Most people see their coworkers 5 days of the week every week. Whether or not someone is friends with their coworkers, they can still get annoying from time to time. Pulling a harmless prank is the best way to get back at them. The people in these stories share the best prank they ever pulled off on their unsuspecting coworker. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I had a friend (and coworker) regularly bring up how annoying it was, where someone would walk by him and just ... so uncomfortably close. There was plenty of room between the back of his chair and the wall, but daily he'd feel this guy walk past him. I wasn't trying to be a creep, just lack of self awareness in the office, clearly.
My friend tried doing a few things to try to get this guy to notice it was annoying, but of course never actually spoke to him as the dude was more senior and he was intimidated. Whatever, I had an idea.
Every day, he'd pull his desk back towards the wall a bit closer. He knew it wasn't going to work immediately, but after a few weeks of slowly moving the desk, annoying-coworker would have to shuffle sideways by to make it. My friend would often busy himself and not help, or make a big deal of getting out of his way.
Eventually annoying-coworker started taking another route through the office, where no one was inconvenienced, and my friend slowly moved his desk back to its original spot."
"I have an extra mouse in my desk drawer at work- I have the USB plugged in to the docking station of the obnoxious guy a couple cubes away.
On days he is particularly obnoxious, I will take out the extra mouse and move it around every few minutes. He has never realized because it’s plugged into the docking station and not his laptop. He has even had the laptop replaced. Never noticed. It brings me to tears silently laughing sometimes. I have to be careful not to over do it."
"Gradually over the course of two weeks moved my coworker's monitors closer to the front edge of the desk. Like 1/4" per move. Until they were so close the keyboard barely fit.
'Stupid small desk,' she grumbled near the end.
I then moved them back, just as slowly, over a few weeks. She never caught on."
"My coworkers in the Chicago office asked me to bring back a phone book and the hotel stationery from my business trip to Kansas City. They were preparing for another coworker's bachelor party for the night before the wedding. The groom was known for drinking to an extent that was considered legendary.
After a night of drinking, he woke up on the morning of his wedding in a hotel room. He checked the nightstand and found the Kansas City phone book. The desk was stocked with KC stationary. His friends had clued the front desk staff in on what was happening and convinced them to answer his room phone 'Good Morning and welcome to the Kansas City Holiday Inn.' It was 5 hours till the wedding, and he was actually only a couple miles from the venue, but the freak out was epic!
This was in the days before cell phones, and he made several panic phone calls and couldn't get a hold of the bride or his dad and mom. He finally looked out the window and recognized that he was in Chicago, got dressed and when the groomsmen met him in the lobby, he had some choice words for them."
"I used to work for a cruise line. A passenger asked if the crew lives on the ship full time.
My coworker and I explained that no, the crew leaves every night to fly back to Miami and then returns each morning. She walked away satisfied.
After that cruise was over, our manager was sharing the passenger evaluations with us and was confused about one in particular. It was a woman who had stayed on deck 14 and had complained that she couldn’t sleep at night because of the noise of the crew helicopter.
Fact 1: 1,200 crew do not leave every night but do live on the ship.
Fact 2: that ship didn’t even have a helipad.
What the heck was she hearing every night?!"
"One night, I replaced every framed object in my bosses office with a picture of me making a stern face. Posters, certificates, photos, etc. This took like three hours because he had like 30 framed things in his office.
The next day I made sure I was out doing field work to make him sit with it most of the day. He had a lot of foot traffic to look at his office that day."
"I worked at a fast food where the boss was too cheap to get AC installed. In the super hot summer days we would all sweat so much that we could wring sweat out of our uniforms.
There was this boy who I had a love hate relationship with––we would always prank each other but mine were always tame...until one day. He left his drink in the back while he was flipping burgers. I grabbed a vinegar packet, cut open a corner and put a straw directly into it and exchanged it with the straw from his drink, moments later, I was in the front of the store and I heard him spit and scream my name while calling me a brat.
He still high-fived me."
"I welded a co-workers boot to the floor. He had worn out the toe caps on his steel toed boots. While he was making a weld kneeling inside a large piece of equipment (on steel) I put a small tack weld on his boot. Several small tack welds in the middle of the winter. If he was paying attention he probably would have noticed. Maybe had on thick socks or something.
He had trouble breaking it loose and getting up."
"Early days of networked PCs, DOS, and NetWare. I worked in a computer lab on campus. There weren’t a lot of management utilities available at the time so I, and a few other student employees, wrote batch scripts and small programs to automate a few things when a student or professor would log on to the network. Having that sort of access led to numerous pranks being pulled, but most of us were savvy enough to figure it out and undo the prank.
However, we had two coworkers who liked to loaf a bit too much for our liking. They were not at all technical and had taken the lab assistant job because they thought it was easy money. They had conspired to be assigned to a remote classroom lab (that rarely had any students in it who would need assistance) for most of their working hours. They would just sit around and play games on the PCs while the rest of us were, you know, working. Clearly this could not stand.
I rewrote a piece of code that was executed when every single user signed on. If the username was either one of these two AND they were signing in on a PC in that remote classroom AND it was during their working hours it would look at an innocuous file on the network. The file merely had a few bytes in it which noted how long it had been since this prank had last been triggered, insuring that it would run once or twice a week maximum. If it did activate, it would launch a terminate and stay resident program which would wait a random time, between 5-15 minutes and then drop an image of two dudes going at it on the monitor for a few seconds and reboot the PC.
I tested it, put the compiled program in place, and deleted the source. Much hilarity ensued for the next two semesters."
"I worked in the local library as a teen, and some guy did something that ticked off my coworker and then best friend.
So, we started harvesting blow-in postcards from the magazine section. Every magazine. And hand wrote the prick's name and address on hundreds (at least) of postcards.
Free subscription? Sure! Collectible plates? Yep! Columbia Records? Enjoy your free dozen Albanian opera records. Book of the month? Silver spoons? Travel offers? Cruises? Bring 'em all on.
Do you know how many magazines libraries get?
The New Yorker. Sports Illustrated. Cosmo. Readers digest. Car and driver. Road and track. National geographic. Photography. Model railroading. Science fiction. Every niche you can imagine. And we had 13 months or more of each.
We'd grab a couple of cards or a dozen per shift, fill them out, and drop them in random mailboxes when we were out on our bikes.
It took a couple of months to kick in, and several more months for the tsunami to really hit. USPS stopped delivering to his house. Police were called, but the processing houses evidently didn't keep the postcards, and my prints weren't in the system yet anyway.
We stopped after a Christmas break flurry.
Until right before school started the following summer. One last blast of probably 50 more postcards with the most bizarre and offensive offers we could find.
No one ever suspected us."
"I was working in a hot factory. My supervisor and job planner were in this enclosed cubicle with a window AC unit in the middle of the shop. They had a nice 68ºF in there while we sweat our butts off in 95-110ºF heat.
It was always hot and I was mad and there were always flies around. I kept grabbing the flies alive, walking into the cubicle to ask a usually legit question or say I'm just cooling off and open my hand behind my back.
I put 14 of those flies in their cubicle in one shift. He never did catch on I was doing it and the planner was mad and swatting around. There were so many flies in there. Supervisor was cleaning out every crevice thinking some food is supporting life now somewhere."
"Not an office, but my teachers in middle school would pull a prank on students every year. They would find out who has and hasn't seen Back to the Future, then teacher A would say 'Shoot, I can't find my flux capacitor. John, can you go ask Mr. Smith if he has my flux capacitor?'
Then Mr. Smith would send John to Mrs. Holly saying he lent it to her, but then Mrs. Holly would say she gave it to Dr. Ferdinand, and so on. John ends up walking back and forth around the school for about 30 minutes, all the while, every class in the entire school is laughing at John behind his back for not knowing what a flux capacitor is.
Looking back at it, this was probably pretty mean and embarrassing to do to middle school students, but the teachers always seemed to know which students were able to take a joke and not get too upset by it."
"I used to work at a science tutoring center when I was in college and my gap year before professional school. One of the things we taught very often was anatomy. So naturally, we acquired a few skeletons and various skulls with some variation in how they looked or were marked etc.
Well I was closing one night, and I knew my co-worker was opening the next morning early, so before I locked up I assorted ALL of the skeletons and skulls in a...welcome party near the front door. I had one immediately at the opening of the only door into the room with several back up skeletons and skulls just behind at a table together watching on.
The best part was that you have to turn on the lights manually and that switch is immediately to the side of the door opening, so when she reached down to turn on the lights she had to come face to face with some lifeless skeleton skull in the middle of the shady opening. Needless to say she screamed, and it was loud enough to make our boss come to see if she was okay.
I woke up to some colorful texts. I'm still proud of that one honestly."
"One summer in college, I worked in the registrar's office, registering all the incoming freshman. A professor who was a mentor to me was teaching freshman seminar and asked me to hand pick a class for her. Straight A students, high SATs, whatever.
So I did. 15 students, all named Sarah."
"I'm not usually a prankster, but I did get one guy good, who was known as a major prankster. So, he had this fancy car that he mentioned to me at an earlier contract, but, he hadn't told me what it was because he was trying to keep his contract prices secret, and the car would have got people curious.
On the current contract, he would usually come to work in beat up Land Rover, and as it was night shift, if he parked in the roadway near the worksite gates, his habit was to leave side lights on. So, on the night in question, I saw a Triumph Stag parked with side lights on, at the time, it was considered a fairly fancy car. Hmmmm.
On the way down to the platform (we were doing renovations to the platforms at Kensington), I pondered on what to do if he was there, I had checked there was no sign of the Land Rover, so that would mean the Triumph was almost certainly his. As I spotted him on the platform, moving a heavy paving slab, the idea came to me.
Walking up to him I said, 'Hi Kevin, hey you didn't park your Land Rover round the back did you?'
'Err, no I didn't.' and the way he reacted to my mention of the Land Rover made me pretty certain the car was his.
'Oh good, if you had done, you probably wouldn't be able to get it out any time soon, some wasted prick came out of the Tiara hotel across the way, and he plowed his jag into a Triumph Stag right outside the gates. I've never seen such a tangled mess.'
He goes white as a sheet, and almost drops the paving slab in his hurry to put it down safe, and starts hurrying away. Before he got off the platform, I couldn't hold the laughter any longer, he realized he'd been had and came back. He was a bit ticked off, but was a good enough sport that he could take a joke as well as dish them out. He then explained why my joke caused such a strong reaction. In the year he had the car, it had spent half that time being repaired due to two incidents, one while sitting at a red light, and once while parked. And he had just got it back from the last repair! Lucky timing for my joke."
"I was in Kuwait on the way to Iraq when our bird got delayed for three weeks. Well, Kuwait has these things called dub-dubs. A dub-dub is a lizard about the size of a small cat. They're utterly harmless but when they get ticked off they hiss loud as heck and do this whole threat display thing. Looks scary as heck.
Well...being the enterprising Marine that I was, I quickly set about catching them and placing them in any of the Air Force guys' stuff I could find unattended. Backpacks, lockers, desks, toolboxes, glove compartments, sleeping bags. You name it. I must've planted at least 3 or 4 dozen dub-dubs in my boredom.
Some guy would go into his office, you'd hear a drawer open and HIIIISSSSSSS
'OH GOD I HATE THESE PRICKS SO MUCH!'
I was suspected as the dub-dub terrorist, but it was immediately dismissed by the Air Force guys because 'He's a Marine, he's too stupid.'
Yes, yes I am. Suspect nothing and enjoy the new pet I left waiting for you in your pillowcase."
"I used to work in a small business that was run by two best friends in their late 50s. It was a very chill business, and they had fantastic senses of humor. It was like having two squabbling brothers who were both very talented in their respective fields. The two of them had a yearly ritual where they'd play pranks on each other on their Birthdays.
COO's birthday the CEO gave him fake documents that made it look like he'd sold the company to a random dude in India. CEO pretended to be incredibly enthusiastic and naive, saying how 'giving all our customer data to India will help our business!' COO responded by casually moving CEO's wheelchair to the other side of the room until he apologized for stressing him out.
CEO's birthday the COO changed the workplace safety policy to require that the CEO had to wear water wings, a bicycle helmet, and several balloons 'For visibility.' The CEO who had a wheelchair already, was a super good sport about it and kept annoying the COO by pretending to be significantly more disabled than he actually was. This went on for the entire day, until the COO got so annoyed that he reverted the safety policy."
"A coworker collected weeks worth of hole punches (the little white circles that get punched out). Then he got our boss' car keys and carefully stacked them on the edges of the vents in her car, set the AC dials to max and left them. When my boss turned on his car, he was showered in confetti."
"The morning supervisor at my office is a short little man who likes to work from a laptop on a rolling adjustable desk.
For over a year, I gradually raised the height of this desk and watched as he went from sitting on a stool, to an adjustable tall task chair, to standing. Last week, he removed the wheels from the desk to lower the height. He doesn't realize it's adjustable."
"I convinced a coworker for two months that the guy she had sat next to for three years was named Jay, not Dave.
They worked in different departments but sat three feet away from each other for years. I got the guy in on it. And his manager. Then later his supervisor, group manager, division manager, and entire department. They bought him new nameplates for his desk, changed stuff in the system, so his name would print as Jay, etc. The only thing they didn't change was his phone number and email. She thought she was going crazy, and when I finally told her she sucker punched me in the stomach and dropped me to my knees (she was a personal trainer in her off hours, so she got me good).
It was totally worth it and I laugh about it to this day over a decade later."
"This was a little bit ago, but my co-worker, we will call him Bob, decided to make his screen saver pictures of his family.
One day he walked away without locking his computer. I copied his directory of pictures to the file share and pointed his screensaver at it.
Now, I could easily add and remove pictures to his gallery.
I then started modifying the pictures in photoshop. Slowly, all the pictures of people, his kids, his wife, animals, started to get Bob's face."
"I worked with a guy who was kind of a dirtbag and not very computer literate. He acted as though he was better than everyone, because our business process had a bottleneck where he had to review documents, so he basically acted like a self-important prick.
One day when he was in a meeting, I noticed he had left his computer unlocked and also that no one else was around when I happened to walk by his cubicle (I did not work near him).
I hopped on his machine real quick, took a screenshot of his desktop and the 400 file icons he kept on the desktop, and then made a folder on his C drive called 'Desktop Icons and moved them all in there and set his desktop background to the screenshot.
It took him the rest of the day to figure out what was wrong and he had like a vendetta about finding out who did it, but since no one like him, no one would give him any clues it was me."
"Back in the 80s, I worked for a military aircraft plant. I managed to work my way into an office job after a few years and numerous hi-jinks in the warehouse.
Anyway, we got a new computer system and being somewhat computer savvy I discovered that it had a rudimentary messaging system that I figured out pretty quick. Being a government supplier, we all had to sit in on lots of classes about how to log into and out of the system for security. This was all stupid to me and bored me silly.
So one fine day, I'm sitting there bored and decided to send the lady that sat next to me a message.
'Attention Attention: you are in violation of log on procedures. Please log off and log back on using correct protocol.'
She pauses, looks at the screen, and proceeds to log off and back on. I do this to her a few more times and she's getting visibly nervous.
Finally, I send her one more that says, 'Attention Attention: you have violated log on protocol for the max allowable times. Please hold your badge to the screen for identification purposes.'
She looks around really shook up now and does exactly that. At this point I lose it and just bust out laughing then explain to her what I had done. I got a handful of M&M's thrown at me, but we all had a good laugh."
"At a previous job, we took turns with an on-call phone. I got it one week, and found the previous coworker (D) hadn't signed out of Hangouts (which we used company wide for IM). We worked in cubical farm sort of environment, and D sat next to C. They were pretty good work bros, but not especially close.
I waited until both D and C were on phone calls, and messaged C (but it looked like it was coming from D)
'Hey, my neck is hurting. Would you mind coming over here and rubbing on my shoulders?'
I was about 5 rows over when I hit send, but we all clearly heard C say, 'Excuse me?!'"