Products that help you survive office life
At one of my first jobs, my lunch constantly disappeared from the community refrigerator. There were no clues and, being New York, “nobody saw nuttin!”
I tried marking my lunch. I tried notes pleading with people to not take my lunch. I tried hiding my lunch behind cans, etc. Nothing worked. One day, after my lunch disappeared, I shut the refrigerator door and laughed maniacally. Someone asked me what was so funny.
“Today is the day I find out who has been stealing my lunch,” I replied. “I put rat poison on my sandwich! We’ll find the thief in about an hour when he or she starts dying.”
Sure enough, a coworker screamed and ran around like she was on fire. As she was about to be taken to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, I laughed and admitted it wasn’t really poisoned. Naturally, I was fired. It didn’t matter that this woman had stolen my lunch for her mid-morning snack every day. It seems my “joke” was considered “dangerous” and I was chastised for possibly “giving (her) a heart attack.”
In one office, coworkers had small refrigerators in their cubicles to keep their lunch and drinks cold and safe. The energy bills must have been too much for the company so a memo went around informing people that these appliances were against the fire code. The kitchen refrigerator then became a repository of science experiments as people forgot half sandwiches and slabs of meatloaf for weeks and months. Sometimes you couldn’t even tell what was in the Tupperware it was so furry and moldy.
Being a smoker, I often found that people would pop into my cubicle to borrow my lighter, which sat out with my pack of cigarettes. Switching to gag lighter that gave those who pushed the button to light it a severe shock, I was once again chastised for a dangerous item that could “give someone a heart attack!”
Again, it would be a telltale sign of who was stealing my lighters. Sometimes there’s just no justice in the world and certainly not an office.
When you are hired by a large company or corporation, you are shown a video on office harassment. The video looks like a 1970s porn film without the sex. Bad acting and rhythmic guitar rifts, but the common thread throughout the video is that even when you are in the right, if someone complains about you, then you are guilty and wrong. With a small cast of characters in this video, it’s always the same person being offended by the actions of coworkers. One might wonder why the old rules of society aren’t followed and the constant complainer isn’t just buried up to his or her neck and hit in turn by every other employee with a polo mallet until dead. The modern office has a strange political hierarchy and it will not bend or break to your will or common sense. Learn to deal with it safely and with a sense of good-natured flair!
Save your lunch
Of course, if you’re like the people in my last office, mold and disease-carrying vermin will not get in the way of a free meal. Try nuclear waste and the threat of mutated offspring!
Having been situated in Missouri, the threat of mutant AND inbred children was just too exciting for my coworkers, so if you have the same territorial problems, far from civilization, try this locker that fits in a refrigerator.
I would, however, suggest testing the Fridge Locker before placing expensive food items into it. Judging by the claws on former coworkers, some people will just tear through the lock and plastic as if it was made of freshly-baked Twinkies. Nothing, aside from a freshly-baked Twinkie, will draw out the animal hunger in an office thief like a nice, juicy, meaty meatloaf. An inflatable meatloaf, like the one below, will fool the hungry animalistic worker and at least give them plastic poisoning as they won’t realize what they are chewing until it’s too late!
“What about my precious condiments?” you might ask. Do you relish a sandwich with expensive mustard? Well, then screw on the mustard head cap and know that most coworkers will be sickened by the yellow ooze spewing forth from his mouth. Some coworkers, unfortunately, will be turned on and suck the mustard right from the mouth as if they were deriving pleasure in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
There’s nothing worse then finding lipstick marks on your cup and it’s not the shade of lipstick you wear! So, guys, why not use this handy mug with a removable plug you can put on your key ring when you’re not using your personal cup. It’s like an evil dribble glass that will scorch the heck out of a mug thief when they try enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee with someone else’s private property.
Who will you catch with their hand in the cookie jar? Not one person when they think you’re storing toxic waste in your cubicle! If people ignore the obvious warning, just bake some cookies with glass chips and keep them on the top of the pile. Pilfering will stop within the first day…or first hour.
Show ‘em who’s boss!
On your first day of work, coworkers will size you up to see how far they can push and dominate you. Why not let them get the message the minute you walk in? Hope for rain so you can start by appearing heavily armed with these katana and tanto umbrellas strapped to your side or slung at your waist. Nothing say, “don’t borrow money from me” like implements that can cleanly slice off the outstretched palm of the biggest office mooch.
Meetings can be soooo boring and stressful. Sit among coworkers and relieve stress with this cute stress squeezer that resembles a real set of brass knuckles! Well, it will relieve YOUR stress. Those around you may have increased stress levels but they will be very receptive to your ideas and probably won’t offer any of their own.
If brass knuckles is a bit too over the top for you, just consider wearing finger tentacles for a more demure and friendly appearance. Just make a “brouuurp!” noise every now and then to convince doubters you actually have real tentacle fingers.
Evetually, coworkers will enter your office or cubicle to chat, drop off work, discuss a project or steal something while you’re not there. People will judge you by what they see, aside from the company phone, chair, and computer. Toys and accessories say a lot about the person, so let them see the real you when they glance at your bulletin board and see these little, chrome “stars of the office!”
If you’re in an area of the world that experiences colder then average winter weather, chances are that your employer wants to save money to spend on expensive cars and prostitutes by turning down the heat in the office. Most people will leave a sweater in their office for just such an occasion. Some people will dare the sarcasm and cruel taunts by using a Snuggie™. Don’t become the office joke…use this warm outfit and coworkers won’t so much as snicker. In fact, they will probably avoid walking by your cubicle or office altogether!
Are your interoffice memos not effective? Do people smirk at your note taking in meetings? Well, use these fun post-it notes and people will pay attention. In fact, they will agree to anything you ask and give you money and other gifts, even if it’s not your birthday!
Naturally, there’s something you don’t want people to see in your cubicle. One former coworker had a small TV in her desk drawer. One coworker actually had a camping mattress and pillow and blanket under his desk. One coworker LIVED in his cubicle! Small things can be hidden in this handy keyboard-slash-storage compartment. If anyone finds it, they can be a coworker-slash-sorry-they-ever-came-into-your-office!
Life goes fast in the age of technology and sometimes you need to make a personal call… like to report your employer to the labor board or tell your five year-old that he or she has to make their own dinner because uncle mean-boss is making you work until two in the morning again. With these stealth covers for your iPad and iPhone, you can fool coworkers into believing you have an Etch-a-Sketch for amusing down-time…as if you are suppose to have down-time. GET BACK TO WORK!
Working 9-5 is an old Dolly Parton song and an even older concept to employers who believe in gulag-style work hours. Sometimes you might need to spend your ten minute lunch break shutting your eyes for a power nap. Well, lunch break or not, employers aren’t fond of sleeping employees using company heat and chairs for such personal time. Just slip into this cute bear sleeping bag and chances are, no one will stay in the are long enough to figure it out.
Curious coworkers might pluck up the courage to peak into your workspace while you’re not there. Maybe they’ll touch your stuff! Well, with this handy pen/video camera, you can keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Catch someone in the act and you can blackmail them for money, or blackmail them first and THEN have them fired!
Although the image for the video pen seems to show the male coworker using video to look directly at his female coworker’s er, breastular region…probably for later use, which I won’t go into here but trust me, it’s not office appropriate…like the rest of this article…sometimes you need to know what coworkers may suspect about you…or are just making up in office gossip. Use this sound enhancer to overhear conversations far away. People will think you’re just wearing a Bluetooth but you’ll really be hearing tidbits of information that will make you king or queen of the office. Forewarned is forearmed!
Don’t get mad…get even!
So, maybe some of your coworkers haven’t heeded the message that you will kill them and gnaw on their bones. Some people are just a bit slow when it comes to obvious signs. A little extra persuasion may be needed. With this little device, hidden somewhere in their office, it will only take about three days for them to go completely insane. Buy two and hide one in their car, too! There’s a reason they call it the “Annoy-a-Tron!”
Sometimes, as the old saying goes, a little sugar attracts more flies than vinegar. So does the rotting carcass of a missing coworker, lying in a ditch at the edge of town, but please don’t get me wrong. Making nice is the best way to win over the hardest heart in the office and what could be better then sealing an interoffice memo with a kiss? Of course, you might not want to kiss every memo or wear lipstick, so just use this innovative pre-inked stamper. If someone is still mad or suspicious of your intentions, just stamp their shirt collar and let their spouse become enraged and divorce them, causing emotional problems and a downward spiral in the person’s life that usually ends with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A dose of reality
As this is a global publication, some readers from other cultures as well as Americans who will take this article as good ideas, may not understand that I’m writing this with humor and I am not suggesting one should threaten or harm coworkers. If one were to act out on any one of these scenarios, they would probably be fired (and possibly imprisoned).
When you are fired, or so I have heard, you are usually walked out by security, sometimes with a guard holding each one of my limbs…er, your limbs, and you will not be allowed to return to your office to pack your personal items. Coworkers will usually loot your items like wild dogs fighting over a dead carcass. Having worked at places where we produced collectible licensed merchandise, things can disappear very easily. As creatives, we tend to like having colorful things around us like collectible vinyl figures and such. It’s best to keep personal items of any value out of the office.
So, what can we have around to brighten our personal workspaces, set in Nazi-gray office color schemes? It should be things we can throw away without a second thought. So, try custom paper toys! Buy a book of them and you can have all the cute and cool you want until it’s time to walk the last mile out of your place of employment, leaving nothing but memories and perhaps…burning paper toys? ;)
Speider Schneider is a former member of The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine and has designed products for Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Mattel, DC and Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon among other notable companies. Speider is a former member of the board for the Graphic Artists Guild, co-chair of the GAG Professional Practices Committee and a former board member of the Society of Illustrators. Follow him on Twitter @speider
Do you have a favorite office toy? What web site do you like for great, fun office toys? Do you understand this article was written tongue-in-cheek and you shouldn’t scare coworkers? Is it just too late to write a disclaimer?