We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us their craziest stories from working as an intern. Here are some of the best submissions:
1. This...special guest:
"I was an intern for a TV talk show in college. I was sent out alone one day to pick up a guest for the show from the airport, and was told to keep him occupied for a few hours until it was time to shoot. Guy was super creepy and quiet. I took him to lunch and then we went bowling for a bit. We head back to the studio to prep him for taping and my producer runs up to me with this panicked look on her face and asks me how it went. I told her fine, why do you ask? Swear to God she goes, 'Omg they didn’t tell you?? He is here today because he is accused of shooting his daughter and her boyfriend in the back of the head with a shotgun, and his family wants him to take a polygraph.' They sent me, a 21-year-old kid, out with a potential murderer all day and didn’t tell me."
2. This intern who found a lil' surprise in a package:
"I was interning on Capitol Hill for a chairman of a powerful committee. One day after 4th of July when the front office staff was out I got the mail delivery. One was a package without any return address information. Inside amidst a ton of bubble wrap was a bright red, very detailed, dildo. The accompanying note said pretty much what you'd expect...had to carefully dispose of the dildo so the cleaning staff didn't find it while emptying the trash."
3. And this cart of dildos:
"I headed to NYC for an unpaid internship in a small advertising firm. Turns out, most of their clients were porn companies. In lieu of (or in addition to) payments, some companies would send hardcore porn, sex toys, and sometimes even autographed dildos. When I arrived my first day the company had just relocated, and I was told to go down to the old office and cart back 'supplies.' You can probably guess that the supplies were actually just (clear!) bags filled with fake vaginas, sex dolls, and dildos. Since I was an unpaid intern, I couldn't afford a cab and had to use a rolling cart to walk them up. I got turned around and ended up by the Macy's store on 34th Street and that's when my cart tipped and all of the 'supplies' came tumbling out. I was horrified, but to give NYC credit, no one even batted an eyebrow. I then proceeded to jump in a cab and when I got back to the office asked my boss if I could be reimbursed for the ride. He said sure and handed me a fake vagina. I'm a gay man, this payment was of no use to me. After a few more of these trips I finally quit the job. I did not keep the sex toy, though I was told it was very realistic."
4. And this unfortunate crash:
"I had an internship with New Jersey Transit during the summers after my freshman and sophomore years. The second summer, an employee asked me to pick up a company car and drive it to another location in the city. The city being Newark, New Jersey. What the older employee didn’t appreciate (though I did warn him) was that I was a TERRIBLE driver, and my dad (who was an exec at NJ Transit) had taken away my driving privileges two years prior.
Soooo, this was meant to be a short little drive across town, but cut to me panicking and lost about an hour later, still no closer to my destination. I got SO flustered, in fact, that I got into a traffic snarling accident. I crashed in the back of...a New Jersey Transit BUS. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still talking about that intern fuckup, decades later."
5. The real-life Miranda Priestly:
"I was interning at a small entertainment PR firm in NYC. It was unpaid, and I was spending $45 per day on the commute, to put things in perspective. The partner of the firm was straight out of The Devil Wears Prada. She once sent me and another intern 35 blocks uptown (didn't pay for our subway tickets) to buy her spoiled brat 10-year-old daughter a new camera because the daughter was going to the Caribbean for three weeks. We went all the way to midtown, bought the camera, went back downtown, and she said 'No, I don't like that one. Get her another.' Went ALL THE WAY BACK, got a different camera, may or may not have stopped for spiteful margaritas, and then went back to the office. We put the camera on her desk and instead of saying 'thank you' she said 'Okay, shoo!' and motioned us out of the room. Never again."
6. This creepy encounter:
"I had a fantastic internship working for probation for a local county. As a criminology student I have always been aware of the kind of situations I could be in and the kind of people I could potentially work with. One average day I was shadowing, meeting with a client who was a registered sex offender and kind of made my skin crawl, looking at the clock and hoping the meeting would be done soon I could not wait to leave the room. As we were getting up to walk him out he turned and looked at me, 'Do I scare you yet?''
7. And this horrible fuck-up:
"I work for a finance firm in Chicago and during my second month there, I accidentally threw away a $75,000 check. It was at the bottom of the UPS envelope and I didn't realize clients sometimes sent checks to deposit with their paperwork. Thankfully the client was understanding and sent another check after stopping payment on the first one. Lots of hours of digging through trash."
8. This literal garbage experience:
"I interned for the defense department one summer during college. It wasn't glamorous as I only worked in HR, nothing top secret. The project they gave me was to redo the internship website and program manual. Only a month in my supervisor left on maternity leave so the department head became my new supervisor. At the end of the three months, on my very last day right before I left, she made me turn in all my work. When I handed it to her she smiled, thanked me and dumped it in the trash. That's when I decided to abandon my dream of working for the federal government."
9. This really large pit in the ground:
"I did a mentorship with a local photographer during my senior year of high school. Hoping to learn more about photography and running a studio, I was very disappointed to find out that much of my mentorship would be spent digging a 20 ft. x 20 ft. pit for her new garden. Of the three weeks I was there, one singular day was spent focused on photography. The rest was garden work. In spite of all that I still loved photography and graduated college with BFA Photo degree."
10. This ridiculous (and heavy) errand:
"This last summer I had to help my boss get his new HUGE tires for his car. I had to haul them in the back of my car after work and take them to his house 25 minutes the opposite direction of home. I also went on an ice cream runs and several 5:00am coffee runs for early morning meetings."
11. And this one:
"I had a boss who made me run ridiculous errands on a regular basis. The most frustrating errand was when he asked me to skip my lunch so I could buy $500 worth of fake plants for the office. When I came back he complained they didn't look 'real' enough, had me take them back and go buy real plants instead. And guess who was in charge of watering them too..."
12. This extremely tedious task:
"I had to sort out about 5,000 individual beads by color just for a class for students in high school to make bracelets. It took me four shifts to complete and it was so awful."
13. This very angry, naked boss:
"I interned for a film finance producer at this film festival. She made us get up at 3 am every day to prep for our meetings, would walk around in our apartment naked, yell at clients, and would call me and my fellow interns stupid. That’s not all. She cheated me out of thousands of dollars, telling me it was needed for travel fees, but really financed her own trip. I ended up screaming and quitting in the middle of the street when she tried to take away my hard earned red carpet tickets for her own use, and me and the other interns flew home to the states the next day."
14. And this...poetic one (?):
"I literally had to sign a non disclosure agreement saying I wouldn’t discuss how bad of a workplace it was before I was even hired. At one point my boss bought a succulent, put it in the back room (which had no natural light) and said 'succulents can die from bad energy. When this does we’re firing someone.' When you work in fashion you have to deal with a lot of crazy."
15. And finally, this weirdly uncomfortable manager:
"My old boss would make me read his emails aloud to him while he sat in a comfy chair in another room. Then I had to respond for him."
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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.