Battle lines have been drawn at the office.
No, this is not going to be post about stolen lunches or purloined staplers. The issue is:
Rats in the parking lot!
It began in late spring when an employee arrived and noticed a couple of baby rats scooting out from under the fence. The mother rat was spotted a few days later. The building management was notified and promised to take care of the situation.
Bear in mind, the building is in the city and surrounded by similar buildings (some commercial offices, some residential apartments). It is not unusual to see rats on and around city properties – heck, you can even see them on suburban properties. Sure, the pest problem was eased when all municipalities opted for garbage dumpsters instead of cans, but the annoying little critters are still around.
We thought traps had been placed, and expected to see no more rats within a few days.
Not the case.
Whoever arrived at work first would see one or two of them. I even saw the mama near the fence, and she looked perfectly healthy to me (having kept gerbils as pets, I’m somewhat familiar with how healthy rodents look). A few days later, I saw another rat scuttling from underneath a parked car.
Emails between employees and building management became more and more frantic. One employee reported that when she arrived, she had to sit in her car and wait for a rat to finish eating in the middle of the parking lot before she could enter the office (I kid you not). My boss was concerned about having clients arrive and find rats under their feet or scurrying away, so client meetings were curtailed.
I briefly considered offering to sit with a gun on the balcony outside my office window to take care of the little devils, but didn’t figure that would go over too well. Even if I thought I could hit one without hitting my car first. I don’t think my auto insurer would be pleased if asked to cover bullet holes, especially if I was the one who caused them. And I couldn’t kill an innocent creature which is just doing what critters do.
Building management assured us that neighboring property owners would be contacted, as well as the city health department (or whatever department is in charge of pest control). Apparently, neither approach elicited any response. More traps were put out – we were informed that poisoned peanut butter was being used as bait.
(Bet you wondered why that P&J photo is at the head of this post!)
It seems rats really like peanut butter. Building management circulated an email with attached photos of several rats that had been caught in the traps.
Really? I don’t know about anyone else, but I wasn’t, like, all “Whoa – cool! Look at those little bastards with their broken backs. Bet that hurt!”
No, I’m more like, “Aw, maybe I should go and put some little crosses out there or something.”
Thanks heavens I hadn’t brought a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich for lunch that day. I will never look at peanut butter the same way.
Rats are very smart creatures. Hopefully, ours will be smart enough to simply go somewhere else. I really don’t want to go out to my car and step over little dead bodies. Maybe since Mama Rat was not one of the stars of those photographs (she was black, the deceased ones were gray and brown), she has taken her family and skedaddled.
Such drama in the workplace! I need my three-day weekends to recover.
How did your week go?
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom