I have a truly shocking question.

I shock myself at work several times a day by rolling my computer chair across one of those plastic floor protector things to reach the computer. When I touch the keyboard, I shock myself! (Note to science: sometimes conditioning doesn’t work, because no matter how many times I shock myself, I continue to shock myself.)

How do I make this stop happening? Removing the floor protector is not an option; neither is not rolling my chair or not using my computer. What can I do to end this shocking situation?

(Truly, I can live with the shocks. But I can’t live without my long-suffering secretary, by contrast, who has informed me that she can live without my sailor’s mouth and that I need to clean up my act. But every time I shock myself, I holler. And I’m not even creative anymore in the terms I holler. Thus, despite the perhaps flippant tone of this question, I truly need help. Oh, and not hollering is also not an option. Really – I’ve tried.)

Most plastic rolly-chair mats come with a long wire with a resistor in it. This allows charge to bleed off slowly w/o irritating shocks. These are often ignored when installing them. Check to see if yours has one.

I don’t have a mat, but I shock myself a lot at the office. I usually approach all objects with the back of my hand or my metal watch strap to avoid the dreaded fingertip shock. (Or even worse, the corner-of-the-metal-filing-cabinet and jean-fly shock !!!)

Could you wear one of those grounding wrist devices so that you don’t build up a charge?

At my last firm they installed these floor mats over the weekend a few years ago. Imagine my surprise when I came in Monday and, first, rocketed across my office into the nearby credenza when my usual flop into my desk chair wasn’t impeded by wheels on carpet but was instead lubricated by wheels on smooth plastic, and second, proceeded to shock my fingertips approximately 200,000 times over the course of the next few years.

Yes, I just lived with it. I think that after a while my fingertips became a little desensatized. Interestingly, I was the only one in an office of about 50 people who experienced the shocks. The IT woman in the office (the computers and everything w/in a 5 foot radius of the computers fell within the ambit of IT) alternated between not believing me and calling me a baby.

In my experience, the back of the hand thing works OK. In my old building I got shocked several times a day (I guess it was the carpet), and I learned to ameliorate the in this manner.


After driving a Chevy Corsica through most of college, I do this all the time. (That thing would regularly offer up shocks so potent they actually made an audible “crack”.) Now, whenever opening a car or building door I do the “backhand wave” first to get rid of any charge difference. You still get popped, but at least you expect it and it doesn’t hurt quite as much as a shock to the fingertip where all those nerve endings are clustered together.

Grounding the mat to the desk (assuming it’s a metal framed desk) might help; humidifying the office might do some good as well.

I got the bejezzuz shocked out of me about a month ago at work; the server machine, which has numerous problems, improper chassis grounding obviously being one, would regularly offer up shocks when you went to reboot it. I happened to be standing next to a CRT and must have had a hand or hip touching the screen when I hit the reboot this time, and the damn thing knocked me right down and out. I had to go to the work clinic to get checked out and my hand was still shaking the next day. So, be careful there; don’t go standing barefoot in a pool of spilled coffee next time you go to use the keyboard. :wink:


Nanoda, no wire in the mat, unless it’s in a part of the mat under furniture. Or invisible. But I can’t see one either way.

BobLibDem, for those that sat in the back of class giggling with their friends over dreamy pictures of Duran Duran instead of paying attention to matters relating to grounding (assuming that was covered when I wasn’t paying attention), what’s the wrist device you refer to?

Stranger, the desk is wood, no metal other than the locks on the drawers. How would I ground it? Please be specific – see note above re giggling.

(I have moved my water glass far far from the computer so that there is no danger – uh, less danger – of me dying in a tragic yet all-too-predictable fiery shocking explosion due to water + rolly mat + keyboard + me.)

rpinrd and Cliffy, I can’t do the back of the hand thing. I am like Algernon before the smart drugs. I just can’t remember that I’m going to get shocked. And so, each time, I get shocked. I holler. My intercom rings. I am abjectly apologetic. The cycle of shame continues.

Something like this