Excitement at work today

The fire alarm went off (for real, not a drill) on our floor at the office around 5pm today. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had planned to stay late to get stuff done, I’d have totally left at that time.

The gal in the cube next to mine had a microwave popcorn accident. She tried to tell people that it was a false alarm and that she was really sorry, but since the fire alarm had activated, the floor wardens had to evacuate our floor.

They were running around screaming at people to leave their desks, “PLEASE EVACUATE THE FLOOR IMMEDIATELY! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!”

As I was walking toward the stairwell, I saw the guilty party and her friend trying desperately to get the smoke to dissipate.

As I headed down the stairwell, I decided to stop by the floor below us (where the main receptionist was) to let her know it was a popcorn incident. She was busy fielding phone calls from people panicking about the fire alarm. She already knew it was burnt popcorn, but she had to tell people on our floor that they were instructed to evacuate anyway. Since I was from that floor, she told me I should probably go check in with my floor warden downstairs. This other guy from my floor and I decided to take the elevator (since we were technically on the main floor and the alarm had not been activated there: the doors to the elevators hadn’t been shut off to us).

The stupid thing about our fire drills is that they tell us to go down a few floors and check in with our floor wardens. (In a real fire, I’d say we should get the heck out of the building and then check in.)

We went down a few floors in the elevator and the doors popped open: most of the people from my floor were standing on the fire drill floor wondering what to do next. There was no floor warden to be seen anywhere. Then they all pointed at me and said, “HEY! WHY ARE YOU IN THE ELEVATOR! WE ALL WALKED DOWN FIVE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS!” I shrugged them off. We got out on that floor to figure out what to do next.

I told everyone there (they were from the other side of the building, away from the popcorn smell) what had actually happened and everyone was relieved it wasn’t a real fire. But we still were standing around wondering if it was OK to go back up, especially since there was no floor warden around.

Then the elevator doors opened and a car full of people from our floor were headed back upstairs, “FALSE ALARM!” someone yelled from inside the crammed elevator. “You can go back upstairs.”

We caught the next elevator up and were indeed greeted with the smell and smoke from the burnt popcorn. The folks from the other side of the building started running around my side of the building yelling, “WHO’S THE CULPRIT!? WHO BURNT THE POPCORN! SHOW YOURSELF!”

But the gal who had done it had already left the building. She had been making herself a snack for the ride to go pick her son up from daycare and couldn’t stay late. I had seen her as she was heading toward the elevator she said, “I knew my popcorn was burnt… I shouldn’t have opened the microwave… I should have thrown it away!!!” (haha! I laughed at that!)

Two hours later (when I was still in the office), she IMed me and asked, “Does it still smell there? I feel so bad.” I told her that it did still smell a bit, but not to feel bad. A similar thing had happened recently on a different floor of our building.

But if we get our popcorn popping privileges banned, I might get a little peeved.

Now I’ve got to wash the burnt popcorn smell out of my hair…

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10 Responses to “Excitement at work today”



  • remember my bridal shower in 2003? i broke my sister’s microwave with a similar popcorn incident. we bad poppers are so lame.


  • Not that I don’t sympathize with the popcorn burner, because it was an innocent thing. But seriously, how do you burn popcorn in the microwave? If you’re popping the popcorn in a microwave you don’t know, you STAND THERE and LISTEN. When the pops go down to less than 1 a second, STOP THE MICROWAVE. Then, note the time it took to pop to that point. That is now the popcorn time for that microwave oven.


  • I have to agree with deltus, that it’s really hard to burn popcorn. But you know, I’ve seen/smelled it done time and time again, and I don’t know how many offices I’ve heard of that have banned making popcorn for that reason.

    I always set our microwave to 5 minutes and I watch the popcorn pop, just like the instructions tell you!

    But wow, I hope it doesn’t get banned in your office, that would suck.


  • I’ve burnt popcorn WHILE STANDING THERE AND LISTENING.

    In fact, I routinely do it. I think it’s because I get all mesmerized by the popping I don’t pay attention to the time between pops.

    Of course, I usually just burn a few kernels… not the whole bag and not enough to set off any fire alarms.

    I think my friend was just trying to do too many things before she left the office and the popcorn slipped her mind.


  • Why do you call yourself jozjozjoz?
    my last name is Joz(xxxxxx), so some people call me that.. but.. why you? haha.


  • EWWWWW I hate the smell of burnt popcorn. Unburnt popcorn makes people show up un-invited though :)


  • Nina,

    I think I got to your shower late so I only experienced the aftermath of the burnt popcorn incident.


  • I agree with the others that it’s not hard to not burn popcorn if you’re standing there, even though you say otherwise, Joz. ;) With the exception of kettle corn, which scorches.

    I think there should be a law against walking away from a microwave when you’re making popcorn. I get beyond pissed when my co-workers do it. Not cool at all.


  • So… did she eat the burnt popcorn?


  • muckdog,

    No she didn’t! It was not edible!

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