When it comes time to celebrate a company-wide achievement, most businesses will opt to do so in a way that requires an absolute minimal outlay of cash. Sharing profits with employees hurts America, everybody knows that. One of the more common solutions to this quandary is to hold an office-wide potluck, where all of the weirdos you would normally cross the street just to avoid saying hello to in public whip up their very finest casserole and haul it into the office, expecting you to eat it.
When it comes to the potluck, most traditional offices will splinter off into three groups: the people who actually care about what they bring, the people who bring whatever is within arm's reach at the moment they remember they're supposed to bring something and the conniving heathens who bring nothing, but eat anyway.
It's that last group that's going to get the most scorn, which is perfectly understandable. Ass, gas or cash, nobody rides for free, bitch. If you're eating, you should be sharing; that's how a potluck works. Everyone can agree with that, and will eventually rally together as a unified front (albeit temporarily) to make sure these people are trapped, tagged and monitored like the wild animals they are.
The real tensions arise between the people who agree that they should at least bring something, but don't put a ton of thought into it, and the people who act as if a potluck is the community's one opportunity to eat for the entire year and therefore must make it an event. They'll put up with you bringing a plastic container of grocery store cookies for a while, but eventually, mandates will start coming down from on high about who should bring what. It will be noted that the last potluck consisted of this one person's elaborately staged tray of deviled eggs surrounded by 25 bags of plain Ruffles potato chips and that this cannot be the case in the future.
Over time, the grip on the potluck menu will be tightened to the point where everyone in the office just decides that eating at all is too much of a logistical nightmare to worry about at the office.
#2. Burned Microwave Popcorn
Microwave popcorn is a staple in any office. It provides all of the action and adventure of going to the movies, except for the part where you're watching your hopes and dreams die in front of you, as opposed to watching Tom Cruise pretend to be into chicks or whatever. But microwave popcorn is a tricky beast. If you don't heat it long enough, you're left with a quarter ounce of useless unpopped corn in the bottom of the bag. But heat it too long, even just a few seconds, and you've got a bag full of foul-smelling nastiness.
Unfortunately, you won't know this until you've opened the bag and the acrid smoke from the scorched corn rises into the air and permeates every inch of the building. At that point, there is nothing you can do. You're about to be the most hated person in the building for like 34 minutes or however long it takes for that smell to clear out.
It will probably be a while.
Meanwhile, hate-tinged words directed at the person responsible for putting those noxious fumes into the atmosphere will start springing up like fires in a riot. It will start with little whispers and "What's that smell?" type of queries. Everyone knows exactly what that smell is, but pretending that some detective work is needed to figure it out is a welcome distraction from the rigors of doing actual work and worrying about important things.
Once the offending smell is identified as popcorn, the radicals start coming out of the woodwork to make absurd claims about how popcorn should just be outlawed at the office altogether if people can't handle the privilege responsibly. This grassroots movement will inevitably die out with a supervisor sending a company-wide email reminding everyone that burned popcorn smells like death and that they should be mindful of not giving everyone lung cancer with their scorched kernels.
And then someone burns another bag of popcorn a few days later and the cycle starts all over again.
#1. Failing to Reset the Timer on the Microwave
Speaking of the microwave, if you want to whip the OCD types in your office into a frenzy, heat something up in the microwave and take it out before the timer reaches zero. It doesn't matter how much time you leave on the clock. There is somebody stalking around your office who is of such fragile mind that something as simple as seeing "0:01" on a microwave timer is too much for them to handle. At first, they'll just hit the "Clear" button and reset the timer on their own. Why? Because this is what a sane person would do, and at first, they are perfectly sane.
But slowly, it's going to wear on them to the point that you not resetting the microwave timer and the boss making everyone work on Sunday are travesties of equal magnitude. Eventually, Post-it notes will start showing up on the microwave, imploring you to make sure there is no time left on the microwave timer, because "your mother does not work here." That's always the go-to point in a situation like this. Your mother doesn't work here, so you need to clean up your own messes. It's a perfectly valid point, except for one thing ... your mother wasn't a neurotic control freak who demanded that everyone around her be in full compliance with all of her bullshit tics and quirks, which is exactly what this maniac is doing.
"There are kids in China who would kill to have those seconds on their microwave! Or to have a microwave! Or food to put in it!
Or to not work 14 hours a day building microwaves!"
Nevertheless, this person will eventually rally enough people around his or her cause until, suddenly, your company has a problem with using the microwave. Memos will be sent, notes will be posted and everyone will be expected to fall in line.
It's enough to drive you crazy, if you let it.
For more from Adam, check out 5 World Leaders Who Were Accused of Being the Antichrist and Closeted Badasses: 6 Famous Wusses That Would Own You.