Creative office hiding places for an ongoing coworker prank?
April 13, 2010 11:26 AM   Subscribe

My colleague and I are in a battle to hide a silly stress toy in each other's work spaces. Help me think of creative ways to get it to him!

I work at a small company (~20 people), and a couple of weeks ago one of those popping martian stress dolls showed up in our office. I have a slight aversion to it, which my work-friend found very amusing. He started putting it on my desk while I wasn't around, and I would respond by putting it on his.

A few days later: this has escalated into a battle of sneaking the toy into each other's work spaces for the other person to find later on. It has shown up in my desk drawer, behind his trash can, behind my computer monitor, on TOP of his computer monitor. Today he upped the ante by FedEx'ing the thing to my desk in an envelope. Help me think of creative ways to get this thing back into his hands!

Some things to consider:

• We don't have individual offices or cubicles: it's one communal space with all of our desks out in the open
Here is a picture of our desk setups – there is space under our monitors, a little tray to collect office supplies, and two drawers at each desk.
• The only other assigned personal space in our office are cubbies in the printer room

The office is egging us both on by this point and posting photos of our pranks in different places online. It can extend beyond the office – I have thought of sneaking it into his gym's locker room somehow – but it would be most entertaining if our coworkers were around to witness these.

Thanks in advance!
posted by aquanet to Grab Bag (47 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does anybody get your office coffee from an outside establishment? Work with your coffee runner to put it in his cup? (If that doesn't ruin the Martian, that is.)
posted by emkelley at 11:30 AM on April 13, 2010


Stick it to the bottom of the desk, near where his knees will bump it for a discovery.
posted by CathyG at 11:32 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


This might be more than you want to pay for, but can you get someone to deliver flowers or a plant to him and stick the (creepy as hell) thing in there?

Or bake him a pound cake and hollow out the inside and hide the popper in it.
posted by sallybrown at 11:33 AM on April 13, 2010


Any way to bake it into a jello mold?
posted by dinty_moore at 11:34 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Call a meeting with you and several people. Have the toy sitting on the table.

Advanced: In the same meeting, create a PowerPoint presentation written from the toy's point of view, featuring the toy photographed in several locations in and around his desk.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:35 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine did this to me with a bunch of discount coupons from some local strip bar. I was finding the things for months in the oddest of places. Best spot? Inside the case of a server, tucked right against the cover.

Or you could pull the ol' transparent monitor trick and make it look like it's behind the screen.
posted by jquinby at 11:36 AM on April 13, 2010


Seconding Jello!
posted by teragram at 11:36 AM on April 13, 2010


Wait, is that his I (HEART) N.Y. picture on his desk?

If so, steal it. Take it to several NYC landmarks and photograph the doll next to it -- e.g. doll, picture, Empire State Building. Put the photographs all over his desk.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:37 AM on April 13, 2010


Given your aversion, can you acquire more of the Martians? Maybe get your office in on it?

Because if you can, you all could work up a scene straight out of The Birds for him one morning.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:37 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dangle it from a ceiling tile directly above his chair?
posted by LN at 11:39 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Big dish of wrapped candy, maybe with those little chocolate bars. Get your coworkers to agree that it belongs on his desk; as the candy is removed (this works best of your coworker will eat a lot of the candy)... you know.
posted by amtho at 11:45 AM on April 13, 2010


Put it in the fridge, or coffeemaker, or something.

Put it in his coat pocket, or inside his umbrella

Change his desktop photo to a photo of it, so he'll see it when he turns his computer on in the AM.

Shrink a photo of it as small as possible, print out, cut into individual photos.... sprinkle like confetti on his desk
posted by kestrel251 at 11:45 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Put it at the very back of his drawer. Preferably with some kind of strong tape so that he has to take out the drawer to get the martian.
posted by oddman at 11:46 AM on April 13, 2010


When this whole thing has run its course and is getting old, finish it by sending pieces of the stress doll back to him, one at a time.
posted by logicpunk at 11:46 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you empty your own trash, or does a cleaning service do it? Because you could hide it under that there little white trash bag for discovery when the bag is removed.
posted by rokusan at 11:48 AM on April 13, 2010


Make some Groucho glasses with a fake nose ( or some other kind of lame disguise) and put right on his desk.

Put it in the pocket of his overcoat, windbreaker, etc.
posted by bricksNmortar at 11:49 AM on April 13, 2010


Does he have a spouse or roommate? Can you enlist them (possibly via Facebook) to assist you in hiding it somewhere outside of work?

Re-direct his browser's home page to a local page (set up to look like the original home page) that contains a picture of the item in question.

Put it inside the flap where he accesses the fuel cap on his car. He'll find it next time he fills the car up.
posted by bondcliff at 11:49 AM on April 13, 2010


Does your coworker have a phonebook? Put pictures of the freaky looking martian in various spots in the phonebook, and ask him to look up the number for a take-out restaurant / exterminator / etc.

I suppose you could also cut out one of those secret compartments in the phone book and put him there as well.
posted by jasondigitized at 11:49 AM on April 13, 2010


Oh man, those things are super creepy. How about doing a digital version of the prank? Set up his computer's desktop background so that it's pictures of those things, tiled across the screen. Or something with his screensaver. Sometimes you can password protect that stuff, so maybe hide the physical martian somewhere, with the password taped to it?
posted by imalaowai at 11:51 AM on April 13, 2010


Do you have a drop ceiling, light fixture, or other way to hang him from the ceiling? Bonus for hanging it in such a way you can release tension on the string and lower the martian in front of your colleague.
posted by whatzit at 11:53 AM on April 13, 2010


Put it on the front seat of his car, deliver via singing telegram, mail it to him, have one of the waitstaff at his usual lunch restaurant bring it to the table when they bring his order (or if you have a caf, ask them to put it on his tray) . Any parties or affairs coming up where you could somehow work it in?
posted by iconomy at 11:55 AM on April 13, 2010


Get a piece of cardboard about the size of that monitor and integrate a box without a top into it in the middle. Paint everything black. Stand it up and photograph it with the toy in the box.

Now buy a broken version of the monitor, take out the screen, and put the cardboard in. Print enough copies of the photo you took and paste them to everyone's monitor one morning. Replace his with the broken one and hide his on a desk that doesn't already have a monitor (copy room, executive's office, techie who'd have two monitors, etc.).
posted by jwells at 12:01 PM on April 13, 2010


1. Scan in his family photos and photoshop it into his last vacation.
2. Have it deliver his pizza.
3. Scan a picture of it and set it as a watermark for anything he prints to the printer.
4. Screensaver/background
5. Does it write letters?
6. Can you recreate the Mission Impossible/Air Duct scene with it and something from his pencil holder
7. Play this long enough and it could be his secret Santa.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:02 PM on April 13, 2010


Today he upped the ante by FedEx'ing the thing to my desk in an envelope.

Okay, it's on.

- Does he keep personal pictures on his desk? Cut out a picture of the martian's head and lightly tape it over the heads of his loved ones.

- Hook up with IT to redirect google.com on his machine to what looks like google.com, except the martian is in the art area above the textbox.

- Mail it to his mom, with a note that says "Dear mom: I know this is an odd thing to send you, but if you call me at work, I'll explain."

- Hang it high above the ceiling, from tape that can barely hold it, so that it falls on his desk at some point a few hours later.
posted by davejay at 12:05 PM on April 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Call a meeting with you and several people. Have the toy sitting on the table.

Advanced: In the same meeting, create a PowerPoint presentation written from the toy's point of view, featuring the toy photographed in several locations in and around his desk.


Oh yes, this. Ideally, have someone else put it on a single page of a powerpoint presentation they'll be giving to an audience that includes your buddy, but NOT you.
posted by davejay at 12:06 PM on April 13, 2010


Also: do you frequent the same restaurant for lunch? Have the waitstaff put it in a bowl instead of his soup. Do you have access to the CEO? Have the CEO hold it up during a company-wide meeting, and ask your buddy to come up and get it.
posted by davejay at 12:07 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


- Mail it to his mom, with a note that says "Dear mom: I know this is an odd thing to send you, but if you call me at work, I'll explain."

Genius.
posted by widdershins at 12:09 PM on April 13, 2010 [7 favorites]


Seconding the transparent monitor idea! Brilliant! :o)

my suggestion: make a color photo copy of the (creepy! agreed!) thing, and slip it into some of his papers -- especially good if you can get it into papers he needs for a presentation or meeting or something... so when he's going through his report or whatever, he flips a page and there's the martian.
posted by leticia at 12:10 PM on April 13, 2010


> lower the martian in front of your colleague.

Ooh, I love the idea of letting it drop in slow jerks like a spider!
posted by Quietgal at 12:11 PM on April 13, 2010


- Mail it to his mom, with a note that says "Dear mom: I know this is an odd thing to send you, but if you call me at work, I'll explain."

This.
posted by whatzit at 12:16 PM on April 13, 2010


-Tape it to the back of the monitor and then unplug the VGA cable from the monitor, forcing him to look around back to plug it in, thereby discovering the martian.

-Get 20 plain carboard boxes from a craft store that the martian could fit in, but put it in none of them. Hide the boxes in and around his desk. When he comes to you about it say "looking for this?" and hand him the martian.
posted by codacorolla at 12:32 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


file it under M for martian stress toy
posted by bottlebrushtree at 1:03 PM on April 13, 2010


Does he drive? Can you lift his keys and leave it in his car?
posted by jacquilynne at 1:58 PM on April 13, 2010


Attach it to this and fire it at his desk from the other side of the office (maybe with a parachute).

Drop it on to his desk using a remote controlled helicopter (while he is sitting there).

Auto-reply to his emails with a picture of it attached.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 2:10 PM on April 13, 2010


Ooh, I love the idea of letting it drop in slow jerks like a spider!

Attach it to the mechanism of one of these motion activated spiders.
posted by clearlydemon at 2:36 PM on April 13, 2010


For lunch, get take out burritos. At the burrito shop, have them put the toy into his burrito. Bring the burritos back to the office to eat. Say nothing. Wait for him to bite into the burrito, and thus, into the toy. Hopefully it squeaks.
posted by phelixshu at 3:06 PM on April 13, 2010


Remote controlled blimp delivery. A former coworker and me tortured each other with aerial bombardments from one of these things for months.
posted by jamaro at 3:36 PM on April 13, 2010


Attach it to the mechanism of one of these motion activated spiders.

Or better yet, just put it in a box of spiders. Live spiders. You don't have to get too many—although the thought of a thousand Daddy Long-Legs pouring out of a nicely wrapped cardboard box does sound wonderful, you can always make due with two or three tarantulas. I believe they are carnivorous, so odds are he'll only have to deal with one by the time he opens it.

Either that, or mice. Mice are always good fun.

No, better just do what davejay said.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:51 PM on April 13, 2010


The only other assigned personal space in our office are cubbies in the printer room

This is a really obvious place for it to go next. So fake him out. Put a small box in his cubby, the right size for the martian, but put a cupcake or something in there instead. Based on how many people here are suggesting hiding the martian in his food I'm betting he at least looks at it suspiciously before eating it. I'm not sure where to go next, either keep leaving boxes until one day, bam martian's in there. Or just have it sitting in plain view waiting for him when he gets back from finding his box.

Taping it under his desk is genius, nothing creepier than something weird brushing your knees when you're not expecting it to.

Does he have extra shoes at work for any reason? Like gym shoes? Because hiding it in there would be great too.
posted by shelleycat at 4:00 PM on April 13, 2010


When you know he's going to print or copy something: Remove all the paper from the tray. Place stress doll in tray. When he goes to put paper in the tray ... stress doll!

Does he have a usual coffee cup? Put the doll in it, stack another cup on top and wait for him to get his coffee.

Readjust his seat so that when he sits down, he reaches down to the lever to fix it and discovers the stress doll has been taped there.
posted by julen at 4:58 PM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Take away everything on his desk, computer, papers, files, junk, so that it's a bare table. Then leave the martian there. Just the martian.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:07 PM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and as a suggestion for a finishing touch, once it's getting old: get some kind of toy fish, wrap it in wet newspaper, and deliver it to his desk. It's a Sicilian message.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:08 PM on April 13, 2010


Can you dress it up to look like him?
posted by amtho at 6:14 PM on April 13, 2010


Can you somehow attach it to him so that he won't notice that he's wearing it? Maybe tape a picture of it to his back like a third grade kick me sign? Send him a series of stalker-ish notes from the toy hinting at where it is?
posted by _cave at 7:18 PM on April 13, 2010


Given your aversion, can you acquire more of the Martians? Maybe get your office in on it?

Because if you can, you all could work up a scene straight out of The Birds for him one morning.


Oh, yes.
posted by _cave at 7:24 PM on April 13, 2010


Put it in a square tupperware bowl, fill with water, put in freezer. Set giant martian-containing ice cube on his desk or chair. You can put it in a larger bowl or some such thing in case it starts to melt but if you time it right...good times.

nth-ing the mom thing, too.
posted by buzzkillington at 10:17 PM on April 13, 2010


Guys, thank you SO MUCH. These are amazing. The digital ones, recreating The Birds, clearing all the contents of his desk and just putting the martian on it, mailing it to his MOM (I totally have to do that for the grand finale), getting neighborhood coffee shops/restaurants in on it... I love it all. These will keep this thing going for quite a while. Thank you!!!
posted by aquanet at 10:31 PM on April 13, 2010


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