General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

"You stole my chair!"

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Ciarrai:
Background: I have some issues with my back stemming from muscle tension that result in horrible back spasms that put me out of commission for at least 24 hours. I recently started getting massage therapy for the spasms and it is helping.

One of the issues causing my back problems was my horrible office chair. It had no arms and very little support, so I never sat up properly in it. My massage therapist cites that as probably the biggest contributer to the problem. After having a particularly bad spasm over the weekend, I went to my boss on Monday morning and requested that they order me a new chair, similar to one that another woman in our office (who also reports to my boss but is in a different department) has. Instead, my boss told me to take hers as she is only there three days a week and often out on sales calls, while I am in the office five days a week for most of the day. She told me to tell the woman that she (my boss) had told me to change chairs if there was a problem.

On Tuesday the woman came in and was a bit put off by the fact that I had swapped chairs. When she mentioned it to our boss, she was told that because I am here full time and she is not, I will get the use of the chair and they will order her another one, but for now she can use my old chair or another chair that has arms and more support, but isn't as good as the one I am now using. She chose that second chair, and made a few snarky comments about it to me, though I ignored her.

Well, she has continued to make snarky comments about how I stole her chair, asking how it is and if it's comfortable for me and how I live with myself knowing I stole the chair. Yesterday I smiled and told her I was quite happy in my chair, but she's doing it again today and I'm getting to the end of my rope. I know she is bullying me to get me to let her use the chair but hiding it through humour. Our boss is away now until Monday, so I am unable to bring it up with her.

Is there anything I can say to make her stop, or is it best to just ignore her? My evil side wants to go off on her, but I know that's not the right course.

buvezdevin:
"you realize I have only done as directed by our boss, right?"

Twik:
Well, it's quite possible that she got the chair in the first place because she needed something better than your "horrible office chairs". In which case, I'd be very annoyed if someone took a comfortable chair away from me because "they work more hours here than you".

The person she should be angry with, of course, is your cheap boss, not you. It doesn't excuse her passive-aggression, but the solution here is to get two comfortable chairs.

MyFamily:
Twik, the boss isn't being cheap - he has an employee who had an immediate need for a full-time use of a chair, so the employee who is only using the chair part-time will have to wait while a new chair is ordered for her. 


--- Quote from: Ciarrai on October 18, 2012, 10:25:29 AM ---When she mentioned it to our boss, she was told that because I am here full time and she is not, I will get the use of the chair and they will order her another one, but for now she can use my old chair or another chair that has arms and more support, but isn't as good as the one I am now using.
--- End quote ---

I think you need to smile at her and remind her that boss is ordering her a new chair, and that he felt this was the best short-term solution to an immediate problem.

camlan:
I can't really blame her for being upset. Your boss did not handle this well at all.

And she's blaming the wrong person. You are only doing what your boss, and her's, told her to do.

There is no magic word that will get her to stop complaining to you. About all you can do is not engage with her.

Try the Toots Special, where you have one response and one response only to all her comments.

"You stole my chair!" "I did what Boss told me to do. Please take it up with him. "
"I hope you're comfortable, sitting in my chair!" "I did what Boss told me to do. Please take this up with him."

Honestly, I think she has a right to be a bit upset. The chair was taken away without explanation, and when she did get an explanation, it didn't come from her boss, but from a co-worker. Your boss seems to be avoiding his responsibility in this. The thing is, she should be upset with the boss, not with you. But the boss has left you as the target.

The boss's behavior is also sending signs that could be interpreted as you being a favorite employee, whose needs and wants are more important than hers. Her feelings could be hurt; she could be worried that this is the first step in ushering her out of her job--all sorts of ideas could be whirling around in her mind.

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