The teams from sales on the third floor and accountancy on the seventh floor like to prank each other.
But this time, they may have gone a little too far …
Music by JuliusH, Pixabay.
Image by rawpixel.com
This story first appeared in Business Spotlight.
"RIGHT,” said Terry as William and I opened some beers. “Here’s the plan.” He turned off the lights so we could see his PowerPoint presentation clearly. “This is the third floor of the building. Outside, the fire escapes are on the north and south sides. Inside, the conference rooms are on the right and the accountancy department is on the left. And directly opposite the lift is our target.” We nodded. “Now, there are cameras everywhere, so normally it’s impossible to get in or out of the building unseen.” We nodded again. “But at 8.30 am this Saturday, the electricity will be turned off for twenty minutes while new computer equipment is installed on the tenth floor. In that twenty minutes we are going to get in, steal the target and get out down the south-side fire escape. On Monday morning the accountants will find everything gone and nothing to connect it with us.”
“Terry,” I asked. “Why don’t we just take whatever is inside the target?”
“Speed, Kevin, speed. It’s quicker to take everything.”
“Terry,” said William. “You are a criminal mastermind! Who else would think of stealing the accountancy department’s fridge?”
Now, you probably think stealing a fridge belonging to an accountancy department is a strange thing to do, especially when I also tell you that we work in the same company. But we are from the advertising department on the fifth floor and for the last six months we have been at war with the accountants on the third floor.
It started when William wanted to borrow a packet of coffee and they refused. Well, he just took one from their kitchen when nobody was looking. Unfortunately – typical accountants - they noticed it was gone and the next day somebody put salt in our sugar. A week later we mixed chilli powder in their secretary’s fruit tea, and so it continued. One time I found a plate of chocolate muffins in their kitchen and took a bite out of each one. Another time they cooked some very old fish in our microwave. Of course, when senior management noticed these activities they told us to stop. But it was so much fun that after about a week we started again.
Anyway, on Friday, William and I hid in our office – we knew old Charlie the security officer wouldn’t leave his television set by the ground floor main entrance – and waited. Then next morning at 8.30 we went quietly down the fire escape to the third floor, past the cameras and into their kitchen. By 8.40 we were carrying the fridge down to the street where Terry was waiting to drive us back to his flat.
“Very nice!” said Terry when we found champagne, smoked salmon and caviar inside it. “They certainly look after themselves in accountancy!”
We ate and drank everything and went home very cheerful. But on Monday when I got into work I found Terry and William were not at all cheerful. In fact they looked quite ill.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“The fridge has gone!” said William.
“I know,” I said. “We took it!”
“Not their fridge!” hissed Terry. “Ours!”
We went into our kitchen and there our fridge wasn’t.
“But…” I began, then stopped as Tamsin, personal assistant to Harriet Raddle the company president, came in.
“Ah, good! Ms Raddle wants to see you in her office. Now!”
When we arrived Rajiv, Gavin and Deirdre from the accountancy team were also there. we looked suspiciously at each other, but said nothing.
Ms Raddle sat at her desk, writing. The tension in the room increased. After five minutes she finally spoke.
“Sit down and watch this.”
With a remote control she turned on a large TV monitor. The screen had two windows and in both of them a familiar scene was playing.
“Luckily the electrical shut-down planned for Saturday was cancelled,” said Ms Raddle. “So the cameras filmed the advertising department stealing the fridge from the third floor and the accountancy department stealing the fridge from the fifth floor. Now, unless you have a good explanation, I’m going to the police.”
We all looked at the floor. Finally Terry spoke.
“It was … umh … just a joke, Ms Raddle. We thought the cameras were off and we wanted to play a little joke on the accountancy department. You don’t need to go to the police “
Ms Raddle looked at Rajiv.
“Yeah,” he mumbled. “A joke. On the advertising department.”
She looked at us thoughtfully.
“I see. Well, if you want to keep your jobs I have three requirements: One, I want the fridges back. Two, no more jokes …” She paused and I relaxed. We weren’t in too much trouble …
“Three, both fridges must contain the smoked salmon, caviar and champagne!”
We all looked at her in horror.
“Oh yes.” She said. “Tamsin bought that stuff for some important guests coming tomorrow. We didn’t have enough space up here, so she put it in your fridges on Friday evening.” She handed over a shopping list. “You should go to Harrods,” she said. “It’ll cost all six of you about £250 each.” She looked at our open mouths and laughed.
“You know, I think the joke might be on you, this time!”
Then she went to her next meeting.