Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A graphic tale of office horror

In September 2004 I was working at 360Commerce. We had the usual magnetic access cards. They gave us neat spring-loaded belt clips...the kind where you have a little cable attached to the card that winds up automatically on a spindle, so that you can grab your card, swipe it against the reader, and then it returns to your belt. I love those things.

But I didn't love them so much when I went to the bathroom one day, sat on the toilet, did my business, and then stood up. As I raised my pants with one hand and pressed the flush lever with the other, my arm brushed the belt clip and it fell off and right into the toilet while it was in full power-flush -- the kind of whirlpool only those office-building toilets can manage. Before I could react, I saw my access card, cable, and spindle spiral down the drain like a startled snake making a getaway.

But that's not the worst of it, of course. The building was set up so that the bathrooms were in a central zone that the public could get to -- and you had to use your access card to get back to your desk. So I had to immediately go tell my sob story to the receptionist and beg for a loaner card.

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