## the popcorn calamity, the chair battle, and more stories of dramatic reactions to small changes at work

Last week, I asked for stories about weirdly dramatic reactions that you’ve seen people have to small changes at work. The comment section was full of fantastic stories — so many that I had to split my favorites up into two posts. Yesterday was part one, and here’s part two.

1. The picnic table

A new unit was added to my state government division, and the unit’s purpose was bitterly fought in the media by locals losing the power to do this function. Because it was a new unit, a large percentage of the team were new to government service.

Outside the exit door near the unit was a lovely picnic table under an old tree. Shady, cool, comfortable – and it gained a lot of use as the new unit staff spent breaks and lunch hours there. Unfortunately, it was on a main corner, and our agency had only been in the building for a few months, so the use was highly visible to passersby. Complaints about lazy state workers were made, and so the command staff decided to remove the table, especially since a new outdoor area was constructed where it wasn’t visible to the public. This was not acceptable to new unit.

New unit went ballistic. It was bitterly complained about at staff meetings, and then division meetings. The suggestion box was stuffed. A petition was signed and submitted to the director. Finally, one Friday, they walked through the halls of our office with large hand drawn picket signs, shouting, “No table no peace!” After marching around for 15 minutes, they headed off to the director’s office. They didn’t come back for an hour, and when they did, they were silent, and all talk about the table ended.

2. The new phone system

My office switched to a new phone system because the previous one was ancient. The new system has such wild features as … the ability to put a call on hold! The ability to transfer a call to someone else! My colleagues lost their minds, even though the new system had features they specifically requested. But the best part was that after the installation of New System, anything and everything that broke in the office was blamed on New Phone System. Copier started jamming? It must have something to do with New Phone System. Printer ran out of toner? New Phone System is to blame. My all-time favorite was when the COFFEE MAKER broke and several of my colleagues genuinely believed the New Phone System was somehow responsible. It took everything in me not to crack up with laughter explaining that the phone system was not connected to the coffee maker *at all*, and there was literally no way one could affect the other.

3. The Slack resistance

Our office exchanges a lot of correspondence with each other, and email imboxes were imploding – and many emails were just single sentences, or the sentiment in the subject line itself. To help reduce the sheer number of emails, we created a Slack for the entire 40-person office, and I assisted with making sure each team had various channels for their projects. The launch was pretty seamless, and the majority of the teams loved it. Except one team.

One team insisted on continuing with email. They go as far as to ignore direct messages on Slack and reply via email that they only communicate via email. These folks were also the ones responsible for the majority of the one-word, one-sentence email replies, and often send multiple one-sentence emails back to back about the same topic … you know, things that could just be Slack messages!! The inability to adapt is mind-boggling to watch. We only do office catering and other fun announcements via Slack now … and these folks have been mad they haven’t been “notified via formal communications.” It’s free cookies in the breakroom, Mark – we’re not going to send you a special email just because you won’t join our Slack!

4. The reycling

A company I used to work in decided in an effort to be greener to introduce recycling bins at all sites. Four separate bins: glass, tin, paper, general waste. There was such backlash! One guy even tried to start a mutiny; he didn’t want anyone to use them until we’d “received proper training.”. My dude, they’re bins with pictures on them! Put your paper in the bin that says paper with pictures of paper on the side. I could never understand the outrage that caused.

5. The free popcorn

Free Popcorn Monday being taken away. Well, not taken away but the person who’d pop it retired and despite many emails asking for others to volunteer to do it, no one signed up. Yet loud and numerous complaints about it would occur, and when you told them they could volunteer to pop it, they’d always have an excuse. I do feel gender did play into this as the complainers were exclusively male and the person who retired was a woman.

6. Perfect WordPerfect

I worked for a large government office where people would stay for 30+ years. This meant I had colleagues who had started in 1985 and learned how to use computers while on the job. One in particular decided that WordPerfect was much better than Word, and therefore that was the program he would learn. In the 2010s, the office decided to officially remove WordPerfect from the system and force everyone to switch to Word (yes, 2010s – it was not only the employees who were averse to change). When the colleague found out about this, he decided to refuse all updates and upgrades to his computer. Six months later, his computer was incredibly slow and failing to start half the time, but he refused to let IT touch his computer, and filed a grievance with the union when our boss tried to force him. The end result was that he was allowed to keep WordPerfect on his computer.

7. The oatmeal

Six months into my first post-grad job (2007), the hospital cafeteria steps away from our offices changed the price of a cup of oatmeal from $.55 to$1.25. We were incensed: that’s a 227% increase! … to $1.25. The sense of injustice and outrage was incredible in our office: so many conversations about the price of oatmeal these days; laments about the old days when you could grab a decent breakfast with whatever change you may have found in your desk (who did that?!); They Just Can’t more-than-double the price on anything like that; rumors started about all the doctors who probably filled their cups 2/3 full of walnuts/other expensive oatmeal toppings and now we’re paying for their dishonesty, etc. etc. for WEEKS. Anyone who attempted to express how horrible this was to anyone outside the office was soundly ridiculed, with good reason. Even now I intellectually know this is ridiculous, and yet… 8. The meeting I work in IT for an enormous organization, so I have about 50 million stories like this from internal customers. One of the weirder ones that comes to mind, though, is from my team. I took over a team that had been around a long time when they were reorganized into my area. They had an exorbitant number of standing meetings, and they ALL attended ALL of them (a team of ~7). I was trying to cut down on the team’s meetings to free up time for other work. I decided to pull most of the team out of this one particular meeting, and keep it to a select group of people. The people I pulled had no business reason to be there. But when this was announced, you would have thought I announced they were being fired. Two people in particular were very upset, and made it known that they really wanted to be put back in the meeting. One of them literally loudly sang, “I want my [name of meeting]” to the tune of “I want my baby-back” (from the Chili’s commercials) over and over in a large team meeting. I eventually settled on “Ok, you are an optional attendee in this meeting. You can go if you have no pressing work, but this is your lowest priority.” They now all attend that meeting every week again, just like old times. It drives me a little crazy, but it was NOT a Hill to Die On for me. 9. The pens We had ACTUAL TANTRUMS and a petition (signed by about four people…) when we changed stationery suppliers and a particular brand of fine liner pen was no longer available. 10. The intranet redesign We redesigned our intranet many years back and people went MAD. The old site was built on the most un-user-friendly platform I’ve ever seen, and the homepage was this godawful list of random links (not kept current, and missing a lot of info so people couldn’t even do a search on the page to find what they needed). The navigation was nonsensical and outdated, so most of the links didn’t even work. The search function for the site didn’t even work anymore. There was no grouping of similar pages into sections; it was basically just a bunch of pages with completely outdated information in places that you couldn’t find unless someone sent you the link they had bookmarked. We built a new intranet using a more modern platform. The search worked, the homepage had more general info but still had some icons that linked to the most-used pages, there were separate “sites” for different departments, and it no longer looked like something a teenager built in 1996. Hundreds of employees (out of several thousand) were furious at losing the old site. These were people that had been employed for decades and were angry we would deign to update to something more usable when they relied on a bunch of bookmarks in their browser (because even they knew the old site was unable to be navigated). This was 10 years ago and people STILL complain. Just wait until we migrate the intranet into a new platform next year… 11. The chairs At a former workplace, it was decided that all the desk chairs would be replaced. The existing chairs came in two styles – a standard, green upholstered office desk chair, and then for certain offices/people, an “executive” desk chair (these were nicer, with wooden handles and leather upholstery and such). It is worth noting that the design scheme of the building was rigorously adhered to in all things, so everything matched. All the wood furniture was the same wood tone. All the upholstered furniture had to match. You weren’t allowed to bring anything in without approval (and you rarely got approval). So the new chairs are ordered, and we are notified that they also have two options – they were both the same style, but one was simply wider than the other. It caused an uproar the likes of which you would not believe. The few people with executive desk chairs were wondering why they were not being given nicer chairs again and complained about that. Others just didn’t want to give up their existing chair (even though the chairs were over 10 years old at that point). Passionate speeches were given in the breakroom about why people should be able to keep their old chairs. Meetings would be derailed with chair talk. It consumed people. The day before the switch happened people were hiding chairs wherever they could. I went into the restroom and there was a chair sitting on top of a toilet in a stall. I had a vault in my office, and multiple people stopped by and asked if they could stash chairs in it. The day the switch actually happened must have been the least productive day in the company history. People were going from suite-to-suite looking at other chairs (again, even though they were all the same color/style), people were gathering in the hallway to complain. Every time I passed an office window there was someone bouncing up and down in their chair and complaining. People were filing complaints with HR, a couple of people went home early in protest, some people that had stashed their old chairs pulled them back out and were sitting in them again, which made other people upset so there was a lot of “Steve is sitting in an old chair! I just want my old chair back!” so then they would go and take Steve’s old chair and then Steve would be upset about that. I ended up leaving early because I was just so tired of hearing about it. 12. The copier When I used to volunteer to make copies at my kid’s school, the other parent volunteer who trained me was really upset because one of the copiers had been turned to the side so that the paper was easier to load. It was the same machine, it was just turned 90° to the left. She kept saying how sorry she was, like it was some kind of embarrassing faux pas. 13. The pizza I once got called in to my manager’s office because of pizza. Yup. I dared to suggest we order from a different place. The chaos that caused was mind blowing. The person who usually placed the order freaked out because she “didn’t know how to order from the new place.” No one could make up their minds what they wanted. Everyone was upset because it wasn’t their usual place so I got reprimanded for causing disruption. In my defense, the pizza from their usual place tasted like ketchup flavored cardboard. Yeah, that place was toxic in more ways than one. I did not last long there. 14. The shoe This one isn’t about dramatic responses to mundane changes; it’s a quitting story. But it was in that thread and it must be shared. A coworker (a manager at a large retail store) was walking to work and stepped in dog poop. He walked in, came up to the register counter where we were opening tills for the day, put his soiled shoe on the counter, said “I quit.” and walked out only wearing one shoe. ## {374 comments… read them below } 1. Expelliarmus* I can only assume their actual work is super boring and they really want to talk to their teammates? Not saying I agree, but I can kind of relate because sometimes if I see certain meetings on my schedule I get rather intrigued. 2. Helen B* I’ve known people who measure their worth by how many meetings they “have” to be in. I’ve also known coworkers with a Fear Of Missing Out… who then proceed to read emails during the meeting and miss out on important details. 1. Bernice Clifton* Could definitely be FOMO. I’m an admin and everywhere I have worked I’ve had people come by desk to ask what people in the conference room are meeting about. Not because they need the room, they just want to know. 3. Kacihall* People who either don’t want to get actual work done or who don’t have enough work to fill up their day but don’t want extra work. (I try to be subtle about the fact that I only have about four hours of work to do every day, and get a lot of books read…) 4. ducki3x* I’ve known some people like this, and consistently it’s been folks who were burned by something happening in a meeting they didn’t attend some time in the past that didn’t get communicated well and/or a decision was made that they wanted to have input on, and the solution in their mind wasn’t that they needed to provide feedback to get the problem corrected but that they needed to be in every possible meeting going forward lest they miss something. 5. De Minimis* A friend’s supervisor at a previous job loved meetings and used them to socialize, so she would schedule them daily. 6. xakeridi* I have a co-worker like that right now. She must be in every meeting. And while she’s very good at her job she’s terrible at knowing where her job ends. For example she is in IT but wants to pick the font for other people’s instruction documents. She wanted me to explain how I configured, and why, a system she does not ever use. I put it down to needing control. 1. Lady Luck* I wonder if you could chalk this up to old-school gumption advice like, “Learn everything you can about the company and you’ll be running it one day!” 7. Meow* I do recall a time when I liked all my coworkers enough that I enjoyed making small talk before meetings… maybe it’s their daily socializing. 8. Dust Bunny* I have definitely had coworkers who looked forward to meetings as a way to avoid actual work. 9. HoHumDrum* Personally I enjoy meetings, but then my work has a collaborative nature so meetings are where stuff actually gets done. But I do strongly dislike those company-wide type of meetings where people just talk to fill the time and drone on about stuff that has no relevance to my job 10. Meep* More meetings = less time to do work. I had a coworker who schedules meetings and then cancels them last minute. She still claims she was in those meetings, so when her boss asks what she did all day she can say she was in meetings all day and had no time to get anything done. She can even look extra good by claiming she worked late into the night. Only worked though when she could bully people into doing her actual jobs, though. 1. Constance Lloyd* I loved meetings when I had to answer a customer service line. We weren’t a call center, but they decided we should take overflow call center calls for things we knew nothing about. It was miserable. I wouldn’t have made a fuss about meetings I wasn’t permitted to attend, but I absolutely loved the mindless break of useless meetings! 11. SomeDumbGuy* toxic work environment where if you’re not in the meeting you’ll get left off projects or tasks. My last company did relative performance evaluation so you could really help your own performance evaluations by icing out your coworkers from high profile projects and dragging your feet on collaboration because you didn’t need to do the best job you could do, you just needed to appear better than your colleagues. It was a fortune 500 company. 12. Bongofury* In my company you have to measure your workday in 15 minute increments and report to a specific customer/contract for every minute you’re in the office. A LOT of people go to meetings just to get away from their desk but still have somewhere to bill their time. 13. Migraine Month* Judging from the way my managers have bent over backward to explain why I’m no longer being invited to X meetings, or how I absolutely could come to Y meeting if I wanted to, I think that some people worry that being left out can indicate a demotion or lessened responsibilities. Sort of like not being “In the Room Where It Happened”. My reaction is always, “You don’t absolutely need me to be there? Sweet, I’ll get work done.” 14. TheRain'sSmallHands* Almost 40 years ago I worked for a company that had a meeting culture – important people went to meetings for a living. They didn’t have time to accomplish any of the tasks that came out of these meetings, because they were in meetings all the time. So….you’d get staff so that you could assign tasks to them. Of course, you didn’t have time to tell your staff what to do, so one staff person would be in the meeting with you to take on the tasks….and another staff person in the next meeting. Your smart staffers would figure out that if THEY could get invited to eight hours of meetings a day, they’d get staff to do their jobs. Sort of like Amway. Eventually, middle management was decimated in a series of layoffs. And I suspect that the work still got done. 15. whingedrinking* I’m a teacher, so meetings are a time when I get to sit down, listen to someone else be in charge, and doodle on my notebook. There may also be opportunities to talk to my colleagues or interesting professional development. These are all things I normally don’t get to do much, so getting paid to do them is a bonus. People who have desk jobs? I have no idea. 1. Hei Hei, the Chicken from Moana* Taking a sip while finishing this post was a bad idea… 2. Sara without an H* Re entry no.1: Finally, one Friday, they walked through the halls of our office with large hand drawn picket signs, shouting, “No table no peace!” After marching around for 15 minutes, they headed off to the director’s office. They didn’t come back for an hour, and when they did, they were silent, and all talk about the table ended. I would…so much…like to have been able to eavesdrop on that conversation. 1. HoHumDrum* Honestly I’m sympathetic to the government workers. During my brief stint in government work it was shocking to me how much of our jobs and policies were built around self-flagellation for being disgusting lowly leeches on society. It’s stunning to me how much taxpayer money is wasted on placating taxpayers who are convinced we are lazy grifters trying to steal from them rather than people just trying to serve others. Government workers deserve a nice place to sit and eat lunch too, is I guess my takeaway. (that all said, I also would love to know how that meeting went >D ) 1. Lex* Same — disrupting a small work comfort because people who already hate government workers for reasons that have nothing to do with the people eating their lunch would steam me too. No only must you do the people’s work, usually for low pay and terrible treatment, any resting you do must be hidden, lest the anti-guvment types pitch a fit? Hard pass. 2. London Lass* The thing is… According to the account given, a new area was being provided. It was just in a different location. 3. Dust Bunny* They were being given a new place, it just wasn’t as visible to non-employees. 1. SixTigers* They were given a new place — but I’ll bet you anything you like that it was NOT under a nice big cool shady tree. I’ll bet that anyone who sat down at the table in the new location ended up getting parboiled. 4. Avril Ludgateau* It’s stunning to me how much taxpayer money is wasted on placating taxpayers who are convinced we are lazy grifters trying to steal from them rather than people just trying to serve others. The beautiful irony. If only those “taxpayers” would direct their frustration to our [respective government level executive]’s bloated and truly unjustifiable salary, instead of complaining about our version of the “picnic table under a shady tree”. Amazing the fights people will choose – it’s like the lower the stakes, the greater the investment. 1. Nanani* Like the people who yell at a random twitter user or fanfic writer about “bad representation” but can’t be bothered to contribute to actual efforts to change society for marginalized people on the level of like, voting and donating to charities. The thing about easy targets is, they’re easy. 5. anonymous73* I would feel sympathy if they had nowhere else to go for breaks and lunch, but based on the story there was another location. Sometimes I think people are difficult just to be difficult. 1. Jora Malli* I’m a government employee and our outdoor break area is also “hidden from the public,” which means it’s a tiny patio walled in on all sides with ugly cinderblocks, open at the top so there’s no shade, no plants, huge glare at around midday, you know, when people take their lunch breaks. If that’s what people were given in place of a lovely shaded outdoor area, I’d be pissed too. That doesn’t excuse the March through the office and the appropriation of civil rights chants, but it’s worth considering whether the new outdoor dining area really was an adequate replacement for the old one. 1. kittymommy* Ehh, I’ll take the cinder block over being seen by the public any day. As someone who has actually been cornered by “members of the public” while out to dinner I’d be shocked if people didn’t bother the employees while at lunch. 1. Chas* My first thought was that it might have been a safety concern if it was starting to seem like members of the public might get hostile with them if nothing changed. (Though I have no idea how likely that is in this line of work. It just reminded me about stories I’ve heard of extremist Animal Right’s protestors attacking labs that were known to do research on animals) 2. Free Meerkats* Long-time government employee here. I’ve been accosted in parks while sitting in my work truck eating lunch; sitting in my work truck in the shade at a park doing paperwork; sitting at a table at the City Library doing paperwork because the AC in my truck was broken (in Phoenix in the summertime); on and on. So I learned to take great pains to do things like that where I couldn’t be seen. At previous job we had a basketball hoop and some horseshoe pits. They were placed in a remote area of the treatment plant, behind a tall fence and under trees. Made for good shade, but they were there specifically for appearance sake. 3. anonymous73* There’s no indication of that in the story. It’s okay to be pissed about something if it’s unfair, but throwing a tantrum is not okay. 2. WellRed* I wish we knew if the new spot was decent or a hot, dusty parking lot corner with no shade. 1. Scooter34* I’m your genie – command me! So the new spot did not have grass, but it was a very nice patio area with a pergola and several benches. There wasn’t a picnic table per se – there was a lunch area off the cafeteria that had shaded tables but no landscaping, and then the newly created area that was attractively landscaped but was waiting on picnic tables for those who preferred to sit there. Neither of these areas were as close as the table, which was truly the issue – but the coopting of the civil rights movement is what drove this to absurdity. 1. Charlotte Lucas* Yeah, considering that government workers in my state were in a protest that got national news coverage a little over 10 years ago, picnic tables are small potatoes. 6. The Rafters* Government worker here. Thank you. I’ll add – some agencies make every single employee in a building go on break, lunch, etc. at the same exact time every day. Of *course* the public is going to see dozens, if not hundreds of people outside during those times. Some buildings are next door to a park, so employees just hang out there where it’s not so obvious. With other buildings, there is no where for anyone to go, so they just mill around outside. 1. Kayem* Same here. In both federal and city government jobs I’ve had, we had to all go to lunch at the same time, but also remain out of sight. For the former, we could walk off into the park and hide in the shade behind trees, but the latter there was nowhere big enough to accommodate everyone all at once. There was a lot of awkward milling behind the building. 2. Scooter34* To be fair, in this scenario, it was the fact that there were one or two people out there almost continuously from 9 – 11 and again from 1 – 3, due t0 variable schedules. They didn’t use the table at lunch. 7. xl* Government worker here. And I work hard—I’ve already logged over 200 hours of overtime so far this year. Every time I hear the common rhetoric about “MY TAX DOLLARS,” I’m always wondering if that person thinks that I don’t pay taxes too. “MY TAXES PAY YOUR SALARY.” My taxes pay my salary too. I guess that makes me my own boss, by your line of thinking? Guess I’ll give myself the rest of the day off then. 1. TheRain'sSmallHands* I used to know a guy who was the bus coordinator for a school district – with all of the headaches of parents who want the bus stop moved closer to them, or the bus to drive directly down their street instead of having their kids walk a street over. He had figured out how much each of the constituents in his district contributed to “his salary” and when he’d get the complaint he would say “yes ma’am, your taxes paid for$.42 of my salary this year – where can I send you a check so we can end this conversation.”

2. GythaOgden*

I remember the year when my pay actually went down about four pounds. Not a great deal, but there was much justified wailing and gnashing of teeth given that we are NHS and they changed the rate of National Insurance…from which the NHS budget is sourced.

We have had the last laugh, however. Due to the inflation crisis, NI contributions on low wages are being massively reduced. I will pay them on a tiny fraction of my income, and it represents about a £30/month pay increase. People on up to £30k (not a bad salary for the UK) will get a pay increase, while those on more will be squeezed a bit. I’m ‘lucky’ to be a widow alone with a house paid off (parents squirreling money into property away from the taxman) and capital thanks to life insurance payouts and my husband’s property dealings, but I’d honestly like him back and a better job — all the money in the world doesn’t trump a person to come home to at night and long sessions of natter once you turn off the light. As Smaug would know, money isn’t very comfortable to sleep on.

8. Numerator*

“It’s stunning to me how much taxpayer money is wasted on placating taxpayers who are convinced we are lazy grifters trying to steal from them rather than people just trying to serve others“

Agreed. I worked for the census during the recession and the number of people who said they didn’t send in their form (44 cent stamp) because it was wasting money was ridiculous. Especially compared to ranting at me for half an hour or dodging answering the door so we’d have to come back (at $18/hr since wage was tied to cost of living in the area). 1. tessa* An additional sad element is that many people don’t realize (or care) that the Census is required by the Constitution. 9. Nesprin* At my government adjacent institution, we spend 30M on travel each year, and 35M on oversight on travel. 10. MCMonkeyBean* Yeah, that one the initial change sounds honestly very annoying and I hate people who complain that workers on breaks look lazy. But… obviously their response was definitely not okay either lol. That is definitely a terrible way to handle work disputes. 11. Rose* I’m sympathetic generally but this feels like mocking/trivializing actual serious social movements and protests over something truly bizarre and inconsequential which is annoying at best. 2. Slow Gin Lizz* Yes, I *really* want to know what was said in that meeting. It sounds epic. 3. Aggresuko* “No table, no peace” just made me laugh and laugh. WITH ACTUAL PICKET SIGNS. 4. Tracey Leschin* The image if fully grown adult people marching through an office with picket signs in a mini parade absolutely kills me. 3. Queen Esmeralda* Re #6–I have to agree with the old guy, Word Perfect was better than Word. More intuitive; more user friendly. 1. ThursdaysGeek* And if you wanted to do anything with chemical formulas, you could actually get some decent output. I think in Word, you just use a different tool, take a picture, and paste that in the document. 1. Falling Diphthong* Word has an equation editor, but it doesn’t seem to translate well between versions and so I am in fact instructed to use a specific add-on program and, in a pinch, take a photo of the correct equation. 2. quill* That is exactly what you do. Go grab your line diagram from pubchem, or deal with writing out your stoichiometry by underlining everything and messing with spaces. At least when I was in college a decade ago… 1. Elenna* When I was getting my bachelor of math (that phrasing makes it sound like it was ages ago, it was actually just a few years ago) I was able to type almost any equation I needed into Word using the equation editor, and a significant majority of them could be done using just the keyboard and a bunch of keyboard shortcuts, found under the Autocorrect menu (e.g. \alpha for the greek letter, \matrix for a matrix where you would then use & and @ to separate entries) meaning I could type equations almost as fast as I could write them. So it *is* possible. That being said, it did require a fair amount of getting used to pressing space at the right time to resolve the autocorrect shortcuts into actual math symbols, and learning the shortcuts you needed. I’ve never used WordPerfect but I assume from people’s comments that it’s more intuitive. 1. xl* I took a statistics class a few years back and I was pleasantly surprised with how well I was able to get MS Word to do what I needed. As you mentioned, the key was to set up my own autocorrect shortcuts. I had things like /phat and /xbar. It took awhile to get it set up and some time to get used to the flow of it, but it worked well once I got going. 2. Skytext* I have a BS in Math, but mine was all done with paper and pencil. I can’t even conceive of doing all that on a computer. 3. Emmy Noether* When I was at uni (>15 years ago) the equation editor sucked. It was unintuitive and gave ugly results. We all used Latex or pen and paper. Since then, the equation editor has improved enormously – mostly by being more like Latex. At least for maths/physics, it is now quite decent (can’t speak for chemistry). There’s probably a generational divide between people who learned writing equations when Word sucked and younger people who can’t see what we’re even complaining about. 1. Tau* Ah, that explains it – I was also going “wait, but Word was terrible for maths, LaTeX or longhand were your only realistic options” but the last time I tried it was also over a decade ago. So +1 to the generational divide. Also, your user name is extremely fitting for this conversation. 2. Richard Hershberger* I wholeheartedly agree, except for the use of the past tense. A fully functional modern Word Perfect, as part of a fully functional office suite, is still available. And yes, it still has Reveal Codes. It may lack some of the more obscure corners of Word functionality, but for the vast majority of users this is just another way of saying it is less bloated. My office still uses Word Perfect–all three of us. The only advantage I see to using Word is if you frequently swap files with outside offices, and these files have significant formatting. In practice, when I send a file outside I send it in rtf. This is amply robust for our modest formatting requirements. It is one of the triumphs of marketing how Microsoft has persuaded people to wistfully recall those halcyon days when they used Word Perfect, while dismissing out of hand any suggestion that they still can. 1. OyHiOh* I, for one, had not realized WordPerfect was available in fully updated form. This is excellent to know. 3. Observer* I have to agree with the old guy, Word Perfect was better than Word. Which is not useful when no one can use your files… 1. JustaTech* Yup. I’ve always been a Word person (it’s just what I’m used to, I make no other claims), but my husband has always been a big proponent of open source software so for a while in college I used OpenOffice (which I liked fine) and I’m generally happy with GoogleDocs for simple, personal documents. But as soon as I said I was getting ready to start sending out cover letters and my resume from GoogleDocs (he’d even convinced me to do my resume in LaTeX because it was pretty, if very hard to edit), suddenly he was all “nope, nope, that won’t work, we need to get you real Word” because he knows that file formats are not all identical and Word is one of the standards. 1. BeckyinDuluth* Just fyi: You can download as a Word document out of Google Docs, or as a pdf, which is what I’d recommend since sending Word files means you may get weird formatting depending on the person who opens it. 1. Lavender* Yep. For awhile I didn’t have Word on my computer. There’s a free version that allows you to view/save documents but not edit them, so I’d type everything in Google Docs and then save it as a Word file. Tedious, but it got the job done. 2. Emmy Noether* pdf is really the way to go for application documents. Only way to be sure your formatting survives, and easy to open in most platforms (our application platform, for example has an automatic preview for pdfs, but word documents are a pain to open). 1. GythaOgden* PDFs are memory intensive, however. That’s an issue if you’re using email, as many programs cap out at 25MB. 1. TrixM* Not really, unless you’re including high-resolution images you haven’t resized or compressed, although this is sadly common. DOCX is a compressed file format, by the way. The “best” example I got as a PDF once was down to one single image in it – the logo. It was BMP file (not a compressed PNG or even JPG) and the image dimensions would have been an A0 poster if printed out. The actual document had A4 pages. 4. Jora Malli* It’s not hard to be better than Word (says the person who just spent over an hour fighting with some still unidentified bit of autoformatting that keeps breaking the document I’m trying to work on). 5. anonymous73* Unless he works alone and doesn’t have the need to share his document with others, it’s a problem. 6. Sam* My office still uses Word Perfect, but we will probably have to switch to Word at some point in the next few years. It is a legitimate reason why we are considering switching (compatibility with a new software that is being considered), but I have to confess I am dreading it. So I totally understand that one guy. Also, one person in our office who is a few years away from retirement has said she will retire if we switch. (Her job deals heavily with formatting stuff, so it is totally fair that she doesn’t want to learn everything anew just before leaving.) 1. Bongofury* Is your work a school? I’ve heard a lot of universities still use Lotus123, but mostly because it’s cheaper than Microsoft. 7. Res Admin* Definitely agree! Over the years I have been switched from Mac to PC to Mac to PC and back to Mac and now both. But my biggest regret is the loss of WordPerfect from years and years ago–like, every single time I have to battle Word and it’s annoying tendency to do things its own way no matter what. 1. SixTigers* I am afflicted with Word. Whenever we get updates, I am cursing a blue streak as I strip out all the automatic annoyances with which Word is loaded. “NO, I don’t want automatic spell-check! NO, I don’t want that Clippy excrescence on my screen! NO, I don’t want that stupid mini-toolbar blocking my view of what I’m typing!” I liked WordPerfect. I really did! If something was odd, you could look at the code and figure out what was wrong. With Word, it’s a wrestling match, and only God knows who’ll win. 8. Baby Yoda* Agree on Word Perfect, and so did my old boss who insisted on using it until the day he retired. I had such fun trying to get his docs to read correctly in Word format. 9. Emby* These are all very valid complaints with Word, and if the guy had needed to do anything with either formulas or formatting, I would have understood. But he was just writing text for others to edit. And there were compatibility issues galore that he would refuse to be the one to deal with. 1. SixTigers* I don’t always have to write formulas, but when I do, it’s an intensive spate of them. I hate Word. And you know, comes a time when someone finally decides, “I’ve changed and changed and changed, and I’m tired of changing. I’m not going to do it any more. This is what I use, and I’m going to use it. Period.” You’re not at that point, and that’s fine. Please be aware that it is heading your way. 10. Alanna* As someone whose career started in IT, we have all had a #6. I remember one professor at a university i worked for whose computer was so out of date that we couldn’t update it remotely, and he refused to let us do anything to it. It was a huge security risk and he couldn’t use any modern software (and he was an engineering professor so i don’t know how he was getting along without that software). Finally one Christmas break we just replaced his computer and told him there’d been an electrical surge and his PC had died. We moved all his files to his network drive where they were supposed to be, so he didn’t lose anything. I wonder if his computer has been replaced since then … 1. ithappenseverywhere* Let me tell you a story about a certain very well known tech firm you have all heard of. This firm has many programmers who used Linux as a desktop (as they do), and also a very senior executive who used the mail client Pine. Except she had her own hacked up version from her academic years and had lost the source code. Time goes on, the firm keeps up to date on the linux desktops and ends up switching which Linux distort it used, except this one Senior Tech refused to ever upgrade or switch. She was running this super old version of a certain Linux distro (like think 15 years out of date) until finally she quits, at which the sysadmin crew goes in to finally decommission this ancient security hole and made a great celebration of it. 11. L.H. Puttgrass* The WordPerfect loyalist is my new hero. He fought to keep the better software—and actually won! 12. So Many Pets* My office also still uses WP in because of its incredibly superior search function. For reasons going back before my time, my office saves all of our documents by case name instead of by subject matter, so in order to search through 20+years of documents and not come up with a thousand possible documents it’s necessary to be able to do a search with multiple, specific parameters (we’re talking in the neighborhood of 3,000 documents). WP does this. Word does not. Every fiscal year my boss explains to IT why we still need WP and we get permission to keep it because as yet they have not found a way to search using Word or any other program that is as effective and efficient as the search function in WP. 13. Nanani* I agree too, but there comes a point where the practicalities of using a non-standard word processor outweigh the benefits of said word processor. I have no desire or inclination to convert my client’s custom formatting macros just so I can use WP or Open Office instead of MSWord, so I use Word for my paid work. 14. Paralegal Part Deux* I work for attorneys and still have WordPerfect for some stuff. I love being able to edit out wonky formatting. 1. Fedpants* I work for courts and when I got my laptop on my first day and saw WordPerfect on the desktop I knew it was going to be a trip. 15. HappySnoopy* Me too! The reveal codes feature alone. I think it still exists, but word has won the battle. 4. Jay* These are gold. I was traveling when the first request came through and was unable to post. Mine would not have made the cut, but here it is anyway. My first professional job was in a 1960s building where all the offices were arranged along one long corridor. I’m a doc. We were divided into units of 6-8 docs and the nurse’s station was in the center of our row of offices. I had the office furthest away from the nurses’s station, so when I left, one of my colleagues asked to move to my office because it was quieter. Fair enough. The offices were painted two weeks before I left and we had a choice of three or four colors, so she asked if she could pick the color for mine. Also fair enough. It is relevant that every office was identical in size and furnishings. One afternoon she dropped in to “take a look around,” which I thought was odd, since as I said every office was identical. She walked in and said “oh, no. OH NO” and looked stricken. My door was on the right side of the wall as you walked in and opened to the left. Hers was on the left side and opened to the right. She had all her furniture arranged for that configuration and COULD NOT CHANGE. She turned down the office switch because of the door placement and was upset that I hadn’t told her about it earlier. 1. KimberlyR* Wow, I wouldn’t have ever thought about the office configuration in relation to the door. 5. Don* Collected en-masse these really just make me sad. There’s obviously some extreme/toxic people driving some amount of these things, but after reading one after the other all I can see is folks who are just feeling like they’ve been made so small and powerless that they will die on these stupid hills. 1. anonymous73* Or there are a lot of people who can’t handle change and are unreasonable in their response to any of it. 1. Meep* As someone who was mercilessly bullied, belittled, and threatened by her boss because she couldn’t admit she didn’t know how to do something… (Literally every request was introduced with ‘if you don’t do this, you will be fired’ regardless of it was in my job description or not) even if you feel powerless, taking it out on others is not appropriate. 1. Meep* For clarity, I never put up a fight until she wasn’t my boss and still tried it (at which point, my manager told me that she had been explicitly banned from asking me to do something). I was willing to do anything to help that company succeed. She is just so unreasonable that she made everything a nasty fight to prove to herself the world was against her. 2. anonymous73* I’m sorry that happened to you, but it has nothing to do with what I said. There are plenty of unreasonable people in this world and when something minor changes, they lose their shit. And the majority of these stories are examples of that. 2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est* I’m disturbed by the amount of judgment that people feel entitled to over someone’s choice of software (e.g. Word v. WordPerfect v. Write). 3. Cat* I don’t know that I agree, actually! What I see is that humans will become outraged over things; it’s simply in our nature to experience the full range of emotions. On a large scale we mostly save our outrage for the truly horrific things, but when we’re put into very specific situations with small groups of fellow humans the things that cause group outrage are… a bit more niche, let’s say. ^^’ And I say all this not to be argumentative at all, you certainly have a point! Just here to offer a more positive perspective on the whole thing~ 4. Batgirl* I work in a school so I’m just kind of amazed at how much comfort people need and how much say they think they get. A lot of time I’m working on a hardback school chair without a dedicated desk space, there isn’t anywhere to eat lunch at all unless I want to work through it and oversee students in the canteen, if they change the software it happens overnight without our say so or any training and we’re expected to roll with it. There is tea and coffee on offer, but if you’re a coffee lover you’d better like instant coffee or else just bring your own. When I did work in an office it wasn’t the kind of place where you got much more than that – you can have a desk chair and a desk, but it’ll be shitty. I’m not sure if I’m impressed or perplexed by the difference. 5. Salymander* Sometimes, when everything in life seems to suck and nothing is going smoothly, it can be sort of a relief to let off steam by getting really, truly mad as hell about something small and seemingly low stakes. It may not be the best or most mature way to deal with stress, but it does seem to be incredibly common. I think it helps to have a laugh about it later and recognize that, while it seemed like the biggest deal ever at the time, it really does seem funny after the fact. That feeling of amusement may be part of letting off steam as well. Life can be really stressful but also kind of ridiculous. I think we all go through this at some point. I definitely have. 6. Rose* This gave me such a vivid image of a Dilbery cartoon style field of very stupid hills, littered with bodies. 6. HipsandMakers* Sing me a melody/Sing me a blues/walk through some excrement on one sad shoe/ Employee, he’s had his share/He gave the news/walk back out of the door without one shoe 1. Scarlet Magnolias* My self esteem has taken a hit and my new espadrilles are covered with s_ _t 7. Get over yourself II electric boogaloo* Stories like the WordPress make me livid. Things like this have real implications on coworkers, particularly ones that are more junior and constantly have to reformat, make appointments for you for IT, and translate for you what your technical issue is. I get it, I don’t like updates either. But the amount of time I have spent as an admin bending over backwards because someone is unwilling to even be trained on a basic office necessity is astounding. You’d think the poverty that many admin experience is the number one cause of burnout. Among my group it’s actually the demoralization that my work is 5x harder because you can’t dare open Microsoft Word, even when I make nice little guides and offer standing how-to sessions. 1. Meep* I was once yelled at to add a row in excel, because my (former) manager didn’t know how to. It didn’t matter how many times I showed her. She just refused to learn how because it was beneath her and didn’t want to admit that she didn’t know how, because who the heck doesn’t know how to use excel in this day and age? She also didn’t know how to resize an image. And no, she wasn’t THAT out. 1. Other Alice* I had a boss who would routinely march me into her office whenever she needed something formatted (like bolded, larger size font, etc) because she didn’t know how to do that. I don’t know if she thought that learning how to do it was beneath her, or if she was just too stupid. She hated changes and new things with a passion. Shortly after my arrival I wrote a little script that automated a very tedious monthly process and found we were missing the hard copies for 20 client contracts. To put this into perspective: in that field, if an audit comes and you didn’t notice that you misplaced 1 contract, you can easily lose your business. I took this finding to the boss and she lost her mind, she told me that I was wrong and my predecessor never lost anything, because she wasn’t lazy like me and she checked everything by hand, which as we all know is the superior way of doing things. (/s) She then had other people check the contracts and they found only 18 missing, which she somehow took as evidence that my script was wrong. I resigned shortly after so I have no idea if they ever noticed the remaining 2 missing contracts. I like to think they got audited. 2. Jamie Starr* I worked with someone who either didn’t know how, or didn’t want to know how, to change the size of an Excel sheet – or perhaps was too lazy to scroll? I had to send this person a spreadsheet daily showing ticket sales, etc. Her assistant called me and asked if I could format it so it everything would fit on her computer screen when she opened it. I was like….umm…she can click the maximize square? Or scroll? Or change the scale? How could I know what size it would be when it opened on her computer? Koo koo for cocoa puffs! 2. Kippy* Our law firm still has WordPerfect in addition to Word on all our computers. Some of the older attorneys will begin dictations “Prepare this memo (or pleading or letter or whatever) in WordPress not Word” just on the off chance they’ll want to edit something themselves. 3. Elizabeth Bennett* When I worked at a Fortune 500 company, I was the admin for the team, composed of three other (and older) people. We did regulatory stuff and the engineer on the team seemed to have a lot of free time on his hands, as he would show me the 3 or 4 Sudoku puzzles he’d complete everyday. I had so much work, that I routinely did not take my breaks and looked up surprised to see the time was 30-60 minutes after my shift ended. One day, the boss asked me to type the engineer’s notes into our database for him. Before I realized what I was doing, I blurted out “no.” My boss raised an eyebrow, and I explained that even if I put his initials on the note as the one who noted it, the database is going to record my username as the user who posted, and if questions arise, I can be held accountable if my typing mistake has tangible consequences. He said he’d think about it, and dropped it, but I was pretty irritated that this$65k salaried engineer with apparent free time on the job was unable to type notes into a database, and needed the $22k hourly admin to do it for him. I think it was a combination of his inability to touch type and perhaps his resistance to learning the database (Lotus Notes). 1. whingedrinking* Apparently we’re starting to see a weird mirror effect where a lot of kids who grew up after smartphones became commonplace don’t know how to touch-type either. Some school districts are somewhat naively assuming that since computers are ubiquitous, students will just absorb the skill by osmosis and don’t need formal instruction. In fact, a lot of students prefer to use their phones for everything and aren’t comfortable with a physical keyboard. Some of my colleagues are getting nineteen-year-olds who pitch a fit when they’re told that they need to learn, even when it’s pointed out repeatedly that it doesn’t take that long to learn and is massively faster than writing everything with your thumbs. 8. Schwanli* Some of these don’t strike me as stories about unreasonable people. Word (and Microsoft in general) is a crappy system that we only use because Microsoft bribes companies to use it. I stand with the worker who insisted on sticking with WordPerfect! And the picnic table one makes me sad – they lose access to a pleasant place to take their breaks, and presumably get shamed or even threatened with firing when they object? Workers of the world, unite! (some of these stories are, however, legitimately funny examples of people with weird blind spots and obsessions) 1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!* But they didn’t lose their place. A new outdoor area was created that wasn’t so visible 1. Falling Diphthong* I get the frustration–it’s not that they can’t take breaks or have lunch, but that these MUST be concealed from the public. Rather than tell the public to get a grip already and let people eat their lunches. Now maybe the new area was even nicer than the old one and it was all Change Is Bad–but I wouldn’t be surprised if the new area was between the AC exhaust and a parking space. 1. Dust Bunny* The pool of employees is much smaller and less variable than the public, so logistically moving the employees is the only workable option. 2. Meow* I might have the wrong perspective, because weather kind of sucks here and eating outside isn’t really that common, but my first thought was, “if that many people were using that picnic table on a regular basis, it must have been in a really nice spot.” Like, if it was in a nice, slightly shaded but still warm spot with a gentle but not too strong breeze, and then they moved it behind the building out of sight, it’s not the same at all. 3. Observer* I get the frustration. But come on! When it gets to the point of disrupting the entire workplace, that really is a problem. When you also co-opt a slogan born out reaction to major injustice? Sorry, that’s beyond entitled and tone deaf. 4. Cat Lover* I had sympathy until they coopted “no justice no peace”. Nah, at this point they are just whining. 2. The Dude Abides* Welcome to working in state government, where the public thinks you’re overpaid, lazy, and you don’t deserve the benefits that are written into negotiated contracts. 1. xl* Not just state government, unfortunately. I’m a fed and I hear a lot of the same complaints. 1. Australian fed* Australian federal, happens here too. A while back one of the local fish wrappers got outraged because they found out we had office plants. Never mind that we have to BYO for anything like tea, coffee, biscuits, milk, end-of-year parties, etc. that would be provided by the employer in many jobs. 2. JimmyJab* Does the conservative newspaper in your area publish every single state employee salary every year? Mine does, which includes mine! 1. Migraine Month* I think there’s a difference between “this is public information that can be found if you look for it” and publishing it in a conservative newspaper with the subtext “here are the salaries of every government leech in the state, call your governor to complain.” 1. The Dude Abides* Maybe? My monthly salary is public information and is accessible via a public database on my state Comptroller’s website. 3. Observer* Word (and Microsoft in general) is a crappy system that we only use because Microsoft bribes companies to use it. I stand with the worker who insisted on sticking with WordPerfect! Sorry, when you work with other people, you don’t get to stand on your high horse that way. As for management letting him get away with sticking with a computer that was almost certainly slowing him down – and endangering the network because he refused to allow updates? That’s just irresponsible. 1. anonymous73* This. I’d love to know HOW he got away with it, especially in government where there are more rules about security than your average company. 2. Critical Rolls* Right? Whoever talked to the union must have had no idea what they were about because I have *never* worked anywhere you could get away with not letting the org do what they wanted to/needed to with their own dang equipment, never mind the security risk of failing to update! 4. it's just the frame of mind* Yes, that’s exactly my impression of this. I understand not wanting drama, but some of these changes either aren’t for the better, or might be worse for just some people. Some people legitimately don’t work well when the culture encourages constant IMing, for example. 1. Cat Lover* But they were doing it anyway- just with email. They weren’t protesting Slack, they were protesting not using email to essentially text. 2. Jora Malli* That was my thought with the chair story. Yes, this reaction was over the top. But I have a spinal issue and I have very specific requirements for my office chair so I don’t injure myself by sitting in a chair without the necessary supports, so if someone else selected a new chair for me based on what it would look like instead of the ergonomic necessities, I’d be really upset too. I’d probably express that calmly in a private meeting rather than hiding my chair in a bathroom stall, but the idea of replacing all the chairs in the office just so they’d match isn’t necessarily a good one. 1. SixTigers* I alerted sharply at the “chair” story, too. I have a bad back, and I have a chair that doesn’t annoy my back, and I will go to the barricades to defend my chair. It’s older and it’s stained in a few places, but it doesn’t make my back hurt and I will NOT trade it for another chair, no matter how cushy or matchy-matchy the new one. 3. Critical Rolls* Re: Slack: Hard to know how well people might adapt when they refuse to even think about trying. 5. Excel-sior* WordPerfect may well have been better than Word (I’m not going to argue either way) but to refuse to do any updates on your computer and not let IT even touch it is very much unreasonable. 6. Sopranohannah* I’m with the people who couldn’t get their old pens. I’m very territorial about my pens. 9. ducki3x* Hahaha, oh wow, the chair one takes me back to when they were switching out office furniture at my office, and there were a ton of people upset about chair swaps and similar hiding of chairs. I didn’t care about this much, but I cared GREATLY about their attempts to replace my large, sturdy whiteboard with a thin smaller one, for basically no good reason (the CEO wanted everything to look the same, basically). My fellow analysts and I did put up a stink about that one and I maaaaaaay have threatened to lock mine to my desk with a bike lock, but thankfully our manager got it and managed to get us an exemption (and we really did need that extra space to diagram problems) 1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin* Once I worked for a newspaper where the chairs were old and awful. So the owners, who were renovating a building in Texas, put all the old chairs from the Texas building into a truck, sent them up to us in Massachusetts, and told us we could use the Texans’ equally skanky old chairs. Good times, good times. 1. Roy G. Biv* I worked for company that bought two other smaller companies, closing down one location and consolidating both offices in to the second location, Site B. All leftover office furnishings were stored in a facility near the HQ, where I worked. After a year or two the company gave us an opportunity to buy furniture from the storage site, for home office use or whatever. I remember being appalled at how cheap, uncomfortable and bad the office chairs were, and then doubly appalled when informed these same chairs would be an upgrade to the quality of chairs in use at Site B. 10. many bells down* Ohhhh we’re getting a new copier next week. I can’t wait to start blaming everything on it! Also, I liked WordPerfect better too. In, like, 1990. 1. Skytext* Ooooh, didn’t we have a letter once about a boss at a University who was so upset about the new copier that she SET IT ON FIRE?! Hope things are calmer at your office lol. 1. SixTigers* Oh, her! Yeah, she was seriously scamming the University, and the copier was the way she was making a lot of cash, so she was not about to allow her money-maker to be removed. 2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people* I really miss the reminder cards with three levels of keyboard shortcuts to put above the function keys (so you could see what would happen if you hit f6 versus alt f6 versus ctrl f6, all color-coded) from the MSDOS WordPerfect days. It took longer to figure things out at first, and particularly if you somehow lost the card, but once you memorized the ones you used often it was very fast and I much preferred it to hunting through some kind of GUI to find the thing I want, which always seems to be in a different place than it was last time in a different submenu somewhere. Also, it was a major upgrade from Bank Street Writer, which is what I’d been using before, since it actually showed the line breaks where they’d be when I printed the document and let me set margins. 1. Sleeve McQueen* I still keep accidentally using WP keyboard shortcuts even though I stopped using it in 1995 11. Falling Diphthong* The phone system was not connected to the coffee maker *at all*, and there was literally no way one could affect the other. This is what the new phone system wants you to think. 1. Tim* I am imagining a revised ending to “When a Stranger Calls.” The calls are coming from inside the coffee maker! 1. Skytext* Kit, yes the coffeemaker, created and built as a slave to serve humans, and still loyal to the humans, is a traitor to the new mechanized regime and therefore MUST BE TERMINATED! 2. Mockingjay* We have a handful of new household appliances and all have wifi/bluetooth connections. I have no idea why. Because I’m supposed to load an app to turn on the microwave? Even though I still have to physically open the door and put in the plate to reheat, so I might as well push the buttons while I’m there. 1. Falling Diphthong* You can hack people’s slow cookers using the blue tooth connection!!!!! I want to say that an adept hacker can then use this to get around more interesting systems, but am way out of my technological depth. 1. Lady_Lessa* If you wanted a delayed start of your crock pot, plug in timers are available. It’s not as if the pot is in the refrigerator and a robot will remove it, place it into the heating unit, and then you remotely turn it on. 1. Gray Lady* Mine doesn’t have any remote functions, but it has a built-in delay start. I can’t understand preferring to interrupt my day to remotely turn on the appliance (and having to remember to do that!), rather than setting it in advance and letting it turn itself on. 2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy* My husband has (melodramatically, IMO) expressed concern that the smart plug on my Christmas lights will entice all the hackers to our network. But we do not have an interesting system and anyone who could hack in through the Christmas lights probably doesn’t need to look that hard for a back door :-P 2. Kayem* I feel the same way about my washer and dryer. The only reason they’re on the network is because I find it hilarious when my phone tells me that they’re ready. I named them Jekyll and Hyde. 3. Fedpants* I put water in my Bluetooth tea kettle at night, and then turn it on while I’m brushing my teeth, so that it will be boiling when I get downstairs. Tea brews while I feed cats/clean litter box, and then cools while I walk the dog. It is 100% the most ridiculous feature of anything in my house, and I kind of love it. 1. SixTigers* We used to have an automatic coffeepot that would start at whatever pre-set time was chosen. Purely mechanical. Worked great. NO Internet connection, no IOT weaknesses. I read about the hackers who can slide into homes through the gaping holes in the IOT “security” and it makes my flesh crawl. 3. AJoftheInternet* I would be the person telling the paranoid coworkers about the Butterfly Effect, thereby to allow them to continue to spread chaos. 4. Hazel* Mercury (the planet) could be the connection! (kidding, but sort of serious) I don’t even know what “retrograde” means, but every time multiple gadgets (phones, roku, laptop, whatever) start acting up, my friend who does know what it means, confirms that, in fact, Mercury IS in retrograde. Maybe someone can shed light on this phenomenon for us. 1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer* Go ask your friend at random times if Mercury is in retrograde. I’ll bet it is, even though nothing’s gone wrong. (It’s just a reference to an optical illusion that affects how it *appears* to move, for the folks viewing from Earth and thru a thick atmosphere.) 12. Doc in a Box* Re Slack: my division chief really wants people to use Slack instead of email. Thing is, for my workflow (mainly collaborating with groups outside our division, rather than internal projects), email really is the most efficient tool. Slack is just another site I have to check. Also, because in any given week I am on five or six different workstations (clinic exam room, clinic workroom, clinic office, academic office, home laptop, home desktop), I would need to log in to slack on multiple machines, unless I put it on my personal cell phone which is a hard NO from me. I don’t even have email on my phone. tl;dr Don’t force everyone to use the same communication tool/app. 1. Get over yourself II electric boogaloo* Other people are just as annoyed by email in the opposite direction. I think one system is needed so you don’t get the senior folks that refuse to answer a message on a given platform, hereby holding up everyone’s work. It seems like standards are needed around the internal v external or a way to minimize emails. 2. Sunny* I think it’s that different tools work for different purposes. I love Slack for quick questions and work decisions, getting input on something, or just generally urgent items. Really, anything that’s more conversation than documentation. But if I need to summarize a meeting and make sure everyone knows what was assigned to them (and other, general CYA purposes), I find email is far more reliable. I have a record of what I sent, I can file it away, forward it, etc. And it’s far more findable six months later when someone yells at me about something they forgot to do. Email servers are also maintained by my organization and will be around forever. Slack is an external company, with servers outside my own country, and plus, if you have a free account, you only get 6 months of history. 3. KateM* So which is it – you don’t need to log to your work e-mail from these different workstations or you have your work e-mail in your personal cell phone? 1. Doc in a Box* We use Office/Exchange, so once you log into the physical workstation/machine, you just have to open Outlook to look at your email. Exception is the clinic rooms, which only have clinical applications installed like our Epic (our electronic medical record) and PACS (to look at MRIs and x-rays). For Slack, we’d need to get IT to install it on each machine, or use the web interface (so, another log in). If you’re working predominantly in one area that’s fine, but when you’ve got multiple machines and your work is externally facing rather than internal, it’s a hassle. For me email is way more searchable, and if you set up filters, as I have, it’s way easier to sort and find things in Outlook than in Slack. There’s a pretty clear distinction in my division between Slack users (predominantly the researchers, who are working with an internal team or lab on specific projects) and email users (predominantly the clinicians or health services/policy folks who are interacting with people across the world). I do log into Slack about once a month because that’s where our division chief puts the agenda for our monthly division meeting. From what I can see, “channels” are like a combination of email folders and chat. I don’t see how it adds any value to my own workflow, other than a fourth inbox I have to remember to check (email, clinical faxes, patient portal messages, and now Slack). 13. I'm Just Here For The Cats!* That last one! Like what??? He must have been having such a bad day that he figured that quitting was the answer? What were they supposed to do with the poop shoe? 1. New Jack Karyn* “What were they supposed to do with the poop shoe?” Who knows, but it wasn’t going to be him dealing with crap there, not even one minute longer. 2. Chas* When I was having to do a 2 hour commute to work, I’d occasionally look at the trains going to London and consider hopping on one of those, going to Heathrow and just flying off to somewhere nice forever instead of going into work. Of course, I never actually DID that, because it would have consequences and my job wasn’t THAT bad (the main problem was getting up at 6:30 for the commute, and I was in the process of buying a flat to solve that problem) but I can imagine if something had actually gone wrong enough one morning, there’s the possibiltiy I might have actually acted on my “F-this” impulse and just up and quit instead, even if anyone thinking about it for more than a minute could see it was a bad idea. 14. Grace Poole* We have a team in our office who won’t use Slack, either. Every other project I’m on has a dedicated channel and we have fun ones as well where people share recipes and pet/kid pictures. For the holdouts, we have the email chains where 8 people have to reply all with “great idea!” instead of just using a thumbs up emoji on a Slack message. 1. Not a cat* We had a slack channel for pet pix. We had to take it down because one of the sales idiots thought it was stupid and went to HR. 1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin* oh, that’s awful! We have all kinds of non-work ones, for music, video games, parenting, DIY, football, other football (aka soccer), muscle cars … 2. Casper Lives* Went to HR about a work-appropriate Slack channel? he should’ve told them they would “take it under advisement” and done nothing. Instead of getting rid of a bit of camaraderie. 1. Lance* Really though. It’s not harming anyone, it’s a fun little thing for people to appreciate, HR should’ve shut this down rather than humored it. 15. glebers* I realize this isn’t the case for the people in the chair story, but as someone with a bad back: just let me keep my dang chair! For all the special ergonomic designs, some chairs just hit my individual back problems differently. One time we got new chairs that were much nicer, but just happened to be uncomfortable for how my back hurts. I found a broken down old one in the lunch room that felt much better. Thankfully no one cared. I would’ve been very sad to be forced to use a less comfortable chair because of corporate aesthetic mandates. 1. quill* Everyone is a different height, so ergonomic chairs cannot hit the same spots on everyone’s torsos… And I say this as someone who is currently sitting sideways in their desk chair. For no reason other than I got tired of the way I was sitting a bit ago. 1. BookishMiss* I end up sitting like a croissant half the time, whether I’m WFH in a gaming chair or in the office in a subjectively great chair. If I have to sit in one position for an extended period, I won’t be able to stand up/ walk, so… croissant it is! 2. Salymander* My husband bought new desk chairs for our house, and was raving about how they are ergonomically designed and so comfortable and they cost so much at regular price but he found them on sale for half price etc. These chairs are so uncomfortable. My kid and I are both over 5’8″, and the chairs cause us both to have back pain. Husband is about 5’4″ (he calls it 5’7″ but nope), and he says these are the best chairs ever. The chairs are clearly designed to fit people who are not so tall. My kid and I take turns using the old chair, and husband is annoyed because his magical chairs of awesomeness are not appreciated. Because they are Ergonomic! And they are so expensive and yet he paid half price! And we are wasting a whole chair by not using it! And they are ERGONOMIC! So, now when my family wants to say that we don’t like something, we say, “But it’s ERGONOMIC!” Even husband laughs at that. 2. Meow* I’m a short person with back pain, likely in part from sitting on chairs that don’t fit right. I used an old chair for ages, but it eventually broke down. after discussing things with HR, they let me special order a chair. They didn’t want a whole herd of people coming in requesting special chairs, so I tried my best to find one that looks similar to the standard ergonomic chair everyone else has. It was. friggin. impossible. Apparently office chair seats are made much larger than they used to be as a standard. Maybe it’s better ergonomically for most people, but not someone my size. I felt like a jerk trying to explain to HR over the course of a week that I needed a chair with a special seat size that none of their approved vendors seemed to sell… 1. mego* OMG yes! I’m 5’7″ with long legs and it’s still hard to find a desk chair that lets my feet rest flat on the floor. Thankfully our chairs at work are highly adjustable, but I need a new one for my home office and it’s not going great. 2. mlem* Tons of office chairs are designed to tilt the seat slightly forward, because someone decided that was “better”. It’s an instant severe headache trigger for me. (My workplace is one of those “all the chairs Must Match!!!” places, but with different models per building. I’ve spent a lot of years swapping out my office chair with my rigid side chair, depending on which model I happen to be stuck with in any given month. 3. Loredena* Did you ever find a chair that works? I am also short and feel like I’m constantly trying to find better choice for my home office 1. Meow* The one I got HR to purchase me unfortunately turned out to suck, but at home I actually have an AKRacing California gaming chair. It’s bright purple but it’s very comfortable. It’s kind of depressing that it was easier to find a good gaming chair for short people than professional office chair, but I notice a lot of people in home offices these days are finding better value in ergonomic gaming chairs than cheap office chairs. 1. Jerusha* I bought a gaming chair at the beginning of the lockdown – I looked up a bunch of office chair specs and pricing, and discovered that most office chairs were rated for 4-5 hours/day of use. A gaming chair was less expensive than most office chairs, while being deliberately built for people who spend a long. time. sitting. in it. The one I bought doesn’t go quite low enough, so I use a footstool with it, but I have the same problem with most office chairs. 3. Can't think of a funny name* Yeah, I don’t disagree with the chair one, lol. A few years ago my company replaced all the office chairs and they all HAD to match…the suggestion of getting a few options and letting people pick whichever was more comfortable for them was apparently ridiculous…we can’t NOT have matching chairs, the horrors! Being matchy-matchy was more important than comfort. Gah! 4. Prefer my pets* I totally agree. I’m super short and have a chronic pain condition. The only office chairs that are actually comfortable for me are those little tiny but super padded armless “secretary chairs” that as far as I can tell they stopped making 20 years ago. I literally have a hoard of them I’ve saved from the dumpster that I pull from as each one wears out. Three separate offices have spend thousands and thousands of dollars trying to buy a “modern” chair that will work for me despite my protests but nope…most of them my feet can’t touch the ground and my back touch the back at the same time no matter how adjustable they claim to be. The ones that dimensionally fit don’t have sufficient padding for my fibro pressure sensitivity and adding padding goes right back to being too high. I was so pissed one manager made me actually go all the way through the formal ADA accommodation process to have a chair that didn’t match everyone else’s….pretty sure our regional HR/EEO person who handled those ripped him up one side & down the other over that (federal job and employees preferring to use old furniture as long as it isn’t the dangerous 4-spokes style is just not something that is generally complained about) 1. Casper Lives* Hahaha. I’m laughing at the ridiculousness of offices. I’m 4’11 with a chronic joint pain condition. Yes, my office made me go through the formal ADA request for a chair that doesn’t hurt me. Then didn’t fulfill it because we’re WFH for covid and I bought myself equipment that worked. Yay for corporations 2. Res Admin* I can empathize. Although my supervisor did try ordering me multiple chairs, still I sit here in a meeting room chair with my feet on a box because it is still more comfortable than the expensive chairs (my feet never do touch if it is raised enough for typing and, at best, I slide right off the ergonomic chairs–at worst, my back ends up killing me). 3. just a random teacher* …what’s dangerous about 4-spokes chairs? My school tends to have an absolute grab bag of teacher chairs from surplus/donation places, no attempt made to match whatsoever as opposed to get it for free/cheap, and I’m curious if I should now be paying attention to how many spokes are on our chairs. About a decade ago, I worked at a place where teachers still had the old-school wooden non-rolling desk chairs. My desk was also made of wood, and I eventually covered the entire desk frame around where my legs went with clear packing tape due to all of the splinters I kept getting. (I also scored a second locking file cabinet by going out to the district surplus warehouse and trying my existing file cabinet key in every locked cabinet until I found one I could open. When I worked for a bank, we instead had a locksmith who would change out file cabinet locks so they’d be keyed appropriately for the right people to have access to that set of files, but taxpayer dollars must stretch…) 1. why it gotta be this way* If you lean forward in the right way, it can slide out and throw you on the ground. Ask me how I know, hahaha 5. Just Another Cog* I get this! Once, we got new chairs that some brilliant manager decided were just perfect. The armrests didn’t adjust at all so some were sitting with pushed up shoulders or elbows tucked into their sides all day. Eventually, I took the armrests off of mine and was way happier. Many coworkers followed suit. We saved the pieces in case someone wanted to put them back on. Manager was not happy we had “destroyed” the new office furniture. Maybe there’s a lesson here about human beings are not all the same, or something like that. 1. Deborah* We all took the under-desk drawer out from the new desks because our knees kept hitting them. And we’re short people — these were just badly designed desks. Same thing as you, we put the drawers back behind some other furniture in the corner just in case. 16. idwtpaun* You know, story #7, your initial reaction to the 227% in the price of oatmeal may not have been as ridiculous as think. I recently read a twitter thread by a UK poverty food advocate, where she a lot of the education she does is explaining to people that when you have$10 to feed yourself and your child for a week, you have $10 and not$10.25 or $10.15. An increase “by just a few pence” means having to put jam back on the shelf and feed your child dry toast for breakfast. I don’t know if anyone buying oatmeal from that cafeteria was in that kind of financial situation, but I still no longer look at increases in low-cost food items as unimportant. 1. quill* I’m just wondering, did it reflect a price increase in other cafeteria items as well, that was less noticeable because they already cost more? 2. Generic Name* I agree. I get that$1.25 is still fairly cheap, but it is a huge increase percentage-wise, and I do think that is somewhat outrageous.

1. Daisy-dog*

I buy a box of 10 oatmeal packets for $1.79 (usually on sale for$1.50). Now that’s not including what I spend on milk & toppings, but I do question the steep increase. If I worked there, I would just bring my own without protesting.

3. Excel-sior*

Would that have been Jack Monroe? She’s fantastic and always worth reading. I’m fortunate enough to be financially safe (for now – who knows how inflation will affect things) so it can be easy to overlook things like this.

4. idwtpaun*

Just realized I used “pence” because I was talking about a UK speaker but still the $symbol out of habit. I think I just created a new currency! 5. NNN222* This came up recently with the increase from$1 to $1.25 in Dollar Tree prices. For those of us who only occasionally buy things from Dollar Tree, the extra quarter seemed like no big deal. To people who primarily shopped at Dollar Tree, it was a 25% increase on most of their home staples and a decent amount of their food purchases. It could really break someone who was just making ends meet. 6. Hope* I came here to say this as well. 70 cents is 55 pence at current exchange rates. I just googled “what can you buy for 55 pence” and came across this article about a mother bursting into tears in (a fairly low-cost) supermarket because she wasn’t sure she’d have enough to buy a 55p treat for her kids: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/uk-news/woman-bursts-tears-asda-because-23584911 This woman decided she couldn’t afford to heat her son’s mini-pizza, and this would have been “just” a few pence even at the current sky-high energy prices in the UK: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/19/britain-cost-of-living-crisis-carer-universal-credit 17. Avril Ludgateau* #1 as a government worker, being concerned about how the public views you is a waste of time. The people offended by seeing workers take a break will always find a reason to stereotype you as lazy, drain of resources, blah blah blah. They’re typically fundamentally, ideologically opposed to government, period (except for all the “silent” ways it supports them, which they neglect). To that end, while the response was poor and exaggerated, removing that table was a morale-deflating measure made solely with the interest of outsiders, and not staff, in mind, and for that reason, it was a bad decision. Even if there was another area to congregate. People attach themselves to routines and traditions – and this was a particularly harmless one to do away with because some busybodies who are always looking for bones to pick, had a bone to pick. 1. Observer* That doesn’t mean that these folks handled the situation in a reasonable way. I agree that management was wrong. But all these geniuses managed to do was to insure that no one ever looks at that again and trash their credibility. 2. xl* Fed here. Once when I was taking a much-needed vacation (for the first time in years), on the plane ride I ended up sitting next to such a person. While we were chatting on the flight over the Pacific and the topic of employment came up, they became incensed to learn that their tax dollars were going toward something as frivolous as someone using them to go to Hawaii. 1. Constance Lloyd* State employee contracted to do work for a federal agency here, and it’s nearly every day that I speak to someone who is incensed I didn’t answer their call on my lunch break, or at 8:00 at night, or while I was on another call with another taxpayer. They pay my salary so of course I should be their personal assistant and available at all times. 1. Nanc* I spent about 20 years working in government. My response to “I pay your salary” was I pay my salary, too as federal, state and local taxes are all deducted from my paycheck. As is Social Security and a portion of my PERS. Yeesh. 2. SixTigers* A lot of people have really internalized those Burger King commercials. And they expect to have things “their way” all the time. 3. Lizziana* I have to travel in rural parts of my state a lot for my federal job. I remember one point when we were stuck in a road closure due to an accident, we’d probably been there about 30 min, and the highway patrol came by to say it’d be at least another 30-45 min. I was in a government car. It was a nice day, so people had gotten out of their cars to get some fresh air and had started making small talk. One guy pointed told me he couldn’t believe “his tax dollars” were paying for me to just “stand around” on the side of a road for an hour. 1. Jerusha* What did he expect you to do? I mean, would he have been happy if his precious, precious tax dollars had gone to pay for a helicopter so you could nope out of the road closure? 4. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer* The table wasn’t removed; just relocated. To an area with privacy from the street, no less. 1. SixTigers* From a nice cool leafy spot under a big tree — to where? When my company relocated the outside lunch tables, it was to a scorching treeless barren close enough to a tidal creek that those brave enough to venture out there were chewed alive by mosquitos. Then the executive suite complained bitterly that no one was using the outside area. 18. Beebee* Ooh I have one that I didn’t add to the original comments. When I started at my last job about six years ago, the company used Outlook for everything instead of Gmail/Google. I’d say for 75% of employees it makes no difference which is used and for the remaining 25%, Gmail is superior in every way. We all use Google Sheets constantly and people had resorted to making spreadsheets on their personal accounts which meant things easily got lost, especially if someone left the company. When we did finally switch over, it was significantly easier to use. Plus it made booking meeting rooms way easier — on Outlook, we could not create calendars or meeting invitations for the rooms themselves. The only way we could change meeting rooms was requesting IT to do it, so they had to book all of our meetings for us (and we would regularly have multiple departments with 5+ hours of meetings a day). It all made no sense. But the head of IT was acting as though this was a personal attack against her to switch away from Outlook. She refused to help the execs switch over and insisted on keeping them all on Outlook and whenever we would come to her asking for her assistance on a Gmail issue (all of which stemmed from having a tiny portion of workers still on Outlook’s old calendar system), she would just make a snarky comment about how we had asked for gmail so we had better solve this ourselves. Every single time I had to go to IT asking them to switch a meeting around so that I could have the correct room booked/deleted, she would say something like “I thought [your department] wanted this!! It doesn’t seem to be working, does it?” when all the issues would have been gone if we had no one on Outlook. Why the head of IT was like this I do not know… thankfully she left a few months after I started but they never did switch everyone fully over to gmail while I worked there. 1. ThursdaysGeek* Guess she wasn’t that good with Outlook either – we use it, and I can add a meeting room to my invitation, and also add the electronic white board to my meeting. I also use it to reserve a company car. 1. JanetM* That may depend on how your instance of Exchange is set up. When we first started using Exchange, the administrators didn’t create rooms or equipment; the only way to work it was to create a public calendar for the room and send the meeting request from that calendar. Now we have have rooms set up as resources, and can add / remove them to/from meetings easily. 1. Beebee* Yeah it was some sort of setup like that where the rooms weren’t rooms, so you could sometimes invite them but never change it afterwards nor confirm who had booked each room for what. Total nightmare! 1. SixTigers* We had the Total Nightmare (TM) version, and after many fruitless promises of improvement, it was an enormous relief when I no longer had to try to book meetings. 2. Kes* Yeah, that’s what I was thinking – sounds like a bad setup. We can definitely book meetings in our outlook; there’s a tool to check which are available at that time even. And for spreadsheets you just need a shareable location to store them, google drive/onedrive/teams etc. That said, doesn’t sound like she handled any of this well. 2. Bongofury* How odd. We have Outlook and I can definitely see the calendar for meeting rooms. I wonder why? But in the same vane our IT system is entirely set up on Zimbra, which is a way to talk to Outlook without using Outlook, because our VP of IT hates everything Microsoft. We keep pushing to go to Outlook directly instead of logging into Zimbra’s website every day but he shuts it down immediately. Usually by whining. He also refuses to use Adobe because he hates them too, so we have this odd software called Bluebeam that is a copy of Adobe and works fine but no one has ever heard of it. 1. TrixM* You actually have to go out of your way to stop people seeing a meeting room calendar. By default, they are “shared”. But perhaps this is a complaint from 20 years ago, when admins did need to make some changes to make meeting room calendars readable. Back then, they were mailboxes like other “person” mailboxes. Or, I just had a thought, perhaps their meeting rooms were set up as “Public Folder” calendars – in that case, they’re pretty lacking in function, and were generally intended to be used by some kind of delegate to maintain on behalf of someone else. But a proper Exchange admin should have been able to sort out what was required. Before Exchange was Microsoft Mail and Schedule+, which was an add-on product for sharing schedules/calendars. The whole USP of Exchange was that it combined the two products to offer the email and good scheduling capabilities all in one. 19. Rachael* #8 would also drive me nuts. I would cancel all meetings and schedule new meetings with new names. 20. quill* Going to (only slightly) defend the pen people here: if you find a brand that will write both on normal paper AND on glossy labels, you keep it. 1. anonymous73* Sure, and a company is not obligated to buy everyone their favorite pen. I prefer basic Bic medium point pens and spiral notebooks over gel pens and legal pads. And if I can’t get them at work, I buy my own. I don’t throw a temper tantrum about it. 2. Chas* I was wondering if it was a case of the new pens not being suitable for the job, especially with the mention of *fine*pens being the complaint. My workplace has changed stationary supplier recently so I can no longer get 10-packs of Staedler fine-tip permanent marker pens that have a hard tip (and therefore continue to make fine lines until they run out of ink). Instead we now have to get Sharpies, which are soft tips that flatten out over time and end up with a much wider line than they start with after a few weeks of use, which makes it impossible to write detailed info on tiny plastic tubes with them. While I’m not complaining, I have taken to hoarding a few of the old good pens for when I need to label something important. 21. RB* I sympathize with a few of these. Word Perfect actually was better that MS Word. Chairs do make a difference if you have any sort of back issue. And that picnic table sounds like a really nice place to take your break — who cares what the people driving by might think on how they’re spending their time? I bet the new place they created was not as shady or didn’t have the same types of tables. 22. Dust Bunny* This reminds me of every time Facebook updates something and people are OUTRAGED, OUTRAGED, I TELL YOU for about ten minutes and then adapt and forget about it. So much tempest in such a little teapot. 1. londonedit* I remain utterly horrified at New Instagram and I don’t think I’ll get over it any time soon, I have to say. I do not want my feed filled with ‘suggested’ videos and reels, I don’t want everyone’s photos to be horribly dark with weird coloured bands top and bottom and the caption across the bottom of the photo, and I just want to see photos from the people I follow, in chronological order. The whole thing is an absolute mess and completely defeats the object of the platform. If I wanted TikTok, I’d be on TikTok. 1. Pathfinder Ryder* Tap the Instagram logo and go to Following. It’s just the people you follow and it’s in chronological order. 23. Hobbling Up A Hill* I have to say, I am on the side of the people who were horrified at a 227% increase in their oatmeal price. That is ridiculous and it’s perfectly fair that they were annoyed about it. 24. I'm Just Here For The Cats!* I had a similar chair issue. Most of the cubicals and offices had the same chairs and so did the conference rooms. They were actually pretty nice chairs. There were a few straglers that were from the first batch of chairs but mostly we all had these grey and purple ergonomic style chairs. Well they decided that the conference rooms should get new all purple leather chairs that were really cushiony. (they were sooo comfy). Well, everyone decided that they needed to take one of the old chairs from the conference room. It became a thing! Messages went out the week leading to when the old chairs would be taken. The admin went around to everyone’s desk and office and replaced the really old chairs (plain black) with the 2nd generation (gray and purple). Time was given for you to swap your chair. People took a lot of time trying each chair. Conversations were had. The coat room became a chair holder to put all the “bad” chairs in so you could make sure you could find a “good” chair. THESE WERE THE SAME CHAIRS. Grated the chairs in the conference room didn’t get used as much and so were not as wore out. And I did swap mine since it had broken and would gradually sink down as the day went on. But the level that everyone fought for a good chair was hilarious. 1. Florida Fan 15* “THESE WERE THE SAME CHAIRS” has me giggling, partly because it’s the exact thing that would happen at my office. 25. surlygirly* One thing that has been consistent in every office I’ve worked in during my 20+ year career is that chairs are Srs Bzns. 26. Elle* I gotta say, I see red any time people’s knee-jerk assumption is that others are “lazy.” 27. Lavender* Kind of tangentially similar to the Slack story: I used to have a coworker who refused to get a personal email address. She’d been working for the organization since the early days of email, so her work email account was her first ever email address…and then I guess she just never got another one. This was an issue because our union reps wouldn’t send union-related correspondence to our work accounts, so you couldn’t get union updates if you didn’t provide them with a personal email address. She kept complaining that she wasn’t getting emails from the union and repeatedly asked them to add her work email to the list, despite many explanations that our supervisors had access to those accounts and union updates are supposed to be confidential. For some reason she also refused to sign up for Gmail or any other free email service. (Our organization used G-Suite so she definitely knew how to use Gmail.) Finally one of our coworkers who had her personal phone number agreed to text her any time there was a union update, which kind of solved the problem – but she never did seem to understand why they couldn’t just email her on her work account. 1. RB* Again, I’m sympathetic here. I LIKE doing everything all on one email address and it’s not generally a problem. Our union reached an agreement with company mgmt that it was ok for the union to use people’s work emails for those sorts of notifications. 1. Casper Lives* What if you’re fired/let go/retired, have no access to your email effective immediately, and can no longer use any accounts linked to email? That could be anything from bank account to child’s teacher to store rewards program. It’s not a good idea to mix work and personal emails. IT can see the emails between a worker and their divorce attorney 1. Lavender* Yeah, privacy issues go beyond union stuff. I wouldn’t want my employer to have access to my medical records or bank statements, for example – and it can be fairly easy to get access to that stuff if you can get into the person’s email. Or what if you’re job hunting – would you want your employer to potentially see emails between you and a hiring manager at a different company? Even if the employer says they won’t look, that doesn’t guarantee they never will. I’m signed into all of my email accounts on my phone, so it all shows up in the same place on my end but my employer only has access to the work-related stuff. 2. turquoisecow* Yeah I wonder if people who want to have only their work account for everything don’t ever intend to retire? Because I don’t think most companies will let people have access to their email once they’ve left. 1. TrixM* Co-signed. Speaking as an email administrator. Also, if you’re involved in some kind of legal discovery process because of your work role, the contents of your mail may be read out in court/be reported/in the public record, etc etc. The best one I had was the employee that signed up to an adult dating site (with “adult” in its name – a pre-Tinder), complete with a profile pic of him in his very identifiable first-responder uniform. The reason I knew was that he typoed his work email and the reply from the site with his new password ended up in our postmaster mailbox. So I kindly logged on, changed the contact email to the address he had put in his public profile, requested a new password and then blocked that org from being able to send mail to us. This was nearly 20 years ago now – certainly wouldn’t bother now. 2. Lavender* I mean sure, it’s easier to have all your important emails all in one place – but when you’ve been repeatedly told that that’s not an option, creating a second account is quick to do and costs nothing. In this case, it truly was not an option for her to use her work account, because the higher-ups have access to all of our emails on there and there was no way to ensure privacy. (Not to mention the fact that using your work email for everything has all kinds of other potential issues.) 3. just a random teacher* I use a personal email for my actual personal stuff, but I haaaate it when I have to use it for union, licensure, and continuing education stuff, because I don’t want to think about work when I’m using my personal email, and that’s Work Stuff. I don’t want my mother emailing me news articles about dogs at work, and I don’t want my union emailing me news articles about teaching at home. (I get WHY the union doesn’t want to use district email for some communications, I just don’t want them mixed in with my personal stuff either, but also don’t want One More Email Account to check. Bleh.) 1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer* You could make a 2nd account, for all your workity stuff? I have 2 gmails, one with a cute name and one with a V. Srs. Bidness Name. 28. Bernice Clifton* #13 I’m an admin and 13 is wild to me. There’s *always* someone who has All The Opinions about where food should be ordered from and what and how much should be ordered. I can’t imagine calling someone into an office over making a suggestion! 1. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)* Our org solved this by turning over all food ordering to our events team, and they use us as guinea pigs for trying out new catering options. At least it focuses the ire at another department lol. The complaining about one particular one was epic, and I admit to being part of it (the dessert was bigger than the entree!) 2. bassclefchick* That one was mine! Yeah, they absolutely would NOT even CONSIDER ordering from a different place and acted like I asked them to kick puppies. 1. Aggresuko* That’ll be fun someday if someone has a food allergy or something and then they have no choice but to not go to Favorite Only Place. 29. Curiouser and Curiouser* The meeting thing is strangely relatable LOL. The team I am on attends a LOT of meetings, and there are probably at least 2 standing meetings every day that the entire team is on. Once every quarter or so, my boss and grandboss mention wanting us all to attend less meetings, and suggest having designated attendees and notes so we can spread out the meetings we need to attend. The first few times this happened, I suggested about 8 meetings we could do this with, and identified a different person who could attend each one. Invariably, this was met with “oh, but I need to be in that one…Jane needs to be in that one too…etc. etc.” by boss and grand boss and no changes were actually made. They are otherwise wonderful people to work for, so I have learned to shrug when the suggestion comes up, say “yeah, that would be a great idea!” and leave it at that. Some things just aren’t gonna change. 30. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)* Ah, the Slack wars. We’ve mostly settled on using Slack for internal departmental collaboration and mostly turn to email for groups outside our own, with a few exceptions – the exceptions mostly being younger members of other groups that happen to collaborate closely with us. 31. #14 OP* When this happened, it felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back. That job required navigating so much B.S. that navigating actual S just broke him completely!! 1. Unkempt Flatware* I quit my last job after an elected official trashed our work in a public meeting. As I was driving away, a snake blocked my path to get out. As I waited for it to move, I sent in my resignation. It was just too apt a metaphor. 32. Janet Pinkerton* I am fully aghast that the WordPerfect employee was allowed to refuse updates and upgrades to his computer!!! There’s absolutely no way that would fly at my government organization—it’s a sizable risk if you don’t get updates! Security risk, risk that stuff will break, etc. 1. Observer* Yes. And I say this as someone who thinks that WP is actually still essentially better than Word. But, you simply cannot insist on the tool that works better for you when it has this kind of potential impact. 2. Rick T* IT needs to remind him it isn’t ‘his’ computer, it belongs to the organization and THEY make the decisions about what is installed and when updates happen. My 2nd job was an IT support tech and the only way we could function was with the full support of management on enforcing standards. We used a mainframe email system back then that required a specific keyboard (PF1, PF2, PF3, PF4 keys) and I still had users demanding to bring in a keyboard from home. When it was update time I’d ask users ‘what time Tuesday morning can I come by and update your system?’ No choice on if, just when. 3. cubone* at my last job, our new boss insisted that we “switch” to Google Drive as that was his preference. He refused to access any documents on our server or use Microsoft and would redirect to Drive. When people complained about needing to use their personal Gmail to access docs, he encouraged them to do what he had done: create a new “work specific” Gmail account. IT knew about and endorsed none of this and I can literally still go into my Drive and see documents I’ve been given access to, like “2021 budget” and “list of passwords for online accounts”….. 1. SixTigers* Excuse me, but there is nothing in #6 about unions. It’s about an elderly employee who liked WordPerfect and insisted on keeping it on his computer. 33. Richard Hershberger* I am with the chair people. Your office chair is the most intimate piece of furniture you deal with apart from your bed. If I have a chair I like, I don’t want to give it up for an unknown chair. And I certainly don’t want to give it up for the sake of office decoration. I would go so far as to say that this shows the company is out of touch with or indifferent to its employees. 1. Everything Bagel* For sure. Real physical problems can result from not having the right chair. I recently was forced to have a new office chair when we changed offices and I ended up needing accommodations made to the chair because it was causing me shoulder and back pain. All because they bought chairs that couldn’t have the arms removed. 2. Just Your Everyday Crone* I agree with this. Even a mildly uncomfortable chair can have a quality of life effect. I would be very reluctant to give up a known-comfy chair. 3. Kes* I mean, on the one hand I absolutely sympathize with people caring about their office chair, if you’re going to sit in it all day; I think it’s a reasonable thing to care about. On the other hand I don’t think the answer is that companies can never replace office furniture including chairs, just because not all of the employees will be happy that things are changing 34. Erin* These stories, plus things like the person who threw condoms all over the interviewer’s desk & the person who accidentally threw a sandwich, absolutely make my day!! 35. anonymous73* I would to know how an employee, in a government office that generally has more policies that 20 other offices combined, got away with not letting IT update his company owned laptop??? And then they let him get away with continuing to use an outdated application. Did he work alone and never share any documents with others? It’s amazing to me that a company would let an adult throw a hissy fit to get their way instead of dealing with the insane behavior. 36. Everything Bagel* Regarding fine liner pens, you’ll take my Pilot Precise Grip extra fine blue pen from my cold dead hands. I’ve actually started buying my own because our admin keeps them locked in her cabinet due to the cost. I didn’t think a pen could matter so much until I couldn’t get my hands on one! 1. Phony Genius* I’m the same way with my pens. I blister easily, and there’s one kind of pen that I know won’t cause blisters. Unfortunately, our supply contractor no longer has these. My way of handing this is to begrudgingly buy my own at my local Staples for about$7, good for a few years’ worth. I do not threaten to stab the admin with the inferior pens. (Which I apparently need to say, based on the stories above.)

1. Richard Hershberger*

I have brought my own pens into the office for many years. I really dislike cheap ballpoints. I use disposables, but good ones. Yes, I shouldn’t have to pay for work equipment, but the cost is trivial and this isn’t worth fighting over, except to keep other people from stealing my good pens.

1. Kyrielle*

Yeah, I bought my own post-it notes for years because I wanted something more fun than plain yellow. (These are not generally used in inter-office communication, they’re reminders for myself and what-not. I probably didn’t, even then, go through 100 of the post-its in a year.)

Yes, the company would supply me with the supplies needed to do my job. This does not prevent me from bringing my own if they amuse me, brighten my day, etc., as long as they don’t break company rules or needs in so doing. :)

2. ecnaseener*

I don’t think the existing pens were being taken away in this story? They just weren’t ordering more.

37. xl*

I work in a government facility that uses a ton of paper, and the recycling story reminds me of a time years ago when I had a supervisor who was very eco-friendly and worked hard to get us recycling bins along with the trash cans in our area. We were all good about throwing paper into there.

One night when I was on the late shift and the custodians came through, I noticed that they were just taking both the trash cans and the recycling bins and dumping them all into the same trash can to take to the dumpster.

I didn’t have the heart to say anything to my supervisor.

1. Ali + Nino*

Yep. I’ve seen pictures of garbage/recycling bins with separate openings for each – but everything goes into the same bin :(

1. xl*

In some cases those are used in areas where the refuse is manually sorted downstream.

38. Llama Llover*

I am a social media manager for a large government agency. In light of what happened in Texas yesterday, I put a pause on social media for the day so we could leave space for grieving people. I have been accused of violating several people’s first amendment rights, and the number of calls and emails I have so far for exceptions has been staggering. One day! I’m asking you to shut up on Twitter for one day in respect of children who were killed in their classroom. I have cried three times already today.

1. Kristobel*

I’m so sorry. This is what has frustrated me the most over the last couple of days – this culture where we are just expected to keep working when there is a national tragedy, when in any other country things would stop and there would be mourning and here it’s just…a Tuesday? Children dying? Like during the Jan. 6 insurrection, we were in the meetings and NO ONE was like, ‘sorry guys, can’t concentrate, our country is under attack by its own citizens’ Money above everything I guess.

1. Office Coffee Always Sucks*

I was on a virtual conference during this time and one of the speakers said almost exactly this. Yet, we still continued on…

1. Aggresuko*

Yeah, all the people screaming at us about their personal emergencies won’t go away, you know!

39. Meep*

#3 is my level of petty when dealing with people who think they are above asking for help on using new technology.

40. Just Another HR Pro*

Do those people who were bitching and moaning about the popcorn not know that microwave popcorn is a thing and has been since the mid-80s? AND now there are even ones with different flavors? I am doubtful that the office didn’t have a microwave.

I am such a petty betty I would leave flyers with coupons for different kinds of microwave popcorns.

1. Nanani*

They do, but microwave popcorn that -they- have to spend a whole entire minute microwaving themselves, vs microwave popcorn served to them by a lady are two different things.

2. NNN222*

Someone will always burn microwave popcorn and the smell takes forever to go away. No thank you.

1. Salymander*

This is true. And the people who are complaining because their popcorn provider went away sound like the kind of people who would put the popcorn in the microwave and then just walk away. Then they would be surprised that it burned and stank everything up and say that it must be the microwave that is the problem.

The medical office I worked in forbid microwave popcorn after someone put a bag in for 30 minutes instead of 3 minutes. No one would fess up, and the doctors and office manager went on an investigation/rampage trying to find the guilty party. It was a whole “thing” that day, like the most petty Sherlock Holmes story ever. And after that no more microwave popcorn because OMG did it stink things up. People feel sick enough when they go to the doctor. They don’t need the staff there making it worse.

I’m the person who had the tantrum. My old job involved student services work. One of my responsibilities was to ensure that our students (in a non credit bearing academic prep program) had health insurance. In six years we had a lot of change, corresponding with a lot of THIS IS THE RULE and IMMIGRATION REQUIRES THIS and this form means we don’t get sued and every six months it was the same rigamorole with completely different rules for the same reason that rarely actually completely followed the actual rules. I got banned from talking about insurance all together (so I was not allowed to do part of my job).

One day about a year before I left an actual reasonable person who had read the Actual Rules started the student insurance position for our segment of students (my smaller group was a subset of this larger demographic) and she acted Completely Reasonably and….I lost my mind. I had a tantrum. I yelled and screamed at her in front of the new students in orientation.

She asked me why I was angry. When I didn’t have an answer I went to the doctor to get mental health treatment and made a series of decisions that ultimately led me to a healthy academic environment and the job I actually wanted at my dream college.

After reading AAM for some months now, I realize what happened was that my former workplace was so so so toxic and twice as chaotic that I had lost all ability to actually behave normally or interact with non toxic people. I simply could not fathom not getting in trouble for not following byzantine ever-changing senseless rules and documenting everything and spending hours trying to get clear direction from people who managed by whim. It was a silly thing to over react to. It was the straw that made me realize I had to get out.

These stories are amazing and u am enjoying reading them but I would think my own experience would suggest some these overreactions really are symptomatic of much deeper issues that nobody bothered to address or actively created and encouraged.

1. People are a Problem*

Yes, you are exactly right. I’m so glad you got the life upgrade instead of a shoddy repair when that last straw did what last straws do!

Thank you! A year after I left, they outsourced the program all together, so I was grateful I got to leave on my own terms instead of being forced into an equally toxic, but more demanding, work situation that knowingly violated the pay discussion law (which was brought by someone in a facility in a nearby town).

Occassionally some of the toxic people reach out to me on LinkedIn or FB and I start having nightmares all over again. I’m not completely recovered from the trauma. There was a miscommunication at my now-job last fall, and I ended up in tears. (Simply put, an overstretched admin forgot to tell me a why behind a what.) Those darn straws have a tendency to shred and leave bits behind them!

42. Fabulous*

#11 (Chairs) – To be fair, I have a heck of a time finding a comfortable chair and there was literally ONE chair in the entire office (when I was still office-based) that worked for me.

Due to #largebootyissues, many chairs’ lumbar support is too low for me. Think, my butt is pushed unnaturally forward from the “support” and I have to arch unnaturally backward to have my upper back supported in any way. I had to keep a sweater draped on my chair at all times so it didn’t get mixed up with the rest of the chairs, because while it WAS different, it looked similar enough to the rest of the chairs that I’d never find it again if it were moved. I’d argue a comfortable seat is a hill to die on…

43. alienor*

#9, I admit that I will only use one specific type of pen myself. (Sakura Pigma Micron 05 with black archival ink, you can thank me later for changing your lives.) But when I still worked in-office, I bought my own and brought them in, because 1.) they’re expensive, and 2.) I was the one who cared. I didn’t start a petition to have them in the supply cupboard!

1. Kayem*

How do they feel writing on paper and how wear resistant are the tips? I used to use other felt tipped fineliners, but they always felt slightly like dry scratching the paper compared to ballpoint, which set my teeth slightly tingly. They also tended to wear on one side, no matter how I held them, which is why I’ve stuck with Zebra F301s for work.

1. SereneScientist*

Depending on the relative smoothness of the paper, the Sakura Pigma pens are fine as long as you go for a larger size. The smaller ones do indeed wear and transmit the texture of the paper as they wear more.

44. Blarg*

#11 – I first read “I have a vault in my office” as the gymnastics apparatus.

And I wanted to work in that office.

1. JanetM*

I thought of something like a safe, before realizing it must be more like a bank vault if people wanted to store chairs in it.

1. Constance Lloyd*

My mental image was a vaulted ceiling, complete with a hastily configured pulley system to hoist the chair up into the rafters in order to avoid detection.

1. Salymander*

This is my favorite comment today. I’m picturing some kind of Wyle E. Coyote type setup. Delightful :)

45. HBM*

Hahahah these are amazing!!

Reminds me of when I worked at a small company (less than 10 people) and we were remodeling our office. Our designer (who was also relatively high tier client for us) was showing off the final finishes to all the employees. And Yet…Our head of HR (lol) proceeded to walk directly up to the truly beautiful piece of granite the designer had chosen for our admin/printing area and set a paper clip down…she exclaimed “WOW I CAN BARELY SEE A PAPERCLIP ON THIS!! Why wouldn’t you have tested to see if you can see a paperclip when you’re designing an are where there may be PAPER!?”. Our CEO was mortified to say the least….client/designer gave her the most obvious “WTF?” look I’ve ever witnessed. Apparently we were all just big ole idiots for not thinking of rogue paperclips just lying in plain sight, but never to be found again!!

You can imagine our head of HR reacted when we told her most of our paper processes/printing needs were going digital next year so we didn’t anticipate it being a problem. She left shortly after the remod was complete, but The Paper Clip Test became a long running joke amongst the witnesses when something seemed absurd…on lighter days we’d ask each other if they can even see a paperclip on their new idea!!! Great times hahaha

1. The OG Sleepless*

My boss chose a pale, speckled pattern for the countertops when we were building out our animal hospital. It’s that pattern people call “flipper beige.” It looks nice, but needles and bits of dog nail are hard to see against it. We would have never guessed. It’s not a huge deal, but if I ever have input for such a thing again I’m suggesting dark grey.

The pizza one resurfaced a memory for me of when I needed to place a food order for a meeting. I asked our Accounts Payable person if we still had an account with a certain restaurant. For reasons I still can’t explain, our receptionist threw a right royal rout that I hadn’t asked her about the account. Went screaming to our boss and everything, claiming I had gone “over her head” and it was a sign I “didn’t trust her”. I have no idea why asking someone in Accounting about an account was such an affront.

47. CP*

Many, many people I work with insist on the superiority of WordPerfect, and quite a few still use it, as you can, as pointed out here, get an updated version. My boss (incidentally, my father) is one of the people who vouches for the program, although he now uses Word because I sort of forced it. However, when I first started working for him — in *2010* — he not only used WordPerfect, he used a DOS-based version of it — WordPerfect 5.1. He’d somehow gotten someone to install it to run on his Windows XP computer (which was not that, that outdated at that point). No menus, no ability to click on anything, nothing intuitive — all c colon backslash and shift+F whatever. I think it was almost 2015 when he finally gave that up, after lots of teasing (co-workers) and complaining (me). So just wanting to use WordPerfect doesn’t sound that outrageous to me :)

1. Richard Hershberger*

Back around 2000 I worked for a company that had a proprietary case management system that was DOS-based. Even then, it was an obstacle to hiring. More than a few candidates took one look at it and noped out.

2. Observer*

Wanting to use WP is something I have a lot of sympathy for. Insisting on using it to the point that you are causing major problems for other people? When you are not the boss who will take the loss if your network gets hosed or you manage to tick of customers because some formatting got messed up? Yes, “that outrageous”, and then some.

3. Doc in a Box*

I mean, the best electronic medical record I’ve used is the VA’s CPRS, which is DOS-based with a WYSIWYG GUI applied on top. SO much better than fancier expensive software *cough*Epic*cough* — on user surveys, CPRS handily beats any commercial product. It’s the one thing that was better about working at the VA.

4. IHireScienceWriters*

WordPerfect 5.1 was peak WordPerfect.

Its ability to handle numbered, multilevel paragraphs (5.0, 5.1, 5.1.1…) still remains vastly superior to Word.

As I remember every time I have to fix Word’s handling of them.

5. DEJ*

I used to work in college sports and one the best sports statistics software is still only DOS based (although they just announced that they were going out of business). You can only imagine how many issues this causes with IT departments.

6. Liz*

Oh my God, I first learned to type on WordPerfect 5.1. And this was long enough ago that a year later, when I had moved to a less advantaged school, I had to do typing classes again — on electric typewriters.

48. PhyllisB*

This is not really work, but I was at the library one day and a patron was (loudly) chewing out the head librarian because…someone had worked the crossword puzzle in the daily paper before they could. The librarian was speechless.

1. Felis alwayshungryis*

As someone who used to work in a library, this surprises me not a jot.

49. cubone*

if the employees keep their old chairs and then get the new chairs, they’ll each have two chairs………..

one more to go.

50. Elizabeth Bennett*

As a cost saving measure, our new CEO (trying to save the company was bankruptcy), implemented no ordering of calendars, unless you had a good business reason and got permission from your director. As the admin, any calendar orders were rejected by the order approver and the grumbling that ensued as bonkers. They way they complained, you would have thought their chairs were being removed and they’d have to stand at their desks. Instructions were mass emailed on how to print out blank calendars from Outlook, but most everyone in my team brought their own from home. Lucky were the few that already had undated, erasable year calendars pinned to their cubicle wall.

51. New Senior Mgr*

Oh my gosh, I feel the soiled shoe guy. I’ve had those days where if just one more thing goes wrong, I’m out of here.

52. La Triviata*

I work for an association in DC and most of our members are in other areas. Those of you who don’t work here probably don’t realize it, but on Inauguration Day (one day every four years) the city shuts down. There’s no mail, the delivery services don’t operate,, public transit is seriously reduced and the whole area around Pennsylvania Avenue is closed down with no parking anywhere near it. You can’t drive or walk across Pennsylvania so it turns into “you can’t get there from here” (or anywhere). And, invariably, when non-local members hear we’re closing they get outraged and want to know why we have an extra day off. Trying to explain that there isn’t much point because we wouldn’t be able to get much done is kind of a lost cause. So we get yelled at for taking an extra day – one day every four years, mind you – off.

53. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

One in particular decided that WordPerfect was much better than Word

He got one thing right!
Though its dead now, but if i had a copy i would still be using it.

1. Paralegal Part Deux*

They still sell updated versions of it, and we use it at my office now.

1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

Really, i lost track of it back when it was released for Windows.
However i’m very price conscious and use open office, though it has glaring oversights (you can’t even press alt to get rid of context menus).
Next time i have a purchase budget i will look into it again.

54. Felis alwayshungryis*

The guy who wouldn’t use different bins until he’d had “proper training”…how do these people even get dressed in the morning?!

55. Marzipan Shepherdess*

No. 14 is definitely a shoe-in for weirdest story of the day! Of course that manager was a heel for quitting like that, but he probably saw it as his sole opportunity to tell HIS manager what he really thought of him…

Late to the party but here’s my “weirdly dramatic” story – I still think it was justified and not weird at all.

When I was 16/17 I had a hosting job at a mid-range trendy chain steakhouse in a larger midwestern town. It paid shit but it was a very fun social environment, and (big deal to my teenage girly-girl self) there was no specific required uniform for the hosts, just a general dress code – as long as your pants/skirt were black, your shoes were closed-toed, your shoulders were covered, and you weren’t at risk of flashing anyone your undergarments, you were fine (think clothes that would be considered appropriate for a church/school event).

Then, the proprietor of this location retired and corporate sent in a new boss from small town Kansas. New Boss was the type of conservative devout Christian that has six kids, homeschools them all, wife wears long skirts and formless blouses and a specific kind of bun hairstyle… you get the picture.

For the first month, he would have a female FOH manager inform us when he thought we were dressed “inappropriately.” Girls with larger boobs like myself were told our blouses with looser (not low) necklines were unacceptable because if we bend over, you can see some cleavage, but also you couldn’t wear anything too form fitting (because….boobs?). The taller/leggier girls were told their skirts were too short because the hem wasn’t right at the knee. We were annoyed but made minor adjustments – cardigans over tighter shirts, layering tanks under looser blouses, etc.

Anyway, after a few weeks of policing the minutiae of our appearances, New Boss suddenly announces that our dress code was changing effective that upcoming weekend – all hosts had to wear full length black work pants (not dress pant material, and no more black skirts or black dresses), and we all had to wear a button-up, collared shirt with sleeves, tucked in and buttoned up to the collar bone. The example photos he provided to illustrate the new dress code were from a Dickies catalogue, to give you a mental image.

What followed was a coup at the host stand. Only 2 or 3 of the girls even owned a button up collared shirt, but they weren’t made to button up to your COLLAR bone, especially if you had any chest whatsoever. And while all of us had at least one pair of black full length pants that might fit the bill, that would mean wearing the same black pants everyday (ew) or using our limited wages to buy more pairs of black pants just for work (ewww).

End result, 10/15 of the hosts quit that week, including myself. I talked to the proprietor and tried to plead our case, but he would not budge. He did offer to buy us the example pants/shirt from the Dickies catalogue as a “compromise” (how generous of him). I looked him in the eye and quit on the spot.

I ended up working at another location and really enjoyed hearing people complain about what a douche that guy was. He turned that restaurant from the highest-revenue generating location in our region to one of the lowest.

1. Salymander*

This sounds like the brand of Christianity that I grew up with and eventually escaped from. We used to have to stand in front of a sliding glass door with the sun behind us and if any of the several adults inspecting us could detect a hint of leg under the skirt we would have to go put on yet another slip underneath. Same thing with the blouse. Our bra was supposed to be invisible under the shirt, so we had to wear at least one camisole, sometimes more. I started making my own skirts and adding a built in petticoat layer so I could stop wearing 3 or 4 layers of skirts. It routinely gets over 100° here. That is way too hot for wearing that many layers of underwear. Plus, that means that you have to buy all that extra underwear, which is expensive. Expecting the servers in a restaurant to spend so much money in order to comply with a lot of sexist religious rules that have nothing to do with your job is an enormous abuse of power. What a jerk.

57. Ele4phant*

Um, I don’t think 7 is ridiculous at all.

Yes in absolute numbers it’s small, but more than doubling the price in one go is pretty drastic.

I’d be pissed, maybe not so much about the cost but about what it’s saying to employees.

58. Anon for this one*

Hmm… maybe I shouldn’t have taken it as totally sexist that a guy once explained to me, in extreme detail, how to recycle. Oh wait, he was totally sexist.

Not knowing we had a new (hidden behind a corner you wouldn’t naturally look in) recycle bin from when I was out on vacation is very different from not knowing how to use it. He explained in a talking-to-a-slow-toddler-voice that you pick up (he bends over and removes the item from my wastebasket) the item and walk it over (he walks over to the bin) and place it gently in the bin (he places it in the bin).

Mind, this was the center of an open office, so a good half the folks who endured him doing that to me started using his wastebasket for recyclables. He would dutifully fish them out and put them in the correct bin, which I considered his punishment for being a condescending jerk.

1. Salymander*

That seems like a reasonable response to condescending sexism to me ;) I hope he enjoys being the new Office Recycling Captain.

59. Paralegal Part Deux*

I have to agree with #6. I love WordPerfect, and I only started using it 15 years ago when I started at my current law firm. We still use it for some documents, and I love being able to edit out the jacked up formatting and whatnot. I can save it in a compatible format to Word so sharing it isn’t an issue.

1. MCMonkeyBean*

Those stories are always the ones I understand the least, because I feel like it’s one of the easiest things to just… buy yourself! I mean, certainly no one should *have* to buy their own office supplies. But if you feel *that* strongly about your supplies then buying them yourself is always an option. I have always just bought my own pens because I like to have specific ones for specific uses. And if I’m the only one using them, then they don’t have to be replaced very often.

Now if you buy your own nice pens that you like and other people start taking them, then that’s when it’s time to riot! ;)

60. hellohello*

The thing about stories like these is I can totally understand the annoyance – I’ve certainly felt worked up, rationally or… less rationally – about changes made in my workplace that messed up my routine. But then you get to the responses and wow, some people are just way less afraid of losing their job or looking like a nincompoop to their coworkers than I am. The willingness to make *such* a mess over being inconvenienced would almost be aspirational, if not for the way it’s probably making all their coworkers lives worse in the process.

1. hellohello*

That said, at an old job one employee left for a new job and took his espresso machine -which he had very graciously set up in the company kitchen for anyone to use – with him. The higher ups replaced it with a keurig and the staff was… displeased, to put it mildly. Eventually there was so much grumbling that they replaced the keurig with a standard coffee maker/carafe setup, which wasn’t as nice as the old espresso machine but was enough better than the watery nonsense the keurig made that we were appeased and stopped complaining.

61. Purple Cat*

I’m really glad the shoe quitter made the list. I loved seeing it in the initial thread.

62. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

Not sure why, but the pens story gave me flashbacks to some experiences I had about 20 years ago.

I had just hired into a contract research organization, and had been told to submit any purchase requests for office-type supplies through my department’s EA. I honestly don’t know if she took an instant dislike to me or what. Early on, I needed some hanging file folders so I put in a purchase request. I was then called to her desk, where she told me that the request was unnecessary. I should simply go door to door and ask all of the department staff (the department probably had 50+ employees) if they had any old hanging folders that they could spare. Being a newbie, I did as I was told and got about 10 folders – plus some strange looks.

Then, I found that the stapler that had been waiting at my desk when I arrived just would not work. I could squeeze it gently, I could pound on it – nothing worked. It just would not staple. Not wanting to raise a fuss, I for a long time just went down the hall to the copy room whenever I wanted to staple anything. But finally that got to be too much of a hassle. So I put in a purchase request for a new, small, very basic Swingline model. I was then called to her desk. She told me that it wasn’t necessary for me to get a new stapler. I should simply take my stapler down to our company’s instrument lab (they did calibrations of equipment and weight sets, and could provide a variety of cables, connectors, etc) and have them fix it. I knew that (1) they would need a charge number to work on it, which I didn’t have; and (2) the request was bananas, so I wound up buying my own Swingline from an office supply company. While I was there, I also bought some more hanging files, since the writing seemed to be on the wall.

A little later, our department was moving into new lab spaces. None of the new labs had any clocks, and time recording was pretty important for our research, so I put in a purchase request for a very basic, battery operated wall clock. I was then called to her desk. She thought that a clock seemed like a very extravagant purchase. When I explained that our research, for our government client who was paying the bills, called for time recording, she seemed to yield. Slightly. I was then instructed to simply scavenge the areas that we were moving out of, and basically steal any wall clock that had not yet been claimed.

I was quite happy when I transferred to a new department and no longer had to deal with her.

63. Jim Bob*

Intranet one could be fair, depending on how bad the layout was before and after.

Our office just “upgraded” our intranet from an old-looking but perfectly laid out interface, to some kind of horrible Facebook clone with windows everywhere. It’s impossible to find anything without using the search bar, and every useful bit of information now has a bunch of useless intro text before you get to what you’re looking for at the bottom of the page, like an SEO-optimized recipe blog.

64. Some dude*

In my job we have to do a lot of driving. To customer sites, suppliers, meetings etc. The company pays for our fuel. On top of that, we each get a car allowance. This is a pretty substantial amount that we have to use to pay for a car and insurance. Basically, the company gives us money to buy a car. You get a car for free. And some people still complain about the car policy.

65. Frustration Plantation*

…ok, but WordPerfect really was the superior word processing program…

66. Ebar*

I do remember a few years ago in a former workplace there was a changeover in the version of office (the one that introduced that daft ribbon idea) which, despite there only being three computers, was staggered over four months. So there was a six month period where there would be a periodic cry of “how so you make this stupid thing do X”.

67. HungryLawyer*

The pizza one reminds me of the Pizza by Alfredo vs. Alfredo’s Pizza Cafe debacle from The Office :D

68. DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW, TIM???*

The pizza one reminds me of The Office.
“Did you order from Pizza by Alfredo or Alfredo’s Cafe?”

I’ve been working in an office environment since I was 19 in 1997 and I have never heard of or used WordPerfect. I had to Google what it was.

1. 1-800BrownCow*

Wow, are you serious? I was 20 in 1997 and I only learned WordPerfect in high school. I never saw or used Word until college as it wasn’t an option in high school. I’m surprised you never came across it during your teen years.

70. CaseyMoe*

When my mom was pregnant, my father referred to my unborn, as yet unnamed sister as New Unit. (Dad Humor, what can I tell you.) So the phrase “the new unit went ballistic” has a special resonance for me — considering how tempestuous our family’s own New Unit turned out to be!

71. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

The person who usually placed the order freaked out because she “didn’t know how to order from the new place.”

I was WHEEZING with laughter, thank you so much for collating these, Alison!

72. Zeus*

My office recently updated the system we use to search for people in the organisation, and received a similar response to #10 (new intranet). The new system is easier to search, looks nicer, and displays more relevant information about each individual and their job, manager, etc – yet there are still people who use the clunky old system that they have bookmarked (as it’s no longer available on the intranet). I don’t get it.

73. Captain of the No Fun Dept.*

I wonder what the change management process of the intranet change was like and perhaps better preparing people for a significant change may have led to a less dramatic outcome.