bowl of gummi bears

Photo by Hans/Pixabay (Public Domain)

Poo-inducing sugar-free gummy bears lead to inter-office legal threat

Whatever you do, don't eat a whole bowl of these things.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 18, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 8:06 pm CDT

Someone claiming to be a German university professor, currently teaching in Michigan, wrote to Reddit’s legal advice forum for help this week. He said a coworker had threatened to sue him for leaving ‘volatile’ Haribo sugar-free gummy bears on his desk. Apparently, while he was out of his office, she ate the entire bowl. And what happens when you eat an entire bowl of sugar-free gummy bears? Nothing good.

According to product reviews on Amazon, even eating 15 in a single sitting is enough to “power wash your intestines.”

” When the rumbling started I sprinted down the hallway and made it to the bathroom just in time for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to stampede from my backside, laying waste to my home’s septic system AND my will to live,” one reviewer testified.

“Eat two at a time. Three if you’re brave. But for the love of God and all things on this earth, DO NOT EAT ANY MORE,” another warned.

“Not long after eating about 20 of these all hell broke loose. I had a gastrointestinal experience like nothing I’ve ever imagined. Cramps, sweating, bloating beyond my worst nightmare. I’ve had food poisoning from some bad shellfish and that was almost like a skip in the park compared to what was going on inside me,” wrote a third.

The sugar-free bear listing on Amazon now includes a warning about “intestinal distress.”

That seems to be roughly what happened to the professor’s colleague after she ate an entire bowl of the bears.

“First she excused herself from any commitments and then she called in sick,” he wrote, “The next day she confronted me and blamed me for the whole ordeal, that I deliberately placed those gummy bears and it was all a ploy to humiliate her.”

A hilarious situation, except that the bear-devouring coworker is now allegedly threatening to get the professor fired and deported.

“According to her she has already informed HR and her lawyer and that I will be kicked out of the country in no time,” he wrote, “The only thing I can blame myself on is that me and my colleagues giggled at her bowel distress signals.”

“She claims that I left the bowl in the open and it was baiting her and others to eat the ‘poison’ (her words).”

According to nearly everyone who responded in the thread, she doesn’t have much of a case. The original poster left food out on his desk, didn’t suggest that she eat it, and certainly didn’t suggest that she eat the entire bowl. Legally speaking, she could sue—anyone can sue for anything—but the consensus seems to be that she’ll have a hard time getting any attorney to take the case.

The HR issue is another thing entirely, and several replies encouraged him to quickly document his side of the story and bring it up with HR. He says plans to do so on Monday.

Many stories on r/legaladvice are trollish fictions intended to amuse, rather than real cries for help, so take this one with a grain of salt. Just don’t take it with a bowl of sugar-free gummi bears.

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*First Published: Aug 18, 2017, 2:09 pm CDT