How do you torture the new guy at work?

The recent thread about office pranks made me think of this. Many workplaces have some standard wild goose chases they send new employees on. How do you mess with the heads of your new hires?

A friend in the Air Force tells me they used to send new guys out to get a bucket of jet wash, which is actually the exhaust blast from the planes.

Another friend works for the railroad, and there is some piece of equipment that uses several sizes of weights: long weights, medium weights, and short weights. So the standard joke is to tell a new guy to go to such-and-such’s workshop and ask for a long weight.

Everyone is in on this, so when the fresh faced new hire walks in and asks for a “long weight”, they say, “No problem. Stand over there.” Then they leave them there for some time, after which they say they don’t have one, and send them on to the next person, who will in turn give them an even longer weight/wait.

Of course, I would NEVER do such a thing where I work. I’m a teacher, and have all the kids I want to play jokes on. :slight_smile:

Staples. At least a full box of them, evenly spaced.

When I was in college I worked for a small commuter airline. After a newbie had been around a few days, long enough to know it was fairly common for airlines to borrow equipment from each other, he would be told that the up coming flight was going to be really fun and to go borrow a “bin stretcher” from the neighboring airline maintence group. They would leave him standing around a bit and then tell him they couldn’t find it and send him across the way to another line. This went on until the newbie became sufficiently frustrated to report back, or realized he was on the receiving end of a prank.

I’ve never had tha anyplace I worked, but when I was in Boy Scouts we regularly sent tenderfeet out for “Left Handed Smoke Shifters” or “Skyhooks”. One time at a Jamboree we sent a guy out for a “Bacon Stretcher”. His mother was nearby and suggested that we sandwich the bacon between two plates!

Pepper Mill is a dental assstant, and she says that a standard hack used by dentists is to send the assistant out for an “Otis Elevator” in the middle of a procedure. (An “Elevator” is a tool used to lift a tooth from a socket, in dental parlance.) Eventually they’d realize that they were being asked to bring back a small room used to shuttle between floors.

These are the guys I want working on my teeth.

The classics are:

A left handed monkey wrench.

A steam bucket.

And my all time favorite:

A roll of fallopian tubing.

When I was working at a supermarket, I was asked to go to get a “bucket of cold steam” from the meat department.

I also heard stories where they would give the massive ring of keys to a new guy and tell him to go unlock the parking lot.

Another one was to tell the new guy to go shake up the salad dressings.

And the classic, “go and ask for a can of striped paint”.

An aquaintance of mine was a printer at a place which had an enourmous, high tech printing press which ran the entire length of the building. Threading the roll of paper through this press was an incredibly involved task, so when a young apprentice printer was asked to do it, he was thrilled at his chance to show off because he knew he had the whole procedure memorised. He did it perfectly, but when he stood back expecting to bask in collective admiration, he saw that the guys had cut the paper from the reel, and he’d wasted his time dragging only a few feet of paper through, leaving almost the entire press empty.

The Office Boy’s Revenge (supposedly true)
“Hey, here’s a couple of bucks, go and buy us some straight bananas”.
“OK, sure”
Later on…
“Hey kid, did you get our straight bananas?”
“No, the guy at the shop didn’t have any…”
“Oh, reaally?”(suppressed laughter)
“… but he said he’ll order some in, so he kept your money and will let you know when they arrive”.

Me and a buddy of mine were temping at his dads office one summer, mostly moving desks and other furniture into storage. When a new kid was brought in, we told him that for insurance reasons, he had to wear safety goggles when handling the PC monitors (we found an old paire of chemistry lab goggles behind a desk). It was pretty funny watching him walk all over the office wearing these dorky goggles.

As a photographer, I would ask my new assistant(s) to go get a bottle of Sharpen-All to wipe on the film holders, adjustable metric wrenches, clear background paper, a roll of tape without a core (all tape with no hole), etc. A C-47 is a clothes-pin which takes new guys a while to figure out. I have also asked assistants to get a box of post holes (for putting posts into). I have requested film at photoshops such as Riopan Plus (stomach glop), SimaChrome (metal polish), or MercuiChrome.

Things I have looked for while a youth: Skyhooks, left-handed smoke benders, and snipes (supposedly a nocturnal non-flying nearly invisible harmless bird that sounds like a cricket that you have to slowly sneek up on in total darkness in a remote stand of trees, while the parents go back to camp and have fun)

My friend Bryan worked in an auto parts store. He says common non-items for the new guys in the industry are:
Jupiter Rings
Velocity Extension Belts
Tail Light Fluid

That’s what they told you!

I was asked to get a screwdriver for a mech, when I brought it back he said he wanted a left handed one, so I put it in my left hand and handed it to him.

In the Army, I have sent people looking for a box of grid squares, 3 feet of flight line, gallon of prop/jet/roter wash, 10 BA-110-ONS (the stock number for batteries starts with BA)and had a 2LT look for some chemlight batteries. Told several LTs and a few CPT that their rank was on upside down (it don’t matter).

At the art supply store I work at, we often ask the newbies (referred to as “potatoes” as in the veteran employees are the meat, the rookies are potatoes) to look up prices for:
transparent white-out (or opaque highliters)
graphite eradicators (erasers)
rubber straightedges or rubber easels
flavored pastels
clear oil paints
square triangles

Also, at another store I worked at, if you needed to test the register print ribbon, you performed an “Inquiry 55” on the terminal, at which time the printer would print the letter “H” non-stop until you hit the void key. We would often ask the newbie to print out a copy of the day’s sales by running an Inquiry 55. As soon as the printer started print out “H’s” we’d exclaimed alarmed: “you didn’t hit “55” did you? We said “59!” “55” corrupts the memory!!!”

okay, not very funny now, but you should’ve seen their expressions…

I’ve also been a party to wild goose chases for skyhooks, striped paint, and belt stretchers.

The Spokane valley is a big grid with a very intuitive numbering system, but new guys at work typically don’t know their way around, so we have to help them out… “OK, you have a delivery at 9518 E 4th and another at 9800 E 6th. What I’d do is take Sprague to Pines, take the highway down to 32nd – that’s a shortcut – then take 32nd over to Bowdish, back up to 8th – are you following this? – then turn left on 8th, right on Farr, right on 6th, right on Woodruff, right on 8th, right on Farr, and left on 4th. There’s 9518 E 4th. Got it? Now Sprague is one-way there so I’d take 4th west to Dishman-Mica, then take that up to Broadway, get on the freeway at Pines, get off at Sullivan, take Broadway back to Bowdish, then go south until you get to 6th. You should be able to find your way back here after that. OK?”

I used to lead newly hired dish washers to the large ice machine in the back of the kitchen and tell them to date nad rotate all of the ice.

One time they hired a few new attorneys, and I quickly became pretty good friends with one of them. At staff meetings, they would introduce all the new hires, who would just wave, nod, or the like.

Before our next meeting, I told Paul that when they called the new hires’ names, they were to stand up and introduce themselves, telling about their education, experience, etc. So there we are at the back of the room, shooting the shit, when Paul hears his name. Since we were talking he hadn’t been paying attention, and instead of just giving a little wave like everyone else, he stands up and gives a nice little speech about who he is, where he went to school, and how happy he was to have a chance to work with everyone. Our boss is standing up at the front of the room with this look on his face like, “Who the hell is this guy, and why is he telling us all of this.”

I was rolling on the ground. 15 years in the job and that is the thing I am most proud of. I wish I had told him he had to sing a song.

Ah, tormenting the newbies. Such memories… :smiley:

Well, there’s all manner of wild-goose chases. Some that have been left out are quests for:
Thread stretchers.
Flagpole keys.
water line.
Shore line.
Sea bats.
Relative bearings.

Also, sending new sailors off to feed the Shaft Seals (get it right, buddy… Those are the skipper’s pets!), or to get a bucket of 150psi (steam).

We had one wise-ass weld a flange to a bucket, thread a stopcock into it, and actually bring us a bucket of steam. Needless to say, he was an immediate hit, and got to help plan all future pranks.

Then there is the mail bouy watch, where you get a new sailor to dress up like a major dork (all in the name of safety, of course!), and have them stand on the bow with a boathook, waiting to grab the mail bouy.

Channel Fever shots were another favorite. Newbies that asked about channel fever (Cabin fever for homecoming sailors) would be sent to the corpsman for a shot, because if they had to ask, then they obviously hadn’t recieved their immunization for channel fever. The corpsman had a #10 needle attached to a 50cc syringe in his desk, and whenever we sent some clueless newbie to him, we’d call ahead, and he’d get it out and be playing with it when our victim arrived. The line was “We’re out of serum right now, but we’ve got another batch being prepared. Come see me in the morning”. Some poor SOBs didn’t clue-in, and went back! At that point we’d break the story, if they hadn’t figured it out on their own.

That’s always been my favorite, too. I always wished someone had tried to pull that one on me. I’d have found the nearest female manager, preferably one with little or no sense of humor, and told her that the jokester had told me to come get her immediately, but wouldn’t tell me why. Later, I’d get to make some crack about the tubing still being in its original packaging.

When I cooked for the Best Western inn, it was the dinner shift busboy’s job to deliver things to guest rooms that requested them after the maids left for the day.

So each newbie would get a note from the front desk (forged by me) to take a rollaway bed, four water glasses, two sets of towels and whatever else I could think of to Room 114.

Funny thing about the room numbering in the inn: the numbers were skipped wherever there was a stairwell. So we had Room 113, the stairwell, then Room 115. Sure was fun watching them push that bed up and down the hall looking for a nonexistent room.

Ten Things That Sound Dirty At The Office…But Aren’t
I need you to whip it out by 5!

Mind if I use your laptop?

Put it in my box before you leave.

If I have to lick one more; I’ll gag!

I want it on my desk…NOW!

Hmmmmm…I think it’s out of fluid.

My equipment is so old; it takes forever to finish…

It’s an entry-level position.

When do you think you’ll be getting off today?

It’s NOT fair…I do all the work while he justs sits back!

In a previous life I once worked in a movie studio. The standard wild goose chase was “shadow remover.”

Anyway, it was funny back then.