Office redecoration: The classic Microsoft prank


Tim Sneath reminds us that it is a long-standing tradition Microsoft tradition to prank someone's office while they are out (here's a video of Larry Osterman's tales of prankdom).

When I went to see a Thunderbirds hockey game a few years back, I avoided mentioning at the time that seeing the game served a secondary purpose. I attended the game with a couple of friends, one of whom had never seen a live hockey game before. It so happened that his fiancée wanted to prank his office, so our little hockey outing was a way to keep him occupied for a while, giving his fiancée the opportunity to sneak into his office and, along with several other friends, to give the room some of that holiday spirit.

They went nuts with the gift wrap, wrapping not only his door, computer, keyboard, and mouse, but also his pens and coffee mug. They left figurines on his bookshelf, strung lights and garlands, and even set a half-scale papier-mâché reindeer on the floor of the office. But the best part was their calling card: They left behind a list of who's naughty and nice. In the "Nice" column, they put my friend's name. In the "Naughty" column were the names of all the pranksters.

Comments (12)
  1. John says:

    You forgot to mention that it is a tradition.

  2. Heh, a very similar prank was pulled on one of my coworkers a year or two ago when he was on vacation.  Not only did they giftwrap everything on his desk, including small things like pens and pencils, but they also giftwrapped his entire desk.  To top it off, they changed his desktop wallpaper to an image of more giftwrap.

  3. Preemptive snarky comment (R): That’s what you spend the time at Microsoft instead of fixing all those humongous bugs of Windows Vista!

    (Raymond, I miss the nitpicker’s corner. Often it was as fun to read as the article itself. Please take it back!)

  4. unidentified accomplice says:

    That makes me think of a Lead’s office, a blue tarp, 1400 pounds of sand, beach chairs, umbrellas, wall paint, etc. Somehow it all ended up in a fifth floor office while he was off getting married on the beach.

    I miss those days. The most ingenious "prank" anyone around can come up with is an old photo of someone with the phrase "Lordy, lordy <person> is 40" on it posted several dozen times throughout the building. I’m so sick and tired of those.

  5. someone else says:

    </.>And worst off all, they installed Vista on his computer<//.>

  6. Nick says:

    So Raymond, have you ever had your office violated?

  7. Kacpb says:

    An office here at Fog Creek was redecorated for AF’09:

    http://twitpic.com/2ont9

  8. caywen says:

    I still reminisce about that time I spread superglue on my coworker’s mouse and chair cushion. Hah!

  9. Jolyon Smith says:

    This kind of thing has become something of a regular feature on the NZ TV sports comedy show "Pulp Sport", where a sports presenter (Hamish McKay) is the subject of a weekly office decoration prank perpetrated by the shows presenters ("Bill and Ben").

    This often extends to his car, or sometimes the prank only involves the car occurs elsewhere in the office building – like the time Hamish found himself locked in the gents toilet with a flock of sheep.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGVWEkiVH7k&feature=related

  10. HardwareJunkie says:

    I still recall watching from Bldg 17 as people moved someone’s office from the 3rd floor of 16 out onto the adjacent roof. They had to remove a window to get the office contents outside. Mid-90s, about.

  11. Worf says:

    What? No "pics or it didn’t happen"? You know this story is begging for one. Or did I miss a link?

  12. Duke of New York says:

    My favorite Microsoft prank story is the guy who couldn’t open his office door because of the fully inflated weather balloon inside.

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