the noise complaint, the romantic violin, and other business trips gone awry

Last week we talked about business trip mishaps and here are 12 of my favorite stories you shared about business trips that went very badly awry.

1. The stomach bug

I got a stomach bug while attending a trade show. Realized I felt bad, so went outside the conference hall to get some fresh air. Then further realized I was about to puke — had no time to make it to the bathrooms, so vomited into a potted plant right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows in the main lobby of the hall.

2. The boobs

I had a conference last year in Washington state. We stayed at this very posh art hotel. Hotel itself was lovely. Everything regarding travel was perfect. Conference was so great.

But the entire floor I was on was dedicated to boob art. They had them in the hall, my room had drawn photos of boobs, etc. I was not expecting it.

3. The violin

I was in my mid-twenties traveling to a conference with my fifty something boss. He could be odd and a bit awkward but never creepy or inappropriate. We were having dinner at the hotel restaurant when approached by a violin player obviously offering romantic musical accompaniment. I politely declined but my boss excitedly requested a specific piece. I then had to sit there awkwardly for several minutes while the violin player played his piece circling around us as if he was enhancing our romantic dinner. My boss smiled the whole time and afterward spoke about how lovely the music was as if he had no clue everyone was thinking I was his much younger mistress meeting up at with him at a hotel. We were both married to other people and after this we went back to discussing business.

4. The noise complaint

One time our VP was at a major industry conference and called security to file a noise complaint against a room down the hall, and it turned out to be her boss, the company president. (It was nearly midnight, and there were like 25 employees hanging out in his hospitality suite.)

The funny thing is that she didn’t back down. She gave him a dirty look and he sheepishly closed the door and told everyone to quiet down. This has now become a story we tell new hires to inspire the appropriate awe in our VP.

5. The cancellation

A colleague registered for a conference in another state. He flew to the location, stayed overnight at the hotel and in the morning arrived at the venue. Turns out it was cancelled – sometime after registration he’d marked their emails as spam.

6. The immodesty

I used to work for a nonprofit that assigned shared rooms for staff at its annual conference. One year, I was assigned to room with a woman I’d previously met a couple times at other conferences. We were in a brand new hotel – I think we may have been its first guests – and they clearly hadn’t perfected their design yet because our bathroom door had an almost full-length sheet of CLEAR GLASS built into it. When you sat on the toilet you could look right out into the room, and your roommate could look right back at you from their seat on the bed. (I checked with others and they all had frosted glass doors. Lucky!) We couldn’t be moved to a different room, so we rigged up towels to cover part of the door (not the most important part!!) and made an agreement that whenever one of us had to use the bathroom, the other would sit facing in the opposite direction.

(Thank god I no longer work for a company that requires shared hotel rooms.)

7. The grudge

My old department had an admin, “Jenny,” who was, even by her own admission, a little gruff. But she got the job done and her institutional knowledge was unparalleled. Jenny was easy to work with if you did basically professional things like say please, thank you, and respect her time. Jenny and one of our consultants, “Elizabeth,” did not get along and it was like the Hunger Games when they got going. From my perspective, Elizabeth could be really entitled and Jenny could hold a grudge but there were times it felt like Elizabeth’s personal life goal to get Jenny in trouble for every little thing.

Our field one huge annual conference that changes cities each year. One year it was held about 45 minutes away from our city, which was great and cut down on stressful travel time and costs for all of us. The one issue was that the city names were common like Columbus, Ohio and Columbus, Georgia. Jenny booked everyone for the conference like she did every year and Elizabeth was livid that Jenny didn’t book her flight or hotel. Me and several others did tell Elizabeth that there was no reason for flights or hotels this year as it was being held one city over but she was so angry and focused on getting Jenny in trouble that she booked her own flights and hotels. To the wrong city. Where the conference wasn’t being held.

I don’t know all the details but I do know Elizabeth missed the first three days of the conference because she flew to the wrong city. She got back mid-week and didn’t speak to any of us for the rest of the conference and we got a department-wide email reminding us that the company doesn’t pay personal expenses made in error. I do know that Jenny was in a very good mood for a few weeks after that and Elizabeth quit later that month.

8. The breakfast

Event: Law firm retreat for all the attorneys of a 40-50 attorney regional firm in the US.

Setting: Relatively fancy resort in the mountains.

Law firm partner (but not one of the senior partners) directs a managing attorney of an office (but not a partner) to buy a cooler, waters, orange juice, etc. He is buying breakfast foods. That way the firm can save money on food on the trip.

We get there the first day, partner announces that breakfast the next morning will be hosted in his room. Ok odd.

He proceeds to show examples of this breakfast: mini cups of orange juice (the kind with the foil tops you could stab with a straw), and an assortment of plain granola bars and little debbie snack cakes.

Those of us in management (also not partners) told our subordinates to just join us in the breakfast room and we will have a proper breakfast. We planned to pay the cost even though we were making well below market salaries and well below 6-figures – no rich attorneys here!

Half way through breakfast, partner (making high 6-figures) comes in visibly angry and demands to know why no one is at his room when he went to the effort to “make breakfast” for everyone and did we not understand how expenses worked.

Just as he is about to tell everyone to leave, senior partners arrive to eat breakfast. We all brace, preparing for them to join in. Partner then rounds on them about the same issue. They calmly sit down, look at him, and say “we’re not eating that ****, and no one else should either. Everyone should have a *good* breakfast before the meetings, not some cheap snacks. But bring those to the meeting room for breaks.”

Senior partners picked up the cost for everyone and the granola bars were never mentioned again, although partner pouted for the rest of the day.

9. The lightweight

Quick business trip from D.C. to Boston.

On the first night I went to the hotel bar with my client (we in were in town doing some tech stuff for their client). Turns out I can hold my liquor and he can’t. I found out at the morning meeting (which he arrived to late and disheveled) that he stayed for an extra drink after I left, and was so drunk that he couldn’t find his room. A hotel employee found him at 5 am, asleep in a chair in the hallway two doors down from his room!

10. The naked man

I traveled with my boss and grandboss a lot in a former job. One trip I arrived midmorning, got my hotel key, and then headed straight for the meeting in the hotel meeting space. It was a hectic day and I stayed a little late, gathered my belongings including grabbing my key which had fallen under another chair, looked at the key envelope for my room number, and went to my room. I walked into the room and there was my grandboss….naked. I screamed “what are you doing in my room?” While he screamed “you’re in my room!”…and then TRIPPED OVER THE BED trying to run away and was sprawled out buck naked on the floor.

The key and envelope I picked up were his! The room had two keys he’d had one in his wallet and didn’t know he’d lost the other. My key for my room was in my purse all along. He insisted on formally documenting in a letter to HR that he had not attempted to “lure me” to his room and was not “propositioning me professionally or personally.” I wanted to die.

PSA that’s why you should NEVER keep your key in that hotel envelope with the # written on it. You don’t know who is coming to rob or humiliate you.

11. The braid attack

While in the Minneapolis airport at the tail end of a business trip, I accidentally flipped my thick, braided hair into former senator Al Franken’s face, then eavesdropped on how he was almost Hilary’s VP running mate.

I submitted an apology to the contact form on his website, under the subheading “transportation–air.”

12. The illness

At a conference, the last speaker before lunch droned on and on and on and on for over an hour past his allotted time. Meanwhile, the tuna salad, egg salad, and potato salad, all with a copious amount of mayo, were sitting out being uneaten and unrefrigerated. Half the attendees got sick that night. Starting the following year, they had a rule that when lunch arrives, they cut the speaker off and eat right away.

{ 315 comments… read them below }

  1. ArtK*

    #12: Never mind the food, someone should have cut the speaker off at their time. Really bad job running the conference if they let someone run that long. Personally, I would have gotten up and left.

    1. Artemesia*

      I’ve had to do that. You stand up and stand next to the guy and say ‘we are over time here and will need to end in 5 minutes, so you will need to make your final point’. Then you move in, take the mike and thank them.

      1. H.Regalis*

        My grandboss has to do that to my boss once, and I was so glad he did because I was about to cringe myself out of existence.

        1. amoeba*

          I’ve been to multiple conferences where there was a traffic light system – when it turned yellow, you had 5 (or 2, or whatever) minutes left, and when it turned red, you stopped, zero exceptions. Works really well and no awkward politics involved!

    2. Pretty as a Princess*

      I got up during someone’s pre-lunch talk at a professional event last year, which was pretty small – an invite only group of about 60. Lunch was already scheduled not to start until nearly 1 PM for some reason and the person in charge let the speaker ramble on and on. No one wanted to be rude, but at almost 1:30 I was nearly unconscious. It was SO disrespectful – especially since the event agenda started at like 8 AM. I muttered “If you’ll excuse me, I don’t feel well” to the people at my table, stood up tall and strode purposefully out to the hall and decided to be the first one to hit the lunch buffet posted there. Then my coworker sitting next to me followed me. The food was pretty good, too.

    3. Show runner*

      Absolutely! I’ve just finished running a business conference for 400 delegates with three parallel streams.

      Our sessions start on the minute and the one that ran latest was 2 minutes over.

      You just need a strong team of organisers who have the backing of management to wind sessions up on time, regardless of who the speaker is.

    4. Six Feldspar*

      At the last conference I went to, one of the people running it got up at the start and warned us all that:
      – he would start playing the harmonica when someone went over their time, and
      – he did not know how to play the harmonica (to make it sound good I assume)

      Amazingly enough everyone finished within a minute or two of schedule…

      1. Recovering Editor*

        I used to work at a publisher, so we had conference twice a year where the editors would explain all the books to the sales force. Some editors had it down to “Young adult fantasy novel, Harry Potter meets Game of Thrones with disabled heroine, first in a series of five, sprayed edged and embossing on the cover, next slide please.” Others would, despite repeated training and instructions and knowing they had a five-minute slot, attempt to read out the full synopsis of each book on their list of 30. This happened *every single time*. By the 25th time someone settles in with “Tragically orphaned by a hot air balloon accident, Julia is sent to Miss Pilchard’s Home for Unusual and Interesting Children…”, you wish for death.

        The sales director’s tactics to control this included approaching from the back of the room in a menacing fashion with a big sign saying TIME’S UP, blowing a kazoo, and shouting “NOBODY CARES” at the top of his voice. I loved that man.

        1. Six Feldspar*

          A harmonica/kazoo/vuvuzela etc should definitely be part of the standard conference toolkit!

            1. Six Feldspar*

              There’s a tiktok I’ve seen of a guy playing a bagpipe made from a rubber glove and several straws, much easier to carry around!

          1. zoobeezoo*

            I once had a colleague who moderated (and timed) lightning talks at a conference with a rather large gong. It was great.

        2. tiny potato*

          OMG. At the Ig Nobel prizes, lectures that go over time are interrupted by an adorable little girl in a poufy outfit who heads on stage and repeatedly whines, “PLEASE STOP, I’M BORED” over and over as often as necessary until the laureate shuts up and goes away.

      2. Quill*

        And since a harmonica can fit in a pocket, it could have been an empty threat, but we will never know who has a pocket harmonica to bweet at rambling speakers.

      3. Mongrel*

        A consistent part of the Ig Nobel awards ceremony is a young child called Miss Sweetie Poo who repeatedly cries out “Please stop! I’m bored” if the speakers go on too long

      4. Annalisa*

        There’s an academic conference I go to that focuses on early modern (Shakespeare and co) performance and a lot of it is held in a theater. In case you don’t know, Shakespeare’s most famous stage direction comes from The Winter’s Tale and is “exit, pursued by a bear.”

        When your time was up, someone dressed in a bear suit would come out and steal your paper (or, more recently, your Ipad, etc.). People waited expectantly for the bear. Those giving papers tried to time it to exactly X minutes so the bear would just be coming out as they finished. Great fun was had by all.

        One year, a presenter obviously felt she needed an extra minute and planned ahead. When the bear came out she calmly reached into a bag at her feet, pulled out a jar of honey, and handed it to him. The bear paused, shrugged, and then took the honey and retreated backstage. The theater exploded. Best moment ever.

    5. Choggy*

      Note to self, avoid conferences with speakers and lunches at the back of the room going bad.

  2. Cookie Monster*

    “At a conference, the last speaker before lunch droned on and on and on and on for over an hour past his allotted time.”

    This type of person just astounds me. I’m almost (emphasis on almost) impressed by their confidence. I’d be so self-conscious about not going even a minute of my time, I cannot imagine how they’re comfortable holding people hostage for an extra hour. And over the lunch break, no less!

    1. College Career Counselor*

      Politician or academic? Either one can fill time like nobody’s business.

      1. higher ed-itor*

        Agreed! In my experience organizing events with academic speakers, that’s why it’s SO important to have an on-the-ball moderator/conference staff to rein them in and keep a sharp eye on the clock.

      2. Nesprin*

        There’s a Nobel laureate who is famous for exceeding her time- it’s reached the point that conference organizers know to tell her to prep a 20 min talk if they want a full hour and god help anyone who books her before lunch.

      3. Never the Twain*

        Or pastor. I was once at a service where the sermon was given by a visitor who prided himself on being ‘direct’ and ‘blunt’ (regional dialect; elsewhere people would have said ‘rude’ and ‘ignorant’). He did actually prompt one spat with someone who vociferously disagreed and left, which he seemed to think indicated he was on the right track. Later, four or five other people left fairly soon after each other and he joked’ We’re sorting out the sheep from the goats; let’s see the true believers who remain.’ Fair play to the organiser, who did then say ‘No, I think it’s more the ones who are still here don’t have anything else to do; we were supposed to finish at half past seven.’ (50 minutes earlier)
        I did also hear that at another church, presumably where someone had received advance warning, a member stood up 10 minutes after the scheduled closing time and said ‘While our brother is finishing, let’s sing hymn number 432.’

    2. Magenta Sky*

      It’s more astounding that they’re allowed to, especially for that long. The speaker isn’t the only one at fault there.

    3. Artemesia*

      The thing I finally learned to plan for as a speaker is that they often get you on late. They want a half hour speech but if they get you on 20 minutes late — then you are going to run over. Having a speech that can be cut on the run is important.

    4. noncommittally anonymous*

      As I think I related last time, I was moderating a session where the last speaker kept droning on and on. I kept trying to stop him, he’d say, “One more minute!” and keep talking. At 20 minutes over, I unplugged the projector.

    5. WriterDrone*

      My general company culture is that most things start 5 minutes after the posted starting time and end 5 minutes before the posted ending time, especially if it involves a large group. They’re also really good about making sure food is provided if a meeting or event overlaps normal meal times. It’s seriously the best place I’ve ever worked for a variety of reasons but because it’s what we’re used to, people get extra indignant if they’re at a conference or at a vendor or customer site and things run over time.

  3. Myrin*

    I don’t know why but something about #2’s “I was not expecting it.” is absolutely sending me. It’s so dry and matter-of-fact and expresses so much astonishment. I can’t stop giggling.

    1. RIP Pillowfort*

      To be fair I really wasn’t expecting it. I had no idea what art was going to be there until the elevator doors opened and I’m faced with a wall display of blown glass boobs.

      1. Le Sigh*

        To be fair, not sure anyone would expect that! And my text chains would have been going nuts. I love art, I support the hotel concept, but I the maturity of a donut when it comes to stuff like this, so there’s exactly zero chance I wouldn’t be taking selfies with *checks notes* a wall of blown glass boobs and keeping my friends and family posted on this titular discovery.

        1. Christine*

          I once went to the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor only to be accosted by bad boob art (really, really bad). There is nothing quite like stuffed nylons draped over Rodin statues to put you off modern art for life.

          Found it! I can’t believe it was in 2017!

          1. Phryne*

            That looks very familiar. I think she single handedly did the British pavilion of the Venice Biennale once.

        1. M*

          I’ve held conferences at that hotel for two different industries. For the more conservative of the two, we requested that they keep our room block off of that floor and let us know who they booked there if it was impossible to avoid completely.

      1. ArtsNerd*

        Not prudish! I expect you could have gotten a room on a different floor without much fuss. Interesting that they advertise it as a destination for business travel on their web site with nary a mention of the boob floor.

      2. Alice in Spreadsheetland*

        Honestly, I would have too. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with art like that everywhere. I know breasts aren’t genitalia and I’m all for public breastfeeding (especially bc yknow, breastfeeding mothers aren’t shoving their breasts in anyone’s face but the baby’s) but walls of boobs?? Too much. (I’d be just as uncomfortable if it was all art of men’s chests/abs as well, I just… don’t really appreciate art of disembodied body parts I guess)

    2. BeenThere*

      As someone who is doing extended breastfeeding (toddler shows no sign of stopping) I would have loved this now! Boobs are amazing.

      When I was younger, I might have been bothered by the lack of variety / representation of the art on the floor. I do figure and portrait painting so there’s that.

      1. BoobsAreTheBest*

        Just dropping by to offer a high five and say right on! I nursed my little one until 2y3m and likely would have gone longer had it not been for an extended trip away. Feeding little ones is hard (no matter how you do it!), and feeding them from your body for an extended period of time can be especially challenging. You’re awesome!

    3. Anon for this*

      Once was at a medical conference and were staying in a hotel with a company who had booked their travel late so whilst it was a decent hotel not one of the normal conference ones.
      The hotel was fine except for the fact that ALL of the TVs in ALL of the rooms only showed porn. No news or music or BBC. Just porn.
      For a bunch of clinicians at a sexual health conference.
      Years later it’s still referred to as the porn conference

      1. Artemesia*

        I was at an event in Russia which we have sense called the ‘Clown porn restaurant.’ Tables for lunch held about 20 people and were in sort of wagon spokes around a central stage like area where clowns performed — big orange wigs, juggling the whole 9 yards. At the end of each table suspended was a TV and each TV was showing soft core porn. It was surreal.

        1. Anonopotamus*

          This doesn’t involve clowns or a professional event, but you reminded me of my trip to Amsterdam about 20 years ago. My partner and I decided to turn on the TV in our hotel and see what Dutch folks watch.

          We watched a perfectly normal evening news program, immediately followed (on the same channel) by soft core porn.

          1. Phryne*

            We are way, way more casual about swearing and nudity than the US. (and way less casual about violence, incidentally)

            1. amoeba*

              Yeah, that would be pretty normal in Germany as well. After 10 pm or possibly even midnight though!

      1. Timothy (TRiG)*

        I think Reddit is throwing a wobbly right now. It’ll probably be visible again in an hour or two. It happens a lot.

    1. Le Sigh*

      This is just such a weird thing to do in a hotel. I don’t have to bunk with coworkers but I’m absolutely positive I don’t want my friends or SO seeing me on the toilet either. I know we all have different levels of comfort with bathroom activities but….yeesh.

      1. Artemesia*

        When my husband and I were shopping for a house for our family, we found several new homes where the master bath was open to the master bedroom and the toilet was literally on a platform, sort of a stage, in full view. I can vaguely see that a shower might work that way for some people but does anyone want to see their partner sitting on the toilet?

        When I asked WHY — and WHO would buy a place with this design, they suggested well we could go down the hall to the guest bath. Quite apart from the ickyness of the design, the fact that you can’t cut out light that might wake a sleeping partner is bad design.

        We had a room in China with a glass wall which spilled light but at least it was frosted.

        1. Decidedly Me*

          One of the houses we looked at had a direct sightline to the toilet from the only place the master bed could reasonably go. No door, nothing. I can’t remember the nickname we gave to that house (all the houses we looked at got nicknames to keep them straight), but it had to have been related to that “feature”.

      2. Shudder*

        WHY do hotels do this?!

        I check the room photos before booking to avoid rooms like this.

        1. ashleeeeeey*

          omg this. I booked a short trip with my dad that included an overnight hotel stay where we would be sharing a room, and I had picked out a hotel that had a good price. I happened to mention the name of the hotel to my husband, and because he goes to that city frequently for work, he had been there before. He very quickly warned me NOT to book a room at that hotel because their bathrooms are basically open to the room! The shower walls are glass and smack dab in the middle of the room. NOT a place I want to be with my father! Yikes! Who designs these places?

          1. Quill*

            In hotels, I think the design might be to try and enforce one guest / one romantic couple per room. To try and make it too awkward to book a room with a single queen bed for you and a friend, or force a family to book a second room for their kid.

            In houses I think the idea is to imitate hotel designs without critical thought, because for some reason home designs and wares will use “just like a hotel!” copy and designs to signify that it’s high end.

            (Sorry, podcast ad, but since when have hotel sheets been a hallmark of quality? You can just blabber about thread count still, I promise.)

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’d have gone to the front desk for paper and tape. Or all their PostIt notes. Or thumbtacks and an extra bedsheet.

      That’s just awful.

    3. Sandangel*

      This was literally what came to mind when I read it. Not every surface needs to be either a window or a mirror!

  4. Lord Farquad*

    Am I the only one who wants to know the name of the hotel with the boob art floor??

    1. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      I believe it’s the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. I stayed on the boob floor, and I don’t think there are many hotels that have one.

      1. Nusuth*

        Oh my gosh, that’s so funny. I went to Hotel Murano ALL THE TIME as a kid because they regularly hosted dance competitions and conventions. Stayed there once or twice, but the Courtyard Marriott a few blocks away was cheaper. No idea how a boob floor did not somehow make its way into kid lore in the tens of weekends I spent there in my child and teenage hood.

    2. Don’t make me come over there*

      I stayed at a hotel in Amsterdam recently that had a large framed poster opposite the lobby elevators. It took me a day or two to realize it depicted a hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows and various sex acts going in in each room

  5. Hashtag Destigmatize Therapy*

    Re: #3, I would’ve been tempted to request Bach’s Chaconne in D minor.

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I would have been tempted to request some horrible 12-tone music like the Berg concerto or something like that. But I do love the Bach Chaconne!

      1. Rebecca1*

        I find the Berg concerto exquisite! But it’s terribly depressing (by design, since it’s a memorial piece) and definitely not something you’d expect at a restaurant.

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          I realized after posting my comment that I’ve never actually heard the Berg concerto! I was basing my comment on my absolute loaaaathing of Wozzeck, so it tracks that his concerto is also terribly depressing. At least a violin concerto won’t have Sprechstimme, which is one of the worst things anyone has ever come up with (musically speaking, that is).

          Now I’m going to make myself listen to the concerto, since I am appalled at myself that I’ve never even heard it. And I’m a violist, too. Shame on me.

          1. Slow Gin Lizz*

            Ok, I agree, the Berg Concerto is beautiful. Just listened to the Itzhak Perlman recording of it and it is indeed exquisite. I want to listen to it again already, but it’s hard for me to concentrate on work when I am listening to beautiful music.

    2. Annie*

      For the guy who asked for the music, it’s not really his fault what everyone else was thinking, he was just enjoying the music!

      1. snacattack*

        I agree with that. I’d also wonder whether the other people in the restaurant were actually assuming this was an older man and his mistress, or assuming anything at all. IME people at restaurants (and stores, and shows, etc.) pay a lot less attention to what’s going on with other people in the place than we think–or fear!

        1. Phryne*

          If they payed attention at all (probably not) niece or granddaughter would be a way more likely assumption than mistress,

        2. Never the Twain*

          Most were probably like me, thinking “Hurray, it’s going to be at least 5 minutes before I have to panic about accidentally catching the fiddle player’s eye again.”

  6. Kiv*

    The food was probably questionable anyway – it’s unlikely that one hour outside is the difference between completely fine and half the waters getting sick.

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      I was going to add this. One hour warming at room temperature should not have been enough to get folks sick unless the food was already teeming with salmonella, etc.

      1. Ann Onymous*

        Or unless it had been out for a bit before that in the process of getting delivered.

      2. She of Many Hats*

        If it wasn’t made on-site eg a hotel kitchen, it was made 1-3 hours before the event & store until it was put into a vehicle that may not have had adequate heating/cooling equipment and driven in city traffic before being set-up 15-30 minutes before the expected dining time. Add in the increased numbers of caterers forced to use DoorDash or UberEats for delivery and you add another level of potential food safety failure points.

      3. Anonym*

        Isn’t it most often fresh produce anyway? Mayo seems to get a disproportionately bad rap, when it’s usually the salad greens or celery or whatever.

      4. Quill*

        Food poisoning isn’t always about the generation time of a bacteria (the amount of time it takes for a salmonella population to double is 20 minutes, btw) but about the amount of toxic byproducts they produce. You can get a lot of output of toxin when a population starts to grow rapidly after not having had the chance before.

        Say you started with 5 ppm salmonella, considered “safe” upon delivery. You would have 40 ppm within an hour, (10 at 20 minutes, 20 at 40 minutes…) 80 ppm within an hour and 20 minutes. And they’d all be putting in their exotoxins because they love to excrete them when wandering about in mayo.

        An hour at room temp makes a HUGE difference to a salmonella salad.

    2. DyneinWalking*

      Yeah. If that was the case, most of the parties I’ve been at would’ve been serving unsafe food. If there’s a buffet (common for private parties at someone’s home), the food usually stays out for several hours. Even in summer, I don’t remember that ever being a problem – and I’ve also eaten the leftovers in the days after (which had been put back into the fridge after the guests left but had spent those several hours at room temperature).

      You really have to let the unrefrigerated hours add up for food to become actually unsafe to eat.

    3. Coder von Frankenstein*

      Agreed. It takes longer than an hour for unrefrigerated food to reach the point of making people sick, even raw meat sitting out in the sun. Bacteria don’t reproduce *that* fast.

    4. ferrina*

      Disagree- the hour definitely would have made the difference.

      Figure, the food doesn’t start at the perfect temperature at lunch time. It takes time for the kitchen to prep the food. For something like sandwiches, it’s unlikely that the food is at 40 F (the same temperature for cold food) the whole time. So the bacterial clock already started before the food left the kitchen. And it takes time to make enough food for a ton of conference attendees.
      Then they need to get the food from kitchen to the serving spot and get it set up before attendees arrive. I would guess the staff had the food arrive 15-30 minutes before service was expected to start? (if anyone works in catering, please correct me if I’m wrong!)

      So before the lunch is scheduled to start, the food has already been at the Danger Zone temp for at least 45 minutes or an hour. Should still be safe. But when you’re close the to 2 hour mark or over? Nah, that’s not going to be safe.

      1. amoeba*

        Huh, see above. I mean, I’m aware that’s the official recommendation, but at any party I’ve ever attended, stuff like potato salad would basically sit there for multiple hours, like, served at six for dinner, out until midnight or so (I’ve had many midnight snacks like that), put back into the fridge, leftover the next day. Even sometimes stuff with raw eggs (gasp!) like Tiramisu. Also, I take sandwiches on long hikes, even in the summer, and have never had second thoughts about using remoulade or mayonnaise or all kinds of cheese and meat there…

        I’ve never, ever heard of *any* problems with that, not even second or third hand. It’s just… really normal practice here in Europe and I’m always slightly confused on American websites with the obsession of refridgeration. (Are there possibly already more bacteria on the food to start with? No idea…)

        1. DyneinWalking*

          I definitely agree. Food doesn’t spoil that fast – otherwise, people would have been dropping like flies before fridges were invented.

          I wonder whether the range of climates in the US plays into the attitude towards refrigeration? I know that whenever there’s a period of hot, humid summer days here in Germany, I’m surprised at how fast the food spoils. Usually it’s not a problem to leave food on the counter (covered, though) and still eat it one or two days later, so I tend to be lax with refrigeration. During those times in summer, though… it can smell slightly suspect after one day and be undeniably spoiled after two.

          Temperature strongly influences the rate of microorganismic replication rates. Importantly, it’s not an on-off thing but an S-curve – the replication rate is incredibly slow at or below the freezing point, slowly increases a little above that, strongly increases in the middle range, and teeters off somewhere around 50C (for the typical microorganisms that concern us).
          In science, room temperature is defined as something between 20C-25C but in everyday life, people tend to say “room temperature” to mean “inside temperature of my house”. That can differ widely depending on climate and season! And the difference between 20C (coldish room temperature) and 30C (hot summer day) is very noticeable, as I mentioned above.
          The temperature setting of the fridge also matters because, again, the replication rate is an S-curve. A slightly higher temperature means that microorganisms replicate slightly faster while the food is in the fridge – and once it’s taken out, the slightly higher amount of microorganisms at the start can make the food spoil noticeably faster (because the overall population growth is exponential).

          1. Star Trek Nutcase*

            Having lived in a humid, hot environment (Florida) for 60+ years, it definitely impacts food safety. It’s a mistake to assume the food sitting in an A/C conference room hasn’t been in other locations (food prep, transport) that aren’t. But being selective on what’s worth the risk eating for whatever reason (e.g. mayo, shellfish) is just smart.

      2. ACP*

        And if it’s a large group, not everyone is getting their food within minutes of getting out – usually long lines, etc

      3. Kiv*

        That’s true in terms of how much time it might have been out, but with food that’s been prepared in a sanitary manner and correctly stored in the meantime, that “2 hour time limit” should be one with a healthy margin of error, not a hard stop after which eating the food is a gamble.

    5. JHunz*

      While that’s true, once you get to critical mass the extra hour could be the difference between half the attendees getting sick instead of a quarter of them.

  7. Karma is My Boyfriend and so is Travis Kelce*

    #7 and #10 have me ROLLING! “The company doesn’t pay for mistakes” bahahahahaha

    1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I suspect the company pays for innocent mistakes but not for those caused by bullheaded stupidity.

      1. Inkognyto*

        Makes you wonder if they took 3 days of vacation time or unpaid?

        They were not working sitting in the wrong state.

    2. Manders*

      I had a colleague who wanted me to book his travel (I’m a lab technician, so not my job. He has his PhD so somehow he thought his travel to a meeting was beneath him to book?). He got to the airport to take his return flight home, and was informed by security that his ticket was not for that day, but for 1 month from then. Oops! My boss kindly paid for the mistake, but informed him that he wouldn’t be doing that in the future.

      1. Aitch Arr*

        I could see it. “the conference is in Columbus, at the Airport Hilton.”

        Colleague books the Airport Hilton in Columbus, OH, instead of just driving to the Hilton in Columbus, GA.

      2. Nan*

        I almost did it for a work trip to Wilmimgton. I thought NC and it was DE. I happened to be expressing surprise that people took the train and thankfully the response clued me in that I had the wrong state.

      3. sparkle emoji*

        I can see someone particularly bullheaded assuming that of course, the conference would be in Manhattan, NY not Manhattan, KS. Because why would it be in Manhattan, Kansas?/s It sounds like she wasn’t inclined to listen to people correcting her.

        1. sparkle emoji*

          (not that the initial assumption is bullheaded, just the reaction to others trying to clarify the confusion)

      4. A Genuine Scientician*

        There are plenty of ones it could be very easy to mix up. Sure, most people will probably clue in when one of the cities is way larger than the other, but:

        Did you mean Bloomington, Indiana or Bloomington, Illinois?
        Rochester, Minn or Rochester, NY?
        Take your pick of a number of Portlands or Springfields

        1. Freya*

          It makes me twitch every time I hear CSIRO Parkes, because although that’s the big telescope outside a town in rural NSW (where the movie “The Dish” was set), there’s a suburb of Canberra called Parkes that is just across Lake Burley-Griffin from the CSIRO Black Mountain site and my brain thinks that the two places with the same name, over three hours drive apart, are the same place.

          1. Six Feldspar*

            Auburn and Richmond have very different vibes depending on if you mean the ones in Melbourne or Sydney!

    3. AVP*

      Ahhh #10 just reminded me of the time my boss and I got placed in the same hotel room. I was with my husband and luckily she was just sitting on the bed scrolling her phone when we walked in.

      You’d think this would be hard to do but when you have one underpaid admin booking hotel rooms and not checking the confs it is very easy for the hotel to see “two people, two rooms, one credit card” and get to “two people, two beds, one room.”

  8. The Rural Juror*

    Related to bathrooms doors –
    I once worked for a small, family-owned business. I traveled with the married couple who owned the company to a conference. One morning I went by their hotel room to meet them before going down for that day’s activities. Their room had bathroom vanities open to their room (I hate this type of room). The wife let me in the room and said her husband would be ready in a few minutes, but she wanted me to look at a few things on her laptop in the living area. Her husband wasn’t in the room, which I thought was odd. Turns out he was doing his morning #2 in the water closet/toilet room, which had a louvred door. Similar to what a lot of old closets have, it was not a solid door, but one with the slats that let air flow. We were able to smell it soon… and his wife immediately suggested we meet him in the lobby! So awkward.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      I was traveling once and stopped for lunch at a place (midway between my house and my sibling’s). The ladies’ room had two toilets but no stalls. Just . . . two toilets, side by side, in a single room.

        1. Phony Genius*

          From the article:
          But the women’s restroom was smaller than the men’s.

          I have seen places that have this problem solve it by switching the men’s and women’s rooms (with the proper plumbing adjustments.) Why they didn’t make the larger room the women’s in the first place is beyond me.

        2. Dust Bunny*

          Quite possibly? That is the only even vaguely-reasonable excuse I can think of. Although it was not a small room–it seemed like it should be plenty big enough for two stalls.

      1. Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet!)*

        I used the bathroom at a beach in Mexico only to find the large building which I thought contained several showers and stalls was actually one large room that only had toilets and sinks lining the walls. No curtains, no half walls, no illusion of privacy, just a half dozen porcelain thrones facing the sinks. If I hadn’t had to go so badly I would have walked out.

      2. KOALA*

        Went to the Dominican Republic(non resort areas) and had to use a public restroom. Thankfully no one else was/came in because I walked in and saw one toilet facing the door and think ok, single stall room. Only to to look to the right and see a toilet in the corner facing the first toilet. No walls, curtains anything, and on top of that no toilet paper. You basically have to keep your own TP with you in the DR and then throw it in the trash, not flush, because a lot of their toilets are not designed to handle toilet paper well and clog easily.

      3. Angstrom*

        Decades ago at a rural fair we visited the facilities were a 10-holer outhouse — no dividers, just a big wooden bench with 10 holes. Right neighborly.

        1. allathian*

          Ah, takes you right back to ancient Rome, doesn’t it?

          My maternal grandparents had an indoor toilet, but they also had a 2-holer outhouse with one door that was mainly used as a water conservation measure in the summer because their homestead got its water from a well. This was because having two holes meant that the box filled up more evenly. As a kid, the only time I saw more than one person using it was when my younger cousin was potty training.

    2. Storm in a teacup*

      Personally I find every public toilet in the US awkward. Why the gaps in the door??????

      It. Is. so. Weird.

      1. basically functional*

        Right?? “Privacy” depends on an unspoken social contract where we pretend no one can see through the gaps. I hate it. (I’m American.)

        I went to a venue the other night that had individual tiny rooms, each with a toilet and sink, with full walls in between and normal doors. It was awesome and I hope more places start doing it that way.

  9. Beebis*

    #11 is so delightful to me as a Minnesotan. Going through the effort to apologize for a small accidental thing like that feels very on brand for our people

    1. ferrina*

      It’s so epicly dumb! She managed to go wrong every step of the way, by her own stubbornness

    2. Which Susan are you?*

      And why did she stay in the wrong place for THREE DAYS? Wouldn’t she have realized the instant she got to the hotel and saw there was no conference going on? I would have been back at the airport on the next flight out as soon as I could get a cab.

  10. Slow Gin Lizz*

    #9 – are you sure he only had *one* more drink after you left? Seems…unlikely.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        I’ve just recently learned that not everyone has the same amount of the enzyme that processes alcohol, which is why people have different (or no) tolerance to alcohol, so that could also explain it, but…well, I think that the ppl who have low tolerance tend to get sick more quickly rather than drunk more quickly. And cis-men usually can tolerate two drinks without too much trouble, afaik.

          1. amoeba*

            *nerd mode on*

            It’s alcohol dehydrogenase, actually! It’s oxidised to acetaldehyde, which is of course also not super healthy, so hopefully you also build up levels of the downstream enzymes, otherwise you’ll end up poisoning yourself even more…

            *nerd mode off*

        1. Polly Hedron*

          cis-men usually can tolerate two drinks

          Yes, but the #9 client and #9 OP may already have had more than one drink together, and then even one additional “extra drink” might have pushed the client over the edge.

          1. Presea*

            We also have no particular evidence that #9 client is a cis man with normative amounts of testosterone, muscle, fat, enzymes, etc. It’s a fairly reasonable assumption statistically speaking, but it’s an assumption nevertheless.

            1. Slow Gin Lizz*

              Good point, I did assume that the guy was cis. And now I just went down a big rabbit hole to find the answer to how being trans might affect alcohol tolerance. Answer: more research is needed, but it does appear that hormone therapy can lower tolerance no matter your gender. I want to ask my trans friend about this but I don’t quite have the kind of relationship with him that I could text him about it. Maybe one of these days I’ll think of it when I see him.

        2. Sparkles and Chaos*

          “And cis-men usually can tolerate two drinks without too much trouble…” just to share a giggle, my ex had such limited alcohol tolerance that once, at a family dinner, he had a second glass of wine and he was so drunk he mixed up his brother and myself by cozying up to his brother and saying “hey, baby” in his brother’s ear.

      1. Ellie*

        My husband is a big man who can drink scotch, gin, red wine, etc. until the cows come home. One time we were at home, experimenting with a new cocktail book, and we made ourselves a daiquiri each before dinner. He drinks faster than me, and made up a second round (he put my second one in the fridge). When I finished my first and he went to fetch mine, he couldn’t stand up.

    1. Helewise*

      I mostly stopped drinking about a year ago and have been really impressed by how quickly I went from being able to hold my liquor as well as my much-larger husband to passing out on the couch after a small glass of wine. Strange but true.

    2. Cabbagepants*

      Oh, I would be blacking out at 4 drinks, while I think plenty of people could have 3 and sleep it off effectively.

  11. Katie*

    Oh the cancellation one reminds me of. a similar situation. My office was hosting an event in early March 2020 for people across the country. Well we cancelled said event and sent out cancellation notices.

    First day of when event should have started we are notified that someone is there for it. He was turned away (politely).

    I think about that poor guy from time to time.

    1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      Not work related, but my family once hosted a brunch the Saturday before Christmas. That Sunday, an ex-boyfriend (who we barely knew) of one of the attendees showed up. He had the wrong day and he also didn’t have the sense to maybe not go to a near stranger’s house when you have broken up with the person you know in common.

    2. Pretty as a Princess*

      I had an opposite the week of Hurricane Katrina. Was supposed to be in the Destin, FL area later that week. The POC of the client org called me based on the forecasts and said cancel your travel, we are getting a hurricane.

      The day after it blew through, he called me and asked me why the hell I wasn’t onsite with them. Um, you had a hurricane with absolutely massive regional impact? Oh, but the hurricane was yesterday. Why are you not here today? Hmmm… well, to be there today I would have had to travel to your location in the middle of the hurricane?

      1. nonprofit llama groomer*

        I live in a place that has hurricanes and this level of stupidity is unbelievable.

        1. nonprofit llama groomer*

          I don’t mean to imply that it didn’t happen! I know people that clueless who are drunk with their own power.

      2. Sandangel*

        I once read a story where shortly after Katrina, someone from corporate called a employee in the path of the hurricane to demand answers on why their work hours were short.

        Employee had to explain that hurricanes are very big and have a long reach, and it wasn’t just Louisiana that got hit. Of note was the store manager who couldn’t go to work because a shrimp boat was blocking the road out of his neighborhood.

      3. Thinking*

        POC? This can’t mean the thing I know it to mean? If folks could use fewer acronyms, that’d be great.

  12. ENFP in Texas*

    #7 makes my heart happy! =)

    “Me and several others did tell Elizabeth that there was no reason for flights or hotels this year as it was being held one city over but she was so angry and focused on getting Jenny in trouble that she booked her own flights and hotels. To the wrong city. Where the conference wasn’t being held.”

    1. Slow Gin Lizz*

      Yeah, what a dingbat that Elizabeth is. (#notallelizabeths, I have to add, as an Elizabeth myself.)

    2. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I love it when the person trying to stab a coworker in the back stabs her own arse instead.

    3. Sara without an H*

      I don’t care what your industry is, do NOT tick off any of the following: a) IT; b) Maintenance; c) Security; d) admins of any kind, rank, or degree. Just DO NOT DO IT.

      I’m trying to imagine Elizabeth’s (probable) conversation with Someone Senior in an attempt to blame Jenny/get reimbursed for her own error. From the outcome described in the letter, it apparently did not go well.

      1. Kit*

        Definitely an occasion where the department-wide email that is clearly about one person actually brings a smile to everyone else’s face! I normally hate the idea of management wide-casting their scolding but in this case, everyone knows exactly why it’s happening and the culprit actually does feel appropriately shamed by it. Ha. (If I had been Jenny, I’d have been just as deservedly smug, too.)

        1. Some internet rando*

          This would a good topic for a future date: when a company makes a policy or sends a company wide email that is really intended for one person or as a result of one fluke incident….

      2. dawbs*

        HA, I recently asked my middle-schooler “hey, what’s mom’s first rule about work…” and then I stopped talking because something distracting happened, so I couldn’t finish up (I think it was “…on this algebra homework”. The answer was “I have to do it, even if it’s late”).

        And she said “uh, what one comes first?
        ‘Don’t piss off the custodian & the secretary’, ‘If your boss asks if you’ve been approached about a union always say no’, or ‘you don’t ever win a fight with your boss'”

        Clearly she’s been paying attention

      3. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        This is the wildest part! Elizabeth actually thought that the company would reimburse her for her own screw up. Which could have been avoided if she had looked at the conference website or any number of other things. Especially inexplicable because it sounds like the normal procedure was for an admin person to book things. Most reasonable people wouldn’t book themselves with their own money without some kind of approval that they’d get reimbursed.

    4. Keyboard Cowboy*

      I truly don’t understand how that mistake led to her missing THREE DAYS of conference. Presumably, she flew the night before, showed up in the morning, and there was no conference. So wouldn’t that mean…. she can fly back that same day and only miss one day of the conference? Surely the flights aren’t that overbooked?

      1. M2RB*

        Depends on where the conference is in relation to the airport, and how frequently flights depart back to her hometown, and how easy it would be to get another flight on another airline. If she ended up in a small regional airport where flights land/depart on 2-3 days of the week (as opposed to 2-3 times a day), then it certainly could have taken her longer to get back.

        Source: a nightmare trip home on a discount airline that I will never ever use again. Waited ten hours in a regional airport (that was really just a warehouse) in hopes of another plane being located and routed to us so that we could get home to the small regional airport we flew out of. Thankfully they did get a plane and crew to us in time. Alternatives were waiting for the next flight in TWO DAYS or getting a refund from the airline. The savings from using that airline was not worth it! We should have paid the extra money to fly out of the main ginormous airport in our hometown.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Also could have been weather issues and/or a popular destination for that time of year.

      3. WS*

        My mother’s job, before she retired, involved inspecting hospitals for regulatory reasons, so quite a bit of travel. Several times she got stuck at a regional airport because of weather/pilot shortage/cancellation/crocodile on the runway and it was 3-5 days before the next flights, so she and her co-worker would have to hire a car and drive to the next town with an airport. The longest drive was 16 hours.

      4. amoeba*

        Eh, at least here in Europe there’s plenty of connections/destinations that are only available twice a week or so…

    1. New Jack Karyn*

      Yeah. With luck, one HR staffer is the only person to see it, so not too much embarrassment for OP.

      1. Star Trek Nutcase*

        Most places I’ve worked, no one from HR to management to support, would have been able to keep this quiet. It would have reach every employee within a few hours, and been mentioned to new hires for decades. Good gossip can’t be confined.

    2. skunkpunter*

      My thoughts exactly! Smart move on his part. Better to be (more) embarrassed than potentially lose your job & reputation if the letter writer had turned out to be dishonest.

    3. MigraineMonth*

      Agreed. I get that it was an accident–I can imagine making the same mistake myself!–but the grand-boss was also exposed at work and embarrassed through no fault of his own.

      I’d probably have reported it if someone broke into my hotel room while I was undressed, and let HR figure out whether it was part of a pattern of intentional harassment or not.

  13. ZSD*

    #6 transparent bathroom door – The B&B my husband and I stayed in for our honeymoon had this type of bathroom door. We each had to spend our honeymoon trying very hard not to learn too much about our new spouse’s toilet habits.

    1. Art3mis*

      I’ve been married 18.5 years and the one boundary we have, even if we have the door open, is we do NOT watch each other going to the bathroom. I mean, just no.

      1. KarenK*

        Been together since the death of Elvis, married for 14 years. We have never seen each other going to the bathroom, and we never will.

  14. KimG*

    I went on my first work trip out of country to Vancouver (from Seattle.) My fiancé worked for the same company in a different location in Seattle so he was also there. We had gone on a little weekend getaway before this trip and I thought I knew Vancouver in and out, particularly I was pleased to educate everyone that the beer at the cool karaoke place we found late night was really delicious and low alcohol- reader, it was not-but I am a low alcohol tolerant person, drank way too much at the karaoke bar trying to get everyone else to try this really great beer. My fiancé tried to get me to go back to the hotel at a reasonable hour but I demurred and danced all night with my coworkers in a mirrored disco. I returned to the hotel, and everyone went to someone’s room to keep drinking. I needed sleep. I couldn’t seem to get into my shared room, so the front desk gave me a new key card, and one for me to give to my coworker and hotel roommate, Beth. But I was so drunk I didn’t understand they’d just changed the locks on Beth. I never gave her the extra card or told her, I just went to sleep.
    About a hour later, Beth pounded on the door for half an hour trying to wake me up, and finally had security literally come and unlock and open the door, where I was totally passed out, snoring super loudly, sound asleep.

    This happened over ten years ago and no, I don’t drink.

    1. SadlyAnon*

      Oh god, this is giving me flashbacks to sangria made with rum and chasing some raccoons around a parking lot at a work conference.

      I have video of the raccoon chase, even. I had to beg a friend for ibuprofen the next morning.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I beg you, BEG YOU, to post that video! Blur your face and stuff, of course!

        1. SadlyAnon*

          My blurring skills are not up to the task, sadly, but I will add the detail that I was *barefoot.* Luckily no people or raccoons suffered.

  15. Ann Onymous*

    #6 – what is with hotel room bathrooms? I stayed at a hotel a few months ago where the bathroom had a big shower stall with one clear glass wall that looked into the bathroom and the opposite clear glass wall that looked into the main part of the hotel room, so from the room you could look into the shower and through it to the rest of the bathroom. Fortunately, I was solo on this trip so no awkward encounters with a roommate, but it was still a super weird setup. I can’t imagine sharing a room like that with a coworker.

    1. Road Trippin*

      I’m sure it’s some design choice to make smaller rooms look bigger or something. My current pet peeve is sliding barn doors to a bathroom in a hotel.

      1.) They are not subtle to close or open in the middle of the night when you’re trying not to wake your family
      2.) They’re open and the top, sides, and bottom, they don’t block noise or light as well
      3.) You can’t really lock/block them if you’re sharing a room with someone

      1. Bee*

        The SLIDING DOORS, I hate this. There’s one place I’ve stayed a few times that has pocket doors on the bathroom, so I can’t even blame the HGTV “rustic” aesthetic for it, they just decided that was a good idea. My theory is that it’s to maximize the floor plan because they don’t have to block out any space for a swinging door, but the downsides are so much worse.

        1. Ann Onymous*

          On a high school trip (so 4 teenagers to a hotel room) we stayed at a hotel with pocket doors on the bathrooms, but the one in our room was slightly broken, so if you closed it all the way it would pop partially out of the track and you could only open it if you had someone else in the room to push on the top of the door from the outside while you pushed on the bottom of the door from the inside. If you were alone in the room, you had to use the bathroom with the door slightly cracked open or risk being trapped.

        2. amoeba*

          My boyfriend lived in an apartment with that kind of bathroom door for the first two years we were dating…

    2. CR*

      I stayed in a hotel room for a work trip that didn’t have a bathroom! The shower and sink were in the room. Glass doors on the shower that leaked water everywhere. The toilet was in a little closet with a door. Thankfully I was staying there by myself!

      1. UKDancer*

        That has to be a Melia hotel? Unless there are 2 chains with terrible ideas. I stayed in one in Manchester with that arrangement and I thought it was awful. I mean I was there for a conference so on my own and it didn’t bother me but I’d never want to go to that hotel with another person, there’s no privacy.

        I also really hate glass walled bathrooms. I’ve been to 2 different hotels in a particular city with that arrangement and have removed both from my list of places I want to stay.

        1. Ann Onymous*

          I encountered this setup in a resort hotel in Cancun. Super awkward setup for a vacation where you’re sharing rooms with friends rather than spouses.

      2. Wolf*

        I had such a room, shared with a coworker. Showering was exactly as awkward as you think it would be.

        At another conference, the hotel just would not give us a second blanket. As in, we had to share a queen-sized bed with one big blanket.

    3. Awkwardness*

      I had such a room once. Every time a shared room is mentioned on this site, I have to think of this room.

    4. DyneinWalking*

      Fortunately I’ve never encountered a hotel room where the toilet wasn’t private, but me and my boyfriend once booked a room where the clear glass panel that was the shower door opened right into the bedroom.
      Thankfully we were in a relationship anyway… but on family trips the past I’ve shared hotel rooms with my brother and a setup like this would have been so awkward. I wish hotels realized that not all people sharing hotel rooms are voyeuristic couples. (Even now that me and my boyfriend have been living together for years and have walked in on each other in the bathroom plenty of times and even rescued each other with fresh rolls of toilet paper – we still have zero desire to watch each other on the toilet)

      1. Manders*

        Yeah, I stayed (solo) in a very nice hotel in Johannesburg where the toilet was behind a door, but the shower was pretty much on a pedestal in the room, with clear glass around it.

      2. Siege*

        I stayed at a resort that was extremely clear the room type I was booking was not suitable for anyone other than couples. I thought it was a little odd because it wasn’t explicitly labeled romantic getaway or anything, and there was only one bed in the room, but I was staying with my partner, so no worries.

        Turned out there were shutters over the bathtub that, if open, gave you a gorgeous view of the mountains across the bedroom. The shower stall and toilet were tucked away so they weren’t directly visible, but they weren’t in a separate room, which wasn’t the best but could have been worse. It was fabulous having a bath with a glass of wine and watching the sunset.

    5. Cranky-saurus Rex*

      I’ve stayed at a hotel like that before – Hotel EMC2 in Chicago. A few of my colleagues loved it. Even traveling solo, I generally put it on my “only if my preferred hotels are full” list, and then only because its location was perfect for where we needed to be for our regular meetings in that area

  16. CzechMate*

    Oh god, this just reminded me…

    Recently, I went on an international business trip with several colleagues. Rather than staying with the group to participate in the after-hours activities (happy hour/trivia/light networking), my coworker Fergus said he was going to call it a night.

    Several hours later, our whole office (including the director) receives a blurry photo of Fergus holding a bottle of rum talking about having a one-person tasting party. No one replied to his message, and we never discussed it. Running theory is that he left the conference to go drink, meant to send a photo to his friends or wife, and instead sent it to everyone in our department.

  17. Keyboard Cowboy*

    #12 kind of reminds me of my high school Model UN days. Around noon we’d start to smell pizza, and as soon as the current speaker finished their motion, one of the moderators (teachers) would pick up the mic and say, “At this time we will not accept any new motions except for a motion to break for lunch.”

  18. RagingADHD*

    #8 – “We’re not eating that shit” is precisely what I would expect any senior partner to say, and I’m very surprised any attorney would make partner in the first place without having the savvy to understand that. Even if they agreed that staff could make do with cheap snacks, they wouldn’t put up with it themselves.

  19. Yup*

    #10 Naked Man: Oh. My. Goodness. Not only naked and in shock but tripped over a bed and sprawled on the floor! That reminds me of the Kimmy Schmidt episode where Titus ends up on TV but falls over and farts live on the air. Except… naked makes it worse!

  20. Calyx*

    Some clear glass bathroom walls can be made opaque! They’re called smart glass or some such thing. I’ve run into these several times (not literally) and there is often a little switch somewhere that you can flip to make the glass frosted. It’s pretty cool once you find the switch.

        1. Agatha*

          “Activate this switch, oh, weary traveller, lest your eyes consume more than your mind’s fill.”

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            ..Those in need of eyebleach can call front desk and request pictures of puppies and kittens.

    1. Crencestre*

      #12: No, that speaker should NOT have been allowed to ramble on and on, but something was wrong with the food that sickened those people even before it stayed out for too long. I’ve had sandwiches made with mayo that had been out at room temperature for 4+ hours and never gotten sick from that. It sounds as if the food was spoiled before it was ever set out; hopefully, whoever catered that meal learned from that incident and took food safety more seriously from then on.

      1. Happily Retired*

        +1 I completely understand those posting replies with research papers documenting spoilage time, but as a Boomer born in 1954, I somehow survived YEARS of brown-bag lunches never refrigerated, left on classroom shelves in hot Texas classrooms, with mayo-slathered sammiches: cheese, tuna salad (extra mayo!), egg salad (extra extra mayo!), and a few other things that should have killed me long ago.

        As a kid who was always angling to get out of school, believe me: if I’d had the slightest symptom, I would have played it for all it was worth.

        As someone who cans (=“jars”) homegrown produce, I am fanatical about food safety guidelines for this sort of thing, but I’m guessing that in reality, the time guidelines are deliberately set for ultra-safety.

        1. DyneinWalking*

          Two things to keep in mind: 1) People tend to built resistance against the bacteria they typically encounter (so your own bad kitchen hygiene is less challenging for your immune system than someone else’s bad kitchen hygiene) and 2) unless you’re immuno-compromised or such, the biggest issue with spoiled food is often (not always, but often) not the microorganisms themselves, but the chemicals they produce (which can be incredibly toxic). And those can take quite some time to build up before they become a problem.

        2. Dog momma*

          Yes! also born in 54, Catholic school, so on Fridays always tuna sandwiches, sometimes PB/ no J….unrefrigerated, , bologna sandwiches during the week. We left butter at room temp all the time. and a few things I can’t remember right now. Nobody got sick. No AC anywhere. Now we’re in the South, and refrigerate just about anything. Butter will melt in a few hrs even with AC in the summer. I think its more food hygiene.. wash your hands people!
          We ended up with Hep A vaccine after being exposed dt restaurant workers not washing their hands after using the should should have to tell a grown azz person this! Over 200 people exposed. I’m A retired nurse ,that’s the 1st thing they taught us!

          1. amoeba*

            Butter at room temp is still pretty normal here! I prefer it because it’s spreadable. Unfortunately my boyfriend likes it cold, oh well. We do have one of those water-cooled butter trays that slightly cools it outside of the fridge as a compromise…

      2. amoeba*

        Yeah, for sure, that’s what I thought. I (millennial in Europe) would still absolutely take a mayo sandwich on, like, a hike or something without any worries – it’s not like it’s homemade with raw egg? Like, that stuff literally keeps for months in the fridge, why on earth would it be spoiled after an hour at room temp? That’s just the duration of a typical lunch, people would be dropping like flies everywhere…

  21. UKDancer*

    Number 3 makes me laugh. I’ve had that happen when I was travelling with my former boss. It seemed for a time like everywhere we went in Europe (especially in Paris) we got ambushed by itinerant musicians wandering between restaurants and serenading our dinners. They usually would play romantic music and stand over us. Often this was after the itinerant rose seller had made the rounds trying to flog overpriced flowers. I mean we just thought it was funny and tried not to crack up laughing.

    I was actually in Budapest on my own on business and having dinner in what turned out to be a famous romantic spot with views down to the Danube and the musicians (string quartet) decided I must have been dumped because they came over, moved their seats so they set up near me and gave me a pretty decent recital of Borodin’s string quartets.

  22. Julie Hansen*

    For the last time, mayo does not cause food poisoning. It’s too acidic. I’m a Microbiologist and it’s one of the most common misconceptions.

    1. Still an Admin*

      Commercial mayo, you mean, though undercooked chicken in the chicken salad could be the culprit. Your puking stomach isn’t going to care. House-made mayo is different but not likely at a hotel. Don’t leave the sandwiches out either way.

      1. Ineffable Bastard*

        unsafe food practices such as not disinfecting surfaces and not having separate utensils for raw chicken and cooked potatoes, for example, can be the culprit even if the chicken in the salad was well-coocked

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

      It’s been my experience that most people use “food poisoning” in a colloquial manner anyway— food made them feel sick — rather than the literal infection of mold, bacteria, parasite or virus. Mayo that tastes rancid, or that I perceive as being bad, would make me feel sick with many of the same symptoms as “real” food poisoning.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’ve had people call and complain that our salad made them sick–after they ate it THREE DAYS LATER. People are so used to nitrites up the wazoo they can’t grasp that the reason we don’t sell our dressing separately is that it’s fresh made daily and has no preservatives! It’s fine for a day or two but not for three or more.

        The second best ones are the people who complain that after we left the food at their door as they requested it was cold when they brought it in–three hours later.

    3. Light Spinner*

      Yes, I agree; that food poisoning wasn’t caused by the mayo. Very likely the meat/fish/poultry was very slightly spoiled – not enough to cause an “off” flavor or scent, but enough to make anyone who ate it sick.

  23. ANONforThis*

    Not me but my BF, he works for a private school, they have the most inefficient, convoluted, archaic way of booking anything. For his last conference, he arrived to his hotel and they could not find a booking for him. It turns out the person who did the booking booked it under FirstName and for the last name she used the school’s name. SMH

    It took hours to sort out as the first day of the conference was a weekend and he couldn’t get ahold of the booking person. Thankfully, the hotel was amazing and started searching in every possible way for his reservation.

  24. Alex*

    RE: #6–I’ve noticed that this is a new trend in newer hotel rooms! I have no idea whose bright idea this was but I have experienced several hotel rooms where there is a distinct lack of privacy between the bathroom and the main room. One recent experience, which I was thankfully by myself but almost went with a friend, was that the shower opened right into the room. Like you had to get naked in the room in order to get into the shower without getting your clothes all wet. Another one had half the wall that separated the bathroom and main room made of completely clear glass. There was a separate (frosted glass) door for the toilet, but the bathtub was there in full view. This one I was traveling with a friend and we draped a sheet over the glass in order to have privacy. I don’t know what design trend made people think that bathrooms didn’t need to be private spaces any more but can someone send them a memo to bring back opaque doors and walls???

    1. UKDancer*

      Yeah I mean even when I’m traveling with someone I’m a relationship with I do like some privacy to use the bathroom and I don’t want us to see each other on the loo.

      I regularly go away with my cousin or my mother and we don’t want to see each other in the bath. Hotel designers really should understand that people can be happy to share a room with someone without wanting to have no ability to do bathroom stuff discreetly.

      1. Pretty as a Princess*

        One of the reasons my husband and I have been married so long and happily absolutely has to be that neither of us has ever watched the other take a poo.

        1. Bibliothecarial*

          I love this – my future husband and I have agreed that we will always have the bathroom door shut and the fan on during toilet activities. May it bring us the longevity and happiness it has brought you.

    2. Peace Weaver*

      Worst bathroom design EVER: My husband and I stayed in a hotel in which the bathroom had no bathtub (okay, but not optimal) AND in which the shower had no curtain around it; the shower water went all over the floor as a result. The floor was very slick glazed ceramic and there were no grab bars at all; it would have been very dangerous for anyone with mobility limits or for seniors.

      And no, this was NOT in a hot-sheet/quickie cheapo “no-tell motel”! This was in a 5 star hotel in the middle of Florence, Italy. So much for luxury…

    3. TiffIf*

      One recent experience, which I was thankfully by myself but almost went with a friend, was that the shower opened right into the room. Like you had to get naked in the room in order to get into the shower without getting your clothes all wet.

      I had some friends in college who had an apartment like this! It was a very weird basement apartment; you go in the door, down the stairs, to your right is the living room, to your left is the frosted door of a stall shower.

  25. River Song*

    I was cringing in solidarity with #3 and didn’t think it would get worse in my personal awkward metrics until I hit #10 and felt a visceral reaction deep in my soul. Their grandboss. Oh, oh, no. Dying inside in solidarity with you, OP10.

  26. fluffy*

    #5, I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the person for marking the emails as spam – most hosted email providers these days (especially GMail) are incredibly capricious about just deciding things are spam for all sorts of random reasons. It’s important to occasionally check your spam filter for false positives.

  27. Janeric*

    W/R/T #4 — My mother swears that at the 1968 Democratic Convention, she was at a party in a hotel room when someone knocked on the door. On the other side was future Senator Mike Gravel, wearing pajamas and holding a bottle of expensive whisky. He handed her the whisky and said “could you ask everyone to keep it down, please?” and then went back to his room.

  28. Lady Danbury*

    My worst business travel story was when I flew straight from a 2 week vacation in country A, to a work trip in country B (completely different continent). The vacation had been booked long before the work trip, so it made more sense for me to fly directly to country B (less travel time and money). Of course I didn’t plan on being robbed a gunpoint one week into my vacation, so I had no cards and minimal cash. I made it through the rest of the vacay by sending my travel buddy money via paypal and my mom arranged for my coworker to bring a replacement debit card for the business portion of the trip.

    I finally arrive at my hotel in country B on Sunday evening, after flying for 9 hours, only to discover that the hotel room has not been prepaid (as expected) and the hotel requires a card for me to check in. Did I mention that my cards had all gotten stolen? I go back and forth with the hotel while frantically trying to contact someone from work to provide a credit card. The coworker who had my debit card hadn’t planned to arrive until several hours later and we weren’t the kind of organization where admin staff tends to check email on weekends. Finally, one of my older male coworkers offers to use his card so that I can check in and just get some rest, bc I’m almost at my breaking point by then. Turns out my job had provided a credit card to reserve the rooms, with the expectation that the hotel would charge that card for the room. Turns out they just kept the card on file without charging it, with the expectation that we would pay on arrival.

    1. Beany*

      I used to book hotels for work trips using my personal credit card (quicker to secure the room), and then pass the reservation to an admin from work, who’d call the hotel up and try to substitute a work card to use to so I didn’t get charged. This seemed to fail more than 50% of the time. Even when the hotel front desk *said* they had the work card on file, they’d still end up charging me on my card, and I’d have to claim reimbursement. I stopped trying after a while.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      Hotels that don’t let businesses pre-pay for rooms are the worst! And somehow that only happened to me early in my career when fronting the money for the room could have been a real issue.

      1. Wendy Darling*

        At one of my jobs we travelled a lot and the company always booked the rooms for us and paid with a company card, so the hotel already had that info, but for some reason a lot of hotels INSISTED that everyone provide a card to keep on file for incidentals.

        This was no problem for me because I was in my late 20s and had a card with a high limit and a rewards scheme, so I put everything on my personal card and got reimbursed so I could get those sweet, sweet points. But like 3/4 of the team was recent college grads, and a lot of them either only had debit cards or had credit cards with very low limits because they didn’t have much of a credit history. So having a hotel put a $300 hold on their card was a PROBLEM.

        The first time we all went on a trip I ended up covering a bunch of people’s meals on my personal card and expensing it all because they had basically no liquid funds due to the hotel shenanigans. After that we made sure someone with a company card did the check-ins so they could put the company card on file for everyone. (I was not, however, particularly upset about it on a personal level — I ended up with so many rewards points from travel for that job that I paid for half of an international vacation with them!)

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I still remember staying in a very posh hotel with a load of bigwigs for a meeting. The room cost EUR 300 per night, far more than I could afford myself (I had only just moved on from youth hostels). However I had enough space on my credit card for the stay.

          I arrived at the hotel and was asked to give a credit card. I thought it was an upfront payment but then I was told, in front of my boss that my card had been declined.

          It turned out the hotel would block an additional sum of EUR 1000 as a guarantee. Fortunately my boss could guarantee the room, but it was embarrassing.

          Obviously I cleared the room of all available freebies before departing. (Very posh toiletries and pencils)

  29. Kevin Finnerty*

    I suspect Al Franken was only close to being Clinton’s running mate in Al Franken’s dreams. IMO he earned that hair flip.

    1. FrivYeti*

      I was just thinking that given everything we’ve learned about him since, Fraken deserved the hair flip and more.

  30. arcya*

    #11 my big takeaway is that, as disastrous as that year was, we should all light a candle of thanks that we didn’t have to do Franken Discourse at the water cooler throughout the entirety of 2016

  31. BellyButton*

    I posted in the original comment thread, but I need to say it again– Until AAM I never knew sharing a room, let alone a bed (GAH!) was even a thing. I will count myself lucky that no place I have ever worked considered that to be normal.

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      + 1 million.
      Even as a student travelling to conferences, I always had my own room with a lock, let alone as a fully adult professional travelling for work

      1. BellyButton*

        I won’t even share a room with my best friends when traveling on holiday, I can’t imagine a coworker when we should have boundaries! LOL It is bananapants to me!

      2. Wendy Darling*

        Ugh, when I was a student it was very normal for grad students travelling for conferences to sleep on the floors/couches of grad students based in the host city. The inciting incident for me quitting my PhD involved a grant where the PI budgeted $0 for research assistant housing during out-of-town fieldwork, which went exactly how you’d imagine and resulted in at least one divorce.

        Incidentally my field notoriously has no money.

        1. Wendy Darling*

          Also my first job after I quit the PhD involved very regular out of town travel and I was absolutely bowled over that we all got our very own hotel rooms in nice business hotels AND could expense up to $75 per diem for meals and incidentals. I expensed sandwiches from room service a couple times when I arrived in a city late and hungry, and that was a totally cool and normal thing to do!

          I do not miss academia.

    2. UKDancer*

      Definitely, I’m so glad I’ve never worked in anywhere that required room sharing. Every company I’ve worked for in the UK would consider that strange.

  32. melissa*

    Your boss’s response was masterful, I think! There’s no way to address that situation without making it even creepier. “OMG they think you’re my girlfriend lol. Obviously you’re not. I mean you’re so young! Like, you’re definitely not my girlfriend.” Acting (pretending?) as if it was a normal business-focused violin serenade was the appropriate response I think.

    1. Roland*

      Idk, “no thank you!” is always an option. I don’t think listening to music is the worst but it would be easy to avoid if preferred.

  33. WellRed*

    For everyone wondering why hotel designers would design with see through bathrooms, simple! They were inspired by open office design ; )

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      I wonder if the next step in open office design is to make the bathrooms see-through.

      1. DyneinWalking*

        I’ve seen an award-winning house built for on-site firefighters. Among many avant-garde design choices there were milky glass doors for the toilet stalls – milky enough to hide details, but transparent enough to see the toilets (and if a person is sitting on them).

        Weirdly, the firefighters didn’t like staying in that house…

  34. Ginger Cat Lady*

    If i were staying at a hotel with clear glass like that, I would 100% call the front desk and ask for someone to bring up something for privacy. If everyone does that, more permanent fixes will be installed

  35. alex*

    I was working in a niche field and went to its major annual conference for the first time. The first morning, I did my usual shower. I have long hair that needs to be blow-dried and styled to look anywhere close to presentable. I was horrified to find there was no hair dryer at all. I looked all over the room, in drawers, cabinets, everywhere. Nothing. I hadn’t brought one and I was in an unfamiliar city with no clue where to buy one. Every hotel I had stayed in before had hair dryers, so I had no reason to think this would be different.

    I had to go to all of the sessions with hair that was either damp or air-dried to the point of looking like I had stuck a finger in an electric socket. Pulling it in a clip or hair tie didn’t help much. I was so embarrassed. I was already from a small company in a small town and the hair situation made me feel incredibly out of place.

    Moral of the story: Pack travel-sized hair implements if they are part of your daily routine!

      1. UKDancer*

        Yeah. I’ve had this happen a month or so ago and contacted the desk and they said people often steal the hairdryers and it’s not always picked up by cleaning staff (especially if it’s normally kept in a cupboard or drawer).

        The receptionist said it’s pretty easy for them to fetch a spare and bring it up. So if there’s not a hairdryer then I’d always ask for one because I expect hotels of the class I frequent to provide them.

        1. Dog momma*

          They are use bolted to the wall. but I have a small but powerful travel hair dryer in my suitcase. Haven’t needed it since sometime pre covid

    1. linger*

      Default step, if you expect a hairdryer but can’t find one in the room: contact the front desk and ask if they have a hair dryer available. Either they can tell you where it should be, and/or they have one to borrow, or … the establishment is not at the level you’d expect for a conference venue. (I was just in a **backpacker’s** that had a sign on the room mirror informing guests that hairdryers were available to borrow.)

  36. RLC*

    #6 reminds me of a motel stay decades ago, last room available that night in a tiny village on the Lincoln Highway in the western US. Place was a 1930s auto court, rooms close to and facing road. My room had no bathroom door, if curtains were open I could be sat on the toilet and watch traffic go by. I chose to close curtains.

  37. EarlTheSachem*

    #11. I proudly voted for Senator Franken twice. I guarantee he has told the story of how he was whacked upside the head with somebody’s braid at the airport. Repeatedly. While laughing about it.

  38. Happily Retired*

    Just as a fantasy here: let’s combine the food poisoning topic with the bathrooms with glass (or no) walls!

    More than you ever, ever wanted to know about a co-worker or loved one.

    1. Wolf*

      Which reminds me of a workshop a friend attended. Hostel-style, four people per room. One toilet per room. And the whole hostel got food poisoning.

    2. Choggy*

      Food poisoning, which leads to many bathroom trips for the coworkers sharing a room, which then leads to one or both falling over butt naked trying to change into clean undies.

  39. A Genuine Scientician*

    Realized I had one while reading some of the others in that post.

    I was in my senior year of college, and flying around the country for grad school interviews. One of them happened to be a program run through the NIH, so I had to get out to their campus in Bethesda, MD from my college in Los Angeles. There were 2 days in mid February it was possible to interview, and I had an exam the evening of the first of them. So I went through my normal day, took the exam, then went to the airport for a redeye flight to the East Coast.

    The flight was delayed by about 3 hours due to a storm in a city not even on my itinerary. My connection was in Las Vegas, and from there I was to take a flight to Baltimore. It turned out, though, that the plane I was taking to Las Vegas itself was then flying from Vegas to Washington DC, and with Bethesda actually physically closer to Washington than to Baltimore, that seemed like the safer plan. I talked to the ticket agent (this was early 2003, so no rebooking myself through an app, and I didn’t even have a cell phone), and we changed my second flight to be that one … except that as I was boarding the plane, they announced that the second leg would be cancelled and passengers would be reassigned to a new flight leaving Vegas at 9am local time. So I got myself reassigned back to the original flight, and figured I’d hope it was delayed too.

    For once, other passengers actually stayed seated for the announced set of us with very tight connections. I ran through the Vegas airport around 1am, slightly disoriented by the gambling *inside the airport*, and the life sized posters of both all-but-nude women and all-but-nude men of various dance shows that on first glance I mistook for actually naked people in the airport. As I approached my connecting gate, gasping heavily due to exercise-induced asthma, one of the agents there said “Hold it, we’ve got a runner.” I showed my ID and ticket, gasped out that there were 7 other people attempting to make the connection, and was told it sucked for them because I’d made it and they hadn’t, and the door closed behind me the moment I was on the jetway.

    I got to the airport in Baltimore late/early enough that the transportation service the NIH had arranged for me had already left, so I took a cab. Which did not take a credit card, so that exhausted almost all of the cash I had on hand, but I made it to my interviews with about 30 minutes to spare. I then proceeded to run through a full day of interviews with literally no sleep — I am unable to sleep in a seated position, so redeye flights were particularly unpleasant — realizing a few hours into it that the program was very different than what they had advertised it to be, and not something I was particularly interested in. Still, might as well talk science with the people there. I remain deeply grateful to the office manager who secured some petty cash to ensure I could get a cab back to the airport and also eat something for dinner. Because I did have to go take a flight back to Los Angeles that evening. You see, while the government was perfectly fine putting interviewees up for a night in a hotel, that was only possible on the night *before* the interview, not the night *after*, and rules are rules.

    Nearly 50 hours since I had last slept, I got back to my dorm. Only to encounter my best friend who had just broken up with her boyfriend while I was away, it was Valentine’s weekend, and she needed someone to talk to. 2 hours later, I told her I was sorry, but I was going to fall asleep standing up if I tried to do this for any longer, and went to crash.

    1. allathian*

      Oh my! 20-something bodies can take a lot of punishment that would leave most people in their 30s or above completely unable to function.

      No travel shenanigans in my case, but when I was in college, I was a student tutor for exchange students. Volunteering for that was both fun and it gave participants a slight edge when they applied to go abroad themselves. Anyway, we had a weekend seminar with the students and tutors. I didn’t sleep at all on the Friday-Saturday night, and only 4 hours on Sunday morning. I got back home on Sunday afternoon, went to bed at 6 pm and slept around the clock. I don’t remember being particularly tired on the Monday morning.

    2. Blackcat*

      “ As I approached my connecting gate, gasping heavily due to exercise-induced asthma, one of the agents there said “Hold it, we’ve got a runner.””

      Oh man, I have a similar tale, except it was in Denver. 5 people, myself included, needed to make a tight connection. 3 of those 5 were in wheel chairs. Flight attendant saw me, fit looking 19 year old, and told me to run for it and beg for them to hold the flight.

      Between my asthma and the altitude, I nearly fainted after sprinting across the airport and huffing “wheel *gasp* chairs *gasp* coming* gasp* wait*”

      They did hold the flight though!

      1. DyneinWalking*

        My boyfriend *just* had a work trip that included running to catch his flight!

        The taxi hadn’t come (probably waited in the same name street the next town over…) so he had to drive himself to the airport, find a parking space (at least he knew it would be reimbursed) and get to the correct terminal and gate in record time. Getting to the correct terminal required a short drive in a train, and one of those trains departed just as he arrived at a station. It was going to be a few minutes before the next one would come and time was ticking…. He got one of the airport staff to tell him by which door of the train he should stand for maximum time efficiency and to give him the directions to the gate. He was also informed that the timing was really, really, REALLY tight.

        From his description, once the train doors opened he flew through them like a sprinter at the olympic games, sped up the escalator, took the turns as directed with only the quickest glance at the signs, and ran past the seemingly endless sequence of gate numbers knowing that even the shortest pause for breath would likely make him miss his flight.
        Fortunately, he made it, but it was a close call and the plane took off soon after. He said he’d never spent that little time at an airport.

      2. Dog momma*

        I’ve done that at DFW, no fun even when you ARE young and somewhat more fit,bc my 1st time in that airport..back in the 90s, WITH MY SUITCASE, and being told RUN! In Feb, at night,back to Rochester NY in the middle of a blinding snowstorm. It was either that or OHare & sleep in the airport overnight and try again in the morning. People were praying/ crying on descent the turbulence was so bad, & I thought we were going off the runway. The pilot must have been standing on the brakes, and did manage to stop before that happened. We gave him a standing ovation. My BIL picked me up, it took him almost 3 hrs to get to the airport, and almost 2 hrs to get home..usual drive was 30-45 min on dry roads.

  40. MassChick*

    Omg, why is the naked boss buried at #10? It should be either the curtain raiser or the grand finale. Or a post of its own…

    1. MassChick*

      Alison, not really a complaint – just my overwhelmed outburst after being speechless and frozen in horror after reading it :-)

  41. warm smile in your voice*

    Number 12 is still not how food poisoning/mayonnaise work. Especially commercially-made mayonnaise nowadays. And if this conference was at a site with its own on-site catering, then it’s even less likely that the egg and tuna salads were the culprit.

    1. Dog momma*

      Just looked at our unopened mayo on hand. Dukes has eggs and apple cider vinegar in it, Hellmans has eggs and vinegar in it. So doubt it spoils easily. I’m not sure mom even refrigerated it but probably.

  42. slr*

    I was organizing a 400-person financial services conference in Toronto, Canada where many of the speakers were flying in from the US. One of our speakers missed the conference because his admin booked him on a flight to Toronto, Ohio, a rural city of less than 6,000 people.

  43. Another Lawyer*

    #3 brought back memories of a work trip to Bermuda at my old job…I got sent along with one of our (older, male) SVPs for some meetings. We were staying at the Fairmont which seemed to have primarily a vacation crowd… they absolutely assumed we were a couple and it was awkward. Every single meal they would give him the check and I’d have to ask for a separate one for my expense report. Still one of my top business trips of all time though – Bermuda is beautiful, even though I spent most of my time there in a windowless conference room.

  44. AC*

    I went to a PA state university, and my senior year the faculty in my department gave me an award for a research paper. Part of the award was traveling to the annual conference for the faculty from this department in every PA state university and presenting the paper.

    It was about a 4-5 hour drive, and when I arrived I went right to the hotel to check in. I was unpacking when I heard a swipe at the door and another young woman came in. We were both surprised but realized they put us in the same room. We chatted as we were both unpacking.

    Then there was another swipe at the door, and a third person entered. That’s when we went down to the front desk and learned the hotel was given a list of students and told to put 4 in a room. We told them we didn’t know each other and there was no way we were sharing a bed with a total stranger. They were sympathetic, but the hotel was full. They offered to bring a folding bed to our room.

    When we returned to the room to await the folding bed, girl #3 asked who was going to sleep there. Girl #2 and I kept unpacking and said nothing. Girl #3 got the hint that she was sleeping on the folding bed.

  45. KaboomCheese*

    My company sent me to a seminar for a week and, due to some big event that took place at the same time, most hotels were sold out. So they stuck me into the sleazyest joint I have ever had the displeasure to stay at. The first night I didn’t get any sleep because people were fighting and screaming on the street below my window. At the second evening one of the male seminar attendees agreed to walk me back to the hotel. (I was scared because the neighbourhood was so bad.) During the second night I woke up and found bed bugs crawling on my pillow. So I packed up my stuff and just left. I had caught a few of the bugs in a glass and handed them to the receptionist, telling him I wouldn’t spend another minute there. I walked through the night to a hostel and got a bed in a 6 bed room. It was great! Comfy bed, clean, friendly staff, good breakfast. I met a few really nice people there! I reported the buggy hotel to the authorities. Back home I was paranoid that maybe the bed bugs came home with me and I washed and disinfected and froze all my stuff.

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