Dammit! Zapped again!

I just walked into another office here at work and watched a three inch spark leap from my hand to the wall switch. Everytime I get up and walk around I get zapped, and it’s getting really old! I can’t use a humidifier, since I’m in a cubicle farm, so I was wondering if anyone has any idea of what I can do to stop getting shocked every time I touch something?

By the way, I am currently stuck wearing one leather shoe with big-ass Frankin-soles to balance out the rubber-soled walking boot I have to wear until they figure out what’s wrong with my foot. The shocking seemed to increase when I got the boot. We have typical office carpeting and lots of metal cabinets and cube frames. I sure hope somebody can help-this is making me crazy!

Everywhere you go, carry a metallic cased ballpoint pen in hand. Touch the tip of same to light switches, file cabinets, etc. to discharge static from the tip of said pen instead of your finger. Folks may think you’re a nut, but such is the price of progress. :wink:

You might try lightly spraying the carpet with a dilute solution of fabric softener in water.

A coin also works well – touch it to the switch first.

Tape a grounding strap to your leg, leave it dragging on the (where else) ground. You can pick one up and any heavy duty truck supply store.

If you go with CynicalGabe’s idea, get a T-shirt printed with “How Do You Like My Walking” across your back. Eight hundred number optional. :wink:

If it’s any consolation, having an ultrasonic humidifier doesn’t seem to have helped my office any. (Though someone did offer to pour vodka in it ;)) I’ve just ended up learning to touch the tap, window frame, etc. with my metal watch band if I’m going to be close to them.

Two things I haven’t tried:
Grounding to something. Note that those anti-static mats will have a large resistor in the ground lead for them. That’s so the charge is dissipated slowly, and you don’t end up just getting shocked by your ground-cord. (Think about that if you go with CynicalGabe’s idea.)
Wrapping my sandals in tin-foil. We’re a casual office, and I’m sure my overabundance of style could carry this. It’s my only other idea on how to ground myself through the rubber soles of my footwear.

The easiest and least-likely-to-get-you-shocked technique is to touch something that’s NOT made of metal before you touch something that is. I’ve made it my habit to touch the (wooden) door before touching the doorknob, to touch the glass window before touching the frame, etc. The touch must be firm and not too brief, or the charge will not dissipate.

You can make one yourself from a short bit of conductive material (like a tiny decorative chain or that cable that is used to fasten pens to desks) and a little alligator clip. Clip to your sock or pants leg or something inconspicuous and then have the conductive material reach the floor. You can probably rig something so that the chain is held to the side and sole of your shoe so you don’t have the thing clanking every time you take a step.

Or wear some rings and remember to touch metal objects with the ring first to discharge any static buildup.

Yeah, it’s a pain especially when it’s dry and humid.

That makes it a real difficult problem.

You might try not scuffling your feet too. It’s the friction that helps build up the static.

I’ve heard that surgeon’s wear a grounding strap while operating. (Cynical Gabe’s solution).

I’m all for that idea. Imagine undergoing a heart or brain operation, the surgeon gets zapped, moves involuntarily, and your heart or brain get irreparably sliced.

I usually try to touch metal with my knuckle before opening a door, etc. The knuckles aren’t as sensitive as the fingertips, so you don’t feel the zap as much as you would if you had just went ahead and grabbed the handle.

D’oh! Never post when sick with flu. That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it.

Don’t the grounding straps/chains require special flooring to be effective? An insulated floor (such as one with a thick layer of wax) wouldn’t be able to drain the charge you’ve built up, IIRC.

I used to suffer the same way. I used to get massive shocks off things like photocopiers. Someone showed me the answer. Just take a normal, metal house key (a Yale key is fine) and touch this to anything that you think might give you a shock. You might see a spark from the tip of the key to the object, but you yourself won’t feel anything. Honestly! I did this for a while, and then for some reason I no longer needed the key and I didn’t generate the shocks.

I fixed my ‘anti-shock’ key to my belt so that it was always with me. But if you find yourself without it, you can use any all-metal item in the same way. And if you don’t have one, use the knuckle trick as suggested. A LOT less painful.

Pay no attention to people who try to suggest it’s to do with how you walk (scuffing your feet?!) or your shoes. It isn’t.

I just touch the switch with the back of my hand before touching it with my fingers. I still get a tiny shock, but it’s tolerable because the back of my hand is less sensitive than my fingers.

You might not always have a pen or coin handy, but (knock on wood) you’ll always have the back of your hand with you.

Wear gloves. Besides, it’s elegant and classy.

Considering that the monster shoe and ginormous walking boot really adds a sexy little hitch to my limping getalong, I oughta get a lot of action with that! :smiley:

Thanks for all the suggestions! I’m out of Static Central till Monday, but I’ll definately try some of these suggestions. I’m really tired of flinching and yelling “DAMMIT!” every time I leave my desk. I’ve even got static in my ears, coming up through my headphones :eek: !

I worked in a resistor factory in the late seventies, and we made the little fisheye capacitors that were installed in the floors of operating rooms to prevent this very thing. I imagine there’s a lot more sophisticated precautions in place now.