in Whimsical

Spring Cleaning in the Elevators

Five years ago when I had a real job I woke up early one morning and came into the office. I had prepared a couple of fun April Fools pranks which I had for some reason decided to pull in the middle of winter. Those who know me probably have figured out that this is not abnormal. Hey, I’ll do an April Fools prank every day of the year if I knew I could get a laugh out of it.

So I show up to work at 6 am and bring my materials to pull my pranks. I say pranks because I actually had two that day. I’m there early because I don’t want anyone to know who did it. In fact, nobody ever did find out.

I have printed signs I am going to place outside each elevator door on all levels including the parking garage.

The signs say “We have just completed our Winter cleaning. Please remove your shoes before entering.” They were signed The Management.

It was perfect. You should have heard the complaints. I hid in my cubicle listening to the receptionist and HR manager. Since they got in early I could hear them in the kitchen.

“Gosh, I just can’t believe the building management. They’re getting worse and worse.”

Other people complained and refused while others calmly complied with the written request.

That is, until all of the signs came down around noon. The building management took them all down — however the damage was already done and I had conned many people into removing their shoes.

Fun times. I need to pick a building and try that again.

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  1. Ha! I wish I worked in a place big enough to get away with that. When I was in college I worked at a home decor shop, and the night before April Fool’s I turned every picture in the store upside down. The manager was furious when she came in the next day to find even the window displays and the pictures on the walls were upside down.

  2. At a previous job, I faked a memo from the building management–a couple of weeks after the mgt had sent around a real satisfaction questionaire.

    Our building was just north of O’Hare, and depending on the flight pattern, planes would pass perhaps 150 yards west of us at the level of our floor.

    The building mgt company of our building was very annoying and there were a number of things that were poorly run. Logistics alone in the building were a hassle. There were too many people in the bulding and the elevators could take forever to come. Also, the stairwells were locked for all but emergency use. The final straw: a parking situation so bad that the building managment offered valet parking (it was a pain, not cool at all–at the end of the work day you had to wait for your car to be brought around).

    So I faked a memo from building management in which I said that the main concern that had been echoed in the opinion survey was that a plane might fly into the building (way before 9/11). The management wanted to do its utmost to alleviate such concerns, so the parking deck would be completely closed for several months while a steel mesh safety net was erected that could catch any planes before they hit the building. I posted the fake memo in several places in my own company’s public areas at around 10pm.

    Next morning, I get in around 10am. The administrative assistant to the president comes up and says: “if you did this, you’d better go talk to the president immediately, there’s trouble.” So I went to talk to the president, who was Japanese. For cultural reasons, I had difficulty reading how perturbed he was or wasn’t. He let me know that the building management company had received numerous outraged calls from people in my company about the closing of the parking deck. (The mesh safety had not struck some of the readers as the ludicrous idea it was). The building management company was very very mad and had mentioned lawsuits for libel. The president was nice enough to me and basically said, “You are a nice young man, but immature. Don’t do this again.” I offered to apologize to the building mgt company, but he said that would not be necessary.

    I left his office feeling pretty low, since I had caused such bad feeling between the two companys. When I walked back into my area, one of my company’s partners was there. He was delighted. He said that in 20 years he hadn’t seen anything this funny. I told him about the hot water I was in. He left to go talk to the president. He came back even more delighted. He told me that the official word was exactly what the president had said: don’t ever do this again. The unofficial word: the president was overjoyed to give the annoying building management some flack.

    The prank quickly took on the status of legend. I still have the fake memo.