the shirt crusade, the bacon crisis, and other 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 have to split my favorites up into two posts. So here’s part one, and part two is coming tomorrow.

1. The shirts

When I worked at a Scout camp, we would usually get two shirts each summer specific to the year: a polo shirt in that summer’s color, and a t-shirt listing what area of the camp you worked in. For years we wore the polo shirts on Mondays and the area shirts on Wednesdays, when families came to visit. Then one year management decided we should switch that, so campers could see who worked where at the start of the week and we’d all look nice and fancy when Mom and Dad showed up.

There was a minor uprising. Yelling arguments. Flat refusal to cooperate. We had staff for YEARS after the change who would wear the wrong shirt and say “oh — you didn’t tell me we were doing it different this week from how we’ve always done it.” We had staff members going so far as to carry two shirts with them all day Monday and Wednesday so they could put on the correct shirt when management was around, then change back to the other shirt when nobody was looking. Some of the worst offenders were our old retired guys (who are like gold, it’s hard to find adults to work at summer camp, so they weren’t disciplined over minor shirt disobedience) and carried the torch for their preferred shirt rotation for a literal decade after the change.

2. The bacon

Our cafeteria bought a different the type of bacon than they usually purchased because the usual stock was out. I think it was from a thick cut to a slightly thinner cut. People were incensed. There were several emails directly to the senior vice president in charge of the cafeteria. Other senior vice presidents had “quick chats’”with their peer about it. Some people even went as far as to email other places who they knew still used the preferred bacon to get the type/name/product number to forward to the cafeteria staff so that the correct bacon was purchased. Literally, it was the talk of the entire place for about two weeks until the supply ran out and our cafeteria could buy the usual bacon type. This was, literally, years ago, and people still talk about it as one of the biggest issues to plague our work.

3. The emojis

We all work remotely so we use Teams to communicate. This is a large organization that changes constantly and we all are typically very used to it. Until the day earlier this year that Microsoft decided to change their emojis. All hell broke lose. Senior managers and directors were melting down. Nobody would acknowledge IMs because the thumb-up was too bulbous and the smiley face was scary. People were looking up ways to use other emoji options instead of doing actual work. It’s been months and we still regularly get people complaining about the emojis.

4. The “approved” stamp

We had a department that was being completely redesigned. Think something like a laboratory where employees do various hands on work all day. The current layout wasn’t functional and staff had to jump across the room constantly to complete tasks. Funds were secured to construct a new state-of-the-art area and an architect experienced in this kind of work was hired.

Plans were reviewed by the decision makers, contractors were hired, permits and licenses were updated, a schedule was created, everything was done perfectly. I had never seen such a complicated project planned so well. They even had observers in the lab to watch current processes and they interviewed staff to make sure they didn’t miss anything.

Once everything was signed off on, a meeting was set to present the department with the final plan and schedule. One of the employees listened politely to the architect and CEO, and then rolled out THEIR OWN HAND MADE BLUEPRINTS on top of the presentation. The employee had even stamped their blueprints as “APPROVED” across the top.


5. The birthday celebrations

I was in an office that had over the top birthday celebrations. On someone’s birthday, the staff would be asked to sign up for a potluck for breakfast and lunch. Inevitably people would forget what they signed up for and we would end up with many boxes of donuts and cakes when the day was done. Other staff would go all out and bring in catering trays worth of home cooked food.

To try to get control of the situation, management decided to limit the celebrations to a cake in the afternoon. All hell broke loose — one manager wouldn’t let their staff take time away from their desk for cake. Another department kept going with the potluck but wouldn’t let other departments join. There were many manager meetings scheduled to resolve the issue but they couldn’t come up with a solution to make everyone happy. Obviously this place was a mess in many ways and the bday controversy highlighted the worst of it.

6. The files

File cabinets … there had been a long-standing tradition that each person would file their completed work in their own desk drawer, resulting in needing to know who completed something to ever find the file again, rather than file by category. So, a new manager came in and asked for a specific file needed for an internal audit and was told, “Oh, Fergus did that one and he’s on PTO. You’ll have to wait until he gets back with his keys.”

New Manager (reasonably) declared that going forward files needed to be filed in a central cabinet by category so if someone needed TPS reports from Branch A it would not be necessary to remember who did the work, or for that person to be present at the moment.

The outcry was worthy of a true human rights violation. It was finally resolved several levels up the management chain following DAYS of heated discussion in closed door meetings with various executives … and the decision was made to make the central file optional and those who wanted to continue filing in their own desks could do so.

Two years later, we failed an external audit for being unable to locate the files being requested, and the original manager was blasted for not having a better filing setup. We finally transitioned to filing everything electronically in 2020. (And did I mention that these files were all comprised of work completed on the computer and then printed out for the file?)

7. The pretzels

There was a guy who would stop at the bakery once a week and bring in a box of pretzels. There was an honor system for paying, and after weeks of notes explaining that the pretzels would go away if people didn’t stop stealing them, the pretzels stopped showing up. So many people were so angry that their pretzel supply had been cut, and you could hear them for weeks in the break room complaining about not having pretzels anymore. We’re in Philly. You can get the same pretzels in our cafeteria. Imagine being angry that someone decided to stop buying pretzels for thieves.

8. The security doors

My old company got told they needed to tighten up security in the building. This included a mandate that you could no longer hold the outside security doors open for people — everyone had to let the door fully close and electronically lock behind them, then the next person to come in had to swipe their badge and be admitted. This is pretty standard for companies that deal with sensitive information! We were a big enough office (~350 people onsite) that you couldn’t know everyone by sight, and even if you knew someone, you wouldn’t necessarily know if they’d been fired and had their access removed, etc.

I’d say it’s reasonable to have some discomfort adjusting; letting the door close in someone’s face does feel rude when you’ve been raised with different manners. I’m a risk management guy and knew the importance from the start, and even I felt a little uneasy the first time I let the door bang closed when I knew someone was right behind me.

But boy howdy, the drama that erupted. Some people made a loud and deliberate point of always holding secured doors open and letting in as many people as they could get to do so — “OF COURSE I will let you in, Mrs. Potts! I KNOW YOU AND TRUST YOU!” A guy told me he would always hold the door open for his boss because he was afraid he would get fired if he didn’t. (I knew his boss, and that would never happen; she was a consummate professional and generally lovely.) One woman used the ALL-STAFF email list to trumpet that she would never bow to the Corporate Overlords and shame the memory of her dear departed grandma who had raised her right.

Things simmered down after a while — a few of the most ostentatious offenders got fired, several more got written warnings, and people adapted. But there were always people who would take a quick look around and then let you in if no one was watching.

9. The eSports

My boyfriend works at a three-letter federal agency. At that agency, employees get a few hours a week on the clock for physical fitness. You can walk, run, lift weights, etc. Whatever matches your physical abilities. You can also participate in a sports team like soccer or volleyball.

Well, apparently they have some on-site “eSports” leagues — I’m pretty clueless about this but it seems to just be groups of gamers playing regular video games (so, not games that force you to be active like Wii Sports). And the agency had to specifically say that yes, while you are allowed to use your physical fitness time to play actual sports, you are not allowed to use them to play “eSports.”

Apparently the whining was epic. It has sports in the title!!! How we were to know that it didn’t count as a sport as defined for physical fitness purposes???

10. The appointment times

I used to work for doctor’s office. The doctors weren’t partners or private practice providers, they were employees just like the rest of us. They had some wiggle room with their schedules and preferences on what procedures they did when but they couldn’t make it hard for us to put patients in the books. We ended up with an interim boss who didn’t care so the doctors started catching on and making bonkers limitations on what we could schedule and when. For example: Doctor Bob won’t see upper respiratory issues on Thursdays and Tuesdays. Dr. Evan will only see New Patients on the third Tuesday of the month from 1-5 pm. They were limiting exams and appointment types so tightly that we started getting a huge number of complaints. We would turn away someone who needed to be seen for migraines, they couldn’t be seen for five months despite us having open appointments literally that day. We literally had a huge whiteboard with an if-this-then-that kind of math for scheduling.

We got a director of Patient Services and she sat us all down, docs, nurses, support staff, everyone, and she laid out that the schedules are going back to open registration (no more bonkers requirements or wait times). One of the docs, “Doctor Lizzie” was one of the biggest bullies about her schedule, she literally made the staff cry, threatened to fire people (she had no authority to do that), and was a nightmare. During this meeting all the other docs were like yeah, we get it, patients aren’t being seen because of this and Dr. Lizzie kicked a chair after sitting there and basically seething for ten minutes. She stood up, flipped another chair, and kicked the heater all while screaming “I refuse to do pap smears after 1 pm! I refuse! I refuse! I refuse!” she then fell to the floor kicking, pounding her fists, and screaming like a toddler. She kicked over the garbage can, dented the wall, and broke a desk with her tantrum. She was excused for the day, and very shortly after quit to open a private practice, presumably where she does not do pap smears after 1 pm.

I have no idea why she needed that rule, and I think she would have been accommodated if she had explained it. And it’s not like it was the only thing she did every afternoon, it was rare for her to have one in her schedule. Based on what she was like as a coworker, I would hate to have her providing women’s health care. I worked there for three more months and we would respond “I REFUSE” when asked a general question. It was BANANAS.

11. The coffee

The coffee at my OldJob was awful. I think they got it from the same place they purchased office supplies – it came in a gray can labeled “Institutional Blend.” I offered to pick up much better coffee from the roaster around the corner. This was not snob level coffee – it was a large scale, low end roaster but they were local and would give me wholesale pricing, so it actually cost less than the gray can. I chose a nicely balanced, light roast.

People lost their minds! “Poison!” “Tastes like soy sauce!” “TOO STRONG!!!”

12. The cookies

This was really only one person, but I used to work at a place where once a week, there would be coffee and cookies set out for a “collaboration break.” It was meant to spur casual work conversations. It was totally optional but a lot of people went because, well, cookies.

During the 2008 recession, we had some budget cuts, and one thing they did was downgrade the kind of cookies they were getting. It used to be big fancy bakery cookies, and they downgraded to packaged supermarket cookies. No one really cared because, well, cookies! There were still cookies, there was still an excuse to get up from your desk and chat and eat some sugar.

But one lady LOST HER MIND. It was weird because she didn’t even EAT cookies (she was gluten sensitive and also always on a diet). But she made this huge deal about how there would be complaints, even riots, etc. She said this with disdain as though everyone who went to the cookie chats was greedy and unreasonable. She gleefully made a point to lurk at the cookie table to “watch everyone’s horror” when they found out that the cookies were of lesser quality than previously. I think she was actually disappointed that other people barely noticed or cared.

13. The parking spaces

I worked at a company with many buildings on a large campus. The most senior person in each building, and his admin, had reserved parking spaces next to the front door of that building. Then one year the company realized that it wasn’t good business to ask visitors to park in a single centralized lot several blocks away, instead of next to the building they needed to do business in, so they took away those reserved spaces and make them Visitor spaces.

The admin in my building took the loss of her reserved parking space very badly.

She spent all her time glued to the window at the front of the building, watching that parking space, and at the end of the day sent everyone in the building an email with what we came to call “the daily parking report”:

7:30 am – black Honda Accord license number 12345 was already here – visitors wouldn’t be here so early!!!
9:14 am – blue Toyota Civic license number 34567 – it was here last Thursday, can it really be a visitor?
11:45 am – blonde woman driving a black Mustang convertible, Tim came out of the building and got in the car and drove away – was that really a visitor, Tim? DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW WHO THAT WAS, TIM?????

It went on for months! I think she’d convinced herself that if she documented that it wasn’t needed by visitors – if it wasn’t used, or she caught employees using it – she’d get her reserved spot back. She was finally put on a PIP, continued to do the daily parking report instead of her job, and was totally surprised when she was let go.

The kicker? She got there so early every day that she was usually parked exactly 2 spaces down from her formerly-reserved spot.

14. The yellow paper

We had a paper that went along with each batch during processing which included useful info but had to be discarded before we delivered the product to the customer. It was printed on yellow paper for visibility but we still had a huge problem with people forgetting to remove it and not notice it. So management made the decision to switch to bright orange paper to make it more noticeable.

We ordered a bunch of orange paper and threw away the yellow. Somehow the yellow paper kept reappearing. We checked old store rooms, offices, weird nooks and crannies throughout the building. We threw away all the yellow paper we could find. And yet, it kept showing up. At this point I’m fairly certain that someone was buying reams of yellow paper with their own money and sneaking it into the building under cover of darkness on the night shift. Because they didn’t want to use orange paper.

{ 419 comments… read them below }

  1. Sara*

    These are all great, but that yellow paper one amuses me so much. Just the idea that you keep looking everywhere for yellow paper and its just Bob at his desk, sneaking yellow paper into the supply when your back is turned.

    1. Lab Boss*

      That’s the kind of thing I can see being done accidentally by an employee (maybe they just had a pile of yellow paper at their desk and were too lazy to throw it out and go change)- and then turning into accidentally-on-purpose once they realized how entertaining it was to watch the hunt for the devious yellow paper.

      1. quill*

        Sounds legit. People used to pout at me when their favorite color of labels (with good reason, the lighter colors were easier to read) was running out.

        But it also leads to situations where there were conversations like this.
        “Can you make these white or yellow?”
        “No, we have a project next week that needs all the colors.”
        “But these are too hard to read!”
        “They’re on pastel pink.”

        1. Texas Teacher*

          I’m dyslexic and the contrast between background and font can drastically affect how readable the text is for me. I have my own adaptations/accommodations. In this situation, I would add a yellow post-it to have the information I needed easily readable for me.

          I did have a huge problem with data on our Billingual students. The whole form was red and the text was black. I thought it was just a red sheet. I couldn’t see the text unless it was under a strong light – and even then it wasn’t readable. It looked like abstract art.

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

      Me too. I was expecting to learn that the culprit was printing a yellow flood of toner/ink on a piece of white paper.

      We had a green cover sheet that we used to include with hard copy client proofs (we are an in-house design department); when we switched to PDF proofs, the number of people who expected us to continue adding a “green sheet” were astounding — not a big uproar like this topic today — but they thought there should be a green sheet in the PDF they print out and sign and send back to us in the interoffice mail, instead of…you know…replying to the email that the PDF was attached to. These days, we can even share through the cloud a PDF proof and see them comment in real time… and they still want to print it out and mark their changes or comments on it…too bad half of us are WFH now so IDK how they’re going to get it to us.

      1. Plum Jam*

        I actually have some sympathy for this, because some of my professors during my PhD preferred to print out our work and comment on it by hand, and I also know people (myself included) who sometimes prefer written comments on a paper copy than everything being done on a screen, especially on long documents. It can be harder to retain information on a screen, especially re-locating specific comments, and it can take longer to browse through looking for something on a flat screen than it does flipping around in a physical copy. Some people with certain types of neurodivergence do better with physical copies vs e-copies, as well.

        That said, I would never make a fuss over it! I just kind of get where they were coming from.

    3. Shabang*

      We had a similar situation – we would change log sheets up due to changing focus/equipment/whatever, and every now and again someone would use the last sheet without making copies. Next thing you know, someone would go into their “personal stash” and the old version would show up again. It took awhile to finally clear out all the “legacy paperwork stashes” that some of our crowd had – and some had more than one stash and a few different versions to choose from.

    4. wine dude*

      Late comment that no one will see, but this happens at my company. I hate things being printed on blue paper, very hard for me to read. I have tried to purge the blue paper from the company, implore staff not to use blue paper, and still once in a while I get blue paper!

    1. StoneColdJaneAusten*

      I am half expecting a person with medical expertise to show up and tell us that there’s a reason for that. But Dr. Lizzie’s behavior was still ridiculous

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I’m so glad this one is on Alison’s top 12 list. Because it is absolutely APPALLING. I hope that’s not her real name because otherwise I am now forever ashamed to be a Liz.

      2. NoviceManagerGuy*

        Dr. Lizzie’s preferred lunch is so spicy that no matter what gloves she wears, there would be unfortunate consequences. How dare you make Dr. Lizzie eat a bland lunch?

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Dr. Lizzie doesn’t seem the kind who would care about or even notice other peoples’ pain, though. ;)

        2. hamsterpants*

          Hmm, would I rather have a spicy pap smear, or the standard ice-cold one? So hard to choose!

          1. alienor*

            A family member of mine who shall remain anonymous had been eating chips and hot salsa late one night, then went to use the bathroom. It seems she had spilled some salsa on her hand and it transferred to the TP and from there on to her delicate parts. She said she had to run cold water into the bath and sit in it trying not to scream and wake everyone up (it was 1 or 2 am by then) until the burning subsided. Having heard that story, I’d always pick the ice-cold option, haha.

            1. Rebecca Stewart*

              There is a story going the rounds among my first responder friends of the guy making his infamous Nuclear Chili and answering Nature’s call in the middle of the process. He now wears nitrile gloves while making his chili.

              1. The OG Sleepless*

                They did a lab on hot peppers (for some reason) in the biology class at my kids’ high school, and a kid a few years ahead of my son did that. He ended up in the school nurse’s office soaking his dangly parts in milk. You can bet that story was a legend for years.

                1. Mel2*

                  I did a similar lab as a project in high school for my chemistry class. In my case, I made the mistake of rubbing my eyes… after I had washed my hands. The 2nd day we worked on it we said we’d wear gloves… except we couldn’t find any and so just tried to remember not to touch any body part until after lunch.

            2. KL*

              Wil Wheaton has an absolutely hilarious story that he’s told that is very similar to this. Though, it includes a glass of milk to cut the pain, and someone walking into the kitchen at that moment.

            3. GammaGirl1908*

              I passed by a similar story where a couple made a dinner involving hot peppers, went to get frisky later, and … yeah. Let’s just say “It’s getting hot in herre” is no longer just a song lyric by Nelly. They had to jump into a cold shower to cool things down.

              1. whingedrinking*

                A friend of mine had to firmly inform her wife that homemade garam masala preparation and naked fun times could no longer be same-day activities, or at least not in that order.

              2. SyFyGeek*

                Gamma Girl1908, that was not me, I swear. BF at the time had been making chili, and when frisky time rolled around later, my parts acted like his fingers were literally on fire. I screamed, jumped out of the bed, he yelled because I knocked him out of bed, I ran to the bathroom, he ran after me because he had no idea of what was going on. Soap & Water, followed by shower, followed by aloe.

                And that was how we met his roommates newest girlfriend, when they came out of the other bedroom to see what all the yelling was about.

            4. Elle*

              Something similar happened to me: my girlfriend had made dinner featuring jalapeños. Later, we started to engage in adult activities and… the burning started. I tried a variety of definitely not advisable solutions, including rinsing the affected bits with milk, a la Wil Wheaton. Ten years later I still keep gloves in my kitchen.

              1. kitryan*

                I once rubbed my nose while making salsa. To assuage the burning in my poor nose I remembered about the whole dairy thing. But I don’t drink milk so the best I could do was cottage cheese. It did not help very much and I’m not sure I’ve ever recovered my dignity (what dignity I possessed anyway).
                The story did greatly amuse my fellow grad students, so that was a nice result. I also now wear gloves for the jalapeño chopping bits of the process.

            5. One of the Spreadsheet Horde*

              Once a year we buy 15 pounds of fresh hatch chiles, then roast, skin, dice, and freeze them. My significant other learned the hard way that despite wearing nitrile gloves, he had to wash his hands extremely thoroughly after taking them off before using the bathroom.

            6. ferrina*

              Milk or yogurt will cut the pain much better than water.
              My young son was helping me plant tabasco seeds one year, and the seeds alone had enough capsaicin that when he started wiping his nose, it began burning. I didn’t realize what it was at first (it was dried seeds!) and put Vasceline on his nose- that was a mistake! We quickly wiped that off and replaced it with yogurt. That did the trick.

          2. That One Person*

            Reminds me of a comedian (I want to say Eddie Murphy but not 100%) talking about putting Icy Hot or Bengay on their private and regretting it quickly and trying to wash it off in the sink. I think that area’s also extra sensitive compared to say hands or feet so I’d veer towards cold than agonizing extra!

          3. Ally McBeal*

            I waited tables at Buffalo Wild Wings during college. Staff “hazing” consisted of having to eat at least one Atomic wing – their hottest sauce – and we were explicitly told at least twice that we need to go directly to the bathroom afterward to scrub our hands, lest we accidentally touch our eyes/other areas full of mucous membranes with any trace of it left on our fingers. We also had facetious marketing posters near the bathroom doors with similar instructions for guests – wash your hands BEFORE using the facilities if you’re eating super hot wings.

      3. Coffee Bean*

        Dr. Lizzie in a tizzy.

        Now I’m every time I don’t find something 100% optimal in my job, I’ll just say “I REFUSE!”

        1. Carol the happy elf*

          Back when I was single, during a cookout at my apartment a jerk we knew (who came from very far north) asked if he could have a gherkin for his hamburger. I told him we didn’t have any gherkins, just pickle relish. He insisted there was a jar in the fridge, so I said sure, knock yourself out.
          A few seconds later, he was yelling about botulism and poisoning, and drinking water like a mad thing. (Water won’t work.)
          It seems “Lupita”, a roommate, got care packages from her grandma that had Mexican ginger cookies shaped like pigs, spices, candy, and homemade pickled jalapenos. We never touched those.
          “Glenn” rinsed the pickled jalapenos out of his mouth, then a few minutes later he went to use the bathroom.

          Screams ensued, and curse words I hadn’t heard before came roaring out of the bathroom.

          Glenn went to the emergency room, and a few days later he tried to stick Lupita with the ER bill. I heard they used real coffee creamer on his whatsis to put out the burn; I also heard that he had blisters down there. But I didn’t check. Or ask.
          But I cannot un-know….

      4. nightengale*

        I am a doctor (although I haven’t done paps since my training) and I’ve got nothing.

      5. Ben Marcus Consulting*

        It’s likely just a flow issue. Allowing for sporadic appointment scheduling can create a significant mental drain on physicians, and can cause pacing issues with patient appointments.

        There are ways to offset those issues, but it’s highly dependent on practice/staff/MD buy-in and the specialty at play. i.e. emergency/urgent care has little choice in how encounters are received by the nature of them being unplanned services.

        1. Critical Rolls*

          I like how you’ve responded as if this was an issue raised by a reasonable person and thus perhaps having a reasonable explanation.

        2. Reasonableist*

          Ben Marcus’ comment is the only reasonable comment in this thread. Physicians have been under so much strain during the pandemic, and work incredibly hard, often at the expense of their own health and well-being. The vast majority of them only make a stink when a dumb administrative policy is adversely affecting patient care or disrupting their workflow in a huge way. I suspect OP is somewhat embellishing this physician’s frustration for storytelling effect, and leaving out important details about how poorly the current scheduling system is working. (And if ALL of the physicians in the practice were unhappy with the scheduling system, it’s way more likely that the problem is with the system–not the doctors.)

          1. Vidya*

            Agree. Nothing about the Lizzie details of this story rings true (based on my 12 years of medical experience) and I’m frankly surprised to see it in this list. Although I try to remember there’s a lot of crazy behavior in every profession, I don’t remember ever seeing someone on Ask a Manager described as “falling to the ground and pounding their fists” before, and knowing many asshole doctors I’ve still never seen anything like this.

            1. Sark*

              Oh well, If YOU’VE never seen it, it cannot possibly have happened! Thank you for putting your vast and absolute personal experience to good use to clear that up for the rest of us who lack your immense wisdom.

            2. Bookish person*

              My mom worked for a practice where a doctor was out of control like this but she was a partner so it eventually took the other partners a long time (and lots of incident reports, I think finally a drunk driving? Or jail time? incident) to get rid of her. Then of course they still had to buy her out, which was so expensive they had to let several staff members go…which is probably why they hoped it would just get better originally and let it go for so long.

            3. Migraine Month*

              I used to do at-the-elbow assistance for Electronic Health Record upgrades, and there were always a few doctors (less than 1%) who would throw fits. Sometimes they would yell and scream. Sometimes they would throw clipboards, computers, and computer monitors. Sometimes they threw things at the people trying to help them.

              I recognize that doctors are under a huge amount of pressure. I know that the amount of documentation they are required to do is absolutely causing burnout. Those make over-the-top or temper tantrums more likely, since their ability to handle stress is already at the breaking point.

          2. Critical Rolls*

            This story was not an attack on or a generalization about doctors, so there’s nothing to defend their reputation from. As to the rest of the physicians, they seemed to agree that the web of individual scheduling restrictions had gotten out of hand. It’s always interesting to see people get defensive about the obviously unreasonable actions of strangers, often while declaring that they are the only ones with a sensible view.

            1. Reasonableist*

              The story states that the Director (presumably an administrator?) called a meeting to address this, but it doesn’t exactly sound like the physicians were wholeheartedly agreeing as much as reluctantly going along with it — the story says they are employed, and as such there are limits to how much they can rock the boat without being fired. I’ve been in a lot of meetings with both physicians and administrators, and the minute the administrators leave, the physicians’ true opinions are often revealed to be entirely different.

              Not sure why you think I’m being “defensive,” or that I believe the story is a generalization about all doctors–nowhere in my comment did I say or imply that. It just seems like the OP’s story has a lot of strange holes. Sure, I suppose it’s possible that every single doctor in the practice is a psychopath that wants to make schedulers miserable, and this particular doctor was the queen of psychopaths (and if that’s the case, it’s on the admin to get rid of the physicians.) But it’s far more likely that the system is flawed than that every doctor here is misbehaving to this extreme.

              1. Reasonableist*

                Obviously, if things happened exactly as they are written, this sounds like a massive overreaction on Dr. Lizzie’s part and I would not defend that. But as Vidya stated, unless one of us was born last night, I think it’s wise to retain a healthy skepticism of any story that describes a medical professional as “falling to the ground and pounding their fists.”

                1. Jennie*

                  You all are having a really disappointing and defensive reaction to this story that we have no reason to doubt. Unreasonable and volatile people work in every field, including medical professionals. My brother is one, and I’d have absolutely no trouble believing he pulled a similar move, even before the stresses of the pandemic. I say that despite having a ton of respect for HCPs in general, and of course I’d be shocked to witness any other doctor I know behaving so.

                  In general it’s a rule on this site to take posters at their word, I’m disappointed to see you trying to make an exception as if doctors are somehow better or better behaved people than everyone else.

      6. MGW*

        I’m a veterinarian and all I got is some times things seem to come in waves, and I will (jokingly) tell my techs/CSRs that I will not see anymore coughing dogs/vomiting cats/diarrhea of any species etc. But everyone knows I am not serious.
        (There are some things I might request to be scheduled earlier in my shift, since I’m the closing doc. Like I don’t want to sedate something at 7pm and have to send it home at 8pm. But that’s logical. I don’t know enough about human medicine to say if no Pap smears after 1pm is logical).

      7. Dr Sarah*

        Well, I’m a doctor and I got nothing. (Although the ‘spicy lunch’ theory is genius.)

        I did briefly wonder whether it’s an issue with when the courier comes and wanting to get them off same-day, but that doesn’t make sense; can’t think of any reason a smear couldn’t sit overnight. (There are some common blood tests that need to be looked at in the lab same-day, so back when we had a 1 pm courier all such tests had to be scheduled for the morning.)

        Anyway, from now on every time I’m stressed I’m going to imagine myself screaming, while drumming my feet on the ground, “I REFUSE to do [thing] after 1 pm!” and I predict it’ll lift a lot of my stress. :)

        1. Nightengale*

          Part of my medical practice is “I refuse to do math after noon on Fridays.”

          It’s a joke. Always said when I am triple checking that 1.5 tabs TID is really “dispense 135” or doing weight based dosing or other necessary tedious arithmetic. And I always do the math, the patient needs it after all.. But I do say that. . . most Fridays.

    2. SMH*

      And I for one would not want to be on the receiving end of a Pap Smear from that women not matter what time of day.

        1. OhNo*

          She stops right in the middle and tells you to reschedule for another day, obviously! /s

      1. ecnaseener*

        Seriously. I’m now unfortunately imagining getting a Pap smear from someone in a full-blown rage.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Having had the misfortune of getting one from someone explicitly contemptuous of me, the below comment regarding cervixes clawing their way from the top of the uterus to take shelter behind the lungs is very accurate.

    3. Ali + Nino*

      I am cracking up imagining my toddler throwing a tantrum screaming, ““No pap smears after 1 pm!!!”

      Time for a nap, Dr. Lizzie?

    4. Lora*

      There is a guy on TikTok who makes hilarious videos of the different medical specialties being sent to therapy to discuss their emotional issues and outbursts and I am just. Amazed.

      So you’re saying that signs of mental illness are NOT properly taught in medical school then? Because…I get it that there is a strong incentive for health care providers to NOT get help for mental illness due to the possibility of losing jobs/licensure, and that’s understandable, but wouldn’t you want to keep that behavior to yourself even *more* at work so people don’t report you for showing obvious signs of losing it?

      1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

        Please do not jump from emotional outburst to mental illness. It’s against the commenting rules and stigmatizes mentally ill people. There is nothing that suggests that Dr Lizzie wasn’t just a plain entitled asshole.

      2. Sigrid*

        I hate to break it to you, but, as a physician, I can tell you that the number of doctors who have diagnosable mental illness for which they are afraid to seek treatment is far outweighed by the number of doctors who are entitled asshats.

      3. HannahS*

        Dr. Glaucomflecken is hilarious (if that’s who you’re talking about) but it’s worth remembering that he’s a (very funny) ophthalmologist/comedian, not a journalist. It’s fiction. Funny-because-it’s-sometimes-true fiction, grounded in stereotype fiction, but still fiction.

        Also, co-signing Sigrid. Not everyone who’s a jerk is mentally ill, and some jerks go to medical school.

    5. LC*

      I had a GP a while back who also refused to do pelvic exams…after TWELVE PM. Her staff was really strict about it, too. I still have no idea why, but have an inkling it’s an imperfect understanding of the anatomy and imagining some sort of olfactory unpleasantness to occur if you haven’t taken a shower a few hours prior? Anyway that GP closed her practice soon after I became a patient. I found out when I tried to call about a refill approval and the line was disconnected. Received a letter the following May informing me, by which time I had happily moved on to a sane GP.

      1. Jennie*

        Omg I totally bet it’s this, wanting to only see patients she believes are freshly showered. Disgust (even if misplaced, uhhhh yikes lady) could totally trigger strong emotions like those displayed….

      2. Babydoc3000*

        See I would figure that’s a flow issue as above- if Pap visits are one of the things that take longer and it’s gonna mess up her day.

        Our office tends to get really busy in the afternoon so we try to schedule complex patients earlier in the day to leave room for urgent ones. I definitely don’t fall to the floor screaming, but when it’s 3PM/waiting room’s full/I’m already half an hour behind, the last thing I want to hear is “she’s been having headaches for 6 months……”

      3. Very Social*

        Wow, that definitely seems plausible, but still ridiculous. Plenty of people shower at night! Or less often than daily!

  2. Anonymouse*

    Next to Christmas, my favorite time of the year: DRAMATIC responses to mundane changes.

    1. Elizabeth Bennett*

      SAME. I wish I had popped popcorn beforehand. I’ll pop some for tomorrow’s thread. :D

      1. chewingle*

        I missed the bit about this being a two-parter until I saw your comment and I am OVERJOYED!

  3. Taylor*

    Number 8 made me laugh out loud. The idea of someone loudly proclaiming “Of COURSE I will let you in I KNOW YOU AND TRUST YOU!!!” is so funny to me

    1. A.N. O'Nyme*

      This is why I like the way my workplace handles it: they don’t bring up security, but fire safety. Our badges basically keep track of who is in the building (or someone does that manually if you forgot yours) so if a fire breaks out they literally just have to press a button and the printer will spit out a list of who is in the building, which can then be used for roll call. Used someone else’s badge to get in? They won’t know if you didn’t make it out. Didn’t clock out properly? They’ll think you’re still inside causing firefighters to unnecessarily risk their lives trying to find you.

      1. CheesePlease*

        Yup! My previous companies (manufacturing) were this way. It was about fire / emergency safety. The rule was you could hold the door open, but the other employee would know to badge in before they walked through. We would have to wear our badges visibly as well (clipped to pants or on a lanyard) – so if someone was behind you and didn’t have a badge you would redirect them to the visitor entrance and politely let the door close.

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

        Wait how does that work for people exiting the building? How would they know if someone had exited the building? Doesn’t it just show who badged in? Do you have to scan to get out and to get in?

        I’ve worked where there was a problem with the system and the company tried to say he was late but the company had to look at the time that he swiped his badge to get into the building as proof he was on time. But I’ve never heard of having to badge out of the building

        1. Tehanu*

          We have to badge in and out of our elevator bay. If we use the stairs, have to badge out too – so there is a record of our coming and goings. This is a large govt building with 15 floors, two towers and multiple departments.

        2. A.N. O'Nyme*

          Yep, have to scan to get out too. They use a turnstile system rather than door, though. Or if you lost your badge during the workday you’d have to pass by the security guard so they can manually remove you from the “people in the building” list.

        3. Just J.*

          Depends on the level of security of the facility. I have worked in a lot of labs and research facilities where you have to swipe to egress a space. They want to track not only who comes in, but when they leave.

          BTW, in the event of fire, all doors unlock.

        4. Nannerdoodle*

          At my old job, we had to badge in and out of the building via those electronic turnstile gates. So it wasn’t at the doors, but directly after the doors with a security booth right next door for visitors and employees who forgot their badges.

        5. LikesToSwear*

          We have to badge out when leaving the building, and in case of an emergency we are to leave the building and badge at an outside muster station – there are several,
          so which one depends on where in the building you were when you evacuated.

        6. Media Monkey*

          i worked in a serviced office building when i was a newly graduated monkey. we got a list of passcard numbers and times they came in and out which i had to match to names/ companies. interestingly that’s how all the staff who worked for the building campaign knew that 2 of the staff in one of the resident companies were having an after hours affair, as they both left at the ususal time and then came back in the evenings when everyone else had left…

        7. Zephy*

          I think the scenario described by A. N. O’Nyme is like this:

          System Working Properly: Alice, Bob, and Charlie all swipe their badges at the entrance. OH NO A FIRE! Alice, Bob, and Charlie all evacuate and are accounted for.

          Holding The Door: Alice swipes her badge, but Bob swipes his and then holds the door for Charlie, who doesn’t swipe their badge. OH NO A FIRE! Alice and Bob evacuate and are accounted for, but Charlie gets stuck in a stairwell; however, because they didn’t swipe their badge, it’s not immediately obvious that they are still in the building. Either the firefighters don’t know to look for Charlie at all, or Bob takes so long to remember that Charlie is in there and say something that the firefighters aren’t able to reach them in time.

          Not Clocking Out: Alice, Bob, and Charlie all swipe in as normal. Alice and Bob decide to go out for lunch; Alice holds the door for Bob, so she swipes out but he doesn’t. While they’re gone, OH NO A FIRE! Charlie evacuates, and the records show that Alice is not on premises, but according to those same records, Bob might still be in the building because he didn’t swipe out. If Charlie doesn’t know or remember that Bob did leave with Alice in time to say something to the firefighters, they risk their lives needlessly running back into the building to look for someone who is not there.

          1. Sue D. O'Nym*

            Or, an easier solution, you don’t need to swipe to get out of the building, but in the event of an emergency, everyone meets at a designated location, and they do a roll call, based on the swipes into the building. If you’re not at the designated location, and it’s later determined that you didn’t need to be rescued from the building, then you’re in trouble.

      3. Anon for Thia*

        Mine put in turnstiles. Much easier. You literally can’t let the person behind you in.

        My building tried the fire safety line as well, but many people pointed out that when the fire alarm goes off all the doors/turnstiles open so you don’t badge out. Which makes the list of people who badged in useless as a way to determine who didn’t make it out.

        1. QN*

          The fire safety line still makes sense if the badged-in list is being used for a roll call, though. If you badged out before the fire alarm, you’re not on the list; otherwise, you’re presumably in the parking lot or wherever the muster point is and you’re answering the roll call. If neither applies, they have to worry that you’re still inside.

          1. kitryan*

            Yes, this is what I’d think. We have a meet up place so the list is presumably something the safety team would use when arriving at the designated meet up to verify with emergency services who is or is not accounted for.

        2. Glen*

          No, it’s still useful. This is why there’s a muster point when you evacuate – so that everyone knows who got out. If you have a list of everyone who was inside, and everyone goes to a muster point, you can compare the list of people at the muster point to the list of people who were inside.

        3. A.N. O'Nyme*

          …hence why the lists are printed out the minute the alarm starts at my job. Obviously they’re not making you waste time badging out when the building might be on fire (especially not if you’re in the cage with the flammables), it’s so they can do a roll call at the gather points.

      4. Nina*

        We have this at my current workplace (where, to be fair, the work is such that fire safety is a huge, gigantic, often extremely relevant deal and if the firefighters can confirm everyone is out and accounted for, they will evacuate to a mile radius and then stand back and watch it burn) and once it’s explained ‘this is so that if X thing that happens on a fairly regular basis happens today, no firefighters will risk their lives looking for someone who is already out, and nobody will be left inside forgotten’, the adherence is surprisingly high! Holding doors for people, fine. Stopping coworkers at doors and saying ‘hey you forgot to badge through, swipe your card’ super accepted.

      5. LinuxSystemsGuy*

        There’s an easy compromise between “verifying access and accounting for personnel” and “it’s rude to slam doors in people’s faces”. When I was working in government contracting this was a very big deal, since not everyone had access to all areas of the building.

        We’d hold the door for people, BUT we’d watch to make sure they badge in and got approval while holding the door. If the light didn’t turn green, you couldn’t let them through.

      1. BubbleTea*

        My favourite part is that I keep imagining the teapot from Beauty and the Beast.

        1. Anne*

          Glad I wasn’t the only one picturing a talking/singing teapot! Complete with the voice of Angela Lansbury…

    2. Coffee Bean*

      What would they say if they don’t recognize someone trying to gain access to the building? “I’m sorry, but I don’t know you, and I don’t trust you. No admittance for you, unidentified person!”

      1. MiChelle Scrimpsher*

        “But I just had a Pap smear first thing this morning!! Of course you can trust me!!”

        1. English Rose*

          Your comment is excatly why I so wish there were ‘love’ emojis for comments here @MiChelle Scrimpsher

      2. kitryan*

        I kind of did this to my (former) neighbors in my apt building (telling them I don’t know them and I don’t trust them). They held the door for *me* and I said something like ‘you shouldn’t let people in the building’, and turns out they had in fact recognized me as the person who’s apartment door was literally 1 foot from theirs. When I said that they looked at me like I was being ridiculous, but I hadn’t recognized them so I certainly hadn’t expected they’d recognize me. I couldn’t even remember seeing them before, as I tend not to go in and out a bunch and most of the other residents I only knew from condo board meetings (they were renters).

    3. L.H. Puttgrass*

      I kind of empathize with the employees and blame the employer a bit here. Good Manners and A Proper Upbringing are tough traits to overcome, and a good security policy should recognize that people are, in fact, people. And it’s not even that unreasonable for someone to rebel a little against a policy that values badge possession over personally recognizing someone you work with every day. It reminds me a bit of Klinger demanding to know the password from Colonel Blake.

      If you want to make sure that no one lets anyone else into the building, training can only go so far. The best way to do it is to spend money on guards and turnstiles. Guards are paid not to let people in just because they know them and trust them, and turnstiles don’t care. But guards and turnstiles cost money, while berating people for holding the door open for people they know is free.

      Not nearly enough companies pay attention to usable security, IMO.

      1. KateM*

        I went recently through a security door that worked like a spaceship outer door, with the airlock not big enough for two persons.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          Yup. “Man traps,” those are called (or used to be; I don’t know if the terminology has been updated to “person traps”). Anyway, those are supposed to be standard practice for sensitive areas like data centers.

            1. L.H. Puttgrass*

              They usually have glass doors (and often, glass sides). They’re not big enough for two people (and, come to think of it, I wonder if they’re big enough for some individuals), and they’re rigged so that one door won’t open until the other has closed, airlock style (except, I imagine, in an emergency). But I could easily imagine someone feeling, well, trapped in one.

      2. Savy*

        Good manners and a proper upbringing are legitimately hard things to overcome when it’s been drilled into you that being rude is absolutely not tolerated. I sometimes get rolled by people because I was raised to use sir, ma’am, and miss. So many people Do. Not. Like. It. So I actually flinched at the idea of letting the door slam in people’s faces. I get it. I understand it. I even appreciate why it needs to happen. But it would still be SO HARD on me mentally.

        1. L.H. Puttgrass*

          And swinging doors are really bad ways to control entry. They’re designed to let lots of people through at a time and need people to be actively rude to do otherwise. Even a revolving door is better.

          Besides—any physical security tester knows that the go-to door is the one around the back of the building where all the smokers gather. If it’s not propped open, someone’s likely to let you in, especially if you let them bum a cigarette off of you.

      3. Alex*

        Our system is set up that if you don’t badge in on the outermost door, your card won’t work anywhere – not on your actual office door, not on the corridor doors, not on the snack machine – but we don’t need to have the door close/open fully for each person, you just have to individually tap your badge once.

        This obviously does not help that much for people that keep interior doors open but for example to get to my office you’d have tapped your card six times by the time you’re in front of the door, raising the chances you can’t just sail by.

        Our badges are also worn very visibly so seeing someone without a very obvious badge is quite easy to notice.

      4. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        The building where I worked had an employee entrance, where we had a sign in/out sheet at a security window, and a public entrance. The public entrance did not have access to badge-secured areas. If a visitor was going to visit a staff member in a secured spot, they used the employee entrance and the security person there would call the staff person and issue the visitor a temporary ID. They weren’t allowed to wander. The inner doors were the ones where the badges worked, and those sensors plus the ID count told our security people how many people were in the building.

      5. Anon for this one*

        You don’t necessarily know that the person you see every day wasn’t laid off yesterday. At a previous job, while they usually weren’t super strict about enforcing the no-tailgating policy, they were ABSOLUTELY serious for a couple weeks after a round of layoffs. (And they gave the amazing receptionist, who recognized everyone, a list of people who were no longer supposed to be in the building.)

      6. MCMonkeyBean*

        It does sound a bit over the top, but I will allow that their might be reasons I am not thinking of. But generally I feel like “don’t let anyone *you don’t know for sure works at the company* into the building” seems like a more reasonable policy. But like, if you go out to lunch with a coworker and then come back together–the idea of reprimanding someone who doesn’t let the door shut behind them on someone they literally walked out of the building with an hour earlier seems unnecessary. Or like in the example, your literal boss.

        1. MCMonkeyBean*

          I also would agree that turnstiles are better if possible. At my company there are full-time security staff at a desk inside the entrance. Previously you would just show your badge to them as you walk past, now there are turnstiles (well they are like tiny electronic gates really, nothing turns) that you open with your badge.

          If you have to use your badge to even get in the door, then what do you do if you lose your badge? If I lost mine or forgot it at home one day, I would go into the building and then talk to the security people at the desk. They could look me up in the system and sometimes they might call someone you work with to come down and get you or something. But you can’t do that if you can’t even get into the building at all! Or what about visitors? I’m confusing myself now on wondering how this system even works at all, though I’m sure it’s pretty common…

    4. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Back in my IBM days, there was a day I lost my badge. I was a bit in a hurry, so I walked straight to the service door. I tailgated three doors and one elevator up to the floor I worked at, no questions asked.

      1. kitryan*

        I used to know a couple roundabout route to use to get from the public areas of my old theater to the employee only areas, for when I’d forgotten my badge. If you used this one door that was usually unlocked that lead to a storage hallway you could get into the backstage and then up the back stairway – or if the actual theater was open, you could go through to backstage that way and then to the workspaces and offices, at which point I could snag the visitor pass I had for temp employees to make it thru the rest of the day.
        At my current office, about every other week, I clock in to find a plaintive email ‘is anyone on the 10th floor who can let me in?’ indicating that an early bird or night owl has managed to lock themselves in the atrium or the stairwell.
        I once managed to shut myself in the tiny room that the freight elevator opened into. I had no idea that employee badges didn’t open the door from both sides, so when I’d dropped off the cardboard boxes I was putting out for recycling, I’d let the door shut behind me. And then it wouldn’t open. I had to listen for passers by and bang on the door when I heard someone. As it was a bit after 6, I was mildly concerned I’d be there all night.

      2. quill*

        Same, but at a normal manufacturing facility, and I dropped my badge down the elevator shaft on accident. (Not as interesting as it sounds, was trying to maneuver a box and broke the belt clip off… goodbye, badge.)

        I had to tailgate a few people to make it to security, who enjoyed a good laugh about it.)

    5. English Rose*

      We had this system where I used to work. I was new. A woman tried to tailgate me but because I did NOT KNOW HER AND TRUST HER I refused to let her in. Turned out she was the boss’s wife. And of course a whole different rule for her!

  4. Cat Lover*

    The poor admins in #10 probably got so much crap from patients, a la the previous letter.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I’m guessing Dr. Lizzie wasn’t a top patient favorite at that practice….

    1. PollyQ*

      I found #13 mind-boggling (and hilarious, of course). Imagine torpedoing a perfectly good job over NOTHING. And she had plenty of opportunities to correct course, too. But no, gotta keep sending that banana crackers email to EVERYONE, EVERY DAY. *shakes head in bafflement*

    2. Poppyseeds*

      OMG same! That whole calling out of Tim had me screaming….”Tim came out of the building and got in the car and drove away – was that really a visitor, Tim? DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW WHO THAT WAS, TIM?????”

      1. DrRat*

        I keep hearing DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW WHO THAT WAS, TIM????? in Kyle’s voice from Southpark with him saying that instead of “WHERE HAS THAT FINGER BEEN, KYLE?”

      2. Just a different redhead*

        DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW WHO THAT WAS, TIM????? seems like it just has to become a classic cultural reference phrase now. It keeps playing in my head ultra-dramatically and cracking me up XD

  5. BBBB*

    >Some people made a loud and deliberate point of always holding secured doors open and letting in as many people as they could get to do so.

    OMG! I’ve worked in places where you would literally be arrested for doing this.

    1. Sloanicota*

      It’s funny, as the list kept going, I started feeling kind of – bad for people. A commonality in a lot of the stories was that something the employees had in the past was changed or taken away and they couldn’t handle it. It’s easy to laugh but it’s like the work world life is so small and grey that one bright spot being taken away can just break you.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        One thing I did not submit, because it’s actually a significant change and people were legitimately upset, was a change to benefits at a place I worked. I worked for HR / Payroll in a purely administrative capacity, but many union staff took this as me being on the Wrong Side.

        What happened was that, during a merger involving 4 hospitals and 2 unions, many people received various slight improvements in their benefits packages, but the nurses lost their white fillings. To be precise, at ONE site the union nurses (no other staff) had been fully covered for white fillings, while everyone else, including union nurses at the other facilities, were only covered for amalgam fillings. If you wanted a less conspicuous filling, you would have to pay the difference in cost out-of-pocket. In the harmonization across the organization, everyone was only covered for amalgam going forward.

        People *lost their minds*! They cursed at me, had full-on meltdowns. I was… astonished. (1) I am entry-level staff. I didn’t make this decision. (2) These conditions were negotiated at the time of the merger *in part by your union*! Don’t THEY have someone you can shout at? (3) No One is Going to come to your house under Cover of Darkness and remove your existing fillings with pliers! For the love of Mike!

        I received support and backup from my supervisors. I connected people as rapidly as possible with someone who could at least discuss the situation intelligently. I didn’t talk back. I was quick to call a union rep anytime I was asked by a member, or if someone was rendered incoherent by Large Emotion. I feel badly in the abstract for anyone pushed over the edge by circumstances in their place of work. But… there is a limit as to how badly I can feel for anyone who, at the end of the day, has dental coverage. Where I live, a lot of folks have dental, but a lot do not. At that point in time, I did not.

        1. MentalEngineer*

          As someone who’s been on the other side of “These conditions were negotiated at the time of the merger *in part by your union*! Don’t THEY have someone you can shout at?”

          Yes, there usually is. However, people like this already know that they don’t want to shout at us. Because if they shout at us, we will ask them if they attended a negotiation session, responded to the priorities survey, participated in the contract campaign, or voted on the contract, and they don’t want to answer those questions. ~The union~ is what you and your coworkers get together and do, not the one staffer who’s providing advice to 6-30 different worksites, but not everyone wants to hear that.

          1. SongbirdT*


            My mom is a recently-retired union president. She would fight tooth and nail to get the members the best possible outcome, and there was always one dude who never showed up to meetings but was steamin’ mad about whatever, threaten her at meetings, then try to run against her in the next election. I always chuckled when they inevitably lost with 7 votes vs. her hundreds.

            1. MentalEngineer*

              At least her guy ran against her! I would kill to have contested elections even if it was over something silly. If you actually campaign and muster the votes to win, you’ve got a vision for collective action and it’s what your colleagues want – I’ll back that even if I don’t agree with it.

          2. Starry*

            Agh, yes, this. I just got through a contract negotiation and I was *so exhausted* by trying to get across the “some of you could have volunteered to be in the room” part.

          3. whingedrinking*

            Yep. I worked at a school which wasn’t unionized but did solicit faculty and staff input for major decisions. One teacher virtually erupted when we got new textbooks and demanded to know why this was happening.
            My then-boss was one of the most diplomatic and tactful people I’ve ever met. You could tell she was on the verge of stabbing this dude in the eye because she said, “Jim, we had six meetings about this and you attended none of them. Now sit down and let the publishing rep tell you about the e-materials.”

            1. La Triviata*

              At my college, the bookstore had been run by college employees for years and years. They had been running it long enough that they knew most of the books that they’d need to have in stock for most of the classes. Then, one year, the bookstore was outsourced. The new company, of course, didn’t know which books had to be routinely ordered – and they’d been ordered by rote for so long there weren’t records – so they didn’t order them. And the school year started, a lot of the required books weren’t in the bookstore and panic ensued. (They were ordered, came in late, but there was still a lot of angst.)

  6. Popinki(she/her)*

    I’m so happy that Bacongate made it! I still can’t fathom how there can be a “bad” kind of bacon. If it’s thinner than the regular bacon, that just means an excuse to grab another strip to make up for the shortage.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I suspect this was in the UK where bacon is ham. So they were getting one piece but it was thin and they felt cheated.

      1. LunaLena*

        Some people also have preferences regarding thin and crispy vs thick and chewy bacon. The chewy fans may have been upset about getting crispy bacon, though personally I think both has its merits.

        1. Jack Russell Terrier*

          ‘American bacon comes from pork belly, which is a much fattier cut of meat. British bacon, on the other hand, comes from the loin which is a much leaner cut. In fact, British bacon is from the same cut as pork tenderloin. This is also where bacon gets its name; it is cut from the back of the animal (think “back-on”). ‘

      2. TK*

        UK bacon is certainly different than US bacon, but it’s not ham. It’s thinner regardless of the type of product, though, so you’re likely right about that.

      3. The Baconing*

        OP here; we’re in the States. Folks were angry because of the thin cut bacon took more bacon, and, in part, we pay the cafeteria by the bacon strip, so, in addition to being the wrong “flavored bacon,” they had to buy more.

        1. Jellyfish*

          OMG, I nearly choked on my water when I saw your user name. Thanks for the laugh :)

        2. KoiFeeder*

          No, I get the flavor thing. Some of the cheaper maplewood smoked bacon just straight-up tastes like maple syrup. I would not treat it as seriously as the folks in the story, but I can understand being irritated if I had to buy more bacon and then it didn’t even taste like bacon.

          Of course, the obvious solution is… not buying the bacon until they get the right stuff back.

      4. londonedit*

        Yeah, bacon is not ham here in the UK. It’s true that we tend to prefer back bacon than the thin strips of streaky bacon, but you can get both kinds of bacon here and bacon and ham are still two separate things! Ham tends to refer to sliced ham that you’d eat cold in sandwiches, and then there’s gammon which is a thick steak of ham that you’d have hot, but bacon is bacon just like it is in the USA (even if it is a slightly different shape and not streaky).

        1. Aww, coffee, no*

          As a UK eater of streaky bacon (YUM!), for years I regarded US bacon dubiously and wouldn’t order it, after a boyfriend told me that US bacon is fatty and nasty.
          Some years later I was on a trip to the US with friends and saw them eating what looked like amazing bacon. At this point I had a revelation about the advice from now-ex-boyfriend as I realised that the whole time he and I were together we would always buy two packets of bacon: unsmoked back bacon for him and smoked streaky bacon for me. Therefore any advice he had on bacon should be reversed for me.
          The rest of the trip I ate a great deal of bacon, with huge enjoyment! (Also, there is a bakery somewhere in Minneapolis-St Paul that does finger doughnuts with maple-syrup flavoured frosting and a rasher of streaky bacon on top and they are the most amazing doughnuts I have ever eaten.)

          1. Splendid Colors*

            San Jose has a donut shop that does maple bacon donuts, too. Along with other wacky combinations. They might have closed during the pandemic due to most customers working from home and not buying office donuts, though.

  7. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

    I have some sympathy for the folks in #11 — I haaaaaaaate light roast. I would rather drink a mediocre dark roast than an exquisite light roast (that is, exquisite according to folks who like light roast)! I wouldn’t have a meltdown over it, but I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled either. Lucky for me, my office has a bunch of different coffee options, including a pretty good dark blend (not quite as good as the Peet’s I make at home but still pretty good) and a rotating monthly variety that is usually light roast (so I usually don’t even try it). :D

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        I’m 75% sure I know the coffee that LW #11 is talking about and it is truly, truly dreadful stuff. At an OldJob I remember for several years we got coffee from a local roastery. Gang, I’m telling you, this stuff was undrinkable. Light roast, dark roast, decaf, it didn’t matter, all of it was so horrible. I remember our boss finally snapped once day and ended up bringing in a commercial-style Keurig. I’ve never seen so many adults be so happy!

        1. Random Bystander*

          I know what you mean–when we were still in the office, we had a regular drip coffee maker (which no one used on a regular basis, and the coffee in that was always dreadful) and a Keurig .. while there were a few supplied pods, everyone who used the Keurig was much more likely to bring in self-selected pods and all the coffee drinkers (myself included) were much happier than before the Keurig made its appearance.

        2. Hamster Manager*

          Our office Keurig made coffee that tasted like cigarettes no matter what (our pods were ones like the Dunkin flavors so not the cheapos). Probably the machine was not ever cleaned? SO glad to WFH and have local roaster French press each morning now.

          1. quill*

            Yeah, those tend to never get cleaned, at least not often enough… one of the micro labs I worked at made a (joking) pact to never swab the coffee machines, because we officially did not want to know.

      2. Nom*

        All my coworkers thought i didn’t drink coffee at all because they never saw me drink it. No, my friends, it’s because the coffee here at work is terrible.

      3. LIZZIE*

        Yes! we have these pots hooked up to the waterlines, and foil packets of coffee. It’s nasty. I call it swill. Weak and gross.

        We also have Keurigs, but you have to provide your own kcups. Which I did until we came back into the office. Call me paranoid, but I’m not ready to use a common coffee machine. I bring my own in a thermos now.

        1. Kacihall*

          I worked at a large call center with Keurigs at most beverage stations. You had to bring your own, though some departments provided them. I had planned to use it in the winter for hot cocoa, but someone had to refill it while I was getting water one day and I happened to look inside. Not sure if it’s because I was still at the constantly nauseated stage of pregnancy or if it really looked and smelled that bad, but I’ve not been able to use ANY Keurig since, much less a communal one.

          1. Berkeleyfarm*

            Oh bless.

            My old job had Keurigs, but we had a coffee service – someone came in and restocked the cups, and ran a clean through the machine.

          2. Cathie from Canada*

            Several years ago on this website, I recall there was a discussion about office coffee wars, and somebody said they had finally cleaned their foul office Keurig and there were remains of dead cockroaches in the basket.
            An unforgettable image, to be sure.

              1. Splendid Colors*

                My first job had a coffee vending machine with some kind of mechanical setup inside to brew individual cups of coffee from actual coffee grounds (not instant). Once I was nearby when maintenance opened it to dispose of the used grounds: it was SWARMING with German cockroaches inside. Absolutely horrifying.

                (And I stopped at the mall on the way home to get a fancy drip coffee maker to caffeinate myself at home.)

            1. Monday Monday*

              YES!!! I loved that story and either the poster or a commenter called it “La Cucaracha blend”. Dying.

              At my old company they confiscated all the Keurigs and slow-drip machines because they were deemed a fire hazard and we were only allowed to have commercial appliances. They installed some machine with foil packet coffee that was horrendous. To boot, they made you pay a quarter for it. There was quite the uproar over the quarter and they eventually removed the gadget that made you pay for it. It just cracked me up how up-in-arms people got over coffee. I get it. I like what I like to. But you know what???? My solution was to make it at home and bring it in.
              Some people brought in a French press or just hid single-serve Keurigs.

      4. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

        At my first job ever, one of the managers bullied the boss into spending exorbitant amounts of money every month on premium coffee from one of the top local roasters (in an area known for coffee – it was really good stuff). We’d brew multiple pots a day for an office of less than 10, and go through 4 or 5 pounds a month at least.

        You can imagine my surprise and disappointment when my next office only had the institutional size coffee pots and bargain brand coffee, and every job since then hasn’t had office coffee at all!

      5. Office Coffee Always Sucks*

        I even purchase my own coffee to use in our office coffeemaker – which is not different than mine at home – and it just…doesn’t taste as good.

    1. NeedRain47*

      I worked in a place where the employer provided coffee was awful, we constantly asked for better, but the office manager would just say “I’ve had worse.” Do you know where he had worse? In the Army during the Vietnam war. We all had to drink bad coffee b/c war coffee was worse.

      1. LinuxSystemsGuy*

        When we deployed we brought a a footlocker full of coffee. We might have to suffer, but there are limits (we were a National Guard unit deploying out of New Orleans, senior staff took coffee very seriously)

    2. Flawed by Design*

      I love light roasts and I still have sympathy for those coworkers. I would be pretty annoyed if a coworker unilaterally decided on a particular coffee they liked, instead of something that would appeal to everyone. Most people are accustomed to the classic coffee flavor of medium/dark roasts. Modern light roasts tend to be more fruity and acidic, which is very jarring if you’re not used to it. Some of them really do taste horrendous when you add anything to it – the “soy sauce” complaint is actually pretty spot on for a more “balanced” light roast with cream.

      If you’re ever ordering coffee for an office full of people, do everyone a favor and just go with a medium roast blend. Pretty much every coffee drinker can enjoy a medium roast, and almost any dark roast can be made palatable with whatever additives people want to throw in it, but light roasts require a very particular taste and will not appeal to most people.

      I’ll get off my coffee soapbox now.

      1. hamsterpants*

        Thank you! I’d rather drink gas station swill than half the light roasts from fancy roasters. No, I do not want my coffee to be tart. And yes, there is middle ground between sour and burned.

      2. TheRain'sSmallHands*

        My husband is a light roast drinker, I’m a medium roast drinker – but I don’t agree dark roasts cannot be made palatable with additives – they are too bitter. A tablespoon of sugar and quarter cup of cream …… nope still not drinkable.

        I used to bring a French Press into the office. At home we use an Aeropress which lets us each make our own coffee. Since we both work from home, work provides exactly the coffee we want.

        1. SnappinTerrapin*

          A pinch of salt is more effective than a spoon of sugar in neutralizing the bitterness.

    3. RB*

      I also don’t get how “too strong” can even be a valid complaint. Can’t you just add extra hot water to your own cup?

      1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

        No, darker roasts bring out more of the acid in coffee, so it tends to be bitterer than light roasts. Adding water doesn’t take away the bitter, burnt flavor.

        1. DataSci*

          That’s not about strength, though. You can have weak dark roast, or strong light roast, depending on the ratio of beans to water.

    4. Shira VonDoom*

      I work in a small office, and even though I’m the only one here ALL the time, boss refuses to buy light roast, I should just drink the dark roast (too acidic!) that’s already here. I love her, but it’s annoying.

      anyway, I buy my own coffee, and drink that. I have other things I’m more committed to nagging her to agree to, LOL

    5. dark roast 4 eva*

      I pretty much never comment and I felt like I had to come to the comments today to back up the light roast haters – I would be very upset if my office coffee was light roast! It is very polarizing.

      I did throw a silent fit when I went back to the office after months remote to find they had swapped the normal milk / cream / soy milk for sugary flavored creamers. I stared at them, asked my colleagues if there were any normal milks to use, they all said no and I left abruptly to go get coffee from a cafe down the street! I didn’t say anything but my displeasure was clear.

    1. logicbutton*

      It says the original manager was the one who got in trouble, not the newer one!

        1. Kacihall*

          Then she’s DEFINITELY not a visitor that those spots are intended for! Shame, shame!

    1. Not Your Wife*

      I’m laughing because I also had a nasty ex-co-worker determined to create drama over non-existent “cheating!” One day she came up to me in the office and crowed in singsong, “I caught your husband with another woman!” She gleefully told me a “scandalous” tale of how she saw my “husband” the day before, a tall young man with long brown hair and a black streak pulled back in a ponytail and driving a blue Toyota sedan, “passionately embracing” this other woman in the parking lot of the local grocery store a few streets over. There were juuuuust a few things wrong with her lurid tale:

      1: I wasn’t married. I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time, and hadn’t since long before I came to work at that office. I didn’t even start dating anyone till after I left.
      2: The man she described as my “husband”? A perfect description of my cousin, who had been in town with his wife, visiting me overnight on their way somewhere else. The month before.
      3: Said cousin had been back in his home country, thousands of miles away, for weeks.
      4: The car she described…was mine. I didn’t use it to drive to work since I normally bussed.

      I just shrugged and said, “I’m not sure who you’re talking about, considering I’m not in a relationship with anybody” because I was so confused (and also suspecting shenanigans, since it was her) and watched her deflate. Which I confess I enjoyed. I figured out after a little while what was going on, why she had all this weird info she should not about my cousin and my car:

      While cousin was visiting, I let him drive my car that day to visit someone else. He dropped me off at work and picked me up since he wouldn’t be far away, so I didn’t have to bus in. Gross co-worker must have been in the parking lot, seen me get out of the passenger side of the car she didn’t know was mine, and paid WAY too much attention to the car and driver for the purposes of future drama. Guess she was too busy paying attention to the man, though, since she failed to notice the woman–AKA his wife–in the back seat (she had a headache, and took the back so she could lie down if needed).

      And, no, my cousin did not embrace his wife (or any other woman) in the parking lot of any grocery store. They spent the whole day together at their friend’s place, came to get me from work, then we went home. I drove them to the airport later.

      I knew this toxic ex-co-worker was vindictive and loved to cause drama, but it really took my breath away that she was literally trying to destroy a relationship she thought I had, just for her own amusement! Sometimes you find yourself actually looking into the face of evil.

  8. Jam Today*

    I’m dying to know what the aftermath was with #4. How did the rest of that meeting go?

  9. Kayem*

    That whole thread brought me great joy. The no pap smears after 1pm got read aloud to several people and everyone was laughing themselves to tears.

  10. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    7. The pretzels
    Yeah the “honor” system never works.
    And people get the maddest when their free goes away.

    1. LawBee*

      If you’re going to bring in food on the honor system, you should just accept that you’re donating food and sometimes getting a couple of bucks tossed your way.

      1. anonymous73*

        I think I would rather bring it in, then take it away and watch the thieves get angry LOL

    2. Elizabeth Bennett*

      There was a chapter in one of the Freakonomics books about the honor system bagel and cream cheese business someone set up. They delivered boxes of bagels & cream cheese to various office floors with a jar and a suggested price (something low, like 50c for a bagel and cheese). Not surprisingly (to me anyway), the executive floors had more theft than others. IIRC, the authors suggested that perhaps executives were promoted to their level because they felt entitled, not the other way around.

    3. Le Sigh*

      I think the part that killed me is when the OP noted they live in Philly. Pretzels are so ubiquitous there that people used to sell them out of bags at intersections! It is not hard to acquire a soft pretzel!

      1. middlemgmt*

        I am 100% unsurprised that this happened in Philly. no one else would take soft pretzels so seriously, haha.

        1. Le Sigh*

          And well, I say this with love because I was once one of them, but it’s not exactly a city known for its chill. That’s part of the charm, of course, but I’d almost be disturbed if Philly *didn’t* get this upset about pretzels.

    4. Hrodvitnir*

      Yeah the “honor” system never works.

      Which makes me so sad!

      When I first started at my last job, the snacks were just a box and you could put cash in the box or transfer to a bank account. A system they’d used for years. Later that year we got a vending machine (though the key to open the door WAS taped inside the despensing slot, haha).

      Anyway, the woman training me breezily said when I was hungry once that I should just go grab a snack – she never kept track, she’d just transfer a random (too small I’m sure) amount of money at the end of the month. WTAF. She also was surprised we were all disturbed by her admission of stealing drinks from bars when she was younger (a bad idea for more than one reason!)

      Dishonest people really do assume everyone around them is dishonest too.

  11. idwtpaun*

    Sitting here with my mouth open at #10 and Dr. Lizzie. I don’t think I could physically make myself throw that kind of tantrum. What kind of person throws themselves on the floor, kicking and screaming, in front of their coworkers? Should I be in awe of such utter lack of self-consciousness (or shame)?

    1. NoviceManagerGuy*

      I couldn’t even pretend to in front of an audience who were all in on the joke. Just not possible.

      1. KateM*

        I *think* I have managed to do that once or twice in my life to confuse the tantruming toddler of that time. No coworkers, though. And I made sure I was on carpet.

        1. My dear Wormwood*

          I might have confused the tantrumming toddler once by lying down on the floor and crying, but I wasn’t acting.

          1. Bagpuss*

            My brother in law got down on the floor and joined in when my toddler cousin had a tantrum, it surprised confused him so much that he stopped, which was BIL’s plan.

      2. MAC*

        I have performed in community theatre for 30+ years and I have done a lot of things “in character” that are wayyyy out of character for ME and I’m not sure I could convincingly act this way *on a stage* in service of the story. My jaw has never dropped so far as it did reading that post.

      3. Half Jorts Half Jean*

        In 2020, I got so mad about something that I literally hopped up in down in rage like Yosemite Sam – but I was at home AND alone at the time. Karma paid me back instantly by having a picture fall off the wall and shatter a chalkware doorstop that had been in my family forever. I went from rage to despair instantly. And of course I felt so stupid – if I hadn’t lost my #%#@!*, that wouldn’t have happened. I can’t imagine having a physical meltdown like that in public, let alone in front of coworkers I’d have to continue to work with. Whew.

    2. AnonForThis*

      I thought it was bad when a physician I used to work for did a literal stomping his foot fit, repeatedly yelling that a particular delay was “unacceptable!”, when there was a pharma company research monitoring person just down the hall and well within earshot. Great doc, thanks for making us (you) look awful and unprofessional in front of someone auditing our files.

    3. Nom*

      I could probably throw one or two things if i were really letting go but yeah – i couldn’t make myself do this even if i wanted to

  12. Rocky Mountain Recruiter*

    I have some sympathy for #3. We switched from Slack to Teams last year, and the emoji options in Teams are absolute trash.

    1. PumkinSpice4ever*

      I saw that the company’s Teams emojis changed last year. My employer’s Teams emojis have been the same all along, and I really don’t like them at all. I’m trying to imagine how they could get worse!

      1. N*

        ours just changed today and they are truly awful. The laughing one looks so angry!

        I’m not going to complain about this to anybody but >:(

        1. Delia*

          I read this yesterday and was like ‘okay, fine, whatever.’ but today! Today my emojis changed! And I have sympathy because they are, in fact, scary looking.

    2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Not only the emojis are awful, but you can’t upload a gif and reshare it to as many channels you want, you need to reupload it or it’ll never display as intended.

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

        Teams just pulls GIFs from…if you want a steady supply of custom gifs you can create a Giphy channel and then when you go to add one in your Teams chat, search your @username…right?

    3. Princess Xena*

      The teams emojis are unquestionable the creepiest emojis I’ve ever seen. The smiley face is particularly terrifying

    4. many bells down*

      I do appreciate the Teams animated “beating my head against a wall” emoji. That one gets a lot of use.

      1. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

        Slack > Teams for emojis every time. Slack and Discord also let you add specialized emojis for your team. We have one that’s a disco version of our company logo.

        1. Frideag Dachaigh*

          I went through an early pandemic period where I added a TON of ridiculous emojis to Slack thinking it was only visible to me for some reason–oops! Luckily they were all totally work appropriate but still a bit embarrassing when I realized that everybody could see them. Though I just pulled up a list and our 800 person workplace has added 1500 custom emojis so I’m in good company.

          1. Indigo a la mode*

            My team has added a custom emoji for each team member’s dog(s). Also one of my coworker’s chickens, Karen, who glares disdainfully upon us.

        2. Ann O'Nemity*

          Slack emojis FTW. At my last job someone added a dancing Carlton, which always brought me a little joy.

          1. Lizzo*

            We have a dancing Carlton, the Prancercise lady, a dancing banana, a dancing hamster, a dancing charmander (my favorite), a dancing Chandler, a happy dancing goat, a dancing duck wearing a silly hat, a dancing panda, a dancing otter holding a delicious-looking fish, and finally, a dancing character from Among Us.


        3. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)*

          I’ve never used teams, but Slack it’s so easy to add emojis! We have a “Not my circus” and “Not my monkeys” that come in very handy, and a “Sherlock” for when we’re digging into an error report

          1. Berkeleyfarm*

            I think we’re switching to Teams so I will keep that in mind.

            Can it store a meme library? My coworkers are not bad with the memes. They don’t go overboard, and it keeps us loose while we’re working hard, so the boss isn’t hot to reign us in. I will also note that at our company, our chat program is pretty much restricted to interdepartmental use. We have some shared channels but no general chat because some people were Inappropriate and that got pulled. E.g. only the people in my department can PM me.

            I can imagine that people will yell about the emoji selection when we switch!

        4. quill*

          Discord emojis are the best. One of my favorite discords has an extended collection, including in jokes, Ace attorney, and half and half pride flag hearts (so you could reply with a trans and bi flag heart… instead of using two hearts…)

          Oh, and one emoji is just a wordart of the name of a commenter known for bad puns.

      2. Media Monkey*

        my most used one is the eye roll. i don’t know if that says more about me, my clients or my colleagues…

    5. Nesprin*

      People who complain about Teams emojis have not seen webex’s. There’s no equivalent of , , All the food emoji’s are hamburgers, pizza, and sushi.

    6. Absurda*

      At my company we, apparently, have a team designated for creating new emojis based on employee requests (did I mention we’re a huge multi-national company?). Apparently they are very into gatekeeping the creation of emojis. My manager is miffed that they’ll create emojis for some sports teams but not his preferred team.

      It’s been a while since he complained so I don’t remember the specifics, but I think it was a low performing hockey team.

  13. HigherEdAdminista*

    The cookie one sounds like someone who was unhappy she couldn’t/wouldn’t eat the cookies and was looking forward to seeing other people feeling as miserable as she was!

    1. RB*

      Yeah, but I’m surprised more people weren’t outraged. There is a BIG difference between large bakery cookies and supermarket cookies, not just in the size but the quality. I wouldn’t have been happy about that switch.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I wouldn’t have been happy either, but I like to think I would’ve taken it in stride that the FREE cookies were slightly less delicious. No reason for outrage.

      2. Burger Bob*

        I would have missed the bakery cookies, but it wouldn’t have occurred to me to complain that the free cookies were less delicious. Free cookies are free cookies. I’m not super picky what kind of free cookies I’m given.

    2. MerelyMe*

      Before the pandemic, we had one person out of 560 or so who had a severe dairy allergy, and we dealt with it by forbidding anybody to have any public food with any dairy products in it. Including cookies, so our daily organization-wide teatime turned into “Come have vegan cookies and tea with oat milk!” Thank goodness Oreos are vegan. Also, the one person who changed teatime for all of us has gone elsewhere over the course of the pandemic, so although teatime is only on Wednesdays (for now) there’s dairy-based milk again.

  14. idwtpaun*

    My amazement at the temper tanrum, made me forget an actual question I had about the secured doors situation. A large company of 350 employees and each one has to let the door fully close and lock behind themselves when entering the building – wouldn’t that take hours for people just to pile into work? How does that function, practically? Wouldn’t a subway-like turnstile be needed instead?

    1. CheesePlease*

      I work at a company twice this size. The are multiple employee entrances, and people get in between 6:30am – 8:30am, so it isn’t a huge flow through one door at a time. It would be different if everyone needed to use the same door and be in at 8am.

    2. PostalMixup*

      Only if everyone shows up at the same time. Where I work, people start their days anywhere between 7am and 10am. My workplace of 200 people has a similar door policy, and there’s never an issue where you have to wait for the door. Another site nearby with a larger employee population does have three much faster keycard-openable swinging doors.

    3. The New Wanderer*

      That explains why my secure building has a turnstile setup before you enter the main part of the building. The building is technically open to the public so the doors are open, but if a member of the public wants to go anywhere but the lobby they need to check in with security and be escorted.

      Previous building with a public lobby and secured offices did the badged door setup, but all that was requested was to clearly show your badge to someone holding the door open for you.

      1. RegBarclay*

        My work has this setup as well. Probably because it was near-impossible to train us Midwesterners to let the door slam in someone’s face. The public can get to the lobby and cafeteria but anywhere else in the building requires you swipe through the turnstile.

      2. L.H. Puttgrass*

        This is the right way to do it, IMO (see my mini-rant above).

        I have a sneaking suspicion that companies that insist on everyone badging in (and, often, out) every time, no exceptions, are more interested in tracking people than they are in security. In some cases that’s even reasonable—e.g., the safety considerations mentioned above (if actually used), and as an easier way for people to clock in and out of work. Sometimes, though, I think companies track this just because they can.

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

      They probably have different start times and more than one entrance. Still I can see your point.

      What they should have done is just make everyone scan their badge, even if the door was held open. And then if the badge didn’t beep correctly they could tell the person to go to security desk (or whatever) and then close the door. that’s what we had to do.

    5. PollyQ*

      Yeah, I’ve worked places where everyone needed to badge in, but it wasn’t connected to the door. There was a desk with a security guard and an electronic badge reader.

    6. Sir Ulrich Von Liechtenstein*

      I’m the original submitter for that one.

      There were a ton of doors all over the building, so pileups weren’t an issue. It’s been a few years, but just thinking back and doing some quick math, I want to say there were at least 15, maybe 20 separate entrances across four wings and a big central hub.

    7. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)*

      My office has this rule, but only at side entrances and at our main entrance after hours, and on some internal doors to secured areas – during core hours from 7:30-4:30 the reception desk in the main entrance is staffed by someone who basically knows everyone and repels invaders, as it were.

      And even with that, we still ignore the rule – if you’re walking back to your secured office area alongside a coworker, coming back from a meeting you both just attended; well, you don’t let the door slam in their face!

  15. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    OK. So at my office, we got a brand new set of centrally located file cabinets for our customer records, which had previously just lived in people’s personal cabinets with little organization or control. We had a Particularly Inflammatory Individual in our team, so I lobbied hard to have each person use a separate set of file drawers specifically to avoid the otherwise inevitable Blaming of Others if something were to go wrong with The PII’s files. I was so glad when we were able to switch the files over to a more logical system once the PII moved on. And even more glad when the last of his files moved to the archives so I no longer stumble on them.

    1. TheRain'sSmallHands*

      I love “particularly inflammatory individual” Its making me feel so grateful for my current job where its my partner and I and when we get a consultant we work with who is demanding, we just don’t renew his contract and pass him on to another firm. Our margins are low and we pass almost everything we bill back to our guys – but we don’t take any crap – crap takers take half your bill rate.

  16. Ed*

    Most of these are funny in a silly and/or petty way.

    And then you’ve got Number 10, which is absolutely nutso.

  17. Aggretsuko*

    The emojis reminds me of when I started working here. I worked on a computer program from a vendor that used “islands” in a graphic interface to organize the lists of data. PEOPLE HAAAAAAAAAAAATED THIS. They LOST THEIR MINDS at these islands. I note this was circa early 2000’s and the dawn of this kind of program use. The vendor discontinued the island interface after awhile and just did plain, boring lists. But people would STILL COMPLAIN ABOUT THE ISLANDS years later. Like…um, you won, they’re gone, chill out now?!

    Even worse, a group of rogue programmers hated these sooooooo much that they created a rival program of their own to use instead. And sadly, those people (who were jerks to deal with) won and their program was used by all and everyone loved, loved, loved it.
    This sounds great, except their program tends to *cough* drop data out of it on a regular basis, to this day. The programmer team were apparently such jerks to deal with that most of them were pulled off their program and divvied out to other offices, leaving the head programmer (the worst one) to do “maintenance” only. THEN the lead programmer deliberately decided to sabotage the program so that it would drop data out when you added some in and then they coincidentally quit to get another job before this was found out. A month of drama over this.

    Sadly, all these people are karma houdinis, as the lead programmer got hired here AGAIN after a year or two elsewhere. I’m still flabbergasted at that last one, but at least I don’t have to deal with them any more.

    1. Trillian*

      Unfortunately, there is no idea so bad — particularly in women’s fashion and interface design — that it will not come back from the dead. Ritual stomping down the earth at least signals to the people seeking a Cool New Thing that this is Not the Cool New Thing You Are Looking For.

  18. Bunny Girl*

    Dude the coffee one. I so relate. We would have quarterly seminars and we bought dirt cheap off brand coffee and it was disgusting. Got a flavored coffee from someone that I wasn’t digging so I brought it in to change things up and one of the faculty members had an actual meltdown. Screaming, hysterical, shoving the coffee cup in my face to tell me to smell it because it was so bad apparently (I have no sense of smell). Because I am a petty, petty person I acted super confused and told her it was the same one and I just couldn’t figure out what was happening.

    1. Horace McManus*

      At one job where they supplied super economy brand coffee (so awful), I used to fantasize that the manufacturer filled the coffee pods with the end-of-day sweepings off the roasting room floor,

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        I think that’s where Starbucks comes from.

        If you don’t cover it up with other flavors, it’s pretty rough.

    2. Cookie*

      I wouldn’t get screamy or hysterical, but flavored coffee does smell so horrible to me that I have occasionally taken my laptop to another floor to get away from the stench.

  19. TheRain'sSmallHands*

    As someone who spent a long time in End User Commuting, the emoji story is so real. Every chat or email upgrade had immense amounts of wailing, gnashing and rending associated with it.

    We also (tying into another post from today) had a person who was offended and threatened to sue the company when Windows came out – the reason – the word icon has a religious meaning and to have it used for anything else was harassment. I will point out that I did not work for Microsoft and IT had very little control over what Windows called its features (no control, none, 20 years of spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year with Microsoft some of it as their vendor manager and I never had a darn bit of influence).

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

      OMG it sounds like your coworker with the Word icon is the same customer I had who called at 11:00 pm to complain that we (the cell company) “changed his emojis on his phone to filth and he shouldn’t be subjected to seeing such things” because Android updated the emojis to include same-sex couples kissing and hugging. He went on a 10 minute long rant and demanded to speak to a supervisor when I said we didn’t make the change and there was nothing we could do. I so wish he hadn’t hung up while I was waiting for the night supervisors to decide who got to take the call. They were either gay themselves or had a gay child. They took too long playing Rock, Paper, Scissors that I guess the guy gave up.

    2. Absurda*

      just out of curiosity, what was the icon and what religion was it mimicking? I’d never heard of this as an issue.

      1. Very Social*

        Funny enough, the religious meaning of “icon” is #4 on Merriam-Webster, whereas the meaning Windows uses is #3.

  20. Don*

    I must admit, I feel so strongly that thick bacon is The Way that I can completely imagine sensing a quick email saying the old bacon was better.

    1. anonymous73*

      I mean, I prefer thick cut bacon to thin bacon, but I’m not gonna complain because 1. I am choosing to eat from a place I have no control over and 2. all bacon is good bacon.

    2. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)*

      Me too. Especially since it sounds like subpar bacon was sold by the piece at the old price.

  21. Classic Rando (she/her)*

    I’m truly impressed in the chutzpah level of #4. Like, wow, self-approved and everything lol. His manager must have had an out of body experience when he launched into that presentation!

    And I hope the manager in #6 quit on the spot! The gall!

    1. Paris Geller*

      All this time I never realized what was standing between me and getting what I want is a $5 APPROVED stamp from Staples. Nice 2 bedroom apartment at a great rate? Lemme fill out this application and stamp APPROVE. Oh don’t worry boss, no need to fill out my yearly evaluation, I already did it and stamped it APPROVED along with that 25% raise.

      brb, gotta correct this immediately.

    2. Kes*

      Yeah the self-applied Approved stamp detail is what really makes that story. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “he put his stamp on it”

  22. Aand3*

    Ugh, maybe I’m in a bad mood today but I wish Dr. Lizzie had been immediately canned when she kicked the heater (or well before, if she was such a tyrant that she was always threatening to fire staff when she had no fire power). If I saw a full-grown, presumably compo mentis adult behaving like that, I’d probably be thinking “can we call their next of kin to take them to the ER? Something ain’t right.”

    1. Nobby Nobbs*

      Especially an adult who’s responsible for sticking things in peoples’ sensitive parts! (And other aspects of health care, of course, but the fact that the subject under discussion was Pap smears is particularly appalling.)

      1. BubbleTea*

        I have only ever had very gentle, patient people attempt any kind of cervical access and it is difficult enough. Dr Lizzie would have my cervix attempting to climb out of the top of my uterus and take shelter behind my lungs.

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          I no longer even HAVE a uterus and my reproductive system would do the same. Shudder.

  23. Here for the food*

    My work had a similar situation regarding cookies. No one lost their minds (at least not that I’m aware of), but for years our kitchen staff baked cookies in house. Because they were made in-house and always fresh out of the oven everyone would always gather in our lunch room and wait for them to be brought out at 12/noon on the dot. As you can imagine, everyone, and i mean everyone, would pounce on these cookies soon as kitchen staff moved out of the way as there were only about 20-30 cookies made each day. Ugh they were so good. Anyways, i’d say 2 years after i started working here, something happened (maybe for budget reasons?) and they stopped baking cookies and ordered from third party instead. The new cookies aren’t the worst in the world but we basically down graded to boxed sold cookies and no one wanted them. People stopped eating the cookies completely and the firm just stopped serving them at lunch. We get them still at meetings but it’s been 7 years since that all went down and you still hear people ask “what happened to our cookies?”. It’s funny how often it gets brought up.

    1. Elizabeth Bennett*

      Oh man, I used to work in a showroom that baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in the showroom kitchen oven everyday for the 3pm customer tour. OMG, the whole office smelled of freshly baked cookies and it was hard not to steal one before the customers were offered one.

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        I used to teach an aerobics class in an apartment building all-purpose room where they had Movie Night after my class. The manager often started baking the Otis Spunkmeyers in the middle of class. Ugh, they smelled so good!

      2. BigHairNoHeart*

        Ahhh Otis Spunkmeyer cookies! My high school’s volleyball team raised funds by selling those on Wednesday mornings. Very fond memories of those (and the volleyball team made a pretty penny from me at least).

      3. Cookie Monster*

        Many years ago one of the myriad of photocopying places within a few block radius of our office would bring fresh baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies with your completed copy job. Since all the photocopying places had roughly the same rates, the one with the fresh baked cookies was always chosen. Our account executive came in one day with his boss for a check in meeting and the boss asked how they could earn more of our business. With a dead serious face I told him more cookies. I thought my account executive was going to die trying not to laugh. His boss just looked at me. Hey – he asked. We were all so sad when the cookies stopped.

  24. nonprofit writer*

    Thanks so much for this hilarious thread. I really needed this today. We had to let our cat go yesterday and I am still totally gutted about it. Truly, this has made my day easier and lighter even just for a few moments.

  25. Burn After Writing*

    I just remembered this one: we switched designs for people’s names on cubicles. We’re a federal agency with government (civilians) and contractor working side by side, which comes with certain ethics rules. To make it easier for folks to know who was who, the contractors had a green stripe on their name plate and civilians didn’t. That was it.

    We literally had people filling discrimination complaints because of that green stripe. It was huge for a couple months and had to be addressed at several Town Hall meetings, where leadership reiterated there was a valid business reason for the differentiation. But I imagine there are still some hard feelings.

    1. ZSD*

      Wait, did people WANT the green bars or not? Was it the Star-Bellied Sneetches or those without who felt cheated?

      1. Burn After Writing*

        It was people with the green strip (the contractors) who felt they were being “singled out” (they are not a big minority– in some offices they outnumber the civilian employees).

        Were comparisons to Nazi Germany made? Yes, yes they were.

        1. MansplainerHater*

          I worked at a company that didn’t take an employee photo if you were a contractor, and I was told by a Person Who Controlled Lots of Things (including approval of expense reports) that if she didn’t see a photo next to your name in company systems, she would treat you “as a second-class citizen”.

          1. InsertNameHere*

            I have experienced exclusion as a contractor. The office I worked for would list people’s birthdays in the monthly meeting. For years, it was contractors’ and employees’ birthdays listed together with no differentiation. Then one day, they decided to stop acknowledging contractor birthdays. The exclusion was very bizarre – literally no one got a gift or cake or anything for it, it was just a blanket 30 second acknowledgement.

            1. Aww, coffee, no*

              My company (US-based but global reach and I’m in the UK) made changes like that a few years ago and it was after new legislation that said if contractors were treated as employees they could potentially demand to be employees, with all the extra rights that employees might have.
              As a result All-Employee meetings are now specifically forbidden to contractors, free flu jabs are for employees only, that sort of thing. I can totally see that if we’d previously acknowledged contractor birthdays we would have stopped at that point.

    2. Mockingjay*

      A few years ago Agency got renamed (political reasons), so we too got new nameplates for cubicles, government and contractor. Facilities attached those clear plastic holders outside each cubicle. You were supposed to download the sign template with the Agency logo in the background; fill in your name, title/role, project, and whether government or contractor; and print it yourself and stuff it in the holder.

      Oh, boy. This was a military agency that had teams of software and hardware engineers, techs, and staff who were much less staid than most government agencies. So of course we ALL got very creative.

      I worked on a team bundling different software together to create a truly bloated product.
      -Our project identifier? “Project X. Motto: If we can add it, we will.”
      -Titles? “Lord of All.” “Cat Herder.” “Lead Engineer” (note, he was NOT the lead engineer). And so on.
      -Names? Everyone did put their own, but some in REALLY LARGE FONT; others in very tiny font.
      -Government or Contractor? We left that off because by the time we put all the other ridiculous stuff in, there was no room left in the template.

      The Head of Facilities, who was known for NOT having a sense of humor, fumed and finally decided that nameplates would be issued by her office only. She sent crews around the building to remove the printouts from the holders but never did print any replacements. Most of the holders were “repurposed” and moved to the interior of our cubes to hold family photos and such.

  26. Troop Beverly Hills*

    As a former camp counselor myself, #1 is not at all surprising to me. Camp traditions run deep, and it’s always the veteran staffers who hold onto them most vehemently. I remember one summer at the camp where I worked, a veteran counselor left without notice in the middle of the night due to a disagreement over camp traditions she’d had earlier that day with the camp director. By the next day, the whole camp was divided into Team Counselor vs. Team Director…it could have ruined the whole summer if it weren’t for the strong leadership of our director.

    1. Lab Boss*

      It really is a tough line to walk sometimes. If you don’t build a strong sense of tradition to hold together a cohesive group identity you’ll never attract and retain staff at the wages you’re able to offer, but you have to know when something has run its course and organically died. Even worse is when a tradition draws a complaint or gets evaluated and realized to be offensive or unacceptable and it has to be changed by decree, and you have to try to re-shape that cohesive group identity on the spot.

  27. Dust Bunny*

    “6. The files”

    What the actual F.

    I’ve seen some dumb filing systems but that one takes the cake.

    1. Delta Delta*

      I used to work with someone who filed all their files according to some system only known to them. If you ever needed a file and they weren’t there you had to first figure out what meta category they used to go to the right cabinet. Then within the drawers the files themselves were organized by some date (again, not apparent to anyone). You’d spend 15 minutes looking for a dang file.

      1. EvilQueenRegina*

        Sounds like my ex coworker. She was not happy when her contractor files were changed from insurance expiry date to alphabetical order, but her system made them just as hard to find as your coworker’s.

      2. Shiba Dad*

        We had an admin like this. Her system appeared to be geography based. We once found a project file for a facility that was in the town of Happyburg but filed under BiggerTown.

        We had a running joke that any info we were looking for could be found in the “West Side” file. West Side is a borough of a very small local city.

        This admin also would read obituaries in the local newspaper and then cross the deceased out in the local phone book.

      3. quill*

        Ever read “the mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”? Because an arcane filing system does actually make up an entire plot point there.

    2. BBBB*

      I’m completely astonished they made the new filing system optional. That doesn’t sound like something you can compromise on.

  28. Lab Boss*

    I cut the shirt crusade a bit for time, but aside from all the silliness it had one extreme result. I was managing the grumpy old men in question and one of them had decided that he blamed me for rules existing that he didn’t like. He kept demanding I sit there while he yelled at me, I kept telling him I was just relaying the dress code and really didn’t care if he was mad about it, and it all culminated in him squaring up and offering to “whip [my] fat ass to teach [me] a lesson.” He had been a tough-guy bar brawler once upon a time but by that point he was in his mid 60’s and was a low-mobility major burn victim, and if he wasn’t so nasty it would have just been sad.

    In retrospect I probably could have gotten him fired if I’d reported it but I was young and full of more testosterone than workplace experience. I told him to sit back down before I did it for him, he yelled while I walked away, and we ran the clock out on the summer in a state of mutual dislike. By the next summer I’d finally gotten a career-track job and couldn’t go back, and he eventually ended up being fired for overall disagreeableness.

  29. Allornone*

    I”m somehow going to work “I refuse to do a pap smear after 1 PM” and “Does your wife know who that was, Tim?” into daily conversation. I’m in the non-profit industry and we have no one here by the name of Tim. But I will still do it. Oh yes, it will be done.

    1. Just Your Everyday Crone*

      I was really thinking about changing my username to Does your Wife Know Who That Was, Tim?

    2. Lab Boss*

      I’m going to see how many quotes from this post I can work into my next Dungeons and Dragons session. Admittedly, “Does your wife know who that was, Tim?” is going to be easer to fit in than a pap smear question…

  30. Miss Muffet*

    Do you know what all these things have in common? Having to work in the office. Man, it’s nice to be WFH…. the only crazy I have to deal with is my dog.

  31. many bells down*

    The filing system reminds me of the org chart we have. Apparently, before I started, there was a perfectly sensible org chart. Team A, B, Q, and Z fall under Department One’s umbrella, etc. Several people were upset that it was “too hierarchical.” The org chart now? Is a bunch of colored blobs connected in a way that I have not been able to figure out in nearly 3 years.

  32. Retired Lady*

    I understand the reasoning for security, and after 9/11 there was a good reason to have a record of who was in the building at a given time. (It was a nine story building.) But it really hit home when an employee’s ex got in and tried to attack her. We were all much more careful if someone we didn’t know was behind us.

    1. Irish girl*

      Its also for fire safety. If you know who was in you can check who has left. Also if there are people with mobility issues, the security can know they are in the builidng and may need helping leaving.

  33. Egmont Apostrophe*

    The coffee story reminds me of a story a chef friend told me– he took over running the kitchen at a private club and among other things, stopped buying industrial chicken soup base, instead making chicken soup from… wait for it… chicken. Lots of protests that it didn’t have the industrial flavor they were used to.

    1. Elizabeth Bennett*

      Man, the struggle is real! I grew up on canned green beans and I’m accustomed to the salty flavor. If I get fresh green beans, they’re alright. They taste different, but not necessarily better to me. Change is hard.

      1. Ev*

        Exactly – I grew up with the fake maple syrup and that’s the flavor (and, more importantly) consistency I want to this day. I know that real maple syrup is probably objectively better, and yet…

        1. Hotdog not dog*

          We were in Vermont one year having breakfast at a lovely little Cafe that served their own homemade maple syrup with their pancakes. (It was delicious, btw!) Some complete wingnut at the next table threw a toddler tantrum because they didn’t have any Mrs. Butterworth’s. Grown man, on a ski vacation with his wife and teenage kids. Some people are just dedicated fake syrup fans I guess!

        2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I feel this way about parmesan cheese on spaghetti. No, I don’t want shreds freshly-ground off a block of actual Fancy Cheese, I want salty cheese powder. (I’m 100% Fancy Cheese is Delicious about cheese in general, and routinely both buy some fairly high-end cheeses and eat more interesting pasta dishes, but if I’m having pasta with tomato sauce, I want salty cheese powder all over a fairly bland sauce just like when I was a kid.)

      2. Chas*

        I’m the same way about burgers. I KNOW proper, gourmet or homemade from lean beef burgers are probably better for me. But I grew up eating the cheap, frozen, fatty burgers that were probably made from the worst parts of the cows (or possibly horse, since that was a whole thing in the UK), so to my mind ‘proper’ burgers feel too dry to eat (and I don’t like slathering them with sauce and cheese like a lot of burger places seem to do).

        On the other hand, the new plant based protein burgers my regular cafe feel much more like those cheap burgers than their homemade beef ones, so I can at least order those with bacon and cheese (to cover up the ‘not quite beef’ flavour). So perhaps it’s come back around to being a good thing for me…

        1. Ray Gillette*

          Nah, you’re right – a burger should be fatty, otherwise it’s going to be too dry. Even a fancy, freshly ground and formed burger made from named parts of the animal should still have plenty of fat in it. It’s not healthy but a burger isn’t health food, it’s a treat and should taste like one.

          I read that a big part of the fast food bacon boom was specifically because the fast food restaurants were serving leaner burger patties in response to what customers said they wanted. But the customers then bought fewer burgers because they didn’t taste good. Adding bacon to the burger bumped the fat content back up, giving it more of the expected taste and texture.

    2. PhyllisB*

      This reminds me of something that happened years ago. Our church used to have a booth at a community fair. We sold French fries. Those wonderful potato wedge kind. My youngest daughter refused to eat them because they tasted too much like potatoes. My best friend and I agreed we’d taken these kids to McDonald’s too much. :-)

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        To this day, “homemade macaroni and cheese” and “Kraft macaroni and cheese” are two different foodstuffs to me.

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          This seems obvious to me. Homemade mac is a holiday-level treat. Kraft mac is … a thing I do not consume.

        2. NeutralJanet*

          I feel that way about “pizza” vs “Domino’s”. I am sometimes in the mood for Domino’s, but it isn’t pizza!

          1. Elenna*

            I’m that way about McDonalds burgers. They’re a completely separate food from any other burgers. Occasionally I will just want McDonalds burgers, and no, burgers with any actual quality do not count.

      2. PollyQ*

        Not gonna lie, In & Out’s fries, which are made from potatoes right before your eyes, taste awful to me.

    3. Really?*

      Managed a hotel restaurant early in my career. One day, I got complaints about the chicken rice soup we served every day. I tried it, and it tasted the same as usual, but or some reason the color was off – it was a lot paler. (It was made from actual chicken bones, parts & other scraps and ingredients) I called down to the main kitchen and the sous chef came up with some food color. End of complaints….

      1. For the Moment*

        My sibling’s “secret ingredient” for extra tasty cheese sauce is food coloring.

      2. Imtheone*

        Yup. That does the trick. And you can make challah look richer and more eggie with a little baby food carrot purée. I used to make a vegan version with the carrot purée and people who weren’t vegan thought it tasted just right!

  34. Adultier Adult*

    I need more information about the paps and 1pm- like… why? She didn’t wanna do it after eating lunch??

    1. The OG Sleepless*

      The only thing I can possibly, possibly think of is some sort of time constraint. Maybe the samples need a specific requisition that was a pain to submit in the afternoon, or they had to be walked to the lab within a certain time frame and she wouldn’t have time during afternoon appointments or something.

      1. GermanGirl*

        There are certain lab work things that are better to do in the morning if you don’t have your own lab and the lab service picks up your samples right after lunch. Idk if pap smears are among them – it might even vary with how well equipped your in house lab is and what you have to give to the lab service – but even if they were, it would just take one sentence to explain and everyone would understand.


    The daily parking report broke me. I am in my office with the door shut from laughing so hard.

  36. Not Today Josephine*

    #8 I had a coworker who would pretend to hold the door open for you and then slam it in your face just as you were walking through. Then they would laugh. I only got caught like this by them once.

  37. Elspeth*

    My husband 100% once emailed his company’s cafeteria over a change in the cottage cheese they provided. I think they had an email address set up for comments, it wasn’t going to an SVP or anything like in the bacon story. They responded back that a new worker hadn’t been trained to strain (?) the cottage cheese (or something like that) and that it would be corrected going forward. I thought the whole thing was hilarious.

    1. Phlox*

      I was talking with my 95 yr old grandmother today and she was reminding me that she keeps a running list of input for the nursing home cooks that she emails them every few weeks when she has enough items. I just….I hope the staff aren’t too annoyed and I do actually think she’s nice about it, but she needs to do something and apparently that’s an outlet. Sorry staff!

  38. Rectilinear Propagation*

    From #6: “Two years later, we failed an external audit for being unable to locate the files being requested…”

    I hope that New Manager spent that entire day saying, “I told you so”. I hope those were the only words that came out of their mouth. I hope every time Old Manager got blasted for the filing system, New Manager pointed out that they wouldn’t let them change it. I hope they were insufferable. I hope they didn’t let anyone tell them nothing for like a month.

    It was literally an audit that caused New Manager to try to fix things. There is no way they didn’t see this coming.

    From #13: “The kicker? She got there so early every day that she was usually parked exactly 2 spaces down from her formerly-reserved spot.”

    I went from, “Her reaction is beyond absurd but I can understand being disappointed about losing a reserved parking space” to “Were you just looking for something to complain about?” I know parking on big college campuses can be terrible; sometimes you have to take the bus after you’ve parked. I thought she had been banished to some far off parking deck!

    1. SpicySpice*

      Agree about #6 new manager. I hope they were so full of righteous correctness that they achieved orbit. I would have.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I guess I’m wondering if she got there so early every day in order to ensure she got a comparable spot and would have come in later had she still had one reserved, or if her normal schedule were simply that early that it wouldn’t have made a difference in her parking closeness.
      She’s being an ass either way but much more of one if it’s the latter.

    3. BBBB*

      “I shall now perform the ‘I Told You So’ dance, as is the custom in my land.”

  39. Doctors Whom*

    I forgot to submit mine last week.

    In the early aughts I worked at a tech startup that scaled fast, had a successful IPO, and is still a Big Important Company today. Back then, lots of software devs who were college students or freshly graduated. We had a big lounge with the usual toys – ping pong, & whatnot – and vending machines and kitchenettes on each floor that were well stocked and FREE.

    The waste from all the free sodas and snacks was really gross. It was also $$$$$ when you added it up over the course of the year. So the senior leadership announced that the free items would now cost 25 cents.

    You’d have thought someone called their mamas ugly. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth of people making HIGH end salaries, with 6-figure stock packages, complaining that the company had the audacity to charge them 25 cents for a diet coke out of the snack bar. There were people threatening to quit! Over being asked to contribute a dollar a day or whatever to their $5 snack habit.

    1. Egmont Apostrophe*

      It’s been 20+ years since I worked at such a place, but I have friends for whom “Odwalla” is a punch line, because we remember the fat dot-com days when free Odwalla juice bottles was the heart of our long-gone company’s culture, along with Aeron chairs and foosball.

      1. Minimal Pear*

        Oh man I haven’t thought about Odwalla in SO long! I loved those when I was younger and we got them at the groovy hippie food store as a special treat.

    2. Absurda*

      I worked for a company that was being acquired by another company. It was a hostile takeover and my company was looking for any and every way to reduce costs, boost the balance sheet, etc to fend off the takeover.

      At that time, sodas were free. The execs sent out a poll asking if employees were willing to pay cost (25 cents) on the soda so they could reduce the costs and try to be in a better position to resist the takeover. I really don’t know if it would have helped all that much because the overwhelming response was NO.

  40. ABCYaBye*

    I was totally reminded of a former coworker when I read the coffee story. They were definitely a creature of habit when it came to their coffee. I brought in some other brands from time to time, but there was ZERO chance that we’d switch from the very specific roast from the very specific brand that you can find in a can on the bottom shelf at any given supermarket because they would passively-aggressively lose their minds, mutter under their breath all day, and or pour it out and brew their brand.

  41. beanie*

    I’m excited for this post for a lot of reasons, but one is that there is a coffee called Institutional Blend.

    1. Amaranth*

      I would have guessed it to be like Navy coffee, where it can strip paint in a pinch. I’m curious whether coffeeOP ever looked into cleaning the coffee machine — it might be the ghost of Institutional Blend vanquished their inoffensive light roast.

      1. quill*

        Having worked in paint, specifically in testing it’s resistance to foodstuffs… Don’t worry, the coffee is still human safe. The navy paint isn’t that great if it comes off under coffee.

        1. quill*

          Before anyone asks: Yes, the coffee has to go on HOT. And yes, I had to locate a basket of nickels to make the industrial coffee machine spit it out. And yes, it smelled like death.

      2. Absurda*

        We have a lot of veterans in our office. In the before times, they had their own designated and labeled coffee urn called “extra strong”. Instead of the standard 1 packet of ground coffee, it had 2 or sometimes even 3 packets.

  42. Blue Glass*

    “Imagine being angry that someone decided to stop buying pretzels for thieves.“

    My guess is that the people who were angry were also the thieves.

    1. Elenna*

      I’d be so tempted to be like “okay, YOU pay for the pretzels then. Oh, wait, you don’t want to lose money each week? Strange, neither do I.”

  43. Blue Glass*

    “She stood up, flipped another chair, and kicked the heater all while screaming “I refuse to do pap smears after 1 pm! I refuse! I refuse! I refuse!” she then fell to the floor kicking, pounding her fists, and screaming like a toddler.”

    Honestly, I would wonder if she liked to drink at lunch, and she refused because she was, shall we say, less steady with the instruments after 1pm.

    1. WS*

      Worked with a doctor who liked to drink at lunch and she was completely convinced that nobody could tell. Spoiler: everybody could tell and she was quickly reported.

  44. Imaginary Number*

    Okay but who thought it was a good idea to piss off the admins in #13. They should have just added some visitor parking.

    1. Umiel12*

      I recently revised the reserved-parking policy for my agency, and I expect it will go something like what the LW described when it gets implemented. When I had to decided who would lose their spots, I at least had the sense to ensure the executive assistants got to keep theirs. Some poor directors are going to lose out instead.

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        This was a wise decision, especially if people know who was responsible. A team of angry admins can take down a whole company, let alone one poor logistics person.

        1. Imaginary Number*

          Rule #1: Don’t piss off the admins, especially if they’re good at their jobs.

  45. Egmont Apostrophe*

    This isn’t exactly like the stories Alison cited, but it’s the oddest thing I can remember. Big ad agency, 2000 people working in the office. The head of the media buying dept. drops dead.

    The big boss sends out a memo paying tribute to all he had done for the company. Hey, I never met him, but I respect the feeling and the desire to pay tribute.

    The next day, the big boss sends a second, more personal memo– again, on paper, to all 2000 of us– speaking more personally about good old Al and how we’re going to miss him so. Well, okay, thought we covered that, but fine.

    Day three– another memo, almost on the brink of tears, about what a vacuum Al’s passing leaves in the company. By this point people are starting to make jokes about the big boss and Al having had a torrid love affair or something. (Yeah, we were a cynical bunch. But c’mon! Is this the 12 Days of Al’s Death?) An older guy in the company had the most trenchant observation—the big boss and his colleagues were so isolated on their floor (you literally had to take two elevators to see anybody who did actual client work) that to them the company was just the 20 people they saw every day, they had no conception that there were 1,980 people who had never met Al and found it all a bit much.

    1. OhBehave*

      I’m with the cynical bunch! The other explanation sounds better. I wonder if BB found Al?

  46. Retail No More*

    My extraordinary reaction to a mundane coffee story is that I worked in a retail location with the “head quarters” in the next building. Our bosses were notoriously cheap and slow to move on any problem. When it rained, each department had a stack of buckets we set out among the clothing racks and products… we were in a very rainy place and this practice continued for YEARS. Instead of installing an elevator we had to tell people we only had employee bathrooms but we could let them use it if they needed to so we wouldn’t get sued for not complying with ADA (just spend the money and be decent humans!). The accounts payable job was essentially answering the phone, explaining they were waiting on a signature from the owner and they would send the check in the next two weeks- repeat until the department manager would demand their bills get paid so they could get new products, Security cameras didn’t work for years, our store name changed and the bosses didn’t repaint over the old name on the side of the building… the level of “if we can push this off for one more day…” was sky-high in that place. One day, the coffee maker went out. The owner walked in the break room, walked out, and came back with a new industrial coffee maker within 30 minutes. The A/R woman was staring at it in disbelief and said “I have never seen *Fergus* act so quickly and decisively in my entire time here”.

  47. Agnes A*

    The one about parking reminded me of how my former boss lied to me. There were only paid parking lots near our office and I asked if the company would cover the cost when accepting the offer. Instead of just telling me no (which would be fine), he stated that even he doesn’t have a parking space and just walks to the office all the time. Only after a few days I found out that he drives every day and he’s the only person at the company whose parking expenses are covered.

  48. Enn Pee*

    I worked in a building similar to #8; every entrance but the main entrance was keycard-required. Everyone needed to swipe; there was a sign saying that visitors should go to the main entrance (with a map noting where the main entrance was). To leave any exit, you also needed to swipe.

    One time I was entering, and someone I didn’t recognize tried to get in. I explained that I didn’t know who they were, pointed to the sign about visitors. They said they WERE A VISITOR BUT THEY NEEDED TO COME INTO THE BUILDING.

    Sorry, dude, I work in payroll, we had a situation in our state where someone shot the payroll office because their wages were garnished, you’re not coming in on my swipe!

  49. RJ*

    I love all of these, but #4 really brought back some fun times. I’ve worked in engineering for fifteen years and about ten years ago, the stamps we used had to be replaced as the vendor they’d originally been ordered from was no longer in business. Informal meetings were held. Departmental reviews took place. A town hall was even conducted. So much time was expended that we had to create a job sub-code to track the time.

    And then the stamps arrived. Try to imagine Bastille Day taking place inside a 200 person engineering firm. It was brutal and yet hilarious at the same time. Sides were taken and there was no middle ground. Departments were split on present vs. past stamps. Needless to say, it was a nightmare for the poor administrative staff who someone bore the brunt of the hate despite the fact they only ordered the new stamps – all decisions regarding fonts, ink, stamp size, etc were made by the engineers.

    Months of the most ridiculous arguments went by and our office manager finally gave up. She returned the old stamps to the main shop drawing review area in our mail room with the explicit warning that Team Past Stamps were going to be responsible for anything that happened regarding the stamps. An entire protocol was set up around these damn stamps and goddess help you if you attempted to take them out of the authorized zone.

    It was the weirdest issue that’s ever come up at a workplace in my entire careers. Engineers are truly creatures of habit. Don’t mess with their stamps.

  50. Meep*

    Not a dramatic to minor changes at work, but… I laughed at the gluten-intolerant cookie snob. I know a lady who claims to be gluten-intolerant and loves to tell everyone she is gluten-intolerant. Suppose someone brings in a birthday cake for a coworker. In that case, you can bet your bottom dollar she is there hoovering around the cake pointing out to EVERYONE individually that “the cake looks good but she is gluten-intolerant” before deciding to eat it anyway. She never likes it, of course. What matters is the “quality” and by that, I mean the price tag. This woman will gush over the most disgusting cookie because it was $5 per cookie while making disgusted noises at the $5 box of Costco Cookies. Again, still eats. Just makes a show of complaining. I wonder if this is the same person.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Someone needs to buy her a specially-ordered gluten-free cupcake – preferably one of the kind that are as dry as sawdust…

  51. Preppy6917*

    Ok but for a while that Teams thumbs up emoji did seem kind of pornographic somehow.

  52. learnedthehardway*

    A business which I worked at in my early days was acquired by a much larger global company. One of the former partners in the acquired business wore black for about a year afterwards. It was hysterically funny, because it wasn’t obvious at first – she just took to wearing black clothing all the time – very high-end, designer clothing black. If you saw her only occasionally, it wouldn’t attract comment. In fact, it looked amazing. And she had a varied wardrobe, so there was plenty of variety. But weeks – and then months – on end of unrelieved black clothing made her opinion of the acquisition VERY clear, without her saying a word.

  53. Testerbert*

    Clearly, the doctor in #10 was in the wrong; what they should’ve done is waited until the new rules were in writing, and then place her own desired rules on top of them with an APPROVED stamp.

  54. Veryanon*

    OMG the pretzel one. I used to work in Philly, and someone would bring soft pretzels on Fridays for our department (HR). Same deal, we’d all kick in some money on the honor system. The CEO found out that we had fresh pretzels very Friday and would send his assistant over to get several, but never offered to pay! The lady who organized the pretzels finally stopped bringing them for some reason, and the CEO was so upset that he made his assistant start doing it, and he paid for it out of company funds.
    Moral of the story: Don’t mess with the pretzels.

  55. k*

    The bacon story reminds me of the thick vs. thin limes episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia.

  56. UnicornTears*

    I have a parking story! I worked at a hospital in New England that didn’t have enough parking for employees and visitors, so they opened a satellite parking lot for employees. It makes sense to prioritize visitors, but it was three quarters of a mile away. There was a shuttle, but with traffic between the satellite lot and the hospital, it was often quicker to walk. Not so fun when it was snowing or raining.

    Cut to our small department. Executives and department chairs had assigned spots right next to the entrance, but our department head didn’t drive, so she literally never used her spot. At her prompting, we came up with a parking rotation where everyone in our department parked in her spot once a week. It was working swimmingly until…..

    The wife of the CEO worked at the same hospital. She was notorious for stirring up trouble and having no repercussions. She saw one of my coworkers getting out of the car one morning and had a casual chat asking why the coworker was parking there. The next day, we got an email from the CEO’s admin saying no parking rotations for the assigned spots. Back to the satellite lot we went!

  57. BB8*

    I also worked at a scout camp, and that reaction does not surprise me in the least, summer camp staff are…wild in their reactions to change.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      I think that one is my favorite because it truly seems on the surface like the absolute lowest-stake change that I am having trouble imagining any reason for the people to care. Especially since it sounds on the surface at least like a good idea, especially the part about making it easier for kids to tell who works where on the first day.

      I also imagine they must have some new counselors every year who must see people caring *so strongly* about which days they wear their shirts and being very confused.

  58. That One Person*

    I love these roundups because while I read some in the initial call for stories, there’s inevitably ones I didn’t see in the end roundup (though rereading the other ones is still fun)! The lady monitoring the parking lot especially tickled me with that shoutout at Tim and makes me wish that were a meme to reference everyday. I feel like for cookie lady though if she could’ve had the cookies she would’ve made a big stink so she was hoping people would do it on her behalf.

  59. Jake*

    My wife is a nurse in the clinic, and was at a hospital before that for years.

    #10 is about as surprising as seeing that the sky is blue this morning. About 60% of the doctors my wife works with are at the same level of ridiculous as this doctor. “I can’t just see a patient right after seeing another patient with the same condition!” “I never want to see a follow up as the first patient of the day” and all kinds of other things are regularly demanded, and done because they are partners in the business.

  60. Smiling Face*

    I read this this morning before signing in for work, and I thought, hey, my Teams reaction emojis haven’t changed since I started using Teams in 2020…then I open my laptop and find that my Teams emojis changed *today*. :D
    No one is being too dramatic, which I think points to my coworkers being quite reasonable people, but I knew eventually there would be some discussion about it…it finally happened in a mid-afternoon meeting!

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