hurting from co-worker's joke
October 30, 2014 10:11 PM   Subscribe

How would you have handled this from a co-worker?

I hope some of you will be able to understand where I am coming from. Just looking to hear ideas. Background: I have a heart for animals, always have. Here's what happened. I work in a nursing home in a very old building. There is a mouse problem, not huge, but enough to have a pest control company come. They laid mouse traps - the kind that is a piece of plastic with sticky glue on it and the mouse is supposed to get stuck on it and die over a few days or whatever. So we have a rehab gym where old people exercise. In the corner was one of these traps. I saw a LIVE mouse on it, trying to get off. Honestly, it made me sick. I worry about a mice problem in a place with old people. But what made me really sad and sick was seeing a furry mammal, still alive, suffering like that over several days, likely.

As soon as I saw it, I said something like "that's so inhumane" to my co workers and I said I felt sick and I left the room. I did not return the rest to that room of the day. While I was gone, one of the co workers got up real close to it and took a picture of it and texted it to me, saying "here's lunch". I came back to our office where I knew he would be, and there were about 5 other co workers in there. I told him how upset it made me and I did not appreciate it and wished an apology. He was laughing so hard that his eyes were tearing up. Most of the others were laughing too. I left. I don't talk to him anymore. That was 2 weeks ago. Two of the others apologized later.

It really hurt to see blatant suffering of an animal and a co-worker making fun of suffering. Then to have no one stand up for me, and have a roomful of co workers laugh at me. And a co worker who I thought was a friend act like that.....

What would you have done? (Assuming you have a heart for animals, that is, because otherwise it might not have it affected you as it did me).
posted by bananaskin to Human Relations (44 answers total)
Best answer: NOT OKAY. NOT OKAY.

Nobody's going to do anything. I...I'm sorry, I know you work there, but unfortunately your chosen field attracts some sick sick people, and management who might have started out with feelings but they've been burned and budgeted out of them by now.

You just can't show these people any weakness. They'll exploit it.

God, I'm so sorry you had to see that.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:25 PM on October 30, 2014 [41 favorites]

What would you have done?

I would've said, "All right, whatever, dick," and then gone and done something else for a while. Normally I'd give the dude the benefit of the doubt and think maybe he just didn't know how the joke would land, but then you went and confronted the guy; usually something like that will suck the air out of the room but instead he just kept on laughing, so fuck him.

I told him how upset it made me and I did not appreciate it and wished an apology.

I wouldn't have done that. This is someone who's trying to get a rise out of you; all you've done is give him what he wanted.

If I were in your situation I would not want to give him the satisfaction - I would just roll my eyes at him and then only ever deal with him when I had to for work.

I'd also probably talk to the pest control company, or whoever hired them, and say something like, "Hey, what up on maybe some traps that don't involve having a panicking animal starve to death out in the open where our residents can see it?"
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:27 PM on October 30, 2014 [32 favorites]

ALL of those co-workers were out of line, IMHO. Those traps are gruesome, IMHO. I realize you may not want the snap type traps around where elderly people could be injured by them, but I sympathize with your feelings. I would look into filing a complaint if it won't risk your employment there. I would certainly document these types of things in case you need the evidence in the future.

As for what I would have done? I would have told the immature jerk co-workers to back the hell off.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:28 PM on October 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


You just can't show these people any weakness. They'll exploit it.

Fully agree. This is bullying behavior and should not be tolerated in the workplace.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:31 PM on October 30, 2014 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Glue traps ARE inhumane. Your coworker sucks. Anyone without the empathy to care that glue traps are being used has no business being employed caring for people in a nursing home.
posted by erst at 10:39 PM on October 30, 2014 [40 favorites]

That was really mean of your coworkers, which in my experience is undermining because now you can basically never trust these folks again or ever show any signs of weakness or personality in front of them.

That said, you are being rather silly about the mouse problem and it would probably be better for everyone if you just stopped verbalizing your concern about it. There's a mouse problem. The nursing home needs to solve the problem, not just fret over how sad it is that there are mice or whatever. Sending you that photo was beyond the pale, but you may have better luck at work if you try to come off as less of a delicate flower about things like this.

Nthing that "your joke really upset me" is really not the tack to take. The only response to this stuff is to ignore it.
posted by Sara C. at 10:48 PM on October 30, 2014 [5 favorites]

FYI they make closed snap traps that end it in a second. Those glue traps ought to be illegal (even if just from a health standpoint. That's a lot of mouse urine and disease-carrying fleas out in the open), and if you have any way to say anything about *that* to management, do. But don't risk your job to do it.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:53 PM on October 30, 2014 [15 favorites]


I'm so happy to be able to pass this on. They are doing it in my neighborhood. Scroll down to the middle where this local environmentalist group is setting up Barn Owl Homes around the neighborhood to decrease the rodent population. They also have a link for alternative selections that may be effective indoors at your workplace. You could spearhead this!

On a more present note, I can't express to you how sorry I am.

Normally, I'd rant about what awful people these folks are. They were wrong. But instead, I'm going to offer this up as a way for you to process and find compassion for the way these folks are...

I bet working in a facility where grim happenings are the norm, I bet this is "dark humour" on their part. It is their way of coping with the grief and sorrow they deal with in their professional roles day-to-day.

I've worked in kitchens, in newsrooms, and in politics - all three serve baser aspects of the human condition. Not easy. All three featured cultures of dark humour.

It's not right. It took me a long time to get out of the habit of snarking at suffering of any kind. I was vegetarian for most of the time I spent making light of grim conditions! Talk about cognitive dissonance!!

All of that is to say I totally get you. While I, too, would never ever have laughed at a mouse suffering, or my coworker's suffering --- man, I've made more than my share of truly grotesque jokes at the expense of others thinking it was appropriate, or even "cool." You know, like I was so "above it" or something.

When I read about violent horrific current events, I feel very badly for the people involved because I have a broad base of experience and I truly empathize. And often enough, I also get a sense of the "jokes" officials and the press behind the scenes might be making as they deal with these events. This explains why The Daily Show, Late Night Talk Shows, and Kitchen Nightmares are so entertaining to some people.

Dark Humour. It's how some people cope.

To counteract the bad taste in your mouth, do something ultra generous to balance this awful act you experienced.

Then, think of it no more.
posted by jbenben at 11:17 PM on October 30, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: You're not being silly, being upset by animal cruelty is perfectly normal. Using it as a joke against others, not so much. Also, there are plenty of ways to deal with a mouse infestation without resorting to these traps, which are illegal in many countries. They are straight up unethical and if an animal researcher did such a thing in my jurisdiction they would lose their career and be open to prosecution. I have no problem with mouse traps in general, but these mouse traps are unnecessary.

Personally, I think that how you responded was fine. Unfortunately staying away from this guy is the best response, someone who thinks it's funny to use the blatant suffering of another living creature as a joke to make you upset is not someone you can trust in any way. You could consider reporting this to your HR as harassment (really, it's that bad), but you'll know better than us what the culture is like where you work and how far that is likely to get you.

I also think that it would be appropriate to find one good resource or weblink about how inhumane these traps are and send it to your management, and possibly to the Pest Control company too. Not in a confrontational way, just FYI. It probably won't do anything but at least you will have tried. That would make me feel better at least.
posted by shelleycat at 12:16 AM on October 31, 2014 [8 favorites]

That co-worker is an ass. Tell him to never text you again on your personal cell phone and delete your number, or you will talk to your boss about it.

Talking to your boss about it may turn it into a bigger "thing" than it already is. You would have to weigh whether that's worth it to you or not.

It sounds like you were pretty direct that it upset you, and the way he reacted was obviously him being a jackass. Your reaction, without knowing exactly what you said, sounds like the reasonable reaction. This co-worker sounds like the kind of co-worker you don't want to talk to or share anything with. At least now you know what kind of person he is. Anyone with basic decency would've just apologized and moved on.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:19 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh also, I would probably sneak around and steal all the traps I could find at night time and dispose of them. Not saying this is a good idea, might end up in a firing, but yeah.
posted by shelleycat at 12:21 AM on October 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

This strikes me as hospice care workers with commission fatigue, not moral monsters who shouldn't be allowed to keep their jobs.
posted by deathpanels at 12:51 AM on October 31, 2014 [12 favorites]

Best answer: I'd take a different line than it being dark humour or compassion fatigue. I'd say this is a prick with a possibly life long empathy disorder. Cos you thank God don't relate to that you tried to appeal to his empathy. Sounds like he is some kind of ringleader? God.. why people get drawn to such blatant dicks is another question I guess.

Try not to show your very understandable emotions (hard I know, but there are other people who will value and respect them.. this turd is incapable and that is not your fault in the slightest) and get the fuck out of there as soon as you can. RIP mouse.
posted by tanktop at 2:50 AM on October 31, 2014

Ugh, your coworkers are awful. I'm so sorry that happened to you. If I'd seen what you saw, I would have found a maintenance guy and asked him to scoop up the trap, take it outside and kill the mouse quickly.

I work in a rural place where everyone hunts and fishes, where killing animals is no big deal. I ran into a coworker fishing on a river hike once. I got a little upset at the fish staked to the river bed through the gills (honestly, I almost threw up). They teased me a little, but would never have texted me a close up picture or made me look close because they're not assholes. The guy who did is -- exploiting someone else's discomfort is bullying.

I agree with a few comments north of here that you should perhaps talk to management about the glue traps. I mean, if you could see a mouse dying in the corner, then certainly a patient near you could have. If I were a patient in a nursing home, I'm not sure I'd like to have a little mortality tableau playing out in all the corners, you know? And if I were a patient's child visiting and learned that the home had (1) such a huge mice problem that (2) the mice were running around in the open and (3) dying in corners were my parent could see, you better believe I'd be making arrangements for some FMLA and home care and moving my parent right into my house. Why? Because I would suspect some seriously unsanitary conditions in the basement or the kitchen (I know it's an old building, but my house is old and I don't have mice) and more importantly because I don't think that people who set out glue traps to let animals chew through their own legs or die trying have enough compassion to be near someone vulnerable that I love.
posted by mibo at 3:30 AM on October 31, 2014 [15 favorites]

Best answer: Between quitting your job (which is what I would have seriously considered), and plotting an equally hurtful retaliation that exploits the co-worker's weaknesses (which is more like the downstairs at Downton Abbey-kind of approach, and not recommendable), I fear you're stuck with what you've got. And you have done fine, honestly.
But I just wanted to say how sick this story made me. You're not alone.
posted by Namlit at 3:47 AM on October 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Your coworkers are assholes. This is bullying, and shouldn't be allowed in a workplace. This is also animal cruelty, and shouldn't be allowed in a workplace, or anywhere. No one who thinks torturing animals is funny should be allowed to work with anything alive. No one who thinks bullying is funny should be allowed to work with anything alive, either. So at the very least, I would talk to human resources, and if I got no good response there, I'd go to the local media. ("Coming up next on the News at 10: Bay Area nursing home accused of animal cruelty; employees think it's funny!")

Personally, I would also have photoshopped pictures of their kids into horrific, painful situations, so that they could get a taste of it themselves. And then I would have gotten fired, probably, but I'm ok with that. (I have a history of getting fired for standing up for what I believe in, and I don't regret any of it. But your life circumstances may dictate that you can't take that risk, and that's ok.)

Anyway, those people are not friends you want to have. You did the right thing by ridding yourself of them.

(And let me know if you need help with photoshopping.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:25 AM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't think you're being precious about this - glue traps ARE inhumane and you're right to be distressed at seeing the suffering they caused. Empathy for animal suffering is a measure of empathy for human suffering so you're also right to be suspicious of people who not only find this funny but go out of their way to take a picture and send it to you. ESPECIALLY when your business is taking care of vulnerable humans.

I also don't think you showed too much vulnerability - ideally, yes, you'd slink around being cool and invulnerable, but you also had a right to stand up for yourself. Tears are a freedom of speech issue, you know? Yeah these guys may think of you as an easy target because of it but you don't necessarily have to act in ways that make bullies "respect" you at all times.

If I were you I'd gather some credible sources about humane mousetraps, do some comparative costings, and go to management with your objections (inhumane mousetraps are inhumane according to this, this and this citation that isn't just me being sentimental; here's where we can get humane traps for $comparative_cost). You might also add "some of the other staff found my reaction amusing, even going so far as to photograph a trapped mouse in distress and send it to me to provoke a further reaction. Animal suffering is not funny and I think it is a cause for concern if anyone tasked with caring for vulnerable people would find it so."

I should add that surely many of the care home residents would be distressed at the sight of a mouse caught in a glue trap. I have no trouble imagining what my combat-veteran dad would have thought about your situation, for example, or of the people making fun of you.
posted by tel3path at 4:44 AM on October 31, 2014 [7 favorites]

Sidebar on glue traps - a friend with young kids and I just discussed them yesterday over rats from her neighbor. Poison is out because of the kids, as are the snap traps because of the kids getting interested (also the bait can attract other insects in some climates) and we agreed on either the catch and release traps if we could find them, but otherwise the glue traps as the most sensible. I have two adorable pet rats but I had no qualms over that, provided they were checked often and immediately killed. If you have a professional pest company doing that, they should change them but a glue trap by a staff is not necessarily deliberate animal torture.
posted by viggorlijah at 5:02 AM on October 31, 2014

I live in an apartment in a row house that is ~120 years old and we get mice. Even though they're tiny and kinda cute and incapable of hurting me, I still squeal and jump up on furniture when I see one. But there's a huge difference between me disliking mice in my house and wanting them to die a slow painful death (the latter of which I do not want under any circumstances). We do lay snap traps and my partner knows how squicked out by them I am, so when one gets caught in a trap, he just quietly disposes of it and resets the trap. One day I commented that we didn't seem to have any mice this year and he replied "Not that you have seen." He knows it bugs me, doesn't care if the reason is irrational, and takes care of it quietly. Because he's an adult who respects me.

Glue traps are awful and disgusting. I had a roommate lay them once and I came home from work to hear a poor little mouse squeaking away helplessly. I had no idea where the noise was coming from until roommate came home and found the trap she had hidden and, er, put the little guy out of its misery. That was ten years ago and I still feel sick just thinking about it. When we told the other roomies, they were horrified and we all agreed no more glue traps in our house, ever.

Ugh, OP, you have every reason to be angry and disappointed in your coworkers. What a shitty thing to do to you. What would I have done? I would have told them they were all gigantic assholes. I have zero time for anyone who would find such a thing funny.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:16 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Warning: possible trigger ahead. A long time ago, in the early 1980s when I was just out of college, I came into work one day and noticed a half-full take-out coffee cup on my desk. Without further ado I heaved it in the trash. Anguished squeaking ensued. The night crew had tossed a glue trap with its live victim into my trash can!!! I was horrified by the casual cruelty. It seemed impossible to help the mouse, so I wrapped it in a paper towel and killed it with a quick hammer blow to its skull. To this day that is one of the most traumatic things that has ever happened to me. I was so upset that I confronted the building management with the whole sordid tale, including the evidence. I was bound for grad school anyway so I didn't care if I lost my job, but it worked and they stopped using the glue traps. It's worth trying to prompt change.
posted by carmicha at 5:48 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry.

We've been dealing with mice in our house this week. My husband came home with 3 different types of traps & I told him he had to return the glue trap to the store because it was too cruel.

We've been using this snap trap quite successfully. I think it's better than the old-fashioned kind because a person can't accidentally bump into it and get hurt; the mice have to actually shove their heads into the holes before it snaps. You could suggest that your employer switch to using this kind of trap.
posted by belladonna at 6:00 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wow -- that co-worker sounds like a monster to me. If, in the future you discover another mouse stuck in one of these, Pam or similar butter/oil cooking spray will effectively release him.

There will always be mice -- if you have any say in the matter, I'd encourage better cleaning and use of deterrents, like peppermint or an ultrasonic device.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:21 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Oh, and to answer your actual question, I think you handled it just fine. It's normal for humans to get upset about cruelty. Sometime in the future, hopefully this guy will mature and reflect on this event and be deeply ashamed.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 6:25 AM on October 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

First, the coworker was being a jerk. The text was inappropriate and rude.

That said, here is a contrarian view: You have a particular sensitivity that appears not to be shared by others in your workplace and that, frankly, is not as prevalent in the rest of the world as it might be on Metafilter. I care about animals, but glue traps don't bother me that much. You might be way more enlightened than I am, and that's fine. But the point is that I hope you don't take seriously the suggestions above about things like photoshopping pictures of children in positions of great pain, etc. If you do that, then you could get in big trouble beyond just getting fired from your job. You could find yourself of explaining to an unsympathetic police officer or a judge how you were trying to create a teachable moment. This (AskMe) is a very supportive forum (which is good) that is probably not representative of your workplace.

Probably everyone has particular sensitivities, and it sucks when people target them. Part of the issue is that there are only certain particular sensitivities that are protected by law in the workplace, and the law doesn't guarantee even basic standards of civility among coworkers. I've always gotten angry when people say bad things about my mother, but there are no de jure prohibitions on mother jokes, so I am stuck having to deal with something that bothers me when it comes up. Part of the strategy there is not letting people know they can get a rise out of me.

My advice to you would be:

1. Preserve the text and forward it to a supervisor, explaining that you don't think it comports with the standards of behavior that your employer expects of its workers or the values of the company. Send the text to HR too. Don't evangelize in your message about the evils of glue traps. That's not what this particular fight is about. This fight is about inappropriate behavior. Also, don't mention that you are particularly sensitive to what you consider to be animal cruelty. This isn't about you. It's about your coworker failing to meet an objective standard of behavior.

2. If you don't get some response -- and don't expect too much; a home run would probably be some sort of talking-to directed at the coworker -- then follow up noting that you plan on raising it with the next level up the chain.

3. Don't engage with the coworker except as absolutely necessary for the performance of your duties at work. Let him know that he was an asshole and that what he did was not funny. Don't give him the satisfaction of letting him know you are still upset. A modified silent treatment could go a long way here. He is not the sort of person you want to associate with. Not because he has no problem with glue traps but because he's an asshole.

4. This is the contrarian part: make sure you have a good read on your job before you go on an anti-glue-trap crusade. There are probably better ways to kill mice, and maybe your workplace is the sort of place that is interested in being progressive. But many places and many people just don't care. In many places of employment, depending on your position too, you could come off as a kook or a weirdo for suggesting that your workplace import owls or something. If you have the sort of job and the sort of position where you can suggest those changes, then by all means go ahead. But if you think your job would not be receptive, then it might be better for your own sanity not to be the glue-trap dude and just focus on making sure that your job understands that you will not tolerate bullying or abuse. That is, it's not about the glue traps; it's about behavior. If you can't stand to work at a place where glue traps will be used and nobody cares, then maybe you do need to think about changing jobs.
posted by Slap Factory at 7:45 AM on October 31, 2014 [6 favorites]

I just want to say I sympathize and that I totally get where you're coming from and think you were not being crazy. I capture insects (even wasps/yellowjackets) under cups and take them outside and release them rather than killing them. I would have literally wrapped up my hand, walked over and picked up that mouse to take it away and unstick it and release it in the woods. I agree with talking to whoever's in charge about changing traps, except that it would also bother me to see dead mice in snap traps, so I'd honestly prefer the glue traps so that I could sneak the stuck mice out of the facility and free them. But then, I am crazy.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:47 AM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

He's an asshole.

I shudder to think what karma has in store for him.
posted by doctor tough love at 7:47 AM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Both Mibo and Tel3path make some excellent points: one, many of your residents would be distressed to find dying mice caught in glue traps, and, two, the families and friends of your residents might not find heavy mouse infestations acceptable living conditions for their loved ones. My late dad lived in a board-and-care home, and I know that he - an animal lover - would have been super upset if he found a mouse caught in a glue trap. I also know that if I found that his care home had persistent problems with mice, I'd want to move him somewhere else, as I would wonder about sanitation practices there. And if I knew that he had caregivers that thought it was funny to text a co-worker a picture of a trapped and dying mouse, I'd be VERY worried about how that caregiver treated the elderly residents!

I would work this angle when going to HR and/or the owners. Not that your feelings aren't legitimate - I'm outraged on your behalf. But the powers that be might be more responsive to health and sanitation concerns and the possibility of distress to the residents. They may well laugh off or dismiss your being upset about the cruelty angle, but chances are they'll sit up and take notice at the possibility of the board of health giving them a citation or the residents' families being upset and moving them somewhere else, or a family member posting a review on Yelp that says "Stay away from this place, it has a rodent infestation problem!" And I would hope they don't want the residents finding dead or dying mice!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:37 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

The fact that glue traps exist makes me feel very sad. What a horrible way to die. I'm sorry that you had to go through this. I don't speak up a lot but I think I would've had to say something too.
posted by orangek8 at 9:08 AM on October 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

I bet this is "dark humour" on their part

No those things are barbaric. Farmers won't use them. Not only will I not use them but I throw them away every time I see them and I'm a biologist and I've killed tons of animals and I'm not at all squeamish. I'd be disturbed if someone laughed at a mouse caught in one.

Basically anything else is a better way to die: poison, drowning, anything.
posted by fshgrl at 10:11 AM on October 31, 2014 [9 favorites]

I would have literally wrapped up my hand, walked over and picked up that mouse to take it away and unstick it and release it in the woods

You can't unglue mice from glue traps any more than you could unepoxy them from the floor. Kindest thing is to kill them.
posted by fshgrl at 10:17 AM on October 31, 2014

Best answer: I agree, that guy is a total asshole and glue traps are the worst. You can un-glue mice from glue traps. You have to pour cooking oil on it to dissolve the glue.
posted by ATX Peanut at 10:59 AM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

fshgrl: Not only will I not use them but I throw them away every time I see them and I'm a biologist and I've killed tons of animals and I'm not at all squeamish.
You are my new hero.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:12 PM on October 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Of course i meant "compassion fatigue." I blame my phone.
posted by deathpanels at 1:04 PM on October 31, 2014

Best answer: I had something similar happen to me at work a few years ago and I still think about it; it changed the way I think about some people here. Nothing to add except to say that I sympathize.
posted by misseva at 1:45 PM on October 31, 2014

I don't even know what glue traps are. But who reacts to "OW YOU HURT ME" with "HA HA HA!" ?!
There's no point in approaching these people again on an emotional level, in good faith.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:49 PM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Personally, I would document the incident with dates, time, who was there, screencaps, and mostly facts, limiting he-said-she-said.

Then I would write a nice, sincere letter to management outlining the problems with the glue traps for mental health and public health, and recommend some alternatives. In fact, I might call the pest control company or another pest control company and talk to them about it to evaluate feasibility.

I think the best thing you can do to get back at your coworker is to get the glue traps changed to something else.
posted by zennie at 3:32 PM on October 31, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I don't know what I would have done, but wanted to let you know you aren't alone in your feelings. Just reading your question and imagining an animal trapped on one of those glue pads makes me really sad.
posted by thegoldfish at 4:02 PM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I'm really sorry you had to endure this. I've seen the horror of a mouse with half it's skin missing due to struggling so hard to get away. I'm a career medic and have seen horrific things that haven't bothered me nearly as much as that poor mouse suffering so. Glue traps are cruel and barbaric, period. What frightens me even more is the fact that this asshat is working with the elderly, who are pretty much defenseless. He doesn't sound like someone who has very much empathy for living, breathing things and as such, should not be working with vulnerable people.

I think talking to your supervisor is a reasonable way to go about this, just keep the emotion out of it and stick to the facts.

Either that, or figure out a way to superglue his ass to the toilet seat and see how much he likes it (I have actually transported a man that this happened to and it wasn't fun for him).

Take care
posted by cdg7707 at 6:51 PM on October 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Personally, I would also have photoshopped pictures of their kids into horrific, painful situations, so that they could get a taste of it themselves.

That is the worst suggestion I've ever heard on Metafilter. Ever. This goes beyond stooping to their level to stooping to a totally batshit inappropriate level. Yikes.

Hey Bananaskin, do you eat meat? I am a former vegetarian, and I am always amazed at people who eat meat and yet have a hard time with animal cruelty when they see it. You eat animal brutality. You don't see it, but if you meat, dairy, or eggs, you're part of the problem. I started eating meat and made peace with that. But I understand that there's a certain hypocrisy in my sadness over abused dogs and my love of hamburgers. Just food for your thoughts.

And otherwise: Don't go to HR with this. Your coworkers are dicks, but on the scale of petty to things that HR is legally forced to deal with, this is pretty close to "completely petty" in their eyes. Instead of trying to get your coworkers fired and coming across as a troublemaker, present glue trap alternatives. Be part of the solution.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 7:27 PM on October 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Ablazingsaddle: You are right on. Actually I am vegetarian with only allowing certain eggs (organic, pasture raised). I know about the factory farms. That's why I am this way. I grew up on an old small family farm. We ate meat. But it was from pasture raised, humanely treated animals (for the most part, but there are aspects of farming animals even on a pasture/small family farm that is not humane). Factory farms are sad places of suffering and torture. I saw how all the little family farms stopped raising animals/went out of business and only raise grains now because huge factory farms took over in the area I grew up in, and I know what they are about.

I'd like to spread the word on that. Like you have already discovered somehow.
posted by bananaskin at 12:17 AM on November 1, 2014

Response by poster: Thank you all for your validation and thoughtful responses. I got none of this from my co workers who were witnesses and laughed, except from 1 lone co worker who later said "he did a mean thing".

First: I think I am learning that yes, it is ok to NOT talk to someone and cut them out of my life experience. I feel a new found sense of respect when I walk past him and don't even acknowledge him now. He avoids me now. I don't know if it's because he knows he did something uncool and can't apologize, or if he just thinks I am someone who is "too sensitive" and etc....but I don't care.

Second: I am glad I said something in front of all the co workers regarding being upset at this inhumane trap, even though they laughed, because I think it was a perfect opportunity to model what caring about animal cruelty looks like. I think When we see others model a belief, I think it allows us to review our own belief system and have courage to be "too sensitive" - sarcasm here with the "too sensitive". (anyone who says a person is "too sensitive" or "silly" because they don't want glue traps, how about we glue down their cat or dog or rabbit and when they get upset, say "you are too sensitive"....)

Third: about the glue traps. Weird, but a few days later, all the glue traps were gone! I was planning to remove them all myself, and if I got caught, honestly, I didn't care anymore because I don't care much about this work place anymore. But strangely they all went away, and I am grateful. I think it might be due to the fact that I told another co worker about it all, one who I really trust. She asked another co worker to remove this specific trap with the mouse on it (now dead, as it was a few days later). I wondered if somehow it got up the ladder that these traps were out in the open with mice on it and somehow they disappeared? I don't know but I was so relieved.

Okay, thanks again guys. Sometimes it feels so much like I am alone and an odd one out in this world, then I come here and find so many people who relate to me. Makes me feel less alone. Thank you.
posted by bananaskin at 12:48 AM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mod note: One comment deleted. Hey, sorry OP, but Ask Metafilter is focused just on direct concrete questions and answers, and really isn't for extended discussion, stream of thought sort of stuff, or back and forth conversation. You can check out the Mefi front page as the spot that focuses more on general discussion. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:16 AM on November 1, 2014

I'd set fire to his car. Those who don't appreciate the animate tend to fetishize the inanimate. Then I'd plant evidence of the crime on one of those who were joining in with the yucks.

You shouldn't do that, though. Because you're nice. Being nice has costs attached to it - you're paying the price right now. But the jerks at work will never be able to enjoy the pleasures that life gives to nice people.

Think about that and in time you will come to pity them. And that will really drive them up the wall.

Good luck.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 6:27 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm glad the glue traps got removed! I know that if there are mice, they need to be removed, but it can be done in a much more humane way.

What you might want to do, still, is talk about cleanliness and sanitation procedures. There really shouldn't be a heavy mouse infestation as long as things are kept clean, and food is kept in mouse-proof storage containers. You really do not want residents, or their families, freaking because they see rodents and conclude that the place is not kept clean, nor do you want someone calling the Board of Health to pay a visit.

I would also keep your distance from that particular co-worker, but do look out for the residents he cares for (if he's in a position to be in contact with him) - if someone is that heartless about animals and his co-workers, that raises a big red flag for me about how he might treat an elderly resident.

Finally: according to a previous question, you are a speech-language pathologist, and that is a pretty in-demand profession, so if you want to find a job somewhere else it won't be too hard; and your workplace might want to make the effort to keep you, meaning you will be taken more seriously than someone whose job is a dime a dozen.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:03 AM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

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