ask the readers: strangely dramatic responses to mundane work events

For some reason, work makes people have weirdly strong reactions to relatively mundane events — examples here over the years include an office-wide meltdown when new phones were installed with fewer speed dial buttons, or the person who threw a massive tantrum when they were told they could no longer wear pajamas to work.

Maybe you’ve had your own inappropriately intense reaction to something at work that you later realized didn’t quite warrant your response.

Let’s discuss! In the comment section, please share your stories of weirdly dramatic reactions you’ve seen people have to small events at work — the more disproportionate, the better. If someone lost their mind when they were asked to clean up their office or flipped out when bagel Tuesdays ended, we want to hear about it.

{ 1,152 comments… read them below }

  1. The Baconing*

    In a small office in which I used to work, we had a radio playing local stations. Usually, the station was Top 40s pop music, which is fine, but it got old for me after hearing the same songs on rotation for days on end. One day, when the rest of the people went out to lunch and I was there alone, I changed it to our classical station and then promptly got busy and forgot to change it back. One of my coworkers returned from lunch and began to CRY because they hated classical music so much but couldn’t be bothered to change the station back.

    1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      (blinks in confusion)

      …what even…? Crying in response to music, instead of changing it (or asking if they could change it?

      I mean, I feel sad and deeply concerned for your coworker, while also being quite bewildered.

    2. Shiba Dad*

      About 30 years ago I was an assistant shipping foreman at a teapot manufacturer. We had a radio inside hooked to speakers on the dock.

      We ran three shifts. At one time we had two brothers in their 40s and I guy in his 20s on second shift. The brothers liked classic rock and hated country. The younger guy was the exact opposite.

      We suggested that they take turns – half a shift rock and half a shift country. Neither side was willing to compromise. At all.

        1. Shiba Dad*

          In the short term, yes. It eventually sorted itself out. Long story, but the brothers were MAJORLY avoiding work, and were fired.

    3. bassclefchick*

      (even MORE blinking in confusion)

      Who hates classical music that much? I can understand not enjoying it, but HATING it?!?! My petty self would be finding my CD with 1812 Overture, Ride of the Valkyries, and the Anvil Chorus on it.

      1. The Baconing*

        She called someone while she was at her desk and loudly told them that she couldn’t stand classical, that it was boring and made her sleepy, she didn’t like the way it sounded, she couldn’t focus with it on, and she couldn’t BELIEVE that it was on the radio. However, she said she knew for certain that she couldn’t change it back because she didn’t want to be the one causing drama in the office, like I, the person who changed it to begin with, had done by switching it to begin with.

        1. Expelliarmus*

          She didn’t want to be the one causing drama in the office by changing the station back, so she decided to cause drama in the office by throwing a tantrum?

          The logic is nonexistent.

          1. The Baconing*

            She was a lot. She also fell for one of those scams in which a company/person claims you can make hundreds of dollars a week by doing something via Google search if you’ll just send them $200. She did so. Of course, it was a scam so she received nothing in return, so she called Google HQ every single day for two weeks as soon as she made it into the office to try to “force Google to give [her] her money back.” She would then spend at least another hour loudly complaining to the wind about how Google should be ashamed of them itself for scamming people out of their hard-earned money.

          2. Mongrel*

            The logic is nonexistent.

            Every time I’ve heard someone say that they ‘don’t want to cause drama’ that persons is normally the one to either cause the drama or amplify and confuse an existing drama

            1. CommanderBanana*

              I feel like we need a name for this corollary, like Occam’s Razor – “the person who claims to not want drama is always the person who in fact, wants the most drama.”

      2. Bruce*

        At my school the Ride of the Valkyries was ONLY played during finals week, and then it was played very LOUD to wake people up in the morning. Playing THE RIDE at other times would provoke immediate retaliation, rising to the level of forcinging the door open and hauling the offender off to be dumped in a pond. I don’t have a strong reaction to THE RIDE but many of my fellow alums have an intense panic reaction when they hear it without being prepared…

        1. MelMc*

          I get this. My first job as a teenager the boss liked a classic country station. So very classic country that Gene Autry and Roy Rogers was pretty much all they played. I swear they only had about ten songs they played on repeat over my 8 hour shift. If I ever hear Tumbling Tumbleweeds or Clear Water again I will likely hunk out and destroy a radio.

          1. Dawn*

            Now picturing a superhero with the power to hunk out.

            You’re making him pretty. You wouldn’t like him when he’s pretty.

          2. Distracted Procrastinator*

            This reminds me of the 4 months I spent working at a tourist attraction in Hawaii. I would do the same thing if that radio played Tiny Bubbles.

            1. Jshaden*

              High school summer job working at a place that hosted company picnics. The summer the Macarena came out. Still can’t stand that song.

            2. Chauncy Gardener*

              O.M.G. Lived in Hawaii for four years. If I ever hear Tiny Bubbles again I don’t think I can be held responsible for my actions….

          3. Leslie*

            I think you mean Cool Water…”all day I face the baren waste, without the taste of water….cooool water…

          4. Reluctant Mezzo*

            Christmas music that features five different versions of “Silver Bells’ in hour will have me scrambling for some head-banger right off.

            1. Retail Dragon*

              At my job, Christmas music plays all day every day from November 1st to December 26th. Whoever selects the music at our corporate headquarters has very perplexing taste. In 2022, we counted ELEVEN different versions of “Winter Wonderland” played back to back. I would be happy to never hear it again for the rest of my life.

              1. Moosicle*

                We had the same deal at my old job, except it was six (!) versions of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” That song is not allowed on any radio win my earshot ever again.

          5. Shakti*

            This reminds me of a job I took briefly at a fashion boutique when I was 19 and they had the same 8 songs on repeat for the whole 8 hour shift. It was horrible. If I ever hear Rihanna’s shut up and drive or the song your my satellite I feel instant rage and images of hangers with giant beads on them lol

          6. vito*

            I’ve got worse, Linda Arnold “at the dinosaur baseball game” was in the rotation at a hotel I worked at, I still have nightmares.
            It did match the theming.

          7. Mister_L*

            I worked as a guard at a seasonal fair / expo and for a week was stationed next to a ride that had exactly one CD of what google translates as folk music.

        2. Clare*

          Many years ago I made the mistake of using one of my phone’s ringtones as my morning alarm. A couple of years later, that specific ringtone was used as the ringtone for a character in a popular TV show – and all of a sudden I started hearing it in public from fans’ phones. Whenever I heard it, my brain would dump a truckton of cortisol into my body to get me ‘out of bed’. I’d hear the jingle and suddenly I’d be doused in a film of sweat, heart racing, hands trembling, panicky and mad. It was horrible!

          What, me? Not a morning person? How did you guess?

          1. BubbleTea*

            My brother got into the habit of playing a specific pop song extremely loudly as his alarm. Which was fine when he was the only person in that part of the house, but when I was back from university and didn’t need to be awake at 6am, I was incandescent at the volume. It was seriously loud, we were lucky our house was detached or the neighbours would have complained.

        3. Cedrus Libani*

          Mine is “My Heart Will Go On”. A fine song, but I was in 8th grade when the Titanic movie came out, and there was a clique of 7th graders on my bus who were OBSESSED. Every weekday morning, at way too frigging early o’clock, I would spend 40 minutes listening to them talk about Titanic. Every weekday afternoon, the same. Mostly, they were squealing over Leonardo DiCaprio, but it’s hard to fill 6-7 hours per week of airtime that way even when you are a mob of thirsty preteens. So they would belt out THAT SONG, at the top of their lungs, several times per ride.

          Mercifully, I started high school the next year, so I wasn’t on that bus anymore. If I’d had to endure another year…it was self-defense, Your Honor.

        4. D'Arcy*

          I still remember that. . . also, they did it to the alum who went to the Moon as a NASA astronaut, but the person who picked the wake-up music *swears* to this day that it was totally a coincidence and that he was not aware of the Ride tradition.

      3. Mianaai*

        Based on the other details, this seems to indeed be a case of bananapants overdramatic reaction but there’s some situations where it *could* be more understandable? I have some odd misophonia triggers, one of which is, broadly, chaotic sound. It just so happens that my brain classifies “improv jazz” into that category. It can be surprisingly difficult to explain “this is not a personal judgement on you but your music makes my teeth hurt and listening to it for 5 minutes has driven me to the brink of rage-sobbing” in a way that people accept. Especially since the onset is so sudden/rapid and it so directly affects my ability to think and express myself rationally – it’s an emotional/physiological response that bypasses the entirety of my rational thought, more like rapid onset motion sickness.

        Some folks are happy to change it when requested, but the majority of people I’ve encountered are baffled by my experience and will only change it after I’ve explained the situation to their satisfaction – they treat it as an aesthetic preference not an actual problem. And a few people I’ve encountered have, unfortunately, done the equivalent of responding by blasting Ride of the Valkries as they’re convinced that I’m just making up the problem for attention.

        1. discontinuity*

          This is really useful to know and remember. Thanks for sharing your experience.

          I’m so sorry people didn’t believe you! It’s really crap how easy it is to forget how people’s experiences can be so wildly different.

          1. Mianaai*

            You’re welcome! I think part of it is that (nearly?) everyone has some sounds that they dislike, or find annoying. So, when reaching for a point of comparison they go for “oh yeah when my spouse hums under their breath while I’m trying to concentrate, that’s pretty annoying” or similar as their point of reference. But that just keeps the situation framed as “likes” and “dislikes” and ignores the physiological response.

            Completely by accident, my spouse and I ran across one piece of music that triggered the same response in them, and… I felt bad because they had to experience the negative reaction but also it was *extremely* validating to have them be like “oh wait is THIS what improv jazz is to you? I knew that was a thing but oh god I understand now”

            1. CountryLass*

              I have a weird thing where I had a recurring nightmare a s a child, I don’t know why, even my parents can’t come up with a reason, but it was something to do with a cave, or a rock place and there was just this sound. I can’t describe it, sort of high-pitched but not, and with a low note mingling too. And every so often I come across something that reminds me of that sound, and straightaway I’m back in my nightmare… Even writing this has got my neck tensing at the back and I haven’t had that dream for years…

            2. Sasha*

              I have a similar problem—I have a phobia of something most people are bothered by. So the majority of the time I bring it up (always because there’s something scaring me or I need to avoid) someone will be like, oh yeah me too and then launch into a HORRIBLE story that makes my skin hurt and leaves me feeling sick.

        2. Properlike*

          Thank you for naming what I’ve tried to explain to people: improv jazz makes me nuts. I want to like it, but nope out after only a few measures.

          1812 Overture is okay though.

          1. Mianaai*

            Omg incredible, you’re the only other person I’ve “met” with the same trigger! And yeah, 1812 Overture is fine for me but some electronic and metal music will affect me the same way if there’s a lot of distortion. Brains are weird!

            1. Elitist Semicolon*

              Me too with the improv jazz, especially if it involves a lot of jangling around the same two or three notes for any length of time.

            2. Autofill Contact*

              My husband also experiences misophonia with mostly all jazz but especially improv. And when I eat carrots, which is too bad, because I love carrots..

            3. Phryne*

              I don’t have full out misophonia, but am (hyper)sensitive to stuff like loud noise, high temperature, bright light and I get overstimulated, and I definitively have a timer on improv jazz… I can sort of compartmentalise it like I can other noise stimuli for some time, but it is one of the sounds that makes the box overflow *really* fast.
              I only very very occasionally have a rage response though, fortunately. Generally on someone chewing really crunchy stuff like carrots or nuts in a quiet room.

          2. Cedrus Libani*

            I don’t have misophonia, but I dislike improv jazz for the same reason. Music theory nerds like my husband can hear the order in the chaos, but an untrained schlub like me cannot. It’s just noise. It sounds like someone got hopped up on amphetamines and went on a rampage in a whoopee cushion factory. The “better” the jazz, the higher the dose.

            He’s actually taught me to like heavy metal, which is the other niche genre he loves. I’ll take distortion and scream-singing all day over wildly enthusiastic saxophone fart noises.

        3. Ace in the Hole*

          I have a related problem – sensory processing issues that make many ordinary sounds, including certain types of music, actively painful. I’ve had the best luck saying something like “I’m sorry, I’m very sensitive to certain sounds and this music is hurting my ears. Do you mind [insert mitigating action here]?”

          1. Mianaai*

            I’ve had good luck when I use motion sickness as an analogy, too, for people who don’t let it drop at “I’m very sensitive…”. Which IME is a lot of people; usually out of curiosity/bafflement rather than malice though.

        4. Burbonk*

          I also have misophonia and sometimes if I’m VERY stressed out, snapping or clicking in songs will absolutely trigger a fight-or-flight response. Flight, usually, thank goodness. It’s surprisingly common in top 40 pop music. I could totally see someone crying at a specific musical style that does this to them. I will never understand the people who think we make this stuff up for attention and try to make it worse, I would never admit to having this issue if I didn’t have to!!

        5. thunderingly*

          That’s interesting. Native American flute music makes me physically uncomfortable but I have a hard time putting into words why. I play the flute and have played the flutes of various other cultures just to try, but I just have a hard time with Native American flute.

        6. SaraK*

          Hail fellow improv jazz misophonia sufferer! The misery is real! I try to force myself to focus on the musicians’ undoubted skill on their instruments but it is through tightly gritted teeth.

        7. StarTrek Nutcase*

          I don’t consider the intense dislike or intolerance to the type of music bananapants. I do consider the immediate crying and choice to not change the station or request that as the bananapants part. I have a sensitivity to certain noises that can quickly raise my anxiety super high, but in the moment I leave the room until I can approach a remedy reasonably. Just continuing to cry while being subjected to a noise/music/song is neither reasonable nor professional.

          1. Mianaai*

            Sure, there are better ways to approach the situation than continuing to cry without actually asking for a change of music. Also, The Baconing has provided a lot of additional detail to make it pretty clear that this coworker probably wasn’t having a misophonia reaction or something similar. I was partly replying because of this sentiment: “My petty self would be finding my CD with 1812 Overture, Ride of the Valkyries, and the Anvil Chorus on it”.

            It’s attitudes like this that *have* resulted in me crying in the farthest corner from a full-house stereo system because the person controlling said stereo was really really looking forward to some jazz and had previously proven to be extremely untrustworthy about any mental health disclosures. Or my old grad school officemates, who delighted in my reaction and thought it great fun to drive me out of the office by, figuratively, blaring Ride of the Valkyries at me.

            It’s obviously always best to try to remove yourself from the sound, calm down, and go back with a plan to deescalate etc etc. My point is more that having a strong negative reaction is not inherently unreasonable and that the petty drive to blare the thing causing the reaction can be truly unkind.

        8. butter rat*

          Hi! Improv jazz does the same thing to me. Do you also have the thing where static on the radio cutting in & out gives you a migraine? They feel related to me.

          1. Mianaai*

            Static or distortion noises can absolutely be a misophonia trigger for me as well but rarely cause migraines and the timeline to go from annoyance to discomfort to fight/flight response tends to be a lot longer for them than for jazz, interestingly. My brain just really really hates this one specific thing…

            I can hear a lot of high frequency sounds that others can’t, though; not quite “I can hear the electricity in the walls” but pretty close.

            1. Pixel*

              *fistbump of solidarity* I can hear ultrasonic humidifiers and the security systems at department store jewelry/cosmetic counters. And fluorescent lights. And cheap dog whistles. And loads of medical equipment. Hospitals are just audio hell for me.

              My misophonia is mostly mouth sounds, although small children shrieking will catapult me straight into stabby-killy rage.

        9. CountryLass*

          I really don’t like jazz, I find it chaotic, with no order or beat so, although I can’t say I understand your experience, I’d happily throw a radio playing it out the window for you!

        10. Chirpy*

          Yeah, when I asked coworkers if I could turn off the breakroom TV because I was having a panic attack and really needed 15 minutes of quiet, you would have thought I’d asked them to give me their whole paycheck or something. Actual screaming (which definitely made my panic attack worse).

          There’s a few people who thank me for turning the TV off because they were afraid to/ didn’t know they could, but I have to plan my lunches and breaks around the loud ones now because they will turn the TV louder when they see me, or will walk in and turn the TV on without asking.

      4. Princess Sparklepony*

        I wouldn’t cry, but I really do dislike classical music. It makes me want to either sleep or grit my teeth. I came close to failing music appreciation in high school. My best friend from high school and I both have nightmares about that class.

        And the time when a fellow classmate fed us an answer on a test. The teacher said “If you don’t get this one, I will have failed as a teacher.” You had to identify the piece, the composer, and one other thing I can’t remember. We looked at each other with blank looks and Charlotte (really sweet girl was a year below us but taking advanced classes) saw us and hissed Eine Kleine through her teeth at us. Blessing on that sweet child! We like the teacher, just not musically inclined. We did better in art history.

        1. Spiders Everywhere*

          It’s rough when it’s a “highbrow” genre of music you don’t like, isn’t it? If you say “I find death metal singing overbearing” people recognize it as a legitimate preference but somehow “I find opera singing overbearing” means you’re low class.

      5. Overit*

        Depends on the piece. At one workplace, we had 3 channels of Muzak. All were classical. One channel made me incandescent with rage. I called it the Plinky Plonky Piano channel. All of the music on that channel had piano forward music with staccato or fast melodies. (Sorry if my description is inadequate.) My assistant pointed out to me that whenever it was on, I would get agitated and terse and have jerky body movements. I tried very hard to control my reaponse to it, but it was entirely involuntary.
        So it became a rule that whenever I was in the office, that channel was not allowed. One day, as a joke, one of my coworkers turned it on while I was with a long term client. Very quickly, the client said, “I thought you get rid of that horrible music. Can you turn it off?” That made our boss ask staff about it. Turna out over half the office hates that channel but did not say anything about it and were relieved when I dis.

    4. Wendy the Spiffy*

      Nothing good can come from music everyone can hear at work, I swear. I was in a similar situation and to this day, the song “Habits” by Tove Lo about gives me hives.

        1. RVA Cat*

          I hate how the intro teases you with “Sweet Home Alabama” only slightly less than “Ice Ice Baby”‘s crime against “Under Prsssure.”

          1. Lbd*

            It totally rips off the intro to Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London.
            After hearing Pictures too many times on the radio at work, I have never wanted to go looking for anything Kid Rock did.

      1. Mim*

        “Call Me Maybe” gives me such specific old-job work anxiety, it is disturbing. I feel like this music effect is especially enhanced when it’s a genre one doesn’t listen to elsewhere, and especially when that genre is top-40 radio, where the most popular songs are played several times a day.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          A radio network in the UK has a “No repeat guarantee” which means that no song will be played twice during the 9-5. I hadn’t really thought about why that would be a thing, but workplace radio would definitely fit.

          1. Nessa*

            I’m glad more stations have that. I believe it was a thing at one point and I’m not sure how many others do it, but I grew up with a “no repeat 9-to-5” as the stations catchphrase

          2. londonedit*

            It’s definitely not a thing on the BBC stations though – if a song’s on the Radio 2 or 6 Music A playlist then you better believe you’ll be hearing it six times a day.

            1. Jasmine*

              When TITANIC came out some coworkers and I stopped at a 7-Eleven for a coffee break. (Yeah, not in the United States.) Guess what song was on repeat and played the entire 15 minutes we were there?

          3. Mister_L*

            I think there is a radio station in my country that promises “no christmas music” in general and “no Last Christmas” specifically every year.

      2. Sara without an H*

        Many, many years ago, I worked a retail job where there was always music on in the background. That year, “The Impossible Dream,” from Man of La Mancha, was for some reason the most popular track and it came up several times per shift.

        To this day, if you want to see me turn into The Incredible Hulk, just play “The Impossible Dream.”

        (Yes, I am old.)

        1. Spiders Everywhere*

          Look up the impossible dream skit from the muppet show if you want to see John Cleese have a similar reaction!

          1. MassMatt*

            Wow, I thought I’d seen everything John Cleese has done (including The Frost Report and even some industrial training films!) and somehow I’d missed that.

      3. JustaTech*

        We used to play music out loud in the lab (corded headphones get caught on the drawer handles). This was usually fine, anyone could ask to plug in their player and there usually weren’t very many people (2-3) in the lab at any time.
        But then my coworker who was most often in the lab got on an Adele kick. Adele and Amy Winehouse and one specific Lorena McKennit song (The Highwayman). And so that was pretty much all that got played in the lab for a couple of months.
        Not the worst thing ever, and most people didn’t spend that long in the lab.
        Until one coworker had a really mindless study that required sitting in the lab for pretty much 8 hours a day.
        So one day I had some lab work to do and there’s no music playing so I ask this coworker “hey, do you mind if I put on my music? It’s got some swearing in Spanish.”
        He looks up at me, mournful as a Bassett hound and says “If it’s not Adele, I don’t care.”

        1. Luna*

          At that point, I’d just slap on some headphones and listen on my own device. I don’t overall like Adele songs myself, but I can tolerate them to a degree. And as someone who also gets on ‘kicks’ of things and can listen to the same song for hours on end, I’d at least know and have the decency to not subject other people to it.

      4. Meg*

        I used to work at a mall retail store that was very open to the rest of the mall, so people walking by could see our merchandise and get sucked in. An unmanned kiosk for a travel agent selling cruises set up right outside, and they had a small TV on the end facing our door that played a repeating video advertisement for the cruises. It was probably 25 minutes long and the end featured a montage of people having fun on the cruise while “Happy” by Pharrell played. Every 25 minutes. All day. Every day.

        We begged mall management to ask them to turn down the volume or at least flip the kiosk so it was facing away from us (store on the opposite side of the walkway was pretty closed so the wouldn’t hear it over their own music) but they were strangely resistant. I still want to punch something when I hear “Happy.”

    5. Radio Rage Victim*

      I worked in an office that was super disfunctional. There was a man who had the biggest sales account so the company felt they couldn’t touch him at all. He decided what music was played on the radio and god help you if you changed it. I got fed up one day and not only changed it but changed the preset buttons and he got so angry that he threw a stapler at me. Then the company let me go over it (which thank god, I collected unemployment and got out of that mad house).

      1. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

        Wait, they fired *you* because *he* threw a stapler at you? WTF??

        Glad you got out of there!

        1. Heffalump*

          Sadly, this wouldn’t be the first or last instance of blaming the victim in the history of the world.

    6. zinzarin*

      This is why I advocate for no music at work at all. Too many conflicting interests; you’ll never be able to please everyone.

      And I’m the biggest music fan. I’m sure that many of my friends would describe that as *the* defining characteristic of my personality. My vinyl record collection numbers in the thousands, and I’ve been to well over 500 concerts in my life (that I can document with tickets stubs; there are more that I’ve forgotten).

      But still… no music at work, please!

      1. Emma*

        Agreed! I can’t have background noise while working my brain can’t function with multiple streams of input. When people try to put music on in my workspace I just explain I will have to go to a different workstation or ask that they use headphones. I have been this was since I was a kid. I’m just noise sensitive. There is no such thing as background music to me – even if I love it!

    7. The dark months*

      On place I worked had a limited CD collection. No one could agree on a CD except for Bob Marley’s greatest hits. I don’t like Bob Marley on a good day but wasn’t willing to be the one dissenting vote. After about two months of that CD playing constantly even 25yrs later I loath some of his songs.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Were you the bus driver of my high school Costa Rica trip? We listened to Bob Marley nonstop, which personally I enjoyed but it was also only for a week lol

    8. iglwif*

      W O W. Look, there are genres of music I really would rather not listen to (and specific pieces of music I truly dislike) but the radio dial is … RIGHT THERE?

      This is not nearly as melodramatic, but in my first sorta-kinda office job, the summer after grade 10, I covered the reception desk at lunch and one time I dared to change the quietly-playing little desktop radio from a local country station to CBC FM (later Radio 2). When the receptionist came back from her lunch she was Very Annoyed, and changed it back with extreme prejudice and the comment, “Nobody listens to anything but country in this town, anyway.”

      Facts to keep in mind here:
      1) The town in question had (and still has) an opera company, a symphony orchestra, multiple radio stations playing various non-country genres, various string quartets and choirs and such, youth choirs and a youth orchestra, stadium concerts by many and various non-country artists, etc.
      2) MANY people in the said town did (and still do) listen to those stations and attend those performances
      3) I was born in the said town and had lived there for most of my life at that point
      4) I was (and still am) a classically trained amateur musician who at that time belonged to three choirs and two bands and was taking lessons on two different instruments
      5) Many of my friends and many of my parents’ friends were classical music nerds
      6) Many people who listen to country music enjoy other genres as well

      The level of generalizing from herself to the entire 750,000+ population of the city was mind-boggling to me.

      1. amoeba*

        Hah, the 750,000+ population is what makes this for me! Was picturing some kind of small, rural town up until there… (with a flourishing music scene though, from your description, haha)

    9. ComputerJanitor*

      We have a years-long music war at our company. The manufacturing floor has two factions: one likes classic rock and country and the other favors modern pop. Each has a massive stereo system blasting their music 24/7. At opposing ends of the same room. The facility is otherwise quiet, but the music is so loud an OSHA auditor made us require hearing protection. Whenever any restriction to the music has been proposed the majority of employees in the area threaten to quit.

    10. Kayem*

      My boss always had his Pandora station on 70s soft rock, which would be fine if I didn’t hear the same songs over and over again. Granted, I could have just asked my boss if he would change the station, but this was my first professional job after years of retail with terrible supervisors, so I was too skittish. I would rant about it at home, much to the amusement of my roommate. After months of “Lonesome Loser” multiple times a day, I finally snapped. When he was on his lunch break, I snuck into his office and seeded his Pandora station with Slayer and Pantera. Neither are bands I listen to, they were just the first things I could think of that were definitely not 70s soft rock.

      After a week of boss’s station randomly spitting out Slayer, Pantera, and similar music, my boss switched his station to 1950s oldies. But he was so sad about it and moped for days that he couldn’t listen to his favorite station anymore without devil music interrupting. I felt so guilty (and afraid I’d get fired) that I never admitted it was me.

    11. A Person*

      I was working retail in a small shop over the summer from college, and I would put NPR on to play classical music because it helped me with some studying for my music degree. I lived at the time in a place where the NPR station was split between classical music and news, and I kind of forgot about it and left it on in the background, until one day when a news story came on about a protest in which apparently female genitalia were used in protest symbols. Suddenly the store has a voice from above going on about very specific body parts that are infrequently informally discussed casually in public, using very clinical language, and I got some STARES. I just eeked out, “It’s NPR!”

    12. lilsheba*

      Ok I wouldn’t cry, but if a radio station got turned to jazz I would be upset because that is how much I HATE jazz. YUUUUCCCCKKKKK.

      1. Jasmine*

        It’s so funny to me, how people hate one kind of music. My husband has the most eclectic playlist in the world. I told him if I died, he would really have a hard time remarrying because no one would understand his taste in music!

      2. Princess Sparklepony*

        I’m not a jazz fan – so, of course, I worked in the jazz department of a major music label…. Admins can work anywhere! Great invisible benefits though.

  2. Former Call Centre rep*

    Not so much told, but more IT blocked the anime/manga porn sites on the intranet for the call centre.

    A guy straight up yelled at the sr manager.

    Also, we had a clean desk policy. This guy who had been there for like 15 years threw a fit when his funko pops of the royal family were told not to be on the desks. He called his manager a not great name, and then was walked from the bilding

    1. Casual Librarian*

      I will never forget when my workplace put in a ban on STREAMING MOVIES AND TELEVISION during work! People were trying to make the case that they could watch the entirety of Game of Thrones and not be distracted while trying to do data analysis or whatever else. They said it’s the same as music and podcasts. People will have their own opinions and experiences on this, so I’m not prone to argue this reason.

      BUT, the the reason the streaming moratorium happened was because coworkers shouldn’t be subjected to seeing *graphic* scenes playing on your monitors during work hours. People were streaming really gory movies.

      Result? Many of the streamers started working from home with decreased productivity, then were forced back into the office where they couldn’t stream, and then were PIP-ed out of the business.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        We had one employee who freaked out when Skype was banned from the workplace. He did a freak out, then retreated to try to make a business case for using it to talk with customers, to which management provided a range of other options besides skype. And so he freaked out even more … Turns out he wanted to be able to chat with his friends, and girfriend overseas all day and not pay charges on his personal phone, so the ‘talk with customers was a fake reason for his freak out’

        Management had to explain to him that while it’s fine he wanted to save some money a) he was supposed to be working at work, not spending hours cultivating his social life and b) Skype had a nasty practice of treating any server where a Skype call occurred as a node in their Skype network, so the first time this guy fired it up from his work device, Skype took up residence on several of the company’s servers and began using ALL the device resources, to host calls of random other people who had nothing to do with our company. And while IT shut it down and blocked Skype’s commandeering of the servers once they noticed, they did not want to be playing whack-a-mole with it as Skype changed things up to try to weasel in again.

        (says person who is currently using company resources to post comments unrelated to work)

      2. Sally Sunshine*

        At one point I worked at an organization that served K-12 educators. Our HR manager would put the most recent GoT episodes up on the big screen in our open plan office during lunch, which made me lose my appetite. I took to eating my lunch in a storage closet, and was lightly chided by the director for disappearing during the hour. It was a blessing when I was downsized!

        1. Hot Dish*

          So many things that are wrong… I wouldn’t want to be forced into watching it either. HR manager, yikes.

      3. lilsheba*

        Frankly it is the same as music and podcasts. I stream movies, music, tv shows, whatever while I’m working and I work just great and get all my crap done.

      4. MCMonkeyBean*

        I genuinely am more productive when streaming background shows for certain kinds of mindless work. It’s not unreasonable for a company to have a rule against it, but if they created a blanket ban because some people were streaming graphic things that’s pretty obnoxious and I’d be pissed too.

    2. John*

      It seems like losing a 15-year employee over Funko pops was not a wise choice on the manager’s part, no?

      1. AnonymousToast*

        Losing an employee who resorts to name-calling when asked to abide by a company policy is not a loss.

        1. TeenieBopper*

          Eh. Calling someone an asshole when they’re being an asshole shouldn’t be a fireable offense.

          1. Former Call Centre rep*

            Manager wasn’t an asshole. Told him that everyone else had to do clean desk policy because cleaners were unable to properly clean, option was put the funko pops in his locker every night or take them home.

            He then called her a C*** in front of the entire team.

              1. A Poster Has No Name*

                Funko Pop–they’re collectible figurine-type things. Big-headed representations of cultural icons (people, characters, etc.).

              2. Azure Jane Lunatic*

                They are collectible vinyl figurines of pop culture characters. I suspect that one might annoy both Funko Pop devotees and Beanie Babies fans by comparing the two, but they occupy a not dissimilar niche.

        2. Wilbur*

          It’s a call center, it’s not like there are customers coming in to be bothered by a messy desk. Deciding people can’t have stupid collectibles on their desk because you don’t like how it looks is dumb. I’m going out on a limb and guessing that the Royal Funkopops did not impact productivity. Not a great reaction by that employee but maybe focus on results over arbitrary measures of control.

          1. DivergentStitches*

            Now I’m just picturing the person acting out scenes with the Royal Funko Pops a la Wash in Serenity :D

          2. Former Call Centre rep*

            They didn’t but, cleaners couldn’t clean properly. He called her a C**** for telling him he can either put them away every night or take them home.

          3. zinzarin*

            From additional context provided above, it sounds like this decision *was* driven by results. The cleaners complained that the clutter on desks was making their jobs harder. If cleaning is harder, that increases costs to clean to the same level.

            Is it likely the biggest problem this particular business faces? No. Is it real, and reasonable to request? Yes.

          4. lilsheba*

            100 percent agree. It IS dumb, who cares what’s on people’s desks? Mine was always full of stuff (and is even more so at home) and it made me happy, didn’t hurt anyone, just leave it alone.

          5. Lunita*

            So there wasn’t any legitimate reason to clean the desks? At any rate, I wouldn’t regret getting rid of someone who used that word in response to this. It’s a definite overreaction and a crude, ugly word.

          6. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            According to a reply from Former Call Centre rep* up thread, the clean desk policy was instituted because all the clutter on desks was causing the cleaners to have a hard doing their job. Sounds like a valid reason to me.

            Maybe don’t criticize things because of assumptions you’ve made about the reasons for those things? Just a suggestion.


      2. Former Call Centre rep*

        If the only person in a call centre with personal items on a desk, you can’t make an exception.

        And tenure doesn’t mean anything when they call their manager a C- fil in the blanks there in front of everyone

          1. Hannah Lee*

            Yeah, this is a variation on the “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” thing.
            It’s one thing to be unhappy with a new workplace rule. (complain about it, push back on it, try to get some leeway if you think it’s unjust.)

            It’s another thing to lose your ish at work over it, to the point you’re calling someone the C word.

            The lack of emotional regulation, disrespect and crassness, as well as the poor judgement of doing it over having to put away their Funko Pops, so the cleaners can clean, absolutely warrants a Yep Bye.

      3. jtr*

        I don’t know, someone who would have a temper tantrum over desk decoration doesn’t seem to be the most stable of folks…

        1. Bast*

          While true if it were just the desk decoration, I wonder if it were simply the straw that broke the camel’s back. I agree with Radioactive Cyborg Llama that this policy is micromanaging and infantilizing and I wouldn’t be surprised if this were not the first such micromanaging policy to be passed. The reaction is extreme, yes, and not appropriate for an office setting either way, however, sometimes “the event” is really just a build up of many, many events over time until one day someone just has enough.

          1. Dulcinea47*

            Call centers had THE MOST micromanage-y, infantilizing rules of anyplace I’ve ever worked, it was really demoralizing.

            1. Orv*

              A friend worked in one. Quit after watching a coworker be fired for absenteeism *immediately after having a heart attack at work and taken away by paramedics.* Oh, and time off could only be granted the same day and wasn’t guaranteed, so it was impossible to schedule things like doctor’s appointments.

          2. I Have RBF*

            Yeah, I have always found a “clean desk” policy to be overbearing and unnecessary.

            If our cleaners are cleaning desks and can’t clean around stuff, maybe you are having them do too much. Or, you should make the policy “If you want the cleaners to wipe down your desk, it needs to be clear. Otherwise, you are responsible for wiping down your desk at the end of the day.”

            1. Bast*

              I swear all our cleaning company does is empty the trash. Smudges are still on the door, the floor still has whatever was on it the day before, and the desks are absolutely never touched. I’d love to have a company that left a sparkling desk, or heck, even just a clean floor.

              1. A Poster Has No Name*

                That’s what ours did. And then they decided not to pay for that and took away all our trash cans. Now facilities empties the big trash bins and occasionally vacuums the floors. You’ve always been on your own with your desk.

              2. Nightengale*

                Ours only generally empty the trash – and we’re a medical office attached to a hospital! I actually don’t want them to touch my desk but it would be really great if they would clean the floors in hall and the exam room and occasionally the doctor workroom as well. . .

          3. OMG It's 2024*

            I agree that a clean desk policy CAN be micromanaging and infantalizing *if it is enforced during the work day when no clients/coworkers are affected*. BUT in THIS case, it WAS affecting workers, the cleaners, and was ONLY enforced at NIGHT when the guy was at home and couldn’t see his precious FunkoPops anyway. The reaction was out of bounds and the policy to make it possible for cleaners to clean is entirely reasonable.

            1. Annie*

              I agree with I Have RBF:
              Or, you should make the policy “If you want the cleaners to wipe down your desk, it needs to be clear. Otherwise, you are responsible for wiping down your desk at the end of the day.”

              At my previous work office, we had plenty of stuff on our desks, as we, of course, were working, so had documents, engineering examples, and all sort of miscellaneous stuff. The cleaners would clean what they could but wouldn’t pick up our stuff/work and move it in order to clean.

              I don’t think having Funko Pops is any big deal and is not really going to affect the cleanliness of the office that much. Maybe once every two weeks, you have the person clear his desk so the cleaners can do a complete clean or something. But otherwise it’s just a little dust likely on the Funko Pops, and shouldn’t be any big deal. It’s an overly restrictive rule for no reason.

              1. OMG It's 2024*

                I agree with employers that THEY have the right to say “we want the office to be clean.” If people aren’t themselves cleaning the desks, they can get pretty gross. I “inherited” a desk when I took a new job after the previous person had died. It was so gross I almost barfed. It took me an entire day to clean that desk, monitor and keyboard. To the point where because he was so nearsighted there were nose prints and grease and …whatever else, on the monitor. I’m gagging just thinking about it again. Thank God I’m not there anymore. It’s perfectly reasonable for an employer/owner/leaser of the location to ensure that SOMEONE is dusting and/or sanitizing them periodically and not leave it to “if YOU WANT it cleaned….” because then there will be a LOT of desks that are never cleaned. The boss is entitled to want to have a clean office space that doesn’t encourage bugs, mice, and whatever grossness.”

                1. Phryne*

                  Yes, when we still had personal desks we the support staff would regularly find food remains on desks of teachers during school holidays, so when they would be gone for a week. And that in a building that was known to have a rodent problem… Some people are just gross.
                  Now we have flex desks, so no personal junk and clean desks every end of workday so they can get sanitised.

      4. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Really depends on the employee. If they were amazing at their job, sure.

        I think many (most?) of us have worked at places where someone has been there a long time because they’re fine at their jobs, but not particularly special, so a new hire could be ramped up in a few weeks. Or even a little bit of a missing stair, but too much of a hassle to properly manage.

        1. Goldfeesh*

          If they were really amazing at their job, they could have thrown a stapler at another person’s head and got that person fired!

      5. FrivYeti*

        Seems like, to use Am I The Asshole vernacular, an “Everyone Sucks Here” situation.

        Company policies that ban inoffensive personal items from desks are a huge overreach, especially in a field that is renowned for burnout and stress, and I’ve never worked anywhere that had a rule like that which wasn’t also full of bees in a variety of other ways.

        At the same time, swearing at a manager is obviously a bridge too far as a response to a bad company directive; just register a polite complaint about the policy and start looking for a new job.

        1. Nancy*

          I think a lot of places started clean desk for a couple of reasons, not wanting sensitive information left out and ease of nightly cleaning. It’s easier to say nothing is allowed than to figure out where to draw the line. Besides doesn’t it mean clean up at the end of the day? So stick the royal family in the drawer at night.

        2. Annabelle*

          It’s really not an ESH situation, it’s a “one person has big time main character syndrome” situation

        3. OMG It's 2024*

          The OP made it CLEAR multiple times that this was not a “ban on inoffensive personal items”. He could have them out all day; they simply wanted the desks clear at night, for the cleaning crew to, presumably, dust or wipe them down. It’s really juvenile of him to throw a fit over putting 5 or 6 little rubber dolls or whatever the heck FunkoPops are, into a drawer at night.

          1. FrivYeti*

            The OP first made that clarification eleven minutes after my comment. While I do appreciate your immense faith in me, I’m not actually able to read comments from the future.

            I agree that with that in mind, the situation changes to “no, that one guy was just the worst”.

      6. Worldwalker*

        Ragequitting a job you’ve had for 15 years because you don’t get a special exemption from the company policy is not a wise choice.

    3. Bagpuss*

      I’m curious over the thinking behind the clean desk policy.
      I mean, we have a clean esk policy but it means that you if you see external clients in you office you need to have a clear desk and not, for instance, have other client files, correspondence etc on the desk or visible, to maintain confidentiality, and that you shouldn’t have dirty crockery or anything like that. It doesn’t mean no personal items at all .

      Maybe they found it was too hard to police if there were people with inappropriate (e.g. racists or otherwise discriminatory) items ?

      1. Former Call Centre rep*

        The cleaners couldn’t clean equipment properly with all the clutter on people’s desks,

        1. Dawn*

          And call centres are usually an absolute hotbed of recurring/rotating illness so cleaning (especially if the equipment is shared, which it usually is) is especially important to stymie that inasmuch as it’s possible to do so in that environment.

          I’ve never worked in a call centre where at least half the staff wasn’t sick on any given day, and the employees were, for various reasons, forced to come in sick anyway, just perpetuating the problem.

          One of my coworkers soaked her keyboard and mouse with Lysol every morning and I find it hard to blame her in retrospect.

          1. I Have RBF*

            Yep. One outbound call center I worked in no one had sick time, everyone was poor, so everyone came in sick. I got so sick, wave after wave. So I started getting written up for being out. I finally quit, because being sick so much made it likely I could make more money signing on a streetcorner. I had a better job within a week, still temp, but who didn’t want you coming in sick. Curiously enough, I didn’t keep getting sick there, even though it was a temporary inbound call center.

      2. MsSolo (UK)*

        Most places I’ve worked have had a clean desk policy to make it easier for the cleaners to do their jobs, and because of the risks of leaving out confidential paperwork where visitors/interviewees/the cleaners might see it.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes my company does, at the end of the day you lock your papers away and move your personal stuff so it’s out of the way of the cleaners. It takes me all of 2 minutes.

      3. As You Wish*

        We had a “clean desk” policy at an office where all desks were unassigned – it was a flexible work model where most folks were out at client sites and no one was in every day, so grabbing a workspace was first come first served and you were supposed to leave the space neat and clean as you found it for the next person. There were lockers available for stuff you wanted to leave at the office building. Naturally 90 percent of staff managed fine with the this model but a few people just Could Not Deal. Those folks would always take the same (prime location) desk, act like they owned it, and passive-aggressively defend it by leaving their personal items, power cords, half finished work and old mugs all over the space.

        1. Zelda*

          All of this so depends on the work! I see a bunch of folks declaring this or that policy Objectively Wrong, when it depends on the work.

          Most call centers have pretty episodic work, AIUI. Once you finish documenting a call, that’s it, it’s over. There tend not to be long-term projects that would necessitate keeping papers around for multiple days or weeks.

          My work includes a lot of “rethink and rrewrite our entire approach to Work Area Blah,” with projects that go on for months. I am a messy-desk person, but my piles of stuff all have internal structure that consort with my thinking about how various parts of the project relate to each other and how far along each of them is. I would be one of those who Could Not Deal with hotdesking or draconian clean-desk policies.

          I suspect that the situation you describe is a third case, where folks may have long-term projects, but being at client sites a lot means having to take a different approach than mine regardless of hotdesking or not. It depends on the work!

      4. OMG It's 2024*

        The OP repeatedly made it clear that the items ONLY needed to be put away at night for the benefit of the cleaners. It had NOTHING to do with the nature of the work, the items on the desk or a full time clean desk policy/ban on stuff.

    4. ICodeForFood*

      At one point (back in the 1990s), I worked for an insurance company that had a re-decoration of the building, including new carpets, maybe new cubicle walls (I honestly don’t remember)… And our micro-managing VP decided that along with the redecoration, we would no longer be allowed to have personal items on our desks. We were not going ‘open plan’ we all had assigned cubicles… but he decided things would look better if we were not allowed to have family photos, personalized mugs, etc.

      1. ICodeForFood*

        My boss at the time, G-d bless her, said “Look… give it 2 weeks and he’ll forget it.” And that is exactly what happened. Two or three weeks in, we all brought back our family photos and personal stuff… and the VP never noticed.

        1. Annie*

          that’s cool, because that’s just overreach for no good reason by the VP.

          Did the VP have nothing personal in his office?

      2. CanadianPublicServant*

        Shades of Captain Holt, commenting on family photos: “If you love someone, you’ll remember what they look like.”

    5. Heffalump*

      I thought of “My employee is freezing out a manager after he joked about King Charles.” Did that employee have funko pops of the royal family?

    6. Pizza Rat*

      I hope that was consistently enforced. Years ago I worked in an office where someone was told they had to take down all of their many Far Side comics, yet the person who had Mary Engelbreit everywhere in their area was not asked the same.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      The royal family is such a random choice for a Funko collection! I guess it’s good that they weren’t anime porn ones?

    8. Mister_L*

      Am I the only one who imagined this conversation?

      Guy: Boss, the porn sites are blocked!
      Manager: How do you know?

  3. cardigarden*

    I once told CFO at OldJob that he could pry my desk chair out of my cold, dead hands when he said I couldn’t bring it to my new office space (which was also a new space to the organization devoid of furniture) and made no promises about acquiring anything for me to sit on.

    1. Cafe au Lait*

      My coworker had a similar reaction except the chairs had already been ordered. She was so vocal about the change that my boss (metaphorically) threw her hands up in the air and gave up.

      1. cardigarden*

        My boss was fantastic about it at least: she heard what was going down and came out of her office with “what the f do you mean my staff won’t have chairs to sit on??” because CFO’s answer to me was “you’re not bringing a $1000 chair with you and I’m not spending money on something else.” (which, ???????)

        1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

          Ha, the fact that their title starts with “Chief” makes a lot of sense. Something about that level seems to correlate strongly with “lacking basic logic and common sense.”

          Oh, to be able to read minds and understand the thinking behind that…

        2. Laura*

          Yeah, that makes absolutely no sense. What CFO in their right mind would think it’s okay to not order chairs for staff?

          1. Dawn*

            Chairs cost money, staff bums come free with the staff member, and the building has a floor. /sarcasm

            Three guesses why they were relocating to a new space.

    2. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      We had an office move that involved a switch to hotelling, and when I asked what about people with [articular chairs (which were a medical accommodation!!), I was told the new chairs at the new building would be comfortable for everyone. They also said the offices would be cleaned regularly and they are absolutely not. Punch line: we have enough office space for everyone to have an assigned office.

      1. I Have RBF*

        I got this crap at oner job when they moved us to a brand new “special” open plan, from offices and cubes. We were not allowed to take our ergo chairs with us because “the new chairs are ergonomic and fit everyone! We want everything uniform, so no personal stuff on desks, either!”

        So basically, we went from shared offices and cubes to a totally regimented, dehumanizing, uniformity is king open plan. They then gaslit people by telling them they “Were the only one to complain! Everyone else loves it!” Gentle reader, everyone did NOT “love it”, most of us hated it, and management forgot that people compare notes.

        I deliberately ignored the “clean desk” BS. Sure, I didn’t have work paper on my desk, but I had pictures, stuffed mascots, and several drinking vessels. (They particularly railed against “a forest of drinkware”, so I made sure I had different vessels for coffee, tea, and water.) No, I didn’t want the cleaners to wipe down my desk with their scented cleaning crap; I did my own once a week with stuff I wasn’t allergic to.

      2. Clare*

        “Oh, so you’re buying one fully adjustable ergonomic chair and one saddle chair for every single employee? Wow, how generous!”

    3. Irish Girl*

      We had a whole thing when our company was phasing in new ergonomic chairs, people were trying to hide their chairs so they could keep them. None of the chairs we had were even the same and half were broken in someway and were really old and bad so it made me laugh. I couldn’t wait for them. None of these people had any high end chairs or even good ergonomic ones that were worth saving.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I find that’s when people get the most protective of their stuff — everything is junk but you’ve found a piece of junk that works for, or is at least minimally annoying to, you, and you don’t want it taken and replaced with some piece of crap you hate. D:

        1. ggg*

          People definitely hoard chairs from the 60s here.

          Wooden desks are a hot commodity, no matter how beat up and broken, because they used to be reserved for certain levels of management and people still think they are a status symbol. But metal desks are also a status symbol that indicates you don’t care what people think.

      2. TechWorker*

        Do bear in mind that ergonomics are not the same for everyone. My coworker has an old chair (with a ‘do not bin belongs to Bob’ notice taped to the back) because his back problems mean he requires a very specific desk setup that the newer (pretty fancy ergonomic $$$) chairs don’t work with, they don’t fit far enough under the desk.

        1. Irish Girl*

          No one in my department had an ergo chair. These were all chairs that could have been from 80’s and 90’s. When people would leave, others would fight over a “good chair”. The new chairs were all the Hermon Miller Mira chairs and they even told people if they needed an accommodation how to get one. Some people had duck tape on their chairs and still wouldn’t give them up.

          1. Annie*

            My company basically has a bunch of older chairs, so you can believe when someone left the company, there was a line of people waiting for that chair if it was nice.

            People would label their chairs. I wrote my name on the adjustment handle, but when I was off on vacation, it disappeared, and I never could locate it (we had probably 100 people on the floor). Someone just took it and replaced it with their lousy chair.

            We also were all over people when they left. This one engineer had two monitors, so I claimed one of them so I could have two myself, and then had to fight with IT on why I needed both.

        2. tangentrine*

          This is me! The office I work in finally got beautiful new chairs to replace the ancient chairs we’ve had for 30-40 years. Unfortunately, they have armrests and don’t go low enough to be ergonomic for me, and this plays absolute havoc with my chronic pain. So I’ve kept my 15yo chair that I nabbed from the last time chairs were replaced in another part of the building – recently it went missing after a vacation, and I didn’t initially notice until it knocked me into a flareup. It sounds so silly and minor but it really does mean the difference between “I’m totally fine” and “I can’t do any of my hobbies and have to lie down in pain after work.”

        3. Nightengale*

          Yeah I suspect none of those even special ergonomic chairs would work for me because I need a chair without wheels. I will fall out of a chair with wheels because I can’t keep my balance if the chair moves while I am standing up. I have fallen out of one chair too many.

          I have actually carried my own personal desk chair without wheels to meetings in conference rooms after they remodeled and all the chairs were beautiful wheelie things. (I would have been happy also to just stand, kneel or sit on the floor but that apparently makes other people anxious.)

    4. FricketyFrack*

      We’re moving to a new building sometime this year and apparently all the furniture has to match now (which, fine, great, most of the stuff we’re using is suuuper old and half of it’s cobbled together from whatever people find in storage). Except they decided they were going to order new Herman Miller chairs for everyone no matter what, and when I pointed out that I have a chair that’s specially ordered to fit my height and be better for my back, they said nope, it MUST be HM, and if anyone wants anything different, they have to go through the full accommodation process with HR and see if eventually a new chair gets approved. In the meantime, we’re expected to just deal with being in pain, I guess?

      I’m going to load my chair into my car on our last day in the old office and move it into the new building before or after hours. My boss knows and doesn’t care, so I also do not care.

      1. A nonny mouselet*

        We actually had a person whose job (apparently) was to check and make sure no non-matching furniture entered the building and remove it if it had. There were also not enough chairs, no money given to buy more/replacements, and even if someone had the money to buy more, the style was no longer available for purchase.

        I say ‘apparently’ because they presumably had other aspects to their job but pretty much the only communication anyone ever got from them was regarding furniture violations. When they left, the furniture inspections stopped.

          1. Some People’s Children*

            I worked with a guy who did that. 24/7 facility so it could have been about 50 different people who were taking his chair nights and weekends including changing settings for whatever was accommodating his back problems. It would take 30 minutes every morning to retrieve it and fix the settings. So padlock and chain!

        1. FricketyFrack*

          If someone tries that, I WILL throw a fit. It’ll be a polite fit, but people will hear about it. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s super likely, because that’s bananas, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

          1. A nonny mouselet*

            That person was reported directly to one of the big bosses, so was pretty much de facto higher than most others.

            Regarding the lack of chairs: in addition to not thinking about breakage, they apparently didn’t take into account that additional people might be hired over the years, and therefore more resources might be needed.

      2. I Have RBF*

        Do it.

        I didn’t and ended up in pain, because they demanded that we all use the HM “Sayle” chairs (low end HM, didn’t fit me at all.) I couldn’t even get to surplus to rescue my custom chair, and I was bummed. I should have just… moved it myself.

        It was literally more important for management that all our stuff was “uniform” and “identical” in appearance than our actual comfort and ability to work. They wanted an open plan full of identical drones or something.

      3. H3llifIknow*

        At one of my “big 3 letter name you’d know” jobs, I asked the facilities manager if I could bring in the ergonomic chair I’d purchased to use in my private office. I have issues with sciatica, spondylosis, etc.. and the chairs they bought for 6’2 200 pound men, didn’t work ergonomically for 5′ nothing, me. A day later she came back and told me “Per the VP, no. It would be a liability for you to have a different chair.” I, bewildered, asked, “WHAT liability?” and she responded, “If you fell out of it.” It is truly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. I knew she hadn’t REALLY asked the VP; he’d have not cared. So that Saturday my husband and I delivered the chair to my office, and I draped a long sweater over the back of it, and used it for 8 years. She got fired for theft and a host of other infractions a year or so later. Nobody ever mentioned my chair except to praise it and ask where I got it. Petty little office despots. Sigh.

    5. Dataqueen*

      I got a special chair to fit me as a short person and I loved that thing. Right before the start of the pandemic we were planning a move to a new space and were told that only our electronics and any personal items we packed up would be brought, no furniture, and I too made a huge deal out of my chair. I emphasized that this was a chair that we had paid for specially for me and I NEEDED it. Every time we would meet with the move coordinator, I would be like “and you’re going to bring my chair, right?” and I could tell how much she wanted to roll her eyes and tell me to shut up about the chair. Then COVID happened and I haven’t been back to the office since, so I have no idea what ever happened to the chair.

      1. Prefer my pets*

        I don’t suppose you happen to remember the brand/model do you? The struggle to find chairs for short people is real!

        1. TechWorker*

          I find that an alternative solution is a standing desk that can be adjusted to be lower than normal – this solved my short person issues as I’m a normal width

        2. akabeko*

          Not who you asked, but I’m 5’1″ and got this chair for my home desk, and it’s great! It originally came with arms but I removed them and now I can sit cross legged or with my feet on the floor comfortably. (There is also a no-arms version)
          BTOD Petite Office Chair Seat Height 15.5″-19″

        3. Your Mate in Oz*

          Drafting chair or architect chair are two terms that have worked for me in the past. I have one and it goes high enough that I can sit at my standing desk :)

      2. Anon Again... Naturally*

        When I started at my current employer, they gave everyone a selection of ergonomic chair styles to test and let you keep your favorite. When we went fully remote for COVID we were encouraged to take our chairs home. I am so glad I did because shortly after that we went permanently remote and now new folks have to provide their own chairs.

        1. Phryne*

          We got send home for covid and it took my body just two weeks to break from working on a dining room chair. So the first thing I asked for when we realised it could be a while was my chair. Good thing too, as it happened we stayed at home for two years. By the time we went back everybody had lost count of what furniture went where, and I just requested a new one for work and kept the other one home as I still wfh 3 days a week. We flex desk, so when I am not there my chair lives in a corner with a not on it to keep off. Never had any problems with it. At my team there are only 2-3 people with their own chair, but on some admin departments they have literal designated parking areas for personal chairs.
          My country has pretty good laws on what companies have to provide for safe working, so my employer tends not to fight it and just provide when asked. I don’t have any conditions, just very sensitive to non-ergonomic workplaces, so after I had a muscle in my shoulder spasm up completely for weeks years and years ago I went to the company doctor to ask for accommodations and I guess there is a note on my file now cause I’ve not had any problems getting what I need since.

    6. Old Cynic*

      I sat on a carton of reams of paper once for 3 weeks after my chair broke (and came close to impaling me when it did). Our CEO personally purchased all office equipment and couldn’t make a decision about spending the necessary funds to replace my chair. Only because I was in a very visible location and guests began asking questions did I finally get a new chair.

    7. Joyce to the World*

      I had a tantrum at work once when we were given tubs to pack up our desk items for a big move. They were downsizing the cubicles and moving everyone around. I overheard the outside vendor/coordinator tell her helpers to go through everyone’s tubs and to confiscate contraband items such as power strips. I had one and it had my name written on it because it was purchased by me and only used for pot lucks. When she and her minions got to my tub and started going through it and tried to take my power strip I chewed her out and accused her of stealing. I threw a major hissy fit. I won though. My boss came to see what the commotion was and totally stood up for me.

    8. Holly*

      lol, I once quit a job over a stool. It was the best decision in jobs I have ever made. I was infinitely better off with pay and environment.

      1. linger*

        Just to clarify, this was an item of furniture, and not the other type of stool?
        Because that could well be something to quit over, depending on origin and location.

    9. MichelleMaBelle*

      I have to admit I did something similar! I was changing departments, and my prior role had been part of the c-suite, which had ‘nicer’ furniture standards than the new department. Think Herman Miller Aeron Chair (when they were very first released) vs. $40 office max cheap chairs… Since I was moving because of their reorganization plans, I stood rather firm on my tantrum hill.

      It may or may not have also been me who recommended my doctor (who signed anything for anyone) to all my new department coworkers so they could file their doctor’s notes in the official request ergonomic seating per the corporation’s accommodations process.

  4. Kimmy Schmidt*

    I didn’t witness this firsthand, but there was a story at my old workplace that someone threw a book at a colleague’s head during a (minor) budget reallocation meeting.

    1. Silver Robin*

      “throw the book at them” was not meant so literally and certainly not meant for budget meetings!

    2. Casual Librarian*

      I’ve heard tails of chair-throwing at my current job about someone who pre-dates my time here.

    3. legal rugby*

      I had a union president throw a binder at my head in my first meeting with them. I was a baby attorney and thought I was hot shit for pointing out their logic loop.

      The fully tenured professor of psychology threw a three ring binder at me and stormed out. The Union VP accepted my proposal.

    4. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      My mom was pulled in on someone’s project in the 80s, so velo binding books. They were both admins, but the woman whose project it was (not in charge of the team, just her project) had gotten behind. My mom started making books and the woman was freaking out. Mom kept making books. Woman kept freaking out. Mom kept making books. Woman threw a book at mom. Mom picked it up and put it in the pile.
      When my mom retired they created an award for outstanding professionalism and named it after her.

      1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

        Henceforth and forever, all dictionaries shall feature a picture of Mama Not-Tom-Just-Petty next to their definitions of aplomb.

      2. Mari*

        Your mom and my first Principal (when I was still in teacher training) clearly were cut from the same cloth.

        I was in an INCREDIBLY contentious meeting with parents of a student in the class I was training in, and one of the parents got so upset that he picked up the china mug of coffee he’d been given and chucked it (it was still mostly full) at the principal. She ducked (got sprayed with coffee) and the mug hit the wall behind her. Without missing a beat, she said “Is the coffee not to your taste? Would you prefer a cup of tea?” and waited for an answer like she didn’t have coffee dripping down her glasses.

        Woman was the definition of ‘cool under pressure’ – she could have given snipers lessons on not reacting!

    5. The Other Katie*

      One of my old bosses swiped a monitor and keyboard off a teammate’s desk in a rage after being told we’d miss a deadline for a day.
      Yeah, that was not the funnest job.

      1. zinzarin*

        “And now we’ll be a day and a half late, as we need to get IT in here to get Bob’s workspace set up right again.”

    6. Happy meal with extra happy*

      At my job, someone (who was known to be a bit of a hothead) threw a stapler at someone. That was the only time they had gotten violent, and it was fortunately the last straw.

      1. Pippa K*

        Men at my workplace (a university) have, in unrelated incidents, thrown a chair, punched a hole in drywall, and screamed at a coworker until red in the face. Their careers are doing fine and there were no consequences. Meanwhile, I was once told to stop having a facial expression someone thought was too negative.

        1. Stay-at-homesteader*

          I get the feeling there are gonna be a lot of higher-ed-based stories. Currently deciding which of my bananas ones meet the criteria best…but most of them honestly involve two buttheads being unreasonable, so they’re not overreactions so much as cautionary tales about tenure.

        2. OrigCassandra*

          Negative-facial-expression policing fistbump. I also got the A-word (“abrasive”) leveled at me.

          I sure do not miss that job. At all.

          1. Pippa K*

            Someday I’m going to do a feminist workplace-bullshit illustrated dictionary. A is for abrasive, B is for bossy….

            So many years of tone policing, but sadly my tone is apparently incorrigible. Defund the tone police!

            1. AnonORama*

              Unfortunately, we also know what C is for based on the story above. (So gross, and yes, way different than just cursing at someone like “that’s bullshit” or similar.)

              1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

                God I want to build on this.
                B rhymes with the times
                I explain I am not being emotional

            2. MigraineMonth*

              Ah, good old “abrasive”. The reason I now sign every email with “Thanks!”. Even the ones where it makes no sense for me to be thanking anyone.

              Especially those ones.

              1. Pippa K*

                I like “best,” which means either “best wishes” or “best case scenario, you get kidnapped by aliens and never seen again,” depending on who’s receiving the email.

        3. H3llifIknow*

          I had a male colleague lean over the desk to yell in my face and I could FEEL the spittle. I sat quietly through it though I went to my boss later and said I won’t work with that d*head again, and got moved to another program. But *I*, similar to our story was once chewed out because they said I made a face in a meeting when someone said something earthshakingly stupid. The look? One raised eyebrow at my colleague sitting across from me.

          1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            What’s that quote from 200 years ago?
            The boy picks on the girl in the play yard. She is taken inside. He is given the full yard.

    7. Bagpuss*

      A former boss of mine threw an (A4, hardcover) desk dairy at his secretary when she asked him if he wanted her to stop putting appointments in on Friday afternoons as she had noticed he kept rearranging anything that went in to move them to other days .
      (He was senior enough that he had complete authority to say he didn’t want meetings / appointments on Friday afternoons, I can only assume he was annoyed she had noticed and assumed she was suggesting he was slacking off . Which he may well have been, but his call!)

        1. Lady Knittington*

          We will we ask him,
          We will task him,
          We will book it a-gain, gain gain.
          We will duck it
          We’ll say f*** it,
          Working with sensitive men, men, men

    8. Happily Retired*

      When I first started working in Health Information Management, aka hospital medical records, it was during the paper chart days. Two different surgeons threw charts at me (enclosed in metal binders before being moved to manila.)

      I was very happy when we moved to electronic records.

      1. Bruce*

        This is not the only site I’ve heard about surgeons throwing things at people… will have to ask my sister the ex-nurse about it…

        1. Happily Retired*

          Be sure to mention that they were in our chart-update area, after being asked to (quelle horreur) sign their verbal orders and op reports.

        2. Artemesia*

          My mother was a nurse in the 30s and early 40s. She had many stories of doctors throwing instruments in surgery. And one doctor pushed her against a wall and broke her rib — he got told he would be let go if he did it again.

        3. Dog momma*

          Some throw instruments in the OR, nothing is ever done. One called my manager ..of the ICU where all his patients went postop… the C word. She reported him, nothing was done.
          Although, he reamed out a co worker in front of everyone ( not uncommon).. she took him out into the hall & told him if he felt that was necessary again, speak to her privately and not in front of the whole team. Incredibly, it never happened again. She was an excellent nurse & he knew that.

      2. PlatypusDeniability*

        As someone who helped hospital staff transition to electronic records, this did not solve the issue. “Code Blue” was for when a patient lost vital signs. “Code White” was for when a physician became so frustrated with the new electronic record system that they picked up one of the $10,000 monitors and smashed it on the floor. (The physician was allowed to go back to the paper records, but their admitting privileges at the hospital were revoked.)

          1. PlatypusDeniability*

            Not because of the rudeness/violence/destroyed equipment (I wish!), but because it was considered a refusal to use the new electronic record system. Doctors refusing to use it endangered the hospital’s government payout for switching to the electronic record system.

    9. AnonORama*

      I worked for a partner when I practiced law who was known for throwing books or other objects at people who delivered bad news, and/or people who produced work he wasn’t happy with. He never threw anything at me, but he did once take a brief I’d written, throw it on the floor and stomp his feet on it to demonstrate what he thought of its quality.

      1. FormerLegalAssistant*

        I worked for an attorney who once threw a sheaf of papers I’d handed him back at me in my face. The reason? He had asked me to copy the pages for him, and I had, but when I restapled them I didn’t line the new staple up with holes the old staple had made. I was later told by a different legal assistant at the firm that this particular attorney always wanted new staples to be the exact same holes as the old staple. We had an electric stapler at that firm, so it was especially hard to line the holes up. I worked there two years and got pretty good at it by the end. I still do it automatically to this day even though I am positive my current boss has never noticed what method I used to join two pieces of paper together!

        At that same job, the office manager threw a pen at me when I told her I was pregnant and was going to be on leave. That was a bit more understandable because there were three women at that office of like 10 people pregnant and due at the same time, and I was the last one to tell her. She didn’t apologize, but her job was way worse than mine, so I forgive her.

    10. Morgan Proctor*

      …was this workplace an art museum? Because I heard an identical story about my old workplace!

    11. brainless*

      When I was working at a newspaper, I witnessed one reporter throw a notebook at another reporter’s face for some reason. She was always a bit of a loose cannon, but that one got her perp walked straight out, never to return.

  5. PlatypusDeniability*

    I joined a rapidly-growing company that had once (when it was far smaller) had donuts available to all staff on the one day a month that new hires start. I learned of this because the person who announced the end of Donut Day was still known as “that lady who cancelled donut day” more than *five years* later.

    1. Cranky-saurus Rex*

      We worked together! I actually jumped in to tell this same story. I was there for the announcement at an all-hands staff meeting (which at this company was held in a large auditorium) at one of the few staff meetings that the CEO was unable to attend. She proceeded to scold us all like children at the next month’s staff meeting for booing “the lady who cancelled donut day”

        1. Cranky-saurus Rex*

          Yeah, it was unfortunately a case of shooting the messenger — the “lady who canceled donut day” was just the one sharing the CEO’s decision.

          A bit more background — the tradition started when the company was a couple dozen people all in one building and it made sense to lure people out of their offices to meet the 1-2 new people. By the time it was canceled, the company was over 3000 employees, spread over ~10 buildings, and new hire orientation day was held in only one of those buildings, the one with the fewest employee offices.

          While I missed the donuts at the time (and may have been among the boo-ers…), in retrospect I mostly feel bad for the local bakeries that suddenly lost a huge recurring order!

          1. cardigarden*

            Aw man nevermind she shouldn’t have had to deliver that message if it wasn’t her policy.

        2. merula*

          It reads like the person known as “the lady who cancelled donut day” would more accurately be described as “the lady who announced the cancellation of donut day based on a decision made by others”. It’s the decision-makers who deserve the booing.

    2. Anon for this*

      Reminds me of “Sandwichgate.”

      For many years we held special events on Saturdays. Events were staffed by a pool of specially trained workers from various unrelated departments who volunteered to work overtime for it. These were at remote worksites doing highly physical, unpleasant, dangerous, skilled labor outside the normal job description for most employees.

      Because of the remote locations, we’d carpool there – meaning staff had no personal transportation, no cold storage for food, and no nearby facilities. So our standard practice was to provide lunch for event staff. Nothing extravagent… I’m talking sandwiches from the grocery store deli or similar. Cost was about $6 per person.

      New boss started. Very first event I ask her for petty cash to pay for sandwiches and she FLIPPED OUT. According to her this was horrifically unethical, misappropriation of public funds, the works. Did not pay any attention when I pointed out that this was within policy because of the specific circumstances and travel distances. Got even more angry when I told her that eliminating sandwiches would tank morale and cause people to stop volunteering for overtime, yelling that only “spoiled whiny brats” would complain about not getting a free lunch and that they should be grateful to get paid for an extra shift.

      Surprise surprise, people stopped volunteering to work event shifts. We actually had to stop holding events because we couldn’t get enough staff to safely run them. She continued to bring up how “childish” and “whiny” these people were for over a year. Never grasped that it wasn’t about a $5 sandwich… it was about the consideration and respect shown by providing for people’s needs on the worksite.

    3. survivor123*

      Fairly sure I also worked for this company. We also had the legend of Almond Milk girl who basically called the company racist for not providing almond milk in the break rooms as many Asians are lactose intolerant. This was also said in the then 5000+ employee all hand meeting.

      1. Driftless Writer*

        My friend and I still have screenshots of the Almond Milk email fiasco, saved for posterity. We’ve both been gone from This Company for a decade, but our fond memories will last forever!

  6. Bird Lady*

    In New York, the state relaxed the mask mandate, and then when Covid ticked back up again, re-instated the mandate.

    Where I worked, we still had in-person meetings throughout the pandemic once everyone was vaccinated. When the mandate returned, our Director asked everyone to comply and to wear their mask to the meeting.

    A Department Head decided he hated wearing a mask and wouldn’t do it again. So he attended the meeting without his mask. He was obviously asked to put a mask on. His reply was to stand up, toss his chair, and leave work for the rest of the day. (The meeting was first thing in the morning.)

    1. Panicked*

      Covid really brought out the unreasonableness in people. I look at my colleagues very differently now.

      1. Bird Lady*

        Agree. I got Covid representing my institution at an event, and was told by one of my colleagues it was fine and fair to share information about my husband’s health and my health to the general public. When I complained that this seemed to border illegal and unethical behavior – especially relating to my husband who is so private he does not have social media accounts – many were shocked that I thought it inappropriate and that I was to blame for getting sick. Working there we had two extremes: The first was Covid wasn’t a problem and no one was going to change their behavior, and the other was Covid was the worst thing to ever happen and you were “unclean and immoral” if you got sick.

          1. Ink*

            Unfortunately, that mindset sticks with humanity. I had a DEEPLY depressing essay assignment on how people respond to disease and epidemics, with one of the reference articles having been written a bit post-SARS. You kept expecting COVID to pop up in their list, because the same ideas and conspiracy theories carry on in startlingly consistent terms through the black death, leprosy, spanish flu, AIDS, SARS… the biggest differences were tiny changes in language and the occasional addition of another group “creating” the disease (bless the guy who thought SARS was spread via UFO, it provided much needed levity).

      2. Laser99*

        I am disillusioned now. I mean, I didn’t have a high opinion of my fellow humans before, and the pandemic laid bare all the selfishness and pettiness.

        1. Artemesia*

          This for me in the abstract — but my personal experience in Chicago is that people complied, were considerate and in my social circle people got COVID tests before coming to dinner parties and such in the early days after vaccines when we started doing so in person socializing.

          1. covidIsntOver*

            And then when you found out about breakthrough infections and Long Covid you resumed testing and caution? Oh wait. No. You didn’t. You don’t see the problem because you are the problem.

      3. Allura Vysoren*

        Same. I worked in an office where masks didn’t have to be worn if we were at our desks (in a poorly ventilated and very small office building) and there was literally no enforcement anywhere (even when it was The Law). I lost a lot of respect for a well-liked manager after listening to her have a loud conversation in the break room about how she shouldn’t have to wear a mask because it’s her health. My manager got COVID and swore up and down it was from a shared phone in the office even though he went out to lunch (unmasked) with four other coworkers, all of whom came down with COVID at the same time.

        But my personal favorite was a coworker I watched get up from her desk and walk to the bathroom with a mask looped around her wrist.

      4. Chirpy*

        Yeah…I worked “essential” retail during the pandemic…people made it ABUNDANTLY clear that my life was worth absolutely nothing.

        But also, it would be a horrific imposition if they couldn’t get one single item they wanted, and global supply chain issues/ mask mandates/staffing problems/etc were my fault, personally.

        I’m not management. I barely have authority to hang up on abusive callers.

    2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      When our school re-instituted masking after a summer break, it was announced over email, and I heard one of our faculty start cursing loudly (in Italian, which makes it adorable) from behind his door.

    3. Our Lady of Shining Eels*

      This wasn’t a coworker, but it happened at my place of work …

      So, mask mandate everywhere in NYC. Signs in all the places, please wear a mask, etc. A patron came in, no mask. Hello, please put on a mask, if you don’t have one, we can provide you with one.

      Lady’s response was to call the police on us. I just remember the officer’s face … “Ma’am, if you don’t want to wear a mask, you cannot be in the building. Why do you want us to arrest the staff?”

    4. Earlk*

      To clarify before hand: I’m not anti-masks, I’m anti-in-person meetings when masks are needed.

      But I genuinely can’t hear what people are saying when they’re wearing masks. Find in most situations I needed to wear one like shops etc. because the questions are fairly simple. But I had a second interview that was in person following an initial Teams interview and it was a mess. The hiring manager asked me what had happened and how do you explain that masks mean you can’t hear words?

      To clarify, I could hear sounds, it wasn’t that they were speaking too quietly. I just can’t make out individual words.

      Also, before I got tested for glasses as a child I thought I was going deaf so it’s more of a can’t see the mouth thing than masks being soundproof.

      1. Phryne*

        My dad is very hard of hearing, and masks definitely are a problem. It was already hard for him to communicate in busy environments like supermarkets, but masks made it impossible. He wore them, we all did, but communication is really hard with a mask for lots of people and especially for deaf or hard of hearing people who depend on lipreading etc.

      2. Dog momma*

        That’s true. We don’t realize how much we lip read, hear tone , look at facial expressions etc when wearing masks. My husband is very HOH even with hearing aids, and had a neck of a time.

      3. Lenora Rose*

        Sounds like audio processing rather than hearing?

        (it’s an issue for a friend of mine, and yeah, covering the mouth makes it much harder for her to follow a conversation. Her hearing *tests* just fine, because hearing tests are almost always about volume, but ask her to follow words around a lot of ambient noise? She does a lot of lip reading.)

      4. allathian*

        Yes, same. I haven’t found a comfortable mask so if there’s a mask mandate, I’d rather not see people in person at all. The mask negates all the benefits of in-person meetings for me.

  7. keyw*

    We have a few people at my org who really, really, really don’t like any kind of change, no matter how small. I implemented a new, fairly simple software program last spring, and my phone was ringing off the hook with people absolutely melting down about incredibly minor things. One woman said she couldn’t use it because it limited the length of a certain text field (this was very purposeful, and she was one of the main reasons we limited it). Another staffer, notoriously petty, logged a complaint with IT that she didn’t like the font of the new software (it was literally Arial).

    1. Susan Calvin*

      Oh god, I’ve been on the receiving end of that ticket, because the look-and-feel of an application very slightly changed with a version upgrade, and she didn’t think she could look at this font all day, and how hard can it possibly be to change back? (Very.)

      1. Visually Impaired Guy*

        I complained about a font recently but in fairness it was serif-italics and that made it hard for me to read (which I knew wasn’t only me based on AAM’s wonderful and still-appreciated decision to move away from that font). When the response came back that it couldn’t easily be changed I was also nice about it, and told them that I felt better knowing that I’d at least been heard.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Italics are genuinely hard to read! I personally really like the tone you get when something is italicised, but I can’t bear it if it’s more than a word or two and will tend to skip over it if it’s like a whole paragraph. My dyslexic students have it much rougher than I do with italics, but objecting to Arial? Come the fuck on.

          1. Artemesia*

            every time I read some smug little piece on how some 22 year old learned the office could save X$ on ink by using some skinny font, I think about all the visually impaired people like my husband and old people like me who literally cannot read a lot of these fonts well. And don’t get me started on restaurant menus for posh dark places that use coral print on tan background or yellow on orange or whatever.

    2. not applicable*

      Similar story! My workplace is attempting to adopt Agile principles, which meant moving from an inhouse database to a more mainstream one. The new database would mean that more flexibility would be possible for data entry, more opportunities for team collaboration, better tracking of report progress, etc.

      You would have thought that the change suggested you had to write the software into your will as your sole beneficiary! Reactions have been all over the map; one person doggedly refused to even log into the new software to do any work on it (I was actually hired into my position before this one to cover this person’s refusal to even try the new software, since I knew how to work with it). Others would lament the loss of the extremely limiting in house software and nitpick every single thing the old software did that the new software didn’t. Another person was known to have a hairpin trigger reaction to even the mere mention of the software; they once yelled at the current product owner of the software in a small conference room that that absolutely HATE the new software and would rather be fired than even think of using it. The current product owner was not the one who made the call either, but this person did not care.

    3. anonymized_for_me*

      I’ve gotten that complaint. The old (internally written) software didn’t find/print all needed information. Ergo, when I wrote the new version (we changed the backend, a new version was required), all needed information was printed and in a new format.

      Mind you, all stakeholders and been involved with the look and feel since the beginning. This wasn’t a surprise to anyone.

      But when it was released, the hissy fits were amazing. Someone took my code and wrote their own version that looked like the old one… and it was still missing the important information they needed to do their jobs.

      1. Artemesia*

        I remember years ago when offices in State of Tennessee were using some sort of terminal and the switch was made to desk top computers and of course new software. Some of the recalcitrant old timers hired someone to program the new system to look like the old terminals.

    4. Anon Again... Naturally*

      I work in IT for a university, and I have so many stories! About 7 years ago, our major student software suite did a huge update, which essentially took the software from feeling like it was a DOS application to feeling like it was in Windows 95. The number of people who were upset that the new version made it easier to use a mouse instead of hotkeys was something else.

      1. Dawn*

        To be fair, when you learn a hotkey system it’s usually about a million times faster than using a mouse to click on things; that’s the whole reason why professional gamers bind everything to hotkeys.

        I’d be pissed too if someone had just drastically increased the amount of time it took for me to get my work done.

        1. Anon Again... Naturally*

          Oh, the hotkeys all still worked! You just could also use a mouse anywhere you could use a hotkey, where before you had to memorize all the hotkeys.

              1. Anon Again... Naturally*

                You’re both right! I loved Colin Firth delivering the line, and when I found out it was from a song I looked it up. The song is really overwrought and maudlin, but when I was looking for a user name the idea just popped into my head.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Good compromise — I have a tendency to tendinitis and rely on keyboard commands to avoid pain.

      2. Dasein9 (he/him)*

        I once had a job where the main niche software I used underwent a similar change that really did make the job much more difficult to do. It looked an awful lot like the organization was prioritizing the training of cheaper new employees over the retention of skilled ones.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          But they said the hotkeys still worked in this case. Just that now mouse also worked, and you weren’t forced into hotkeys.

      3. Phryne*

        Oh, was it OSIRIS by any chance? Lol.
        I’ve gotten used to it now, but we had a similar change and you really cannot do everything with hotkeys anymore. And yes, the changes make the programme way more easy to use and accessible and everything, but I also have way more arm/elbow complaints now.

    5. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

      I worked with one guy who was very quiet and competent. Then they brought in a new computer system. He went to the first day of training, went out for lunch, and never came back. Last I heard he was driving a school bus.

          1. Goldfeesh*

            If buses had seat belts there would be outright murder on the buses. I rode on the school bus in the early ’90s in a small-town school system. I guarantee one of the older kids would have used a length of strapping to do bodily harm to a bullied child/younger kid.

          2. Dawn*

            They don’t have seatbelts because they wouldn’t do anything to improve safety.

            Cars have seatbelts so you don’t go flying through the windshield in an accident.

            Buses don’t have that problem to begin with, so seatbelts would actually cause more harm than good (because they do have their own safety issues – seatbelts cause a lot of broken limbs, for example – that’s just still safer than being thrown through a windshield.)

            1. Zelda*

              The windshield isn’t the only thing you can collide with inside a vehicle. Seatbelts are meant to provide deceleration when friction fails (which it absolutely will) and prevent secondary crash, in which you collide with the windshield, the seat in front of you, the ceiling during a rollover, etc. Being a human projectile is no bueno.

            2. PlatypusDeniability*

              School buses are designed with “compartmentalization”, which means they are well-designed to protect kids in case of head-on or rear-end collision. Unfortunately, if the bus is struck off-angle or from the side, or if the bus rolls over, compartmentalization doesn’t work. Fortunately we don’t have a lot of fatalities, but a lot of injuries could be prevented with the lap-and-shoulder required by the (US) National Transportation Safety Board for all new busses.


          3. I'm on Team Rita*

            I’m told the seats in school buses are made to break in a certain way in crashes. Somehow this is safer than seat belts for those particular vehicles, and if there were seat belts smaller children would be crushed by the collapsing seats. I have no personal experience.

          4. Dog momma*

            In NYS, you’re only allowed to ask students to buckle up. You cannot force them or buckle them up..husband was a bus driver for special ed.

          5. Lenora Rose*

            My understanding is that they considered it and it wasn’t actually as much of a safety need as it would be in a car.

    6. Decidedly Me*

      Customer story, rather than coworker, but we made a slight change to how something looked in our app and it overall went over fine. A year later, a long time customer was asking for a larger discount on top of his already large discount and started rattling off all the things he didn’t like about our product. One of the things he mentioned was how a certain feature was broken and had been for ages. This was the change we had made. He said since it looked different, he assumed it was broken and never actually tried using it as usual or reaching out to support for help…

    7. Never Surrender*

      As someone who’s name starts with th letter i, I would have complained about the new font. Sans serif fonts should be banned from the planet.

      1. Dawn*

        Serif italics are just straight up bad, though, especially as the font of choice to be used throughout an application. They’re straight up unreadable to a lot of people.

      2. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        This reminds me of the comment from someone on another thread who didn’t know that llama was spelled with two L’s.
        My mom’s name was Ila Capitola , and I’m soooo happy she gave me a “normal” name, that has a “normal” shortened/nickname.

        1. Heffalump*

          The one-l lama,
          He’s a priest.
          The two-l llama,
          He’s a beast.
          And I will bet
          A silk pajama
          There isn’t any three-l lllama.

          –Ogden Nash

          1. I'm on Team Rita*

            In the book of Nash’s poems I used to have, Nash noted that someone wrote to him suggesting a bad fire is called a “three alarmer”. In a northeast USA accent that’s “three a lama”. Nash said he stood corrected. Classy and funny reply.

    8. Catwhisperer*

      Maybe this is petty of me, but I rather enjoy it when people complain about changes made to prevent them from doing something undesirable. Usually because the change comes after repeated requests for them to stop doing what it is they’re doing.

    9. Carrie Oakie*

      I have coworkers like this who get mad at me for changing software that we don’t even make – I’m sorry Smartsheet or Monday added a new feature that’s more efficient than the ten step way we did it before!! LOL

      My favorite was a coworker friend who REFUSED to upgrade their OS, Microsoft Office and iTunes, because they didn’t like the look/where the buttons were/upgrading everything no else with the new OS. I secretly celebrated the day they had to get a new computer because that meant they FINALLY had to use the new versions and omg you’d have thought the world ended!

    10. Penguin Tummy*

      someone phoned up to complain that the new roster system log in page was pink, and could it be a different colour, because they didn’t like it. The colour was set by the software vendor.

    11. StarTrek Nutcase*

      It’s the tiny things that can cause biggest problem. Decades ago, pre-computers, white-out in bottles were a thing for secretaries (4) in my university department. A coworker lost her mind when university supply ofc refused to provide a department more than 6 bottles/month. She went to our dean to complain she couldn’t do her job with only 6/mon (though her share was really 1.5). Our dean kicked her out, our dept chair kicked her out, and she continued to scream daily until finally one professor bought her a half-gallon jug (who knows where he got it, none of us knew that size existed). She hid it, never shared, and it somewhat reduced her complaining.

      1. But…*

        Ah whiteout. Another thing I’ll have to explain to my kids one day. If you put it on too thick, it took forever to dry and then was hard to write on. We thought that the invention was whiteout tape was a real advancement for modern civilization.

  8. Halloween crimes*

    Boss sent a scathing company-wide email that only a few people dressed up for the office Halloween party. Thought it showed people did not have enough company spirit. There were no external clients or any public facing work that day so it was just about showing the boss our spirit.

      1. Jam on Toast*

        Next year, I would be dressing up as Bob Cratchit, the poor downtrodden clerk. And maybe see if I could get someone to come as Marley’s Ghost.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        I want a description of what you had in mind with that Ferrina. The picture you evoked for me, is a grey shroud with a lot of office debris pinned to it; leftover half doughnuts, dusty paperclips that got turned out of a forgotten pen cup, the tannin stained teaspoons that’re always in the kitchen sink, a chocolate box with nothing but empty wrappers in it and that rogue piece of tupperware from the office fridge with something unidentifiable inside.

        1. owen*

          i would go with the ghost of company morale = absent

          “what do you mean, pto? i was there all day. i was dressed as the ghost of company morale. surely you saw me, our morale being so visible and all!”

      3. JustaTech*

        I have done a group costume as “Ghosts of [Our Department] Past” – ie: everyone who had quit our team.

        Someone once dressed up as “The Elephant in the Room” – our pending sale.

      1. anotherfan*

        our go-to for non-Halloween participation as journalists was “I’m going as a reporter” or “I’m going as an editor.” The newest one was “I’m going as a serial killer. They look just like everybody else.”

  9. Aerie*

    I worked in a small office (less than 10 people) and we had a very small kitchenette – mini-fridge, coffee maker, microwave, sink, and a cupboard for storing mugs. In the mini-fridge we had a Brita pitcher for drinking water. People were pretty good about refilling it throughout the day, so it was rarely empty.

    A new hire thought this was absolutely barbaric. He regularly ranted about how unhygienic Brita filters are, how they stop working if the filter ever gets dry, and we needed a proper water cooler. He created a petition (again, in an office of less than 10 people!) to get us all on his side. I think this was happening as I had one foot out the door so I went ahead and signed on, but had no idea if the petition was every brought to the person who could actually make that decision. But right after my last day they moved to a slightly larger office. I went back to return some equipment and the first thing this (now former) co-worker showed me was the new water cooler.

    1. Skitters*

      Too bad he didn’t see what I saw. Once in my physical therapist’s office I was getting a drink of water and the water delivery person was changing out the bottle and I looked into the machine.
      Daphnea, I saw multitudes of Daphnea just living their life and pointed it out to him and he tagged and took the machine. I never got that cup of water! Nasty!

      1. Dasein9 (he/him)*

        I just googled “Daphnea” and the search result images have a strangely harmonious mix of water fleas and Parisian fashion shots.

      2. Artemesia*

        Reminds me of the day I idly cleaned the nozzles on the coke machine at the greasy spoon where I worked — and discovered enormous pads of mold growing in every nozzle. I have never bought fountain drinks since.

        1. Anone*

          omg, gross!! for what it’s worth, every place I’ve worked at has required the complete removal of the nozzles for cleaning and soaking every night

        2. Lenora Rose*

          I’m not *as* worried about this at most chains where I know there are regs from all levels requiring frequent cleanings. I’m more concerned, sadly, at the sort of small local restaurant I otherwise prefer.

          I also almost never drink fountain drinks anyhow.

    2. Bumblebee Mask*

      This totally reminded me of a situation that happened back when I first started working professionally in HR. We moved to a brand new building. When we moved they got rid of all the water coolers. (I learned later because all the new sinks and water fountains had filters already). A guy filed an OSHA complaint about his unsafe office building with no water filters, and OSHA came and investigated! We were north of Los Angeles, in a suburb, not on some rural well system. LA water is fine. Nobody batted an eye when we were in a brand new building that was still half under construction and so we were freezing all winter because not all the exterior walls and windows were in yet on the other side of the building. But no water coolers was the breaking point.

      1. Dawn*

        In OSHA’s defense, “they came and investigated the complaint regardless of whether it ultimately had merit” is exactly what you want to hear.

        1. Bumblebee Mask*

          True enough. I just remember being shocked that OSHA came because we didn’t offer water coolers anymore. Also, being the early years of the boom where companies were basically the wild wild west, we did end up having several OSHA violations around our recordkeeping, but I, a lowly little HR assistant, had nothing to do with that, until I was assigned to do the recordkeeping and learned quickly about OSHA 3000 logs.

      2. Blarg*

        I worked at a building where the tap water was yellow. Looked like someone had peed in it. They insisted the water was fine, but no one wanted to drink it. So we all joined “water clubs,” where you paid a few dollars a month for access to water coolers.

        I worked for the county health department.

        Also, there were rattlesnakes in the basement of the other building. Eventually we all moved into one building where the water wasn’t yellow and there weren’t literal snakes’ nests.

    3. Generic Name*

      I’ll never understand the mindset of starting a new job and immediately complaining about something relatively minor, and clamoring to get it changed right away. Like, maybe just lay low for a month or two before you foment a rebellion? I used to work with a woman who had several small issues she got all het up about. She just couldn’t believe that we used Brand X of notebook when Brand Q was obviously and objectively so much better. Our data collection SOP was to take data and notes digitally, so notebooks weren’t really necessary anyway. There were a couple of other similar type things she railed about that I’ve forgotten they were so minor. She quit in a huff about 9 months later.

  10. Gingerbat*

    I was working at a small non-profit and we were having our office (located in a historic house) painted. It was a big job, think lots of workers, scaffolding and drop cloths everywhere, so slightly disruptive, but we all had individual offices with doors that closed and a liberal WFH policy. The VP of advancement came in one morning and went absolutely bananas about the inconvenience. She screamed at the workers and demanded that they turn off their radio and move out of the way so she could use the main stairs (where they were actively painting) to get to her office instead of the back stairs (which were not being painted). She also demanded that they move their work van from the front of the building to a parking lot on the next block so she could park her car there. I felt so bad for the guys who were just trying to do the job they were hired to do that I went around and apologized for her unhinged behavior. (This was not out of character for her and the main reason I left that job after less than a year)

    1. Bruce*

      Good of you to apologize to that crew… expecting contractors to turn off the radio must have been a shock to them! (kidding, but almost every crew that has ever worked at my house has had a loud radio playing all day)

      1. Gingerbat*

        They were not pleased! And the music was not even loud or disruptive, just your basic classic rock.

  11. Long Time Lurker*

    I managed an office where we had been the only tenants in the building for a few years. We had offered free coffee to our employees from the building cafeteria, which was on top of the free coffee (basic Keurig as well as machines offering fresh ground and fancier coffees) available 24/7 in multiple break rooms throughout the office.

    Eventually two other companies moved into the building, and leadership decided to end the free coffee in the cafeteria. (This was alongside some other changes as a result of the new tenants.) The response from a handful of employees was extreme. Multiple emails, an attempt at a petition, people cornering me in the hallway for explanations and giving me proposed new systems for allowing the free coffee- someone even brought it up at a town hall. Whenever I pointed out that there was still free coffee everywhere in the office, they would insist “it’s not the same!”

    1. DanniellaBee*

      Coffee from a Keurig tastes very different than regular brewed coffee. I personally cant stomach that coffee and would have been one of the rioters.

        1. Momma Bear*

          It sounds like it wasn’t removed from the cafeteria, just no longer free. We have a café in the building. If you want free, you use the Keurig. If you want to pay for something fancy, you go to the café. It’s a choice. I might not have been thrilled, but I wouldn’t have gone all torches and pitchforks about it.

          1. Ellis Bell*

            “the free coffee (basic Keurig as well as machines offering fresh ground and fancier coffees) available 24/7 in multiple break rooms throughout the office.” You could get a variety of types of free coffee from the break rooms, you just couldn’t get it from the cafeteria any more.

      1. Annabelle*

        But there was other types of coffee available, including for free (if I’m reading it right?). And even if the other coffee wasn’t available for free…okay yeah it is frustrating to lose a free perk especially if the alternative is one you don’t like or can’t use. But like, some people have war in their countries, Brittany.

  12. Jane Bingley*

    I was once helping tidy our printer room during a quiet season. I found a printer cartridge from 1994. This was 2017. It had moved offices at least 4 times. It was only compatible with a printer that we did not own and was no longer manufactured.

    I took a photo for the laugh and threw it away. The secretary found it in the garbage, took it out, put it back, and scolded me for being wasteful.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      Hopefully, the next step would be taking it to the dumpster directly (or surround it by stinky food waste)

    2. FricketyFrack*

      That secretary would get along great with my boss. I like my boss a lot but the only times I think I’ve ever *really* made her mad is when I suggested that we could get rid of a ton of stuff in our storage room because so much of it is stuff we literally can’t use it anymore. Every time we get a new employee, they see the state of the room and want to tackle it and I have to tell them it won’t work and not to bring it up because it won’t go well.

      1. Beth*

        I took immense glee in purging our software archive of ALL the old formats, including, I kid you not, an 8-inch floppy disk. Plus all the software that was compatible with Windows ME, XP, etc.

          1. AnonORama*

            I don’t remember ones that size, but I had a job in the late 90s where our computers were hooked to two sizes of disk drive for the two sizes of disk available at the time (smaller than 8″). We did get our boss — not an early adopter of any tech, and still mostly using a typewriter — to understand that you couldn’t shove the larger disks in the smaller drive. But she thought it would be fine to put the smaller ones in the larger drives, causing many jams. The rallying cry to come deal with it was “[Boss] put it in the wrong hole again!” (Thinking about that makes me cringe, but it was 25 years ago in a public health nonprofit where everyone was super irreverent, so the folks involved thought it was funny. Even the boss, usually.)

          2. Artemesia*

            When I retired I threw out about 5 different types of storage from computers over the years including those 8 inch floppies. Yes, a bit of a hoarder I’m afraid — but not mice.

          3. HexagonRuler*

            Those 8″ floppies are now quite valuable because some people are trying to keep old expensive and very specialised equipment that uses them going (Think million dollar MRI machines or industrial lathes).

            Last I heard they are worth something like $20 each on from a specialised reseller.

        1. Introvert girl*

          Somewhere in the beginning of the 21sth century when I was at university, we had a professor that forced us to send in our paper on a floppy disk. Not through the online system of that university, but on an actual floppy disk. Remember, most laptops didn’t have a floppy insert back then. It was so hard to meet her expectations. Students were looking for old computers. They would bring in their work on a laserdisc to put it on a floppy. And she was a professor of Communications!

          1. Mad Harry Crewe*

            That’s horrendous, I was in college around the same time and we submitted everything on paper, or by email, depending on what it was and the professor’s preference.

          2. brainless*

            I worked at a company that was still using 3.5″ floppy discs to hard code captioning on video. The owners of the company had scored a great deal on these old ass machines. When it seemed we’d bought out every computer store of it’s floppy discs, we switched to thumb drives. We easily could have been uploading files to a server.

          3. Autofill Contact*

            This tracks. I had an intern in 2010 who was a Comms major. We asked her to design a power for an event and she had zero desktop publisher skills- their curriculum had then learning to make graphics on a poster board like it was a 6th grade science fair.

        2. JustaTech*

          *whispers* We have an instrument that still requires a 3 1/2 floppy to work (because it can’t be connected to the internet, so it’s the only way to upload the controls).
          It will be obsoleted in a few months, and I will miss it.

    3. The OG Sleepless*

      My husband is a bit of a pack rat. He owns a small professional firm. He closed his office and moved it home in 2019. I had to persuade him to get rid of a BUNCH of obsolete printer cartridges and 3.5″ floppies. (We actually ended up keeping some of the floppies just for retro appeal.)

    4. EvilQueenRegina*

      Sounds a bit like my family. My grandad, for some reason best known to himself, held on to a can of Carling Black Label lager, best before November 1982. After he died in 2013, and the siblings (Mum’s the oldest of 3) were sorting out the house, middle sibling threw it away. Youngest sibling kicked off about this because he thought it should have been kept. Seriously…a can of lager 30 years past its best before date?

    5. RLC*

      Years ago, whilst I was cleaning out MY OWN OFFICE, my predecessor (retired) wandered in and began to dig through my trash bin and retrieve items he thought I should keep and use. I was astonished. Dude, you don’t work here any more and you can’t control what I throw away!

      1. Autofill Contact*

        Was this a university? We have some emeritus professors who haven’t been to campus in 4+ years whose offices are mausoleums. If we tried to disturb them, they would most certainly emerge from the shadows to tell us we can’t throw stuff away, they might need it.

        1. Ink*

          My high school somehow had/has that problem! The last chalkboard and VCR in the building are in the classroom of a much-beloved history teacher. The building’s been added onto and renovated a billion times, and he must have ad some pull with someone, because he had an “office” that’s actually a classroom-sized room that connects to the classroom, with no way to access it via the hall. Both crammed with all sorts of things on huge shelves and hung on the walls with barely a spare inch. He retired a few years ago, in his seventies. The room might have a whiteboard now, idk, but the rest remains… because his replacement is his son X’D

    6. Government person*

      Years ago my team moved to a different part of the building. Some of our assigned desks were cluttered with a type of machine nobody used any more (not a fax but you’re in the right ballpark) so I said boss, we should get rid of these. Oh no, said he, we might need them.
      Months later I visited a fellow govt facility; their head office with a big shiny reception lobby. There was one of the machines – in a glass case as an exhibit in their mini museum of old-time govt equipment!
      Boss was convinced after that.

    7. CountryLass*

      I took the opportunity (in 2020) to stop using the handwritten ledger for payments brought into the office, that the previous person who dealt with the banking INSISTED had to be used, as well as handwriting it on the form for Accounts, then in the paying in book, scanning a copy of the form, saving a copy of the computer and posting AND EMAILING it to Accounts… And putting it into the Banking binder.

      She was not happy, but I pointed out if she wanted to sit and write in all of the cheques that we had received over the 4 months we had been WFH she could feel free, however I would not be!

      I snatched the opportunity to get rid of archaic practices that even Accounts said they didn’t know why she did it, but were too scared to challenge her on. She had been with us for about 40 years and even some of the Directors decided it was just easier to let her do her own thing…

    8. MonteCristo*

      This reminds me of the two year project I had where I transferred into the maintenance storage crib of a company that was 60 years old and tried to reduce their obsolete parts list. There were parts for machines that had been decommissioned and scrapped 40 years ago, and they still had parts hanging around, like lots of parts. The maintenance guys ended up squirrelling most of what we “scrapped” into random hidey holes they had around the facility (it was 2M sq ft, so lots of space). At least we got it off our books and out of the inventory system, but it was ridiculous how attached they were to every dang thing in that crib. Also trying to transition these guys from a paper ticket system to a tablet system was another major trial.

    9. Kayem*

      I once had a project manager who was horrified when she overheard me telling another coworker that I did a massive purge of all my cables at home. She railed against how wasteful it was and how I’m going to regret it throwing out all those useful cables. No amount of explaining that I didn’t actually need eight firewire cables for a single device, nor did I need a dozen SCSI cables when I no longer had any SCSI devices stopped her from complaining about it all week.

      She called herself the Cable Lady had three eight-drawer filing cabinets filled with antique cables. After my cable purge, she would periodically pop into my cubicle, smugly inform me that someone had just asked her for an obscure cable that only she could provide, and then condescendingly ask if I needed one because I “foolishly threw away useful cables” and can’t possible be productive without one. The “obscure” cable was always a standard printer cable. No one in the office had their own printer, we all used the industrial networked behemoths. Until my transgression, no one even knew she had this massive collection of cables. Everyone thought the filing cabinet contained project files.

      Epilogue: She retired and we got a new project manager. She went looking for critical project files in the cabinet of cables, only to find mass after mass of a tangled web of deceit. She immediately had facilities deliver a big recycling bin and dumped all the cables. Office lore has that Cable Lady found out about it and sobbed about how they cruelly discarded her legacy, but I was not there to witness it.

    10. SafetyFirst*

      The correct response is to superglue it to her desk.

      Not really. But I can live vicariously through thinking about someone doing it

  13. magpie*

    There was a mug cupboard which contained a selection of mugs. A couple of people had mugs with names on them, but most people just grabbed a random mug. I was always first in because of my flexible hours, and I tended to grab a red mug with flowers on just because, you know, it was visible? Often at the front of the cupboard? I mean, it was quite a nice mug?

    Turns out it was the favourite mug of the uberboss of one-fourth of the (global) company. She came and hunted me down and shouted (actually shouted, really stressed out) at me for using her personal mug (I was a mere editor). And then, at every single opportunity thereafter–when we happened to meet in the kitchen, at every editorial meeting–she made a reference to how I had used her mug, or she hoped I wasn’t stealing someone else’s mug. And when I left the company, at my leaving do FOUR YEARS LATER, she presented me with a mug that was similar to her original mug. Which, I have to say, I do not use because it makes all hot drinks taste of gibbering irrationality.

    1. Cei*

      she presented me with a mug that was similar to her original mug
      Lol. She thought you were the one who was obsessed with the mug and couldn’t live without it.

    2. Canadian CPA*

      Dear Lord, that’s unhinged. We have personal and non-personal mugs at work, but if I see someone using my personal one I just politely let them know that those aren’t for all. And then never bring it up again.

      1. Random Bystander*

        It’d make sense to me to not leave the personal mug in a place where the non-personal mugs are stored.

        1. Momma Bear*

          This. I keep my personal mugs in my office. Old office had mugs for all, but they were company logo mugs, which made it clear that they were for everyone. End of day you were asked to please put it in the dishwasher so they could be washed and fresh for the morning. I still didn’t put my personal mug in there.

        2. Teapot Connoisseuse*

          I used to ensure people wouldn’t steal my personal mug by rarely washing it (my boss adopted the same approach). As I drink only tea, this had the added advantage of building up a nice layer of tannins that gave the terrible office tea some flavour.

    3. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      magpie, I hope for all our sakes that you share your excellent writing skill with the world in some way. “It makes all hot drinks taste of gibbering irrationality,” is BEAUTIFUL.

      1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        LOL imagine Anna Wintour drinking from a mug. She probably has whoever took over Andre Leon Talley’s job pour things directly into her mouth from the bottle like a cherub.

        1. Madame Arcati*

          Drink? Nah she absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and sniffs a breath mint once a fortnight.

    4. Cookies For Breakfast*

      This reminds me of the person who called me out in the middle of the office for using her personal mug – a standard IKEA mug with no markings or personalisation, of which there is more than one identical copy in the kitchen. I need to remember to share the story on the next related prompt!

      Also, everyone, please, if you are so keen to bring personal mugs to the office, then make them recognisable or store them somewhere not public.

    5. Annie*

      Although I do love this story, especially your last remark, I think it was kinda cool that she actually bought you a mug that looked the same as her original mug. Maybe she could have done that in the first place four years earlier, so you both could have the same mug and not be deprived of the taste of gibbering irrationality!

    6. TinySoprano*

      The head of music when I was in high school had a favourite mug like this, to which he was irrationally attached. Two of the other music staff conspired to steal it and send him ransom photos once. They ransomed it for two large packets of Tim Tams.

      He never found out who the culprits were, and when he got it back he wore the mug ON A LANYARD around his neck for the rest of his teaching career.

    7. MonteCristo*

      I don’t understand why people don’t just keep stuff in their office if it means that much to them? I brought my own mug to work, but it lived in my office and I just carried it to the breakroom to get a drink.

  14. OneAngryAvacado*

    At my first job at an extremely toxic start-up (I’m beginning to wonder if there’s any other kind) my old manager used to take any sign that you wanted a life beyond the company as a horrific betrayal. A few examples: asking if I could step out early of the mandatory Friday evening book club earned me a half-hour lecture; a colleague who couldn’t attend the post-board room meeting dinner because of serious conjunctivitis was bawled out because she wasn’t committing to the team; people wouldn’t be hired because they came from a culture where they wouldn’t join in with company beers, etc. It was a hot mess.

    All unfortunately standard stuff for that sort of company. But my favourite was the time Manager went into a massive sulk and pretty much refused to speak to anyone throughout the afternoon, because some of us suggested that the Bear Grills’ outward-bound TV shows could very well have been edited for dramatic emphasis and probably the guy wasn’t in as serious danger for some of his more death-defying stunts as appeared. Apparently because Bear Grills is a Christian, even *suggesting* that a fellow Christian could have so much as tampered with the truth was massively offensive to Manager, and to his faith, and for us to even bring it up was akin to slander.

    (The funniest thing I found about that was that I was a practicing Christian at the time, and other non-Christian colleagues used to come up to me and ask if Manager’s unique brand of weird, co-dependent, gaslighting, I-sleep-in-a-single-bed-because-I’m-saving-myself-for-marriage-and-tell-my-colleagues-about-it-readily, born-again-evangelical deal was common in my community.

    No, friends. No, it isn’t.)

      1. OneAngryAvacado*

        This was also a guy who didn’t believe in leaving drinks because ‘we shouldn’t be celebrating people leaving the company’; bitched about the person whose job I was filling (on my first day!) because when she broke her leg so seriously that she needed a cast+wheelchair combo, she didn’t try hard enough to get back to work; while goofing around drunk pushed an employee off their bike so she had massive bruising all over her face; and I’m sure was fired for one of two reasons:

        1. secret affair with/sexual harassment of a younger female employee who he managed (after insisting on no work relationships and trying to quash her pre-existing relationship with another co-worker)
        2. trying to convert someone he managed while they were stuck in a car with him

        Even Westboro Baptist attendees had nothing on this guy!

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Is this in a North American context? I suspect not, if only being “leaving drinks” would be an unusual construction in American English. It is the combination with insisting on company beers that jumped out at me. A generation back, an American Evangelical would be strictly opposed to alcohol: hence the jokes about Baptists passing one another in liquor stores. The fashion has changed a lot, but it would strike me as odd to actually insist on drinking. But this was always an American thing. British Evangelicals, I am given to understand, always thought it an odd idiosyncrasy of their American counterparts.

          Either way, the sexual harassment/affair totally scans.

          1. OneAngryAvacado*

            I’m British and this was a British company; the manager was Australian! (Which might give you some context as to why drinking was such a big part of his/the company’s ‘culture’.) From a few conversations we had I think he’d originally converted in one of the big mega-churches with USA origins, which is reportedly known for bringing over quite a lot of the unsettling American Evangelist into its international church plants.

            1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

              I hope your boss was not Scotty from Marketing! Commiserations from the Antipodes.

          2. Dawn*

            Sounds more like – to me – a North American context with a writer whose English was not learned in North America.

            1. Dawn*

              Sorry Avacado, I missed your reply there when I was writing mine. My bad!

              Strange to think of such weird hardcore evangelical Christians anywhere outside of America, honestly.

              1. OneAngryAvacado*

                Yeah from my experience they’re far less common (I’m always aghast at some of the stories that pop up here, because I just can’t imagine that happening here – not to say we don’t have our own brand of obnoxious religious types, but they seem to tend towards more ‘respectability politics’ types rather than ‘would picket a funeral at the drop of a hat’) and tend to congregate (lol) around churches whose ‘parent church’ is Hardcore American Evangelical and exported a lot of their values.

                1. Dawn*

                  Heyyyyyyyy so THAT’S where that word comes from! lol

                  I absolutely get it, I’m Canadian so I’m in the same boat where I’m aware of the American Evangelical types but they don’t pop up here very often, and, uh, yeah. It’s remarkable, to put it mildly, what those people will get up to.

              2. Irish Teacher*

                While they may have different flavours, so to speak, you get the extremists anywhere. I once worked with a woman who was Catholic rather than evangelical, but bizarrely over the top. She got in a long argument with other members of staff about the Da Vinci Code which she thought was threatening people’s faith and commented, “well, if you want to take your theology from Dan Brown,” because clearly, watching a fictional FILM means you believe everything in it is true scholarship. Or…something.

                More problematically, she raised a stink about girls from the neighbouring girls’ school (we were a boys’ school) being allowed to come in and do a survey about students’ attitudes to LGTB+ rights because “children shouldn’t be exposed to sexuality too early.” This was bizarre because…a) the survey was only done with our senior students, the youngest of whom would have been 15, an age at which students are most definitely aware of sex and b) there was nothing in the least “sexual” in the survey anyway. It was stuff like “how would you respond if a friend told you he was gay?” “would you feel comfortable letting your classmates know if you were gay?” etc.

        2. Tatiana*

          ‘we shouldn’t be celebrating people leaving the company’: The head of my former agency would not let us circulate a “Goodbye and Good Luck” card for people who left. Because apparently they were betraying the agency?

          Very little at that job made sense to me.

      1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

        Truth! I mean, really, how could the Bible not be improved with a book titled “Bel and the Dragon”?

      2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        Actually a lot of evangelical, creationist types will tell you that the apocryphal books are Satanic or written to test our faith, like fossils and the moon landing.

        1. Rex Libris*

          …And totally not just left out because they didn’t agree with the religious doctrine of the 4th. century Catholic Church.

          1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

            SURELY NOT. Those people were beyond reproach! … You know, right up until whatever schism you agree with decided to break away, at which point those same people became agents of the devil

      3. KeyokeDiacherus*

        Of course not, it’s apocryphal!

        Seriously though, unless it’s a part of the Bible that is regularly covered in a sermon, a significant portion of Christians (and note this is probably true of many faiths and their holy texts) will probably never have heard of it. It’s generally only religious scholars who learn about that sort of thing.

      4. Richard Hershberger*

        Honestly, it would not surprise me in the least if they had not in fact heard of the Apocrypha.

    1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      My brother’s ex non-ironically gave him a jean jacket button that read “currently seeking a country to rule.”
      This guy. This guy right here is Eternal Leader of the Spotless Mind.

    2. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      There is a zero percent change I am participating in a book club at work. lol. You can yell all you want I am not going to be there.

      1. OneAngryAvacado*

        It also was mandatory that each one of us would take it in turns to present on a particular book, and that book *had* to be one of those management/mindfulness/lifestyle books that we could use to improve the company. Reader, this did not make it any more appealing.

    3. Don P.*

      “people wouldn’t be hired because they came from a culture where they wouldn’t join in with company beers”

      Sounds a liiitle big illegal-ish, if “come from a culture” means “has a religion”…

  15. IRageQuitThatPlace*

    Last company: Right after the first layoff that division had ever had it was announced that the usual extravagant employee and +1 Saturday night holiday party at the very nice resort in town would be replaced with a lunch provided on site during the workday, just for employees. Just for that year following the layoff.

    Someone was *very* upset that +1s weren’t being included so they could be “thanked” for supporting the employee all year for all the hard word work they did away from home.

  16. Snarkus Aurelius*

    A friend of mine is an attorney at a big time law firm. The offices are set up such that past reception, there’s a long hallway with attorney offices on one side (with windows) and doors to the big conference room on the other.

    The firm purchased new chairs for everyone. The chair delivery guy, ***who is not a law firm employee and thus doesn’t know anyone***, showed up after 5 PM to make the switch less disruptive. But this being a law firm, plenty of people are still around at that time.

    Delivery guy starts with the first office he sees and works his way down to the end. One of the partners was *IRATE* that he switched an associate’s chair before hers! And she went on about it for days complete with emails to the partners. Keep in mind the associate, who wasn’t even there during the switch, possessed her new chair about 10-15 minutes longer than the partner did. Partner insisted the switch should have occured by seniority even though the offices were mixed and the delivery guy doesn’t care.

    I argued that partner clearly didn’t have enough to do!

      1. ampersand*

        Do unhinged people get law degrees or does law make people unhinged? A little of both? It’s interesting how so many law firms seem just absolutely bonkers.

        1. Bast*

          Both, but the different is that people who were already unhinged are generally less tolerable and refuse to acknowledge their own unhingedness, and the ones who have acquired it after practicing law tend to be a little more self-aware and apologetic for their “moments.”

  17. Engineer*

    I worked an internship for only 4 weeks because of this outsized reaction.

    A rectangular cafeteria table was rotated. That’s it. It went from being perpendicular to the cabinets to parallel.

    Holy mother of breakdowns, batman. A team lead came in and saw it and completely lost his mind. I’m talking screaming, ranting, mugs thrown against the wall, holes punched into the wall, all the tables flipped over, just absolute violent meltdown. All because the one table rotated was his favorite table and now the flow of the room was permanently ruined.

    We were not allowed to evacuate the office during this, nor were we allowed to call the police. The company issued no statement afterwards, and the team lead was back at work the next day. I quit two days later.

    1. Margaret Cavendish*

      That is…remarkable. It’s kind of the Platonic ideal of Alison’s prompt – the most extreme reaction, to the smallest possible change!

      1. Engineer*

        Yeah, there’s a reason why that memory’s stuck around so clearly, because it was the most dramatic overreaction I’ve ever witnessed – and I used to work retail on Black Fridays, so I’ve seen some things! But in a way, I’m glad it happened, because it clued me in to how toxic that company was before I was too invested.

        1. allathian*

          When I was a student I worked retail in a higher-end department store for about six months. Not quite Harrods, but there were rules about grooming. It’s the only time I’ve worn anything approaching heels at work (2 in, the lowest they allowed without a medical certificate), never mind a uniform that for women at the time included a skirt and hose (now women are allowed to wear slacks and flats). I liked being able to use all of my languages at work, and for the bonus I got for having the flags on my name tag (8 percent on top of the basic pay for every additional language).

          During Christmas sales, the store was packed with customers. Lots of jostling and elbowing around. Once a couple of fairly wealthy women (I assume because they wore fur coats and hats) got into a literal fistfight over something utterly mundane, like nylon hose that was on sale. I had to call security to break up the fight after one scratched the other’s face, and the women were perp-walked out of the store. I quit after that Christmas season and went back to the chain of grocery stores I’d left when my old store closed. Sure, the pay was considerably lower and I had to deal with intoxicated people trying to buy alcohol and getting mad when I refused to sell it to them (drinking age 18 here, I was 20 at the time), but in general the customers were much more pleasant to deal with than at the department store.

    2. GIF*

      To be fair, I used to see reactions like this all the time. When I taught kindergarten.

      (We did evacuate the room when it got to this point, though.)

      1. uncivil servant*

        Even my 2 year old is now only pointing to the corner of the room where the Christmas tree was once or twice a day to blame us for taking it away.

        (Having a toddler really makes you realize how much bad adult behaviour is just someone with more cunning, language skills and strength having the emotional response of a toddler.)

      1. Engineer*

        Technically, probably, but if we had called the cops I don’t think that’s a charge that would have been levied. Obviously I’d call these days, even with police response being what it is, but as a 20 year old surrounded by other early and mid 20s coworkers, we all just sort of froze.

      1. D. B.*

        And yet, it’s the LACK of reaction by management that makes it truly shocking. One guy has a serious anger problem, OK. But his bosses hear that he trashed the whole cafeteria over nothing, and they’re like *shrug* ???

        1. Engineer*

          He either left after his meltdown or was asked to leave for the day. But yeah, I got a pretty good look at how management handled things – or didn’t, in this case – and realized I needed out.

    3. I'll call the cops*

      I was once told not to call the police when someone at work pulled out a knife. I looked right at the person who said it, and called the police anyway. I stared at her throughout my conversation with the police and I gave them her name when they arrived as someone who should give a statement. She said she hadn’t seen anything, and I overheard and told them, “She was right there! Why is she covering up for the attacker?” I actually didn’t know why, but was so frustrated by her in general that I really wanted her to have to face whatever it was. I found out a month later that the man with the knife was her nephew.

      1. JustaTech*

        A coworker of mine was once fired from her night-shift Denny’s waitress job for calling 911 for a guy who had been mugged and seriously injured.
        The guy staggered into the Denny’s and the manager was all “you can’t call 911, we’ll get sued!”. As the guy was bleeding all over the floor she called 911 anyway.
        The manager screamed, cried, and after the ambulance left, fired her.

        The next morning (as soon as the day manager arrived) she was called with deep apologies and begged to return.

        1. A Poster Has No Name*

          Thought they’d get sued? What on earth for?

          If anything, not calling 911 is more likely to lead to a lawsuit, if the man suffered a worse outcome because of it.

      2. Engineer*

        I was only 20, and it was both my first internship and first white-collar job. Shock and inexperience kept me from calling the police anyway.

    4. Annie*

      Holy crap, that’s absolutely craziness!! He couldn’t just rotate the table back to where it was?? haha. Good thing you got outta there quickly.

  18. E*

    Back when blue tooth speaker headsets were still new, there was one mid manager level guy that walked around the office loudly talking on his all day long. After a few months of this, he was in a meeting that included the C suite when his phone rang and he answered on the blue tooth. The company VP got up, walked over and gently removed the headset then turned around and flung it into whiteboard on the other side of the room where it shattered into pieces. It was awesome! Mostly because Mr Blue Tooth thought he was more important than he was. (VP did personally replace the shattered headset)

      1. Katie A*

        Nah, it’s definitely over the top. It’s also crappy behavior that people here wouldn’t usually celebrate.

        Yes, it’s appealing because we’re meant to dislike Bluetooth guy for being extremely obnoxious and annoying (because he was!). That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a story about a C suite member getting upset with someone below them in the hierarchy and responding to that feeling by taking something off the person’s body, then throwing it against the wall hard enough to break it.

        1. MicroBioChic*

          It’s the kind of thing I would find delightful in a fictional setting but would make me very uncomfortable to witness in real life.

        2. E*

          As much as the entire office loved that the stupid headset was in pieces on the conference room floor, it was a highly inappropriate move by the VP. He felt bad about it, apologized and replaced it with a nicer one. This also happened to be during a time when the company lost a huge contract and was laying off 2/3 of the employees so fuses were short.

        3. zinzarin*

          This, 100%

          Bluetooth guy is annoying. C-suite executive committed the actual crimes of assault, theft, and destruction of property.

    1. WellRed*

      I’m going to laugh about this the rest of the afternoon: he did what so many of us fantasize doing!

  19. GeorgeFayne*

    I was once training some staff members on a new system/process and we happened across an error. Something in the system had been deleted when it should not have been, and when we found out that it had been deleted “Alex” loudly questioned who in the world would do something “so stupid”. I had Alex pop into the logs to see who had deleted the item and … it was Alex. I quickly said “Oh, yeah, that happens sometimes by accident. Let’s talk about how to fix it-” and got no further. Alex stood up and hurled insults at me for somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes in front of the rest of their department who I was also training. I was apparently doing a horrible job and was too demanding, didn’t communicate well, and was expecting too much of them (even though I was being very lenient due to the learning curve in starting a whole new system, or at least that’s what I was TRYING to be).

    Alex was just unhappy in general and I happened to balance the very last little pebble onto the edge of their sanity – sending it hurtling over the side – but it was incredibly jarring and so shocking that I just stood there and let them scream at me until they were done and I could slip away to my office.

    Oh, and yeah – they kept their job. I’m still not sure how that part happened.

    1. Liane*

      Something similar happened to my friend Galahad a few years back. Galahad, who I believe was a Claims Analyst at the time, was asked to run a training because the original trainer was ill or something. The other two involved people, both senior to Galahad, were Morgan le Fay and an HR rep who called herself “the Dark Angel of Unemployment” (I know, not exactly professional).
      Morgan disliked Galahad, even though he was not her report and their work didn’t overlap much. So when Morgan discovered Galahad doing the training in the conference room, she pitched a screaming fit and would. Not. STFU. It was so loud that people down the hall called HR. The Dark Angel shows up to drag Morgan off for a chat, which seemed to scare her into behaving for a while.
      No, she wasn’t fired. Galahad told me it was widely believed Morgan “knew where all the bodies were buried, probably because she helped bury them.”

      1. casey*

        The Dark Angel of Unemployment!!!!! I am having a psycho moment on the train right now from laughing so hard.

  20. Drago Cucina*

    One library director was known for her inability to make decisions mixed with her OCD. There was the two week discussion over which new toilet paper to buy for the staff restroom.

    We once shared that we could never take advantage of office supplies sales because she didn’t like the copy paper. She gave permission to order what ever paper was on sale. A week later she walked in the office holding two sheets of copy paper. They were both 24#, 100% bright. Because they were from two different brands there was a very slight variation. She forbid us from ever mixing brands of copy paper in the machine. We considered it a win.

      1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        I was going to add this because it just happened this morning. We are hybrid and the holidays, so a coworker just opened the hand made card I’d given her for Christmas (cards are my hobby, I give them to people who’ve asked in the past to be on the list.)
        She was complimenting me. I said I’d spent three weeks and one component took “half a season of a reality show.”
        Her deskmate said, “oh hahaha! Are you OCD? or just a perfectionist?”
        I wish I’d channeled Alison and said “what an odd thing to say.” but I choked and just said, “No. I made 4 dozen in this style. For Christmas.”
        But just her going to a mental disorder as a joke. I wanted to ask later if she understood what she was saying, But she is already my BEC because she starts EVERY request or conversation with
        I’m so stupid, I can’t remember how to/don’t know where to/I didn’t do
        So maybe this is my outsized reaction. Because I want to tell her to shut the hell up!

        1. kiwiii*

          one of the things i had a Big Conversation about with a new coworker was her tendancy to start with “I’m so stupid, x reasonable request” and i was like “you need to stop, it’s jarring to see stuff like that all the time in a professional atmosphere”

      2. Annabelle*

        “ They were both 24#, 100% bright. Because they were from two different brands there was a very slight variation. She forbid us from ever mixing brands of copy paper in the machine.”
        That isn’t “picky” though, that is definitely some kind of pathological nonsense though (ask me how I know)

      3. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        I don’t see why you’d read it that way. One of my best friends has pretty severe OCD and is open with her work about what accommodations she requires and that she’s open to feedback if something she does causes a disturbance. Nothing in Drago’s message suggests it wouldn’t be an actual diagnosis.

      4. Drago Cucina*

        I truly wish it was her only formal diagnosis of which I was aware.

        When I became director I had to be clear that staff were not required to disclose their or family medical history because of staff curiosity.

    1. Drago Cucina*

      Oh, this is bringing back a rush of paper related memories. There was paper plate gate. We were having a major fund raiser with area restaurants providing tastes of food. 30 tastes of food adds up! We had paper goods provided.

      People were throwing away their paper plates after each taste, so we were quickly running low. Not a problem. I had plenty of extra plates. Only they were suddenly all missing. I grabed one of our aides, gave her money to run to the store and buy plates. Problem solved? No.

      It turned out the director had hidden all the extra plates so we could have them for other events. I took ownership for sending out for more plates. We heard about it everyday for weeks. She bullied the aide about it so much she quit.

    2. Name Under Development*

      The former president of the community college where I used to work was known for his extreme attention to detail. 2 short examples: He could tell that the carpet in one section of a building was 10% thinner/lower grade than another section just by walking on it (holy princess and a pea Batman!), and he made the janitors swap trash cans in a classroom because the 2 trash cans in the room were slightly different dye lots.

      1. Worldwalker*

        I can understand that. Not necessarily condone it, but certainly understand it. The trash can thing in particular would hang around the edges of my consciousness and itch no matter how much I told myself that this is not something that bothers normal people. Some people’s heads are just wired up that way, and I’m thankful that I have such minor manifestations.

        1. allathian*

          Cool if you notice details, not always so cool if you can’t switch it off.

          One of our graphics designers sees colors in Pantone code. He can literally look at any object with a fairly uniform color and tell its Pantone code without effort.

  21. Just Want A Nap*

    In the weird nebulous not-quite post-pandemic times, after returning to office, I had a virtual client training, and was stuck in my cubicle for the duration. My computer lacked speakers, so I put my headphones in to listen to the training.
    My grandboss saw me and lost his absolute mind, screaming at me that headphones were unprofessional, and how dare I wear headphones while working, and that he was going to write me up for this behavior. My direct manager defended me from a write up but getting screamed at was my line.

    I found a new job, turned in a “My last day is Friday” notice, and left.

    1. Sparkly Librarian*


      Is this an industry that doesn’t use computers much? Does the grandboss listen to meetings and such on an open speaker? Does the office not provide headphones as part of standard supplies and equipment? It’s just so out of sync with any modern office setting I can think of.

      1. Lime green Pacer*

        The only thing that kind of makes sense is that grandboss though headphones were only for listening to music.

  22. Dr. Rebecca*

    I’ve posted this before in a different context, but:

    I was working in a factory when my dad had a heart attack. Our neighbor found him, called emergency services, then called my cell phone. One of the company owners drove me to the hospital.

    Next Monday I came in to a new policy: no cell phones on the shop floor.

    1. Wilbur*

      That’s a wild choice. Especially since you know people are not going to follow it. The factories I’ve been in have a “Cell phones in designated areas”, but the designated areas are where the operators sit to monitor to process most of the time.

    2. thatoneoverthere*

      This sort of happened to me too. My parents were in Florida, for a business trip that my mom attended. She was able to bring my dad and he could attend events in evening with her. My Dad was/still is an avid cyclist. He brought his bike with him to ride during the day. He ended up crashing and somehow one of the EMTs got a hold of me. I tried to get ahold of my mom for like an hour. I called her, the hotel, her assistant back in her main office, a friend of hers at work. Finally, she was alerted and went to be with my Dad at the hospital.

      The next day, I was asked why I was on a personal call for over an hour. I explained and was still written up.

      This was also the same place that gave me shit, for having surgery for a miscarriage, going to the ER in the middle of the workday bc said surgery wasn’t a success and I was hemorrhaging at work. After the miscarriage thing, I marched into HRs office and yelled that she better get my exboss under fucking control, or I am quitting and hiring a lawyer. Might have been all the hormones, but I was grieving and PISSED.

          1. thatoneoverthere*

            Haha sorry! I had to wrap up my comment quick to get to a meeting! Basically HR told my manager to back off and gave me all the time I needed to heal. I switched departments shortly after. I left about a year after that.

      1. Dr. Rebecca*

        He is, thank you. Full recovery from the heart attack, and 20-odd years later his cardiologist has bumped him to visits every 5 years instead of yearly.

    3. allathian*

      This is obscene and inhumane. I’m so glad your dad’s fine now (saw your other post before commenting).

  23. CookiesBoss*

    While I was at the beginning of my career, I was working for a catering company as an assistant manager. We were catering for a pretty big company, where we would serve lunch on one station, and have a buffet-style on the other one.
    On the buffet, one of the most popular items was the sushi platter. We couldn’t refill it fast enough!
    One day my company decided to switch the trays we were using for the sushi, from rectangular green ones to circular red ones. Mind you, the only thing to change was the trays, the sushi (made in the house by our licensed sushi chef) didn’t change a single grain of rice.
    OH – BOY!
    People in that company went bananas over that (or, should I say, sushi?).
    We received complaints, people refusing to eat it, people telling us it tasted differently. When we explained and swore that the change was approved by their company as well because the new trays were cheaper, prettier, and easier to recycle, hence lowering their catering expenses, almost nobody was convinced.
    A woman stopped me and tried to explain to me for 20 minutes that the colors of the trays would impact the taste.
    I suggested to my boss to order the next batch of trays from the same company, but requesting them as greenish and as rectangular as possible.
    It worked. The sushi-gate was over, and so was my patience with that particular branch of Big Company.

      1. Margaret Cavendish*

        Seriously. Imagine using all that drive to be a force for good in the world, rather than to complain about the colour of your sushi trays!

      2. Worldwalker*

        No kidding! I can’t find that much energy for, say, my actual birthday! I need some of that.

    1. And I'm the alchemist of the hinterlands*

      This is my favorite so far. The *color* of the TRAYS made it taste different? I just love humanity sometimes.

      1. Worldwalker*

        Well, to some extent that’s true. The reason the classic diner “blue plate special” was on blue plates was because the customers would eat less of it.

    2. BlushingCrow*

      Color does affect taste, but unless you are trying to eat the trays, it really should not matter!

    3. Ellis Bell*

      This is what I came here for. Trying to serve sushi on circular red trays instead of green rectangles, you crazy bastards. Didn’t you even consider that those colours and shapes are, like direct opposites? What are people supposed to even do with that?!

  24. anononon*

    Fairly recently I had two no-shows at a mandatory training course, and when I chased up the participants afterwards I discovered that one was off sick that day (fine) but the other had (according to her manager) refused to attend the course because she ‘did not appreciate the short notice venue change’.

    The ‘short notice venue change’ in question was our training admin updating the calendar invite a few days in advance of the session to let people know that the course was being held in Training Room 2 not Training Room 1, because Training Room 1 was having some IT equipment fixes. there was also a sign on the door of Room 1 saying ‘IT cabling in progress; for [course] please go to Room 2 next door’

    The rooms are identical, and next door to one another – both on the ground floor, with no access differences. They have the same chairs, the same tables, the same projector… it’s just that the door to Room 2 is about seven steps further along that Room 1.

    1. TheBunny*

      I’m snort laughing at this. While drinking coffee. Clearly my fault as I KNEW one of these stories would be amazing.

      1. Anononon*

        Apparently so. We have some, er, issues with that particular team, shall we say!

        My admin has invited the no-show to the next available session, which is going to be in Room 2. I guess we’ll see if it’s some kind of Room 2 phobia…

        1. allathian*

          Were there any consequences for this employee? Skipping mandatory training for a trivial reason like this should have some consequences. I certainly hope there are if she refuses to attend the second training (unless she’s sick or something).

          What an …odd hill to die on.

  25. Jester*

    I worked for a company for three summers. The first year, there were no summer Fridays. The second year, we could pick a handful of half-days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The third year, the powers asked if we wanted to continue the half days or if we wanted to just early every Friday for the summer. Same number of hours for both options.

    People started campaigning for their preference like we were voting for the president. There were lobbyists and deals being made behind the scenes. It was the only topic of conversation for the week between the email announcement and the time the Google form opened. Fortunately, the topic was dropped pretty quickly after the vote. We got leaving early every Friday.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I might be in the minority, but since this was a scheduling issue, I don’t think it’s an outsized reaction. It seems pretty standard to me. (But I come from a pro labor union family, so it could be my upbringing.)

  26. Liz W.*

    EHS made the perfectly reasonable requirement for pants only on the production floor. I sat down in my boss’s chair and cried for 30 minutes because I couldn’t wear skirts anymore. Note: I rarely ever had to go onto the production floor and already kept a pair of can get dirty work pants in my desk and the change did not affect me. Bless my boss.

    1. Plebeian Aristocracy*

      It takes a lot to tell a story like this about yourself. Good on you for owning up to it, and seeing it for what it was. And a funny story to boot.

      1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        Six months living in the UK and I will compulsively say ‘trousers’ for the rest of my life.
        It can even read differently in American English if you choose to interpret it as “pants and only pants.”

        1. Don P.*

          I have known Monty Python for DECADES, back from when I lived IN ENGLAND in the early 1970s, and it’s only about 5 years ago that I learned that in the Lumberjack Song, when he sings about “suspenders and a bra” the “suspenders” are what we’d call “a garter belt” in the US.

      2. Kiwi Leslie Knope*

        I worked for an American lawyer in London once who told me a story of when she first got to London, and was working at a place where they had a rule that women weren’t allowed to wear trousers (yes, super sexist). One day she complained to a group of British colleagues, “I can’t believe they don’t let me wear pants here” and wasn’t sure why they all looked so shocked and confused.

      3. londonedit*

        Yeah I had an immediate mental image of everyone walking around wearing nothing but underpants…

    2. Minimal Pear*

      I worked somewhere that required pants only at all times for all staff. I was an office admin who NEVER went on the factory floor, and if I did, I knew it was happening days in advance. I’m also curvy and prone to weight changes, and I have unusual proportions. I basically didn’t own office job appropriate pants before I started that job, and I probably ended up spending half the money I earned over the job continuously shopping for pants I could wear to it. Then they laid me off for being disabled (probably).
      This is all to say I completely understand why you would cry, and I think I teared up when they told me about the policy.

    3. Dawn*

      Took me way, way too long to realize that “pants only” didn’t mean “shirts off” in this context

  27. Bread Crimes*

    In my first job out of college, I filled orders and answered customer email for a small online store (back before everyone and everything had an online store). I was an enthusiastic but merely adequate employee, one of two working under the manager for the online store side of the company, who reported to the president. After I’d been there for about a year, and business had expanded somewhat, my manager explained to me that she needed an assistant manager, and was thinking of hiring a new employee for that position. That is, rather than promoting me and hiring a new employee to take over my job.

    I ended up sobbing wildly and gasping through my tears about how this was terrible, it meant no one believed I was any good at my job, and how could I possibly work for a complete stranger hired in to boss me around? It didn’t make any sense! How could she do this to me? How could I stay in the job if she did this? Why didn’t she like me? I thought we were friends!!!

    She was very kind about letting me cry it out and making sympathetic noises without giving an inch. And she never brought up my reaction later, for which I am grateful as well.

    …the new employee was fantastic, far better at the job than I ever would have been, and I still think of him fondly. I would have been a terrible assistant manager: I was unmedicated and very bad at organizing things without someone else giving me the structure and direction.

  28. kchb*

    I worked at an office in a major city that would, like most places in major cities, have the occasional visit from a cockroach. When this happened, everyone would kick into high gear like it was a Oceans Eleven or something – not due to the cockroach itself, but because there was one person who worked there who would LOSE THEIR MIND about any sort of mitigation efforts. My boss would wait for a day when this person was out of the office, and then give us the go-ahead, and we would hide roach traps in the backs of closets (again, not for safety or so they were out of the way, but so this person wouldn’t find them). If/when they learned that there were traps around, they would rampage through the office demanding to be told where each one was so they could get rid of them, snapping and yelling at everyone.

    I never knew what exactly the problem was – they had a lot of vague but intense hangups about chemicals (and were definitely at least antivax-curious). But god it was so stressful.

    1. The Baker's Fife*

      I would appreciate that type of trap laying to be done when I’m out of the office, but I sure as Shirley wouldn’t go around trying to find out where they are. Ick.

    2. MissCoco*

      I was at an externship site (graduate school for an healthcare field) and had almost the opposite experience.
      There was some kind of large centipede in the office so I grabbed some paper towels to squash it. One of the staff shouted “NOOO!!” from across the office as if I was planning to feed the bug to a small child and leapt up from his desk wielding a spray bottle of 70% ethanol. He proceeded to create a “moat” of ethanol around it while explaining to me that “this way it can’t escape” which was true, however, we then had a large centipede trapped inside an even larger puddle of ethanol in the middle of our waiting room. Luckily no patients had to be subjected to this! When he left for lunch I picked up the centipede and dried the floor. He was not happy when it was missing on his return.

  29. Juicebox Hero*

    My boss is the queen of making mountains out of molehills. Just off the top of my head I can remember being read the riot act for putting the wrong paper in the fax machine, submitting a report that I’d forgotten to copy double-sided and wasting paper (ironically, if I’d recopied it double-sided and submitted that, therefore wasting even more paper, nothing would have been said), asking for a malfunctioning adding machine to be replaced, and she’s just snarly, impatient, and absentminded in general.

    The capper was shortly after I started this job and got some serious malware on my probably 8 year old computer that didn’t have any kind of antivirus software installed. She tried the one trick she knew and gave up in a huff when it didn’t work, and then left for the day. Since I can’t do my job without the computer, I managed to fix it myself. She never bothered to tell me that she’d called our computer guy (we’re a very small office with no IT) who seemed happy enough that he didn’t have to bother fixing anything.

    She called me AT HOME and tore me a new one for wasting Computer Guy’s time and we still had to pay for the service call and I don’t even remember what else.

    I told our overboss the next day and I don’t know what he said to her, but she first avoided me and then was very, very nice to me and a couple of weeks later was back to her normal grumpy self. She certainly hasn’t called me at home since.

  30. Sloanicota*

    Meta comment: reading the previous version of this (the one linked in the post) a lot of the reactions to seemingly small changes were about workers feeling like their individuality or very small pleasures were being taken away to make them more drone-like or conformative … I’m thinking of the animated add-on someone had put on their home screen, the prescribed email signature (this one actually bugs me too TBH) and anything about what people wear to work. Then there’s another category of food related grievances that I’ve noticed before haha. People are weird about food at work. I assume there’s some deep psychological factor at play there.

    1. Ms. Norbury*

      So true! I also see a pattern emerging of (usually) one person wildly overreacting to very small, low-impact changes, which is… baffling. I know some people have a hard time dealing with change for a host of reasons, but having a public tantrum at work because, say, someone changed the brand of tissues available in the office is wild. I wish I could understand the rationale because I find that fascinating.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I know for me personally, it’s sometimes because pleasures at work can seem small and far between (this is a sign you’re probably not in the right job, TBH). If you hate your open office and your daily tasks are boring and your boss is a jerk, so all you’re holding onto is that one little indulgence … and then some person in a position of greater power tries to take it away from you for seemingly no good reason … also, once you’re miserable, you can *retroactively* decide those nice tissues are the only luxury that means anything to you only once they take it away …

        1. JustaTech*

          It can also be a sign of serious stress.
          In college it was not uncommon for someone to loudly lose all grip on reality about the tiniest possible thing right before finals.
          As an example, someone once tried to get me sent up before our disciplinary board (a very big deal) because they didn’t think I had used the right method for emailing some of the dorms to ask them to return my dorm’s forks. (We were the only ones with a kitchen.) They said I was “trying to subvert school processes” and on and on (I hadn’t and I wasn’t).
          It was all very stressful for me, over a single email that could have just been ignored/deleted.

    2. JTP*

      As someone working in brand management, I don’t understand the opposition to prescribed email signatures for work. Love bright pink Comic Sans 24-pt font? Use it for your personal email. Why do you need to do it at work, too? Especially when it cause so many issues? (See Allison’s post “what’s the weirdest/most inappropriate email signature you’ve seen?” from January 2023)

      1. Sloanicota*

        This is my personal hang up, but I dislike that my company forces us to put both pronouns, a land acknowledgment, and a bunch of other stuff (including promotional links) in our email signature – I think it looks super messy and scattershot. Plus, I’m uncomfortable with my pronouns and it makes me feel icky to be like YES I AM GIRRRRRL gender me gender meeeee … But I recognize it’s supposed to be inclusive and I’m the one making it weird (and that most people who object to pronouns are doing that out of anti-trans animus so I’m not in good company).

        1. PlatypusDeniability*

          This! If your company actually cares about trans issues (not just performatively), it should *not* force you to define your pronouns when you are uncomfortable doing so. That’s not okay, and you’re right to feel that it’s not okay!

          If you want to put your pronouns as “none”, “use my name”, “she/they”, or not offer any pronouns at all, those should all be options.

          As long as you don’t flip out when *other* people offer pronouns and consistently use the correct ones with all your colleagues, I don’t think you’ll be mixed up with anti-trans people.

        2. Dawn*

          I work in customer service and I (with my manager’s explicit permission) only use the seasonal Pride logo on my email signature and include a land acknowledgement.

          Speaking of overblown reactions…… well, suffice to say we like to give the customers plenty of rope to hang themselves with sometimes.

          I won’t repeat those reactions here because they’re not the funny kind you want to tell stories about. But my goodness, if you really want to see people absolutely melt down over something insignificant, go find the tiniest rainbow flag sticker you can find and put it on a store window somewhere.

          1. Caro*

            I worked in a small library with 9 branches. One summer, our reading challenge platform gave people a reward that said “Congratulations! You read during pride week.”
            One patron complained that her child was being exposed to sexually offensive material. (One!!) Our library does not control the platform, but the reward was part of a “Holiday” package of award stickers. We could not delete that sticker by itself, so our administrator deleted the entire Holiday rewards package.
            The child was 3 years old.

            1. Dawn*

              Fortunately, this definitely would not happen where I am, but I’m so sorry to hear that you’re somewhere that it can and does. And that lady stinks. Her poor child.

      2. allathian*

        I hate having anything except my name, title, role email, and team/department as an internal email signature, and those excluding the role email (we only serve internal clients) and including my phone number and employer for the rare external email.

        My employer does provide templates for email signatures, but thankfully they haven’t forced us to use them. I don’t want any graphics in my sigs, those were popular when my employer first joined the WWF Green Office program (ah, the irony) and people wanted to use the logo in their sigs. Never mind any mission statements, etc., especially for internal emails.

    3. The dark months*

      Such a good point. My coworker and I were part of a seasonal work crew that worked along side and were supported by the very small group of well entrenched full time staff. We started saying ‘change is hard’ in reference both to ourselves when we needed to be more flexible in our own work and especially when talking about the full time crew. They did NOT like change but deserved a bit of grace because they would ultimately come through for us. Eventually.

  31. anon for this*

    Office-wide seat reassignment was announced. In front of 50 people, one person stood up and announced,

    “I MUST sit by a window! I am a CREATIVE PERSON!”

    (To be fair to her, the seat re-assignment was handled in a weirdly over-dramatic and secretive way by management for reasons that never became clear, and colleague was going through a divorce and very stressed. And I’m not entirely sure she wasn’t on coke at least some of the time. Fortunately, someone who was feeling less dramatic about it all offered to swap with her.)

    1. Some Dude*

      A friend requested a desk change to a window seat when it opened up at his work, and it became a Whole Thing about how he only got the seat because of his White male privilege and how deeply unequitable the whole thing was. Literally all that happened was a seat opened up and he said, hey, can I move my desk there?

      1. ferrina*

        That’s a bit more complicated than it first appears. Women and POC are often rebuked for self-advocacy. A woman/POC and a white man can say literally the same thing in the same tone to the same person, and the woman will be labelled “needy”, the POC will be labeled “angry”, and the white man will be labeled a “go-getter”. (multiple studies done on this- exact words vary, but the overall message is the same)

        Now imagine that repeating over the span of a lifetime. Thousands of replications of the same message.

        Who is going to be more likely to ask for what they want? The white man that has been praised for his self-advocacy, or the woman/POC who has been rebuked for their self-advocacy?

        Your friend didn’t do anything wrong, but I’d encourage him to think about the societal systems. If he wanted to do right-er he could have said “hey, what’s the plan for the desk? I’d love to move there, but how are desk preferences prioritized? Is it by seniority?” (i.e., advocate that there be a system and not leave it up to Whoever Asks) It can feel weird, but this kind of advocacy helps.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          This is why I am glad I work somewhere that this is laid out for everyone.

          But I also worked somewhere that had nearly floor-to-ceiling windows on the 5th floor where the CSRs sat. You learn who’s afraid of heights pretty quickly in that situation. (Luckily, someone is always willing to trade.)

        2. Abogado Avocado*

          Sorry, but I (a very liberal cis-gender female who also has been a union officer) disagree. Many people suffer from seasonal affective disorder and may have other good and valid reasons to ask for a seat by a window without beginning a floor-wide lottery. Seeking to elevate a low-stakes action to high-stakes behavior isn’t helpful to those of us who have been fighting for equal treatment and equity for decades.

        3. Dog momma*

          Oh come on! If he’s the only one that asked if he could move his desk to that area, I don’t see the problem. If multiple people asked, then it should go by seniority, which happened at my last awful job…wasn’t awful bc of that, but how much time ya got. lol lol!

    2. Sloanicota*

      Oh man, cubicle seat assignments are a huuuuuuuge deal. And HRs that want to pretend it’s no big deal and we should all be adults about it aren’t doing their own cause any favors when they are secretive and illogical in the way they do the assignments, as it only results in a widespread belief the higher-ups play favorites. The difference between being a cubicle dweller in the middle of a terrible open office vs one by a window is, in my experience, night and day. It’s also tough as this is increasingly an accommodation requested by everyone with everything from ADHD to social anxiety to seasonal depression.

      1. KaciHall*

        being in a cube away from windows helped my attention span so much. I can’t imagine being near a window would HELP my ADD.

      2. JustaTech*

        One time HR tried to re-do our seat assignments after a major re-org and for some reason decided to move me from sitting with my team to halfway down the room into the area of another team to sit with my least-liked colleague. (He sat down there because that had been his cube before he was moved to my team.)
        I flatly refused (no one was taking my cube), my boss backed me up and that was the end of that.

        Years later after a renovation we were told to pick our own desks. Most people said “I’m going to sit about where I used to sit” and that was fine, but Betty decided she didn’t want to sit down by me anymore, she wanted to sit by the kitchen and get more light. Now, part of the renovation meant taking out the cubes and now there was a *lot* more light, but Betty wanted to sit facing the windows. So she goes down to sit by George and face the windows. This lasts maybe 4 hours before the light is too much and Betty puts down the shades. George puts the shades back up. Repeat for the rest of the week with crying from Betty and silent teeth grinding from George.

        Finally Betty moved back to our end of the floor where she could have her back to the window and there was a support pillar blocking some of the light.

        So, picking your own seats is better, but know what you want!

    3. Jack Straw from Wichita*

      The last bit of this story with the coke comment took a turn and literally made me snort/laugh ouut loud. I’m working in-office today and someone from two rows away came over to see what was so funny. Time to share the AAM gospel!

  32. HonorBox*

    Had a coworker who HATED the new cologne our board president wore. Like HATED it. For context, this coworker wore strong perfume herself that most of us disliked, but just let it go. But when the board president would come in the next couple of times, she would slam her door, which was right across the hall from mine. I actually found it funny, told the board president and the next couple of times he came in, he would poke his head in her office to say hello, and he confided in me that he added a couple extra sprays just to mess with her.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, this. I’m glad my employer is reasonably scent-free in that only cologne and perfume are banned, as is applying scented lotion during the workday. Scented shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer that you apply at home are fine. Scented laundry detergent is also perfectly fine.

        The petty person in me wishes that someone had called her out on her hypocrisy, even if it’s very difficult to do that and remain professional, so I guess it’s just as well nobody did.

  33. Crazy coworker*

    At my workplace, a coworker got fired after two weeks.
    Here’s what happened
    – was 2+ hours late every day (except day one) in a position where you need go be on time
    – making racist comments about Middle Eastern men
    – lying about being able to speak Spanish (despite being born/raised in Central America). This is a large part of why she was hired
    – making comments about coworkers’ uteruses
    – saying my boss can’t fire her because my coworker is old enough to be my boss’ mom

      1. Jack Straw from Wichita*

        As someone who had her uterus removed (thanks, cancer), I’ll say you might be surpised how often it comes up. I typically go the shock and awe route, spoeaking overly loud volume saying something like, “I don’t even HAVE a uterus anymore, Bob. They took mine out BECAUSE I HAD CANCER. Why do you ask?”

        1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

          My favorite response is, “Nobody wanted to have kids with me, Darlene.” And just let it hang there.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            I do the opposite. I say, “I couldn’t find anyone worthy who I wanted to reproduce with.”

            1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

              I used to do this, Slow Gin Lizz! I stopped because some busybody took it as a challenge and gave me a lecture on how I’m too picky.

              1. Calamity Janine*

                alternatively this is when you up the ante to silly degrees.

                “i have not found a suitor worthy of my challenges to prove he is fit to be my beloved. instead he always fails the riddle and then gets executed by the monarch for his failure. yes my middle name IS Turandot, however did you guess?”

      2. Cymru*

        Asking things that generally amount to:
        -what’s in there
        – why isn’t something in there
        telling them what should be in there, or what they can and cannot do with a uterus.

  34. TheFruitPenguin*

    I’ve worked for the same place for a while and a long time ago it was a tiny company of 250 people. We are wellness-adjacent so didn’t have vending machines with snacks but did have free fruit. The fruit was a real boondoggle as when it was delivered the mailroom employees walked the cart around to hand it out. In other words if you weren’t in good with the mailroom team you also didn’t get any fruit.

    The fruit was discontinued during a financial crisis for the org and it was like a bomb had been dropped. So much agita. And it came up for years… 8 or ten years in internal surveys.

    It has never been renewed.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      A previous company did a regular fruit delivery with the fruit available at 10.00 downstairs on the reception desk. People would start assembling a few minutes before but it was usually fairly civilised.

      One morning a co-worker and I went down to collect some fruit. My co-worker took 2 pieces as her husband worked in our team too.

      The receptionist went ballistic and shouted at her for taking an apple and a banana. It wasn’t the only time he had been difficult.

  35. NYWeasel*

    I worked in a local news station for a few years, and was responsible for a lot of the on air graphics. One day we were celebrating a milestone anniversary of one of the most beloved anchors—seriously we all loved her as much as the viewers did—and I was given a massive number of extra graphics and animations to make on top of the usual workload. Halfway through the day, the producers for each of the newscasts confirmed that they weren’t going to use one minor insignificant asset for the celebration, so I killed it from the delivery list.

    I was sitting there during the 6pm newscast, feeling very proud of how my graphics fit into the big night when the phone from the newsroom began ringing. On the line was Fergus Shorttemper, the newsroom director best known for having to hang artwork over a hole he’d punched in his office wall.

    “NYWeasel, why isn’t there a (unneeded graphic) in the system? Wasn’t that on your list?”
    “The producers told me it wasn’t needed.” I replied.

    Fergus inhaled for a millisecond and then let loose berating me about this missing graphic and how unprofessional I was. I don’t remember everything he said but the rant ended with “I hope you’re happy because you’ve RUINED (Beloved Anchor)’s special night!!!”

    The joke was on him, as first, Beloved Anchor (who was unaware of what Fergus had said to me) called me up to personally tell me how touched she was by the lovely graphics, and how it completely made her night. But second, it was that night when I snapped and ended up applying for the job that set me off in a completely new, much happier direction. And he ended up stuck with a designer buddy of his that didn’t even know photoshop.

    Oh, and no one EVER asked to use the missing graphic.

  36. Funbud*

    Old job had a once-a-month bagel club. Members contributed to the cost and then took turns buying the bagels. This involved my dept and a smaller dept across the hall; about 35 people total.
    One designated Friday, a manager from the other dept forgot to pick up the bagels on his way in and couldn’t get away from the office until almost ten o’clock.
    By then the bakery at the local supermarket was almost out of bagels so he ended up with a miscellaneous assortment of mostly rolls, muffins, even a couple donuts. He brought it back along with the usual cream cheese & butter.
    Oh, the outrage, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth that ensued! This was unacceptable, an outright failure, a major topic for (prolonged) discussion & analysis, critique & condemnation.
    It ended with said manager dramatically quitting the bagel club via an overwrought email sent copy all to both depts, both bagel club & non-bagel club members. Hurt feelings lingered for months!
    A few years later, we moved to a new building. My manager quietly ended the bagel club.

    1. Bagpuss*

      This reminds me of a coworker who was furious over free pizza.
      Our office at the time was next door to a branch of a big pizza chain. We had a fir amount of parking, the pizza place had very little. We turned a blind eye to their drivers using our parking as long as they didn’t block anyone, and they used to give us free pizza from time o time (probably when someone cancelled after they started making it? I don’t know.)

      Anyway, one day they came round and gave us some free pizzas which both had mushrooms on them. This one person went off because she didn’t like mushrooms , it wasn’t fair that she couldn’t have any pizza because it had mushrooms on .. literally shouting and weeping . She knew that the pizza wasn’t an official work pizza , andthat none of us had had any say in what the toppings were. It was . . odd.

      1. t-vex*

        Our HR director headed off a potentially similar situation quite nicely one time. A shoe company awarded a free pair to all of our employees as a thank you, and everyone was asked to indicate their preferred style. On delivery day HR lady said “Some of the designs don’t match what was expected but they’re free and we’re gonna be grateful.” Zero drama ensued.

  37. Anon for obvious company*

    Maybe not as dramatic as most, but here goes.

    My company is trying to be an industry leader and announced two things. Every employee gets 25 vacation days, and event-based bereavement leave is replaced with 10 days per year of compassionate leave that can be used for a wider variety of things.

    I was amazed at how many people were upset by this, but really one coworker in particular. She was upset that 8 years from now she won’t get 28 vacation days even though she gets more now. And she’s upset that if she has 4 immediate family members die in the same year, it will be less overall because it previously would have been 3 days bereavement leave for both, which would be 12 days total instead of the cap at 10 now.

    She also thinks it’s silly that we can use compassionate leave for a pet dying, and constantly “jokes” that she’ll by 10 fish and kill them on different days to get 10 free vacation days. Oh, and she’s a manager so I feel bad for her direct reports who take this leave.

    1. i like hound dogs*

      She sounds awful. Some people’s default response is to complain.

      Your company’s policy sounds awesome! I would greatly appreciate having a day or two off for pet bereavement leave whenever my next one leaves for the great beyond. As it is, I’ll probably use a vacation or personal day to avoid being a blubbering mess at work.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I loathe people who would rather lose a good thing themselves than see someone else “undeservedly” get something. And it’s so common! The dog in the manger.

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I worked with a woman who intentionally sabotaged flex time in the summer so we all lost it permanently.

        Except senior staff still had gobs of PTO so they’d still take Fridays off but as vacation.

        She didn’t care.

    3. ferrina*

      This person sounds absolutely awful. And bad at math.
      “If I have 4 relatives die, I get less time in that year than the guaranteed 10 days every year”

      1. Anon for obvious company*

        No, the math checks out. Under the old policy she would get a total of 12 days for the 4 events, instead of the new policy with max 10 total for the year.

        1. ferrina*

          Only for the single year. How many years does she expect to have 4 relatives dying? And is she the murderer?

        2. S*

          To be fair, unless they have a simply enormous family and a high attrition rate, they’re going to come out ahead with the ten days/year after a few years.

    4. Hotdog not dog*

      This is nuts! I would be thrilled if I never needed a single day of bereavement leave for the rest of my career. It’s great to have it, but better not to need it.

      1. Not that other person you didn't like*

        This. 2022 was the year I had to email HR and ask whether bereavement was per year or per event. They were very kind and yes, the benefit was generous. But I’d still rather not need it at all.

    5. emmelemm*

      The amount of bad karma she was inviting with these proclamations is alarming.

      (Yes, I know that’s not how karma works.)

    6. Clare*

      If your pet dies I’m authorising whatever leave I can get you at whatever company we’re at. Bereavement, sick, annual, wfh, unpaid, “Whoops looks like you have ‘offsite’ training tomorrow, guess you won’t be in”, whatever. You’re not coming in that day unless you say “Yes” to “Stay home tomorrow unless you’d like to come in for the distraction”.

      People beat themselves up a lot over pet deaths because pets are completely reliant on them in a way that relatives usually aren’t – so anything that happens to the pet can be catastrophised as “my fault”. Losing a fish really can cause some people more trauma than losing a Grandparent (trauma, not loss), and it’s usually the more conscientious and hard-working people who are most affected.

      1. Not Australian*

        Yipes, I got shouted at for coming in late one day because my cat was actually dying. I told them I’d be in when she no longer needed me. 30+ years and that still rankles.

  38. Lilac*

    I work at a university. I recently attended a work event on campus that had an open bar with beer and wine. The event started at 5:00, but they weren’t allowed to serve alcohol until 6:00 per university policy. No big deal…or so I thought. Nearly everyone I talked to at the start of the event complained about it: “Ugh, I can’t believe they’re making us wait until 6:00 to have a glass of wine” or “This is the boring part of the event – I can’t wait until 6:00” or “I bet you’re wondering where the drinks are – don’t worry, they’re putting them out at 6:00!” I never brought up the lack of alcohol, so all of these comments were totally unprompted. I get that work events aren’t everyone’s first choice for how to spend their evening, but jeez!

    1. Batman*

      Possibly I’ve worked in universities too long because this felt like a normal reaction to me. Or, well, not normal, but completely to be expected. (I’m guessing these were faculty. It sounds like faculty.)

    2. Bloops*

      I can totally believe this. When I was in grad school I helped run an annual department event that was held on a Friday afternoon and had food and drinks. The first year I was involved me and a few other students had taken over from another group who had run it for several years in a row. One piece of institutional knowledge that was not passed to us was that we needed the dean’s approval to serve alcohol at the event. We found out the day beforehand, and they were away on travel so we couldn’t get approval in time. The beer and wine we had purchased was held for a different event, so no issues there. But world got out that there would be no beer and it was SO poorly attended. Note that this was an event focused on celebrating research accomplishments, not purely a social thing.

  39. Volunteer Enforcer*

    My manager announced that we were moving from Zoom to Teams. I announced I was beyond angry as Zoom is way better than Teams and why fix what isn’t broken. I said this once in a calm tone of voice, which may explain why I wasn’t fired and I can use this manager as a positive reference.

    Recently, we changed visitor sign-in sheets to something more data protection friendly. Externally I was calm. Internally, I seethed and stressed, thinking how much extra work that would add for me, I don’t get paid enough to put up with this, and why fix what isn’t broken.

    These were both at my current job.

    1. Sundae funday*

      I am 100% with you on Zoom over Teams. I think I have an emotional connection to Zoom because we had to learn so much about it over Covid. Can you trauma-bond with a software?

    2. Filosofickle*

      OMG this is going to be me. I’ve heard we’re moving from Zoom to Teams and eventually Slack to Teams as well. And honestly…this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s (my) back. It sounds like an overreaction but this will negatively impact my work all day every day. I hate Teams so much.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        My company is moving from Zoom to Teams and!!!!

        The only saving grace is that I am leaving soon. Woot.

    3. KarenK*

      My organization has done the same thing, and it’s not been a smooth transition. Most of us hate it, but we’re going along.

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      We use both, and I definitely prefer Zoom. Like so many MS products, Teams tries to do too much and ends up being clunky and confusing.

      I also find the Zoom interface more visually pleasing and user friendly.

      1. Ama*

        My work tried to get us to move exclusively to Teams when we shutdown the office for the pandemic but it ends up being for internal use only because none of our external stakeholders use Teams and hated having to download an additional program so all public facing virtual events or meetings with our outside colleagues end up being on Zoom.

        I actually think both of them have strengths and weaknesses (Teams’ chat functionality is WAY better in my opinion) but I also totally understand why Teams isn’t appealing to a lot of people.

        1. Busy Bee*

          I think Zoom’s chat works better because I can easily chat privately with anyone in the meeting vs. only being able to chat with those within the org I work for, even though outside people can join in a Teams meeting. But I definitely agree that they both have different strengths.

        2. dot*

          My work switched over to Teams but the way ours is set up we can’t use it to interface with external groups (outside of virtual meetings). Even though we work onsite with a subcontractor who also uses Teams. So all communications still go through email or in person/virtual meetings, when it would be sooooo handy to be able to chat with them. Idk if that’s something that’s possible but I sure wish it was setup that way.

    5. I Have RBF*

      I’ve used Zoom and Slack, and I’ve used Teams.

      Teams just sucks, IMO. I would be upset at downgrading to Teams.

    6. Other Alice*

      Teams sucks. We used to have Zoom and Slack but we moved to Teams because “it’s already included in office365 so we’re saving a lot of money” or something like that. This was 6 months ago and I’m still complaining about the switch in the pettiest possible way… However…

      I have a glitch where Teams will randomly decide to show me as Offline. IT is unable to solve it and says it must be something to do with my network, which is blatantly untrue because while I’m “Offline” in Teams I’ll be doing work that requires me to have a stable internet connection. I’ve come to the conclusion that this glitch is a blessing that allows me to work without being interrupted, as being Offline means I don’t get pinged for new messages and people will just assume I’m on PTO and either wait or send urgent requests to someone else. Thanks, Teams!

    7. Autofill Contact*

      We announced they were ending support of our enterprise Zoom licenses to move to WebEx and Teams. Enough people refused to transition that I can still pay for Zoom Pro for $19/yr. Completely worth it.

  40. Nanc*

    I’ve shared the story of the wicked finance lady and her bread pudding issues, but that does not compare to the epic tantrum when they changed her from a dot matrix printer to a laser printer (this was a long, long time ago!). There were complaints, memos, union meetings, a special meeting with the Mayor and City Council. Several months later the purchase of the envelope printing attachment was approved and installed and her electric typewriter was retired/snuck out over a weekend. Then there was the WordPerfect mail merge training . . .

    1. BecauseHigherEd*

      I LOVE the bread pudding story! I saved your recipe and I’ve been waiting to make it! My husband and I always talk about that now.

  41. I don't miss retail*

    I used to work part time in a liquor store for a few years. I had a coworker who was less senior to me in the job and I once politely asked him if when stocking 6 pack bottles in the fridge to make sure the handle was facing outwards to make it easier for customers grab (as some 6 packs didn’t have a handle on both sides and were super annoying to get out of the fridge if the handle wasn’t there). I’d noticed him stocking the 6 packs backwards several times before I made what I thought was a pretty reasonable request and something that’s really easy to do.

    He did not take it well. I could tell for the rest of the shift that he was annoyed that I had asked him that and then he didn’t talk to me at all for 3 weeks (he had previously never stopped talking during our shifts together, so I didn’t mind really) until I took some time off for the holidays and when I got back he had been fired.

  42. That Coworker's Coworker*

    K-cup recycling: our company had collection boxes for used k-cups, that got mailed somewhere for recycling. Then there was a cost-savings plan implemented in which the boxes disappeared and were replaced with devices we were supposed to use to cut the lids off the k-cups, and separate them into aluminum, compost, and plastic, all to be recycled separately. Then the compost got moldy, the local waste district wouldn’t accept the plastic for recycling, and somebody cut themselves on a k-cup dissector. Then there was an all-office email announcing the boxes were back… and decreeing that we were never to speak of the “unfortunate interlude.”

    1. ThatGirl*

      There were no meltdowns related to it, but we had those k-cup collection boxes for awhile and they attracted flies.

  43. Pangolin*

    I used to be an admin assistant and my main job was to arrange training courses. When we did training in a city which didn’t have one of our offices in, we would use a hotel chain. We changed the hotel chain we used after having too many issues with our original one. The new place was better in lots of ways, but it only offered pastries with tea and coffee during the morning break – in the afternoon it was just little packs of biscuits with the hot drinks.

    I let all our trainers know about the changes and how it would affect them – I didn’t think to mention that they would be getting only one round of mini pains au raisin a day rather than two because it truly did not occur to me that it would be an issue – there were still two tea breaks.

    One of the trainers emailed me 16 times in one afternoon, during training he was meant to be delivering, on realising that he wouldn’t get his second pastry, and didn’t speak to me for weeks afterwards.

  44. SopranoH*

    Last year, our software had a surprise update that significantly changed the appearance and made some minor changes to the functionality. Perhaps, because I had not been there long, it didn’t really bother me, and I liked some of the improvements.

    Well, all hell broke loose. There were multiple hours long Teams meetings, and we are not a meeting heavy group. There was a sense of panic and more than one person said we’d never be able to do our jobs.

    I pretty sure no one even remembered what the old version looked like a month out.

    1. allathian*

      Sure, but often giving people the opportunity to air their frustrations helps in getting over the unwelcome change faster. I bet that without the meetings, the grousing would’ve continued for longer than it did.

      I absolutely detest change for its own sake, and I’m very much an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” person. But I know from experience that if I’m allowed to grouse a bit about whatever the change is, I’ll adapt to it much faster than if I don’t get that opportunity. Sure, I’ll get over it sooner or later, but if a 2-hour meeting lets me air my grievances with no repercussions, I’ll take it.

      Particularly if the meeting also gives me a good idea of why the change is necessary if I haven’t seen its advantages yet myself.

      I’m not unreasonable, and I don’t get bent out of shape over every minor Teams update. I definitely don’t get upset if I can see the benefits of the change immediately. As much as many people hate Teams, until we got it a few years ago we had to use Skype, which I never really got to terms with. I’m also much happier with SharePoint than I ever was with the buggy proprietary intranet we had before that. Learning the new systems took a bit of effort, but unlike some cowoerkers I was never frustrated with that because I could see the benefits of the change.

  45. Problem!*

    We had a Popcorn Incident where someone burnt a bag of popcorn in the break room microwave immediately before a very very high up person was about to come in to visit. Management implemented a rule that anything that had the potential for a lingering strong smell needed to be microwaved in the cafeteria and not the break room microwaves. This was not an unreasonable request. No foods were being banned, people just needed to be reminded to use the common sense and courtesy expected in a shared space.

    Some people were straight up offended by having to walk an additional couple minutes to the cafeteria (you know, the entire room devoted to preparing and eating food) to warm up their lunches. Someone replied all with a diatribe about how the policy was racist and they’d be contacting a lawyer. Again, the policy was enacted because of *popcorn* not something like curry.

    1. Jonathan MacKay*

      I had my own microwave incident that just led to my immediate manager and co-workers teasing me for quite some time – if you come in during the winter with a bag of Mcdonalds, and you want to warm it up in the microwave – check for Ketchup packets in the bag first!

      Since it was literally a fire, I could’ve been in far more trouble than just being mocked!

    2. D. B.*

      I’d say the policy itself was a bit of an outsized reaction. You have one fluke accident, and they respond with a new policy that is very broad and open to interpretation (and thus conflict) and yet would not have prevented the incident! (Because popcorn doesn’t create a strong lingering odor if you prepare it correctly!)

      1. Artemesia*

        It got banned in my workplace the second time someone stunk up the entire floor by burning it — it is such a gross smell and it lingers. I don’t think banning it is unreasonable.

    3. Anita Brake*

      I love it…paying for a lawyer to ensure one’s rights to smelly food aren’t violated.

      “Let’s get Orville Redenbacher on retainer NOW!!”

  46. Some Dude*

    I don’t know if this counts, but I came across an email that a former colleague sent to HR because their food was thrown out of the fridge during a monthly cleaning despite being labeled. We had done a training on approaching management with curiousity and with the goal of learning, so the entire memo was passive-aggressively in that style – “I am very curious why my food was thrown out when it was clearly labeled. I’d love to learn why you ignored my label and threw out my lunch.” It was a long email, and this colleague was notoriously always behind in their work, so it was extra funny to me that they spent an hour writing it when they could have been doing literally anything else.

    1. Olive*

      This happened to me (AND I KNEW WHO THREW OUT MY LUNCH KYLE), so I sat down on the floor in front of the refrigerator and cried.

      In my defense, I was 7 months pregnant.

      1. i like hound dogs*

        I probably would have done the same, perhaps even while not-pregnant.

        My husband once at a slice of pizza that belonged to me. I was looking forward to it for lunch. I forgave but I didn’t forget. This was 15 years ago.

      2. Not that other person you didn't like*

        I kept my office job throughout my pregnancy (literally, I was at work on Friday and had a baby on Saturday) and I was always starving. I was an eating machine (I was also underweight and my OB was like “eat all you want!”) so I’d bring in bags of food and store them in the fridge (with my name). Well, one day someone opened my stick of butter (with my name on it) and helped themselves to a couple of pats. And I completely LOST. MY. SHIT. Cue full on angry and very loud rant about someone stealing my butter. I was unhinged. I was not OK. Admittedly I was also hugely pregnant, which is no excuse, but I think most people thought it was amusing rather than appalling because of that, so I didn’t get called on it.

    2. MagicEyes*

      I’m a little bit sympathetic to this, because one time when I was in grad school, someone cleaned out the fridge without notice and threw away half of a Fresh Samantha bottled smoothie. I was very poor at the time, and it was a rare treat for me. I put a note on the fridge, but no one ever apologized or bought me another Fresh Samantha, which is what I really wanted. It is not okay to throw out everything in the refrigerator without giving people some warning.

      1. JustaTech*

        One time I accidentally threw out a coworker’s lunch during our fridge clean out.

        In my defense, the fridge clean out had been announced a week in advance, then two days before, then the day of, with ample opportunity for folks to grab their lunches out and hold on to them for half an hour while we cleaned, and his container was not marked in any way (no name, no date, old yogurt container).
        I felt terrible and offered to buy him lunch from the fancy bakery downstairs, but he said no and was even more difficult for weeks afterwards.

        After that I refused to do any fridge clean outs – I would clean the fridge if someone else emptied it, but I wasn’t going to be responsible (as the most junior person) for throwing anything away.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          That’s kind of the point of fridge clean-outs, though – there’s lots of warning so people can label/remove their food, and anything left gets tossed. You don’t *want* the cleaners having to open every container and make a judgement call about whether the food is still good, and it defeats the purpose if you just leave all the unlabelled food in there in case someone still wants it.

          And having someone’s unlabelled lunch get thrown out tends to be wonderfully motivating to everyone else, so they actually do deal with their food properly.

        2. CrabbyPatty*

          I, too, cannot handle the responsibility of fridge cleanouts. We do them here monthly and I will help, but I will NOT make decisions.

    3. Laura*

      This is why you do clean outs at the end of the day on a Friday. That’s why my company and I honestly don’t know why you would do it in the middle of the day

      1. KrazyKat44*

        That’s not always possible. Yes, Its the most ideal when working a 9-5 like job, but there are a lot of jobs where there is no ideal time.

        I work in a 24/7 manufacturing plant. Line operators work 12hr rotating shifts, even when stuff is marked and dated its still possible to have good food be put into the fridge after. either someone buys it from the vending machines or they come in on overtime.

        Its suppose to get cleaned out every Sunday night by a lead though it often goes undone, usually due to short staff. They tried the labeling thing in my old area and it still lead to issues; though likely cause is 8 lines sharing 3 fridges and that’s not including the office personal that has to use them on day shift.

        TLDR; there is never a good time to clean the work fridge. especially in manufacturing.

  47. Stuart Foote*

    A few of us were chatting at the office later in the day, and the CEO came over and asked me for an update on a project I was working on. I made a joke along the lines of “Was I supposed to be working on that?” and then gave the update (which was mostly a positive one; no bad news). The CEO was extremely upset that I’d joked about this, so I ended up hearing about it from at least four other senior managers. Thankfully the rest of the project ended up going okay, but apparently he is still not happy about that joke.

    1. i like hound dogs*

      Definitely an overreaction, but I have to say that I don’t really like jokes like this, either. My husband frequently answers serious requests for information with jokes and my son and I both hate it (we are not humorless drones, just tired of 30+ dumb jokes per day).

      Now, one joke like that I could let go.

      1. Stuart Foote*

        Yeah, I really don’t blame the CEO for being annoyed (and wouldn’t do that again), but I didn’t think it would blow up to the extent it did.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Same — I ask a question, husband makes a goofy answer thinking he’s all cute, and I stand there staring at him because I ASKED THE DAMN QUESTION FOR A REASON AND I NEED THE ACTUAL ANSWER PLEASE.

        1. allathian*

          Oh dear, I dumped a former boyfriend pretty much for this reason. Sure, we had other issues like he was very conflict avoidant and I get over things much faster if I get the opportunity to close the argument and move on fairly quickly, leading to a vicious circle where I tried to provoke him into arguing with me and he gave me the silent treatment. But his constant jokey responses to my serious questions when we weren’t fighting were the last straw.

          That said, I find the CEO’s annoyance a bit extreme because Stuart Foote didn’t make him wait or beg for a serious answer (as far as I can tell from the comment). But if the standard reply to a serious question is a joke, the CEO’s reaction would be more understandable.

      3. Salsa Verde*

        My partner does this constantly, and on some days, it’s enough to bring me to tears. Just. Answer. My. Fucking. Question.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Unless you doggedly stuck to the joke and refused to give a straight answer, that is very very weird. It reminds me of that company were all jokes were banned.

      1. Stuart Foote*

        Yeah, the entire time joke to straight answer was like five seconds…it’s not like he was left hanging for the actual answer. Like I can see how it was annoying but the answer was given quickly and it wasn’t a protracted process.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I think it’s far more annoying for people to make a huge deal out of small pleasantries that isn’t to your personal taste. I think most jokes kind of follow the construction you used, so it’s really weird to me that he didn’t know how to roll with it. It’s a bit like those people who get offended about being asked “how are you?” or about being subjected to small talk.

  48. Jonathan MacKay*

    I worked for a distributor in a niche product market as a warehouse worker after being laid off from my manufacturing job during the pandemic. On my last day, I got into an ‘argument’ with my supervisor that led me to commenting out of frustration – “Maybe we should consider today to be my last day.” It was taken as an immediate resignation, and not a comment that came out of stress. The argument itself was, frankly, very dumb – as I was being asked to go and grab the “Two-stepper”, and, seeing as I was unfamiliar with the term (apparently part of his regional dialect), and his continued insistence in using the term and my sheer idiocy for not knowing said term led to him aggressively throwing boxes around (in my general direction, but not at me). That was the trigger for my comment.

    What he was calling a ‘Two-stepper’ was what I would call a ‘Step-stool’ – literally a two-step mini-stair. Sure, I can see how his term for it applied now, but with the whole thing blowing up like that, it’s not as though I had time to think!

    This is the same place that wanted to change the details of country of origin for shipments going into the US. The stuff came from China, but they wanted to claim it came from Portugal – (which arguably, it certainly could have prior to being used in manufactured goods from China) so instructions were given to remove or conceal anything on the boxes or skids which might indicate Chinese origin. (I’ll admit to intentionally missing a few!)

    I was unemployed from Feb to Apr – when circumstances led to me being hired where I am now – They had hired someone else for my role, but that fell through unexpectedly the day before he was supposed to start – so the job posting went back up – I had a zoom interview on Wednesday, in-person interview on Thursday, and found out I had the job before I even got back home!

    1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      That seems almost pathologically rigid on his part, to not be able to say “you know, the thing you unfold and step up onto it? like portable stairs?”
      And then to throw boxes around? And lying about imports? Yeesh. I love that you got a new job so quickly, and I hope it’s grand.

      1. Jonathan MacKay*

        I’ll say – it’s been 2 years already, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. I was completely upfront about that part of my long-term goals is the completion of a certificate in Human Resource Management, and a transition into that field – I have one more course to go at this point, which should be finished by the end of April. At the very least, I expect to finish out the year, but I’m at least going to start looking for opportunities to get started in that field soon. Ideally, I’ll find a way to do both – HR part time, and this full time.

        Even 20 hours a week where I can fit them in would add up to quite the income boost.

    2. Don P.*

      I’m pretty sure I’ve had corporate policy training where “let’s relabel the imports” was a test case for “when do report a problem up the chain”.

  49. BaroneCroquette*

    I’m Italian, and my manager took it as a personal affront that I did not particularly like Domino’s pizza. He would send me articles about people liking it, how well the business was doing, how Italian pizza was not that good, and so on. It was… intense.
    (I never disparaged that brand or anyone who liked it, he just happened to hear me chitchatting with a colleague about ordering some pizza, and me suggesting a different brand).

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Didn’t Domino’s have a whole ad campaign a few years ago where they admitted that their pizza wasn’t very good and that they were redoing all their recipes?

        And, no, it is not that good.

        1. KaciHall*

          their pizza isn’t very good. however, their marinara cheese dip with bread bites are absolutely delicious. especially after an evening of bowling (and drinking.)

      2. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

        “And I have ARTICLES. Yes, that is PLURAL. To PROVE IT TO YOU.”

      3. The Peach*

        Domino’s scratches a particular itch and can be very yummy. But it’s more of a pizza-like product than a true Italian pizza.

        1. Calamity Janine*

          exactly! as somebody with affection for Dominos pizza, this is a very silly debate.

          it’s the difference between a costco hot dog and a gourmet venison sausage. or some box mac and cheese, compared to proper fettuccine alfredo. they’re all good! they’re good in different ways though, and that’s the joy of them. and this means that liking the trash food is absolutely acceptable because you like it for what it is, not for being a pale imitation of the real food.

          if this dude simply accepted that he liked trashy American pizza and an Italian doesn’t have the same fondness for it, same as how you can be fond of sesame chicken but know it’s Chinese-American takeout genre instead of authentic Chinese cuisine, he’d have been able to make like Elsa and let it go. instead he decided to really show his insecurities and ironically turn a thing nobody was really judging him for (enjoying greasy pizza) into something everyone was correctly judging him for (being a nasty little weirdo about it).

    1. Some Words*

      I can’t remember if it was a comedian or a friend who said “Dominos is the pizza you get for people you hate.” I still endorse that statement.

    2. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      You mean you don’t like undercooked dough with smears of flavorless crap on it? HOW DARE! :)

    3. Jonathan MacKay*

      The funny thing is – Domino’s turned out to be the shared favorite pizza of my parents – and they were both under the impression for most of my childhood that the other hated it.

      Give me the local corner pizza place any day, though!

  50. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

    The phone meltdown is one of my favorite all-time AAM stories.

    I have no spectacular stories… the most drama I’ve encountered involves a student-run magazine that I’m the staff advisor on — not even one of the editors or contributors. I’ve received a few emails, “I’m completely disgusted by this issue… Please remove me from the email group, I no longer wish to receive these emails.” Lol, the email is campus-wide, the only way to remove yourself from the all-campus list is to quit…or better yet, just don’t click the link to the magazine website and delete the email. I had one student editor write a 1,000 word email about how a decision by a top member of the administration (not me) to make a slight change before printing…along the lines of changing 1 single word in an essay…would somehow ruin his future as a Thought Leader. To be fair to the student, while his email was way over the top, the Administration edit, and refusal to back down, was very much petty and only amounted to a style preference, and not like protecting the university from scandal.

  51. TypityTypeType*

    I have a story of a management underreaction!

    I used to work at a music magazine, with a lot of the sort of eccentrics you might expect to meet working in editorial at a music magazine.

    One day Pop Tarts were added to the lineup in the vending machine. Yay! People would warm them up in the break room toaster. But such was the culture — very casual, but very demanding — that people would put their tarts in the toaster, then run back to their desks to get whatever work done they could before the Pop Tarts popped.

    It doesn’t take long to toast a Pop Tart, but it proved impossible to get anyone to check the toaster setting before running off. It took *three* Pop Tart fires (thankfully all minor) before management banned not Pop Tarts, but toasters. And put in a toaster oven.

    Well, you can imagine how it went when people who could not safely be trusted with toasters were provided with a toaster *oven.* The break room was gutted within days. After that, they only let us have a microwave.

    I loved that job.

    1. ExAdmin*

      Oh man, I have sympathies as I thankfully didn’t start a fire and didn’t leave my Pop Tart unoccupied, but it fell apart in the lunchroom toaster and I had to unplug it and take it apart to get the rest of the Pop Tart out. Pop Tarts are hazardous.

    2. Dinwar*

      I started a (very small) fire in a microwave. I was drying soil, using ASTM guidance (so like an official, legit method), which was the safer option because it didn’t require a hot work permit like the normal method (which involves a camp stove and a skillet). I guess some of the rocks in the soil were too close together and the container I had them in caught fire. I put it out, got a different (non-flammable) piece of equipment, and the only thing really damaged was my pride.

      The next day the client walked in for a meeting and I had to explain why there was a lingering smoke smell in the room. He got a good laugh out of it.

      1. KB*

        I tried to microwave a cup of tea at work, as I usually did in the afternoon. I remembered the teabag, but absentmindedly forgot the water. Surprisingly, microwaving a teabag for over a minute ends up smelling amazingly like marijuana! Luckily I didn’t get fired. (This was in a government contractor facility.)

    3. SarahKay*

      At a previous job I asked if we could have a toaster for the canteen for general use. (There was toast available during the breakfast period but the catering team were the only ones with access to it, and it wasn’t available at other times.)
      The HSE/Facilities manager declined my request, and then explained that in one of her previous jobs someone had burnt the toast so badly it had actually burst into flames and set off the fire alarms, causing a full-site evacuation.
      All of which was made worse by the fact that a VP was visiting that day.
      HSE manager told me very definitely that that was the day she decided never to have another uncontrolled toaster on any site she worked HSE. Honestly, I didn’t blame her; I think I’d have felt exactly the same.

    4. Choggy*

      We have a number of labels on our toaster oven to make sure it’s off, unplug when not in use, etc., I wish one of them was “clean up after your food messes”. The toaster has so much crud on it, I would never use it. I seem to be the only one who takes the trays out of the toaster to dump the piles of crumbs, good thing we’ve not had any fires.

    5. slashgirl*

      At my smaller school we have a day care/after school program that rents a room in the building. They have been banned from using a toaster. Not because they burn it and set off the fire alarm, but because it sets off the fire alarm every time they use it–even just for lightly toasted bread. Fire alarm, which means the building has to be evacuated and checked.

      We discovered late last year that the pre-kindergartner room also can not use a toaster. They set off the fire alarm as well. Building have to be evacuated and checked. We just got cafeteria service this year and either she’s not toasted anything or the fire alarm doesn’t go off when they do.

    6. Might Be Spam*

      For some reason he couldn’t explain, my (then)husband put a cherry pop tart in the toaster and then left the house. The pop tart got stuck and burst into flames. Fortunately the toaster was next to a tiled wall that didn’t burn, and I heard the toaster buzzing. I got to it before the cabinets caught fire, but they were pretty charred and needed refinishing.

  52. Juicebox Hero*

    My sister’s company had Strawgate. The company is trying to reduce their carbon footprint and part of the change was switching to paper straws in the employee’s cafeteria. No problem, right? People still have their straws, there’s loads less plastic waste, they’re compostable, right? WRONG! A Fortune 500 company staffed with educated adult professionals started acting like toddlers whining because they couldn’t have a cookie.

    There was backlash. There were angry emails. There were people grabbing up all the regular straws and hoarding them. There was angry gossip.

    In an attempt to placate Team Straw, they switched to compostable plastic straws which should alleviate the issues with paper straws, and they’re still compostable, right?

    WRONG! The compostable straws were too fat. They were too thick. They weren’t bendy!

    The company basically said the hell with it and got rid of straws completely, opting instead for recyclable sippy-cup type lids you get on takeout coffee for all beverages, and bring your own damn straws if you need them. Of course people flipped out over that, too, but the company hasn’t budged.

    My sister takes lunch every day and doesn’t use straws, so she found it all very funny.

    1. PepperVL*

      I wouldn’t throw a fit about it, but I’m with your sister’s coworkers on paper straws. They taste terrible and disintegrate both in my mouth and in the drink. I prefer my beverages free of paper pulp, weirdly.

      1. HexagonRuler*

        I was in a French ski resort last summer, and the mountain top restaurant was serving drinks with pasta straws. Basically like a long bit of macaroni.

        To me this is such an obvious idea that I wonder why it is not far more widespread. The pasta feels much better in the mouth than paper, won’t go soggy unless you leave it in a drink for hours (or put it in a hot drink), and are obviously fully biodegradable, so that if thousands get discarded into the snow over the winter, they will be gone in under a week once the snow melts.

        1. Cat*

          Gluten? (Educated guess)
          I don’t remember the details, but I do remember some infographics when banning straws was initially becoming a big thing about how there is no one size fits all solution, for legitimate reasons…

    2. Butt in Seat*

      Ugh, I HAAAAAATE the feeling of paper straws on my lips. But I would just use a cup without a lid rather than complain (however, I would also politely point out to the ADA coordinator that having plastic bendy straws available as a disability accommodation for anyone who needs them would be a good plan).

    3. ferrina*

      Paper straws are terrible. The compostable plastic ones are just fine though!

      I’m totally on the company’s side for not providing straws. Folks can bring their own straws if they’re so picky.

    4. Banana Pyjamas*

      Paper straws are disgusting. The paper flavor overpowers whatever you’re drinking, and they get soft. Starbucks very temporarily changed to paper straws, they didn’t last long. They changed to some recycled straws that crack somewhat easily but have significantly less flavor.

    5. Stretchy McGillicuddy*

      i have seen ads for pasta straws and I really like that option. i know it doesn’t work for ppl with gluten allergies but it could also be an option that is made available.

      1. Steve for Work Purposes*

        Except then it’d also cross-contaminate anything they came into contact with. They’re fine for home use but in a communal canteen environment it’s too risky. As a celiac, if the communal ‘morning tea/coffee/drinks’ station we have at work introduced those I wouldn’t feel safe using any of the stuff around it and if I was at a cafe with those I’d walk right back out. I agree that paper is a bad idea too but compostable plastic is a good alternative and a lot less risky.

        1. amoeba*

          At least in our canteen, that would also be right next to the pastry and, well, actual pasta they serve – so not sure how the environment could be safe in the first place and how the pasta straws would make it worse? (Probably I’m missing something!)

    6. GoryDetails*

      Heh! I don’t have strong feelings about straws myself – seldom use them anyway. But some straw-using friends of mine got handsome titanium straws for Christmas at a gathering many years back, complete with a cleaning-brush. I never heard whether they used them. In an office setting I can imagine the fancy straws just disappearing one day, or someone neglecting to clean them to the point of “ick”, but if I did use straws regularly I’d enjoy pulling my own personal titanium one out of my bag and deploying it in my beverage.

    7. miseleigh*

      The town outlawed disposable plastic straws, lids, and takeout containers for restaurants. This included the cafeteria in our office. The backlash was huge when the straws at the soda fountain disappeared – it was weird how many people blamed the corporate office (for a town ordinance?!) and everyone had Opinions on what the company should do about straws and lids.

      It went on for weeks, until management tried to fix it with new company-branded swag for every person in the building – a reusable 16oz. hard plastic cup, complete with straw and lid. Even then, many people accepted these begrudgingly, gathering together to grumble about washing cups and lament the lack of bendiness in the straws.

      I still occasionally heard angry muttering for at least a month afterwards, whenever someone forgot their reusable cup at their desk and had to get their soda in a lidless disposable cup.

      I’m quite happy with my cup, it’s been my water cup for seven years now. Maybe I should thank the whiners for complaining so much! Though I think most of them are retired now.

    8. Drielgalad*

      Straws just aren’t needed for any beverage less thick than a milkshake, for any person above kindergarten age without a specific condition that makes drinking more difficult. When I stopped using them years ago, it started weirding me out that in the US we’re offered straws incessantly, as though we all still needed sippy cups.

      (If you’re worried the cup is dirty, I would say that if your concern is valid, you probably shouldn’t be eating in that restaurant in the first place, because if the cup’s not clean, neither is a whole lot else in that establishment.)

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Straws are a disability accommodation for people who have trouble lifting and holding a full cup or glass, for reasons including but not limited to arthritis and some neurological problems. It’s not just one specific condition that makes drinking more difficult.

      2. KrazyKat44*

        I don’t think its a matter on if the cup is dirty or not. After all, coffee stir sticks are usually unwrapped and people use them (wooden sticks where I work).Its like others have said its often from a disability issue.

        I don’t have a disability but I like to use straws when I’m at a restaurant. Now, to preference this, I live in the Southern US, where if you order a drink its likely going to have a mountain of ice in it. I have very sensitive teeth and I’ll be so distracted by the pain I cant enjoy my drink.

        If I’m at home or fill my cup from the soda fountain myself its fine. I can control the amount of ice, and thus how cold my drink gets, or keep ice from pressing against my teeth.

        I dislike paper straws with a passion but will still use them if no other option is available, like at The Mellow Mushroom (pizza), but id be fine with a non plastic alternative that’s safe for others too.

    9. allathian*

      I’m in the EU, and plastic straws and disposable utensils have been banned for a few years. I hate paper straws, too, but compostable plastic straws are fine.

      Not that I use straws unless I get takeout and drink my soda in the car.

      My weirdest “straw” related incident happened when I was a student and our advanced French class took a field trip to France (we organized a party at the student union to pay some of the costs). I don’t remember where it was, but one night we went to a fondue restaurant that served wine out of baby bottles to avoid spillage. Sure, the tops of the bottles were cut off to make a bigger hole, but it was still weird. And no, wine doesn’t taste the same out of a baby’s bottle as in a glass.

    10. technos*

      Reminds me of the Fork Woman.

      One day the disposable silverware in the break room changed from white to brown and one of the saleswomen freaked. For two days she told anyone that would listen that the company was doomed (doomed I say!) because they’d ‘given in to the tree-huggers’ and replaced time-proven plastic with ‘that useless biodegradable crap’.

      Once people started telling her they didn’t want to hear about the damn forks again she moved on to email, exhorting her department to show their support for the previous cutlery by stopping by her desk to sign a petition.

      No one did of course, at least with their own name. By the time I snuck over to put down ‘Alfred E. Neuman’ I’d been beat to the punch by Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson, and The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.

      The final straw was when she brought it up in a meeting with the CEO, claiming she’d heard from lots of people about how crappy the new silverware was, that people were saying they’d had spoons start to dissolve in their coffee, how someone in the warehouse got cut when his knife broke off applying cream cheese to a bagel, and that she personally had a fork throw sparks when she accidentally microwaved it.

      Which was funny, because as the VP of services explained moments later, the only thing that had changed was the color. The vendor was out of white when she ordered.

  53. WalnutWhip*

    A senior colleague absolutely lost it about our office photo. We were gathered outside the office and he was standing at the back, but the [professional] photographer couldn’t see him and asked him a couple of times, very mildly, if he could perhaps move to the front. The second time he flipped, shouted ‘Right, that’s it, I’m leaving!’, and stormed back inside the building. This incident is one of several reasons why, when I am trying to remind my husband who this person is when I am talking abotu colleagues, I call him ‘Man-baby Dave’ [not his real name]

  54. Miss Chanandler Bong*

    I get chronic migraines. When I was working my first office job, the lighting was very old and was giving me migraines, so as an accomodation, the light over my desk was turned off. The lights over everyone else’s desks remained on.

    The coworker at the next desk to me one day brought in the most obnoxious lamp that shone all the way down the hallway and was directly in my eyes. She claimed she was experiencing eye strain because the light over my desk was turned off. Even though our workspaces were easily six feet apart.

    They ended up moving me to another area.

    Same coworker also told my boss that I was on Facebook all day instead of doing my job. Thankfully, my grandboss hated her and didn’t believe her when my actual boss had a very over-the-top reaction to that as well.

    1. Lights camera action*

      Funny, I was just thinking about sharing an inverse version of the same situation. I worked in an office where there was a bank of three or so cubicles with some EAs working at them. Around the corner were more cubicles assigned to other staff. But the lighting for both sections was controlled by the same bank of switches, and these EAs would chase you down and go absolutely apoplectic if you ever turned on the lights. They claimed there was “too much glare” and so the rest of us had to work in the dark and/or get desk lamps. Which I suppose was fine once you realized what was going on – but inevitably everyone would make the mistake at least once of turning on the light switch and getting a hysterical and angry talking-to! I am sorry to the OG poster, but I would not have tolerated if they also insisted that I could not have a desk lamp.

  55. Hawthorne*

    We had the office water fountain wars. We installed some new water fountains about 5 years back–ones with filtered cold and hot water, for cups/bottles instead of the drinking fountains we had before. They have a small tray beneath where you fill your cup/bottle but it says on the machine, “No drain”. The tray is just to catch small drips or whatever. Fine, we were good with that.

    We must have had someone new start or something about a year and a half ago or so because we started coming into the tray FILLED with coffee creamer. It was gross looking and I’m not sure how it was emptied (if facilities dealt with it or what), but every morning we would come in to more. I’m one of the first in the office, and I didn’t really start noticing until a couple of my coworkers absolutely lost their minds.

    Coworker A took it personally, and we came in to a sign taped on the water fountain in all caps, “CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. YOU’RE AN ADULT. THIS HAS NO DRAIN.” Kind of aggressive, but whatever. We weren’t surprised that it was this particular coworker. But it had no effect. Every morning there was still dumped coffee and creamer in it.

    But then, one of the people in my department, Coworker B, took it beyond personally. Like it was THEIR PERSONAL water cooler or something. They started putting signs up ALL OVER the cooler. To the point where it covered up the buttons where you pressed for water. They were all to the effect of, “YOUR MOTHER DOESN’T WORK HERE” in 72 pt font followed by “THERE IS NO DRAIN IN THIS UNIT. STOP DUMPING YOUR GROSS COFFEE.” And of course, it was still ignored.

    So then Coworker B cut out foot prints out of printer paper and TAPED THEM TO THE FLOOR leading up to the cooler, and in front of the cooler as if to tell you where to stand. There was also a foot press from COVID times when we didn’t want to touch things other people touched with their hands. A foot print was taped to that too. And, still ignored! There was still creamer and coffee.

    It came to a head where Coworker B brought in one of those cameras you mount to your porch to check for porch thieves. Incidentally, I was the one who had actually given it to them, when they were having issues with their neighbor harassing them about their dog (that’s actually an entire OTHER story of bizarreness). So they put the camera on the water fountain. They didn’t actually connect it to anything, but they put it on there as . . . some sort of warning? I don’t even know. But when I saw it I KNEW that IT was going to have a problem (we’re a large enough company with our own security systems and servers and all sort of proprietary stuff).

    Sure enough, the camera disappeared. And Coworker B was ranting about how the person who was dumping the coffee had stolen it, and was saying, “They stole [my name]’s camera! That’s so messed up.” I didn’t care because I had given it to them with no intention of receiving it back. I knew it was in IT’s office because they’re the only ones who would have done that. And, surprise surprise, IT returned the camera to Coworker B and told them to knock it off, that it was a security issue, regardless of if the camera was turned on.

    At this point, I think enough people had complained to our boss (including me) that all of the signs disappeared, and so did the foot prints, and all that was left was a sign saying “No Drain”. And then, another person was like, “Oh our sister company used to have this problem. Just put some paper towels in the non-drain and people will realize there’s no drain.” And we did that. And voila, the issue was gone.

    This went on for weeks. It was insane. I like to think the culprit knew who was losing their mind and just kept doing it to piss Coworker B off, because they’re not super well liked in the office. Exactly for this reason. I never did learn who was doing it, but it’s never been an issue again.

    1. ferrina*

      Honestly, this would bother me too.
      But I probably would have taken the (mildly) more reasonable approach of just getting in the office insanely early and staking out the fountain until I found out who was doing it, then politely informed them that there was no drain and they needed to dump their coffee in a sink (or whatever).

      1. amoeba*

        Yeah, like, honestly, I’m floored by the audacity of the original perpetrator. Wtf, this is disgusting, the poor people cleaning it.

  56. Tinkerbell*

    The intranet at my public library (accessible to employees but not the public) had a number of useful and not-so-useful links on the default homepage. One of these was a link to a daily library-themed webcomic called Unshelved (which I highly recommend – it’s good even if you don’t work in a library!).

    For whatever reason, the comic was removed from the intranet homepage temporarily. IT was so overwhelmed with calls and support tickets they couldn’t get anything else done for DAYS. They eventually put it back up. (And I messaged the author of the webcomic to let him know how popular his comic was – he was tickled!)

      1. Bibliothecarial*

        He has another one! Librarycomic dot com. It’s different than unshelved but very funny. The artist is Willow Payne. Still has book reviews and even a books podcast.

  57. Essentially Cheesy*

    Some of my coworkers are being oddly weird/upset because I am tentative about going to our holiday party on Saturday. It’s bowling and food and I’m sure it will be fun. However, our area has the forecast of us getting 9-10″ of snow between Friday and Saturday. I don’t understand why I’m being crazy but people are acting like I am.

    1. Essentially Cheesy*

      Now there is discussion about rescheduling or cancelling the party. No decision yet.

      FTR I suggested rescheduling the party on Tuesday based on the weather forecast.

      I am feeling way too annoyed about this on so many levels. I totally understand why some people might go bonkers occasionally.

      1. Essentially Cheesy*

        Ah it has been rescheduled to Saturday. Blizzard conditions predicted now. I guess that’s what it took instead of foresight from silly me.

        1. Hi-C*

          Those sample people probably complained when schools made the decision to close the day before a storm too! People get so upset that schools plan ahead, giving parents time to plan ahead, and preventing accidents on the road.
          BTW, I’m guessing we live near each other based on cheese, bowling, and the upcoming forecast. hehe.

    2. bowling for snoop*

      My bowling and food work party is Friday night, also in a snow zone, so I don’t think we work for the same company, but my boss has also been extremely weird about people not going. It’s outside work hours and was announced late enough that several people had plans already, or work shifts at their other jobs. No need to panic and interrogate us about what needs to happen differently next time to entice everyone to go …

  58. CattyDoja*

    My theory on this is that “feelings don’t go away, they either come out straight, or they come out crooked.”

    We’ve tried to eliminate feelings from the workplace. But people have them anyway, and with no way for them to come out straight, all this drama over small matters is them coming out crooked.

    1. Filosofickle*

      “If you don’t have your feelings, your feelings will have you” is another one I’ve heard

  59. JustKnope*

    I used to manage the editorial calendar for the all-employee newsletter. I was way too young and inexperienced to manage all of the politics that went along with that (but my department was a clusterfudge at the time, so alas, there I was, 24 years old managing content that was going out to 30,000+ employees with very little leadership support). I was SO emotionally invested and thought of it as “my” channel. One call in particular, a colleague got on the phone and told me (rather than asking) about content that *would* be going out in the newsletter and when. I was so angry I hung up the phone and started bawling in front of my teammate. Mortifying.

    1. ferrina*

      No judgement here. Managing internal communications and coordinating stakeholder that have no interest in being coordinated with is hard. You pretty much have to go full Vetinari.

  60. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

    Probably not the class of some of these, but a former colleague was told to write a memo to document the result the leadership had come to. This colleague disagreed with the decision and so wrote the memo in a way that completely undercut the point they actually wanted AND introduced legally wrong/problematic language. Instead of his manager telling him to knock it off, I had to rewrite the memo about 6-8 times to see if we could get him on board. They finally not only unassigned him but banned him from the case.

  61. Sprigatito*

    I was working at a smallish 911 dispatch center, where the desk configuration had us all sitting clustered really close together for better communication. One day the center director sent out a policy update saying that we were going to go “scent free” in the center, because someone had requested a medical exemption due to strong scents causing her migraines – per the policy, we didn’t have to, say, start buying scentless laundry detergent or body wash, but we weren’t supposed to wear any additional perfumes or strong-smelling lotions, that kind of thing. Not terribly onerous.

    One of the dispatchers promptly threw a screaming fit in the middle of the center, declaring that nobody could stop her from wearing her favorite perfume whenever she wanted to, and when she showed up for her next shift you could smell her from a hundred feet away because she had apparently bathed in said perfume in protest. I don’t even get scent-triggered migraines and found it completely unbearable.

    I believe she was pulled aside for a chat with the director because the Stink Protest didn’t continue, but she did keep bringing in those nasty strong Victoria’s Secret lotions and applying them multiple times during her shifts and glaring at anyone who looked at her while she did it.

    1. Some Words*

      I work with some of these walking stink bombs. They’re shockingly hostile and dismissive about causing physical distress to a number of their co-workers.

      1. Sprigatito*

        I personally love experimenting with scents – AT HOME. Where it DOESN’T BOTHER OTHER PEOPLE.

        I am seriously baffled by someone who is aware that they’re causing pain to another person and yet dig their heels in because I WANNA.

        (Of course, I have a number of stories about the dispatcher in question acting like a spoiled toddler and never facing consequences for it. Like the time she brought her dog in to hang out with her during an entire graveyard shift because “it got anxious being alone for too long” despite the objections of the other people working, it pooped under one of the empty desks and she didn’t clean it up, and….nothing happened.)

        1. Siege*

          I mean … that’s honestly most people. I’m at high risk for COVID. Everyone swore up and down they would mask at a Christmas house if I joined them. My sister in law sent a text explaining that she thinks there are very high “personal costs” to masking, and guess who was the only person masking? But I did slip a corsi-rosenthal box on them so it was okay.

          And aside from COVID, the number of people who INSIST on doing their thing even when asked not to or given an explanation why/who it harms is way too high.

    2. Lily C*

      She sounds like the opposite of a woman I worked with for a while. On her first day she marched around to everyone’s desks in our corner of the floor and loudly proclaimed she was sensitive to strong fragrances and that if we had any lotions or creams or perfumes we should toss them immediately. And then she introduced herself. As far as I know, no one in our corner actually wore perfume or regularly applied hand lotion while at work. While I’m happy to avoid strongly scented things (some brands give me headaches, too), it would have been nice to at least get a hello, my name is, I look forward to working with you before being preemptively accused of causing health problems.

      Turns out the accusatory introduction was an indication of other behaviors that made her time with our firm rather short.

    3. nekosan*

      As someone who gets scent-triggered migraines, ugh. Reminds me of the time i asked someone in the workplace if she could maybe please reduce her perfume, since it made me ill. Instead she started spraying it directly outside my cubicle to “prove” that i didn’t react to it.

      She was pleased as punch, until it came out I had documented the days/times she sprayed (she only did so when i had stepped away from my desk) and the number of sick days i had to take each time to recover. She got a talking to.

    4. MagicEyes*

      My horrible ex-boss would slather herself with an extra-noxious Bath and Body Works lotion in the office, right before meetings with me. I never told her that it gave me headaches, but I think she sensed it somehow.

    5. Jackalope*

      I’m astonished at how people react to being told they can’t wear strong scents in public. I generally consider commenters on this blog to be kind and thoughtful, but I remember one discussion on this issue. Some people said that they have severe and even life-threatening allergies to certain scents, and a few people responded (in the context of anaphylaxis, mind you) that their right to wear whatever scent they wanted was more important than the right of other people to be able to breathe and not die. I kid you not.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I remember the same discussion, it was awful.

        That said, scent-induced migraine can be almost as horrible as anaphylaxis, even if it’s unlikely to kill you. (If it’s bad enough, it might make you suicidal, though.) I had migraines regularly in my teens, long enough ago that there were no migraine-specific medicines available. The first time it happened, my parents returned from work to find me on my knees on my bed banging one side of my head on the wall hard enough to potentially cause a concussion. I found my one-sided migraine so intolerable that the only way to deal with it was to bang the other side of my head on the wall so that it too would hurt. I later got a diagnosis and got told to basically take ibuprofen as soon as I felt the first symptoms (including at school, there was no monitoring of the medications that students took when I was at school). Thankfully my migraines tapered off in my early 20s and now I get one maybe once or twice a year.

  62. Not Your Trauma Bucket*

    Pulled in to help out on a project for a completely different part of the company – just as extra hands. Asked for a project plan – even a loose, informal one – and the leader of the project had a TOTAL MELTDOWN that derailed the entire thing. The project still hasn’t been completed.

  63. JustaTech*

    When our building was renovated there were a lot of changes to the office spaces specifically, and the lab teams were not consulted or informed about these changes until we were ushered into our new desks.
    There were legitimate complaints (there was no storage for lab books, which we are required by law to keep), and general complaints (open plan office for most, glass-fronted offices for some).

    And then there were the name labels on the offices. An order was given from on high that anyone who had an office had to have their degree as part of their label. So, where before it was “John Doe, Principal Scientist, Analytical Development”, it was now “John Doe, PhD, Principal Scientist, Analytical Development”.
    Everyone lost their minds that their *hard earned* doctorate degrees were now on display. You would have thought that having a PhD was some kind of shameful secret and not, you know, an accomplishment and part of why they had that job. (Not a job requirement, but helps.)
    Granted, no one ever calls anyone “Dr Doe”, except maybe when introducing them to C-suite or outside vendors, but I was amazed that my boss and his peers were so upset and offended that their title was on display.
    (I was a little salty that I was *not* allowed to put my degree on my name plate, but I have a desk in the open office and a Master’s not a Doctorate.)

    So my boss’s solution to was to type up a bunch of alternate name labels for himself that say all kinds of silly things.

    1. Lady_Lessa*

      One thing that happened in a new lab where the actual users were NOT consulted is a support beam right next to the lab bench. This caused serious work around in the way work flowed in that area. (Small scale production starting at one end and being finished in a large water bath. )

    2. Artemesia*

      There is a strong reverse snobbery in Research One academic institutions. EVERYONE has a PhD who is a professor or researcher — and it is declasse to use the title. That is left to people with degrees from diploma mills or third rate schools. So being forced to show the title in a culture where that is viewed as pretentious is going to irritate people.

      1. technos*

        I worked at a tiny hobby company where everyone (besides myself and the magician) could legitimately be called Dr.

        Even the receptionist had a Ph.D from Harvard.

        The only person who actually used the title was the sales-weasel with a Divinity degree from some bible college I’d never heard of.

    3. Your Mate in Oz*

      One of the lab techs when I was doing postgrad had “Bob Smith, Associate of Professors” on their door for years. It was the same style as the official ones and likely came from the same place. But then one day an Official Pronouncement Was Made. No Such Foolishness Is Permitted.

      Shortly afterwards I had a summer job “supervising a warehouse” which was quite literally to supervise a building. Be there for deliveries, essentially, but because I was the only one there I had to be a supervisor not just a minion. But the company I worked for had a policy that supervisors must have offices, and labels on the office door. I couldn’t find a restriction onn the label contents.

      I was “Broompusher’s Mate Second Class Bob Smith”.

  64. No good deed*

    At my very first job out of college, I was assigned to assist a much more senior colleague with her work tasks during a busy period. I emailed to let her know that I would be supporting her on day X, as per our boss’ request.
    The colleague sent back a seething reply with our boss CC’d in letting me know that she needed HELP and not SUPPORT, as she is not disabled. I went to cry in the bathroom.

    1. Kaysong*

      Wow! I would never have guessed that “supporting” someone meant they were disabled. I hope your boss told you to ignore her.

      1. Dhaskoi*

        Depending on where you are geographically ‘support’ is an official term for the aid provided to people who are differently abled. If you’ve worked in the field that can be the first pace your mind goes when someone says ‘support’.

        Still an overreaction.

        1. Nightengale*

          Definitely not where I am geographically – I am disabled (not differently abled), most of my friends are disabled and my professional work is with disabled children. If someone told me they were going to “support” me in a professional capacity, I would definitely think of administrative work to free me up to do more professional work.

    2. Good grief Charlie Brown*

      If someone did that to someone in my team, I’d un-assign the helper. I’d have to let my boss know about it for the inevitable meltdown from the senior colleague in response to getting neither help nor support, but I wouldn’t risk putting someone new to the workplace into that situation.

      1. Artemesia*

        Yup. that is the right course of action here. Assign the OP to someone who appreciates the support. And this is a great example of how euphemisms corrupt the language.

  65. Dulcinea47*

    Oh man. I have multiple stories but most of them are about the same person.
    Many years ago, I shared a work phone with a coworker who made and received a lot of personal calls. This didn’t bother me much as I rarely needed the phone.

    One day, out of the blue, coworker tells me that she’s been getting a lot of hangup calls AND HAS CALLED THE POLICE about it. As she describes these calls it’s pretty apparent that they are pocket dials- this was in the early days of cell phones when it was really easy to accidentally make a call. The police weren’t very helpful, go figure, poor coworker was so put out by this. Some of the pocket dials were coming from my bf at the time, but her whole point seemed to be that this was a HUGE problem and it was all my fault- I should magically control what’s happening in bf’s pocket while he’s at work.
    I barely said anything during this whole interaction, just listened to this tale of woe… finally I said, very calmly, “I think you’re overreacting.” This, my friends, was so offensive she barely spoke to me for two to three YEARS, I kid you not. Fine by me. (I also switched desks soon after this.)

  66. Save Bandit*

    I was an executive assistant in my first job out of college, and one of my admins was horribly toxic in many ways. The general rule of the office was that everyone should wash their own dishes (no dishwasher) and that myself or the other assistant would empty the drying rack at the end or beginning of the day. At the end of one day, toxic boss left his coffee mug in the sink, and (still eager to please for some reason) I decided to wash it for him since it was the only thing in the sink. The next morning he came up to my desk and very aggressively asked if I’d washed his mug. I answered that I had, and he went BALLISTIC about how now his coffee will taste different, he never washed that mug, I shouldn’t have touched it without asking him first….to put it as mildly as possible, ICK in every way.

    1. i like hound dogs*

      Then … why did he leave it in the sink? Not saying that people should expect others to wash their dishes, but a sink is … where dishwashing happens? He sounds like a real nutter butter.

    2. Banana Pyjamas*

      At my first job they kept the office around 64 degrees. As a hot chocolate drinker this meant that the top of my cup often had crusty spots by the time I finished. Sometimes they scrubbed off, sometimes I had to put soapy water in the cup to soak. I would go back and wash it on my next meal/break. Other coworkers also did their dishes on their respective breaks. For the longest time it was fine. At some point the main admin decided to start doing dishes without telling anybody. I didn’t know who was doing dishes, but I would have said thank you, but I’ll do my own. Instead she got so angry about doing OTHER people’s dishes (WITHOUT ASKING OR BEING ASKED) that she decided to go to the grand boss. The grand boss called an all staff meeting and led us to the kitchen sink like naughty puppies about to have our faces rubbed in it. They were very condescending about how we’re all adults here and can’t we do our own dishes. The tone really rankled. It got heated when the admin accused us be being sexist because we made her do the dishes. Two of us spoke up because we had, in fact, been doing our dishes until they started disappearing from the sink. We pointed out that we never asked her to do our dishes, and she didn’t actually need to do our dishes. I ended up backing away as much as I could because two bosses, the admin and coworker were all raising their voices. The coworkers near the door quietly went back to their desks during the shouting. All over some mugs. I started using the disposable cups instead, because it wasn’t worth the drama.

    3. OMG It's 2024*

      I’ve worked on so many DoD programs where these old guys seem to take a lot of weird pride in the fact that “my coffee mug hasn’t been washed in 20 years” and the brown discoloration is somehow like…patina? or the seasoning on a cast iron skillet? I use cream and sugar so MY mug would become a science fair project after 2 days but these guys went YEARS. But, if you don’t want it washed, you don’t put it in the sink is pretty much a “DUH” moment! It’s like he was SETTING someone up for a good ol’ talkin’ to! What a jerk.

      1. Banana Pyjamas*

        Gross. It reminds me of the office coffees. At multiple jobs I was the only person who cleaned all the removable components and scrubbed burned coffee from the pots. At one job someone would even brew a second pot from the previous grounds. I shudder.

  67. New Utahn*

    I recently moved to Utah for work, and the culture shift is… a bit intense. Apparently, when my office put a coffee maker in the break room for the first time, an employee threw an absolute fit about it. Anyone who he saw drinking coffee he would tell them that they were terrible sinners, etc. Whenever coffee was brewing, he would stand just outside the break room loudly complaining about how he could smell coffee and how it was religious discrimination that he had to smell coffee. The break room was on the other side of the building from his desk, he absolutely had to go out of his way to smell this coffee! Luckily he’s retired now lol

    1. Fitzie's chew toy*

      Fellow Utahn here. This does not surprise me at all. I taught for over 30 years; we never had a coffee pot in the faculty lunch room. I always brought a thermal mug of coffee from home. A few students said the smell “bothered” them. I responded with “the teacher death stare.” Nevertheless, I loved teaching and loved those squirrely teenagers.

  68. YikesOnBikes*

    Paraprofessional quit her job (totally normal!) but then kept coming in just to do the parts of the job she liked, and had a MELTDOWN when she was told to stop because she doesn’t work there anymore.
    Rants on facebook, rants on her personal blog (linked to from her FB) and on and on. The drama went on for months, if not years.

  69. Drama Llamas*

    Once my boss had a bloody nose and was screaming that she needed a tampon. She yelled at me because I didn’t have one with me at that exact moment. Then made some remark, “If Jane was here, she would have one.” (Then go ask her?) Someone was finally able to procure said tampon and my boss sat there with a tampon shoved up her nose for the rest of the day.

    1. Feen*

      It would never cross my mind to use a tampon for a nosebleed… not sure if I’m impressed with the idea or horrified at the mental image! Maybe both!

      1. Parakeet*

        It can work quite well as long as it’s not one that’s too big for your nostril! Gets suggested in first aid classes sometimes for situations where standard pinching your nose and leaning forward isn’t working (I am both somewhat prone to nosebleeds and have also done and taught a lot of volunteer first aid). But if you don’t have a tampon handy, there are, after all, other options, so I’m not sure why the boss in this story was so invested in this particular remedy.

  70. Brian*

    I complained to my principal there hadn’t been toilet paper in most of the bathrooms for days and he cussed me out…on a playground full of kids. Ah, private schools…

  71. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Pretty stupid, but whatever. I actually couldn’t believe how much this bugged me.

    One of my early jobs out of school. I was doing OK and had a language skill that was in demand at the time.

    It was in a high-rise. My direct manager smoked and would go all the way down a few times a day, which ate up time and was not healthy. I rolled my eyes and figured that meant I could get some down time every hour or two for a few minutes to stand up, get steps, stretch etc. I was also losing weight at the time, so my health was feeling a priority.

    This was never a problem until one morning when I also had my period, and, ahem, had to be away from my desk a bit more to tend to things. Then I received an annoyed email about “exercising during work hours” from Smoking Manager.

    I felt absolutely furious, but kept it mostly to myself other than bitching to a friend privately, and replying to the email, ccing grandboss “got it, will be at my desk more, sorry, also not feeling great today. But if taking breaks is a problem, shouldn’t you also avoid smoking?”

    So I lost my little exercise breaks, BUT the company also started barring smoke breaks and setting our building key cards so we could go to a gym belonging to another nearby facility in the high rise. If I couldn’t take a minute, he couldn’t either.

  72. Yarnspider*

    So, at one of my old jobs, there was one lady who would disbelieve anything even a little bit improbable, and would throw full-on tantrums over it.
    As an example, during lunch break I mentioned that some scientists had put a hamster wheel out in the woods, and all the local creatures came and interacted with it. She didn’t believe me, so I brought up a video of it (assuming it was just a cute thing to share.) She watched the video, declared “That’s FAKE!” and stormed out of the breakdown.
    Same coworker cornered me at my desk to accuse me of stealing her candy bar. I didn’t, and told her so. She stomped around for the next hour, threatening to “check the tapes”. (The owner claimed that he had hidden cameras all around the office. He had difficulty operating the copy machine, so I highly doubt that he actually did. It was a very dysfunctional workplace, and I’m glad I don’t work there anymore.)
    She also yelled racial slurs at the copymachine. As far as I know, she’s still head of client services there.

    1. Csethiro Ceredin*

      She sounds unhinged and infuriating, but I have to admit I’d have to go to my office and laugh myself silly if someone yelled racial slurs at the printer. What race did she attribute to the copy machine??

      1. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

        It’s, uh, not unheard-of in some parts of the US South to call machines which are black in color the n-word. The remote control is the one I’ve heard most often, but also paper shredders and, apparently, printers.

        1. Elle*

          Typically I thank people when I learn something new from them but… I’m in such shock to learn this. Machines that happen to be black. Get called the n word. Oh my god. The racism is somehow less surprising to me than the pure stupidity of it?? (Obviously, pure stupidity is often not a turn-off for many racists.)

          1. allathian*

            Was the copier made in Japan? (I’m old enough to remember a time when Japanese goods were considered to be poor quality. The actual quality wasn’t all that bad, but the perception only changed with the personal electronics revolution in the 80s and 90s.)

          2. linger*

            That was my first guess, because calling photocopiers Japanese is Canon.
            But at the point you’re hurling insults, it’s mostly because it’s a f(rustrat)ing photocopier, not because of its point of origin.

  73. That Coworker's Coworker Again*

    Company-wide email with photograph of single plastic fork left in conference room. Not just an all-office email to the office containing said conference room, which would have been a bit over the top, but company wide to those in offices in other states.

  74. BofA on the Sofa*

    At my husband’s work (a sub sandwich restaurant that has a lot of turn over of employees) a guy got fired for stealing from the tip jar & generally poor attendance & poor job performance. A couple of days later he came in on a Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with his “lawyer” (some guy wearing a suit with no ID) who threatened the assistant manager with some kind of legal action for the firing & to get the worker’s last paycheck. 1. Of course he was going to get his last paycheck- it’s the law & this business has no intention to steal from past workers. 2. A guy who worked at a sub shop has a lawyer on retainer? 3. Your “lawyer” came with you on a Sunday night? 4. Why would you want to get a job back that you don’t regularly come to anyway?

    1. i like hound dogs*

      “Hey bro, you busy Sunday night? Okay, cool. I need you to pretend to be a lawyer to go intimidate people at my previous place of employment. No, it’s fine that you’re not actually a lawyer, just wear any sort of suit and that’ll be close enough, lawyers always wear suits.”

  75. But Not the Hippopotamus*

    when I had a grade school kid, they sold scout cookies… to their teachers and classmates. the method was to place an ordinary pay on delivery. except my kid was being bullied by a teacher, so we removed them between ordering and delivering. this meant I had several hundred dollars worth of cookies that I paid for and wasn’t being reimbursed for (I could have dealt with it, but I didn’t want to deal with the bully). so I brought them to work in batches over a couple weeks and left them in the communal space with the typical email to all the staff on that floor.

    someone got mad that I brought the cookies the second time. I was making them fat/eat cookies. they are too good. I need to stop bringing them. note that there was a constant trickle of treats all the time. apparently though, I should have known not to bring scout cookies because they are “too good”

    1. Nanc*

      Who among us has not crushed a sleeve of Thin Mints during snack time? A sleeve is a single serving and besides, Scout cookies contain no calories as they are fund raising food . . .

  76. Cactus Lady*

    My work blocked my dogs daycare website because I was “spending too much time on it” (ie, often opening it to adjust his daycare days because of work obligations, then forgetting it was an open tab).

    I also had a boss once who stopped speaking to any of his employees who gave notice. I left 4 years ago and he hasn’t spoken to me since. None of his former employees are ever able to use him as a reference, even those of us who thought we had a good working relationship (for example, my role was slated to be eliminated due to Covid cutbacks. And he still stopped speaking to me when I found a new job).

    1. perstreperous*

      I managed someone whose entire management team stopped speaking to them after they gave notice … taking resignations as a personal affront was par for the course at that company.

      (I found out years later that management were measured, among about 1,742 other measurements, on retention of staff – a resignation affected bonus and, possibly, salary).

  77. Chocolate Teapot*

    Thankfully my workplaces have not been too bonkers but there was the former co-worker who complained there were no leftovers after a big executive meeting due to extra last minute attendees.

    She had nothing to do with the meeting.

  78. honeygrim*

    Six months into my previous job, and I had not witnessed the infamous temper of my coworker Martha. One morning, when Martha was out, another coworker, Julie, and I discovered that we needed to make an urgent change to an entry in one of our databases: the issue wasn’t serious but needed to be taken care of quickly because it was preventing Julie from doing one of her major tasks. Martha typically made these kinds of small updates, but a big part of my job was managing this database, so I was also authorized to do this task. Since she wasn’t available, I made the change and went on with my day.

    The next day, Martha came to my office, stood in the doorway (blocking me from leaving my office), and yelled at me for fifteen minutes for doing HER job. She was the one who made those tiny edits in the database, not me! How dare I try to take her job away from her. On and on and on, while I tried desperately not to start crying just from the shock of having this woman screaming at me, and tried to figure out why I was getting yelled at for doing something in the database that was my responsibility in the first place. My boss stood behind Martha the whole time, stunned into silence. Eventually Martha ran out of steam and walked away.

    An hour later Julie emailed me to warn me that “Martha’s really upset about what we did yesterday.” I responded, “Too late!” Julie then congratulated me for going a whole six months before getting screamed at by Martha. Apparently it was a record.

    1. Kaysong*

      That’s disturbing. I wish the answer was your boss fired her but it doesn’t sound like that was in the cards.

  79. daffodil*

    I was a grad student at a large state university. As a budget-cutting move (?) responsibility for supplying dry-erase markers shifted from physical plant, tied to classrooms, to departments, tied to instructors. If you’ve ever met a professor, you know that we can be a forgetful bunch, which meant some folks left markers behind, others walked off with them in pockets. Because of the university size, the classrooms were not often close to department offices. This led to a truly absurd economy of marker borrowing, stealing, and absconding. Once another TA walked into my classroom in the middle of a student presentation, grabbed one of MY markers out of the tray, and left! I was simultaneously furious and well aware of the absurdity of the situation.

    1. Delta Delta*

      I taught as an adjunct at a university for one semester. I didn’t get any sort of onboarding or training, so I had no idea about logistics. I brought my own dry erase markers, just to be on the safe side. Turns out the classrooms all had chalkboards. But no chalk. One especially sly student was able to heist a box of chalk for me out of some room somewhere (no idea how he did this) and I carried it around in my bag all semester.

  80. Llama Lover*

    I work in health care, and our patient safety office had their own bootleg logo. When I, as the brand manager, told them they needed to retire it and use the main hospital logo, I was told I was literally killing patients because now no one would read their stuff without their (horribly designed) bootleg logo. As it just so happens, my computer bar code ends in 007, soooo……

  81. Keymaster*

    There was a ticket in the IT call queue that had beenescalated up to management because the tier 1 and 2 techs had gotten an absolute earful from the user and were refusing to deal with it any longer.

    We’re talking the user throwing insults, accusing us all of crimes both printable and not, threats and such.

    What was the reason?

    We’d blocked Facebook. That was it. There’s no business reason to access that site (trust me, our company does not rely on advertising or selling to the public at all). Tier 1 and 2 had asked her for what reason she had to be needed to access it and that’s when she’d blown up. How DARE we! We were stifling her freedom of speech! (we’re not in the USA), we’re stopping her from contacting her children (your phone still works!) etc.etc.

    The result was: she was banned from calling IT. If she needed to log a call then someone else had to do it on her behalf. And we contacted her manager with the full logs of everything she’d said.

    On paper this seems a bit tame, but the insults she was throwing were exceptionally vile. At one point she’d broken down into screaming sobbing at the poor helpdesk tech.

    1. Annie*

      Now I’m curious: Aside from having no work-related reson to be using Facebook, did that person have an emergency contact that was more responsive on Facebook than regular calling/texting, had message delivery delay problems with regular calls/texts, bad cell signal but good Wi-Fi, etc?

      Just trying to rationalize the irrational, that’s all!

  82. ANONTrainer*

    I was a corporate trainer for medical management software. I was conducting a training class, a nurse was unhappy that she was being forced to learn and use new software. She literally threw her training materials on the floor, she stood up and stomped her feet, and yelled some guttural noise – like a 3 yr old having a tantrum. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I picked up her binder, shoved it into her hands and held the door open for her to leave. I have never seen an adult behave in such a way.

  83. Heffalump*

    Some years ago, I started a new job as a typesetter. “Hortense” was the lead typesetter by virtue of seniority—first among equals, as it were. I was swing shift and she was day shift. Sometimes we had F2F contact when I came on, and sometimes we wrote each other notes. Email was some years in the future at that time.

    The typesetting system used codes analogous to HTML codes. For example, [LL1706[PT10[LS12[FT104] meant line length 17 picas 6 points, point size 10 points, line spacing 12 points, and FT104 stood for the particular font. At one point we got a new system made by the same vendor as the old one, and there were a bunch of additional codes.

    One night I used some of the new codes, known as “formats,” in a type job I was doing. After all, the capabilities of the new system were meant to be used. Getting the most out of a given software package is how I roll, and in my previous experience, the reaction from my peers and manager had been neutral at worst, “Way to go!” at best.

    When I came in next day, Hortense pulled me into a conference room and ranted at me for 5 minutes. “We. Do. Not. Use. Formats. This is the way we’ve always done it.” Of course, “This is the way we’ve always done it” is normally a cliché. I was blown away to hear someone actually say it seriously.

    A few weeks later I used some other codes called “counters.” (I’ll spare you the technical explanation.) After all, Hortense had said formats were off limits, but not counters. Next day I came in to a vehement note that began, “Never, ever, for even one second, use formats.”

    This turned out to be only the first of many obnoxious things she did. She quit a couple of years later, but during that couple of years, she was the archetypal missing stair. I was glad to see her back, and I wasn’t alone in this.

    1. OrigCassandra*

      This sounds like Penta! Was it Penta?

      Gosh, I kinda miss Penta. Absolute beast of a system, but it made beautiful pages.

      1. Heffalump*

        Compugraphic. Until I got to your “beast of a system,” I wondered if Penta was another AAM name, like Fergus, for an obnoxious coworker, and you were referring to Hortense. Now you have me wondering what Penta was like.

  84. JTP*

    I work in an in-house marketing agency for a B2B financial services company. When I started, there were very few processes set up, we were more “order takers” than marketing consultants with expertise. The company started growing a lot, positioning ourselves as experts. Execs hope, in the future, to bid for government contracts. We know that involves a lot of recordkeeping, so as we were changing our department culture, we also implemented a lot of new processes, including using a project management site, putting project codes in our disclaimers, tracking our time, etc. I was used to it, having worked in marketing in other regulated industries before.

    We brought on someone new as we were implementing this change, and OMG. She complained about EVERYTHING related to this site. WHY does she have to upload files to this site. WHY does she need to add this code. WHY does she have to add comments. WHY does she need to track her time. Someone would explain that this is part of being in a regulated industry (her previous job had been designing greeting cards or something) and working with government contracts. And the next week, she’d be complaining again.

    And anytime the site owners updated any part of the interface, it was the end of the world, she needed to relearn the whole system all over again. A friend of mine on the workflow management team would direct message me to look over a training document (since I was a “power user” of the site) to make sure she had my team’s work flow processes correct, and she’d ask if it was written in simple enough terms for Complaining Coworker to understand.

    Complaining Coworker was let go during a reduction-in-force layoff.

  85. AnonAnon*

    I managed a couple small law offices as a part of larger state agency. We had to let a probationary support staffer go because she refused to support all but one of her assigned attorneys and instead watched TV at her desk when she wasn’t supporting her preferred attorney.

    Two of our other support staffers who were friends with this woman were very mad about the dismissal and made their displeasure known in no uncertain terms. I obviously didn’t discuss details of personnel decisions with them, but let them have their fits and moved on.

    Not terribly long afterwards, I had to discipline our paralegal in that one office (one of the two who had a fit about the termination) over a repeated issue that was becoming a problem. It was literally either a verbal or written warning. Nothing major. No impact on annual evaluation or eligibility for an annual raise.

    She quit effective immediately with a really snotty email.

    Our office was union and the collective bargaining agreement allowed people 3 business days to rescind a resignation. She did and came back to work on the fourth day. And then she threw an everloving fit that, per HR suggestion, the time she’d been out had been marked as AWOL because she quit and she wasn’t absent. No discipline tied to it. Just how the time was coded.

    I calmly explained that yes, she quit. Because she quit, she couldn’t use vacation time to cover the absence. The only other option (per state personnel rules) was to treat her return to work as her being a new employee, onboarding her again, and restarting her yearlong probation period. That would mean that rather being in a protected union position, she’d be at will for a year. I didn’t think she’d want that.

    After confirming with the union rep that I was 1) correct and 2) being pretty nice about the whole thing all things considered, she accepted the AWOL time coding. But she was pretty snippy with me for a while and our relationship was never the same. When, a few years later, she submitted her notice of retirement in a similar fit after not getting her way with something, I just quietly held my breath until the 3 days had passed and I could safely tell her no, she couldn’t take it back if she changed her mind.

    From what I hear from people I know who are still friends with her, she’s a much happier person now that she’s retired. I wish her all the best…far from me.

    1. AngryOctopus*

      We once had a contractor who, when she got upset about something, just kind of refused to do anything for a week or so. Her name wasn’t an author on a paper (but was in acknowledgements)? No experiments for a week (for the record, she did one repeat experiment for the paper, so the non-authorship was 100% valid). Guy she liked hanging out with was fired (because he barely did any work)? Nothing for a week. It was fascinating.

  86. TheBunny*

    Years ago, an employee came to work, noticed an issue (I’m intentionally being vague here because the reason is even better after you know all the reactions) started yelling, dramatically cleaned off her desk (think sweeping all the items off of it into a box) and declared she couldn’t work in these conditions any longer.

    Her issue?

    The coffee pot was empty…and currently in the process of making new coffee…so her wait was minutes at best.

    To this day I refuse to believe that was her only reason for quitting. But we never saw her again and she did quit to HR, but they never shared if she had another reason.

    1. juliebulie*

      Empty coffeepots and empty paper trays are the two most frequent things that people flip out over, in my experience.

  87. sub rosa*