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Friendly Advice: How to Deal With Visitors For An Absent Roommate 7 July 2008

Posted by Basilios in Fun.
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Once again a friend asked my advice to deal with an uncomfortable problem. This guy works in an office shared with three other people, and of course sometimes visitors show up looking for his roommates while they are out. The uncomfortable bit, my friend says, is where a visitor comes in looking for someone, sees an empty seat where that someone ought to be, and then asks “Is he not in?“, despite being able to see very clearly that he is not. Or asks “When is he back?“, like he’s their receptionist. This rubs him the wrong way, especially since his desk is located right in front of the door, so he’s always the one getting pestered.

This is where I come in. How could my friend, I was asked, deal with this continuous stream of thoughtless visitors? Fear not, I told him, for I am going to provide him with good, measured suggestions. The ideal solution would be for each of the people in the office to put a little note on their door when they’re out, but that requires those distracted visitors to actually notice and read the things. So you’d have to, ahem, encourage them.

  1. Let’s start with a simple approach. Cattle prods! Chap knocks, chap asks, chap gets electric shock. Nothing could be more elegant than this.
  2. Pretend you’re a boring person.No, X is not in, but lemme tell you about the variations in shades of brown paper in post envelopes/Italian politics of the 50s!”. Eventually they’ll get fed up and just mumble “Sorry, I’ll be back later” and go out. This is not a good idea if you hope to have their collaboration in the future!
  3. Absurdist answers. “X is in but he’s turned invisible“. “X doesn’t want to see you so he hid under my desk“. “X retired to a monastery in Tibet“. Again, not a good idea if you need their collaboration in the future.
  4. Chemical warfare. Get a great big soaker gun, and fill it with water and food colorant. Open fire on those that knock. Be sure they are not looking for you first.
  5. Artillery barrage. Get a bucket of cheap foam stress balls, and throw them at undesired visitors. Disadvantage: you have to pick them up after having your fun.

All the suggestions I presented above have advantages and disadvantages, and careful consideration is needed before picking up one. As for me, I favour the simple cattle prod.

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