Worker posts 15 jaw-droppingly tone-deaf announcements from break room

Rob Wilson/ShutterStock Sundry Photography/Shutterstock @nobodyhearts/TikTok (Licensed)

‘The PTO donation one is so real’: Worker posts 15 jaw-droppingly tone-deaf announcements from break room

‘We welcome our customers, not greet them.’


Jack Alban


Posted on Jul 8, 2023   Updated on Jul 8, 2023, 3:24 pm CDT

If you’ve ever visited Reddit’s r/antiwork sub, you’ll see that there’s a dedicated community on the social media website of folks who are quick to share images, articles, and anecdotes that represent negative workplace experiences.

Many of these posts highlight gripes that individuals have in the workplace. Those include inequities employees have encountered at the hands of management and criticisms of corporate culture prioritizing profits over humanity.

A TikToker named Sean (@nobodyhearts) recently went viral after posting a series of images in a slideshow that would be right at home on the r/antiwork sub.

Many of the pictures in the video montage seem to be lifted straight from employee break rooms, featuring workplace policies that viewers found outlandish. Some of the notices chastised employees for stealing electricity while at work, having friendly conversations with co-workers, and in one case, urged employees to donate their paid time off to another worker in need.

Sean’s TikTok montage begins with a photo of a sign that features a graphic of a stop sign urging employees to be mindful of committing wage theft. The messaging reads: “You might be committing time clock fraud! Time clock fraud occurs whenever an employee does something while punched in that is unrelated to work (while not on a 15 minute break).”

The notice goes on to read: “Here are some easy-to-do tips to avoid committing time clock fraud:

  • Use the restroom before you start work and before coming back from meals.
  • Make sure to take off your coat/jacket or other outerwear pieces before punching in.
  • Make sure to secure personal items in a locker before punching in.
  • Arrive early to ensure you have the time to complete any shopping or other tasks before your scheduled start time.
  • Once punched in, you are on the clock and should immediately grab your equipment and head to the sales floor.”

The notice doesn’t end there, and provides an example of how the aforementioned actions can lead to the business paying its employees for time that they should otherwise be spent working: “If 10 employees commit 10 minutes of time clock fraud a day, that’s 100 minutes a day. That’s 3,000 minutes a month which equals 50 hours of payroll lost. Please remember that time clock fraud can lead to disciplinary action and termination.”

The next image in the montage presumably captures what Sean’s attitude towards seeing the notice, along with what the messaging of the posting intones. The picture features a screenshot of what looks like some type of computerized employee assessment test with a question that asks “What is your primarily responsibility when you acquire a new job?”

Sean answered: “To earn enough money to pay your bills.”

The system marked that answer as “incorrect” and said that the correct choice was “to help the business operate and make a profit.”

The next picture in the montage shows what looks like a break room. A coffee machine with filters and disposable cups is featured in the image, along with a sign that reads: “Coffee is for full-time staff only.”

Another image in the TikTok is taken from Best Buy’s Valued Partner Induction Training. A dialogue prompt states “We should greet all Best Buy customers,” along with an option for employees to select whether the aforementioned is either True or False. Sean picked “True,” but the answer was marked as incorrect. The correct answer, as explained by the system states: “We welcome our customers, not greet them.”

The next image appears to be one shared by a Michael’s employee in the video, as it shows a scratch-off card that looks like it’s part of some type of rewards system for workers. The card reads: “you make a difference” along with another statement that says: “we [heart] our team.” According to the scratch off, the employee won a day of “unpaid time off.”

Another image shows a job notice featuring an image of a Minion along with a message that urges employees not to make friends with one another on company time, and admonishes them from having friendly conversations while on the clock: “Attention employees of [redacted] work is not meant to be fun. This is your job. Do not dedicate work time to discussion of non-work topics. Do not facilitate friendships during work hours. Exchange phone numbers and/or hang out after work is complete. Reach me at [redacted] if a co-worker is having non-work discussions on company time.”

The next picture is of a sign that tells employees not to charge their devices while they’re at work because it’s considered electricity theft: “Do not charge phones or electrical devices on the premises. It is theft of electricity and will be deducted from your pay. All phones must be turned off.”

Another image is of a company-wide notice at a business asking co-workers to donate their paid time off days to an employee who was hospitalized and running out of benefits. Instead of the business offering to look after the work, management instead asked its workers to donate their own PTO to help the individual out.

One company, according to a notice posted in the TikTok, was charging its employees $2.00 to use the microwave, and offered workers “monthly unlimited pass[es] for only $30.00” for microwaving privileges.

Another posting of an image sporting “Company Policies” on a a metal sign in similar size and shape of a street parking sign states that the business won’t accept doctor’s note as proof of a sick day, stating that if workers “are able to go to the doctor [they] are able to go to work.” It also stated that each worker gets “104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday and Sunday” along with 5 separate “Vacation days” which are all national holidays: “January 1, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, December 25”

Another sign echoes that sentiment about taking a “day off,” which measures the amount of time employees typically work, taking into account coffee breaks, weekends, and vacation time, counting those all as time off work.

The TikTok also featured a board of things a boss wishes their employees would say, with quotes about being delighted to work late, taking a pay cut, not wanting a raise, allowing their boss to go home early, working over the weekends, not putting memos in the suggestion box, having “dress up” days on Friday, and increasing profits.

There was also a picture of a worker who posted a coupon of a prize they earned at their job: an extra 10-minute break, and a notice to bar customers that if they squeal on an employee for being on their phone, they would receive 25% off of their tab.

TikTokers who saw Sean’s collection of workplace memes expressed how they’ve come across similar instances at their own jobs.

One remarked, “The PtO donation one is so real! I worked at a non profit and they asked us to do these all the time. Like no, just help the employee!!!”

Others referred to some of the specific images posted in Sean’s TikTok, like this one user who couldn’t seem to believe that an employer would equate charging one’s phone while on the clock to wage theft: “I love the electricity theft one. Ok. Charge me the FRACTION OF A CENT”

Another quipped: “Is breathing work related or do you have to do that on your own time”

One Michael’s employee seemed to corroborate the “unpaid time off” scratch-off card: “no cus I got that unpaid time off one when I worked at Michaels and I couldn’t believe my eyes”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Best Buy and Michael’s via email and Sean via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Jul 8, 2023, 3:23 pm CDT