The Old Two Coat Trick

Quote of the Day

Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be real.

— Niels Bohr

I had a déjà vu moment this morning. One of my staff members was looking for another staff member and I heard him say "Al must still be here because his coat is in his cube". This statement brought back a few memories. As a management person, I occasionally have to deal with problem employees who do not show up for work. I once had an employee who had figured out that I determined if he was at work by looking in his cube for his coat. I ASSUMED that seeing his coat in his cube meant that he was at work somewhere, but I would never go looking around for him. Bad assumption -- he had two coats. He would wear one to and from work and would leave the other in his cube when he left work early. I eventually did figure out that he had two coats and I told him that I was on to his trick.

Because this employee was using "The Old Two Coat Trick", I started to check the parking lot to see if his car was in the lot. This worked for a while, but then I started to notice that his car was in the lot, but he was not at work. That was when I learned about "The Old Two Car Trick" ...

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4 Responses to The Old Two Coat Trick

  1. CC says:

    Two *car* trick? That's an awfully expensive way to skip out of work early... (And, um, maybe I've been reading too much Ask A Manager lately, but shouldn't that guy have got a warning about keeping his job, not just a comment about being on to his tricks?)

    • mathscinotes says:

      I smile just thinking about this guy. Like most problem employees, he was given multiple warnings on his performance. Work hours were only one of many issues. He worked harder at not working than anyone I have ever known. If he had worked half as hard at working as he did at not working, he would have been a great employee. Part of his problem was an addiction to fishing, but that is another story ... I don't think I ever saw his screen without a number of fishing lures on it.

      I can honestly say that it has been a privilege to have worked with or for the vast majority of the people I encounter in engineering. The few clinkers I have worked with have left me with an interesting collection of stories.

      Thanks for the reply.


  2. Shaun says:

    This is hilarious! Many times at work, I find that I'm looking for a coworker and can tell if they are still around by noticing their jacket or bag or whatever. It took me a while to realize that one person in particular always left a jacket on the back of his seat, which I assumed was what he wore to and from work. Rather, he left this extra coat at work for the colder days! He wasn't doing this to fool anyone into thinking he was still at work, though it still fooled me until I realized MY mistake!

    I share the same thought as the previous commenter. A two-car trick? That's an expensive and rather extreme way of pretending to be at work. I hope he's got a lot of money remaining in his bank account after purchasing all these vehicles that he will be able to survive without his job!

    • mathscinotes says:

      If you think "The Old Two Car" trick is unbelievable, you should hear some of the other stories I have. I tell them to people and they just sit in stunned amazement. I should make it clear that for this gentleman, his wife had picked him up at work shortly after he arrived and made an appearance. His car was in the lot, but he was gone.


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