the Tupperware lawn party, the parking commandment, and other stories of passive-aggressive notes at work

Earlier this month we talked about passive-aggressive notes at work — or, more accurately for many of them, notes that are just plain aggressive, weirdly dramatic, or just funny. Here are 15 of my favorite stories you shared.

1. The motivational signs

Morale 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 morale 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 morale briefly by hysterical laughter but that probably wasn’t the intent.

Infantilization at work is the best.

2. The party

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.

3. “Sorry you missed it”

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 and me 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.”

4. The sign explosion

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.

5. The fancy coffee

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:


6. The fish drama

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.

7. The threat

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


8. The epic seriousness

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.

9. The animals

A client had this on their outside doors: “Do NOT under ANY circumstance let any wild animals into the building to include but not limited to raccoons, possums, chipmunks, squirrels, badgers, prairie dogs, geese, ducks, birds of any brand (yes it said brand), rats, feral cats, unaccompanied dogs, etc. Anything with a tail is forbidden.

We do not care how hard it’s raining, how hot it is, how cute they are, how aggressive/insistent they were, or what their eyes said to you. We CANNOT have wild animals in the building.”

* Jerome and Lisa we have installed cameras on the doors this is your last warning.”

I had SO many questions and wanted to meet Lisa and Jerome immediately. Unfortunately my boss at the time looked at the sign, looked at my amazed face, and then forbid me to ask the client any questions. I still want to know what that badger said to Jerome with their eyes.

10. The parking commandment

I was a church secretary. When there was a funeral we’d put “Funeral -No Parking” signs on little stands where the hearse and car with the family needed to pull up in front. People ignored the signs. We changed the signs to “Funeral -Thou Shalt Not Park”. After the wording change the spaces in front of the church were always left clear.

11. “Please read the signs”

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!

12. The lab

I did my PhD in computational biology. We had a very sensitive instrument that was making the data that we all needed to graduate. Its room was strictly off-limits while a run was in progress, because any light, vibration, or dust would spoil the whole experiment. There was a polite sign on the door when it was in use. That was good enough, until the lab down the hall needed some renovations, and the construction crew found the shortest path between their work area and the toilet…just go through that room. So, they were barging in several times a day, turning on lights, slamming doors, etc.

We tried talking to them, but they blew us off. We weren’t allowed to lock the doors; fire hazard. So, one of my lab-mates made a new sign.

“Warning! Genetically modified HIV and Herpes Viruses! Trained personnel ONLY. Full BSL2 PPE is required. In the event of exposure, contact the EH&S emergency line at 555-555-5555.”

(This was all true, however these viruses had been “genetically modified” to make them safe to handle on the benchtop…)

Another lab-mate was working in that room shortly thereafter. He reported hearing footprints approach the door, then a pause, then some incredulous expletives and a hasty retreat. Success!

Worked a bit too well. That crew had to be persuaded to come back to work, with assurances from on high that those nasties were strictly confined to our area. But they never came near us again.

13. The catastrophic misunderstanding

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 semicolons, so I wasn’t too fussed about her inconsistent applications of grammar.

14. Another misunderstanding

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.

15. The Poo-Pourri

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-Pourri 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-Pourri 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-Pourri.

Someone dumped out the Poo-Pourri, all over the floor.

Another note criticized someone for making and unnecessary mess and being childish about using the Poo-Pourri.

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.

{ 383 comments… read them below }

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      Season 17 Destiny of the Daleks: If memory serves, it was on the third level that the daleks were seeking Davros. Not to exterminate him, of course, but there certainly were plans for exterminations to occur, and lots of them!

      1. Catabouda*

        I feel a kindred spirit with the person who didn’t want all the package deliveries.

        Having the first office as you enter our suite, I am the person who most often gets interrupted by delivery drivers who ignore the actually very large sign WITH AN ARROW directing people to the front desk, which is in easy eyesight about 6 feet away.

        A surprising number of them bang on my closed door repeatedly. Now that we’re on Zoom for most meetings, coworkers are shocked but how often they hear the banging and/or see drivers trying the handle on the door.

        My manager still won’t let me put up a sign directing them.

        1. Driven To Deliver*

          I deal with a steady string of different and incompetent delivery people at work every day. I’ve become convinced that services like Uber, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Amazon not only don’t train thir hires at all, they also don’t bother to check if anyone they’re hiring can even read. Which is pretty darn important if you’re going to be dealing with road signs and business signs all day.

          Not as consistently bad, but still guilty sometimes: UPS, FedEx, DHL. Occasionally USPS, which disappoints me because I used to be a mail carrier and expect better than the very basic mistakes I keep seeing. Though I do know some of this is due to the USPS destroying itself from the top down in recent years, which creates tons of issues for the current crop of carriers, and is why I left the USPS.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        I have a shirt from Bubonicon (in Albuquerque) which shows Perry Rodent as a Dalek shouting “Exvermintate!”

    2. MourningStar*

      I’m really mad I didn’t write in now with the note that my building manager posted up and sent us all telling us to use VIGILANCE when entering our parking garage and not allow STRANGERS to PIGGYBACK!!! As this is the NUMBER 1 cause of SABOTOGE AND TERRORISM in apartment and condo buildings!!!!!

      He loves caps lock, bold, underlining and italics – usually all at once.


    3. JB*

      Would the Dalek Factor be the same as the Manager Factor?

      Yes, I have been watching Evil of the Daleks.

    4. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      I was wondering that myself, but decided that I was simply happy that the Daleks had found gainful employment

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        They must be the old-school Dalek model, since they have to confine their now-useful exterminating activities to just one floor of the building

        1. Fiorinda*

          Lacking the ELEVATE function that would enable them to more efficiently EXTERMINATE!

      2. Deejay*

        There was a BBC Radio show which once featured the Daleks as recurring comedy characters while Doctor Who was off the air. They kept begging for a job. At one point they tried bank robbing, thinking that if they wore masks on their heads no one would recognise them.

        1. Red*

          My attempts at googling this have been fruitless – I’d love to know the name to see if I can track it down, that sounds hilarious.

    5. INFJedi*

      Reading this post and then coming straight to the comments when just finishing #7.
      I am not disappointed that this is the first comment :D

      (Now returning to the post to read all the others ;-) )

  1. Random Dice*

    Bring a sharpie into the bathroom and make all the motivational signs about elimination.

    Just don’t quit… until it’s all out

    Do your best… to hit the toilet this time

    Mistakes help us grow… but please wipe up after them

    1. Lex Talionis*

      Re #1 – Our Finance VP had a sign made above the bin for expense reports (old days of paper) is this trip necessary? Someone moved it to the bathroom.

    2. rayray*

      The toilets in our bathroom usually auto-flush but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they do flush but it doesn’t get everything down. I have debated putting up some kind of sign about flushing. Especially today when I walked in a stall and it was just a little unfortunate.

      Brainstorming ideas and seriously going to do it, early tomorrow since I am here before most people.

      1. even we get tired*

        We have signs for that in my office! There’s a clip art image of an anthropomorphized toilet and it says something like “Even we get tired on the job. Please flush!”

      2. Carol the happy elf*

        We have a mystery sharpie fiend in one of the drugstores I rotate through. They put something on the underside of the lids that says “Ministry of Magic, Please flush twice for Payroll”.

        1. Pipe Organ Guy*

          Graffiti remembered from high school, a lifetime ago: Flush twice, it’s a long way to the cafeteria.

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      I just checked. We can still buy those classic Demotivator posters. I propose placing them over the ones currently in place.

    4. Fluff*

      the best Depressory Poster ever:

      “At this job we do not do can’t. So if you need me, I’ll be on the CAN.”

  2. Paris Geller*

    #11 now has every librarian in the world wondering if we put a big “PLEASE READ THE SIGNS’ sign on our front doors if people would read our signs.

    My guess is no.

    1. Liz*

      “Are you going to be closed for (insert holiday here)?”
      6 inches to their left an full page flyer with big bold letters stating that we will, in fact be closed.
      I’m temped to just add PLESE READ at the top of every flyer to see if it helps.

      1. Hedwig*

        I might? There is so much text out there in the world, my eyes just skim over a lot of it because it isn’t relevent in that moment, and it becomes a habit, including the library signs. If the one at the door said “PLEASE READ” in bright red above it my attention would be caught.

        it mught seem a little aggressive, though.

      2. E. Chauvelin*

        Except for the people who just read the word “Closed” on the sign, but not the upcoming date or the name of the approaching holiday, and wander the rest of the way into the unlocked building with a puzzled expression and ask “Are you closed?” (I have seen this more than once.)

    2. Critical Rolls*

      Maybe if it was attached to something that flips down over the face, like a welder’s mask?

    1. Not who you think I am*

      I had a colleague in my last job who would become furious if he went to pick up his printing and there was something already in the output tray – no matter whether it had been there for days or whether the person printing just hadn’t made it into the printer room quite yet. After a while of him carrying about this I started printing articles about working with difficult co-workers and leaving them in the printers.

    1. Manders*

      I love #12 so much. Probably because I work on genetically modified HIV (and non-genetically modified Herpes, which is much scarier!).

  3. Czhorat*

    Why does fancy coffee lady drink fancy coffee that she can’t tolerate the smell of?

    If it smells abhorrent to you you’ll most likely not enjoy drinking it.

    1. Sharkie*

      She was VERY brand driven. I guess this was the coffee that her mega wealthy country club friends drink and she just had to be on trend. She was also the type that loved to act like a delicate flower – the color red wasn’t allowed near her because it threw off her chi.

      1. Brain the Brian*

        What would she say to a person with red-green colorblindness who accidentally wore red near her?

    2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      Well, in reverse I loved loved loved the smell of coffee beans long before I found it drinkable. I used to go to Gloria Jean at the mall and just sniff the bins! But I hated the taste. So it could go the other way I suppose, enjoying the taste of the drink but not the concentrated smell of beans?

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I am an invertebrate tea drinker, but I think coffee smells great. Just doesn’t taste as good.

        1. Rob aka Mediancat*

          Love this autocorrect.

          So, are you an annelid, echinoderm, mollusc, or arthropod?

        2. wendelenn*

          That’s a great autocorrect, Charlotte–I’m sure you do actually have a spine, though!

        3. There You Are*

          Autocorrects like this are always wonderful to come across.

          It’s like trudging through rainy, commuter-packed sidewalks with no umbrella and your head down on the way to somewhere you don’t want to be, and seeing a tiny Faberge egg in the gutter.

          Still rainy, you still have to get to your destination, but suddenly your day is a wee bit brighter. :-)

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        There are quite a few foods/beverages I love the smell of but can’t stand to eat/drink. Coffee is a big one.

        1. Never The Twain*

          I used to (probably still would if I came across it) love the smell of pipe tobacco in a tin, and couldn’t wait till I was old enough to smoke. When of course if turned out to be just the same as standing downwind of a bonfire of old tires

    3. Green Tea*

      When I was in high school and working at a grocery store, customers coming through the register with bagged coffee always made me nauseous. And yet, I drank coffee every morning and enjoyed the flavor. Conversely, I hated to eat raw tomatoes but loved the smell of tomatoes. I don’t know why I was this way.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I did a tour of a chocolate factory once, the smell was overwhelming and put me off chocolate for a few weeks.

        1. There You Are*

          I worked near the Ghiradelli Chocolate factory in SFO for a time. The smell coming over from the factory ruined chocolate and marshmallows for me. I can now only have tiny bits of either one before I start feeling nauseated. And that was *decades* ago.

          On the other hand, I worked at a pizza place for over a year in high school and I could eat pizza every single day. :-D

          1. PDB*

            In the old days in San Francisco the coffee companies-Folgers, Hills Bros, etc-were clustered on Rincon Hill next to the Bay Bridge approach and you smelled coffee as you entered or left The City.

            1. lilsheba*

              Now why couldn’t that smell have drifted over the bay to Oakland where I grew up??? I remember smelling tomato soup though, and bread so we must have had factories for those around somewhere. Now for smells I can’t deal with anymore I got engulfed in the smell of glazed donuts for about 6 months in 1990 and I can’t deal with them to this day. BLECH. If I had to smell pizza all the time I would get over that quick. Coffee on the other hand smells and tastes amazing!!!

        2. amoeba*

          Oh yes, my boyfriend used to live near a chocolate factory and the smell is… not nice at all. I mean, sometimes it actually still smells mostly like chocolate, which is still not great in the street, honestly. But other times it’s just disgusting – I guess it depends which part of their manufacturing process is running at the time?

          Anyway, it’s most decidedly not a plus. And apparently it used to be much worse, before people complained and they already put better filters in. Don’t even want to imagine.

          Luckily I still like chocolate, though!

        3. Dog momma*

          It stinks! Toured the Hershey factory before they stopped doing that and dipped fruit in chocolate for Edible Arrangements as a per diem job. it was mindless which was wonderful but even though I love chocolate ! didn’t want to be around it much.

          I did the make holidays for 2 yrs..Xmas, Valentines Day & Mother’s Day. wondered how many strawberries I dipped one time ( trays held 42 berries). I stopped counting at 1200! and that was just strawberries, not dishwashing by hand, melting chocolate , dipping sprinkles & whatever else they needed. One girl could frost a decorated Xmas tree on berries, star and all.
          I could pick my hrs, go home to let dogs out at lunch, the owner always brought breakfast pizza and we had a good crew. Learned to like folk music! There are times I miss that job.

    4. DannyG*

      Wonder if it was Jamaica Me Crazy coffee? Had a purchaser in the department who would get a headache when we brewed up a batch.

    5. LadyHouseOfLove*

      I was confused about that too but then I remembered my own aversion to the smell of chicken. It’s weird, I enjoy eating chicken, I often order the chicken sandwich at burger places, etc. But it was hell trying to cook it because I hate the smell and sight of raw chicken but its scent WHILE it’s cooking made me want to gag.

      1. ItBetterNotBeACactus*

        I love bananas, but the smell of an aging banana peel is repulsive to me.

      2. Dog momma*

        I haven’t been able to deal with raw chicken for quite a few years now, I’m why, like you said,it makes me gag. I can still eat it but not cook it

  4. cabbagepants*

    #1 has me in stitches. I need to print out “Mistakes help us grow” and put it up in the bathroom.

      1. Mountain Bluebird*

        I work in a hospital labor and delivery floor! Cleaning coffee off my screen and printing up some signs for our staff bathroom now!

  5. CSRoadWarrior*

    #7 – A huge wording issue – that it all I will say.

    I would recommend that in the future they say “The exterminators will be here on Tuesday to take care of a recent infestation”. Whether the infestation are bugs, mice (and I hope it was NOT mice), or any other critters could be specified in the sign as well.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I say just post a bunch of pictures of daleks on the third floor, and let them figure it out.

  6. Random Dice*

    If I brought in PooPourri, and someone dumped it out on the floor over “The Patriarchy”, I’d be pissed. That stuff is magic.

    I have an easily triggered gag reflex, and other people’s poop smell is a big trigger… But most air fresheners trigger migraines. (I carry a mini spray bottle of PooPourri for that reason.)

    Also, thanks to folks here for recommending PooPourri. It is a godsend to medically-delicate snowflakes like me.

    1. DoodleBug*

      FWIW PooPourri gives me headaches. So it’s unfortunately not a miracle solution for everyone.

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

        And it’s also insanely expensive, in my opinion. I can’t imagine using it regularly just for that reason alone.

      2. Random Dice*

        Aw bummer. Most things trigger my scent allergies, but I’ve found that actual essential oils don’t. Darn that it doesn’t work for you.

      3. There You Are*

        I bought some of their air freshener to help with litter box smells right after one of the cats has pooped. It… made it worse.

        The underlying fragrance is the same thing that is used to attempt to mask years-old human urine in the corners of bus stations and other public places. So, one, it doesn’t eliminate the smell and, two, it brings up memories of being in places where I was afraid of touching anything and wanted to burn my shoes after I’d left.

        1. Emma*

          When I was a teenager, a sewage pipe burst and flooded the entire ground floor of the main building at my school. They closed a couple of days early for the holidays, and when we all got back the whole place stank of sewage and huge quantities of orange-scented chemical cleaner. To this day I can’t stand chemical orange fragrances.

    2. Yoyoyo*

      The smell of PooPourri has now been so closely linked with the smell of human waste for me that the smell of it alone makes me gag.

    3. Ultra Anon*

      If someone brought PooPourri to our office, I would trash it immediately and not feel the least bit bad about it. We’re a scent free office and I’d rather smell shit than flowery-scented shit.

      Also, there are product that you can buy that are odor neutralizers without adding fragrance.

    4. Poo smells better than vomit*

      That stuff is evil.

      PooPouri is a severe migraine trigger for me, which results in gagging, then vomiting, then the vertigo kicks in, and then the pain begins.

      Please don’t use it in public spaces. Wear a mask in the bathroom if the smell is a problem. But don’t make other people sick just because you can.

    5. Missb*

      I abhor the smell of poopourri. Literally makes me gag. We are a scent free office, so smelling anything perfume-y is just gross and stands out.

      The person that brought that stuff in the women’s bathroom probably shelled out a fair amount for a bottle in every stall. I would empty most of the bottle each time I used a stall, and I had no favorite stall. It was easier than complaining about the scent free workplace violation.

      We are all remote now, so I rarely see the bathroom at work. No idea if she’s bothered to replace the bottles.

    6. Random Biter*

      OMG…same here….the floral room sprays being used in our bathroom would trigger migraines and nothing I said made a difference. I finally caved and brought in a PooPourri from my personal stash and waa-laa, somehow it became the preferred spray.

  7. Chauncy Gardener*

    Now I’m dying to know what kind of eyes were made at Jerome by any number of animals!!

    1. Random Dice*

      I love how the manager took one look and instantly forbad OP from asking about it.

      1. AngelicGamer (she/her)*

        I would have just called later to ask to speak to Jerome and/or Lisa.

      2. Wen Moon*

        As a business owner myself, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask my client if that sign was on the hanging at their office. There’s a way to be tactful while gathering info. That sign is AMAZING and brings me joy!

      3. MusicWithRocksIn*

        Yup – OP is my spirit animal here and the manager knows her wayyy too well. I would have been crushed if I had been forbidden to ask.

    2. Anon Again... Naturally*

      OP #9, your boss is a killjoy. I am quite sure 99% of that office would have been willing to talk about this note at length.

    3. Heidi*

      It wasn’t just Jerome, though! It was Jerome AND Lisa! What is up with this office that 2 people keep letting animals in?

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        And did that include all animals on the list? (I am curious why geese and ducks were called out separately from other bird “brands.”)

    4. Single Parent Barbie*

      what about housebroken TAIL-Less cats, I do hope Jerome and Lisa found a loop hole.

    5. Festively Dressed Earl*

      The note doesn’t specify ‘no guinea pigs’, and guinea pigs don’t have tails. Jerome and Lisa could have a rave for guinea pigs without breaking any rules.

        1. Kit*

          In my experience, guinea pigs are quite willing to communicate verbally.

          Of course, now I’m imagining wheek wheek wheek to the sound of a techno track, so…

          1. SparklingBlue*

            …and I am now in tears laughing at that mental image–which in my mind is to the tune of the classic HomeStar Runner bit “The System is Down”

            1. Llama Identity Thief*

              Singing along to the some kinda high pitched noise or like a siren or something, while Jerome covers the old timey sci-fi movie quotes.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I just googled “guinea pig rave” and the results amused me. Partly I am amused because there ARE results. Plural.

        2. Festively Dressed Earl*

          Their eyes twinkle to the beat of Belgian techno anthem Pump Up The Jam.

    6. KayDeeAye*

      I remember an AAM thread a few years back (it was a discussion in the comments, so I very much doubt if I could find it again) in which a member of the commentariat told a story about a former coworker who would get teary-eyed if she had to witness the shrubs around the building getting trimmed. Like, she would have to move away from the windows until the grisly (or sappy?) job was completed because it moved her to such pity. So hey, if people can detect distress in a hedge, why not in a badger?

      BTW, aren’t badgers, like, really fierce?

        1. SarahKay*

          Seconding this. And geese have a much longer reach to their biting ability. Do not mess with geese. Also, do not let them into your (or anyone else’s) office.

        2. virago*

          Peeved geese prevented my mother, a visiting nurse, from exiting a patient’s home and reaching her car. This was long before cellphones, and Mom had a difficult time explaining the delay when she returned to the office to write up her notes.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        There’s a wonderful scene in the mini-series A Very British Scandal (the season with Hugh Grant) where we meet this eccentric aristocratic couple who have pet badgers and find out they have to wear rain boots around the house because the badgers bite their ankles so much. I would not want to tangle with a badger, even though they are very cool-looking animals.

  8. Random Dice*

    Acceptable fish to microwave: Swedish fish. That’s it.

    Cracking me up

    And she’s definitely the secret fish microwaver.

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      We had a similar sign taped to our office microwave, except it also included goldfish crackers. (I no longer work at that location, so for all I know the sign is still there.)

    2. Hi, I'm Troy McClure*

      Now microwaved Swedish Fish, THAT makes me want to gag. Basically melted faux-fruit sugar!

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        The Person should try to microwave Surstrømming.
        Opening the can alone would evacuate the building, even without being near the microwave. Yes, it’s Swedish fish (fermented herring) and opening it indoors never ends well.

    3. LCH*

      every time she brings it up, i’d be tempted to say something like, “oh yeah, microwaving fish is the worst. so gross!” like deliberately misunderstand her point.

    4. Theon, Theon, it rhymes with neon*

      AAM is the first place I’ve encountered the notion that microwaving fish at work is bad. The last time I worked in an office, I remember standing in line for the microwave one day with my boss and the branch General Manager, and remarking on the coincidence that all 3 of us were having salmon for lunch. It was not unusual for people to microwave fish. I never heard a word about it.

      Is this only for open floor plans? Our kitchen was an enclosed room with a door that was kept closed, but while I got a couple (positive) comments on the smell of the apple cinnamon oatmeal and the hard-boiled eggs that I ate at my desk, I don’t remember anyone saying anything about the salmon, which I warmed up regularly for a while.

      1. Yoyoyo*

        I think microwaving fish is a pretty well-known office no-no. A lot of people find the smell unpleasant, and in my experience, it tends to linger. That said, I disagree with attempts to ban people from microwaving certain foods. My own workplace has a sign near the microwave saying to think about your colleagues and not microwave fish, cabbage, onions, garlic, or popcorn. I ignore it (I don’t eat fish, but will not give up my garlic and onions).

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I’ve never met a ban on microwaving popcorn. I’ve even heard much praise for the smell when it’s done right… and yes, when it burns, it’s a horrible experience, but in general, the reaction to loathsome burned popcorn smell has been much more “If you’re going to make popcorn, stay and keep an eye on it!” not “never make popcorn!”

      2. D'Arcy*

        Honestly, microwaving fish is simply one of the more subtle examples of the arbitrary, hypocritical, and tacitly racist rule that “all but the most pungent food that is normalized to the typical white Westerner is okay, while even mildly pungent food from other cultures is treated as an enormous social faux pas.”

        I will never not push back on this.

        1. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

          I haven’t ever really encountered that. The only foods in a shared microwave that are no nos that I know about are fish, broccoli, and burnt popcorn. I’ve never encountered anyone having a problem with food from non-Western cultures unless that food was fish.

        2. There You Are*

          My experience is similar to Hellmouth’s. Fish and popcorn were the only no-no’s. Everything else was fine: curries, garlic, lamb, onion, jalapeños and other chilies, ginger, cabbage, etc. Literally anything besides fish and popcorn.

        3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          White people eat fish too though. I’m pretty sure most cultures with access to good fishing have done so since the dawn of time.

        4. Strangermemes*

          Not all things are racist. I worked with a Muslim woman who told me the smell of bacon and ham made her ill. I would never bring either to work as it was a real issue for her and I understood that. Fish smells but I eat it, so do onions and garlic. And burnt popcorn. White people actually go to ethnic restaurants. Not everything is racist

          1. Boy George*

            Yes — not everything is racist, but you also can’t speak for everyone / all white people / every person in x part of the world and say they’re NOT racist.

            And you especially can’t tell a person who is routinely discriminated against “you’re not being discriminated against”. Or you can, but they won’t believe you. Because we experience racism and discrimination all the time.

            Take a step back and consider that, eh?

        5. Lenora Rose*

          I dunno. I went outside with my last fish meal despite it being a bit too chilly and way too windy for that, but never had an issue when I (or anyone else) was eating curry. Maybe it’s that I’m a white person eating curry, but knowing the makeup of the office staff and that the other two most-frequent curry eaters are not white, I’m not inclined to think that.

        6. Gloomy*

          I agree with you. Early on in my time at this company, someone from HR sent a passive-aggressive email reminding people to wear deodorant in the summer and perhaps not eat certain ethnic foods to avoid smelling up the office. Curry was specifically mentioned. I don’t remember the full wording (it was almost 10 years ago) but the undertone of racism was definitely there.

        7. MusicWithRocksIn*

          I have a seafood allergy, and just spent a week in the American South. We didn’t visit a single restaurant that didn’t have seafood on the menu and involved a long discussion with the waitstaff about what hadn’t been cooked near seafood. I’ve had the exact same problem at all visits to the east and west coasts. Maybe midwesterners view seafood as a not everyday food, but in pretty much any state that touches the ocean fish is as common as chicken.

        8. An American in Scotland*

          Some people with severe seafood allergies will go into anaphylaxis just by being in the same room as whatever type of fish they’re allergic to. mine isn’t as bad as that (yet) but I’m still not keen on the smell going everywhere.

          …and how on earth is choosing or not choosing fish racist?

      3. Lenora Rose*

        I think it’s one of those things where only some people have a sensitivity but those some people have it *really badly*. I know a person with a nigh-deadly fish allergy who had a really nasty reaction if she smelled fish – you can’t *actually* get that sick off the smell, but if you’re used to your throat closing when you taste it, the smell can definitely bring about either intense nausea or a panic attack as your body is convinced you’re in danger.

        (Ironically, she loved seafood and was not allergic to that)

        1. Sunshine Gremlin*

          That’s me! I get hives from any contact (anaphylaxis from even eating cross-contaminated food) and since I have such bad reactions, my body goes into panic mode and I vomit when I smell it. (Note: I have an airborne allergy too, but that comes from cooking releasing particles into the air. I could get anaphylaxis from being in a room where someone was frying or boiling fish, but not from someone eating a tuna sandwich a few tables over.)

          And you know how I just mentioned that I get hives from any contact? Yeah, people don’t understand how easy it is to cross-contaminate an office. You ate a tuna sandwich, ripped a paper towel off the roll, opened the door to the bathroom, then washed your hands? Cool, unless you go back and clean everything you touched, you’ve cursed me to at least a couple days of hives.

          Two weeks ago, my boss ate a leftover poke bowl in the office. I ended up with hives and most of them went away within three days, but I had a lovely honker on my cheek for a week. It was painful too, I was pretty annoyed.

        2. TomatoSoup*

          I don’t think it’s that few people. I was an intern one summer and all of our desks were next to the kitchen area. One of the employees microwaved fish every day. She was on some diet that had her eating fish at least twice a day, every day. We all had to leave our desks for a while after she microwaved her fish and came from a variety of cultural backgrounds. I found out halfway through the summer that this was why the intern desks were there. Regular employees kept asking to move.

          1. elle *sparkle emoji**

            Yeah, I don’t have any fish allergies afaik, and do enjoy some fish, but the smell that lingers in the kitchen and the trashcan after cooking fish is nauseating to me. A lot of my family is the same way. My dad also has the same reaction to the smell of bacon grease interestingly. I think any food that is pungent enough to make people feel ill needs to be cooked with some ventilation if you absolutely need to cook it in a shared kitchen.

      4. fish microwave*

        same here. our office has a separate kitchen area which probably helps with smells but people often bring fish and nobody has complained… then again this is in nyc so people do love different cuisines. if anything the smell of fish is delicious

      5. Beth*

        At one old job of mine, the microwave fish ban was declared by the admin assistant whose desk was right next to the doorway into the tiny tiny breakroom. She was the one who got hit with every smell generated by everyone’s food. When she banned fish, I obeyed (not that I microwaved fish regularly anyway).

    5. I WORKED on a Hellmouth*

      That was mine, and SHE IS 100% THE SECRET FISH MICROWAVER. She also microwaves broccoli.

      1. Tedious Cat*

        I am just about ready to take a road trip to give this dreadful person a piece of my mind.

      2. arthur lester*

        Oh, man, the fact that the sign was posted on the Hellmouth really adds to the worldbuilding there…

      3. GovtStooge*

        So you went from a hellmouth to an office where someone microwaves fish.

        I think you downgraded.

  9. Hlao-roo*

    6. The fish drama

    When I read this post on the original thread, I went out and bought myself some Swedish fish. Did not microwave them, though.

    I love that one coworker is still angry about the sign two years later!

  10. Dust Bunny*

    11: I know this is bonkers but I also totally get it. I work in a warehouse complex where it seems all the other businesses are allergic to visible signage and also to putting their suite numbers on shipping directions, so my institution spends a lot of time redirecting mail and meal deliveries. Someone in the building across from ours didn’t bother to correct her address on DoorDash for over a month until the Monday that we held onto her Starbucks and made her come find it, at which point it was cold and flat. We’re actually allowed to log it as a work task–we have a QR code by the door that links directly to our task program.

    For the record: Our name, street address, and suite number are in four-inch white letters right next to our door. Deliverypeople might not know where the address is that they need but they can see that ours isn’t it.

    1. Sel*

      I am a librarian at a very large university and I also totally get it. The library is one of the only departments (including administrative departments) that makes their contact information visible and easily discoverable on the website, and so, so many people just call us/come into our main lobby for everything. I’ve directed multiple caterers and delivery people to the correct buildings/rooms as well as taken phone calls about everything from directions for a parking garage to payroll information (and no of course I didn’t answer anything about payroll but I did manage to find the university HR phone number on their website eventually, completely buried of course). It’s maddening.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        I’m also continually amazed at how delivery people can be so unfamiliar with the concept of a suite number. It’s, like . . . fundamental to the job?

        1. Brain the Brian*

          USPS has a habit of delivering mail that’s supposed to go to the company on the floor below mine to our suite instead. Including, one time, a check. For many thousands of dollars. Which our accounting department deposited into our bank account without anyone either at our company or the bank noticing that it was made out to a different company. After months and months of our accounting department asking for someone to please ID this check, I — a person who very decidedly does not work in accounting — was the poor soul who finally realized the mistake. Ah, good times.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        (We’re the archives of an academic library, too, so reference is a big part of the job, and, yes, we also spend a lot of time finding phone numbers for people who need something completely unrelated to what we do. They still find us, though.)

      3. pandop*

        Same here.
        What compounds the issue is we have a large, very obvious loading bay (raised platform, rolling door, etc) that our neighbours do not (double doors, ground level), so we are forever telling people they have just driven past where they need to be.
        I hate giving directions too, as even if I know where another department is, I might not know how to get there by van, as I would go there via the pedestrianised centre of campus.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          The much larger entity that occupies the rest of our building literally has a row of loading docks and a fleet of box trucks with their logo on them. And yet we still get wrong deliveries constantly.

          (We have one loading bay and zero trucks. And a big sign over our bay with our company name, which in no way resembles the name of Other Bigger Company.)

  11. My Cabbages!*

    I love #12 because “BSL2 PPE” is a lab coat and a pair of gloves, and maybe some safety goggles. But I imagine the workers picturing everyone inside wearing full astronaut-style hazmat suits.

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      Can confirm that’s exactly what they thought.

      Credentials: I’m a layperson and that’s exactly what *I* thought, LOL.

      1. Foila*

        The BSL scale is surprisingly exponential –
        BSL1 is “please don’t lick it, but you’d probably be fine if you did”.
        2 is “might make you sick but basic precautions are plenty”.
        3, there are only a few in the state, it’s stuff like bubonic plague. Which can probably be treated with antibiotics, but you really, really don’t want to find out.
        4 is the stuff that can’t be treated. There are only a few in the country.

        There’s such a jump between 2 and 3!

        1. ceiswyn*

          But, like, what if I REALLY WANT to lick it?
          (my lab work was restricted to things that had been dead for a really, really, really long time)

          1. Kit*

            The categorization of sciences by lickability of subject is a time-honored classification system; you would probably be okay but it’s not as useful as geologists sometimes find it.

            1. Hosta*

              Licking is the gateway to checking grain size with your teeth, and that only leads to confused and enraged dentists.

          2. Sel*

            This made me laugh so hard. I did my master’s degree in paleontology so it’s like, okay, fine. You can lick the trilobite I guess. It’s just a rock. XD

          3. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I cannot resist..
            this from Tumblr user midnightmindcave
            “mai nam is jane
            and wen i dig
            i fynde some roks
            both smol and big
            i put my tung
            upon the stone
            for science yes
            i lik the bone”

            there are more but that is my family’s favorite.

          4. Emma*

            I used to follow a scientist on twitter who, just as the pandemic was beginning, posted (jokingly) that if he was going to get covid he wanted to get in early before the hospitals were full, so he was going to spend his afternoon on the tube (subway), licking strangers’ hands.

            A few hours later, he deleted the tweet at the request of his institution.

          5. AngryOctopus*

            “Please don’t lick it” is really more about it than you. You’ll be fine. Whatever you lick might get contaminated and that would be a pain :)

      2. OP #12*

        BSL1: don’t eat it. BSL2: don’t touch it. BSL3: don’t breathe it. BSL4: don’t do it.

        BSL2 is the “doctor’s office” standard. That’s gloves and a lab coat, also mind your drippings and sanitize when you’re done. It’s suitable for assorted blood and guts (and cell lines).

        There were high level BSL3 agents elsewhere on the floor. That’s suited and booted, with a syringe full of antivirals hanging on the wall in case you screw up, because pills won’t be fast enough to save you. Please do not lick the BSL3.

      1. UrsulaD*

        In my lab the astronaut suit is a way easier sell than safety goggles. I’m the only one who wears the goggles even when working with ocular viruses.

  12. Moonlight Elantra*

    OK but the one posted on the original thread about the passive-aggressive, laminated note in a medical office bathroom that was written on the back of confidential patient information and then hung up for all to see was my favorite!

  13. Cobol*

    Okay this is extremely gross, and nobody should ever actually do it, but it would be funny if everybody chose the mistakes help us grow stall and did their business anywhere other than the toilet

  14. Bob*

    So much this. People don’t read signs unless you tell them to read the signs. When I worked at a movie theatre, I swear we’d have to hand hold people to find their auditoriums, to find concessions, bathrooms etc despite it being in giant letters and numbers all over the place. Your ticket has your theatre number and movie title, the auditorium/titles are listed by the door stand, and on each floor, and in front of the individual auditoriums.
    On topic to test taking, as a (substitute, currently) teacher I’ve proctored SAT and AP exams. All the info is posted all over the room (especially the DONT TOUCH ANYTHING UNTIL WE TELL YOU TO), but as people are coming in we have to individually tell each student “read all the signs, don’t touch anything.” Guess what happens.

    I don’t understand how people can be fine obliviously moving their spaces and actions. I’m the type who reads every sign and wants to fully understand the situations I’m in.

    1. Cobol*

      The biggest thing non communication/marketing people don’t understand, is more often than not, more information actually makes things less clear.

      #11 makes perfect sense. Instead of needing to read multiple signs to figure out what to do, people only have to read one

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Speaking as a comms type person, I’d build on that by saying the problem is not exactly too much info, but too much information at the wrong stage. Messaging is like a conversation: you don’t START with a diatribe about your job or special interest, you start with Hi My Name Is then answer a small talk question and only once they say “tell me more about that” can you launch into detail or provide options. If you front-load alllll detail, people glaze over. You have to let people process one thing at a time.

        Signs at entrances in particular get ignored because people encounter them too soon in their journey — they haven’t yet mentally made the transition from outside to inside. It’s been shown in retail design that people’s bodies enter a space quite a bit before their minds do, so baskets and signs are more effective placed a few strides in the door. Only then does their brain catch up and start looking for what they need. And at a desk signs will be ignored because we see people before we see signs.

        1. But what to call me?*

          You have now taught me 2-3 things about sign placement that I’d never thought to wonder about but am now delighted to know!

          1. allathian*

            Yes, me too! Especially about why signs at entrances are so easy to miss. I miss them too, and I’m a compulsive reader of any text that I see, including the backs of cereal boxes if I have nothing else to look at.

        2. Cat on a Keyboard*

          Agreed! One thing I learned from Covid is that people are terrible at making signs with any level of hierarchy or clarity… to this day I have to stand outside the door of a new shop scanning the 10 paper signs, logos, hours etc. looking to see if masks are required…. There it is, off to the side under the arrows pointing delivery people to the back door…

          Just because a sign is there, doesn’t mean people are dumb for not seeing it!

          1. short'n'stout*

            I don’t worry about whether or not the shop requires masks – I wear one anyway. Saves a lot of time :)

            1. DataSci*

              Some people may still prefer to frequent establishments where they aren’t the only one masking. If you’re at high risk, or living with someone who is, masking yourself helps but isn’t necessarily enough.

              1. short'n'stout*

                Very true. Sadly, I’m more accustomed to the opposite attitude, where people will take any excuse to fling their masks to the wind rather than consider the welfare of others.

        3. metadata minion*

          One of the perennial problems at my workplace (academic library) is that we have two entrances and neither one has really anything resembling a point where people will intuitively tend to stop and get their bearings. There is no appropriate place to put basic directional signage and it is a deeply weird building that *desperately* needs good directional signage.

        4. Wen Moon*

          Yes, hierarchy of information, though I’d also add this is where a good graphic designer’s skill kicks in as well… creating wayfinding signage that are color coded, have different type sizes to direct the eyes, not too wordy, easy to understaand AND intentionally convey a tone (usually not angry unless that was the goal!). The truth is, most people don’t pay attention so you have to make it easy for them.

      2. Cyndi*

        This is making me think of a coffee shop around the corner from me–highly reviewed, very cozy looking inside, so of course I went in to try it out almost as soon as I moved into the neighborhood. Unfortunately the menu was displayed as a jumble of separate little signs posted all over the place, so I spent my few minutes in line trying to spot them all and mentally piece them together before I could even start to think of an order. When I reached the counter I panicked, bought a soda from the fridge, and haven’t gone in since.

      3. Charlotte Lucas*

        And there are often signs up in some places that you*don’t* need to pay attention to. My office is full of signs related to the work we do, but visitors don’t need to read them to know where the conference rooms are.

      4. Chickaletta*

        Yeah, I’m guilty of not reading signs when there are too many of them. And for whatever reason, people love to post them in places where the flow of traffic should be moving: doorways, hallways, etc. For example, at the front door of my son’s school are no fewer than half a dozen flyers of various colors and fonts taped to the doors telling you office hours, who to call for what, to ring the buzzer to be let in, to sign-in if you’re a visitor, to not enter if you have the following symptoms, some have QR codes, some have phone numbers… it makes me cross-eyed.

      5. MM*

        I was thinking something similar. The actual directional signs are doubtless a bit more complex; at minimum, they’re if/then statements, and they’ll be using referents the users aren’t yet familiar with (the room numbering system, or whatever). And there are a bunch of them, so you have to look at a lot of information to figure out what’s even applicable to you. If people get overwhelmed fast (and they will: they’re nervous about their exam and in an unfamiliar place), they’ll give up before they find what they need, and quite possibly before they’ve even registered what all these shapes and letters and numbers and colors are even about. This is why so many options for things are in nested hierarchies or trees, but that’s hard to do with signage unless you can purpose-build a decision-tree labyrinth.

        Whereas “PLEASE READ THE SIGNS” is very simple, and conveys to the user that the information you want is in fact in here, so it’s worthwhile to slow down and parse it.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      So, I have worked a lot of events where I’ve been asked where (for example) the bathrooms are while standing next to a big sign pointing to the bathrooms. My theory is that people often get overwhelmed visually just by navigating a totally new environment, and they can’t take in additional information in sign form (or are slower to do so than usual) and navigate a new environment at the same time.

      I think the optimal environment for getting people to actually read signs is somewhere they know slightly, but may still need additional help. Totally new environment + signs is sometimes just too much information.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Seconding this. But I still get why it’s frustrating when you’re the one who has to deal with the fallout all the time.

      2. Mighty Midget*

        And there are a surprisingly high number of people who can’t read to the level of “functionally literate” and therefore signs that rely on words or instructions on tickets are never going to be useful to them.

      3. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I agree that the processing an unfamiliar space is likely the root, but there’s a particular reason they talk to you even right next to a sign — we’re wired to pay attention to other humans. They see you first! If you weren’t there, they might have found the sign.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          Agreed, I think a lot of people’s brains just go directly to “ask someone for help” when they’re getting overwhelmed. And sometimes it’s just going to be faster and more efficient for them to ask me. Sometimes people will even notice the sign as they’re asking me. (I’ve done this exact thing myself in unfamiliar places – I think it’s because asking makes your brain focus more on the thing you’re trying to find.)
          I’d much sooner have people ask me for help than wander around the event venue and get lost, so I’m always happy to point them in the right direction!

      4. Samwise*

        Also, often the big sign pointing to the bathroom is not in a place that’s in most folks line of sight (up too high is typical)

        1. allathian*

          Ironically, my favorite sign is one that you sometimes see in old British pubs with low doorways, “Duck or grouse.” It’s often illustrated with birds.

    3. MsSolo (UK)*

      I don’t know about the US, but in the UK exams often take place in buildings used for other purposes (schools, obviously, but if you’re doing a qualification as an adult, especially mostly remote, it could be a town hall or a conference centre) where experience tells the exam taker that the walls are likely to contain a lot of signage that isn’t relevant to them, like sign ups for Sunday lunch club or a class two months ago was in a different room, so rather than search the walls for the least creased pieces of paper, it’s quicker to ask.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Word. Clean up your own dishes or I’m throwing them out. No warning. If you care about them that much, keep track of them on your own.

      1. ReallyBadPerson*

        I have been the self-appointed fridge cleaner for almost every organization I’ve ever been a part of, and I just go in there and do it ruthlessly, without complaining to anyone (excepting a few “oh wow, this is seriously gross” comments to no one in particular as I’m doing the job). And I throw out everything that has been there too long or is significantly past its sell-by date. I’ve only had people complain a few times.

        1. Ultra Anon*

          I, too, am a ruthless fridge cleaner. I find that we’re universally hated and respected, but don’t care. Take care of your 4 month old yogurts or they’re in the trash, Sharon!

        2. To the bin!*

          Agreed. If I’m cleaning the office fridge, your tupperware with its six week old leftovers inside is going in the bin.

          No passive aggressive notes and no correspondence.

    2. Varthema*

      I was going to say, anyone taking on the task of cleaning out the fridge is allowed to make as many martyred sighs (and signs) as they like; they’ve earned that right. and the Tupperware on the lawn is frankly hilarious. +1 to that person.

  15. Butterfly Counter*

    The Poo-Pourri note reminds me of a passive aggressive note here.

    The building is “fancy,” so the venting and HVAC systems are… unique. We have one women’s bathroom with 5 stalls for our whole floor. There is no vent or fan in the bathroom so smells tend to linger. Apparently, one staff member couldn’t take it any more and brought 2 bottles of Poo-Pourri, a bottle of air freshener and then propped the door of the bathroom open to the hall. She left a note saying we MUST use the scented products and keep the door open because the smell was driving her crazy when she went in.

    I laughed and showed it to a coworker. Turns out, she was the one who left the crazy note!!!

  16. Bunny Girl*

    I feel like my old boss would put up number 9 after I left. I used to do wildlife rehab and it got around my old work and someone called to tell me there was an animal in distress in the parking lot. I went down to find a bird with a compound fracture and I grabbed it and went up to my office to call around to a vet. Someone came into my office while I’m on the phone holding this bloody bird. It was his first day and he had some questions. He just said he would come back later but he never did.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Flip side: I used to work for a vet. We had a gravel parking lot and one year a killdeer decided to nest there. We were bombarded with frantic pet owners who were irate that we wouldn’t do anything to help that poor injured bird. We kept trying to explain that faking a wing injury is how killdeer bait predators away from their nests but they weren’t hearing it. We finally set up a cone perimeter so nobody would get too close and that cut it down some, but yeesh.

      (The bird was definitely not injured. We did make sure of that, but then all we could do was give her more space.)

        1. Dust Bunny*

          There were already enough obstacles in the parking lot. And I don’t know why they would have listened to a sign if they wouldn’t listen to us.

          1. Kit*

            Well, obviously, the sign would have to say that they should read the sign!

            Poor killdeer, not realizing that humans have evolved enough interspecies empathy to want to try and help. And that she was perfectly positioned to trigger that response because of the proximity to potential help… (Maybe the killdeer should be required to read the sign saying that it’s a vet’s office?)

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        That’s so weird! If you live in an area with a species that does that, don’t you learn about it in childhood? I routinely tell Robin redbreast that they aren’t fooling me & I don’t want their eggs.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      At one job, I mostly ended up with spiders and other bugs (mostly black widows) in my office, but there were some sage rats (a type of ground squirrel) nesting outside my door, and one time, when the door was propped open because it was a nice day, I found that a sage rat had wandered down the hallway quite a way.

    3. SweetestCin*

      I’m over here laughing because somehow, I was “involved” with a friendly dog being allowed into my high school.

      As in, I was in the general vicinity and was, like most, doubled over laughing at this probably lost from home doggo out on an adventure and sniffing EVERYTHING in a not-small-high-school. And as I was in the vicinity, that meant I was one of the dozens who got to talk to the associate principal in charge of discipline to determine who on earth thought leading a dog inside was a good idea. It had a collar and tags, so it wasn’t a stray. Still no idea.

  17. MEH Squared*

    For #3, I would dream about buying all the sweets I could eat (dairy-free/gluten-free because that’s how I have to eat, so I wouldn’t miss office sweets, anyway), piling them on my dining room table, then sitting in front of them in sweats, bunny slippers, my hair in a sloppy bun, and a big, steaming cup of coffee (held with two hands, middle fingers up) to send to Susan with the caption, “Sorry you missed this!”

    Like, I’m a grown-ass adult. I can buy my own sweets any time I want, thank you very much, Susan. (I wouldn’t do this, obviously, but I would really want to.)

    1. Elitist Semicolon*

      Even if there were treats every day, I’d still rather work from home than have to go in to the office.

      1. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

        Seriously — no amount of free donuts and terrible coffee can compete with the convenience of Not Leaving the House.

      2. But what to call me?*

        An excessive amount of treats every day (a common hazard in my office) is actually an additional reason that I want to work from home. Being trapped in one small building doing paperwork all day in close proximity to freely available sugar snacks is Not Helping me in any way.

        Not opposed to snacks in general, or to sugar in general, but it’s getting to be too much.

      3. Alternative Person*

        Same. I understand why some of my co-workers go to the office, that’s how they make their work/personal life distinction, but to go there just for the sake of snacks? No thanks.

    2. stacers*

      Exactly. At my old company, it was pizza. Every so often, for some especially busy day or to reward especially hard work, the company would buy pizza for everyone. When trying to draw people back after two years of all-remote all-the-time, they started offering it more regularly. But I can order my own damn pizza, from the place I want with exactly what I want on it and exactly when I want it. I just did not get how that could compel people to go to the office, but it worked for some …

      1. BubbleTea*

        I saved £200 a month when I stopped commuting to the office. That’s a LOT of pizza.

    3. Editor Emeritus*

      I might have been tempted to reply that with all the money I’d saved on commuting I could buy large supplies of candy for my whole neighbourhood.

    4. Bianca Blanca*

      Yeah, my response to Susan would have gone something like “oh, it’s so nice that they’re doing something for all the poor souls who have to trek into the office! Hope it makes up a little for all that extra time and money spent commuting. Glad you had a little something enjoyable at least. *smileyface emoji*”.

      Either that, or “wow! That sure is a LOT of sugar!” And then nothing more.

  18. NerdyKris*

    “I still want to know what that badger said to Jerome with their eyes.”

    “It’s Badgertouille!”

  19. Kermit's Bookkeepers*

    I have formed the theory that Lisa and Jerome are the names of two particularly persistent raccoons who have made it their mission to get inside the office as often as possible.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        In the Pixar version, Lisa and Jerome have to team up with the ducks (from that letter where the LW got asked about nothing but the office ducks) on a wacky adventure to get into the office destroy the sign permanently and deactivate the security cameras so they can raid the office trash bins and fridges. Abbi Jacobson is the voice of Lisa, Idris Elba is the voice of Jerome and the ducks are voiced by Maggie Gyllenhall, Maya Rudoloph and assorted kid actors as their ducklings. Natalie Portman has a cameo as a deeply cynical (and very lost) swan from the next office park over, who tries to foil the plan out of sheer boredom.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          this at the very least needs to find its way to Saturday Night Live.

        2. BatManDan*

          We now have AAM fanfic? Sign me up! Alternatively, someone please put that plot synopsis into ChatGPT and the link to whatever it spits out!

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I once opened the front door of our office and had a brown mouse run through it. Inward. Toward me. We chased it until we couldn’t find it any more. Still have no idea where it went–we never found anything chewed and we never smelled anything dead. But what the heck kind of mouse runs toward humans?

      1. Nina*

        I assume a relative of the skink that got into my cleanroom chasing crickets (yes yes I know) and when presented with an opaque jar and a human hand as options (you chase them into the jar, they run into the jar because it’s tiny and dark), ran toward the hand and wrapped itself around my thumb. Was noticeably reluctant to let go until I found it a black rock that had been in the sun for a while.

        1. DataSci*

          I’ve never worked in a cleanroom, but in most cases I’d rather have a skink than crickets!

      2. Magpie*

        Mice with a certain infection will act weirdly confident and reckless, because the parasite they’re infected with needs them to get eaten by a feline so it can continue its life cycle. I have had such a mouse run up my bed, snatch food out of my hand, and then eat it next to my foot while staring me in the eyes! Mike Birbiglia has a very funny comedy bit about this too.

  20. RuledbyCats*

    I remember (20-25 years ago) working in a mild-to-moderate dysfunctional department when the motivational posters with beautiful photos started to become popular. You’d see the occasional one framed up on the wall with the high-ups first, and they gradually trickled down. There was a lot of eye-rolling from staff “at the coal face” (we were in health care and the mining metaphor drove us up the wall) so needless to say it wasn’t long before one or two of us discovered Demotivational Posters. We were careful not to get ones with headline words like “Narcissism” that would encourage people to read the rest; we looked for the same word/photo combo, or close, and I’m certain nobody except “the mining crew” ever noticed these…weren’t the upper-floors-type posters.

    We might’ve been moderate-to-major dysfunction, now that I think about it…

  21. Jen*

    The funeral one makes sense to me. If I saw the original sign, I would just assume that it was reserved parking for anyone attending the funeral. With the new sign, I’d be scared to park there unless I was explicitly told to.

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

      that was my thought too. Why didn’t they say something like herse and family only parking.

  22. J*

    I was initially like “the last place motivational signs should be is inside a toilet cubicle” but then I remembered my gym has signs in theirs that say “every squat counts” so now I’m conflicted.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I think “Mistakes help us grow” has no business being attached to anything that happens in a toilet stall.

  23. EC*

    I’m more on the side of the department head. Eat your damn lunches or take them out of the fridge! Someone has to clean it. She’s nicer than me though, all that tupperware would have instantly gone in the trash if I were cleaning a fridge.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      What I object to in that one is the effort. Put up a sign saying that everything that isn’t gone by Friday at 6 is going in the trash. Then throw it in the trash.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        People can get way over-invested in food. In college, I pulled everything out of the shared fridge at the end of a dorm meeting, waited while everyone who lived there went through all the items and put back what they were going to use, and then threw out what hadn’t been claimed.

        I thought it was a pretty good system, but my roommate nearly ended our friendship over the fact that I threw out an unopened package of cheese she hadn’t claimed.

      2. Varthema*

        I get it though; the idea of all that reusable plastic and glass going straight into a landfill makes me wince. I’d probably to to lengths to get people to reclaim them too!

    2. oranges*

      I was friendly with an admin who would always stress about the moldy tupperware in the monthly fridge clean out. “I just don’t want people to be mad at me if I throw out their stuff!”

      Girl, NO. Post a note on Monday that says, “fridge will be emptied entirely on Friday at 3. All contents will be thrown away.” I told her to send anyone who grumbled to me.

      1. Gracely*

        After the last food-at-work post round up, I finally opened our work freezer and tossed the two tupperware containers that had been there over the last *two* winter breaks, taking up valuable space, since a lot of us bring microwave dinners for our lunches. At a minimum, the food inside each of those tupperwares was a year and a half old.

  24. La Triviata*

    In regard to signage, years ago I was working for an association for engineers. We were having a conference in one of the large hotels downtown; when we set up registration at one end of an open area, there was another conference, for OB/GYN doctors, at the other end. While we had several people try to register for the wrong conference, one person I specifically remember came onto the floor, looked at our sign, looked at the sign at the far end, then came to our registration desk and said he was Dr. so and so and wanted to register. um … nope

          1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

            Or in my office – we are quite infested with PhDs in engineering.
            Me, I’m just a BS but just learned that I make more than my grand boss, who has a PhD, is my age, and several years longer in the company. Go figure.

      1. tamarack, rack rack*

        Even if they do, they rarely introduce themselves as Dr [soandso]. That’s really something that MDs do more often than scientist with a doctorate.

  25. Falling Diphthong*

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single note shall only be obeyed if it includes raNdOM cApiTAlS.

  26. Student*

    My all-time favorite “note” at work was a clever label.

    I was working in a lab. The piping sprang a leak from our ceiling. The leak happened over some electronics that were delicate. In this sense, “delicate” does not mean hyper-sensitive lab equipment that will get wrecked by moisture. Rather, it means something closer to “dangerously prone to electrocuting someone”, so adding water to it just meant it was able to extend its reign of chaos and pain far beyond its normal confines. I was not pleased by this ill-positioned leak.

    So, I called our maintenance people for help.

    The only people allowed to actually fix the leak (or, apparently, allowed to turn off the water pipe that was spraying on my electronics) were certified plumbers. It was going to take a long while to get a proper plumber on site.

    Never fear! Our maintenance team was there to help find a temporary, electrocution-proof solution that would also not anger the plumber’s union. They brought out a leak-troubleshooting contraption that they clearly kept handy for just such an occasion.

    The contraption consisted of a bucket with a hole drilled into the bottom. A long rubber hose had been attached to the hole with a clever gasket and a lot of super glue. They hung the bucket underneath the leak and ran the hose to the nearest drain.

    It bore a glorious, very memorable, and very apt label:
    “Bottomless Pit of Despair”

    1. I've got an Umbrella Out*

      Funny thing, I’ve got almost the identical setup above my office. For weeks. But no drain, just a waste can.

  27. The one behind the sweater vest*

    RE #9: Yeah, I would have to find Jerome or Lisa. At the very least, the second there was some awkward silence, “you have got the cutest animals outside!”

  28. Mystik Sprial*

    I thought about commenting this one in the original call for notes… but it’s not passive-aggressive just hilarious. There is a sign above the toilets in the women’s bathroom says : “Toilets and urinals flushed with reclaimed water DO NOT DRINK”.

    I mean… the reclaimed water would be the least of my concerns if I’m there drinking water out of the toilet…

    1. MigraineMonth*

      It is absolutely bizarre that we’ve set up our plumbing to use carefully treated and filtered potable water to move urine and feces.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I don’t think it’s totally bizarre — otherwise buildings would have to have two sets of pipes and feeds! Wouldn’t it take a dual system to accommodate that? (Golf courses have a way of getting non-potable water so i could be way off base but it seems infrastructure would be a whole lot more complicated if we had to do it everywhere.) And I would imagine there’s some sort of risk associated with bringing in non-drinkable water inside where kids / animals / etc can easily get at it

      2. Ultra Anon*

        You really don’t want untreated water in your toilet as it does spray out when flushed (especially those commercial toilets that are super flushers). I can’t image all the nasty little organisms that would become airborne.

        1. short'n'stout*

          There are already some pretty nasty little organisms in the human waste that was just deposited in the toilet. And this is why one should always close the lid before flushing.

          1. red hoodie*

            Except when you’re in an office with fancy self-flushing toilets that have no lids, so you can’t close them!!!!! *screaming internally*

    2. Yoyoyo*

      My workplace has installed devices in the toilets to catch wipes so they don’t get flushed and cause issues with the plumbing. It cracks me up when I go to the bathroom because we have signs in every stall saying “Caution: Do Not Put Hands in Toilet! It contains a sharp device which may cause injury!”

      Aye aye captain, wasn’t planning to!

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

        I can see that sign be necessary for a custodial or maintenance crew though. They would be the people who do have to occasionally reach in (wearing gloves of course) and they should be warned.

        Or someone accidentally drops something into the toilet and, knowing they will definitely wash their hands, reach in to retrieve it. It’s gross dirty water, but not lava.

    3. D'Arcy*

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a commercial grey-water reclaiming setup that *didn’t* have that signage, which makes me think it might actually be a code requirement in some jurisdictions.

      1. arthur lester*

        I think you’re right– it’s not necessarily a thing that’s there because it was an issue, it’s a CYA thing in case someone does something remarkably silly and ends up sick.

        1. Kara*

          Building maintenance and handymen will often plug new plumbing fixtures into the nearest water line, including drinking fountains. Greywater and non-potable are heavily labeled for that exact reason.

      2. Ochre*

        And in a non-grey water setup, you *could* drink the water in the toilet tank in an emergency. So it’s worth pointing out that you shouldn’t in this location (even though most commercial toilets and urinals don’t have tanks). Hopefully if there is this kind of an emergency (like a hurricane) you won’t be sheltering in place at the eye doctor!

  29. Mysteria456*

    #11 baffles me. Because here I am reading all the signs, avoiding talking to anyone as much as possible.

    1. MM*

      Oh, absolutely. I have “don’t ask for help/directions except as an absolute last resort” disease, but it’s kind of heartwarming to me that lots of other people don’t have this hangup.

    2. Strawberry Shortcake*

      SAME. I carefully read every sign I come across because I do NOT want to talk to people, especially if it turns out I’ll have annoyed them! It’s so much faster, too. It’s so much faster, too – no need to find someone, wait for availability, then have a conversation, nope I just use my eyeballs! And I can even take a picture if I need to.

    3. Emmy Noether*

      Ah, I have found my people! I was just reading above about how humans are programmed to talk to other humans first before reading and was like, “well, not me!”. Explains quite a lot about other people, though.

  30. Cari*

    Re #11: I keep thinking of the signs used to thwart the Auditors in Thief of Time, like one saying “Go Left!” With an arrow pointing right. Or “Do not feed the camel,” but no camel…

  31. Kelly*

    I’m a veterinarian and put up a sign about how to process common blood samples that we collected after having several labor intensive samples on difficult to collect from patients destroyed by inept staff. My boss had a meltdown about me not “trusting” the staff to do things right and screamed about a client seeing the sign and thinking we couldn’t do our jobs. 1) Clients aren’t allowed in the lab area, 2) I was the one explaining to clients that I had to come back while they took off work and collect more blood from their horse because someone couldn’t write down directions or ask. It was costing us a fortune in gas, supplies and pissed off clients. I ended up staying late every day to do my own which would create a delay in results because I worked such stupid hours and couldn’t get it done before the pickup.

    1. Angstrom*

      Your boss needs to read some of the *many* studies affirming the value of written checklists, including use in the medical profession.

    2. Snell*

      lol I was thinking…doesn’t the fact that you have to draw blood again unexpectedly directly show clients that you can’t do your jobs? Boss didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t grasp that immediately?

  32. Elsewise*

    My partner’s workplace has set up a sign in the breakroom with instructions for the employees on “how to win at spring!” One of them is “be lean on payroll”. I’ve told them to ask their manager if that means that they should go home early or if the company is asking them to work off the clock, but haven’t been able to talk them into it.

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

      I would assume that they mean no unnecessary overtime — either requested or approved by the management. I’ve known places where employees just decide to work an extra hour to get more money, regardless of the work, and management is so lax they don’t shut it down.

  33. Bryce*

    In the same vein as #7, when my local zoo was doing some renovations they had a sign saying:
    …I imagine that cut down on feeding costs. My friends didn’t get why I was laughing so hard, but I love them anyway.

    1. Random Dice*

      It’s such an evocative sign. I’d be laughing about it the whole day, and throwing out that quote randomly for decades. Think of all the applications.

      1. RuledbyCats*

        Right? I’ve had jobs where that statement could’ve been handed to new hires – even interviewees if we could get to them, as an act of service!

  34. Lenora Rose*

    Re #7: This one doesn’t count because I caught the sign before it was hung, and asked politely if we could rephrase it, but I saved the original for years. (We had an issue with small personal lockers inside the change room and large winter coats and boots filling them up.)

    “Attention Staff: Too many people have been leaving their items on top of the lockers instead of inside them. If you have any clothes, shoes, etc., please remove them by Friday.”

  35. Ghostlight*

    At my parents’ synagogue there is a sign that says “Parking lot reserved for handicapped and elderly parking only. Violators will have to answer to their consciences.”

    (And yes, I know exactly what it says because I took a photo when I saw it because of how tickled I was.)

    1. short'n'stout*

      I love that! My go-to response when asked if something is cheating (in a low-stakes scenario in a game where nobody else gets hurt) is “that’s between you and your conscience”.

      1. Me*

        “that’s between them and environmental health” is something I told someone who was slagging off a rival cafe (about some process they were doing “wrong”)

  36. Libby*

    Re #7. If had seen that I would have immediately printed off a picture of some Daleks shouting “EXTERMINATE!” and tapped it next to the original sign.

  37. GreyjoyGardens*

    It’s too bad that the Poo Pourri wasn’t accompanied by a sign saying “Doo Your Best!”

    And I, too, desperately want to meet Lisa and/or Jerome.

  38. Raida*

    15. The Poo-Pourri

    if that’d just been approached differently it might have worked.

    But someone immediately saying “oh what, lady crap is supposed to not smell?!?!?!” like it’s a feminist issue just kicked it off. Stupid, aggressive, asking a woman using a ladies room if she’s also in the men’s room, doing this for herself the person that doesn’t use the men’s room…

    1. gender anarchist*

      The original note-writer is the one who was being stupid and aggressive by saying people NEEDED to use the product. I agree that things could have turned out differently — if the *original person* had just left the Poo-Pourri as free to use, with or without a note. IMO it’s perfectly valid for the other users of the restroom to call out the double standard especially considering the amount of (ahem) bullsh-t that women and female-coded people have to go through every day.

  39. L*

    Oh man.

    So I just learned my coworker is leaving our toxic work environment — I’m on the way out too — but I am deeply jealous she gets to go first, and #9 was really the laugh I needed today.

    What DID their eyes say?! I will wonder forever.

    1. Aziraphale the Cat*

      I heard about “Norman doors” on a design podcast years ago and now I can’t unsee them!

      1. short'n'stout*

        There’s a Norman door at my workplace, and despite using the door hundreds if not thousands of times, and knowing about the concept of Norman doors, it gets me Every Time. So much of our interaction with our environment is subconscious.

        1. Emmy Noether*

          I didn’t know this has a name! The doors to my apartment building are like this (I have to do a mental override of my first instinct EVERY TIME, multiple times a day), and now I may have to go see which visual cues specifically make me do that.

          1. Angstrom*

            At work I added a push plate to the appropriate side of a couple of confusing doors purely as a visual aid. It made a big difference.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I mean…sometimes, but a lot of the time it’s like “open hours” or things that have nothing to do with design. Like “the county still requires people to mask inside this building” or whatnot.

  40. metadata minion*

    On #2 — for a while our break room had a sign saying that unwashed dishes/tupperware left unattended would go to dish heaven. Ok, slightly unnecessarily cutesy, but things left in the sink forever get thrown out, I get it. I am annoyed that my favorite mug is now gone, but it was my own fault for leaving it in the sink and then forgetting.

    Only then the person who was in charge of this sent around annoyed messages that nobody was coming to pick up their dishes. Apparently “dish heaven” was her office. Come on, I’d have been happy to bail mug mug out of dish jail, but I assume dishes that have gone to the afterlife are now no longer my dishes. I’m not going to descend into the underworld like Orpheus to get my mug back! :-b

    1. EvilQueenRegina*

      Sounds like she could have been clearer on the fact that she meant her office when she said dish heaven and then maybe people might have gone for them, I can see a lot of people not realising that and thinking the dishes were gone for good.

    2. Aiani*

      I would definitely assume that dish heaven was the trash can. That seems almost intentionally confusing. Maybe she coveted your favorite mug all along.

    3. An American in Scotland*

      bwahaha ! it’s her own fault for saying they’re gone without saying you can get them back! what’s next? “dishes are going to a farm upstate…. why is nobody coming out to my farm to get their stuff”? is the woman in question ‘s office a better place?

      ps- did you enter retrieve your fav mug?

  41. Kerri*

    Hanging in the teacher’s lounge refrigerator: to the person who stole my Peach Nehi – that bottle contained an experiment analyzing the effect of acids on stomach contents. You may want to contact your doctor.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      If true (not your story, the contents), that’s terribly dangerous of the experimenter.

  42. Waving not Drowning*

    We had a similar senario to #1 at work – our mission statement was laminated, and posted on all the toilet cubicle doors, with a big comment on how “peoplecentric” we are, and that our employees are at the “core of everything we do” etc etc. At that time I (and my Team) were having major issues with bullying manager, and those higher up the chain didn’t want to know.

    I took great satisfaction in removing them one night when working late (yet again!), and hiding them in various rubbish bins around the place.

    Took about 10 months for someone to actually comment that they weren’t there (we were in a team building meeting, and the facilitator asked if anyone knew what our Mission Statement was – and someone piped up with it being on the back of toilet doors – and everyone else scratching their heads and saying no it wasn’t – I stayed very very quiet….) They didn’t ever reappear.

  43. KatEnigma*

    #12 reminds me of a rest stop along I-80 in I think Nevada.

    One side of the sidewalk had a sign “Please stay off the grass”

    The other side of the sidewalk has a sign “Caution: Rattlesnakes”

    I know which sign is more effective at keeping people off the grass.

  44. Dagmar*

    I remember a sign at work on the microwave. It said, “Clean up after yourself. This shows your co-workers that you care.” And someone wrote below the text, “And that you can read.” Then someone tore the hand-written part off, then someone rewrote it, and so on.

    1. allathian*

      Reminds me of the sign in the college cafeteria “Shoes are required to eat in the cafeteria.” and someone had written underneath “And socks can eat anywhere they want.”

      On the Finnish west coast there’s a town called Kristiinankaupunki, and especially the old town is a popular tourist attraction in the summer. There’s a quaint lane in the old town that for some unfathomable reason is called “Kissanpiiskaajankuja” (Cat Whipper’s Lane). On a high fence someone’s posted a sign, in French, “Attention au chat” (Beware of the cat). I have a photo of that sign somewhere… I laughed myself silly the first time I saw it.

  45. Martin Blackwood*

    There are four signs around two urinals (plus one saying to wash your hands) in one of the bathrooms at my job. I also feel like there hasnt been a two week period in the last 6 months where both of them worked. Or at least, i ASSUME the one with a bench and two garbage cans in front of it doesnt work. Theres no sign, and there never is a sign, onlu physical barriers. I dont use them, i have the wrong equipment, so i dont know if theyre broken or how much piss gets on the floor.

  46. Never The Twain*

    If the aim is distilled passive aggression, another good sign for situations such as #12 is one that says “If you experience any issues with sterility or impotence following time in this area, please report them immediately to the lab director*.”

  47. kalli*

    The Tupperware one reminds me of an incident where someone circulated a note saying they would clean the fridge and to label all food or it would be thrown out.

    Only for someone to write their name on all their food, which was fine, they reused old containers to keep their bitses in and it was all clearly written and obvious that the outsides just happened to be decorative. Except the person ‘cleaning’ decided that the container containing mini packets of jam was really ice cream and put it in the freezer, and the container of fresh fruit was really three year old yoghurt and throw it in the bin. A few other people lost food as well because anything that didn’t have a due date was deemed old and thrown out, so good bye glad wrapped sandwiches etc., but this person lost everything.

    They were one of the lower paid workers and this was their week’s lunches, and they were a bit upset. They were made much more upset when they wiped their tears and went back to work after their lunch break, only for their supervisor to question them for half an hour about why they didn’t look happy enough and then start “consoling” them because ‘oh your food is expensive’ and make a huge deal of it so the whole floor found out not only had their lunch been thrown out, but they had “special” food because of a medical condition, and they’d do their shopping and put half in a container for work, and basically how their entire diet worked because their supervisor just would not let them go back to work until they disclosed everything from how they got mini jams in the first place (a market special from a local farm), why they were in a container (and not just sitting loosely in the fridge? duh), why they had to have that jam, how much it cost etc. and even went ‘but you’re like my daughter! i need to look after you!’ when this person was like ‘not your business’ at them.

    They started buying lunch after that but because their supervisor was a zillion other kinds of ass (obviously?) they actually only got a lunch break to do so once a week, so they just went without food the other days rather than bring it. They did try bringing in stable non refrigerated foods and keeping it at their desk (instead of their previous bring a packet of crackers/rice cakes for the week and just assembling a thing when they had a minute) but that got the same kind of attention and they were then expected to supply the same for the whole admin floor, as well as refilling the jellybean bowl.

    I still wonder if they’d have stayed if the original note had been more clear about what would happen to unapproved food and the whole thing didn’t start spiralling.

  48. marlon oil*

    I had a teacher at school called Mrs. Glenn. Mrs. Glenn had an electronic ‘whiteboard’ that you had to write on with special pens; a normal dry-erase marker would damage it. After a couple of instances of students using a normal marker and nearly ruining the board, she put up this notice:



    As far as I know it worked!

  49. Writer Claire*

    Oh dear, these have all left me in tears of laughter, especially #5.

    I’m retired now, and living alone with my elderly cat, but now I want to leave passive-aggressive notes for the cat. “This is my FANCY cheese. Do Not Steal.” “Yelling at 3am is Not Necessary and Not Appreciated.” Or perhaps I could leave a motivational one by her litter box. “Keep Litter Inside the Box, Please.”

    Sadly, she would only retaliate with the vet calls social commentary vomiting.

    1. NotRealAnonForThis*

      Must know:

      Is “social commentary vomiting” yowling, or is it coughing up hairballs? I could see both fitting the definition :)

      1. Writer Claire*

        It happens when she’s annoyed with me. She’ll scarf down a bunch of kibble, then half an hour later, she vomits it back up. I took her to the vet, of course, who said she’s in great health and she was just expressing her displeasure. We agreed that Fig, who is 16, will clearly live to be at least 20, if only out of spite.

  50. 225anon*

    The stalls in the womens restroom all had detailed explanations of the “courtesy flush” and requests that it be used every time….. The signs irked me so bad.. How dare they micromanage my colon! Towards the end of my very short stint at that job, I asked a male coworker if the mens restroom had the same signs. Of course not. He didn’t believe me that the womens restroom did. I took pictures for him. We laughed and laughed. Then, on my last day, I ripped them all down.

    1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      Those signs irk me because it’s a waste of water. I don’t love bathroom smells and have my own bathroom shame issues, but my desire to conserve water is a stronger force.

      1. on and on anon*

        The courtesy flush is what you do when there is still matter left in the bowl after the first flush.

        1. My Pedantry Is At War With My Desire Not To Discuss Bathrooms At Work*

          If there’s still matter left, that’s just necessary. I’m pretty sure a courtesy flush is when you flush once after actually doing whatever you’re doing. and then flushing again after you’ve used toilet paper — the idea is that you minimize how long your business sits in the bowl.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Ohh, I always thought it was for the extra matter. This is just silly and a ridiculous waste of water.

  51. Ifeedbirds*

    At my former job a colleague put signs in every toilet stall that read: “The toilet brush is not a hedgehog, it can be used for cleaning!” With pictures of a hedgehog and a toilet brush and a clean toilet. One day I taped pictures of Sonic The Hedgehog looking angry to all of them.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      This poster makes no sense. A hedgehog can also be used for cleaning if you’re brave enough and have Kevlar gloves.

  52. NotPoopingOnThisOccasion*

    I arrived early at work one morning and needed to put on makeup. The bathroom nearest to my office was the best for putting on makeup as it was the only one where you could get really close to the mirror (without leaning over a counter). The bathroom was a single-occupancy one so it was also very popular for private pooping (which I don’t care about, everybody poops). The bathroom was occupied so I waited outside; when someone came out it was a colleague that I didn’t know very well, he’d clearly just pooped and seemed kind of annoyed. As I said, I didn’t really care, didn’t say anything and went into the bathroom.
    Later a sign appeared on the door saying ‘if this bathroom is in use, why not use your legs and go to one of the many other bathrooms in the building.’

    Because I wanted to use the mirror? But that was also the only bathroom with free period products, and the only bathroom with WC and washhandbasin in the same space, so there were plenty of other reasons people might want to wait for that one rather than go elsewhere, including some with disability implications (although it wasn’t a fully accessible toilet). Anyway, I just took the sign down and threw it away.

  53. Jill*

    I am reminded of a notoriously cranky printer we had many years ago at an old job. It broke down and a colleague put a sign on it that said:

    “Out of order. Please come back later to have your paper wrinkled.”

  54. Dawn*

    “Mistakes help us grow” I’m screaming.

    Only better bathroom sign I’ve ever seen than that one is, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today!”

  55. Random Biter*

    #5. I am so getting fired as after reading that note my fingerprints will be all over that bag.

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I’m thinking what if someone at that office bought an identical bag of coffee, emptied it of the fancy beans, filled it with Folgers, came in early or stayed late, and switched the bags out. Wearing rubber gloves of course. (Maybe put the original bag in a drawer/cupboard in the breakroom to avoid charges of coffee theft.)

  56. Here for the Insurance*

    In the area of work kitchen signs, a new one just went up this week at my office:

    “Please be sure to clean up spilled sugar. We don’t need ANTS in here on top of all the other stuff, DO WE???”

    Aside from the tone, all I can think is WHAT OTHER STUFF? We have regular pest control. Nobody’s come screaming out of the kitchen. I’m here every day and I’ve never seen anything. What’s the problem, Brenda?

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I posted a comment in the office pranks thread the other day about chocolate sprinkles posing as mouse droppings, just saying, maybe it’s time to give Brenda the sprinkle treatment

  57. ML*

    Regarding the coworker saying “you missed the candy/cupcakes” whatever i would say “i can buy my own better cupcakes with the money i saved not driving to work”

  58. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    I was the PA note creator in this one. As part of a big effort to improve employee engagement, we were each given a handful of thank-you cards with the instructions to sign and give them to the coworkers we wanted to thank. I taped one of my cards to the breakroom coffeemaker. Went to make coffee the next day and someone had written “DITTO!” on my card.

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