Practical Jokes At Work

Not historically the best time for a new thread, late Saturday night, but here goes- I can always bump it, right?
I work for four dermatologists, two of whom are notorious pranksters. One old and curmudgeonly, we’ll call him B, the other younger and more technologically advanced, we’ll call him C. Here are pranks that they’ve pulled in the past:

The older, grumpier one, B, pulled this one on A, another doctor in the practice, who despises Dr. Andrew Weil and his naturopathic ways, including but not limited to his support of black salve http:// www. 01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Cancer/eschar.html , which is supposed to treat skin cancer but often has devastating effects. Doctor B had a name tag made that identified the wearer as Dr. Andrew Weil, and attached it to Doctor A’s white coat. He wore it all day seeing patients before he realized it.

Doctor C recently pulled this one on Doctor B, and got him good, he did. A couple of weeks ago there was supposedly a call from a producer of an MTV show called, “My Real Life” or something like that, and they were going to be in town filming an episode starring one of his patients, and they wanted to come into the office to film. It may have been a prank call, as our staff called the patient’s mother and she knew nothing about it, and she called MTV who knew nothing about it. At any rate, Doctor B said no, no way was he going to have cameras in his clinic, no.

The other day, there appeared a letter featuring MTV letterhead on Doctor B’s space at the nurse’s station. The writer identified himself as the producer that had called, who expressed his dismay that Dr. B wouldn’t allow his show to come in. However, he was enchanted and intrigued by Dr. B’s curmudgeonly personality, and was going to send legions of cameraphone journalists (aka slackers) to surreptitiously film Dr. B as he goes about his days in the office. It was signed Bob “Stalker” Putz. When I saw it, before Dr. B, I laughed my ass off- it was obviously fake, but very, very funny. When Dr. B read it, though, he got really mad. He exhorted all of us to never let any film crews in, and stormed off to his office in a huff. A while later he discussed it with me, and insisted that the letterhead couldn’t have been done by anyone else- it must be official. He uses a computer, yes, but he still uses AOL, if that gives you any idea of computer prowess. It was a couple hours before Dr. C would break down and tell Dr. B it was a joke, and it was priceless. Dr. B fancies himself a master prankster, and finally, finally, he got his!

Any good pranks at your work?


I am reminded of an old friend who was in the US Navy stationed at some sort of listening post in Scotland back in the 1970s. They were listening to the old Soviet Union. He told me there was a lady among their ranks whom they fooled into thinking the Soviet Union had just unleashed a barrage of missiles at the US and was about to declare formal war. They did this by tapping into her line or whatever they used and acting from a prepared script. From what he said, it sounded like they really scared the bejesus out of the poor girl.

I commited one prank that was more successful than I had intended.

I view clothes as being something you wear, essentially, to be artistic. And, given that I’m the sort of person who’s happy enough with a Van Gogh as an El Greco (two entirely different styles), I like to wear different styles of clothes as my whim takes me each day.

Yet, despite the fact that I wear clothes of entirely different style each day and have for years, consistently, people must comment if I happen to wear a suit. To me it’s just something I own that’s in my closet, paid for, waiting to be worn.

But anyways… Since I realised this primal reaction in the rest of humanity, the idea came to me to convince my fellow co-workers to all wear a suit one day and surprise our boss. We each came up with cover stories–mine being, of course, just that I felt like wearing it that day, another guy’s was that all his other clothes were dirty, etc.

And our boss WENT BONKERS. He was going around all day, individually interviewing each of us, coming back to ask more questions, trying to find a lie in there anywhere. I was damned impressed with everyone’s ability to keep a straight face as they lied through their teeth to him. But we got through the day without him finding out that it had been a prank and life went on just fine without any explanation ever forthcoming.

Or so I thought…

I later found out from my lesser-boss that the head of the company had ended up calling him that day because our boss was convinced that we were all leaving the company, and were dressed up to be ready for job interviews after work. :smack:

Lesser-boss of course explained to the head of the company that it was all a prank and that he didn’t need to worry. But apparently the two of them had also been able to get a little bit of fun by playing with boss’ head since he’d been going to both of them asking for advice on what to do to keep us!

So, in the end it actually ended up being sort of a mean prank–but that result was unintentional. I’d just been protesting the plight of the fashion world…

My company has a tradition of April Fools Day jokes - some with official budgets. In one, they moved the office of an exec, who was a scuba diver, into the tank of an aquarium. There’s a web page with a history of the pranks.

I hate to be rude, but this link should come with a warning that if you are all squeamish about graphic medical photos, think twice about whether or not you want to see a full color photo of a woman who nose was completely burned off along with most of the skin on her cheeks and upper lip; another woman missing a nose; and yet another with a deep hole in the side of her nose.

I think it would be nice if a mod or someone would put a warning next to the link. I could have lived without seeing that. But consider me forewarned. If anyone even mentions the phrase “black salve,” I will run far away and fast. Thank you for the tip.

Carry on.

Yes, April Fool’s! It’s coming up, too!

Dr. B has pulled numerous pranks on me, mostly because I work with him one day a week at a satellite office, where it’s just him, me, and the receptionist. When we’re not with patients, he sits in his office, and the receptionist and I sit on the other side of the building. He once called the receptionist from his office and had her write down a message supposedly from my landlord that said, “We want the rent, NOW!” I was really pissed- I kept my cool but in my head I’m thinking, “Oh my god! I paid my rent for this month already! And how dare they call my work with a message like that!!” I actually believed it for a couple of hours until he fessed up. I’m going to have to think of something good for April 1.

I worked for an educational toy store for a while when I was 17. Our store manager was your typical uptight anal-retentive bitch from hell. One night when she wasn’t working, one of the other employees dropped a mancala board set in the stockroom and the packaging split, spilling the glass stones all across the stockroom floor. I knew that the bitch from hell was coming in at 6:00 am the next morning and would be in the store alone until the regular grunts started showing up at eight. It was a slow night, so I grabbed a tube of super-glue and spent the next 45 minutes or so gluing every single one of those stones to the floor. The other employees would walk in to ask me a question or grab some stock, watch me merrily gluing away for a while and then walk quietly back out without saying a word.

When I came in for my afternoon shift the next day all of the stones had been pried off the floor. She never said a word about it to any of the employees, which was slightly less satisfying than if she’d blown up and ranted and raved for a couple of hours. Still, I really enjoyed the mental image of her on her knees in the stockroom at six am, popping each of those stones off the floor one at a time.

I haven’t worked in anything like an “office” for a long time, but long ago I had a boss who was English, and made a big deal about despising the Irish (although it was all a show). So, every year, on the evening before St. Pat’s, we would decorate his “cube” with so much green stuff that he’d have to hack his way in. We would pour little shamrocks in his folders, so months later he’d reach for an old file and shamrocks would go flying…

I would also sneak into people’s offices and forward their phones to another number. It was interesting to see how long it took them to figure out.

I missed this post last night. Oh, yeah, sorry about that- I started thinking after posting that link, “maybe I should’ve put TMI”. If you (or anyone else) wants to report it so it can be labeled as such, thanks.

Done. And sorry for pooping on your otherwise entertaining thread. Though I have nothing to add, I’m enjoying the ingenuity involved in so many of these sophisticated pranks. More, please.

As for pranking, I’m about as innovative as a plank of wood. :o

Musicians love pranks, and Richard Himber, the bandleader (and magician) used to play a lot of them. Well, one night his orchestra got the laugh on him.

They were in the CBS studios getting ready for a big program. Himber left the studio momentarily and the band and broadcast crew took the opportunity to set all the clocks 3 minutes ahead. When the big hand reached the twelve, the announcer gave the intro, Himber gave the downbeat –and the band just played noise, blasting, scraping, screeching, clattering noise.

After Himber regained his head, they all got serious. The clocks were set to time and the program went on for real.

A Beware of Doug Classic (originally posted 11/9/06)

My old boss was a computer dunce, too dim to even realize that there were “sent” and “deleted” email folders until an IT guy came down to troubleshoot her slow computer, only to find 3 years of emails still residing. Anyway, our resident engineer rigged her computer to boot up to DOS instead of Windows, and changed the blinking cursor to text, reading “hit any key to erase drive C”. She freaked the fuck out.

One April Fool’s Day eve, he and a couple of others took a photo of her desktop, removed everything from it, removed the desk from the office, and placed all of the desktop items back exactly where they had been, but on the floor, leaving the chair in place and a tape outline of the desk.

When I was still an undergraduate at university, our dining halls had a big day at the end of each year where they posted notes around campus that essentially read “If you ‘accidentally’ took anything from a dining hall, you can come give it back at this day and this time with no questions asked. We don’t care about theft, we just want our silverware back.”

Now, instead of ordinary tables one of the dining halls had these immense hardwood picnic tables that sat twelve people to a table, and were so wide that you would almost need to turn them on their corner just to get them through the double doors that led out of the hall.

I know this because some friends and I measured. :smiley: We knew the guy who managed that particular dining hall on weekends, and we knew that he would be cool enough to let us abuse his authority and his keys. We didn’t actually go through with it, because we couldn’t figure out what to do with the damn thing in the interim, but our plan had been to take twelve to fourteen people in after hours, open both doors, carry one of those gigantic tables outside, hide it, and bring it back the next day for the “Give back whatever you accidentally took out” day. We anticipated something like this:

Us: <silently approach dining hall representatives, carrying giant table on our shoulders> “Hi, we forgot to bring this back, so we want to return it.”

Dining rep: "…how the *hell *did you even get that out of here?

Us: “Ah ah ah! You said no questions asked!”

Our office has (or *had * really - most of the fun people have left) a usual prank of filling someone’s office/cubicle with balloons. Once that became the norm, the next step was to remove all the furniture, and then fill with balloons. It was always a shock when the balloon level receded and furniture still wasn’t visible.

If you have a vacuum cleaner, the exhaust end will keep you from getting dizzy from blowing up all those balloons. And another hint: Opening the paper punch machine and putting a handful of punch outs in each balloon can be a cruel and sadistic touch when they try to pop the balloons…

And you could do what one person from my office did - offer to help the victim get rid of the balloons. Then get their car keys while they are busy cleaning up, and move some of the balloons to their car. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

We pulled an elaborate one a few years ago. My friend “Tom” (not his real name) used to pass a sign every day that says: You will meet God at the end of the road.

He would then joke: I went to the end of the road, God wasn’t there.

So we organized this prank where people from all around the world would send him a post card and a variety of things in the native tongue. Things like:
[li]Tom, the road is longer than you think, God. [/li][li]Tom, I waited, where were you? God.[/li][li]Tom, only I can say when you reach the end of your journey, God[/li][/ul]
We also stopped by when he wasn’t home and put a little Buddha statue in his car. The prank would have gotten more and more elaborate, I had lots of plans, but his wife was having nightmares, so we ended it.

Pranking is a way of life where I work but it’s the simple ones I like best. We live in daily fear of spot checks by the Health Department aka “The Team”. The Team give about fifteen minutes warning before walking through the door.

My boss: OMG The Team is coming, they’ll be here any minute!!

Me: I know, I heard!! OMG!!!

Ooh, we had some doozies where I used to work.

Once, we moved every piece of furniture (and everything off the walls) out of our CFO’s office and re-assembled it all in the men’s room (right in front of the urinals). It was a good one, and he was a good sport- he stayed there all day! :smiley:

Another time, we wrapped my boss’s entire office in purple shrink-wrap. It took hours to undo it all.

We’ve done a few. Years ago when I worked at PGE’s HQ in downtown SF, all heavy computer equipment (PCs and monitors, basically) had to be secured against earthquakes. We had these self-adhesive locking tabs that would stick to a desk and a very tough plastic strap that you’d then use to secure the monitor (or whatever) to the desk.

We always had tons of spares around so one day when my boss was out a co-worker and I “earthquake proofed” his office. Everything in it that could possibly be moved got secured. Monitor, PC, keyboard, mouse, his pad of paper, the headset of his phone, we even stuck his chair to the floor.

Luckily he has a great sense of humor.

Just last week my coworker was the victim of a good one - he has a little laser printer which historically gets “borrowed” when we have a short-term emergency need for a visitor or workroom. He’s always a good sport about it but it’s a hassle, so he put a big sign on his printer basically saying “DO NOT BORROW THIS”. Another person took a digital photo of the printer, ran it on a color laserjet scaled up to lifesize and then taped it to a cardboard box, all while another person just happened to have the mark out at lunch. They punched little holes in the box for the cables, put the sign back on and left it.

It took him several hours to notice, probably when he had to print something out. We all got an email from him with the subject line “You are all EVIL”.

What else…my former manager had to have his morning cup of coffee to get going each day. One day I used a defcon cable lock to fasten the handle of his mug to his drawer pull. He had to take the drawer out to walk over to the coffee machine. The next time I unscrewed a “loop” handle on his cabinet and then threaded the coffee mug handle through it and fastened it all back together. To his credit he found a screwdriver rather than yanking the furniture apart.

Some years ago, a friend and I had a coworker with very odd notions about security. He was adamant about locking everything up in his cabinets at the end of the day–his laptop, his files, even things like his stapler. Nothing was left on the desk in his cubicle. Yes, cubicle. He was relying on cubicle cabinet locks to secure his stuff, and he had great faith in them.

Naturally, we had to educate him. We picked all of his locks, extracted the cylinders, swapped them with the cylinders from my buddy’s cube, and locked them–all without touching anything in the cabinets.

The next morning, we heard him rattling his key in all of his locks. After he became sufficiently agitated, we poked our heads over the cube walls to ask him what was wrong. At that point, he was convinced that he had damaged his key somehow, and wouldn’t be able to get to any of his stuff until maintenance could get him a new one. My buddy assured him that the locks were so shoddy that half the keys would work in any of them, and went around to “try his key”–which naturally opened all the locks easily.

We let his anal-retentive world crash around him for a bit, but stopped him before he actually called maintenance. We explained the trick, then swapped the cylinders back to show him how it was done. He always took his laptop with him after that…but he still locked up his stapler every night.