Author Topic: "You stole my chair!"  (Read 15497 times)

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Ciarrai

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"You stole my chair!"
« on: October 18, 2012, 10:25:29 AM »
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

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2012, 10:32:43 AM »
"you realize I have only done as directed by our boss, right?"
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Twik

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2012, 10:36:13 AM »
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.
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MyFamily

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2012, 10:40:50 AM »
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. 

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.

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.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol

camlan

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2012, 10:49:58 AM »
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.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


BarensMom

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 10:52:05 AM »
Tell the woman to take it up with El Cheapo Boss when she gets back to the office, otherwise you don't want to hear it.

I could go on for days about the wars started by office chairs.  Evil Oil Company issued everyone their own chairs based on individual ergonomic needs, so woe betide anyone who stole another's chair.

Sidetrack story:  When the opco we worked for moved to another state, most of us were allowed to take our chairs to our new opcos.  For some reason, Lisa was not going to be allowed to take her chair, due to the timing of her transfer.  Lisa loved her chair, and was very unhappy that she wasn't allowed to take it.  We (her coworkers) hit upon an solution - the newest person of the team, Mary, who didn't have a chair as yet, would take Lisa's chair to her new office, then when the dust cleared and the bosses moved to new state, we would give Lisa her chair.  Unfortunately, Lisa saw the chair in Mary's office and hit the roof.  It took all three of us, telling the exact same story, to make Lisa realize we were trying to do her a favor, otherwise chair would have gone to new state.  Our relationship with Lisa never did quite recover.

Ciarrai

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 10:53:09 AM »

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.

The explanation came from our boss, not from me. I just told her that our chairs had been switched and directed her to our boss, who told her why I now had the chair (me being full-time). Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Oh Joy

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 10:56:41 AM »
Have you tried simply apologizing to her?

Think of all the threads we have where our posters are upset about losing pens and paper and such.  This is her chair, which you understand impacts how its sitter's body feels...and her reasons for needing it may be similar to yours.  While it's the boss' orders, I can see why she's also upset with you and how she's been caught off guard (it sounds like she came in to a missing chair and no explanation).

I would have used her chair on her day off, returned it for the beginning of her next shift, then talked to her in person before taking her chair permanently. 

Now, I'd say something like, 'CW - I'm sorry you lost your chair.  I don't like how the boss is handling this, either, but we're stuck.  Is there anything I can do to help besides switching chairs back?'

Best wishes.

camlan

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2012, 11:00:11 AM »

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.

The explanation came from our boss, not from me. I just told her that our chairs had been switched and directed her to our boss, who told her why I now had the chair (me being full-time). Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Okay, that makes sense.

But looking at this from her perspective, she comes into work. The special chair which she needs for whatever reason is gone. She finds a co-worker using it. At this point, she's upset with the OP.  Co-worker sends her to Boss, who gives her the explanation.

Imagine the difference if your boss had called or emailed her about the switch, instead of letting her find out for herself. She'd probably still be upset, but she'd have worked through the worst of it before being in the office again, and she'd have been prepared to have a different chair at her desk. And she'd be upset with Boss, the cause of the whole mess, instead of the OP.

Ciarrai, you've done nothing wrong. I'm just trying to show why I think your co-worker is upset. A change happened, she wasn't informed, the boss is away. And now she's probably going home at night with a sore back because she doesn't have the proper chair. I can't blame her for being upset. She just needs to direct her anger at the right person, her boss.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


O'Dell

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 12:05:32 PM »
Questions...

Does she have a back (or other) problem and that is why she had a nicer chair? (I assume there is such an issue in this post...otherwise why does she have a nice chair?)
Did you explain that your boss switched chairs because you have a back problem and you have more hours to need it?
Did anyone explain to her that one is on order for her?
(And the new chair has been ordered right?)

I think your boss handled this badly. The thing to do would be to order you a better chair and leave hers alone if she has a medical reason for it. If she just has a nice chair, then a switch would be okay.

I think you should explain all of this about the boss switching, your back problem, a replacement for her, and any regret you feel for her being inconvenienced with a reminder that you have a medical need. And then ask her to stop commenting on it to you and take it to the boss or HR. If she keeps it up, remind her you asked her to stop and to take it up with someone else.

As someone who also has a lot of back pain, I sympathize with her. In her place, that you get the nice chair and don't have any empathy for someone that might have the same health issue, would upset me.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Ciarrai

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2012, 12:58:13 PM »
In answer to your questions O'Dell, no she does not have a reason for the nice chair. She is covering for someone on maternity leave, and thus uses the desk and chair of the woman who is currently out. She does not have a back problem that myself or my boss are aware of.

When she was told why the chair was swapped, the boss did tell her I have a back problem. She has also been told that another chair has been ordered for her.

CakeBeret

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2012, 01:08:16 PM »
While I think your boss majorly dropped the ball, I think you could have handled things a little better from the start.

I think that, before switching chairs, you should have talked to her in-person or at least left a note on her desk. Something to the effect of "Co-worker, Boss has asked us to switch chairs for the time being. Please talk to him if you have any questions. Sorry for the inconvenience."

I can imagine how upset I would be if I had a really nice comfy chair, and came into work one day to find it...gone. I then had to track down the culprit, who blamed it on the boss, and then had to track down the boss. And who knows what kind of explanation the boss gave her?

While she's wrong to keep harping on you, I think some understanding, rather than deflection to the boss, would help smooth things over. Tell her you're sorry for switching without talking to her first, say that you're dealing with a medical condition, and tell her that the boss promised to order a new chair.
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O'Dell

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 01:18:26 PM »
In answer to your questions O'Dell, no she does not have a reason for the nice chair. She is covering for someone on maternity leave, and thus uses the desk and chair of the woman who is currently out. She does not have a back problem that myself or my boss are aware of.

When she was told why the chair was swapped, the boss did tell her I have a back problem. She has also been told that another chair has been ordered for her.

Thank you for answering my questions. That explains a lot to me. I understand now why you are bothered by her attitude.

Yesterday, I had muscle spasms in my back that left the muscles sore today like I did heavy lifting. I'm a bit cranky at anyone not respecting the difficulties of back pain. My sympathies are fully with you now! :)

Stand your ground. Hopefully, your boss will tell her to knock it off when he gets back.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Zilla

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 01:19:50 PM »
I would have balked at taking her chair and telling the boss I would wait for the new chair.  Or I would have waited to ask the co-worker if she minded switching with you and she could have the new chair when it came in.  And been prepared to accept no.


But since it already happened, the next time she comes I would tell her, "Listen it appears you are very upset about this.  I will copy you on an email to the boss and see when this new chair is coming and that you need this back." and turn your back on her and open the email program. 

MrTango

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Re: "You stole my chair!"
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2012, 02:21:59 PM »
My response to her would be "If you're upset by it, you should go to Boss, not me."