let’s talk about passive-aggressive notes at work

In any office, you’re likely to find at least one passive-aggressive note — whether it’s the note scolding whoever keeps leaving dishes in the sink, or the frustrated sign in the bathroom reminding you to clean up after yourself (generally placed there after someone has not).

Often you can feel the rage emanating off of these notes. They’re not just matter-of-fact reminders; full of all caps, bold fonts, and underlining, they’re salvos in an ongoing war for consideration of others.

What are some of the funniest/weirdest/most dramatic notes you’ve seen at work?

{ 875 comments… read them below }

  1. Kim Kardashian*

    “Someone” may have gotten tired of this one toilet never flushing properly (it was messed up for weeks on end) and posted a sign with Kim Kardashian’s quote about nobody wanting to work anymore.

    1. rayray*

      Sometimes the auto-flush doesn’t go, but you can still manually flush. It drives me crazy that people think it’s okay to just walk away without flushing. I have been thinking about putting up some notes in the stalls but chicken out.

      Maybe I will copy this idea though haha.

      1. ItBetterNotBeACactus*

        The automatic toilets in one of our restrooms do not have a button to force a flush (or that I can find). I finally figured out that you had to hold your hand in front of the sensor for 10 seconds that get it to flush if you need another one (and didn’t want have to do a faux toilet sit). I confess after a rash of not-flushes, I left a note saying the 10-second hand hold would make the toilet flush again. The note disappeared and the non-flushes improved…coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

        1. amoeba*

          This European is just really fascinated because it never occurred to me that in other countries auto-flush toilets were a regular thing! (We do have them here, but only – rarely – in some public toilets – have never seen one in an office building!)

          1. Chilipepper Attitude*

            I’m surprised when I don’t see an auto-flush toilet. I’m so used to just walking away that I might not notice if it does not flush and I might fail to flush if there is a handle.

            1. Essess*

              Even with auto-flush, I NEVER walk away until I verify it flushes. That’s just yucky to leave it.

              1. JSPA*

                but then you’re in the Dreaded Plume…

                Depending on the grizzly details, I often make sure I’m mostly out of the stall, but keep a hand on the door until the flush starts, so nobody else walks in too early.

              2. Zephy*

                My workplace upgraded all the toilets to autoflush at the beginning of the pandemic, but they must have gotten the cheapest possible conversion kits because they’re all calibrated to different sensitivities/distances. One toilet will not flush until you’re fully out of the stall, one will flush if you move too much while still, uh, indisposed. My coworker’s office shares a wall with the men’s room and he hears the urinals flush all day long, even if there’s nobody in there, the sensors are calibrated so badly. Or maybe the men’s room is haunted, hard to say.

            2. flush*

              Years ago now, I spent a lot of a day or two driving around some turnpikes in another state. Every rest area had auto-flush toilets. I then stopped at a mall, browsed a bookstore, and used the bathroom. When I was washing my hands, another woman stormed over to a stall, flushed the toilet there, and asked why no one could flush. I agreed it was odd …

              … and later wondered if that had been the stall I’d just used, because I’d gotten used to the (pretty novel to me at the time) auto-flush toilets I’d been using, so it’s possible I spaced out on that one.

              *Nowadays* I’m so used to inconsistency that I’m always careful to check, but I wasn’t always that wise.

          2. Ivana Tinkle*

            We have them in my office in London – I hate them! I have long hair so my hair swishing often sets the flush off before I’m finished & I end up with a wet bum!

            1. Jojo*

              If you have a problem with the autoflush preflushing, you can use a sticky note to cover up the sensor while you go. (This is a mom tip, very useful if you are potty training a child who is afraid of toilet flushes.)

              1. Lavender Gooms*

                Yes! I have yet to remember to put post-its in my purse, but I have found that sometimes I can drape a toilet seat over over the sensor for the same effect.

              2. Splish Splash*

                Thanks for that tip! I’ve been in a few stalls where the sensor is rather … aggressive…

              3. Elizabeth the Ginger*

                I used a drape of toilet paper for my kid at that age – extra helpful because a preschooler-size person doesn’t always seem to register with the sensor, especially if they wiggle around (which, c’mon, they always do).

      2. BellaDiva*

        When I was in college, some days my last class of the day was closest to the only washrooms that had automatic flush. It was so sensitive that the slightest movement would trigger it. And I mean the slightest movement – just reaching for the toilet paper resulted in a flush! I hated that washroom with a passion, but the next closest was a good 5-minute walk, and after a 3-hour class that wasn’t happening!

        1. Bit o' Brit*

          We had an issue at my work where a sensor would be triggered by the lights auto-turning off, but then the movement of the water flushing would trigger the lights to turn back on. It was a constant feedback loop until they fixed the flush sensor.

      3. Lucy P*

        We had to put up signs in the men’s room showing people where the manual buttons were. The toilets were getting clogged too often and the men in the admin department (we had 2 at the time) were responsible for unclogging and cleaning the floor because we didn’t have maintenance staff.

    2. JelloStapler*

      Some of ours auto-flush forever- as in they continue to flush for a full minute. not sure how that is environmentally friendly. LOL.

      1. Patent Leather Shoes Really Do Reflect. . .*

        Back in the day, I attended first grade in a Catholic school with automatic toilets — and they scared me to death!

        Because we’re talking barely after Vatican II here (late 1960’s), the toilets were “automatic” because the seats were connected to some sort of tripwire that flushed the toilet when the user stood up. This connection meant that front of each hinged seat was a good three-to-four inches above the rim, so you really had to sit your bum down to use the convenience. And, then, as soon as you stood up, the seat went up and a loud pneumatic whooshing sound filled the concrete block lavatory.

        I hated those things. Give me dual flush any day.

      2. The Engineer*

        If I visit the men’s room with my high visibility vest on I can get a 21 gun salute from all of the auto-flush urinals.

      3. linger*

        As auto-flush stories go, it’s hard to beat one told by Paul Brislen on Public Address in 2013. (I have abridged it somewhat here.)

        Picture, if you will, Dad with two daughters (3 and 6) on a trip to the zoo.
        It’s a lovely day and the park is mostly empty. However, when I realise my bladder is full to overflowing and will require me to either burst or find a lavvy, trouble sets in.
        Neither girl will stand outside. Both insist on coming in as well.
        Nobody else is in sight, so I make a Dad Decision and head on in with both girls in tow, holding hands sweetly as they are wont to do.
        The floor is slick as only a mensroom floor can be. “Stay here”, I declare in my sternest voice while I proceed to a long trench-like affair I refer to as The Trough for the weeing.
        So there I am, mid flow as it were, when the regular preprogrammed flush starts up, resulting in: loud clanking emanating from the cisterns (strategically placed above the exit); much banging of pipes as air blocks are sorted out; wheezing as if from a nearby dragon; and much screaming from the two children.
        “DADDDDYYYYY!” they shriek as they run forward to safety and me.
        “NOOOOOOO!” I shriek as they try to rugby tackle me mid stream.
        “ARRRRGH!” they scream as they bounce off me, and the eldest one slips, rolls and manages to pull both her and her sister into the downstream portion of The Trough.
        “EWWWWW!” we all shriek together.
        Eventually we depart the mensroom firm in our agreement that we shall never speak of it again.

    3. hex*

      During my master’s degree one of the urinals stopped flushing automatically. After a while, someone put up a meme picture with Boromir “One doesn’t simply repair the toilet” or something along those lines. More memes followed.
      They eventually were replaced by a printed letter with instructions how to contact the maintenance team when something needed to be fixed. And it pointed out that putting up memes was not a good way to make them aware of something.

      1. Kim Kardashian*

        Ha! For what it’s worth, I had walked into Mordor multiple times (spoken with people with the power/responsibility to fix) and nothing got done. This toilet was a problem for years!

    4. Not an improvement*

      They recently remodeled restrooms in our building. Some toilets got autoflush. Others did not. All of the faucets are touchless, but you can only get 3-5 seconds of lukewarm to cold water. People have seemingly lost their will to flush or to wash their grubby paws. It’s a cruel joke.

    5. AmyintheSky*

      This Australian is so dumbfounded by auto-flushing toilets. I think I’ve come across maybe 3 in my entire life.

      Like, I guess they’re cleaner than a button everyone has to push after they’ve been to the toilet but I’m about to go and wash my hands anyway? They sound so finicky… I don’t want toilet water up my hoohah!

  2. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    A couple of weeks ago there was a drawing of a smiling fish with a big red X over it on top of the microwave in the break room. Almost elegant in its simplicity.

    1. 2023, You are NOT Nice.*

      Ok, gotta agree, fish should not be cooked at work, it’s too awful a smell. Yuck. Liver in the microwave is a close second.

    2. Routine_Poutine*

      We actually have a real sticker of the same thing on all the microwaves in my office!

    3. Angela Zeigler*

      As someone who LOVES seafood, I have to agree. I avoid bringing anything sea/ocean-related into the office as a courtesy.

      1. Night Owl*

        I made some nice salmon last week and was telling my boss about it, and that it was a bummer I couldn’t bring in the leftovers for lunch at work. He looked at me quizzically and asked why. I looked quizzically back at him and explained I would (rightly) get murdered if I reheated fish in the break room. (Because who does that??)

    4. Splish Splash*

      An alternative to microwaving leftover seafood – check out Hot Logic lunch boxes. They have a hot plate that plugs into a wall or a car’s lighter jack (or whatever we call them nowadays…) depending on the model you get, and they’ll warm or even fully cook your food, depending on what it is and how long you’re plugged in. No affiliation, just a happy user.

    5. Soupspoon McGee*

      My dad’s office also housed the microwave, and he posted a grumpy fish with a red line through it.

    6. AVA*


      1. not a hippo*

        Kimchi is the only other strong smelling food that comes to mind.

        Possibly strong curries? I personally love the taste & smell of fenugreek but I know it can be quite pungent so I don’t bring in any of the curries I make.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        As a fellow past fish-microwaver, I also did not realize it would be a problem. (Of course, if I’d had any sense of professional norms I wouldn’t have taken that job in the first places. Pro-tip: If the CEO talks about “work-life integration”, RUN.) I’ve heard liver mentioned in the comments as another offensively-fragrant dish, though I have no first-hand knowledge.

        Personally, I have more issues with things that smell good. If you make popcorn, now I need to make myself popcorn as well. That cinnamon bun you heated up? Now I’m craving cinnamon buns.

    7. L*

      Not a note, but at a previous job we had one guy who microwaved fish often. He was using a prepped meal delivery service. We had a tiny office (3 rooms) and one of our staff had to work in the kitchen. I wasn’t in charge of the kitchen but I was the only person “brave” enough to ask him not to do it. It was a blockchain/crypto company so you can imagine the kind of guys working there (I make no apologies for stereotyping, I’ve been a software engineer for a long time). When I asked him not to microwave fish he was all “But it’s my prepped meal service! It’s what they send me!”.

      Anyway, after I asked him, every time (EVERY TIME) he went to the kitchen to microwave his meal, he’d stop at my desk and in a very very sarcastic tone say “Is it OKAY for me to MICROWAVE my lunch? Are you SURE?”

      I ended up leaving the job. No-one talk to me like that, not least a little crypto bro 20 years my junior. Jobs in dev are plentiful and there’s no need to stay in a job when you’re being talked to like that IMHO.

  3. Fishsticks*

    At a previous job, we shared a single-stall bathroom between about ten – thirteen employees. At some point, a sign appeared over the bottle of hand soap that said, “If the amount of soap never changes in the bottle, I know you b**ches aren’t using any”.

    No one ever fessed up to writing the note. But suddenly the soap started being used up much more quickly.

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

      $20 bet that they weren’t actually using the soap and just dumping a bit down the sink out of spite. Shaming adults into doing basic things that they already know they should be doing never really works.

      1. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

        Although I did read that the most successful handwashing signage in multistall restrooms is “is the person next to you washing their hands?” because peer pressure is powerful!

        1. Autumn*

          In a bathroom at the hospital I work for there are pictures of someone’s very judgy eyes over text reminding hand washing for at least 20 seconds!

      2. Lydia*

        I’m betting the majority of them were washing their hands. It’s not really shaming to point out the obvious.

    2. Sarah*

      I have been tempted to put similar notes. While I’m in a stall I’ve noticed that certain people will turn the water on, yet I never hear the automatic soap dispenser noise, and never hear the sound of the paper towel dispenser. Why do they bother to turn the water on? They aren’t fooling people (at least not me).

      1. FrivYeti*

        They’re probably actually rinsing their hands.

        A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that if you just rinse your hands with water, that’s good enough and you don’t need soap (I think because they think soap is bad for their skin? Not sure what the motivation is, I just know it happens because when I’m washing my hands people next to me do it all the time.)

        1. HigherEdAdminista*

          The soap in our bathroom at work is a bit drying! My solution though is to apply a rich lotion when I get back to my desk, not embrace the germs. I do not understand people who could stand next to someone at the sink and just not use any soap.

          1. Audrey Puffins*

            I found liquid soap really dries my hands out if I use it too much in a day, like, for example, when there’s a global pandemic and we’re all being encouraged to wash our hands for a solid minute every time we even think about touching our faces. I went through a LOT of hand-cream before realising that just switching back to bar soap would make the lizard scales go away.

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

          I’m sure there are many reasons for others to avoid the soap including skin sensitivity. For a short time in our office bathroom the soap was the most awful mango-chlorine-mint smelling horror, and it would stick to my hands ALL.DAY. no matter how many times I rinsed. So I definitely brought my own hand sanitizer instead of using the soap.

        3. AnonAgain*

          I had this situation at my old job. Except they weren’t even rinsing their hands!!! I could see them through the crack in the stall door. They would turn the sink on and then would have both hands fixing their hair — so not washing. And then, would turn off the water and pull out a paper towel and leave. I avoided those people.

        4. AlexandrinaVictoria*

          I was extremely allergic to the soap in the bathrooms. It would make the skin peel off my hands! I would rinse well, then use antibacterial gel at my desk. I tried bringing in my own soap, but it kept being stolen, and half the time, when I kept it at my desk, I would forget to bring it with me to the bathroom.

          1. Other Alice*

            Same, I hate the soap in public bathrooms! It’s havoc on my fingers, makes me peel like a lizard. The older I get, the worse it is.

          2. Divergent*

            This was my exact issue too. I make my own bar soap, it was very weird to me that used bar soap would be stolen. But here we are.

        5. KToo*

          The soap at my work gave me a rash. So I’d rinse my hands as much as I could and use a sanitizer I had at my desk that I knew was ok for my skin.

          I’m not saying it’s the same for everyone, but I know I wasn’t the only one in my office with either skin or scent sensitivities to that soap (it was horrid!)

          1. Blains and Chill*

            After a restroom remodel, the friendly-to-my-skin-and-nose soap got replaced by something unusable. So now I go to the old dispenser in the break room before using the restroom, and rub some soap into my hands like lotion; then when I wet them, there are visible suds. Has the added advantage of putting a microbe barrier between my hands and anything I touch before washing as well.

            1. Usagi*

              friendly-to-my-skin-and-nose soap

              For a moment there I was wondering why in the world you were washing your nose with the office restroom soap!

        6. Hohumdrum*

          When I was a kid I used to do this because soap dries out my hands and I have sensory issues with dry skin. Now I carry lotion and that’s cleared up the issue for me. Wish we have out lotion as a standard in bathrooms, maybe more people would be willing to wash.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            If it’s going to be standard, it needs to be unscented. Someone at Exjob put lotion in the women’s bathroom, but it had fragrance. I can’t use most scented lotion because it aggravates my eczema and stings something awful.

        7. AnneSurely*

          I developed a strong aversion to the scent of the soap used in the entire hospital/medical complex in town (where basically all local primary care and many specialists are located) thanks to chemo. They pump you full of saline during infusions, and you have to pee all the time, so it was the perfect classical conditioning situation. That particular soap = intense nausea and risk of vomiting on the spot. For years I made the choice to only rinse if I had to use the bathroom anywhere in those buildings, because my other option was the real risk that I’d end up vomiting.

          Probably a very particular problem, but I can’t have been the only one. Our bodies are very quick to pick up on associations with things that cause nausea. Eventually they changed the soap supplier, and I can now wash my hands when I have a medical appointment. I truly pity anyone who got chemo there and works there, because I don’t know WTF they do. At least there is hand sanitizer everywhere now thanks to covid.

          1. Rae*

            You’re not the only one and in fact your comment was VERY validating to hear!! I’ve moved away from where I had chemo, but I had the exact same issue when I was still there doing follow-ups. I’m so relieved to know it wasn’t just me.

        8. Nina*

          Rinsing and then drying with a paper towel is actually a lot better than just skipping it though!
          I have horrific fragrance allergies (fortunately so far only applies to fragrances on me rather than moderate amounts on other people) and have to be mad picky about soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, laundry powder, and yes, hand soap/lotion/sanitizer. Would my workplace get a hand soap that would let me breathe normally an hour after using it, they would not. It wasn’t at all an ideal situation but I ended up doing a lot of water wash and paper towel dry, and used fragrance-free hand sanitizer back at my desk.
          This was in an industry where it’s not unusual to spend several days on a job site where the bathroom facilities are a portaloo and the handwash facilities are ‘there’s a sanitizer dispenser what more do you want’, to be fair.

          1. alienor*

            I’d definitely rather people rinsed than did nothing at all. At least that way there’s not any actual pee on their hands.

        9. Worldwalker*

          It would help if certain places didn’t stock soap that seems to be made of fake-floral-scented battery acid.

        10. Nobby Nobbs*

          I did that for a while, but I was a literal child gaming the “are your hands damp?” check, not an adult who understands disease transmission.

        11. Kelly H*

          I’m allergic to pretty much all soap so I do a rinse. And I don’t use paper towels because I’m a weirdo about the environment.

      2. SuzyK*

        I will turn the water on while a friend is in the stall because I know that she has a shy bladder. The water covers the sound.
        Also, someone might turn on the water so THEY don’t hear the sounds coming from the toilets.

    3. sundae funday*

      I mentioned this below, but the janitorial staff just keeps filling our soap dispenser with water rather than new soap.

      Yesterday my coworker put a sign on there that said “Please add soap to this water.”

      So yeah, our soap level never changes either… but it’s because they keep adding water!

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

        If they’re going to the trouble of adding anything, I’m guessing that the company has not provided the soap supply to them, but they keep getting told to fill up the dispenser.

      2. Bird Lady*

        This has happened to me. My office provided the pink-dry-your-skin-smells-terrible soap in our bathrooms. My eczema decided to enter the chat and I ended up buying the 365 Whole Foods brand foaming soap. It’s not terribly expensive, so I had no problem sharing it with the small team of people I worked with. I always kept a few extra bottles in my office drawer so we never ran out.

        Our facilities team saw the new “fancy” soap, and kept filling it with water every morning because the “expensive” soap was being used. And like, that was the point!

      3. Hedwig*

        Adding water to liquid soap in the dispenser is actually worse than doing nothing because the extra water reduces the effectiveness of the preservatives and allows bacteria to develop. So when you use diluted liquid soap, you could be adding more bacteria to your skin than you’re removing

    4. Me*

      A sign a a restaurant I frequent:

      All employees and customer are required to wash their hand for twenty seconds while singing the following song to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

      Wash, wash, wash your hands
      Gently in the sink
      Scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing scrubbing
      Then your hands won’t stink.

  4. Jedi Mike*

    I remember on the rare occasions I walk around outside my office building and/or eat lunch out there someone put a sign in their window saying something like ‘please refrain from having loud conversations around this window, it distracts the person inside.’ Also people out signs by all the water fountains about not dumping coffee grounds in there and/or spilling water on the floor. I rarely see the coffee thing honestly so maybe that works, but the window sign is funny

    1. Just Another Fed*

      There is a window in a ground floor office around the block from my house with a sign that says “Pick up after your dog. Yes, we can see you.”

    2. eeeek*

      A colleague posted a sign in their window, which was on the ground floor of our main admin building next to a well-travelled walkway. It simply said “I report to the Dean. Don’t gossip here.” It was highly effective, if people noticed it. And very useful when people didn’t notice it, or pretended not to.

  5. Wondermint*

    This is less at work and more at a place of business I frequent, a small bookstore. The note, next to the cash register reads, “We are REQUIRED (underlined/bolded) by NYC to CHARGE (underline/bolded) 5¢ for EACH BAG (underlined/bolded)”

    Okay, I get it. Why are you yelling at me for shopping here?

      1. Polar Vortex*

        Truth. And not just the retail workers but other customers get the comments from people too. Such a dumb thing to be angry about.

      2. Onward*

        +1 Retail/food service workers are some of the most abused in any industry. People feel like they can go off on them for anything and they absolutely do.

          1. Chilipepper Attitude*

            Yes. I think it is super clear from the letters and comments here that any retail/food service/customer service job includes rude customers.

          2. unstable marshmallow*

            Unfortunately. Some people get it in their heads that if someone decides to work for a certain company, they are willingly putting themselves in the position of Symbolic Punching Bag for Company-Level Policies I (The Customer) Dislike. Never mind how our economic system is designed to maintain a desperate underclass of people who will accept ANY job just to keep the lights on – no, if you take a job, it must be because you either support all of your employer’s policies or are OK with being the symbolic representation of those policies.

          3. Goody*

            Sadly, yes. Enough people have mis-heard the phrase “The customer is always right” (which continues on with “in matters of taste”) that they feel entitled to walk all over service workers who have actual policies and even laws that they must follow.

            A couple years ago, my county decided to implement a beverage tax, $0.01 per ounce on all ready-to-drink sweetened beverages. Not sugared, sweetened. So all soda, even the diets, energy/sports drinks, juices, flavored milk, pre-made coffee/tea, etc. but not drink powders or flavor shots. I was working part time at the big chain with red shirts and a puppy dog mascot. The register system was programmed to add this tax automatically as a separate line item on the receipt. and we had signs at eye level on every single shelf section that had any qualifying product, as well as at the store entrances and at the end of every check lane.
            When this new tax went into effect, Coke brands were on sale, 4 cartons for $12, which was a typical sale price at the time. Each of those cartons carried an extra $1.44 in beverage tax, so the total was actually 4/$17.76 plus regular sales taxes. Not a small chunk of change. The way some of these people reacted was absolutely over the top. I personally spent a good hour of each shift running “reshop” soda back to the appropriate aisle rather than operating a register, because we had that many people who suddenly decided at check-out – or after paying – that they were going to drive a few miles north to cross the county line. I mean, I get it, I was buying out of county as well, but I wasn’t being a turd to the staff about it.

          4. pencils600*

            Extremely common. Life is and has been increasingly getting worse for 99% of Americans, and for many, they get to take out their frustration on people who have no power, who can’t talk back, whose job it is to take and all abuse, especially from a paying customer. “The customer is always right” is the mantra of nearly every service/retail job here in “the best country in the world.”

          5. goddessoftransitory*

            Oh, God, yeah. Not every customer, of course, but there’s a subsection of society that sees all service people as the equivalent of those “punchy clown” boxing toys.

          6. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

            Let me introduce you to a fun little website called “Not Always Right”, which I will not link here – but your friendly neighborhood search engine should find it easily enough.

            Read, and be amazed. Or bemoan the state of humanity. Heck, why not both?

          7. Jaid*

            For funsies, you should look up “Not Always Right” on the internet…

            They also have Not Always Legal, Not Always Healthy, etc. A worthy time-suck!

      3. Pilcrow*

        Reminds me of a sign I saw in a hotel. Something along the lines of “Hotel Management has no control over the train horns.”

        I personally did not hear any train horns. Even if I did, I wouldn’t think to complain to the hotel about it. Other people must have felt differently.

        1. Kacihall*

          I’m imagining this was the Chattanooga ChooChoo Hotel and laughing hysterically about it.

        2. Becky*

          Now I’m remembering My Cousin Vinny
          Vinny Gambini : Does that freight train come through here at 5:00 A.M. every morning?

          Hotel Clerk : No, sir, it’s very unusual.

          Vinny Gambini : [the next day, after Vinny was awakened by the train] Yesterday you told me that freight train hardly ever comes through here at 5:00 A.M. in the morning.

          Hotel Clerk : I know. She’s supposed to come through at ten after 4:00.

          So then Vinny moves to a different hotel – which I think is the one next to the slaughterhouse and he gets woken up by squealing pigs?

          1. Panicked*

            Followed by the screech owl outside the cabin!

            My Cousin Vinny is legitimately one of my favorite movies and I thought of it immediately when I read that comment!

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Or the Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow characters’ apartment in Se7en where every so often the train shook the entire room.

      4. New Mom*

        This. I was at Target the other day and the woman in front of me went off at the cashier about trying to spread stuff into too many bags to “charge her more” when she could have just politely said from the beginning that she just wanted one bag. I tried to be extra polite to the poor cashier when she interacted with me. Some people are so horrid to public facing roles.

        1. DivergentStitches*

          And other people complain about getting all their stuff being too heavy and should be spread into more bags. You can’t win.

      5. goddessoftransitory*

        Yep. No one of which would ever dream of actually contacting their elected officials about said law if they’re so exercised about it.

    1. Stretchy McGillicuddy*

      Last winter, during a peak Covid surge during a test kit shortage, I coincidentally had to buy a UTI test from the drugstore. The clerk said to me in the most exhausted voice I have ever heard “You know these don’t test for Covid, right?” She must have to deal with idiots all day long.

      1. Chestnut Mare*

        I had to buy horse dewormer for my actual horses…similar reaction from the clerk, poor thing.

      2. Merely Me*

        In the early pandemic, during the run on hand sanitizer, a shelf-stocker at Target looked visibly relieved when I asked where the contact lens cleaner was, because she’d been sure I was going to ask for hand sanitizer.

    2. random pedant*

      It’s probably actually a state law, not an NYC law, since we have to pay it upstate too.

        1. La Triviata*

          When we first had the five cents for a bag start, people were outraged and any number would decide they preferred to juggle their lunch or multiple purchases rather than pay. Needless to say, a lot of things ended up on the street or sidewalk. Since we get a lot of tourists, any number of them are startled at being asked if they need a bag and told they’ll have to pay (five whole cents!) for one.

          1. Phony Genius*

            The law says that they can’t distribute plastic bags, and if they use paper bags they much charge 5 cents each. The law is silent about other types of bags. So Target started giving out fabric bags for free; as many as you want. Guess what you see laying around all over and are probably worse for the environment. (I think they’re some type of plastic fabric that is exempted by the law.)

            1. MM*

              Yes, a lot of fabric or fabric-adjacent bags are worse on net if they aren’t reused religiously.

              CVS has these bags made out of recycled plastic, and like…on the one hand, they’re very sturdy. Much more durable than the usual wispy plastic bag. You can absolutely reuse them. On the other hand, if you’re like me, for this reason you feel you absolutely cannot ever throw them out. And they’re stiff and bulky enough that the things you can use them for are somewhat more limited. As they start to build up, I start to feel bad about the sheer volume of plastic, even if it is already recycled. I always try to remember to bring one of the horde of CVS bags in my closet with me if I’m going there, lest I be cursed with an addition to my burden, but whenever I forget I feel almost literally pained as I pull another one off the rack.

          2. Sweet Tooth*

            In my area, in the Bay Area, bag charges started as city ordinances. We have a mall built on the border of two cities. One had the ordinance and the other did not. I can’t imagine how many cashiers had to field complaints of “why are you charging me? Soandso store just gave me a bag for free!”

        2. Sweet Tooth*

          In my area, in the Bay Area, bag charges started as city ordinances. We have a mall built on the border of two cities. One had the ordinance and the other did not. I can’t imagine how many cashiers had to field complaints of “why are you charging me? Soandso store just gave me a bag for free!”

      1. doreen*

        It’s not just NYC – but it’s not statewide either . The state law authorizes states and counties to impose the fee but not all of them have.

      2. Bob-White of the Glen*

        Pfft. Washington state is eight cents a bag. You five centsers have it so easy!

    3. BodegaCat*

      My corner store had a sign up for a couple months that said “no hood credit, please don’t ask. bing bong.”

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Mine has little taped signs on each register reading ‘NO BOOB OR SOCK MONEY.’

        The laundromat next door used to have signs up all over saying “NO DISROBING IN LAUNDROMAT,” “NO WEAPONS,” and “WASHING MACHINES ARE ONLY FOR CLOTHING, NOT PETS.”

        Anybody surprised they closed?

    4. I don't understand the problem*

      Does reading a sign with bolded letters …. I really can’t even think of how to say what I’m thinking.

    5. Observer*

      Okay, I get it. Why are you yelling at me for shopping here?

      No, you don’t get it. They are not yelling at you for shopping there. They are yelling at all the people who yell (or worse) at the cashiers for charging for bags.

    6. Ace in the Hole*

      Because a lot of customers get angry and blame the store, thinking that the store is choosing to do it and pocket the extra nickel.

      1. Phony Genius*

        Funny thing about the law in NYC. The store does keep the extra nickel. They’re required to charge it, but they are not supposed to give that nickel to the city or state. I can’t think of many other examples of “forced profit.”

        1. Iris Eyes*

          Maybe they are hoping that by increasing revenue the stores will be more likely to spend the money on a more expensive but eco-friendly bag? Or just fair compensation for dealing with all the people who are jerks about it.

    7. H3llifIknow*

      We travel to Hawaii pretty regularly. They give out bags NOWHERE there. They range from about 15 cents to as much as $1.50 for a really nice cute, reusable one. Tourists LOSE.THEIR.MINDS. They’re paying thousands for a nice vacation but the price of a bag just tips them over the edge. I’m sure the store got tired of that kind of nonsense.

      1. AJ*

        We actually get a reusable bag on trips as a travel memento that we will use (vs some spoon/thimble stuff that is just clutter). Still use my Foodland bag all the time, it’s a decent canvas bag. Not sorry the whole foods pentagon bag bit the dust as it was not very durable.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          This is a great idea. I bought a (nylon? not sure) reusable bag in a pouch at a Cath Kidston store in greater London for £8. It lives in my purse and is one of the most useful things I own.

      2. Usagi*

        I live in Hawaii, I can definitely confirm. It’s been a while since I’ve been in retail but I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that. One of my favorite small gifts to give friends is cute foldable eco bags that you can stuff in your purse, pocket, or glove compartment. You can’t really have too many of them.

      3. The OG Sleepless*

        I always take reusable bags in my suitcase when I travel. Lots of places charge for bags.

      4. Zee*

        I used to work retail in a city with a plastic bag ban. The number of people who would come in and drop $500 on clothes and then lose their shit over 5¢ for a paper bag was truly mind-boggling. (Trying to explain to them that *we* were not charging them for the bag, the 5¢ is a tax that went to the city to fund programs for homeless people frequently made it worse.)

    8. mreasy*

      People went crazy about the bag charge. I use to volunteer at a nonprofit retail store and even there we got absurd complaints & arguments! I bet the sign helps as something they can just point to.

    9. nodramalama*

      probably because people want to use a bag and then get mad at the cashiers when they’re required to pay for it

    10. Dark Macadamia*

      I guarantee they have customers stand directly in front of that sign on a daily basis screeching that they should’ve been informed about the charge in advance

  6. Polar Vortex*

    Someone fried a microwave trying a tik tok microwave a whole egg hack, exploded the egg, the entire thing smelled of burning and sulfur. The microwave sat there, useless and smelling gross, with a sign on it saying “Broken” for 2+ weeks while they waited for the replacement. The other microwave next to it had a sign “DO NOT MICROWAVE EGGS” with an arrow pointing to the other microwave.

    I assume they left the dead one there for emphasis. No other reason why.

    1. bunniferous*

      This brings up a memory of decades ago when someone gave us a microwave but I thought you could boil a whole egg as long as it was in water. The resulting explosion was…..startling.

      1. Polar Vortex*

        I’ve always been wary of microwaving eggs – not just due to explosions, just doesn’t seem like something that would turn out well. Coworker swears by a microwave hack for poached eggs, going to have to bite the bullet and try it eventually.

        1. Bruce*

          Back in college I microwaved a hardboiled egg from a vending machine, it seemed just warm on the outside but when I bit into it I was blasted with steam… second-degree burn on my lips! That was a one-time learning experience for sure…

          1. Aphrodite*

            I believe it. I started microwaving my corn on the cob. It’s a fantastically easy (and neat) way of cooking corn but holy cow! the cob is *HOT* from the inside out. And it stays extremely hot for a long period of time. I love it but have learned not to just start chomping away as soon as it comes out.

        2. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

          They actually make microwave egg poachers.

          They work and don’t mess up or stink up the oven.

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            But very occasionally they will blow their tops and explode egg in the microwave. (I have two different types.)

        3. Presea*

          Microwaved scrambled eggs can be done, you just have to use a relatively shallow bowl and stir every 30 seconds or so. The texture is pretty different from the stovetop version, it comes out a bit dry unless you add some veggies or something, but it can be done!

          1. Worldwalker*

            I used to have some little containers that you could scramble an egg inside, add mix-ins as desired, microwave, and remove with an integral egg-lifter. This actually worked really well; an egg, some bacon bits, some cheese, and some onions made a great snack. But washing them took longer than cooking and eating an egg!

            1. Allura Vysoren*

              My wife does this with a mug. Other than one weird incident where the egg expanded beyond the confines of the mug, we’ve never had a problem.

          2. KTB1*

            My mom taught me how to do that as a kid! Works like a charm if you butter the bowl first and keep an eye on the egg as it rises. And adding a bit of milk helps keep it from getting too dry

            1. pandop*

              Firstly, I have never made scrambled eggs without a bit of milk (UK), so scrambling them in the microwave absolutely works. Also you can use a deep bowl, it’s the stirring that matters.

          3. MM*

            If you gradually add cheese in on the 30-second increments (after the first one or two, depending how many eggs/how long you’ll be going), then when you stir it all up at the very end the melted cheese helps give it some moisture.

            source: am graduate student

        4. Still not picked a username*

          Microwave poached eggs work! Carefully crack egg into a small bowl, pour over enough water to just submerge it, microwave for 1 minute in mine, sometimes a touch more for it to set the white. I couldn’t believe how easy it was when I braved trying it!

          1. Bob-White of the Glen*

            I’ve used this too. Also seems like one recommendation was to add a small amount of vinegar to it, but didn’t care for that.

      2. anon for this*

        There are videos all over YT about how dangerous it is to try to cook an egg in the microwave. Whole, scrambled, under water, in a container, whatever.

        It’s fine until one of them bursts. If you’re lucky, you only end up having to clean your microwave.

        Doesn’t take that much longer to cook an egg in a pan, tbh.

        1. Bob-White of the Glen*

          They don’t want to see me cook popcorn. Use a brown paper bag, and cook until I can smell the burnt. Then remove the dead (completely charred) ball in the middle, and have a treat with the dark brown pieces. Since I’m trying to be healthy I spray it with a light coat of Pam and add garlic salt. Yum!

          (While I am a terrible cook, I really do like my popcorn charred. Which is why I use the nuker now instead of the air popper. ;) )

        2. Indigo a la mode*

          Sometimes a pan is not an option, though. I used to take shakshuka or other one-pot type things for lunch (in the Before Days), and add an egg on top. Like most offices, though, we had no stove. I’ve poached many an egg in a coffee mug. It’s so simple – egg, 1/4c water, microwave for a minute or so, and definitely keep an eye on it if you leave it in longer than that.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Get one of those Dash egg cookers! They’re fantastic!

        I used to cook scrambled eggs at Exjob, but they are one of the things you don’t put in and walk away from, like popcorn. They’re just not trustworthy in the microwave.

      4. Pennyworth*

        I tried cooking a meringue in a microwave – it gradually expanded as it heated, then collapsed, several times. In the end it was warm and rubbery, but at least it didn’t explode.

      5. MM*

        I do this regularly and it’s fine. Have never had a problem. You need to make sure there’s salt in the water, is the main thing–I forget why (aside from the usual, flavor-related reason), but it has something to do with the…bubble structure? Having something else in the water prevents the explosion.

    2. Tinkerbell*

      Back when I was in college, I had reason to be in the grad student lounge of the physics building once. (Duke University = very prestigious private school, with what you would assume are smart grad students…)

      Sign on the microwave said NO FORKS

      me, to my now-wife: “Wow, they need to actually say that? Here?”

      random grad student who walked in behind us: “Tell that to the three microwaves we’ve been through already this semester.”


    3. Lirael*

      I assume they left the dead one there for emphasis. No other reason why.

      to terrify the working microwave into submission maybe?!

      1. Mill Miker*

        The dead microwave is important. I know someone who went to a hotel with a group of buddies and saw a “Do not microwave whole eggs” sign on the microwave and their immediate thought was “why?”, and then the hotel needed to get another new microwave.

  7. DMLOKC*

    I posted this one in the office restroom. No bold, all caps, exclamation points; well, maybe in my tone.

    Please leave this restroom in good order.
    • Flush
    • Seat down. Clean. Dry.
    • Replace toilet paper and paper towels if empty.
    • Run fan if appropriate.
    Thank you.

    1. Buffy will save us*

      I worked per diem in a nursing home where staff was so bad about toilet paper. They would do the “put a fresh roll balanced atop the empty one” trick. I was constantly swapping the roll. And it was your basic toilet paper holder. Took 30 seconds.
      At my full time we have fancy dispensers that require a key to refill tp. But we almost always have extra rolls in the room somewhere. Why when people use the last of a roll they don’t move the spare next to the toilet is beyond me.

      1. H3llifIknow*

        I’m always weirded out when I go into a stall and there are like 6 different rolls in varying degrees of fullness: in the holder, balanced on the handicapped accessible bars, on the floor, on top of the tp holder, on the back of the toilet…. Like… WHY???

        1. Pucci*

          I always assumed that the cleaning staff takes out the partially empty roll and puts in a full one because they only come in once a day or every other day and don’t want it to run out. Rather than throw away the partially empty roll, they just leave available for use.

      2. Katy*

        Is it possible the staff had very little time to clean each room? I was once a housekeeper in a youth hostel, and we got 5 minutes or less per room, with a long list of tasks that needed to be done in the time. I would literally fling my body up onto the top bunks to change sheets because it took too much time to climb up the ladder. Thirty seconds to change the toilet roll would have been thirty seconds I didn’t have.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        It astounds me how many people balk at the slightest, simplest jobs, like replacing the pump thing of soap (literally one step away in the cabinet in the bathroom) or replacing the roll, or whatever. It’s like their inner NOT MY JOB switch just gets jammed.

    2. Ginger Cat Lady*

      lol I made a similar sign for the bathroom at home. For my kids. Who were 5 and 3 at the time, so there were clip art pictures instead of words. It actually really helped, so as they grew and started taking on chores I had checklists for “what needs to be done when I ask you to clean the kitchen” and “laundry room expectations”.
      I hope your list was effective as well.

    3. AnonORama*

      We have a sign with similar instructions followed by the hashtag #BuceesGoals, which always amuses me. (For folks in places that are not Texas, Buc-ee’s is a chain of huge roadside stores that have food, gifts, gas pumps, a ubiquious beaver mascot and lots of clean restrooms.)

    4. JayNay*

      please tell me you work at a daycare and this sign was for toddlers. because if someone did this to me, a fellow adult, at an office job with other adults, i would be very annoyed.

  8. MsMaryMary*

    Can we post pictures? It’s funnier to see the whole thing.

    So, we have a laminated sign our admin puts up when she runs the office dishwasher that says: DO NOT OPEN. DISHWASHER IS RUNNING.

    One day another sign appeared, taped on the dishwasher, that said:





    (then in even larger, bold font)


    Come to think of it, this might not count as passive aggressive. It’s pretty straightforward.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Dishwashers deserve to get their exercise without being bothered by other people, too!

    2. Just Another Fed*

      At a former job, we had a dishwasher which no one was supposed to use. When a sign on the dishwasher telling people not to put dirty dishes inside the dishwasher proved insufficient, someone bought a giant inflatable plastic snake, blew it up, and coiled it in the dishwasher such that 1) you could not fit anything else in the dishwasher and 2) if you tried to open the dishwasher, the snake would burst out at you.

      I think that’s more aggressive-aggressive than passive-aggressive, but it did solve the problem.

        1. ZebraNeighbor*

          I’ve worked at a few places with unusable dishwashers. At one company, there was no plumbing for it after a remodel. At the next, people were putting dishes with solid food still on them in the dishwasher and it was perpetually clogged so they just unplugged it. And at the last, they were just tired of people leaving their dishes and food containers everywhere so nobody was allowed to use the dishwasher anymore.

      1. theothermadeline*

        My office has one of these signs – it’s the curse of the really good progress made toward having dishwashers be really quiet.

      2. Donkey Hotey*

        we had to have one of these because the dishwasher was very very quiet. You honestly couldn’t tell if it was running or not.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      Ohhh, this is a huge pet peeve of mine!

      In our call center kitchen, we have a dish SANITIZER, not a dishwasher. All it does is bathe ALREADY CLEAN dishes with hot water and sanitizer. It’s the kind of thing used in lots of restaurant kitchens. (Why the hell they didn’t just install a dishwasher is beyond me.)

      I am one of the many people in the call center who has to clean this kitchen at least once a week (no one in the front office does, surprise!)

      No matter how many times I bring this up or how many emails are sent out, there are employees who will not wash their damn dishes. They stick filthy plates covered with salad dressing or melted cheese, forks encrusted with food, and glasses sticky with soda and lipstick directly into the racks that go into this sanitizer. This leads to dishes emerging still covered in gross and gobs of wet food clogging the thing. Plus, the racks sit on those rubber mats with the thousands of tiny nubs, and the food gets perma-lodged in them, even after being blasted with the spray attachment in the sink.

      I have begged people to just LEAVE their filthy dish in the damn sink if they’re too lazy or privileged to take ten seconds to wash it because I just have to unload the rack, wash every dish and put them back to be sanitized, but no, Helpful Glassbowls continue to stick them in the racks, clearly pleased as hell with themselves for being so considerate.

    4. eeeek*

      I was surprised to see the dishwasher in our building kitchen sprout an impressive spray of silver duck tape from mid-point to counter, inscribed with sharpie admonitions: “IF THE DISHWASHER IS RUNNING DO NOT OPEN” and “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND HOW DISHWASHERS WORK?” and “LET THE CLEANING CYCLE FINISH FFS!” etc.
      We have hired a lot of new folks lately; I suspect a new colleague was triggered by lax habits where we could open the thing up mid-cycle and add a fork and good enough, okay?
      Ah well. As long as they empty the thing and put stuff away, I’m fine with the notes.

      1. lost*

        I don’t actually know how a dishwasher works. I didn’t grow up with one and I don’t generate enough dirty dishes to learn how.

  9. Snarkus Aurelius*

    At a nonprofit job, the dishwasher and fridge were a hot mess. A lot of people used them; no one cleaned them up. The CEO tried to set up a cleaning rotation, but others, including myself, objected because we never used those resources. (And I didn’t. Never, ever.)

    The most insulting, condescending email came from the admin when we reached peak filth.

    “Afternoon, everybody! Our dishwasher in the kitchen is hungry. SO hungry! Do you know what it likes to eat? Dirty dishes! As many dirty dishes as it can have! So let’s all make sure that our friend, the dishwasher, gets “fed” every day. It’s so cruel to let those dirty dishes sit on the counter and sink when there’s a HUNGRY dishwasher that needs that “food” that’s just out of reach! Be compassionate!”

    Yes, it happened, and I name and shame when I tell that story to people I know.

      1. TechWorker*

        Yea I can see ‘condescending’ though I would say at worst it’s ‘trying to be funny’ – but ‘insulting’?? Where is the insult …?

    1. zinzarin*

      I love this, actually.

      If you’re going to post a note, at least treat it as a creative writing experiment.

    2. Fishsticks*

      Honestly, that email is incredible.

      “If you’re going to act like children, I’ll speak to you like you’re children!”

    3. Moira Rose's Closet*

      I think this is cute! It’s memorable, at least. And I am willing to bet it was at least somewhat effective in dealing with the dishes issue (?).

    4. Stretchy McGillicuddy*

      There’s no shame in that note…unless you are the person it was directed at.

    5. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

      Somehow it has become a thing that no one should ever be instructed by a sign to do/not do a thing that they already know that should be doing/not doing.

      There are certainly a lot of awful signs out there, badly written or insulting. And there are times when the person posting the sign should be reaching out personally instead.

      But the antipathy goes deeper than that. It’s often a sense of entitlement and defiance: nobody should be telling me what to do, I already know, I’m an adult, and I can choose to be a slob and mess up everyone else’s common space if I want to. Don’t treat me like a child.

      That’s not quite what’s happening with Snarkus Aurelius, because SA isn’t engaging in the bad behavior discussed in this specific example. But still, the hatred of such signs is pervasive.

      People put these signs up because they don’t know what else to do. The lunchroom smells like old fish and the sink contains dirty dishes dating back to the Roman Empire. The signs rarely do much good, and folks putting them up ought to wake up to this fact. But I can understand their motives, and wish that everyone would grow up.

      1. Lurking Librarian*

        I’ve noticed this too. A lot of things I’ve seen labeled as passive aggressive seem pretty direct and reasonable to me. Maybe because it’s because direct communication is generally seen as preferable, and because passive aggression is one form of indirect communication, all other forms of indirect communication are now being labeled as passive aggression, whether they are or not. And that’s too bad, because gross bathrooms and kitchens need to be addressed, and isn’t a sign preferable to having someone monitor conditions during and after every use?

        And because she feared that a concise quickly written sign like “Please put dishes into the dishwasher” would have been seen as passive aggressive, this poor admin had to put a fair bit of time coming up with a different way to remind people to do what they should have been doing all along. She went for humor, and I bet plenty of recipients appreciated it.

    6. MauvaisePomme*

      That’s honestly hilarious, and I kind of love the admin for this. (Especially since I’m going to assume that the bulk of the undone work automatically fell on that admin when people weren’t cleaning up after themselves.)

    7. Chinookwind*

      I did something similar when it came to all the dishes going missing from the staff kitchens. I, as receptionist and keeper of the visitor’s kitchen, sent an email explaining that staff should be on the look out for the cup gnomes who have been stealing all the mugs, forks and spoons and hiding them on various desks. I asked for anyone finding these “gnome caches” to please return them to the kitchen (via the dishwasher). There was even a cartoon gnome holding a coffee mug.

      The dishwasher was packed by the end of the day and my stash of “visitor” mugs (all logoed and matching) was replenished, though the gnome warning did have to go back out 6 months later.

      1. Worldwalker*

        But look out for them sitting on the stove. You know … “Gnome, gnome on the range….”


      2. Tabihabibi*

        I love this. Remembering to bring things back to kitchen has been a flaw of mine, but then there’s the shame of bringing back a large cache–I like the built in narrative that there will be universal amnesty for those parading back to the kitchen arms full.

    8. Zap R.*

      As an admin myself, I can say with conviction that the admin did nothing wrong and your coworkers should have put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

    9. km85*

      I think you should be grateful she didn’t go ballistic. That email is harmless, not shameful. She had every right to be livid. Really, maybe you should be compassionate.

  10. Copyeditor*

    When I worked at a prestigious medical journal in the copyediting department, someone from housekeeping posted a sign saying that the office refrigerator would be cleaned each Friday at 5 PM… and someone copyedited the sign.

    I thought the sign was reasonable, but the reaction was passive-aggressive AND classist. So uncool.

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

          Agreed. “Friday at 5:00 p.m.” bonus points to the pedantic (in their mind) if they specified the time zone and standard or daylight saving time.

      1. Copyeditor*

        They just tidied up the grammar, comma and apostrophe usage, that sort of thing. (Copyediting doesn’t change the content, it just applies a standard set of style and grammar rules.) It was the persnickety, narrow-minded, negatively focused, know-it-all side of copyediting, levied at someone (a janitor) who didn’t ask for that, didn’t need to be critiqued, and was just doing their job. Pretty bogus, if you ask me.

        1. Caffeinated Consultant*

          Agreed, copy editors are jerks.

          (KIDDING. I *adore* copy editors and am really lucky to have learned so much from the ones I’ve worked with.)

    1. Martine*

      I work for a publishing company. At the beginning of the pandemic the landlord put up a sign in the elevator stating that only one person at a time was permitted in the elevator. Someone copyedited it, but the symbol used didn’t come out quite correctly.
      A colleague posted the sign together with the edit on Facebook with the caption “Only at [ Oatmeal and Tea Publishers].” A graphic artist affiliated with the company commented, “Someone needs to practice the symbol.”

      1. xl*

        I agree with that.

        We had someone from our janitorial contractor put up a similar sign on a refrigerator in the common area, and someone went through and fixed all the errors with a red pen.

        I’ve gotten to know the guy who wrote the sign because I chat with him when I’m on the graveyard shift and he comes in to do the cleaning. It’s obvious by talking to him that he hasn’t had a lot of good opportunities in his life, and graduating high school was a big accomplishment for him given the hand he was dealt.

        So yeah, he’s not great at writing and spelling. Big deal…that’s not a part of his job. I’m sure he knows it’s not a strength of his, and he never said anything about it, but I’m sure it made him feel pretty crappy to have a reminder like that.

    2. Kaysong*

      There was a sign put up in the bathroom (by one of the AP clerks) at a construction company I worked for that had a misspelled word and a typo in it. Waist instead of waste and remmber instead of remember.

      Every time I saw the sign (multiple times a day), I internally cringed but I never said a word to anyone about it and I certainly didn’t copyedit it. It’s not nice and really not worth it.

      1. Chief Bottle Washer*

        Same here. I always jokingly wondered what a “curtsey flush” was, but certainly didn’t copy edit it to “courtesy”.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        Same here. I control the urge to cross out or rip off the bottom part of the paper on the door that reads:

        It would be sooo easy…but I just keep walking

        1. linger*

          There’s a treatment to help people avoid reacting to tautologous acronyms.
          It’s a PIN number number.

    3. PotteryYarn*

      We used to do this to our boss’s notes in my restaurant days. We were a bunch of snarky college kids, but he was one of my favorite bosses I’ve ever had and I still keep in touch with him 15+ years later.

    4. Gumby*

      I will admit that I laughed at the poster a co-worker got for me. It was one of those “How many QA Engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?” ones. Except it had an obvious grammatical error. I don’t remember what it was, but do remember that it was pretty glaring. The poster went up with the correction made in sharpie. This was hilarious mainly because it wasn’t some mocked up self-published thing but was sold as a product which had, presumably, had some sort of review before being produced. And it wasn’t intentional as far as we could tell.

    5. Haijlee*

      I worked there too! I remember those signs and they were on every floor. And don’t you know I had people on my team come to me and complain when their food was thrown out because they left it there past 5pm on a Friday?! But copyediting the signs were over-the-top passive aggressive. It happened on the copiers too!

  11. Jen with one n*

    I can’t find the picture I took of it, so I’m working off of memory, but I had a former toxic boss who disagreed with edits I made to a publication she’d washed her hands of multiple times, and included a post-it that said something akin to, “the lack of hyphens throughout this document will lead to CATASTROPHIC misunderstandings of the content.”

    While there were certainly areas that the text was using nouns as adjectives and would warrant hyphens, there was not CATASTROPHIC misunderstandings caused by their omission.

    This same boss didn’t know how to properly use semi-colons, so I wasn’t too fussed about her inconsistent applications of grammar.

    1. Toodie*

      My boss (and I am a tech writer) doesn’t know about past participles or the subjunctive, so I feel your pain.

    2. Corporate Lawyer*

      Ugh, misuse of semicolons is one of my pet peeves. Lawyers tend use a lot of semicolons, which is fine, but many of my fellow lawyers have never actually learned how to use them correctly.

      Really, I could write an entire post about horrible grammar in legal documents. People talk about “legalese,” but most hard-to-understand legal documents are simply poorly written.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Ugh, I’m currently dealing with a document in which two consecutive clauses contradict each other (honestly it’s as bad as “5.1 Rule 7 does not apply on Thursdays. 5.2 Rule 7 always applies”).

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Yep. I got a motion from opposing counsel once that was so bad, he didn’t even have the right client name in the caption. “Whereas” 100x times in the doc would have been infinitely better than his comedy of errors.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Now I’m trying to think of examples where the misunderstanding truly could have catastrophic consequences.

        1. ecnaseener*

          Ah, that’s an Oxford comma issue but I’m looking for hyphen issues. (Couldn’t come up with any!)

      1. Minimal Pear*

        I was just reading a book about the history of the semicolon (yes I’m fun at parties :P) and a man was actually given the death penalty due to the punctuation of the verdict, when he was really supposed to be sentenced to life in prison. He was unable to get it fixed, and he was killed. I unfortunately don’t remember his name/the details of the argument.

        1. Michelle Smith*

          That is one of the most horrific things I’ve ever heard and I would unironically love to hang out with you at parties. Don’t worry, there are dozens of us out here who’d rather talk about grammar and injustice at parties than pop culture.

  12. Yikes*

    At my last company, a couple of women, including the HR Manager, hung the *worst* signs in the stalls in the women’s restroom to address people not cleaning up after themselves. I don’t remember every word, but some of the key phrases were, “Grab ahold of that toilet paper like you’ve done it before. Quit leaving little pieces all over the floor”, and, “If it doesn’t go down, grab the plunger and try again. You’re not above it.” While I agreed with the sentiments behind the signs, I was horrified at the unprofessional and aggressive wording, especially since they were hanging in the main restroom used by customers, interview candidates, and other visitors. But alas, it was not a hill to die on, so I let it go.

    1. soontoberetired*

      I wish I remember what someone posted all over the women’s restrooms in one section of our building but it has been years. It was by some special conference rooms, rarely used. They were very aggressive, and I thought wow when I walked into the room, and then I walked right out because it was clear why someone posted the sign on the door and inside. It all involved blood.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      Someone put up a whole bunch of signs that said:

      If you sprinkle
      When you tinkle
      Please be NEAT
      And wipe the seat!

      If sprinkle/tinkle weren’t twee enough for you, there was a cutesy cartoon graphic of a blushing older woman pulling her dress down over lacy bloomers.

        1. Rocket Raccoon*

          My bathroom at home says “if you pee on the seat; wipe it up and leave it neat”

          I have small children.

        2. DataQueen*

          OMG yes. We had that wording in ours, with a clipart smiling toilet. It drove me to rage every time I saw it

        3. Linz*

          At an old job, someone put a post-it in the bathroom stall that said

          “If you sprinkle
          When you tinkle
          Please be respectful of your coworkers
          And wipe the seatie”

      1. Yoyoyo*

        We had an issue for awhile with people flushing menstrual products. This resulted in signs saying “these old pipes getting clogged is a very serious issue, so please, please, PLEASE flush only toilet tissue!”

        Why do these things have to rhyme?!

    3. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      Um, maybe this makes me a snob but I’m not plunging the toilets at work. Sorrynotsorry.

      1. Yikes*

        I felt the same way! There’s an unavoidable amount of splashage that happens while plunging, and while it’s gross at home, it’s a deal breaker in a public restroom.

          1. Ocean Waves*

            What on Earth? Leaving your own waste for another person to clean is inappropriate. If the plunger is there to be grabbed, you should not need a sign to tell you to use it.

            1. Yoyoyo*

              Yeah honestly, I would rather plunge it myself (and have done so) than ask someone else to clean up my waste. I know I could pretend to have just walked into the bathroom and found it that way, but I would know the truth and the mortification would kill me.

            2. Observer*

              If a plunger is there.

              But also, I don’t have a problem with using a plunger. But the way the comment was put was very much along the lines of “you broke it, you bought it.” And in most public toilets, that’s often not the case.

              1. Michelle Smith*

                Yeah, I don’t know about all that. In most “public” toilets, there isn’t a plunger in my experience. In those cases, it would likely be appropriate to flag down a janitor who has one and ask for their help apologetically. And if you can’t find one, oh well.

                At work though? If there is a plunger in the stall? I definitely think you should handle your own mess to the extent practicable. And unless you’ve flushed the toilet so many times the water is at the brim, you should be able to do it quickly without making further mess or splashes. I literally cannot clean to save my life (it’s a major issue in my life) but have never needed more than 20 seconds with a plunger and have never had splashing problems.

              2. Leenie*

                Of course, if the toilet clogs up often enough that they keep a plunger in the stall, that would indicate some kind of structural problem and not… let’s call it user error. Which doesn’t mean the user shouldn’t give the plunger a try. But it would seem that the building needs to rectify their plumbing problems instead of crowd sourcing maintenance.

        1. Roland*

          You clog it, you let someone whose job it is to keep the bathrooms in order know it’s clogged. Not quite as catchy perhaps but no, plunging not required in public.

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        What about the person who comes after you? Will you say that to their face? And the person mandated to clean it up?

      3. Sophia Brooks*

        Mine had a sign to “not flush tampoons or items with boodily discharge”. I could barely keep it together.

    4. Gato Blanco*

      Honestly, if I was there as an interview candidate and saw super rude signs in the bathroom, I would think twice about if I really wanted to work somewhere that displayed passive aggression in the office so blatantly!

      1. Ocean Waves*

        I’d think twice about whether I wanted to work some place where people left the restrooms in the kind of condition that led to the signs.

        1. Goody*

          This. The passive-aggressive signs would be a red flag that there are other issues to worry about.

      2. Yikes*

        That was why it bothered me so much! We were actually a pretty friendly group, and the signs were such a turn-off.

        1. IDIC believer*

          I’d be more bothered thinking there were such inconsiderate slobs working there and management so ineffective that others felt they had to resort to passive-aggressive signs.

    5. CommanderBanana*

      I have a personal threshold for those types of signs in businesses beyond which I won’t go there anymore. I know it seems weird, but if I go into a restaurant or something and there are signs everywhere admonishing me, I won’t go back. And, if your queuing or ordering system is so complicated it requires a zillion signs to explain it, you need to redesign it.

      1. umami*

        I went to a taco place the other day to pick up a couple dozen tacos for my division meeting, and I stood right under the ‘Order Here’ sign where the workers were making the tortillas. I stood there, they looked at me, I looked at them, they kept making tortillas and looked at me again while I looked at them. I finally said, Is this where you order the tacos? And then one said No, you need to go to the register. Where there was a sign that said ‘Pay Here’. So I ordered and then prepared to pay and was told No, you pay over there (indicating another register at a different counter). I’m like, why are these signs even there?

        1. CommanderBanana*

          Hah, I went to a gelato place last night that was set up in a very counter-intuitive way (I think to keep the line from spilling into the street?). There were signs but the staff was exasperatedly telling everyone they had to order/pay first before picking out their ice cream, and everyone was just milling around looking bewildered since the setup is the exact opposite of every other ice cream store, and you walk past all the ice cream to pay before you see the ice cream…?

          1. Kw10*

            But for ice cream shops that makes total sense!! With the normal setup, you’re handed a huge dripping ice cream cone and then have to try to juggle it (without dropping it or dripping) while getting out wallet, change, etc. I’ve long wondered why more US ice cream shops don’t have people pay first. (Yes, I’ve probably put too much thought into this, lol!)

        2. Usagi*

          A taco place where I live has a online order pickup sign, but there’s no shelf/table/counter there. It’s just a corner of the restaurant. You actually are supposed to pick up your stuff at the register, but it’s not clear at all (e.g., you don’t see rows of online orders ready to be grabbed or anything like that). The sign isn’t even a permanent one, it’s hanging from the ceiling so it’s not as simple as “just taking it down” but it is as simple as “put down a step stool and then just take it down.”

      2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Once at a swimming pool there were signs in all the changing booths saying not to wring your swimsuit out. Like I’m supposed to take my swimsuit home sopping wet? I have every sympathy for cleaners, but I got my pen out and wrote “where can we wring them out then?”
        They were no longer there a week later.

    6. It's Marie - Not Maria*

      After having to be the person who has plunged more toilets in a work setting than I care to think about, I can relate. (Somehow this an HR function, who knew?) I can relate to the person’s frustration. It is usually the same handful of people who don’t plunge, and they know they are leaving a mess for someone else to clean up. I get it, some people have health issues which make the results of using the restroom more unpleasant than it is for others, but still, I would hate to see some people’s home bathrooms.

  13. JB (not in Houston)*

    Oh no, my pet peeve! No, not the notes themselves (although sometimes it’s the notes), it’s calling these notes passive-aggressive. By definition, leaving a clear, to-the-point note is not passive-aggressive just because it’s not addressed to a specific person by name. I’m not trying to be nitpicky–this is my pet peeve because using the term passive-aggressive is an unfair and incorrect criticism of these kinds of notes, which are sometimes called for. Also, it’s an example of term creep, where using a phrase incorrectly waters down the meaning of the word, so it’s less clear and less meaningful when used correctly. I know I am on the losing end of this battle, but true passive-aggressive behavior is terrible and we need to maintain a term for it that distinguishes it from other behavior we don’t like.

    It is not lost on me that leaving this comment may be the virtual equivalent of one of these notes.

    1. mlem*

      Agreed — especially with asynchronous schedules. The cat shelter where I volunteer tends to have note battles, but cleaning shifts pretty much never overlap; how is Thumbelina supposed to know which people don’t remember to refill the water fountain? How is Pinkie supposed to know which people see that note and then overfill the fountain so that it leaks? How am I supposed to know who opened cats of cat food, used part of them, put a plastic cap on them, and then PUT THEM BACK IN THE CABINET instead of in the fridge? (Might have been the shift before mine … but might not.)

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      It’s passive-aggressive because people don’t address this directly; they let it fester until they feel an anonymous note is the only way to address it. So yes, it is passive aggressive.

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

        How is leaving a note not addressing it directly, when the person doesn’t know who’s engaging in the behavior being addressed, or if multiple people are the offenders?

      2. anonaccountant*

        How could you address most of these things directly when you don’t know who is failing to do their dishes or make a new pot of coffee when they use it up? Sure, it’s passive-aggressive if you know the offender and choose to just leave an anonymous note rather than speak to them, but, often, notes are necessary to communicate expectations in a shared space or to correct behavior when it can’t be pinpointed to an individual.

          1. anonaccountant*

            I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. Calling a staff meeting to tell people to do their dishes seems rather over-the-top. A straightforward note is direct, less aggressive, and generally unobtrusive to those who aren’t offending.

          2. Observer*

            Are you serious? Or is this snark?

            Because the idea of a staff meeting to address “Who didn’t flush the toilet” is. . .

            When I see a sign in the bathroom reminding people to clean up after themselves, I roll my eyes and move on. If someone actually WASTED MY TIME, and theirs to schedule a staff meeting to tell people to clean up after themselves? If you don’t have anything better to do, fine. That doesn’t make it ok to waste everyone else’s time!

            1. H3llifIknow*

              Sure. If a meeting was called for that express purpose. But, most offices seem to have *in my experience* regularly scheduled meetings weekly or so, at the end of which it’s easy to say, “Ok an on a housekeeping (or administrative or whatever) note, let’s all be mindful of…. flushing the toilet/washing your dishes/removing your papers from the copier/fixing a jam” whatever it might be. But yeah, calling a meeting JUST for that would make me strain an eyeball rolling it.

              1. Observer*

                Weekly staff meetings? Not anywhere I have ever worked. I know that such things do happen, but it’s absolutely not a safe assumption.

              2. Michelle Smith*

                I haven’t worked at many places where that was a thing. And if my boss has a meeting with our small team, but the issue is actually caused by someone on a different team on the floor, talking to us about it in our staff meeting does literally nothing to address the issue.

                Now that I think about it, I have never once in 15 years of professional experience across several jobs in multiple states (in the US) worked on a team that didn’t share workspace with at least one other team that reported to someone else. I get people don’t like signs, but sometimes they are the only surefire way to communicate when you don’t know who is causing the problem.

          3. Office Lobster DJ*

            I don’t personally see much difference between an anonymous note saying “Please stop leaving dishes in the sink” and someone at a staff meeting saying “Everyone, please stop leaving dishes in the sink.” Honestly, I could even give a pass the first time if there’s a known culprit, if it’s meant in a face-saving manner.

            It’s a different story if the note is condescending, cutesy, or controlling, but anonymous notes by themselves aren’t evil.

          4. Leenie*

            The receptionist who gets stuck cleaning up after anonymous people’s messes is supposed to call a staff meeting?

          5. Geraldine*

            Do you all not actually have regular staff meetings so that these items can just be added to the agenda? C’mon. You’re going out of your way to be difficult.

            1. Observer*

              No. It is absolutely not the norm in many businesses to have “all staff” staff meetings. And even departmental staff meetings are not necessarily the norm. Many businesses do NOT have them on a regular basis.

              1. Zap R.*

                If I got up in a company all-staff meeting as the office admin and asked people to scrape their plates into the trash can instead of leaving bits of meat in the sink all day, I would be seen as wildly out of bounds.

            2. Snell*

              I mean, my workplace has regular all-staff meetings, but they cover big work-related stuff, not petty you-are-grown-ass-adults-and-are-expected-to-behave-as-such. Dirty dishes in the breakroom, bad toilet etiquette, that’s way too trivial for something like a meeting, much less an /all-staff/ meeting.

              1. Been There*

                Aren’t all-staff meetings meant for things that all staff need to know? This seems exactly the kind of thing that could be mentioned at the start or end.

                1. Michelle Smith*

                  All staff meetings at my organization (1) are not mandatory and do not include all staff as we often have other work we need to do and (2) would include approx. 800-900 people if everyone showed up, from locations as far apart as upstate New York and southern California. So no, it would not make sense to talk about the kitchen in one of the dozen or so offices at an all staff meeting.

                  It also would not make sense to call a staff meeting for the office I work out of, which is spread across multiple floors of a massive office building, because most of us are on separate teams and don’t have work that overlaps.

                  I just don’t understand why people are so put out by signs.

            3. anonaccountant*

              No, we don’t! We have quarterly all-hands meetings that go over company performance, and it would be wildly out of line to address dirty dishes at one of these, particularly when it’s localized to a kitchen that only serves three departments. I could see your example being appropriate for a small business, but I can’t imagine that at a large company.

              No one is being difficult – all we’re saying is that not all signs are inherently passive-aggressive, and that there are times when it is an appropriate solution. I’m honestly confused as to why that’s so controversial.

            4. Hedi*

              Sure, but some of us work in offices with multiple departments per floor that all use the same amenities. I really couldn’t just call all these departments together and say “Please don’t leave things in the fridge until they form a crust of mold” and “Clean up after yourself in the copy room.”

            5. Cyndi*

              The last three offices I’ve worked in have been 24/5 so this physically wouldn’t be possible. Any “all hands” meeting has to be held at least three times to get everyone, and something has to be pretty major to merit three work stoppages in a single day. So yeah, any communication about facilities use comes via signs or mass email.

            6. Michelle Smith*

              I addressed this above, but literally no lol. I have never once in 15 years of professional experience across several jobs in multiple states (in the US) worked on a team that didn’t share workspace with at least one other team that reported to someone else. In one job, we shared a floor and common areas with a completely different non-profit organization. We certainly weren’t calling joint staff meetings with them to discuss the kitchen or conference room…

          6. Decima Dewey*

            The guilty person will assume you couldn’t possibly mean them, and everyone else will be annoyed.

            1. Katherine Boag*

              THIS. In one of my hobbies, poor performance issues are called out to the whole group, ie ‘why isn’t anyone doing X?’ the people at fault think ‘it isnt my job to do X, they’re yelling at someone else’ and the people not at fault get cross they’re being lumped in together with the people who are. and then we go another round and still noone does X.

          7. JSPA*

            You’re going to pull 20 some people off-task to have a meeting about something that one or two of them are doing wrong–or send an email to an entire department–rather than leaving written directions that will be seen only by the people who are likely to be involved in the issue?

            There’s nothing intrinsically offensive about the written word. Or paper. Or tape.

      3. Nina*

        How are you supposed to address bad behavior from unidentified parties, which is what most bathroom and breakroom sins are? loaf around the general area until they do it again and then address them directly in person? or write a note? jesus.

    3. Pink Brownie*

      I’m with you. I can’t even think of a passive/aggressive example of a note off the top of my head. Most of them are pretty straightforward, if not downright aggressive, sometimes!

      My pet peeve is calling something “ironic,” which isn’t – I’m looking at you, Alanis!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Isn’t the only actual example of irony in that song the fact that none of her examples are actually ironic?

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Yes and IIRC she’s even been involved in a parody of the song before. I still think it’s a great song though!

        1. Leelee Spaghetti*

          Our dirty-dishes scolding is a Mr. T. meme saying he pities the fool for doing do their dishes, which pops up front and centre after a particularly messy week. The dishwasher runs most days, so it’s relatively easy to just pop dishes in the washer rather than leave them on the sink.

          We also have a sign on the dishwasher demanding that people scrape their dishes with THE SPATULA before putting them in the washer, which seems excessive, and rather pointed and no one can seem to remember how or why the sign exists or the rule was made. There also doesn’t appear to be a spatula available to facilitate said scraping.

    4. TootsNYC*

      I’m with you. People use “passive aggressive” to mean “snarky,” and that’s completely not passive.

      I actually don’t think true passive-aggressive behavior is automatically terrible–it’s just another way for someone to express themselves. It’s no more horrible than yelling at someone. It’s just useful to recognize it for what it is.

      True passive aggression: You don’t want to go to the party, but you don’t want to directly say so, so you take forever to get ready and make everyone late. So you’ve “struck out” at people by making them late (that’s the aggression), but you did it through things you didn’t do (that’s the passive) and without being direct.

      1. Jackalope*

        A friend of mine who grew up in Alaska pointed out that passive aggressiveness is different from (and not as bad as) aggressive aggressiveness, which can escalate quickly. It can be useful for a situation where you’re stuck in an inescapable situation with someone you have a disagreement with; for example, you can only manage so much fighting if you can’t storm out of the house and go for a long walk to calm down because it’s winter in the Arctic.

        I agree with JB (not in Houston) that many of these examples are not truly passive aggressive. And in many cases being passive agressive isn’t the best option and there are others. But it’s also important to remember that there are worse options.

        1. Freida*

          I have a theory about how Scandinavians immigrated to Minnesota and created the U.S.’s most passive-aggressive region for exactly this reason.

    5. Serin*

      It’s not passive-aggressive to leave a note in the shared kitchen saying, “Please wash and dry mugs after use.”

      It’s passive-aggressive to leave one that says, “Your mother doesn’t work here.”

    6. Nom*

      Totally agree. When I read Alison’s post, i assumed this was about things like anonymous notes left on people’s desks. Leaving a note in the kitchen is usually not passive aggressive… it’s just a normal way to communicate about items in the kitchen. Now if the note said “Ron don’t forget to do your dishes” it would be passive aggressive (unless intended as a joke).

    7. IDIC believer*

      JB, I agree completely. I don’t consider the signs passive-aggressive though perhaps written poorly, but the signs indicate there are inconsiderate slobs working there. These same slobs get offended and continue their inconsiderate actions.

    8. DJ*

      The term passive aggressive is also often referred to in relation to the actions of someone who is applying consequences. E.g. someone provides say a coffee peculator and ask ppl to clean it after use. No one does so they remove it. Then it’s called “passive aggressive”

    9. Just why*

      I think I need to politely disagree with you, there’s a definitely difference between notes and PASSIVE AGGRESIVE NOTES (caps required) and I don’t think Alison is asking is asking for straight to the point reminders, she’s asking for notes dripping with condescension.
      Think less “Please clean the microwave after use” and more “The cleaning fairies have been worked to death, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF OR BRING YOUR MUM IN IF SHE CLEANS UP AFTER YOU!!!” (with a clip art of Tinkerbell and a gravestone).
      (and yes that was an actual sign I saw in a work kitchen once)

    10. Donkey Hotey*

      I hate to say it but this is a “not all” situation.
      Yes, there are some notes that are well-written and direct. I’m glad you have that experience. Meanwhile, every job I’ve had had posted some equivalent of “your mother doesn’t work here, please clean up” which is passive aggressive.

  14. NervousHoolelya*

    The best work sign I’ve ever seen — not passive agressive, just funny and effective — was posted at my grad school job. The sign had a piece of burnt popcorn glued to it and read “WARNING! Microwave is darn powerful!”

    Twenty-mumble years later, I still think about it every time I microwave popcorn.

  15. IAAL*

    There is a sign in a bathroom that I have been known to use that is your typical “only flush toilet paper” sign…except the list of things on the sign that you are NOT to flush includes jewelry. I have been wondering for a decade who is the person who flushed jewelry such that someone thought to include it on the sign.

    1. Web Crawler*

      I wonder if somebody’s jewelry fell off one time into the toilet bowl and they either didn’t notice or didn’t want to retrieve it. (That’s my one and only idea here.)

      1. Cat*

        I know of one case where someone’s badge fell off their lanyard and they accidentally flushed their badge. It happens.

      2. Delta Delta*

        This. I had a necklace that had a faulty clasp. One day I stood up from the toilet and was dismayed to find that my necklace had undone itself, slithered down through my shirt, and into the bowl.

        Did you know you can bleach sterling silver and still not want to wear it again? You do now.

        1. Helen J*

          A coworker’s cell phone fell from her back pants pocket into the toilet. She fished it out (no gloves, put it in a bowl of rice and when it dried out, started using it again. Didn’t even wipe it with a disinfecting cloth or anything. This was approximately 12 years ago. Now I know cell phones are bloody expensive, but there is no way in heck I could do that. I make sure to back up my stuff and transfer to computer ASAP.

          1. Sarah*

            Many years ago, I dropped my pager in the toilet & flushed just before I noticed. Then I ran to a phone to page it, hoping I’d hear it somewhere in that old building’s pipes. Alas.

      3. Common Taters on the Ax*

        I once dropped my keys into an automatic flush toilet. At a rest stop. On a solo car trip. With my cell phone locked in the car. I froze and then, when I moved ever so slightly to try to adjust to get them, the flush went off. I definitely dove in after them with no qualms and barely got my hand on them in time.

        1. Marcina*

          This exact thing happened to me! Pre-cell phone days, also driving across the country on my own for the first time. And I also went through that *exact* sequence of thoughts/actions from the freeze to the dive! Sooooooo thankful I got to it in time. And since it was pre-car remotes, a non-chipped key and keychain can be washed with hand soap under tepid running water. Many, many times.

    2. Lana Kane*

      It would have to be some expensive piece of jewelry, or an irreplaceable heirloom, for me to go toilet spelunking.

    3. Totally Minnie*

      So many of these signs make it clear that there is a story behind them, and I always desperately want to know what that story is!

    4. Bad Wolf*

      We have some signs like that that explicitly forbid you from flushing small toys.

      Signs have been up for over a decade.

      Makes you go “hmmmm.”

    5. Three Cats in a Trenchcoat*

      I love wondering “what situation possibly prompted needing to include this??”

      I rented from a big, national property management chain that included quite an extensive section in the lease about how monkeys were not allowed as pets, and listed multiple different species as “yes, this does indeed count as a monkey, and no, it is not allowed”. Clearly there had been some Monkey Related Incidents but I desperately wished I knew the details

      1. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

        Oh wow I’m gonna be thinking about this ALL DAY. The pageantry of human experience is so delightful.

    6. sundae funday*

      I know someone who flushed her phone down the toilet because she dropped it in as it was flushing.

      I honestly didn’t think there was plumbing in the world powerful enough to flush an entire phone. And this was in like 2009, so that phone was STURDY.

      1. La Triviata*

        I read about some poor man who dropped his security badge in the toilet and when he bent over to fish it out, it auto-flushed the badge. oops

      2. I exist*

        Did this happen more than once in 2009 or do we know the same person?

        This happened to someone in our college bathroom and someone else immediately used the toilet to poop. I think the toilet stopped working the next day. Maintenance fixed the toilet and retrieved the phone. After sitting in rice, the phone still worked and she started using it again.

    7. Not Australian*

      My ex-sister accidentally flushed a bracelet in a supermarket toilet many, many years ago. Never got it back, either…

    8. Trillian (the original)*

      On a UK train a few years ago, I saw this sign (took photo): “(Red text) Please don’t flush (Black text) Nappies, sanitary towels, paper towels, gum, old phones, unpaid bills, junk mail, your ex’s sweater, hopes, dreams or goldfish (Red text) down this toilet”

        1. Rainbow*

          I was wondering when this was going to come up! Funny the first time, less funny the hundredth (and they did verbal recorded announcements of this entire message on entering the toilets too!).

  16. Correlation is not causation*

    Recently worked in an office building with several businesses and only one set of bathrooms on each floor. One day, someone put a bottle of poo-purrie in the ladies room, with a note that they didn’t want to smell other peoples s&*t and we all needed to use it every time.
    Added to that note was someone asking if they’d put poo-purrie in the men’s room as well, or if only ladies were supposed to have rose-scented s*&t.
    Added to that was a note from the original poster saying that it was rude to keep saying s*&t, and people just needed to use the poo-purrie.
    Someone dumped out the poo-purrie, all over the floor.
    Another note criticized someone for making and unnecessary mess and being childish about using the poo-purrie
    Another note claimed it was all the fault of the patriarchy that we were so delicate that we couldn’t handle a bathroom smelling like a bathroom.
    Someone printed out an article and taped it up about how much fecal matter sprays out of toilets when you flush them.
    Another asked if she didn’t flush her toilet at home, and told her she was disgusting.
    It was easily one of the most entertaining weeks at work.

    1. A Becky*

      (The solution to the “poop nebuliser” effect, by the by, is to put the lid down before flushing. I do, in fact, do this at home).

      1. mlem*

        I do too, at home, but the toilets in my workplace don’t have lids. They also sometimes auto-flush *when you’re still on them* wheee …

        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          The ones in our office go off if you lean even the slightest bit to grab your TP. I feel so bad for the left-handed people that are reaching to the opposite side of the stall for it, they must get sprayed every time.

          1. H3llifIknow*

            I am not left handed but I AM short and it happens ALL THE DAMN TIME. I sometimes get flushed 3x before I want to ACTUALLY flush! Then I stand up and the damn thing doesn’t flush so I have to do it manually…. Argh. Airport restrooms are the WORST for this for me.

            1. Betsy Bobbins*

              OMG, this happens to me AL THE TIME. I thought I just kept forgetting to turn my cloaking device off but it turns out it’s just a byproduct of my lack of height.

              1. mreasy*

                I am tall for a woman and it happens to me constantly! I don’t know why but it is crazy-making.

                1. Michelle Smith*

                  If you have a visible sensor, bring a post-it with you to the bathroom and cover it, or drape a seat cover over it. Then it will only go off when you remove the cover.

          2. JSPA*

            One learns to take a handful of paper before sitting, or one perfects the high squat (and wipes the seat after).

        2. Trillian (the original)*

          Particularly when it’s midwinter, and the flush is, may I say it, aggressive.

        3. LissaRose*

          And that’s why I wear a disposable mask to use the restroom anywhere in public or at work.

      2. Lady_Lessa*

        I do it at home and whenever possible when out. Fortunately, at work, I can do it as well.

      3. Yvette*

        Commercial toilets often don’t have lids and they usually have a more powerful flush and there you are stuck in that little stall…

        1. Liz*

          That’s why I re-dress, open the door, and reach back into the cubicle to flush as I leave the cubicle.

          1. Manders*

            It’s why in our work restrooms I’ll only use the large stall – there’s enough room to leap out of the way and avoid the splash zone.

    2. Nom*

      I’m guessing they didn’t put one in the men’s restroom because they don’t USE the men’s.

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      That is an epic sequence of notes. I’m a little envious that I missed this entertainment.

    4. Worldwalker*

      Pou-pourri is actually quite useful. And it has nothing to do with being delicate and ladylike at; wild animals don’t like the smell of their s*&t either if they can avoid it.

      1. Jackalope*

        The problem with pou-pourri in the office is that it’s can cause scent-related issues for people who have allergies and sensitivities. As someone who has experienced this, it’s not great to make the bathroom unusable for people because of the chemical smell.

        1. Her name was Lola*

          Amen! I don’t know about poo-pouring specifically, but scented air freshener is maddening. The 2 small one-person bathrooms at my workplace don’t have ventilation fans, so they get pretty smelly. However, my lungs and I much prefer the smell of poop to the industrial air freshener or plug ins that people use in response to the smell. I complained, coughing, and was told, “Sorry, you’ll just have to deal with it, because you’re outnumbered.” They did switch from the industrial stuff in the rusty can to Febreeze, but I still can’t breathe when I walk past or use the bathroom.

          1. Sophia Brooks*

            I am so sorry. Febreeze makes me feel like my entire sinus system is being poked by tiny metal prongs. I would almost always rather deal with bad smells than things covering up bad smells.

  17. Moo*

    Many moons ago I worked in a place that ran professional exams. We’d have big venues with lots of different course exams on weekends. We would post the locations and details of where to go all over the venue. Inevitably stressed exam takers would arrive in droves and walk up to our staff and say they didn’t know where to go and there were no signs. The staff would patiently walk them to the signs, ask them for their course/exam details and tell them where to go. It always caused a bit of stress but we all thought this was inevitable when you’re running exams

    Until one day, some genius had the foresight to include a sign that said “Please read the signs”. And somehow ignoring the possibility that you’d have to read the sign that directed you to read the signs, before you actually read the signs, it worked. People actually started reading the signs that directed them where to go, and not individually asking staff. Staff still helped people, but at least it was no longer all the people all at once!

    1. Sleeping Panther*

      Texas has warning signs on the highways that say “OBEY WARNING SIGNS – STATE LAW,” and I always figured they were useless, because what good is putting up another sign going to do if the problem is that people aren’t reading signs?

      It’s good to know that those signs do actually have a purpose, though it’s also disappointing that they’re needed.

    2. Nack*

      Oh this is interesting! I used to work at a place that had about 8 different recycling bins and the contents could not be mixed. Each bin contained a certain item and was clearly labeled. Apparently people were often mixing the recycling so someone added signs saying “STOP! Does what you’re recycling match the label above?” And I rolled my eyes so hard… but I never monitored whether or not it was effective!

      1. Moo*

        I was shocked that it worked myself – and probably wouldn’t work in all cases, but I’d done about a million exam days at that point and genuinely saw people behave differently that day.

        It didn’t remove the people that show up on the wrong day and angrily insist you’ve made a mistake, until they take out their letter and you have to read it to them and let them know it says a different day. (I did this myself once, turning up a full month early for an exam, at least my experience meant I assumed I was the one in the wrong!)

  18. Just Moi*

    Not terribly dramatic, but it stayed in the communal multi-company women’s bathroom for weeks.

    “To whomever took the Aveda hair spray for themselves:
    This was intended for everyone, not just you.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.”

    Simple and to the point.

  19. Reality Check*

    My coworker Jane and I have recently switched to remote work. It has not gone over well with our other coworker Susan, who believes remote workers sleep on the couch all day. But she doesn’t speak of it directly, just drops hints and does stuff like below:

    This past Valentine’s Day, Susan emailed Jane & I a picture of the break room which was full of sweets, with the following:

    “Bob brought in candy for everyone, and Sharon baked cupcakes. They were delicious, sorry you missed it. Have a nice day.”

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I would get my vacation photos from Disney, photoshop a laptop under my arm in all of them, send them back to her, and say “Sorry, too busy working to enjoy anything like that anyway!”

      1. Firestar*

        GLaDOS would probably say to her “you’re not just a regular moron, you were designed to be a moron

    2. Pink Brownie*

      Whoa! I wasn’t sure that any of the previous posts were passive/aggressive until you shared this. “Sorry-not sorry” my a$$!! Susan is full-on passive/aggressive!

      1. Snell*


        Lots of these notes aren’t passive-aggressive, they’re straightforwardly addressing an issue in plain language. Susan’s note is something else.

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

      I would totally do that to my remote coworker as a JOKE. She would definitely respond with a photo of her nesting on the couch, “Sorry, can’t hear you. I’m napping.”

    4. cncx*

      Oh my goodness what is WRONG with Susan, that isn’t just passive-aggressive, it’s mean! Please tell me she has other issues when it comes to not playing nice with other people

      1. Reality Check*

        You are correct! And she’s the most senior and has the most political capital. Naturally.

    5. Ocean Waves*

      Depending how close to eating crackers I was, I might be tempted to bake my own cupcakes and send a picture back. Good grief.

      1. Bob-White of the Glen*

        I’d just send a copy of how little gas I used that month. :) (My main reason for wishing I was WFH, oh and comfortable shoes.)

    6. Aggretsuko*

      “I had cake and ice cream at my house. It was delicious, sorry you missed it. Have a nice day!”

      1. Reality Check*

        I’m getting lots of good ideas from this thread on how to respond if this happens again, LOL

    7. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

      Ah, but not being in the same room as you, Susan? Priceless.

  20. Lana Kane*

    My team was re-org’ed (that’s my stab at spelling that) into a new department, and we moved into a different office. My manager brought with her one of those massive sticky note pads that people use for things like presentations and brainstorming meetings. We thought it would be a nice ice breaker to put one up on a wall with a “question of the week” for people to answer. After a couple of weeks later she found an anonymous note in her mailbox asking “How much are these note pads costing our department?” I suggested we make that our next question of the week, kind of like “guess how many marbles are in the jar!”

    Soon we found out that the office had a serial anonymous nastygram writer who would drop these off in mailboxes or people’s offices. That place sucked.

    1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      Any company large enough to be reorg-ed can afford sticky note pads. What a tool.

    2. In the Middle*

      I mean… I get the pettiness here. I work at a public school and there was a minute to win it contest with the kids where they wasted nine entire boxes of tissues seeing who could empty the box the fastest. All of the teachers were horrified-we have to bring our own tissues from home for ourselves and the kids, they are NOT provided.

      1. Gumby*

        Please, please tell me some kid thought to open the side and pull the whole stack out at once. Bonus: tissues can be put back into the box, the side taped up, and nothing wasted that way.

  21. a tester, not a developer*

    A note was put up in the women’s wheelchair accessible bathroom stall with a detailed map showing the location of the women’s change rooms and a note reminding people that the stall was not intended as an impromptu hair salon/makeup studio/ change room.

    (It was a triple sized stall, with it’s own sink and electric plugs. As someone who needed to use that stall and often found it in use with someone blowing drying or curling their hair, I was VERY happy when the signs went up).

  22. Kate*

    Traditionally, mail to a university campus comes through USPS and gets routed through the campus mail system, where longtime employees know where every little weird building is and where the safe places to leave packages are. COVID, and vast cuts to campus staff and reduction in mail delivery, coincided with a big uptick in ordering things online that are delivered by different services, like Amazon and Grubhub. I’m sure it’s frustrating if you’re the person in the office who gets interrupted by different delivery workers, or, worse, yelled at when someone’s package went awry or was delivered to the wrong place and you had nothing to do with it.

    However . . . I came into work one day and there were literally *40* different signs posted all around our maybe 200 square foot lobby, with colored font, highlights, capitals, etc. DO NOT LEAVE PACKAGES HERE. THIS IS NOT THE LLAMA DEPARTMENT. FOR THE LLAMA DEPARTMENT, PROCEED DOWN THE HALL (series of arrows.) Small furniture had been deployed to post signs in the middle of the hallway, where people would traditionally walk. I could just imagine harried deliverers coming in, seeing this Dr. Bronner’s label style art installation, putting their package down and backing away slowly.

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

      Even pre-pandemic our campus mail department would send an all-campus email reminding everyone that any packages delivered to campus are assumed to be university mail and will be opened for procurement inspection and documentation — please do not ship personal packages to campus. They then posted a photo of some clear acrylic mile-high-heeled women’s shoes in an Amazon box. I actually think that was a fake photo rather than a real package delivered, but I think it got the message across.

      We’ve now got a bank of Amazon lockers on campus so those are very convenient and the emails from the mail room have stopped.

      1. E*

        UNLESS those heels were ordered by the Theater Department Costume Shop. Believe me, we get weirder packages than those . . . .

        1. Usagi*

          We almost gave our mail room staffer a pearl-clutching induced heart attack when we ordered a humungo-massive fist + forearm shaped “toy.” We needed it because theater.

    2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      LOL at “Dr Bronner’s label style” because I have always wondered what is up with that.

    3. It's Marie - Not Maria*

      Literally going through this with Amazon right now. Rather than read the multiple signs which are posted about deliveries to our badge access suite, the drivers will ring the bell for the company across the hall. Which is clearly marked for that company’s use only. Their Office Manager refuses to let them in and refers them to the signs – which are posted right above and next to the bell they just pushed!

    4. The Leanansidhe*

      Also a Uni worker. The loading dock near my department has a large central pillar, with signs all over it saying versions of “DO NOT LEAVE AMAZON PACKAGES HERE. THEY MUST BE DELIVERED TO THEIR ROOMS.”
      There is always a pile of freshly-delivered Amazon packages, propped against said pillar. Unclear if the delivery people are being passive aggressive, or they’re just moving so quickly that all they read is “Amazon.”

  23. Whoops!*

    In this case, sadly, I was the passive aggressive note leaver. I was on the grand-opening leadership team for a well known wizard based attraction…the bathroom in the breakroom for the main ride was always kind of gross, people were bad at cleaning up after themselves, and I was sick of it (and also felt for the custodial staff that had to clean up after us). SO I printed out a sign featuring a ghost known for haunting a bathroom, and said “Keep my home clean!!” or something to that effect. Well, within 24 hours, upper leadership had taken it down and were freaking out because our contract with the movie studio who put out the movies were super strict, and we weren’t allowed to use their IP in unauthorized ways. They were worried representatives from the studio had seen it, and they were trying to figure out who put up the sign. I did not fess up to the creation of the sign haha. The bathroom remained messy.

    1. Dobby is a Free Elf!*

      Personally, I think said ghost would have approved, but only if you’d made it a bit more aggressive, lol!

  24. becky s.*

    Maybe NSFW?
    In an office I worked in 1o years ago, someone posted a sign in the bathroom addressing those who dribble and don’t clean up after themselves. The sign was in yellow ink.

    1. Newly minted higher ed*

      this was a problem at one of my workplaces. the new department that moved onto our floor hovered. I can’t hover because of a disability. it was not uncommon if I did I’d have to go home because it would set off a flare and I wouldn’t be mobile.

      so I put up a sign asking them to wipe after themselves since not everyone can hover.

      the sign disappeared and the problem continued. so I ended up having to hike to a completely different building to use the bathroom, which also aggravated my disability.

      this made me irrationally angry, aggravated by the pain. I understand the ick factor and am not asking people to stop doing that. just clean up after ones self (the facilities people did not clean that bathroom but once every couple of days because it was for staff and students didn’t use it). the lack of consideration astounded me and I have since become much more assertive in asking for disability accommodations.

      I like the yellow ink. send ick back to sender!

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Please don’t tell other people how to use the bathroom. Not everyone’s access needs are the same. I hover because if I sit down, sometimes I can’t get back up. It’s okay when I’m at home and can spend an extra 10 minutes or if I’m in the disabled stall that has handles to help me pull myself up. But sometimes even that is too much for my hip and I just have to give it time. I don’t want to be stuck in public bathrooms.

          I actually have a she wee type device I try to remember to take to my work bathroom because the seat is too high and if I climb up on it, I won’t be able to easily climb back down. And I always clean up after myself to the best of my ability if I have an accident (it’s harder in bathrooms that only have dryers and no paper towels, but I do my best). But please, consider that not everyone has the luxury of being able to sit.

  25. Judge Judy and Executioner*

    A sign appeared in every stall of the women’s room on bright colored paper in a big font with each item on it’s own line and centered that said “DO NOT FLUSH – Wipes, sanitary products, paper towels, diapers, goldfish, hopes and dreams,” etc. It makes me chuckle every time I see it.

    1. why are brains*

      I love that sign.

      For far longer than I really want to admit, I *did not understand* that “sanitary products” included used tampons. I knew tampon *applicator* should never be flushed, of course, nor pads, but I was somehow convinced that the that the tampon itself somehow counted as flushable. I can’t even guess what my thought process was. (You can roll up a pad so that its contents aren’t exposed, but you can’t do that with a tampon, so maybe my brain thought that made it more like toilet paper?) I’m still irked at my younger self over that.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        I learned this lesson the hard way (in my mid-20s) when a tampon-based clog cost my then-boyfriend $100 in plumber’s fees plus some unfortunate cleanup, which was also kind of mortifying as we were still in that honeymoon phase of the relationship.

        He married me anyway, and we have a house rule about nothing being flushed other than toilet paper, especially since our pipes are 50 years old. Now that I’m a homeowner with teenage children, I have a greater appreciation for my mom’s hypervigilance about not putting anything solid down the drains.

      2. Enough*

        Understandable as tampons were marketed as flushable. But it depends on the system and any issues it has. Had friends who found out their sewer line was compromised by roots when tampons clogged the line and there was a backup.

      3. Phoenix*

        I feel like that misunderstanding is on society’s discomfort with period products, not on you! Signs should just say “please do not flush pads or tampons” instead of using vague euphemisms like “sanitary products” or “feminine hygiene items.”

      4. anonymous ex-flusher*

        Oh, same, for embarrassingly long. They’re roughly the size and shape of things you do flush, I guess, and I’d seen them marketed as flushable, and it just didn’t occur to me that flushing a wad of cotton with a string on the end could cause major plumbing issues until someone spelled it out. (Fortunately, I never learned it the hard way.)

      5. Fran*

        I mean, most tampons market themselves as “flushable” so it seems reasonable to assume that!

      6. H3llifIknow*

        Learned that when we had to have Roto Rooter come out for a basement back up …. on Thanksgiving with a house full of guests and the guy comes up to give me the bill and says, “You’re good to go, but there were a LOT of tampons in there. Your 1 year warranty is void if we have to come back and you’ve flushed tampons in the toilet again.” I was sooooo humiliated.

      7. goddessoftransitory*

        Google “The Fatberg” to see the ultimate Eldrich Horror that can come from flushing tampons…

    2. Senior Bugslayer*

      In a men’s room, I saw an innocuous sign that said “Please do not flush feminine products, trash, or disposal wipes.” I chuckled at the handwritten addition “or grapefruit, baby alligators, and commemorative statuettes of liberty.”

    3. LCH*

      Facilities at a place my company was renting space from put that up in our restroom. When the real culprit of the plumbing issues ended up being tree roots. We weren’t flushing anything untoward!

  26. stephanie*

    I worked at a conservative christian non-profit organization years ago. (I’m still christian but no longer conservative, FYI.) We had a dress code that excluded revealing clothing such as extremely short skirts, super tight pants not covering the butt, and low necklines. Honestly, it was no more stringent than most places I worked. There was one lady that started working there and she was wearing some extremely inappropriate clothing, for any environment, but especially not for this company. It went on for a few weeks with no change in her appearance, so I guess someone thought nothing was being done. She put up a note in the ladies room on her floor that said (paraphrasing): We should not be wearing revealing clothes at work. It is making other people uncomfortable, and Jesus is watching. You know who you are.
    It didn’t stay up long.

        1. Usagi*

          Being from Japan (and therefore having very little experience with Christianity before moving to the US), I always wondered why Jesus and God were presented (from my point of view) in such a… voyeuristic way. Like… do they want to watch what I do in the bathroom? Or is it more like they can’t help it (maybe it’s a side effect of omniscience)? I had the same issue with Santa seeing me when I’m sleeping and when I’m awake. We do celebrate Christmas but it’s completely divorced from religion, and Santa in Japan does give gifts to good children but I never felt like he was spying on me.

          I want to be super clear that I’m not actually asking those questions here (I don’t want to derail the conversation), and this isn’t meant to question anyone’s faith or anything like that. It was more just culture shock when I came to the US for college than anything.

  27. Bird Lady*

    The business I once worked for purchased and renovated a building, and installed some wonderful new bathrooms, self-flushing toilets with stalls that had doors that went all the way to the floor and big basin sinks. Unfortunately, we had plumbing issues due to the city sewage system. For the most part this was never an issue.

    Except that this was at the same time the wet-wipe towelettes became popular for cleaning one’s bum. And everyone was using them!

    Readers, they did not flush as advertised. Some mornings we were greeted by bathrooms with overflowing toilets and used wet-wipes.

    My manager made me print signs that said in all caps: “Do not flush anything other than toilet paper in this toilet. Absolutely no wet-wipes!” Then someone wrote below it: “These are actually very bad for the environment and the water supply. Don’t be that person.”

    And then the great debate on clean bums vs environmental impacts overtook the workplace for about two weeks. (Oh, we laminated the signs to discourage debate.)

    1. Meep*

      OMG. My sister’s on-campus apartment kept flooding one semester because the girl above her kept using those stupid things (the plumbing was half-a*sed to save money anyway). They ended up having to fine the girl for the entire cost to get her to finally stop. After flooding my sister’s apartment half a dozen time.

  28. anon anon anon*

    I was working on a movie about Abraham Lincoln and there were signs everywhere telling people no pictures were allowed (“protecting the integrity of the film”). I stuck a post it note on the most prominent sign that simply said “Lincoln dies”. It didn’t last long and no one ever spoke of it. Still think it’s funny…

  29. Josame*

    A coworker once sent an angry email asking who had left the cart from the mailroom by her desk and stating that she didn’t appreciate this and it needed to be moved immediately. She sent the email to the entire department, including upper management. For some weeks after that, several people jokingly would ask if the Vice President meant to leave that mail cart by the coworker’s desk!

  30. Data/Lore*

    We had to have signs in our bathrooms telling people that *only toilet paper* could be flushed- not paper towels, cardboard, plastic, etc because it damaged the septic system and caused it to back up outside the entrances (which was horrible in the middle of summer).

  31. The Eye of Argon*

    When I was in college, there was a little sign above the toilet paper dispenser in every stall in every ladies’ room in one of the buildings. Someone had typed it, photocopied it, cut them out (very neatly), and gone to every stall in order to tape it up (again very neatly).


    Obviously, one of the staff members or teachers had sat in a puddle one time too many.

    1. Aiani*

      Wow that is extra! I really enjoy how her note implies that she somehow has fingerprints of the taff on file. I work in a job where I have been fingerprinted (security, it’s required by law) but certainly our fingerprints wouldn’t be used over something so petty.

  32. Meep*

    “I” got a lovely note because “I” parked in a reserved parking spot. I parked in a non-marked spot, but my coworker next to me parked in “Spot 19”. So the tenant left a note basically ranting and raving about how “Spots 20 & 21” were theirs. It was the equivalent of “You are ugly and your mom is ugly too.” My coworker (who was his own piece of work) not wanting to deal with it and wanting to scare me off from that particular spot (it was one of three non-reserved spots in shade and we are in Arizona) put it on my car. I rolled my eyes, took the bottom half of the page, wrote an apology telling it wouldn’t happen again and shoved it under their office door so it ended up right next to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and called it a day.

    Funny enough, I later ran into the guy and he apologized to me. Apparently, he meant it for the “hideous BMW” (my coworker’s car) and would never insult my “beautiful Mustang.” Neither of them work in the building anymore, but I still have the note because of how hateful it was.

    1. IDIC believer*

      I left a strongly worded sign (which I signed) on a coworker’s car when she parked straddling two spots in our already at capacity lot. I had noticed her car doing this several times until finally I’d had it. I never saw the car straddle again – AND she never approached me about the car sign. (I might have had a somewhat take-no-crap reputation.)

      Turns out it was the same woman the bathroom crime scene signs were aimed at. Those weren’t mine & weren’t effective. (She was a top exec & legal counsel, and an arrogant snob as well as slob.)

  33. Sharkie*

    Fresh out of college I worked a very strange job as a front desk girl at a law firm. The managing partner’s wife was the head of admin and was very incapable. She had no idea how to manage people and would manage staff by passive aggressive notes. I was only there for a month, but my favorite note of hers went like this:


    1. Anonymous 75*

      I would 100% get some gloves and use the coffee because I am a petty ass bitch. and how do you get around the smell of the coffee? even brewed it still has the aroma??

      1. Sharkie*

        Idk. This women was a loon. My 3rd day on the job she came back from a solo vacation and was furious that her husband hired someone when she was gone. Her first words where ” Who the fuck are you?” . She then dragged me into her husband’s office to demand that he fire me because she wasn’t apart of the interviewing process. It was so embarrassing.

      2. Sharkie*

        No clue. This women was a loon. She was on a solo vacation when the co manager of the admin staff and her husband (the owner) interviewed and hired me. on my 3rd day she came back and her first words were “Who the F are you” . She was furious that her husband made a decision without her.

    2. FashionablyEvil*

      I think we are well away from passive aggressive her and entirely into aggressive and hostile here! (I love her spelling.)

    3. Serin*

      Have we yet had a roundup of reader tales of Very Strange Jobs? It seems like everyone has at least one.

      This is a great example of the genre.

  34. Ann Furthermore*

    I don’t know if it counts as truly “passive-aggressive,” but the nuttiest boss I ever had once left a sticky note on my desk asking me to make a journal entry to move $0.05 — five cents — between 2 accounts that each had balances in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

    It wouldn’t have even bugged me if she had acknowledged her compulsive need to have everything balance to the penny, because I get it — we’re accountants and we’re like that. But the way the note was worded was like I’d committed some sort egregious infraction by allowing these 2 accounts to get out of balance by five cents.

    1. just a llama*

      This is often the sort of thing that banks do as system checks. You do a test transfer before moving big sums.

    2. Bean Counter Extraordinaire*

      March 31 is our fiscal year end, so I’m gearing myself up to do a stupid amount of exactly this kind of journal entry. I love our auditors…I love our auditors… I love our auditors!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’m sure they all watched Superman III/Office Space and feared that those “little” amounts would be seen as embezzling!

  35. Fluffy Fish*

    I worked where they did a kitchen reno and installed an on-demand water heater under the sink. There was no way to lock the temperature.

    It was a 24/7 facility and someone(s) kept cranking up the temperature.

    A sign was placed stating do not adjust the water temp. Someone (we knew who it was but couldn’t prove it) thought it was real funny to assert their authority because you can’t tell him what to do and cranked the heat all the way up. This was a general problem with that particular department – they bristled at any direction coming from above them.

    I went to wash my dish and scalded my hand. At least they stopped f-ing with the temp after that.

  36. Dell*

    Okay this isn’t a note but I though it was. I once returned from vacation and found a single onion placed on my desk in my cubicle. I was maybe 22, somewhat new to corporate life and I was baffled and terrified. I thought surely someone must be sending some sort of passive-aggressive message and it didn’t seem good. Maybe they were saying I smelled? I freaked out about it all day, terrified to ask about it in case it made me look horrible. I eventually mustered the courage to mention it an older coworker I trusted, it turned out that many people had received a single onion on their desk and this not unusual. The company had customers in the produce business, such as a prominent onion grower, who would send a basket of onions every holiday which folks would split among the staff rather than take all of them home themselves. I was so relieved!

    1. Managercanuck*

      This made me think of:

      “The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have any white onions, because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones.”

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      There is one on my toaster (directed to my husband – we both work from home so it’s also the break room toaster?) that says “PUT. ZE TOASTER. BECK.” (/Teri Garr from Young Frankenstein)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          When I first put it up, he told me I was lucky he doesn’t like Ovaltine :)

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I can relate! I have a couple that I typed on my label maker and stuck to the frame of my computer monitors (reminding me to stop talking and stop procrastinating).

  37. gideonfrog*

    I worked in a cube farm type office that had a few areas we called bays, where four cubes were combined to make an open meeting/work area where you could spread out a bit. The one near the marketing department was often used by the assistants putting together mailing packages–collating fliers and letters and whatever into dozens of packages to send out. When three or four of these folks (usually young women) would occasionally (like, every couple of months) do a project like this, they’d spend the time chatting.

    The afternoon after one of these sessions, a note appeared in the marketing bay saying, “Would you say those things if you knew your parents were listening?”

    On one hand, they were talking about their dating lives and personal things, and I have no doubt they were a little loud. On the other, I don’t believe it was truly inappropriate conversation, and “could you guys keep it down? Sorry, I need to do this thing,” is not that hard to say.

    But the best part was that someone realized that the Scotch tape that had been used to pin up the sign was glossy instead of the matte that the supply closet normally contained. Someone then spent the next day peeking into cubicles and casually looking at tape dispensers till they figured out who had posted the sign–unsurprisingly, the only older man working in that area and known curmudgeon (who talked to his wife loudly on the phone about repairmen and dinner menus on most days!).

    1. Francie Foxglove*

      Yes, great job sleuthing!

      “…unsurprisingly, the only older man working in that area and known curmudgeon (who talked to his wife loudly on the phone about repairmen and dinner menus on most days!).”

      Oh, ugh. Twice when I was in high school, older men decided to reprimand young women for supposedly inappropriate chatting. Except that if they’d been listening, they would have known there was nothing to reprimand. First, I was in the newspaper/yearbook room, half involved in a convo among yearbook staff about what to include in the national-events spread. A natural disaster, a man-made disaster, a political breakthrough, a political scandal… A male teacher was in the room and asked, mock-sternly, “Don’t you girls ever do anything but *gossip*?” Second, I was at a friend’s house; we were both just eighteen and about to vote in the national primary. First time voting, and we were taking it very seriously. One of our state senators was running; I was going to vote for him out of loyalty, but she thought he was too conservative and was weighing the other candidates from that party. Her father walked in at some point, narrowed his eyes and said, mock-ominously, “You know, I know some of the people you’re talking about.”

      “You know Senator Jones?” said I. Seriously, no snark: he might have! No, no such thing; just thought he was funny. And obviously not listening. Because the default for teenage girls is *always* mean gossip, right? Certainly not politics or anything worthwhile.

  38. Martine*

    People bring goodies to work to celebrate (birthdays etc.), but some people bring food they don’t want, leftovers from a child’s birthday and the like. Almost everything disappears pretty quickly. Except for a stash of spicy gummy candy the stuck around for days.
    A colleague known for her love of unusual – and spicy – flavors left a post-it note: “It wasn’t me.”

  39. ThatGirl*

    “I know who you are. Stop taking my milk. Have a great day!” Seen on a small jar full of milk in the communal fridge of a large company.

    1. TheAG*

      This week I ordered an extra sandwich so I could have it the next day for lunch, but we’ve been having lots of food theft when the off-shifts come in.
      I left a post-it on the sandwich that said “I licked this”. And my sandwich was there the next day!!

      1. There's a G&T with my name on it*

        A note to the wise: a message like that is just begging for a “so have I” written underneath..

  40. Hedi*

    Office fridge is a biohazard. Last time my coworker cleaned it out, they found stuff from way pre-pandemic, unidentifiable gunk caked in the back, and lots of gray, moldy food. The next time, they left a note on the fridge informing all users they’d be cleaning the fridge out again in a week, and anything unmarked would be thrown out indiscriminately, fancy Tupperware be damned. The way I could never, but I respect it.

  41. NotAnotherManager!*

    At my former office, there were signs in the kitchen that said, “If your mother doesn’t work here, clean up after yourself!”

    If my mother worked there, she’d haul me down to the kitchen in front of everyone to clean up my own damn mess because I was an adult. I assume if someone’s mom worked there, too, that she had her own set of job responsibilities that did not involved cleaning the kitchen after her adult offspring.

    1. This Old House*

      We had one of those in a former office kitchen, too! I think it was “Your mother doesn’t work here, no one wants to clean up after you.”

      The implication that my mother *wanted* to clean up after me made me chuckle every single day.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, we had one of those as well, but it disappeared pretty quickly when someone wrote “I clean up after myself just like my mom taught me,” or words to that effect, on the same sign.

    2. Samwise*


      One of my mom’s Sayings: I am not your servant.

      (others are: I am not a restaurant. Don’t make me come in there. Because I said so.)

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        My husband’s favorite is, “You don’t tip well enough for that.” (at which point the more smart-alecked of our children made him a tip jar and started dropping change into it when he’d short-order them a special meal or something).

        I use, “I’m not your servant.” and “That is not a service we offer here.”

  42. JustMe*

    At my office we have a Google Group space for the office, which happens to have a mouse infestation. We used to get impassioned, multi-paragraph emails about cleanliness from the office manager, but now if someone leaves food out, he will just wordlessly post a picture of the offending item to the Google Group with a mouse emoji.

  43. CatCat*

    I remember a sign appeared above the break room sink reminding people to “Please run the garbage disposer when putting food scraps in the drain.”

    Someone then came along and crossed out the “er” at the end of “disposer” and wrote “al” so it would be “disposal.”

    The someone crossed off the “al” and wrote back in “er” with a note next to it to read the name written on the “disposer.”

    I peered into the sink and, indeed, on the rim, it said “disposer.”

    That seemed to have settled the dispute. But the sign with its escalating corrections remained up for the entire time I was there.

  44. Your Social Work Friend*

    Not a note, but a legend in my building that happened the year before I was hired. Our school secretary is a saint and even though it’s not her job, she would wash the dishes left in the sink at the end of the day. Silverware was the biggest, most disgusting culprit apparently. One day a teacher and their assistant were discussing how rude it was that people expected our secretary to clean up after them, that it was disrespectful, etc. So the assistant picked up the lump of dirty silverware (over a full set, rumors say) and dumped the entire thing straight in the garbage. Problem solved. Now we have no silverware, and no dirty dish problem. I guess people are afraid the plates and mugs will be the next victim.

  45. New Mom*

    Oh man, this was from ten years ago but it’s still fresh in my mind. In 2013 I was working as a teacher at a small, private kindergarten which was really technologically behind. We had no database for student information and our manager was very inept. I think the only reason she had her job was because she would work insane hours for the school owner, and did not have any outside obligations so even though she was super disorganized and not suitable, she stayed.

    Our manager would hold daily meetings for us, all verbal, nothing written down, but she was also very frazzled and forgot things. The teachers brought templates for check-ins on Google docs and she refused because she “didn’t have time”, but then we would spend anywhere from 10-60 minutes a day scrambling around because she had forgotten something that one of the teachers needed to do. She then would write notes on random scraps of paper or post-its but to “save time” she would write in a shorthand that none of us knew. This caused many problems that we elevated to her but nothing ever changed.

    One day I came to my desk and there was a crumbled, dirty post-it that read “Micheal?” And that was it. I had multiple classes of students, and I think I had 2-3 Micheals at the time. No other information was provided. I saw my manager at the next passing period and asked about the note.
    Me: You left me a note that just said Michael…?
    Manager: Michael? What about Michael?
    Me: I don’t know, you just wrote Michael and I’m not sure what that means?
    Manager: Which Michael?
    Me: I don’t know, you left a note that just had the name Michael. Is there something I need to do?
    Manager: (Loud huff) I can’t talk now (shuffles off)

    Hours later as I’m about to go home.

    Manager: (Angry) You forgot to send a new textbook home with Michael!
    Me: I didn’t know I was supposed to…?
    Manager: (Angry) I left you a note!

    Different similar iterations of this situation happened throughout my time at the school. She also would leave last minute requests with a weird smiley face with triangle eyes on post-it notes and those little images would make me see red. For example, I had a free period where I had time to do extra projects but she would wait until the end of the day, as I was walking out the door to demand I do something or leave a dirty post-it on my desk with those creepy triangle eyes smiling at me.

    Wow, this made me mad all over again!

    1. UKLu*

      I was expecting that to end with the manager saying she left herself the note to check how to spell Michael! :-p

      1. New Mom*

        Oops, that was all me. My computer wasn’t spellchecking that and I always forget how to spell that name. My brain refuses to retain that information, lol.

  46. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

    We had a collage of pictures of fish that are acceptable to microwave (Swedish Fish) and fish that are not acceptable to microwave (so many pictures of random fish) taped to the microwave. It was violently ripped down by someone within 15 minutes of its appearance (most of the office only knows about it because the first person who saw it took a picture with their phone because it was funny) and the chick that I am pretty sure is our office secret fish microwaver STILL BRINGS IT UP to this day, over two years later. And gets visibly choked up with angry emotion. Over how rude she felt the fish sign was.

      1. Adultiest Adult*

        Glad to see I’m not the only one who had this thought! It’s fine until you manage to reach the temperature where it melts (it’s sugar so it’s not very high) and then the effect is very much like wax, which spreads out everywhere, can give you a nasty burn if you touch it while it’s liquid, re-hardens when it cools, and is a complete pain to clean up! I’d be too afraid to put up a sign like that because some smart aleck would do it!

  47. persi*

    “Do NOT take the board home with you. Leave it by the water fountain.”

    – sticky note found attached to the water fountain, no board in sight.

    The note itself wasn’t passive aggressive but I think the act of removing it from the board (which it was presumably attached to? idk I never saw it myself) and making sure it was visible counts.

  48. sundae funday*

    Just yesterday, my coworker put a note for the janitorial staff on the soap dispenser that said “Please add soap to this water.”

    It was absolutely hilarious. They keep just adding water to it… to the point where there’s no soap left.

  49. Tired academic*

    In one department office, a note appeared on the paper cutter saying “PLEASE STOP LEAVING THE FINGER-CHOPPER UP!”

    As far as I could tell, it had no impact on how often people left the cutter arm up.

  50. Ann Onymous*

    In all the bathroom stalls: Toilets are only for the 3 P’s – pee, poop, and (toilet) paper!

  51. Anonynono For This*

    Not passive aggressive but amusing non the less.

    Moral is a bit low. So management is trying to do things about it and in typical fashion is not addressing the actual causes of said moral issues.

    Someone decided to hang motivational signs. In the bathroom. Including the stalls. So now when you use the toilet you can chose which encouragement you want to stare at while doing your business: “Just don’t quit”, “Do your best”, or “Mistakes help us grow”.

    It did improve moral briefly by hysterical laughter but that probably wasn’t the intent.

    Infantilization at work is the best.

      1. Anonynono For This*

        I have pictures. They are very much signs that someone purchased from a teacher supply store.

    1. H3llifIknow*

      When the story began with “moral is a bit low….” I thought it was going in a whole ‘nother direction!

  52. HonorBox*

    While not passive aggressive, I still get a chuckle out of one I posted because I tried to make it look like it was passive aggressive. I used to work in an office location that was formerly something else. My office had a door that led to the back parking lot, which came in handy when we needed to run trash out to the larger bins rather than carry them around the building. The door was HEAVY and needed to be slammed in order for it to latch and relock. As I joke I put up a sign that said, “Slam the door HARD. This means YOU.”
    We all got a chuckle out of it.

  53. Rage*

    This wasn’t a sign aimed at coworkers, but a boilerplate for a letter sent to clients. Decades ago, I worked at a small music store (think band instruments, not records/tapes). The owners were off-site (I don’t even think they were in the same state) and left it to the store manager and his wife. They were…a little full of themselves, to say the least.

    Anyway, my supervisor, who was the Office Manager, found this boilerplate letter that had been used in the years before she had started, and shared it with me. It was a “notice of non-payment” letter, informing the client that the monthly rental payment for their child’s band instrument was overdue.

    It was mostly standard stuff, with a blank to write in how much was owed, how much had accrued in late fees, and the due date for payment before we would (unfortunately) have to repossess little Johnny’s saxophone. But the closing line was what did us in, and had us laughing like ninnies for days: “Please govern yourself accordingly.”

    It was so funny that we would drop the phrase in casual conversation to each another all the time (in outrageously pretentious accents), and leave little notes to remind each other to “govern yourself accordingly”. One time she called me at home on my day off just to ask me if I was, in fact, governing myself accordingly.

    For a store manager who used to throw things when he didn’t get his way, he probably needed the reminder more than any of our clients. Which, I think, is probably pretty common.

    1. Another JD*

      I’m an attorney and I’ve seen “please govern yourself accordingly” in a surprising number of letters from opposing counsel. It always makes me laugh.

  54. Statler von Waldorf*

    I once found a note on someone’s lunch in the fridge at work which promised that many, many terrible things would happen to anyone who dared to touch this guy’s lunch. The parts I remember include threats of orbital death lasers, being thrown into a volcano, and them releasing an army of attack wasps at any would-be lunch thieves.

    I didn’t touch the lunch.

    1. Cee S*

      Wow! There are a few notes on lunches here alone. Allison also responded to questions on this subject before.

  55. Nanc*

    Two come to mind, both involving toilet flushing etiquette.

    “If you’re old enough to go potty by yourself, you’re old enough to flush before you leave the stall.”

    “You must be potty trained to work here. If you can’t flush the toilet you are not potty trained and will be suspended without pay until you are.”

  56. Dr. Cubicle Farm*

    Elegant in its simplicity, a sign posted on a large glass window by a stairwell:

    No posting

    Someone wrote in ink pen on the sign, “(irony)”

    1. allathian*

      Reminds me of the meme of a sign standing in the middle of a field all by itself: “Do not throw stones at this sign”…

  57. merula*

    My office had a note on the shared Keurig in the breakroom that people shouldn’t refill the tank from their personal mugs.

    It never occurred to me that anyone would have done that to begin with, but I definitely won’t be using that Keurig now.

    1. Sunshine*

      I’ve done this but only with a clean mug! It never occurred to me that someone might use a dirty one!

  58. Bathroom Notes*

    There was a small staff bathroom away from the general lobby in the public service building where I used to work. Occasionally clients would use it, but it wasn’t a high-traffic area. One of the admins swore she was always cleaning the soiled toilet seat when we all knew she probably wasn’t. After she called maintenance four times in one week to clean the already sparkling bathroom, she made a laminated sign that said “If You Sprinkle When You Tinkle, Please Be Neat and Wipe The Seat” and hung it above the toilet. It started a giant war when one of the state higher-ups saw it, not just because it was unprofessional and weird, but because the admin in question was the queen of reusing stuff and making scratch pads from things like company receipts and things that should have been shredded. She printed that sign on the back of a private client file, violating HIPAA. And then laminating it. And putting it in the bathroom.

    1. Observer*


      Forget the contents of the note. I hope that part of the “war” was that she got FINAL warning to stop “saving” paper. That level of HIPAA violation is absolutely egregious. And given her track record, whoever was supervising her was at fault too.

  59. Honeygrim*

    Not so much passive-aggressive as aggressive-aggressive: the first time I walked into the break room at my previous job, there were several notes stuck all over the cabinets and refrigerator that said “LOOK! Nothing in these cabinets is yours! For staff use only!” I couldn’t figure out how nothing was for me when I was staff. It made me afraid to touch anything.

    I was bewildered. Found out later that, in the past, things had been taken by members of the cleaning crew.

  60. KayDeeAye*

    Our office manager and the executive assistant to the president (who seemed to consider herself co-office manager, for some reason, even though she was not) were very…firm that everyone should clean up after themselves after using the kitchen. But putting up a little “You’re mother doesn’t live here” sign wasn’t enough for these two, so they took it upon themselves to install a *camera* in the kitchen, accompanied by a sign that said “You’re being Watched.” Of course everyone should clean up after themselves, but come on, that’s just creepy. “Big Sister Is Watching You,” as we used to say. Eventually there were enough complaints that they took it down, but I honestly don’t think they really ever understood what the problem was.

    1. KayDeeAye*

      BTW, they actually did misspell “Your” as “You’re,” and they really did that haphazard capitalization of “Watched.” These things contributed just that extra little bit of irritation.

      1. Hedwig*

        ‘You’re’ is correct in this context. ‘You’re’ = ‘you are’. What were they doing with the film? Were they actually watching it or did they just figure it was enough of a deterrent to have the camera there?

  61. Dell*

    I have a fairly loud voice, and it’s the kind that projects. I’m an autistic female and my mother is a professional public speaker, I was pretty doomed from the start. One day I returned from lunch to find a printed version of the company’s “Ten tips for being a considerate officemate” with the line about speaking quietly highlighted vigorously. I found it rather funny since I had been super sick all week and had lost my voice so I had probably been much quieter than usual. I was also probably a bit too amused that the paper had clearly been photocopied many times over, so I imagine whoever it was just kept a stack of them in their office and highlighted whatever rule they thought was being broken and passed them out regularly.

    1. Ocean Waves*

      In some ways, this is sort of great, bc every loud talker I have suffered through in the past has been a man.

        1. allathian*

          A former boyfriend’s dad was a sergeant in the army and his voice was stuck on “parade ground”…

  62. Meghan*

    I got to leave an angry note!

    When I was in grad school, we stored our ice buckets above the fridge. Well, one day, a student put their ice bucket back without removing the ice, and also left it near the edge. When I went to open the freezer door, it toppled over onto me, drenching me in water.

    I left a note taped to the fridge that said, “To whomever left the green ice bucket full of melted ice (AKA: Water) on top of the fridge: DONT! Sincerely, a now wet grad student”

  63. Sangamo Girl*

    “I can now see Jesus in the mold in the refrigerator.” And then the usual verbiage about cleaning it on Friday and throwing away anything not labeled. I still laugh when I think about it.

  64. PotteryYarn*

    Guilty haha! I wouldn’t even call it passive-aggressive, it was more of a straight aggressive note, but it was written in jest. This was back in my restaurant days, when we were all young, friends, and completely unprofessional. I would definitely not do this now.

    We had a small freezer dug into the countertop at work where we stored ice cream. Someone kept leaving the door open after scooping out ice cream, which would cause freezer burn and make the ice cream rock hard and damn near impossible to scoop out. This was driving me absolutely bonkers, so I grabbed some receipt paper and wrote “If you leave this open again I WILL CUT YOU!!!” and left it on top of the freezer door. It was not in a place where customers could see it.

    Everyone who saw the note basically rolled their eyes (but remembered to close the freezer door—win!) since this was how we normally bantered with each other. Except our new assistant manager, Betty. She FREAKED OUT and started interrogating people to find out who wrote the note. My other assistant manager, Bill, pulled me aside and said he thought the note was hilarious but advised me not to do anything similar on Betty’s shifts going forward. I don’t think Betty every figured out it was me, but she “chilled out” a bit after a while.

  65. The Eye of Argon*

    This is the Hidden Hawaiian Hunks calendar story.

    When I worked retail in the early 00s, I had a coworker who went on a trip to Hawaii and she brought our department manager back a calendar that was all hunky guys in suggestive poses against Hawaiian backdrops. They weren’t totally nude but they were pretty darn close. It was really, really obvious that our manager was totally uncomfortable with it, but I guess she thought she had to be a good sport and use it.

    She printed up a sign that said something along the lines of “please do not mark down days off without checking with me first” and slapped it on top of the calendar picture, hiding most of it. She took the sign and slapped it over all the pictures for the rest of the year.

    Oddly enough, the next year she just had a normal calendar and didn’t bother to put the note up anymore.

    (I know you’re all thinking that this was a totally inappropriate gift, especially for one’s manager, and you’d be 100% right. But the coworker was super-ba-kooky-nanapants. Take my word for it that this was very far from the craziest thing she ever did. That was the time when she was hurling rolled-up baby blankets at a speck of dirt on one of the fluorescent light fixtures, because she was convinced it was a ladybug and she was going to knock it down and kill it.)

      1. The Eye of Argon*

        This woman (whom I’ll call Mariposa) hated insects of all sorts. Butterflies and cockroaches were both equally hateful to her. I guess it was a phobia, but instead of fear/avoidance she went after them with the fiery heat of 10,000 suns. Ladybugs were her mortal enemy, for some reason. This happened before I started working there but Mariposa herself told me the story with pride: for Halloween one year, the dept. manager brought in her toddler-age daughter dressed in a ladybug costume (aww) and Mariposa told the little girl that she sucks up ladybugs with her vaccuum cleaner and kills them. Of course the poor kid started bawling.

        Mariposa was in her 70s and a tiny little thing, always perfectly turned out. She liked Liz Claiborne suits. But she was also racist, xenophobic, loud, swore like a truck driver, and dumber than a stump. But she had worked at the store for decades and was pretty much untouchable. That place was dysfunctional in the same way that neutron stars are dense.

        1. The Eye of Argon*

          I feel the need for disclaimers. I also swear like a truck driver and I’m no Steven Hawking.

          Mariposa would bellow out strings of F-bombs across the department, which was children’s clothing, without a care for who was around. She also mocked me for having a degree in biology when her idea of a complete sentence was “wer closed as of snown all day”.

          She was also malicious and a backstabber and I don’t feel bad for insulting her at all.

  66. HannahS*

    Every single time I walk into the emergency room for a shift, I pass an empty hospital bed that’s parked in front of a sign that says “PLEASE do not park beds here!!!” with a photo of a hospital bed and a big X through it. The font on the sign has gotten more larger and the text more capitalized and the exclamation marks more numerous over time. The photo was the most recent addition. I think management fails to recognize that the porters can, in fact, read. They just have no where else to park the bed.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Right this is a good example of passive aggression. We know who the culprit is and just keep making bigger signs instead of talking with them to explain why the bed shouldn’t be left there and come up with a solution.

  67. Anonymous Badger*

    When I started at my current job, there were passive-aggressive post-it notes and signs that the previous Office Manager put up EVERYWHERE. They were about dirty dishes, letting her know when you used the last of the supplies, unplugging the coffee pot, which outlets/light switches to use . . . it was intense. There were so many you just stopped reading them; they were functionally background noise. I took all of them down eventually.

    My favorite? “Do NOT leave food on top of the microwave. MICE CAN JUMP!!!”

    (As the new person in her job, I just hired an exterminator after a few months rather than let the mouse problem continue. It was not clear to me why she never did).

  68. TheErstwhileLibrarian*

    I used to work in an academic library, in one of several small offices opening of an unusually wide hall with a single bench placed in the center. For whatever reason, this bench was THE spot for students to nap, recap weekend escapades with friends (!!!), take job interviews (!!!!), and have very long and personal phone conversations with the student health center (!!!!!).

    I tried everything: an polite and official “no cell phones” sign on a holder (was ignored), a sassy printed sign begging people to remember that they could be overheard by the heads of several departments (was removed by administration for fear of “reprisal”), and finally having facilities moving the bench (all activity promptly took place while sitting on the floor). Nothing worked, and even though I left that job four months ago I still hear from old work friends that the issue persists.

    1. Trillian (the original)*

      “Please be advised that phone calls may be recorded and posted to YouTube.”

      1. Aggretsuko*

        “We can hear EVERYTHING you say here. Including that you have an STD.”

        That said, I used to have to try to find literally ANYWHERE to call my therapist at lunch and there is NOwhere private/quiet here. There is construction EVERYWHERE.

  69. UKgreen*

    There are some large and very nice potted plants in my office, and naturally they became a target for the folk who would chuck the last bit of coffee in there en route to the kitchen. One day, each plant developed a small neatly written sign (think a regular post-it size) that said ‘please don’t feed me your coffee or tea – it makes me unhealthy’.

    Naturally, these signs were ignored and over the coming weeks and months the signs got bigger. And bigger. Until each plant basically had a sheet of A3 paper pegged to it saying ‘STOP TIPPING TEA AND COFFEE INTO THE PLANTS IT WILL KILL THEM’.

    1. Turtlewings*

      What a weird thing to do! If people are going to the kitchen anyway, why wouldn’t they dump it out there??

      1. UKgreen*

        IKR? It’s gross, and sheer habit, I think.

        People are still doing it, years later. I did idly wonder whether, when we were all working at home, people used their own potted plants to lob cold coffee into, or whether it was just these ones at the office that took the abuse.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          I water all my houseplants with the water my coffee machine uses to rinse itself. And my partner sometimes throws the used ground coffee in with the soil of the biggest pot. They’re all doing fine. My uncle who worked as a gardener told me used coffee and tea were great for certain plants like camelias. I consider it compost that’s ready to use and dump it all in the garden.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            We don’t dump leftover tea or coffee though because everyone always finishes their hot drinks in this house!

  70. Stevie Budd*

    My coworker lost her mug (or it was taken) and put up signs all over the office with a picture of it and “Have you seen me?” and other jokes.

    1. RP*

      I did this when someone took my mug. (A very distinctive mug with a teddy bear with very creepy eyes on it.) I made a tiny missing poster with a picture of the mug on it and posted it in the kitchen at the scene of the crime. A couple weeks later the mug was returned!

  71. Manders*

    I work in a laboratory, so technically we can’t have food or drink in there. However there’s a bit of separation between the lab benches and the desk areas, and most people will drink coffee or water in the desk area (university labs are much more lax – not officially, but in practicality – than industry labs). I was having a lab safety inspection performed one day, so I made sure that we all had our mugs out of the lab and in the break room. The workplace bully, who had specialized in being especially mean to me, waited until I left to use the restroom, and she placed an unsigned note in my mug – after dumping out all of my freshly poured coffee – and hid the mug under the sink (?!?!). Twice she did this over the course of the day. Both times the note said “This is not your home. Keep your mug at your desk like everybody else.” Keep in mind that by only having the mug in the break room, I was following OSHA laws. I had had an especially bad day that day, so I (somebody normally very quiet and meek) headed across the street and went directly to the office of the Director of the entire Cancer Center. I told him that if this wasn’t stopped immediately I would be calling the local news and reporting on workplace bullying. Within a few hours both I and my boss had received apologies from her and her boss, and HR had stepped in because she was such a notorious bully. They threatened her job if she pulled any other stunts like this. Over time she actually learned to like me and treat me with kindness and respect, so go figure!

    1. allathian*

      Some bullies are like that, to them a meek reaction is a provocation. As soon as you push back they see you as a person who can’t be bullied. This sucks if your instinctive reaction to aggressive behavior is to freeze or to try and make yourself even smaller. It doesn’t help that not all bullies are like this, some will escalate if you push back.

    2. Rainbow*

      Everything you said other than the gender of the bully reminded me of where I used to work! Serious kudos on talking to the director. I never would have, and never did.

  72. NeedRain47*

    Not mine, but a friends former workplace…. someone sent out a seven page email about how to use the restroom correctly without leaving a mess. I understand that the messes were a problem, but SEVEN PAGES.

  73. Office Sweater Lady*

    In high school, I had a summer job watering houseplants for a normally very nice lady who lived down the street. However, she was in consistent back-and-forth dispute with a neighbor with a bordering back yard, which for some reason couldn’t be fenced between the two property lines. When I went to meet with her before she left to pick up the key, she told me that her neighbors had brutally hacked back one of her bushes that overhung their part of the yard. She left a note prominently pinned to the remaining stalk saying “I’m a lilac bush. Or at least, I used to be…” That note remained for months as she “summered” in France. Meanwhile, every time I came over to water, the neighbors shot me death glares. Later, my client’s neighbor published an op-ed in the local neighborhood magazine complaining about her!

  74. Serin*

    Once I looked over the counter of a coffee shop and saw a hand-drawn sign on the back wall showing a stick figure with lightning bolts for hair. Caption: “This is Todd. Todd plugged in Milk Steamer #4. Don’t be like Todd.”

  75. LondonLady*

    Office kitchen where I used to work there was a sign posted above the kettle: “After use, refill this kettle and SWITCH IT ON!”
    Presumably someone had experienced an extreme version of the old proverb that a watched pot never boils (nor does an unplugged one….).

  76. Ann O'Nemity*

    The office coordinator labeled the coffee machine “TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS.” She used an actual label maker, which somehow made it funnier to me. The label stayed in place as long as I worked there… and may still be there.

    1. Serin*

      I write “lol” a lot more often than I actually laugh out loud, but this did make me laugh out loud.

  77. Plinth*

    My coworker who I share a printer with (but not an office) is convinced that anytime something happens in her office, another of our coworkers intentionally did it and needs to be informed not to do so via note. Most recent example was that a small canvas print she hung up fell off of the wall (command hook gave out) and she insisted that someone pulled it off! She replaced it with a note that said to “Do NOT remove from wall!” With multiple underlines.

  78. NeedRain47*

    I forgot to put out my work parking tag a while back and got a nastygram from my current workplace. It started out “This is a friendly reminder that this is a private parking lot and you may be towed” which is not particularly friendly, but okay, it’s just stating the facts…. then proceeded to take a threatening tone about “we have you and your license plate on camera”. If they hadn’t called it a “friendly reminder”, I would only be half as pissed about it. (I do not have the emotional energy or status to try to convince someone to redo it.)

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

    There was an issue with our cleaning people. The company changed providers and the new people only came once a week. Well when you have a few hundred employees and one bathroom you run out of soap by the end of the week. someone wrote a note and put it on the soap dispenser in the women’s restroom
    “I’m having an existential crisis. I feel so empty.” it included a silly drawing of a soap bottle. I wish I had taken a picture. It was hilarious.

    Don’t know what happened with the cleaning company. There were a lot of other issues but I left that workplace shortly after the soap issue.

    1. NeedRain47*

      Was this followed by an organization wide email about the correct way to report maintenance needs? Because that’s what happened in my former workplace, even if the notes were just “please fill” and nothing snarky.

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

        Gosh I don’t think so. If I remember right there was some strong words going around that it wasn’t appropriate or something. At that job we actually didn’t have a way to report maintenance needs except “ask Laura” who was sort of a combo administrative assistant/maintenance/shipping. I kind of feel bad for her because she always had so much to do.

  80. Melissa*

    I left one. I used to work in a Catholic elementary school. Somebody kept stealing lunches out of the fridge in the teachers’ lounge! So I printed out Proverbs 20:17 and taped it to the fridge: “Stolen bread is sweet, but afterward the mouth is full of gravel.” It didn’t stop the stealing but it gave everyone a chuckle.

  81. CallYourMother*

    “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be neat and check the seat.” It isn’t passive aggressive, but so cringe – the cutesy language. Both reminding adults to do something so obvious, but also adults who clearly need reminders…

  82. Library Lady*

    My workplace used to have different staff assigned to “kitchen duty” each month; that person would be responsible for cleaning up the breakroom kitchen each day and making sure there wasn’t any food or dirty dishes left out. It sucked because whoever was on kitchen duty for the month ended up washing people’s dishes and generally cleaning up after their grown-ass colleagues.

    It was my coworker’s turn and I guess a dirty tupperware container was left in the sink on the first day of the month. She typed out a note and left it posted in the kitchen that said “It’s my month for kitchen duty. If you leave a dish or container in the sink “just to soak,” no worries. I will wash it for you. I will also dry it and put it away for you. But I will put it in the deepest, farthest, hardest to reach cabinet for you to find. Here’s my first victim [photo of the dirty tupperware].”

    We had a LOT of cabinets in the breakroom. The person the container belonged to had to search through ALL of them to find their container.

    1. BlueSwimmer*

      My department head (high school) made herself a martyr about cleaning out the teacher’s lounge fridge and trying to get everyone to reclaim their old, dirty tupperwares. She hosted an end of the school year party at her house. We arrived to find all the unclaimed tupperware containers spread across her lawn with a poster (!) hanging on the front door telling us to claim our containers or they would be thrown in the trash.

  83. Jupiter Stupider*

    For state and federal reasons we had to display all our permits in a public area. One day a manager came down in a hurry and handed me a new permit. I don’t remember what it was for, but typically we scan the original and then put a duplicate up on the wall in a cheap frame, but the manager who gave it to me said we were being inspected probably within the next few hours and to just put it up immediately even if I had to stick it to the wall with gum and scan it after our inspection. So I neatly taped it to the sliding glass reception window in the corner. We went to lunch and came back to the permit in pieces on the reception desk with a note that said “you know I hate things like this, print out a new one and frame it”. One of the other managers had torn it down. She was known for being demanding, policing other people’s workspaces, and throwing out things she felt were “in her way”. She hated any kind of seasonal decoration and would take them down daily, she was a nightmare. It turned out that the permit in question had been mailed to us. And she ripped it up before I had a chance to scan it, and the licensing body didn’t have an online portal to print a new one. We were standing there looking at the ripped-up permit when the inspection team walked in with all three members of management – including the one who ripped the permit down. They immediately clocked the missing permit and my coworker just slid them the little bundle of paper pieces and the signed post-it and said sweetly, “well, Manager obviously didn’t like it.”

    1. Ata*

      I know it might not be as satisfying as your coworkers well-timed action, but I DESPERATELY need to know what the fall out was for Manager.

  84. Foyer Officer*

    A sign went up in my old work bathroom that people were no longer allowed to make FaceTime calls in the bathroom. There had apparently been an incident where someone was sitting in a stall on a FaceTime call and dropped the phone, which went under someone else’s stall.

    At that same job, one particular woman would stand in there for what seemed like hours, using an electric toothbrush and a Clarisonic. Multiple times per day. Every day.

    1. Ocean Waves*

      “someone was sitting in a stall on a FaceTime call”

      Boy, life’s rich tapestry, eh?

      1. Tinkerbell*

        Back in the MySpace days, I had to make a “no creating child porn in the library” rule because some of the teen girls would go into the (tiny, single-stall) bathroom to take topless pictures of themselves to send to random guys online :-\

  85. Shiba Dad*

    Over 20 years ago while working at a small company we each received a printed interoffice memo about missing the toilet in the mens’ room. This was written by our COO at the owner’s behest. I wish I had kept a copy of it. It was…something.

    The culprit was never identified. Years later I found out that the owner suspected his nephew, who was working with us over the summer.

  86. BellyButton*

    At a previous job, employees would come up from a different floor/department to use our restrooms. It was used as their “pooping getaway”. One of my colleagues brought in air freshener and it kept getting taken. At first the notes taped to it were normal “5th floor restroom”, “please leave in 5th floor restroom”, “Please do not take.” but the notes soon turned more aggressive
    Then she stopped buying air freshener and taped a big sign to the wall (I don’t remember word for word but this is the close) “Over the course of a few months I used my own money to buy 11 cans of air freshener and they all got stolen. NO MORE! You should be ashamed of yourselves from stealing from your coworker.”

    1. Slartibartfast the Second*

      We have a passport processing service at our library system which is appointment-only and *very* popular, so all the appointments are booked out unless you get lucky with a cancellation or wait until midnight to get an appointment on the next available day. There are no walk-ins. This information is in bold, red font on our website but we still get almost-daily phone calls asking us why the appointment system isn’t working. Oyyyyy.

  87. unstable marshmallow*

    When I was working at my college dining hall (a historically women’s college, if that matters), people would sometimes mistakenly cut the grapefruit longitudinally (so the cross-section was split hemispherically) instead of on the “equator” (so you could see the nice citrusy triangles in the cross-section). Someone got very upset with this and put up a note saying “IF YOUR GRAPEFRUIT LOOK LIKE VAGINAS, YOU CUT THEM WRONG.”

    It’s been 12 years, and I still can’t cut citrus fruit without thinking about it.

  88. Bunny Girl*

    This wasn’t at my work place but I used the restroom at one of those IV infusion places. There was a note in the bathroom about throwing away tampons properly. It said something along the lines of “Make sure your feminine hygiene products are thrown away properly. Remember, I have your DNA!”

  89. Not a SuPURRvisor*

    …oh I’m guilty of this.

    I had a “living” manual that was shared among my team members but I was the only one with edit permissions, and people were directed to ask me how to fix their errors.

    one man refused to read the manual but he was the cause of so many repeat crashes that I just kept bolding and highlighting after walking him through it multiple times and writing steadily more “eyecatching” DO NOT DO THIS, THIS CAUSES THAT, AND THEN YOU HAVE TO CALL IT. When he finally opened the document right before he left the company, he was mad because he could tell “I’d written them about him.”

    I forgot I’d written the notes like that after that guy left the company and then the new people started with us and began asking questions. There were much fewer crashes, though.

  90. Cup Vigilante*

    Not these words because I’m not in an English-speaking country but after people from the other department used our cups (which were clearly marked with our names in the bottom) my colleague put a sign in the kitchen: USE YOUR CUP ONLY, YOU ARE BEING MONITORED and a little drawing of a person throwing a computer monitor in another person’s head. It worked.

  91. Llama face!*

    The management at an apartment-style condo I used to live in posted this passive agressive note on the entrance/exit doors of the building after certain residents kept parking in the four guest parking spots in our lot. The funniest part was the typo; I got a good laugh imagining them actually trying to do it.


    (I’m counting this as workplace-related since it was our condo managers’ workplace)

    1. Pippa K*

      An apartment building where I lived once posted signs alerting residents to upcoming pest-remediation work. Unfortunately the signs read


  92. JelloStapler*

    A few years ago, a supervisor who tended to be a micromanager reminded us to say “thank you” to our VP for hosting our divisional Christmas party.

    Thanks, mom?

  93. Ann Furthermore*

    I don’t know if it qualifies as truly passive-aggressive, but the nuttiest boss I ever had once left a sticky note on my monitor for me to move $0.05 — five cents — from one account to another. The accounts in question each had balances in the hundreds of millions of dollars. And she wanted me to move $0.05 between them.

    It wouldn’t have even bothered me if she had acknowledged her compulsive need to have everything balanced to the penny. I would have laughed about it and done it without complaint. We’re accountants, and all is not right in our world until everything is tied out to the very last penny. But the way the note was worded was like I’d committed some sort of egregious infraction by letting these 2 accounts each get out of balance by a nickel.

  94. The Honor of the Fridge*

    I worked at an organization that addresses serious societal needs, and has a serious set of values appropriate to both the gravity of those needs and, um, the egos of the people meeting them. One day I went into the office kitchen, and found a 2-page note taped to the fridge. The note announced that *someone* had stolen the note-writer’s expensive caviar, and then listed our organizational values and mapped each one to the importance of not stealing other people’s caviar. Think “Members of OrgX are honorable – they demonstrate this honor by respecting other people’s property.”

    My favorite part was the assertion that the caviar came from beluga whales. I was sorely tempted to add a handwritten addendum related to our values around doing our research and making our reports accurate, but nobly resisted.

    Don’t steal your co-workers’ lunches – but maybe also don’t leave $100/ounce rare caviar in the office fridge.

  95. Resident Catholicville, U.S.A.*

    The same week I was fired for writing a snarky email, apparently SOMEONE in my organization- a Christian owned senior services agency- was caught cussing and/or cussing out someone else. (I’m not sure the circumstances and didn’t feel compelled to ask, as I was in the process of getting fired. It wasn’t me though- I did ask about that.) HR talked to everyone individually about it and then, I noticed, as I was walking the halls to the bathroom to clean myself up after sobbing uncontrollably while being fired, that signs were posted all over stating that no cussing was allowed. We often had clients and administrators come through and it looked wildly inappropriate to hang these signs (I must have seen five or six of them in the hallway and in the bathroom and the office wasn’t THAT large) where anyone could see them. As I was literally out the door though, I didn’t bother to mention it- not that I thought my opinion would matter regardless.

  96. double spicy*

    At my old job, after we had an event with some leftovers, someone once made a sign for the fridge that said “PLEASE DO NOT USE THIS REFRIGERATOR AS A TRASH CAN FOR CATERED FOOD.” (I paraphrased slightly, but that was the gist of it.) We finished the food within a few days, and I still think it was absurd, years after the fact!

  97. Marz*

    This just happened today – someone put up a note on his door in red font, all caps “Please return my trash can!” and it’s been there for about three weeks. Today I passed by and someone had written underneath “get a new one” and someone else had placed four trash cans outside the door with a note that says “here you go”

    I have been tracking the progress with amusement since the note went up so I pointed it out to my coworker today as we went past, and another guy passing by was like “Yeah, that note has been up there for three weeks, so we’ve started messing with him, he can’t walk over to the store room and get a new one?”

  98. Base Canaille*

    A few years ago my office was near to an lecture theatre. There was also a door nearby which led outside and required an authorised ID to enter but not to exit. I thought it obvious where the door led (it had a glass pane in it) but apparently it wasn’t.

    A frequent occurrence was students going through this door thinking it led to another part of the building, finding they were now locked out, and banging on the door or my office window to be let in. This got to be something of a distraction, so I put a note on the door:

    “This door leads outside. If you go out you won’t be able to get back in through this door, and will need to go around the corner to the main entrance (arrow)”.

    Someone wrote on it words along the lines of: “Outside is not inside. If you are inside you are not out, and if you are outside you are not in. Going through the door will mean you are out, and so not in, unless you come back through in which case you will be in but not out…” …and so on.

    Somehow, after the graffiti was added, the nuisance stopped.

  99. Department of Redundancy Department*

    I worked at a retail-ish job where sometimes we had to leave notes, because we wouldn’t be there the next day or we weren’t sure when we would work with someone next or who would be there. If I left a note and then I worked with the person the note was for, I would generally just talk to them. Well one day I come in and there’s a note on a product addressed to a coworker. It was pretty basic, like do you remember this order, there’s this problem, bla bla bla. He doesn’t notice it, so I hand it to him. He reads it, then looks up at me and says, did you write this? Writing it down seems so innocuous but I would NEVER hand someone a NOTE pointing out a mistake they made and then just STAND THERE while they read it!! I would just talk to them! It seemed passive aggressive on his part to ask if I was being passive aggressive! I was even more offended because this coworker was passive aggressive and I tried Very Hard to be direct so he had nothing to complain about me about.

  100. Not Tom, Just Petty*

    I got blamed for a passive aggressive note in the kitchen once.
    “Oh, it was funny, so I thought you wrote it.”
    And told everyone who walked by.

  101. HighSchoolisHell*

    High school teacher here. My last district took every opportunity to remind us that we were all replaceable widgets.

    We were allowed two days a year to wear jeans – the work (ie clean/organize your classroom) days in August and June.

    EVERY time one rolled around, our district HR dude would send a staff wide email reminding us that yes indeed we could wear jeans tomorrow, and to make sure they were “clean and in good repair.” You know, just in case we were gonna wear the jeans we fed the pigs in.

    Years after I’ve left that place for greener pastures, former coworkers and I will randomly send a text asking if our jeans are clean and in good repair.

  102. Rinse the bottles*

    Like many others, this isn’t technically passive-aggressive (maybe just aggressive!), but I work in a facility that develops food products, including powdered shakes. Because of this, they use lots of Blender Bottles (the bottles with the little whisk ball that you use to make up protein shakes, etc). Apparently people just leave them in the sink after testing out products and the lab manager had enough of it, because a sign appeared above the lab sink, “Rinse the damn blender bottles you filthy animals”. Point made!

  103. Free Meerkats*

    We have a meme of The Most Interesting Man in the World above the coffee pot with the text, “I don’t always take the last cup. But when I do, I make a new pot.”

  104. KT*

    I work in a creative field so we have all kinds of fun, low-stakes pranks. At my last job, someone bought dozens of little plastic dinosaurs and hid them all over the office. On shelves, on windowsills, on desks, in the office kitchen cabinets, etc. They were there for a couple of years and nobody fessed up to them, but we were all pretty sure we knew who did it. The main suspect eventually put in their notice. On their last day, we came into work and found that the owner of the company (it was small, ~30 people) had gathered as many dinosaurs as they could possibly find and arranged them on that person’s desk, all facing their computer where a slightly larger T-Rex had been placed. It was a giant plastic dinosaur cult. Needless to say, the dinosaurs did not leave with their originator, despite the hint. The employee did fess up but re-scattered the dinos before leaving. We wound up closing that office due to COVID so I have no idea what happened to them.

  105. Code Monkey, the SQL*

    During school, I worked at a Subway with an awesome manager. She was flexible, thoughtful, a great trainer, organized – a dream. She was the manager they used to establish a store and train the startup team. We were a good team, we were clean, we were fast, we sold well, she even taught me some really good work boundaries that I still rely on today.

    Unfortunately, TPTB then moved Dream Manager to the next store they wanted to open, and we got a woman who had been demoted out of Corporate. Within days, we started getting notes All OVER the back room.

    Dear Staff! I am a thermometer and I do not live under the counter! I live in the drawer! Please put me back or [Demotee] will be angry! Sincerely, Thermometer.

    Dear Staff, please move me to the back! I do not live under the prep table. Sincerely, Onions

    And the one on the whiteboard where we kept the schedule that made me quit: “If you cannot be bothered to mop, I will not be approving any time off for anyone! I am tired of cleaning up your **** and you are all pigs!”

  106. Elle Woods*

    A former coworker had anointed herself the doyen of etiquette–especially when it came to how food should be served. After one department potluck, she sent everyone a screed about how terribly inappropriate it was to serve pickles and olives in small bowls rather than from a segmented pickle dish. Also scandalous? That the pickles and olives were served with small tongs rather than a proper pickle or olive fork.

  107. nekosan*

    This is a note I left.

    Way back when we used to get a box of bakery goods every Friday, there was someone who would always tear off the huge, delicious top of a muffin and leave the poor sad little base behind. Nobody would ever want the base; it would just be thrown out at the end of the day.

    One week I finally got fed up and make a little flag saying “Seriously?” out of a post-it note and a toothpick and stuck it into the abandoned little muffin base.

    The muffins were never desecrated again.

    (Sure, the person probably changed to taking the whole muffin and throwing out the bottom themselves, but that was WAY NICER than pretending that someone else would want the tiny little squished fragment.)

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      Oh, this is like when doughnuts are brought in and someone insists on sectioning one into eighths or whatever. Half a doughnut, okay. But quit slicing and dicing until there’s nothing but crumbs! Eat the damn doughnut or don’t eat it, but stop destroying them!

  108. my other car is a terrible, howling void*

    In my case, I’m the one who made the sign and put it up, but to be fair, it’s because I’m the custodian as well as the admin/receptionist where I work (nonprofits, am I right?) so I often have to clean up other people’s messes.

    I try to pick my battles, but I straight up refuse to touch someone else’s used paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, etc. But stuff kept ending up on the floor near the trash cans. So, I put up a sign in all the bathrooms and conference rooms that looks like this:

    [photo of NBA player Stephen Curry]

    This guy’s free throw success rate: 90.9%
    Your free throw success rate: a lot lower than that, probably

    Please make sure your trash makes it into the trash can.

  109. CLH*

    One morning someone walked into our common kitchen and there was someone giving themselves a sponge bath essentially using the kitchen sink. A sign went up saying no personal hygiene in the kitchen. The sign stayed up for years and it was funny whenever we shared to new people what prompted that sign the looks of horror.

    1. IDIC believer*

      We had an office bather too. She would walk during her lunch hour and then bath in one of the restrooms – tying it up for 20+ mins & always got very irate if another woman used it. It’s Florida and extremely hot & humid, so yeah she needed a bath, but we could just not figure out why she was still rank after. (She kept liquid soap, deodorant, change of clothes, etc.)

      Periodically signs would go up about it being a shared restroom, but she just did her thing.

  110. Csethiro Ceredin*

    I once had a staff member ask me to post a reminder to check that you weren’t taking someone else’s printing with your own. I did, and then came back to find it reworked with the same wording, but much, MUCH bigger font size, CAPITAL LETTERS, underlining, and many exclamation points. Obviously she didn’t think I had reflected the Epic Seriousness of the problem.

    I was very glad I hadn’t signed it because it looked totally crazed.

  111. Mary Sue MacGuffin*

    I encountered one years ago that I still have a photo of because it struck me as ludicrous that it even needed to be posted in a professional office building (granted, some of our employees were grad students):

    Toilet Rules
    a) if you use the toilet please aim into it.
    b) please flush the toilet and make sure all toilet paper is disposed of and not laying on the floor or still be in the toilet bowl.
    c) if you use the toilet while standing up please lift the seat.
    d) as you may work on public computers please do not forget to wash your hands with soap.

  112. Jane Anonsten*

    I work for a very large company in one of the buildings at our headquarters. My building is weird — think of an airplane hanger with a handful of conference rooms, the restrooms, and two break rooms being literally the only internal walls. A bunch of teams were recently moved around and now over half of the building occupants are new to the building. Because our company is so large (and has locations in several states), part of our company values includes the phrase “One Wayne Enterprises;” it’s on all company-branded material, is regularly discussed, etc.

    Shortly after the new teams moved into the building, I was filling up my water in one break room and there was a bottle of store brand dish soap with a label in huge letters “ACCOUNTING USE ONLY.” So on my next trip to the store, I bought the largest bottle of Dawn dish soap I could find, brought it to work, and set it next to Accounting’s soap…with the label “One Wayne Enterprises.”

    The other bottle was out of the kitchen before lunch :)

  113. ONFM*

    I transferred to a different corporate location soon after it opened, and disturbingly graphic signs started being posted anonymously in the women’s bathroom. For example, there was a sign about properly disposing of feminine hygiene products with a picture from the movie “Carrie” featured. I have no idea what happened before I got there, but the signs were regularly replaced with similarly themed images. I just sort of shrugged and kept on trucking.

    Right before I moved on to another location, someone told me they would miss me “and the signs.” THEY THOUGHT I MADE THEM ALL! I never made a single one.

  114. Trash Wars*

    The big terror of our office is famous for her note writing. She recently concluded a six-month war with facilities because there was a skittle in the corner of the bathroom that was untouched for that whole time. Would she show anyone in facilities the skittle? NO. If they didn’t do a good enough job cleaning to find it, IT’S THEIR PROBLEM. This eventually escalated to the head of our department meeting the head of facilities to discuss “cleaning thoroughness.” Trashes stopped being emptied in our office as facilities rebelled against this incredibly frustrating and arbitrary standard (to reiterate: a person found a skittle in a corner and wanted it picked up, but not to tell anyone where the skittle was).

    One day while washing my hands I found the skittle and threw it away. The office terror expressed loud relief that “the new cleaning guy” was so much more thorough than the old. It’s the same cleaning guy. I left him a note saying that a) I found the skittle and b) threw it away and c) telling him where it was in case it ever came up. They cannot possibly pay this man enough for this level of aggravation.

    Sorry, I feel like this story has the wrong kind of note-writing for this venue, but the right kind of pettiness.

  115. Cookies for Breakfast*

    I work for a company that’s mostly remote, so most people are not in the office every day, and when they go, hot-desking is in place. Everyone is supposed to book a desk in advance. I expect most people have a favourite desk, especially because the IT equipment tends to be flaky (not every desk has a keyboard / mouse / HDMI cable, and some screens don’t work with certain laptops). That said, finding that someone else has already booked your preferred workstation, and you’ll have to settle for a different one, is a very real possibility.

    A colleague from a different division must have gotten fed up with people readjusting her preferred chair. I only met her briefly, but if I recall correctly, she’s quite short. Every time I’m in the office, I notice this one chair with a hand-written tag hanging off it that says something along the lines of “Cersei-sized, do not readjust :)”. The smiley face gets me every time.

    She must have enough capital to spend on this: as far as I know, no one else in the office would think of laying any sort of claim to the equipment (though I have a story about coffee mugs that I’ll need to remember for the next kitchen wars thread).

  116. La Triviata*

    At a former job we had a woman who when she was printing things didn’t want to wait for the printer, so she’d switch printers, often several times, and hit the print button over and over. As a result, there would be multiple print-outs of her documents at every printer in the office. Once, someone whose desk was near one of the printers, got fed up with having to go through bunches of pages of print-outs went around to the various printers, gathered up all the print-outs from this one person and stuck them all over her desk area – tape for the walls, or just spread out over her desk.