There’s a scene from the American version of the British sitcom “The Office” where paper salesman “Jim” hides a cell phone from his co-worker “Andy” by placing it above the ceiling tiles. When the phone rings, “Andy” is having a very difficult time locating it, yet he keeps hearing his very specific ring coming from somewhere around his cubicle.
Albie and I decided to play out the prank in our office. One of our reporters is seemingly fond of his cell phone, so we decided to make him the target. He is also pretty easy going, and would most likely not be too upset or too humiliated.
While the reporter was at the grocery store, we scoped out the perfect tile above his desk where the phone would be positioned for maximum effect. The only problem was… we had to separate the reporter from his phone somehow.
I tried to hold a private meeting with said reporter in a small office. About 30 seconds went by before Albie called me on the inter-office phone to say that the phone was in said reporter’s pocket.
Step two consisted of calling the reporter while he was at his desk with the goal of him taking the phone out from its hiding place and placing it on his desk. The mission was successful.
Later that evening, said reporter suddenly left his desk to visit the restroom. Albie and I stormed over to his desk, swiftly grabbed his phone, climbed up on his chair and picked up the ceiling tile. The phone was placed in perfect position and we were back in our seats in no time.
Said reporter noticed almost immediately that he didn’t know where his phone was. He began calling it from his office phone. A soft buzz from the vibrating phone filled the newsroom and we all looked around, surprised.
“It’s gotta be here somewhere,” the reporter said. “I thought maybe it was in my car, but I can hear it.”
“Yeah,” we said. “It’s coming from somewhere.”
“Are you sure it didn’t fall on the floor like it did before?” I asked, innocently.
We all pretended to help looking.
“You didn’t put it in your pocket, now, did you?” I said.
“No,” the reporter said, slightly confused. “At least I don’t think so.”
We gave up looking, and one after one sat back down at our own desks. The reporter was looking more and more perplexed. Then he finally figured it out.
"I feel like that guy on The O... Oh!" he said, realizing where the idea came from.
On “The Office,” the “Andy” character eventually punches a hole through a wall and has to attend anger management classes since he fails to locate his phone. It wasn’t quite that dramatic for us.
Albie helped the reporter retrieve his phone and we all had a good laugh.
Who says work can’t be fun? Although, I guess we shouldn’t call this work…