hairy legs at work, my office sent me a random TV, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Hairy legs at work

Recently my work started allowing employees to wear shorts. And within the last few years, I, a 30-something woman, have stopped feeling the need to shave my legs. Which I’m fine with in my everyday life, but still feel reticent about while at work. So, I’ve yet to wear anything that would bare my legs to the office. But it got me wondering if the professional norms for women are changing. We’ve seen a well needed lean towards gender-neutral dress codes. Do you think that would allow for it to be more culturally acceptable for women to have noticeably hairy legs in the office?

Yes, it’s becoming more culturally acceptable, although it’s still in the process of changing rather than something that has fully changed.

There are still plenty of people who are squicked out by female body hair and who will think hairy female legs are unprofessional-looking. There are people who will notice, be a bit surprised, and then move on without thinking much about it again … and there are people who will forever think of you as the woman who doesn’t shave her legs (and dares to bare them). You’ve got to decide if you’re okay with that or not.

The culture of your office matters too. It’s more likely to be A Thing in more conservatives fields or regions, or fields that put a high value on gender-norm-conforming appearances.

2. My office sent me a random TV

I work remotely and have never been into my office. A few weeks after I was hired, and well after I received my regular office equipment, I was also sent a 72-inch TV. There is no reason for me to use this in the course of my work, and I believe it was likely sent in error. I do not know if any of my coworkers also received one, as we never discuss non-work matters.

I have never used this TV, as I have no space for it on my desk (who would?), but I have not sent it back as I am unable to transport it to the post office, given that I travel exclusively by bicycle, and received it at the height of lockdown when I did not feel comfortable meeting someone to take me to mail it back. In fact, I have not mentioned the receipt of the TV to anyone. Currently, it is sitting in its box under my loveseat.

The problem comes now that I am soon to put in my two weeks’ notice. I’m no longer worried about delivering it to be posted, but I am worried that I was perhaps never meant to have it in the first place, and that I may be in some trouble for having held onto it for so long. There is also a remote — but not impossible — chance that it was a sign-on bonus, but honestly, if it were, I would still have no use for it.

How should I tactfully ask about the logistics of its return? My first thought was to request a checklist of items to be sent back, but I’m not certain if that would seem odd. This has been my first office job, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

So … you really should have asked about it when it first arrived! An unexpected 72-inch TV is so odd to receive that it’s likely it was some kind of error. (It’s very unlikely that it was a signing bonus; those are usually money rather than random unannounced TVs.) I’m guessing you didn’t ask about it because it’s your first professional job and it’s really common for people in their first jobs not to speak up in situations where they should … but for future reference, if your office sends you something you’re not expecting and have no idea what to do with, ask them about it!

At this point all you can really do is say to your manager, “I was sent a TV when I first started that I wasn’t ever sure what to do with. Is that something I should return, and if so can you help me make arrangements for a shipping company to pick it up since it’s too large for me to transport on my own?”

3. I feel hurt that I was left out of a coworker’s birthday lunch

Four of us used to work together on the same team (with others who have taken redundancy or gone to other locations). Two of us remain on the team (me and Elaine) with new people. The other two (Alex and Beatrice) have moved into other teams, but we all still work in the same office when not working from home.

The other day when we were all in the office, Elaine, Alex, and Beatrice went out for lunch for Alex’s birthday but didn’t invite me. I feel hurt as I get on well with Elaine and felt I’d gotten on well with the others. It was a private celebration. And someone else on my team who started after Beatrice moved on and just before Alex moved on was also not invited. Although equally qualified, I’m a few grades below in a support role and the organization can be hierarchical informally.

What’s your take on this? And should I be expressing my hurt and how? Normally I’d look at arranging a lunch with them to indicate interest in being involved but feel too hurt.

Don’t tell them you’re hurt; that would indicate they did something blameworthy, when they really didn’t.

Sometimes people are just closer with some coworkers than with others. Maybe they’ve all stayed in closer contact since your team split up. Or maybe it came up more casually than you’re picturing (for example, if Alex mentioned it was his birthday in a message chain where they were already talking, the other two could have said “we should take you out to lunch” without it being a more formal, planned thing). It could be hierarchy too since they’re a few grades above you (hierarchy in theory should have nothing to do with who gets lunch with who, but in practice often does).

4. Who should respond first?

I realized recently that in two situations, I put the onus on someone else to respond and was wondering if there is standard etiquette.

Situation 1: Anne emails Brian with a problem. Brian connects Anne to (and cc:s) Carol.
Situation 2: Carol emails Emily with a problem and Emily responds, copying multiple people (including Frank and Georgia) to try and figure out who can help. Frank says Georgia would have more information.

I am Carol, and in situation 1 I thought Anne should reach out, but when I was in situation 2 I thought Georgia should respond! After laughing at myself for this, I wonder if there is an agreed-upon standard for such things. Should the person with the answer always take the initiative?

Ideally yes, since they’ve been put on notice that someone needs information from them. But they could also be busy and not know if the new request is time-sensitive, so there’s nothing wrong with the person who’s seeking the info to reply first to give more context.

5. Can I choose an alternate work schedule when my employees can’t use it in the same way?

I work for an organization that allows flexible work schedules — most commonly either a 4/10 schedule or a 9/80 schedule, though staff have the ability to create their own as desired. There is one catch: while flexible work schedules are available to all staff, exempt staff can choose any breakdown of hours they want. But non-exempt staff — because of the laws around overtime — have to choose an alternate work schedule that doesn’t put them in excess of 40 hours/week. Notably, this means that they can’t do a 9/80 schedule because it would have them working 36 hours one week and 44 hours the next (because the organization would have to overtime for those extra four hours the second week).

I’m a manager of a team of about 10 folks, at varying levels. Some are exempt and some are non-exempt. Several of them already have flexible work schedules in place, including non-exempt staff (who have chosen schedules that work within the 40 hour/week rule). I want to adopt a flexible work schedule for myself … but my preference is to do a 9/80, which is only available to exempt staff. As a manager, is it okay for me to take advantage of this schedule that isn’t available to all of my team? I know this is how I work best, but I worry that it will feel unfair to my staff who can’t do a 9/80. How do I communicate to them that I support everyone utilizing flexible work schedules to the degree possible (while acknowledging that if they are non-exempt, I can’t change the 40 hour/week restrictions)?

Yes, you can choose that schedule for yourself. People generally understand that exempt and non-exempt jobs are governed by different rules (some of them in non-exempt staff’s favor — like not being expected to work unpaid overtime, which exempt staff often are).

It’s not as if you’d be taking advantage of a perk that’s fundamentally unfair or unsupportable (like if senior management were, I don’t know, allowed to spend the first hour of the day at the gym while everyone else was fined for showing up a minute late). It’s not inherently unfair or offensive that different jobs have different rules, when those rules are rooted in something real like the legal requirements around overtime pay, which in this case would mean that a non-exempt employee working a 9/80 schedule would literally cost the organization more money.

{ 395 comments… read them below }

  1. Lavender*

    OP1: As Alison pointed out, leg hair is less likely to be well-received in very formal or conservative offices—but if your office is letting you wear shorts, I’m guessing they fall on the opposite side of that spectrum. My guess is that it’s probably fine!

    1. Casper Lives*

      Yes, that’s my thought. I’m in a conservative field. We aren’t allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts without a covering garment (like a cardigan). Hairy legs would get side eye and noticed unfavorably for sure.

      I have to deal with the world as it is, not as it should be. I admit I’m sometimes resentful when shaving my legs.

    2. Erin*

      I work in the fashion industry, and I have not removed my leg hair for at least 20 years. I simply do not care. Nobody has ever said a negative thing about my leg hair, but my industry is known for being eclectic and boundary pushing.

      When I worked for a very conservative design house, I usually wore hosiery if my legs were showing, and it worked out just fine.

    3. Anon Supervisor*

      Since the pandemic, a lot of women have reevaluated their approach to conventional grooming. I decided that it really wasn’t worth the time and effort for full makeup and shaving and was pleasantly surprised that most people either didn’t notice or care. I’ll shave my legs occasionally, but really have decided I don’t really care that much (it helps that as I get older, the less I really give a rip about looking a certain way). I’m of eastern european descent, so I’m blessed with very noticeable leg hair. I envy ladies of Swedish descent as they all seem blessed with blond body hair that no one really notices.

      1. Rainy*

        If it makes you feel any better, I am of Swedish descent and while I do have very blonde body hair, it’s also long and lush, including on my arms, and if I don’t remove it periodically (I epilate), it is actually curly in the areas where it grows the longest. People do, alas, notice sometimes.

        1. Anon Supervisor*

          Lol! It does make me feel better. I grew up with long dark hair on my arms that I always fretted about. My mom reassured me that women in our family always started out with hairy arms that would become gradually less hairy as we got older (plus, my Old Man is actually into hair arms on women)…so I got that going for me. Which is nice.

          1. Rainy*

            My work here is done ;)

            My hair in general grows pretty fast and always has (any haircut that has a lot of layers and is short is a disaster for me), so when I shaved my legs I had to do it every day, which is annoying, but I also have very sensitive skin so stubble starts to give me a rash after a day or two. When I started epilating (I use an amazing/terrible little machine that yanks everything out by the roots), the sense of freedom was incredible, because you can’t do it daily or even weekly–it needs enough length to grab onto. So suddenly if my legs were a little hairy, I didn’t mind, because I couldn’t actually do anything about it until the next time I epilated! Very freeing.

      2. Random Dice*

        I’m in this group. I still dye my hair, because it’s a glorious color that gives me joy. But shaving my legs or pits, hells no – not since Covid. I’m super super femme, and always wear skirts, and if that combined with hairy legs forces someone into review of their own gender expectations, well good for their character development.

        1. Anon Supervisor*

          I’ve been letting mine go gray. I have a fantasy that it’ll look like Emmy Lou Harris’s hair (hopefully, lol).

    4. Observer*

      s Alison pointed out, leg hair is less likely to be well-received in very formal or conservative offices—but if your office is letting you wear shorts, I’m guessing they fall on the opposite side of that spectrum.

      Exactly. If they are allowing shorts, this is not a place where “professional norms” around dress a very big deal.

    5. greenland*

      It’s worth noting that this was a workplace that until recently did *not* allow shorts — so it may be less flexible than many are thinking, even if it does now!

  2. Kc*

    I’m a woman in IT leadership in local government. I wear dresses to work a lot and I do it bare legged in the warmer months. I do not shave my legs. No one has ever said anything, I’ve gotten promotions and I’m well respected. If your employer lets you wear shorts, hairy legs should be no big deal!

    1. Cat Tree*

      This brings up an interesting memory from years ago. Probably 15 years ago there was a movement for skirt equality, with the goal of making it socially acceptable for men to wear skirts. One of the big drivers was for comfort in the workplace during summer, because women could wear skirts but men could only wear long pants. And one of the big questions was – if men could wear skirts, should they be held to the same grooming standards and expected to shave their legs?

      The ideas of just letting everyone wear shorts, and/or not women not needing to shave either weren’t really part of the discussion.

      1. ferrina*

        So everyone thought: the solution is that men should wear skirts, but should they shave their legs, since that’s what women clearly must do?
        That is a very strange discussion. Makes me really worried for how business decisions were made there.

        1. I am Emily's failing memory*

          Cat Tree is right that there was a wider social conversation about this in the past. The logic was basically:

          * Trousers are hot
          * Women get to wear skirts when it’s hot
          * Thus, men should be able to wear skirts too

          The thing that’s interesting here is that the social mood evidently gave folks the impression that “make existing dress code that allows skirts gender-neutral” would be an easier battle to fight than “loosen dress code to allow shorts.”

          Then, I think, the defenders of the dress code in many cases thought that it was politically easier to push back against this men-in-skirts thing and avoid getting into a gender discrimination debate by saying okay…as long as they shave their legs! I think their assumption all along was that men wouldn’t be willing to do that, thus they sidestep the question of whether the dress code is too gendered by having one that’s theoretically gender-neutral and allows men to wear skirts for comfort, without any real risk of men roaming the halls in skirts in practice.

        2. Willow Pillow*

          This sounds more like a general discussion than one held at a specific workplace. I’ve seen a few recent stories about boys and men wearing skirts subversively – bus drivers, students with school uniforms, etc.

          1. anon for this*

            Yeah, I remember this as an argument against gender-specific dress codes (and often a hypothetical/semantic one), not a specific push in favor of skirts. The idea was there should be a gender-neutral definition of what was “business appropriate” rather than separate rules for men and women.

      2. Verthandi*

        I know several men who swear by utilikilts and will wear them any chance they get. My workplace wouldn’t have a problem with this. Shorts are allowed at any time of the year, and some coworkers would come in wearing shorts in the middle of winter.

      3. Baroness Schraeder*

        Several schools here in New Zealand have school uniform skirts (technically more of a wrap, called lavalava) for the boys. In many Pacific cultures it’s normal for men to wear lavalava, particularly for church or ceremonial occasions. And yet most schools still won’t entertain the possibility of introducing a shorts option for the girls…

    2. Woodswoman*

      Agree! I’m a woman in manufacturing HR who works in the southern US- a pretty old-school industry and a pretty conservative part of the US. I wear skirts and dresses fairly regularly with legs that have not been shaved in 15+ years. I’ve done this at several different employers, and nobody has ever had an issue with it- never a word said and still plenty of advancement/positive performance reviews. I also have dark leg hair- I’d say it’s relatively obvious. While it is possible that people are appalled and just too polite to say anything, I think a lot of people don’t really notice, especially if your dress/skirt/shorts aren’t very short. I have had several acquaintances outside of work express surprise when they find out I don’t shave my legs, even though the environments that they see me in are ones in which I’m always wearing shorts.

      1. lilsheba*

        Yup. It’s not 1940 anymore. I haven’t shaved my legs in years, I don’t ever wear heels, I don’t wear makeup and I haven’t worn a bra in years either. All have been fine at work. None of that stuff matters.

        1. the dude*

          “that stuff” still matters. What may be fine to you, others may notice. Most people notice unharnessed boobs.

          1. Anon for this one*

            As gets pointed out every time this comes up, that depends on the boobs in question. Whether anyone other than the boob-haver SHOULD notice is a separate issue.

          2. Anon Supervisor*

            I’m sure there are people who notice “unharnessed boobs,” but it’s up to them to disregard it as immaterial at work.

    1. Cmdrshprd*

      Idk I feel like if it would have been a mistake it would have come up already. I know big companies have a lot of resources, but even in a big company I can’t imagine a 72in tv going missing and no one looking into it.

      If it was meant for someone else, the person who was expecting it would have likely spoken up. Person who shipped it would have tracked the delivery and seen it was sent to and signed by OP. I would be shocked if a 72in TV did not have tracking and that it could easily be seen where it was sent.

      1. John Smith*

        You’d be surprised at what goes missing in larger organisations without anyone realising, especially in the public sector. I’ve seen equipment worth tens of thousands being missed off without so much as an eyelid being raised.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          This happened a huge amount during the beginning of the pandemic, and my workplace was no different. People went home and took equipment that was standard at every desk, some of which were shared spaces. While there may have been an inventory at some point, no one knew who took what and there were way too many things (monitors, chairs, staplers, etc.) to do any real inventory after the fact. It would have cost so much in peoplehours to make it worth it, and that’s if they could even get it back or even get an accurate inventory since it would all be on the honor system. They only track laptops (which they already tracked by employee) and new equipment that’s sent out now.

          1. Mainly Lurking (UK)*

            Yes, I was actually offered a short-term role this time last year to do an audit of all the IT equipment that had been sent out from a university faculty since March 2020. (I turned it down because they needed me to be on-site every day and the Covid numbers were still pretty high back then).

          2. anon for this*

            Even laptops went missing at my company in 2020. Someone on my team (I no longer remember who) was having laptop issues and using a company loaner for a few days. We went home before their usual laptop was fixed and returned. They kept the loaner, which became an unofficial backup computer for the entire team (we’d mask up and drop it off outside one another’s houses if someone was having computer problems — those were the days!). Eventually, it landed with me, and the woman who had the loaner in the first place left the company. As far as I know, IT still doesn’t know that it exists. (It’s on my desk at the office, waiting for me to remember to declare its existence to IT, who I assume will be very confused by this whole saga.)

        2. Roland*

          When I quit my last remote job, they initially sent me one return label for a laptop, until I reminded them that I actually had 2 work laptops… These were beefy macbook pros, so definitely more expensive than a tv. I think it’s always “someone else’s job” to keep track of these things.

        3. Anon for this*

          At the beginning of the pandemic, my organization took laptops that were used for other purposes and sent them home with employees who didn’t have computers at home. We all had to sign documentation that we took them. About a year ago when we were mostly back, it turned out that IT had never done anything with the documentation and now no one knew who had what or where these laptops ended up. We are not a small organization either.

          1. cabbagepants*

            My company, too! It was a Fortune 500 company, no less. When I quit I returned the equipment they asked for plus the things I didn’t want and kept the rest. It cost them less than $100 new and my guess is that they would just throw it into a drawer and forget about it if I returned it, so I felt zero guilt.

        4. ceiswyn*

          Yeah, I am reminded of the laptop situation when I left a previous job.

          The laptop they’d originally given me was several years old and no longer up to the job, so they issued me with a new one. I used the new laptop for work, but since they hadn’t asked me for the old laptop back I kept it at home and used it for studying (it could run Word and a browser just fine). When I gave my notice, I asked if I could keep the old laptop (I offered to pay for it) but was told no, they absolutely had to have it back; a decision that even our local IT department were rather sarcastic about, given that they already had 20 laptops of a similar spec sitting in a cupboard being junk.

          A few days before I left, the company sent me a list of the assets I had to hand in. It included the old, virtually worthless laptop. It did not include the brand new £1K laptop. I checked with IT, and apparently they had no record of the new laptop’s existence.

          (Obviously I handed it back anyway, because I’m not a thief. But there was a moment where I was tempted, out of pure annoyance)

      2. MK*

        It is very possible that someone did look into it, but didn’t considered it might have been sent to the new employee and so didn’t think to ask the OP. If it was intended for someone else, they may have thought it got lost in the post. If it wasn’t supposed to be shipped at all, they may have looked for it on the office.

      3. Rainbow*

        Meh, I dunno how big it was but in my last workplace a large TV (for showing slides about what we do) formally “disappeared” because the guy who it was assigned to left, and they were incompetent at organization. Another department realized this had happened and effectively quietly stole it for themselves!

        1. Daisy-dog*

          In my last org, a colleague and I were moved into a new space that a different department had planned on using. But then one person quit and wasn’t replaced, so the workspace was given to us. It had a ~60″ Smart TV that we were never going to use. We offered it to everyone in our office – and a few people in other locations. No one wanted it, so it was just going to sit there slowly becoming more outdated.

      4. MassMatt*

        By the same token, the company might wonder why someone would receive a 72 inch TV that was not for work purposes and not say anything. This is so odd in both directions.

        1. DataGirl*

          Perhaps it was meant as a monitor? Yes, that’s excessively big but some people do use TVs as giant computer monitors- my husband is one of them.

          1. Too Tired To Think*

            I am absolutely positive I’ve heard stories of a tv being bought to be used a monitor and they bought the wrong size tv.

      5. Falling Diphthong*

        A quick look at BestBuy says a TV that size is on the order of $500. That’s well within the mystery sludge for a large company.

        1. Avril Ludgateaux*

          I was about to object, there’s no way a TV that big could be so cheap. But I searched on Best Buy and all of the TVs that come up within 70-75″ diagonal are $480-$700! I had no idea.

          Ah, seems it’s the OLEDs that are pricey, relative to size.

      6. Someone Else's Boss*

        I was once supposed to return 10 ipads to my corporate office and forgot to do it. They were in my trunk for 6 years before I realized what happened. Obviously that says a lot about me, but in the meantime that other company shut down completely and no one ever asked about the ipads. I turned one on and it still got cellular data. Large companies run well don’t lose 72″ TVs, but large companies who send a 72″ tv to the wrong person are not run well.

        1. DataGirl*

          Not work related but I have an electric guitar and amp in my closet that I was loaned for a fundraiser by a non-profit right before the pandemic started. They did not keep track of who was given what equipment and I have never been contacted to return it. When I remember- I think I should contact someone to find out how I should get it back to them, as I feel bad considering it’s a non-profit. But I keep forgetting. Maybe I will do that right now….

        2. Meep*

          We had the reverse happen to us. The old office that we had been in from 2016-2022 received a bunch of random desktop computers in 2019 for a company that went defunct in 2009 and had been at that office for a total of 5 months prior. It was a tiny company of like three people and we ended up with 7 desktops. The company in question? It did mechanical control tests. It is easy to see why they went out of business.

      7. Daisy-dog*

        I have been in a situation at multiple companies where several people have been freaking out about a problem…and not mention it to everyone. I will walk up to my supervisor and say, “I have this bill/package/tech item and I don’t know what to do with it.” The response: “We have been looking everywhere for this for days!!!!!!!!!!!” My response: “Clearly not everywhere because I wasn’t hiding this from anyone.”

      8. Meep*

        I kinda wonder if someone thought they were sending a smaller monitor and accidentally sent the TV without realizing. TV prices are really weird depending on the brand it might’ve been cheaper than say a reasonably 32-inch monitor and someone didn’t check the dimensions because of the price.

        1. Elenna*

          Yeah, I was looking into buying a big monitor instead of a TV since I figured it would be cheaper (and I don’t intend to pay for cable anyways, so all I’d use it for would be video games and streaming stuff from my laptop to a bigger screen). But apparently giant TVs can easily be cheaper than, say, a 40-inch monitor? Seems weird but okay.

    2. hbc*

      I feel like there’s an IT person who was supposed to supply all *meeting rooms” with giant TVs and has been

      a) let go for other dumb mistakes and this one was never figured out
      b) living in fear that someone will finally figure out the dumb mistake they made sending it to a private residence and not an actual worksite with a conference room
      c) wondering when that branch location is going to get its act together and confirm they’ve mounted the TV so they can register it as an official conference room

        1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

          e) knows perfectly well where it went and fessed up to their manager, who told them to just buy another because it’s not worth the cost/time of trying to get it where it’s supposed to be, and no one told OP.

          1. Observer*

            That’s also not an unreasonable supposition. Shipping on these things can be pretty high, and if you have to send someone to get it from the staff person, you’re paying a pretty penny. By the time you add up the cost of getting the thing back and the hassle involved, it may not make any sense. Especially if it were part of a time sensitive project.

          2. Insert Clever Name Here*

            This is absolutely what would happen at my company. They probably would have assumed the address was an office location and not a house.

      1. AnonAnon*

        I was wondering too and giggling at the thought. I have a 70″-ish TV and it is HUGE! Like takes up one wall of my living room. I can’t imagine a work purpose for this in a “normal” desk job.

        1. TJ Morrison*

          I almost want to believe it was intentional and everyone else in the company has one too. But that would have very likely come with instructions and some corporate culture. I’m imagining someone had an idea where everyone mounted it sideways so they could have full size, full body zoom calls in an attempt to bring the water cooler remote.

        2. Clisby*

          I have so many windows in my house that I wouldn’t have any place to mount a 72″ TV on the wall. I’ve also been wondering if this was meant to be a 27″ – I can’t believe they intentionally sent something that size to an employee’s home without even checking whether they could use it.

          1. Observer*

            Yes. But it’s also hard to believe that no one noticed the difference in shipping.

            Depending on the vendor, you can even get free shipping on a 27″ monitor. 72″ TV? could be a couple of hundred dollars. That’s not an enormous sum, but it’s different enough that it should catch someone’s eye.

      2. Avril Ludgateaux*

        I’m doubtful it was typo’d dimensions because a 72″ *monitor* is, for some reason, astronomically more expensive than a TV of similar size, and usually has to be special ordered, so it’s not something you would accidentally add to cart at a retailer, through your office supplier, or even direct through the manufacturer. e.g. I did a very cursory search for 72″ monitor on Google and every result on the first page that isn’t actually a TV, is to place a commercial inquiry, so there are many steps involved where you would expect the person making the purchase to step back and be like “wait, why is it this hard to buy the standard monitor we all use?”

        I think it is likely it was ordered as a digital display for the office but was grouped with the wrong order.

        Or even more likely, it may have been a warehouse error on the part of the retailer, not the employer, and that’s why nobody is looking for it. I once ordered 1 unit of a thing and received 10 units (1 case) instead. Another time I ordered one thing and received a completely different, much more expensive thing by the same brand, and when I called about it, they told me to keep it, no charge, and also sent the thing I did order. I could go on, but warehouse errors happen, and sometimes they are huge. Like, 72 inches, for example ;P

        1. Bee*

          I once ordered a bunch of cleaning products and received half of them plus a pallet of 24 individual serving apple juice bottles, so yeah, could very well be a mistake at the warehouse!

          1. irritable vowel*

            Yes, I think this could have just been a glitch at Amazon or wherever it came from, which would explain why no one ever mentioned it. I came home one day several years ago to find an office chair in an enormous box that I definitely did not order had been delivered. Spent way too much time on chat with Amazon trying to convince them that not only did I not order it but I wanted them to come back and take it away.

          2. Powercycle*

            Something like that happened to us a couple years ago. Ordered a case of 12 of something and ended up getting 12 cases or 12 over a few days. Contact the shipper (Amazon in this case) who told us to just keep them all at no extra charge. Wasn’t worth the expense on their end to recover the extra 11 cases.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      I assume it was a brand new TV shipped directly from a warehouse. It is much easier to imagine somebody accidentally ordering a new TV then to imagine someone accidentally moving and packing and shipping one that belongs somewhere in the office.

      My first thought is that they intended to send her a computer monitor. My company sent me one when we all started working remotely. It may even be possible that they *did* order a computer monitor and someone at the store they purchased it from messed up and they ended up with the TV instead. (It’s not quite the same thing, but my dad purchased us a TV as a housewarming gift many years back and the guy at the store mistakenly brought out one larger than he had ordered and then when my dad corrected him he was like “oh well, I already brought it out here so enjoy the bigger TV lol).

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        I wonder if it could have been during the pandemic when there were major supply chain issues, like oh, we’re out of monitors so I guess we’ll send this giant TV, lol.

        1. I Talk About Motorcycles Too Much*

          Ha! That’s what I was thinking too and have been skimming through the comments to see if anyone brought it up yet. My company had lots of randomness for a bit at the beginning and while the downgrades were eventually fixed we left the “bonus” upgrades in place unless someone didn’t want it for some reason.

        2. Elitist Semicolon*

          The general chaos at the start of the panini might have meant no one noticed, too. We only had people onsite about once a week to check the mail so it wouldn’t have been impossible for the person checking the mail to not realise someone ordered a large item and that the item hadn’t been delivered.

    1. Cmdrshprd*

      I think that is the point of the letter, that in scenario 1 OP expects the person with the question to respond first, but in scenario 2 OP expects the person with the answer to respond first.

      “After laughing at myself for this, I wonder if there is an agreed-upon standard for such things. ”

      I think they laugh at themselves because they recognize that they flipflop their idea of who should respond first to always put it on the other person. So they are asking Alison to make a referee call on what the rule should be.

    2. Green great dragon*

      I think efficiency rather than etiquette should guide this one. If Carol and Georgia are able to provide the info, then they should go ahead and do it. But it’s Ann and Carol (in 2) who want the info, so up to them to act if the answer isn’t appearing, whether that’s being more specific about the deadlines or offering a discussion/more info or just politely asking when they can expect something. Or confirming it’s still required, if there’s a reasonable chance the original asker could have found out from elsewhere by the time the email’s been read and actioned.

      1. Allonge*

        Yes for efficiency!

        Normally speaking, if I get a question forwarded to me, I don’t expect the original requester to confirm it or whatever before I proceed with the answer. I am not sure what LW4 would be expecting from Anne in scenario 1. To confirm that they still need the answer?

        If there is context missing from the forwarded email, or the original request was ages ago, it’s still on the answerer to ask for clarification but of course the requester can also step in.

        1. Lilas*

          Yes the person who was looped in on the fwd should respond. You have the whole conversation threaded beneath the email, and the last thing that anyone said was asking you for an answer. Waiting for the original asker to chime in and restate the question just seems weirdly passive aggressive for no reason? To me the ball is clearly in Carol’s court (in scenario 1).

      2. ecnaseener*

        I agree it’s about efficiency. I wonder if the real difference between the scenarios was how much detail was included in the email chain. Maybe Anne’s question was more along the lines of “I need guidance on the llama grooming regs, can you help with that?” – so once the right person to help has been identified, the best next step is to give details – while Carol’s was a specific detailed question to begin with. Just guessing, I can’t tell from the letter.

        1. OP4*

          OP4 here — you’re right, it was about detail. Now that I’m seeing it put that way, I understand my reaction better. I couldn’t really help Anne until she gave me more detail so I could only respond with something like “let me know how I can help.” Now I think I was right to want both Anne and Georgia to respond, haha!

          1. Office Chinchilla*

            In my job, I frequently get looped into questions that I may or may not have the answer to, but other people don’t even necessarily know what information I need, so it’s not unusual for my answer to be:
            “Thanks, Brian! Anne, I’m certain this isn’t a gift shop issue, but if you can please let me know:
            1) When the T-Rex first appeared and
            2) If she appeared to be well-fed
            I can direct your inquiry to the correct department. Thanks!”

      3. ferrina*

        Yes! Whatever gets the job done quickly and without fuss.

        I’m in a role where I provide information internally, and in several areas my role overlaps with other people. These two scenarios are a daily thing, and I never notice who responds first. It’s generally dependent on who isn’t in a meeting or busy with something else. If the info-haver doesn’t respond after a couple days, the info-requester might follow up to make sure that the email didn’t vanish. No etiquette rules

      4. MCMonkeyBean*

        I agree–if Anne’s email was something vague like “I’m going to need some help on the X report” then she should follow up with Carol to give her more details. But if Anne’s email already had all of the details necessary to answer her question then you should go ahead and respond with the answer.

      5. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        I agree. My thought was that if there was enough info in the email to provide an answer, the person copied should just answer it, but if it’s something that will require more information or communication, the person asking for help should reach out.

  3. Zebra*

    Flabbergasted that OP #2 has had this TV for presumably years and would rather ask Alison what to do about it than their own place of work. I get that they don’t want to talk about nonwork things with coworkers, but this IS work-related. It seems like something where you would just email your manager as soon as it arrived and ask. How do you not just email someone and ask about it?!

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, I do understand not wanting to discuss non-work matters, but if your work sent you something by mistake, it IS a work matter! I think OP’s best bet here is to say that they just totally forgot they had those item – though this would be an easier excuse to use if it was something a bit smaller.

      1. danmei kid*

        How do you forget a 72 inch TV? Unless it’s stuffed in a corner of a garage behind the outdoor lawn furniture? That’s a huge piece of electronics that takes up a lot of space. If I had an employee that called me and said they “forgot” a 72 inch behemoth of a TV for two years I would seriously question their judgment/integrity/eyesight.

          1. Grandma*

            (“Out of sight, out of mind.”) Which implies that this employee has neither a cat nor a small child. Otherwise, said employee would be checking under the couch frequently. :-)

          2. EJC*

            It would be impossible for a 72-inch TV box to fit under any couch. Absolutely impossible. Keep in mind the box is much larger than the TV itself. A 72-inch TV box would take up an entire wall.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          I wouldn’t. It’s not like it was missed. This doesn’t suggest anything to me but what was already stated in the post – it’s this person’s first job and they didn’t know what to do or how to ask, so they ignored it until they couldn’t anymore. This is not someone who is trying to do something with a lack of integrity. For goodness sake they didn’t even use the TV and they aren’t planning to keep it post-resignation even though they very easily could and it most likely would go unnoticed. Be a bit more charitable towards OP.

          1. Rebel*

            It’s called being an adult, contacting the workplace, and letting workplace know what happened.

            It’s not complicated, nor difficult. Also, the “it’s not missed” is such frustrating logic. I mean, seriously. What is there to be “charitable” about, exactly?

            1. Sorrischian*

              If the LW was asking “what do I do about this TV I was just sent?”, then yeah that might be a harsh but fair comment, but lots of people don’t speak up about things because they’re nervous or don’t know who to talk to or whatever… and the longer it goes, the harder it is to break that silence!

              I can’t find the link and it’s been a while since I read it, but there’s a iconic AAM post about someone literally taking a bunch of files and either dumping them in the woods or setting them on fire instead of admitting that they’d been given a task they couldn’t complete, and while we can generally agree that’s a bad strategy, the comments were also in agreement that it was intensely relatable. Kudos to you, I guess, if you’ve always had perfect communication skills and known when and how to speak your mind, but you can still give folks a little grace when they don’t live up to your standards, especially when they’re not hurting anyone – and this LW wasn’t!

            2. Nina*

              It’s called being an adult

              yeah can you not? In this case, sure, ‘contact the workplace’ is the thing most normal reasonable adult humans with jobs would do. But we are on the comments of a blog that also covers things normal reasonable adult humans with jobs absolutely do not and should not do.

              ‘It’s called being an adult’ is used way too much to shame people who are disabled and/or neurodivergent and it needs to stop. Whether I know to/have the spoons to/remember to descale my kettle or answer personal emails in the same week they arrive or do very repetitive tasks without music playing or handle unusual work situations exactly the way the benchmark normal reasonable adult would do actually has very little to do with whether I’m able to do my job with reasonable ADA accommodations and absolutely nothing to do with whether I’m an adult.

              1. No Longer Looking*

                None of your spoons examples seem to rise to the level of ignoring a multi-hundred-dollar delivery mistake – possibly multi-thousand depending on brand and timing. Whether it is a work mis-delivery or an Amazon mis-delivery, there is no level of ND that should excuse just keeping the thing without comment.

                1. Nina*

                  I’m not saying it excuses it, because ideally yeah LW should have asked someone about it, but if I was in their shoes, it would look like a towering pile of things to do and I would really struggle to know where to start.

                  For me, yes, ‘identify the owner of this TV and find a way to get it back to them that doesn’t involve me personally trying to take it anywhere (because bike) or anyone entering my house (because COVID) or upsetting any of the norms at work (because first job)’ would be a mammoth task that would seriously impact my ability to do things like cook and eat food and return library books on time, which are more important for my general functioning, and it would tend to keep getting put off to the next day or week until it became to awkward to do anything about it at all. If you have absolutely no idea where I’m coming from or how people can exist like this, get on your knees and thank your deity of choice.

                  The company made the multi-hundred dollar eff up. LW did not handle the eff-up in an optimal manner, but if you’ve never handled anything in a non-optimal manner ever, well good for you I guess.

              2. cheeks*

                ugh I really dislike the phrase “it’s called being an adult” too. As if all adults have everything figured out (they don’t). Sure, it’s unfortunate they didn’t speak up in the first place, but some guilt is likely at play already. It’s too late to go back so better to just rip the bandaid off and speak up! If I were the OP I would also prepare for some confusion and say something like, “I’m a little embarrassed to be bringing this up since so much time has passed, but I wanted to make sure this gets to the right place!” I think a little humility can go a long way when trying to correct a mistake, without implying that there was actually anything nefarious going on.

              3. Courageous cat*

                This comment presumes that most people who do immature things in the workplace simply must be neurodivergent though. That is not the case. Plenty of people (I’d wager most) who are immature are just immature, and it’s advice that frankly they sometimes need to hear. (Ask me at age 18.)

                I have mental illnesses too, anyway. They are not my fault, but they are my responsibility. If people are upset at me because I did something due to my depression, a lot of times they have a right to be.

        2. ceiswyn*

          Things that have been in one place for a while become invisible. Do you notice your sofa every time you walk into your living room?

          It’s not that you actually forget that you have a sofa (or a 72″ TV), and if someone asked you about it you’d say “Yeah, I’ve got one of those,” you just stop registering it. Heck, even if you actively have to walk around it, after it’s been there a while that just becomes the way that you walk into the room :)

        3. Observer*

          If I had an employee that called me and said they “forgot” a 72 inch behemoth of a TV for two years I would seriously question their judgment/integrity/eyesight.

          When it’s under the couch?

          Also, an employer is not really in a position to get on their high horse – *I* am questioning why no one followed up on it. Now, there could be reasonable reasons, but that means that it’s not so unreasonable for the OP to have put it under their furniture thinking “Oh, I’ll leave it there till someone contacts me about it to deal with getting it back” and then forgetting about it.

          1. Rebel*

            But that’s the thing. It shouldn’t be under the couch in the first place!

            Really gob-smacked at the excuse-making here. Good lord…

            1. Observer*

              Why not?

              I’m astounded at the judgement here. While I agree that the OP should have called the office right away, it is really odd that you cannot understand their reasoning.

              1. No Longer Looking*

                Their reasoning was “I believe it was likely sent in error” and “I would still have no use for it.” There is literally zero LOGICAL reason for their decision to have been “Whelp, I guess it’s furniture now!”

                1. Nina*

                  ‘Have to find somewhere to put it until I can do something about returning it, possibly live in space-constrained location, only place to put it where it won’t be at risk of being stood on/spilt on/shredded by pets is under sofa, never look under sofa, forget it’s there’. Sounds logical and relatable to me.

        4. Butterfly Counter*

          You get used to seeing things sometimes.

          Months and months ago, our cable box died. I called the cable company and they sent a replacement. We set it up and were good to go. Then, then sent another cable box. I called and said that we do not need 2. They said, “Weird, we have no record of sending that second box to you. We’ll send you materials so that you can return that second box to us.”

          Those materials never came and I still have a completely unopened cable box sitting by my front door. By the time I realized that the shipping materials weren’t coming, I stopped actively seeing it as something out of place. I’m sure I’ll remember to call them eventually. But that day is likely not today.

          1. AnonInCanada*

            By now, more likely than not that cable box will have become obsolete as more cable companies ditch legacy digital cable for IPTV solutions (like Comcast’s Xfinity and those who license that technology). As for OP and the 72″ TV set, I can see them forgetting about it if they stuffed it under the couch. But I am curious as to why they wouldn’t have contacted the boss when it arrived: “Hey boss, is there any reason why the company just shipped this 72″ TV? Can you arrange a courier to come get it as this is something I can’t easily transport.”

      2. Observer*

        I think OP’s best bet here is to say that they just totally forgot they had those item – though this would be an easier excuse to use if it was something a bit smaller.

        Well, it was sitting under a piece of furniture, so it’s easy to forget it’s there.

        1. ecnaseener*

          As an explanation of why they don’t know if other coworkers received TVs – not as an explanation of why they haven’t asked their boss.

          1. MassMatt*

            So if “we never discuss non-work matters” with co-workers is irrelevant, why do you think it is they haven’t asked their boss?

            Personally I find it odd they they make NO small talk with coworkers, whether in office or not, but maybe that works for them. Still odd that a huge TV arrives that has no work function and they have no use for goes unremarked for two years.

            1. ecnaseener*

              There are plenty of commenters on this thread alone suggesting possibilities for why the LW might not have asked their boss. I personally like the “maybe this will become clear later, I’ll put it under the couch for now, oh no it’s been months and I forgot to ask, too awkward to ask now.”

              To be clear, I’m not trying to dunk on the idea that never talking about non-work stuff might be relevant. I’m sure it was relevant to how comfortable LW did or didn’t feel asking about it. I was just pointing out that LW wasn’t naming it as THE reason the way Zebra’s comment implied.

            2. londonedit*

              Personally I do find it odd that a) the OP *never* discusses non-work matters with their co-workers and b) they felt that this TV issue fell into ‘non-work’ when it was the company that sent them the TV in the first place. I don’t think it would have been ‘non-work’ to say ‘Just wondered – has anyone else received a TV screen? Bit odd but one turned up here with my other IT equipment and I’m not sure whether it was a mistake or not’. And they definitely should have at least asked their boss about it when it arrived. There’s no way it could have reflected badly on the OP if they’d just said ‘By the way, I’ve received a large TV screen along with my other IT equipment – is that correct? If it was sent in error, please let me know how I should go about getting it collected’.

              However, I can also absolutely see how the OP might have been paralysed by awkwardness about the whole thing, especially as it’s their first office job and the whole thing was in lockdown. I can totally imagine thinking WTF am I going to do with this, sticking it under the sofa for the time being, getting caught up in the new job and periodically thinking ‘Oh god I need to ask my boss about that TV’, and then all of a sudden it’s three months later and you’re thinking well, can’t ask now or they’re going to wonder why the hell I kept a giant TV under my sofa without saying anything.

              1. Smithy*

                I agree with this completely.

                It was a bit into my career before I ever worked somewhere that had a Coms Director who installed a TV in her office that was essentially always turned on to the news and on mute with subtitles. While I have zero comment on its being professionally relevant or not, I’ve also seen other staff in similar positions – some who do and others who do not have that.

                All to say, is if I got a job with a big enough employer and it was sent over with ambiguous language as part of the ‘standard IT package’ I would think of it as odd but not entirely unreasonable. And whether I’d take the time to set it up….50/50. And after I left, I would want to know if I needed to return it and how I’d be reimbursed for that. Along with my Lenovo ThinkPad that despite being 4 years old still needs to go back….

        2. N L*

          I guess you could read it either way but to me it sounds more like “the culture here is we don’t talk to each other about non-work stuff so they’ve never mentioned to me if they received a TV or not.”

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      I felt such intense secondhand anxiety from this one because I can totally see myself doing it. Haven’t you ever put something off for “a few days” then suddenly realized it’s been WAY longer? So they got the TV, felt confused, figured it would make sense soon, waited too long to ask… and then it’s like the longer they didn’t speak up the harder it got. It’s weird that you didn’t ask right away, LW, but it’s not BAD and the best thing you can do now is just power through and ask now. I agree with Prettiest Curse that it might be easiest to pretend you meant to ask when it first arrived and then just completely forgot about it because it was tucked behind your desk or in a closet or whatever.

      1. Lavender*

        Yes, I have absolutely done things like this. “I’ll figure out later” can easily turn into “welp, now too much time has passed and it would be awkward to bring it up.”

        1. Rebecca*

          I do this a lot. The fact that the tv could slide under a couch – out of sight, out of mind – makes that easier.

          I’ve done it with people’s names! I figure I won’t have to admit I forgot someone’s name after being introduced because I’ll hear it soon in conversation with a third party or see it on a paper, and then I don’t hear it in conversation and it’s been a month or 3 and I still don’t know the name of the person who deals with textbooks at school and now it’s waaayyyyy to late to admit that and ask, so I’m going on a detecitve mission through staff lists trying to find it.

          I can totally see how this is an absolutely ridiculous situation that is easy to fall into.

          1. Millie's Mom*

            Yes, the names thing! My husband is a youth pastor and we’ve been at our current church for 14 months and it’s too late to ask people to repeat their names NOW! I did ask for the first year or so, but now that it’s been over a year, I just can’t bring myself to do it…..! I’ll sometimes ask my husband, and I have a friend or 2 I can ask, too, but in the moment, when it would be most helpful, there’s no one. (Sorry, I know that’s a tangent from the actual response about the letter, but I’m throwing my support behind the LW on this one – it is definitely a thing for some of us!)

            1. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

              This is the exact reason my church’s membership form includes a line for how you want your name to appear on the magnetic name badge they order for everyone. The badges are kept on a stand in the lobby and everyone puts theirs on when they arrive so there’s no awkward “I know we have a conversation every week and I should know who you are but I’m still trying desperately to remember your name” panic.

          2. LK*

            I did this with a roommate once. I didn’t catch her name properly while I was moving in, and it was a shared kitchen and otherwise stick to our own rooms kind of deal, so I rarely ran into her except briefly in passing, and each time the thought of asking her name got more awkward, until I was moving out a year later, never having known my roommate’s name.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              This is hilarious honestly.

              My husband often shares the story of how his freshman year of college he was assigned a roommate and after the initial settling in period they settled into their own routines and never really talked. Then next year he was assigned the same roommate in the same room so they they just fell back into their routines immediately–and did not exchange even one single word for the entire year that they roomed together. He swears he didn’t dislike the guy or have any issue with him, they simply never spoke at all.

          3. Dark Macadamia*

            Haha yes! SNL did a sketch once with that “Say What You Wanna Say” song where it would show various people being really blunt, and my favorite is one where someone is like “we’ve been friends a long time and I actually don’t know your name, what is it?” and then forgets to listen to the answer lol

        2. ceiswyn*

          Oh, heck yes.

          I am told that other people have a stage that isn’t “Waiting for it to make sense” and “Too late to ask without embarrassment”, but I have no idea what that might be.

          And if there’s one thing that anxiety encourages you to do, it’s to ignore the thing to make the anxiety stop.

      2. FisherCat*

        I do this. And then the longer it goes on the more anxiety I get about it, start to worry I’ll be blamed if I’m the one to bring it up, not sure how to, and on and on until I just don’t do anything about it at all.

        So I really understand TV LW!

      3. BethDH*

        Agree with this approach for dealing with it, and I’ll add that I can totally see this happening to me, especially in a new job where I wouldn’t really be sure who to ask.
        I have also seen a few conversations like this post-pandemic as we all slowly came (/are still coming) out of crisis mode. At least at my workplace, it was understood.

      4. ferrina*

        Yes! I’m ADHD, so my memory oscillates from Perfect Recall to Walked Out Of The House Without Shoes. I spent most of my teens and twenties being mortified by something that I had forgotten.

        Having a quickly excuse is helpful. “I tucked this away and forgot!” is such a common thing that happens to everyone- any boss that gives you a hard time about that has some weird things of their own.

      5. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        I think I’d probably just not say anything at all and once a year has lapsed after leaving, I’d sell it or use it myself.
        If ever anyone asked, I’d say wow, yes you’re right, I was sent it, slid it under the couch out of the way and forgot completely about asking why I was sent it and what to do with it.

      6. Dona Florinda*

        Same. OP got stuck between “someone will probably explain this to me, so there’s no need for me to bring this up” and “no one explained it to me and it’s been too long for me to bring this up now” and oh boy, do I know that feeling.

    3. Carl*

      This is totally something that I would do, and I’m a functional (and assertive) person. It’s “that’s weird and also not urgent” and then the next thing you know, it’s been a year or two.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        It’s also hard to remember now just how paralysing the early lockdown was – that sense that there was literally nothing you had the power to do, or that anything you did do or even talked about the possibility of doing would leading to condemnation for Breaking The Rules.

        1. Zebra*

          Weren’t those “Rules” just about trying to avoid COVID? I remember lockdown; I just have no idea why someone wouldn’t shoot their boss a quick email asking about a TV if they got one in the mail…

          1. My Cat’s Human*

            My bosses/management chain were so overwhelmed by tons of meetings, and writing down the new processes/procedures/rules that got decided in those meetings (so the rank and file all had the new info), that we avoided asking anything non-urgent. (Only about 50% of non-urgent questions even got replies.)

          2. Dark Macadamia*

            It’s really not as strange as you’re making it sound. Congratulations on never ever procrastinating or feeling flustered, I guess?

          3. Observer*

            I just have no idea why someone wouldn’t shoot their boss a quick email asking about a TV if they got one in the mail…

            They didn’t want to have to take it to a drop off place – they don’t have a car and were afraid to ask someone to take them.

            1. Staying Anon*

              There were plenty of contactless pick up services that LW’s company could have set up for the TV to be picked up though.

              1. Observer*

                Well, apparently the OP was not aware of them, there were none in their area, or the OP assumed that their employer would not allow them to do that because of the cost.

                1. No Longer Looking*

                  How strange that they weren’t aware of them – I wonder if that was because THEY DIDN’T ASK?

          4. Willow Pillow*

            My manager at that point was getting a lot of pressure from other departments and she did not deal with it well. Her boss did his best to ignore the dysfunction until he no longer had a choice. I can easily see myself doing the same thing as LW did – it was frequently painful trying to deal with crucial things, let alone a confusing non-priority like a random TV.

            (I no longer work at said company and have mostly dealt with the mental health fallout, FYI)

      2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

        It’s “that’s weird and also not urgent” and then the next thing you know, it’s been a year or two.

        I’m giggling at this because it’s so true!

          1. rayray*

            I also do this. I am aware that I struggle with this and trying to do better, but it still can happen!

        1. CA Cupid*

          So painfully true. I keep remembering things I meant to ask my obstetrician but then put off… and bam now the baby’s 15 months old.

      3. bamcheeks*

        Yes! I wouldn’t have any anxiety around it or anything, I would just … keeping meaning to do it and not getting around to it.

        Which reminds me, I must schedule that dentist’s appointment…

        1. Green great dragon*

          If you hadn’t written this, I would absolutely have failed to schedule that dentist’s appointment for yet another day. My teeth thank you.

        2. londonedit*

          Yep, I don’t have anxiety or ADHD or anything, but still, sometimes I’ll get a notification that my prescription is ready to collect, think ‘Oh great, must call in and pick that up’, and then it goes totally out of my mind until the next day when I think ‘Oh, damn, should have picked up my prescription…’ and so on. Usually it’s only a few days because eventually my brain goes ‘Pick the damn prescription up or you’ll run out of medication FFS’, but if it was something with fewer repercussions then I could absolutely end up forgetting about it for weeks.

    4. ComputerJanitor*

      I totally sympathize with them. Between my Adhd and anxiety disorder this is absolutely a hole I’d dig myself into. I’d completely forget to ask about the TV until it was too late to do so. Then I’d hide it under my sofa so I didn’t get a pang of anxiety every time I saw it. The TV would no longer exist in my mind and I’d forget about it until the last possible moment. Then instead of doing the obvious thing and asking my boss or HR about it, I’d ask advice blogs, post on reddit, and spend way too much time searching Google for a solution that didn’t involve me bringing up the TV to anyone who would judge me.

    5. andy*

      The sentence means that OP is unable to get advice from colleagues, because of standing norm of not discussing things outside of immediate work needs.

      Having worked in an environment like this, this is exactly what happens when management promotes people not talking to them or each other. You stop seeing asking questions as an option. It is bad idea to ask management question in such environment. At best, you never get reasonable answer out of them, because they don’t bother to listen or dont know either and dont ask either.

    6. Peanut Hamper*

      Because you’re new to the workforce (possibly) and new to the job and this happened at the height of a GLOBAL FREAKING PANDEMIC when everybody’s weird-0-meters were wildly skewed.

      Honestly, where have you been for the last three years?

      1. Zebra*

        But wouldn’t you just be wildly curious? I wouldn’t be able to just not think about it; I’d want to know so badly. I remember working from home during pandemic; I just don’t see why it would prevent me from sending my boss an email that said “I received a TV in the mail; was this by mistake, or was this sent on purpose?” Like, I get that sending it back would be inconvenient in pandemic times, but writing and sending that email or Slack or whatnot would have taken ten seconds. Way shorter than writing out a letter to Alison…

        1. Hlao-roo*

          Different people have different levels of curiosity. Speaking for myself, I can easily imagine behaving like the LW did (especially if I was in my first full-time job). I would be a bit curious, but also thinking (1) is this worth bothering my boss about (and in my first job, I did sometimes think that I would be bothering my boss by asking them a question) and (2) if I received this by mistake and I need to send it back, how am I going to do that? This is not one of my better qualities, but sometimes I don’t engage with a problem until I can see a solution, and 72″ TV + bicycle + global pandemic would not lead to any recognizable solution, so I would rather put the TV under my couch than write a quick email or Slack message to my boss.

          1. Rebel*

            But none of that makes it right. Besides, it’s not difficult to send an email, even if it’s a week later; hell, make up why it’s a week later. But to keep an unexpected delivery of a tv under the couch and be massively there there’d for it? Huh? “Oh, workplace deposited an extra million in my check and gee, I didn’t know who to ask and forgot about it because it’s in an account I never use. Whatever do I do?”

            1. Hlao-roo*

              I didn’t say it was right. I was responding to Zebra’s “wouldn’t you be wildly curious?” question. For the OP, for me, and for many people on this thread the answer is “no.”

              This whole thread started with the question “How do you not just email someone and ask about it?!” That’s what people are trying to explain here. I don’t see people commenting that putting the TV under the couch and forgetting about it for three years was the right thing to do, just people explaining why/how it happened. The OP is a human, sometimes we make mistakes, we don’t send emails, we don’t see solutions that are obvious to other people.

        2. Rebecca*

          It’s also possible to misremember or underestimate the amount of stress people were under in the first weeks of the lockdowns.

          I distinctly remember the anxiety around going out once a day with my little signed slip of paper in case I got caught, standing in line at super markets that didn’t have spaghetti on the shelves, learning how to do my job online on the fly with 50 eight year olds and their parents on the other side expecting me to be the one who held things together and created their routine for them, figuring out online school for my own kid, worrying about my mum who lived alone and was isolated, and letting the novelty and the stress and the news get me to the point where I cased the joint when I found a small Asian supermarket where nobody had bought up all the rice, coming home with a wheeled shopping cart of dried beans we still haven’t finished eating and a 5kg bag of rice I had to carry, and genuinely begging my husband to please not leave me behind if it turned out we really were in the first weeks of The Bird Box and we had to leave the city.

          It seems unreal and ridiculous now, but a lot of us were not exactly operating at normal levels of logic or had the bandwidth to be as curious about a weird tv as we might otherwise have been.

          1. londonedit*

            Yep. People where I live turned a lot of their fear and anxiety on to runners/joggers/anyone using the pavements and paths, so I was going out running by myself at 5am, avoiding going into any parks and running in the middle of the road wherever possible just so no one could scream and yell at me (a thing that was happening on a regular basis) for being one of those horrible inconsiderate joggers spreading germs everywhere. Which seems absolutely bonkers now, but when you’re not allowed to leave your flat except for ‘essential’ reasons and the thing that’s keeping you sane is going for a run and then people start screaming at you for going for a run…weird things happen to your brain.

          2. rat pants*

            I completely forgot about the “passes” to be out in public. I worked in an “essential worker” industry (air quotes bc our salaries didn’t reflect the crap we had to deal with, nevermind the risk of COVID) so we were all given these slips explaining that yes we really do need to be out & about.

            I always thought it was strange since this country never bothered with lockdown or really any effort at dealing with the pandemic at all.

      2. VeraWang*

        I’d someone can figure out how to continue to work during a pandemic they can figure out how to send a two – three sentence email. “Hey I got this large tv delivered from y’all? Am I supposed to have this? What should I do?”

        1. Observer*

          That’s totally not the way this works. Sometimes, you’re just tapped out.

          Google the “spoons” analogy. Someone has figured out 10 things today which could mean that they are good with figuring things out. Or it could meant that they have figured out all the things that can that day and they are out of brain space / energy to figure ONE MORE THING. Especially something that doesn’t seem urgent.

          1. Zebra*

            That makes sense to me on the day the person got the TV…but the next day, and the next day…there’s never a day when they can fit “send a 10-second email about why I was mailed a gigantic TV to the boss”?

            1. Buffy Rosenberg*

              OK but Zebra, they didn’t do that. I’m not sure what the point of your posts could be? To emphasise how you would never do this? Make the OP feel silly? Are you genuinely trying to understand? If so, you sound like you won’t accept the suggestions people are giving, because you don’t personally relate to them.

              Or are you suggesting the OP had some shifty motive for keeping the TV, like using it or selling it? I don’t think you mean to suggest that, but it also feels a bit like you’re doubting their story in some way.

              1. Rebel*

                I’ve got to know: what is there to understand that excuses this? Covid? Please. If you’re adult enough to work, you’re adult enough to call attention to such a situation.

                And would OP defenders take the same position of batshit forgiveness if that tv was meant for them instead of OP? That I HAVE to know.

                1. Buffy Rosenberg*

                  It’s just about recognising that humans do make mistakes, and a very, very, very common mistake is meaning to do something, then never getting around to it, and completely forgetting.

                  And yeah if the TV was meant for me I’d be wondering why my employer had sent it to the wrong place, and I’d be following up. I wouldn’t go on and on and on and on and on and on in disbelief at the person who was sent it and forgot about how I, personally, can’t imagine ever being that stupid.

                  It is done now. They should have mentioned it. They didn’t. People keep explaining how they relate to making a mistake like this. It hasn’t harmed anyone (certainly not in a serious way). Everyone will be fine.

                  It’s a “lessons learned from one mistake” thing, not a “oh my god, you’re not adult enough to work, this makes you look terrible, you absolute joke” thing.

      3. Truth Bomb*

        How long are we going to blame covid for everything? At some point people need to pull themselves together and move on or be left behind. I cannot fathom receiving a giant TV from my employer and not immediately telling my boss about it.

        1. bamcheeks*

          I mean, it’s not really “blaming” the pandemic because there isn’t really any blame to be assigned here. LW got sent a vast TV she didn’t want or need because of some kind of mix-up. I don’t think “figure out what to do with a vast TV you don’t want or need” is in anyone’s job description, and she’s not at fault for not dealing with it.

        2. Dark Macadamia*

          Wow, how rude. Being confused about one little thing during an unusually confusing time is not “blaming Covid for everything,” and ongoing collective trauma kind of has an ongoing impact even after we’ve “pulled ourselves together.” No amount of “moving on” can undo the fact that the past already happened.

        3. Observer*

          At some point people need to pull themselves together and move on or be left behind.

          Irrelevant – The OP received this package at the beginning of COVD when things were nuts. By the time things settled down, this would have been waaay down the priority list, probably forgotten because it’s under a piece of furniture, and because it’s so long, very weird to bring up.

          I’ll also add that the culture at this organization is also kind of odd. The idea that people talk to each other SO little, that getting a piece of equipment *from work* is considered something insufficiently work related to discuss is kind of odd. And it’s certainly going to make “shooting off a quick email” into a Big Deal.

            1. Observer*

              I’m not sure how that makes it any worse than any other moderately expensive piece of equipment.

              What I really don’t understand why the ONLY explanation you will accept is that the OP is a terrible person who somehow tried to cheat their employer.

              Which makes no sense in this context. They didn’t want the thing, they didn’t use it, and they are trying to figure out how to return it now that they are leaving.

        4. Rebecca*

          We’re not still blaming COVID for things.

          We’re remembering things that happened then and blaming COVID for that. That period of time won’t stop existing just because we’ve moved on and are making different decisions now. LW shoved it under her couch at a time of heightened anxiety and novelty and paralysis and is dealing with that now.

          Nobody is blaming COVID for something they are doing now.

    7. Ellis Bell*

      I think the key is the pandemic and where the OP says “I did not feel comfortable meeting someone” as part of a pickup process, or in going to the post office to sort it out (OP seems to have assumed they would have been inconvenienced, and in a new job you might not feel you can push back on the return method). Now that they feel safer, I would just blame the size/value of the television, as well as the pandemic. I would just say I was initially puzzled about what it was for, put it away where it wouldn’t get damaged, and planned to arrange a pickup when lockdown conditions were safe enough, but it then it slipped my mind. It’s a really understandable error and it underlines that at this time people were more concerned about theirs and their loved ones’ lives than office equipment.

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        Yes, I would just lean into the 2020 of it all and say I didn’t feel comfortable arranging a pickup and it didn’t seem urgent, or whatever was true of the time, and then it got stashed away. That’s not necessarily going to make the LW look “good” because it is obviously still a mistake, but at least it’s more understandable with context of the chaos of lockdown.

    8. No Longer Working*

      I’ve thought of a valid reason the LW got this unexpected TV: The office had a (poorly communicated) raffle to improve morale at the height of the pandemic – and the LW was the winner of this TV. She’s never been to the office and since she was a new hire didn’t receive any info about it that went out before her start date. I’m seriously leaning into this theory!

      1. UnpopularOpinion*

        Honestly — I had the same thought. OP won this TV, but being a new hire, wasn’t on the right email/slack/teams channel and the person sending the TV was some random person and didn’t tuck in a “Congrats, you won a moral boosting TV!”

    9. Samwise*

      Because it’s their first job after college
      Because it arrived in the middle of the pandemic.
      Because the longer you go not saying a thing, the harder it is to say the thing.

    10. PleaseNo*

      The OP makes me think they are the person who also sits on packages that aren’t theirs.
      I think they are missing some common sense – if it isn’t yours try to make things right!

      1. Buffy Rosenberg*

        PleaseNo, I think we should take the letter writer at their word that this is an honest mistake and they just never sent it back or raised it.

        You are almost accusing them of lying here.

      2. Nina*

        Look, I have been the person who sits on packages (and mail) that get accidentally delivered to my house.
        It’s because I’m autistic, my partner has ADHD, and while we’re both completely functional for our jobs and basic human maintenance, those jobs leave very little extra for remembering to do things we haven’t deliberately set out to remember to do. I have seventeen different alarms on my phone today to remind me to do things. When mail arrives at our house and it’s not for either of us, I mark it ‘return to sender not at this address’ and put it in the ‘mail to return’ bin in plain sight on the kitchen counter, and there it stays until one of us remembers it’s there, remembers to take the mail out of it, remembers to put the mail in the car, and remembers to drive past the post office on the way home from work to drop it off. All of these steps occurring happens maybe five or six times a year. All of them occurring in one day happens never.

    11. Emmy Noether*

      This thread shows the split into people-who-procrastinate and people-who-don’t.

      Dear people who do not procrastinate: believe me, we know it’s not good. If we could just stop by sheer force of will, we would.

  4. Jopestus*

    #1. Men are allowed hairy legs -> women are allowed them as well.

    Thats it. Only bad vikings are afraid of a bit of hair, especially if the hair is located in Noturbiznez.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      In a perfect world yes, but there are definitely offices where it wouldn’t be considered okay, so it would be irresponsible to suggest that someone and have no chance of facing repercussions.

      1. Rebecca*

        Yes. I will throw my support 100 percent behind anybody exercising their rights, but we don’t live in an ideal world and it’s disingenuous to suggest that because there shouldn’t be social consequences means that there won’t be.

        If I don’t get the promotion I want, I might decide that me and my hairy legs are right and it was worth it, but I also might think it wasn’t worth it at all, and wanting to have the information to make the decision is fair.

      2. ferrina*

        Yes. While I love the line about Vikings, unfortunately what’s legally true and what’s true in practice often don’t match up.

    2. High Score!*

      Ideally OP would push back against any repercussions but sadly that’s not always an option. The more women who wear what they want and groom how they please, the better it is for all. It’s ridiculous how much women’s bodies are controlled. Can’t participate in the Olympics unless you wear a bikini, can’t walk down the street in some countries unless you’re in a burka, some parts of your body must have hair and others must not, etc… I thought the 21st century would be full of hope and equality.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        It’s also the kind of thing that may not have any repercussions that could really be pushed back on–like it’s likely no one would *say* anything or do anything, but they might just kind of slowly be building an internal bias over time without even realizing it.

  5. RandoLurker*

    LW 2, up until I irreversibly uninstalled my graphics card (RIP me), I was actually using my 60 inch TV as my monitor for the whole first year of quarantine. Might seem unusual, but that could be it.

    OR somebody wrote 72 instead of 27!

    Also I definitely would have watched tv on it if I’d been sent one

    1. RandoLurker*

      72 inches I mean. 27 inches is quite a decent size for a computer monitor. And 72 inches is a Super Bowl worthy TV size

      1. Tabihabibi*

        I like to imagine this was a long series of swaps in a time of scarce resources (silly, but fun to imagine it snowballing).

        Office manager: we need to order OP a monitor but the standard we get is out of stock, I guess I’ll size up…
        -warehouse worker: they asked for this large tv that’s out of stock, but no one ever complains if we send a bigger one…

        1. CL*

          Having ordered monitors during the pandemic, this would not be out of the question. Supply chains for corporate computer equipment were a mess due to chip shortages, and then there were trucking delays, and then there was a warehouse fire in Tennessee that made things worse. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

      2. Mongrel*

        It would work fine as a PC monitor if you’ve got a sofa set-up, wireless keyboard & mouse with a surface for your mouse.

        Comfortable displays, whether TVs or monitors, are based on distance and with the resolution of modern flat panels there are very few issues with using them for anything your computer can output

    2. AnneSurely*

      I have been meaning to see if there is a way to make my laptop talk to my TV so I can do something like this.

      1. Starbuck*

        Absolutely, there are HDMI Bluetooth dongles you can buy to turn any screen with an HDMI port into a monitor; I’ve even used it to directly mirror my phone screen (instead to using an app to cast it). Shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive! A Smart TV might have some thoughts about it, but my regular old dumb TV doesn’t complain, it just works.

  6. My Dog Is On My Couch And I Have Nowhere To Sit*

    What’s a 9/80 schedule? I understand from #5’s post that it means working 36 hours one week, and 44 the next (so 4 hours less, then 4 hours more). But why call it 9/80? I don’t get where the 9 and the 80 come from.

    1. Beckabeeboo*

      It means you work 80 hours over 9 days (instead of 10) so you get a 3 day weekend every other weekend. This is my schedule so I work 9 hour days M-Th, and then 8 hours every other Friday and and have the other Fridays off.

      1. UKDancer*

        Thanks. I was wondering this as well. Some people in my company do this and we call it a “9 day fortnight” pattern. I’m boring and work a fairly standard 5 day week but it’s increasingly popular.

        1. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

          Yeah, a lot of people I work with do a 4/10 or 9/80, but long days totally wipe me out and it’s not worth it, even to get a full day off, so I just work a standard week with five 8 hour days.

          1. londonedit*

            Yeah, we can do summer Fridays, where you can finish at lunchtime on a Friday if you make up the time during the rest of the week. Our working days are 7.5 hours, so you need to make up 3h 45mins and most people do that by adding on an hour to their working day Monday-Wednesday and 45 minutes on Thursday, and then starting at their usual time on Friday and leaving at lunchtime. I’ve done it a few times just because it means you can travel earlier without using a half-day’s holiday if you’re doing something like going away for a weekend, but generally the extra tiredness from working longer hours Monday-Thursday wasn’t worth it for an early Friday finish!

          2. UKDancer*

            Yes I find long days too tiring and I’d rather work standard days and have the evenings free for doing the stuff I enjoy. That said some of my colleagues really like the 9 day fortnight arrangement. Variety is good.

      2. Disco Janet*

        My company also has the options of 5/8, 4/10 or 9/8s, except with the 9/8s you can either get every other Friday off or a half day every Friday. I opt for the half day every Friday (so still only 40 hours a week- which is OP5’s issue for non-exempt) and its great.

    2. Forrest Gumption*

      It’s my understanding that it means you work 80 hours over the course of nine work days, instead of the customary 10. My friends who worked this schedule would basically get every other Friday off.

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      It sounds similar to a schedule that spouse’s office allows called a 549 (or 459) where you work 9 hour shifts, five days one week four days the next week (and loose an hour somewhere in that span), and you get a set weekday off every other week.

      Pretty much everyone on spouse’s team works this schedule, with each taking a different weekday off. It can work well – but does require a little planning.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        As other have mentioned it 9 days of work reaching 80 hours. There’s no lost hour.

        Over the course of 2 weeks, 8 days of 9 hrs (usually Mon – Thursday). And one day (usually Friday) of 8 hrs. And one week day (usually Friday) off.

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          But you have to ‘lose’ an hour out of the pattern of 9 hour days, because working 9 of them straight through would be 81 hours over the two weeks, not 80. Probably an 8 hour day somewhere, as you said.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yes, I understood 4/10 so I was staring at 9/80 trying to make it fit that pattern! Nine shifts of 80 hours each…80 hours is too short for a space shuttle trip, but maybe they’re a mountain climbing guide..? :P

    4. Boof*

      I had to look that one up; but it sounds like 4/10 would still be available to non salary so it’s only a mild variation on a perk that wouldn’t be available to them. I think the only concern is whether as a manager you have to be available whenever your reports are working – probably not! As long as you are regularly available most of the week and reports can easily access you most of the time and know when you’ll be out that sounds fine

      1. Antilles*

        I think the only concern is whether as a manager you have to be available whenever your reports are working – probably not!
        YMMV on that one. It really depends on the industry and particulars of what the management involves.
        It was a trend in my engineering industry to allow management to choose a 9/80 for a while and virtually everybody who tried it ended up going back on it quickly. Junior staff and field personnel would still be working on Fridays and need guidance, clients would still set meetings on Fridays, potential clients would still send “please get me this ASAP” proposals late Thursday afternoon, etc. So pretty much everybody who chose that schedule quickly decided to give up on “Friday completely off” and rearrange to something like “4 days @ 9 hours M-Th, then four hours on Friday”.

  7. Joan*

    LW #5, I am the only one in my Division that has a 9/80 because I am the only one at my level. It sucks, but it’s not my call, it’s the rules of the org. I was at the non-exempt level for 12 years where I didn’t have one. I’ve heard them express they wish they had it, but never in a “that’s not fair!” way (at least to my face).

    BTW, I sometime wish I was back to the strict 40 hours rather than just having to work as many hours as I need / am told. The 9/80 day off rarely covers the extra hours I work.

    1. Ace in the Hole*

      At my org, most of us are hourly on a 40 hour 5-day work week with fairly strict scheduling (for coverage purposes). Upper management is exempt and has much more flexibility in hours. I’ve never heard anyone complain about a manager working different hours… it’s a different job with different needs. They get more schedule flexibility than we do, but we don’t have to come in at 6pm on a Sunday because the fire alarm went off.

      I think actual resentment comes from feeling like the difference is arbitrary. As long as there’s a solid reason why some people don’t get as much flexibility (whether it’s coverage requirements, overtime laws, etc) there shouldn’t be an issue.

  8. Lozroz*

    Probably a daft question but was the TV definitely sent from your work? Only asking as a few years ago a large TV was randomly delivered to my dad’s house (he’s retired) and he didn’t know what to do – but later received a letter saying he’d won it in a competition!

    1. Llama Llama*

      I was wondering this as well. My husband once received 10 really nice surveillance systems from Amazon instead of whatever he ordered. He tried returning them but for reasons no one wanted them.

      1. londonedit*

        I think half the time if the goods have come from China or similar then the amount of logistics and paperwork involved in sending them back just isn’t worth it for the company involved. There was a story here a while back about how random people had suddenly started getting tons of Amazon returns parcels delivered to their home addresses – turned out it was Chinese companies who didn’t want to deal with repatriating the returned stuff so they listed any old UK address as their return address, issued a refund to the original customer, and didn’t much care what happened to the parcel afterwards.

    2. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      I was thinking this as well. Like maybe there was a delivery mistake and op just thought it was from the company because it came at the same time as the other office supplies.

    3. Luca*

      I just received a package of cat toys I didn’t order. From the shipping inserts it looks like a promotion for a new brand the store’s started carrying.

  9. John Smith*

    Re #2. Though ideally you should have raised this in the first instance, there’s no time machine to correct this. Don’t make out to your employer that you think you shouldn’t have received this or that there is anything unusual in you having it. Simply ask how the TV is to be sent back along Alisons line. If your employer raises questions, you can put the onus back on them as to why they sent it to you in the first place. This is their problem, not yours.

    1. LJ*

      It depends entirely on the context who you’re talking to:
      * shipping person who’s giving you mailing labels? Yeah, “I got 1 laptop, 2 llama groomers, and a 75″ TV. The TV is still in the original box, here are the dimensions to help you make a label”
      * your boss? It doesn’t hurt to just acknowledge that it’s a weird thing to have – which it is! and then talk about how to get it back. Talking about it as if there’s nothing unusual is bound to earn a strange look imo

      1. ecnaseener*

        Agreed. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging you don’t know why it was sent and you’ve never used it – as John points out, it’s not LW’s fault it was sent. Pretending you don’t see anything unusual about the situation would be…very weird, and potentially make a not suspicious circumstance look suspicious.

        1. londonedit*

          Yes, I agree – ideally the OP would have questioned it at the beginning, but lockdown was a weird time never mind trying to work out all the logistics of starting a new job. I’d just include it with a question about generally returning company property – ‘I also have a TV screen here that I was sent when I joined; I’ve actually never taken it out of the box, but I presume I should return it along with the laptop? Can you let me know how best to handle that?’ I definitely wouldn’t assume it was sent in error or that it’s OK to keep.

    2. winter frog*

      If the company sent LW2 a computer to use for work, she’ll have to ask how to send that back, too, which is completely normal. She can just mention the TV as part of that conversation. It would be just like returning an extra large monitor that you had. Maybe that was why they sent it to LW2 in the first place?

    3. JSPA*

      How about, “I vaguely assumed you’d sent me a modular desk in an old TV box, as there had been some talk about desk setups. But as I didn’t have room for a desk, I never opened the box. On closer inspection, it looks like it might actually be a very large TV! I can’t carry it in, or to the post office, and I have no idea how to ship a TV. What do you suggest I do with it?”

        1. John Smith*

          Id rather “I don’t have the reasonable ability to return the 72 inch TV you sent me. It will be available for collection from my address, but I’m moving out/redecorating/won’t tolerate its presence after the 30th so if you can arrange for it to be picked up by (reasonable timeframe) otherwise I’ll have no choice but to dispose of it”. And that’s it! It doesn’t matter when this should have been notified, it’s still the employers responsibility to sort out. One doesn’t get to make one’s own fuck up the responsibility of another to sort out. Whether a day or 5 years after delivery, it’s the employer’s problem not the employee’s. For context, I’m in the UK and this stance would be reasonable. In fact, if it were unsolicited mail, it’d be a matter of law that the sender has to sort its return.

          1. LJ*

            But why do we need to start out with an ultimatum? That suggestion could be a good third message if they’re hemming and hawing about getting it picked up. But in all likelihood someone from the mailroom will send a fedex label over, slap it on, call for a pickup, move on with your life. It’s such a mundane task – really no reason to be harsh about it, on either side, unless there’s more to the story.

  10. Zombeyonce*

    #1: Two responses to anyone commenting on a woman’s unshaven legs when shorts are allowed are to point at a man’s exposed legs that are unlikely to be shaved or tell them you’d prefer if they didn’t make comments about your body. Maybe both together.

    1. Not my usual name*

      Or, if someone is close enough to see my (sparse, paleish) leg hair – they are too close and need to be told to back off! Personal space, people…

      1. UKDancer*

        Yeah. I don’t wear shorts but in the summer I wear dresses (knee length) with bare legs. English summers are fairly short so I spend most of the year in trousers. Anyone who notices my leg hair on warm days is looking at my legs way too closely.

      2. Bearded legs*

        It does feel like this question is often answered from the perspective of people with body hair that doesn’t contrast their skin tone very much. When you’ve got thick, black, inch-long hairs against skin that doesn’t appear to have any melanin it’s incredibly noticable from a very reasonable distance.

        1. Harper the Other One*

          I was thinking this too. I don’t really think much about not shaving my legs because my hair is so light you have to touch me to know it’s there. I think we have to acknowledge that someone with dark/thick leg hair is likely to have a very different experience if they go without shaving.

          1. amoeba*

            Yup, for me it’s definitely very easily visible without any personal space violations. And I don’t even have a lot of hair, it’s just black on pale skin.

          2. Starbuck*

            Right, when I really let em grow out, my legs have longer, thicker hair than most men! It’s extremely noticeable as my hair is dark and I’m pretty pale. There’s no “not noticing” it. I’ve actually never seen a woman out and about in public or at work with a similar situation. Maybe someday I will, and it’ll feel like the norms have actually changed, but it hasn’t happened yet and I don’t feel like being the trailblazer.

          3. hey y'all*

            FWIW, I don’t care to look at men with dark very hairy legs. Or backs. Or chests. Ironically, women’s hairy legs don’t bother me.

        2. Happy meal with extra happy*

          Yuppp. I have a blonde friend who can go a week or more without shaving her
          legs, and it’s still entirely unnoticeable unless you’re up close. One hour after I shave my legs, I’m getting visible black stubble spots. When I don’t shave over the winter, it’s thick.

          1. The Original K.*

            Yeah, I had a friend with pale skin and jet-black hair who got laser hair removal on her legs and under her arms because her body hair grew in both thick and so quickly she could barely keep up with it. Very different experience than someone with fine, barely visible body hair.

            1. Carolina G*

              I got laser, too, and went from being one of those people who had thick, noticeable hair if I wasn’t waxing every couple weeks to one of those people who has to shave maybe once every few months…and what hair I have now is thin and light. It’s unbelievable but amazing.

              1. UKDancer*

                Yes. I have pale skin and thick dark hair so I had some laser. It thinned my hair a lot but not entirely. Also I got older so I care less about what hair I’ve got being visible. So I still have dark leg hair (albeit less of it) but I don’t usually bother doing anything about it.

        3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Ayup, pale skin with nearly black hair here too. Let’s just say you don’t need a magnifying glass to see it.

          I just wear pants at work all summer, since I’m too lazy to actually keep up with my leg hair. The AC is set to “iceberg” and I’m wearing a jacket anyway.

        4. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          yeah, I’m lucky to have very fine, light-brown hair, and on my legs it’s practically blonde, and the hairs are very sparse (maybe 20 hairs on each calf?).
          My daughter inherited her father’s genes and has thick black curly hair all over, and even something of a moustache, so she spends a fortune on removing body hair.

      3. Person from the Resume*

        Maybe for you, but for lots of women this is absolutely not true. That’s nice for you, but since the LW is asking she’s one of the ones who’s in shaved legs will be noticeable.

        1. Observer*

          In fact she mentions that it would “noticeably hairy”. I doubt she’d ask that if her hair was not easily noticeable.

    2. Briyannah*

      Comments aren’t the only thing to worry about, though. Plenty of people will not say anything but will still think it, and that can have an impact on how you are seen in the workplace, affecting your reputation, promotion opportunities, selection for projects, etc. It’s worth considering workplace ethos and culture before deciding whether you feel comfortable with this. Sadly there can still be a risk involved in many workplaces, particularly those with a conservative approach. And it won’t always be obvious or easy to respond to.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Idk if the LW is worried about getting actual comments – the risk is of people thinking less of you and potentially not saying why, so you’ll never know, and you’ll never have the chance to point out why they shouldn’t care.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        And even if you get an opportunity to point it out, they might still not agree with you once you’ve done so.

    4. Spearmint*

      To be fair, it’s rarely considered professional for men to have any leg showing in the workplace at all. We can’t even wear shorts when it’s 100 degrees out.

      Which isn’t to say women should be judged for hairy legs, but I doubt this particular argument would resonate.

      1. Zombeyonce*

        OP said specifically that shorts are allowed in the workplace, and not being considered professional is highly dependent on the industry and the specific workplace. I’ve worked places (professional places) where shorts were perfectly acceptable for anyone, and I’ve seen plenty of men wearing them at work. My husband is an engineer and his coworkers (including the president) wear shorts in the summer.

  11. Allonge*

    LW4 – I would think about it this way: what exactly can the original requester add to the info that now has been shared with the person who has the answer?

    If the context and question are both clear from the email chain, I see no point in the request being repeated. So I am not sure what you are expecting from Anne in your first scenario. The ball is with Carol, who can of course ask for clarification or whatever but the request stands.

    1. Pareto*

      I find myself in both situations and I am the opposite of LW4, I tend to respond whenever I’m involved, as the asker or askee. If I’m the asker, I usually provide more details about my request (scope, deadlines) or just invite the person to call me with questions. If I’m the askee, I’ll ask clarifying questions or just provide a proposed timeline if I don’t have the answer immediately. I don’t like uncertainty about whose court the ball is in, so I’m careful to make that clear.

    2. bamcheeks*

      yeah, to me it would depend on whether the original question was something like,

      A: “Hi Brian– can you send me an updated list of flight times between Mars and Alpha Centauri?”
      B: “I can’t, but Carole can.”
      C: “Hi Anne– updated list attached, this is valid until stardate 223400.”

      or

      A: “Hi Brian — looking for some information about flight times between Mars and Alpha Centauri, are you the right person?”
      B: “I’m not, you need Carole! CC’d in.”
      A: “Thanks Brian! Hi Carole– specifically, I’m looking for a list of flights between stardate 123299 and 123401– is that something you have?”
      C: “Sure, attached!”

      1. Curious*

        Gotta say, between yesterday’s Jupiter cover letter and this, I love the infusion of Space references.

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        This is exactly how I see it.

        I guess you could distinguish between the situations by deciding whether it’s a referral or an introduction. It isn’t clear to me whether the situations in #4 are referrals or introductions.

      3. OP4*

        OP4 here — I commented above too, but this is nailing why I thought Anne should respond. I couldn’t really help Anne until she gave me more detail so I could only respond with something like “let me know how I can help,” which seemed pointless. For Georgia, the question was clearly stated, and Frank said Georgia would be the best person to talk to, so again my response would have been to repeat the question. Neither Anne nor Georgia did respond until I did, which was annoying to me and now I feel more like I wasn’t out of bounds in thinking they should have responded. Not like it matters, low stakes, but it got me thinking.

        1. Allonge*

          Totally makes sense!

          But the other thing that makes different real-life scenarios out of this is the need people feel to respond to emails – some have a wait-and-see policy (or too much on their desk), some respond even if it has no information value. So there is no universal rule, nor will it ever be implemented in a consistent way.

        2. I should really pick a name*

          “let me know how I can help,” isn’t useless. It signals that you need more info before you can do anything.

          1. Velociraptor Attack*

            Agreed. Whenever I’m looped into a conversation, I respond.

            Sometimes that’s a “let me know how I can help” just to acknowledge I’ve seen the email and that I am the person that can help with more information, sometimes it’s sending a full response if I’m able to based on the information they sent.

            The proverbial ball is in my court once I get the email.

        3. What She Said*

          In the case of needing more information it would have been okay to ask for that. Maybe Anne doesn’t know she needs to give more information or that any information is missing, hence her waiting on your response.

          “Anne, I can help you with that but I need more information. Can you tell me…..”

        4. Barbarella*

          “For Georgia, the question was clearly stated, and Frank said Georgia would be the best person to talk to, so again my response would have been to repeat the question.”

          Realistically, Georgia is not going to page down to see the question, though. As someone else pointed out, she probably has her own work and priorities and may or may not have the bandwidth to read all the way through. It might seem like she *should* be the one to respond, but it might be more helpful to focus less on who *should* do what and focus on what is going to get you an answer fastest.

  12. Asi*

    OP#5 I work a 9/80 too. I had to agree that my schedule was to be counted as “averaged over 2 weeks” in order to avoid being owed overtime. Works for me, I get an extra day off every 2 weeks and the company doesn’t need to pay overtime. Not sure if that’s something that your company can do? But I’m not in the States.

    1. PollyQ*

      In the US, for exempt employees, it’s no problem to do that; in fact, it’s not even necessary. They can work 44 hours one week and 36 the next with no issues. But for non-exempt employees, it would be illegal. They’d have to be paid overtime for the 4 extra hours from the 5-day week regardless of how many hours they’d work the following week.

      1. Zarniwoop*

        I’m in the US SN and I have 9/80. Opu official work week starts noon Friday. So working 36 hours Monday-Thursday and skipping alternate Fridays gives us 40 hour weeks.

      2. Ana Gram*

        There are quite a few exceptions to that. I work in public safety and our field schedules work out to 36 hours one week and 48 the next for a total of 84 hours/pay period. That schedule is paid at straight time which is perfectly legal and a pretty standard schedule.

        Like so many laws, it can be state and industry dependent.

        1. Observer*

          Like so many laws, it can be state and industry dependent.

          Definitely not state dependent. If you are non-exempt by Federal Law, the State cannot over-ride that.

          1. Starbuck*

            Don’t government jobs often have exceptions for overtime pay, where even if you wouldn’t be considered exempt in the private sector, they can have you do comp time or count your hours over two weeks instead of just one?

      3. doreen*

        It depends – it’s true that non-exempt employees generally must be paid time and a half for hours over 40. But it’s also true that a company can set its pay week to start and end at any time as long as they aren’t changing it constantly to avoid paying overtime. So it’s common for a pay week for a 9/80 schedule to run from noon on one Friday to 11:59 am the next Friday so that half of the 8 hours worked on Friday fall into Week One and the other half fall into Week Two, giving each payweek 40 hours while the calendar M-F weeks have 36 and 44 hours.

      4. Crystal Snagrash*

        I work as non-exempt in California and almost all of the staff, of which 75% are non-exempt, are on the 9/80 schedule. The only exemptions are staff who have work different shifts like weeekend and graveyard. It is very possible to set up payroll so that non-exempt employees can be on the 9/8o, even in states with stricter laws

      5. Krystal Snagrash*

        I am in CA, non-exempt and work a 9/80 as do most of our employees both exempt amd non-exempt. It absolutely can be done!

    2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      From living in a few different states over here it depends on how the state counts overtime – some consider anything over 40 hours/week as overtime; others consider it anything over 80 hours in two weeks. My spouse works for an organization spread across the whole nation through regional bases, the ones in 40/week states can’t do the some of the sliding schedules (like a 549 – which is what they call their 80 hours over 9 days schedule); but they do try to offer as much schedule flexibility as possible (within a set framework of you pick your schedule formally with HR, and work it out so that your RDO (regular day off) isn’t the same as somebody else on your team in order to make sure they aren’t routinely short-staffed on a given day.

      1. Snow Globe*

        In the US, it is a requirement in every state to pay overtime to non-exempt employees for any time over 40 hours in a single week. There is no averaging over two weeks. Some states additionally require overtime to be paid for more than 8 hours *per day*, but they can’t make things less restrictive than federal law.

        1. ferrina*

          In addition to this, individual organizations will often have their own policies. Worth noting that an employee can be exempt and receive overtime, if their organization has chosen to pay overtime for that role.

        2. win*

          In a single work week as defined by the company. I used to work a 9/80, and it worked without overtime requirements because the work week ran from noon Friday to 11:59 the next Friday. So, it was still 40 hours per defined work week.

          1. Starbuck*

            Yep, I know in my state (and probably most others?) employers can choose any 7-day work week that starts and ends at any point during the week, you just have to be consistent. That’s probably how a lot of the 9/80 places are doing it.

            That, or they just assume it’s fine and that no one will report it even if it’s technically not legal. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of places think that because it seems reasonable and employees have agreed to it what they’re doing must be legal, even if it’s really not.

  13. Sue Wilson*

    #1: the truth is that no one should comment on it, but to a certain extent the relevant hairiness of your legs makes a difference on if it is even noticed. i got away with not shaving in fairly conservative places (that didn’t expect hosiery anyway) because with lotion you can’t see my hair. it’s fairly thin. unfortunately the thicker the strand, the more people have unwarranted thoughts.

    1. scandi*

      Mine is thick and dark on pale skin, but I also work in a fairly chill engineering company. I figure if I have mine visible, it will be easier for women in stricter environments or positions like receptionists in my company to follow.

      1. Bad jobs impact our kids*

        That’s so kinds of you! I have light skin and coarse dark hair. I stopped shaving about 25 years ago but it got to be too much. No comments but the shocked stares just got to me. Now I have almost no hair on my legs!!

  14. AlwhoisThatAl*

    #1 Go for it! As a hairy middle-aged bloke, I have hair everywhere it feels like. No-one should object whatsover to hairy legs if I’m allowed to have nostril hair, ear hair, hair on top of my nose, hair on top of my ears plus big beard. If you get any issue #1 I am more than happy to send the offender pictures of my hairy nose.

    #2 I hate to say this, but the words “Free Telly!” sprang instantly to mind. If is was me, I would wait until 6 months had passed after leaving the job, still no word from them – Free Telly! I think it was a transposition error from 27 to 72 as someone suggested. I use a 27″ monitor (two of them). I do realise some people will view this as dishonest and wrong but then again I’d be the one watching LOTR on a 72″ screen

  15. bamcheeks*

    LW2, I wouldn’t worry about this too much. Unless you’re a *very* small company, it’s probably been resolved directly with the company who did the delivery and written off either by your company or the delivery company depending on whether they could figure out which end made the error. What looks like a very large and expensive purchase to an individual is an, “eh, stuff happens” to even a medium-sized company– the costs of tracking down a specific delivery and figuring out how to get it back to the right place and turn it back into usable stock mount up quite quickly and often it’s far cheaper to write it off.

    That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t raise it, but the attitude is more likely to be, “A what? When? Huh! Well, I guess we can arrange for someone to come and pick it up, but– are you sure you don’t want to keep it?” It’s quite like that it’s as much an albatross to your company or the IT suppliers as it is to you at this point. It’s *very* unlikely that there will be Questions or anger about the fact that you didn’t raise it earlier– but if there are, “Honestly, it was the pandemic and there was So Much Going On, and then I just put it away and forgot about it” is a completely reasonable answer.

    1. Allonge*

      Frankly, if the TV was delivred by accident and someone wanted it back, they should have made some effort to track it down earlier. I also would not worry too much.

  16. Hiring Mgr*

    I’m sure someone has thought of this but can the 9/80 be broken up in to one week of 4/40 and one of 5/40 ?

    1. mlem*

      That’s what my company does, even for exempt employees, in its new trial of summer Fridays. We’re not allowed to select 4/40; you select 9/80 or you stick with 10/80.

    2. Just a different redhead*

      So you’d be nominally losing some advantage by essentially doing 4/10 every other week, but if it worked for you and everyone involved, then I guess why not? Work 10 hours a day 4 days, day off, work 8 hours a day 5 days…
      I guess it would just be an issue if your schedule had to remain consistent.

    3. The Person from the Resume*

      If I could manage 4/10s or adjust to 4/10s, I’d just as soon do it every week and get every Friday off.

      The thing about 9/80 is that it’s doing it’s best to distribute the 80 hours over 9 days so the employee gets one work day “off” every week.

      What you mention is not an option in my organization. The 9/80 schedule means that you work 9 days out of 10 (8 of them for 9 hours a day and one of them for 8 hours). Nearly everyone selects Friday as their “compressed day off”, but not quite everyone.

      1. Random Bystander*

        I work 4/10s … back when this was first offered, we had departmental goals (we had to help people complete their lists to get everything completed by end of day Friday), so Friday was not an allowed option. I know one person chose Wednesday as the day off, and I asked, “Is Monday an available choice?” and was told yes; haven’t worked a Monday since. Having a work-week day available is fantastic! Need to handle business with anyone that works “bank hours”, and there is a day available.

        But 9/80 sounds awful.

    4. Pick A Little Talk A Little*

      I don’t know what the point of that would be. The people in my office who work a 9/80 instead of 4/10 do it because they want long weekends but they don’t want to work 10 hour days.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        The point would be to get the long weekend. For some working 10 hrs a day and Friday off would be great – when i had that option I did it in a heartbeat

        1. Velociraptor Attack*

          They have that option though, OP specifically wants the 9/80, presumably because they don’t want to work 10-hour days.

          1. Hiring Mgr*

            My thought was OP could do the 9/80 the way they mention, and the non-exempt staff could do it differently (1 week 4/10 and the next week 5/8). So non-exempt staff still gets the day off if they want

    5. Indolent Libertine*

      California law requires that an employer pay overtime (to a non-exempt employee) not only for more than 40 hours worked in a week, but also for more than 8 hours worked in any single day, so a 4/40 week here would mean 8 hours of overtime at time and a half.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        I’m in California, and I haven’t done this myself (I tend to droop badly at about 8.5 hours) but the people I’ve known who worked 9/80’s signed paperwork saying they understood that the usual OT laws didn’t apply for this arrangement, and I think the law even said explicitly that it had to be okay with the worker, and not forced on them by the employer.

        I really like being employed in California. We also have mandatory OT for a 7th day worked in a row, even if you’re still under 40 hours. And over 12 hours in one day goes to double-time. (https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_overtime.htm)

        1. Barbarella*

          The exemptions FAQ was fascinating. Motion picture projectionists are called in their own category as exempt from overtime. That’s so very specific.

      2. Stuff*

        Actually, California law provides an exception for alternative work schedules, and the state Department of Labor specifically calls out 4/40 as an acceptable alternative work schedule that does not require overtime pay unless one works past 10 hours in one day.

  17. march of history*

    „ wondering if the professional norms for women are changing“
    norms only change if people go to work with hairy legs.
    same with bras: brave women went without girdles and now we don’t have to wear them; so i, a person who doesn’t need a bra for my own physical comfort, feel a responsibility to the next generation to not wear one.

        1. march of history*

          yes, that‘s true, but i just think it’s worth making it explicit how norms change. this is also relevant in another letter today, the one about the Gen Z workers asserting boundaries.

    1. Random Dice*

      I watch a weirdly high number of YouTubers who wear stays or corsets on the regular.

      Turns out history bounders are fun, funny, feminist/progressive, and delightfully quirky.

  18. Peanut Hamper*

    #1 reminded me of that British school not so long ago during a very hot summer when the boys asked if they could wear shorts but were told they weren’t allowed per the dress code.

    The boys looked into and saw that skirts were allowed, but the dress code (apparently) didn’t limit them to girls. So the boys started showing up in skirts.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and vice versa.

    1. londonedit*

      Yeah, that happens pretty much every year! There’s always a new cohort of students somewhere who do the ‘well if girls are allowed to wear skirts in summer, why do we have to suffer in long trousers’ thing. My school solved it by allowing everyone to wear shorts in the summer term (as long as they adhered to the uniform; i.e. black or grey cotton, knee-length, not denim) but we didn’t have a particularly strict uniform in those days (it was black/grey trousers, white polo shirt and black/grey school sweatshirt). For schools with more involved uniforms (a lot of British secondary schools have trousers/skirt, cotton shirt, tie, school knitted jumper and school blazer) there are often stricter rules about only boys wearing trousers and only girls wearing skirts.

      1. Random Dice*

        Ugh gender norms hurt everyone.

        I hate that crap.

        There’s no problem to be solved for males wearing skirts!

  19. I should really pick a name*

    LW4
    This isn’t a place to get hung up on etiquette. All that matters is that the information gets passed on, it doesn’t matter who reaches out, so long as someone does.
    If the person who requested the info doesn’t hear anything in a timely manner, there’s no harm in them reaching out.

  20. Llama Identity Thief*

    OP #5, does your team have some above or near you in hierarchy that they can reach out to for assistance on days you’re off? If so, there’s no problem with you doing a 9/80 whatsoever. If not, simply make sure you spend the Thursday before an off Friday trying to get at least a status update or small check-in from your 10 to make sure they don’t have any “questions that will suddenly come up” over the next day or so.

    Fairness shouldn’t be a concern when it’s an earned perk you have due to the faith the company has placed in you due to your seniority. It’s not like you’re working decidedly less hours, have a floating schedule that means your workers don’t know when you’re in, or some other form of “getting away with something”. Don’t make the question “is this fair?” Make it “is this going to be beneficial and/or harmful for my company?” And if it means you’re on your preferred schedule, where you feel the most productive, and you don’t end up with your workers needing your input when you’re not available, it’s beneficial to the company.

  21. J*

    Years ago, I worked for an org that solved LW 5’s problem by having the workweek start midday on Friday — everyone did 9/80, exempt or not. It made for some wonky timesheet keeping but it did work, and there are ways to make this happen for exempt folks if that’s helpful to know about!

    1. The Person from the Resume*

      The US federal government allows itself to have employees work a 9 day / 80 hour scheduled.

      I recalled reading on AAM that some companies got around the law by doing what you described – starting the work week midday on the working Friday so that 4 hours counted towards to almost completed work week and the other 4 hours counted towards a just starting work week.

      I do think though that the whole office’s schedule probably needs to start at the same time so (non-exempt) folks are locked into particular hours on that Friday to make sure that they work 4 hours towards both work weeks and don’t go overtime.

      1. Barbarella*

        At my company, one’s working hours are an official thing, so your mid-day point on Friday is an official end/beginning. It’s customized to each person, not to the whole office. Our time sheet even reflects the split Fridays with a 1st half and a 2nd half.

    2. Combinatorialist*

      That’s what my company does. If the workweek changes midday on Friday, then every week is actually a 4.5/40.

  22. Falling Diphthong*

    OP2, just a Fed Ex etc will come to your doorstep to drop off the massive TV, you can arrange with them to come to your doorstep and pick up the massive TV that was delivered in error.

    I point this out because it might help to ask yourself if you have a habit of declaring problems utterly insoluble and so you don’t even try. That’s going to trap you in a lot of anxious cul de sacs, many of them readily avoidable if you’d just asked if anyone tangential to the problem had advice on solving it.

    (Being a young person in your first job did explain a lot of this instinct, when I got to that paragraph.)

    1. Melissa*

      Good point. People ship things all the time that don’t fit into bicycles! I think being young and awkward explains this entire letter.

    2. Not like a regular teacher*

      During the height of the pandemic, she wasn’t comfortable with the added risk of someone possibly having to enter her home to retrieve the package.

      1. doreen*

        It’s too late for the LW to do anything about it now – but they apparently opened the door for the delivery and the letter says they didn’t comfortable meeting someone to get a ride to mail it back – but the delivery service could pick it up without entering her home just like they delivered it without entering her home , but a young person in a first job might not know that.

      2. CA Cupid*

        That’s why “doorstep” was mentioned – you put it outside at a prescribed time and the pickup person picks it up without you having to ever even see the person or know they were there until you notice the giant tv missing. I suppose it might be difficult to get it across the threshold, but it’s still possible if you move it slowly.

        1. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

          Doesnt help if they can’t lift the package. Had something huge delivered to my house that was for someone several streets away. Tried getting a hold of Fedex but got the ring around and was always told they would pick it up after deliveries. after a week of this nonscense a family member who worked at a fedex drop off site got in touch with the local fedex manager and he came personally to pick it up and deliver it to the correct address. If it was just a small package I would have walked over and delivered it myself. But it was at least 3 feed high and 2 feet wide and too heavy for me to lift,

          1. Roland*

            This comment is just trying to give OP future advice by letting them know what’s available, why the need to pick it apart? If OP has no use for this advice, they don’t need to use it.

  23. Melissa*

    Op 2: I know Alison gave you the correct, ethical advice. But I’m just saying, if they haven’t noticed the TV situation already, they won’t notice it when you leave. I would keep it— not because I want a giant-ass TV (I would view it as inconvenient, as it seems you do) but because of the awkwardness of explaining why I’ve kept it this long.

    1. Allonge*

      Really? There is absolutely no need for an explanation. OP was sent a TV by work, they are going to another job, TV goes back to employer. What’s to explain???

      1. PsychNurse*

        Because it was sent to him years ago!! I would not have felt awkward about it after a week, but a television from 2020??

    2. Qwerty*

      That would open OP2 to charges of theft if the company figures out where the TV went. Usually your last day involves signing a document swearing that you’ve returned all the equipment. Bringing it up now in an “I’m so sorry, I thought I’d sent a message about this and stuck it under my couch in the meantime before forgetting about it” isn’t too terrible, especially if sent in email.

  24. KatEnigma*

    I’m also going to point out to LW1 that amount matters here, too. I haven’t shaved my legs in almost 20 years, but even in a conservative office, it would be unremarkable, as my leg hair is sparse and fine.

  25. nora*

    In my conservative office, it would be A Thing to have visible body hair on my legs or underarms. I don’t remove my body hair in the fall/winter but when summer rolls around, I reluctantly pick up the razor again. I don’t wear makeup or heels but the hair is a bridge too far here. I have worked in other places where this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it certainly is in my current culture. While I could volunteer as tribute and challenge everyone’s assumptions and ideas, I’m focused on advancing right now and it would detract from those efforts. Them’s the breaks.

    1. nora*

      PS as some other readers pointed out, this isn’t a matter of having well-crafted, witty retorts on the ready to educate those who comment. The most insidious type of discrimination is the kind that is unsaid but also unquestioned. As a hairy woman would be seen as unprofessional, sloppy, and questionable, and zero decision-makers would speak that aloud, but they sure as hell would act on it.

      1. CA Cupid*

        Yes. Most* professionals won’t be like the teenage boy who looked at me and said “damn girl, you’re hairy!” when I was in middle school.

        *I can’t say all professionals because this site alone has hundreds if not thousands of examples of people decidedly not behaving like professional adults…

  26. RagingADHD*

    LW3, it wasn’t a team lunch. It was a social lunch.

    If you are the team support person, and these folks are 2 levels above you, is one of them your boss or your grand-boss?

    Maybe I’m not understanding the structure correctly, but I’ve mostly worked in very hierarchical places, and in most places I’ve worked, it would be really, really weird for your grandboss and their peers to include you in a social lunch. And to express that as an expectation would be even weirder.

    Have you ever socialized with these folks before, outside of work?

    1. doreen*

      Even if it’s not strictly speaking a matter of hierarchy ( the boss and grandboss) but more a matter of paygrade (LW is two grades below the others but they have no authority over her) the are plenty of reasons why they might not include her. And one of them involves a sort of reverse letter- ” Elaine, Alex, and Beatrice went out for lunch for Alex’s birthday and invited me but they earn much more than me and chose a restaurant I can’t afford” which is one of he reasons it’s unusual in my experience for people with very different salaries to just go to lunch .

  27. Reality Biting*

    LW4: I come from the point of view of someone with an essentially endless to-do list. With that in mind, I consider it up to the person requesting the information or assistance to reach out. It’s not about etiquette, it’s about the fact that you can safely assume I already have eleventy-million tasks lined up for today and therefore won’t consider it my responsibility to go chasing after someone who needs me to do yet one more thing.

    If someone needs help or information, I would generally expect that person to restate the request with the now-clarified understanding of what I’m likely to know and not know, incorporating our history of past interactions, etc. vs. just a generic request. If I am the one that needs help or information, I consider it my responsibility to seek that in a way that minimizes the burden on the person I’m seeking help from.

      1. OP4*

        OP4 here – interesting! This is a different take than other commenters have had and it makes sense to me too.

        1. KatEnigma*

          Just practically speaking, there is only one person in those scenarios who even knows how urgent the matter is, let alone has it as their priority. That person is going to have to be the one to pursue it.

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Whether I think the onus “should” be on them or not, it’s generally smart to make it easy for others to help you.

  28. Hlao-roo*

    OP3 – I’ve been on a few different sides of being invited/not being invited to lunch with coworkers. A lot of times, it’s a matter of convenience more than likeability (inviting the people who sit in the cubicles next to you and not people who sit a little further away, going to lunch in a group of 4 and not inviting more because it’s easier to get a table for 4, etc.). It does sting a bit to realize that you weren’t invited to a lunch with coworkers you get along with. I think it would be a good idea to wait a month or two and then (when it doesn’t hurt) invite Elaine, Alex, and Beatrice to lunch.

    1. crchtqn2*

      I go to team lunches for other people’s lunches that involved 10+ more people but during my birthday, i much prefer my work wife and one other person. I don’t like large crowds for my birthdays and to be the center of attention.

  29. Looper*

    LW5- I think most hourly employees will understand the difference between certain roles’ pay structure and appreciate the 4/10 option (I know I would/do in a similar situation). I think one thing to make sure of is that hourly people don’t constantly have their schedules messed with to avoid paying overtime. If you’re frequently asking people to work only part of a shift their 4th day so they can come work on a 5th day without getting OT pay, that is messed up and unfair. Ensure hourly staffing is adequate to avoid schedule disruption or be willing to pay OT.

    1. KatEnigma*

      Not that it would happen that often anyway, because some States (California, IIRC) require you to pay anything over 8 hours in a day, but many people would appreciate having a mid-week half day off to run errands and things and wouldn’t consider being asked to go home after lunch on a Thursday as a hardship. 9/80 is such a common thing anymore, that in some places, places are jam packed and traffic is terrible on Fridays, compared to any other day of the work week.

    2. Adrian*

      A past employer occasionally played that avoid-OT game, but it was having the employee work a half-weekday and then a half-weekend day.

  30. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    #5: Imagine if you had an exempt role in a 24/7/365 organization. None of the weekend shift or night shift people are going to personally resent it if you only work a normal M-F 8-5 shift.

    Now, if you want to be a better manager, and maybe improve your relationships with your non-exempt reports, then it might be a good idea for you to every now and then conform to their schedules – just like the person in the 24/7 org should show up on a Saturday every now and then, or come in at 5am for a week to have some overlap with the 3rd shift.

    All of this assumes you don’t need to be personally present to authorize rapid responses by your non-exempt reports, of course. If it’s absolutely critical that you be able to participate in rapid-turnaround situations, then you need to be on the same schedule as your reports. (It doesn’t sound that way from your letter, so this is a just-in-case addendum.)

  31. fhqwhgads*

    LW5 (or commenters in similar situations), double-check your local laws. I know in at least one state, there is a provision that non-exempt employees explicitly in a 4-10s schedule or other arrangement are exceptions to the overtime laws, but only if it’s explicit in advance that that is the employee’s “normal” schedule. So someone can’t choose to do it for like, just the summer and then switch back, but if that schedule is their regular schedule, it changes the math.

  32. PDB*

    I used to be a serious cyclist and we shave our legs, mostly to make treatment easier after we crash, and we always crash. My girlfriend would joke that she knew it would be a fun night if I’d just shaved my legs, just like she had.

  33. l*

    Adding my own voice to the chorus of women and gender-expansive folks who have stopped shaving (or rarely shave) legs. It took a minute to work through my own hangups about wearing clothing to work that reveals my hairy legs, and certainly, I’m aware of how others may view them and me. In the end, I don’t care – and woe to any colleague who would dare to ask me about it. I work in a physically comfortable office environment, but I still want to dress in a way that helps me to do my job well – and that style of dress finds tights and pantyhose often unnecessary.

    1. Nina*

      I used to work in a lab where the temperature was set to be comfortable for the microbes, not the humans (think warm summer’s day in northern California). Closed shoes and lab coats were required. Sleeveless shirts and shorts under the lab coats were allowed because otherwise nobody would have stayed in the job more than a week.

      I am also a woman who doesn’t shave her legs, and the one time anyone asked anything about it, I pointed at the (male) lab manager’s very pale legs with very visible hair and asked if the questioned was going to take it up with him as well. No further questions.

  34. Database Developer Dude*

    If we’re not supposed to have opinions on our coworkers bodies, why are we worried about whether women shave their legs or not?

    1. bamcheeks*

      It’s that delightful grey area between “don’t comment on co-workers’ bodies” and “professional attire”.

  35. AM*

    OP #2 should have asked about the TV from the beginning. If it was sent in error, then the company would be responsible the arrangements for getting it back . It may be embarrassing to admit years later that a TV was sent in error, but that is the price you pay. Next time they should speak up. Sorry, but this one is on the employee. If we expect our employers to admit mistakes, we need to be willing to admit them ourselves.

    1. Allonge*

      On the other hand this is such a small thing. If anyone was missing the TV, they had to figure out where it is.

      I agree OP should have said something at the time, but mostly because the thing was bothering them! And it’s absolutely no problem to say it now, I think this is everyone overthinking it here. Who cares it OP never used the TV?

  36. Tesuji*

    LW4: To me, where the various players fall in the organizational structure matters somewhat for these kind of situations.

    Both of those situations involve one person (Brian/Frank) essentially declaring that they can’t/won’t help with a problem, but that some other person (Carol/Georgia) can. The extent to which I’m going to jump at their prompting is going to depend in part on my relationship and position related to theirs.

    You can imagine a scenario where Brian/Frank 100% could have helped out the initial requester, but are either legitimately busy or lazy and so pawn that person off on someone else… who may also be legitimately busy and/or disinclined to be assigned work by Brian/Frank because (legitimate or not) reasons.

    I think if the original requester wants something, it’s on them to directly ask the person who has the thing they want. That some third-party said “Oh, yeah, person X has what you want” does not, to me, obligate person X to leap to providing you with what you want, absent relationships or positions in the hierarchy that would create that obligation.

    1. Allonge*

      I see your point about hierarchy etc but in a reasonably sane and cooperative organisation, it does not matter if I get a request directly or via someone else. Of course if I don’t have time to deal with it, I can say that but I do need to say it, either to the forwarder or to the requester, preferably both.

      If you work in an everyone for themselves, f-u anyway type of place, that is a different thing.

  37. TootsNYC*

    Should the person with the answer always take the initiative?

    I disagree. In both situations, I think Carol should be the one to reach out for help. Being connected with someone else simply starts the convo over with a different partner, and since Carol has the problem, she should be the one to reach out.

    1. Allonge*

      Even if the whole problem is explained in the email that was forwarded? I would feel pretty ridiculous re-sending the exact same message.

  38. GreyjoyGardens*

    LW1: If your office allows shorts, chances are it’s not Big Law or Big Accounting or some other similarly formal environment. So your leg hair is your business. I don’t think anyone is going to care if you shave or not. I live in a state that runs to pretty casual attire and attitude and lots of women don’t shave. The only time it’s really “a thing” is if you smell musty, your hair is always in a messy ponytail, your clothes are stained and shabby, etc. Then it becomes of a piece with “this person is unkempt.” But if you are neat and clean and presentable, let your leg hair flag fly; unless you are in the fashion business people aren’t going to pay much attention.

  39. Mack*

    LW2… Regardless of the TV situation, asking for a checklist of what to send back (and other leaving related tasks) sounds like a good idea to me.

  40. Veryanon*

    My personal preference is for shaved legs for myself, but I don’t really care what others are doing. As long as you are neat and presentable, wear whatever you want and shave or don’t shave. It helps that I work for a company that literally has no dress code other than that you need to be covered, not wear anything offensive, and abide by specific safety rules in our manufacturing and lab environments.

  41. Budgie Buddy*

    LW 3 – yep, it hurts when you realize that people you considered your friends do not consider you a friend in return. Or, if they do, as the lower grade friend that obviously gets the boot if the gathering needs to be kept small.

    Allison’s suggestion that there could be a group text among the three of them that LW3 isn’t informed of…just makes it worse? Like these people pushed out LW3 a while ago and she’s only just noticing.

    Maybe there’s a work hierarchy thing going on with this social lunch (somehow? Isn’t the point that it’s social and not work related?) but I will bet that of those three wanted LW around, they would make an effort to include her. I don’t think they will.

    So LW3 should just chalk it up to painful but useful information and look for more equal friendships elsewhere. She can’t get this dynamic to change. People can be called out for sidelining you or ignoring you in some contexts, such as work, but most think the right to snub people socially is sacred. I don’t get it, but so it is.

    1. potato*

      I’m not obligated to invite my coworker Jan to lunch just because I invited my other coworker Marcia.

      It’s perfectly fine to “snub” someone (as you put it) if you don’t wish to socialize with them. This isn’t grade school where you invite every single kid in the class to your birthday.

      Being excluded sucks! It hurts when you see people you thought you were pals doing things without you, I am not discounting that in the slightest. I struggle to make friends and can count on one hand how many I have.

      But I don’t assume any of my coworkers are my friends, even if I am friendly with them.

  42. Cacofonix*

    #4: it’s up to the requester to reach out – ball is in their court. Situation 1: Anne, situation 2: Carol. But that doesn’t mean the person being referred is radio silent – that’s rude. I’ll respond to those referrals “Sure, I can help with that. Requester, please email particulars/ set up some time to discuss what you need. My calendar is open.”

    I may add whatever seems obvious for the situation, like… “in the meantime, people find it helpful/efficient to review this document in advance.” Or, “please invite person X or Y as well.”

    And no, it doesn’t matter (to me) about hierarchy. Treat everyone like they matter.

  43. Krystal Snagrash*

    I’m a little surprised by the folks that say you can’t be non-exempt and on a 9/80, because I am non-exempt and on a 9/80! I’m in CA which is generally not considered lax when it comes to labor law. Our default is the 9/80 for everyone with exceptions for folks who can’t be on it, like weekend workers. It may be down to OPs HR and hire-ups figuring out a system.

  44. Luna*

    LW1 – Regarding hairy legs, I am currently in my 30s and I haven’t shaven my legs in years. And I have no problem walking around in private, in public, or at work in leggings or capri pants that show off my hairy legs. And my leg hair is dark, so it’s visible.
    I have yet to encounter anyone that felt the need to tell me, in my leisure time or at work, that I ‘should shave’ or otherwise question why I would ‘present’ myself that way.

    Maybe if you work in a very conservative, professional field like banking or a rather sexist-viewed company, go ahead and wear shorts. As long as they aren’t inappropriate or indecent to wear in public, have at it!

  45. Observer*

    #2 – Random TV got sent to you.

    A few thoughts.

    Firstly, Allison is right – you should absolutely have asked your manager about this. If they asked you do bring it to the post office, you could tell them that you cannot do that, and leave the ball in their court. But you should have talked to them.

    Secondly, I really wonder about the culture of your (soon to be former) workplace. It’s extremely odd to me that getting a large piece of unexpected equipment *from work* is considered a “non-work matter.” Also, it’s a bit odd that the “never discuss non-work matters” is this extreme. There is a wide range of non-work social interaction at reasonably healthy and functional companies. And that includes places where most people don’t really know much about each others’ lives, and rarely get into more that “how’s the weather in your neck of the woods?” But to go to the extent that no one EVER mentions ANYTHING that is not directly related to the work being done at the moment, to the point that you don’t even feel like you can mention an odd thing related to your employer is pretty extreme. Do people even say “good morning” to each other?

    Thirdly (and least important, but still practically useful I hope), the post office is not the only – often not ever the best – option for shipping stuff. UPS and FedEx package will both pick up packages from your house. It’s water under the bridge now, but it’s something worth keeping in mind since I would bet that there are going to be times in the future when you may want or need to ship something that’s bigger than you can carry. Knowing that there are other options would be useful.

  46. Coffee Cup*

    Is it really true that there have been cases of women with hairy legs being passed over for promotions? How does that even work and what data can we possibly have on this? I am rather confused. Most people don’t even look down at your legs

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