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August 17th, 2010 · 75 comments

Our anonymous submitter in Rhode Island has the distinct privilege of working with a person “who writes policy like it’s a new religion.” On her orders, the IT department instituted a program that automatically locks down your computer after two minutes of activity, but apparently that wasn’t enough to satisfy this self-appointed office cop.

One day, after dashing over to pick up a document from the shared printer, our submitter returned to find this somewhat clumsy attempt at an object lesson. (From then on, our submitter vowed, she would never play so fast and loose with her computer’s font settings again.)


related: Paying through the spout

FILED UNDER: office cop · warning

75 responses so far ↓

  • #1   KC

    What that unlicked computer needs is a rainbow unicorn background.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   KC

      unlocked…or unlicked :P

      Aug 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   spoko

      What an unlicked computer needs is a nice strong tongue-lashing.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 10:40 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #2   farcical aquatic ceremony

    No, the online shopping websites we have open is why we lock our computers when we get up from our desks.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:12 pm   rating: 54  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   farcical aquatic ceremony

      (…oh, and also those detailed plots to kill Ms.Office Cop that we’ve been typing up.)

      Aug 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   Sean Jungian

      Jeeze, no kidding. Its not like I’m afraid someone else is going to do some actual work at my desk.

      Aug 17, 2010 at 11:08 pm   rating: 35  small thumbs up

  • #3   lisa

    yeah this was just not that clever. What about the immovable icon prank? The endlessly rebooting computer? Or, at the very least, a little illicit facebook humiliation? This is such a lame ‘statement.’

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

  • #4   KST

    We have dirty dish Nazis where I work. If you set a dish with rock hard oatmeal in to soak and run to the bathroom, someone will have dumped the water out and set it on the side of the sink. Not washed it out, mind you, just dumped out the soapy, hot water, even though it is obvious it hasn’t been there for more than a few minutes (if you go by the theory that temperature and soapiness diminish exponentially the longer it sits). I am going to get passive-aggressive on their ass, I swear. I just need a really good p-a sign to put up. I also need to work on how to misspell easy words.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Raincheck

      “Donot steel! I bring my own dish-sope and hot water (thermoss–duh!) in from home so I can soke my own dishs. By you’re own!!!”

      Aug 17, 2010 at 10:25 pm   rating: 56  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   Canthz_B bang

      Need a good sign? Click on the “dishes” link along the right side of this page. You’ll find some doozies! :-D

      Aug 17, 2010 at 10:30 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   FeRD bang

      At the risk of being too practical, and violating the spirit in which KST’s post (and this site) are intended…

      It’s possible that BOTH sides actually see themselves being the practical one, faced with what seems to be inconsiderate behavior on the part of the other. In other words, they may need (in their view) the sink empty of dishes, for some use — and can’t understand why some people clearly don’t pick up what’s being demonstrated repeatedly in the moving of bowls. So, you see them as being inconsiderate, while they’re seeing the same thing in what you’re doing.

      Perhaps the solution is to hunt down (and fill out in triplicate) whatever documents must be provided, that one might requisition some form of dishpan or tub for the counter? There, bowls can be left with the water still in them. *shrug*

      Aug 17, 2010 at 11:44 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Nack

      Uhm, here’s a thought, rinse your dish when you’ve finished with what it contained. Nothing’s more gross and stinky than crusty food that has to be soaked off, or more bug-attracting, which will certainly cause much more rage.

      Then, the sink is clear and clean all the time, and there’s no need for notes at any time for any side.

      This is good for offices, homes, apartments with roomies, etc. Moms love it too!

      Aug 18, 2010 at 1:56 am   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   HappyNat

      Or you could clean up your own dishes and not leave them in a public area. Save the soaking for your sink at home.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 6:48 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   Sean Jungian

      I guess we know who the p/a note-writers are at Nack and HappyNat’s places of employment!

      Aug 18, 2010 at 8:01 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   Canthz_B bang

      There should be ankle bracelets for obsessive-compulsive disorders which block the disorders at the door, but allow the person to leave the house.
      In other words, leave that shit at home. You don’t live at work, so live and let live. Just because it may be a kitchen, does not make it your kitchen.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 8:53 am   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #4.8   DecaturPen

      why would there be a rock hard dried oatmeal bowl be in your office in the first place, takes time you know to get rock hard…means it wasn’t left for a quick trip to the restroom, Go Nazi’s Go!

      Aug 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.9   Stewie

      Godwin is rock hard over your oatmeal…

      Aug 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.10   RP

      Don’t use a bowl you have to wash out. Use a paper bowl you can throw away. Obviously the desperate need for the sink to be empty at all times is more important that being environmentally friendly.

      Seriously, is a bowl left to sit in a sink for five minutes going to f—ing kill you? Does it hurt anything? Do you seriously expect people to throw a ceramic or glass bowls into the trash because something hardened on them?

      Aug 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #4.11   Xenobiologista


      Aug 20, 2010 at 5:45 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #5   Sed

    At least her taskbar is not suffering from a lack of perspective.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #6   Adrianne

    I can’t help but think of the J. Walter Weatherman lessons from Arrested Development: “And that’s why you don’t take your foot out of its wrapper.”

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:19 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #7   surrahsurrah bang

    It puts the lock on it’s computer or else it gets the hose again.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:27 pm   rating: 34  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   FeRD bang

      Tsk. You get a “D” in rhyme construction, I’m afraid.

      s/on it’s computer/upon its screen/

      (Then it fits right, if pronounced “ageen” at the end. But that seems to work out, or even adds to the… charm?)

      Aug 17, 2010 at 11:59 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   Nack

      You get an “F” for missing the movie quote reference.

      But thanks for playing!

      Aug 18, 2010 at 1:57 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   Janellionaire

      No, it rhymed in the movie. He’s right.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 2:15 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   FeRD bang

      I’d even go so far as to claim that Gunn’s sing-song recital of the rhyme serves to greatly enhance its pitch-perfect sense of unstable creepiness. Which helps to establish the prevailing mood in all of those scenes. It’s just not as creepy when stripped of the unsettling nursery-rhyme similarities.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 3:03 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #7.5   The Elf

      It does this whenever it gets up.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 6:18 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #8   Canthz_B bang

    I never get up from my desk. I just lie there asleep until quitting time.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

  • #9   ClearlyDemented

    When your whole life is based around the minuscule amount of work-power you have, this is the highlight of your day. I say, brava, Submitter, for giving your co-worker so much joy by getting up WITHOUT locking your computer *wink wink* after you saw her crouching behind a nearby cubicle wall.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:32 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

  • #10   Vee

    I don’t even understand this. Why would anyone do that? Object lesson in what? Hopefully, my lack of understanding only means I haven’t worked with people crazy enough to do this – why ever anyone would…

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Sanity

      Having worked in numerous call centers, including ones where we have access to insurance claims and personal information, it is VERY important to lock your computer. This is a harmless way of reminding someone to do just that.

      She/He should be lucky I don’t work there…. Swap mouse keys, change font, depending on how long they are gone, change background to a screenshot of their background and move icons around, change fonts, etc. I am ruthless

      Aug 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Canthz_B bang

      Yup, Sanity, a HIPAA violation like that can cost you your J-O-B.

      Aug 17, 2010 at 11:12 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   tinkerbell2

      Ruthless? You’re mental, is what you are. Why not just say to them ‘you forgot to lock your computer’ if it’s that important?

      Aug 18, 2010 at 5:32 am   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #10.4   The Elf

      An object lesson in how nutty her coworkers are, of course!

      Aug 18, 2010 at 6:20 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #10.5   ammali

      I just lock their computer for them. I’m so boring…

      …but I’ve used every trick in the book on my brothers, mom, and roommate >:D

      Aug 18, 2010 at 8:16 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #10.6   Clumber

      Our favorite method for the lesson is the magic key combination that turns the monitor display upside-down. Takes just a half-second and that lesson tends to stick since most don’t know how to turn it back so have to call us in IT. heh.

      (A. This is always after they have already been warned/reminded. blah blah)
      (B. much HIPAA regulated information here)

      Aug 19, 2010 at 8:07 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #10.7   MAMARILLA2 bang

      Whoo..I saw this done to one of my cubicle neighbors and yup, the lesson stuck with me. I would be much to embarrassed to call IT to fix it so I would be learning how to work reading the screen upside down.

      Aug 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #11   Canthz_B bang

    So, beating your manager about the head and neck with your monitor while screeching “THIS IS WHY WE CONTROL OUR IMPULSES TO FUCK WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S COMPUTERS!” is still wrong, right?

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm   rating: 35  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   FeRD bang

      Wrong, yes… but that wrongness will only make it feel that extra little bit better! And it was already gonna feel pret-ty dang awesome, believe you me.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 1:21 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #12   Madrias

    Looks like something.. nope. I’d instead open up some NSFW item and call the boss over to look at so-and-so’s report on that computer.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #13   lolsuz

    That 1 minute and 23 seconds of unlocked computer time was fucking delicious.

    While there are some types of information and some types of settings that would require that a computer literally never be left unlocked even for a moment, I get the distinct impression that this isn’t one of those circumstances.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 10:54 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   tinkerbell2

      need a dislike button for ‘fucking delicious’ types.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 5:33 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   eslinger bang

      That dislike button was fucking delicious. <3

      Aug 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #14   Becs

    As an IT staffer I constantly struggle with users not locking their computers – not for a short walk to a printer but things like 3 hour meetings or, oh say, overnight. The main issue with this note isn’t the goal of users locking their computer but its appalling lack of creativity, as others said.

    One fake sent email to the boss usually does the trick

    Aug 17, 2010 at 11:17 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   Risha

      I know (for internet values of “know”) one guy who left his computer unguarded and logged into the message board we both frequent. A coworker started a thread under his name, titled “Sex with sheep is fun.”

      Aug 18, 2010 at 12:37 am   rating: 29  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   Squirrel

      My brother in law used to work IT in a major company on the trading floor. Whenever they saw computers unlocked, they’d sit down at the desk, open up the program used to make trades, navigate to the trading page, and then lock the computer. So when the trader came back, they would unlock their computer to find an object lesson on just how seriously screwed they could have been if someone had actually made a major trade under their name.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 8:34 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #14.3   Sanity

      Similarly, we used to send an email to the team announcing that the unfortunate sap was intending to buy lunch for everyone.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 11:46 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #15   infant tyrone bang

    Hopefully it was just a typo in the intro.
    On her orders, the IT department instituted a program that automatically locks down your computer after two minutes of inactivity
    sounds like a work-prevention-strategy masterpiece.

    Aug 17, 2010 at 11:39 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

  • #16   Lucy

    Or ctrl+alt+arrow key to mess with their monitor. I don’t work in Risk and Compliance, where we have to police Information Security policies, for nuttin’.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 12:44 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Madrias

      Alt f4 the important documents they had up.
      Unplug the keyboard / mouse.
      ctrl+alt+Arrow Right is fun (I’ll give you credit there)
      if you have time, type up some message to leave on their computer.
      paste a screenshot of their desktop on the wallpaper, hide the icons, and autohide the taskbar on top of the screen.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 11:50 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   Mel K

      I love the screenshot gag- works every time- but only for fun with a co-worker I could have alaugh with. I have better things to do with my time than worry about your locked computer.

      Besides, if my keyboard locked after every two minutes of inactivity, I’d never win anything from eBay.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 7:43 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #16.3   Sanity

      Unplugging the keyboard/mouse isn’t really fair seeings as you can do that even if they DID lock their computer. Similarly, place a dark sticker on the underside of that optical mouse, covering the eye.

      Aug 18, 2010 at 11:48 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #17   JW

    So we lock our computers when we move away from our desk so that we don’t end up with passive-aggressive notes on our Word? We used to punish people with embarrassing photos plastered as their desktop background, which was a treat, especially given there was no way to revert to the default background until the computer updates (once a month or so).

    Aug 18, 2010 at 1:16 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #18   Xyzzy bang

    Title reminds me of one of the Top 100 Quotes at
    [Khassaki] HI EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!
    [Judge-Mental] try pressing the the Caps Lock key

    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:50 am   rating: 23  small thumbs up

  • #19   Xyzzy bang

    One of the best “away from desk” pranks I’ve heard of took place at a game firm in the 80s. A music programmer snuck code onto the leader’s computer so that if the keyboard was left untouched long enough for a song to loop a few times, portions of the screen would flip upside-down. They liked the prank so much that they left it in as an Easter egg.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:08 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #20   FeRD bang

    Coincidentally, that same day over at CollegeHumor, there appeared the following photo. In it we’re shown a somewhat more personal and embarrassing (and therefore probably more effective) execution of lesson-imparting prankage.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 3:19 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #21   Theresa g

    When I was in the military, if you left your computer unlocked someone would use your email to send an email to everyone that donughts were being provided in the morning (by the victim of the computer hijacking)

    Aug 18, 2010 at 6:35 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #22   Splint Chesthair

    I don’t lock my computer but I do run Laptop Alarm and jack up the speakers so if anyone touches my mouse, offensive sounds ring out through the office. then I come running back and yell “Why the Fuck are you touching my computer.”

    They stammer something about proper procedure but they always look like the ass.

    Sure it’s the same amount of effort but instead of being a “I should lock up my stuff guy” I’m more of a “you don’t touch my stuff” guy. There’s a difference.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 6:59 am   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #22.1   RP

      I need to find a similar program. I’ve never had someone mess with my machine but this would be awesome. (It’s also the kind of workplace where I wouldn’t get in any real trouble for having the loud-ass alarm.)

      Aug 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #23   turkey

    Why? Because there are assholes like you who touch other people’s stuff? Thanks for reminding me!

    Aug 18, 2010 at 7:21 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #24   Calhoun

    This one was definitely a keeper… I mean, who does that?!?

    Aug 18, 2010 at 8:50 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #25   the Librarian

    I like changing the screen orientation to portrait flipped. It’s not hard to change back, but it is annoying, and a lot of people don’t know how to do it–and you need to know the administrator password. My brother told me at his office, they like to plug receivers for wireless mice or keyboards into other people’s computers, and then they can randomly type or mouse or hit buttons just to fuck with them. They had a wireless mouse plugged into this one guy’s computer for weeks, and he didn’t figure it out. He even called the IT guys to look at his computer; the IT guys pretended they couldn’t figure it out, either. Apparently that guy was a real asshole.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 8:53 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #26   People Person

    Joke’s on you. I put Anthrax on my keyboard instead of locking the computer.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 11:04 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #26.1   Mark bang

      I’m the Man!

      Aug 18, 2010 at 11:22 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #27   Polaris

    I’m so glad I work in an office where locking your computer isn’t serious business.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #28   shaniatwainHAY

    ♫This is why, this is why, this is why I’m locked♫

    Aug 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #29   WotV

    At my ex-job (we broke up over a year ago and are still not on speaking terms), the person I was working with was chided twice for leaving her computer unlocked. The third time she blamed me. I hate that fucking bitch.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #30   Kiki

    Subby is lucky. Around here, if you leave your desktop unlocked, we send emails to from your account to all users: “Hi guys! I like unicorns and cotton candy and kittens, too! xxxooo” or “Sorry if I’ve been crabby today, it’s been a while since I’ve had a Brazilian and my thong underpants are chafing.”

    Aug 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #31   shepd

    LOL! At my work you use their email to send the office a note that they’ll be bringing in free coffee and donuts the next day!

    Aug 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #31.1   RP

      Well why disappoint the entire office when you know the person who’s account you used isn’t going to be bringing anything in?

      Aug 19, 2010 at 9:30 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #32   Laura

    Right after checking this out, I clicked a link from Digg on Twitter – a prank of the same nature, much funnier in execution.

    Aug 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #33   Chi

    I’ll bet the submitter has her password on a post-it “cleverly” hidden under her keyboard too. Really, how hard is it to lock your computer?

    Aug 20, 2010 at 10:21 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #34   zelmia bang

    Gee, you’d think there would also be some sort of policy about screwing around with someone else’s computer, regardless of whether or not the person had locked it down.

    Aug 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #34.1   Kev

      We actually had a guy fired from our office for doing the exact same thing. Sent an all staff from an unlocked computer trying to teach someone a lesson. Apparently said person was the only one to learn something, how to look for a new job.

      Aug 26, 2010 at 4:27 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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