Any white collar worker claims to have had an Office moment, as in the sitcom The Office. People call out the "Dwights" or "Jims" or "Pams" at their office, or even compare their own boss to Steve Carell's Michael Scott or Ricky Gervais' David Brent, if you are a fan of the original UK version. Most often, these Office moments are the claims of superfans on their seventy-third binge of the series whose obsession subconsciously enabled them to exaggerate what was, most likely, just a strange occurrence at the workplace to sitcom-level absurdity.
These stories, however, are too absurd to even be imagined. The following are from employees who had a genuine Office moment and shared the experience on Reddit. The only thing missing from these stories that make them ripe for a slot on NBC's Thursday night lineup would be an uncomfortably nosy film crew.
Good News, Bad News
“In 1998, a manager at my company at the time called in all of his staff.
‘There’s some good and bad news,’ he announced. ‘The good news is I’ve been promoted to head up finance at head office. Unfortunately, we’re centralizing all the accounts departments and your jobs are to be made redundant.’
I always like to think one of his ex-staff members went on to be a script writer for The Office. There was one cynical accountant who certainly fits the bill.
Among other stories I have, there was once a director who bought the biggest Christmas tree possible without first checking the ceiling heights in our office. Or the time the IT department persuaded the new IT help desk officer to hide in a big new printer box to surprise the accounting department. Instead, they wheeled him to the atrium, where he jumped out in full view of 500 members of staff.
Then, there was the time when the office fish tank burst, flooding the floor and into to the server room, taking down all network services. But to cap it all, the receptionist saved most of the fish in a bucket and poured them into the tank in the offices above. There was a piranha feeding frenzy and fish skeletons kept floating to the surface for the rest of the year.
I could go on. I’ve had 30 years in a corporate environment. The Office, both UK and USA, are funny because they are so true.”
This Is About As Michael Scott As It Gets
“I worked in a large retail store. Our assistant manager once took a trip to Seattle and was inspired when he went to that famous Pike’s Place fish market, where they throw the fish and all. He even held a meeting showing us a video about this place and said he wanted us to be more like that. The rough equation in his head must have been ‘throwing things = improved employee work ethic’ so he brought in a football and would just randomly start throwing it at employees, whether they were paying attention or not. This practice came to a halt when he hit a girl square in the face with it as she was talking to a customer.
Another time, it was discovered our store had a rat problem (we sold birdseed at the time and the rats loved it). So he went to the animal shelter and adopted kittens (not grown cats) to come hunt the rats. The kittens never caught anything and one was run over by a forklift. That ended that.
And, last one, we were at a regional meeting and towards the end of it we were informed that each store team was supposed to be performing a skit. The other stores knew about it and had something prepared. We did not. So he ran out to his car, got his teenage daughter’s cheerleading outfit, and performed our company’s cheer/chant thing. This one was actually pretty awesome cause he really took one for the team, doing something like that so the rest of us didn’t have to stumble our way through making a skit up on the spot.
A Half-Baked Scheme
“I am diabetic and try not to eat sugary snacks and stuff. A few jobs ago, I was given the task to root out this project manager who had a very loyal staff, but produced zero work. The CTO suspected he was just farting around, so he sent me to work with them since one of their biggest complaints was, ‘Linux doesn’t work,’ and I was their new Senior Linux admin. The first meeting with this guy, he brought a cake. It was an expensive cake from a real bakery. It probably set him back $50-60.
‘No thank you,’ I told him, ‘I can’t have that much sugar.’
‘Oh, but surely you can have one slice,’ the project manager insisted.
‘No, I am a diabetic and I don’t want to have blurry vision and be sleepy the rest of the day.’
‘Oh, but your doctor won’t know.’
I had to refuse. Several times. He started to get panicky.
‘He’s diabetic,’ one of his programmers explained. ‘Cake will make him sick.’
‘How about pie?’ the project manager asked. ‘These chocolate croissants?’
And, so on. The guy had a lot of confections on him. As it turned out, he was trying to bribe me. He saw I was fat, and thought, That fat guy can probably be swayed by cake. The fact that I didn’t eat sweets never occurred to him as a thing, especially if I was fat, and he was out of options. I am surprised he didn’t start bringing in ladies of the night, although he did ask me a lot of what type of women I liked. ‘My wife’ wasn’t the answer he wanted, so maybe.
He wasn’t too bright. He wasn’t doing any work, either, and had been scamming the company of money via ‘consultants and contractors’ who were mostly his friends. Long story short, when bribes didn’t work, he used threats. He kept asking what car I drove and what parking garage it was in. I told him I commute with someone else who picks me up at work or I ride the metro. Eventually, when his contract expired, he was let go.”
The Real-Life Toby
“I am a pretty young consultant and, because the number of desks on the main floor is limited, I was moved to the upstairs portion with the interns. I’ve been forgotten multiple times from meetings, to drinks, to the occasional event in which I would be told to ‘Wait for the phone call,’ only to go down to check and notice everyone has left and I had been waiting for nothing.
Some of my co-workers, I haven’t seen in days, if not weeks for some people. I took two weeks off recently AND NO ONE NOTICED. I’m trying to secretly get a laptop assigned to me. That way I can work from home and pretend I was there the entire time.
What is even funnier is that my name, actually, is Toby.”
Something Smells Suspicious In The Restroom
“A couple of years ago, everyone came in for work early in the morning and someone discovered a poop log in the sink of one of the bathrooms. I work in a mental health outpatient program so there are a lot of people in and out of the building throughout the day. We also hold many groups during the day, so people tend to stick around for a few hours at a time. No one had noticed this turd in the sink the day before. Luckily enough, I got out of cleaning up this mess, but I was put in charge of the detective work to find the culprit.
I spent the next four to five hours of the day checking security tapes of people leaving and entering the building the day before (we only have cameras for the parking lot and main door), checking sign-in sheets, and asking people some questions. What I discovered was that there were only about five people here during the time that I thought the ‘log’ had been placed. I say ‘placed’ because the turd was very neatly placed in the sink… ‘Neatly,’ may not be the right word. It was as if someone had done their business and then relocated the turd. Our bathroom sink counters are also quite high, so it would have taken someone climbing up on top and letting loose for it to get there otherwise. The five people who were the main suspects weren’t really physically able to do that easily, although it was possible.
After some further checking in to things, I narrowed the suspect list down to two people, both of whom didn’t seem like the type to do that. The first, because he volunteers to clean the bathrooms here once a week and he was the one to discover it. The perfect cover, perhaps. The second person was a woman and the turd was located in the men’s bathroom, which could have been another good cover for this person.
Ultimately, we just ended up not doing anything and kind of pretended it didn’t happen. It was kind of a weird ending because I spent a lot of time looking in to it, but was just kind of told not to worry about it anymore. I think that was because we had no real way to prove who actually did it.”
A Nice Gesture From The Receptionist
“On my very first day on the job, the receptionist had made some strawberry cookies and she was really excited for me to try one. I really don’t care for strawberries and I wasn’t in the mood for a cookie, and she was so sweet that I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I told her I was allergic to strawberries.
She threw them all away immediately, a whole tray. She dropped it right into the trash and told everyone not to bring any strawberries into the office. I’ve been pretending to be allergic to strawberry for three years now.”
We Suppose Bathroom Quality Is Important
“In our monthly meeting with the entire office staff, there was a serious discussion which lasted for 45 minutes about the sort of toilet paper that should be used – single, double or triple ply. One argument used was that you don’t need double ply, as you could simply fold two single ply pieces. Two ladies went into details how it feels when using single ply versus double ply. Some staff members felt that their vote should count more as they had a weaker bladder or had bad digestion.
It was beautiful but also cringeworthy and 45 minutes was just too long. We ended up using double ply.”
It Is Not Like She Had A Garden In Her Office
“My husband decided to bring me flowers at work for our anniversary. The majority of my co-workers came into my office and complimented my flowers. Almost all of them noted that the flowers had no smell. Then, after the flowers had been sitting on my desk for four whole days, this lady, whom I will call ‘Barb,’ walked down the hall to my office, and saw my flowers. She came running into my office, sniffed the flowers, and started screaming at me.
‘I knew it!’ she exclaimed. ‘Your flowers are causing me to have an allergic reaction! Get them out of here right now!’
I freaked out, apologized, and told her I would put them in my car until the end of the day. She ran out of the room. As I went outside, I saw Barb standing by my car. She was clearly waiting for me to see if I had put them away. I did, went back inside, and spent the rest of the morning getting chewed out by my mangers for ‘almost killing Barb,’ despite the fact that they had all seen the flowers and said nothing to me prior to this incident.
When I asked her about it later, she said that she wasn’t allergic to the flowers specifically. She is just ‘very sensitive to smell’ and the smell of the flowers was what had set her off.”
She Was Not Fit To Plan A Birthday Celebration
“We had a single, terrible HR lady. She had two jobs: make our lives crap and get cakes for birthdays. Halfway through the day, one of my co-workers asked her when she was bringing out the cake for my birthday. She had completely forgotten to put mine on her list.
Since she was ‘perfect’ and ‘incapable of making mistakes,’ she first accused them of lying. Repeatedly. For free cake. Finally, she stormed up to my desk and asked me, sarcastically, if it was my birthday. I told her it was. She was momentarily taken aback before demanding to see my drivers license. Lo and behold, it was, in fact, my birthday.
But, it was raining and she didn’t want to run out and get a cake herself. She threw a few bucks at my co-workers and told them to run to the grocery store down the street and pick one up. Well, she did not give them enough money for a cake large enough for the office. They were also not getting paid enough to chip in for a decent cake, so they grabbed the last small cake left.
That’s how I ended up with an office birthday cake that said, ‘Congrats On Your Birthday!’ But, before ‘Birthday,’ the words, ‘Baby Boy’ were crossed out.”
Treating Failure Like Death
“My office had a terrible year. We were a small family owned licensed distributor for a large national brand of industrial products. It’s a niche market that falls under the industrial automation category. Sales were down, morale was low, and turnover was looming. Instead of listening to the employees’ concerns, management held a funeral in our warehouse.
We were instructed to air our grievances on paper and then we ceremoniously marched up to the front and put our papers in a shredder. The shredded paper was then put into a cardboard casket and carried out to the dumpster by pallbearers, followed by a manager dressed as the grim reaper. The CEO proceeded to give a eulogy on a Power Point presentation that included a lot of Kid Rock musical interludes.
It was the most awkward experience of my career. Also, it didn’t work. Most of us don’t work there anymore.”
A Friendly Little Game Of Basketball
“There is a guy in our office who has problems controlling his anger, especially in a competitive environment. Naturally, he was in charge of the little office games/tournaments we have. This time, we played basketball. The little arcade basketball game.
His team made it to the final game and he lost. As all of us were congratulating the winners, we heard the sound of a ball slamming against the rim. I turned to see a ball flying at my face at high speed. I raised my hand and, luckily, deflected the ball away. But, I was standing a solid 10 feet away and it still stung my hand.
‘This dumb game!’ he exclaimed after throwing the ball.
We all just stood there, awkwardly, not knowing what to do as this 30-year-old man-child threw a fit about losing. Needless to say, HR got involved and he is no longer in charge of the office games.”
A Few Cultural Misunderstandings
“I worked for a company in the US South in the late 90s. Sales were tanking, clients were leaving. They laid off around 35 people the week before Christmas. After the new year, the CEO hired some expensive fung-shui ‘guru’ who went around and hung crystals all around the large, two-floor office building. Well, some folks there were proper Christians and didn’t take kindly to this ‘Eastern-woo-woo’ stuff, so they hung crosses and crucifixes next to all the crystals. They took the crystals as an affront to Jesus.
Then, some guys in the art department printed out pictures of cartoon characters and hung those next to the crystal-cross menageries. Within 24 hours, all the crystals, crosses, and cartoon characters were taken down never to be spoken of again.
At this same place, pretty much the entire company was white as a snake’s belly except these three guys – one Chinese, one Japanese, and one from the Philippines. I was in a large executive level meeting when one of the senior executives referred to one of the guys as ‘Chingo.’ His name was not ‘Chingo.’ When someone corrected her, she said, ‘Whatever, one of them.’
A few days later one of the guys (not sure if it was ‘Chingo’ or one of his Asian doppelgangers) hung up posters titled ‘Asian Men You Should Know,’ with Jackie Chan, Confucius, Bruce Lee, General Mao, a bunch of other famous Asians… and the three Asian guys who worked at the company.”
Everyone Had A Good Laugh Over Her Mistake
“I woke up late for work because I slept through my alarm. Being late sucks on its own, but I was supposed to kick off the morning meeting that day. I managed to brush my teeth and put my clothes on before heading out the door. Somehow, I managed to get there right on time. I walked into the conference room and most of my coworkers were already there. I noticed the change in their expressions one by one and knew something was wrong… very, very wrong.
Then, I remembered that I had not taken out my hair curlers. They were the kind you sleep in that are supposed to give you beach waves. I had noticed them when I was getting dressed of course, but told myself I would take them out while hauling butt to the office. Unfortunately, I got so caught up in dodging traffic and practicing what I was going to say at the meeting, I’d forgotten all about them.
I went ahead and gave my presentation with my hair curlers still in. I thought if I acted confident and like it was no big deal, no one would say anything. It’s been three years and I still haven’t lived it down. It’s a frequent anecdote told around the office, but at least I didn’t get in any trouble and everyone had a good laugh, I suppose.”
“I Was Smart Enough To Just Get Up And Leave In The Middle Of It”
“The company I worked for started cutting every possible cost they could. They reduced benefits and salaries and completely stopped doing anything nice for the employees, such as buying lunch. Then, they started rolling out an entire propaganda campaign about how great a place to work it was. They even held a contest to name the new propaganda mascot.
Once everyone was beaten down really badly, they started coming up with random slogans as part of the propaganda campaign. They introduced a new slogan, ‘Have a sense of urgency!’ during one meeting, which ran 90 minutes over its allotted time. It caused everyone to get an extremely late start on the day and ended up causing people to have to stay late to get their work done.
Fortunately, I was smart enough to just get up and leave in the middle of it. I got everything done and left at the usual time. But, of course, people kept coming up to me that morning and asking why I left the meeting.”
Tension Between Co-workers
“I am one of the few managers of my office. I tend to be the most laid back and friendly, but not enough to get sucked into the gossip. One Saturday, I and the top manager were working. One lady I work with came in and, basically, started flipping out on one of the younger chicks who works with us. My manager and I separated them and tried to calm down the situation. I started to walk the younger one to the other side of the room and she began to talk some crap on the older chick. Well, the older chick came flying to beat the crap out of her. It took a few coworkers to hold her back.
We finally got them in the conference room and the whole story came out. The young one texted the older one the night before with all these threats. She did not like how cozy the older one was getting with a guy who works for our dispatch company, but shares our office. Plus, she thought the older one was spreading rumors about her all over the office. Of course, my manager wanted us to the bottom of this.
Then, the guy asked to talk with us. He went on, basically, that the young one was crazy. He never messed with her in his entire life. He would just be nice and friendly with her. He gave the whole, ‘I didn’t know how she felt and I am nice guy’ routine. My boss ate it up like butter because the young chick had been drama before. I felt like the dude did more than he was offering, but he was not part of my team, so I kept my mouth shut.
My manager made us pull in every single person one by one. That was where we learned that this guy had been hitting on almost all the chicks in our office. I heard details about him trying to slide into DMs and naked pics he exchanged with a couple of chicks. He was also sleeping with another chick whom the younger one did know about.
I got nothing done that day. My entire work day was taken up by this mess. This guy wasn’t anything special in my eyes. He was short and chunky with a face of a pug with no real personality. He was also married to a crazy Italian woman. I scratched my head on how he managed to pull this off. Also, I realized my office was filled with thirsty women.
The young lady found out she was pregnant not to long after that. She couldn’t tell him because he blocked her. She asked me to tell him so he would talk to her again. So much for her being crazy.”
It Was A Very Unique Sales Pitch Idea, At Least
“Our advertising department wanted to pitch to MINI, as in MINI Cooper. They brainstormed all kinds of ideas and decided to send an invite to come in and chat, but still needed a hook. Someone suggested having it delivered by a little person, because, you know, MINI. Inexplicably, everyone loved it.
It took our own ‘David Brent’ to finally utter the immortal words: ‘Can we just pause a moment to consider whether the midget adds to or detracts from our pitch?’
I don’t feel too bad for the little person who lost the gig. They booked him to be delivered in a box dressed as an evil clown and jump out with a meat cleaver the next Halloween.”