Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Co-Workers or Cow-Orkers or Co-Irkers?

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I have a coworker who is clumsy, awkward, racist, unattractive and a little stinky. She wears loads of horrendous perfume which she calls her "signature scent." She only shops at a local Ma-and-Pop gas station because she says she "can't stand buying gas from towel-heads." And the most annoying things she does she attributes to her nationality - 100% Italian. If she mispronounces words (which she does often) - Why, you may ask? "Because I'm Italian!" If she knocks things over left and right because she's clumsy as heck, it's because she's "Italian"! Is she loud, obnoxious, rude? Well, it's because she's Italian! Can she not do simple math? Well, she IS Italian, afterall!

The best part is, I'm 100% Italian too! And I'm "higher up on the ladder" than she is, I don't break things all over the office, I don't wear loads of perfume, I don't use racial slurs - I guess this "Italian syndrome" that makes people rude, stinky, clumsy and annoying only strikes certain UNLUCKY Italians! Please, people, don't insult the rest of us by using your ancestors as an excuse if you're just an oaf by nature!!


I work in a nice office for a well-known environmental consultant firm.  There are approximately 50 people here, and just about everyone is very nice.  There is however, one woman who is really, really awful to work with.  She is no one's boss, no one's supervisor, no one's anything except pain in the neck.  However, she wants to be thought of as a person who is in control, a person of importance, and at every turn does her best to make it look like she is.  Let me list of some of her "finer accomplishments."

1.  Says she always arrives early (though this can't be proven) and brings that point into general conversations numerous times each day..."Well when I got here at 6 this morning..." 

2.  She went around her boss, who unfortunately is in another office or would see what a piece of work she is, and fanagled a laptop, generally reserved for higher ups.  She is so afraid of missing something that she hovers over the thing even on her every-other-Friday off.  If you send her an email about something, she fires back an instant reply, just to make sure you know that she's "working" on her day off.  Then on Monday, says things like, "Well when I was working from home on my day off..."  You get the picture?

3.  Upon arriving, goes through peoples desks who are not at work yet, and if she feels anyone has too many pencils, post-its, or whatever, moves them back into the supply cabinet.  This is at her own admission.

4.  She's the person who posts all the signs in the kitchen announcing "NO MAID SERVICE!!!  DO YOUR OWN DISHES!!!"  and all those other annoying signs that everyone who works in an office puts up with.

5.  And IF you, god forbid, do NOT wash your own dishes, she takes them.  Yep, she removes all unwashed dishes at the end of the day and puts them in a file cabinet in her office.  We now  have about 3 coffee and maybe 2 forks.  Rather embarrassing when clients show up.  And all her files are stacked all over the place because there is no room in the file cabinets.

6.  After an office lunch meeting or one of our potlucks, she commandeers all the leftover plastic utensils, paper plates, cups and napkins and puts them, you guess it, in her file cabinet.   "These are not for use by people in the office."  Yeah, duh!  That's exactly what they're for!

7.  Gossips and back stabs at every opportunity...about everyone.  She bad-mouths my friend to me, and then bad-mouths me to my friend.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one.

8.  Walked up to a female co-worker one day, plucked at her sleeve, and loudly said, "What's with all these ugly sweaters that everyone is wearing?!?"

9.  Wanted to start up a Weight Watchers group in the office, which takes, I believe, at least 12 people who are willing to join.  Made a point to ask me in front of people if I wanted to join, of course blatantly implying that I'm fat.  I said no and that there were not enough overweight people in the entire office to start up a chapter.  She went to the phone extension list and counted the "fat people."

10.  I had to travel to our corporate office for a week last year, and she said to another co-worker, "Well I sure hope she buys some new clothes."  This from a woman who buys hers at thrift  shops (by her own admission.)

11.  Another co-worker tinted her hair a bit darker than she had been wearing it.  "Well that sure makes you look really harsh,"  was the unsolicited critique.

12. She never does anything wrong. She is the perfect worker and it is always everyone else’s fault if something goes wrong. She even went so far as to say that the Vice President of this very large corporation does not know what he is doing.

13. She has no college degree but camplains every year to be promoted to "senior level." 

14. She goes to lunch almost everyday with the “fake crowd” a group of 4 guys or so who pat each other on the back and tell each other how good  they are and kiss each other’s butts. God, I can’t even imagine the conversations they have at lunch…barf!

15. She kisses up to the “fake crowd” just so that when review time comes around, she can get these guys to tell her boss how wonderful she is. These are the only people who think this of her. The rest of the office knows the “real her”.

16. She claims she is a Christian and says she goes to church every Sunday but is one of those people who will run you over with her car and then flip you off and laugh.

17. You can’t tell her anything that you don’t want the whole office to know about.

18. She makes it a point to let everyone know that she goes to aerobics everyday and is so healthy she is never sick but she always has to have the closest parking spot to the building, takes the elevator instead of the stairs and eats out everyday. No wonder she hasn’t lost any weight.

19. She has said she sits up late at night thinking of ways to get back at the people she thinks have wronged her.

20. She has asked the receptionist to lie and say that she is at a doctor’s appointment when her boss calls instead of telling her she is off that day.

21. She has lost many important files in her office but for some reason it is never her, she claims some other employee has come into her office, gone through her files, and put them  somewhere else.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  With her the glass is always half empty.  She is a big downer and will steal your good energy if you let her.  Everyone is waiting for the "what goes around" part to happen.  I think her boss gave her a pretty strong hint about hitting the door, but of course it didn't work...last year she got a whopping 1% raise...a real slap in the face for someone as "crucial" to the company as she is.  HAHA.  I guess she is just unhappy, but does it ever help to try and make everyone else as miserable as she is?


I'd just started working my dream job on the Disney College Program, and gotten placed in my favorite park- THE park, if you know what I mean.  After a brief period of rough adapting, I ended up being placed to work in a stockroom on Main Street.  I would open packages of clothes and hang them up, all day, every day.  They had to be hung the same way, in perfect order.  This is something I'm really good at and really enjoy doing (I honestly wish I was doing it right now!)

Now, I have Asperger's Syndrome, but it's a real difficulty for me.  I'd been having a lot of trouble with the other people at work simply because I didn't know how to talk to them.  One day while I was working, I had a bit of a meltdown because I was so confused.  There wasn't enough stations for people to work at and I kept getting pushed around by people who claimed they were there first and had to go take care of something else, and then somebody saying I was blocking something else, and finally I just snapped.

My managers were very understanding that the situation was too much for me, and since I was so good at hanging, they put me in an extremely neglected stockroom and asked me to fix it up.  I was put in complete charge of that stockroom, hanging up everything and more or less being able to give instructions to anybody else sent up there (hardly anybody ever was.)

This stockroom was much smaller than downstairs, more like an attic with wooden floors and painted walls.  The stockroom right below it was all concrete.  The two stockrooms went to the same store, so we often had to communicate about that.  There was an open elevator in the corner.  I don't know what it's real name was, but it was just a flat floor in a grated-off hole, and it worked on hydraulics.  Since it was so open, the sound carried from downstairs just like it would if you were in the same room.

The first day I was working upstairs, the same day as my meltdown, I could hear three people talking downstairs.  At first, I didn't listen- their conversation wasn't my business- but then I suddenly heard my name.  Then I heard that they were talking about me.

"Did you see what [she] did this morning?"

"They said she's got something wrong with her."

"Is she a part-time employee?"

"I think she's here on the college program."

"She goes to school like that?"

"Um, that's what they said."

"Is she on medication?"

"I don't know."

"She should be on medication if she's like that."

I was in tears- it's really hurtful when you find out exactly what people think of you, I've always said.  So I went downstairs (the stairs are across the hall) and into the stockroom and said to them, "I just thought you might like to know, I'm working upstairs and I can hear everything you're saying through the elevator."  They didn't say anything, so I went back upstairs and back to work.

One of the women came up an hour later with a manager, in tears, because she felt so bad about how she was talking to me.  She said she didn't understand me, and she wanted to understand me, and she didn't want to have all her facts wrong or anything.  I was taken by surprise, but I told her it was all right and she felt better.  We were actually really good friends until I left the program.  The other guy, I never saw him again because he was only there on modified duty, and he went back to his old job.  I think there was a third girl, but I'd never seen her before or after.



For a few years I worked at a very busy mortuary. We did services for all ages, but for the most part, our "clients" were older. It was rare to have a child or infant funeral there.   During my time at the mortuary, I became pregnant. Early on, I had some scares that I may lose my baby, so I was thrilled as I advanced in my pregnancy. During my sixth month, we got in a series of stillborn infants and miscarriages. It was very strange and sad, since we had never has so many at one time before  This is when the comments started. 

We were called in to handle the services for an infant who passed in utero at 6 months gestation. The arranger handling it looked over at me and said, "Wow, the same age as little Junior there. Scared yet?"  I just laughed and shook my head, trying not to show how startled I was. But he continued, "Don't worry, when it happens, the company will give you a discount on his funeral!"  Ok, to say that to any pregnant woman is bad, but saying that to a pregnant woman preparing an infant for burial is cause for pre-mortem trocarization!  (Whoo wee!  BIG word!  Everyone go look it up!)    A few weeks later, another bonehead walked by and said, "What, haven't you lost that baby yet? It's the 'in' thing to do now, don't you know!"   Needless to say. I didn't return after my maternity leave.



Last month my workplace offered us the opportunity sporting event tickets at a month in advance. As an added bonus we could not only leave work early to go but could also bring along a guest. The seats were awesome and our company got a discount ( we only had to pay $50/person.)  Because this was less than half of what I would pay without the discount, I got tickets for my husband and myself.  Anyway to make a long story short, the day of the event I got a call from my husband saying he was at the ER with my 5 year daughter who had apparently fractured her arm during gymnastics. Knowing that we wouldn't make the game, I sent out an email to my co-workers saying I had to leave for the day and would leave my two tickets taped on my office door if anyone was interested-free of charge.  I assumed the tickets would not go to waste because a day before a lot of people were offering to buy extra tickets for their significant others. 

When I returned to work the following Monday, several people asked why I had given my tickets to complete strangers.  Puzzled, I explained that I had just left my tickets at work and it was first come first serve.  As I was walking to my office, one of my co-workers ( a fairly new guy) thanked me for the tickets.  I asked who he had brought along.  He laughed and said he had sold them for $100 in the parking lot to two guys. Now I knew what everyone meant by "strangers" having my tickets.  When I responded that he knew a bunch of our co-workers were looking for extra tickets, he said "they should have got 'em before I did."



While on summer vacation from college, my sister was working as a

waitress in a small, family-owned restaurant within a vacation town.
She got along well with everyone there with one exception, another
young waitress, who was two-faced, I'll call her Jean.  Jean was all
sweetness and light when the owners were around, but rude and bossy
when they weren't.  In addition, she would treat my sister in a very
shabby manner-- not doing prep work, refusing to help my sister with
anything (it's a small restaurant, and everyone was used to pitching a
hand), and just being altogether nasty.
So, my now-DH (then boyfriend) and I are home one afternoon when my
sister returns from the lunch shift at work.  She is crying.  I asked
her what had happened, it seems Jean had told the cook/manager about
some imagined wrong that my sister had done (Jean was a tattle-tale
too), and the cook called her into the kitchen, where he and Jean
proceeded to bawl her out, screaming, in full earshot of all the
customers (again, very small restaurant, they were the only three
employees there at the time).   My sister is a very sweet girl,
patrons at the restaurant loved her. I could see no reason except for
meanness that Jean and the cook would gang up on her.
So, my DH asked my sister for the restaurant number, walked across the
street and got on the pay phone so that the call couldn't come back to
our house.  DH asked for the owner, and fortunately, the owner was
there.  First my DH told her that he had eaten at the restaurant that
day (a lie) and had a wonderful waitress (my sister).  "Yes, the owner
replied, "she is great, we love her here."  He then said that he was
calling because he was disturbed by something that happened, and then
proceeded to tell her about my sister being berated, loudly and at
length, by the other waitress and the cook in full earshot of all the
customers.  It had, he said, disturbed his family and especially his
children, and he thought the owner should know so that it doesn't
happen again.
And after that phone call, it never happened again.  Jean never got
any nicer, but she was at least no longer downright nasty.  And the
cook apologized and was fine from that point on (he really wasn't a
bad guy).   Also, it was around this time that I decided that I wanted
to marry the man who has since become my DH, as he cared enough about
the sister of the girl he was dating to take care of business.


Page Last Updated September 15, 2008