Ich habe lange nicht mehr so gelacht:https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comm ... o/db8r22o/
That the 5 second rule was a joke (and that it is not anything to start a mass panic over).
So this particular incident started stupidly and just got worse from there. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the stupidest thing I've ever witnessed.
A few days before Thanksgiving, one of the older women on my floor started running around the floor excitedly warning everyone that "a new study shows the 5 second rule no longer applies". She actually was going from cube to cube, making sure to notify each and every person. I'm guessing she felt some urgency because a holiday pot luck was about to begin, but I have no idea. Most people were pretty perplexed by her concern, but a few people started to look a bit scared.
She only made through a couple rows of cubicles before people started to walk over so they could figure out what was going on. Things were still manageable at this point.
Several people asked her to clarify why she was so riled up. Her answers was something like "people need to be careful, it's not healthy anymore" as well as a few similarly vague statements. A couple other people had no idea what the five second rule is and tried to get her to explain it. She just said "you know, like it used to be ok as long as you didn't wait more then five seconds, but now it's not." That didn't help clarify the concept for any of that day's 10,000 since she insisted on coyly avoiding the phrase "picking up food that was dropped on the floor and eating it."
At this point a small crowd was gathering around this woman and was spilling over into my cube. There were several people still trying to figure out whatever terrible news this woman was trying to convey, but several more were just staring at her with a mix of shock, confusion, and disgust. A few brave souls were asking questions, trying to clarify if she was so concerned because she had regularly been eating discarded food off of the floor prior to this.
Unfortunately, she had whipped herself into a panic by that point and wasn't really answering anyone's questions. She just kept repeating "it's not safe anymore," regardless of what was being asked. This somehow set off a bit of a chain reaction. Seriously, it was like stupidity and panic had became an airborne virus, one with about a five second incubation period.
First, the crowd grew large enough that the newcomers couldn't really see or hear what was happening because everyone is talking (maybe 40 or so people wedged between a row of cubicles). Then, one girl - who was still in the dark about the whole five second rule concept - grabbed a phone and called her mother on the phone to ask about "the news" (and not bothering to mention "the five second rule" until several minutes into the call). The five second rule lady seemed to be having a mild panic attack for some reason
Then, I started hearing people on the outer edge of the crowd asking each other if there was some breaking news and why they weren't safe anymore. Someone loudly announced, "I'm freaked out, I'm going home." A couple other people grabbed their stuff and left too. People on the opposite side of the floor were starting to gather in small groups, and looked in the crowds direction. A couple of those people decided to leave the building (but could have just been taking an early to lunch fir all I know).
At that point, things got silly. One of the girls in the center of the crowd looked up and suddenly noticed the commotion. She then got panicked and started asking things like "what's going on" and "oh my god everyone's leaving, do we need to go". Now, I should mention that she was actually one the first people to come over to talk to the five second rule lady, so should have known better than anyone what was going on. And of course, only a handful of people had left at that point.
Regardless, her and a few other people in the center of the crowd decided that "something had happened" and promptly started pushing through the crowd for some reason. This prompted about a dozen people to head towards the nearest exit door. I continued to run my daily reports.
The max exodus finally alerted a manager, who seemed rather startled by the scene after he walked out of his office. He promptly (and rather loudly) placed a call to security. Then he stood on a desk, shouted at everyone to calm down and asked for an explanation. No one volunteered one. So, he stared pulling individuals aside and asking them what was going on and what they were doing. He got 4 or 5 versions of "I don't know" before I decided to get up and try to explain the situation. I had to fill out a report on "the incident" a few days later. It was a good 5 pages long. The security guards got a good laugh out of the whole thing.
Oh, and as a footnote, there's a few tid bits I learned about the five second rule lady after the fact. (Yes, I'm a masochist and actually decided to broach the subject with her again right after everyone had calmed down a bit).
One, she apparently doesn't understand science. She thinks that scientific research somehow creates reality rather then studies it. So, she thought that "scientists had made it where the five second rule didn't work anymore." Two -and probably obviously at this point- she didn't realize that the five second rule was intended to be a joke. When explaining this concept I think I actually used the phrase "because no one in their right mind would want to eat food after it had fallen on the floor." The woman who sat next to her, also had the same misunderstanding (which was pretty concerning), was pretty pissed at me for claiming that bacteria don't wait for a five count, and insisted that her family had been using the five second rule for years.
Three, she "gets nervous when other people are nervous", which apparently is why she started repeating "it's not safe" over and over again. So she quickly created her own feedback loop.
And finally, "the study" in question that started this whole thing was just some random piece of news that had appeared on her Facebook feed.
And as an aside, we work at a Fortune 500 company. I'm not quite sure what this woman does, but it is something in finance or accounting. So, yeah.