the microwave battle, the bagel club chaos, and other stories of strangely dramatic reactions to mundane changes at work

Last week, I asked for stories about strangely dramatic reactions that you’ve seen people have to mundane changes at work. The comment section was full of fantastic stories — so many that I had to split my favorites up into two posts. Here’s part one, and part two is coming tomorrow.

1. The microwave

Tom has his food warming up in the microwave, and has walked off for a moment while it’s heating up. The timer goes off, Jerry immediately pulls Tom’s food out, and puts his own food in, starts the time, and also walks off. Tom comes back and finds that his food is not completely warm, stops Jerry’s food, takes it out, and put’s his food in. Jerry comes back, sees what has happened, and starts shouting at Tom for touching his food. Tom shouts back at Jerry for touching his food in the first place. This escalates into an all out screaming match between the two. Meanwhile, management is trying to get the two to stop shouting at each other. Tom screams that he can’t take this anymore, he quits, grabs his stuff, and walks out. Jerry then also says he’s done, grabs his stuff, and walks out.

CUT TO THE PARKING LOT. Tom is waiting for a ride to come and get him and has some of his stuff on the ground next to him. Jerry comes pulling out, swerves towards Tom, not hitting him, but running over his coffee mug that is sitting on the ground. Tom calls the police to file a destruction of property complaint over a $15 coffee cup. Police decline to report to the scene.

Jerry calls management later that day, and says that he does not quit, he just got worked up, and that he’ll be back in the morning. Management goes to HR, and HR begins the internal process to terminate an employee, but even in this situation, that requires some time (it would have completed before the end of the next day, but terminations require a few sign offs). Jerry reports to work the next morning, but reads the tea leaves, and leaves “for lunch” and never returns.

2. The toilet seat covers

We were changing over suppliers for things like toilet paper, entry mats, and such. There was some discussion between the few people arranging this about whether we needed to buy those mounted toilet seat cover dispensers or people could just grab them out of the cardboard container they came in.

During some informal polling, there was apparently a misunderstanding that the question was whether there would be toilet seat covers at all. One guy lost his mind over it, another went all White Knight because this was an “attack” on his direct report, and that’s how I ended up with two grown adults in my office yelling at each other about thin pieces of tissue paper. The phrase “You don’t get to tell me where to put my bare ass!” was bellowed. The fact that they didn’t know they were in violent agreement on what should actually happen was just the icing on the cake.

3. The table

I worked an internship for only four 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.

4. The bagel club

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 department 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.

5. The venue change

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.

6. The revenge

Years ago, I worked in fundraising at a small university. The job was very standard 8:30-4:30 every day; but the expectation was one day a year (literally one) all staff had to plan to work 8:30 to 7:30 for the school’s annual gala, which was on campus and always on a Friday. The date was chosen a full year out and we got nine thousand reminders about it. We had one employee, D, who requested that day off the week of the event because she wanted to “try her hand at bartending” at her boyfriend’s bar. Our boss told her no, but he was willing to let her leave at 5pm. Instead she quit on the spot, then while we were at the gala, she came back to our office (as seen on security cameras) and destroyed every potted plant in the office and stole every stapler and all of the paper out of the printer. Still the weirdest over-reaction to be asked to work 30 minutes of overtime I’ve ever seen.

7. The cheese wheel

Our organization holds an annual event where the summer interns make presentations on their projects. It’s always a nice event and people from the colleges and the community are invited. The interns’ supervisors are expected to give pretty detailed feedback on the presentations and the interns’ overall performance. One year a new administrative assistant ordered appetizers from a different vendor and there was no cheese tray. A supervisor who had worked with multiple interns came in as the event was starting, looked at the food, loudly exclaimed, “WHERE IS THE CHEESE WHEEL?” and then stormed out and refused to participate when he was told there was no cheese. We had to scramble to keep the interns calm and get them the paperwork they needed to satisfy their internship requirements.

A few of us still use “cheese wheel” as a code word for “I’d like to leave this meeting.”

8. The water fountain war

We installed some new water fountains about five 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.

9. The chips

20-cough years ago, my summer college job was working the overnight shift at a manufacturing plant. The break room was a small room smack in the middle of the assembly line floor. Rumor had it that one time the vending machine didn’t dispense someone’s chips and they were so incensed that they got in their forklift and drove it straight through the vending machine. This lore was passed to all of us wide-eyed, temporary college workers like a warning: not all of your coworkers are ok, beware!

10. The revenge, part 2

We had a young (fresh from college) employee who was let go. He went out to the parking lot, threw down his company logo jacket, and then drove his car back and forth over it a few times before skidding off. The windows to the parking lot are visible to a large section of the office, so several employees and managers got to watch this fit of pique live.

11. The Brita filter

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.

12. The last stand

My mother works in academia and she has Seen Things. Some 10 years ago they relocated one of the departments to a new building. To be clear, this new building was very similar in size and layout to the old one, and just around the corner. Well, one random admin decided that this WOULD NOT DO and she WOULD NOT LEAVE the old building.

On the day the movers were supposed to take all the department stuff to the new building, she barricaded herself into the office and refused to let them in. They moved everyone else’s stuff into the new building, except for this lady’s stuff. I guess everyone expected her to give up once she saw the rest of the building was literally deserted? She did not.

She started to come into the old building, go into her old office and lock herself in (she had all the keys). Everyone else was working in the new building, and the old building was just deserted aside from this one rogue admin. I asked my mother why they couldn’t just force her to give up the old office. She said the university had already fired her once for some other egregious behaviour, but rogue admin had sued and won and been reinstated with backpay. So now she was basically untouchable.

I think they got her to take early retirement eventually. But I have to consider the possibility that, 10 years later, she’s still going into that deserted building every day to lock herself into her office to do who knows what kind of work for the entire day…

13. The phone directory

Many years ago, the administrative assistant made up the yearly phone directory. She had been doing this for years, with few changes in staff in my department. The directory was set up by department and then alphabetically by last name within that department. This particular year, my department got a new member with a “B” last name. The directories were printed and distributed. One person, who had been at the top of the list because their last name started with a “C” lost their damn mind. Apparently, they had been under the impression that the list was in order of seniority/importance (which still wouldn’t have put them at the top of the list but whatever) and had never noticed the alphabetical nature of the list. Someone suggested maybe the list should be in numerical order by extension. That was no good because that would put this person even further down the list! So, directories were reprinted with every other department in alphabetical order but our department had this person at the top and then alphabetical. Also, we had to rearrange our phone extensions so this person had the first one, numerically. This person retired 3 months later.

14. The movie poll

My boss sent out a poll in Teams about Movies You Liked. We could vote for other peoples’ entries and/or add our own.

People campaigned for their choices like it was an election for the sanitation commissioner.
People made judgments about the movies that had the most votes and the ones that didn’t have any. Votes were changed willy-nilly. Work was put aside as people sat in their chairs debating what made their movie better than the others’. Some conversations fell just short of a screaming match.

After the three-day period, the vote closed and … that’s it. There was no point to the poll. My boss was “just interested” in what people watched. :/

15. The empty coffee pot

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.

16. The parking garage

I work in higher ed which is the land of Strangely Dramatic Responses. One of my favorites happened many years ago when the parking company decided, after many years, that they would no longer reserve an entire floor of the parkade for us as not enough people had purchased parking passes to justify it. Mind you we could still purchase passes and could still park in the parkade. One faculty member sent an all-staff email complaining bitterly about this decision and while I wish I could remember it in its entirety, it did contain the phrase “this is the greatest threat to education that we have ever faced” (because maybe it would take you an extra minute to find a spot when you got to work).

17. The bigger monitor

One night after work, my coworker swapped her computer monitor for another coworker’s monitor that was much, much bigger (this second coworker had a graphics-centric job that required a larger monitor, whereas the “thief” did not). When confronted, this coworker denied taking it at first, but as it was VERY obvious that she had taken it she eventually said she had permission from our boss to make the swap. Our boss insisted this was not the case, and said coworker was ordered repeatedly to give back the stolen monitor. And she just refused.

HR got involved and still she wouldn’t budge. The HR process was moving slowly (weeks at this point), so one night a couple people stayed late and just swapped the monitors back (my coworker locked her door each evening so getting in to do this was not easy or else I suspect this would have been done earlier).

When coworker came in and saw what had happened she was furious. Screaming. Crying. Bad mouthing all of us to anyone who would listen. Ultimately she quit and spread tales of her “unfair mistreatment” throughout our shared professional circles. It’s been years since this happened and sometimes I still encounter people who know her (wildly inaccurate) side of the story and she’s managed to convince people that we’re monsters.

{ 407 comments… read them below }

  1. The Prettiest Curse*

    #2 (ha!) – if you ever want to stop grown adults fighting over toilet seat covers, relocate your office to the UK. They may well exist here somewhere, but I’ve never seen one in any bathroom I’ve ever used. First time I ever saw one was in the US.

      1. CV*

        They are not useful, but some people think they are.
        Both Time and USA Today have articles that say they do not prevent bacterial spread.

        1. LCH*

          completely impossible to use in a way that actually protects a butt. they might keep people from doing the ridiculous hover that causes pee to go all over. of course, that same type person will then leave the seat cover in place for the next person to have to remove (gag).

          1. Addison DeWitt*

            If you arrange one correctly, the center piece in the water, flushing will pull it down with it.

            1. pandop*

              That’s probably why they aren’t a thing in the UK, we have way less water in the loo than in the US, from what I understand.

              1. Phryne*

                And also older pipes in the wastage system I recon. I have seen them in the Netherlands, but only in very public places like airports.

            2. RabbitRabbit*

              I’ve seen people tear out the middle “tab” entirely which defeats that, unfortunately.

            3. Princess Sparklepony*

              It was only within the last decade that I found out I was placing them incorrectly. The flap should be in the front. I don’t know why but that technically is the correct placement. I think the water may grab it better with the flap coming from the front of the bowl.

              California has them even in the most awful bathrooms. I grew up with them, so I’m used to them and I missed them when I moved out of state. They may not protect you, but you at least aren’t sitting on someone else’s butt grease on the seat…

            4. Peter*

              And now I’ve realised why US toilets are blocked so often – I’ve never yet had to plunge my UK toilet and I was wondering quite what was being put down there.

    1. Essentially Cheesy*

      I’ve had coworkers adamant about using the toilet seat covers based on what they knew about their coworkers in production, only because they talked about it so much. I’m so glad that many of those people have retired.

    2. Magc*

      I read an article about those covers where where a rep for the company that makes those basically admitted that they don’t actually protect your skin from anything on the toilet seat; about all they’re good for is showing you where the toilet seat is wet.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I mean, that’s one of the reasons I use them, and they are pretty good for that purpose :)

    3. Immortal for a limited time*

      I’m in the US and I’ve always thought toilet seat covers were stupid. Unless you’re planning to drag your -ahem – sensitive private parts across the surface of the seat (to mark your territory like a dog, maybe-???), or unless you work with people who do such bizarre things, I can’t imagine what people think seat covers are protecting them from. If I’m in a disgusting public restroom that hasn’t been cleaned in several weeks (and if I _really_ have to go), I might drape some TP over the area my thighs will touch, but that’s the extent of my paranoia. If the last person left a drop of urine on the seat, I just grab a wad of TP and wipe it off. Haven’t died yet.

      1. Carl*


        j/k. I used to have the paranoia, and wouldn’t even sit on the seat of the toilet in my small (10 people). One day one of my coworkers was like – “Of course I sit on the seat. I’ve had everyone to my house for a party, and I still sit on the seat in my house.”
        Light bulb moment for me.

    4. Lexi Vipond*

      I have seen them, generally in toilets in public buildings (rather than separate public toilets, where you’re lucky to find toilet paper). But they’re not common.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        While too stiff to be comfortable, they have been used in a pinch when the TP is out…

      1. La Triviata*

        Years ago, I had a co-worker who was adamant that you could get sexually-transmitted diseases from toilet seats (no seat covers involved). She was going on and on about it … I started giggling and said, “well, no, but you could have fun trying.” This didn’t go over so well, but I got a giggle out of it.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              I used to know someone who was adamant that leg acne against a toilet seat could transmit disease to someone else with leg acne.

              Maybe that’s the thinking.

            2. JustaTech*

              Through an open wound on your thigh?

              I really want to know where the whole “you can get an STI from a public toilet seat” rumor came from (since it’s been around for at least 50 years). If I had to guess, a combination of a lousy excuse “I haven’t been sleeping around, I got it from a toilet seat!” and a general feeling of “eww” about public bathrooms.

    5. boof*

      Honestly the thing that gets me is when people line the toilet with toilet paper and just… leave it there for the next person to deal with.
      Like 1) it’s not necessary and 2) you can’t bear to touch the toilet seat but think someone else should touch your used TP??!

    6. EC*

      I’d be on team “no seat covers”, they’re dumb and wasteful. You can’t catch diseases through your thigh skin. Just sit on the damn seat.

      1. Feotakahari*

        It’s very rare to catch an infection from a toilet seat, but I personally caught one, as identified by doctors. They knew because of the . . . location . . . of the infection. I was scheduled for surgery to deal with it, but it recovered by the time the surgical appointment came around.

    7. SemiAnon*

      Or East Asia. My office has seated toilets, squat toilets and, in the men’s room, urinals. I’ve come to appreciate squat toilets in public bathrooms because you don’t need to touch anything other than the toilet paper dispenser, so you don’t need to deal with people who do the squat and tinkle thing, miss the bowl, and don’t clean up. And you don’t need to remove your backpack and set it on the floor.

      1. Phryne*

        The thing with squat toilets is, though in theory more hygienic, I’ve found out the hard way I (F) can just not aim consistently… Fortunately I was wearing plastic flipflops and there was a tap.

    8. sparkle emoji*

      They’re uncommon in the regions of the US I’ve lived in. The only time I consistently see them is in airports, which I’ve never understood.

    9. Dhaskoi*

      You can get them in Australia now, but only recently and they don’t seem to be catching on (thankfully).

      I tried them once and found them stupendously useless.

    10. Mongrel*

      The nearest thing I’ve seen in a UK cubicle was a liquid sanitiser dispenser, just a quick spritz on some TP and a wipe around the seat.
      Cleaner and less wasteful but rare, only saw them in one office

  2. juliebulie*

    Reminiscent of the bagel club: We had a breakfast club (no Molly Ringwald) and we would take turns each Friday. Most of the breakfasts were donuts. Sometimes they were bagels. I decided to make a fruit salad. EVERYBODY thought I was the biggest jerk. Maybe I was, I don’t know, but it was my favorite of all the breakfasts.

    1. datamuse*

      I worked in a bakery in high school and just tolerate donuts ever since. I’d have *loved* a fruit salad.

    2. Chirpy*

      I would have loved a fruit salad, but it definitely wouldn’t have kept me full until lunch like bread products do.

      (not that a donut really does that either, but bagels/muffins with fruit would be a really nice breakfast.)

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yeah, I wouldn’t have called you a jerk, but I’d have asked you to give us fair warning next time so that we could eat carbs at home if we needed! I get the shakes when I don’t have any carbs.

        1. Kay Tee*

          Fruits are carbs, though? I hate to be pedantic, but it sounds like there’s another, maybe larger issue going on if you’re getting the shakes.

          1. ecnaseener*

            Fruit and grains affect your blood sugar differently, didn’t realize that was controversial lol. Thanks for your concern, I get it from my grandmother.

            1. Phryne*

              yeah, fruit gives me a blood sugar spike, which on an otherwise empty stomach will probably then give me hypoglycaemia before lunchtime. I need slow carbs, something whole grain or oatmeal based in the morning to get a good start.

          2. April*

            Fruits have carbohydrates, yes; but their calorie count is just lower than anything grain-based. I also wake up HUNGRY and have to eat soon after getting up.

            I can go a couple of hours on toast or a bagel. A few pieces of fruit and I’m going to be shaky in an hour.

          3. Who moved my Chi?*

            Fruit is carbs but a) you’d have to eat pretty much the whole fruit salad to get the same number of calories as are in a single donut or bagel and b) donuts, or bagels with cream cheese, have fat, which is much slower digesting. Face it, you were offering diet food, and thinking “healthy alternative”. Healthy alternative would have been bran muffins or something with similar calorie counts, but higher fiber and better nutrition profile.

            1. Kitten*

              Hard disagree… the term “healthy alternative” is so subjective. My version of a “healthy food” is probably different than the person next to me. Case in point, fruit is not “diet food” to me, it is simply food.

      2. SpaceySteph*

        I would never rely on this for sustenance because someone would inevitably bring just like a bag of ezpeel oranges and call it good.

        I don’t really think of fruit salad as a whole meal the way I would a bagel, although I definitely wouldn’t freak out about it, I’d just eat my backup breakfast.

    3. Festively Dressed Earl*

      If it had been muffins or bagels or donuts AND a fruit salad, you would have slayed. All the food would have been eaten. Other club members would sob in terror about their upcoming turn, unable to top your perfection. Either your hair would have arranged itself into a perfect updo while a pearl necklace manifested upon your neck, or you would find yourself suddenly dressed in an immaculate linen suit with a hornburg hat and an ascot. The office breakfast club would involve a savory croissant casserole and a lightly dressed arugala salad two days later. All business would solely consist of evaluating applications to the Breakfast Club, submitted with exorbinant fees, most of which would be found lacking. This would be very hard to explain on your resume.

  3. BellyButton*

    “You don’t get to tell me where to put my bare ass!” needs to replace “you’re not the boss of me.” LOL

    1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Someone needs to come up with the right combination of “my bare ass” and “cheap ass rolls.” Whatever the winning combination is, at least we know it will involve buns.

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          Ooh, that would be a great excuse for being late to a morning meeting: “I barely rolled ass out of bed today.”

    1. OMG, Bees!*

      Just story #1 let me know I have not worked in dramatic enough workplaces (thanks!), even with sexual harassment and shouting matches. The world is feeling a little more normal over here

  4. Antilles*

    #5 really reads to me as less “dramatic reaction” and more like someone who had no interest in the mandatory training and wanted to leverage literally any excuse (no matter how flimsy or ridiculous) to get out of doing it.

    1. KayDee*

      My thoughts exactly. They once saw someone get away with throwing a fit like that over a last minute venue change to the other side of town and somehow thought “this is a venue change too, I’ve found my perfect excuse they can’t argue with”

      1. Anononon*

        Author of #5 here – whether she wanna or not, she’ll be cut off from system access unless she comes to Room 2 next week…

              1. BubbleTea*

                Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
                I took the one less traveled by,
                and that has made all the difference.
                To my bank account.

  5. First Time Poster, Long Time Lurker*

    These stories are great as always. I am especially entertained that one of the links below the article is to advice on “how to pick your battles”.

  6. Xantar*

    #8. Ok, I get that people didn’t like Coworker B, but I’m still side-eyeing whoever was continuing to pour coffee creamer into the non-drain. You’re not making yourself look like a better person for doing that. In fact, they were probably inconveniencing the workplace more than Coworker B was unless there was more to the story.

    1. Batman*

      I think that one is dramatic overreaction on both sides. Imagine making a weird mess in the office every day just because you didn’t like a coworker. Who has the energy?

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Yes, this is how I read it too. Dramatic overreaction by Coworker B, spiteful reaction to the overreaction by the coffee-creamer-dumping coworker, and finally the un-dramatic solution of paper towels resolving the whole situation.

        1. Estrella the Starfish*

          And… why? Surely there’s a sink in the kitchen where they make their coffee and wash their mug, where they can dump any excess liquids.

          1. Princess Sparklepony*

            But that wouldn’t annoy others. And after they found out that it annoyed others – that was the new goal.

    2. Au*

      I didn’t submit this at the time, but the water cooler story reminded me that at one place I worked (in the C-suite hallway too) someone was emptying their end of the day coffee/tea into a large floor plant. Office services couldn’t figure out why the plant was dying, and escalated to the company that we rented (!) the plants from. They CSI’d the situation and discovered the coffee/tea. The kitchen was a mere 30 steps away. Signs were posted! All hands email was sent! Surveillance was attempted! Culprit never ID’d, but did stop. What were they thinking?

      1. Twiggy Peas*

        I work in horticulture, and there’s a lot of weird clickbait misinformation about using coffee grounds and tea bags to fertilize plants. Maybe they thought they were helping!

        1. Florence Reese*

          I bet that’s it! I think a lot of people think “good for composting” = “good for soil generally.”

          1. Expelliarmus*

            The thing is, even if something is good for composting, it’s not good to put compost in plants that aren’t yours or you haven’t been asked to put them in; if I make quality compost at my home and put it in everyone’s work plants, that’s still not cool!

      2. Just Another Cog*

        We had an employee who’d dump their leftover coffee with sugar into a FAKE ficus tree pot at the end of the day. We had ants all the time until someone saw them dump their cup one day. They were told not to do that anymore, and why. There was a lot of heavy sighing as they had to walk to the kitchen to empty their cup.

        1. sparkle emoji*

          If they have leftover coffee every day have they considered getting a smaller amount to start with? lol

          1. BubbleTea*

            I’m not a coffee drinker but I think there’s often a sludge at the bottom that people don’t want to drink.

        2. Phryne*

          Once, just after a move into a new office after a reorganisation, I saw a co-worker (whom I knew but not very well as he came from a different department) dump his (herbal) tea remains in a plant pot, give it a hard look, give me a look and plaintively ask me ‘it’s a fake one, isn’t it?’. ‘Yes, yes I think it is’ was my reply… lol

      3. Kell*

        We had this!! Many years ago, a coworker was dumping their old coffee — with cream! — into one of the bigger plant pots, thinking they were helping it. For the longest time we couldn’t figure out what was so stinky in that vicinity. When we did figure it out, a few of us got together to haul it outside and rinse off the roots and replant it. Somehow the plant was fine after that, but it never lived down the name Smelly Plant.

    3. Roy G. Biv*

      My office had someone who used to rinse a French press out, sending all coffee grounds down the drain, and regularly clogging the sink. Email after email from maintenance did no good. It seemed like the sink was clogged every third day or so.

      I suspect the person pouring the creamer into the non-drain had a similar “like to watch the world burn” attitude.

      1. Momma Bear*

        We have a sign listing the things that cannot go down the disposal. And also to please actually rinse your food down the disposal and run it and not leave weird bits to fester in the sink.

        1. JustaTech*

          At my kiddo’s daycare (when my friend worked there) they had *multiple* incidents of staff putting tea bags (with strings!) down the disposal.

          This is how my friend learned to disassemble (and re-assemble) a garbage disposal.

      2. Lana Kane*

        My experience with french press people in offices has not been good. We had one guy that, when he went to dump the grounds in the trashcan, did it so they flew -everywhere-. Wall was splattered, top of the can was splattered, just….splatters. And then yeah, the ones who clog sinks with the grounds, or leave all the accoutrements “soaking” with gross coffee water. I love me a good french press but come on people.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          The times I’ve pulled out the french press it was because the office coffee was ass. Bringing in (and plugging in) your own drip machine is generally not done.

          1. Tammy 2*

            I used to make pour-over coffee at work. Since it uses a filter, it’s much easier to clean up than a French press. Totally recommend that for people whose office coffee is undrinkable. OXO makes a nice one.

            1. KittyGhost*

              I’ve used an Aeropress at the office for the same reason. Empties very cleanly into the trash with no risk of a splash zone.

    4. Rose*

      It seems so weird, esp because something so small eventually stopped them, that I wonder if it was someone who didn’t read English? Like maybe cleaning staff was coming in super early and doing it and had no idea what all the crazy signs said?

      1. JustaTech*

        You’d be amazed how many people never read signs. Like, the text just doesn’t penetrate.

        For example, I put up a 4 line sign explaining how to fix the ice maker in the office fridge/freezer. I put it up a year and a half ago.

        The other day I was chatting with our facilities guy and he said something about the ice maker not working so I showed him how to fix it and then said “just like the sign says” and he said “The sign? Oh that sign! You know, I never read it.”

    5. sofar*

      I’m just grateful to both the coffee dumper AND Coworker B for the entertainment they have brought me.

    6. lilsheba*

      I really do hate it when people insist on dumping stuff where it doesn’t belong, even after notes and reminders. It’s nasty and lazy. Just be an adult and put things where they belong.

    7. Myrin*

      Yeah, I think B was overreacting but not particularly dramatic in the way the people in the other stories are and Creamer Coworker honestly still comes across as the more obnoxious one of the two.
      (The story still amused me, though, no shade to the original commenter at all!)

    8. Seconds*

      Since they stopped as soon as the paper towel appeared, I’m guessing that they didn’t do it on purpose.

      I’m guessing that they’re a person to whom reading doesn’t come easily—depending on the workplace, they might not even speak the language—and so the warnings just went over their head.

      They could have continued to pour stuff onto the paper towel if what they had wanted was to cause trouble or annoy people.

      1. Jake*

        I doubt it. I think they stopped because a perfectly normal reaction of a small sign and some paper towels happened, so they complied. They would have complied much earlier if that had been the first reaction, rather than the aggressive signs.

    9. GettingTheIck*

      Okay I have medically diagnosed OCD which is specific to food waste, among other things. I absolutely would not be able to work somewhere where a person was smearing dairy products on surfaces every single day. Just the thought of it makes me feel sick.

      I’m really surprised the submitter thinks the person who put up signs is in the wrong, and not the gross raised-by-wolves weirdo smearing and throwing food everywhere every single day, and creating a huge mess for the poor janitorial staff to have to clean up every day.

      1. Airy*

        You’re overstating it a bit – they were pouring coffee dregs and creamer into the drip tray of the water cooler, not “smearing and throwing food everywhere.” I’m guessing you feel freer to express your feelings of revulsion and alarm in this online context than you would in person, but if you responded like that out loud in real life? You’d be the office overreactor.

      2. Expelliarmus*

        It sounds like the person putting up signs was already not well-liked in the office, but there’s nothing to suggest that the submitter thought the other person was in the right. I got the feeling that the submitter thought the former needed to stop, but the latter was being so annoying and going about all the wrong way to get the former to stop.

    10. Meemur*

      Agreed. I used to volunteer somewhere where people would walk passed the bin to put their teabags in the sink and it was infuriating! They often would wash their mugs after use either. This culminated in management confiscating all mugs because people wouldn’t learn to behave. The cleaners had a tough enough job without worrying about doing dishes every hour

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      In my head, the creamer was there because a conscientious overnight maintenance contractor would sterilize the dispenser each night, and drain the dregs of yesterday’s creamer as a first step. It’s someone who is very new to the country and english is not their first language, so the signs went unread.

      “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

    12. nm*

      I can imagine someone who just dumps and goes without paying much attention to their surroundings, not standing there long enough to even notice that the creamer isn’t draining.

  7. Ex-prof*


    I freely admit that college faculty can be a bit whackadoodle. Everyone knows that.

    But I have never understood why college departmental admins get a free pass. They are not all whackadoodle. But lordy I’ve known a few…

    1. datamuse*

      Rightly or wrongly, they get the rep that the place would fall apart without them (and I’ve known a few where that was more or less the case).

      My academic library lost our admin in a restructuring, which I’m still miffed about because the tacit assumption was that our staff’s jobs were basically clerical anyway (they weren’t) and so they could just take this on too, right? The one who did end up getting stuck with most of it did learn where aaaaaaaaall the bodies were buried, though.

    2. Hannah*

      My most wackadoodle story is from a higher Ed admin. Shouting matches, eaves dropping, recording conversations on her phone, holding grudges, etc.

      1. Artemesia*

        our worst one helped her daughter in grad school cheat by giving her copies of tests. I simply handled copying all my own tests and didn’t leave them in my office. She would badger me endlessly before finals ‘Can I help you get those tests run?’ ‘I haven’t run your tests yet, when do you want me to do it?’ ‘Can you leave me the tests so we have them for the finals?’ I would just smile and say ‘Oh I took care of it.’ Her daughter didn’t do as well in my class as in most others. (we grade anonymously)

        We didn’t have evidence she did it, just suspicion. the woman was not particularly bright and yet seemed to do far better than expected. And Mom had access.

    3. Orv*

      Where I work department admins rarely stick around long enough to make a dent. They aren’t paid well so they pretty quickly move on to greener pastures. I have yet to do a performance evaluation because our byzantine performance eval process takes two years and I rarely have the same boss for that long.

    4. Phryne*

      I am support in a college, and I can say that in 15 years, I have not a single one of these stories. Maybe because the place where I work is very big, so you don’t really get the weird pressure cooker situation of a smaller organisation? Or because we don’t have that academic structure with tenure, all our staff, teaching and non teaching is on the same contracts and collective work agreement so there is no real need for power plays?
      Anyway, #NotAllAcademics :P

      1. No Yelling on the Bus*

        That probably changes things in the faculty ecosystem. I’m surprised the admins aren’t at least a bit dramatic though, just because organizational dysfunction is so rampant in academia

      2. Kevin Sours*

        I wonder if location has something to do with it. Some of your smaller prestigious institutions can be a little off the beaten path. Which makes the talent pool for staff positions thinner. It also means that the job market for faculty spouses can be more challenging which sometimes results in the institution finding a position to encourage a professor to relocate. While in most cases that’s fine, this sort of thing can introduce weird dynamics when things become not fine.

    1. Goldenrod*

      ““You don’t get to tell me where to put my bare ass” doesn’t get used enough in this society,”

      Right? In fact, isn’t it in the Constitution somewhere?

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        No, the Constitution just protects you from the government telling you where to put your bare ass. Common misconception.

          1. Phony Genius*

            I thought they were considering prohibiting bare asses altogether, even in the privacy of your own home. Even exploring using civil forfeiture of your bare ass as a deterrent, according to one rumor.

            1. AG*

              With no exceptions. Life saving emergency surgery? Briefs stay on. Nature calls? Don’t care, make it work.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Oh, you’re thinking about the tank top amendment, the one that gives us the right to bare arms. /silly

    2. AnonyNurse*

      I was at dinner with a couple other nurses, and it was a pretty loud place, so our voices had gotten a bit louder. Just as there was a lull in the conversation, my coworker’s story hits its crescendo, leading her to yell for all to hear:

      Don’t tell me I can’t take a rectal temperature!

        1. La Triviata*

          There was a story circulating about a malachite stalactite/stalagmite (can never remember which is which) that the owner had polished down until it looked a LOT like a sex toy. Then ensued a long series of comments about whether or not it could/should be used as a sex toy. Someone said that, since the color came from copper, it would be poisonous. Someone else said it wouldn’t poison you, but would turn your sensitive bits green. Another person insisted that, since malachite wasn’t all that hard and kind of porous, it would dissolve in use. Which led to another commenter posting, “you mean my vagina can melt stone!?!”.

            1. Artemesia*

              To keep the theme, the meme is ‘It is like ants in your pants, the mites go up and the tites go down.’

          1. datamuse*

            I remember that one. I also recall that it was pointed out to be an exceptionally good reason to not use this particular mineral for that purpose, because copper ions loose in one’s nether regions can have really unpleasant effects.

            The biologist who pointed that out also managed to link it to the Flint water crisis.

            It was a great day for learning things on Tumblr.

          2. wilma flintstone*

            The mnemonic device I use is “The mites go up, then the tites (tights) come down!” As in what would happen if bugs crawled up your pantleg.

          3. Bronze Betty*

            I learned that the ones with the T are at the Top: so, stalacTites are on the Top (ceiling).

          4. whingedrinking*

            I was a French immersion kid, so I learned “les stalagmites montent et les stalactites tombent”, but I guess you could roughly translate it as “stalagmites mount up and stalactites tumble down”.

          5. Festively Dressed Earl*

            Gwyneth Paltrow will start selling these on Goop saying that copper is good for your bits in 5…4…3….2….

      1. My Dear Wormwood*

        We were talking shop in a restaurant once and found out that the waiters were referring to us as the weird table – to be fair, we had been discussing how to a semen sample from bats.

        1. BubbleTea*

          Ha, I went out for pizza with some fellow law students and we realised that the wait staff were giving us a wide berth, probably due to the lively debate about the legality and morality of sex with someone who is underage in one country but not another.

  8. RVA Cat*

    #3 The Table – I’m proud of the intern for noping right out of that office full of evil bees. Next time that guy could punch *people* instead of walls.

    1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      Also, we weren’t “allowed” to evacuate or call the police. Oh, really? Are you going to physically stop me? Because if people will roll over for that guy, they will not stop me from calling the police from a safe distance. And if they tried, they will get added to the complaint.

      1. Momma Bear*

        Yeah, this was the icing on that particular cake. All the more reason TO call the cops, if nobody else will protect you.

      2. WillowSunstar*

        I would have been trying hard not to have a panic attack during all that. If someone’s that physically abusive, I would absolutely nope out of working with them.

      3. Engineer*

        Hi, OP of that post here. I was 20 at the time, working with a bunch of other early 20s and mid 20s years olds in their careers. When this guy started freaking out, we all very much froze, because none of us had experience in dealing with such a complete overreaction before. Now I wouldn’t hesitate to leave and call the police, but back I was relying on the cues from others for how to handle this new situation and what I was getting back was “also frozen in shock” or “just ignore it.”

        1. New Jack Karyn*

          “Frozen in shock” doesn’t get nearly the amount of credit it deserves. We would all love to stand up for what’s right, say something in the face of a racist/sexist comment, push back against the banana-pantsery. Not even a ‘hero’ moment, but at least say *something*.

          And most of us don’t, certainly not all the time. We freeze, stammer, can’t think of the right thing to say or do. It’s incredibly common, and usually not truly blame-worthy.

          1. Princess Sparklepony*

            I found out I’m rubbish in an emergency due to be almost struck mute by a wastepaper basket fire. You do not want me around in an emergency – I go blank, beyond frozen in shock. I was trying to mime the problem at one point. It was not good. And a hero stepped in, picked up the ice coffee on the desk, poured it into the waste basket, said “I told Bernadette to stop smoking at her desk” and walked out.

            Weirdly, I’m fairly ok with minor medical emergencies. But only minor ones. I can apply pressure!

            It was very weird to be so ineffectual in a real emergency. I always thought I would be better although not a star but at least basically competent. Nope.

            1. New Jack Karyn*

              Oh no! I’m so sorry you were in that position! At least you found it out in a relatively small-stakes situation?

    1. Bored Lawyer*

      A law firm I used to work at used to have all of the attorney’s names on top of the letterhead, listed by seniority. After some expansion, and after a mild rebrand, the new letterhead was produced. Instead of listing EVERY attorney on EVERY letter, each attorney had individual letterhead listing only their own name and contact information.

      This was received poorly by the most senior attorneys in the firm. I sat through a meeting where a senior partner was apparently only able to say “I AM THE TOP OF THE F***ING LETTERHEAD!” The redesign became a re-redesign, where the top five attorneys all had their names on EVERYONE’s letterhead. As they slowly retired, they were not replaced on the letterhead. I no longer work there, but I always chuckle when I get one of their letters.

      1. Ashley*

        I guess if you can’t be a named partner being on the letterhead is the next best thing? And if you are a named partner odds are you are already a little over the top to have put that much time into a firm.

    2. Telephone Sanitizer, Third Class*

      Reminds me of the student publication I worked on in high school where the chief editor tried to sabotage the bylines to demote the assistant editor, who she hated for some reason, to a lower part of the page, even though he was already below her.

    3. Frankie Mer*

      My first office job would send out the directory as a locked excel workbook with 3 sheets- One by department, each organized by hierarchy/seniority; one numerically by extension; and one alphabetically by FIRST name.
      The poor receptionist who had to maintain the list tried unsuccessfully over the years to get everyone to agree on ONE format, but none of the C-suite could agree.

      1. bishbah*

        Tell you what, though, alphabetical by first name is more useful than it sounds. I included a first name index in my college’s meet sheet/facebook so that you could more easily find the “Katie” you met in class or at a party the night before…

        1. Coverage Associate*

          I realized that I was one of two people in my office with my last name, so I stopped marking my documents as “Smith notes” and started using “John notes,” even though in the past I had always used my last name because it seemed more formal.

      2. Phryne*

        If only Excel had a sort and filter function where you can take any list and put it any order you would like to view it in, for your personal viewing only. That would have been so useful.

    4. The Formatting Queen*

      What I want to know is in what world “numerical order by extension” would have been useful to anyone.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah that seems like the exact opposite of what a phone directory is supposed to do!

        I suppose if someone called you and you wanted to know who that is the one time that system would be useful. But I can’t imagine that would come up very often since you could just… call the number back to find out lol

  9. Butterfly Counter*

    For #6, I’m a tiny bit upset for those poor potted plants. Who were they hurting?

    With the video, did the university press charges for breaking and entering, theft, and destruction of property?

    1. CoffeeCoffeeCoffee*

      OP here for #6: I don’t know, actually- the Monday after the gala we received an email from the head of security saying we were not to allow D on campus or in to any of the buildings and to call security if we saw her. I wish I had a more satisfying resolution, but I never saw her again and I moved away six months later.

      1. Bill and Heather's Excellent Adventure*

        How did she even access the office in the first place? Was security lax because it was a small university??

    1. MigraineMonth*

      If someone deliberately accelerated at me in the parking lot and came so close they hit a coffee cup at my feet, my call to the police wouldn’t be about *destroyed property*! I’m pretty sure that fits the legal (though not colloquial) definition of vehicular assault. Reckless driving at least!

      1. Dek*

        Right? Like, they’re both ridiculous, but reporting it to the cops? Not so much. It’s not like he just smashed the guy’s coffee cup–he DROVE at him.

      2. MCMonkeyBean*

        I agree, who knows whether the coffee mug was the intended target or not?? I certainly would not proceed on the assumption that it was!

  10. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    I am going to start coming into my office every day, shouting “WHERE IS THE CHEESE WHEEL?” and then leaving.

    (I work from home and live by myself.)

    1. datamuse*

      My officemate does demand to know where the cheese is fairly regularly, come to think of it.

      (My officemate is a cat.)

      1. Cheese Tax*

        Mine is a doggo with a mandatory cheese tax. He too, would like to know where the cheese wheel is.

        1. thatoneoverthere*

          The rules are the rules and facts are the facts. When work starts you need a CHEESE WHEEL!

            1. CommanderBanana*

              You gotta pay the tax every time you’re cookin’, when the cheese drawer opens, this puppy comes lookin’!
              (Credit to Puppy Songs!)

        2. BubbleTea*

          Mine has lodged a formal complaint about our recent office relocation. The previous premises had cheese and the new one does not. (I work from home and I’m vegan. We briefly lived with vegetarian family members who introduced the dog to cheese…)

  11. MassMatt*

    #13 The Phone Directory—Are you SURE this person who couldn’t handle the change didn’t have a name that starts with “B”? The name I would be thinking of sure does!

    And what is the point of ordering phone numbers by extension? If I knew the extension, wouldn’t I just dial it versus looking it up? Or was this intended to be used by people deciding whether or not to screen their inbound calls?

      1. WillowSunstar*

        It must have bern a small company. I can’t see a large corporation doing anything like that.

  12. LisaD*

    Oh no, I missed the callout for these stories, so I didn’t get to share the tale of the Omen of Death!

    At a startup where I worked, the head of HR liked to decorate the office for holidays as a little morale booster, usually over the weekend or overnight so it would be a fun surprise the next day. One year she decorated for Halloween. Nothing too over the top, some chintzy spiderwebs, black and orange garlands, and a few larger props, including a set of semi-realistic plastic crows with real feathers glued on.

    One of the crows ended up in the office of the Head of Marketing, who was the only person besides the CEO with a private office. (The CEO’s office got its share of decorations, too.) Head of Marketing arrived the next morning, completely ignored the overall Halloween theme that had been implemented around the space overnight, walked into her office, beelined for the crow, and had a MASSIVE FREAKOUT over it, consisting of grabbing the crow and walking around the office waving it at people while yelling “Is this an omen of death? Crows mean death, right? Who put an omen of death in my office?!?!”

    1. LisaD*

      (For the record, she was not from any culture that might assign unusual significance to crows used as decorations—standard issue middle of the country white US-ian, no strong religious affiliations. She was just extremely paranoid in ways that were mostly a lot less funny and a lot more tragic than the Omen of Death meltdown.)

      1. MtnLaurel*

        Standard white US-ian here too and have always heard crows were harbingers of death. Not excusing, just saying I’ve heard it before so it’s not (completely) unique to her.

        1. JustaTech*

          I thought it was ravens?
          Or rooks?
          (Do we even have rooks in the US?)
          I mean, in isolation the average person would have a hard time telling a raven from a crow, so I guess I can see how the mythology would drift.

          1. Kevin Sours*

            Not if you are familiar with both (and things are to scale). Ravens are *much* larger than crows.

        2. Kevin Sours*

          The Harbinger of Death thing is a pretty white European perspective. Crow is a trickster figure in a lot of Native American lore.

    2. slashgirl*

      Good thing it was only one crow. Can you imagine if it’d been a group of them–then I’m sure she would’ve screamed, “Murder!”

      1. Dadjokesareforeveryone*

        I can’t give you a thumbs up here, but I’m giving you a RL thumbs up right now.

  13. ThursdaysGeek*

    #17 – yeah. When a person only tells their wildly inaccurate version of events, they certainly can make others look bad.

    1. ScruffyInternHerder*

      I’ve long since subscribed to this theory, though its never found its way into my professional life to date:

      “I’m okay with being the villain in your story, since you’re very much the clown in mine”

    2. Kevin Sours*

      I’m actually surprised it took that long to resolve. It’s not just size but things like color fidelity. Graphics people tend to have *very* *expensive* monitors. And need them to effectively do their jobs.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Yeah, they said she locks her door at night so people couldn’t just take it when she was gone earlier. But why could they just take it when she was there?? I don’t really understand what the whole HR process was. Why could the boss just say “I did not in fact approve you switching these monitors, Bob needs this monitor to do his job and you do not, so we’re switching them back right now.”

  14. Phony Genius*

    On #11, my experience with Brita filters is that when they dry out, they release tiny bits of carbon powder into the water the next time they’re used. (You can see it if your eyes are good.) I don’t know if “unhygienic” is the right word, but I won’t drink the water if I see it, and I’ll re-soak the filter if necessary.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      That’s why you’re supposed to keep water in them at a specific level. (Or am I the only person who reads filter instructions?)

      1. Phony Genius*

        I try keep mine filled, but sometimes I forget to refill. And, yes, the instructions do say to keep it wet.

      2. Lana Kane*

        Its just not likely that in an office, people will read or follow instructions. Thats whjy I wouldn’t use an office Brita, personally.

    2. Civil-servant*

      As a microbiologist, I can add that Brita filters were called out in one of my long ago grad school classes for being substrates for bacterial growth – which can slough off fro time to time, adding a huge dose of ick to the brita water.

      1. Wedge Tailed Eagle*

        And not just Brita water. My Dad started a job as the maintenance person in a complex of factories. He drank from the plumbed drinking taps (water fountains) that had been placed around the factories and it gave him gastro. Being maintenance, he asked himself ‘when was the last time these were cleaned?’

        So he opened one up, pulled out the filter, and found actual maggots.

        I take a very large bottle of water to work with me every day.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Or that person knew someone like my late husband who didn’t change the filter out frequently enough. (We had perfectly fine city water, so I let him do his thing and I used the tap.)

  15. Honey Badger just don't care*

    My coworkers just really need to start bringing it. They are entirely too undramatic. We manage to have polls about candy choices, TV shows, and movies, all with accompanying good natured banter and then it all gets…dropped. Nobody screams. Nobody melts down. No drama at all. I’m disappointed in them.

    1. TheBunny*

      Speaking as the person who shared #15 on the list…enjoy this. Enjoy your normal coworkers. LOL

    2. No Yelling on the Bus*

      This comment and the replies are my favorite in the whole thread. Our culture is also very normal and not stressful, to the extent that I don’t think I could even manufacture drama if I tried. People would just NOT be having it and the only result would be I lose trust and my reputation, quietly, with no confrontation. (I mean – depending what it is, if I punched walls I’d be sent home and possibly fired, it’s not a passive or passive aggressive place, just appropriately assertive).

      1. Miss Muffett*

        This advice column, like so many, makes me appreciate the sanity of my workplaces! I’ve had low level drama once in a while but my god, the number of violent incidences people experience is really scary!

  16. You want stories, I got stories*

    #12. If the TV show Supernatural was still around, this would make a great episode. The admin who refused to leave a building and eventually died there. Her ghost now haunts these halls.

      1. Paralegal Part Deux*

        Is it a red swingline stapler? It’d be the crossover we never knew we needed – Supernatural x Office Space.

  17. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

    1 and 3 are actually scary more than funny. Grown men freaking out and resorting to violence over tiny “offenses” is way too common in this culture. And everyone else just normalizes it and looks the other way.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      They’re definitely scary, but the fact that they’re on this list isn’t meant to signify that they’re funny; it just signifies that they were disproportionate reactions.

    2. Boof*

      I do feel like swerving a car at someone is way more serious than the mug that was smashed; more like threatening bodily harm with a lethal weapon. Disappointed but not surprised at police for not following up that; wonder how many other road rage incidents Jerry’s committed

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, me too. I can sort of understand that the cops wouldn’t show up for a cheap coffee, but this was at the very least reckless driving.

        1. BubbleTea*

          They didn’t show up when people were throwing lighted fireworks at each other near my house and car (though it was bonfire night, so I’m certain I wasn’t the only one and they weren’t being thrown AT my house and car).

    3. OP #1*

      The “driver” in story 1 was a woman, and it was clear she meant to run over the cup and not hit the person, just as FYI for this thread. The two had had a number of dumb and escalating arguments, and this was just the pinnacle tantrum for them both.

  18. Caliente*

    #3 is completely ridiculous and I would’ve quit too. How do you tell people they can’t leave or call police when someone’s acting like that? How do people comply is another question. I feel like what was described is unhinged lunacy, not an “outsized reaction”.
    As a NYer who takes the subway (and I’m not afraid to do so) – if I even hear raised voices I get up and go to another car. People are nuts and once they start “escalating” even just to getting loud – no thanks!

    1. A.P.*

      Really, if you ever feel things are getting out of control, just go ahead and leave or call the police. Don’t ask for permission or pay attention to anyone who tells you otherwise. That phrase about how “It’s better to say sorry than ask for permission” is way overused (and leads to a lot of bad behavior) but it applies here.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      The reason people comply is power dynamics. OP and their fellows were interns, so were at the bottom of the hierarchy, were probably relying on the experience for resumes or class credit, presumably didn’t have much experience with office norms, and were surrounded by people in a better position to intervene who instead protected the missing stair and forbid them from taking reasonable actions (leaving, calling the police).

      Psych experiments show that people are less likely to take action if all the people around them are ignoring a situation, since as social animals we take cues from others. This is reasonable when Robert is crying over not being listed first in the phone book; clearly the way most people deal with this is by ignoring him until he calms down. This is NOT reasonable when Robert is literally flipping tables, but odds are OP would have gotten in trouble if they had walked out/called the police (because the missing stair must be protected at all costs).

      1. Engineer*

        Yes, thank you. Most of us at that office were still early 20s, a lot in their first professional role of any kind, and no one had ever dealt with such an over the top overreaction before. We took our cues from management, and management didn’t care.

        Once I got home that day and thought it over, I realized I should have just left anyway, but obviously that was hindsight. I only gave it two days before quitting because I thought management might need a day to craft a statement. When it became clear one wasn’t coming, I got out.

  19. LCH*

    microwave battle: my work place has a sign up that tells us not to leave our food unattended in the microwave. now i know why.

    1. lilsheba*

      Yeah so god forbid you try to multi task a little and maybe go to the restroom while it’s cooking or something, that could end up in hell.

    2. allathian*

      I wish ours also had this. Our kitchenettes have industrial microwaves that keep beeping until you open the door. Annoying as heck when someone puts their food in and goes to the restroom. I can’t ignore that noise, it’s not particularly loud but it grates on my ears.

      1. female peter gibbons*

        i hate so much my tiny microwave that does the same thing. Not industrial! My dryer does the same thing. They will beep until the planet ends unless i press “stop” or take the clothes out. Absolutely insane!

        I need to know brands of appliances that do not do this. My Samsung dishwasher is wonderful and my LG laundry machine is wonderful.

        RCA Microwave and Whirlpool Dryer – both bad!

      2. JustaTech*

        One of the first things that happened when we moved into our super-open office where the kitchen area is feet from people’s desks is that someone figured out that there was a “mute” button on the microwave.

        Ah, blissful silence!
        We don’t have so many people using the microwave that you couldn’t pop off to the bathroom, but it’s nice to have a reason/excuse to stand by the microwave and play with your phone.

  20. Attic Wife*

    For #1, When Tom & Jerry packed up their belongings, did they also take their lukewarm lunches? I assume if they cared that much they would take it with them. For myself, I cannot imagine making a dramatic exit on an empty stomach.

  21. Ann Nonymous*

    Most of these stories illustrate how men are just too emotional and can’t be trusted in positions of power.

    1. Sea Witch*

      You aren’t wrong. Any workplace meltdowns I’ve seen, 9 times out of 10 it was a man doing it.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      I was impressed by how many of these hissy fits were by people who *weren’t* in positions of power (at least according to the official hierarchy).

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        I suspect most of those cases happen when people are frustrated with things at their job they can’t change and then something really mundane just pushes them past their breaking point.

    3. Sandals*

      Eh, they seem to be evenly split among sex and gender. Besides, anecdote isn’t data, so I think it’s kind of not useful to generalize all men. Indeed, the male commenters here, at least those who identify as such, seem very cool, and I think that’s an important consideration.

        1. MackM*

          Are you saying that the cool men in the comments are self-selecting and not indicative, or that the uncool men in the stories about ‘strangely dramatic reactions’ are self selecting and not indicative?

          I agree in either case :-)

      1. BubbleTea*

        “Anecdote is not data” has never stopped anyone from claiming women are too emotional to be in power, which I believe was the point of the comment.

  22. Uniformed owl*

    Thanks for the laughs.

    #17 (monitor thief) is just wild. how can it take weeks for a monitor to be switched back to its owner? How spineless if boss and RH? How does this company manage to get anything done?

    1. AG*

      Right? If this is taking weeks, what is the coworker who really needs the big monitor doing? Did they quit because of these working conditions as well?

    2. LCH*

      right? most places i’ve worked, IT is in charge of this. and will rectify any changes made that they didn’t authorize.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        That’s what I was thinking — our IT guys would have just picked up the monitor and put it back at its rightful desk, even if they had to get into a confrontation with the thief about it. Or they would get their boss, the head of IT involved, and he would get the department head and the dean — I’m telling you they would not rest until it was resolved.

      2. Phryne*

        Apparently because the thief locked her office door… surely someone has a master key? I’m pretty sure normally IT people do, and the facilities staff, and the cleaners….

    3. Cee S*

      I had a co-worker who kept her own space heater under her desk. (I live in a cold place.) One day, she could not find her space heater in the morning. After searching in the office for a few days, she saw her own space heater in the VP’s private office! A few days later, the space heater magically appeared under her desk again.

      She didn’t want to confront the VP because she afraid of undesirable consequences, but she told me over lunch one day.

    4. Turquoisecow*

      When I first started at my old job the building was being renovated and so it was a couple of weeks before I was actually given a computer (before this I would borrow the workstation of whoever was out that day or just use my boss’s which was fine because I was training.) when I finally got a computer I guess IT felt bad for me because I got a brand new machine with a flat screen monitor while everyone else still had CRTs and old computers(this was 2008). Many of my older coworkers were upset about the new person getting a new machine while they still had old ones, and started complaining about how bad their eyes were, etc etc. and one guy in particular joked that he would come in at night or on the weekend and switch my monitor with his. He did not do this, possibly because everyone would instantly know that he had done it (and in fact everyone I told this story to pointed this out).

      Within the next year or so everyone eventually did get new monitors anyway.

      1. Llama Llama*

        Ha. I did get a flat panel monitor around that time because I complained that CRTs gave me headaches.

    5. Artemesia*

      Exactly. Show complete management failure. Any decent manager, would have personally picked up that monitor — or had someone do so when it was first noticed. She could then whine to HR but the person whose monitor it was would have it for her work.

  23. Telephone Sanitizer, Third Class*

    Makes me grateful (and maybe a little disappointed) that apart from the occasional rant by the homophobic asshole, my previous office was very tame. Someone even heated up fish in the microwave once and all he got was lightly teased.

  24. lost academic*

    I desperately hope tomorrow includes that insane story previously of the copier change, another High Ed Overreaction. I could visualize it so well as I was reading….

  25. FricketyFrack*

    This is timely. I had a leftover menu card from an event my office puts on sitting on my cabinet with the rest of the blank cards, and my coworker asked me the other day if I was keeping it for some reason. I told her not really, and then didn’t throw it out because it’s out of my general view and I just kind of spaced it with all the other, way more urgent stuff I have going on. Well today, she apparently reached her breaking point because she came over, grabbed it, and *shredded it*. Like I was gonna pull it back out of the trash or something? The rest of my desk must be giving her an aneurysm if one card was bothering her that much.

  26. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**


    Pick up your copy of WHERE IS THE CHEESE WHEEL?, the fascinating sequel to the best-seller Who Moved My Cheese?, on sale now.

    1. Dadjokesareforeveryone*

      People always ask where is the cheese wheel, but nobody ever asks how is the cheese wheel.

      1. Science Bob (not that one)*

        “The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question ‘How can we eat?’ the second by the question ‘Why do we eat?’ and the third by the question ‘Where shall we have lunch?” – Douglas Adams

        Or indeed “How do I get a cheese wheel?”, “Why isn’t there a cheese wheel?”, “Where is the cheese wheel?”

  27. Radioactive cyborg llama*

    I have drastically revised my opinion that I’m a hothead. I am apparently the queen of chill.

  28. Willem Dafriend*

    What is it about water coolers that brings out the drama? I worked somewhere with a general understanding that all the water coolers were open for any employee to use. Except for one.

    That water cooler was in a public hallway and it wasn’t immediately clear it belonged to a specific department. That said, people in that department were very protective of it, yelled at anyone who unknowingly used it, and eventually dragged furniture in front of it to hide it.

    At no point did they consider moving it out of the hallway and into their office, or even putting up a sign.

    1. Guacamole Bob*

      I was very glad when we moved out of our old office building and to the new one, because it eliminated all the water cooler issues. Old building had weirdly bad-tasting tap water (I’m not generally picky about my water and I wouldn’t drink it), plus crappy kitchen facilities with limited options for heating water if you wanted tea. It was government so they wouldn’t pay for bottled water/water coolers, so there was a complex system of “water clubs” that sprung up with employee-funded water coolers with hot/cold options, department-specific microwaves, and lots of pettiness about money collection and who could use which water cooler.

      New office has normal-tasting tap water, water bottle stations on every floor, functioning ice dispensers, and kitchen areas with microwaves and fridges, each with a commercial-style keurig that dispenses hot water for tea and such. Generally pretty basic office amenities, leading to so much less drama.

    2. Llama Llama*

      I am slightly spiteful person and would have used that water cooler every time I passed it….

        1. Lucia Pacciola*

          If I were paying for breakfast, and promised breakfast, and then the guy responsible for taking my money and bringing me breakfast half-assed it, and showed up late and short, I think I’d be entitled to a bit of ire pointed in his direction. That manager screwed up to begin with, and then handled it poorly by choosing the dramatic flounce instead of the sincere apology when he got the criticism he deserved.

      1. ConstantlyComic*

        Water drama can get wild, too… my first job involved quite a bit of working outside in the middle of summer in North Carolina, so it would get very hot for staff and heat stroke was a real threat. When I first started working there, one of the supervisors paid for bottled water for staff out of her own pocket, but she eventually left and her replacement decided he wasn’t gonna buy water out of his own pocket. Part-time staff was very unhappy about that (there was a sink and a water fountain on the property, but the water tasted bad and it was difficult to find time to get away from the hot outside area even just to refill a water bottle, and although everyone did bring water from home, unless you brought a gallon it’d usually be gone halfway into the day), so the site manager said that he would start providing water instead. He did–briefly–then decided he wasn’t going to anymore. The worst thing about all that was one staff member who had a medical condition that made her body have trouble retaining water was specifically told when she was hired that water would be provided by management, only to have that dry up (all the pun intended). Admittedly the way that the part time staff reacted in general was not great (that whole workplace was full of bees), but no one appreciated being jerked around by management.

    3. Orv*

      I find that understandable, given that our water delivery contract seems to take up an inordinate amount of purchasing staff’s time. Getting water delivered on time in sufficient quantities seems like a big ask.

    4. Artemesia*

      I had a boss who told us to help ourselves to the water in the cooler by his office (the building had icky visibly dark water). So we did. Then we discovered that his AA and two secretaries, personally paid for the water — we were stealing their water.

      That same boss would make promises to new hires that were against org policy and impossible to implement and I was the one who had to deal with the new people. Fun times. I always sympathized with the new hires who were not at all unreasonable — but I could not often help them get what they had been promised.

      1. Zarniwoop*

        “That same boss would make promises to new hires that were against org policy and impossible to implement”
        In writing? That could be interesting.

  29. Lady Blerd*

    Letter 1 is giving me the same vibes as Peter Griffin fighting the giant chicken in Family Guy.

  30. bamcheeks*

    The fact that higher education is so dramatically overrepresented here is worthy of a WonkHE story.

    1. Middle Aged Lady*

      People get entrenched and take ownership of the oddest things. I had one of the ‘good’ heavy metal staplers and looked daggers at anyone who even thought of removing it from my desk.

    2. Desk Dragon*

      Someone I know who works in academia like to say that “the infighting is so fierce because the stakes are so low.”

  31. I should really pick a name*

    For #1, after “CUT TO THE PARKING LOT” I was expecting the discovery that it was all an act and Tom & Jerry just wanted to skip off work for the day.

  32. Slow Gin Lizz*

    For #2, I want to know how they reacted when they realized the thing they were overreacting about wasn’t actually true.

    1. Festively Dressed Earl*

      Same. How long did it take them to realize they were aggressively advocating for the same thing?

  33. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    We had a new very chatty coworker who sat right next to me. She was also very bad at her job. But the chattiness was out of control. She had only one volume when talking and it could be heard on the next floor. We had faculty stop by in the middle of teaching their class to complain because her voice was so loud that it was making it hard to hear in the classrooms. (This was in the first post-covid era when we were in person but keeping doors open for airflow.)

    One day she was taking a personal call on her phone at full volume and I asked if she could lower her volume a bit or take it outside as I could not hear the students who were calling me on the phone.

    She did not say one word the rest of the day and the next day she told anyone who would listen that I had forbade her from ever speaking.

    1. Leenie*

      “she told anyone who would listen that I had forbade her from ever speaking”

      Earning you the gratitude of everyone within shouting distance.

    2. Mrs. Hawiggins*

      It would have been all I could do not to shout, “GOOD!” before she even got done telling me of said forbade-ness.

    3. Phryne*

      I once had a co-worker who had the volume of their phone so loud we could not just hear the other side of the convo, it was practically being screamed at us. I have no idea how they did not bleed from their ears. When we tried to get their attention to tell them to turn it down, they just gave us a dismissive little handshake and turned their back on us like we were a bunch of toddlers bothering mommy.
      I *might* have accepted that reaction if it had been an important call, but it was co-worker2 who kind of manipulative and constantly pushing borders, and our office-mate was the kind of person who was sensitive to that and would constantly roll over to please cow0rker 2 and that was exactly what was happening in this call so we were pretty irritated to get shushed over that. In the end it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and we had to reshuffle offices as we did not want to share the room with each other anymore.

    4. Cyndi*

      At a past data entry job, I had a coworker whose shift started about an hour before mine ended (it was a 24/5 operation) and she typed like Schroeder playing Beethoven in a Peanuts cartoon. I sat with my back to her seat but I still knew when she’d arrived, because every afternoon the floor would start vibrating with the force of her typing. I don’t know how she kept it up 8 hours a day for years, or how her keyboard survived.

      I never actually said anything to her or anyone, because what good would it have done anybody, but god I resented that poor innocent woman and I was constantly about half an inch from becoming an Office Overreaction story when we were both there.

      1. Phryne*

        Maybe she learned on an old fashioned type writer?
        I one had a temp job where I had an old keyboard that had some keys that stuck. So I learned to compensate. Next job my trainer asked why I was trying to punch trough the keyboard… I unlearned eventually.

  34. saskia*

    #14 – What did people expect from the movie poll that made them act like that??? We do polls all the time at my job, and it’s just for fun!

    1. Expelliarmus*

      Considering how unnecessarily harsh people’s opinions can be online these days, I’m sadly not surprised; it’s one thing to not like something, but it’s another thing to say or act like people who like that thing are stupid (assuming the thing is not irredeemably problematic). That attitude just gets people’s hackles up unnecessarily, and I wonder if that spilled into the real world here via someone making some unreasonably intense comment online.

    2. allathian*

      Yeah, so do we. But I seem to work with reasonable, professional adults, and we’re certainly capable of agreeing to disagree on matters of taste.

      Every time I read this blog I’m grateful that I work where I do.

  35. Sundae funday*

    #13 unlocked a work memory from long ago. I had a normally even-keeled boss whose last name was at the front of the alphabet. Our whole unit had mailboxes set up in alpha order. Whenever we did a search, he would joke, ‘Just make sure I get to keep my mailbox.’ I thought it was a joke because sometimes we’d hire people whose names caused his mailbox to be bumped over a slot and nothing was said. Until that one hire upon which his mailbox was not only bumped horizontally but down to the next row. Every time he saw that new hire for the next year he’d say, “Ah, the person who stole my mailbox!” And when it came to do the next hire, for which I was chair, he pulled me aside and said, “Now, don’t forget about my mailbox.” !!!

    1. AFac*

      We also do alphabetical mailbox ordering, and circumstances in hiring meant that a couple of years ago, my mailbox moved to the second-highest row. I’ve told the office staff that if the next people we hire mean my mailbox gets moved to the highest row, we’ll have to invent a new alphabet because I will not be able to reach it.

  36. ecnaseener*

    I can’t even keep reading to the end, I have to address the bananapantsedness of #1 — Jerry swerved his car at Tom, coming close enough to hit an object that was presumably in arm’s reach, and Tom reports destruction of property rather than assault?!

    1. Boof*

      Right??? Dude should lose his right to drive until he demonstrates some understanding/ commitment to how risky and unacceptable that is

  37. Illogical*

    Run Over His Company Jacket Guy seems so tame and proportionate compared to the rest. Yes, not the most constructive of reactions, but it was away from others and who doesn’t want to destroy something when let go from a job?

  38. JaneDough(not)*

    I’m almost unhappy that I’ve never worked with people who do extraordinary things like this. Almost.

    Thank you, contributors, for bringing some laughter to a tough day.

  39. glt on wry*

    I was expecting #16 (parking) to end “This faculty member used to walk to work every day.”

  40. BecauseHigherEd*

    Oh god, the ones about Higher Ed just reminded me…

    I work in higher ed. My office streamlined a process a year ago or so. Part of that process just meant that when people talk to other departments (such as HR, payroll, Student Services) the form they have from our office looks a little different. The substance was basically the same, just shorter.

    Over the summer, a professor submitted a form on behalf of one of their doctoral students. It was an outdated version of our form, but hey, that happens. I didn’t want to make this professor do it again, so I just signed off on it and told the doctoral student to proceed to talk to payroll as normal. Payroll has a fit. They cannot accept this. The professor NEEDS TO KNOW that this is WRONG. Her workers CANNOT and WILL NOT accept an outdated form. I calmly try to explain that, yes, this is an outdated form, but the substance is the same. Why not just accept it while explaining to the professor that in the future, they should just use the new, shorter form? Payroll sends me an email citing *my own website* to say that I should “refer to the set policies and procedures.” For my own form. That they just collect as a formality to show the student has permission from me to do the thing. This turned into a formal meeting between my office director and the payroll woman. She never explained why she was being so bizarrely aggressive.

  41. Uranus Wars*

    The fact that they didn’t know they were in violent agreement on what should actually happen was just the icing on the cake.

    So so many amusing arguments I’ve seen in the workplace, and life if I am being honest, really do have this in common.

  42. Sea Witch*

    One coworker I had years ago stormed out in a huff and never returned because somebody put a folder full of work on his chair instead of his desk. That was it. I suppose it must have been a “last straw” thing for him, but he was so tightly wound that almost anything would have triggered him.

    1. TheBunny*

      Definitely not to take his side, but people who do this drive me nuts.

      Want me to get to something absolutely last and definitely after you’ve gone home for the day? Put it on my chair.

      It’s irrational how annoyed it makes me. But I calmly move it with no temper tantrums allowed.

      1. ScruffyInternHerder*


        The lead for whom I was a direct assistant at my first out of university job taught us all to do this if she was not at her desk – in her chair please, so she knew it was there (the scope of our work meant that our desks and just about every other horizontal surface in our offices were COVERED and it would get lost there). There was no inbox, it was her chair because that was just what worked there.

    2. Harried HR*

      I kind of understand this one…
      One of my pet peeves is when people put paperwork etc. under my locked office door. I have a bin on the outside of the door specifically for this and yet every once in a while I will walk in my office and step on paperwork…..Grrrrr

  43. WellRed*

    No 10 is the quiet “eff you” that has so much impact, the young guy, driving back and forth over his company branded jacket.

  44. Michelle Smith*

    I read these threads not just for the laughs, but so I can feel grateful that my dysfunctional workplace at least hasn’t devolved into this (yet). Holy heck!!

    1. Anon for this*

      When my tiny department was “reclassified” (essentially a demotion to save money – and based partially on another area claiming they did our work), we were in the midst of moving to a different building. There was a place to put anything for donating, and all our branded swag ended up there.

      Now I realize that it should have ended up in the parking lot, being destroyed.

  45. Jules the First*

    Am I the only one left wondering what happened to the table in #3? Did it get reinstated to the parallel or perpendicular position once crazy guy was finished flipping tables?

  46. Mimmy*

    I am just SMH at all of these!! Aside from the ones where the overreactor quit or retired, I sincerely hope there were consequences for their behavior.

      1. Other Alice*

        I’m not entirely sure if the building was empty or just a couple of floors. Anyway the building was not condemned or anything, they were planning to move a different department in there, so utilities, internet, etc were still working. Rogue admin didn’t spend 10 years in a deserted building, that was just my overactive imagination.

  47. WS*

    My workplace also had a phone directory melt-down! One of the older employees (though not the longest serving or most senior) had a surname that started with An. Someone new with a surname starting with Ac joined part way through the year, so when the new directories were sent out in the new year, they were at the top. And it was on! IT who put out the list flatly told her it was alphabetical and would not be changed, so when the An employee found that that the new employee had recently got married and taken her husband’s name, so she very suddenly got on board with being “a strong feminist” even though she herself had done the same thing. She would loudly talk about how you shouldn’t change your name in the presence of the Ac employee. The Ac employee was completely oblivious and it was great!

  48. ZugTheMegasaurus*

    I find #11 weirdly charming. Like, the guy saw a problem, identified a solution, got support for it, and then when it finally happened (whether coincidence or not), he was super psyched about it! I’m just imagining him seeing OP (someone from the dark pre-cooler days) and getting all excited to show it off, and it just makes me think golden retriever energy.

  49. lincva*

    Oh boy, number 8. In undergrad we had an issue with people not flushing in the communal bathrooms (urine, feces, and occasionally blood), leaving piles of toilet paper on the seat, etc. We’d leave the messes alone in the hopes of the culprit(s) cleaning up after themselves, but it often began to stink (especially on weekends) and I at least came to the realization that I didn’t want to subject the cleaning staff to that nonsense. One of my friends put up signs in the bathroom reminding people to flush and the culprit(s) would take the signs down, tear them up, and leave the pieces all over the floor.

    Basically, I’m saying you’re in an office full of rude college students.

  50. Lady Oscar*

    I will admit to having sympathy for the possibly-apocryphal forklift operator in #9. Long ago, I frequently worked very late nights in academia, and vending machines required physical currency of suitable denominations. Normally I could deal rationally with the snack machine sometimes getting hung up, since I could put more money in and get two packets, or get a refund the next day. But one night when I was starving and very stressed and the thing had gotten hung up when I had no more change, I, a grown person who pretty much never swears, ended up full on slamming my fists against the machine screaming, “Give me my @#$%^ M&Ms you @#$#% piece of #@$%^!”

    Those things are built like tanks, though. If only I’d had a forklift….

    1. allathian*

      At one old job the coin-operated vending machine was sometimes cranky. If it didn’t give you what you wanted, you had to hit it just in the right spot and it’d either give you your order or return the coins you fed it. This was so notorious that new employees were shown the spot to hit as a part of “social onboarding.”

  51. TinySoprano*

    At the end of the first part of the panini in 2020, I was working at a cafe well known for its solid breakfast/brunch options. Our first morning open after being locked down was Mother’s Day and we were booked to the gills. At 9am sharp, one of the chefs threw his apron on the floor, walked out and drove away never to return, after being asked to do a poached egg instead of a fried egg on a certain dish. The bananapants part is we had poached eggs on the menu. They did them in batches of like 50. There was no reason not to do poached eggs.

    We ended up an hour and a quarter behind on orders and ran out of both bubbles and orange juice handing out free consolation mimosas.

    1. SG*

      Just a moment of appreciation for what I can only assume is an autocorrect error “panini” in the first sentence. For a moment I thought it was an attempt at a euphemism for pandemic before realizing it’s merely a glorious autocorrect errror!

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          The usage of panini in this story is also very appropriate, given the cafe context.
          And yikes to the chef quitting during the Mother’s Day brunch rush, that sounds extremely stressful! Hopefully the free mimosas helped.

      1. Gassy*

        Panini is a fairly common joke euphemism for the pandemic – I’ve seen it used a lot in online spaces. I just assumed it was intentional for this reason.

  52. SUPER SMH*

    About six years ago I took an admin role in a government organization. This included purchasing. The purchasing was a mess and I set out standardizing office supplies, streamlining the ordering process, narrowing down the number of vendors we dealt with, etc. Everything was fine until I changed the purple paper.

    For many years, a particular form one department used was always printed on a specific shade of lavender paper. This paper was 3x the cost of any comparable paper–and it was special cardstock or anything. I started ordering mauve colored paper instead. The workers in the department went ballistic and complained they couldn’t do their jobs anymore. One even tried to make an ADA claim because of impaired vision. Finally someone went to my grandboss about it and complained about it for 30 minutes. The next day he sent an email to all departments stating that from now on…only white paper would be ordered.

  53. Guy Buttersnaps*

    The silver lining of Covid in our office was that I was able to stop ordering birthday cakes for everyone’s birthday. The amount of bickering over what kind of cake to get, who got to pick the cake when there were multiple birthdays in the same month, people stealing the cake at the end of the day to take home, the list goes on and on.

  54. Meemur*

    #12… Why would the company continue to pay bills on an empty building? If there’s no electricity, phone line, or internet, admin will leave pretty quickly!

    1. econobiker*

      And probably renovating or tearing the building down would eventually give her reason to move to the new building or to retire…

  55. need any help?*

    This week I’m experiencing one of the biggest uncalled-for dramatic reactions at my volunteer group. Me and a few other people run a large national volunteer group. We emailed the heads of all local teams to ASK whether they needed any extra help or resources as it is a busy period and now we have some lovely interns who would be able to help etc etc. A couple of people went amok: they replied very rudely and/or started posting to the all-members chat that all leaders should stay united since “management” finally showed their true face trying to take their teams away from them. One of them was so indignant that @ quit on the spot and the others kept posting screenshots from our website trying to prove that the org is malevolently trying to take advantage of their hard work. All we did was ask!!!

  56. Throwaway Account*

    Honestly, #4, the bagel club would make me cranky, too! If I was expecting a bagel for breakfast and I got a donut, I’d probably not be happy. Although, knowing they were grocery store bagels, maybe not!

    If the person forgot, he should have asked someone else to go so people could have what they signed up for!

  57. Nor Cal H.E.A.T.*

    “Rumor had it that one time the vending machine didn’t dispense someone’s chips and they were so incensed that they got in their forklift and drove it straight through the vending machine.”

    If anyone wants to see the Hollywood version, a forklift vs. vending machine sequence is available in Paul Schrader’s Blue Collar (1978) with Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel.

  58. Deborah*

    I worked with a Dr. Aalami once, and she was very surprised when a Dr. Aagard joined our department. But she didn’t throw a fit about it.

  59. WhoAmIWhyAmIHere*

    We had a Friday bagel club waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in my past, when I was temping in Atlanta. We had drama about that too. :-)

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