Used to work at a call center that leased some extra space in a government building. This meant that should anyone call in with a bomb threat the whole building would need to be evacuated until the police gave us the all-clear. No exceptions.
You’d think that was scary but it happened every month. We got used to it. Some people used this as a way of getting a few hours off work. It happened often enough that even the local paper stopped covering it.
So one day I’m walking in to work, depressed about another day in hell, and people are coming out of the emergency exit at the side of the building.
I see my buddy Mackie and holler: “Bomb threat?”
“Yep!” He calls back with a grin.
I wave down my supervisor. “I wasn’t able to clock in,” I yell.
He waves back: “I see you. You’re good.”
Cool. Well, I’m gonna go get a coffee on paid company time.
Now at this point we’re all used to the routine: give it maybe an hour and a half at most and after the police have given the place a quick once-over it’s back to the grind.
Except this time something is different. There are extra trucks here. And dogs. Hmm…
The furniture store across the street invites us in and a hundred of us chill out on comfy couches, talking and joking around. An hour goes by, two hours, three.
We go to a local bar and grab dinner and a beer. And maybe one more beer. We overhear people at the next table cursing “that stupid call center” for having ruined their pitch for a government contract. We offer our sympathies, telling them “that call center sucks! They should shut it down! Those people are a menace!”
They appreciate the support.
We call some people waiting back at the furniture store. They tell us there’s still no progress. A special bomb robot is being sent in from out of town.
We order another round.
Night falls and we wander back. We get to watch the bomb squad pilot the robot into the front lobby and detonate a “suspicious package”. Someone’s forgotten lunch bag is destroyed, saving us all from the terrors of old bananas and stale granola bars.
After 6 and a half hours we all gather in the lobby. Management tells us they’re closing for the day. Why they waited until now to send us home I do not know, but hey, we got paid for that time so no complaints.
We let out a cheer and have a few people over to our place for drinks. The hangover the next day made work tough but it was worth it. That had to be the best 6 and a half hours I ever got paid for!
Oh, and I understand the call center was eventually evicted. Apparently the monthly bomb threats annoyed some people. Weird.