Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Still a Crappy Job

One of the publishers that I’ve worked for had all of the testers in the basement.  Literally the basement of a very large office building. Three hundred of us would be in there, *comfortably* seated at plastic folding tables rife with various game systems, monitors, and the occasional computer for entering bugs into the database.  In the middle of this single, giant room, were the glass cubes in the sky serving as management offices.

The only time that testers entered these offices were when they were hired or, in this case, when they were fired. You see, there was a tester on my team who believed that his job was to either test the Pause Screen or perform a Front-End Menu Soak Test. Mostly though, he talked on his cell phone. How it got reception down there is beyond me. But I digress. Despite frequently encouraging him to at least put the controller in his lap and periodically wiggle the thumbsticks to “simulate” testing (and thereby keep his employment), he chose not to even pretend to care.

As such, on one particular evening, he was summoned into the manager’s office / plexiblock.  We all knew what this meant.  It meant that for the next five minutes, Tester X had a captive audience of three hundred.

He approached the office door, but stopped - perhaps ten feet shy of it.  Then, slowly and methodically, he undid his belt, lowered his jeans, and defecated on the short-pile rug. With the same deliberate speed, he stood up and rebuckled his pants, all the while holding a defiant stare with the QA manager.

To say we were shocked would be an understatement, but the night only got better.  First one of the other testers was asked to clean up the mess.

“You must be joking.”

Then a subordinate manager was asked.

“Don’t we have janitors for this sort of thing?”

So a janitor was asked.  An elderly, almost stately man who always nodded to us as we entered or exited the building.
“Oh, y’all can go fuck yoself!”

If I recall correctly, he actually threw his broom at the QA manager, but that might be a creative embellishment on the part of my subconscious. Needless to say, no one wanted to clean up the detritus, even as the stench of it slowly filled the cavernous test room. Not the security guard who had been called to escort Tester X out of the building (he didn’t even want to touch the tester after learning that he hadn’t wiped.  Which is odd, I’d have thought that a cleaner option than if he had wiped, sans toilet paper). Not any of the other testers. And certainly not the actual QA Manager.

In the end, the local Haz-Mat division of the police was called to clear the “human waste” and the entire test department had to shut down for the evening, giving us all a paid night off.  This actually led to a corporate memo that testers who were deemed incompetent should not be fired, but rather should be laid off at the end of their current game’s test cycle in order to avoid future “poop incidents” and keep the rest of the test plans on track.

Tester X, I later learned, enlisted in the Police Academy.