Stories You've Heard At Work

escargot

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#1
Or elsewhere, if they're interesting. We had a thread on this some years ago.

Everyone hears stories at work. This is the place to share them!

Last night I chatted with a woman who'd moved back to Britain from South Africa because, as she put it, 'I was sick of having guns shoved in my face.'

She explained that there're guns everywhere, people carry them openly, and you're not safe from robbery anywhere.

A friend had mentioned her plans for a SA honeymoon, and the woman had advised her against it, or if they did go, to wear very cheap clothes and jewellery and to generally look a bit poor, or they'd be robbed.

She worked in a bridal shop there and it was robbed at gunpoint more than once - 'Just', she said, 'Here's the gun, open the till!' Almost routine.

Trains over there're not safe. Robbers will throw you out of the train door or window to where their accomplices are waiting. They don't even wait for you to empty your pockets.

What decided her to leave for good was the following incident:

She was in a shopping centre, quite crowded, when she suddenly felt something wet splash onto her face and arms. Looking down, she saw blood. A woman was screaming in front of her, and there was a man with a bloodstained machete.

He had cut off the the woman's hand for her rings, and my passenger saw the hand being passed along overhead until it was out of sight. Right, that's IT, she thought!

She now lives in a rural area and finds it hard to grasp how much safer it is. When she's at the cash machine she still dreads turning around to see a man with a gun, whereas realistically she's more likely to trip over a sheep.

What a culture-shock, hey!
 
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#2
I've mentioned somewhere else (I think the Foss Lake thread) the guy I worked with who had once tried to end it all by driving off a cliff. His car didn't shoot off the cliff in a graceful hollywood style curve, but kind of reluctantly stumbled over the edge and flopped onto a ledge about thirty feet down. He was there for days before they found him - semiconscious, with maggots nibbling at his legs. My initial response to his story was, 'What!! You drove off a cliff...and missed?'

Another workmate made it into the national papers as teenager when he stole a whole pallet load of paint from outside a police station (certainly had balls, if not brains) - and sold it to the housepainters he was apprenticed to. Unfortunately, their next job was to paint the very same police station. Some observant dibble recognised the pallet and it was borstal here we come. (Like a lot of very naughty boys he's grown up into a very decent man, and views his past with self-critical good humour - he was never violent, mind. He's still got the press cuttings and used to show them to his kids when he thought they weren't doing well enough at school - in a 'what, you want to be as bloody stupid as your old man' kind of way.)
 

Skrymr

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#4
Or elsewhere, if they're interesting. We had a thread on this some years ago.

Everyone hears stories at work. This is the place to share them!

Last night I chatted with a woman who'd moved back to Britain from South Africa because, as she put it, 'I was sick of having guns shoved in my face.'

She explained that there're guns everywhere, people carry them openly, and you're not safe from robbery anywhere.

A friend had mentioned her plans for a SA honeymoon, and the woman had advised her against it, or if they did go, to wear very cheap clothes and jewellery and to generally look a bit poor, or they'd be robbed.

She worked in a bridal shop there and it was robbed at gunpoint more than once - 'Just', she said, 'Here's the gun, open the till!' Almost routine.

Trains over there're not safe. Robbers will throw you out of the train door or window to where their accomplices are waiting. They don't even wait for you to empty your pockets.

What decided her to leave for good was the following incident:

She was in a shopping centre, quite crowded, when she suddenly felt something wet splash onto her face and arms. Looking down, she saw blood. A woman was screaming in front of her, and there was a man with a bloodstained machete.

He had cut off the the woman's hand for her rings, and my passenger saw the hand being passed along overhead until it was out of sight. Right, that's IT, she thought!

She now lives in a rural area and finds it hard to grasp how much safer it is. When she's at the cash machine she still dreads turning around to see a man with a gun, whereas realistically she's more likely to trip over a sheep.

What a culture-shock, hey!
I was once talking to someone on video chat, they were in south africa, and saw armed robbers break into their home. They were ok but it was scary
 
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GeorgeP

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#5
An electrician (Mat) I knew at work was dating a women aged 26. He was in his 40s and couldn't believe his luck, boy did he like boasting about it. A few weeks pass by and he turns up one day on site with a new mate, a guy called Pete who was in his mid 50s to early 60s. Mat looked a tad bothered by his new helper, any hows I asked him why and he took me to one side to explain. His girlfriend was married and Pete was her father. He didn't know Pete was related to her until one lunch time when he talked about his daughter and his suspicions of her having an affair with another man.

Awkward turtle :D

Boy, did I love winding him up with such things as, "Mat hows yer new bird doing, have you moved in with her yet?" Even better though was when Pete chipped in with, "He wont tell me anything about her."
 
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GeorgeP

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#7
There was a young lad whose name I forget but I do recall everyone calling him Wendy for some reason. His teeth looked horrid and would put you off your dinner if you spent too much time looking at them. He claimed that he was allergic to toothpaste and he never brought any snap to eat at lunch time. He was a Frank Spencer type, things always went wrong when he was present. He`d lean against wet paint, trip and scrape fresh wallpaper, break tools, damage property etc. Now there were rumours going around that he had got a women in trouble. Nobody believed a word of it, he looked like a untidy weasel with his strange teeth. Anyway, it turned out to be true and the women(previous house we had worked at) in question was quite attractive. We were all amazed that she had let him have his wicked way with her. He ended up moving in with her and they had a little girl, and he finally got his teeth sorted out too. So, an happy ending for everyone.
 

Yithian

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#9
I have to be slightly careful not to give away identifying facts here, but I have one of the kind of stories that beggars belief - one of those 'You did what?' tales.

It all starts when my previous employer (outside of the UK) sent a (inexperienced and hence cheap) new recruit to shadow me for two days in lieu of proper training. I wasn't overjoyed at the prospect given that I'm successful at my job in an idiosyncratic way that is hard to duplicate without actually being me; nonetheless, I did my best to be welcoming and give her all the hints and shortcuts that I myself had been told many years before, things that you never think of at first and then realise how much time and effort they could have saved had you instituted them earlier. Anyway, the new recruit was all smiles and politeness and seemed to be assiduously taking notes and asking questions the whole time, but towards the end of her 'training' with me I - quite by chance - caught a glimpse of her notepad: it was covered menacingly passive-agressive messages aimed at nobody in particular, not least: "I HATE THIS!" in block capitals - pages of the stuff! Not one to seek a confrontation, I forgot all about it, said goodbye and wished her luck. She then went off to share a flat with another young woman working for our company, one whom I'd met a few times and got along with well enough. This girl was a fellow Yank, so I hoped that she'd be able to cheer her up or straighten her out a little.

I was wrong.

Over the next few months, other colleagues passed hints about how the two of them really couldn't stand the sight of each other and disagreed over almost everything - there were some major issues with a boyfriend whose company the new arrival couldn't abide. Anyway, I worked far away and didn't see either of them socially, but I gather that it all trundled along for about three months with low-level grumbling and sniping. Then one weeknight I received a phone call in the early hours of the morning: a translator is required - no, I'm not up to it, but I can get one - why? Because not-now-so-new recruit has supposedly taken the lift to the roof of the block of flats, jumped, and is now in pieces on the pavement. Flatmate is now being interviewed by police for a second time, having been found to have been lying the first time around! It turns out that new-recruit left a suicide note for her family overseas and also left a good amount of money (hundreds of pounds) in housemate's room along with a second note telling her to keep it as an apology (this is what I'm told over the phone). Foolish flatmate decided that she'd rather like the money and that mentioning it to the police would only complicate matters. I have no idea how, but the police (smarter that the average plod, it seems) worked out that money was missing, heard of their acrimonious relationship and were now considering moving onto a possible murder investigation. At this point, dumb-as-**** flatmate panics and decides that a translator and lawyer might be prudent.

Flatmate was released after two nights and verification of her revised account and I am left incredulous as to quite how stupid some people can be. Doesn't anybody read Agatha Christie any more? Yes, I have considered the fact that housemate could have actually murdered her, but no, I don't think it's likely - she's both petite and effete - but it could always be an act...

More about a compulsive liar I worked with later.
 
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Swifty

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#11
I don't think I can top Yithian's story but I remember John .. John was an older chap who worked at ours and when we were all outside on a cigarette break, John would be there happily puffing on his pipe. One day, he let out an almighty fart that we could all tell quickly wasn't just a fart. So John had to waddle back inside, dripping everywhere so we put warning wet floor signs down, to ask a manager if he could go home to change his pants and trousers. I still see John around.
 

Loquaciousness

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#12
Well this is not my work collegue, but a work colleague of my husband's, and we socialise with him and his family. Anyway, we recently went to Gin Science Day at the Space Centre (yes, really - it was fab, I love gin), and we got talking about the Space shuttle. Turns out that work colleague used to be friends with Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut who died in the Columbia disaster - they both served in the airforce together. Anyway, the story gets sadder than this, as it seems the Ramon family were dogged by misfortune. His son Assaf Ramon, died 13.11.09 aged 21,during a routine training flight while piloting his F-16A, 3 months after graduating from the IAF flight school as the top cadet in his class.
 
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GeorgeP

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#16
The MD at work was a very nice chap who treated everyone the same, hed even make you a brew in the kitchen etc. But there was a private joke about him that I didnt find out about until it was too late. I was in the gents responding to a call from nature when it became obvious that I wasnt alone. Someone was sat in one of the cubicles and he wasnt shy about his business there either. Grunts, groans and splishy sploshy noises began echoing everywhere as well as passing wind noises. It was panic time as I stood there not knowing whether to laugh or cry. I was mentally willing myself to finish but when I did there wasnt much time to escape. His toilet flushed and out came the MD who said hi as I was washing my hands. He then joined me and discussed his weekend visit somewhere as the fumes from the toilet crept up on me. That was the longest 30 seconds of my life in which I wanted the floor to swallow me up.
 

Swifty

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#18
I once worked for a few months in a tiny privately owned chocolate factory .. so small in fact that, other than the 5 or so packing women (including my manager) in the other room, only me and Kelly were making the stuff on the factory floor .. no other staff at all ... I used to amuse myself by chocolate welding mutant reindeers, Easter bunnies and Father Christmas's with extra heads, limbs etc during down time which might be why Kelly got pissed off with me ? .. either way, Kelly was a little backwards but also a little bitch, she'd alter the heat settings on my machines, move all the cleaning products around so they were out of my reach etc .. one day, Kelly decided to chance cleaning one of the chocolate pumping machines without switching the chocolate pumping machine off hence the scream and her finger jammed into one of the pistons. I switched the machine off, legged it into the packing room, did a dukes of hazard style body slide across a table and called 999. The first thing my boss said was "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?" .. I'm still angry today about that reaction :mad:

I kept my cool and everyone ran into the room where Kelly's finger was still trapped. My boss, presuming that I hadn't switched the machine off flicked the switch which started crushing Kelly's finger again. After Kelly was finally released, I bought a can of ice cold pop from the onsite shop so she's get some pain relief until the paramedics arrived which did help her although she was probably too distressed to thank me. Not long after her Mum walked in and gave ME daggers .. not much longer after that, the owner of the chocolate factory called, I spoke to him and he was pissed off with me because she hadn't had the guard down on her machine (not my fault, I'd warned her enough times and wasn't a manager) and that I'd dialled 999 which would cost his company money some how .. WTF .. the next day was meant to be my last day working there but I was so pissed off I didn't go in ..
 
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#19
I have to be slightly careful not to give away identifying facts here, but I have one of the kind of stories that beggars belief - one of those 'You did what?' tales.
Snip...

Yes, I have considered the fact that housemate could have actually murdered her, but no, I don't think it's likely - she's both petit and effete - but it could always be an act...
I've had GFs, 5'1" , 5'2", look so gentle, but both martial arts experts, far more dangerous than me.

You never know..

Great story.
 
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#20
This is a bit cheeky as it's not a story I just heard at work, but one which actually happened to me. I've already posted the story - along with the one where I got arrested in Copenhagen for sitting on a Finn - on the Only in real life...! thread. Worth visiting that thread if only for stuneville's christmas tree (and maybe - I'd like to think - my assault on the Virgin Mary) but I'm going to quote this particular story in full in case you can't be bothered:

So there I was, with three of my opos, standing at the back of an artic full of big bits of steel which has just come all the way from Germany. The driver climbs out of his cab and lumbers toward me with his hand outstretched to shake mine.

SPOOK: Morning. I’m Spook, and this is (indicating the others) etc.

DRIVER: Hello! Knobhead!

[Spook freezes, looks at his coffee, looks at passing cars, looks back at the driver.]

SPOOK: Beg your pardon?

DRIVER: Knobhead!

[Aware that looks of amused bemusement will be passing between the others, but desperately avoiding eye contact, Spook wonders what on earth he’s done to cause this man offence.]

SPOOK: Sorry. You’re really going to have to run that by me again.

DRIVER: [Frowning] KNOBHEAD!!

SPOOK: ...?...

[Things are now at an absolutely critical point, Spook being aware that unless a resolution is reached within the next few moments the restraining forces involved in retaining an adult composure will cause at least one of his more giggle-prone workmates to cough up an internal organ.]

DRIVER: Knobhead...my name is Knobhead.

SPOOK: Erm...

[And then, the relief. The epiphany. The wave of realisation.]

SPOOK: NORBERT!!

DRIVER: [Nodding enthusiastically] Yes, Knobhead...my name is Knobhead.

The guy was from Bavaria. I don’t know if it was something to do with the Bavarian accent or whether it was a peculiarity in his own delivery but I swear to god that when he said Norbert it sounded exactly like knobhead.
 

escargot

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#21
When I worked at the courts we had a foreign defendant one day whose name sounded like 'feel your c*nt'. In the Magistrates' court, the Clerk formally asks the usher to summon the each defendant even though the usher has the same list and already knows who's next. I couldn't WAIT for Mr C*nt's turn in the dock! :D

So I was eventually asked in a deep posh voice 'Feel your c*nt?'

To which I had to murmur regretfully 'Perhaps later, sir..' ;)
 

GingerTabby

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#24
I once worked in a unit that had a reputation as a dumping ground for problem employees who couldn't function elsewhere within the larger organisation. Those of us who had been recruited to that unit from outside the organisation found it very frustrating because more often than not those problem employees didn't do their share of the work. The rest of us were left to pick up the slack and management did nothing to remedy the situation. One of the most obnoxious gastropods to slither through that unit was a fellow who not only did very little work but actually lived in his office during the week. Apparently he owned a house in another city but had no local residence. He would leave the office early on Friday afternoons to travel to his house and would return on Sunday evenings. When the manager of the unit confronted him about it he of course denied everything. The manager then asked him to provide a local address, but it proved to be fictitious.

There was considerable evidence to suggest he was living in the office: employees who arrived early in the morning or who worked late at night often saw him walking through the corridors in a bathrobe, and he was observed rinsing out clothing in a sink in the men's washroom. In addition, a sleeping bag was discovered in his office. The security guards were also aware of his antics and had reported him to their higher-ups but nothing was done about it. The manager also reported the problem to those further up the chain but, once again, nothing happened. It was resolved only when the prize arse decided to leave the unit, claiming to be terminally ill. This was likely yet another fairy story, because not long before he left another employee overheard him on the telephone making holiday arrangements for the dates just after his departure. He briefly returned to a different unit within the organisation about a year later but then disappeared once again.

My colleagues and I were appalled that this arsehole was able to get away with such bad behaviour. He was in the unit for a total of about eight months and likely would have remained there indefinitely had he not chosen to leave. I heard through the grapevine that this fellow had a history of this sort of behaviour within the organisation and that it repeatedly went unpunished, for whatever reason. Senior management certainly wasn't prepared to do anything about it. Several years later, the senior official who was in a position to correct this problem found himself at the centre of a very public scandal in another organisation. I can't say I was surprised to learn about that. After all, if he was unwilling to deal with a straightforward personnel problem it stands to reason that he would make a mess of a much more serious issue.
 

Loquaciousness

The misuse of the word "fact" annoys me
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#25
These are not stories that I have heard at work, but stories from work, which actually make you wonder whether the place is somehow jinxed. A colleague's son was on flight MH17 - the young lad was heading to Australia for the start of a university placement. A few years before that, a friend and colleague, took her own life and that of her two children. Three other colleagues over the past few years have died very shortly after retirement, one from ovarian cancer, one from a brain tumour and one from asbestosis ( possibly due to exposure at our place of work ). I don't know what the odds are of such things happening with 100 teaching staff but the place does not seem to be a happy one.
 
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#26
I'm positive I've related this elsewhere, but can't find it whichever way I search.

Anyway, many years back I used to work with the most accident prone person I've ever met. Half the stuff that happened to her sounded like it was made up by a sit-com writer, but you only had to work with her for a short time to know that it was all very probably true. (A couple of minor examples: she once crashed into a hearse on her way to work, and another time she got her head stuck in a catflap.)

But it wasn't just the accidents - she seemed to attract bizarre and outlandish incidents (truly - she wasn't an attention junky, just a wibble magnet), and the following phone call is one of my favourites. I only witnessed the other person's side of the conversation, and also the 'huh!?' moment you sometimes see when someone takes the phone from their ear in order to stare at it for a couple of seconds in disbelief. It went something like this.

HER: Sorry, mate - I'm going to be a bit late for work today.

HIM: Okay love, what is it this time?

HER: I can't get out of the house.

HIM: Why's that?

HER: There's a dead Chinese accountant on the pavement.

HIM Jesus Chri..........

HER ...and the police won't let us out of the house until they find his head!
 
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Ulalume

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#27
Earlier tonight, my Other Half was moping about having to go out and do a bit of extra work. Since he works for an alternative newspaper, this meant judging a frito-pie eating contest and then helping set up for an all-female carnival sideshow revue. :p

I found this amusing on its own, but this is what happened after he came home -

OH: Guess who entered the frito-pie eating contest.
Me: (puzzled) I dunno.
OH: Who do you know that's cheap enough to enter a frito-pie eating contest just to get free food?
Me: My brother?!?
OH: yup.
Me: Oh my god.
OH: He was eating with his hands, too.
Me: Do you have pictures?
OH: lots.

The funniest part about this is that my brother's wife is an absolute neat freak, and I can guarantee she knew nothing about my brother going into a public bar to eat a tub of frito-pie with his bare hands.

The potential for blackmail is enormous. :D
 

Swifty

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#28
I once worked in a unit that had a reputation as a dumping ground for problem employees who couldn't function elsewhere within the larger organisation. Those of us who had been recruited to that unit from outside the organisation found it very frustrating because more often than not those problem employees didn't do their share of the work. The rest of us were left to pick up the slack and management did nothing to remedy the situation. One of the most obnoxious gastropods to slither through that unit was a fellow who not only did very little work but actually lived in his office during the week. Apparently he owned a house in another city but had no local residence. He would leave the office early on Friday afternoons to travel to his house and would return on Sunday evenings. When the manager of the unit confronted him about it he of course denied everything. The manager then asked him to provide a local address, but it proved to be fictitious.

There was considerable evidence to suggest he was living in the office: employees who arrived early in the morning or who worked late at night often saw him walking through the corridors in a bathrobe, and he was observed rinsing out clothing in a sink in the men's washroom. In addition, a sleeping bag was discovered in his office. The security guards were also aware of his antics and had reported him to their higher-ups but nothing was done about it. The manager also reported the problem to those further up the chain but, once again, nothing happened. It was resolved only when the prize arse decided to leave the unit, claiming to be terminally ill. This was likely yet another fairy story, because not long before he left another employee overheard him on the telephone making holiday arrangements for the dates just after his departure. He briefly returned to a different unit within the organisation about a year later but then disappeared once again.

My colleagues and I were appalled that this arsehole was able to get away with such bad behaviour. He was in the unit for a total of about eight months and likely would have remained there indefinitely had he not chosen to leave. I heard through the grapevine that this fellow had a history of this sort of behaviour within the organisation and that it repeatedly went unpunished, for whatever reason. Senior management certainly wasn't prepared to do anything about it. Several years later, the senior official who was in a position to correct this problem found himself at the centre of a very public scandal in another organisation. I can't say I was surprised to learn about that. After all, if he was unwilling to deal with a straightforward personnel problem it stands to reason that he would make a mess of a much more serious issue.
Very similar, we employed a chef at a hotel I used to work at .. the guy stank and we noticed him getting changed into his chef whites in his car (that he was sleeping in) on a few occasions ... the bottle of cooking sherry in the back store room was also going down at an alarming rate so we let him go.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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#29
Earlier tonight, my Other Half was moping about having to go out and do a bit of extra work. Since he works for an alternative newspaper, this meant judging a frito-pie eating contest and then helping set up for an all-female carnival sideshow revue. :p

I found this amusing on its own, but this is what happened after he came home -

OH: Guess who entered the frito-pie eating contest.
Me: (puzzled) I dunno.
OH: Who do you know that's cheap enough to enter a frito-pie eating contest just to get free food?
Me: My brother?!?
OH: yup.
Me: Oh my god.
OH: He was eating with his hands, too.
Me: Do you have pictures?
OH: lots.

The funniest part about this is that my brother's wife is an absolute neat freak, and I can guarantee she knew nothing about my brother going into a public bar to eat a tub of frito-pie with his bare hands.

The potential for blackmail is enormous. :D
What's frito-pie?
 

Ulalume

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#30
Fritos corn chips with chili and cheese. It's delicious (though maybe not so delicious I'd enter an eating contest just get some. :p)
frito pie.jpg


ETA - erm, I just remembered that "chips" in the UK and US are different. Corn chips in the American sense. As in very crunchy deep fried corn-meal thingies. Don't know the UK word for this (if there is one.)
 
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