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Having problem with "funny" co-worker


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So, I have a coat hanger I bought that is especially made to attach to the outer side of a cubicle without damaging it. I use it because I don't like to hang my coat on the back of my chair. I've had this on my cube for about a year, and its situated right next to my nameplate. I use this coat every day in the fall and winter.


There were recently some movement in the office and several people were rearranged.


A couple days ago, I found a strange coat on my hanger. I lifted it up and asked who's it was. (our cubes have relatively low walls that allow me to be in easy earshot to a couple dozen people). A guy nearby who had recently moved admitted that it was his. I said, "Oh, well, here you go" and handed his coat to him.


The next day, another coat was on there. I asked if it was his. He acted like he didn't know what I was talking about and was like, "what coat?" I said, light-heartedly, that "It's the coat on the coat hanger that I bought with the express purpose of hanging my coat on." This generated some laughs, and he coyly took his coat back. All in good fun.


So I get to work today. Guess what, coat's on there again. This time I drape his coat over his cube and say nothing.


Now, I fully expect his coat to be on there again on Monday. This guy clearly thinks he's being funny with a running gag. While there is no serious harm being done, if this continues it's going to get old. I believe he's trying to be funny, and I think he's trying to get my goat. Well, I'm not going to allow him to get my goat, because getting angry about things like this just makes it more amusing. I'm also not going to bring management into this or anything... I want to handle this on my own. But I'm also not interested in being *** for tat. I just don't have the energy or time to have a Jim and Dwight office prank war.


How would you handle this situation?

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Just ignore it and continue to put his coat on his desk. Don't react and don't say a word. Repeat.


You are right that after a while it will get old and the truth is, if he doesn't get any reaction from you whatsoever, he'll stop doing it. He's not doing it because he really wants to hang his coat there, he's doing it because he wants a laugh. When it's no longer funny (to him), he'll stop.


Then, personally, I'd get the last laugh. At the next Christmas gift exchange or when there's something to celebrate, gift wrap him a hanger and make a big show of it. (lol!)

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if just one, then what an a-hole. if there's more room, what's the harm?

There is only room for one. It's a detachable hook essentially. A-hole? I don't know. Generally tolerable douchebag who thinks he's funny? That's more in the ballpark I think.

Is the hanger attached to the cubicle? I would probably just start taking it home with me of a night and keep it in my bag.

I've considered that, but that puts the burden of correction on me. I don't want to be inconvenienced to keep my property from being molested.

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As usual, there are some people that just want to generate more drama and escalate the situation into something bad from something that is just lighthearted and annoying.


This is a situation where "if you can't beat him, join him."



Hang your coat on his monitor or something.

Nothing wrong with a little workplace humor, instead of creating drama.

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I don't think this is joke. The guy knows it's your hanger - you've told him. If he wanted one, he could bring in his own. He's passively aggressively telling you that he doesn't care. It's also very telling that even though he just started there, he doesn't mind picking a fight.


I don't know what you can do that would actually work, but I would consider:

- putting your hanger in a drawer at night when you leave;

- taking the coat and his hanger over to his cubicle, and letting him have the hanger;

- taking the hanger home, and using the cupboard on the other side of the office.


My question tho is, after he keeps disrespecting you like this, are you still friendly with him?

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I would find it funny and would enjoy pranking him back, within professional limits of course. But it sounds like you really hate it, so just tell him so. Since you don't want to try to accommodate the joking in any way, no cute solution like the fun ones above would work. Bluntness and mildly hurting his feelings are your only options. Request a formal 15 minute meeting with him using Outlook. And then calmly tell him his joking is not welcome and that you would appreciate that he stop. Plan what you intend to say, and then say it. He'll probably feel awful for having bothered you.

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