1. "Some coworkers planned to steal some AC equipment from the place I used to work in. Their idea was to do everything at night when everyone was gone, and when the time arrived to do the stealing, they started texting each other how they were gonna do it…except they didn’t just text each other. One of them accidentally sent the messages to a group chat with all the bosses from each department. They were caught and fired immediately, but the big plot twist is that they never got to actually steal anything, so they sued us because there was 'not enough proof' of what they were going to do. They won the case."
2. "I had two coworkers who once had a 'contest' to see who could stick their hand in the hot fryer oil the longest. One just stuck a finger in and pulled it out. The other stuck his whole arm, up to his elbow, in and had to be taken to the ER. He tried to get worker's comp but couldn't because everyone who was working that night knew they were playing around."
3. "I used to work at a retail tire chain. One of the new guys was seating the bead on a very low profile tire, which takes considerable pressure, and when it seats, it makes a loud bang and is very forceful. The dude was having trouble with it and decided to stick his hand in between the tire and wheel to investigate, and the bead finally popped. He lost the tip of his index finger inside the tire."
4. "Whipped out her handy-dandy George Foreman grill and started making herself a hamburger. In her cubicle. While everyone else was quietly working. I was afraid the fire sprinklers were gonna go off. She was an interesting lady."
5. "My first job was at a pizza place. I was pouring the sauce from the five-gallon shipping buckets into the pitchers we kept up at the line. My coworker walked up and started leaning against the wall next to me, and then she pulled out her phone. I don't know what she was doing, but the phone just fell out of her hands and right into the five-gallon bucket of sauce. I thought it was hilarious, but she was mad I was laughing at her ruined phone."
6. "A couple of years back, a friend of mine worked at a four-star hotel as a cleaning lady. One time, she was out all night drinking and went straight to work in the morning. She fell asleep on the bed in one of the rooms, and the guests found her like that."
7. "A guy got his joint wet and thought he’d dry it in the microwave. It only took a few minutes for our floor to smell like a music festival. Also, when I worked in fast food, a coworker caused a grease fire when he forgot to turn off the fryer while draining it to clean. He was going to get the fire extinguisher, but I was able to get the flour first and put it out."
8. "We had a baker at the doughnut shop while I was a barista who left the stove on, left the fryer on, and forgot sweet potatoes in the oven and went home. We were smelling something weird and found them burnt to cinders. He never got fired because his mom worked for the company. I was the main closer, so I had to double check everything to prevent the building from burning down."
9. "Ever wonder what happens if you get a chemical in your eye? A fool was soaking towels in bleach water in a prep sink under shelves of food. I had to reach up and get something, which fell, splashing bleach up in my face. I didn’t know until I smelled it, as it was a food sink, not a cleaning sink! I had to get driven to the ER, where they removed and tossed my contact lenses (which protected my eyes), and I had to have both of my eyeballs in a cup while they were flushed for an hour. Then, the next few days, I had to smear a petroleum-based ointment over my entire eyeballs. So, while I had time off, I was basically looking at the world through Vaseline-coated eyeballs for a few days!"
10. "I had a coworker who had been working there for A WEEK who decided to show up and set off fireworks next to the building we worked in. Besides that being illegal and a problem, we had a very dry season that year, and all the vegetation nearby was dried to a crisp. Next to the building, there was a tiny side parking lot that was two cars wide, and next to that was a hill covered in bushes, grass, leaves, trees, etc. A firework landed in there, and a few BIG fires started. The coworker took off. We had no idea a huge fire was burning right next to us because the wind was blowing the smoke the other way. We didn’t find out until people pulled in from the street to tell us and people across the road called after they saw the flames."
"The flames were about eight feet high, eating up the dry vegetation like kindling. We called 911 and ran out with a fire extinguisher and put the fires out. Luckily, it was far enough away it didn’t touch the building, but not by much. They could have burned the entire building down if the flames spread. The person was fired pretty quickly. Security cams."
11. "A newer hire decided to clean the wall behind the fryers on a step ladder while leaning over the fryer bay. He didn’t fall in, but rather triggered the fire system, dumping powdered chemicals all over the kitchen! The fire department had to come in to clear it because they are called when it's triggered. Fortunately, it was a Monday and not the busiest day of the week, but I was able to salvage some sales by convincing the fire department that I could still sell alcohol at the bar since it was nowhere near the kitchen. Back of house cleaned as best they could, but I had to call in professional cleaners in order for us to open the next day. So much food loss!"
12. "I once had a coworker who, with his bare hands, couldn’t resist sticking tweezers into an electrical outlet. I’ll repeat that: He stuck tweezers into an electrical outlet. His fingers were a little burned, and he had to leave for the day due to being nauseous. As far as I know, he still works there."
13. "I worked at a community college that taught auto and diesel mechanics. The department chair dropped and broke an old mercury thermometer. Mercury was in puddles all over the floor. He took a vacuum to clean it up. He didn’t understand why that was a problem."
14. "Can I include a boss? He clipped his toenails during a one-on-one meeting with me. I had to dodge flying clippings for 10 minutes."
15. "A guy who worked for me in construction tried to show me that the pneumatic stapler wasn't working. He put it against his palm and pulled the trigger. It worked. Lucky for him, the staple he shot into his palm perfectly straddled one of the bones in his hand. These are big staples, too — inch and a half long, half an inch across, and made of thick wire. A quarter inch to either side, and it would have pierced one or two bones. As it was, it was an easy trip to the ER and back."
16. "I worked in a call center with over 100 staff members. One employee decided it would be a good idea to check her pepper spray mid-shift. We had to evacuate the building until it aired out, which took a while. What was she thinking?"
17. "I watched a more experienced coworker at Home Depot unload three bunks of 16-foot lumber off a truck with a forklift all at once. The forklift was able to lift the bunks and pull them clear of the truck. The problem was that the forklift didn’t have enough counterweight, so once the bunks were free from the truck, it immediately and violently pitched forward until the forks and lumber slammed into the ground. The impact broke the bindings on the top two bunks, and they promptly spilled their contents onto the ground. The sudden loss of so much lumber meant that the remaining load was now light enough for the counterweight to offset, so within a second or two, the forklift snapped back into position, catapulting 16-foot pieces of lumber 10 feet into the air in the process."
"Since the forks were already extended 10 feet to begin with, there was lumber flying about 20 feet off the ground for a second there. The safety cage on the forklift saved the guy’s life that day."
18. "I was on my lunch break during second shift at a small factory. Four of us were in the break room; I was the newer guy. I bought a bag of Skittles from the vending machine, and they got stuck, so I started to fill out a slip to get my money back. A guy in the break room said to shake it. I declined, as it was no big deal. He then proceeded the lower his shoulder and ran right threw the plexiglass, breaking it. He had the most dumbfounded look, like he was shocked at what had happened. He had to pay almost $200 to have it fixed."
19. "We were training new hires and had to check each file for errors. There was a huge stack of files left for me and a coworker upon our return from lunch. She thought it was just the two of us there, so she began a rant about the office manager. Really bad stuff was said. Unbeknownst to her, the office manager had been around the corner the whole time. She came around and was standing right behind her, hearing every word. I was looking at my coworker, subtly shaking my head no, but she didn’t notice. When she stopped mouthing off, the office manager tapped her on the shoulder and motioned 'come with me.' I thought she was going to get a reprimand, but she was taken to the boss’s office and never seen again."
20. "I saw a guy wash his face, like full-on put his face in the sink, in the sink I was using to wash dishes. I literally cussed him out afterward. I was so mad."
21. "One of my former coworkers came into work seriously hungover. He told one of his buddies that he needed to sleep somewhere he wouldn’t get caught. Their plan? The hungover dude climbed into an empty watermelon bin, and his buddy used a forklift to put the bin on the third tier! The guy was sleeping in a bin 20 feet in the air! I guess they forgot there are cameras everywhere. Never saw them again."
22. "My uncle worked at a factory where two coworkers decided to see what would happen if they used the industrial stapler on their hands. They were fired."
23. "I was a receptionist once for a small-town radio station. The morning show shock jock guys were always trying to one-up each other with dopey frat boy hijinks. One night, after most of us had gone home, one of the guys got wasted and thought it would funny to copy his butt. He was not a small guy, and this was an old, brittle copy machine. Anyone who's seen Beavis and Butt-Head do this knows what happened next. He smashed the glass and nearly cut up his rear. Then, the boss made him cough up payments out of his own paycheck until we could get a new copier. Whoops."
24. "I worked retail, and one of our employees was rubbing hand sanitizer on the handrails. A coworker asked what he was doing, and he said 'cleaning.'"
25. "I had a coworker who was texting the boss’s daughter (she was our age and worked for the same company), but he was already married and had a kid. Boss’s daughter wasn’t comfortable with that, so she told him to back off, but he didn’t really, and he kept insisting that he just wanted to be friends with her. Dude’s wife found the messages and used his account to block her so he wouldn’t text her anymore, but after a couple weeks, he figured it out and unblocked her and got right back to it. It didn’t last for long because our boss’s daughter shut it down, but he was persistent. She eventually went to HR anyway, even though he doesn’t contact her anymore, just in case it happened with someone else."
26. And: "I used to detail cars at a dealership. It was winter, so it was pretty cold out. One day, one of my coworkers decided to take one of the cars into a side garage we had where we would polish or do interior stuff to the cars. He ended up closing the garage door because, again, it was cold, then he started up the car and turned the heater on while vacuuming it out. Luckily, only a couple minutes went by before another employee went in the small garage for some parts and saw what he was doing. He basically screamed at him, and it turned into a big mess. Emails were sent, meetings were made, and we got a talking to even though he was the idiot."
Gotta love coworker chaos. Have you ever seen a colleague do something supremely stupid? Tell us in the comments!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.