the coffee revolt, the blue spoon abduction, and other wild overreactions at work

Last week we talked about wild overreactions at work. Here are 10 of my favorite stories you shared.

1. The cups

At my company, we used to use paper cups at our cafe (where we get lattes for 50 cents). When we switched to reusable cups, it was OUTRAGE.

The announcement post on our internal social media page about the change got 153 comments, about half of which were along the lines of: “But then the mugs will get mixed with water mugs, and our water will always taste like coffee! Is your plan for employees to dehydrate on company premises?” “But paper is important for carbon sequestriation!” “The real issue is the plastic salt grinders! What are you doing to get rid of those?” “What we really want is sparkling water!” “You removed our Mentos last month, and these were critical for cleaning my teeth. What are you doing to fix this?” “Every time we have a birthday in the office it breaks my heart to see people blowing up balloons.”

It was … a lot.

2. The field color change

I worked at a hospital where they decided to make a very small change in the electronic medical record. It literally was changing the color of mandatory fields from pink to blue. That’s it. No workflow change, no extra work. But you would think they implemented a whole new EMR. People were throwing tantrums and there was even a picket in the hospital lobby to change the color back to pink. And for months afterwards in the quarterly town hall, there would be a passionate person always asking if the color could go back to pink.

3. The subpar coffee

The year is 2003. My office is responsible for coordinating an annual meeting for all staff that has traditionally taken place off site. This year, for various reasons, we try a new site that none of us has been to before, but has a decent reputation and comes well recommended.
The day of the meeting arrives. All is in readiness. But! The coffee is … subpar.

Disaster! EVERYONE is talking about the crappy coffee. The company director MENTIONS THE CRAPPY COFFEE IN HIS WELCOME SPEECH. People are coming up to me all day, griping about the coffee. Post-meeting evaluation forms start rolling in: “Site was okay, presentations were great, coffee sucked.” And I mean, not just one or two. I mean, like, most of them. “Please, let’s never go back there. The coffee was so, so bad.” Fifteen years later, I was STILL getting complaints about That Year When The Coffee Was Bad from my fellow old-timers. We no longer go off-site for our meetings, but I guarantee that there are people here who, if you asked, would remember 2003 as the Year of the Bad Coffee.

Thing is, I had the coffee! It was … not great, but drinkable. Like, I’ve had much better, but it wasn’t the complete bilgewater my esteemed colleagues made it out to be. I guess I’m just surrounded by people who take their coffee very, very seriously.

4. The angry resignation

My then-boss, who was director-level at our organization. He went into the weekly directors meeting (held on Tuesdays), announced he was quitting (with nothing else lined up), and that his last day was the following Thursday (because our office is closed on Fridays in the summer).

He then took two vacation days (Wednesday, Thursday), we were closed Fridays, and he was off-site Monday and Tuesday for a pre-contracted thing. He came in on Wednesday to begin packing up his office and decided to peel all the tiny barcode labels off ALL his equipment (laptop, monitors, keyboard, docking station, etc.) and throw them away, then put his computer equipment in different drawers and cabinets in his office, all separate. I have no idea why he did this, because his beef was with the executive-level people and the people he screwed over with those actions were our help desk people, most of whom were summer (paid) interns.

He also factory-reset his work-issued phone, then set it back up with a passcode just to screw with people.

Then, having done all of that on Wednesday, he sent an email to our executive director that was time-delayed to be delivered AFTER he’d returned his access badge in which he told her, “I’ve turned in my badge, cleaned out my office, and I’m leaving at 1:30 forever. Don’t try to contact me, don’t try to reach out to me, forget you know me.”

Which … overdramatic, yes. But also, we work in an industry (education) with mandatory reference checks from previous places of employment because most of our staff has state-issues professional licenses that are tied to employment. After he left, it came out he and the director of HR, whom he oversaw, were sleeping together and later got married. She quit the week after him and when he was hired at another institution she misrepresented that she was still working here, provided the reference checks, he got hired, and then it came out that he had lied and she had lied, and he got fired.

It was WILD.

5. The blue spoon abduction

The blue spoon abduction of 2005.

I worked with a woman who was known for being rather peculiar. Our company did not stock the kitchen, so we all pitched in or brought things from home. One employee had brought in these blue plastic spoons left over from a party they had hosted on a weekend. Just cheap plastic disposable spoons, nothing fancy. In due course they were used up, but this woman, “Jane,” kept her dark blue spoon and would reuse it. Fine, nobody cared.

Well, one fateful morning we arrived to find her in a full-blown rage demanding to know “who did it?” She finally clarified that “her” blue spoon was missing, nay, TAKEN by some dastardly villian. She interrogated us one by one, challenging us to account for our whereabouts the previous afternoon. Desks were searched. Drawers emptied. She even insisted we would show her our bags (no). A few of us pointed out that perhaps the cleaning crew, rightly considering a used disposable spoon garbage, threw it away. She got very still and hissed, “THEY. WOULDN’T. DARE.” Her inquisition lasted a solid three days before management, determining just how many company resources were being devoted to a blue disposable spoon, shut it down and replaced the missing plastic spoon with a package of assorted white disposable cutlery. This sent her over the edge. Nobody, and she means NOBODY, will make her use a white spoon. Also, plastic knives? Who would deign to bring that in … nobody wants that!! She would rather quit than work in “this lawless hellhole, where people think stealing is okay.”

She didn’t follow through on this promise (oops, I mean “threat”) and just sort of gave us all the silent treatment for the next couple of weeks.

We were in the process of digitizing decades worth of files, which were stored in the basement. During one shift down there, a coworker and I were moving new stacks of boxes towards the staging area. Lo and behold, what should fall off one of the stacks but the wayward spoon. My coworker and I knew no good would come from being caught with the contraband spoon, so we stashed it out of sight in the ceiling tiles (by this point Jane was daily checking everyone’s garbage in case Spoon’s corpse was being disposed of … or possibly for trace evidence, I don’t know). It became a running joke, a Tell-Tale Heart of the sound of spoons coming from the basement.

I left the company about six months later. Jane left about a year later. My old coworker reached out to tell me: as a parting gift, he came in early and slipped the spoon back into her desk drawer all the way at the back. He said watching her empty out her desk just to discover it was priceless. He said she looked around surreptitiously, slid the spoon in her packed box of belongings, and never said a word.

I hope Spoon is happy, reunited with its devoted mistress.

6. The travel itinerary

My boss hosted a mandatory seven-hour meeting (SEVEN WHOLE HOURS) with the entire staff to discuss a flight time change to her upcoming trip. She was headed to a conference, and the airline changed her flight so she was traveling through a different connecting airport and arriving two hours later than originally planned.

But I was young, naive, and flattered that the boss convened a seven-hour meeting with all of us to discuss the “ethics” of her going. Yes, she used that word because she wanted to make sure she was always available to us no matter what (this was in the days before cell phones) and she wanted to “do right by [her] staff.” She wanted to hear from me!!!

What if the flight was late? What if she missed it? What if she missed her connection? What if she got stuck somewhere? What if there was an emergency landing? What if the conference started a day earlier? What if traffic made her late to the hotel? This flight change “disrupted” all of her mental plans, so she needed staff to “band together” and brainstorm as many ideas as possible so she would be prepared no matter what happened. She needed our help because she didn’t know which choice to make! Every time we came up with a plan, she’d start up with, “Maybe I shouldn’t go at all. Can we talk about that? What would happen if I didn’t go?” Then when we exhausted that topic, she’d start up again with “Maybe I should go then. You all make a great argument. Can we have a reset on that conversation?”

The punchline? Her assistant missed that seven-hour meeting because she was sick. When I told the assistant about it, she laughed and said, “Seven-hour meeting? Rebooked flight? Brainstorming? What? Boss had me cancel her travel plans two weeks ago. Her stepdaughter is in town so she wanted to spend time with her instead. She was never going to go to that conference!”

That’s how I learned that Boss looooooooooooooooooved to be babied and fussed over. That was the real purpose of staff meetings.

7. The supplies

I had a coworker (and I say “worker” lightly, as she had a severe truancy problem that HR and my terrible manager didn’t want to deal with) freak out because the after-hours cleaning staff threw out some of the office supplies that she was hoarding. She kept the office supplies not in a drawer, but in an additional TRASH BIN UNDERNEATH HER DESK. With a little sign that said “Don’t throw away” taped to it. She would scavenge empty desks and keep excess supplies in there. It should be noted that we both worked for a large company that was never in a shortage of anything, with well-stocked supply rooms.

Anyway, the morning that her second trash bin/supply hoard (that she never touched, by the way) had been emptied, she had a full-scale meltdown. Screaming, crying, and got the head of facilities to come to her desk and calmly explain to her that mistakes happen, and maybe she shouldn’t store random pens in a trash bin. All of this went over her head, as she had a sign to not throw away. I wish I could say that was the craziest that she had ever behaved, but it was one of her biggest overreactions.

8. The plan

Worked for a small association (think Llama Growers of Medium Size State). My boss would often blow up at people for small things she had misunderstood. She was also notoriously late to meetings, so she would miss context and become enraged about something she didn’t hear right.

So we’re in a meeting, she is late, comes in when I’m mid-explanation, and is clearly peeved. But we’re at a large meeting, where we will be for several days. It quickly becomes apparent that she is mad at me, but will not explain why. She ends up screaming at me in public that I have been lying to her for months and she’s tired of it. I have no idea what she’s talking about and she won’t explain further. The meeting ends and we go our separate ways. And then she refuses to speak to me for six weeks. Like, won’t return phone calls (we were 100% remote), answers emails in one or two word replies. After six weeks, we agree to meet with a mediator so she can tell me all the ways I’m a terrible employee. At one of the meetings, I get the opportunity to ask again, “Why were you so mad at me?” And she finally tells me: She walked in to the meeting late and heard part of the conversation, which she completely misinterpreted as me talking about her behind her back (I was not). Plus, she doesn’t like it when I use the phrase “my plan.” As in “my plan for the day is to brush the llamas.” She thought it was exclusionary and I wasn’t including her. The mediator had clearly already heard all of this and just sat there looking embarrassed.

I finally left that job a year later. On my last week, she desperately tried to get me to teach her all the things about my job that she’d refused to learn earlier. I told her it wasn’t my plan to do that.

9. The bad customer list

(I don’t know if this is an overreaction exactly, but it’s hilarious so I’m including it.)

I had a coworker who kept a list of “bad customers” and posted it on their wall. While this was clearly less than professional, what drove it over the line was that our customers were all internal customers and could have seen it if they visited our department (which happened from time to time).

10. The HVAC system

I used to work for a public library. It was a pretty old building with a run-down HVAC system that faltered pretty frequently. One day it broke down entirely; it was a relatively mild day, so it wasn’t too bad, but it got pretty stuffy and warm in there, and customers and staff both started to complain. So Mac, one of the librarians, opened the windows — they were about 10 feet off the ground and needed a pole to open, and that helped a lot. Like I said, it was mild, not cold, maybe in the upper 60s.

Five minutes after he opened them, though, the other librarian, Jon, got up, got the pole, and closed the windows. Mac opened them again and told Jon that the customers and most of the staff wanted them open; Jon said he didn’t care, he was freezing. Mac offered to let Jon off the desk and go work elsewhere in the building that didn’t have windows; Jon refused. Mac patiently said that the windows were gonna stay open, so Jon stormed away and came back a few minutes later wearing a heavy winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. He refused to take them off and was very surly for the rest of the day, occasionally saying things like “Well, I guess I’LL help you find this BOOK you want because MOVING AROUND is the only way to STAY WARM.”

Once the HVAC got fixed a couple of days later he asked very loudly if he could close the windows; once he had done so, he took off his winterwear while very smugly looking at anyone who’d make eye contact with him.

{ 309 comments… read them below }

  1. starsaphire*

    I somehow missed the first time around that the Blue Spoon was plastic.

    Like… all that ruckus was for something she could have replaced with $2 and a quick trip to Party City?

    1. AngryOctopus*

      I absolutely would have put it front and center on her desk. But then I would have gone home for the day so even if she somehow found out it was me, I wouldn’t be there to deal with it. Either that or I would have left a box of blue spoons on her desk as a “parting gift”. Because as you say, they can be (somewhat, due to color) easily obtained in a store or on a website.

      1. Artemesia*

        oh sticking it in the back of her drawer was perfect. NOw she thinks SHE is the one who messed up and made a fuss and it turned to be her all along. It was perfect.

        1. Full time reader, part time commenter*

          This was sheer perfection, or as they say now, at the level!

        2. Lana Kane*

          That is exactly what I would have done as well. And hung around to watch her face when she found it way in the back of her own drawer.

        3. Princess Sparklepony*

          I’m still wondering how it ended up in the basement though. But back in her drawer, that was perfect.

    2. Ultimate Facepalm*

      Would have been so tempted to go buy plastic spoons and leave one of every color on her desk except dark blue.

      1. Stipes*

        I’d spend $15 on hundreds of dark blue spoons, and line the entire office with them. People would be finding blue plastic spoons for weeks.

        I’m sure this lady would insist that the principle of the stolen spoon still hasn’t been addressed, but seeing her say that while practically swimming in identical spoons would be incredibly entertaining.

        1. Hush42*

          This is what I was thinking. Go find a bunch of identical blue spoons and just hide them absolutely everywhere. But like do it in a way where she would find one spoon initially and slowly throughout the day more and more blue spoons start popping up in places that she’s likely to find them.

    3. Dovasary Balitang*

      I’m perishing curious to know how it ended up in the basement. It can’t have walked there on its own.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        For SURE Spoon lover went down there to get something and put it on top of that pile herself and forgot about it.
        I just love that they put it in the back of her drawer!

        1. Csethiro Ceredin*

          Yes, BIG kudos for the ex-colleague for making her think she had it the whole time and tormented people over nothing. (The second part of that was already true!)

      2. Hlao-roo*

        The original poster of the Blue Spoon Abduction (AnnieO) added the following details on the original thread:

        You would be correct (sort of): she did indeed go down there. Not to work, mind, but rather she would stop in while we were digitizing and clearing out to complain that we had to do it at all. She frequently brought her friend Spoon because she would stroll around with yogurt. I’m guessing she set it down, forgot, and then poor Spoon was the victim of neglect, not kidnapping.

    4. Quinalla*

      Oh wow, this blue plastic spoon story was amazing, love that you finally found it and stashed it above the ceiling LOLOL and then it was put in the back of one of her drawers on the last day also LOLOLOL. I wonder if the spoon lover was the one who accidently left it somewhere or if someone else got sick of her using that same spoon and stashed it. Too funny!

    5. Inkognyto*

      You get a package and put a bunch of them around over time, in various mangled states.

      I’d have created a poster of a spoon and colored it blue (with pen of course), and said “Have you seen me? I’m missing, if lost please return me to my Mistress”

    6. And thanks for the coffee*

      I hope Blue Plastic Spoon becomes a legend on Ask A Manager. It’s ridiculous, yet I can picture this happening.

    7. River Song*

      The Legend of the Blue Spoon must become lore. I work in mental health with a disproportionately high amount of people who like the spoon analogy when referring to their capacity at any given time, and so now I will be mentally adding “blue” whenever one of them comments they don’t have the spoons for that today.

    8. LostCommenter*

      What is is about spoons and people? I would have gotten so many of the precise blue spoons she liked and put them everywhere so that even after I left the company they would have found another one occasionally.

      I actually did that with stainless steel spoons. For some reason we always ran out of spoons at work. One day I lost my patience when I had to stir my coffee with a (sterilized) pen and went to the dollar store to buy 100 teaspoons. they were weird spoons, with an oversized longer handle and a slightly larger than normal spoon-area. They got known all across the company as the spoons and I don’t think I ever got reimbursed for them. Strangely enough I ended up liking them so much, and after getting an okay from hubby, got us a few for home too.

    9. Jules the 3rd*

      Blue Spoon is my new band name. We do death metal.

      Honestly, I was laughing so loud by the end of that one that my dog came to see what was up, and even the cat turned her head.

  2. MTP*

    Re: #10 – I feel like this could be literally any library anywhere, because every library has a librarian like Jon.

      1. Jon Doble*

        I have convened an emergency session of the Council of Jons and we renounce all claims.

    1. Anonallama*

      As a librarian, I can confirm that IS probably every library. The temperature wars are never-ending. (Also, how on earth did they get their HVAC fixed in a couple days? We can’t even get ours fixed in a couple MONTHS)

      1. KaciHall*

        Someone’s spouse/sibling/parent came and did it pro Bono so they could stop having to hear about it

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          Someone from the board was uncomfortable, up for reelection, and knew someone.

    2. HumbleOnion*

      Former librarian here – I 100% thought that as I read that one. Library BS could be it’s own story sharing column.

        1. roisin54*

          And I would make numerous contributions to that column. Aside from a brief stint as an office assistant in college, I’ve only ever worked in libraries. I could write a whole book about HVAC issues alone.

        1. Bride of the Farter*

          Someone (we think it was a librarian nearing retirement, and the library system was basically grimly waiting it out instead of implementing any kind of disciplinary acts upon her) anonymously complained about my partner (also a librarian) farting too much. We know this because a) she always complained about every little thing they did (such as be 15 seconds behind schedule for a desk shift when she herself was more than once up to 15 minutes late for her shifts), and b) my partner’s manager brought it up in a 1:1 instead of IGNORING IT, and asked if it was a medical issue. Which my partner thought it probably wasn’t.

          This librarian was the sort of problem where the last half-hour of someone else’s retirement party turned into a multi-person venting session about her latest petty acts. People were deeply aware of how much time until she hit retirement age.

          Since the manager said that this was the opposite of an important issue, it went into the “ah, someone will try to get me fired over this” column, because a previous manager had tried to get them fired over standing up and fidgeting during a meeting (undiagnosed sleep apnea and ADHD, she would not have preferred them falling asleep in that meeting) because it was “rude” and “disrespectful”. So my partner did their level best to be aware of flatulence and to go into the bathroom or out of the shared work space, but sometimes there was no opportunity to, and sometimes it happened unawares.

          After the second time it came up in a 1:1, AGAIN with the manager saying it was completely unimportant and it was the opposite of an issue, my partner went on a proper Crusade to Stop Farting. They had already omitted burritos and broccoli from their lunches. I commenced on a program of saying “Bless you” every time they farted, to increase their awareness. They tried taking probiotics. They tried Lactaid. They tried Beano.

          Now, apparently (and we did not know this at the time) Beano can cause constipation. Also unbeknownst to us was that the step below outright panic attack in their anxiety symptoms is nausea.

          So my partner stops pooping, starts throwing up, and stops eating solid food. For several days. They panic. I panic. They call the nurse line. It’s about 9 pm. I shove the stuff you’d need for a hospital stay in a bag because I can tell where this is likely headed. We spend a gnarly several hours in Kaiser urgent care with them drifting in and out of sleep/consciousness and me trying to not McFreakin lose it. I’ve been saving a particular new book for a good time to read it, which is how I wind up reading the harrowing Pre-Resurrection flashbacks in Nona the Ninth while in a considerably altered state of mind in a medical facility, at 2 am. A++ perfect ambience, you should absolutely avoid doing this. (n.b. this book features perhaps less body horror than the rest of the series but it is definitely apocalyptic and gross, but also Lesbian! Necromancers! In! Spaaace!!!)

          Obviously the x-rays find no bowel obstructions or this would be a very different tale so we get sent home with a small handful of anti-nausea drugs and Miralax. A few weeks later we do another version of this, because they’re still completely unaware that now their body decides that anxiety attacks are the perfect occasion to emulate Nonagesimus grabbing [technically a spoiler for the previous book]’s sword (instant violent nausea). Over the course of the situation they dropped a terrifying amount of weight, which meant that the subsequent doctor encounters were also a cancer scare (but of course they found no weird masses, just paranoia about eating due to the cryptic anxiety attacks). The farting continued merrily despite every attempt at eliminating it.

          Once that ####### retired, the complaints stopped. So did the anxiety attacks and the weight loss, and the library system as a whole is much happier.

            1. Zweisatz*

              Hat off to the choice of user name!

              That sounds quite harrowing, glad you’re done with this episode now.

          1. Great Frogs of Literature*

            This would be a good story without the Nona the Ninth detail, but that added cherry on top absolutely makes this story.

            1. Bride of the Farter*

              My hair was RAISED.

              The Farter & I used it as part of our Chemo Commute Audiobook Club (most recent scan looks great!), first read for them and re-read for me; I was surprised by how comparatively cozy and loving it was, aside from those flashbacks and, well, That Incident with the Gun. (Poor Hot Sauce, she may never recover from the shock.)

            1. JustaTech*


              I’m going to need a really good synopsis before I read the last Locked Tomb, because the books are complicated but also I don’t think I could handle re-reading Nona and Harrow (though I’m willing to try Gideon again, to give the ending it’s proper due).

    3. Aspirational Yogurt*

      What I want to know is, did he bring all the winter wear to work that day if the temp was in the upper 60s? Or was it from the lost and found? I know what library lost and founds are like and there is no way I’m wearing anything from them!

      1. commensally*

        Well, I’m a librarian and I keep winter wear around at all times because the temperature in the workroom regularly drops below 60 deg, and I need it. (We’ve also been slowly scamming the facilities department out of space heaters because we figure if *their* space heaters burn the place down, it’s not a violation of the safety rule against bringing in your own.) So on the one had, this sounds like a terrible overreaction on Jon’s part. On the other hand I’m sitting here wrapped in a wool blanket and my finger joints are hurting because my hands are so cold on a record heat wave day, so I have some sympathy for Jon.

    4. Caro*

      So true. And there’s also the related problem of whether the lights should be on or off, accompanied by grumbling from those whose preferred lighting scenario isn’t currently in play. I worked in two libraries like that.

      Interestingly the offices were always freezing. They’d clearly given up on that argument.

      Also interestingly, I feel asleep at my desk on my first day because the office was both freezing and dark, and my brain thought it was time to hibernate. Fortunately the room was dark enough for nobody to notice that I’d nodded off.

  3. postdooc*

    #1: “But paper is important for carbon sequestriation!” is one of the funniest ways to fight back on stopping using single use items. Like… can they hear themselves?

      1. Kwebbel (the OP for #1)*

        And it was just the worst that I posted. There was another that said “I’m all for sustainability, but not at the risk of hygiene and health.” That commenter then went on for 4 paragraphs about how we needed to replace the sugar bowl with little baggies. That was the salt guy’s idea, too.

    1. Wilbur*

      “But then the mugs will get mixed with water mugs, and our water will always taste like coffee!”
      Here I’ve been washing my mugs like a chump when I could’ve just had a designated mug for every beverage!

      1. Delta Delta*

        Right? Every morning I drink coffee out of a ceramic mug and then when that’s done I drink water out of the same mug. I rinse it out first and the water always tastes like… water. somehow I’ve cracked this inscrutable code.

      2. Vio*

        Makes me wonder if they use coffee flavoured washing up liquid or dishwasher soap. After all, it couldn’t possibly be that they’re not washing properly and just putting dirty cups back with the clean? Nobody would ever… sorry, that’s my sarcasm quota filled for today.

        1. TeaCoziesRUs*

          So… I use stainless steel reusable mugs that I run through the dishwasher after use. And, yes, the coffee mugs are VERY distinct and ONLY for coffee. Why? Because water, tea, etc, taste like strong black coffee if they sit in the FRESHLY cleaned mug for more than 15 minutes.

          Not that the folks aren’t ridiculous, but I understand THIS complaint and sympathize.

          1. BadMitten*

            I totally agree, coffee really gets in there, our restaurant bleaches the cups weekly and they’re still stained.

            Re: these people in particular though—If only there were different cups suited only for colder drinks they could use…

      3. Dust Bunny*

        tell us you don’t know how to wash dishes without telling us you don’t know how to wash dishes.

        Seriously–this is what glaze is for. It stops your clay from absorbing food juices and re-sharing them later.

      4. FricketyFrack*

        That one is nuts. First of all, no, and if it does, ew. Secondly, do they know there are these neat things called “reusable water bottles” that they could buy and use specifically for water? They act like they can only have one cup ever.

        1. Hush42*

          I have a thing (that is 100% not my companies problem) where I can’t wrap my head around drinking water out of a mug anyway. Water goes in glasses and water bottles. It does NOT go in mugs. That being said we have large glass mugs in the kitchen at work that have to be for water (or other cold beverages) and traditional mugs for coffee. Although almost no one uses the mugs as the company stock disposable cups too. The Glass mugs were something the company purchased when we moved into our new space and they have the company logo on them. They were not initially for cold beverages only but in the first couple of weeks people quickly discovered that they are NOT heat safe and they will crack if you put hot coffee in them.

          1. JustaTech*

            People in my office (in an pretty eco-minded city) are generally pro-reusable cup – at least 60% because a nice thick mug might keep your coffee warm all the way back to your desk, where a paper cup will be stone cold before you leave the kitchen.

            But then we were told that, for safety reasons, all hot drinks *must* be in a disposable cup with a lid. Not *any* cup with a lid, but the sad paper cups with plastic lids. There was no major over-reaction in that there was no reaction at all and everyone ignored this missive from on-high because it was clearly silly, and we were not going to drink cold coffee out of disposable cups (even if they are compostable) when we could keep using our travel mugs.

      5. CowWhisperer*

        I found myself wondering if these people had never gone to a diner or restaurant with glassware and plates before.

        My diet Coke tastes like sugary Coke if and only if the busy staff handed me a glass for someone else that has Coke in it.

        After going through an industrial dishwasher, the previous liquid is gone.

      6. Abundant Shrimp*

        Yeah, that one was… unexpected. Everyone in my family loves coffee, my mugs are old, so everything I drink out of them is bound to taste like coffee… but it doesn’t! Why, why why?

      7. Venus*

        I object to hot water for tea that is in giant carafes meant for coffee, because that hot water does taste like coffee. But carafes are not mugs!

      8. Kwebbel (the OP for #1)*

        No no no, it doesn’t work. The mugs ALL taste like coffee, apparently. I mean, I’ve been using them for 5 years and haven’t noticed, but I don’t have as refined tastebuds as these people do, clearly.

    2. Sneaky Squirrel*

      I’m hung up on the real problem being plastic salt grinders. How many salt grinders does this company have that someone thinks this should be a greater concern than the paper cups?

      1. Gray Lady*

        They might be thinking of the single use ones that you buy with the salt in them and there’s no good way to refill.

        But still.

        1. Kwebbel (the OP for #1)*

          In fact, they were refillable ones. They wanted them replaced with the plastic-coated paper baggies, which would…help with carbon sequestriation (?).

          1. JustaTech*

            Oh, you mean the ones that spray salt everywhere *except* the food you want it on?

            Kwebbel, I am gawping at your coworkers.
            Truly humanity is a rich tapestry.

    3. Our Lady of the Cats*

      I personally liked the notion that they once read that coffee can be a bit dehydrating so it’s not as good as water (meanwhile, by the way, it’s a perfectly okay way to get liquid), and extrapolated this to “the tiniest trace of a coffee molecule in my water mug will TOTALLY DEHYDRATE ME”

      1. Wolf*

        I read that as “I hate coffee so much that I’d rather drink nothing all day than drink water from a cup that has touched coffee before”.

    4. Kwebbel (the OP for #1)*

      Mine is number 1!! I feel like I won the freaking lottery. It literally makes all the outrage on our company’s social media feel worth it just to have another forum where people can chuckle a bit about it.

      People at my company go on to our social media platform to get outraged about everything. This example was honestly the best example because it was so many people getting mad about something not even remotely upsetting. But there were worse reactions: The cafeteria (which provided us with a buffet lunch for $2.50 – taken directly from our paycheck but offset with a commuting allowance of like $3 a day) once did a vegetarian day. The post got so much vitriol that the mods to close the comments.

      Another day, during a post-pandemic period where they offered lunch for free, they only offered meat in the sandwiches and salad (but not the hot lunch). Again, chaos. Someone said “I had to eat 6 eggs just to get a bit of protein.”

      One part of our company got sold to another company and everyone affected was given an additional 2 months’ salary for free, the same working conditions guaranteed at the new company for 6 months and job protection for 9 months, and hundreds of people changed their display pictures to the word “SOLD” in protest. This was during black history month and the executive sponsor of our race-related ERG had to send an email to everyone saying “please stop comparing your experience to slavery”. So, yeah…a lot.

      But there was one comment on the paper cup post that I think really summarizes our employees’ ethos: “I believe our best strategy is to work out forums and methods for discussing these technological and societal solutions in a logical way to allow all solutions to be considered, while acknowledging that different people want to do things different ways.”

      Sounds profound with a lot of big words, but he actually just said: “I think we should talk in circles forever and not actually do anything.”

      1. Wolf*

        A yes, the immediate starvation caused by one vegetarian meal. A classic.

        Volkswagen has multiple cafeterias in their main production plant in Germany. ONE of them offered vegetarian sausage and fries, and people were throwing tantrums because “hard workers cannot be expected to eat plants like cows, they’ll be hungry all day and produce faulty car parts”.

      2. HomebodyHouseplant*

        Not that their reactions were reasonable, but as a vegetarian even I have had issues with provided vegetarian meals at work. Because they are often insubstantial and lack protein. So I kind of get where egg guy or gal is coming from. At a big all day work function last year there was no vegetarian food that contained any protein whatsoever. By the afternoon, I was about to fall asleep in my chair because the provided food was insufficient for energy. I have since learned I have to keep protein bars or nuts on my person at work events because I cannot guarantee there will be food I can eat that will actually sustain a person through an all day event. Just “food” for thought.

  4. OlympiasEpiriot*

    Ya know, with the two threads about overreacting at a job, I keep/kept having the feeling that I had something to add, but, couldn’t remember enough of the details to make a worthy post.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve had an overreaction; I’ve certainly felt like I was having one, but, I think I’ve stiffled it enough so I didn’t actually throw a temper tantrum.

    At my last firm, there’s (yes, he’s still there) a guy who has twice (that I know of) threatened to quit and, at least once, emptied his entire cubicle with putting all files precariously piles on top of the desk of the filing clerk — who was their own piece of work, but, who didn’t do anything to deserve turning into a dumpster from Prince Pricklepants. As this is an engineering firm, files are large accordion folders, rolls of drawings, and bound reports. I honestly cannot remember what set him off. It almost certainly was somehow related to him feeling put up on. The really annoying thing is that IT WORKED. They placated him! More than once!

    And then there is a story that is mine, back from when I actually was in the trades and had a foreman whose solution to any interpersonal problems among the crew was to tell us to solve it after the shift ended in the parking lot. IE: fight it out or shut up. I was the wrong combination of young and incensed and took that on and definitely went overboard since I was a foot shorter and wasn’t going to lose or quit and I can’t tell the story because I’m not sure about the statute of limitations in that state. I didn’t get arrested, though. I definitely felt like I had to set an example on behalf of All Women in The Trades Everywhere.

    Yeah, a toxic workplace can really lead to some bad decisions.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      If I could edit that, I’d take away the sentence about not being sure if I overreacted ever. With hindsight, I overreacted because I should have quit and told the owner who was the one who hired me (because he saw my work elsewhere and didn’t care I was female). But, at the time, I know I felt like I really had to “show up” on that foreman’s terms. Again, it’s great to get older and have a different perspective.

    2. Petty Betty*

      That reminds me of a time that we had a c-suite officer who was the “official” records keeper get mad at the CEO and threaten to quit because she didn’t like that she wasn’t getting the raise she wanted. Why did she want a raise outside of the annual non-profit’s scheduled raises? Because she was getting married for the 7th time (yes, 7th, to her 5th husband, they rekindled their romance, he was a nice guy) and she decided that the CEO should give her a raise as a congratulations. She was, however, ignoring the fact that we had lost two contracts, had been reduced on another very large contract, and were generally struggling as many non-profits were that year.
      This woman liked to threaten to quit whenever she didn’t get her way. Usually, she’d be placated. This time, the CEO called her bluff and said okay, I accept, please have your belongings off-site by X date, I’m busy, leave my office, bye.
      Back to the story: This woman starts bringing me ALL of her files since I was the records custodian for one of the projects. Note: I wasn’t (at that time) the records custodian for the company, merely one of the contracts. She started bringing me files, and stacking them on my desk and on my floor. I didn’t have the office space or filing cabinets for everything (which was against both our protocol, state and federal mandates). Then she called and reported the violations.
      Luckily, the CEO and I both knew she was trying to set us up, so as soon as she started stacking files in my office, we’d already started working on a secondary storage room. When we got investigated, there was nothing TO investigate. I ended up becoming the official records custodian for the company for a few years until a new c-suite person came on board, but that’s a different story all together.

    3. ScruffyInternHerder*

      “on Behalf of All Women in Trades” is truly a thing. I was only Trades adjacent, was in the site offices but if Trades Needed Something, I was who they came to to get it, be it purchasing, official RFI, documentation, various forms of other field related work.

      I was once, in my first week on a jobsite, informed by someone that I was a loose (redacted) who (redacted) my way to my position because obviously I’m a (redacted) and that’s the only way that women get to my position. I’m not exactly sure what came over me, but, uh, he who was spouting nonsense was sitting on the floor shortly thereafter. Our superintendent smiled and said he certainly saw not one thing. Was it professional on my part? No. Did it solve the problem? Well, that particular one, yes.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        ~Raising a fist in solidarity in your general direction ~

        Yes. It’s a different atmosphere.

        In my case, this also was the 1980s. At the time, gay union members were being pushed out or medical coverage messed with due to AIDS. There were hardly any women.

    4. This is embarassing*

      I know I had one once back in 2000 or so. We’d had a catered party one day and the leftovers were being served the following day. I hadn’t eaten because I was looking forward to a nice meal, but there were no plates set out for people and none in the break room. Lots of people had their own and after asking a ton of people who weren’t sharing, I was able to find one. It was upsetting and I had people chew me out afterwards.

      1. Expelliarmus*

        So they offered plates for the catered party but expected y’all to bring your own plates for leftovers? I feel like if that was the expectation, that should have been properly communicated, because I definitely wouldn’t assume that under those circumstances.

        1. This is embarassing*

          Yes, they did provide plates & cutlery for the catered party. That’s one of the reasons I was upset because I assumed they’d do the same for leftovers.

    5. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

      Slightly OT, but I love Prince Pricklepants. I call my downstairs neighbor Prince Poopypants, and he is also super entitled and irritating.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        I’m really not that interesting. I just have a couple good stories.

        But, thank you!

  5. noncommittally anonymous*

    I didn’t get a chance to post this when the question was first asked.

    We are currently in week 4 of doorstop-gate. Yes, there are a number of full-grown professional adults completely absorbed in a debate about doorstops. There was another meltdown about this last friday, with one of the participants yelling in another’s face and then nearly dissolving into tears.

    Basically, the facilities guy is claiming that using rubber under-door doorstops is causing the 1/8″ stainless steel hinges to warp and causing the door to get stuck at the top. When it was pointed out that the maintenance guy said that the door sticking was caused by our abnormally damp spring which caused the wood to swell, the facilities guy started screaming that we ONLY listen to him! No one else! We must do as he says! The guy was red-faced, spitting angry. Over doorstops. (I’ve asked our structural engineer. Rubber doorstops can’t do that.)

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      As a (former) carpenter, yeah, wooden doors of many kinds of wood will ABSOLUTELY swell in humidity.

      ~insert eye roll here~

      1. Lydia*

        I worked for a company that makes siding for houses and was being sued for defective product. We were being trained on what to look for in inspection photos and the guy training us said, “Wood wants to grow” and that has stuck with me. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, wood wants to grow.

      2. Myrin*

        Isn’t that something that’s commonly known? I mean, I’m from an old carpenter’s family so I would’ve absorbed this knowledge no matter what but I definitely hear people say that all the time and would’ve heard about this as a child coming from someone outside the family, too.

      3. Your Former Password Resetter*

        Weird how they require a rubber doorstop to swell though. Nature truly is prescient.

      4. Baffled Teacher*

        Anyone who grew up in an old New England house knows that your doors only shut 50-70% of the year

    2. Open Door*

      I’m in a shadow battle over doorstops. I buy one and use it for my office door. At night I hide it in my desk. At some point over the next few days the doorstop disappears from my desk. Rinse and repeat…

      I spoke with the head of facilities and she says “he” has a box of door stops, but no matter what they keep disappearing.

      1. OlympiasEpiriot*

        So someone is rummaging in your desk??

        That seems like it is a problem of its own.

      2. TeaCoziesRUs*

        Paint in bright pink or cover it in glitter. I’m guessing that will either put an end to the thievery or you’ll find the thief quickly. (Just look for glitter on hands.)

      3. Jasmine*

        There is a substance that is clear when you paint it on an object but turns red when it comes on contact with skin. Paint it on your door stop and catch them “redhanded”!

      4. JustaTech*

        We had a battle over doorstops that was just plain confusing – we’d had doorstops to keep the lab doors open for years (that way you don’t have to touch the door handle if you’re wearing gloves) and then one day they were all gone!
        So someone rummaged about and found them and put them back and the next day they were gone again!
        Only after several days did the head of facilities come by and very grumpily announce that the fire marshal said we couldn’t have them, so stop trying to use them!
        Uh, you never said the fire marshal said we couldn’t have them. You didn’t even say we couldn’t have them. You just took them away.

        After some more wrangling it was agreed that we would give up the door stops as required, but we got windows put in the doors so we would stop accidentally opening doors into people carrying samples out of the labs.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I read that book in high school and it has pretty much explained every job I’ve ever worked at since. “People rise to their level of incompetence” — yep. Seen this many times. Capable people get out and go elsewhere.

    1. Drama Resides Here*

      Totally agree, but I think it’s unfortunately common. I know I’ve never worked at LW#6’s company & my former boss was exactly like this. I guess sometimes “frenetic and incompetent” can look like “busy and hustling” when given the right spin.

    2. Berkeleyfarm*

      Super common. They present well “up” and/or it was something where they got in and inertia (and not doing some “really bad” things) keeps them there. The staff turns over but doesn’t connect it to her.

      Absolute shocking waste of resources … multiple person-hours to soothe her ego.

  6. DameB*

    I am more-than-most-people passionate about spoons. Like, I am on a first-name basis with spoon makers on other continents, take an annual spoon portrait, and I planned my 50th birthday around learning to make my own spoon. (Listen, you have your hobbies. I don’t want to hear it.)

    Jane is …. bananapants.

    (Also now I want a blue spoon but wood, not plastic and of course I would never take if to the office!)

    1. AGS*

      Please tell me about the annual spoon portrait. Is it a group photo of all of your spoons? Just the spoon of the year? You dressed up as a spoon? I must know. (Thank you.)

      1. Csethiro Ceredin*

        Oh! I took it as DameB’s face drawn on a spoon, for some reason.

        But any of those would be delightful.

      2. DameB*

        I haven’t considered a spoon costume but that’s an idea! In reality, I carefully wash and oil all of my wooden spoons and then arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing manner and take a photo.

      1. DameB*

        Aw. Thank you. I am not alone in my spoon love — check out Barn the Spoon for spoony content!

    2. Lucien Nova*

      I have a friend who is like this with spatulas! Except I don’t think she’s ever taken photos. I should ask her to.

    3. Good Enough For Government Work*

      My culture’s traditional love token is a carved spoon, so I feel this very deep somewhere in the back pocket of my genes ;)

  7. The Not-An-Underpants Gnome*

    Oh man, I missed it again! I witnessed the aftermath of one from my first call center job that me and my fellow coworkers (some of whom witnessed it) still talk about due to how nearly horrific it was.

      1. The Not-An-Underpants Gnome*

        It was a training class maybe a year or two before the office closed. One of the girls, who we’ll call Aurora, was a bit odd, but nothing worrisome.

        As I heard it from friends who witnessed it, a couple of them were helping with Aurora’s training class, and during one of those sessions, Aurora made a mistake and a classmate of hers, Merriweather, gently offered a correction. Aurora seemingly took it in stride and thanked her, and class went on.

        They all went outside about 20 minutes later for lunch…and that’s when Aurora straight up TRIED TO RUN MERRIWEATHER OVER. IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS, THE TRAINER, AND THE REST OF THE CLASS.

        Aurora was immediately fired and made to wait downstairs while the trainer, Phillip, sent everyone else inside (poor traumatized Merriweather included) and went up to gather Aurora’s things.

        He confirmed later that Merriweather had never been anything other than kind to Aurora during class, which matches what we all saw of her when they’d be out on the floor listening to calls with us and such. A couple people on the floor below us also knew Merriweather and could confirm that she was a decent person and never talked shit on folks, so we had NO IDEA what could have caused the incident.

        Aurora, thankfully, never showed her face again, and none of us ever heard from her again. Merriweather ended up staying until the office closed and then moved out of state.

        1. Zeus*

          Jesus. I think you won the thread – attempted vehicular manslaughter (or maybe just murder?) is definitely the top overreaction I’ve ever heard of!

  8. Caz*

    Another comment has reminded me of this! I very briefly knew someone who was placated by throwing an almighty overreaction tantrum – but it only worked once. As I understand it (much of this was before my acquaintance with her), the organisation made a change to how annual leave was booked that she didn’t like. “Change it back, just for me, or I shall retire!” The organisation – or at least her direct manager – was appropriately cowed, an exception was made, she was happy, everyone else was annoyed. A couple of years later, her organisation merged into mine (I was working at a lower point on the hierarchy than she) and the managers told her that leave over the Christmas/New Year period would be limited to two days per employee, due to operational needs of having to keep building receptions open and this was as thin as the staff could be stretched. “But I always take two weeks off!” she pouted. “If I can’t take my two weeks I shall have to retire!” she exclaimed. “We’ll be sorry to see you go” wasn’t the answer she was expecting. I was appointed to her job after she vacated it. I was perfectly happy with a couple of days at Christmas.

    1. Paralegally Blonde*

      Planning a conversation with someone this week about an upcoming change. I can’t help but feel a little petty that I kind of want them to overreact just so we can have the “we’ll be sorry to see you go” part of the chat.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I love having those conversations. Most efficient way of getting rid of missing stairs.

    2. Abundant Shrimp*

      Ahhh, a teammate of mine did this a few weeks after I left. I, of course, heard through the grapevine. He was getting ready to move overseas back to his home country, with his family, to start a business there, and had made an arrangement with our pushover boss where he was gone for a week or two at a time every couple of weeks, going to Home Country to get the business set up. We were three people on the on-call rotation and were suddenly down to two because he couldn’t be bothered to be on call and was always out of the country when it was his turn. (TBH, that was the reason I left.) But during my last week at that job, we got a new boss, who’d been our peer and was promoted, unlike the pushover boss that had been an outside hire. A few days after I left, my (now-ex) teammate disagreed with something that was suggested in a meeting and said “WELL if we’re going to do it like THIS, then I’ll just LEAVE!” and was not prepared to have New Boss say “Alright, I’ll consider this your resignation, you have two weeks’ notice period and your last day is (day).” He begged, pleaded, swore that he’d been kidding, but boss was “nuh-uh, no takebacks”.

      (Also a story about how a relationship of mine ended last year, but that’s not work-related. He said “WELL then I’ll just LEAVE!” and I said “Okay.” it was beautiful.)

      1. Zeus*

        Oh man, I had friend whose partner kept doing that for ages, and she’d fall over herself each time to try and win her back. Eventually some of our group managed to convince her to let him go next time he threatened to leave (he was a piece of work in many ways, this was just another manipulation tactic) and a few weeks ago, she did! I was talking to her yesterday and she said how much lighter she feels now. I hope things are similarly well for you now too :)

        1. Abundant Shrimp*

          Mine had done it too, many times over the 1.5 years we were a couple, and then one day, I was tired of it and ready to call his bluff. Can confirm the much lighter feeling. The next day was so liberating. I miss the fun and good times, as well as his family, but my life is far more peaceful now! Thank you!

        2. Anon for this*

          Allowing the other person to do the leaving in a huff is definitely the most pleasant way to get out of a situation that just isn’t working!

          It’s how I finally got out of a toxic sponsorship relationship in a 12-step program (OA) — my sponsor had pulled the “I’m wasting my time on you” thing once before. This time, I was like, “You know, you are absolutely right.”

          Very nice lady overall, but she was truly psycho about my food, and I like her MUCH better now that it’s none of her business.

          Of course, I have occasionally been the leaver-in-a-huff, and I suppose there are people who breathed a sigh of relief when I left too . . . .

    3. lilsheba*

      So it sounds like they would have been fine if she had taken her two weeks anyway? If they can let her retire! Why not just let her take two weeks?

      1. Expelliarmus*

        Probably because they didn’t want to make an exception for her and breed ill will amongst other employees again.

    1. Paralegally Blonde*

      I’m not wild about balloons myself, but I can’t say it’s reached the level of heartbreak. They are a pretty needless single-use plastic that I just generally try to avoid.

      Maybe it’s my old colleague who was absolutely deathly afraid of balloons. She once had to ride in an elevator with me, a third person, and a balloon bouquet. I thought she might faint.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I am mortally afraid of loud, sudden noises, and balloons are basically evil bobbing I MIGHT POP RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR EAR demons to me.

      1. Orv*

        Interesting tidbit: Most natural gas wells produce some helium along with methane. Usually less than 1% but some are as high as 4%. Removing the helium from the methane actually improves the heating value of the gas, but until recently it was rarely done because the US selling off its helium reserve forced prices down to the point where it wasn’t economical.

    2. Donkey Hotey*

      The largest concern I hear about balloons is from people with latex allergies. But that’s less “breaks my heart” and more “kills me with anaphylaxis.”

    3. Lenora Rose*

      Well, if you believe 80s pop music, 99 red ones will be the start of nuclear war…

      1. Aww, coffee, no*

        Okay, I remember when that song came out, watching it on Top of the Pops (UK weekly charts TV show) and I was today years old when I discovered it wasn’t just a cheerful song about pretty balloons in a clear blue sky!
        Apparently I don’t listen to lyrics very closely…

        1. Lenora Rose*

          If it’s any consolation, I guarantee you won’t be alone.

          I think there are at least 3 80s pop hits about nuclear war, though right this moment the only other one I can recall is Gary O’s Shades of 45.

          (Which seems a bit more obvious from the title, and the opening line turns out to be, “She was quite the lady, Enola Gay” — but unlike 99 Red Balloons, I didn’t make the lyrical connection until the 20-oughts)

          1. Parakeet*

            Alphaville’s Forever Young is another one (and also another one where people clearly have not paid attention to the lyrics, or the video for that matter)

            1. OlympiasEpiriot*

              And Ultravox’s Dancing with Tears in My Eyes.

              And the entire Pink Floyd album The Final Cut.

      2. Bride of the Farter*

        No, it’ll be started by a twitch streamer from New Zealand with a cult and a cow fence.

    4. Kwebbel (the OP for #1)*

      So, that guy was overall upset about a lot of things. He mentioned that he found the corporate swag we were constantly receiving to be wasteful (a fair point), and that even so-called sustainable choices like water bottles were also not carbon-neutral because they were shipped from elsewhere in the world. He didn’t really elaborate on the balloon thing except to mention that they contain helium, so maybe that was it. But although he brought up some interesting points, the eight paragraphs he posted were all just full of problems without solutions and it felt like he was saying “well, we can’t fix everything, so shame on you for trying to fix something.”

      1. Expelliarmus*

        This! Don’t let perfection be the enemy of improvement. Which I know is easier said than done, of course…

  9. Zombeyonce*

    I love it when my comments get posted in these roundups, I feel famous! (Mine’s the bad customer one from #9.)

  10. Didi*

    #3 Subpar Coffee reminds me of the “Impossible Mints” from an offsite I went to.

    The big boss had ordered these mini mints in metal tins as part of a goodie bag for attendees. The tin covers were printed with something hokey like “Acknowledge-MINT for your hard work.”

    The tins could not be opened. By anyone. Ever. People broke fingernails, used buffet butter knives, smashed the lids against bricks. The lids would not budge. Someone as a joke took a bunch of photos of the tins being tortured – soaked in ice water, run over by a car tire, held to the flame of a cigarette lighter.

    The mints were all anyone talked about. It was an all-too-on-the-nose allegory for the futile and frustrating nature of our work.

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      Both Subpar Coffee and Impossible Mints sound like band names.

      … haven’t decided what genre, tho’.

    2. pocket sized polly*

      I’ve encountered mints in tins like those before! It was a tin of Paula Deen-brand mints (how ironic?) and yeah, you couldn’t open that darn thing if your life depended on it.

    3. Antigone Funn*

      Yeah, there’s something poetic (?) about a reward that’s both cheap and hokey and impossible to access. Disempower-mints? Mismanage-mints? Disparage-mints?

      1. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

        Ha! I had impeach-mints during the last administration, but the canister did open. (The peach-mint flavor wasn’t for me, but I still have the tin.)

    4. SharkeyPA*

      Were the mints in a round tin? We had those! You had to press down in the center of the lid, and the outer edge would release its grip. I actually really liked those mints! Like Altoids, but not as sweet.

    5. Artemesia*

      Someone had a dynamite sales idea — ‘you see we do these corporate gimmees — mints — but THEN we don’t actually put any mints in them.’

  11. Siege*

    Number 9 reminds me of the bookstore I stopped going to because they posted a list of “customers they hate” (all types of customer, not specifics). I worked retail, I get it. But you post that shiz in the break room, not on the post behind the cashier that customers stare at while being rung up. Between that and the time I called to find out if they had a specific book in a series (it was the 90s and they were a used bookstore, computer inventory wasn’t a thing), was told no suspiciously fast, and went in anyway to find that was the only book of the series they had, it was very clear that the kind of customer they hated most was “any customer at all”.

      1. LunaLena*

        I mean Mr. Fell’s bookstore never keeps regular hours and always smells odd. If you persist in trying to buy a book from him instead of getting the hint, that’s your own fault. There’s just no helping some people.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I swear there is an entire subset of used book store which doesn’t seem to actually want anyone to buy books.

          I’ve only run into one with that vibe locally; they kept the door locked and treated you browsing (Which took a long time as things were at best minimally sorted and mostly in piles) as an imposition. One of the only two times I went there the guy was on the phone with someone griping about how depending on pedestrian traffic or random visitors was a terrible business model and he’d rather be exclusively phone/computer orders (This was in early days of online shopping, too…) I am usually desperate for more booksellers in walking distance of home, but I was neither surprised nor regretful when that particular locale went under.

  12. Alex*

    #3 Reminds me of the time my company had their annual awards gathering as a breakfast river cruise (it was typically a lunch). Typical breakfast things were served. Except…no coffee. None. Not even bad coffee.

    This story didn’t belong in the overreaction thread because every reaction was entirely warranted.

    1. Rosyglasses*

      That brought to mind an HR conference I went to at a large convention center. There was NO WATER, only tea and lemonade and coffee. I literally filled my mug over and over with ice. It was terrible!

      1. AnonAnon*

        I went to a conference like this earlier this year. Super fancy lunch buffet. NO WATER. NO cold drinks except soda!!!! I don’t drink soda.
        I got a big cup of ice and got their hot tea and made my own iced tea. Other’s started following suit. OR I took a glass of ice and made my own water from the hot water dispenser.
        So weird.

  13. Berkeleyfarm*

    I missed the original request. I work in IT, so I have seen a lot of overreactions to very minor changes.

    But my big story is this:

    I worked for a local government agency. At one point a manager got brought in who was … not good. He presented very well to higher ups but he undermined people’s work and constantly under-bussed them.

    Most of the people in my group had come over from private industry (so we had salaries matched, which was another huge source of resentment – I saw someone’s post about a United Way campaign and we were definitely on the director’s shitlist because of it) and we had good skills/industry certs/work ethic so when this behavior started, other options got explored.

    The turnover was over 100% in the networking group and most of the people leaving went to work for a Very Large Networking Company that was local to us. After one departure that particularly stung, the lawyers got the bright idea to send a nastygram about “you are stealing our intellectual property” to VLNC. There was a VERY long conference call involving the CEO of said company and the upshot was a no-hire agreement. When news came out later of shady “no hire” “Gentlemen’s agreements” among FAANG type companies I was unsurprised.

    Management completely knew WHY the turnover was happening. After that particular departure, the bad manager’s manager called me into his office and screamed “DO YOU KNOW ANYONE ELSE WHO IS LEAVING” (not “why” etc.)

    1. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

      No one needs a giant man-baby tantrum! But I am curious: does “under-bussed” mean “threw under the bus?” If so, many kudos! I’ve never seen that as a verb but I love it.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        Yes, it does! I have seen it elsewhere so can’t claim credit.

        It was an intimidation move, to be sure. The tone of voice was NOT professional.

        Background on that one: it was my direct boss and she was good at her job. They were trying to get her into a vacant management position in the other department (for some reason the director was running two). She found a much better job that was still tech and oh my God they felt betrayed. Definitely a lot of anger and retaliation.

        Bad Manager and his boss are still around. I would see my old job come up on the boards about every 10 months or so, although it’s quieter now that my group got civil service protection.

        1. linger*

          It’s particularly striking in the combination used here:
          Our manager abused our trust,
          He undermined and under-bussed,
          And underwhelmed and underpaid,
          And so we exited, dismayed.

      2. Artemesia*

        I am so dumb — I was thinking well an electric bus from the space programs and thus translated it as under powered — which is about as obscure as one could get.

        1. MsSolo (UK)*

          I was thinking bussing dishes in a restaurant, like everyone was surrounded by metaphorical dirty dishes and couldn’t do their jobs without clean ones.

    2. Orv*

      Huh. I currently work for a government employer, I’m looking for jobs elsewhere, and now I’m wondering if I’m not getting callbacks because of a similar no-poach agreement. Not sure how I’d find out.

    1. Georgia Carolyn Mason*

      Can anyone else picture Jane slinking around like Gollum hissing about the “preciousssss…”

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        I would totally make a meme of that and probably get in trouble for sharing it some place she ended up seeing it.

        (I do have a variant on a “my preciousss” meme I use at work in our chat channel, but the person I was mildly poking fun at with it thinks it’s funny.)

  14. EC*

    About the bad coffee, I get it to an extent. The cafeteria at work replaced all the coffee machines recently and I’m honestly sad about it. The old machines made perfect coffee, just the way I like it and it got the job done. The new machines make weak flavorless coffee.

    Still, its been years since the bad coffee conference and to still be going on about it after all this time is pretty weird.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I picture it as a part of new employee orientation. “Back in aught four, we had the conference off site. And the coffee was bad. Like, really bad.”

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        *strums guitar*

        “Well, gather ’round, children,
        And I’ll tell you a tale
        A tale of the coffee of yore…

        For that coffee was weak,
        Yes, that coffee sure was
        The weakest to be found on this shore”

        1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

          Humble suggestion for alternate second verse:

          O, that brew was the weakest
          Insipidly bleakest
          That we’d had the misfortune to pour.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            So watered down it was
            The talk did indeed buzz
            And it entered into the lore…

    2. Brain the Brian*

      I feel like #3 is a classic case of people who would probably shrug and move on in isolation riling each other up and turning something into a way bigger deal than it needs to be. I doubt that very many of those coworkers were really such snobs about their own coffee, but there’s a snowball effect that can occur with a group where something becomes The Opinion To Have™, and once you get there, it’s impossible to stop. Frankly, some of the outlandish threads in this site’s comments often feel that way — like we’re all trying to one-up each other with our reactions.

    3. Unkempt Flatware*

      From what I gather based on numerous stories on AAM about coffee machines, I think it may be the lack of the troves of dead cockroach husks through which the coffee is being filtered in your new machine. Apparently, these things are CR magnets. Hopefully your coffee begins to improve (!).

    4. Panicked*

      My dad gets coffee at the gas station on the corner from his house every single day. They changed the coffee machine YEARS ago and he still complains regularly that they did so. Coffee is serious business.

    5. Frieda*

      I organized a dinner for an academic organization I was part of once and despite availability of wine with dinner and mixed drinks from the bar a few steps down the stairs, somehow the total failure on my part to properly consider people’s alcohol needs in advance was a big deal.

      Less than half a staircase. Like five steps down, and ten feet over to the bar. One part of one evening. But the *kvetching* I heard!

  15. Juicebox Hero*

    I’m still trying to figure out how Mentos are supposed to clean your teeth when they consist of sticky sugary goo in a sugary shell.

      1. ThursdaysGeek*

        If I keep my lips closed, will it also clean my sinuses?! (I’m still laughing at your comment!)

          1. Juicebox Hero*

            For a brief, horrifying moment I got Eustachian tubes and Fallopian tubes mixed up :O

            Time for more coffee.

    1. ChemistCat*

      I kinda doubt that this is what they were thinking of,but mentos do contain xylitol, which *may* reduce cavities.

  16. sofar*

    “Spoon’s corpse” had me rolling. LW is a great story teller. Also, this story makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside about pre-pandemic in-office shenanigans.

    1. GoryDetails*

      Me too – I laughed so hard the cats were giving me the evil eye. (The bit where they found the spoon *and hid it in the ceiling* was when I lost it, and by the time I got to the {chef’s kiss} moment of putting the spoon in her drawer just before she left – well, I’d watch the heck out of the TV-movie version of that.)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’d be like Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her rewinding Meryl Streep’s murder scene over and over!

  17. Dust Bunny*

    she desperately tried to get me to teach her all the things about my job that she’d refused to learn earlier. I told her it wasn’t my plan to do that.


  18. KMFDM me*

    #3 reminded me of a convo I had with a New Hire:
    NH: “What do you do for coffee here?”
    Me: “We’ve got this Keurig…”
    NH: “Ugh, Keurig always makes burned coffee.”
    Me: “I figured out a trick for that: if you pour a little cold water in your mug after, it keeps it from overcooking.”
    NH: “I could never dilute my coffee. I guess I’ll stick to the $8 coffee place.”
    Me: “I… have some bad news for you about how coffee is made…”

  19. Berkeleyfarm*

    I was on a church board during a period that included both a pastor call and a major redevelopment process so … I can related to all these overreaction stories.

    1. Elle Woods*

      I can imagine. My dad served on a church board when they were doing searching for both a new pastor and a new music director. Soon after both were hired, people started complaining because the new music director chose unfamiliar hymns for the service and the pastor chose different liturgy to use during the service. Some of the reactions were truly bananapants crazy.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        My now former congregation was over-picky and over-entitled at the best of times, so like losing the parking garage so they actually HAD TO GO OUT ON THE STREET TO ENTER was epic. Even minor liturgical changes were fought to the death.

        I cringed when I saw a typo in the bulletin (our admin was highly competent, we had capable people proofing it, but goofs do happen) because I knew there would be half a dozen angry emails by COB Monday.

        I tell stories and usually the punchline is “that’s why I’m at instead of there”. People do not scream at me at New Church or randomly micromanage my work! It is lovely.

    2. Gullible Vengeance Umpires*

      My spouse and I have a pact that we will not serve on any official church committees after doing a few stints on them earlier in our church membership, for the sake of our relationship with the church. We serve in many other ways, but NO COMMITTEES.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        That sounds like an excellent boundary.

        I won’t be “in charge” of something and I will not ever be on the board again, even though this place is saner. I got an opportunistic illness as a result of the stress (both the OG incidents and a relapse when someone then on the board was playing reindeer games and ignored my no) and I am disabled as a result. I live with the results every day.

        Friends of mine moved away and one of the members of the couple laid down NO CHURCH.

  20. EarlTheSachem*

    #2. Good grief. The field color change was almost certainly out of the hospital’s control and was pushed by the software maker. Aside from being completely stupid, complaining to the hospital is useless, as they had no say in it.

    And I bet the entire interface looks better for it anyway.

    1. Expelliarmus*

      Right? Like, I love blue too, but this is just not necessary LOL! Picketing? I feel sorry for the patients in the hospital whose care was presumably affected by this.

      1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        That’s the whole point though. It was changed TO blue, so you wouldn’t have minded. Those of us who like pink, though….

    2. Breacheese*

      I will say, I work on a hospital EMR, and I was surprised to hear when I first started working in this industry how many providers are colorblind and have issues seeing certain colors in the EMR. I am not sure how color blindness works (I think there are also two different kinds), but if moving from pink to blue made it hard for staff to identify required fields, I could understand why people would be mad. But if that was the reason, you’d think they would mention that while they were screaming about it lol

      1. iglwif*

        ::accessibility person enters the chat::

        The main types of colourblindness are red/green and yellow/blue. Neither blue nor pink solves for both these possibilities!

        Also, if the required fields are not identified in some other way besides just colour, they fail WCAG Success Criterion 1.4.1 at level A — there needs to be some other way of identifying which fields are required, such as an asterisk or the notation (required).

  21. PropJoe*

    Number 7 reminds me of when I worked in tech support and discovered a user who put important files into her recycling bin on purpose. “Only put files there if you want them to disappear” didn’t seem to sink in for her.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      OMG! I worked somewhere that people did that. It was so weird. (Luckily, due to the nature of our work, we were expected to empty our own recycling bins. Some items had to be sent to be shredded, too.)

    2. OlympiasEpiriot*

      That…is… really, really weird. Like, I have never heard of that level of weird. I’ve seen actual wastebaskets used for storage of drawing rolls and rock core and undisturbed sample tubes. BUT, the virtual wastebasket???

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          I believe you!!

          I am sure that everyone in IT or IT-adjacent has a long list of weird behavior that I have been blessedly shielded from.

      1. MrDoubt*

        I’ve seen worse, the rollout of auto-emptying deleted items in outlook was delayed indefinitely when someone very high ranking was discovered to be storing all theirs emails and files from previous years in the recycle bin.

        some of the files were ones we had a statutory responsibility to keep for x number of years, so we got the call to delay it until she sorted it all out.

        2 years later, when I left, she was still merrily filing important documents in deleted items

      2. Berkeleyfarm*

        I have worked IT support for a long time. It’s for real.

        The first email server restore I had to do (back when it was very complex) was for someone who filed her stuff in the “recycle” bin. When we did a best practice policy to clear out recycle bins after x days, it was gone.

        (EVERY email admin I know has run across someone like this.)

        1. CV*

          What *reason* do these users have for using the recycle bin in the first place?

          It’s definitely stupid, but something is prompting them to do it. So many of them. Who don’t communicate with each other.

          I’m wondering if it’s as simple as “the icon is the only thing on the desktop that looks like a place to put things” or some such misguided impulse.

          1. LostCommenter*

            Because with the press of one button you automatically file documents there. The one button being “del”.

            I’m in tech support. I asked, that’s how I know.

          2. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            Well given that there was the story about the person who stashed precious stuff in her second bin…

          3. Berkeleyfarm*

            Honestly I have never asked because I don’t think I could have faked being polite.

            But I have been told it’s a “one click file”.

    3. Abundant Shrimp*

      My mom did that once! Like everyone on here who has an older family member, my sons and I do computer and phone support for mom anytime we visit. There was a time several years ago when she asked to help her find her files, which was how we found that she stored everything… scans of old photos, EVERYTHING… in the recycle bin.

      1. N C Kiddle*

        That I can understand because it’s deniable if it gets found. “Oh no, I wasn’t storing it, I was removing it.”

  22. It's Marie - Not Maria*

    We had an employee who was moved to another client. This was just another step in their string of failures to meet company standards. They had a titanic meltdown on the work floor, which culminated in a completely unprofessional email to the President of the Company. Being the HR Director, of course I had to deal with the aftermath, where this person refused to admit they had done nothing wrong.

    The kicker? They still have a job because they are the pet of the President of the Company. I couldn’t even discipline them. I have it unofficially they were trying to get their Manager fired for making the change (the client they were on requested they be removed from their accounts). At least that part didn’t work.

  23. ConstantlyComic -> Blue Spoon*

    I absolutely love the Blue Spoon story… I think I’m gonna use it as a handle

  24. Patty*

    I am reminded reading these stories of my first real-job-in-my-field boss who was a stickler for details in the weirdest ways (he was also extremely misogynistic and problematic in other ways but I digress). Because I was young and new to the field he seemed to like using his preferences as “teaching moments” for me. He once directed me to write a memo for something, so I found the department’s memo template and proceeded.. he brought me into his office after I sent him the draft and demanded that I identify what I did wrong. I couldn’t figure it out. Turns out he didn’t like that it was a different font for the memo subject than the memo content. I explained that I had used the department template and those fonts were what was used. He didn’t care and went on at length about how unprofessional it would look if it had been sent out as is because of the mismatched fonts. I could have accepted the feedback with grace if it had been reasonably delivered but the man acted like I tried to send out a memo in comic sans.

  25. Art3mis*

    One time I kind of overreacted that someone stole my chair. But in my defense the ergonomics folks come out and get your a chair that fits you and they adjust it to just the right height. And I was really, really, really tired of people treating the Administrative Assistant’s desk like community property. So I sent out an email about returning my chair. I did offer to get the person a new chair if they needed one, but my email was probably a little over the top. It’s been more than 15 years and I’m still embarassed.

  26. Lily Rowan*

    #2 reminded me that I was surprised there wasn’t more of a reaction when Duo switched its Yes and No buttons. It’s a second-factor login thingy, and one day you had to tap Yes on the other side of your phone screen. I swear the only reason this didn’t result in days of yelling was that we were all working remotely.

    1. Abundant Shrimp*

      We’ve had Duo for years and I absolutely do click the button on autopilot, but don’t remember when the Yes button was on the other side – must’ve been before we started using it.

      A related story I have was when we got a new senior-level dev who’d recently been back to college and among other things, took UI/UIX classes. She convinced us all that the established web UI standard was to have the Yes (or submit, w/e) button on the right, and No (cancel, etc) on the left, “because most people are right-handed and will go for the right-side button first”. We switched the buttons, released the changed website(s), and were hit with a wave of complaints from our (internal) users that the site has stopped working. “I click yes and nothing happens” when in reality the person was clicking the “no” that now was where the “yes” used to be.

      1. D'Arcy*

        There isn’t an established standard. Windows *generally* puts Yes/OK on the left but Apple generally puts it on the right…

  27. Travis*

    I once had a co-worker on another team who filed a formal HR complaint against my team lead for not answering a Slack message fast enough – because we were literally in the middle of our 10-minute check-in meeting and he just couldn’t wait (it was definitely not an emergency, and he knew we were in a meeting).

    Very frustrating months later when that complaint, which everyone agreed was ridiculous, was used to justify denying that team lead a promotion. I already knew the place was becoming toxic, but that was just embarrassingly blatant manipulation.

    1. Abundant Shrimp*

      Betting the team lead was the one who ran the check-in meeting. Wild. We cannot promote you because you stubbornly insist on doing your job as a lead.

  28. Computer-Man*

    #4. “He also factory-reset his work-issued phone, then set it back up with a passcode just to screw with people.”

    Generally for any place with a modicum of MDM, this is an extremely minor setback that’s even easier than a regular password reset.

    Employee: “Hey, this guy left and I don’t know the passcode.”
    Me: “Okay then.”

    Even the part about the removal of asset tags and separating the content probably only amounted to half an hour of work for single intern who maybe had to ask a senior IT person for an extra minute of their time. Annoying, yes, but only mildly.

    1. Computer-Man*


      *Employee: “Hey, this guy left and I don’t know the passcode.”
      Me: “Okay then.”

      1. Computer-Man*

        OH! I did it in HTML tags. That’d do it. Maybe I should quit my job.

        *Employee: “Hey, this guy left and I don’t know the passcode.”
        Me: “Okay then.” *presses a singular button and goes about my day*

    2. Orv*

      Yeah, we have an MDM system on our loaner iPads and I tell people to set the passcode to whatever they want, because I’m just going to put the machine in recovery mode and wipe it when they bring it back.

  29. Christine*

    I am the person who deletes emails and empties recycle bins. I hate file clutter. Anyone who stores files in the bin had better not do it on a public machine I’m using!

    1. Peanut Hamper*


      At old job, I came in on a Saturday and did this to everybody’s computers (cleared off their desktops too) because even if they were just in a meeting where we talked about an updated work instruction, they would still go out to the floor and just use the one that was on their desktop that hadn’t been updated in the last five years.

      Shortcuts/aliases/symbolic links exist for a reason!

    2. Chas*

      We get a lot of irrelevant emails at my workplace (it’s a University, so there’s lots of “this might be something you’d care about” stuff like courses or seminars taking place) which I always just delete immediately as I like to keep my unread emails at zero. But I’ve got a coworker who keeps them unread “just in case”, so I almost had a panic attack one time when she used my computer to log into her gmail account and didn’t log out properly, so I came back to 3648 unread emails. (And this was almost a decade ago, she’s now up to 20-something THOUSAND unread emails).

  30. Berkeleyfarm*

    I have another Overreaction story. (Sort of related to the last one about the temperature.)

    We had an open office plan. The accounting ladies (who always wanted it warmer) were at one end of the floor. The vents were not doing things well because people had “installed” paper. There were constant thermostat wars.

    One day we came in and the thermostat that controlled that section (which was in my boss’ office) had been completely dismantled – circuit boards flapping in the breeze. Since the workforce was mostly mechanical engineers and experienced shop builder folks, it was tough to narrow down.

    It cost the company about $100K to fix. (Eventually I figured out who did it, but management didn’t suss as he stayed for a while. He was next to accounting and lived on another planet.)

  31. Toots La'Rue*

    Blue spoon lady is giving “Cooperative Calligraphy” – the Community episode where they turn the study room upside down looking for Annie’s purple pen. Maybe a monkey stole the blue spoon?

  32. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    I keep wondering if all the people who thought a mug used for coffee would always taste like coffee use paper at home or do they have separate glasses earmarked for every single type of beverage they may desire.

    1. Orv*

      Maybe they don’t drink coffee?

      I do have coffee mugs that have been used for coffee for so long that they still smell like it no matter how much they’re washed. It’s a very persistent flavor.

      1. Filosofickle*

        I never have this problem at home with mugs that have been used daily for coffee, some for decades. But work mugs seem to be a different beast and often do taste/smell/look like coffee — maybe work mugs are used more frequently (my home mugs each get used maybe once a week, versus daily in an office) or don’t get cleaned as well?

    2. Tara*

      I don’t drink from the reusable plastic mugs that people in my household use for coffee. They taste awful to me. But glass mugs washed in the dishwasher are fine.

    3. Bruce*

      It takes some work to get the coffee film out of a well used mug, and whenever I get the chance I give my wife’s tea cup an extra scrub. I’d prefer to drink water from a glass that is not used for coffee…

      1. Tara*

        Are you sure your wife wants you to give her teacups that extra scrub? I proudly showed my roommate how I’d cleaned our stained teacups with denture cleaner and lots of scrubbing and he was horrified. In his (British) opinion, the tannin stains enrich the flavour of subsequent cups. I don’t know if he’s right, but I went with it and now I happily drink my tea out of tea-stained cups. But definitely NOT out of coffee stained cups.

    4. MCMonkeybean*

      This is the second comment I’ve seen like this and I admit I am surprised. That person was being a bit unreasonable and overdramatic… but I feel like different types of glasses for different drinks is pretty normal??? Coffee mugs, teacups, wine glasses, beer steins, whiskey tumblers… these are all normal things! I am pretty sure I have never once in my life drunk water from out of a mug, mostly because I feel like mugs are generally much smaller than the size of a glass I would drink water from.

      1. Berkeleyfarm*

        Yeah I am hardly a supertaster and I can taste coffee in water if I drink them in succession. It’s not awful, but I can taste it.

  33. sagegreen is the best color*

    I would have broken that spoon before putting it back in the drawer.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I would have done an Amelie thing and taken pictures of it all over the city and printed them out and left them on this ridiculous coworker’s desk.

  34. Coin_Operated*

    I’d buy a real blue spoon and keep at my desk. It’s clearly the plastic one, but it would be a reminder of what was lost…

  35. Tara*

    In fairness, mugs used for coffee do make everything else taste like coffee to us so-called super-tasters. It’s fine if they’re glass and washed in a dishwasher but if they’re plastic and/or washed by hand they taste awful. However, I just bring my own cups when this is an issue.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      100% agree, even if you’re not a supertaster. The flavor of coffee sticks around. But yep, these people were being ridiculous when the solution is so obvious and so easy.

      Coffee makes people weird.

  36. Peanut Hamper*

    Honestly, the best overreaction at work was a fictional one — Les Nessman at WKRP in Cincinnati yelling “You walked through my walls! You walked through my walls!” I wish I could find this clip.

  37. Bruce*

    LW5… the story about the blue spoon is hilarious, especially planting in their drawer at the end!

    1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

      Quite honestly, I would not have been able to look on silently if I’d been the one planting the spoon. “Wait a second, Hortense – is that the blue spoon? Where’d you find it?” – just a little too loudly for normal office conversation.

      Pettiness, thy name is Boston…

  38. Elio*

    The spoon one was very WTF and very entertaining.

    I guess that the most recent overreaction is one person at work was out for a few weeks and he is freaking out over stuff that happened and being like “no one told me!!!” even though there are a bunch of emails and the issue has been resolved. This guy is a nitpicking jerk who no one likes too. I’m just going to reply to his multiple emails with screenshot of the email sent to him and no comments. Maybe circle the date and his name.

      1. Elio*

        Exactly! But actually my boss said to ignore him. It’s being escalated to our super boss since this guy is spamming everyone. Including super boss and HR.

  39. 1-800-BrownCow*

    Crappy coffee is unforgivable. Whoever served it should be fired. There, I said it and I don’t care if people think I’m overreacting. Just don’t ever serve crappy coffee and you won’t have to hear about it 2 decades later. I’d take Cheap Ass Rolls over Crappy Coffee any day.

  40. Berkeleyfarm*

    The spoon tale is really a peak office story. Interrogations, requiring desk searches, and inspecting trash daily really should have been nipped in the bud by management.

  41. KB*

    Every overreaction to a trivial thing is a displaced reaction to an important issue to which appropriate reactions are not permitted.

    Spoon? Maybe anger that the company won’t stock the kitchen.
    Conference coffee? Maybe the conference could have been an email.

    Anger at trivia could be, in fact, lack of autonomy, unrealistic expectations and insufficient resources, lazy boss gets paid more while you do all the work without credit. Or a million other things we’ve seen on this site. It can also, of course, be personal problems.

  42. SheroHere*

    #9 sounds like where I currently work. In my previous role, the team I was on at the time (along with the director) decided to display bad work produced by internal clients. A few of them saw it and of course, wanted to know why their work was on the “wall of shame.” It was definitely unprofessional but necessary since much of the work produced by our internal clients poorly represented the company.

  43. Lindsay*

    One of these delightful threads reminded me of one from close to 10 years ago that my mind probably clouded for me to protect my own senses…

    I was hired at a horribly misogynistic, old-timey place as a supervisor of a compliance group. So many things eventually came to light and it was clear that, while I explained in my interview (and every interview I ever have) that I am strong-minded female who likes to work independently, etc. they didn’t actually want any ladies who have ideas, or thoughts, or words or…a whole other story but I eventually was paid 5 figures to go away because they didn’t want to do compliance and really just had the department because they had gotten their hand slapped a few times by the government and did it for show. BTW, LOTS of companies operate this way and I left the industry after 15 years because I wasn’t willing to put my federal licensure on the line for Fortune 500 companies…

    One thing I discovered was the corporate office mailroom had a gal who would just ship whatever people brought her. There were items that were going internationally, were regulated, etc. and I would find out each time a package was stopped, put into a hold for inspection, etc. until we did the paperwork, called 100 people, so on. I let the gal know in the mail room that she had to start routing that type of stuff to our group to make sure paperwork was done up front, products labeled, etc. She, of course, ignored me a few times and kept shipping things and they kept getting held up. I insisted on this a few more times because at some point, an important item was either going to be delayed indefinitely, seized or whatever and really eff things up for people.

    I go to the mailroom in this building at some point as I am there for meetings and have never met the delightful gal who is making life difficult for all of us. I walk in, and she has a piece of paper in a tray with my picture from the internal directory blown up and giant letters below to the effect of “If you’re upset I am not shipping your item for you, go to ____” with my contact details. Yes, I am the Tyrannical Shipping Wench from Other Office…

  44. Zolk*

    Once while working on a rebranding, several staff wanted a specific colour added to the brand standards. Nothing was final yet but the designer (an outside consultant) refused to add this colour which, admittedly, would be very useful for specific audiences. One staff member was so passionate about it that he simply screamed in the meeting about colour theory until they agreed.

Comments are closed.