the dog-riding child, the overheard therapy session, and other Zoom meeting mishaps

Last week I asked about the funniest mishaps you’ve witnessed on Zoom calls. Here are some of my favorite stories you shared.

1. The dog

Not a gaffe exactly, but the absolute best thing I saw on Zoom during 2020 while schools were closed here was a coworker’s son RIDING INTO HER OFFICE ATOP THE FAMILY DOG while we were on a call together.

Fortunately it was a small kid, big dog kind of scenario. She was mortified, and I was cracking up; I just can’t imagine a stronger bid for maternal attention during the weird boundary-bleeding time that was the early pandemic than riding in on the dog. It remains one of my favourite work memories from that era.

2. The relief

It was one of those corporate town hall things and one of the speakers had just finished giving a very cohesive and articulate presentation. Immediately after she said “back to you, host!”, she immediately whipped off the blazer she was wearing over her t-shirt and let out a big “UGH MY GODDDDD, BLECHHH”. The host kindly reminded her that her video and sound were still on.

It’s fairly mellow, but that raw “I hate presentations” attitude was amazing.

3. The wanderer

I spent one half day long call (training session) watching a lady zooming on her cell phone video wandering around living her life. She often left herself unmuted. Some highlights:
– Stared at her ceiling fan for a half hour at one point.
– Watched her tool around her kitchen making breakfast and coffee with her husband. (Has a double oven.)
– Hung out with her in her bathroom as she did her make up.
– Got to go along with her on her morning walk, watching either the sky and occasional tree, or randomly the ground. (Bonus heard her chat with her neighbor on the walk because of her unmuting problems)

Honestly provided a lot of hilarious chat fodder in a slack chat of 3 of us being tortured by the session as 3 tech people surrounded by a group of non-tech people.

Punchline of this entire thing: The meeting was mostly focused on how to hold our meetings on Zoom.

4. The Alexa mishap

On a conference call with the execs in another country so fairly high level. Somehow the household system heard a discussion of accounts payable as ‘Alexa, pull my finger’ and started making loud farting noises.

5. The amigurumi

I like to crochet amigurumi and other 3D items, the splashiest of which is a very large and highly detailed penis and testicles. When I say highly detailed, I mean, our friend the urologist was so impressed he showed photos of it to the other urology residents. This decorative item is usually on display on top of a cabinet. However, I moved it to the top of a bookshelf while dusting, forgetting that said bookshelf is in the background of my husband’s Zoom calls.

He spent half of a Monday morning all-staff meeting cheerfully answering questions (he’s a VP) before realizing what was sitting in the background. Most of his coworkers are fairly conservative evangelical Christians.

He video muted in horror and removed the offending objet d’art, hoping no one had noticed. Later that day, a coworker who had recently turned in two weeks notice–and thus had nothing to lose–DMed him a screenshot of his video feed with the decorative penis and testicles circled and annotated with “????” My husband tried to pass it off as a butternut squash. Luckily no one told the CEO, or if they did, he wrote it off as an inevitable consequence of employing secular Brooklynites.

I now make sure to replace all decorative objects in their proper homes while dusting.

6. The therapy session

A friend of my husband’s committed what I think may be the worst Zoom horror of all time, and I really hope he doesn’t read this site…apparently he was on an extended, mandatory Zoom call (like 4 or 5 hours) with his entire company. Small financial office, but still a good number of people, as well as a client on the call. He had a therapy session (also remote) scheduled during this time. He did his therapy session, via phone, while still on the Zoom call, and was completely unmuted during all of it (I do not know why the person running it did not mute him, although from this thread it sounds like there are still many meeting-runners who don’t know HOW to do that).

But his therapy session consisted of half a session bitching about his coworkers and how stupid they are, at length, foul language and all. And the second half about an amazing date/sex he’d had with his wife. Meanwhile coworkers were frantically messaging him to tell him he was NOT muted but he didn’t get any of those messages until after the meeting was done.

It does make you long for the days of mistaken potatoes or cat-faces. Practically wholesome.

7. The fed up boss

I was in a meeting for a new product test launch. It was really just for us to just listen to our product team describe what they’d done and how it would impact our customers. My manager forgot to mute himself and when our (admittedly long-winded) product manager launched into his speech, he said “My GOD. Land the PLANE. I hate these people”. He then clearly zoned out, turned on music and started singing along. Four or so of us had to ping him before he realized, and abruptly disconnected. We never spoke of it again.

8. The judge

I was in court, together with my opposite number (no clients) and the judge.
We were trying to schedule the next hearing so were waiting for the court office to call back with available dates, so when the phone rang, the judge answered it and put it on speaker (as we would need to check our availability for any dates).
It wasn’t the court office. It was a *very* persistent salesman.
He starts by asking if the person he was speaking to was the homeowner.
The Judge said no, he hadn’t called a home, he’d called a court, and was speaking to one of the Judges
The salesman asked whether he owned the building.
The Judge explained that no, it was a court , so owned by Crown, via the court service.
The salesman asked who was in charge of that.
The Judge told him it was the Lord Chancellor.
The salesman asked whether *he* was available, and could he speak to him.
The Judge explained tht no, the Lord Chancellor doesn’t normally spend a lot of time in regional court rooms, and was usually to be found in the House of Lords .

All done with the Judge keeping a totally straight face and and remarkably level and polite tone.

I don’t think we ever did find out exactly what he was trying to sell – I think it was either carpets or double glazing .

{ 326 comments… read them below }

      1. MigraineMonth*

        At my first team meeting after taking a new job, my manager chatted so much that we ran 45 minutes *over* at a 30-minute meeting. No one on the team thought this was unusual at all.

        1. More geese fewer people*

          Our monthly meetings regularly run 2+ hours. It’s awful. No meeting should be longer than 1 hour ever.

          1. LPUK*

            when I worked in corporate sales we followed an S&OP process ( anyone who doesn’t know what that means thank your God now that you’ve never come across it – its demand planning with all the bells and whistles). There was a monthly Demand meeting that lasted ALL DAY. partly because our Sales Director used to take call after call from ‘customers’ and disappear for tranches of time during which the moderator wouldn’t let us make any decisions. It was a whole day of looking at production schedules, retailer promotional plans and arguing fiercely about whether the figures were reliable. Every month! Now I work for myself, whenever I am in a shitty situation I can always think ‘well at least I don’t have to be in a Demand Meeting anymore!’

            1. Purple Cat*

              OMG do you work at my company? S&OP meetings are the worst. I’m so thankful I switched roles and no longer have to deal with that nonsense.

              1. Banana*

                Our monthly S&OP process takes six weeks. Yes, that DOES indicate exactly how dysfunctional we are.

          2. Ginger Pet Lady*

            For real. I once worked as an adjunct at a small specialty college where basically all faculty (about 20) were part time adjuncts. 3-4 hour virtual faculty meetings twice a month. Every single faculty member had to present about their classes. They paid me $50-ish an hour for teaching/grading, but the faculty meetings they paid a flat $25 stipend. And could not understand why no one wanted to attend the meetings, or would work during the meeting. After getting a few chats from the organizer about how the meeting wasn’t my active window, I started attending from my husband’s laptop so I could work on my own computer in peace during the meeting. And I had *so much trouble* with my video every week. I just couldn’t manage to get it to work, ever. Such a shame….

        2. Sweet Christmas!*

          I like my grandboss, but his meetings routinely run 2x their scheduled length because he alternately rambles about semi-related things and does these long, pregnant pauses.

    1. Alucius*

      I have that running through my head nearly every Sunday with my much-beloved but rather long-winded minister.

      1. Katherine*

        In my church growing up, service ending times were mere suggestions that were most often ignored.

        1. Sharpie*

          There are two types of preacher or speaker: those who say ‘and lastly…’ and last and those who say ‘and in conclusion’ and conclude.

          1. Irish Teacher.*

            Have you met our old parish priest? His “and finallys”…went on for a while. He actually got a few death threats (presumably joking ones) for the length of his Masses and once joked that he didn’t even notice us looking at our watches; if we wanted him to stop talking, we needed to take them off and wave them at him. I…doubt that would have worked either.

            1. SnappinTerrapin*

              In one of the churches I grew up in, one of the deacons had a habit of taking off his watch and tapping it with the other hand.

        2. Asenath*

          In the churches I’ve attended, there are members of the congregation who keep an eagle eye on the time, and will let the clergy know if the service runs over the expected time by a minute, and also comment on the length, not the content, of the sermon. I’ve heard people say “Oh, I didn’t go last Sunday; I heard that Rev. X was on the schedule to preach” with a look that expresses “And you KNOW he preaches longer than Rev Y (the usual person).” I rather liked Rev. X who tended to say unexpected things, but he did also tend to give longer sermons than average, thus postponing the time everyone could leave for lunch.

          I worked in two different but related areas for most of my life, and I swore that the people in Field A just loved the sound of their own voices, but those in Field B just wanted decisions made so they could leave on schedule – they were generally much busier than those in Field A. I was temperamentally much more suited to Field B – as few meetings as possible, and if you HAD to have one, get through it as fast as possible.

        3. Princesss Sparklepony*

          Something to be said for mainline Catholic churches. It’s a 45-50 minute mass. Starts on time, ends on time. The Saturday mass was quicker, it tended to clock in at about 35 to 40 minutes. I would come late as well. Get in to hear the sermon and book out about five minutes early. Then told my parents, Yes, I went to mass.

          I think any long winded priests ended up with an empty church. The fast priests were the most popular. When I was a kid people went to church because they felt they had to, not because they wanted to.

          I was never that interested in the whole thing even as a kid. Less so as an adult.

          1. JESUS IS THE MAN!*

            So much of this is cultural/denominational. I’m clergy in a mainline Protestant tradition in the US, and learned to keep my sermons snappy and to the point. I know about how many words I say per minute, and I watch my word count. Whole service clocks in at just under an hour, and it has to, for me to get between services (I serve more than one congregation).

            When I did a cultural immersion in a similar tradition in another English-speaking country on a different continent, I was warned in advance that they expected longer sermons than I was trained to give. Turns out a 25-minute sermon is considered “short and sweet” in those parts.

            You gotta know your people.

          2. The Starsong Princess*

            Years ago, I would go to mass with my cousin on Saturday night. The priest was known as Fast Father Franklin, guaranteed to get you out in time for the 7:15 show at the nearby movie theatre. Brevity is next to godliness, in church and in business meetings.

        4. Sweet Christmas!*

          Sometimes the pastor would note the time (there was a 30-minute timer placed at eye level for him at the back of the church) and then defiantly declare that he didn’t care about it. At least once or twice he actually told the ushers to lock the doors and not to let anyone out so no one could leave early. (Which is probably a fire code violation.)

      2. I edit everything*

        I’ve listened to sermons in which the preacher comes up on a concluding sentence and just barrels right on by! We’ve played “count the endings” more than once.

      3. Jaid*

        Saturday morning services at the synagogue took forever and a day. I’d start reading the Torah Chumash (Hebrew with English translation and commentary from Rabbinic sources). I’d…get pretty well into it by the time he finished.
        On the other hand, the parents of the kids getting Bar/Ba Mitzvah’d would provide a pretty nice spread for Kiddush after, so you didn’t have to leave hungry…

        1. Silamy*

          Shul services are a whole different ballgame. Boring services that last forever are why I’ve gotten through the whole Torah (Pentateuch) and all the haftarot (companion selections from Prophets and Writings read with them) multiple times in both Hebrew and English (Etz Chayim, so some rabbinic commentary, but not that much). I’d be out of other reading material. Of course, I grew up in a congregation where people heckled the rabbi during his sermons, so not the most normative experience.

      4. Sporty Yoda*

        My mother has started attending virtual Mass for two reasons: ongoing global pandemic and “Father Eugene just READS OFF the church bulletin during his announcements and it takes FOREVER.”
        Catholics: you tell us Mass is an hour, it better only be an hour.

    2. GlitsyGus*

      Yes! I am totally going to use this one.

      Part of what I do is train coworkers how to deal with difficult questions from inspectors and regulators. “Land the Plane!” is a great way to let them know they are babbling on too long and need to just. Stop. Talking. LOL

  1. Dust Bunny*

    “We may all be stupid, Fergus, but we’re not the ones who just blabbed our therapy session on Zoom.”

    1. Meep*

      My anxiety could never. I would reschedule the therapy session just in case I forgot to mute myself. :S

      1. Princesss Sparklepony*

        With my anxiety, I would have to quit that job over the embarrassment of it all if that was my therapy session everyone overheard!

    1. Ope!*

      My corporeal form would have sunk into the earth while my soul evaporated from my body, withering away into the ether never to be seen again from the sheer force of my mortification.

      I hope the guy isn’t too hard on himself though!

    2. OyHiOh*

      I’ve done remote/virtual therapy for 2 plus years at this point. ONCE, I needed to hold my appointment from my work office. It was the most uncomfortable hour of my life and, if at all possible, I will never ever mix work and therapy again.

      What this guy did makes me cringe so hard. I think I’d have to quit once I realized what I’d done.

      1. Kat in Boots*

        I think I might not only have quit but MOVED TO A DIFFERENT AREA OF THE COUNTRY. Seriously.

    3. KC*

      I have to imagine he quit and never showed his face again after that one. At least that’s what I would do, because oh my GOD that is mortifying.

    4. Mme Pince*

      I literally go in the other room for therapy once a week because I don’t trust that I’m not somehow accidentally broadcasting it to my colleague just by being near my work computer. I cannot imagine if I’d actually broadcast it to them. Also, even if the host doesn’t know how to mute people, I’d think ending the meeting and sending out a new invite would be better than just listening to what is obviously a very private conversation.

      1. Estrella the Starfish*

        Absolutely. They could even have rejoined on the same link, the guy clearly wss otherwise engaged so wouldn’t have rejoined. Or at least someone else on the call could have advised the host how to mute him. There was absolutely no reason for that to continue and I wouldn’t continue to sit in a meeting where that was going on. Obviously it unprofessional of the husband but it was also very unprofessional of the host and colleagues to listen to that when there were plenty of ways to stop it.

      2. Venus*

        We get kicked out of zoom when End Meeting for All is chosen, so they didn’t have to reschedule a new one unless it was Teams or another software.

      3. Clandestine Timoraetta*

        Especially if it just went on and on. How can you even have a meeting with noise like that for almost an hour?

    5. TherpaySherapy*

      Same, so hard. I do virtual therapy and I can just imagine my coworkers hearing all about my childhood trauma and how that makes me a perfectionist. Like I would not be worried about venting about coworkers at therapy.

    1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      I have many follow up questions. But at least it sounds like things are going well with his wife. He has that going for him at least.

      1. Khatul Madame*

        I perceive things very literally (wink-wink) and much appreciate you mixed metaphor!

    2. Therapy for my therapy*

      If I was running the meeting I probably would’ve ended the call and then go in right away on another call without our coworker on the couch. It’s not like he noticed anyway.

      1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

        Yeah, I’m so confused. When I run meetings I can choose to mute participants. Did no one have that capacity?

          1. Sweet Christmas!*

            This. A nonprofit I sit on the board of has been holding virtual meetings for 2+ years at this point and the president of the board still doesn’t know how to operate Zoom. She also hasn’t figured out that if you open all the reports pre-meeting you can just switch between tabs when presenting, rather than spending 2-3 minutes trying to find each clearly labeled one.

      2. Squeebird*

        Yeah, I would have kicked him out of the meeting and worried about catching him up later.

  2. Gerry Keay*

    That therapy one… just……. so many things had to go wrong for that to happen. I’m so beyond horrified. I think I would simply evaporate into aether if that happened to me.

    1. Elenna*

      Yeeeaaahhh…. I’d just have to take the example of LW’s husband from the other day and resign effective immediately, never to be heard from again. Like, how do you even recover from that?

      1. Gerry Keay*

        Right. And honestly? Pooping your pants seems MUCH easier to recover from than livestreaming your therapy session.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          Especially when half of the session was complaining about his coworkers and how stupid they are, at length, foul language and all.

          Therapy session shared, people are embaressed for him and pretend it never happened but not after he complained about them and called them stupid. At that point they are angry, mad, and hurt, and not as likely to be willing to forget.

          1. Elenna*

            Exactly! If it was “just” accidentally talking about his love life on Zoom, okay, that’s mortifying but people would probably be sympathetic and pretend it never happened. The complaints at length about his co-workers are the part that makes it unrecoverable.

            (And I mean, there’s definitely times when you just need to vent about work, even in a decent job where you like most of your co-workers. But at least save it for a session that’s not at the same time as a work meeting!)

        2. Irish Teacher.*

          Yeah, I’d find it a LOT harder to look in the face of somebody who I’d heard having a therapy session in which he talked about how stupid I and all our coworkers were and then about his personal relationship with his wife than I would with somebody who’d had a once-off bathroom accident. The latter might be a bit awkward the first time I saw them. The former…yeah, I think it would be a while before I’d get that situation out of my head. Not so much that it was a therapy session although I would be embarrassed to have overheard something so private and would probably be awkward around anybody whose therapy session I overheard, but more so the ranting.

          1. Cedrus Libani*

            Agreed. Everyone poops. Most people have something to discuss with a therapist, whether or not they’re willing to admit it. Many people have sex. It’s the human condition. I will politely avert my eyes from your mess, so long as you’re taking reasonable measures to contain it.

            But it’s really hard to un-hear things that are directly relevant to yourself. There’s an entire universe of things that one might tell a therapist that would only be relevant to a lover, parent, and/or child, and if all I want from you is Sub-Section 42.b.iii for this month’s TPS report, it will never ever come up and I won’t judge. But if you’ve put me on blast, particularly in a way that suggests you’re going to cause trouble for me in the future? Nope. I heard it and I’m remembering it.

    2. Anonymous Hippo*

      I don’t understand how it was allowed to continue. I can almost understand someone not knowing how to mute someone else, but then just shut down the meeting.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        That’s what I would do. If I couldn’t figure out how to mute the person, I’d just unplug the whole meeting.

      2. Gerry Keay*

        Right. It almost makes me wonder if someone/multiple someones were being intentionally cruel by letting it continue to run under the guise of “well it’s his fault he left it on anyway, so might as well make sure he has enough rope to hang himself with.”

        1. Sweet Christmas!*

          I mean…but then why stay around to listen to the entire thing? Clearly they weren’t continuing the meeting if he’s blabbing loud enough for everyone to hear him distinctly…if it were me I would absolutely drop that meeting.

          1. Clandestine Timoraetta*

            That’s what I was thinking. How can you carry on the meeting with all the talking in the background.

    1. Quiet Liberal*

      I laughed out loud at those, too. I think I revert to middle school hood when I read about stuff like that. It would be really hard for me not to crack up continually throughout the rest of the meeting after the Alexa farts.

    2. Code Monkey, the SQL*

      Those were my favorites too.

      “Uh, Steve, wha–” “A squash.” “Why do you have a–” “It’s decorative. For decorating. A decorative SQUASH.”

    3. Princesss Sparklepony*

      It made want to see a photo of said “squash.” I mean, exactly how realistic was it?

  3. EmKay*

    “tried to pass it off as a butternut squash” omg help I read this while eating and I almost choked laughing

    1. Bexy Bexerson*

      I’m right there with you…that’s the one that got me cackling.

      Many years ago I was playing some sort of charades game with a group of friends. When our turn came up, my game partner looked at the card, dramatically grabbed her ass, and then cupped her (non-existent) testicles…and I screamed “BUTTERNUT SQUASH!!!”… yeah, we won that round.

    2. Virginia Plain*

      It reminds me of the guidance counsellor in Ten Things I Hate About You telling Patrick off for apparently exposing himself in the cafeteria.
      “I was joking with the lunch lady; it was a bratwurst”
      “A bratwurst? Aren’t we the optimist?!”

    3. Virginia Plain*

      Also makes me think of Blackadder II -“we’ve found a turnip that looks exactly like a…a…a THINGY!!!”

  4. DataGirl*

    #8 is my favorite. #6- ouch. I’m dying to know the consequences of that one! Surely there must have been something- not just for the content of the therapy session but that he scheduled it during a mandatory meeting!

      1. DataGirl*

        You are my new favorite person for referencing Reservation Dogs. I love that show so much and not nearly enough people have seen it.

        1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

          Oh man, I am a huge fangirl of Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls! More people need to join us!!

          1. DataGirl*

            YES! Fully agree. The acting is fantastic, the storylines engaging, and I love the indigenous representation. The episode where Willie Jack and her dad go hunting and talk about their feelings broke me in the best ways.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              That episode was amazing! How can something be so funny and so heart wrenching? I have worked with IHS a lot, so the clinic episode literally did me in

              1. DataGirl*

                That’s another great episode. I love the relationship Cheese forms with the elderly woman he meets at the clinic. The show is so heart wrenching but does it in the most simple ways.

          2. WantonSeedStitch*

            Considering my utter devotion to Taika Waititi and everything he has done, it is on my list. But first I have to share all of Our Flag Means Death with my husband, having already binged it myself.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I started it but got distracted by something else (my Lakota friend recommended it). I need to go back and watch more.

          1. No Thanks in Advance*

            It sounds like you might not have gotten far enough to realize that it seems like you made a joke from/reference to the show!

      2. Okie Near Muskogee*

        I used to work with one of the filmmakers of Reservation Dogs (Sterlin Harjo) so I’m always pleased when people mention it! Such a great show.

      3. Virginia Plain*

        OMG I read that as Reservoir Dogs and was trying to remember what Quentin Tarantino had to say about handicrafts..,

      1. Virginia Plain*

        Me too – spent quite a bit of time in courts (on the side of the righteous!) over the years and the very idea of trying to sell something to an actual judge, in court, in his wig and gown…I kind of feel like the call might have ended because the salesman was struck by lightning.

      2. Deejay*

        If I’d been that judge and was asked “Who’s in charge of the Crown?” I’d be tempted to say “I’ll just get her” and then switch to an impersonation of the Queen.

  5. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

    All of these are GOLDEN, and I know some of the other ones will get a lot of attention, so I have to say — #2’s “I hate presentations” energy is such a mood. I hope wherever that person is in the world, she’s having a good day and NOT presenting anything!! XD

    1. Elenna*

      Yeah, that would 100% be me after presenting something. Hopefully minus the “forgetting to turn off the camera” part, though!

    2. Katherine*

      That’s one of those cases where she might have made an error, but it was one everyone could identify with.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I said on the other thread, I would be like this but because I hate blazers, lol.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        For me it would be the presentation AND the blazer! Just blech! and immediately discard just like she did

  6. Suz*

    I have to say I don’t find #1 funny. It’s a good way for the child to get bit or injure the dog. A small child is still too heavy to sit on a large dog.

    1. Bunny Girl*

      Yeah I don’t want to derail… But former vet assistant here and this is also a great way for your kid to get bit by other peoples’ dogs because it teaches your child that this is okay behavior and they try it on a not so friendly dog and it almost never ends well.

      1. Rage*

        Number one horrified me as well. My current doggo, Clifford, is a medically-retired service dog. He was trained to provide mobility, medical alert, and PTSD support to a disabled veteran. Said veteran allowed his grandchildren to “ride” on Clifford, which caused him to get arthritis in his hips. So they removed him from that veteran, treated him, and determined that his physical condition was no longer suitable for a service dog.

        I had fostered a pup for the organization that trained him and one of their veterans (who is a personal friend of mine) asked me if I was interested in adoption. I met him and we’ve never looked back. He’s an amazing dog who doesn’t need any treatment for his hips when he’s just being a pet – and he can do the zoomies all over the back yard and dog park with no trouble at all. However, he also believes he’s still a service dog, and tasks on me daily, which is sometimes helpful, most times not (like, DUDE I KNOW MY KNEE HURTS, that’s why it’s propped up with an ice pack. Stop poking at it with your giant paw).

        1. MechanicalPencil*

          One of my dogs is trained as a therapy dog and is also generally just empathetic. I can tell I’m having an extra bad day when he tries to climb into my lap at every opportunity. It’s fine until he tries to do it while I’m on a zoom call, and then watching 80 pounds leverage its way into my desk chair with me is I’m sure a sight to behold.

        2. Estrella the Starfish*

          I completely agree with you on the not riding dogs thing but your description of Clifford still trying to act as a service dog is ridiculously adorable.

        3. PhyllisB*

          This reminds me of a couple of friends with a border collie. She is constantly trying to herd the kids. After a while, they just leaned into it and send the dog for the kids when they want them to come inside.

          1. Le Sigh*

            I had a dog that did the same growing up! He was a lot of fun to play soccer with, too, when you could get him to stop circling us.

          2. New Jack Karyn*

            Some friends of mine had a herding dog, back when their kids were little. None of their children ever got CLOSE to the street–straight from porch to minivan, TYVM.

      2. Unum Hoc Scio*

        I checked with my vet when I got my dog a backpack (part border collie and liked to be useful) to ‘help carry the groceries home’. “No more than 15% of their body weight “ is a good rule of thumb. Marshmallows, bread, pasta and other light foods were proudly transported. Needless to say, the kids were way too big, even as toddlers, so they let Buster carry their dolls instead.

      3. Sweet Christmas!*

        So kids shouldn’t ride dogs. But kids are also not stupid; at a certain age, they can be taught that you can do some things with your family dog that you can’t with other dogs.

    2. DataGirl*

      Not ideal, no, but it doesn’t sound like it was something the parent(s) encouraged. Kids do dumb stuff all the time and aren’t going to know that it could hurt the animal until they are told so.

      1. Tuckerman*

        Yeah, I’m pretty neurotic about managing my kid/dog dynamic and then one day I turned around and she was petting the dog while he was eating. Yikes! He was super chill about it, but all it takes is a second. These things happen, and most of the time nothing horrible occurs. But definitely agree that kids/dogs need to be managed very intentionally, with lots of respect for the fact that dogs shouldn’t have their limits tested regularly.

        1. Clisby*

          If a dog won’t tolerate someone petting it while eating, that dog needs some serious training.

          Not that I’m a dog person, but my husband is, and he says that should always be part of any dog’s training. The dog is the least important creature in the house, and every human, even a baby, ranks higher. If the dog can’t learn that, the dog has to go.

          1. Tuckerman*

            Yeah, that was part of his training for sure. But there’s a difference between a dog needing to tolerate an irritation occasionally, and the dog being pestered constantly. I don’t want my kid to go near the dog while he eats, but I trained him to tolerate it in case it does happen.

          2. Software Dev (she/her)*

            Whoa, no. That’s not really how animals work, it sounds like this is some very old-fashioned dominance theory. Children should learn to respect animal’s boundaries and many, many dogs have ingrained natural instincts that make them protective around food. There is a difference between that and being outright aggressive over food, of course, which is a training issue, but the idea that the dog doesn’t get to have any personal boundaries is—not good. There was a quote I saw by a dog trainer once that pointed out that dogs were so domesticated that they’d learned, as a species, to tolerate all kinds of treatment, but there was a difference between tolerance and happiness.

            I always wonder how people who ascribe to this kind of dominance theory handle cats.

          3. Sweet Christmas!*

            Dogs aren’t perfect creatures that always react perfectly within their training. You both teach the dog not to be food-reactive AND you teach children never to pet or touch dogs when they are eating.

      2. sequitur*

        OP for #1 here and this was definitely not something the parent wanted to happen or approved of, and she shut it down very quickly. The image tickled me a lot and I’m glad I saw it but I’m aware it’s not condoned dog/child behaviour.

        1. Rainbow*

          I tried to ride my granddad’s big dog when I was a small child, and the dog was confused and snapped at me but was too polite to bite (he would have been well within his rights to bite). That day, I learned I was an idiot.

      3. gromp*

        Yeah, I don’t think approval on anyone’s part is implied here (the mom, the OP, or Allison). It’s just a funny thing that happened, and merely telling the story shouldn’t be read as endorsement.

        Presumably, hopefully, the mom told the child to get off the dog and not do it again. I would have more of a problem if it were, say, a TikTok video, where kids might be watching and get the wrong idea, but hopefully anyone old enough to read this blog knows that this is something you shouldn’t do.

        1. Virginia Plain*

          I agree, there’s no suggestion of anyone encouraging bad habits – this is getting a bit pearl-clutching. It reads very much as “toddler doing something they shouldn’t in a bid for attention” which happened to look hilarious. I mean if the story had a toddler that ran in and mooned the meeting, it also would have been hilarious but we wouldn’t be implying that the parent was encouraging them to expose their body to strangers and advocating that behaviour.

      4. Esmae*

        One time my mother left me and my sister alone for a few minutes and we tried to put the dog on roller skates. (The dog escaped skateless).

    3. Double A*

      I mean, that is why the parent was horrified and shut it down? None of these are stories of things people SHOULD have been doing on Zoom.

    4. Jacob*

      Literally no one is suggesting this is a good thing or encouraging people to plonk their kids on the backs of dogs. No one.

    5. Lana Kane*

      The letter says the parent was mortified, so it sounds like it’s not something that’s encouraged.

    6. Green great dragon*

      I don’t think anyone’s recommending it. But as a green small dragon I wanted a dog to ride on more than anything in the world, so I can understand a presumably pretty small child seizing the opportunity, and the dog.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      We had a decent sized dog when I was a kid. She was 135 pounds. My father put my tiny cousin on the dog’s back. And she dutifully walked around. At NO time did my father let go of the child.

      The dog wasn’t without recourse, she could have just laid down. I was preteen then and I tried putting my head on her like a pillow. She simply got up and moved.
      I pictured another adult near by.

    8. Pantalaimon*

      I have to say, I don’t find # 8 funny. Phone salespeople have a hard job, and call centers are stressful workplaces, so laughing at this is disrespectful.

    9. Sweet Christmas!*

      I mean, none of these things are exactly healthy or good. They’re still funny.

  7. Snow Globe*

    The farting noises reminded me of an Alexa issue on one of my Zoom calls. A colleague giving a presentation wanted some background music, so asked “Alexa, please play [song]”. Immediately her Alexa, my Alexa and about 4-5 other Alexa’s all started playing the song—not quite perfectly in sync.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Oh man, that would have made my DAY if I’d witnessed that. No, my week, my month, my year. Amazing.

    2. Dragon_Dreamer*

      A perfect demonstration of lag! Since Internet communication of any kind is not instantaneous, I would have been surprised if they WERE perfectly in sync. ;)

    3. Essess*

      In my company’s corporate security trainings, we are told that we must have alexa (and other listening devices) turned off or be in a room without them when on conferences calls so that they aren’t monitoring and recording business discussion.

    4. Katherine*

      My favorite Alexa moment was when my mom was once talking about what the new Lexus looks like (spoiler: she doesn’t like it) and Alexa decided that meant Mom really wanted to listen to Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady.” Cracked all of us up. Mom’s not an Aerosmith fan.

    5. whingedrinking*

      I was once charging my phone during a tabletop RPG session, and someone said something in character like, “Hey, I’m serious – I need you to shut the hell up”.
      At which point my phone went *ding* and said, “I’m doing the best I can.”

      1. Susan Ivanova*

        Apparently when I sneeze it’s close enough to “hey siri” that she says “hmm?”

    6. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I got to try that!

      (Btw the Alexa one was mine – well, technically my sibling’s)

    7. zebra*

      My boss is named Alexa and any time we are on a call with someone who has one of the devices, it starts doing all kinds of nonsense. She would really like to give Bezos a piece of her mind for choosing that.

    1. Storm in a teacup*

      I really want to see a photo!
      As a related anecdote, a friend’s mum loves knitting and was asked by the local NICU to make some boobs for them to use to teach breastfeeding. Her granddaughter found one and was immediately ‘booby! Milk!’

      1. Jaid*

        I’ve heard from here that mastectomy patients will use knitted boobs for their bras, because the material is soft.

  8. The Original K.*

    That therapy session one makes me want to die. Oh my God. I think I’d just quit if I did that.

  9. quill*

    The judge is my favorite mostly because of the surrealness aspect of the guy just continuing on with his script.

    1. Meow*

      Right? I’ve been debating with myself whether that makes him a really good phone salesman or a really bad one.

      1. Susan Ivanova*

        Maybe he’s used to people messing with him and thinks if he keeps going he can wear them down.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          It was probably an AI robot. Some of them, after making a non sequitur, will deny being a robot and insist they are a real person.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      Being an American who has been exposed to the Proper British Authority Figure trope a lot, I am dying imagining the judge deadpan telling the salesman that he didn’t own the court, it belonged to the Crown. That is awesome.

      1. Virginia Plain*

        I know what you mean. In my experience stereotypes of judges tend to be about right. Although British ones do not and have never used gavels; that’s often wrong on tv etc, weirdly.

  10. Midwestern Scientist*

    I bet I can guess what Therapy Guy had to talk about in his next therapy session… I would probably have to quit my job out of mortification

    1. Littorally*

      Change my name, move to another continent…. possibly speak another language just to be sure.

    1. DataGirl*

      I’m so paranoid about being overheard that if I have something bad to say after I end a meeting, I’ll go to another room to make the next call, just in case I’m somehow, secretly, still connected to the meeting.

      1. LPUK*

        me too! I always go downstairs and make a cup of tea immediately afterwards, so I’m not tempted to say anything within earshot of my computer. Once I had a client call where she told me the entire project scope had changed ( not her fault) and so when the call ended I swore infrustration…. and a little voice from my iPad said ‘language LPUK’ …. I think it was Siri…. I hope it was Siri

      2. Anonosaurus*

        I do this too. I switch my work phone off if I’m having a therapy Zoom and sometimes I leave it in another room. The idea of anyone overhearing is skin-strippingly horrific. I honestly think I would quit on the spot.

      3. Ann Onymous*

        I’m super paranoid about muting, but one of my coworkers got me in trouble with it. I sit in an open work space and we were on a break in a long meeting. I had turned off my camera and muted my mic, but the person sitting next to me had not muted his mic before he walked away from his desk. So everybody heard me through his mic say to another coworker: “I’ll try to send you XYZ, but [Software Tool] is a pile of garbage.” Fortunately I had actually said “garbage” and not something more colorful. And most people did find it funny because this particular software tool is pretty universally hated at my workplace.

    2. Koli*

      Yes. As I say below, it actually defies belief that they would not do this. Unless only occasional words or snippets could be heard, it makes no sense.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        If that happened in a meeting I was running, I’d probably panic and not immediately think of the technical solution beyond “tell them they’re unmuted” or “mute them”. A lot of us handle unexpected awkward situations by freezing and/or trying to ignore what’s happening.

        1. Hyperactive Bunny*

          That makes sense for like a 45 second interruption. I just can’t get over how this could have lasted a whole therapy session and NO ONE figured out what to do. Also how was that not a major disruption in trying to get anything done for the 45 minutes? How did the client not up and leave the call. Zoom is very annoying when you have multiple sources of audio all at once.

    3. Lacei*

      I don’t geht why they didn’t do that – how do you even keep the meeting going if one of the attendants is talking to someone else the whole time without realizing? Even aside from the content.

  11. Pocono Charlie*

    I have an Alex Dot, the smart speaker that looks like a hockey puck. Early on, I told the app to respond to the wake worked ECHO instead of ALEXA, hoping to avoid a TV program from triggering it.

    My surname has 12 characters, and I often have to spell it. While on a call once, I spelled my name phonetically, as in instead of saying A-B-C I said ‘Alpha-Baker-Charlie’. My surname has an E in it, so while spelling it I spoke ‘Echo,’ and my speaker naturally snapped to attention. It was then I made a rule never to hold calls in the presence of the device without pressing the MUTE button.

      1. Been There*

        Mine do that too, and I haven’t figured out why or how. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it.

    1. Hopeful Ex Librarian*

      my name irl is sarah, and whenever my family members say “hey sarah” siri thinks they’re saying “hey siri.”

    2. Sweet Christmas!*

      I unplug the thing while I’m working. Partially because my company technically mandates it, but partially because it gets triggered by all kinds of dumb things on video calls.

  12. Purple Cat*

    These are amazing.
    I had a funny one happen to me yesterday. I’m in a 1:1 with my boss (CFO), all of a sudden he starts laughing and tells me to look behind me. My kitten had jumped up on my dining room table and was playing tennis with the light fixture :)

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I was in a serious Teams meeting about DEI issues and the committee Chair (academia here) had her Great Pyrenees puppy (already about 50 lbs) start to EAT the couch cushions behind her.

      We’re all trying to politely but urgently interrupt “Madam Chair…Dr. X… your dog…behind you…”

    2. Anonymous Hippo*

      I was having a sort of exit interview with one of the head honchos from corporate the other day, and my great big fluffy dog was standing on the back of the couch looking over my shoulder the entire time. He was quiet, so I left him, and neither I nor the gentleman I was meeting with ever mentioned the large staring furball on my left shoulder.

      1. Rebecca*

        I was taking a class and we had to meet over Zoom with the video on. I didn’t have a desk at that point so I put my laptop on my coffee table and attended from my sofa since my dining room was a disaster. My 200 lb dog decided to join me and sit in my lap for a good portion of the class.

    3. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

      My cat is obviously trying to start an OnlyFans, she likes to climb on the laptop and show the camera her butt.

  13. Elle*

    As someone who double, triple, quadruple checks to make sure I’m muted when I should be in every single call I’m on, I do NOT get how the therapy one can even happen. I feel like I need to cross myself or something, just thinking about it.

    1. Marco Diaz's Red Hoodie*

      Mood. I can double, triple & quadruple check the mute icon on meetings but I’m STILL not brave enough to go to the bathroom or something while listening in on a call. And an entire therapy session?! I’d just block off that time on my calendar and be FULLY AWAY from my laptop — but in most cases I just schedule my therapy sessions after my workday is over! Sheesh!

      1. Sweet Christmas!*

        RIGHT. I watch my partner do his entire morning routine butt naked, including a lengthy bathroom session, while in his morning standup on mute and I’m anxious FOR him.

      2. I don't!*

        I have to leave the call to go the bathroom. No way I’m risking making that mistake. Then I will call back into the meeting. I don’t care!

    2. Can't Sit Still*

      I used to have chatroom based therapy sessions on my personal phone, and I would still mute Teams and go to another room.

  14. Yay I'm a llama again*

    Not to knock any of these, but the one from the original post that made me giggle uncontrollably was the OP with the helpful MIL who brought in a load of laundry while loudly declaring “PANTIES!”

    1. Kes*

      This is an older one but I liked the story where OP answered a last minute call in a dragon onesie, didn’t realize they were on video, and then turned around, giving her boss the full view of the onesie including the tail

  15. Casey*

    All of these are killing me, especially “Land the PLANE”. At one point I was on a call with one of our especially long-winded analysts, and who do I hear but his young daughter in the background, yelling “Daaaaaad, are you STILL on the PHONE? SeeeRiously?” Had to stifle my laughter because yeah, the kid has a point!

    1. Virginia Plain*

      Imagine if the pandemic had happened when we still had dial-up and not many mobile phones?! Teens the world over: “DAAAAAD, are you STILL on the Internet, I need to phone Kelly NOW, because Gareth fancies her and Nicki is spreading it, ugh”.

  16. Katherine*

    1 – My family’s dogs aren’t big enough to ride but they are big enough to dress up! I recall one time, pre-pandemic, when I walked in the door from work and one dog was wearing a tutu and my other dog was wearing a wizard cape!

    1. DataGirl*

      When my kids were very small (like 3-4 years old) they were too quiet for a while, went to the basement to find they had put the cat in clothes and put him in the doll buggy to push around as their ‘baby’. We had quite the talk about not harassing the poor cat. I have no idea why he put up with it, but he was a good boy who somehow instinctively knew not to hurt babies, even when they were annoying.

    2. Casper Lives*

      Haha my sister and I dressed up our cat as kids in doll clothes. We also taught him to come when called. He was the chillest, sweetest cat. My vet put an unpleasant smell during exams so the kitty’s heart could be listened to without the purring blocking it.

      Kitty died 2 years ago. He lived to 18 until his quality of life went downhill. I miss him.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I’m kind of teary eyed at the idea of a cat whose purr drowns out the stethoscope.

        1. The OG Sleepless*

          Happens a lot and it always makes me smile. Why, thank you, Fluffy, I’m pretty happy you’re here too! I usually turn the water faucet on just long enough to get their attention so I can hear a few heartbeats, then let them get back to purring.

      2. PhyllisB*

        I used to dress my aunt’s cat in doll clothes. I even taught him to sit up and hold a purse on his forearm.

      3. DataGirl*

        I’m sorry for your loss. Mine died last week at age 18. He was the best boy, I miss him.

    3. NervousHoolelya*

      Oooh, that happened to me a couple of months ago. I was running an online workshop that was very informal and low-key, so I didn’t give it too much thought when my 8yo burst into the room to sit on my bed and read… until I looked up and realized that the dog was wearing a blazer from 8yo’s dress-up box. I looked up 10 minutes later to find the dog wearing fairy wings.

  17. Koli*

    Sorry but No. 6 strikes me as #thathappened. For an HOUR no one (1) figured out how to mute the friend, (2) was able to get in touch with the friend to let him know he could be heard, (3) proposed disconnecting the meeting and starting a new meeting on which no one was broadcasting their therapy session? I don’t buy it.

    1. MarsJenkar*

      2 was attempted over and over, by the sound of it, without success. And finding a way to contact a person during a time when they would prefer to not be disturbed is a tough ask.

      As for the others, if the person in charge of the meeting wasn’t particularly tech-savvy, they might not know how to mute or kick someone on the call, and “rebooting” the call might not occur to them.

    2. Purple Cat*

      Well, basic rules of the site are to accept things at face value.
      But, for zoom meetings I believe only the host can mute people. On Teams any participant can mute anybody. If the zoom host maybe was just an admin person who then bounced because they weren’t a participant, then nobody has mute power.
      Do you look at texts while you’re talking on the phone? I don’t. So how else is he supposed to be contacted?
      And with a very large meeting, aren’t you going to expect that numbskull will wise up quickly instead of having 50 (or however many) people log off and log back on to a whole different meeting?

      1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

        Sometimes my phone will automatically go on Do Not Disturb mode if I sees an appointment in my personal calendar, and I won’t get any texts. So I could see this happening, especially if the person running the meeting didn’t know how to mute. And yeah in hind sight should have ended the meeting but sometimes in the moment you don’t think.

        If this was r/thathappened there would be clapping after the sex with his wife bit.

      2. Phony Genius*

        I have been in virtual meetings where the host had no idea how to mute other people, and couldn’t figure it out while people tried to explain it. So…maybe.

    3. Lana Kane*

      2 years into the virtual meeting boom, facilitators who don’t know they can mute participants or control enter/exit sounds are the bane of my existence. (Not sure about Zoom, but in Webex every time someone enters or leaves the meeting gets a PING. Really fun when it’s a large meeting.)

        1. MM*

          I mean, there are scenarios where it’s useful. For instance, I used to have to hold office hours virtually, which meant opening up a Blackboard Collaborate session and then just…sitting around and waiting to see if anyone would show up. Realistically, I’m not going to stare at a blank screen for an hour just waiting; I’m going to do something else while I wait. So an audio cue that says “someone is here” is really helpful! But as I said, that’s a specific kind of scenario–though I’d imagine there are a lot more such scenarios for, e.g., the vision-impaired. Which is why it’s good to have the feature and the option to turn it off, bringing us back to: facilitators should know what they’re doing.

  18. Dragonfly7*

    I just had my first video job interview in five years. Everything had been pretty quiet all morning, minus the usual traffic. In the space of 30 minutes:
    1. The cats started yowling in protest about being shut in the bedroom.
    2. Maintenance started mowing the lawn.
    3. Planes from the nearby military base flew over. Several times.
    I think I managed to still be pretty normal, although there was some frantic muting.

    1. Aggresuko*

      Maintenance always starts mowing the lawn (even in the rain) during my Zoom morning meetings!

    2. Cedrus Libani*

      Last year, there was a storm that took out a large tree right in front of my apartment. A work crew arrived, with chainsaws and one of those wood-chipper trucks. Took them nearly an hour, but they converted the whole tree into mulch. My department has regular seminars, where you talk about your work for an hour…big department, so it’s my turn every two years or so. But the universe has a sense of humor, so of course, I gave my seminar with a wood-chipper singing the song of its people 20 feet away.

    3. Code Monkey, the SQL*

      I was literally saying “hi, good morning [Chicago office], how are things?” and a MASSIVE thunderstorm started overhead of my house the other day. So much muting.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My husband has a dippy one-eyed cat who thinks she’s a dog, so she loves to come hang out in my office because I am the Dog Lady and therefore her favorite person. So my boss is passing familiar with her popping up in my office, and I’m pretty good at tuning her out when she’s not in here.

      I was explaining something in a meeting with my boss and some other managers yesterday. Right after I finished and re-muted, I got a Teams message:
      Boss:: “Was that the Captain?”
      Me: “… yes, she’s stoned off her gourd and howling for the revolution out in the living room. I have no idea how she can yell so clearly and loudly with her mouth full of drug-stuffed felt mouse.”

  19. D*

    I lay the blame on #6 on every single person on that call – any of them could have spoken up, interrupted or even attempted to mute the person. If this happens to anyone else please speak up!

    1. Cedrus Libani*

      It’s likely that the person wasn’t listening to the call. I’ve done that – thought I was on mute, large status meeting and I’d already said my piece, so I took out the earbuds and had a conversation with the husband (fortunately it was about grocery shopping). Didn’t know until someone in the meeting texted me.

      1. New Jack Karyn*

        If it was on Zoom, only the host can mute someone or boot them. Thank goodness, or teaching last year would have been a nightmare.

        1. Sweet Christmas!*

          True, but I’ve interrupted many a Zoom call to teach the facilitator how to mute or boot someone (or to do something else they didn’t know how to do).

  20. Aphra*

    Every day really is a school day. Today I’ve learned about amigurumi and Reservation Dogs, both of which I’m now going to investigate further.

    As for Alexa, I don’t have the main tech version but I do have a Fire Stick with Alexa remote. UK readers will understand what I mean when I say I have a ‘posh’ Northern accent with a Geordie tinge. Throughout my career I was told I had a good speaking voice, just as well as I spent my days talking for a living in Court. Alexa, however, cannot understand anything I say after Alexa. No matter what I try, no matter how carefully I enunciate, Alexa will not help me. And yet my friends, who have much more pronounced regional accents have no issues. Grrrr!

        1. PTJD*

          My fiancee’s parents are originally from Mexico. Over Christmas, we were all at my fiancee’s sister’s place, and they wanted to get Alexa to play Mexican music, but couldn’t get it to recognize what they were saying. Then I came in and deliberately pronounced everything in an amazingly bad Midwestern American accent (basically a parody of how people where I grew up in the Midwest would pronounce Spanish). It *worked*. My fiancee’s family were both impressed and annoyed.

      1. RosyGlasses*

        literally one of my favorite skits and I play it at work often :P We all crack up at it!

      2. Media Monkey*

        but weirdly, voice activated devices respond much better to my (fairly generic west coast with a tinge of glasgow) scottish accent than most of my english colleagues or my (south east of england) husband or daughter.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      I know exactly the voice you mean :)

      I have an RP voice if I’m at work but if I’m not concentrating it’ll fall into my West Country accent – which a lot of voice recognition software apparently cannot deal with.

      Still better than my coworker who’s got a very thick Scottish highlands accent though. Nothing will pick his up.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      I don’t have any kind of regional British accent, but during my years living in the US, the vast majority of automated phone systems couldn’t understand me because I don’t have an American accent. I would usually just start either swearing or yelling AGENT into the phone, because it was a lot quicker that way. (Swearing doesn’t always work, but some systems are apparently set up to route you to an agent if you say certain swear words.)

      Now we are living in the UK, my American husband doesn’t seem to have the reverse problem. Maybe all the English-speaking systems get trained on American voices.

  21. MerelyMe*

    My favorite Zoom moment was when the person presenting stopped and said “I’ll be right back, my dog just climbed into the dishwasher and I have to go get him out.”

    1. BadWolf*

      My coworker was presenting to our department and had to pause for a minute to check on his dog doing something weird. He came back and continued the meeting. After the meeting, I sent him a message that I was still in suspense about the dog. Dog had gotten in the bathtub and couldn’t get out by himself (or was at least making a bunch of distracting noise attempting to do so).

    2. Essess*

      This was pre-zoom… back on a regular phone conference call. Suddenly there was an ear-piercing female scream in the background, silence for a moment, then my coworker hurriedly says “Gotta go… my son’s snake got out!”

    3. Katherine*

      I recently saw a video of a woman doing a presentation on Zoom while, in the background, her cat had gotten its claw stuck in the curtains and was causing all sorts of havoc. A few moments later, her roommate could be seen surreptitiously crawling past in an attempt to get to the cat without being seen.

    4. Tierrainney*

      not Zoom, and not work, but I scared someone on a phonecall by saying ‘Oh no, Missy fell out the window!”

      Missy is a cat. She only fell about 2 feet onto the roof of a shed and the only problem was she wouldn’t come close enough back to the window for me to reach her. I finally had to go outside and climb up to the top of the shed to rescue her.

      1. Adultiest Adult*

        My colleague and I had a good laugh about the fact that a client in her office once (apparently imitating someone else) yelled, “She’s going out the window!” And, being trained in emergency response, I was halfway across the hall and almost had my hand on the doorknob before I realized… She has a windowless office. Thereby, whoever was going out the window couldn’t be going out right then, i. e. No emergency. I returned to my office, but we had a good laugh afterwards!

    1. Ama*

      I actually was wondering if it was less about having to give the presentation and that the speaker is like me, and gets weirdly and horribly sweaty anytime she gives a presentation or just has to talk in a formal work meeting on Zoom (this does not happen when I do those things in an in person situation). I pretty much always turn the Zoom off and run straight to my bedroom to change clothes (I do make sure the Zoom is off, though.)

  22. Aggresuko*

    This is technically not exactly a Zoom story, but my boss and coworkers and I were forced to sit through a streamed presentation by (government org whose name will be redacted out of SHEER SHAME) about their “upgraded” website.

    * They did not have enough “seats” in the webinar for everyone to get in, so only one of my coworkers got in and we had to watch it via her Zoom.
    * People were apparently getting kicked out of and re-entering the meeting left and right.
    * The presentation turned out to have NOTHING TO DO with our job AT ALL, it was for financial institutions.
    * When you have to start out your presentation with “(GovtOrg) will pay its bills!” that’s a bad sign. I gather they had not reimbursed anyone in months to possibly years because of broken website.
    * The new website was beyond horrible and obviously so broken that they should not have tried to roll it out, present it to others, or even pretend that this was usable. (My supervisor has not even tried to make us deal with the horrible mess that they have made her deal with.)
    * Some guy on the call was trying to walk people through all of the broken stair issues they’d have to navigate to try to get it to work (like, “we know this URL is misspelled, we can’t fix it”), and someone else said “Shit for brains,” audibly, so that everyone heard it on the call. Dude was all “I heard that” and continued on.

    1. Anon4This*

      I work for a large company (40,000 employees) that recently merged with another large company (30,000 employees). They had a kick-off meeting to introduce everyone to the new structure and sent the invite to all employees- so apx 70,000 people. Except they hosted it on a platform that had a limit of 500 people in a meeting. Now, obviously not everyone will attend, but if even 1% attend that’s more than the 500 allowed. Worse, everyone had access to the chat, so the entire meeting was overshadowed with people commenting every half second or so that they couldn’t get into the meeting because it was full. It was a disaster.

  23. Essess*

    If you can’t mute someone and it is disturbing the meeting so badly (such as the therapy session), you can disconnect the meeting and send out a new meeting invite for everyone to rejoin.

  24. Sunshine*

    1. I wish there was a photo. It sounds amazing.
    3. My husband and I took a zoom parenting class (just for personal growth, though some of the participants had to complete it for court issues) first class it appears one lady is in her car, on zoom and seems to be actively driving. She parks and then pulls her kid out of the car. Then proceeds to wander through her house, having conversations with people. It was interesting.

  25. River*

    Pleasantly surprised there are no stories of someone walking naked in the background of a Zoom call. Phew.

    1. RosyGlasses*

      Oh there were several on that original post… it was an awesome thread to follow :)

  26. Three Flowers*

    “ My husband tried to pass it off as a butternut squash.”

    It has been a stressful two weeks of work and good god, I needed that laugh. Thank you, anonymous person.

  27. Not Today*

    We have a weird glitch on our office computers that occasionally causes the user to sound like a chipmunk or Mickey or Minnie Mouse. IT can’t seem to figure it out and it only happens to about 6 different employees, including my direct supervisor. We bought Mickey Mouse ears and whenever it happens, we all put the mouse ears on.

    1. Smilingswan*

      Are you sure IT is actually trying to figure it out? I would just let it ride. It sounds hilarious.

  28. Thomas Merton*

    My favorite Zoom moment that didn’t happen to me was when a meeting had just started, and one attendee could be heard, clearly on a call with someone else, saying, “Yeah, I’m in this meeting, blahdy blah blah.” This was an all-manager meeting for the entire company, and the CEO broke in, asking this guy to mute himself, then paused and added, “Whoever you are.”

  29. Kate Fish*

    These fantastic stories remind me of my all time favorite inappropriate background noise in a telephonic court hearing, which was someone’s unmuted computer saying, “You’ve got mail!” In 2020, no less.

  30. turquoisecow*

    Not a video chat but early on in the pandemic we had a department conference call to discuss how things were going and if anyone needed help or whatever. The VP, my boss, and a few other people. Partway through the call my boss had another call – an emergency work thing – so he excused himself with the VP’s permission and put the conference call on hold while he took the call.

    Suddenly, really LOUD music started playing, so loud that we couldn’t hear each other talk. Everyone was kind of trying to figure out where the music was coming from and frantically saying it wasn’t them, and then we figured out that Boss’s phone had hold music, and when he paused the conference call to take the other call, music played! Thankfully he came back on after a couple of minutes and when we told him what had happened he was surprised and said he had no idea his phone would do that.

  31. Sunshine*

    What on earth did the other meeting participants do? Listen to the entire therapy session? I feel like the husband would have continually cut in over anyone else who tried to speak, since Zoom tends to only let one person speak at a time. So did they just… sit there and listen? I think I would have gotten annoyed, proposed we reschedule, and left almost immediately if the host couldn’t figure out a way to stop it.

  32. Elizabeth West*

    My husband tried to pass [a crocheted c*ck and balls] off as a butternut squash is the funniest thing I have read on the internet today. :’D

  33. What the Jorts?*

    Number 6.
    My face is burning with sympathy mortification/shame just reading that. I can’t imagine having that actually happen to me.

  34. Lapis Lazuli*

    My cat routinely and unsuccessfully tries to escape through the front door during my online meetings (it involves him crying/yelling, him reaching for the knob, then climbing/jumping for it). Many co-workers have watched his escape attempts and marveled at his strength & agility.

    1. MM*

      I was scrolling fast and read this as “My car routinely and unsuccessfully tries to escape,” which made for a riveting story, let me tell you!

  35. I'm Just Here For The Cats!*

    So the Provost of our university was Zooming from home. Their cat kept getting up in front of the computer screen. She was so cool about it, just kept moving the cat away.

    1. Aggresuko*

      One higher-up here’s dogs start barking at the same time twice a day (a la Twilight Barking in 101 Dalmatians), except one of their barking times is always during the morning staff meeting.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      I was talking to a toxicologist at Animal Poison Control when I heard an unearthly, distressed yell in the background. It turned out that his cat had thrown up, complete with that OMG I’M DYING sound that cats make sometimes.

  36. Budgie Buddy*

    I like the use of the term amigurumi in the story rather than just “knitted object” because now it sounds like a mischievous yokai that sits in the background of Zoom calls to prank people.

  37. Cat Mouse*

    #5 would get along well with a friend of mine that does similar crochet art. (She also writes erotica and does horror style artwork) No craft/artwork is allowed in the office (above their garage) for when the husband has to work from home. 90% of the people he would be conferencing with wouldn’t care, but that 10%. They came up with that rule well before the pandemic and it worked out well to have the safe for video area when they’re kids had to do the remote schooling (for a Catholic provate school!)

  38. Holly the spa pro*

    “My husband tried to pass it off as a butternut squash.” This line freaking SENT me! My sides are in orbit.

  39. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I was a tiny child with a very large and gentle family dog (cross between a huge Newfoundland and a massive Labrador- she looked like a black Direwolf!) And a mom who used to love riding horses.

    She was cleaning stored tack one day, saw me, saw the dog, wanted to wear us both out…

    I have scrapbook photos of me riding the dog!

  40. AcmeHR*

    Amigurumi is my fave.

    But also on muting – some people just don’t like to mute themselves at all. My boss almost never does, even for meetings where someone else is presenting. And then in smaller meetings if she has a cough, she’ll cough horribly on mic without muting over and over. Rarely will she remember that she’s virtually coughing into our ears. Sigh.

  41. Mischa*

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. Even though I hadn’t touched my keyboard or mouse, Zoom unmuted me while I was in a 400+ person conference today, broadcasting my quick phone call to the entire audience. Thankfully the call was innocuous, but having your name called out by a panel member that you are not muted is just incredibly embarrassing.

    So all that to say, I’m glad I’m not alone here.

    1. Squidhead*

      I use plug-in headphones on a work computer for meetings. I leave the mic muted on the computer, but discovered the hard way that unplugging the headphones (so others could hear the presentation on the speakers) automatically unmutes the mic! I was unfavorably snarking to a coworker about a decision one of our higher-ups had made, of course. Sigh.

  42. RagingADHD*

    I’m still scratching my head about why someone would waste half a therapy session just to brag in detail about great sex with their spouse.

    Do they just have unlimited coverage and no co-pay? Are they in therapy because they have difficulty self-regulating or prioritizing their time?

  43. Jay*

    #8: All I could think of was “you are being Punked by the surviving members of Monty Python”. I refuse, REFUSE!, to live in a world where that judge was not John Cleese in a robe and powdered wig.

  44. Queenie*

    Wow. The therapy guy… I’m stuck on the nerve of calling in for your therapy session while on a zoom meeting. At work. Along with goggling at the fact that someone didn’t do something about it. Not in the same universe, but still embarrassing…. Early on in the zoom-time, I was in a class and not realizing I wasn’t muted, I saw my cat sleeping adorably in his bed and said, “oh BABY” in a goofy lovey voice. Oops. Also early on, in a zoom coffee hour after a church service, one woman got up from her seat, wearing a very short tennis skirt, turned her back to the camera and bent over to do something… waaay over. I don’t think I was the only one holding my breath.

  45. TheSüperflüoüsUmlaüt*

    OMG, what a selection! These all had me either cackling with laughter or cringing *so* hard! :D

  46. DiplomaJill*

    But where is the one about the guy who thought his audio was on so he muted himself to loudly excruciatingly fart but really he had been muted and he unmuted himself to fart, in front of 50 people who were muted and turned off their videos so they could howl with laughter?! THAT was the best one!

  47. Library Penguin*

    Oh man, the sales call reminded me of when I worked in an inbound call centre. We were basically a glorified answering machine at the lowest levels, or doing intake for things like job applications, delivery companies, and emergency call-outs.

    One of the lines we answered was the emergency number for a chain of burger places; if the equipment caught fire, the building flooded, a tornado dropped a house on the manager, you called that line.

    And the mortified salesman I explained that to just said “… I was only calling to see why he had cancelled his internet package…” and hung up!

  48. Jaid*

    Not a Zoom meeting, not at all.

    But a while ago, an IRS employee had the great wit /s to call into the Howard Stern Show…while at work. As a CSR on the phones.

    While waiting to get picked for the call, the CSR answered a phone call from a taxpayer. Again, while on the line to the Howard Stern Show. Being broadcast live.

    CSR starts asking for the taxpayer’s identity information, then segues into discussing the taxpayer’s issues. Meanwhile, Howard Stern and Robin have picked up on the CSR’s call and are trying to figure out what was going on. They tried to get the CSR’s attention and finally ended up hanging up on the guy.

    The taxpayer sued the show and the IRS over the incident. I can’t find out how it was resolved, but I can’t imagine that the CSR remained employed after that.

  49. anon for this*

    I have a weekly meeting that is, without question, the most annoying series of meetings I have ever attended. It’s for a long-term project that was supposed to take no more than six months, but we’ve been at it for literally two years, entirely for stupid reasons. (We once spent forty-five minutes trying to convince a team lead that “subsequent” meant a document didn’t just apply to the year it was written in but also to the years after that. He still doesn’t believe us.)

    A year and a half in, when one of the leads said “Now, before we begin, does anyone have any questions?” someone on his team said, under her breath but definitely off mute, “Yes! Why are we STILL HERE?”

  50. inaudible*

    the overheard therapy call, with a client! no less. If the meeting organizer didn’t know how to mute them or kick them off the meeting, the next best thing would have been to end the meeting and start a new one without the guy in therapy! Like, it’s bad enough that the coworkers were all listening in horror to him venting about them, but the organizer seriously failed by letting a client hear that.

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