Before I start talking about office pranks, I want to give a shout-out to Noah Kagan for his post We Analyzed Nearly 1 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned post. The truth is, this post is just a list of some of the notable office pranks I’ve either orchestrated, witnessed or fallen victim to while actioning on some of the takeaways from the aforementioned post. Without further ado, on to the pranks!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Bluetooth Speaker
This is the prank that really got me reminiscing about office pranks the other day. All you need is a small Bluetooth Speaker like this one or that one to start. Next up, just go ahead and hide the speaker in or on someone’s office chair, pair it up and just push some fart noises or something like that to it.
The ol’ mouse around the corner
Still one of my favorites, for this you will need a pretty long USB extension cord and a mouse. A more modern approach would be to use a Bluetooth mouse but keep in mind at the time the long USB cord was as good as it got.
So what we did was take the cord and hooked up to the person’s desk that sat on the other side of the wall from us. It wasn’t very noticable. Had a mouse hooked up to that and occasionally bumped the mouse. We had a helluva time keeping our laughter to a minimum was the person exclaimed “IT HAPPENED AGAIN, THE MOUSE MOVED ON IT’S OWN!!!!!!”
WTF is wrong with this mouse?!?
Speaking of mice, back in the day we would hop on someone’s system, take a screen capture of their desktop, set it as their background and then kill
explorer.exe. I’m actually unsure if this is still possible at this point with the newer versions of Windows. Hilarity will ensue until they reboot their system or figure out how to restart
A bit of redecorating
This prank is nearly the most labor intensive one on the list and it takes the right sort of desktop photos to really be effective. The moon and the stars aligned one day when one of my former co-workers decked out his cube with lolcat photos. Took a few days of prep, but we re-did all of the photos as loldogs. The best thing about subtly redecorating is that it usually takes days if not weeks for the person to figure it out.
Are you sure it’s plugged in?
Unplugging someone’s network cable may seem pretty tame, but if have the right kind of person on your hands, it can be pretty epic. The right kind of person is the person that will avoid getting under their desk to investigate. If done correctly, you can pop the network cable out in such a way that it will look intact but will in fact be unplugged.
This prank hits legendary status if the person that refused to check the cable ends up calling up internal support and bitching them out because they assumed Active Directory was down.
Flippity flop desktop
With some video cards, you can tap a hotkey and rotate the screen. Most people aren’t even aware of this feature so they freak out when they experience it. One time we did this to a co-worker and he sat down at the computer, stared at it for a minute then got up and left. Not entirely sure if he ever figured it out or if he just rebooted the computer.
Did you hear that?
This prank is not unlike the Bluetooth speaker prank but requires a bit more effort. What we ended up doing was developing a small app that would sit in the background and could have audio clips pushed to it. Once installed, periodically through the day my co-worker’s computer would let out a huge “MOOOOOOOOOOO”. My job was to keep my busting out laughing every time to help perpetuate that the person was imagining things.
The incredible shrinking man
This particular prank takes the cake for being the most labor intensive. When our co-worker took a vacation for a few weeks to Germany, we ended up taking his cubicle desk and lowering it by about an inch. It doesn’t seem like much, but all it takes is an inch if the person you’re pranking is tall enough. For days we would hear him banging his knees on the desk and eventually he muttered to himself “I guess I grew a bit while on vacation”. Hard to contain that level of laughter.
The whole prank fell apart the day his whiteboard fell down a few days into the prank. Turns out the whiteboard was hung in such a way that the desk itself was load bearing. The best part was that I don’t think the recipient of said prank every moved their desk up the additional inch.
This particular prank is not only completely epic but serves as a cautionary tale. We can’t take credit for this one as we stole the idea from Penny Arcade. Not much to it, pick out a co-worker, set up a Twitter account and start tweeting their daily activity. We never tweeted anything defamatory, just stuff like “so-and-so is going to grab his lunch” and “so-and-so is getting ready for a meeting on the 2nd floor”. We had maybe 4 or 5 people all tweeting to the same account and it went on for a few weeks.
Then it happened, and I’m unsure how, but Mr. So-and-so found out. Not only did he find out, but he went to our boss and let him know about it. Oh, and he threatened to take it to HR if it wasn’t taken down. What a party pooper. I’m unsure if it ever came out who was doing it, but I can confidently say that I was involved. Pranks are good but you gotta do them on people that can handle it.
Phone Call DDoS
It’s very rare that I get pranked so this made it on the list because it’s one of the few pranks I remember having pulled on me. So after months and months of fucking with everyone, they all teamed up to get back at me. They waited for the day that I had 3 people in my cube for a small presentation. Everyone I had wronged started to dial my phone, over and over and over again, and then hung up just as I was about to answer. I eventually wised up and caught the caller ID of one of my co-workers and immediately excused myself to run to his cube and call him out!
As mentioned with the “Watching So-and-So” prank, pranking can be serious business that could result in potentially being fired. For me, that wouldn’t ever stop me from having a little fun. If you’re going to prank people, be ready to have the hellfire of retribution come your way.
Got a favorite prank you’ve done, or tried anything on this list? Would love to hear about it, comment below!!