the pizza offense, the bathroom lock code, 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. Yesterday was part one, and here’s part two.

1. The sushi trays

While I was at the beginning of my career, I was working for a catering company as an assistant manager. We were catering for a pretty big company, where we would serve lunch on one station, and have a buffet-style on the other one. On the buffet, one of the most popular items was the sushi platter. We couldn’t refill it fast enough!

One day my company decided to switch the trays we were using for the sushi, from rectangular green ones to circular red ones. Mind you, the only thing to change was the trays, the sushi (made in the house by our licensed sushi chef) didn’t change a single grain of rice. OH – BOY!

People in that company went bananas over that. We received complaints, people refusing to eat it, people telling us it tasted differently. When we explained and swore that the change was approved by their company as well because the new trays were cheaper, prettier, and easier to recycle, hence lowering their catering expenses, almost nobody was convinced. A woman stopped me and tried to explain to me for 20 minutes that the colors of the trays would impact the taste.

I suggested to my boss to order the next batch of trays from the same company, but requesting them as greenish and as rectangular as possible. It worked. The sushi-gate was over, and so was my patience with that particular branch of Big Company.

2. The blinds

We had an executive who could not tolerate the blinds not all being set at the same level. It’s a three-story building with sunlight impacting computer screen visibility on three sides. It also impacts the office temperature by increasing temperature significantly when the sun comes around. People who sit by the windows often raise them and lower them throughout the day.

Maintenance went around and set all the blinds to the same height and we were directed not to change them. Ever. Obviously, we continued to adjust them to maximize comfort and the ability to see our computer screens. He was so upset about this that he ordered maintenance to go through and cut the strings on all the blinds (more than 100, at least) so that we couldn’t reach the strings to adjust the blinds. It took several months to play out and everyone wondered why an executive was getting involved with such a ridiculous thing.

The joke was on him. We are an engineering company. On the first day that the blind strings were cut short, several engineers cobbled together a tool that could reach up and grab the rings that were placed on the short strings, and the blinds were all adjusted to our comfort again. I just wish I could have seen his face when he drove up and saw his complete and utter failure.

3. The logo redesign

Two of my former grandbosses/co-CEOs of the company got in a fight about the new logo redesign during an all-hands Zoom meeting. They started screaming, one was near tears, and the other ended the entire meeting, kicking us all off the Zoom. Later in the day, I got an email that the next week’s all-hands Zoom was “postponed.”

Apparently neither of my grand-bosses spoke to each other the rest of the day after the fight. They finally resumed the all-hands meeting two weeks later when everyone “cooled down.” In this meeting, both the grand-bosses muttered non-apologies, basically saying “I acted this way because Other CEO did first.” The logo redesign never happened because they couldn’t agree on it. As of today, the company still has the old logo (and both co-CEO’s are still in charge). I will say my grand-bosses were competent, experienced, and well-respected in the field individually, and always treated employees well … but working with each other was like mixing water and oil.

4. The pizza

I’m Italian, and my manager took it as a personal affront that I did not particularly like Domino’s pizza. He would send me articles about people liking it, how well the business was doing, how Italian pizza was not that good, and so on. It was … intense.

(I never disparaged that brand or anyone who liked it, he just happened to hear me chitchatting with a colleague about ordering some pizza, and me suggesting a different brand.)

5. The semicolon

Back when the internet was still new, I worked at a newspaper. One day, a coworker and I had a conversation (I thought it was a conversation anyway) over whether or not we needed to use a colon or a semicolon for a particular headline. Our manager happened to be strolling by and I said “Hey, Eric, can you cast the deciding vote? Eddie and I can’t agree.” (I honestly don’t remember which position I took.)

The coworker did not speak to me again for the whole time I worked there (another 18 months). If I called the office and he answered, he’d say “Hang on” and put me on hold until someone else picked up. If I asked him a question, he’d just walk away. Emails to him went unanswered. When I mentioned this to my crappy manager, he shrugged and said “that’s just how Eddie is.”

I left that job for many many reasons.

6. The noise

One time we had an IT guy in our department doing some equipment swapping. It gets noisy because stuff needs to move off desks, setting down electronics, moving wires, etc. Not an every day thing and it was only for a few people. But one coworker thought the noise dragged on for so long and so loud she couldn’t stand it. (I’m super sensitive to sound myself, but seriously, it was actually pretty contained.) She put on her headphones while grumbling about the noise but we thought her whining would be done.

A couple minutes later she starts SINGING. Quiet at first, just mumbling, and then absolutely belting out what sounds like church hymns. The worst part is she wasn’t a good singer, at all. Horrified looks were shared and one brave soul went over to say, uh, could you maybe not? She pitched another fit saying she couldn’t concentrate, what else was she supposed to do? She wouldn’t listen to other people chiming in that her singing was actually way more distracting. Eventually she got so frustrated she went back to silently listening to her music, fuming. Amazingly, our manager never spoke to her about it but this coworker had a LOT of issues so it was the lowest priority.

7. The offensive email

I was part of the management team at a company along with multiple colleagues and there were natural crossover points for our work. Once, our Boss/Company Owner asked me to follow up with a colleague about a particular project that was mainly his area but did touch mine as well.

I was working from home so I emailed the guy.

The Boss called me an hour later and said that my colleague was over the top angry about my offensive email and he was going to quit. The Boss asked what I’d written so I sent it to him and read it to him out loud. Word for word I’d written, “How’s it going?”

8. The furniture

One time one of our office sections was being refurbished. There was a clearly marked zone of decommissioned furniture and office equipment that was to be removed. There was no possible doubt – everything to go had a special sticker on it, and everything with the sticker was going to be taken to landfill.

I found in this huge pile a pedestal fan and a small sofa. They had the stickers. There was no possible doubt that they were intended to be removed.

Over the weekend I took both items to my desk area where there was plenty of room for them. No-one’s space or passage was infringed upon. The magic stickers were removed.

Monday morning there was an uproar. Everyone near me demanded to know how I had been granted special furniture that no-one else had. Complaints were made to my boss, to my grand-boss, to my great-grand-boss. Two people were so upset they left work early. One person maintained the fortitude to remain at work – but threatened to resign unless either they were given the same furniture or mine was removed. I was summoned in front of four different managers (the three aforementioned plus the Facilities Manager) to explain where I had “stolen this unauthorised furniture from”. My explanation was flatly disbelieved.

The kicker for me was when I was told to get rid of them. I asked how should I do that? Answer: take them to the pile of furniture to be taken away and get two of the special stickers!

I again said that’s where I’d gotten them. Didn’t matter. People were so upset that I had them that the furniture had to go. I said I would engrave both items before returning them to the removal pile, and I wanted a guarantee in writing that if the items were found in use anywhere in the building, including the Board of Directors, the “thief” would be similarly reprimanded.

They (of course) refused, so I said in that case I would be keeping them. I did indeed keep both items, and kept my job as well.

9. The non-resignation

Paraprofessional quit her job (totally normal!) but then kept coming in just to do the parts of the job she liked, and had a MELTDOWN when she was told to stop because she doesn’t work there anymore.

Rants on facebook, rants on her personal blog (linked to from her FB) and on and on. The drama went on for months, if not years.

10. The laser printer

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

11. The software update

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

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

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

12. The bathroom lock code

About four years ago, we were experiencing, um … misuse of the restrooms. I frequently encountered toilet paper strewn across the floor (usually with waste-related adornments on it), clogged/overflowing toilets, missing hand soap (yes, people will steal a container of Mrs. Meyers hand soap if it’s not nailed down), paper towels on the floor *near* the trashcan (but God forbid, not in it), etc. It was amazing how many people would come to me (as the office manager) and alert me to issues in the ladies room … also amazing how many people misheard office manager as office janitor. No one in the office would cop to having contributed to the mess, so I decided it was due to the homeless population that sleep near our building. After several weeks of messiness and the potential for catching diphtheria from using the loo, I received approval from my boss to contact a locksmith and have coded locks put on the restroom doors.

OH. MY. GAWD. You would have thought I had murdered our CEO. There was mass hysteria in the office as people complained in our staff meetings for MONTHS about the horror of needing to memorize a four-digit code to use the facilities. Emails were sent around the office, and one person even went so far as to post the code ONTO THE BATHROOM DOOR to avoid the drudgery of remembering it.

After one of our directors had a damned meltdown in a staff meeting about it, one of our accountants spoke up, and said that since she frequently works evenings and weekends in the office by herself, the code helped her to feel safe when using the restroom. Just that one person’s remark quelled the protests from others.

Everyone shut up after that.

13. The label explosion

During a phase of remarkable passive aggression at our place, I picked up a llama medication one day and found that someone had stuck a label on it from the label maker: USE AT X DOSAGE. All of our llama groomers know the dose for this medication. Who stuck it there, and why? I’m sorry to say that I went a little nuts. I printed labels with “duh” type facts about almost every llama med we have, stuck them all to the bottles, and sent a photo with an all-team email with the subject line “Thank YOU, Captain Obvious.” In it I asked people to stop leaving passive aggressive notes everywhere. I did get gently spoken to about using all of that label material, but nobody ever copped to making the original label.

14. The yogurt thief

I worked at a job that had a Yogurt Thief. If your yogurt was visible in the fridge, there was maybe a 30% chance that someone would take it. Annoying, but most people just kept their yogurt hidden in a plastic bag. Then a new employee started and her yogurt was stolen. She went *ballistic* and started searching everyone’s garbage cans for signs of who took her yogurt. Then she pulled the boss’s assistant into her office and complained for over half an hour that she couldn’t believe someone would take her yogurt, she’d never worked in a place where someone would do something like that, what sort of monster place was this?

The assistant offered to go to the convenience store across the street and buy her a replacement yogurt. The new employee said it was fine, she’d … taken someone else’s yogurt from the fridge to replace the one that was stolen. The assistant explained to her that she had become the yogurt thief. Flustered, the new employee accidentally knocked over a full cup of coffee on her desk. She watched it pool out onto all of her papers, then turned to the assistant and said “clean that up” and left her office.

The new employee did not last very long.

15. The to-go boxes

With different orgs, I know holiday parties can be “a thing.” I’ve been at tiny places where we had no money and just did a dessert competition potluck (fun!) to giant places with cash up the ying yang and giant open bar (also fun!) And middle places with sad only one appetizer and sadder only one drink ticket (less fun).

At my new nonprofit job, I’m in a senior role so happy to spend some capital on upgrading the caterer and increasing the budget. Everyone rejoices!

We’re doing a walkthrough confirming all the final details such as the caterers bringing individually wrapped cookies at the end for everyone to take home. One of the members on the committee goes, “And don’t forget the to-go boxes.”

I stare dumbly. “To go boxes? Like at a restaurant?” And she finishes “Yes for people to take all the leftovers home.” She leans in ominously. “And if you don’t do it, people will freak out.” Apparently the org has been underpaying people for so long and were really crappy about furloughs during the pandemic that people would “get theirs’ by taking every ounce of free food possible. Either the caterer would provide the boxes or people would BRING THEIR OWN. And then there was a race to who would be first in line at the buffet. It got so bad, with food being gone within 30 minutes of the event, they had to start implementing a system like in kindergarten “all J names can get in line.” And because the org had been so cheap too, there really wasn’t enough food for leftovers too so people got real mad.

Happy ending – because of the upgraded caterer and increased budget as well as deciding to treat everyone like adults – there was plenty of food at the holiday party AND for leftovers. So much that the caterer sent me home with four trays. My husband and I feasted on appetizers throughout the week.

Now I want to buy branded Tupperware as org swag to hand out at the next event! Might as well lean into the culture.

16. The pastries

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

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

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

17. The emails

This is incredibly stupid on my part, however more than 10 years ago, I was LIVID that IT took away the ability to read/respond to work emails via cell phone.

How was I supposed to read emails over dinner? On vacation? While in meetings? I was angry I was losing the option to be plugged in ALL of the time. It took a co-worker to point that out to me that there goes the expectation of 100% availability.

It really was a blessing in disguise. My original reaction makes me laugh today but I was so angry. How dare they stop me from rolling over in the morning, reaching for my phone and start responding to work emails? What am I supposed to do now? Get up like a normal person and eat breakfast?

Today, I have a different job with a work designated phone that never stops. I guess I got what I wanted, but now I’d rather not!

{ 381 comments… read them below }

  1. Jessica*

    I can’t believe Alison published #7. I know this blog is not targeted to children, but still, there are working teenagers who write in. Are they really to be exposed to indecent content like “h*w’s it g*ing”?

      1. ferrina*

        Add me to that list! Impressive set up for that punchline….I’m deeply amused despite myself.

    1. I've got the shrimp*

      On one of my first days at a customer service role I answered a call from a sales rep and greeted them with a “Hey, how’s it hanging?” and he responded with “Oh, um, down and to the left?”
      We both had a moment of shocked silence and then started the conversation again haha

      1. Kathy*

        Nothing, that’s the joke. (or at least, I don’t think OP or anyone else here has any idea what the coworker found offensive about it)

        1. PhyllisB*

          Thanks. Sometimes things sail right over my head.
          Now how’s it hanging is a different story. When my son was a teenager, one of his friends came in the house and said, “Hi, Mrs. B. How’s it hanging?” I was speechless and my son read him the riot act. Poor child wouldn’t even look at me for about three months after that.

        1. Goldfeesh*

          I’ll give credit to the people who posted about their own overreactions though. It’s hard to admit when you’re the drama.

          1. Vio*

            It’s usually either a “never admit” attitude or a “beat yourself up over it” attitude. Obviously neither is healthy, so it’s good to see people able to take a more relaxed “I messed up, learnt from it and now have a funny story!” attitude. Something I try to aspire to myself.
            As for confessing my own, I did get my best GCSE result in Drama, does that count?

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          I do admit, I have a mote of sympathy for the updated software–I despise updates. I find they tend to take away everything useful and become a nightmare game of “guess which key NOW does Thing You Need Fifty Times A Day And Your Muscle Memory Is Not Having This!”

          Of course I adapt quickly and all, but still. Annoying! Haven’t yet had tearful muti-hour breakdowns about any of them, though.

          1. BurnOutCandidate*

            Anytime Microsoft Office updates, I hear about it from my colleagues. When Outlook got a search bar in the titlebar, my boss freaked out. When the new default font started rolling out (I’ve not received this update yet), a colleague called me to vent that it was, and I quote, “the spawn of Satan.” (I backed up my normal.dotm file, in which I customized my fonts and margins, and am waiting for the day.)

            I get it, though. I went off when an in-house app was changed about a decade ago to remove some functionality that I and a few others in my department used because another department wanted it changed. There was a good reason for the change, but we needed both functionalities, and we didn’t know in my department that the change was happening. Unfortunately, my department just had to deal.

            1. Vio*

              I was still using Microsoft Office 2003 at home because I just couldn’t get used to those silly ribbon things and all the familiarly located settings being moved around. But then I had to use Office 365 at work and eventually got used to it, although I was thankfully granted permission to install the desktop version rather than having to use the in-browser version.
              I also used to use an ancient version of Firefox because I couldn’t stand the massive changes they made. Finally discovered Pale Moon browser which is based on that version but without the security vulnerabilities of using a decades outdated browser. Still have to use Chrome for the occasional site that doesn’t work properly in Pale Moon though.

              Change is sometimes necessary but, especially for the neurodiverse, can be very difficult.

          2. Hats Are Great*

            I get so grumpy about software updates that it’s an in-team joke. Which actually started when they asked me to be part of testing an update and I said, “That might be a terrible idea, I HATE when software updates and I’m very resistant to it!” and they said, “No, that’s perfect” and I sat there for an hour offering my stream of consciousness hatred of the new interface while all these serious people watched me and took notes. They told my manager it was the most useful user experience test they’d ever done because I hated it SO SO MUCH and I took them at their word when they told me to “just say everything I was thinking.” (“NOOOOO, popover, I HATE YOU! Go AWAY!”)

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I think in some cases (like 15. The to-go boxes) there are other issues at play. People aren’t paid well, so they feel like loading up a to-go box at every company-provided meal is a way to even the score. Or everyone at your work is being passive-aggressive to each other, so one note announcing something everyone knows prompts you to label everything you can get your hands on with similar notes (13. The label explosion).

      Two commenters on the original thread offered this wisdom:

      “feelings don’t go away, they either come out straight, or they come out crooked.” from CattyDoja, and

      ““If you don’t have your feelings, your feelings will have you” from Filosofickle

      1. Mister_L*

        Regarding “evening the score” when the company pays.
        Let’s just say, at an old job it wasn’t considered a real christmas party (open bar) until they had to call an ambulance.

      2. Princess Sparklepony*

        I did like the LW deciding to lean into it and for year end gifts think about getting everyone company branded Tupperware. A practical inside joke…

    2. Lea*

      I used to schedule meetings and people complained about the free food EVERY time like yall are lucky you get anything omg we had zero budget


    3. Mr. Mousebender*

      My usual retort to that is to say, “Wrong question; try asking what’s right with them. You’ll probably get a much shorter response, and I don’t know about you but I’m not getting any younger here..”

    1. Ama*

      To me it’s also what happens when managers don’t shut down petty complaints with the complainer and instead treat them like they are legitimate causes for action.

      1. Silver Robin*

        I have some sympathy in that dealing with a wave of petty complaints can be really frustrating and the “easy” answer is telling OP to just give up their furniture. But that is the wrong answer and I am glad OP got to keep their things.

      2. Me, I think*

        It’s the “everyone must have exactly the same everything” syndrome. Same thing happens with computer gear. “But why does our designer get a large color corrected monitor and I don’t?” Or, worse, “You, the photographer, can’t have a specialized photo printer because the other staff don’t have one. Just use the laser printer like everyone else.” I personally got the “but Photoshop isn’t part of the Standard Load so you can’t have it.” Yes, I am a photographer.

        1. LCH*

          we almost had that issue here. i am completely inept at using a laptop trackpad. there are certain actions that i can’t seem to replicate on a trackpad. but apparently having mice (mouses?) here isn’t usual. but it was like, do you want me to do work or…?

        2. CommanderBanana*

          I worked with a complete douchecanoe who threw a FIT because I had to bring in a different desk chair because I was having some severe back pain/spasm issues and needed lumbar support. He would keep moving the desk chair I bought and lugged in to a different office, and then tried claiming I was somehow misusing government equipment by using my own desk chair. He also tried to claim that I was breaking the FAR by “soliciting donations” when I (at the behest of our director) sent around a sign-up sheet for the annual holiday potluck.* **

          He was a total asshat and everyone hated him.

          *Am actually glad he did that, because I was like, ok, cool, then, as I’m not a government employee, one of the actual government employees will have to take over the dreaded potluck organization role so as not to run afoul of the FAR.
          ** One of the actual government employees WAS soliciting $$ donations to his wife’s dubious “charity fun run.”

        3. Cmdrshprd*

          But there is a difference between asking for/needing special equipment to do your job, versus just grabbing extra equipment that is not necessary for your actual job but you just want.

          OP8 – saw a good opportunity and they took it, but others were not afforded the same opportunity.

          I do think it would have been better for the company to formally allow others to take the equipment if they wanted but planned/announced it. At x date at x time you can come and look and people will be allowed to grab stuff based on seniority/title….

          But letting one person have special access to the trash piles and not others does seem a bit unfair.

          1. morethantired*

            Yeah, this was my thought as well. I would be a little miffed if one coworker got a sofa because they were able to take it out of the pile and move it by themselves (I wouldn’t flip out, but I’d be envious.)
            But rather than trow it away, management should have had a free raffle or something where people could sign up for items designated to be thrown out and draw names on who got it. Then at least everyone gets a fair shot. I worked at an office that did this because the owner wanted to bring in net artwork, but the old artwork was nicely framed and high-end prints or real artist works, so throwing it out would have been terrible. I scored one of the framed prints. Only one or two things ended up being unwanted and so someone volunteered to drop them at Goodwill on the way home.

            1. Alter_ego*

              That’s what we’ve always done. There’s a raffle anytime there’s furniture or equipment that we need to get rid of. And no one has every begrudged the winners, though I do luckily work with reasonable adults

            2. Heffalump*

              OP8 – saw a good opportunity and they took it, but others were not afforded the same opportunity.

              Unless I’m missing something, OP8’s coworkers were free to take something out of the pile also. The raffle idea is a good one, but given that there was no raffle, it was reasonable for OP8 to do what s/he did.

              1. Anon for this*

                Yeah. I work in a government office, and stuff no one wants goes to a swap “store” where any staff can go and take it if they want. In the meantime, it hangs out in a designated area, and people definitely take from there, too.

                Really, it’s saving taxpayer money, because nobody has to pay movers or maintenance people.

          2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

            Where I worked, all office equipment and furniture was tracked and assigned to specific areas, and once it was deaccessioned to be thrown out, it would be an inventory nightmare if people trash panda’d any of it. It would have been nice to just ask for a free shopping day first, though. Our place would send out an email if they were replacing things and tell people to call dibs on the old stuff by a certain day.

          3. bishbah*

            I once worked for a university that put all of its decommissioned furniture and equipment on an internal “greensheet” that it made available to all employees so they could claim things in an orderly fashion before they were otherwise disposed of. I can’t remember if you had to pay for stuff, but if you did it was nominal.

        4. GythaOgden*

          The absurd one was when we receptionists were transferred between organisations and the new org came in and set up reception computers which were much worse than the old org’s. To compound the issue, old org was still supplying the switchboard for the building and so we still needed the software for that on our machines.

          When everything was ready, which took a suspiciously short time, I asked the IT rep to hang on while I checked what he’d loaded into the system. I asked where the switchboard software was so we could handle the multiple phone lines on reception. He looked at me blankly. ‘Switchboard software? Do you need switchboard software?’

          Like, dude. This is a reception. There are three physical phones on the desk. We are in a multiple occupancy building and our customers are paying you to be there and for our reception services. OF COURSE WE NEED BLOODY SWITCHBOARD SOFTWARE WHAT THE HELL DOES YOUR MANAGEMENT THINK WE DO ALL DAY?! I swallowed all of this anger about the situation until I reached somewhere where I could release it without losing my job, but …OMG I was already a bit angry about the changeover and this just broke me.

          Luckily my phone was still switched on through the old machine and I could answer it the following week while the issue was sorted out, but we ended up with one computer provided by the org that operated the phones and one from the new property management org to use Outlook and Teams on. To be absolutely fair, the property management org had been ordered to take back operation of the buildings they leased out, and so not even their management was really to blame for the mess. It also came out that the org which had formerly employed us had strung the property org out for a bit as they didn’t want to give up control of maintenance and facilities (and they still resent us several years on). So we were both just pawns in a bigger clusterfudge, but as usual suffering the fallout from giants fighting among themselves.

          I will say I now work for the property management company at an administrative level and see more of the reasons for the mess. There were several reshuffles that affected the whole of the English NHS (each home nation is responsible for its own branch of public healthcare) and we’re now in a better position to be responsible for more direct property administration than we were before. Me being appointed regional admin actually took a lot off the plate of the management that actually needs to run things, and at least I can now see behind the curtains to what exactly needs to happen to sort things out (and what I can do to make it happen). Coming on board meant they could also reassign existing staff to areas that play more to their strengths — mine is quick turnaround for admin jobs, theirs is public facing without the need to get bogged down in admin — and really makes a difference to how I can understand the day to day decisions and what factors into them.

          But geeze, the mess that got dumped on us was just awful and I’m glad to know the reasoning behind it all. Perhaps my career objective is to try and make the organisation more responsive and responsible so that another receptionist isn’t on the verge of quitting in anger (the only thing stopping me was that I’d still have to work out a month’s notice anyway, so I started looking for another job instead). But things are way, way more complicated than it seemed at the time and I really am glad that I stayed the course and can be part of the solution now.

        5. Vio*

          I briefly worked in an office where one of the admin staff had a special setup, a larger monitor with a magnifier on an arm attached to it. This was because he was visually impaired. One of the other staff insisted that it was because he was a man so any accommodations he requested were granted but because she was a woman hers were refused. It actually had more to do with him having a disability and her request of a parking space outside the office being impossible since the car park was owned by the building next door and the road had double yellow lines. So she, and everybody else who drove, had to park in a paid car park a very short walk down the road and claim the parking cost back every week. She had no disability or reason to find the parking problematic, she just always lost her parking ticket and so couldn’t claim a refund. She had been offered some suggestions on how to make sure she saved the tickets but refused to accept any solution that didn’t get her own parking spot.
          I was quite glad I was only a temp there.

      3. Goldenrod*

        “it’s also what happens when managers don’t shut down petty complaints with the complainer”

        Yeah, this!! The managers should have responded out of logic, and not immediately caved to those child-like ridiculous requests.

      4. Throwaway Account*

        I’m never going to forget that at my last workplace, one employee was told to stop waving hello to people at the other end of the long hallway.

        It turned out that one person complained that the waving employee did not wave at the complainer as much as she waved at other employees.

        Stop waving at anyone was the “easy” answer but the wrong one.

    2. JS*

      right? You can NOT repurpose this it HAS to go to the DUMP!

      My mom tells a story of seeing an employee at a department store cutting up perfectly good baby clothes and when my mom asked her why, she said they had to “damage” them to get money back. My mom was so mad. I think now they donate them to get the tax break.

      1. Orv*

        In higher ed this is a real thing with equipment that cost over a certain amount when new, because if someone just takes it, it’s considered grift and abuse of taxpayer funds. We can only auction it off.

        1. Goldenrod*

          Where I work, you can’t throw anything away that’s been bought with state funds – you have to surplus it – but there is no rule at all about re-purposing something that’s headed to surplus.

          1. Orv*

            Where I work that’s true within a department, but transferring it to another department requires a lot of paperwork that no one wants to do.

          2. gmezzy*

            A friend of mine works as an engineer building highly specialized equipment that goes to sea. Naturally, their workshop has waste material that still has a lot of value. They’ve gotten around this by putting things in/near the dumpster… and then fetching them later. One time, with a particularly cumbersome item, they took it out to the dumpster with a forklift, touched it, and then put it in a truck :|

            So silly.

        2. Junior Assistant Peon*

          University science departments have basements full of obsolete electronic instruments that everyone is afraid to throw out for exactly this reason.

          1. Orv*

            Sometimes disposing of them requires money that isn’t in the budget, too — often you have to pay another campus department to move the stuff to surplus sales for you.

      2. Siege*

        On the other hand, I used to know someone who worked at the kind of tawdy sex shop that sold very cheap intimate items. They’re made in China with a chemical that’s not banned there and is only banned in food and kids’ toys here, and they’re very common in non-rigid plastics. They also go bad, and most people have a mild allergic reaction to them when they’re bad, which is itching. So one of her duties was to gather up the expired items and cut them in half with garden shears so that no one would steal them out if the dumpster and give themselves that reaction.

        Generally, corporations will do the very bare minimum, but every now and again you learn a hilarious story that is at least amusing.

      3. Richard Hershberger*

        Unsold mass market paperback books are ‘stripped,’ i.e. the front cover ripped off. The covers are returned for a refund and the book itself dumpstered. This was disconcerting the first time I did it, but I got used to it.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I worked in a library in high school. Many of those books ended up on our “swap” shelf.

        2. vito*

          When I was a kid my brothers and I had a Sunday newspaper stand and we would cut the name of the paper off the front page, return that and sell the rest for scrap paper ( a penny a lb) back in the 70’s and 80’s. if there were good coupons we would save them too.

        3. pandop*

          A couple of million pulped Mills & Boon paperbacks form part of the foundations of the M6 toll road in the UK. So at least they were recycled in a way.

        4. amoeba*

          Ah, that’s where the “if you have bought this book without a cover…” message that I’ve seen printed in them comes from!

        5. allathian*

          Oh yes, I’ve done the same. And taken a few coverless books home, with the store manager’s permission, given that I was a poor student at the time, and most of my limited disposable income went on books anyway, and I’d read all the science-fiction books in at least two libraries. The store manager knew all that and let me do it.

      4. Chirpy*

        Where I work, my previous location would collect certain items of the “defective” items that would have been thrown out and donated them. Current location requires them to be destroyed per company policy, as the inventory person is absolutely by-the-book.

        Some products have manufacturer restrictions on disposal of damaged/unsellable items. Not everything can get marked down, and some items the store will get full price for defects but can only sell damaged things for half price. And some things people just won’t buy, even if it’s only a dented box, and it’s not worth wasting the shelf space. It’s a terrible system, but that’s capitalism for you.

      5. Slow Gin Lizz*

        My mom worked with a woman who would break large items that she was putting out on the curb for trash pickup so that no one would take them. What a waste! On the rare occasions when I’m getting rid of something large I am overjoyed if someone else takes it. Please, if I can’t use it, I’m glad someone else can! (This woman was a piece of work in a lot of ways and my mom was very glad that she didn’t work closely with her; she was a client of their company and mom didn’t work on any of her projects.)

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          That’s terrible! I was taught to set out items that someone might want a little separately from everything else to make it easier for people to see and take. (Working class suburb with no hint of an HOA, but plenty of people who could and would fix old appliances, etc., that they had pulled from the curb.)

          I still treasure the story an old friend of my mother’s told about setting out some furniture at the curb after her mother passed away. She decided it didn’t look nice enough, so polished it up with some Pledge. When a family came by and asked if they could have it, she told them to take it, then ran inside to find the matching lamps.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Curbing was the joy of my life at my old house; I could get rid of something and someone else got to use it. The best one was a lawnmower with a leaky gas tank. I knew someone would want it for parts, so I put it out with a sign on it that said “My gas tank leaks but I’m free.” Then I went back inside to go to the bathroom, came out three minutes later, and it was gone.

          They’ve dumped some stuff at work, including some chairs that weren’t too bad. I really wanted one since my desk chair is a piece of crap, but I had no way to get it home. :(

          1. Distracted Procrastinator*

            I got the best desk chair that way. It was hard to get it home but it was a huge, overstuffed, leather monster and I loved it. I had to let it go when we moved to a new place that was smaller and it wouldn’t fit. Broke my heart.

        3. Worldwalker*

          I add signs saying “FREE DISHWAHER — works” or whatever. I’ve gotten rid of many cubic feet of unwanted things like that. Someone gets a Thing, I don’t have to keep it around for big trash day or haul it to the dump, everyone wins.

    3. Ho-ho-holey hose*

      I completely agree, but it is also a reminder of why sometimes a quick email to you boss about stuff like this can save a big headache- even if it is something that seems like a no-brainer. The poster wasn’t wrong, but if they’d got an okay from facilities or the boss beforehand, they might have been able to shut things down a lot faster.

      Of course, that means the company has the chance to say no and demand that all the perfectly good furniture go to the dump still….

      1. ferrina*

        Last time I was part of an organizational redesign, we actually emailed out to people what they could take. We had a section marked “free” and encouraged people to grab what they wanted. It worked really well- people got stuff they wanted, and we didn’t have to haul as much stuff to the dump.
        Caveat that it was a small office, and my coworkers were all very sane and well-behaved people (at least in the office) and the company generally treats us well.

        1. Aitch Arr*

          My company did this too, when we moved offices during the pandemic.

          Everyone could take their (Herman Miller) office chair home if they wanted, but other furniture was also up for grabs. A lower-level employee – with permission! – rented a UHaul and took home the sofa and chairs that was in our lobby. She was absolutely thrilled.

        2. ampersand*

          Was about to ask how people weren’t fighting over free stuff, then read your last sentence. Yay for well behaved coworkers! Sometimes I forget they exist after some of the letters and comments here, ha.

        3. Frieda*

          When my org replaced some MCM furniture original to the building with newer stuff, the old items were slated for the trash. A co-worker and I divvied them up and took them home (although she couldn’t find a good way to move one piece that unfortunately did get trashed.)

          Later our grand-boss got really shirty with me about it, noting that she’d purchased something similar and it had cost $100!

          Which, a. probably what she bought wasn’t un-gently used in the way these items were and b. she made easily 4x what I did and no one had suggested at any time that we should pay for things we were *saving from the dumpster* and c. fork all the way off, mean inept boss lady.

          The chairs in question are in my living room right now, somewhat ungently modified by my cats but still good. I win.

    4. saskia*

      Yes. Unless the furniture was broken in a way that could hurt the user, infested, or harmful in some way (carcinogenic??), what the heck is the point? The only thing I can think of is if the office layout actually wouldn’t permit everyone to customize their workspaces like this (i.e., if everyone had a couch, there wouldn’t be enough room, it could create a fire hazard, etc.)

    5. mango chiffon*

      My organization is moving offices and a huge question was whether we could keep our office chairs/take them home since the new place will already have chairs. After much discussion we were basically told “well the chairs will be considered abandoned property so if they ‘disappear’ it’s no problem.” I guess the act of stating outright we could take them was maybe a legal issue? not that I know.

      1. Silver Robin*

        Also undergoing a move. Chairs and monitors were explicitly mentioned as available to take. But we also are getting rid of the desks and I could definitely arrange to take one home since I have a car that could handle that. They will all be disposed of so I am quite curious if I could take one…waiting for an update

      2. Orv*

        We were told all of our old four-legged roller chairs had to be destroyed because of OSHA safety rules. Only legs with at least five casters were allowed to remain.

      3. MigraineMonth*

        I once asked facilities if I could take home an office chair with damaged upholstery that was going to be thrown out. The response was, “Yes, but don’t let anyone know!”

        I snuck the chair out and loaded it into my car, looking both ways like I was hiding a body.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I want someone to develop these examples into a story wherein someone’s practice at adopting to an office’s weird rules turned out to be the perfect training for a spy caper.

        2. Reality.Bites*

          I worked for a company where one could occasionally receive free or heavily subsidized electronic equipment of the sort we also sold to the general public.

          Naturally when taking such things home, you were given a signed authorization to show to security on the way out.

          Naturally, since I had the signed authorization, I never stopped by security on the way out, just to see if I’d ever be stopped. ;)

          One weekend all the wall-mounted flatscreen TVs were stolen from the lobby. This was about 20 years ago, so they were expensive!

          (Just to be clear, I had no involvement in the TV theft!)

    6. Czhorat*

      To an extent, but I have some sympathy with the others in the office who didn’t go dumpster-diving in the discard-pile for their own space; if the stuff is going away, it goes away. If it’s free to be used to augment existing workstations there needs to be a better system than “whoever thinks about it and then sneaks it into his space” – that OP did this on the weekend hints that even he knew it wasn’t 100% aboveboard.

      Imagine how different it would be if OP had suggested to management that some of this could be repurposed and there was a signup sheet/lottery or some other system?

      1. Goldenrod*

        “Imagine how different it would be if OP had suggested to management that some of this could be repurposed and there was a signup sheet/lottery or some other system?”

        I see your point, but I disagree. That would be a lot of work and hassle for something that is essentially “finders, keepers.”

        Anyone seeing that pile headed to the dump could have used their common sense and done the same thing that #8 did! They were just mad that they didn’t think of it.

        1. Cmdrshprd*

          “Anyone seeing that pile headed to the dump could have used their common sense and done the same thing that #8 did! They were just mad that they didn’t think of it.”

          I don’t know that it is common sense to be able to take the stuff. It is intended for the landfill but it has not actually been put in the trash yet. At that point it is still the companies property. I think it is the difference between taking something for a persons trashcan inside their house/garage, versus taking something from the bin on the street.

          I have taken stuff from work because we were explicitly told we could, or I explicitly asked of X thing being thrown away could be taken. But I would never just grab anything from a trash/discard pile at work and take it without asking. Mainly for the exact situation OP found themselves in unless a person at work clearly remembers putting X item in the trash/discard pile how do we know you didn’t just “steal” it from work and say it was in the trash.

          Even during the pandemic when I was working from home, were already given permission to bring stuff home, I explicitly asked/mentioned I was going to bring a chair/monitor home.

          1. LifeBeforeCorona*

            My school sometimes showed common sense. Once or twice a year a pile of surplus stuff was placed in the main centre and it was first one first served. It was mainly folders, binders and storage containers but occasionally there was a gem buried in the pile.

        2. Czhorat*

          Most places have rules about allocation of resources and furniture setups for employees of various levels; that’s not an unreasonable thing.

          This is also very likely a pyrrhic victory; it sounds like this tiff the poster had about returning the furniture “I’m going to ENGRAVE it” made them look as overly invested as the complainers, if not moreso. Add the fact that the furniture remained there as a reminder of them pulling a fast one (in the eyes of many) and refusing to back down and return it when confronted and it’s a lot of political capital expended for an extra lamp and a couch.

          Yesterday we were talking about “soft skills” – choosing this as a battle to fight doesn’t exactly display those.

          1. OP8*

            OP8 here

            In fact in hindsight I completely agree with you. I spent a silly amount of political capital on grandstanding. The fan was what I cared about, not the sofa, and likely I could have had the fan by asking rather than taking.

            I wouldn’t do it today and I’d counsel others to not do it either. I think even in hindsight the reactions were overly dramatic, and I don’t think I caused the drama, but I chose disruption.

          2. GythaOgden*

            Agreed. We have fairly strict rules as our organisation — public healthcare facilities — wants to be able to repurpose usable furniture for their own use to meet their own environmental goals. (And save money in a budget-conscious public sector, as well.)

            If people wanted to ask why this is such a big deal I’m sure that they could ask. Normally there is a rationale behind why discarded furniture is not a free for all, so a bit of digging can satisfy that without all the outrage.

        3. zuzu*

          Sounds like the pile was still there when all the hoo-hah happened, since OP#8 pointed out that the items in the pile his stuff would be thrown onto had stickers. So anyone could be taking that stuff while they wept and moaned about it.

    7. I took an oath*

      It’s codified in my government office. When I’d just arrived here I found an old monitor lying around and set it up so I’d have two. Within a couple weeks they’d taken it and thrown it in the garbage. Likewise there are extra standing desks in empty offices, but I’m not permitted one in mine because, um. I am permitted to go into the empty offices and work in them using my laptop, but if I were to snag a standup desk and set it up at my desk it would have to be destroyed.

      The government’s current line on retention is “we can’t compete on wages, so we’ll compete on flexibility and positive work culture”

    1. MigraineMonth*

      I think I’d be mildly annoyed to receive an email that only said that (and didn’t hint at the actual reason for the conversation), but definitely not to the point of calling the CEO and threatening to quit!

      1. ampersand*

        I feel similarly–absent any other context the email does sound *slightly* annoying, in the same way it’s irritating to get an instant message over Skype or Teams that just says, “hi” and nothing else. Like I know what “hi” means but what does that MEAN and what is the sender’s intent?!

        That email was definitely not worth threatening to quit over, though!

      2. CanAussieMom*

        OP 7 here – the actual email was a reply to a project update where my colleague had confirmed a bunch of things he was going to do, so wasn’t completely without context. I was just very surprised – we’d always gotten along fine.

        1. Zelda*

          Is there any chance that he read “checking up on him” as an assertion of superior status, and it was the status that he had the hissy about? “You’re not the boss of me!!”

          1. amoeba*

            Yeah, I mean, it certainly doesn’t warrant the reaction at all, but I’d probably be slightly annoyed to receive literally just that as a e-mail response to a project update from somebody I wasn’t aware would be checking in on me. (Also, without a greeting or whatever?)

            I’d expect at least something like,

            “Hi X,
            boss asked me to connect with you on the status of Y project. Could you give me a quick update (about XY)? Anything I can help with?
            Thanks a lot,

            But sure, company cultures differ! (An e-mail without a salutation/greeting is definitely unusual here in any case, unless it’s just a “great, thanks!”)

            1. Mockingjay*

              I do this too. I’m frequently asked to “check up” on others’ progress, so I always “blame” the boss or task lead. “Hey, Bob, Boss wants to know the status on Project Always Fail’s report. It’s due next week.”

        2. Leah Jaclyn*

          oh man, the fact you are aussie, makes it so much worse, like I thought maybe it had different connotations else where, but like does this dude have a melt down at the shops? it’s so innocuous

  2. WellRed*

    Newspaper worker here. Honestly not sure I’ve ever seen a semicolon in a headline? Am I alone in this?

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      Dallas Morning News, today:

      2 found dead near West Dallas park; suspect in custody, police say

      1. ENFP in Texas*

        I think it’s more likely that the eye just passes over it without recognizing it.

        LA Times, today:

        Bodies found inside and outside Palmdale house; deaths of 4 men under investigation

        1. linger*

          Headline punctuation use:
          Semicolons separate clauses that may have some causal relationship (“and therefore/as a result”), although this is less common because news stories often avoid speculating about causes, preferring to report assertions as if independent.


          Commas separate clauses (or phrases) that are merely coordinated (i.e. “,” usually signifies “and”).


          Colons separate a source from quoted material, so “:” can often be read as “says” (though either order of presentation is possible).


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

        This seems like a well thought out headline. I usually see so many these days that make little sense. When I found out AI was generating headlines, everything was much clearer (not that I could understand the headlines- just why they weren’t comprehensible).

    2. Lexi Vipond*

      UK headline-ese has quite different grammar and punctuation – I don’t think we have semicolons (but maybe I’m wrong)

    3. KateM*

      I am surprised that there was a headline where either colon or semicolon could have been used – they seem to me to have rather different uses.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        That was my thought as well. I won’t say there are no edge cases, but none spring to mind.

      2. Antilles*

        Could just be that the co-worker was flat out wrong since there’s a huge percentage of people who don’t know how to use semi-colons correctly since it doesn’t seem to be taught much (or at all) in school.

        1. DameB*

          I’m the one who told the story and I am pretty sure Eddie was just flat out wrong. I mean, I’m not grammatically perfect by any means but I had a martinet of a fourth-grade teacher (Ms. Simington) who had a THING about colons and semi colons.

          1. Mockingjay*

            Mrs. Flaherty, also fourth grade. That’s when the school district hammered grammar and punctuation into our little heads.

            I majored in English and people are always surprised when I explain that grammar was not part of my college curriculum (although it certainly counted in my papers). “Well you took grammar in college!” “Nope, grammar was taught in elementary school, learned it that same as you.”

      3. starsaphire*

        I had a publisher who didn’t use semicolons in their books. At all. Instead, they just wholesale replaced them with commas.

        I found this out when I got my page proofs. Had to rewrite a whooole lot of paragraphs which had been turned to nonsense.

        So weird!

          1. Wonder Woman's Tiara*

            One of my absolute pet peeves as a reader is commas where there should be semi colons. In my teens, and absolutely Anne Rice’s core audience, I ditched her books after the very first one because it was so annoying! I couldn’t believe an error that basic was repeated so often in a properly published work.

            Anyway, I wonder if this is why that happens?

            1. starsaphire*

              Oh, how interesting! I wonder if we had different editions?

              I too vacuumed up all the Anne Rice I could find in my early twenties, and I don’t remember seeing an issue with semicolons – and I was a terrible grammar snob even back then.

              (I also had to stop reading a mystery series that I desperately wanted to love, because it purportedly took place in a tea shop, but they kept misspelling the names of all the china – Lennox instead of Lenox, Misen instead of Meissen, etc. Drove me up the wall, so I totally get where you’re coming from.)

    4. Ms. Eleanous*

      One would think there is a serious back Order problem with semicolons; so many headlines use “, as”, which sets up some bizarre associations.
      Looking at you Washington Poat.

      1. linger*

        As noted above, the distinction between semicolons and commas in headlines often comes down to whether or not the journalist or editor wants to mark some causal connection other than simple conjunction (“and”). This is very much a contested area in journalism, with competing institutional standards about whether causes should be marked at all.
        The semicolon also tends to be avoided because editors want each news story to have a single focus (and so, ideally, only one action should be selected as the “news point” reported in the headline). This is supposedly about presenting readers with the clearest, simplest account of events — though of course the real world is often not quite so obliging.

  3. Hailrobonia*

    #2: My workplace had similar rules. When I reported that my blinds were broken because I couldn’t have them partially closed, only all the way up or all the way down, I was informed that the property management company wanted them that way for aesthetic reasons.

    Like your office, we took matters into our own hands. A simple knot would keep the blinds at a certain level, and if you were caught doing it you can say “it must have accidentally gotten tangled up.”

    1. She has them all!*

      There was an insane amount of drama (a lot because of management) regarding blinds at my work too.

      1. Random Bystander*

        Used to be an on-going annoyance at the office back in the day. Not because of management, but the person at the next desk over.

        Now, this area was a bunch of cubes, so there was one row on the window side, and then three rows of desks (basically, two columns, desks on both sides) that were interior (so no direct sunlight). Person at the desk next to me complained that she couldn’t handle the glare on her monitors so she wanted the light-blocking blind down all day long (we had a light filtering and a light blocking shade for each window). I came in before her and left after her (I work 10 hour days, she was on 8s), so I would put the light filtering one down … around 11am she would put us in the dark … when she left, would she fix the blind? No! Move her monitors so that the glare wasn’t an issue? No! Request a change of desk with someone on an interior desk who wished to have a window seat? No–that’s crazy talk!

        So glad to be working from home where–yes, I do have a window in my home office and the blind lets daylight in all the time daylight is available.

    2. Orv*

      This reminds me of the apartment I rented where the complex wouldn’t let us have curtains because it didn’t look uniform.

      1. TX lizard*

        You must live in my apartment. My windows all face the busy parking lot and we have those shitty blinds that are basically all or nothing. My options are year-round seasonal depression, a peep show, or breaking the rules. They won’t even let us put that non-adhesive vinyl privacy film on the windows.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Our windows look out onto the walkway so anyone going by can look in if the blinds are open. I stuck bubble wrap to the glass to help with insulation, and it also made it a little harder to see into my place.

        One of my friends moved to the Netherlands to be with her partner and she said their entire building is huge windows. And not everyone has curtains. >_ <

      3. Wired Wolf*

        Our apartment windows have vertical blinds. A pain to clean, if we have windows open in the summer the clattering in the breeze drives us bonkers, and they’re “all or nothing” (if the slats are opened for light someone can still see everything in the room from the street). We asked about replacing at least the ones in the bedrooms with some nicer insulating honeycomb blinds–that we already had–and were told no, it’s not allowed. No actual reason, just “nope”.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      At $OldJob, blind wars was complicated because of the weird shape of the building. All the windows were on private offices, so the cube farm relied on daylight coming through the goldfish bowls.

      Unfortunately the position of the building meant that at certain times of the day in certain seasons of the year sunlight would cause ridiculous monitor glare or direct blinding in offices, so their occupants would partially or entirely close them. This was also the time of year when most people were doing their entire commute in the dark (53.4°N).

      Way to make the peasants feel like they’re working in a strip-lit basement.

    4. Mister_L*

      Reading the blinds story reminded me of something I read somewhere else.
      Apparently the owner of a small company was so stingy that he ordered the electric blinds to only be moved once a day.

    5. Nespresso Addict*

      At my last job we were in a fancy new building with electronic blinds that automatically went up and down based on, I’m not sure what exactly, theoretically I think they were supposed to be responsive to sunlight and adjust accordingly but often they seemed to adjust at random and we’d have to deal with tons of glare. The worst part was they made this startling electronic noise every time they were about to shift and in my 3 years there I swear it made me jump every single time. My coworkers couldn’t believe I never got accustomed to it lol

      1. Mister_L*

        At my last job I had a phone that made a noise like a kettle with boiling water about half a second before actually ringing.
        Alwasy made me jump to pick up the receiver and sometimes I felt like I was about to have a heart attack.

  4. Mel99*

    Am I missing something about the llama one? It seems like LW took it very personally and grossly overreacted to a very minor (and in some ways positive) thing. If I had a colleague who had such a meltdown about something like that I’d be seriously questioning their judgment.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        I’m the LW of the llama one. It happened about 10 years ago and it’s something I’m really embarrassed about all these years later. At the time I thought it was funny while also making a point; this was the culmination of months of people leaving notes everywhere and/or sending nasty emails instead of talking about issues. I was one of the more reasonable people in the place, too. It’s amazing what a toxic workplace will do to your sense of what is normal.

        1. ferrina*

          Thank you for sharing! I’m sure I did something like this as an early professional, and I have blocked it from my mind. There’s a suspiciously large amount from my early career that I can’t remember.

        2. Prismatic Garnet*

          I appreciate the ones where people shared themselves as the dramatic overreactor! Helps give hope that some of the others eventually realized they were silly, too.

        3. MigraineMonth*

          Yeah, I couldn’t share any anecdotes only because I’ve blocked out my entire last year at ToxicOldJob out of sheer embarrassment. During a recent cleanup I did find an over-the-top screed I’d written complaining about my devil of a manager setting me up to fail by doing… something. I can’t remember or figure out what, but I definitely had an overreaction to it. What was I thinking?!?

        4. Goldenrod*

          I really appreciate you sharing your own overreaction (along with #17)! It takes special courage to do that. And we’ve ALL done stuff at work that is cringe-worthy.

        5. Mel99*

          Ahh! I apologise in that case, I kind of interpreted it as you saying you were doing the right thing and the person who’d made the label was in the wrong – which was silly in the context of the series it’s in (I’m tired and had a break midway through reading them so I kind of forgot the actual prompt). I think we so rarely see people own up to times they’ve messed up (and so frequently see people adamantly insist they’re right after being unreasonable), that I jumped to the wrong conclusion.

          I also don’t think what you actually did was *that* bad (could have been funny or understandable in the right context) – it was more the perceived attitude of thinking you were 100% in the right at the time I was reacting to.

    1. Roland*

      > It seems like LW took it very personally and grossly overreacted to a very minor (and in some ways positive) thing

      Well, yeah, overreacting was the prompt.

  5. Lucia Pacciola*

    8. The furniture

    The reaction to this one doesn’t seem strangely dramatic to me. I’d be angry if someone else suddenly decided they could customize their cubicle, outside of policy. I’d love to be able to make my in-office workspace more personalized and comfy, but that’s not something that’s allowed. So yeah, if someone started doing that and seemed to be getting away with it, I’d be angry. Either everyone gets the privilege, or everyone sticks to the current policy. And I’d be doubly angry if someone tried to dismiss my concerns as “strangely dramatic”.

    1. ZSD*

      But why get upset about someone making use of furniture the company has already paid for? Otherwise it would just have been trashed. I think the particularly unreasonable part of the reaction was the coworkers saying that the furniture the OP took should be removed. If they’re jealous of the furniture, then they should just harvest their own from the donation pile!

      1. birb*

        I’m guessing people who were angry were people who also saw the dump pile, asked and were told no, and were surprised to find out later that someone else had things clearly from the dump pile and was being allowed to keep them.

        1. ferrina*

          Or people that had seen the dump pile and assumed the answer was no. I’ve been all three people in that scenario- the person assuming the no, the person who disobeyed the non-existent no, and the manager that got complained to. I was really confused the first couple times someone complained to me saying “this person is doing something that breaks the status quo and I’m sure it’s not allowed!” Now I’m kind of used to it.

          1. Laser99*

            I have to say, I live by that and it has served me well. For some reason, asking for something at work (“May I throw out this broken stapler?” “I have to leave 10 minutes early today for a doctor’s appointment, is that OK?” will provoke an automatic No. Or: “Well you’d better ask Fergus, he takes care of the broken stapler crises.” Just do it. If you get are busted, act contrite and plead ignorance.

    2. Roland*

      People were mad about the specific furniture – there’s nothing in the letter about anti-customizing policies.

    3. WellRed*

      But it doesn’t say no one else can personalize their office? It’s not OPs fault no one else thought of repurposing old items.
      Also, it doesn’t impact anyone’s workflow (except for the time they waste complaining).

    4. i drink too much coffee*

      To me it doesn’t sound like there was a specific policy against it! Maybe people had asked for things to be purchased before and gotten told no, but nothing was purchased in this scenario. I’ve pulled things for my office from piles before! (without the dramatics though, thankfully)

    5. Myrin*

      Except what OP did wasn’t “outside of policy” and just because “that’s not something that’s allowed” at your place of work doesn’t mean it’s the same at OP’s.

      (And if you’re referring specifically to the “unauthorised” – the context tells me that the bosses meant that as “furniture which wasn’t bought/sanctioned by us” except that it was because it was in the pile of stuff which was taken from their offices to begin with to be thrown away.)

      1. Cmdrshprd*

        I think that is understandable because in bigger office stuff is often standardized.
        All level 1 employees in a cubicle get x furniture, even if the couch was being thrown away if there were not enough for all level 1 employees to get a couch it is understandable for others to be upset.

        IDK unauthorized could mean not authorized for this location/role/position. OP mentioned moving stuff to their desk area (cubicle? open plan?) but not their office. So it is likely that people in the same area have a general type of furniture that has been authorized and a couch is not one of them. Also maybe if just OP has a couch it is not in the way, but if everyone wanted/had one it would not leave enough room.

        1. OP8*

          OP8 here

          Cubicles in open plan, yes. No private offices.

          I moved the big item on the weekend out of consideration; it would have been in people’s way while I moved it half the floor. Its final destination was not in anyone’s way and neatly fit some unused dead space.

          Others had taken the opportunity to replace or upgrade chairs. This was done openly and without repercussions. I think no one reacted because they were all the same chairs so at most someone was remedying a defect while having what everyone else had.

          Perhaps relevant: I didn’t move the last or only fan or sofa. There were others. Not enough for everyone to have one, no, but several more of each.

          Perhaps also relevant: private sector, not government, education, or NFP.

    6. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

      If someone else does it and gets away with it, you can now get away with it too. You should be overjoyed, not angry!

    7. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I think LW would have got away with it if they had taken the stuff home. It was repurposing within the building that drew attention.

  6. CeeBee*

    Uhh, #13 – I’m not understanding the tone – are you telling on yourself or the original label maker? because YOU went bananapants – that wasn’t passive – aggressive, you were just aggressive.

    1. Hlao-roo*

      My read is that the LW is telling on themself: “I’m sorry to say that I went a little nuts.”

    2. Silver Robin*

      Both – they think the original label maker was being passive aggressive *and* they themselves went way overboard in their response.

      My thought was that clearly people were forgetting the dosage, so somebody did a very minor thing and added a well-placed reminder. Not sure what was going on that OP responded so drastically. But again, OP does not think they themselves were in the right.

      1. Telephone Sanitizer, Third Class*

        Yeah, I think having reminder labels for medications is a good idea even if “everybody” already knows.

      2. Butterfly Counter*

        Yes, this was my thought because making a label for a med I was regularly forgetting the dose for would be something I would do.

        My brain has turned into a sieve. I retain what I can, but now need a system of reminders or everything goes to chaos.

      3. Cyborg Llama Horde*

        I honestly wondered if the original label was a self-reminder, like you can never remember if the llamas get one pill of coat shine oil or two, so you make a label to help you remember, and then one of your coworkers goes completely ballistic about how obvious this is, and you’re too embarrassed to say that you kept forgetting.

    3. Perihelion*

      Yes, the writer acknowledges that they were the one who overreacted in a few of these stories.

      1. Sorrischian*

        Well, yes. That would be why they wrote about in the thread on overreactions. Just because they didn’t explicitly say “and now I’ve seen the error of my ways” doesn’t mean they think they were in the right.

    4. Stipes*

      Alison: “I asked for stories about strangely dramatic reactions”

      LW: “I’m sorry to say that I went a little nuts”

    1. Alan*

      Well, the good news I guess is that these incidents are rare enough that we find them entertaining. But yes, I’ve worked with a couple folks at work whose mental health was on the edge. Both just blew up at one point. One quit (and then begged for his job back, which he didn’t get, even though his skills were really needed) and the other decided to retire.

    2. Laser99*

      When you have worked with the public for a long time, as I have, you come to realize that many people—many more than you would imagine—are unwell.

    3. allathian*

      Or at the very least, unreasonable. It doesn’t really matter why they’re unreasonable, just that they are.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      I love their foresight to include the Board of Directors in the list of potential “thieves”.

      Instead of wasting their time whining and complaining, the coworkers should have just dug through the pile themselves to see if they could come up with some bonus furniture of their own.

      1. brjeau*

        That’s what gets me about this! Why not see it as an example of what you can do now with this *free office furniture* that will otherwise go to waste, instead of ganging up on the one person who decided to take advantage of it?

  7. Moose*

    # 7 — Need to know how the boss reacted!! Laughter? Shock? Or was he as bananas as the upset coworker?

  8. Excel-sior*

    the pizza thing just baffles me because imagine getting upset that people don’t like Dominos and repeatedly going out of your way to convince someone that it’s better than actual italian pizza? i mean, if you like Dominos, thats absolutely fine, but let’s not pretend its so good you need to spread the good word of the Lord Domino to the unbelievers.

    1. Emily*

      Some people are weirdly pushy about, “You must like this thing that I like, and if you don’t it’s my solemn duty to convince you otherwise.” It’s really annoying, but I have run into several people like that.

      1. LCH*

        yeah, there are tons of people that proselytize about one thing or another (aside from the original, religion). MLMs, ways of eating, brands, are cats better than dogs, whatever.

      2. Excel-sior*

        oh, its absolutely super annoying, but at least if it’s, say, italian pizza over Domino’s, it kinda makes sense (not to say its any less annoying). Banging the drum for something so average is just bizarre.

        1. Chief of...*

          #16 I am not surprised your presenter was unhappy and don’t blame them for emailing.

          Presenting is stressful; it is tiring; they may have only agreed to it in the expectation there’d be nice things to eat at morning and afternoon tea.

          And frankly, if your venue can’t give your attendees a decent afternoon tea there are better ones out there.

      3. Cyborg Llama Horde*

        I can also see it as a weird dominance thing where you need to get validation of your opinion by persuading the Person Who Knows These Things — the boss needs to persuade the Italian (therefore Implied Pizza Authority) that Dominos pizza is the best, so that they can rest content in the value of their own judgement.

      4. Juicebox Hero*

        Yep. I don’t like Starbucks coffee. I find it burnt and bitter-tasting. If you like it, go for it, and I’m happy to go to Dunkin for my caffiene fix. But some afficionados act personally offended and I’ve been told that if I don’t like “real” coffee I shouldn’t drink it at all. Huh?

        Same thing with Hershey’s milk chocolate. The recipe contains evaporated milk which gives it a sour flavor I just don’t like. Again, there are a zillion kinds of chocolate out there. But not liking Milton Snavely Hershey’s secret formula is treason against the chocolate gods.

        I don’t eat fish or shellfish of any sort, at all, period. I might as well say that I eat old ladies raw with puppy sauce for the reactions I get.

        1. Panicked*

          That’s beets for me. I’ll eat just about anything, except beets. They taste like sweet dirt. I don’t care how they are prepared; they are just not my thing. You’d think I have personally offended the entire beet-eating world when I say it out loud. “You just haven’t had them made right! You should try golden beets! They’re not dirty, they’re *earthy.*” People will. not. let it go.

          1. Artemesia*

            Ahh beets. My daughter who is not picky does hate beets. I remember a fancy dinner where the palate cleansing sorbet came out and it was bright red and we all though ‘raspberry’ — it was beet sorbet. My daughter literally gagged on it.

          2. WS*

            You are sensitive to geosmin! My dad (who eats pretty much anything else) is the same. Something that tastes “earthy” to other people tastes like dirt to you.

        2. Excel-sior*

          i like Starbucks, but i wouldn’t imagine it’s anywhere close to being the best coffee, let alone the one true “real” coffee. It’s just bizarre as i said above; if someone went on and on about how great making your own speciality coffee with a V60 or aeropress that would be annoying enough (can you tell I’ve just bought myself a V60 lol), but being so pushy over just decent high street fare is confusing.

      5. ferrina*

        I have a relative like that. Best description I’ve ever heard:

        She doesn’t have opinions. She has “facts“.

      6. Ellie Chumsfanleigh*

        I don’t like fish or seafood.

        90% of the time when I tell someone that, they take it as a challenge to convince me that I am horribly, horribly wrong about my preferences.

        It took me getting well into my 30’s to stop arguing back and to just say, “You seem weirdly invested in my taste buds,” or “You should be celebrating; this means more fish and seafood for you!”

        1. You want stories, I got stories*

          I hate it when people argue with me about food.

          “You don’t like … ? Well you obviously haven’t tried the best, here try this.”

          To this day, I won’t eat food if I don’t know what is in it, because over the years people have tried to sneak in some flavor into food to “convince me” that I really do like it.

          1. Orv*

            Yeah, I’ll never argue with people who tell me what foods they dislike. If someone doesn’t like spinach the solution is not for them to eat more spinach. But if I’m eating something someone dislikes and they come on to me with an ‘ew’ reaction, I’ll be happy to explain the good and bad ways of preparing it. (Some foods are just terrible the way most people are used to them being prepared; brussel sprouts area awful boiled but quite good fried, for example.)

        2. Fitzie's chew toy*

          I HATE bananas! I never eat them. If someone near me is eating one, I quietly move away. Yet my husband of 55 years loves them and frequently insists I should eat them, too. Why?
          Why does he care? I don’t get it. It’s bizarre.

    2. Jaydee*

      Especially because it doesn’t sound like the Actually Italian LW was saying that Italian pizza is better than Dominos. They were just saying they preferred a different pizza place. Or maybe not even preferred! They were just suggesting a different place which could be for any reason. It’s closer. It’s faster. They have good crust. They have a side or toppings that Dominos doesn’t have. They have a special deal that is relevant to the conversation. The owner is Actually Italian’s spouse’s sister’s childhood friend and they’re trying to support friend’s business.

    3. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

      Some people mistake having a preference for snobbery, especially if there are real quality differences in play.

      1. Orv*

        As someone who grew up in the Midwest, I often feel I have to apologize for my tastes, and I won’t say I’ve never gotten defensive. So I think there’s something to this.

    4. Empress Ki*

      I wonder if the manager isn’t xenophobic. Trying to convince an Italian that an American chain makes better pizzas than Italian restaurants is pretty disrespectful. He’s free to prefer Domino’s of course, but he shouldn’t be aggressive about it.

    5. vito*

      when I was a kid it was Pizza Hut. We had pizza all the time but I could count on one hand the number of times I had Pizza Hut (it was NEVER with my parents). They bought from a couple of local places.

  9. Mim*

    I know that logo change isn’t at the company I work for, but so much is similar or believable that I am choosing to believe it’s just an alternate-universe co-worker coming ’round to share some amazing gossip. Thank you!

    1. OP #3*

      I’d be glad to be your alternate-universe coworker. Nothing like dual CEOs to really cause chaos at work! -_-

      1. Expelliarmus*

        How exactly did that even work? Especially since they apparently really hated each other! Did one or both of them start the company, or was it a family business and they were related?

        I just can’t fathom how this company survived having two CEOs who hated working with each other; even if you’re both really good at working with others, surely the BTS stuff would have been impossible!

  10. Miss Fisher*

    To be fair, I worked at a company that had a habit of changing software, procedures etc without the input from anyone who actually used those things. Everyone was rightly up in arms because it made work way more difficult for everyone who actually used these things.

    1. ferrina*

      We could probably do an “Ask The Readers” about unfortunate software upgrades. I feel like everyone has a story about that. I worked at a software company that apparently hated UX testing, and the results were painful. I didn’t even work in customer support and I would get emails from users saying they couldn’t do XYZ

    2. don'tbeadork*

      Central Office does that to teachers with our available curricular software, shifting it every year because we don’t see the results they want right this very instant (or at least during the standardized test). They don’t choose one and stick with it for say, five years to see if it’s really helping (or not). So I learn the software, note the lessons that might work best for kids and next year I need to do the same thing all over again because they bought a different license. They never ask us what we’d like to use, they just pick something, maybe by throwing darts at a dart board?

    3. Richard Hershberger*

      Yup. ‘This software does everything I want it to and I have mastered its use. Please don’t change it.’ makes one a Luddite.

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd*

      I saw this happen once with a data input team (at a prior workplace of mine). The developers introduced a bunch of changes to the data input screens which were ‘expected’ by the business, but they hadn’t paid any attention to things like tab order (the way the tab key should take you from each field to the next in sequence, so that the next item can be entered) – which made the whole thing much slower and more frustrating to use. They had targets of 200 (or whatever it was) forms to enter per day. They and their supervisor complained to the devs about this but were told “why can’t they just click into each field with the mouse? no one should be using tab”… You can imagine that they were extremely suspicious about even a whiff of change after that incident.

      1. Miffed*

        Several of my colleagues have heard me complain, because a certain update to the system changed the order of the things in our till. Some of us have entered a particular thing so many times that it’s all in the fingers and the need to backtrack every time because I entered the wrong product is annoying. I’m sure I’ll learn eventually, but it makes me a bit miffed, I don’t like to feel stupid. But I haven’t thrown a tantrum, just a small sulk…

      2. Mad Harry Crewe*

        I had a dev pull the tab order thing on a redesign of our booking software, and then he was baffled that it mattered.

        This guy also believed he knew how we used the software because he had originally designed it. Back in the 80s. So obviously he didn’t need to consult anybody or do user testing during the redesign in 2014.

        Very glad I no longer work there.

    5. urguncle*

      The software one definitely reminded me of when Salesforce finally went hard into “Lightning” after what felt like decades with the old interface. I maintain that it was not an overreaction though, as half of the reports I used regularly disappeared and functionality that I used regularly was just removed or changed permissions, like being able to view the attachments that held our contracts.

  11. VP of Monitoring Employees' LinkedIn Profiles**


    My own opinion is that the stuff from Domino’s and the other chains IS NOT true pizza — it’s DRECK that dreams of becoming “real pizza” when it grows up (and still won’t get there).

    1. birb*

      Remember in the early 2000’s, Dominos had a campaign where they admitted their pizza was bad and changed absolutely everything about it at the same time?

      I actually had really liked it before! It was consistent. It was cheap. It tasted like pizza. The redesigned pizza is mushy and tastes “pizza flavored” to me.

      1. LCH*

        domino’s tastes like the cheese contains cornstarch or something. i remember liking it ok when i was little (the 80s). i didn’t realize it had recipe change.

        thinking italian pizza is bad is just.. a really wild opinion.

    2. Beth*

      Agree with you on the Domino’s and many others, although not all.

      Domino’s is to pizza as ramen is to pasta, and belongs to the same part of my life.

      1. Orv*

        There’s ramen and then there’s ramen. The instant stuff has only a slight resemblance to the real stuff.

        1. len*

          Ah, thanks f0r explaining that this person is talking about instant noodles, I was very confused by that comparison.

        1. Orv*

          A lot of Americans are unaware that ramen is something other than instant cup noodles. I took my mother-in-law to a ramen restaurant and it blew her mind. Every time I see her she talks about how great that ramen was.

          1. Expelliarmus*

            I’m American and I only became aware that ramen isn’t necessarily made with instant noodles when I was in college and I went to a ramen restaurant. Up to that point, I thought whenever places had “ramen” on the menu they used instant noodles but then just made their own awesome broths and toppings instead of using the seasoning packets lol

    3. Excel-sior*

      i can see the appeal for work parties, specifically about 20 different types of ‘pizza’ that have the added advantage of all tasting exactly the same

    4. Yes And*

      I live in NYC, where there is really good, affordable, and usually owner-operated pizza on practically every other block. I don’t understand how Domino’s stays in business here.

        1. You want stories, I got stories*

          OMG, I was in Chicago a few months back for work. They ordered pizza. It was the worst pizza I’ve ever had. It was a thin dry crust, blech toppings. I was so sad, I’m in Chicago and getting bad pizza.

          1. Two Dog Night*

            I’m so sorry! We do eat a lot of thin-crust pizza, tavern-cut (i.e. in squares), but it’s usually really good! Next time insist on deep-dish from Pequods. :-)

      1. Llama Llama*

        People like my Italian grandpa? Lived right outside NYC and preferred Pizza Hut. Well 20 years ago at least. The last several times we did get local Italian pizza but growing up anytime my family visited he always wanted Pizza Hut. Heck there was a good Italian place less than a mile away…

      2. BellyButton*

        It’s like living in California where there are amazing local taco places everywhere, but sometimes you just want taco bell. It’s its own category.

      3. Trash Pizza Panda*

        Sometimes you just want what you want! Perhaps it’s the fellow New Yorker in me, but we have preferred pizza places for all types of pizza cravings – gourmet fancy pizza, dollar slice, grandma/Sicilian, and as my husband and I lovingly call it, “trash pizza” (Domino’s/Pizza Hut/Papa John’s). Sometimes, often a tad drunk and at an ungodly hour, you just want some trash pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less…

        1. londonedit*

          Definitely. Living in London I can get fantastic authentic Italian pizza, and I can get the cheapest and dirtiest greasy takeaway pizza. Both have their place!

      4. New Yorker Too*

        My guess is that Domino’s is less expensive. Even the basic large cheese pizza from my neighborhood pizza place is like $20. But I always see commercials for Domino’s for like “$5 pizzas!”

        Domino’s : pizza :: Olive Garden : Italian food

      5. PresidentBob*

        My dad absolutely pulled a Michael Scott years before The Office. We went to NYC and needed lunch when we were at Time Square (despite the insistence of my mom, my brother, and I to wait and get something after. But my dad is nothing if not stubborn – also to note he’d do the thing where he has to prove to you with articles and the like).
        We went to Sbarros.

        I will admit sometimes the cheap and familiar is what we need. When my wife and I got to our hotel in Chicago after a day of traveling we went to Panda Express because it was right next door and we needed food. Ate better the rest of the stay. And we do get Dominos on occasion despite many great pizza places near us. It’s cheap and quick and hits the spot.
        But Sbarro in New York when you can just wait 20 minutes? Ugh.

    5. Data Slicentist*

      I *enjoy* Domino’s pizza, but it does feel like a different category from what I can get at my favorite local (Chicago) spots.

      1. Filosofickle*

        That’s how I feel about burgers. I love fat juicy quality burgers, but sometimes you want a fast food cheeseburger. They are not the same craving!

        1. urguncle*

          There is a trash gremlin inside of me, who, on occasion, demands a McDonald’s cheeseburger. This is a demand that cannot be met with a $15 pub burger and can ONLY be sated with a Value Menu McDonald’s cheeseburger.

  12. Blarg*

    I have floor to ceiling windows at home. There are four panels, each with their own blinds. Two of the blinds are set to not go up quite all the way, so they don’t all align. I could ask maintenance to fix it (or I could figure out), but it feels like not that big of a deal.

    I will now think of the boss from #2 and have joy in the inconsistency.

    1. Butterfly Counter*

      We have “blind wars” in my home for one particular window, specifically a blind that we open from the top down.

      My issue is that my husband doesn’t like to feel naked in front of this (small second story window that no one can see into at all), so he shuts it to the point he can see out of the top of the window, but it would cover his chest if a person in our driveway was looking up.

      But I’m shorter than my husband and also like to see out of this window. So I lower the blind until I can see out of it. The constant raising and lowering is probably slowly driving us both insane.

      1. I'm A Little Teapot*

        They make films that you can put up so that you can see out but others can’t see in.

        1. Ellie Chumsfanleigh*

          Unless there’s a product I’m not aware of (and there very well could be!) that film only works if it’s brighter outside than inside. Once the sun goes down, you can see straight into the house if the lights are on.

          1. Silver Robin*

            I believe you are correct. I have a window I want to cover with some kind of film to make things blurry while still allowing light in. it is weirdly place and folks could see in if they tried hard. I am not particularly bothered but my partner is, so that is our solution. hope you find a way to preserve both of your sanities!

          2. TX lizard*

            They make some that are clear but prism-y so they scatter the light. Ey also make some that mimic frosted glass. These work in all lighting conditions and don’t dim the light coming in!

    1. ferrina*

      Also, when does the new phone come out? I want a newer one that does the same thing as the older one, just slightly different!

      -also humanity

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        You can pry the phone I understand from my fingers when my tech-savvy family member assures me that it cannot be repaired.

        -subset of humanity

      2. Goldfeesh*

        This new phone I was eagerly awaiting sucks because they took away that ONE THING that made it awesome! UGGGHH I want my old phone back!!!.

      3. Expelliarmus*

        See, I think the reason that inconsistency exists is because people can opt into the change that you describe, but they can’t really opt into the change that Falling Diphthong is referring to, so they feel powerless and more inclined to complain (whether the complaints are reasonable or not).

  13. Edward Williams*

    #8 employees of low rank were entitled to a desk and a table. Higher-rank: 2 desks.
    Low-ranking employee asked for a desk and a table. Janitors brought 2 desks — “We’re out of tables.” Boss noticed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. Janitor came back and turned one desk around so the drawers faced the wall and couldn’t be used.

    1. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      There was a secret set of criteria for credenzas at my first job out of college. You got one automatically if you were a VP. Whenever a non-VP got one, people would whisper about it for weeks.

    2. Alan*

      #8 reminds me of a new hire at work who came in on the weekend to paint her office a nice pastel color. That’s when we all found out that colored walls were reserved for management: 1 colored wall for a supervisor, 2 for a section manager, 3 I think for a division manager, and after that you could have whatever you wanted.

      1. Turquoisecow*

        VP at my old company came in one weekend and painted his office. Oh, the hand wringing about property values and the landlord being mad. When he left no one bothered to paint over it.

        When the company shut down a few years later the building was demolished. There’s condos there now.

    3. BellyButton*

      At my last company we had these rules around chairs. When my chair broke and I called facilities, I was escorted to a warehouse space and was told I could pick from this area of chairs, not that area- because those were manager chairs, and not that area- because ithose were VP chairs, but- THIS area- because I was a director, and these were director level chairs.

      1. allathian*

        Oh god, I’m so glad I work for a reasonable employer, higher-ups don’t get better furniture. If they’re lucky, they might get their own office instead of having to share like the rest of us.

        Thank goodness status symbolism is fairly muted in my country in general (and people flaunting ostentatious status symbols are usually called out as braggarts, an insult in my culture), and in my fairly flat-hierarchy organization in particular. The big bosses don’t think they deserve better furniture or phones than the rest of us just because they’re in positions of authority.

        I have zero patience with status games like this.

      2. ShysterB*

        Oof. I recall years ago when my firm was replacing office furniture, there were chair categories for partner, associate, and executive assistants/secretaries. I hated HATED the partner chair, but loved the assistant/secretary chair (most of my work as a lawyer involves drafting briefs/motions, so lots of time using a keyboard). I was told — actually told, expressly — that I had to take the partner chair.

        My assistant, Lorraine, on the other hand, LOVED the partner chair and hated the assistant/secretary chair. So we switched.

        There was some side-eye by people who were overly invested in what seats other people’s asses were using, but the OTHER partner on the secretarial share is a big moneymaker who wanted to keep Lorraine super-happy, and shut-down any efforts to make us switch back.

    4. Orv*

      I worked IT at a bank that had way too many desktop printers. I asked why they didn’t consolidate them into a few workgroup printers. I was taken aside and it was explained to me that a printer was a status symbol and we couldn’t take them away from people.

    5. Jay (no, the other one)*

      My husband had a grant-funded admin position at a university. The grant included money for furniture. Purchasing gave him the catalog and he selected a desk – the largest one they had. Again, the grant was paying. Purchasing said no because he wasn’t high enough in the pecking order to have such a big desk. He pointed out that the university wasn’t paying for it. They said there was a policy. He asked where in the handbook he could find the policy. They said it was an unwritten policy.

      He still has the letter he got from his dean authorizing an exception to the unwritten policy.

  14. CommanderBanana*

    What is, and I cannot emphasize this enough, wrong with the executives and CEOs of the world?

      1. allathian*

        Yes, the only difference is that they’re in positions of authority and their weirdness affects more people because they can largely ignore it if employees who are lower on the org chart dislike their actions. (At least as long as they’re merely being weird or unpleasant rather than doing something actually illegal. If they’re actually breaking the law, it’ll catch up with most of them eventually.)

    1. BellyButton*

      It is amazing. I missed it in the original thread. I think sociologists would have loved to be behind a 2-way mirror watching this all play out. “What happens if we slowly alter the shade of blue until it fully reaches green??” “What if we only change the shape of the blue trays?”

        1. vito*

          I saw something on a tv show where they changed the color of frosting on a piece of cake and the subjects kept saying that the frosting was a different flavor. But when tasted blindfolded they said the frosting all tasted the same.

        2. birch*

          Ehhhhhhhhhh there is definitely something to the crossover effects in sensory systems, but those studies are not well done and too often their aim is something like marketing or “blue plates make you eat less” which is really problematic health advice.

          1. Phryne*

            Nah, it’s just basic colour theory. Opposite colours strengthen each other, like green and red, so the butcher uses fake greenery in his display to make the meat look more appealingly red.
            Hard to say without seeing it, but it is possible the new trays really did make the food look more unappealing.

    2. Rose*

      I get people suspecting the sushi is different if the trays are different, and maybe then imaging differences. The fact that someone openly admitted the issue was the color of the trays and that they believed tray color would change taste blows my mind.

    1. Kyrielle*

      I suspect it was meant to be “more than 100, at least” – it makes sense that way at least.

    2. Hlao-roo*

      Looks to me like it’s a typo for “more than 100, at least.” The manager went around and cut the strings off of more than 100 blinds.

  15. Alan*

    Re #17, I remember being upset when they took computer admin away from engineers, and when they disabled e-mail access on personal phones. Both worked out great for me, if not for the business. I now call a tech whenever I have any sort of computer problem instead of figuring it out myself, and I no longer read e-mails on weekends.

  16. BellyButton*

    #7 All I can think about it is what the guy thought “how’s it going?” implied/was intended to find out.

    His optional responses
    You can’t handle How it’s going!
    Why do you need to know?
    Why do you ask?
    Why do you think you have a right to ask?
    Why?? What did you hear?!?!

    1. ferrina*

      I read these all in Maurice Moss’s voice.
      I would laugh myself silly if this was in the IT Crowd

      1. Future*

        I was sort of imagining Joe Pesci’s “funny like a clown?” character from Goodfellas, but no, you’re right, it’s Moss.

    2. Alpaca Bag*

      How about “I don’t even report to you and you think you can push me around?!? You have no right to demand status reports from me, and I can’t BELIEVE that you’re asking me to send you an update when I’m busy with this project! I do NOT have time for this.”

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      It’s a cross between The Butter Battle Book and Game of Thrones, only it’s the Chobanites vs. the Minions of Skyr.

  17. BellyButton*

    I can’t believe legendary bread pudding psycho has made another appearance on AAM! Thank you OP! We love BPP stories :)

  18. Goldenrod*

    #8 – I really admire your fortitude! I like to think I would have done the same thing. So glad you KEPT THAT FURNITURE.

  19. Quinalla*

    #2 made me laugh so hard, especially since I am an engineer. Also reminded me pre-COVID when I was in an office and the number of pieces of cardboard and paper we had taped to the windows as we didn’t have blinds and were trying to block the sun in various spots to avoid being blinded either direct or from screen glare. I have a piece of cardboard in my window in my basement office at home (WFH FT woohoo!), maybe someday I’ll get some blinds, but the cardboard works just fine and collects less dust!

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I had a lovely stained-glass piano window in my previous apartment that, at certain times of the day during certain times of the year (like, January, when the angle of the sun is lowest) would get the sun shining in it and glare on my TV. Since it seemed silly to get a short curtain and cover up this beautiful window, I just put large books in the window when necessary. Worked just fine!

  20. Just Moi*

    Just had to explain to my SO why I squealed and clapped my hands. I love this thread! And every day of my working from home brings new discoveries for him.

  21. Yes And*

    I don’t think I understand #7. I can’t imagine a context in which my “Boss/Company Owner asked me to follow up with a colleague about a particular project that was mainly his area but did touch mine as well,” and the entire content of my follow-up email was, “How’s it going?”

    If I got that email, I wouldn’t go ballistic the way this guy did, but I would be… confused. Perplexed. Perhaps, depending on the nature of the underlying relationship, even miffed.

    Am I missing something?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      My guess is that either the email was a reply nested in an email chain or, if it was a stand-alone email, the subject line provided enough context for the recipient to know that the “it” in “How’s it going?” referred to the project.

    2. Leenie*

      The OP explained in a comment that it was a reply to an existing thread about the project. So the subject wasn’t unclear.

  22. Lexi Vipond*

    I really don’t get the yoghurt one. Everyone just accepts that yoghurt is a thing that walks off by itself rather than acknowledging that someone is deliberately behaving badly, and then when someone points out that this is ridiculous and proposes behaving the same way (it’s treated like a perfectly normal behaviour there, after all), THEY are the one in the wrong??

    1. Critical Rolls*

      There’s a way to say “actually, that’s not okay behavior and I’m surprised you think it is” without staging a Shakespearean drama over it. Also… did you miss the bit where she just went ahead and stole someone else’s yogurt herself?

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        Perfectly normal behaviour in that office, apparently. Approved behaviour, even, because it’s only people who object to it who’re told off.

        I didn’t think she’d actually done it, only suggested that it was the most reasonable response – but in that setting, maybe it was!

        1. Leenie*

          She said she didn’t need the admin to buy her a new yogurt because she’d already stolen someone else’s yogurt to replace her stolen one. So she was definitely compounding the problem.

        2. OP 14*

          As the OP, I can confirm that she did indeed steal a yogurt to eat. The assistant ended up mopping up her coffee and then bought a replacement yogurt for the one the new employee had stolen. The new employee was fired two weeks into the job after she threw something at a member of another department (unrelated to yogurt).

          We weren’t happy with the yogurt getting stolen, but there were over 80 people on that floor at any one time and no one knew who was stealing it. We didn’t have a lunch room, just a fridge stuffed away in the back by the printer, so there were no security cameras and no one was going to ask management to try to set one up to watch the fridge. One person ended up writing the Taken quote (“I have a very specific set of skills,” etc) over their yogurt with a sharpie and it wasn’t stolen. It looked pretty ridiculous but I didn’t include it as an overreaction because if nothing else, it seemed to work!

          It also probably goes without saying that there were a lot of things wrong with that office, so I’m not denying that there was some missing stairs stuff going on. But the new employee was not a breath of fresh air in a dysfunctional environment.

    2. Rose*

      Of course they’re in the wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right. What would you have the other employees do? Set up security cameras? Go on strike until the thief outed his/her self? The fact that they don’t have a good way to prevent theft doesn’t mean everyone is just ok with it.

    3. Phryne*

      It really was a ESH one. Employee is right to point out the missing stair. I’d be miffed if it was met by indifference too. But then she went ahead and stole someone’s yoghurt too. No one to root for here.

  23. Whyamihere*

    For #11- we changed a software and it was like the world was ending for 2 employees. We designed it to look almost the same and got feedback before it went live but they couldn’t handle it at all.

    #15 We call by department. Management has to stand there and repeat what you can take on first round. Vegetarian options are limited on first go. There is always food left because they had to start the process or people would take 4 shares and touch food on purpose to take leftovers.

    1. SomeOldDeveloper*

      We once had a customer do advance training on a new version of our software where the icons, buttons, and backgrounds were a theme variation on colour “X”.

      The production release was colour “Y”, which was easier on the eyes.
      The customer refused to switch to “Y” because they trained on “X” and if users saw colour “Y” they would immediately think “different software” and not know what to do.

      Sadly, this was a true statement for some staff.

  24. Our Business Is Rejoicing*

    #8 reminds me a bit of what happened to me over 15 years ago. I was a very early remote/hybrid worker, keeping a job when I moved several hours away. I’d spend one week per month in the office and telecommute the other three (and that early we had pretty amazing technology, so this was entirely possible).
    During the time when I was doing this, my group moved to a new office where our group were the only ones in a huge open room. Because I was a telecommuter, I didn’t have an assigned desk, and would just grab an empty cube whenever I was in the office. Went fine for a month or two, and then I got chewed out by my manager and grandboss for sitting in a cube not equivalent with my position in the organization (even though it was the same size as the cube I’d had at the old office) and using a “manager chair.” I was directed to sit in an open-seating area where, as it turned out, the network hookups weren’t even active, but gods forfend that I go back into the forbidden cube, even for a few hours while they activated things. So I just sat there.

    It was an early symptom of a workplace going very quickly into toxic territory. I never did figure out what made what looked like a regular chair to me a “manager chair.”

    1. BellyButton*

      I posted about chairs above! This was a thing at my last company. IC’s had standard desk chairs with back that went to about shoulder blade level, adjustable arms, adjustable height, and cloth seats and back. Managers had chairs that were the same except the back could also be adjusted, and was a bit of a nicer cloth. Director chairs were probably what most of us had at home in the early 2000’s, one solid chair, no space between seat and back, arms didn’t adjust, only the height of the chair adjusted, faux leather. VP chairs were the same, but with faux wood arms, thicker cushion and back, and better faux leather.

      1. OP8*

        OP8 again

        There was a second incident at the same company where I found a surplus Board of Director chair that was one of three spares for the Boardroom. None of them could fit at the table. No one used them.

        I liberated one.

        Boss, on seeing it: No, don’t tell me where that came from, I don’t want to be an accessory.

        Memory says I did not get to keep that one, as I’d spent a lot of political capital on the sofa and fan.

  25. nm*

    Fascinated by the bathroom code story. At my office pretty much every door requires an ID card swipe to enter (for legitimate security reasons). You don’t literally have to swipe your ID to go to the bathroom, but you do have to swipe to get into the hallway that contains the bathrooms and custodial supplies.

    1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Ours was like that, too, although we also had a public-access bathroom near the entrance. I’d hate to be headed for an emergency and have to think of a code to punch in while the pee is backing up to my eyeballs and drowning my code-memory cells.

      1. Phryne*

        Yeah, I am not impressed by OP’s solution of ‘must be the homeless people, let’s put a lock on it’. The reaction of the rest of the office was not great, but that really was the first overreaction.

        1. Kaywinnet Lee Frye*

          Agreed, that’s a really gross assumption. Professional people are perfectly capable of being slobs, as we’ve seen numerous times on this blog.

  26. Pennyworth*

    I believe it has been shown that people eat more food if it is served on red plates, so perhaps the red sushi trays really were a bad idea.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      Possibly, but here people ate LESS food because the plate wasn’t the same color as usual.

  27. It’s the Latin name for Cavendish bananas*

    While yogurt thief new employee was certainly way, way out of line, I do think that people who make a habit of stealing other people’s food ARE nasty people who suck and I could kind of relate to her rage

    Actually I thought that a few (not all, but a few) of these stories started off relatable but the went absolutely musa acaminata-crackers.

  28. Heffalump*

    2o-odd years ago I gathered that my manager could be a bit touchy, but I was able to stay on his good side by managing up. And then one day he went on a rampage through the front office, punching the glass panels with his fists. People were afraid that he’d put his fist through a panel. I wasn’t 100% clear on what precipitated this–something to do with finding a phone list. He was fired the next day and told that he needed to get anger management counseling.

    1. SereneScientist*

      (Specifically from the manager that is. Of course taste in food is highly subjective, but to get this defensive over a national pizza chain that sure as heck isn’t paying you to do it? Double oof.)

    1. OP #15*

      Heck yeah! I can’t decide if I’m going to wait till the next holiday party or not – there’s also a big BBQ in the summer.

      1. BellyButton*

        I can’t wait for an update. If we are going to get company branded stuff, at least make it useful!

  29. Ferris Mewler*

    Should I be relieved or surprised that I’ve never witnessed an adult throwing a tantrum at work? It seems pretty common! I can’t imagine acting this unhinged over something like plate colors or phone directories (previous post).

    1. allathian*

      I’ve never witnessed an adult throwing a tantrum at work either, not even when I worked retail for years.

      That said, I have to admit that I’ve thrown what amounts to a tantrum myself. A former manager had treated me as a friend and confided in me as she shouldn’t have done. Then we had a project that ended up being much more work than we’d planned, and I got a bit burned out. Then she behaved as a manager should and tried to take some low-priority stuff off my plate, and I lost it completely and yelled at her because I had an unhealthy need to control that part of my job. Both of us had sessions with an occupational health therapist through our EAP, both separately and together, and I found myself admitting to her that I didn’t respect her managerial authority because she’d treated me as a friend and confidante. It wasn’t an instantly fireable offense at my job, but if I’d thrown more tantrums or been insubordinate in other ways, I would’ve been fired sooner or later.

      She decided to get out of management and retired soon after, and I learned that I can’t be friends with my managers. I doubt I’d allow a similar situation to develop in the future, but I’m on my third manager since then, and all of them have been impeccably professional so this hasn’t come up, and frankly I hope that it never will again.

  30. Lily Rowan*

    I can’t believe I missed #7 the first time! I had a very similar experience, where I emailed someone “Can you review this by Wednesday? If not, let me know what works for you.” WELL. She had NEVER been so OFFENDED in her LIFE. In my grandboss’s office, shaking with rage.


  31. Hashtag Destigmatize Therapy*

    I see these stories as cautionary tales about letting your anger make decisions for you. Don’t get me wrong, we have anger for a reason, but maybe let another part of your brain weigh in before you take action.

    1. N C Kiddle*

      That’s true of pretty much all emotions isn’t it? I’m a big fan of “wise mind” which says basically to respect your emotions as a source of data but mix some logical thought in too.

  32. ZugTheMegasaurus*

    #11: This happened at my job too and it was wild! I had only been there about 3 or 4 years and was the most junior person in the department at the time. We have a pretty robust project management system that serves as the info hub for any given deal/project; it interfaces with the quoting and approval systems and tracks all kinds of communications with various stakeholders.

    Then management started working on another tool that sounded *really* similar. They announced it long before it was ready so that they could get our feedback (as the people who would be using it). This “feedback” consumed EVERY SINGLE MEETING for MONTHS. No matter what the topic was at the start of the meeting, by the end it would be 100% complaining and “the sky is falling” about this still-unfinished system we weren’t using.

    Now, I did see a number of problems with the proposed system, mainly that it seemed to replicate the exact same functions we already had a system for (it would be in addition to, not replacing, the current one) and they couldn’t give us any clarity on what exactly it was supposed to do that wasn’t already done with our existing software. I would try to give thoughtful insight about what questions we had and why it was getting such terrible reception, but that would just open the floodgates. It was so bad I even approached my boss after one of these meetings and asked if I should just keep my mouth shut and talk to him one-on-one about any ideas I had on it, but he said that my input had been really valuable and I should keep doing it.

    This went on for nearly a year. It just kept going around and around in circles. I must have rephrased the same questions dozens of times in these meetings trying to get any kind of traction, but it just felt like a Groundhog Day situation.

    Finally, one day when we were in yet another one of these meetings/complaint sessions, I said, “I think the root of the problem is that it feels really inorganic. When we interact with the current system, there’s always a reason; it accomplishes something necessary. From what we’ve heard, that’s not the case with the new one. You could do a project from start to finish without ever touching it and it genuinely wouldn’t matter – it’s literally just copy/pasting the information we already enter in the other system. Nobody’s complaining for the sake of complaining and nobody’s refusing to do the work. We just need to understand what exactly this whole thing is *for* so we can use it effectively, and it’s been really hard getting a straight answer to that.”

    While it wasn’t necessarily true (I’m certain several people were indeed complaining for the sake of complaining), it was like those were the magic words. Everybody jumped on that as what they were *trying* to say and our managers finally got an answer from the development team. It really did end up being a redundant system (which is still firmly in place today) but at least we got to talk about other stuff in meetings after that.

  33. Reality.Bites*

    I worked for a company whose chair and principal owner had an unrelated business as a large regional franchisee of an international pizza chain.

    It was a company that had lots of team lunches, town halls and birthday celebrations. These often involved pizza. We NEVER ordered from the company-affiliated chain, only an upscale local chain. The Domino-lover (not our connected chain) would not have been happy at our office.

  34. A person*

    So reading these reminded me of my own oddly dramatic response to something stupid (I’m not even gonna hide details. My coworkers know who I am). I have, on my desk a tiny doily (like the size of a quarter). On this doily sits a matching thumbtack (the doily and the thumbtack are the same color and not the typical primary color that thumbtacks come in). It sits on my little computer monitor base centered with my little stuffed sheep Pumpernickle sitting behind it. Like clearly a “decoration” of sorts. I have had it for years. Well, our lovely and well-meaning admin was trying to clean people’s desks (which is a no-no, but she had the best intentions). She moved my thumbtack… it was no longer on my desk. I was SO UPSET. Like I was surprised by how upset I was. There were tears, I cried to two work friends about it. I did not say anything to the person that moved it cuz I didn’t actually want her to feel bad but I felt awful that my special thumbtack was gone. I was beside myself. I looked for it for several days on and off as I had time. I did eventually find it! She had moved it to someone else’s desk on their corkboard (I wasn’t a creeper about it… our desks are very open – I saw it from a distance). I promptly swapped it with a different thumbtack and took my special colored one back. One of my friends then made me a little pottery jar to put my special thumbtack and doily in, it’s sad that it’s hidden now, but at least it’s safe. I call the jar “the acorn of sanity”. I truly did not realize that my mental health was hanging on by a thumbtack when I had a meltdown over that. I have since tried to do a little more self-care so I’m not that close to snapping all the time.

  35. Shade wars*

    RE #2 (The Blinds).

    At ex-job, we had what I refer to as the “shade wars.” While seated at his desk, the Director could see out his office door and in a diagonal line to a window in the Exec. Assistant’s area. He would dictate when it should be raised and lowered, and by how much. The building’s perimeter had many large windows and got beautiful light, but it also got quite warm (it was an older building with no central air) and sometimes the sunlight was so bright it was difficult to see one’s computer screen. One summer day he asked EA and me (who had the office next to him) to be sure to close the shades when we left at night so it wouldn’t be quite so hot in the mornings when we arrived and had to turn on our window ACs.

    I was usually the last person to leave and always pulled down the shades in my office. But sometimes the EA would forget (or maybe left them up on purpose because by this time she was at her breaking point with the Director). If she wasn’t in when I got in, he would ask me why I didn’t close her shades. I was like, “I thought we would all just be responsible for our own shades?” (But also, what’s the big deal if you forget once in a while. And! It wasn’t even his office.) The EA and I had a very good working relationship so after about a week of this questioning by the Director, I begged her to just close her shades so I wouldn’t have to hear about it. I think she resigned like 2 weeks later.

    The next EA liked to work with her shades down all day – but also with all the overhead lights off, which the Director did not like. So that led to shade and light wars. She did not win either war.

  36. stitchinthyme*

    In general, the unwritten rule at most companies where I’ve worked as a software developer has been that the person who writes a given piece of code is primarily responsible for maintaining and updating it…but if that person is out of the office or busy with another project and a change is needed, others may go ahead and do it.

    So at my last company, I saw a small issue with a coworker’s code. He wasn’t in the office so I ran it past my supervisor, who gave me the okay to make the change. I detailed what I did in an email to the coworker and didn’t even commit the change (so it was only in my personal workspace, not pushed to the main system where anyone else could see it). I got a one-sentence response back saying that I obviously hate him because he’s a Muslim. (I hadn’t actually known his religion before this, as I don’t discuss such things at work.)

    I forwarded the email (which included my own original message) to my supervisor without comment. He was pissed and told the coworker in no uncertain terms that none of us owns the code, that it belongs to the company, that sometimes we have to make changes to each other’s work, that he had okayed my change, and that in any case the response was completely inappropriate and unprofessional. However, he had zero power to do anything else aside from ensuring that I didn’t have to work on any more projects with this guy (which he did), and Big Boss (the company owner) was a terrible manager who really didn’t give a shit.

  37. Ms. Eleanous*

    I really hope we get an update or full details of the resigner who wouldn’t leave.
    Ms Elaneous

  38. 1 cent*

    There was a lot of angst in my office last week about a client that overpaid their invoice by 1 cent. The invoice was over $100k. It was alleged to be my fault.

  39. Mister_L*

    #1 There’s a figure of speech in my native language: “Das Auge isst mit.”
    Roughly translates as “The eye also eats” (/ lit. The eye eats along,)

    It will never stop to amaze me what kind of tantrums people will throw over minimal and inconsequential changes.

  40. No Win*

    Oh gawd I caused a severe storm when I sent out something external that was technically correct but it wasn’t what the bosses wanted because of a lot of drama behind the scenes that I wasn’t aware of. It was an honest misunderstanding on my part, I honestly thought that I was doing the right thing, and it is part of my job to add value and ensure quality control. But they misinterpreted it as contrary to their instruction (which was very vague in the first instance) and think I am “not on their team”. They massively over-reacted. It was so insignificant that the other party ignored it. But months later my bosses are still going on about it, about my error, referencing it in meetings and emails. And I have been firmly told not to deviate from instructions – ok, fair enough – and not to question their instructions because they know what they are doing. So I have been strictly following instructions, not adding any value. Last week I was given flawed instructions which I followed exactly….and I have now been reprimanded again, for sending out something as instructed that was technically incorrect. I cannot win.

    1. starsaphire*

      Seriously, it is past time to polish up that resume and start job-hunting – although you are probably already doing that.

      Good luck!

  41. Dame Edna*

    Poor old Ed’s coffee cup went missing and he was so upset he sent an email to everyone in the building. The email got traction within the company and then went viral. It made the national news and international news too I believe. I worked in an adjacent team at the time.

  42. G&T*

    #6 yikes. We have an employee in our office who recently decided she just couldn’t stand the noise level from the customer support teams even though their groups had been sitting next to each other for years. (It was definitely about the noise, not that a handful of upper-level managers in the office had recently gotten walled offices rather than cubicles, and she, as a lower-level manager, had not.) Now there’s a giant denim comforter draped over a rolling white board in front of her cubicle to “dampen the sound” because the noise cancelling headphones everyone else uses just aren’t good enough for her. It looks great, especially with the cat puke stains that made it unacceptable for use in her home. She briefly had a patio umbrella set up there, too, but apparently that was a step too far and got shut down. Now I’m just grateful that at least her solutions were only ugly, not loud!

  43. Fluff*

    LW #13 – I can relate to the label explosion as I had a similar meltdown with a label maker.

    Someone decided to label our various devices as “Approved for Team Fluff’s use” on printers, fax machine, toner storage, etc. It was annoying. I took it as an admonishment that Team Fluff had better never use anything that did not have an “approved for Team Fluff’s” use label.

    I went ballistic a la Gary Larson’s The Far Side. Everything I could label became “approved for Team Fluff.” The doors, the desks, each bathroom stall, the bathroom lid, the bathroom mirrors, the windows, the trash cans, the coat rack. Then I added the coup de gras and sent the “that should clear a few things up around here” email.

    Thank you to those who read this and remember that event for your eternal patience and guidance. They gently took me aside.

  44. MIB3*

    This reminded me of my former boss’s strangely dramatic reaction. About 12 or so years ago, I was working at a branding agency in SoHo loft in NYC. It was very exciting at the time, because one of the lower floors of the loft had been rented out to film some scenes from Men In Black Three. They changed the entire floor into a futuristic yet back-in-time Andy Warhol-style party and on the days of shootings there were all kinds of odd things like a horse painted to look like a zebra right outside the office. There were a few Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith sightings, and paparazzi was frequently around because there had been some press coverage of Mr. Smith’s very expensive two story film trailer.

    The dramatics happened a couple of weeks before filming, when the crew was setting up. Our office was on the fifth floor, and one day my boss came in, and after waiting an eternity for the elevator, elected to walk up the five flights. When he got to the fourth floor, he noticed the film crew had the elevator doors propped open so no one else in the building could use the elevator. He was very (understandably) upset, and as a former graphic designer, sat down at his laptop for a proper response. He designed a fake Men In Black movie poster that said something along the lines of, “Hey assholes, hog the elevator again and you’ll regret it.”

    A few days later, a location scout was in our office apologizing for the mistake, and embarrassed as I was that our boss was so passive aggressive, it was kind of a fun way to get the point across.

  45. Nathan*

    #12 left us hanging…did the lock code solve the bathroom problems? I was expecting it to turn out to be the general manager or something!

Comments are closed.