Originally posted by an anonymous reader...

I work at a smallish startup with about 40 people. It's generally been WTF-free, as the management is usually competent. Unfortunately, things have been sailing towards WTF-land with the arrival of a new CEO a few months ago. He has already built up a steady stream of WTFs, but his latest one just takes the cake.

He recently mandated a series of "upgrades" to our security system, perhaps in response to a recent burglary. Now, until these recent "upgrades", we had several doors around the office that can be used for entry and exit. They're fully open during normal business hours. On nights and weekends, a keycard is needed for entry. The system worked fine, and the employees were happy with it. The new changes involve turning all but three doors into emergency exits; i.e. not to be used for entrance at all, and only to be used for exit in case of emergency. The alarm will sound whenever anyone uses one of the emergency exits. One of the doors turned into an emergency exit was the side door that is the closest door to where the vast majority of employees sit. The doors left as regular entrances & exits are the main enterance, the break room door (that everyone uses for smoke breaks), and a useless back door that only five people sit near (including the VP of Finance, who was in charge of having the security "upgrades" implemented; take a wild guess why that door is still usable). Needless to say, several people have now tripped the alarm by going out the side door by instinct. Before anyone asks, the security "upgrades" would have done bugger-all to deter a repeat of the recent burglary: the burglars entered by prying the main entrance (i.e. one of the doors not converted to an emergency exit) open with a crowbar.

The above part isn't the WTF, though it's pretty messed up (and it's managed to completely sink morale). The WTF follows.

When returning from lunch, I accidentally open the side door out of instinct. Whoops. I run around to the main entrance and enter as soon as our Office Manager (who I'll call L) shuts off the alarm and answers the call from the security company to confirm the false alarm. No big deal; I apologize, and we all laugh it off. But one question remains: how the hell was I able to open the door from the outside, if it's an emergency exit? That's what the Director of Operations, who I'll call N, decides to find out. N decides to open the door, setting the alarm off _again_, and test to see if the door opens from both sides. Yep, it does.

Now, N is annoyed. He's already the most vocal critic of the new security "upgrades" (despite him being one of the five people who sit anywhere near the useless back door), and this just sets him off. N goes to the lobby area to talk to L, and see if there's some kind of mistake. I follow out of curiosity. No, L says the emergency exits are supposed to be unlocked. She immediately gets defensive, arguing "it's an emergency exit, you're not allowed to lock them!". N, always the inquisitive sort, asks if the emergency exits ever lock, even at nights and on weekends (the regular doors automatically lock outside of business hours). "No", L replies, "they're never supposed to be locked". Yup, the emergency exits are left unlocked 24/7. N's WTF-sensor is tripped: "So a burglar can just come in the middle of the night and go in the emergency exits?". L argues that we're still theft-proof: "But the alarm will sound if they do that. And we just installed cameras at all the doors! We're perfectly safe!". By this point, she's looking really pissed at N, and N is looking completely gobsmacked (as am I). I decide I don't want to get caught in the crossfire, so I head back to my cube. As I turn around, their argument turns into a full-scale shouting match, audible from any point in the office. A few minutes later, N returns completely flustered. Standing in the main area where almost everyone's cubes are located, N begins correctly ranting about how utterly stupid this is: alarms and cameras are only meant as a deterrent; any burglar could just waltz in through one of the "emergency exits", grab a computer or two and an expensive IP phone (we've got a couple of cubes right next to the aforementioned side door), and waltz right out before the police or any agents of the security company get here. By this point, everyone present has realized that the security "upgrade" is really a security downgrade.

But the story has a happy ending after all: after ranting about our massive security hole in front of most of the company, N heads to the VP of Finance's office and tells him about it. He finally manages to convince the VP of Finance to call the security company and have them make sure the door is always locked from the outside (but not from the inside).