Hedger Corp: Valentine’s Day Gone Wrong

This is the saga of Hedger Corp, told in weekly installments. (More here.)

Today, of course, is Valentine’s Day — so I decorated the office with festive posters for everyone to enjoy.

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Then around mid-morning, the UPS guy arrived with an exciting delivery: A bunch of candy hearts the employees had ordered.

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They place a big order for this candy every year. Not to give to anyone, mind you. They just like to eat it.

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But this year things were different.

Bob, Ann and Derek started reading the nice sentiments that were written on the hearts…

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And each of them could think of someone who deserved a nice candy-heart message.

Ann thought about Hot Mailroom Guy. Maybe this was the perfect time–-and the perfect way–-to announce the feelings she’d been hiding for so long…

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Bob thought about our intern Grandma Bernice, and how sweet she was to everyone in the office.

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Derek thought of my assistant Brandon, who he idolizes and wants to befriend. He agonized over which hearts to send. Finally he decided on a mix of encouraging wishes, with a vague hint of a “Best-Friends-Forever.”

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Then all three employees got ready to put their heart messages into inter-office envelopes.

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But just then, the building security guard burst into the room.

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This happens a lot. The security guy loves to burst into rooms and announce emergency drills. He concocts all sorts of them:  Earthquake, fire, lightning storm, plague outbreak, barbarian invasion. You name it, the employees are prepared.

Today’s drill was “fire during a tornado, against a backdrop of economic instability.”

He rounded everyone up and ordered them to evacuate to the parking lot.

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And this is where things took a turn.

While everyone was out in the parking lot, my assistant Brandon stopped by with a tin of NEW candy hearts that I had ordered for the employees.

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These hearts were not nearly as nice as the other ones. For example, they included:

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Per my instructions, Brandon prepared to distribute the candy.

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But then the employees returned from the “fire/tornado/economic instability” drill, and things got hectic.

It was time for lunch, and this group DOES NOT like to miss lunch. Bob, Derek and Ann rushed to finish what they’d started, and stuffed the candy in the envelopes.

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They left their packages in the bin for Hot Mailroom Guy to pick up.

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Perhaps you can guess what happened next.

That’s right: A mix-up of epic proportions.

In their rush to get the packages stuffed, all three employees had accidentally put the inappropriate candies in the envelopes, instead of the nice candy hearts they were planning to send.

It was an honest mistake. They hadn’t even noticed that new candy had been handed out. (It didn’t help that Brandon placed most of the new candy face down, so the messages didn’t show. Thanks, Brandon!)

Anyway, the whole thing got very awkward, very fast.

Derek’s plan to send Brandon some messages of encouragement and friendship didn’t quite work out. Brandon opened the envelope and saw a note that said, “I hand-picked these candy messages for you! From, Derek.”

Then he read the hearts.

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The “Angel” heart didn’t make it to Grandma Bernice. Instead, she received a less-than-heartwarming message from Bob.

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As for Ann? Well, when Hot Mailroom Guy opened his envelope, there was no “Crazy 4U” message to be found. Instead:

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He looked up at Ann, and she nodded and gave him a knowing smile.

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She thought it was odd that Hot Mailroom Guy sprinted out of the room. Maybe he was just grabbing his wallet so he could take her out somewhere fancy.

But seconds later, Derek made an alarming discovery.

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Why was there a candy heart with a mean message on it?

Bob, Ann and Derek started looking around. Suddenly they saw dozens of inappropriate candy hearts. They were all over! What was going on!?

With horror, they realized that their nice hearts–the ones they were planning to give–were still sitting in the breakroom.

Not good.

Derek prepared to throw up.

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His plan to vomit was interrupted by the UPS guy, however, who was back with “Part 2” of my Valentine gift to the office.

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It was a poster from Despair.com — to remind employees that I will not tolerate whining in the office.

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And you know what? The poster worked. Instead of whining about the whole Valentine mix-up, Bob, Ann and Derek just moaned and quietly sobbed to themselves.

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It was the happiest Valentine’s Day we’ve had in our office for a long time.

Next: As the employees struggle with a system-wide computer crash, Bob faces a fear he thought was long gone. 

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