The employee break room is supposed to a place of solace; an escape from the hustle and bustle and needs of temperamental customers. The people in the following stories weren't so lucky.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
Let Me Get Another Employee
“I was walking to the break room on my lunch break, and a customer saw me in the distance. As I saw her come up to me, I knew I needed to tell her I couldn’t help her. I was planning to say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m on my break right now, but I can get someone else to help you though.’ But all I was able to say was, ‘I’m sorry, I’m on my break right now, but…’ before getting interrupted.
The lady just flipped out at me without letting me finish my sentence, saying stuff like ‘REALLY? You would say that to a CUSTOMER?’ and how what I should have said was ‘I’ll help you, or I’ll get someone,’ for almost a full minute.
Once she finished, I told her that I would get another employee to help her, then I went to the break room. I didn’t get another employee to help her.”
I’m Trying To Eat Lunch Here
“So in my store, we have a break room where we can eat, but this particular day my boss was having a meeting there. It wasn’t a particularly nice day outside, so when lunch rolled around, I had to clock out, close my till, and eat at the register. As we all know, people never pay attention to the ‘register closed’ signs. They see a person sitting there and just start unloading their stuff.
I told customer after customer that this register was closed and that I was off the clock before asking them to proceed to the next one. They usually apologized and huffed a little, but obliged. Except for one lady. She came up to my register all smiles and sunshine.
Customer: ‘Oh, sorry to interrupt your lunch! I only have a few things, don’t worry!’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, but this register is closed. You’ll need to go to the next one.’
Customer: ‘I won’t be long (she had a big smile as she showed me her basket). See? Just these and we’ll be all done.’
Me: ‘Ma’am, I’m off the clock on my lunch break. Sorry for the inconvenience, but my coworker at the next till would be happy to help you out.’
Customer: ‘But it’s just these few things!’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, this register is closed.’
She purses her lips at me, then smiled again.
Customer: ‘What’s for lunch today?’
Me: ‘Excuse me?’
Customer: ‘Your lunch, what are you eating?’
Me: ‘A sandwich.’
Customer: ‘What kind?’
Customer: ‘Turkey and what?’
She began asking the stupidest questions. What kind of bread, did I like mayo, etc. I caught on eventually that she wanted to be annoying so I would get sick of her and just check her out right there so she could skip the line at the next register. I started getting a bit exasperated that she was purposefully wasting my lunch break when just a few minutes ago she was ‘sorry to interrupt.’
Me: ‘Ma’am, I’m off the clock, and this register is closed.’
Customer: ‘I know that. I’m just enjoying the conversation! Which deli do you usually go to for the sandwich?’
I picked up my lunch and walked outside at that point. I was furious. I sat on a bench nearby and finished up.
I came back after to find she had reported me (of course) for refusing her service even though I was ‘clearly available to help her.’ I didn’t get in trouble, but man that was just brutal.”
I Guess This Customer Couldn’t Wait Any Longer
“I work at a home improvement store and our break room is back by the indoor lumber yard near the bathrooms. Now, I would say it’s pretty obvious that it’s the employee break room, but sometimes people get confused and think it’s the restroom. No big deal. Usually, they realize right away these are people on their lunch hour trying to relax, apologize, and leave.
So yesterday afternoon, I was getting ready to clock out for the day. I had about three minutes until I could punch out, so I sat down on one of our couches. There were several people on lunch or taking a 15-minute break, but on Fridays, we’re always very well staffed, so there were plenty of people still working in the store.
Que the loud woman outside the door. ‘HELLOOO?’ She opened the door to the break room, stood in the doorway, and started shouting ‘EXCUSE ME can we get some help already! We’ve been waiting here for 30 minutes! My grandfather is 84 years old. We already asked someone to call for help, and we’re still here waiting! Aren’t you guys gonna get out here and help your customers already?’
Everyone in the break room looked a bit flabbergasted, and no one said anything. Finally, after an awkward five seconds, one of the older guys I work with who was standing by the door about to punch out said, ‘Yeah, we’ll get someone,’ and gently pushed the door closed, scooting her out of the doorway. A few of us just laughed in disbelief while another guy I worked with told us he watched her walk in the building less than 10 minutes prior.
People never cease to amaze!”
Gory Tales From The Break Room
“For a little while a few months ago, there was one girl who was always on the store phone in the lunchroom making outside calls WHILE texting on her cell phone.
First, this girl looks like she ALWAYS has a stick up her butt, and sounds like it too. Second, using the lunchroom phone for outside calls is okay, but you have to remember other people need to use it for in-store calls sometimes if they get paged, and that once in awhile, someone else would like to use it to make an outside call too. The phone is located on the table where most people like to sit and eat and have a nice conversation.
The topic of her conversation for the full 30 minutes of her lunch every day? Gory details of her abortion. Loudly. While the rest of us were trying to eat lunch. This went on for at least a week that I saw. Talk about gross. I couldn’t even figure out how to tell her to shut up or take it elsewhere so I wouldn’t hurl. How do you deal with what she was doing? Disgusting.”
Shoes Are Required
“I used to work with a woman who would take her shoes off and put her bare feet on the lunch table. She would never wipe the table down after, either. So, don’t do that.”
Are You Brushing Your Teeth?
“We have a woman at work who likes to use her disability (hearing impaired) as a way to get or do whatever she wants. I work at a Walmart Neighborhood Market, and our break room is small. The microwave is right next to it the sink, and then right next to that is the coffee pot. I come in one day and grab my stuff and start unwrapping it in front of the microwave so I can heat it up. That’s when I realize she’s standing there brushing her teeth, spitting everywhere and all. Like honestly? I cover my food back up and wait for her to look up and tell her it would be way more sanitary for everyone if she would do that in the bathroom. I got reported to the store manager for it.”
Going Through A Coworker’s Phone Is Not A Good Idea
“A recent thing that happened was one of my coworkers, and also a good friend, left his phone in the break room to charge while a new hire was there eating lunch. When the new hire went back on the clock, my co-worker came to the break room to look at his phone and noticed a friend request that had been accepted.
My friend was confused because he never added anyone, so he checked his phone and realized that the new hire went through his phone and used his Facebook account to add herself, which she then accepted on her own phone. My friend promptly deleted her right after.
So yeah, going through a co-worker’s phone without their knowledge and consent is a huge no-no.”
Isn’t It Illegal To Deny A Break For Lunch?
“So my friend relayed a story to me the other day that I’m pretty sure includes an illegal bit. My friend works in a brand new location in a chain of hardware stores. She has just found out that the company itself is struggling to stay afloat, which explains why the majority of the store’s employees have been laid off, and why her amazing store manager left. Now running on a skeleton crew, she receives a promotion and a small-ish raise. This new position is ‘Return Monkey,’ which means she works the return desk. It requires special training, so only RMs and managers can work this desk, and there are far fewer RMs than regular employees.
Reporting in for work one day, they ask if she can work a 10-hour shift, as the mid-shift RM has called out. She agrees but points out that someone will have to break her for lunch, as the other RM would have done that. ‘No problem,’ they assure her. ‘Paint Monkey is training to be an RM; she can do it.’ And they leave to do her job.
Now, while I don’t know about different states, I’m pretty sure that in our state, you’re legally required to take at least a 30-minute lunch after five hours. But hour five rolls around and no one has shown up to break her, so she calls Paint Monkey.
‘Um, I can’t do RM,’ says PM. ‘They only started training me yesterday.’
So my friend calls the manager. The whole store can hear her page him. He doesn’t answer. She waits, she returns things, she helps customers, she pages again. And again. And AGAIN. She pages this guy for the better part of an hour, and she’s creeping up on the sixth hour of her shift. Everyone can hear her, and no one can figure out what this guy is doing that he’s not answering. Finally fed up, she calls her friend in the paint department.
“PM, could you page the boss for me? I was supposed to get a lunch an hour ago. I’m starving!”
Paint Monkey pages the boss, and guess who calls back right away?
“Boss, RM has been paging you for an hour now. She needs to get a lunch ASAP, and there isn’t anyone to give her one. A manager needs to do it.”
She says that the boss doesn’t like very many of the employees and that he doesn’t like her, either, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore someone who needs a lunch break! That’s illegal.”
The Legendary Hot Dog Thief
“We had this selfish lady that worked with us but on a different shift. For the Super Bowl, we had a party, and they cooked a ton of hot dogs and left them in some metal pans. After lunch, we had like 40 hot dogs left in the break room.
Well this lady who wasn’t even on our shift, who already had her Super Bowl party, came in the break room and asked if she could take a FEW home for her kids. Sure why not, there are so many left over. Well, during the afternoon break, everyone on our shift (like seven or eight people) went into the break room to get another hot dog and found four left in the pan. This lady took home like five pounds of hotdogs and about 40 buns.”
The Mystery Sandwich
“I work for a retail shipping company/mailbox rental that sees a lot of traffic, and sometimes strange things happen.
As part of the holidays, we had some new drivers coming through our shop. One such driver acted zombie-like; no expression and didn’t talk to us unless he needed to. All in all, he was a very unusual man that did a few unusual things since he started doing pickups here.
One day, I grabbed a stack of packages and to my surprise, there was a sandwich sitting in the middle of the hallway. Nothing special, just your regular white bread/salami/mayonnaise sandwich lying on the floor in a small Ziploc baggie.
I asked my coworkers if anyone had misplaced it, and most laughed at me before they realized I was serious. One suggested that I place it in one of the pickup bins, perhaps our driver had unwittingly left it behind? Well, no harm in trying.
A few hours went by, and our driver was back for his final pickup. My boss was ready to get to the bottom of this.
Boss: ‘Did you leave a sandwich here?’
Driver: ‘Did I what?’
Boss: ‘Holds up the sad, sad looking meal.’
Driver: ‘Oh! I was wondering where I left that!’
Boss: ‘So, this is yours? Didn’t you go hungry today?’
Driver: ‘No, it’s okay. I always make a backup sandwich just in case something like this happens. That way I don’t go hungry.’
It turns out this guy has had this happen so many times that he now wakes up and makes himself two lunches every single day, just in case one goes MIA. We do our best to be good people, and we try very hard not to judge anybody, but we have unanimously dubbed this driver ‘The Sandwich Man.'”
Peach Cobbler Leads To Trouble
“One time, my boss had a peach cobbler in the fridge and he told me I could have it. I was eating it later that day in the lunchroom, which was right next to his office. A coworker came in while I was eating the cobbler and said with a big smile and a laugh, ‘Isn’t that Ted’s (my boss) peach cobbler? Hahaha. Is it GOOD?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s delicious,’ and didn’t think much else of it. The next day I was eating in the lunchroom, and she went into Ted’s office to rat me out for eating his peach cobbler (which he told me I could have). This pissed me off because she was always nice. She didn’t know I was in the lunchroom at the time and she left the door to his office open. I could hear the whole thing, and my boss knew it. Well, he proceeded to yell at her for bothering him with something so trivial while he was in the middle of something. He then told her no one likes a snitch. She was facing him with her back to the door, and I walked in the doorway while he was yelling at her and gave him a head nod. He saw me and ever so slightly returned the nod while still yelling at her.
I put two and two together and figured out why I got in trouble on other occasions when my boss wasn’t around and had no way of knowing what I did. Anyway, I would throw her lunch away every Friday for the next month and then whenever I felt like it after that. I feel bad that I did it that many times now, but man I was pissed at the time. Probably because she was always nice to my face and then would turn around and yell me for stupid reasons. She turned out to be a huge witch.”
He Could Only Take So Much
“At one of my previous jobs, I used to eat lunch in the break room with a friendly, yet very conservative woman. Her political leanings didn’t bother me at all, though I made sure to avoid the standard hot topics. Everything was fine until one day when she randomly said, ‘All the gays and blacks should be sent to Mars.’
I ate lunch at my desk after that.”
I Don’t Think That’s Safe For Work
“I had this coworker once who would repeatedly call her significant other in the breakroom. She was a decent person, fun to talk to, but I felt like killing her whenever she talked to her significant other on the phone. She spoke loudly, laughed annoyingly, would talk about very intimate topics, and used that horrible annoying pouty voice. I remember one conversation they had, and they were trying VERY hard to avoid the topic, but I deduced they were talking about ‘going through the back door.’ They used the euphemism ‘bake a cake,’ talked about how they would have to ‘clean the oven,’ how they would have to be sure to ‘use plenty of egg yolks,’ and how they would have to ‘let it bake nice and slowly.’
Oh, and the best way to ‘get the cake to rise,'”
A Little Comeuppance For The Office Food Thief
“We had steal-food-from-fridge guy. He would straight up eat your lunch, especially if you had any sweets, though he wouldn’t touch your food if it were healthy. He didn’t do it all the time, but when he did, he just ignored you or dodged complaints with, ‘It’s been here for a week,’ or ‘I didn’t do it.’ Alas, he was middle management and a grade A brown-noser, so he never got punished.
Of course, someone got him back with the classic ‘laxatives in the brownie’ routine. Apparently, he spent a collective six hours on the toilet and could be seen hilariously running from the floor of the shop to the employee bathroom with his hand holding his butt cheeks together. Too bad I wasn’t there that day, too bad.
But guess what? The following week, we received a lecture from human resources and the general manager about proper storage of food in the break room. HR then referred to an ‘incident’ where someone ate food that had either gone bad or had been contaminated, and how it was a health risk to all the office.
The food stealer then stood up and said how having a fridge was a privilege and not a right, and how we needed to respect the rules of the office or else we would lose the fridge. When he sat down, the HR lady said, ‘No, the fridge is a right, and it’s staying, please disregard that last comment.’
Muffled laughter was heard all around.”