I’m not sure if I should keep the title “Candygate” or rename it to “The Real Coworkers of Anonymous Software Company“. Seriously guys, this was the most ridiculous piece of drama at work to date.

Anonymous Software Company partners with a national nonprofit to donate money – for every dollar an employee donates they will match up to a certain amount. Every year we used to hold events asking employees to donate money so the company could match – we let that tradition die a few years ago but the economy seems stronger so we decided to ressurect it.

We decided to have an event after work where the nonprofit could display their information and solicit donations and we bought a large oblong jar filled with red skittles to serve as a visual representation of how close to our goal we are. Then after we reach our goal it will be raffled off to someone who donated. So after our initial event, I set up a table with all of our information along with the jar of skittles. To make sure no one accidentally ate my visual representation, I taped it closed and posted a sign next to it explaining what it was and asking people not to eat it.

The next morning I was talking to my coworker Curly:

Zoogie2: Yeah headed to go put more skittles in the jar. It’s for the <Nonprofit> event – tracking our donations and will be raffled off. Have you signed up?

Curly: Uh no. And maybe not the best place to put candy

Zoogie2: Why?

Curly: It’s not labeled – very ambiguous

Zoogie2: I put a sign next to it saying what it was

Curly: I saw no sign. Neither did <Coworker>

Zoogie2: Did you eat my candy!?

So I stalked over to his cubicle half convinced that it was all just a joke. Because who eats candy off of a table covered in information about a nonprofit with a sign next to it and tape keeping it closed shut? After an unsatisfying exchange where Curly alternated between confessing and apologizing to teasing me about how yummy they were and how he needed to grab another handful, I decided to go and see for myself.

He followed me to the front where I’d placed the table and my eyes widened and I saw a few scattered Skittles at the bottom of my jar! It had been almost half full the day before. Right in front of me, Curly pulled the tape off and grabbed a few more popping them into his mouth. With a growl of pure anger I grabbed the lid and pulled the jar against my chest protectively. After giving him an earful I’m sure he won’t soon forget, I stalked back to my desk with my jar.

I had to inform the other people on my committee about what happened so that I could get more candy to fill the jar. Their responses ranged from disbelief to rage. Some people called for him to be suspended (over a few skittles!) and forced to pay restitution of said skittles. I’m glad that I never mentioned Curly’s name, because I felt that this problem was between him and me not the committee.

Then, someone went to HR, someone who overheard my rant to Curly, someone who knew Curly’s name. They emailed calling for HR to deal with this demonstration of a “hostile work environment“.

Seriously. Over a jar of CANDY. I can’t even make this shit up.

I was forced to speak to HR multiple times, repeatedly defending Curly. I like Curly and didn’t want him fired over such a dumb thing, but it was driving me crazy to have to say “It’s just candy” so many times to people who wanted him either fired or suspended.

In the end, this incident worked its way around the water cooler of Anonymous Software Company to the point where it completely overshadowed our nonprofit fundraising efforts. Candygate 2012.