"Someone told this new kid that the two brooms we had were a left-handed broom and a right-handed broom. Last week, he asked me, 'Is this a left-handed broom? It feels funny.' So I handed him the other one and he went, 'Oh yeah. Much better.'"
"For a part-time job, a girl I was friends with worked at a hotel. One of her duties was to help set up for conferences and banquets. So she was setting up some food for a banquet when her boss asked her to please put the cartons of milk on ice. The boss left and came back a few minutes later to see the girl opening up the milk cartons and pouring milk into a giant bowl of ice. The boss promptly exclaimed, 'Girl! What the HECK!'"
"I work at a fast food restaurant mainly as a fry cook, and because we had no dishwasher, it was my responsibility to wash the dishes. I had filled up the sink with beautiful turquoise soapy water and gotten through most of the dishes. I was very particular about making sure the water was soapy enough and remained clean and blue until I was done, and at the moment, all I had left were about twenty small bowls that were not visible underneath the water.
One of my new coworkers, a seventeen-year-old boy, was back there with a broom washing his hands in the nearby handwashing sink when I came over to finish up. He was telling me about how he just had to clean the bathrooms and there was crap everywhere on the floors. He showed me the tip of the broom handle and was explaining that, somehow, he had gotten poop on the tip of it. I asked him to please clean the top of the broom with bleach. He cheerfully explained that he was just using my dishwater and showed me by dipping the top of the crap-covered broom handle into the dishwater.
Had I not walked by at that exact moment, I would have washed all of our dishes in crap. He thought it was OK because he couldn't see any dishes in there. I drained everything, cleaned out the sink and washed those dishes more thoroughly than I think I've ever washed anything. He made me promise not to tell anyone and I promised him that I'd kick his butt if I ever caught him doing something that stupid again."
"A few days before Thanksgiving, one of the older women on my floor started running around the floor excitedly warning everyone that 'a new study shows the five-second rule no longer applies.' She actually was going from cube to cube, making sure to notify each and every person. I'm guessing she felt some urgency because a holiday potluck was about to begin, but I have no idea.
She only made it through a couple rows of cubicles before people started to walk over so they could figure out what was going on. Things were still manageable at this point.
Several people asked her to clarify why she was so riled up. Her answer was something like, 'People need to be careful, it's not healthy anymore.' A couple other people had no idea what the five-second rule is and tried to get her to explain it. She just said, 'You know, like it used to be ok as long as you didn't wait more than five seconds, but now it's not.' That didn't help clarify the concept since she insisted on coyly avoiding the phrase, 'picking up food that was dropped on the floor and eating it.'
At this point, a small crowd was gathering around this woman and was spilling over into my cube. Unfortunately, she had whipped herself into a panic by that point and wasn't really answering anyone's questions. She just kept repeating, 'it's not safe anymore,' regardless of what was being asked. This somehow set off a bit of a chain reaction. Seriously, it was like stupidity and panic had become an airborne virus, one with about a five second incubation period.
First, the crowd grew large enough that the newcomers couldn't really see or hear what was happening because everyone is talking (maybe 40 or so people wedged between a row of cubicles). Then, one girl - who was still in the dark about the whole five-second rule concept - grabbed a phone and called her mother on the phone to ask about 'the news' (and not bothering to mention 'the five-second rule' until several minutes into the call). The five-second rule lady seemed to be having a mild panic attack for some reason.
Then I started hearing people on the outer edge of the crowd asking each other if there was some breaking news and why they weren't safe anymore. Someone loudly announced, 'I'm freaked out, I'm going home.' A couple other people grabbed their stuff and left too. People on the opposite side of the floor were starting to gather in small groups and looked in the crowd's direction. A couple of those people decided to leave the building as well.
At that point, things got silly. One of the girls in the center of the crowd looked up and suddenly noticed the commotion. She then got panicked and started asking things like, 'What's going on,' and 'Oh my god, everyone's leaving, do we need to go?' Now, I should mention that she was actually one the first people to come over to talk to the five-second rule lady, so should have known better than anyone what was going on. And of course, only a handful of people had left at that point.
Regardless, she and a few other people in the center of the crowd decided that 'something had happened' and promptly started pushing through the crowd for some reason. This prompted about a dozen people to head towards the nearest exit door. I continued to run my daily reports.
The max exodus finally alerted a manager, who seemed rather startled by the scene after he walked out of his office. He promptly (and rather loudly) placed a call to security. Then he stood on a desk, shouted at everyone to calm down and asked for an explanation. No one volunteered one. So, he started pulling individuals aside and asking them what was going on and what they were doing. He got four or five versions of, 'I don't know,' before I decided to get up and try to explain the situation. I had to fill out a report on 'the incident' a few days later. It was a good five pages long. The security guards got a good laugh out of the whole thing.
Oh, and as a footnote, there are a few tidbits I learned about the five-second rule lady after the fact. Yes, I'm a masochist and actually decided to broach the subject with her again right after everyone had calmed down a bit.
One: she apparently doesn't understand science. She thinks that scientific research somehow creates reality rather than studies it. So, she thought that 'scientists had made it where the five-second rule didn't work anymore.'
Two, and probably obviously at this point: she didn't realize that the five-second rule was intended to be a joke. When explaining this concept, I think I actually used the phrase 'because no one in their right mind would want to eat food after it had fallen on the floor.' The woman who sat next to her also had the same misunderstanding (which was pretty concerning) and was pretty ticked at me for claiming that bacteria doesn't wait for a five count, and insisted that her family had been using the five-second rule for years.
Three: she 'gets nervous when other people are nervous,' which apparently is why she started repeating 'it's not safe' over and over again. So she quickly created her own feedback loop.
And finally: 'the study' in question that started this whole thing was just some random piece of news that had appeared on her Facebook feed.
And as an aside, we work at a Fortune 500 company. I'm not quite sure what this woman does, but it is something in finance or accounting. So, yeah."
"One time, I told a receptionist to water the flowers in the lobby. I watched him walk up to a clearly fake tree (the type of fake tree that is in every office setting), and dump a liter of water into the base. He didn't even continue on to water the real plants. Poor simple boy came back to me smiling."
"We had a runner at a law firm (main jobs were filing in the courthouse, running discovery to other lawyers, making copies, getting the mail, etc.) who was pretty stupid for a 25-year-old. Normally the job is given to college students (either because they want to be lawyers some day or they benefit from the flexible schedule that's offered).
1) At one point, he (no college degree, not even in college) asked, 'How could I move up around here?' and when asked to explain, he said he wanted to know when he would be promoted to 'lawyer' and how long it took people to move up to that position from his. A year or two? He was serious.
2) As a runner, his main job was to go run an errand, then come right back. It was important that he do that because more things would accumulate at the office that needed to be filed/sent out. He was often gone for long periods of time even though the courthouse was a few blocks away. One time he was gone so long that we called him. He said he was hungry, so he was eating at Buffalo Wild Wings. He was sitting down and eating a full BWW meal on the clock in the middle of the afternoon. He couldn't understand why he got fired.
This was the son of some friend of the firm that got hired out of pity, I think. He didn't submit a real application or anything."
"I witnessed this firsthand during my time in the Navy. All of us were hospital corpsman (Navy for medical or nursing assistant) and trained in anatomy & physiology, among other medical aspects.
So we had this girl named Karin. Karin was a special kind of stupid. Karin, my supervisor Rob, and a few other corpsmen worked in the recovery room, where surgical patients recover. Karin was the sort of employee who would sit next to you and ask the most pointless, out of left field questions when you were busy and then didn't understand why you couldn't tell her the history of recovery rooms right this second, when we were busy getting a new patient set up, fresh out of surgery.
Anyway. On this one day, we were really busy with lots of surgical patients coming through and Rob decided to 'fix' Karin for a bit. He was busy taking care of a patient and Karin was busy being a ditz, so he made it sound like it was an urgent thing and told her that he needed to do a dressing change on a patient, but first, he needed some 'eustachian tube.' NOTE: Eustachian tube is a body part that connects the ear to the throat.
Karin was the kind of ditz to ask how much Eustachian tube he needed, and he guessed, 'Oh, about 10 feet.' He told her to look in the supply closet (where of course it wasn't), and then to go over to the Operating Room and ask if they had some in stock.
He expected her to come right back. I was sitting nearby, watching him. Neither of us expected what happened.
Karin went over to the operating room to ask if they had Eustachian tube. Now normally the nurses over there would tell a person they were being pranked and to shut up and go back to work, but on this day, the nurse over there wasn't having Karin's crap either, and told her they were fresh out and to go over to the ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) clinic which was on the far side of the hospital from the OR.
Down the hall Karin went, to the ENT clinic. Again, the people at the ENT clinic would have called her on the prank but they were having none of it either. Not only did the ENT people tell her that they were out of Eustachian tube, they gave her a fake 'part number' and told her she would have to go to the supply center of the hospital, which was deep in the basement of the hospital.
Admittedly, the supply people haven't had medical training and so they didn't know that Eustachian tube was a nonexistent entity. So Karin went down there and waited patiently for them to find the part in their computer. Of course, they couldn't find it in the computer, so they had to resort to looking on the shelves, where it of course also was not.
At some point, Karin was forced to admit defeat, and returned back to Rob a couple of hours later, long after the original patient had returned to his or her room. Rob was amazed at the lengths that Karin went to, and the lengths that the hospital staff went to. He and I shared a good laugh about it until our charge nurse got wind of it and gave him a good talking to.
So far as I know, Karin never did figure out that a Eustachian tube is not found in any part catalog."
"I witnessed a new employee sweeping the same spot over and over. He had never met me, I think he thought I was a coworker. I asked him what he was up to. 'Just killing time.' Fired.
I witnessed another one about to post a sign to a concrete wall. He asked me for a hammer. Oh really, a hammer?"
"I used to work in a toy store and one day I was in the back office when a rather thick colleague ran in, 'Quick. Quick. Do you have a calculator?'
I looked in a few drawers before saying no, but thought I could perhaps work out the calculation in my head, 'What do you need a calculator for? You know that the till should...'
'I need to work out a discount!'
'Oh ok. What's the discount?'
I laughed, 'That's just half price then,' giving her the benefit of the doubt. I then asked, '50% of what?'
I was expecting her to say something like $47.63 or something.
'50% of $2.'
'Well, that's $1!'
'Is that $1 off or the new price?'
'Are you serious? It's the same!' She just looked at me and clearly didn't believe me. A moment later, she politely asked if I was sure we didn't have a calculator. At this point, I found one and handed it to her and got ready to leave. However, once she took it, she pressed a few buttons then asked, 'How do you work it out on a calculator?'
I quickly took the calculator away from her, pressed the '1' key and handed it back. 'There you go. It's worked out the answer.' The new price is $1. At this point, she smiled, thanked me and left content with her newly discovered knowledge."
"Her name was Leslie. She was, by far, the nicest girl I've ever met, but she was the definition of the Ditzy Blonde.
This was at a movie theatre, by the way.
She had just given a guy change for a $100 when he had actually given her a $20, so my boss at the time got in her face, just screaming at her, threatening to fire her, and just other standard boss rants.
Mid-rant, she got this platinum smile across her face and started jumping up and down while clapping and screaming, 'LOOK! IT'S A BUTTERFLY!'
As the butterfly fluttered past, my boss just turned around in defeat and shuffled back to the office."
"One of my coworkers always wears her earpiece for the office phone around. Every couple days, she'll wear it out during lunch by mistake and when coming back into the office, she always says the same thing, 'Wow I wore my earpiece to Subway, haha! I feel so Amish.' I tried explaining to her why it isn't Amish, but she just doesn't get it."
"I worked in childcare. I had to explain to a coworker that if you suspect a child is being abused at home, you're legally obligated to report it. He was just like, 'Nah, I don't really wanna get involved. If I don't report it, no one will know.' Yeah, that's the freaking problem."
"I used to work in a test lab at a major computer manufacturer. There was a bank of computers used for some sort of automation that sat across the room from us. The lab manager set up a webcam that was motion activated to keep an eye on the computers because parts had come up missing. One day, the guy that sat next to me got fired. I asked around and it turns out, he walked over to the webcam, looked at it (which caused it to start recording) and followed the USB cable down and unplugged it and put it in his backpack.
Well, the lab manager thought that it was odd to see this guy's face then the camera go black, so he came into the lab and saw that the camera was missing. When he found it in the guy's backpack, he was fired from an $80,000 a year job for a $20 webcam. I'll bet that was a fun conversation with his wife."
"I used to work in a factory. The factory floor itself was massive and the company decided it needed to be painted. They settle on a nice neutral color and two employees were tasked with painting it. Unfortunately, they started from the outside and worked their way in, only to be trapped together in a tiny circle surrounded by wet paint."
"I was trying to train someone on how to use a web-based data entry tool. She insisted that it wasn't working. She couldn't get on to the webpage to sign in. Turns out, she had typed in the address, but didn't hit enter to actually, you know, GO to that page."
"I work at a pool over the summer as a lifeguard. One of the less intelligent lifeguards was the only one guarding one of the pools (not the main pool but the 'deep tank' which had diving boards). He overheard the guards on break saying they were ordering Chinese food. Rather than calling out to us, he decided to leave a pool full of kids jumping off the diving board unattended to give us his order. Fired on the spot."
"I had a guy I hired to do storefront installations at construction sites. One day, he called in sick, whatever, no worries. Then I got a call that afternoon from another employee at a job site to go to the site, they said it was important. I headed out there and saw my 'sick' employee. He was working for another company at the new store next door, installing their storefront. This guy thought he could get paid by me and another company at the same time. Nope."
"I had a guy who worked for me who was truly an idiot. He color-coded a document and then made copies for everyone on a black and white printer. He could not understand why we couldn't follow along.
Once, a manager needed to meet with this employee to review a lengthy document but got stopped on the way to the meeting. He told the guy 'just go on to the conference room and spread out - I'll be there in a minute.'
When he got to the conference room, there was a sheet of paper in front of every chair in the room (roughly 50 chairs). He said, 'What in the world are you doing!?'
The employee replied, 'You told me to spread out.'"
"I work as a lifeguard and the pool has three sections which are joined: the main swim pool (which is rectangular and has swim lanes), a medium-sized kids' pool (which is only about a meter deep), and a tiny baby pool which is about a foot deep and has holes in the floor where bubbles come out for the kids to play in. They are all joined and the water flows between them all.
A few other lifeguards convinced another lifeguard that the bubble machine part of the baby pool was where the chlorine entered into the whole pool system and that the chlorine was a bit low in the main adult bit of the pool. So he got a bucket and spent a good half an hour taking buckets of water from the baby pool and chucking it in the main pool."
"When I was a manager at Subway, we'd had an ice storm, and a customer had left his car in the parking lot. It was frozen over when he came to get it the next day. Now, I am unsure of the events that led up to this because I was busy, but somehow, one of my more idiotic employees wound up pouring near boiling hot water on the guy's windshield and shattering it (without permission from the car's owner).
By far though the biggest idiot employee I had was on work release from the local prison. He had six weeks to go before parole and just up and decided to cut and run with his girlfriend while on my shift. I'd actually heard them talking about it and it didn't register what they were talking about until the realization hit me that he was gone right as the prison driver/guard showed up to pick him up. He knew the guy was gone the minute he walked in and saw the look on my face. Not fun for me. I suspect that he ran because he'd been getting illegal substances from the girlfriend and was going to fail his pee test and not get paroled."
At RateMyJob, we put together this website to provide professionals a way to share & unwind and to compare work experiences with others.