112 thoughts on “Party Out Of Bounds

  1. Who's to blame?

    In the 19th century, evil Krampus spirits began to accompany Sankt Nikolaus impersonators on home visits and would sometimes cross the threshold to scare children, but their anarchic energy was usually restrained and controlled by the benign man with the bushy white beard.

    Santa! You BASTARD!

      1. It's not that exciting. My boss's admin, who is barely 30, has no ambition except to be praised for existing, and whose parents get him a fucking car for his birthday every year, is planning the staff holiday lunch for Wednesday. He wrote in the Outlook invite that everyone should bring a "White Elephant gift." Turns out he has NO idea what a white elephant gift is, can't be bothered to google it. He himself is bringing a gift certificate for two movie tickets plus extra for snacks. He explained that it wasn't too expensive, only about $25. I explained to him that that is NOT what a white elephant gift is. He said that yes it is. I asked him to explain to me what a white elephant gift is. He said that it is a gift that is wrapped. WTF?

        I explained to him that, hey, when you tell people to bring a white elephant give that means they bring something small and inexpensive and funny that no one really wants and that maybe is used. He does not like being corrected, and he waived me away breezily saying that he will send out instructions for everyone on the gift-bringing shortly.

        So a little while later he stops me as I am walking by and he said that oh, by the way, he has the rules ready for the gift. He said that the gifts should definitely NOT be used, should NOT be gag gifts and should NOT cost more than $25. I pointed out to him that that is exactly the opposite of what a white elephant gift exchange is and that I don't even give my family gifts that cost that much, that most people here would find that dollar amount onerous and that most people here have mortgages and bills, and that being given a set of instructions on how to give a GIFT and an implied expectation of spending that much money would make people feel awkward. He smiled sweetly and said, "Well participation will be optional." Sure, it will be optional, dumb ass, and people who don't want to participate will feel really uncomfortable sitting there, while everyone else exchanges gifts at a luncheon that is basically mandatory to attend. Also, thanks a lot, you just sucked all the fun out of the gift exchange by giving it a dress code.

        I would bet money a list of do's and don'ts and a $25 dollar limit is not what my boss intended for the gift exchange. My boss was clearly the person who came up with the white elephant idea. He grew up very poor and appreciates that most of our employees don't have piles of money to throw at this.

        I could go on, but you get the idea. He is just one of those dim-witted people who becomes a problem when they are put in charge of something and then they create little whirlpools of havoc that you partly want to laugh at and partly want to scream about.

        I will tell my boss about this AFTER the luncheon when we can both laugh about it, because the admin will have done far worse than this between now and then, given his track record. Yes, I have a ton of stories.

        ETA: I am not a tattle-to-the-boss person, I should clarify that my boss and I are friends from before he became the guy in charge. We worked together for three long, difficult years under our previous boss, who finally got fired last May and my friend was offered my old boss's job. It's a long story. But we survived Work Hell together and so yeah, we gossip about everyone else in the office.

        1. Does he know teh google?
          He prob. did and then doubled-down on being an ass………hmmm…….where have we seen this behavior……..

          1. Long ago I white-elephanted a Sexay Dennis Rodman t-shirt. Can't find it online now,
            but was a major hit.

          2. Oh yes, he was definitely doubling down. He plays these little power trips. He has been told and told and told but he still does them. He is obstinate about it.

            I could tell you stories all day. Each one is equal parts hilarious and maddening.

            By the way, his latest car is a Lexus. A fucking Lexus. He makes $50k a year and lives with his in-laws and pays no rent and his wife doesn't work and they want for nothing. A Lexus. He also has a boat and his big trauma earlier in the year was that someone backed their car into his boat trailer, not that the boat got wrecked, but the trailer did and he was upset because he had never gotten the trailer insured. This is trauma in his delicate world. But hey, explain to me what a white elephant gift exchange is.

          3. White Elephant or Not White Elephant:

            I, uh, thought it would be great fun to prank my best friend for his 9th birthday party, so I boxed and wrapped a live adult Horseshoe Crab, surreptitiously substituting it for his real present (a major league baseball jersey, if I'm, remembering correctly).

            The goggle-eyed, open mouthed look of shock on his face when he lifted the box lid as – with perfect timing – the creature lifted its tail spine and pointed it at him has me in hysterics to this day. His mom literally screamed, covered her eyes and ran out of the room. The kids loved it.

            I was forced to publicly apologize ("Why? he loves it and it was funny!") and I'm pretty sure that I was never invited over to play again after that. Totally worth it though.

            I've always been like this.

          1. He actually was a great interview. We really wanted him. Since he's been hired, which was about a year and a half ago, we have realized that he has some really glaring limits. He is very good at being polite to strangers on the phone, he is good at taking down messages, he is good at setting up for meetings, but that's about the limit. Anything beyond that, anything that requires some judgement, it is a crap shoot as to whether he will demonstrate good judgement or do something incredibly fucking clueless, like this.

            He also feels entitled to not have to take on more work than he feels he can handle, and he can't handle much work. He literally got uppity with me the other day when I asked him to let my boss know a certain task was done, once my boss came out of a meeting he was in. The admin just snapped back at me about how he's got way too much to do to be expected to remember to tell my boss a dumb little message like that. He frequently, as in daily, forgets that I am basically his boss, too, and that he shouldn't talk to me (or anyone) like that. He also doesn't seem to grasp that the rest of us don't have the luxury of saying that we feel our plates are full. We just have to figure out how to get on with things. He also doesn't seem to realize that the little clerical things that he pushes back on, that he feels he is too overhwelmed to do, end up getting done by me, which means they end up costing our company more money than if he had done them himself.

            My boss is thinking about moving him to another role, but the problem is, whereever he is, he will do things like this gift exchange stunt, so it would be best to just fire him. I guess we'll see.

          1. I think it would work. Having to sprint wildly from Lexus to Office front door in fear of giant reconstituted Pleistocene ambush carnivores would straighten his ass right out.

        1. Oh fine.

          * First field job outta college, fish study at a power plant. Company hires this guy with a Master's as a Crew Leader. Looked great on paper, a total hapless lazy bastard IRL. Crused through life on other people's work, apparently (his "Masters" was in organizing *someone else's data* and he didn't even need to Defend it). Frat House name was – I shit you not – "Flounder". Specialized in eating huge lunches and watching us pull gear. We specalized in correcting his data sheets and busting his balls. I think we made him leave.

          *Young technician in my old lab used to come in drunk like clockwork on Fridays (Thursday nite specials!) and Mondays (cruzin' with the college krewe!). I caught her once in the 25C room fast asleep, sitting up, with her eyes firmly locked into the stereomicroscope oculars.

          *Working as a [marsh specialist] for [ NJ State Agency] and assigned to [County Commission] they had an equipment operator, "B___y from Philly" who was, shall we say, Not Very Smart. He was grading a dike road out in the marsh when somehow he let his dozer slip off the dike, sticking it good. So, he stands up and jumps off, purposely, directly into an open patch of sheetwater that laid over probably 30 feet of quickmud. So he's stuck up to his armpits in salt marsh with no radio and no one around.
          Later, some local homeowner calls the Commission and says "Hey, you guys got a man out here?" "Well, yeah" Well, he's out there yellin' 'HALP HALP'. " Long story short, we went and got him and he was thrilled and petrified "I was afraid the alligators was gonna get me!" New Jersey.
          Postscript: he jumped into the endless mud because it looked easier then landing on the salt hay hummocks. Salt hay roots are about the only thing stabilizing submergent marsh and the only way to get around is TO WALK ON THEM.

          *Oh, and then there was the Lab Manager who started dating his technician, gave her stellar reviews and got her promoted over at least 5 others. Most of the lab (not management, of course) got pissed and actually went en masse to HR and a VP, who were Very Concerned. Nothing came of it, of course, because Old Boy's Club. Mass Exodus after that one.

          *Oh yes, and there was that total lunatic that painted an entire 8 foot long davit such a shockingly bright Safety color that it made the assistant site manager scream and run away. For no good reason at all.
          Oh wait, that was me.

          eh, that's all I got for now.

  2. OMG the admin has sent out an email explaining what a white elephant gift exchange is. I am at home this morning so I feel OK trashing him here. I can't copy and paste from my work e-mail but he explains that there are "lots of versions of this game" and then says that "this" version is that everyone brings a $20 gift, wrapped, and we all exchange, open the gift and then have three rounds of exchanging.

    That is a $20 gift exchange, not a white elephant thingy.

    I know I sound wound up about nothing, but this is just one of those final straw moments, if you know what I mean. He's basically told an office full of people who do not make very much money that they all have to cough up $20 for a present at a party they are expected to be present for. People whose paychecks probably go entirely to their mortgages and all of their other expenses are handled by their spouse's paycheck, etc. If my boss points this out to him he will double down even more, he does not see that he cares more about being right and being some sort of mini-boss than doing things properly.

    The things he does to my boss are far worse. Until two weeks ago he used to schecdule my boss's days completely full of meetings, no matter how many times my boss would tell him not to, I mean, even book him during lunch, book him after 5, and I repeat, no matter how many many times he was told: Don't do that. My boss would tell him various permutations on how to NOT do that, but somehow there was always an excuse for booking him full again. "Well I knew you really wanted to meet with Mr. Smith." etc. My boss also once asked him to run down to the store and get him a sandwich, the admin told him he was too busy. My boss gets a bit apoplectic about this sometimes (in private) and I can't blame him.

    On Tuesdays my boss and I have to work very late, often until midnight, and recently, at the end of a Tuesday night, my boss told the admin via e-mail that first thing, when he gets in the next morning at 8, to call a certain person who the admin had scheduled for an 8 a.m. meeting and cancel the meeting. This was because, oh, gee, who knows, maybe because… working until midnight is exhausting and he did not feel well and wanted to sleep in for once?

    Well the next morning when my boss came in, prob around 8:30, I forget because I never come in that early on Wednesday mornings, the person with the 8 a.m. appointment was sitting in the lobby. My boss walked past him, walked to the other end of the building to find the admin, found him in the kitchen, washing glasses left in the sink from the night before. My boss asked the admin why the person was sitting in the lobby. The admin said that he was waiting for his meeting with the boss at 8 a.m. My boss said, didn't you read my email? And of course, no the admin hadn't because the first thing he always does on Wednesday mornings is to go into the kitchen and wash up, even though he has been told to always – always read his emails first thing every morning in case there is something important he should do first thing.

    It sounds small but some of these things have far-reaching consequences. Never matters to the admin.

    I could go on but you get the idea. Obviously I am still steamed.

      1. No bonuses.

        I really like my job but there are people here who should find another line of work. A lot of the problem is that some people here don’t try very hard and think they are set for life, that they can coast and there will never be consequences. My boss has been getting rid of all the deadwood very slowly, but the rest of the deadwood never seem to think they fall in that bucket and they just carry on.

        If the admin really wants to handle this gift thing this way then he should also exactly what you say – pay out of his own pocket for extra gifts to put in the exchange for people who can’t afford his $20 entry fee. Befor my last boss got canned I would buy all the prizes for our Halloween potluck and costume contest and for other similar events. My now boss would also step up and buy the pizza and such. No one ever knew we did this, we just did it because the boss sure wasn’t stepping up and someone had to do the things needed to make the events work for everyone. Now we have a bimbo with a Lexus waiting for his praise.

        ETA: my old boss was hilariously a skinflints . He would never pay for ANYTHING but would pile up the free food and take it home. He also once skipped over my list of costume winners to make himself the winner so he could take home the prize he wanted. He also never bothered to offer to have the organization reimburse me and my friend for our expenses, never said thank you, it was hilarious.

        1. haha, I am such a petty little drama queen: I just went around to each of our employees and told them personally that no way in hell do they have to spend $20 on a gift, that they can just come and bring a gift or not and spend as little or as much as they want and that there will be extra gifts for people who didn't bring anything so that no one is left out (great, now I will have to scrounge up some extra gifts!). But I am GLAD I did this because it was very clear that some of my colleagues were bewildered by the gift exchange instructions and clearly thought it was odd that they were expected to spend $20 on a gift. Also: everyone seemed to get that the instructions were a symptom of the sender. They were all saying, "Well he lives with his parents, he doesn't have bills," etc.

          Meow, I am such a fucking busy body. BUT I feel better for doing this.

          1. Now that I am at the office I can cut and paste from my work e-mail. I can't do that when I remote in from home. So below is his email with instructions on how the gift exchange will go down. I am so sick of his shit. I love the "with so many variations of this game." THAT is clearly directed at me.

            Lastly, will be the white elephant gift exchange: With so many variations of this game, we thought of making it easy and going by the following rules:
            •Each participant brings a gift to contribute to a common pool. Gift value should be $20 and wrapped.
            •Participants will draw numbers to determine what order they will go in, at their time of arrival.
            •During the game, the first player selects a gift from the pool and opens it.
            •The following players can choose to either pick an unwrapped gift from the pool or steal a previous player’s gift. Note: Anyone who gets their gift stolen in this way can do the same choose a new gift or steal from someone else.
            •To keep things moving along, there will be limit on gift swapping. After three swaps, the turn automatically comes to an end (otherwise things could drag on for a long time).
            •After all players have had a turn, the first player gets a chance to swap the gift he or she is holding for any other opened gift.

          2. His mom the Internet.

            There are ceremonial documents that we produce sometimes. Part of the role of the admin is to write these documents. The previous admin was a terrible procrastinator, to the point of simply not doing things, anything, even getting people their checks on stuff. So I ended up taking over writing the ceremonial documents because someone had to do them.

            Well when this guy came on we had planned to punt that task back to him because he should be doing them. Also he told us in his job interview how much he loved to write and – and I'm a real sucker in interviews for this line – he said he wanted to learn and get better at the things he can improve on. Long story short, that was a load of bull and he cannot write anything to save his soul. We go through this farce of pretending that he is writing the ceremonial documents and then I re-write them entirely but he gets the credit for writing them. After today's shit show I am done with that. He cannot write the ceremonial documents, he is simply not capable. But I will no longer protect him by pretending that he is the author. He will have to take up some other task that is a comparable amount of my time and start doing that. Dumb shit like filing. That is his level.

          3. His shit is already off the wall. It's pretty funny that he got all the way through school and has worked in offices his entire life and this is his best writing.

          4. Tonight I went into his computer files to copy over some files that the person who is essentially our CEO needs from him. I am not being a thief or a Nosy Nell, I have the authority to do this and the CEO has been waiting for these files for a week. I told the CEO I would get the files and so I did. Well long story short, while looking for it, I found a file in there where the admin keeps copies of these ceremonial documents that we write. We call them "proclamations." or as his file name calls them, "proclimations."

          5. Oh there will be white elephant presents. Most of the people I spoke with told me stories of how they do something along those lines with their families each Christmas, so I said yes, by all means bring a white elephant. And then I talked with one of my co-workers, she and I are both going to dig up gag gifts at home tonight and wrap them up and put them in a basket for people to use who didn't bring gifts. That way everyone can participate.

            I did a house-cleaning about six months ago and threw out a bunch of stuff that would have been perfect white elephant gifts. I had a box of leis from a very long-ago trip to Hawaii and that would have been fun. I know I have more, but I'll have to poke around. Half my house is boxed up because of the demolition, but I know I can scrounge up some stuff.

            I KNOW I sound petty but this really bugs me. Especially the fact that he dug his feet in. For what? To make his co-workers feel awkward at their annual holiday lunch? So yes, there will be a lot of people bringing dollar gifts and gag gifts and so hahahaha, I have WON.

      1. This is the best thing ever

        Julie Francis Lake @JulieFrancisLak
        4 minutes ago
        Replying to @MattOswaltVA

        9 Ladies fucking 8 Maids afucking 7 Swans afucking 6 geese a fucking 5 FUUCKING rings ……

    1. I saw one of those back in the early 90s. I was working a night shift for the D.O.T. I pulled my truck off the highway to watch and hear it go by. The 2-way radios went wild, with chatter from where I was near toe Nevada border all the way to the coast just south of San Francisco. We all thought it just went over the hill and crashed into the ground, until the coastside folks said it went just over the horizon and crashed into the ocean. Fun event.

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