the cake hoarder, the missing egg, and other stories of holiday mayhem

All this week I’ve been sharing holiday stories from years past. Here are 10 more.

1. The stench

“Years ago I worked at a cookware company. Every year the owners gave us a week off with pay, an amazing Xmas party at a restaurant, and a fresh turkey. One coworker who wished mightily to be a ladies man (it is possible that his corduroy pants with little fox heads on them worked against him) received a turkey. Most of us cooked them quickly, he popped his into the trunk of his car and forgot about it. Months later a vile miasma floated out of his car and no one would accept a ride with him. The stench began to attach onto him no matter how many little pine deodorizers he hung up. Finally he took the car to a mechanic who popped the trunk and discovered a large, pale green, wet mass. The car was never the same.”

2. The statue

“I was invited to my boss’s house for an employee holiday party. This small business was owned by a married couple who were also landlords, so they were pretty wealthy and had a huge house. I was walking around admiring their art when I came across a statue.

A nude statue.

A nude statue of my boss.”

3. Not a pickle

“One year, I was The Pickle Lady. I was obsessed with pickling, especially lacto-fermented pickles. I pickled anything I could get my hands on and, since my pickling was so prolific, I often shared the fruits of my labours with people in the office. I also talked a lot about pickling and would happily offer guidance to anyone seeking the way of the pickle. This also expanded into talking about making vinegars and kombuchas, and I freely offered bits of my SCOBYs to anyone who would ask. I often joked that I was the Queen of Controlled Rotting. In retrospect, I was probably a little obnoxious, but it was all in good fun.

One sweet, lovely coworker watched all of this happen without engaging with me about it much, so she must have misunderstood how fermentation works. She picked me for Secret Santa that year and when the office got together to open gifts, I ended up opening mine near last. It was this beautiful gift bag, just to my taste, and I pulled out my gift to find … a jar of mold. Just grey-green fuzziness throughout the entire jar. I was deeply confused and not originally sure what it was, so I tentatively opened the jar. The smell was eye-watering to say the least, and it quickly spread to those around me. They reacted with a mix of polite confusion, low-key revulsion, and concealed amusement. After a few jokes and confused noises, we all made nice, set the jar of life aside, and moved on with the party.

Later the coworker came to me, red in the face and with tears in her eyes, asking why everyone had hated her gift. I asked her to clarify what it was supposed to be. She said she knew that I loved all this ‘controlled rotting’ business, so she had put some of her favourite foods in a jar and let them go bad in the hopes that I could use the mold to make my own treats. That way it would be like we were making them together. It was so adorable, so endearing, so loving, and so misguided. I thanked her for her intentions and we were eventually able to laugh about the misunderstanding.

Now I love to tell the story of the time I was gifted a jar of mold.”

4. The cake

“Our company ordered in lunch – turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, cranberry sauce, and rolls. People brought in desserts. Someone made Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Butter Cake (which, if you need a good dessert, make this. Just put a disclaimer about the butter/sugar content because it must be through the roof). I had a little sliver of the pumpkin cake, and thought I would go back later this afternoon to get another taste, because it’s just that good.

A coworker TOOK THE WHOLE DANG THING y’all. As soon as people got through eating, she took the ENTIRE cake. She said, ‘Well, I asked Jane if it was okay’ and then proceeded to take it and the ENTIRE box of leftover rolls back to her desk, stuff them in a bag, and act all put out when someone said, ‘You know, I wanted a little of that.’ Several of us took the opportunity to grab a piece, and she acted as though we were asking for vital organs.”

5. The air fresheners

“We are a retail chain. We sell many, many things, including air fresheners. One particular company, that we have dealt with for many, many years, sells especially well.

As is typical in retail, vendors like to show some appreciation for the business come the holiday season (especially to companies that sell a *lot* of product, and, more importantly, pay their bills on time). This is usually in the form of cards, boxes of chocolate, or those big tin cans of popcorn, all of which are appreciated. There are exceptions. Some like to be … creative.

The air freshener company, one year, sent us a miniature Christmas tree (a pine branch stuck in a pot), that they had sprayed with a new scent called Wintergreen. Very Christmasy. There were two problems. First, they’d used about 1,000,000 times too much. And second, it smelled like armpit. And I mean it *really* smelled like armpit, in the worst ‘been to the gym every day for a week without a shower’ sort of way. Within a couple of minutes, the entire office smelled like armpit. Within a couple more, it was removed (and the company told if they ever sent us one of those again, there would be … consequences).

It should have gone in the trash, of course, but one of my coworkers asked if she could put it in my storage room until the holiday party, where she wrapped it up (well enough to hide the smell, even) and put it in the gift exchange.

It was a very popular idea. It was not a very popular gift.

My store room never really recovered.”

6. The dance

“Our CEO loved hosting the annual Christmas party as he felt it was his personal thank you to all of the employees. He would spend weeks planning out the decorations, tasting food for catering, hand selecting the gifts, and always made sure there was a huge open bar with premium drinks for everyone to enjoy. The party started at 7 pm, ended at 12 am, and then he would do an extended “after hours” party until 2 am. Needless to say, people wound up pretty wasted at these parties and the CEO was the most wasted every year. Luckily, he was a happy go lucky type of drunk who usually just ended up thanking everyone profusely for their work.

One year the dance floor was pumping and everyone was having a grand old time when the DJ decided to play ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’ (you know, the song from Dirty Dancing). Suddenly the dance floor parted. The CEO stood at one end of the dance floor, zoned into the music. The VP of Sales locked eyes with the CEO and they began to fully run toward each other, each clearly assuming the other would catch him. They leapt into the air with drunken grace and enthusiasm. ::smack:: They landed on the concrete with a smack you could hear over the music and crowd. All we could see was some blood and two bodies trying to untangle.

They had both cracked their heads on the ground and gotten concussions. Neither gentleman wanted an ambulance called so someone’s sober wife packed them into her SUV (each of them with a roadie in-hand) and drove them off to the ER.

The next day we got an email from the CEO with the subject ‘Each Year Gets More Epic’ and a picture of him and the VP of Sales posing together at the ER with stitches on the side of their heads.”

7. The bald spot cake attack

“At the company party at the job before last, one of the senior VPs was clearly fighting with his wife. They mostly mingled with different groups, but their time together was marked by a series of tense, whispered conversations… which must have been a lot tenser than I thought, because the last one culminated in her mashing a slice of cake into his bald spot and storming out the door.”

8. The poop

“Someone pooped in an attorney’s trash can one year during the office party.”

9. The missing egg

“At the last work holiday party I went to, I realized after getting home that somehow the hardboiled egg that I had brought home from work to throw away had slipped out of the silicone ziplock in my bag and was rolling around somewhere, likely under a chair, in the home of the Very Fancy and Accomplished Consultant in My Field who held the party. He is well-known enough that his name comes up pretty frequently at my current job, and I still wonder whether he ever found the egg (did it start to smell??) or a dog ate it. Luckily, I don’t think it was traceable to me (the perfect crime). Just imagine the feeling of horror that dawned on me, a drunk intern, when I got home and opened my bag and realized that the EGG WAS MISSING.”

10. The fist fight

“We had an office fist fight over some particularly smelly cheese.

Not so much a holiday story so much as the aftermath. During my first year as a PhD student, we had a little office party just before we all left for Christmas and someone brought in some very nice cheese and crackers. Unfortunately, it was a pretty ripe cheese to start with and it got left in the office fridge over the break. Come the new year and the day we’re all due back, Bob is the first to arrive in the morning. He opens the fridge to find the festering (and presumably by now sentient) remains of the cheese and takes it out intending to dispose of it. Before he can remove it to a safe location, the phone rings. Bob answers the phone, leaving the cheese on Jim’s desk which is next to the phone. Jim is the next to arrive and is greeted by a horrific smell, and the sight of the cheese from the black lagoon sitting on his desk. Chaos erupts and the accusations start to fly.

By the time I arrived, I could both smell the cheese and hear the shouting from the end of the corridor. I entered just in time to see Jim punch Bob on the arm and then storm out of the office. Bob stormed out not long after and after I finally disposed of the cheese in the park (it was the nearest accessible outdoor bin), I spent the rest of the morning working alone in the office with all of the windows open. I don’t miss academia.”

{ 191 comments… read them below }

        1. whingedrinking*

          I was once at a friend’s house, long before kombucha was mainstream, and I opened her fridge to put some beer in. When I let out a terrified yelp, she asked what was wrong, and I asked her why she had an alien fetus in a jar in there. She said, “Oh, that’s a SCOBY.”
          I was still off-balance enough that I didn’t hear the “a” and blurted out, “You NAMED it?!” (I still think “Scoby” sounds like what you’d name a Jack Russell terrier.)

          1. Ally McBeal*

            I was about to say! I love corduroy pants and I love foxes – maybe this particular guy had issues that made him not-a-ladies-man, but the pants weren’t one of them.

            1. Pointy's in the North Tower*

              Seriously! I’d wear the ones I saw online, and I definitely wouldn’t turn down a guy just because of those pants.

          2. Jessica Ganschen*

            My first thought was that they would be an absolute hit for me and for virtually every queer friend I have.

        1. Kit*

          My Google search indicates that they get at least one truckload of adorable Golden Retriever, so… yeah. (Also, wow, that model’s bone structure!)

    1. DJ Abbott*

      Apparently this is a style? I haven’t seen anyone wear them, and I haven’t seen corduroy since childhood.
      A new trend? At least they are real pants that come up to the waist and down to the shoes! I would probably wear them if they’re comfortable.

      1. Francie Foxglove*

        My late FIL had a pair of cords with mallards embroidered on them. But they were one of his “go-to-hell” pairs, for the golf course or maybe an outdoor party. Not for the office!

      2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        I wore corduroy pants on Sunday, and I’ll wear another pair tomorrow. I love corduroy, and I very much wish I had a pair with foxes on them.

        1. GammaGirl1908*

          You’ve just missed National Corduroy Day. There is a group of corduroy lovers who have gotten together and decided that because the vertical lines represent corduroy, that they will all celebrate on on 11|11 (note the vertical pipe instead of the slash).

    2. GammaGirl1908*

      Famously, Radhika Jones, who is now the editor of Vanity Fair magazine, wore a pair of tights with foxes on them to an early and high-profile event, and she was DISCUSSED. I personally passed by multiple articles where people were in a tizzy about the tights. Was Vanity Fair about to go down the tubes? Did she have no style or taste? What was she thinking? Who told her this was okay? What does Anna Wintour think about this? Did this offend the fox population? Is it anti-feminist to be talking about the woman’s tights? Which tights were they? Where did she get them? How much did she pay for them? Are these the fox tights she wore? Are foxes cool now? Should we all run out and get fox tights?

      I had no idea having foxes on your clothing was such a thing. Clearly, it makes you memorable, whether or not people think it is good.

    3. Substandard Freddie Mercury*

      English is not my first language. So i had to Google ‘corduroy’. And ‘corduroy pants with little foxes’. I am very pleased with the search results.

  1. Mephyle*

    #10 The Fist Fight
    Anyone who has read Three Men in a Boat will be instantly reminded of The Cheese.

    For those who haven’t, I will link the chapter in a subcomment, for your enjoyment.

    1. Timothy (TRiG)*

      Do people now travel from around the country to convalesce in that park enjoying the bracing air?

    2. Sharpie*

      Three Men In A Boat is a wonderful, wonderful book and very highly recommended.

      I wish he hadn’t been carving that pie…

      1. Gila Monster*

        And if you enjoy Three Men in a Boat, I highly recommend Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog, which riffs on it and is also very funny.

    3. Mephyle*

      The link for the “Cheese” chapter of Three Men in a Boat still being stuck in moderation, here is how to find it. Google this search string (no quotes): three men in a boat cheese
      and look for a web page on the website “Authorama” with the title “Three Man in a Boat – Chapter IV.”

      The setting: it’s about 1889, and three young men (to say nothing of the dog) have set out on a two-week boating holiday on the Thames. They meet with multiple comic misadventures, but some of the funniest anecdotes are ones that the narrator experienced in the past, which the current trip brings to his mind. Such as The Cheese.

        1. TrixM*

          Since Three Men in a Boat was published nearly a century earlier, I think Jerome K. Jerome can claim precedent!

          For me, reading a story about three Oxbridge toffs floating down a river together sounded tedious and annoying in the extreme. Thank god I finally read it, because it’s a hilarious unexpected delight.

          Very much the Brit sense of humour, with plenty of ridiculousness, some dry wit, slapstick (the funny kind), and a touch of surrealism. Plus zero of the T & A, poo-bum-fart or “edgy” strains of Brit humour.

  2. Wondermint*

    I love how sweet #3 was. I can see some people feeling wronged and disgusted but it was such a gentle misunderstanding

  3. WellRed*

    No. 3. How does one take pickling to Jean controlled rotting? Has she never seen a jar of pickles?
    No. 4. So proud of you and your coworkers for taking a stand against greed and claiming what’s rightfully everyone’s.
    No. 6. EPIC!

    1. Irish Teacher*

      It sounds like she just took the LW’s joke seriously. “I’m the queen of controlled rotting.” Oh, she likes “controlled rotting.”

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      If all Jean heard in passing was that fermentation involves bacteria and fungi without processing the part about it requiring specific species of microbes, making the leap to “I’m going to make her a jar of SPECIAL mold!” isn’t out of the question.

      Some people really are that clueless, and a surprising number of people have no idea how food becomes food.

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, if the OP has been bringing in things like SCOBYs for making fermented stuff, and Jean’s heard it was something vaguely to do with bacteria/mould and knew that it looked a bit funky and gross, I can imagine how she might have thought oh, right, OP makes pickles out of mouldy stuff, I’ll bring her a jar of mould that she can use.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Pickling is controlled rotting. You’re encouraging certain “good” bacteria to consume the sugars in your food, rather than “bad” bacteria. Instead of bad bacteria converting the food to spoiled mush, the good bacteria convert it into tangy pickles.

    1. Melanie Cavill*

      I always find this one really wholesome. No fighting, no yelling, no single-person-taking-whole-tray-of-food… Just two colleagues drunkenly beginning a bromance through shared concussions.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Exactly. It’s something I can picture my brother and one of his grad school buddies (most of whom he’s still friends with 30 years later) doing.

        Plus it’s kind of heartwarming that the CEO went to great lengths in order to provide the best food and drinks and everything for his employees.

        1. Siege*

          And that it didn’t end with something like “I will confront you all by Wednesday of next week” but just became part of the proof, for the CEO at least, that the parties were fun. It sounds like he really did work hard to make a fun experience for the company.

          1. L.H. Puttgrass*

            Right! No overblown consequences, no one except the participants got hurt, and no, “Ever since, we were forbidden from having [fun thing]”—just the CEO and the CEO-bro having a good laugh and seeing it as another bonding moment.

            It’s beautiful.

        2. Anne Shirley*

          I was disappointed to not see this story in yesterday’s list because it’s my absolute favourite holiday story that’s been shared here.

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Yes, they were such incredibly good sports that I can’t help liking them for it!

    2. ProRata*

      Are injuries suffered at the company holiday party reportable as workplace injuries? What about at teambuilding events? Company pub crawls?

  4. Kat*

    #6 LOVE that they were good sports about the whole thing and didn’t just end up cancelling all future parties out of embarrassment.

    #9 I was absolutely HOWLING at the sheer panic over the missing egg. I’m sure a dog got it!

    1. Eater of Hotdish*

      I mean, in my house, a hardboiled egg on the floor would hardly last long enough to bounce, so yeah, I’m assuming that any dogs present had a very happy holiday indeed.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Either that or whoever cleaned up after the party found it, went WTF, and decided they weren’t paid enough to ask questions.

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          I’m dying to know why the LW brought an egg home (or thought they did) in the first place. A posh party, and you smuggled … an egg?

          1. Princesss Sparklepony*

            I wondered that too but then thought they didn’t want to throw it into the office trash in case the cleaning people were off and the thing rotted in the office and caused some nasty odors. So decided to take it home to her own trash where she would take it out to the big trash can before it went really off.

            That was my version of the reasoning. Not sure if it’s what happened.

  5. Mephyle*

    The setting: it’s around 1889, and three young men (to say nothing of the dog) have undertaken a two-week boating holiday on the Thames, meeting with all sorts of humourous misadventures.

    The Cheese

    1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

      I haven’t read this book for years, but I remember how much I loved it. The trout story is also epic …

      1. Sharpie*

        I think my favourite story is the swans.

        We had a simply brilliant audio version of this, narrated by Jeremy Nicholas which is available on CD from the narrator via his website. He does a superb job of narrating a hilarious story in a serious yet personable way which suits the writing style to a T. It is by far the best audio version of it that I have come across yet.

        1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          As I read the story, I kept imagining it narrated by Hugh Laurie (in his Bertie Wooster accent, of course, not as House, lol.)

          1. TrixM*

            I would die and go to heaven if Hugh did a version like that – not too much of the Bertie Wooster during the narration, but he could totally amp it up at suitable moments.

    2. Timothy (TRiG)*

      Yup. I was put in mind of this immediately.

      (And my habit of saying put in mind of instead of reminded of may date to this book, actually.)

  6. Elizabeth*

    #4. I have made this cake. I can vouch for how good it is, along with the calorie count. It’s also very easy to make. (The recipe is on Ms Deen’s website.) I don’t understand the urge to hoard All The Cake.

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

      My guess is that the cake thief needed food for a family dinner or party they were throwing/attending and…oh look! free food right there, she doesn’t need to go to the grocery store.

      1. SunriseRuby*

        I’m also guessing that the co-worker who baked the cake told the cake thief she could take whatever was left over at the end of the day after everyone who wanted a piece had a chance to get one, OR the baker thought she was talking with a reasonable human being who would understand that.

      2. whingedrinking*

        It reminds me of a notorious r/AITA post where a young man went over to his girlfriend’s place for dinner, where she had cooked an enormous pan of delicious lasagna. He asked if he could take any home for his parents to try, and she said yes. The next day, he got up before she did and took all the leftovers.
        When she texted him wanting to know where the eff her lasagna was, he claimed she had said he could have it. Of course, being a broke college student, she’d been banking on leftovers from that meal to eat for a week. The young man’s family of five had it for dinner two nights in a row.
        The wild thing about this story is not just that someone would think that “some for my parents to try” = an entire gigantic lasagna. Nor is it even than when the misunderstanding was cleared up, the guy didn’t even offer to give it back within the next two days. No, it’s that apparently he was annoyed that she’d complained about being hungry, he’d bought her a sandwich, and he thought she might try to make him buy her food for the rest of the week.
        It is my sincerest hope that this young lady frogmarched this dude into a supermarket, forced him to buy her groceries, and then dumped him.

    2. Michelle Smith*

      Some people are just greedy. After all the potluck articles I’ve read here, I’m honestly not even surprised anymore.

    3. Bagpuss*

      I am impressed that people actually went to her and insisted on getting their slice of cake, rathr than just fuming silently at her behviour.

    4. Ally McBeal*

      I make a modified version of Paula Deen’s pumpkin cheesecake and it gets gushing rave reviews every time I bring it somewhere (vs. hoarding and eating it all myself, which is generally my preference). It really does come down to the heaping amounts of butter and sugar.

    5. NotAManager*

      I googled the recipe and it literally has Ooey Gooey in the name. I’ll bring it to the first ever AMA Commentarie Potluck

      1. Edwina*

        omg we totally should have this happen. I like another site (Wonkette) and the Commentariat got so friendly, the lady who owns/runs the site & her husband actually did travel to nearby states (they live in Montana, so: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Calif.) and have IRL meetups, I went to one and it was SO MUCH FUN

  7. Mitford*

    OK, I looked up the recipe mentioned in #4 for Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Butter Cake, and it takes an entire BOX of powdered sugar. A BOX, y’all.

      1. ThatGirl*

        yeah, I was gonna say, buttercream takes a lot of powdered sugar. once you divide it into servings it’s not SO bad… definitely an indulgence, but that’s the way rich desserts go.

      2. Cassandra Mortmain*

        Yeah, I haven’t made it (but it sounds delicious) but it’s essentially a cake where the buttery, sugary stuff gets blended with eggs and pumpkin as a filling instead of put on top. The powdered sugar quantity is pretty close to the amount in a traditional cream cheese frosting.

        Frosted cakes aren’t health food!

      1. Kacihall*

        Oh, so less than a batch of frosting! My cream cheese frosting uses a two pound bag for a batch. But also a pound of cream cheese and butter. It makes a lot of frosting lol.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      For reference, I just had an easy buttercream recipe that involved, among other things, 4 cups of powdered sugar. I squeaked out one cake (two boxes of cake mix tall, layered, but still).

    2. Amber Rose*

      Like my nanaimo bars. The custard in the middle calls for 4 cups of powdered sugar. It’s hair-raisingly sweet. For one square though, it’s not so bad.

    3. Ampersand*

      This was my reaction as well, ha. There’s something about an entire box of sugar that’s alarming. And I’m sure it’s delicious!

  8. Jane*

    When I started my first corporate job I worked in a small department of about 10 people. I onboarded in December, and a couple of weeks later (right before the week-long company shutdown for the holiday), everyone was skulking around and whispering and going in and out of the conference room. I just thought that they were talking about some sensitive personnel matter that I wouldn’t be privy to, but then the department conference room started to smell…savory.

    I worked late, like many junior people tend to do, and my curiosity got the better of me, so I walked in to find the remains of a full-on potluck that they’d had without me. The scavenged carcasses of gift boxes from outside firms littered the table and the trash can was overflowing. Fruit, nuts, cheese, and even a couple of dirty crock pots. Apparently my supervisor, who was already out on vacation, hadn’t told me about it and the person who ran it had a strict “if you don’t contribute you’re not invited” policy, so they all just skulked around all day and hid it from me.

    1. That_guy*

      I’m sorry, but this is awful. If was there I would have told the organizer to forget their policy and of course you were invited. I’m sure there was more than enough for you to have gone to it. I don’t understand people who are so stingy with their hearts.

    2. Critical Rolls*

      Well that’s lousy. It amazes me how many people who *love* these events and want to be in charge of them manage to fully miss the point and make them awful and exclusionary. And I’m judging your coworkers who didn’t break the embargo.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        Absolutely! How does one miss that the point of a holiday event is to be cheerful and generous? Sigh.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        It’s because they love them as opportunities to wield power and orchestrate the Perfect Holiday Event, not as “in the spirit of the holidays” events as they should be.

      3. Jane*

        Honestly it’s kind of funny to me now, the thought of this clandestine party that everyone took great pains to hide from one person, but it was very disappointing at the time!

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Yeah, I would honestly really value the ludicrous in this story, especially when it came time to talk to someone trustworthy about people who were there: “Oh, you think Cassie can be a good choice for x event? Well, I don’t know, she did attend the secret potluck! What, I never told you about the secret potluck?! Well, it was all Andy’s fault…..” It’s just awe inspiring how people’s adherence to silly rules play out. How did someone not just get you a plate? Or put some aside?

    3. Everdene*

      This is so mean and rude! At the very least someone could have asked what you brought and given you opportunity to nip out and buy something or politely decline.

      However, I (and I’m sure most people!) would have seen this as the ideal occassion to make you feel welcome in the team and would feel terrible that you weren’t told about it in advance. In addition, surely the skulking around dampened it for everyone else as the whole point of these things is to share in food with others. I’m furious on your behalf.

      1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

        Yes, if this had happened to me as a junior in my early days with a new employer I would have been really upset about this.

        And even if I hadn’t been junior and wasn’t so upset, it would STILL have soured my feelings about the organisation and the kind of people who worked there.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          The skulking makes me think they *knew* she hadn’t been told about the potluck & just tried to hide it instead of kindly explaining things. (When I worked somewhere that was weird about gatekeeping potluck contributions, I would sometimes submit what I bought as a joint contribution with someone who forgot or hadn’t had enough time or money to get something together. And there was always more than enough food.)

        2. Calla Lily*

          If this happened To me now, at mid career, it would significantly negatively impact my perception of the organization. In fact, at mid-career, with a much better understanding of how corporate culture impacts cohesion and morale, it would make a worse impression on me then it would have as a person new to the workforce. I would be quietly plotting an exit strategy.

          1. Ampersand*

            Yep! You know that something like this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to poor management. It doesn’t *sound* like the worst problem if your colleagues don’t invite you to a potluck…until you consider what that means about how people are treated, expectations for secrecy, equity, disparity, etc. Not the type of place I would want to work, either.

        3. Kat*

          I interned at an organisation that had about 400 employees, along with 4 other young people. “They” collectively decided that they couldn’t afford for us to come to the holiday function. I was so deflated, the cost would have been negligible and we were the lowest paid people who worked there. It was one of those lightbulb moments where I decided I was never going to be like that as a manager, especially for workers who already get less compensation!

    4. Bagpuss*

      That’s horrible. Even if they didn’t know your supervisor hadn’t told you, it wouldn’t have hurt them to have invited you or even mentioned it first thing and given you the cahnceto go grab some candy or soething as a contribution.

      I remember when I started my first professional job after I graduated, I started in december and the christmas party was at the end of my first week. I think almost everyone in the *building* checked to make sure I had been told about it and was coming.

      1. NotRealAnonforThis*

        Similarly, I started a new job about two weeks prior to Christmas, with an office party at the end of my first week.

        First email in my whole company email account was to let me know about the party. Yes, before the email from IT titled “Testing NotRealAnonforThis’s account please reply that this came through”. Three different people stopped by my first day, and the company owner popped by on day 2 to make sure I knew about it.

        1. Becca*

          Yeah, at one job we had a small gathering, but one that included face time with some higher ups, the night before someone was going to start and even then we invited him. We didn’t really expect him to come (especially once the weather was nasty and half the people decided not to anyway), but it would have felt weird not inviting him when he was about to be part of our team.

      2. MAC*

        Last year at this time I had accepted a new job but wasn’t going to be starting until the first week of January. I was STILL invited to the Christmas party, because they wanted to include me and give me a chance to start getting to know people.

    5. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Please tell me that not long after, you got a job somewhere with people who aren’t objectively awful.

    6. RJ*

      Wow. What a group of jerks. At one of my ToxicJobs, on the first week I was there, the entire Finance department – except me – ordered lunch and had it in the conference room that was right next to my desk. This was done weekly and it was company paid (I saw the bills). It was a huge, glass room that I could see straight into and I just glared at them in between completing my tasks. Afterwards, they kept whispering about who should have invited her blah blah blah. They all saw me. I barely made it there a year before I moved on. No explanation was ever given for not inviting me to their ‘special’ lunches.

  9. Veryanon*

    I just remembered this story from many years ago, when I was a poor grad student working a part time job.
    I worked at a family-owned computer store right near the campus, which was one of several owned by this family whose business dealings were…sketchy. As in, I’m sure they were investigated by the IRS sketchy. As in, sometimes our paychecks would bounce sketchy. It wasn’t a great place to work, but my options were kind of limited as I needed something that would work around the hours I was in class.
    In any event, the owner decided that year that he’d thank all his employees by taking us all to a meal at one of those Japanese steakhouse places where they cook the food in front of you. He even somehow arranged a limo, which was great as I didn’t have a car at the time (did I mention this guy had financial issues?).
    1. there wasn’t room for everyone in the limo, so I ended up having to beg a ride with a co-worker.
    2. we get to the restaurant, and some of the people from one of the other stores had obviously been there a while, as they were all stinking drunk and were making all kinds of horrible racist “jokes” about the chefs, the servers, etc. But by this point, co-worker and I were hungry, so we figured we’d just grit our teeth and try to get through it.
    3. The owner hadn’t reserved enough tables for everyone, so co-worker and I ended up sitting to some random people we’d never met before. Ok, whatever, at this point we just wanted to eat and get out of there.
    4. Apparently the owner’s credit card had been declined when they tried to close out the drinks tab, so the restaurant threatened to call the police. Our choices were either to pay for our own food, or leave.
    Co-worker and I ended up leaving and hitting McDonalds on the way home. We actually had a really nice time together and ended up dating and later marrying. Unfortunately we are no longer married, but I used to like to tell the story of how our first date involved drunken racists, possible arrest, and Chicken McNuggets.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Somehow, I don’t see this becoming a Hallmark Holiday movie, but it’s fantastic and you and your ex must win every “bad first date story” contest.

    2. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      I hereby nominate veryanon’s post for a future holiday roundup!

  10. Olivia*

    I had to jump down to see what “the missing egg” was all about because when something sounds like it could be a real-life version of the chaos of a Bob’s Burgers episode, you have to find out. (It’s S7E16 if you want to check it out.) Wonder if the consultant thought to use raccoons to track down the source of the smell….

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        And the episode where they wanted to egg somebody’s car but all they had were deviled eggs.

      1. Olivia*

        “I lost the whole year 1996 to schapps. I still don’t know what the macarena is. But don’t tell me! I’ll figure it out.”

  11. Zoe Karvounopsina*

    At my last employer, my team was moved to sit with the Estates department, who invited us to their christmas party, with someone expressing concern that they would be too rough for the delicate and genteel ladies of our team.

    I never actually managed to attend the shared party in question, but I am intrigued by how rough they thought they’d get…

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      I’ve got a mouth on me that would make a sailor blush, and I also look completely harmless. I’d love to be invited to a party like that.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Oh dear,. I am getting flashbacks to the time when I was (as a young woman in her very early 20s) invited to a dinner at the local Rotary Club. (I was in Rotoract at the time, they were our sponsoring club – they seemed a bit taken aback that the chair and secretary were female
      ( I think at the time Rotary had started to require all new clubs to be open to all, but existing ones were only encouraged, not forced, to accept women. Our rotoract club was mixed but the sponsoring Rotary club wasn’t)

      Both the chair and the guest speaker felt it necessary to come to to tell us, privately, the jokes they planned to make in their speeches to make sure we wouldn’t be offended. I am not sure why they thought we’d be less offfended if they spoke to us privately, or what exactly they thought we would do if we were,given the situation. Astonishingly, neither of us, as the only two women in a large group of middle-aged-to-elderly men whose guests we were, spoke up to say that actually, yes, we would find their sexist jokes offensive, andthat the ones which weren’t offensive would not be very broring since we’d now heard them all once! .

  12. Blarg*

    Two things:

    First, why is it that bad smells are just soooo much worse than good smells are good? Like, ‘oh that smells nice’ versus ‘a thing that makes you wretch.’ I’m sure it is some evolutionary trait to protect us from danger but all our other senses can equally bring joy as misery. Smell — not even close. I can’t even remember the best thing I’ve ever smelled, but I can list the many memorable awful things.

    #9: Why did you need to take a hardboiled egg home to throw it away?

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

      On the smells, I’m the complete opposite; I definitely have good smells that immediately make me happy or evoke a favored memory. A bad smell might make me wretch in the moment, but I actually don’t remember it later.

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      Taste and smell are very much intertwined and a lot alike. I’ve eaten plenty of good food, but what I remember most are taking bites of something either spoiled or somehow contaminated, and the memories are vivid enough to make me gag.

      Things that taste good and smell nice are typically wholesome or harmless (but there are exceptions) but eating spoiled food can kill you, so it’s very important from an evolutionary standpoint to have an aversion to it built in.

      My guess is that they didn’t want to throw the egg away at work and stink the place up. Some places are funny about throwing food waste in office garbage.

    3. Blinded By the Gaslight*

      F9r #9, if the office was closing for the holiday, they probably didn’t want to leave the egg at work to get stinky.

      1. Good+Enough+For+Government+Work*

        ….so just put it in the bin at work? Who works somewhere that doesn’t have cleaners?

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          A small office might not have cleaners every day. Or they might have ended their day before the LW left for the party. Especially if it was right before a holiday.

        2. Kacihall*

          Our cleaners came this morning before the office opened; they won’t be here for another two weeks.

          If we leave anything over the four day weekend the office is RANK on Monday.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        But the party was at someone’s home. I suspect that the OP’s medium-level intoxication led her into thinking this was an important and helpful thing to do.

        1. LadyVet*

          She might not have wanted to put her garbage in someone else’s personal garbage, or she might not have thought about it once she got to the party.

  13. Sabina*

    The most epic work related celebration of the holidays that I encountered during my working years involved a three day, that’s THREE DAY, party put on by an attorney who worked with a lot of federal agencies and courts. It was basically an open house with free flowing booze and catered food. It started as a half a day event, but so many people wanted to attend that it was expanded to a full day, then two days, then three. Some people in my office would take PTO so they could attend all three days, for the full 10 hours or whatever it was. I swear a couple of folks stayed drunk the entire three days and slept on the floor of their offices. There was great grief in the legal community when this attorney retired and the parties stopped.

  14. Artemesia*

    I once had a roll of breakfast sausage escape a grocery bag in my trunk and hide under some folding chairs that live there. NOticed I didn’t have the sausage, looked in the trunk, no sausage. A couple weeks later get in the car and it is the smell of death. I knew instantly it had to be the sausage and so thoroughly searched the trunk. The plastic cover of the one pound package had ballooned so it was round and about to burst and the smell was horrendous. Luckily managed to get it in a bag and out to the outside dumpster before it burst. Washed the carpet several times although it didn’t leak and it finally dulled the odor — but I think if it had leaked we would have had to burn the car. A turkey for a few weeks? I doubt they ever got the smell out of the car.

    1. Mitford*

      A very dear friend who is a teacher was the recipient of a surprise baby shower thrown by the students in her final period honors class. There was tons of leftover food, so she put it in her trunk intending to take it home. On the way home, she had what was supposed to be a quick checkin at her OB/GYN’s office, where the doctor spotted something not good and sent her to the hospital in ambulance.

      A couple of days later, my husband and I were asked if we would go retrieve her car from the doctor’s office parking lot, and we ended up having to clean up all the food that had been sitting in her trunk for three days in the hot sun, for which she and her husband continue to thank us to this day.

      But, wowza, I never want to have to do that again.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      I brought a male cat home from the vet in my fairly new car, after getting him fixed. But he had one last blast. I immediately washed the carpet, used cleaners specifically for cat urine, washed it again, then again. The car was a Saturn, and I renamed it a Saturine. The smell was nearly unbearable for weeks and lingered for years.

      1. Zephy*

        I used to work at an animal shelter in about 2016-2017. We had vending machines in the lobby, which for some reason the shelter opted to purchase rather than rent from a vendor, so a shelter employee was responsible for restocking and reconciling the money. At one point that employee was me. I would go to Costco to pick up cases of soda and chips once a week. They had a few company cars, including an older Chevrolet Tracker, and I would use that instead of my own vehicle for the Costco runs, for insurance reasons. The other company vehicles were all utility vans, the Tracker was both easier for me to drive and more fuel efficient, so that’s the one I usually took. Until someone decided to transport a passel of community cats for TNR. They ripped out damn near all of the upholstery in the back of that thing and it probably still smells like feral cat piss to this very day.

      2. GammaGirl1908*

        I knew a girl who told a story about her how her grandmother did not want to make a pit stop during a road trip, and this culminated in her mother using a cooler as a toilet in the back seat. Of course, as the grandmother rounds a corner, the mother loses her balance, the cooler spills, and everybody and everything gets splashed.

        She was like, “Grandma kept that car for years, and I swear, on a hot August day, you could smell it just like you were there on that very first day.” Gaaaacccckkkkk.

    3. Adds*

      Oh no!!!

      Long ago and far away, a half-gallon of milk spilled on the footboard of my mom’s car. I think it was possible that it had kind of gone bad to start with and that we were returning it to the store when it spilled. We sopped it up with towels and vacuumed it out with the shop vac as best we could and I think she even took the Bissel carpet cleaner to it once or twice. But for the next year or so, any time it got damp in the car, from tracking in with wet shoes or that one time my brother left the window down and it rained, the ghost of the spilled milk returned with a vengeance.

    4. Skytext*

      I once had a package of ground beef slip out of the grocery bag and slide under the front passenger seat. I started smelling a terrible smell like something dead. I thought a mouse had gotten in behind the dash or something and died (I live in the country so it’s not unusual to have mice or rats climb up into your engine compartment and chew on wires). So I kept trying to find this dead mouse. Finally found the package of ground beef lol.

      1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        A work friend had a package of catfish that escaped a bag in the trunk and slid into the spare tire well, out of sight. It was weeks before she found it, during which time she couldn’t figure out why no one would ride with her to go to lunch. Nothing beats the smell of decomposing catfish.

    5. bookworm*

      These stories remind me of the “pig car” episode of Mythbusters where they were testing whether a car could be cleaned enough to get rid of the smell of decomposing remains.

    6. Rain's Small Hands*

      A very long time ago I was married to a guy who took his girlfriend camping – while he was married to me when I didn’t know he had a girlfriend. When he finished camping, he moved the cooler with all the stuff in it into our garage and forgot about it. Several weeks later, our marriage fell apart (surprise and good riddance) and he left. In the Spring I had a cooler of rotted food – and since I was completely broke trying to make ends meet without a husband, I cleaned and scrubbed that cooler and soaked it with bleach water for three weeks since there was no way I could to afford to replace it. The drain plug finally broke off a year ago and I tossed it.

    7. Lpuk*

      Did something similar with a pack of salmon. Unpacked the bag at home and when I couldn’t find it assumed that I had left it at the till…. Until some days later, after a truly horrific stench, when I found it had fallen out of the shopping bag and got wedged under the driver seat

  15. I'm Done*

    I’m crying from reading number 6. And I just love how those two just took it all in stride and were so good natured about it.

  16. Pants*

    I’ve just gotta say – I hope that attorney with the toilet-trash-can took stock of how they treat people because that was a very specific, pointed attack.

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

      Maybe, maybe not. It’s lacking details to know for sure. Was there a line for the bathroom and a drunk person had to GO NOW? Is this the kind of bro office that it would be done by another dude-bro as a joke? Is the place so bat-crap insane that the attorney did it himself and then passed it off as someone else? Pooping in the trashcan is marginally civilized when you consider the other potential options…the guy’s office chair, in a file drawer, on the floor, on the desk, in his coffee mug…

    2. Librarian of SHIELD*

      Eh. One time I found a trash can full of pee when I was tidying up the library at closing time and none of the customers with known vendettas against us had been in that day. Sometimes people are just gross.

      1. Bagpuss*

        Years ago we had a client squat down an pee beside the potted plant in the recption area. It wasn’t commentary, apparently she just didn’t to pee and didn;t think to ask if we had a bathroom she could use. (She was probaly high, we did a lot of criminal lawa and cases involving paprest of childrne in care at that office, so a fiar number of the clients weere drug users and/or people with alcohol issues)
        Our receptionist was, understandably, so shocked she didn’t say anything immediately.

        (Once of our admins then heroically cleaned it up. She said she had dealt with children, puppies and eldelry reltives needing personal care and would rather clen it up than wait until we could get someone professional in. It was a small office so we didn’t hav any kind of on site janitorial service)

    3. L*

      All of these stories were great but the simplicity and the brevity of that one made me guffaw out loud. Fantastic.

  17. CommanderBanana*

    I looked up the Pumpkin Butter Cake and it only contains 2 sticks of butter…which is pretty modest by Paula Deen standards.

  18. BurnerVonBraun*

    I think I would have called Biosafety for the cheese-like life form, just so at least one more person could gaze upon its glory and wonder “How…?”

  19. Robin Ellacott*

    I think I will think of this every time I hear the song from Dirty Dancing, and I am 100% ok with that!

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

    For #5. I one time bought a room spray that was supposed to smell like a day at the beach…and it did right out of the can…but 3 minutes later it started to smell more and more like low tide. I had to throw the thing away and air out the house.

  21. SushiRoll*

    #6 is amazing. I had friends who did this at their wedding reception and while no blood was shed (luckily), it did end similarly with them on the floor and some bumps and bruises. I do not recommend attempting this unless you are 1. sober and 2. a really good dancer and/or professional.

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      As a somewhat trained dancer, you do not attempt a lift unless you have practiced it A LOT.

    2. ScruffyInternHerder*

      Confirming that lifts and dance-floor-flips are best done sober and by professionals or at least those trained, and preferably NOT in tuxedo shoes.

      Stood up in a friend’s wedding, one of the groomsmen did a backflip towards the latter part of the evening and landed on his knee. Shook it off and continued to party. Had it looked at the next day when he woke up and realized it was watermelon-esque in size. Broken patella requiring surgery.

    3. DJ Abbott*

      As a member of the 90s swing scene, people had to be trained to do aerials on dance floors. The club I went to banned aerials because there had been injuries from untrained people trying to do them on a crowded dance floor.

  22. Riot Grrrl*

    #6 Yikes! Catching a full grown man in the air at a dead run is not something you do without rehearsing and stretching ahead of time. Given what could have happened, it’s possible that a concussion was a preferable outcome!

  23. Avid Reader*

    Regarding shameless pot luck food hoarders: I am always perplexed by this. Why would anyone think it was okay to take an entire ANYTHING from a potluck for themselves? Pot luck stories are littered with these examples. Free food brings out the worst in some folks. Needless to say they are delightfully entertaining. They are my favorites!

  24. Cool Tina, Train Conductress*

    Not to be a buzzkill…but what are the odds that a self-described “drunk intern” was drunk enough that they just ate an egg and forgot about it?

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Since they were taking the egg home to throw away, I’m guessing it was spoiled or something and probably would have made them sick if they had.

      Whoever cleaned up after the party probably found it, had a WTF moment, and thrown it away before getting on with the job.

  25. Amber Rose*

    Re #5: sometimes the production area in our company can start to smell pretty bad. Like, burning rubber and tiny bits of gas leakage and stuff. One of our guys plugged in one of those maple scented air freshener things that pop up every autumn. By lunch time, the entire building reeked like pancakes. But not just pancakes. Like the air was actually made of pancakes. We were drowning in maple. People were throwing open windows and doors to get air.

    1. Nina*

      My workplace is pretty rural, when the office was first built and we hadn’t quite figured out the mouse exclusion there were mice dying inside the walls all the time, and the smell was awful. The boss bought a bunch of those plug-in air fresheners, vanilla ones.

      Someone photoshopped DeadMau5’s mask onto Vanilla Ice’s body and hung the picture above every air freshener.

  26. Melissa*

    The stories are hilarious, but I’m giggling that the words “Not a pickle” come right after the sentence “A nude statue of my boss…”.

  27. Labdude*

    Not only are these hilarious, but several of them are extremely well-written. #3 needed exactly the words it had and nothing more to make me laugh, and the last line of #10 was glorious.

  28. FunTimes*

    My office had a Christmas party last weekend! One person had to show up already wasted, of course. We were all eating around one big table at a nice-ish restaurant, and maybe 20 minutes into the meal he hollers at our boss across the table: “You know (boss’ name), despite of what my coworkers say, I think that you’re a good boss!”
    We all sit in mortified silence and the exchange keeps going for several minutes. As soon as my boss is done eating she gets up and leaves without paying for her meal!
    Said coworker also sang two Robbie Williams songs to/at me in karaoke, pointing and making intense eye contact tha whole time. He’s married with children and I’m the youngest woman in the office.

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