Lady.

              1. anonymous 5*

                the Ryes of Skywalker?
                Or, if the fake dating profile was for a gent, the Ryes of Guy-stalker?

                1. Veryanon*

                  Cheap Ass Rolls 11: Off the top of my head, I’d say you’re looking at a Boesky, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever!

                1. Dumpster Fire*

                  I’m also wondering what would’ve happened if someone had brought really good, homemade rolls. Would Ms. Hawaiian Rolls have continued her tantrum?

      1. Corporate Lawyer*

        AAAANND I just spit water all over my keyboard. (I take full responsibility: I should have known better than eating or drinking while reading comments on this post.)

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          I am literally guffawing in here. My cats have actually come over to see what is going on.

    1. Heron*

      Part Whatever: Soneone tells her about this column, and she writes in! (I’d pay good money to see that.)

    2. Triple Toe*

      You all are brilliant and my doggie is now staring at me bc of all the laughing and snorting I’m doing here!

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      I just love how all the titles that people suggested are a different genre. Except the ones that are inspired by Fast & Furious, which are a genre unto themselves. [Please bear in mind that I’ve only ever seen 2 films in the series, so forgive any mistakes, accidental spoilers etc.]
      [Trailer Guy voice]
      They thought they were like faaaamily, but the horror of cheap-ass rolls tore them apart.
      [Cut to Vin Diesel]
      Those rolls. They were unacceptable.
      [Cut to Jason Statham]
      What is this Thanksgiving potluck thing anyway?
      [Cut to Michelle Rodriguez]
      I came back from the dead for this bullshit?
      [Vin and Jason fight. Vin wins, because he’s American and has to save Thanksgiving.]
      Michelle: But what about the rolls?
      Jason: Ah, sod the rolls.
      Vin: That’s unacceptable.
      They hear a noise in the background, getting closer. It’s a souped-up bread delivery van, driven by The Rock, who brings it to an impressive squealing halt.
      The Rock: I heard that you needed some rolls?
      Vin: Just so long as they’re not cheap-ass.
      (He opens the back of the van, pulls out some Hawaiian rolls and hands them around
      Vin: Only the best for my faaaamily.
      [They all laugh and walk off into the sunset together, Jason limping a bit.]
      THE END

      1. Queenie Pants*

        I’m trying to silently laugh at my desk. There are tears streaming down my face. That was the best thing I’ve read all week. Encore!!

  16. RunShaker*

    this is greatness. An update I thought would never happen. It has to be the same person. Thank you for sharing!!!

  17. Wolfie*

    I would love to know if she stopped talking about the rolls after reading Alison’s response but I’m guessing she wouldn’t be the kind of person who would take on that feedback.

    1. PhysicsTech*

      Agreed, my impression of the letter was that LW wanted validation, not to be told that they were in the wrong.

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        Seconding the thought they were hoping for validation- sadly for them Alison rarely validates bad behavior (and we of the commentariat are even less willing to validate foolishness).

    2. Samantha F*

      I have a relative who became this way (who was later diagnosed with a neuro-degenerative disease). Off-hand it also sounds like a type of OCD / anxiety? They can’t stop obsessing over tiny details and it starts to build up into this big paranoia that people doing innocuous things are all designed to humiliate them, etc.
      Not trying to internet-diagnose this, but saying somebody who is this irrational… Probably won’t get better by being told they are being ridiculous, or warned that it’s harming their reputation etc. They would need to seek out some kind of therapy or medical treatment. It’s quite sad but from the company’s side I think they need to let them go to preserve the morale of their other employees.

      1. 2 Cents*

        Yeah but that doesn’t fit in with creating a fake dating profile to catfish someone on behalf a coworker. This person just sounds nasty.

      2. Bernice Clifton*

        I was diagnosed with anxiety well into adulthood and, though I never overreacted to this degree, I definitely did. I would assume coworkers were trying to sabotage me and overreact. Spoiler alert: My overreactions killed the majority of work relationships anyway. I feel so lucky to have been diagnosed and treated.

      3. Cat Tree*

        You’re not trying to internet diagnose but you’re doing exactly that? Your disclaimer doesn’t magically undo what you did in the previous paragraph. The commenting rules exist for a reason. Your comment is offensive to me personally as someone who used to have both OCD and anxiety and would never act like this. If you’re just going to ignore the site rules, maybe you should just stop commenting altogether. You’re not contributing anything valuable to this discussion.

        1. Jackalope*

          That’s kind of harsh to this commenter. It’s fine to point out that they shouldn’t be armchair diagnosing. But a number of other people in this discussion have mentioned that they’ve acted the same way in the past specifically due to anxiety. It’s possible that the original OP was just a jerk, but it’s also possible that they had some other issue like anxiety that could be helped by therapy. I don’t see that Samantha F’s comment is any more obnoxious than all of the posters gleefully commenting on leaving “cheap ass rolls” all over the office, or on the original OP’s desk, or whatever, just to harass them.

          1. Cat Tree*

            I’m really tired of people treating my disability this way, so I don’t have any patience here. Other types of comments don’t make this one ok! But I’ve made my point and I hope you’ll reconsider how hurtful these kinds of comments are, since I have said I’m hurt by it. Intent isn’t magic and this was hurtful even if it wasn’t meant to be.

    3. A Simple Narwhal*

      I’d love to know what goes through the mind of people who write in that are so obviously wrong to everyone but themselves. Were they already Ask A Manager readers with zero self-awareness/blindness to their own situation? Did seeing a response from Alison, someone they followed and respected, completely shock them and jolt them into remorse/change? I know at least one of them did (I think it was the “I specifically treat my attractive employee badly for being attractive” letter, there may have been more), that writer wrote back several times and gave updates on their change of heart and subsequent efforts to change. And I know at least one of them didn’t (“I ghosted my ex and now they’re my boss”), and they specifically mentioned in a follow-up that they weren’t familiar with Alison’s work (and was even shocked that this would get published, as though Alison was just a personal private help line?). So not all letter writers are AAM readers.

      So I can’t tell if Cheap Ass Rolls was an AAM follower and that’s why they wrote in, or if it’s just someone who sent their problem to multiple advice columnists, and wasn’t specifically seeking out AAM. I’d love to know if they saw Alison’s response and what their own response was. Maybe the writer of this update could let us know if their Cheap Ass Rolls coworker changes their behavior at all, like try and suss out if they saw the response!

      1. Spencer Hastings*

        Even in the first letter, the “I’m jealous of my attractive employee” LW was pretty self-aware: she described it as a problem on her end that she was ashamed of, and wanted advice on getting over it. It seems to me that usually the LWs who are most in the wrong are the most likely to say that they’re obviously in the right, and the people who go “obviously I’m in the wrong and I just need to be better, but how?” tend to be more sinned against than sinning. That jealous LW was a rare exception, in that she was right that it was a “her” problem and not a “someone else” problem.

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          That’s a good point! I completely forgot that that LW wrote in asking how to change, starting from the place that she knew she was wrong, which put her lightyears ahead of those essentially asking for validation. (“My best employee quit because I wouldn’t let her attend her graduation”, “I don’t like how my employee handled not getting paid”, are two more that come to mind.)

        2. EventPlannerGal*

          Wait, isn’t that “jealous of my attractive employee” letter the one where it started out as “sometimes I treat my employee differently because I’m jealous” and then there were like five updates and by the end it came out that whatever she’d done to her employee resulted in a criminal conviction, a civil lawsuit and rehab? I don’t know if that OP is a great example of self-awareness given how she initially presented the issue…

          1. Insert Clever Name Here*

            I just went back and read this letter and the updates, and yeah — I have to say I agree with Spencer Hastings’ representation of that LW as self aware. Her very first sentence was basically “I know I’m wrong, I’m ashamed, please help.” She gave a reason for why she was treating the employee differently in that first letter but was never, in any of her interactions with Alison that were shared here, defensive or trying to actually excuse her actions. In her second update (where she talked about being fired and her employee getting a lawyer due to her treatment), she defended the employee, saying she was right to go to LW’s boss, right to file a complaint, and right to be angry. So while the LW’s actions that led her to writing to AAM are certainly not a great example of How To Be, how she handled the situation in the aftermath is pretty impressive.

            And shoot, all of us arguing about if this cheap-ass rolls update is/is not mean spirited could probably all take a breath and be a little more self aware.

      2. Bernice Clifton*

        For some people who DO realize they behaved badly or upset a lot of people, the realization comes with too much shame to apologize or acknowledge it, unfortunately.

      3. Hlao-roo*

        There was the “is the work environment I’ve created on my team too exclusive?” letter from July 25, 2017. The letter writer doubled-down in her first updated, and even wrote that she thought “Ask a Manager” would side with her because she was a manager. But the second update is well worth reading, because Alison’s responses and therapy lead to a change in her perspective.

  18. lb*

    I have a theory about the “being new” part: since she had apparently been with the company a while, but not a super long time, I think that happened when she started & she spent a year and a half nursing the grudge. That feels in character, based on everything else we know. (The other possibility is that there are two of them and my brain can’t accept that reality.)

    1. blood orange*

      That’s exactly what I was thinking! It seems so close in every other way it’s hard to believe it’s not the same person.

    2. Elenna*

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, that the “missed name” incident actually happened a year and a half ago and she was still mad about it.

  19. Barbara in Swampeast*

    I wish I had been there. I would have organized an “I am Spartacus” response with everyone claiming to have brought the rolls.

    1. Veryanon*

      I literally laughed out loud at this. “I AM CHEAP ASS ROLLS!” “NO, I AM CHEAP ASS ROLLS!” etc.

  20. Akcipitrokulo*

    I got excited at the headline!

    Thank you for writing in. There are enough differences I think there may be two out there… the not being recognised as new seemed a pretty big deal for her. And I got impression original stomped off euth assumption people would regret her abscence rather than confronting them :)

    Awesome update anyway! I loved it. If now scared of multiple cheap ass roll haters…

    1. ecnaseener*

      My guess (based on no particular evidence) is that there are two, but they’re friends. They feed on each other’s energy and validate each other’s petty grievances.

      They talked about their respective upcoming potlucks and agreed that Hawaiian rolls were a fantastic contribution, way better than the cheap-ass rolls you normally see at potlucks, and bringing Hawaiian rolls would be the ultimate power move to prove their worth to their terrible coworkers. So they had both built it up in their minds and had the same reaction to the not-uncommon occurrence of someone bringing cheap rolls without signing up.

    2. Be kind, rewind*

      I actually think the not being new thing fits right in to the original story!

      Coworker says that she wasn’t new *to the company*, but was maybe new to a certain group. That would explain why the presenter passed right over name on the slide in the staff meeting and said he didn’t think of her as a new employee.

      I mean… it’s totally plausible that 2 people are this petty. The people who think this letter is fake must be really sheltered if they truly believe this is too odd to be true!

  21. Claire*

    Alison’s one sentence reply to the initial letter is still perhaps one of my favorite of her replies ever.

  22. Nannerdoodle*

    Wow she sounds crazy. Back in my old job when we had potlucks, if 2 people accidentally brought the same thing, we’d jokingly have a vote of who made/bought the better version. The “winner” was allowed to keep bringing it while the “loser” was relegated to bringing plates/napkins the next month (which many people agreed was not punishment and was significantly easier than bringing in food). But it was all in fun, and if anyone had been uptight or put in lots of effort for the food, we wouldn’t have done it.

  23. MissGirl*

    I firmly believe there are two Hawaiian roll people. Our Hawaiian roll woman will now write in with outrage another person is copying her. We will have two glorious updates.

    1. Chilly Delta Blues*

      Agree with this. OG Rolls enjoys her mild infamy and will think this “potential” co-worker is trying to steal her thunder.

  24. Persephone Mongoose*

    I know I’ll be in the minority (or even alone) on this, but this is a really weird post. It was never confirmed that this person is an actual coworker, we’re piling on the original letter writer, and the commenter broke the rule about not speculating where the LW works.

    I’m sorry for raining on everyone’s parade about this; I know the original letter is a ballyhooed part of AAM canon, but…I can’t help but feel like this could set an ugly precedent.

    1. anonymous73*

      Please stop. The original LW was throwing a temper tantrum over something so ridiculously minor and reaching out to AAM for validation over her petty outrage. Alison put her in her place and it was well deserved.

      1. Persephone Mongoose*

        And that’s where it should have ended. There are lots of people who write in with petty questions firmly believing they’re in the right and looking for validation. They don’t receive it and that’s usually that. It’s very weird to keep it going like this, especially when one of the most (rightly) touted rules is to not pile on letter writers because it discourages people from seeking out advice.

        1. pancakes*

          I don’t think there are a lot of those. I’ve been reading this site regularly for at least a couple years now and can’t think of more than a very small handful of letters like that.

        2. Myrin*

          I honestly can’t help but feel like “*shrug* Who cares?” about this particular incident; some people are ridiculous and shouldn’t be surprised if others react in either anger/annoyance or mocking to their ridiculousness.
          I mean, I’ve never actually found that letter particularly oustanding or epic so I’ve never really understood why it rose to such a famed status but really, I doubt the original OP will be harmed by this in any way – she’s very unlikely to be reading this but if she is, someone that self-righteous will probably feel just as scorned by this as by any other thing that doesn’t go her way, no matter how mild.

        3. anonymous73*

          Out of the many letters we read on here, those who are looking for validation are few and far between. If you don’t like it, nobody is forcing you to read it. And yes you are in the minority on this one.

        4. Golden Handcuffs*

          I don’t think I agree that this is mean spirited , but I wonder if you (and the other people agreeing with you) think it’s also against the rules and/or mean spirited when a letter writer is nominated for worst boss of the year (like the recent “my employee was so rude about not getting paid” boss, the leap year birthday boss, the “my employee can’t go to graduation” boss)?

        1. EPLawyer*

          Alison decided it was worth doing. It’s her site and she can decide exceptions to the Rules. Doesn’t mean we are going to get all kinds of updates outing people.

          I think its real. I think there is only 1 of them. I think the original writer was nursing a grudge about being overlooked. Then the cheap ass rolls incident. We don’t have a clear timeline so they could have been spaced months apart. She might also have left in a huff and gone back to work when no one fessed up. The coworker doesn’t mention she stayed to eat.

    2. Anony-me*

      I agree – it feels like a letter-writer wrote in for advice and is now being ridiculed, which goes against AAM’s first commenting rule: “Be kind to letter-writers and fellow commenters.”

      1. Worldwalker*

        I didn’t see it as her asking for advice — she wanted validation, and to be told she did the right thing. That’s actually kind of the opposite of asking for advice.

    3. a tester, not a developer*

      I had always taken the ‘don’t speculate where someone works’ thing to mean not getting into “I bet she works at Google – that sounds like such a Google thing” or “I think her boss is Elon Musk”. In this case it’s more “I think I work with this person, but I’m not giving any indication of the company or even the general industry”.

      1. Sleet Feet*

        I seem to remember people being warned for statements like – I think I know where you work! And I think you may work with me!

        Here is the rule in full though:
        Don’t make comments like “I think I know what company you work for.” People comment here expecting anonymity and, even when well-meant, these comments can make people uneasy. (Also, they’re usually wrong!)

    4. Xantar*

      Saying that “I think this is my coworker” is equivalent to breaking the rule about speculating where somebody works is quite a stretch. The commenter didn’t even say where they work, so it’s not like this person got outed.

      1. Slippy Toad*

        I’ve for sure seen people warned about that before though. The point was to let LW’s feel a little anonymous, and this definitely violates the original LW’s sense of privacy/anonymity if they still read AAM by knowing that at least one coworker got a chance to chime in and was allowed to tell all these other stories about them. The extra information makes them even more identifiable to other coworkers who may not have known about the original roll incident.

        I get the original LW was oblivious, petty, and wanting validation more than advice etc. but this does seem to go against the spirit of the rules and usual feel of the site. It seems like a strange post and if the original LW does still read, even though there’s no excusing their behavior in the roll incident, I do feel bad that they’ve been ridiculed for two years here and now are featured for even more mockery from an anonymous coworker. If they see this post, now they’re going to have to wonder who in their daily life sent it in. It would feel awful, and this person seems to already have some real issues if fricking potluck rolls upset them so much. I empathize with them a bit.

    5. PT*

      She’s not speculating where the LW works. Speculating where the LW works means saying “I think she works for Waldo’s Widgets or Llamas Unlimited or Creamy Porridge Co.” Not “I think she works in my office!” because “in my office” is not a specific/actionable identifier.

      I could say right now “I think I went to college with Persephone Mongoose!” (I did have a friend who thought the word Mongoose was funny in college) but literally there is nothing actionable about that statement that could identify you, because a) no one on here knows where I went to college b) no one on here knows what years I attended college c) no one knows what gender my friend was based on that statement d) no one can tell where I am currently living or working based on this statement and e) no one can tell where my former friend is currently living or working based on this statement.

    6. Jacey*

      Hmm, interesting. I’m not sure the post itself is a pile on, though some of the comments definitely are… but they were a pile on in the original cheap-ass rolls post, too. The update itself, though, doesn’t strike me as mean-spirited. It’s more of a chance to discuss a (site-specific) famous story from a new angle, and I think there’s value in knowing how outsiders responded to such a bizarre situation.

      Plus, to me, this doesn’t seem like an outing of where the original OP worked, since we have no clues as to what company, industry, or location. All we know is that an AAM reader may have been at the same office as original OP.

    7. The teapots are on fire*

      I’m a little troubled by it, too. Someone whose day is ruined by rolls has a lot of problems and it’s…okay, it’s funny, but it’s not pile-on funny to me. I feel a little sad for her. She lacks insight, she’ll probably never have it, and she (and people around her) will have a harder life because of it.

        1. Anonmahna*

          They aren’t laughing because it’s funny-haha. They are laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing. They are “obsessed” because extrapolating on the absurdity is giving them a break from the craziness we have been living for the past two years.

      1. pancakes*

        Suggesting that the rolls woman’s lack of insight is an irredeemable, life-long condition is going quite a bit further toward pointless nastiness than any other comments I’ve seen so far. It’s also pure speculation.

      2. EPLawyer*

        and there’s a solution to that. Insight can be learned. She is CHOOSING to go through life angry about everything. Instead, of stopping and going, wow being angry is so tiring maybe I should figure out what is going on — she continues to take offense at everything. If this is really the current writer’s coworker she gets mad if you say hi, she gets mad if you don’t. that is completely on her.

    8. pancakes*

      It’s an entertaining blog post, not forensics evidence for a trial. In the unlikely event it sets off a trend of people trying to guess where letter writers work, that can be moderated the same way any other problematic comment is moderated. “This sounds like someone I work with” isn’t quite the same as trying to name the employer, anyhow.

    9. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think that’s kind of uncalled for. The OP doesn’t say definitively they work with the cheap Roll Person – just that they work with someone who displayed a lot of the behaviors that Cheap Roll person did in their letter.

    10. Nanani*

      “Precedent?” Seriously?
      Are you joking?

      This isn’t a court of law, it’s Alison’s blog.
      There’s no legal argument to be made here.
      (Are you hawaiian roll lady)

      1. Persephone Mongoose*

        “Precedent” isn’t just strictly speaking a legal term. I figured that was pretty common knowledge. Of course it’s not a court of law, but it is a high-traffic blog.

        1. Worldwalker*

          “Of course it’s not a shopping mall, but it is an interstate highway.”

          One of these things is not like the other.

          1. Leslie_NopeNopeNope*

            Yeah…this isn’t the clever retort you think it is. Her comment actually made sense, you just threw two random things together and thought you made a point.

        2. Xantar*

          You can feel uncomfortable about this. That’s your right, and clearly you’re not alone. I don’t think you’re wrong for feeling that way even if I don’t agree.

          But the sentence “Of course it’s not a court of law, but it is a high-traffic blog” is just nonsensical.

        3. Kay*

          People are being unnecessarily nasty to you about this! Just wanted to say that I agree with everything you’ve said, and this is also an appropriate use of the word “precedent.” Would people feel better if you said it was going to spark a pattern? Such a weird reaction just because you don’t agree!

          1. EventPlannerGal*

            Yeah, I don’t know why people are being so weird and nitpicky about the use of “precedent” here… Strange post with a lot of very strange comments. Silly season comes late this year?

      2. Sleet Feet*

        Precedent. As in setting up a new standard for the community. People talked about it setting a nasty precedent with the petty revenge posts too. It’s not an outrageous statement or absurd hyperbole.

      3. Anonymeese*

        Precedent is an English language word that means setting an example. It’s not a legal thing, and Persephone is right. This is gross.

    11. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Nahhh, I don’t think this rises to the level of outing an OP. All I know about reading this new letter is that OP and Lil Miss Fancy Roll both live and work in an area that has a Kroger and a Publix. Which narrows it down to something like half of the US? Hardly personally identifying information. Additionally, there’s no earth-shattering new information in the new retelling of the story. We already knew that Fancy Roll OP had lost her whole mind over the appearance of cheap-ass rolls. (The dating-site story may or may not have been appropriate, though.)

    12. BugSwallowersAnonymous*

      Yeah, I agree. I think it’s a hilarious story, and totally okay to reference as an in-joke or cautionary tale in future posts, but I’m a little uncomfortable with the follow up post because it feels like it ventures into unkind/pile on territory. The original OP was also saying things that were obnoxious and tone-deaf, but not like, criminal or abusive. If I was the original OP and saw this I think I would feel humiliated.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Well, humiliating the original LW for the readers’ amusement is obviously the intent, so if she does wind up reading this it will have clearly achieved its goal.

        Hopefully the updater is above taking this into full-on mean girl territory and sending it to their coworker. But I’m not too sure if I dare hope for that. If they’re tracking the sale price of the rolls just to try to score extra nyah-nyah points, they might well get carried away by the thrill of being pseudo-popular.

        After all, for humiliation purposes, it doesn’t even matter whether today’s LW is actually the coworker of the original Hawaiian roll LW or not. They still got lots of people pointing and laughing at someone they don’t like.

        The original letter was 2 years ago, and today’s LW doesn’t seem to have interacted with the coworker at all since a few days afterward. Wouldn’t it be awful if the Hawaiian roll-bringer actually took some feedback and started changing her life, spent that 2 years getting some help and improving her coping/personal skills, just to get this thrown in her face by someone she doesn’t even work with directly or know personally?

        Be kind, not snarky. Hear that a lot around here. Makes you wonder what people mean by it.

        1. Myrin*

          Oh come on.
          This “update” was clearly solicited by Alison – the original comment was a short mention that really didn’t add anything new at all, just a harmless by-the-way, and basically no one even saw.
          You also don’t need to be “tracking the sale price of rolls” to notice that they’re often on sale and not even that expensive; I could do that off the top of my head for a pretty big number of things in my local grocery store.
          And what kind of “pseudo-popularity”? This letter isn’t attached to a name, not even a regular-or-not username. It provided a more in-depth answer to Alison’s enquiry about the whole situation – it’s not like they took it upon themselves to send some kind of unsolicited gossip fodder to AAM.

          1. RagingADHD*

            I’m not sure what point you were trying to make, but I think you just proved mine. Yes, it was solicited by Alison who frequently admonishes people to be kind and not snarky. And yes, people get cheap thrills over seeing their anonymous comments get reactions, hence the term “pseudo,” as in fake. And yes, the price of the rolls isn’t actually relevant, it was an entirely extraneous and petty detail.

            So whatever you wanted me to “come on” about, I guess…thanks for backing me up?

            1. Golden Handcuffs*

              Well I mean, the price of Hawaiian rolls is relevant since one of her big qualms was that the competing rolls were cheap ass rolls.

        2. hmm*

          Yup. The rules only apply to certain people. Lots of comments are silently deleted because they are not “kind”, even when they offer constructive feedback, but something like this is OK.

          1. history mystery*

            Yup. Lots of silent deleting for “unkindness” but this meanness (and defensiveness, wow!) is fine.

            Persephone, if you see this, I think you’re the kind one here.

    13. Myrin*

      A precedent for what, exactly? People reaching out to Alison (which didn’t happen here; the original comment was pretty buried and not many people reacted to it and it sounds like Alison actively contacted her about it) pretending like they know someone in one of the more egregious letters? For clout? Which Alison is powerless to stop?
      If that’s what you mean, I’d be incredibly surprised if that were to become a trend.

      1. evens*

        No, a precedent for piling on OPs. For being unkind. For actively making fun of people who write in. I think it’s kind of sad, how eager everyone is to make fun of someone.

        1. Myrin*

          This is not the original OP’s letter; she is incredibly unlikely to read this.

          It’s also incredibly unlikely for people who are even semi-regular commenters to see this post and come away thinking “Oh, this site clearly encourages making fun of each-and-every even slightly off-base OP writing in, I shall do nothing else in the future!”.
          Sorry, but I simply don’t think this “precedent” thinking checks out here.

          (Also, but this is just a personal take, I’m surprised that there are apparently people who are above making fun of others. I would think of myself as a pretty kind person and even I have people who I think deserve being mocked because they’re simply terrible. And maybe that makes me terrible but I honestly don’t feel bad about that at all.)

          1. ArmyOfSkanks*

            Honestly, I’m fully in favor of mocking terrible people; being soooo kind and understanding is how we get missing stairs who make actual kind people miserable.

            1. Not A Mango*

              And if someone decides that you’re the terrible one, using whatever criteria they want, to judge that?

              A general point: there is a chance the OP will see this. They chose to write it, so are perfectly aware that the site exists, and may still read it from time to time.

            2. Not A Mango*

              And if someone decides that you’re the terrible one, using whatever criteria they want, to judge that?

              A general point: there is a chance the OP will see this. They chose to write in, so are perfectly aware that the site exists, and may still read it from time to time.

            3. Polly Hedron*

              I agree with ArmyOfSkanks and with all the other pilers-on.

              Management is being kind and understanding by treating the OP as a Missing Stair. Why does OP need our understanding, too?

              Therefore I hope the OP does see these comments, which might be the only consequences she’ll face.

          2. evens*

            “It’s also incredibly unlikely for people who are even semi-regular commenters to see this post and come away thinking “Oh, this site clearly encourages making fun of each-and-every even slightly off-base OP writing in, I shall do nothing else in the future!.” ”

            Actually, I disagree. I think there’s a fair amount of toxicity here.

    14. diaphanous*

      I agree. It’s one thing for people to write in, hang themselves with their own outrageous behavior and let the commentariat have their way. It feels like an escalation of sorts to boost one of those comments that has additional gossipy details (the dating profile, for instance) by giving it a dedicated post.

    15. AnotherLibrarian*

      While I don’t know if this violates the “no speculating on where people work” rule, but I do agree that the constant harping on the LW feels pretty unkind and has, from the beginning, made me uncomfortable.

    16. Sleet Feet*

      I found this letter and all the soliciting of it needlessly unkind as well.

      I can say that about a lot of AAM the last few months though. Been a long time reader, since 2011, but I feel like the petty revenge posts brought a lot of new commentors with the goal of getting their jollies pointing out how much better they are then the subject of letters. It’s definitely not the blog that was focused on helping professionals become better versions of themselves that it use to be. Makes me sad because AAM helped me a lot in my career, but if outrage twitter style posts with people gleefully piling on a former letter writer is the new norm here that’s a sad state for this blog to be in.

    17. StudentA*

      Totally agree. I thought this site existed to help people. Silly me. And what I genuinely find funny is how funny other readers find this story. This is plain gossip. I’m side eyeing the hilarity part.

    18. newer balance*

      I’m totally with you. This just seems like a really weird thing to put on this blog? I really don’t understand what we’re all getting from it other than prurient enjoyment at making fun of a weird person (for 2 years??). It’s an odd thing to bond over as a group. I was a pretty active commenter here from 2012-2017ish before tapering off and it really feels like the comments section has gotten, I don’t know, more insular? every time I check in.

      Y’all do y’all, if this is the highlight of the year, great, enjoy.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        This is pretty much right where I am, too. A longtime reader, formerly a pretty regular commenter, and really disappointed in what both the site and the comment section are now. (That’s ok — not everything has to be my taste. But I do miss the more useful content and insightful comments from the past.)

    19. CBB*

      I suspect this whole thread will get deleted. I know this comment will get deleted, and may even get me banned for life, which I’m fine with, because I am done here.

      The information and advice on AMM has helped my in my career, for which I will always be grateful. But as of today, I’ve lost respect for this website’s author and it’s commentariat.

      If you think this is a community of friendly, well-meaning, good-humored, supportive people, you are wrong on all counts.

      1. Xantar*

        I’m trying to be kind here, but “I’m sure this will get deleted” type comments never work out well. If they remain (which I predict this one will), then it just makes you look like you’re pleading for martyrdom and sympathy.

        I get your discomfort and disgust even if I don’t agree with it. But I would advise you to just state your opinion and leave it at that.

        1. history mystery*

          You clearly haven’t noticed the stealth deleting that happens here.

          Also, accusing someone of angling for martyrdom and sympathy for being uncomfortable with the level of unkindness in these comments is just proving CBB’s last sentence.

            1. RagingADHD*

              Sometimes there’s a note that says “removed because xyz”
              Sometimes stuff just disappears.

              The second style is all the more noticeable when there are commenters further down the page referencing back to a thread, or a trend in the comments, that has since vanished. I believe you when you say it isn’t intended to be stealth, but when the effect is that a very noticeable piece of the conversation is retconned, people are bound to think it’s deliberate.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Ah. I’m less likely to leave a note when I’m dealing with moderation from my phone or just especially busy (since it’s easier to just nuke the comment than to leave a note about it). I’ve figured that’s fair game under the “comments violating these rules may be removed without warning” notice at the top of the commenting rules, but since I do leave notes when I have time to, I can see how the inconsistency reads weirdly. The alternative would be no one gets a note, which I don’t like — but it might be better than being inconsistent about it. I’ll think on this, thank you.

    20. Calamity Janine*

      while i understand some of this frustration (though, if accounts are to be believed, this was not exactly a case where the instigating party’s hands were quite so clean as you’re claiming), i’ll be honest…

      i’m not sure what some of y’all expect to happen with an advice column. hearing the wild situations that other people deal with, and how to deal with said situations, is why we’re here. it’s also a place where people write in – with some regularity! – for that assurance of “this is bonkers, right?”.

      this update is confirming that this is, indeed, bonkers yonkers. and if we’re taking it at its word – this wasn’t an isolated incident, but instead part of a pattern of toxic behavior.

      acknowledging that toxic behavior is toxic, and holding it up as a thing that is unusual, alarming, and damaging to workplaces… i don’t think this is bullying. if anything, insisting that everyone simply forgive, forget, and give toxic people as much room as possible (and as many excuses as possible) is far closer to bullying. it puts an undue burden on the victims of a toxic employee to simply pretend that all of this is normal. and it makes the workplace not be a place of professionalism, but instead a place where somebody nurses a grudge *for weeks* about a perfectly normal and ordinary potluck contribution.

      yeah, i may be a petty binch who loves tales of human oddity, but this person is a significant workplace disruption and source of toxicity. you can’t be too surprised when it is confirmed that there is indeed toxicity disrupting the workplace in a significant manner.

      you also can’t be too surprised that this is covered under an advice columnist’s answer. the answer is “this is way unprofessional behavior”. the answer continues to be “this is way unprofessional behavior, and now we might know some additional details to show that it is indeed very unprofessional and was a detriment to others in the office”. and it is being talked about as something that is unusual because it was allowed to even keep going on. how this person was enabled by the people around them who simply thought it easier to capitulate to the toxicity than try and make any managerial changes.

      it is, in short, a case study of remarkably bad management.

      to be surprised it’s under discussion is to be surprised that someone studying rocket science might read a paper about what went wrong to cause the Challenger disaster, or that a civil engineer wants to study why the 1940s tacoma narrows suspension bridge collapse.

      if this was an advice column full of people having perfectly normal and lovely times at fully-functioning workplaces, there would not be much of an advice column to read. because there’s no advice to give to that. instead people write in for advice about things that are not ideal, and that they seek to change. acknowledging dysfunction, and calling it for what it is, remains the step zero in this process. you cannot work to change an issue if you don’t want to acknowledge the issue exists, after all.

      it’s getting a bit “dead dove, don’t eat”, at this point.

      there have been plenty of other cases under this sort of discussion. you could even say that this is the very point of updates season! there have been long and ongoing responses on this blog before following this exact same pattern – pointing out a spectacularly bad employee and charting how they left harm in their wake. there have been plenty of “good news: the jerk finally got fired!!” updates.

      where is your disgust for that? for example… why did you not stop reading in 2017, when this was posted as an update? https://www.askamanager.org/2017/12/update-my-coworker-wont-stop-caressing-me-or-the-kids-we-work-with-3.html shouldn’t that also be something that is “bullying” the coworker who crossed major lines with the children in her charge? isn’t it also terrible that this colleague is putting out into the world these stories of Kim screaming at a child with her foot on the child’s back to make the punishment push-ups extra hard? where is your weeping for poor Kim, sacked for being dangerously incompetent and breaking professional boundaries in favor of toxicity?

      that’s just one example. you can click random post and find others quite easily. especially as people write in to Alison with clockwork regularity, asking if their boss’s demands are normal or if they should be getting out of a toxic situation. the friday good news regularly sees updates in this fashion – all the updates that say “remember me? i was stuck in a toxic workplace, and i got out! it got even more bonkers before i left – here’s some examples – but now i’m free!”. and, again, this is what is done all December long.

      why has all such previous entries been fine and dandy to you, but your heart now breaks for Mx. If You Also Brought Rolls To The Potluck I’m Going To Be Mad About It For Weeks After And Make Everyone Miserable?

      sounds like you might be mad somebody brought cheap-ass rolls when you were on the sign-up sheet for rolls and splashed out for all the king’s hawaiian you could find, tbh

      (p.s. – whatever harm to her career the Cheap Ass Rolls ranter might have inflicted on her by this post, if it in any way reflects reality, we can be assured that there is no great damage being done. because the person in question is going to hurt her own career with her behavior long before anyone can browse Ask A Manager. there is nothing a bunch of strangers on the internet can do that is worse than personally marching forth with the aim to make it be known you are a toxic missing stair, and your career should be treated accordingly.)

      1. Calamity Janine*

        another point for consideration here, i think –

        the point of the rule is to not dissuade those letter writers seeking support. it is also why the general community spirit of wanting to support the LW comes from.

        one LW has already been supported by being told “you are out of line”. (and yes – this is support! to do otherwise sets people up for failure.) now we have another LW. this LW is also seeking support – and is doing so in a fashion many others have done before. “this behavior is out of line, right? …yes? oh thank goodness. i’m glad that it isn’t just me, and y’all also think this is bonkers yonkers.”

        what makes the first LW legitimate and the second here not? what makes the first LW deserving of all the respect, but this one deserving of sneers? is it that this LW points out toxic behavior as toxic and doesn’t normalize it? is it that this LW is contributing to a culture that notes toxicity as a bad thing, instead of grin-and-bear-it complicity?

        we can talk about prioritizing mental health and anti-bullying all we like, but at the end of the day, these are two LWs at direct odds. you can’t try to go halfsies and make it an even split. (and – again – not pointing out toxic behavior as toxic is very much a false friend.) you have to choose who gets support.

        and if this LW is entitled to kind and supportive comments – to have their wild experiences validated as truly buckwild, to have their very reality confirmed as this not being a momentary mistake but a pattern of toxicity –

        why the sudden begrudging of this? it should be expected and encouraged and absolutely normal for anyone to see. so what makes the first LW the one who gets all the priority, and this second LW the one who is left with scorn?

        the far worse precedent to set would be “discussing toxic behavior is verboten and terrible bullying”, and it would be a ruling that would break far more established ‘common law’, so to speak.

        …doesn’t have anything to do with a lot of the objectors sharing patterns of names (a veritable garden!) and one comment being removed for sockpuppetry, i suppose…

        1. Former Young Lady*

          I absolutely LOVE this comment.

          I’ve noticed a pattern in my (city, state, country, professional life, family of origin) in which it is somehow more important to be “kind” to bullies than it is to acknowledge that their bullying is, itself, harmful to its targets, absurd behavior in adults, and therefore socially unacceptable.

          I read this blog because it doesn’t put up with such double-standards, and you’ve beautifully articulated why that’s important.

  25. No Dumb Blonde*

    I want to work there just so I can tell her I don’t eat carbs at all and would really appreciate it if she could bring something other than rolls next time :^D

  26. Sharpieees*

    As someone who is a world-class terrible cook, I usually contributes store bought items (candy, baked goods from a local bakery, beverages, etc.), it’s hilarious that she got offended over this. It’s not like she spent days baking the rolls from scratch lol. I mean, lets be real, buying things is the “easy” route. It’s like if I brought several bottles of Canada Dry and got offended that someone else brought Schweppes Ginger Ale lol.

    Also, there can never be too much bread. Ever.

    1. Yep, me again*

      No, no there can’t.

      I, for one, brought chips and salsa to a lot of pot lucks because, well, I suck at cooking!

      1. Worldwalker*

        My go-to potluck item:

        Stove-Top stuffing made with chicken broth.
        A large can of canned chicken.
        Craisins to taste.

        Make stuffing according to package directions. Mix all components. Put into Crock-Pot. Take to potluck. You will get the container back empty. Nothing this easy should taste so good. (I can’t cook; I got this from someone else at a potluck, though the cranberries are my addition)

    2. Elenna*

      I do enjoy cooking and would most likely bring home-made food to a potluck. And even so, if someone brought a similar item, I wouldn’t be at all offended! Probably I’d be delighted to taste the other dish and see what variations they made.

  27. Abated*

    There were over 1,000 comments on the original post! I looked through them, but gave up – – did the original poster ever join in the comments there?

  28. PolarVortex*

    This is post I very desperately needed today and I thank you for writing in about your experience with the Cheap Ass Rolls Lady.

  29. Lizzy Lou*

    OMG, someone really needs to tell her to shove those rolls where the sun doesn’t shine. I will happily do it.

  30. Zap R.*

    Italian-Canadian here. What’s the big deal about the rolls? Are Hawaiian rolls significantly better than dinner rolls? Aren’t all dinner rolls cheap-ass? Please advise.

    1. WantonSeedStitch*

      They’re a sweet bread roll, basically the descendent of Portuguese sweet bread (Hawaiian food is influenced by Portuguese cuisine among others). They tend to be pretty fluffy too, since they have a fair bit of egg and milk in them. So they are distinct from other rolls, but more in terms of style than quality, IMO.

      1. Gerry Keay*

        Yeah, they’re an enriched dough — more similar to a brioche or challah than traditional dinner role. Tasty in the right setting, but a very specific palate that definitely doesn’t go with everything!

          1. Minerva*

            Yeah, a sweeter brioche is a pretty solid description for someone who has never had Hawaiian rolls.

            1. Worldwalker*

              I think of them as a dessert item, because of the calories. Heated up, with a bit of jam in them … so good.

    2. I'm Just Here for the Cats*

      They are sweeter, lighter and fluffier than regular dinner rolls. The thing is, Kings Hawian are about the same price as store brand rolls. So why she called them cheap ass is beyond me.

    3. Tinselgarland*

      The Kings Hawaiian rolls were also advertised heavily in the past couple of years on the US East Coast. I don’t know if they were available here before that (and I’ve never yet tasted one) but all of a sudden there was a lot of awareness due to TV advertising. I think this gave them an air of being “special” as opposed to generic supermarket rolls.

    4. GammaGirl1908*

      No, Hawaiian rolls are not anything super-special, and yes, all rolls are cheap. That’s why this letter is so legendary — the letter writer was cranked up to 11 about … perfectly average store-bought bread. Hawaiian rolls are fine and all, but they are absolutely not worth this level of ire.

      It was very clear that the real issue, ahem, had nothing to do with the bread.

  31. Lizy*

    silly question, but how do we find the linked comment? I tried clicking but it doesn’t take me to the exact comment and I’m lazy and don’t want to scroll all of them lol

    1. ThatGirl*

      If you click on the “mentioned” link it should take you to the comment. But the comment in question is from No, it’s not me.

  32. It's All Elementary*

    If she would have asked me why I took the regular rolls I would have said “I don’t like the Hawaiian rolls and I’m grateful someone brought regular rolls”. I truly don’t like them. ‍♀️

    1. ObservantServant*

      I once got a package of them included with a box of grocery store fried chicken I brought on a camping trip. The free ass rolls were forgotten about and were perfectly soft and mold free when they were unearthed a year later.

  33. Middle Name Jane*

    EPIC! I love that we got an update on Cheap Ass Rolls!

    Aside from the utter lunacy of this person, it really bothers me that they were being so insulting about store brand food. It could be that the person who bought the store brand rolls did so because it was all they could afford, and they still wanted to participate in the potluck. Nobody really knows the financial situation of others. Even people who earn good salaries have debt, high expenses, medical bills, etc. You just never know, and it’s hateful to mock what someone brought.

    1. I'm Just Here for the Cats*

      or maybe they made their dish the night before but they dropped it or it burnt beyond recognition so they went to the store and grabbed the first thing they saw.

    2. DANGER: Gumption & Cheap Ass Rolls Ahead*

      Shoot, maybe the person who brought them likes store brand rolls. Some store brand stuff is better (looking at you Safeway deli tortilla chips)

      1. Cat Tree*

        Costco brand (Kirkland) makes good everything! Their diapers are much better than Pampers. And Wegmans has tons of great store brand stuff.

      2. EvilQueenRegina*

        Or they were just offering people an alternative, knowing not everyone likes Hawaiian rolls.

    3. Aggretsuko*

      I saw some advice columnist lately (I forget which one) who got a big pouty complaint about people bringing cheap/premade/bags of chips-type stuff, or the cheapest possible alcohol, to potluck dinners. I thought the same thing. Not everyone has money or is a great cook, leave it be!

      1. FrenchCusser*

        Some people really need to learn what ‘potluck’ means.

        I did away with sign up sheets when I got handed responsibility for that at my workplace. Just bring whatever you want, that’s what ‘potluck’ means!

        And we never had too much of something and not enough of something else. It’s been just fine.

    4. Bernice Clifton*

      Some people prefer to eat ham or turkey on a roll and don’t like Hawaiian rolls.

      Some people take public transportation to work or park far away and don’t want to carry a friggin crockpot, whereas rolls are light and travel well.

      1. Zap R.*

        This is a very good point. I can cook something lovely from scratch but there is no way it’s surviving a wintertime streetcar journey at rush hour

  34. CheeeeeapAss*

    Cheap Ass Rolls is the gift that keeps on giving. I use to work at Kings Hawaiian, I wish I did so I can share this story LOL.

    1. Phony Genius*

      In the store last week, I just saw they now make pretzel rolls. They also have a butter flavor. Their website shows jalapeno and honey-wheat as other flavors, but I’ve never seen them in a store.

    2. DANGER: Gumption & Cheap Ass Rolls Ahead*

      I want to say I have seen ube, but I might be mixing them up with another brand that makes squishy, sweet bread

    3. Kimmy Schmidt*

      The jalapeno ones are very tasty! I find the standard Hawaiian rolls just a little too sickly sweet, but the jalapeno rolls are a good sweet-spicy combo that is a better flavor to me.

    4. Grace Poole*

      And the Roll Coworker said that she bought 3 or 4 packs per flavor? That’s a lot of rolls, even if just for 2 or 3 flavors. We’re talking 100 individual rolls for an office potluck, so it almost seems like Cheap-Ass Rolls was expecting people to be eating 3/4 rolls per person.

  35. lcsa99*

    My first thought: I am so glad I don’t work with that woman.

    My second thought: how do we know the place they bought the turkey/ham from didn’t just throw in the rolls as thanks or something? She’s this worked up over rolls! Granted, at a typical potluck that’s all that I would eat but there is nothing wrong with having more rolls.

    1. PT*

      They came with the turkey/ham, the company bought them out of their event budget along with the plates and napkins, someone who forgot to sign up brought them, someone brought them in addition to whatever they signed up for, they were left over from some other company lunch earlier in the week…

  36. SleepyWolverine*

    Alison, if you ever end up with AAM t-shirts, “Cheap Ass Rolls” would make a legendary design! :)

  37. anonymous73*

    Thanks for the update!

    The fact that HR was witnessing the whole thing and not doing much to stop the behavior is the real problem here. HR needed to take her aside, tell her to STFU (in a civil work related manner of course) and refuse to let it continue. I would have been that co-worker who would have said something. Why everyone chose to ignore her is beyond me. If you’re harassing me over something so trivial, words will be said and I don’t care if you like them or not.

  38. La Triviata*

    Some people are just a little too invested in trivia (and I should know). A former co-worker was having an absolute fit over the spam she was receiving – she didn’t understand how they got her email address and her name and was sure they were somehow spying on her, accessing her computer and such.

    1. AFac*

      Given the food topic and Hawaiian rolls, for a confusing second I interpreted spam (email) as Spam, the canned meat product.

      And then had a craving for Spam musubi, which unfortunately I cannot purchase for takeout where I live.

  39. learnedthehardway*

    I can’t help feeling somewhat sorry for the irrational coworker – it’s a shame she is the way she is, and I can’t help feeling like she needs some help.

    1. Ganymede*

      I’m upset by how gleeful so many posters are being on here. “Christmas come early” etc? Poor show. This person might be intolerable but the level of schadenfreude being displayed is really unpleasant.

      1. Law School*

        Thank you, you put into words what I was struggling with. I agree with Persephone above as well. Yes, we’ve all known people this territorial and petty and it’s satisfying to see them brought down a peg. But a gleeful pile on online by people who have never and will never meet this person is rubbing me the wrong way. To me, there’s a difference between this woman’s “sin” and someone like the manager who wouldn’t let the employee go to graduation or the other manager who thought her employee was not grateful enough when her paycheck was late. Unlike those situations, there does not seem to be an abuse of power involved or an effect on someone else’s livelihood.

        (By “sin,” I’m referring of course to the woman’s outrage over the rolls. Impersonating someone on a dating profile is a whole other level of inappropriate, but it also doesn’t appear to be what most commenters are focusing on.)

      2. eisa*

        “a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else”

        Where do you see that in the comments ?
        Specifically, what is the bad thing that supposedly happened to the LW of the original post ?

        I would argue that bad things (x) happened and continue to happen at Ms. Rolls’ place of work … to her colleagues; the only feeling anyone has expressed for them is pity.
        (x) caused by Ms Rolls’ herself and management which lets her run around unchecked

    2. EventPlannerGal*

      Yeah, I can’t imagine anyone gets to the point of behaviour this irrational without something major going on with them. I hope she gets whatever help she needs.

    3. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yeah, I tend to agree. I mean I know it’s a silly thing to get worked up about (and lord knows, I’ve had coworkers who got worked up about silly things), but it also feels a little sad to keep harping on this person. I think part of why I like AMM is that it is generally the comments section is kind. This all feels pretty unkind.

    4. Generic Name*

      You’re not alone. I’m not getting warm fuzzies about this post or the responses. It feels mean-spirited to me.

  40. Allornone*

    Next potluck, I would sooooo sign my name and write in “Cheap-ass Rolls”

    and I would bring in cheap ass rolls

    every year

    until the Hawaiian roll woman left the company.

  41. AnonInCanada*

    O M f**kin’ G this update is AWESOME!! This is the stuff of legends!

    The only question I have is “Is Ms. Cheap-Ass Rolls still working for this company or has HR finally had enough and showed her the door, hopefully with a footprint made on her posterior?”

    1. ecnaseener*

      End of the second-to-last paragraph of the letter: “I honestly don’t know how she is still employed, but she is.”

      1. AnonInCanada*

        I didn’t see that. I was so engulfed in the story as to how this woman acts, that …
        … what dirt does this woman have on her bosses and HR that keeps her still employed there?

  42. The Smiling Pug*

    Yikes, this lady sounds like a piece of work. Sometimes bread is just that…bread. But, I’m still glad that we got to hear from this coworker.

  43. Silly string theory*

    Since the company bought the ham and turkey, it’s very possible they threw the ‘cheap ass rolls’ as a gift!

    This woman needs a new hobby!

  44. Warm Gooey Cheap Ass Roll*

    This is like turning on CNN and finding out that someone caught a real live Sasquatch. Thank you for this update.

  45. Seeking Second Childhood*

    After dropping in on the 2019 comments again, the update I want to know is from you the commentariat. Did anyone squeeze in their trip to New Orleans for beignets before Covid shut things down?

    1. Jacey*

      I had this same thought! I remember lurking on the original comment thread and laughing at the ever-growing beignet digression.

    2. Here we go again*

      Thanks for the inspiration for what to bring my Gramps at the home on Friday! I’m making a batch on my morning off.

    3. LK03*


      Okay, actually I was there for a work trip (Jan 2020), but I made a point of getting a beignet and a chicory coffee. Yum!

  46. Somewhere in Texas*

    The crazy thing is something rolls are free items with other stuff, so someone may have been concerned that not enough people signed up for rolls and they were just being nice.

    1. Master Bean Counter*

      Because it’s not enough to see her taken down a peg in the original post and then be torn to shreds in this one? You want her to come in to the bully pit for a fight?

  47. Old Admin*

    I… admit I had a hard time believing the original Cheap Ass Roll post could be for real… but then I’ve met people who were *that delusional*.
    One of them was a family member of a very similar ilk… and once I wrapped my head around the possibility of there being more (manipulative,delusional, unstoppable) nutcases like that out there, this update suddenly became quite plausible

    1. pancakes*

      Look up “crazy rhubarb lady” if that phrase doesn’t ring a bell. I always think of her when this post comes up.

  48. Chilli Heeler*

    What kills me is that, if OP is correct, Ms. King Hawaiian apparently thought that she could make her story more anonymous by… saying she was newer than she actually was. She didn’t change any of the other details, even the specific food in question. She could have said it was “cheap ass potato salad” vs. her own special recipe, or said it was for a charity food drive instead of a potluck, or *something*. But saying she’d been there a month instead of a year and a half? That’s like putting on a fake mustache, or a different pair of glasses. “No one will ever recognize me if I *part my hair on the other side*!”

    1. Skyblue*

      I wondered if the incident about not being introduced properly when she was new as something that happened back when she was new, and she’s still holding the grudge.

    2. DANGER: Gumption & Cheap Ass Rolls Ahead*

      Or the food item was actually something else and the LW used rolls as a substitute, which means that there are 2 people flying off the handle because of a potluck item duplication. Part of me really wants there to be more than one, as long as I never have to work with them

    3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      “Relax. No one’s gonna recognize us.” “What, because of hats and sunglasses? It’s not a disguise, Hank. We look like ourselves at a baseball game.” (Ant Man and the Wasp)

  49. 3DogNight*

    Holy Geezus! There might be TWO of these exact same crazy-sounding people out there! OMG!
    OP–let us know if she starts asking who wrote in!

  50. Can we please leave her alone?*

    I’m uncomfortable with the amount of mocking this woman has received, especially with this latest installment.

    Obviously she’s an unlikeable person, and she made a mistake in writing to AAM.

    But does she really deserve to be made fun of and gossiped about on a prominent website for two years running? We all know she’s reading this. How do we think she feels every time her embarrassing story is brought up again? Especially now that she knows her anonymity has been breeched.

    Yes, she brought this on herself. But the punishment she’s receiving is way out of proportion to her long-ago offence.

    1. Plebeian Aristocracy*

      First, I do want to point out that we have one, perhaps two data points right now. I don’t know if she’s unlikeable or not from that. It could have just been that she was having a really off day, or year.

      Second, by this point the letter has become a meme. It’s no longer about the person, it’s about the cultural touchstone that the letter has created. To take it down or forget about it would require the OP to bring her humanity back into the letter, likely by writing an update with true apologies and how they have learned and grown as a human being from that point. Such a thing would bring closure to the story, and make people more comfortable moving on. That’s why that one boss from the summer isn’t on the worst bosses list, and why we were all able to move on (as an example).

      Thirdly, I don’t know if she still reads the blog. Are you the OP? If so, would you be willing to eat crow, admit to it, and take the steps to end it?

      1. Wisteria*

        To take it down or forget about it would require the OP to bring her humanity back into the letter

        No. All it takes is for us to stop bring it up. We have the choice to recognize OP’s humanity whether she comes groveling to the community for forgiveness or not.

        Such a thing would bring closure to the story, and make people more comfortable moving on.

        Closure is something you give yourself. Decide it’s closed, and decide to move on.

        1. Anonmahna*

          Terrible nesting fail. Plebeian’s second point is spot on. It has essentially become a meme. It’s no longer about the person, but about the absurdity of the behavior.

      2. Slippy Toad*

        So it’s fine to make fun of the OP because they’re dehumanized now? They are a real person, who probably had some real issues if they were reacting so strongly to a potluck situation. I’m not going to speculate about their potential challenges, but your take on this is troublesome.
        This post has inspired some incredibly toxic behavior and I’d say it seems out of place, except that it’s an extension of what’s gone on in the comments for years. This site was useful to me early in my career, but stopped reading comments years ago. If the content is now going to pander to the kind of pettiness that’s festered there, I’m not interested anymore. The kindest thing I can even say about this post is that it’s unprofessional.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Honestly, the way I see it, the Fancy Roll OP coined a catchy phrase, and now there’s no way to keep that phrase from being used. I don’t even really see it as punishment? If anything, OOP enriched the English language with the “cheap-ass rolls” reference.

    3. Jacey*

      I feel divided on this.

      On the one hand, I can see where you and a few others expressing a similar sentiment are coming from. I’m not a huge fan of the meaner, schaudenfreude-ier comments or the fact that the original post turned into a gigantic pile-on for the original OP.

      On the other hand, if the update is indeed about the same person, well… she sounds truly unpleasant to those around her. Just during this one incident, she interrogated people rudely and aggressively about a potluck item, then attacked people for their food choices. And it wasn’t just this incident: there was a pattern of her being abrasive, angry, and awful to others. I don’t believe that someone who acts that way is entitled to the consequences of their actions. And, frankly, I think it’s a mild consequence that some Internet strangers find her cruel actions funny. Commenters aren’t campaigning to have this woman fired or identified in real life or anything… they’re (for the most part) just enjoying the absurdity of hearing about this situation second-hand.

      1. MuchLikeFish*

        Cheap-ass rolls lady, in the update especially, reminds me of a coworker whom I could definitely see throwing a similar tantrum if the occasion arose (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her, though!) and as such, I have pretty near zero sympathy, given that I know the ongoing effects that my coworker’s behavior has on others in the section, our mutual boss, and morale in general. Hell, I even have a note in my medical chart about her, due to very elevated blood pressure after going straight from a meeting with her to an appointment! So yeah, being anonymously discussed on a website is, in terms of consequences, really nothing compared to the stress my coworker, and probably cheap-ass rolls lady, has caused all on her own.

    4. pancakes*

      She’s anonymous. If anyone thinks they might know her based on an anonymized account of her extraordinarily abrasive behavior at an office party, that’s not exactly “punishment.” It sometimes seems that a handful of people online think it’s unfair or illegitimate for others to have perceptions of them they don’t agree with, or without their consent. That’s very unrealistic! It’s also not a mindset I’ve ever encountered in person, in the wild.

    5. Aggretsuko*

      I suspect Rolls Lady probably doesn’t want to read AAM any more after the original response.

    6. Cat Lover*

      This is an anonymous blog……… It’s not like Alison posted a tiktok or instagram video of the incident? Play dumb games win dumb prizes.

    7. Wants Green Things*

      It’s gone from being about an off-the-walls and completely entitled complaint to being a meme, just like Graduation Boss, Leap Year Boss, and all the others the commentors here regularly reference. It’s behavior completely past the norm and with no sign of self-reflection or awareness – and gave us a funny shorthand for blowing something completely out of proportion.

      And we have no idea if she knows that her privacy has been breached. 1) Alison’s blog is public, and she does not guarantee anonymity beyond changing names and not posting email. 2) when you behave this egregiously and then post to a highly-trafficed blog with few detail changes, it’s very possible someone will recognize the incident in question. And, as many a commentor pointed out the first time, this behavior is unfortunately very common – to the point that *this* OP says she isn’t actually sure if it’s the same person, but that this is *a* person who took similar and outrageous umbrage.

  51. knitcrazybooknut*

    So, is anyone else waiting for the follow-up? “I sent AAM this update, and now co-worker is marching the halls, demanding to know which of her coworkers sent in the update on her letter!!”

  52. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

    Not going to lie, I thought this couldn’t be the same person because I thought original “Cheap-Ass Rolls” person brought in, like, homemade Hawaiian Rolls instead of purchasing the King’s ones. But no, on a re-read of that letter, they definitely didn’t do that, or if they did, they didn’t specify that. Not that their reaction was great, but it gets so much more over the top when you realize that.

    1. Old Admin*

      Exactly what I thought, too (that the original LW had baked them herself)!
      I’m out of the country and hadn’t heard of Hawaiian rolls before – I actually looked up a recipe and attempted to bake the myself, just to know what they are like. Yes, they are *awfully sweet* and a bit weird.

  53. Shirleene*

    !!! Between this, the spicy food, and the Condom Incident from earlier this year (still my favorite AAM post of all time), can we have an Official Update Hall of Fame?

  54. Rat Diva*

    Good grief, browbeating people who weren’t taking the “wrong” rolls? And not taking any rolls at all?

    “Hystrionica, I’m a type II diabetic and refined wheat products shoot my blood glucose to dangerously high levels then they drop like a rock, sending me into hypoglycemia, which leaves me sweaty, shaking, disoriented, and nauseous. That’s why I’m not eating any rolls.”

    And when I could eat bread with impunity, I’d have gone for the cheap ass white bread rolls over the Hawaiian rolls any day. Hawaiian bread is just too sweet for me.

    1. Berkeleyfarm*

      Yeah, with someone that far gone into incivility even a mild “Jane, that’s not an appropriate question” sort of push-back would probably be met with an explosion.

      Management should have corralled her and told her this was inappropriate, but they may have been in shock and not thinking well sort of thing. End result – everyone at a supposed-to-be-fun team-building event gets harassed.

  55. Carrie Oakie*

    OP…thank you! Thank you for sharing the other side of this and also please, oh please, let us know if the Roll Snob brings it up. (Because there is no way someone who interrogates people over rolls can NOT react to this.) I love KH rolls, but I’m also aware store bought rolls are ALSO delicious (I have a bread problem) and are not “cheap.” I hate that – store brands are often the same as name brand!

    I love that “days later” she’s still ranting. Oh man, perfect story to go with my morning Chai.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I will confess that I got the last of my ice cream out of the freezer to enjoy with this story. And it wasn’t cheap-ass ice cream, either, it was Jeni’s!

  56. Wisteria*

    who pretty much identically matches your post except for the being new part. I suspect it is my coworker and that was added in so that if anyone recognized her they would assume it was someone else, just a guess.

    The part about being new wasn’t just an aside. It was part of her grievance regarding how disrespected she felt at the company. That was a lot of detail to be trying to fudge identity. I’m not completely convinced that this coworker and the original Cheap Ass Rolls OP are the same person.

    Which brings me to my point. What is the point of sharing this? I see a collective desperate clinging to the right to chase a feeling of outrage. Even when a coworker is outrageous, what is the end goal of constantly engaging with your outrage? At this point, the outrage over the coworker is greater than the coworker’s outrage over the rolls in the first place, and everybody’s engagement with the situation is causing you more suffering than the original situation did.

    For all the talk about recognizing toxic workplaces, this community has it’s own form of toxicity.

  57. Kay*

    How does this not violate AAM’s general policy of being kind and not piling on letter writers? The focus on Hawaiian rolls is pretty unique and bizarre, but is it even confirmed that this person actually worked with the LW? Did you try to reach out to the original LW before publishing this? We can all agree that the original LW was SO over the top and out of line, but again, AAM has generally urged commenters to be kind to ALL LWs, even the most egregious! This is a very funny and dramatic turn, but I fail to see how it falls under the umbrella of being constructive (and it certainly doesn’t seem to invite constructive comments).

    1. pancakes*

      How would that be “confirmed” without revealing either letter writer’s identity to the other? That would be truly invasive, and for no good reason. Posting an anecdote on a blog doesn’t necessitate outing people to their coworkers that way.

      1. Kay*

        Exactly. Why post something like this if it can’t be confirmed? Just to ramp up the drama, apparently.

        1. Insert Clever Name Here*

          Couldn’t you ask the same question in every single post on this and every advice column? “Alison, did you confirm that OP’s VP of HR indeed said her service dog was too small?” “Alison, did you confirm that OP’s coworker really did take him to task for ordering guac at Chipotle on a business trip?”

          The reason Alison posted this is because the original post is such a WTAF of absurd overreaction to an incredibly benign incident and since the original letter was posted there has been speculation about the context. Behold, context. It’s really not 1) that nefarious or 2) that hard to understand.

        2. pancakes*

          No, not exactly. I thought it was quite clear from my reply that I disagree with your thinking on this. I don’t at all agree that an amusing anecdote needs to be confirmed before being posted on a blog, nor that wanting to confirm it would justify invading either letter writer’s privacy.

          The only drama I’m seeing reading these comments is coming from people who are insistent they know the site’s rules better than the person who wrote them and runs the whole thing. Disagree, fine, cool, but the hand-wringing in some of these comments is over the top.

    2. Myrin*

      The rule is about being kind to OPs in the comments under their letters which they are at least mildly likely to read and use to decide how to go forward.
      I highly doubt original cheap-ass-roll OP is still reading here (if she even ever did at all and didn’t just randomly send her question to a workplace advice blog which honestly seems much more likely to me); so I don’t see why the comments on this “update”/”letter” should be constructive (for whom, exactly?).

      1. TheThatcher*

        My interpretation of the rule is that it’s there to prevent readers of the blog who are considering writing in from being dissuaded because of the pile on.
        In this case, I can see potential OPs being put off of asking for advice because ‘what if I’m the next cheap A rolls?’. Even if they are no where near as out of touch as some letters, the fear of being piled on could still stop them from writing in.

        1. Kay*

          Yep, this is pretty much my line of thinking as well. There is no point to this post other than to continue some petty drama and laugh at someone else. I doubt that anyone on the level of the original LW is self-aware enough to be dissuaded by this pile on, but others may be.

        2. Myrin*

          I do think that for someone who is actively afraid of being piled on for writing in, that fear is going to be there regardless and stemming much more from how a site treats pile-ons and unkindness in general and not from one single letter/”update”. Sure, all of these elements work together and if someone’s only encounter of AAM happens to be this here post, well, too bad (I mean this honestly, not snarkily), but if you’re generally familiar with this site at all, you know that Alison holds respect, taking-OPs-at-their-word, and decency at high regard and that it’s also always possible for every single reader to flag something that seems inappropriate.
          (Also, and this might sound flippant but I’m 100% serious, OPs can always opt to simply not read the comments at all. As most OPs do, by the way. Alison has observed for a very long time that the comments are primarily there for other commenters and not for the OPs themselves, statistically speaking.)

          1. TheThatcher*

            “…you know that Alison holds respect, taking-OPs-at-their-word, and decency at high regard and that it’s also always possible for every single reader to flag something that seems inappropriate.”
            This is why I was so surprised that this ‘update’ was posted. It doesn’t fit with the normal level of decency on the blog that I have come to expect. It is eye opening to me, and has made me look more critically at the site as a whole.

        3. Wants Green Things*

          If someone has enough self-awareness to ask “what if I’m the next cheap-ass rolls” then they will *not* be simply because they can recognize that the behavior was so out of line.

          Alison’s blog has ballooned in popularity over the last several years. If people google “manager advice” her site shows up first or second. And as we have seen multiple times now, people will dash off an email to Alison and not check her disclaimers or read other posts, and then act shocked and surprised that it gets posted. Those letters, and that level of entitlement as show by the original cheap ass rolls, is always very, very obvious in the letter, and not a behavior that changes due to Alison disagreeing. At that point, it’s better to just laugh at the obliviousness because nothing else will work.

  58. Bookworm*

    We hear a lot from executive/boss-types about how “no one wants to work” but I mean…really. With co-workers like these???

  59. No one important*

    Man, I actually feel kind of bad for this person. She sounds absolutely miserable and determined to be angry about nothing, all the time. Doesn’t excuse her behavior, obviously (especially not the dating-profile thing… Oof!) but…wow.

    And from this new letter, it sounds like she’s not even getting the kind of consequences that might (eventually) lead her to self-reflect. Everyone’s just tiptoeing around her and nobody’s firmly telling her she’s being unreasonable. Which isn’t to say it’s her bosses’ or coworkers’ job to teach her appropriate behavior — but, frankly, getting fired for being impossible to work with is also a kind of lesson. —I mean, okay, it’s a lesson one only learns if one doesn’t choose to take it as an unfair personal attack, which sounds like her MO, but everything’s gotta start somewhere! And in the meantime she’s being allowed to make her coworkers as miserable as she seems to be, which isn’t okay either.

    It’ll be to her benefit as much as everyone else’s if she can someday learn to function without constantly looking for reasons to be (and make everyone around her) unhappy. I hope she figures it out.

  60. DropTheBomb*

    c’mon, you have both e-mail addresses, you can figure out if this is the same person or there’s two cheap ass roll people.!

    1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      Only if they both emailed from their work address. If the original poster emailed from a personal account, and didn’t mention a company name, then it’s not so easy to confirm. (Not impossible, just not as easy.)

  61. Yvette*

    I know that this is not a true update, more of a parallel, but could it please be linked to the original post the way other updates are?

  62. Seconds*

    I notice more than one discrepancy in today’s account and the original LW. We’ve all noticed the “new person” aspect of this.

    But also, the original LW said that once she realized that other rolls had been brought in, she righteously *returned to work*, and didn’t report interacting with other colleagues.

    If this is indeed the same person (and I suspect it is), then I believe that she modified that part of the tale because she knew that haranguing coworkers was not the best way of handling this. She told the part where she thought she had the strongest case, and left out her reaction. I notice that in her post she never mentions speaking out at all.

    She’s right, by the way, that those were the points on which she had the strongest case—even though the case wasn’t very strong.

    This woman clearly is trouble to her coworkers, and I feel for them. This woman is also thoroughly miserable herself, and I hope that she will somehow find peace.

  63. RB*

    Somehow it makes me really happy to think there might be two of them. And if there’s two, there could be even more. Maybe we will get more letters or updates from their coworkers. Although this one sounds so uncannily similar that it is probably the one.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Must be something in those Hawaiian rolls!

      I somehow have no problem believing that there are two of them, possibly more.

  64. Empress Matilda*

    Everything about this is amazing, but this:

    a disruptive off the list potluck person is my favourite part. Thank you for writing in, OP!

    1. Empress Matilda*

      Dang, forgot to close the quote. My favourite part is a disruptive off the list potluck person.

      I fully intend to be this person from now on, because it sounds like a lot of fun!

  65. Archaeopteryx*

    Amazing! This is like interviewing a coworker of Bigfoot. Please keep us apprised of her every move!

  66. Falling Diphthong*

    This is awesome.

    A part of me is impressed at the sheer commitment to the roll rage, over many days.

    I like OP’s theory that someone who has to work closely with her may have hit on this as the way to send her over the edge.

  67. Allison Wonderland*

    Am I the only one who never even heard of “Hawaiian Rolls” before the original post? Are they some kind of big deal? They look like ordinary store-bought rolls to me!

    1. Insert Clever Name Here*

      No, they aren’t particularly special which is part of the absurdity of the original OP’s reaction (and why this letter is meme-worthy within the AAM comments). Like many foods, some people super love them and other people super hate them. They’ve been around for at least as long as I remember specific brands of food (in my 30s and loved in the southern and eastern US); there were always a pack at church potlucks and my mom would sometimes buy them.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        I was initially confused by the fact that “cheap-ass rolls” didn’t refer to the King’s Hawaiian Rolls. I mean, they’re fine. I find them a trifle sweet but that’s a matter of taste. But they aren’t really distinguishable in quality from store brand bread. Nor are they notably expensive.

    2. Pikachu*

      They have more of a sweet flavor than your average dinner roll. They’re served pretty frequently with spiral hams. I like them with chicken salad, myself. Think of them as a cheap ass brioche.

  68. RJ*

    Some co-workers are happy dwelling and inflicting misery. So goes it for Cheap Ass Rolls person. OP, thank you so much for the update. I worked with someone similarly toxic for five years. While she wasn’t this epic in her noxious behavior, when we had our holiday potluck, she stood at the table and nitpicked every single item that was brought in by our small, recession afflicted office, including the plastic forks and napkins.

  69. Paige*

    I wish I would be the kind of person to calmly and plainly confess to bringing the rolls, in public, and hopefully thereby cause an eruption good enough to get this loony fired. But alas, I have not the gumption…

  70. SunriseRuby*

    I think the writers of SNL should build a workplace sketch around this idea and let Cecily Strong just have at the character. I can just hear her ranting, berating co-workers for taking someone else’s cheap ass [fill in name of food other than rolls] from the buffet instead of choosing her more expensive or homemade option of [fill in name of food other than rolls]. I can see Kenan Thompson opening his eyes their widest before scuttling away from the buffet and Kyle Mooney wearing that dumb smile on his face while confessing that he brought the cheap-ass [whatever] toward the end of the sketch.

  71. Dutch*

    Wait, I’m sure I read a story before about someone setting up a dating profile for a coworker, without their knowledge.

    Is it possible ‘Cheap Ass Rolls’ was on here as both a letter writer and the subject of a letter?

    Unless it was another page. Maybe NAR.

    1. not a doctor*

      Sadly, I’m absolutely positive there are multiples of those (fake dating profiles). No idea about Cheap Ass Rolls, though.

    2. EvilQueenRegina*

      When you said that I started thinking it sounded familiar, but then remembered someone did that to a character on the UK TV show Casualty and this one guy couldn’t understand why he was getting confronted at work, so I could have been thinking of that. If anyone remembers it here though do tell.

  72. BatManDan*

    This letter-writer says “I thought about asking her if she read AAM…” – of course the ORIGINAL cheap-ass roles person reads AAM – it was HER that wrote in the first time! So, hopefully she was also able to read the comments, and this update /addendum as well!

  73. Observer*

    I have to say that I’m totally unimpressed by your HR. She should NOT have been trying to placate “Ann”. She should have told her to cut it out.

  74. beanie*

    Rereading the original post was an amazing experience. Particularly Alison’s simple response:

    “You are wildly overreacting, and it’s very likely that you are going to get yourself fired from this job.”

    1. SunriseRuby*

      And yet she’s still employed. I think the co-worker who wrote in should update us every 6 months about rants, PIPs, or anything else of note about working with this sad, angry woman.

      1. EmKay*

        I ADORE this blog and the commentariat. I’ve been a regular reader for *inaudible mumble* years ;)

  75. HotSauce*

    I feel like everyone must have a coworker like this. The one I had never accused anyone of bringing cheap rolls, but would get visibly upset if people didn’t take a serving of the dish she prepared, or if someone brought something similar she would make disparaging remarks about the other dish (that mac & cheese looks dry & tasteless, the other potato salad looks like it has raisins in it, gross!). She would get angry if she didn’t win the costume contest at Halloween, she was offended if she didn’t win an item in the Christmas Raffle. One year we had a cubicle decorating contest for Christmas, she literally spent an entire day decorating every. single. surface. of her cube. She didn’t win & had a complete melt down & had to leave work early claiming everyone was against her. It was really bizarre. When she finally left the company (to go to a place that ACTUALLY appreciated her) the replacement we hired ended up having a lot of similar quirks.

    1. Meep*

      Yikes! I have a version of this coworker, but she is also a psychopath so she is a little better composed in public. By that I mean, she only terrorizes people below her in the hierarchy and only about work-related slights. One time she cornered another coworker to complain they had sent an email to the owner that the owner had asked for! The poor chap made the mistake of cc’ing her on the email to be accommodating. Next time, they didn’t cc her and all hell broke loose then too.

  76. Cheap Ass Rolls>King's Hawaiian Rolls*

    OMG… I am DYING. Thank you to the co-worker. I am so thankful for this update…. To think that a group of professionals probably had it sit around a table to discuss this situation… oh man… hilarious.

  77. No_woman_an_island*

    “…a disruptive off the list potluck person.”

    This is my life’s aspiration. May none of us ever be so comfortable, nay, banal, that we don’t fit this mold.

  78. Lily of the Meadow*

    I would drive that woman crazy, then, because I despise Hawaiian rolls; they are like not very good cake. Too sweet, and not a fine enough crumb. And no frosting. I can’t stand them. I probably would not eat the other rolls, either; I do not eat a lot of white bread in general; I prefer wheat if I eat bread at all.

  79. Meep*

    I reiterate to getting this offended over Hawaiian rolls is hilarious to me.

    The other parts are not so much. What a toxic personality.

  80. Sara without an H*

    OP, we appreciate your account, but…what kind of organization is this in which nobody from management intervened? If one of my reports acted out like this, I’d pull her into the hallway for A Talk.

    I can only conclude that your Cheap Ass Rolls colleague is fabulously brilliant at something critical to the organization. Or else she has pictures of your CEO in a compromising position with barnyard animals.

  81. I'm Not Phyllis*

    This is the best update. I was actually wondering if the rolls came with the turkey and the ham that the company contributed? Though surely if that was the case one of the organizers would have said so.

  82. These Boots*

    Cheap Ass Rolls sounds exactly like someone in my family. This person is rigid, lacks self-awareness, holds onto grudges for years, feels far superior to everyone, but simultaneously lashes out over their significant insecurities. They have no idea how to connect with others and are deeply lonely. My guess is that Cheap Ass Rolls imagined the day had finally arrived when everyone in the office would finally recognize their worth (it’s not a stretch to think they imagined a moment of public congratulations from the CEO ) but someone sabotaged it. FWIW, the person in my family is on the autism spectrum and has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t know Cheap Ass Rolls, but my guess is that there’s some diagnosis there.

  83. Calamity Janine*

    i see and hear the skepticism from those thinking there is no way this neat coincidence can be real. it is, after all, one of the perils of any advice column.

    but i’m also hastily editing that poster from the x-files to depict a bag of rolls instead of a ufo. I WANT TO BELIEVE!

  84. Ri*

    As a British person I have to know what is special about Hawaiian rolls that makes them different from “cheap ass rolls” I have never heard of Hawaiian rolls before.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      Hawaiinan rolls are a style of roll so that part isn’t really a reflection on quality. However King’s is a particular brand of cheap ass Hawaiian rolls.

  85. What If*

    Have we considered the possibility that the original letter was not from a Hawaiian Rolls bearer, but from somebody getting a revenge – for instance, for impersonating them on dating site?

  86. Ash*

    The best part to me is that she’s acting like her Hawaiian rolls *aren’t* cheap ass rolls. No shade because I love them, but she’s acting like she slaved away for hours in the kitchen.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      They’re fine. But I can’t imagine the mindset where King’s rolls are something special. And some of the store brand baked goods are pretty decent as well — particularly if they’re baked in store. Unless you are baking it yourself or getting it baked to order at some artisanal place it’s really hard for rolls to be more than “fine”.

  87. Dumpster Fire*

    Maybe my sense of adventure is too strong, but I really wish that a dozen or so people had said they brought the cheap-ass rolls…. or maybe one or two of the big bosses!

  88. Properlike*

    Thank you for this lovely holiday gift. Especially the “brush with legend” question.

    To those complaining: Alison (and we) are snarky all the time about egregiously bad office behavior. I don’t see this as being the least bit off-brand for this blog. If you’re going to out yourself, change the details better.

  89. EventPlannerGal*

    Overall I think this update makes me feel sadder for this person. I thought the initial letter was pretty funny, but kind of assumed it was something written in the heat of the moment. From this letter it sounds like this is just what she’s like all the time. I hope she turns things around.

  90. Tallulah*

    I *KNOW* Alison would have professionally but directly confronted her during the rolls-based tantrum.

  91. Kevin Sours*

    If “Cheap Ass Rolls” isn’t somebody’s office cover band by this time next year I will be disappointed.

  92. MyDogIsBradleyPooper*

    “Cheap Ass Rolls” is the 2021 Phrase of The Year for me. I will use it as much as possible from now on. “Honey, can you pass the Cheap Ass Rolls?”, “Gramma would you like some Cheap Ass Rolls with your dinner?”.

    Last year the Phrase of The Year was “Fuzzy Chicken”. My three year-old niece took one bite of the Thanksgiving turkey and exclaimed “Mommy I don’t like the Fuzzy Chicken!!!” It took us a minute to figure out the white meat was Fuzzy Chicken.

    And now I have to google Hawaiian Rolls. I’ve never heard that term before and forgot to look it up with the original post. But now that there is an update I have to get to the bottom of this?

    May your holiday season be filled with Cheap Ass Rolls and Fuzzy Chicken!!

  93. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    Every holiday I always say, “I hope I don’t burn these cheap ass rolls,” and my family has no idea what I mean, or why I’m insulting the rolls… but alas, it’s tradition for me now.

  94. DJ Abbott*

    I can’t imagine why this woman is still employed there. When I was young and clueless I got fired for way less.
    Maybe they’re afraid she’ll sue if she’s fired? I’ve seen that once or twice before. Not with this level of aggression though!

  95. Peony*

    Reading this makes me uneasy, not going to lie. This has nothing to do with workplace advice and everything to do with laughing at someone from two (!) years ago. Yes, someone behaved badly. End of story. Rehashing this for a laugh is just cruel. And people calling it a highlight of their holiday season? Shame on you. That is so unkind.

  96. Emily*

    The fact that this person’s co-worker also specifically said “cheap ass rolls” makes me strongly suspect that this writer’s co-worker and the writer of the original “cheap ass rolls” letter are one in the same. Before I hadn’t been sure, but frankly did not care because it is fascinating as heck to hear about anyway! Shame on this writer’s employer though for not doing more to address the atrocious behavior of “cheap ass rolls.” That person’s boss should have had “your behavior towards your co-workers is not at all acceptable and needs to stop right away” talk with them a *long* time ago.

  97. Calamity Janine*

    the real, true, ultimate take-away lesson from this letter and update is very simple, everyone:

    …are y’all also kinda craving dinner rolls now, or nah

    because i could go for a dinner roll if i’m being honest

    (new silly conspiracy theory: this is all fake on account of being a deep web, secret, psy-op marketing campaign for king’s hawaiian rolls. DUN DUN DUNNNN.)

  98. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    A question for Alison: It doesn’t sound as if any manager / supervisor took this woman aside and told her to pipe down or get out, but it certainly sounds to me as if one of them SHOULD have! Alison, what do YOU think that a management-level staff member should have done in this case?

  99. C in the Hood*

    Our church recently had a dinner & my friend brought Hawaiian rolls. I HAD to ask her if she read AAM, but she did not. So I did email her a link to that letter. She loved it!

  100. Amorette Allison*

    I hate King’s Hawaiian rolls. I do not like sweet rolls at dinner. I like a more neutral to savory bread product and if this ditz had complained to me about the cheap ass rolls, she would have gotten my very impassioned speech on why I hate sweet rolls with dinner.

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