It appears that someone in our office was inspired by a web story from last summer about cubicle pranks and decided to try out the alfalfa sprout keyboard. I believe valuable lessons were learned from this exercise.
- There is no need to possibly damage the target's actual keyboard. The keyboard used this time clearly came from outside the office as it had "IBM" on it and our office uses clones. (It is possible that the prankster found this keyboard in a give-away bin at the Great Glebe Garage sale back in May.)
- Where could the prankster have acquired alfalfa seeds? (As it happens, I've noticed that the Herb and Spice on Bank Street sells "sprouting alfalfa seeds" at an entirely reasonable price. $0.50 would buy enough for three or four keyboards, I bet.)
- I imagine it takes several days for the sprouts to reach a good height. (They probably need water once or twice a day. Leaving them on the target's desk over a weekend would probably lead to a fair bit of die-off.)
- Perhaps the prankster could find a high, well-lit shelf that nobody ever looks at to hide the keyboard while the sprouts grow.
- Even if the original keyboard is left plugged in, if it is hidden behind the target's desk, the target may be so taken aback by it all that he will call in the office manager, she will call Security and I.T. and then she will bring him a new keyboard.
- Senior staff known for having senses of humour will be blamed for the prank, not a new person who is very junior and has no guarantee of a permanent position. (At least not until the new person gets the sort of rep where he is blamed for every single thing that happens in the workplace.)
I imagine the prankster had a hard time deciding whom to leave the keyboard with. Clearly someone who'd been on vacation made the best target, but there would have been arguments in favour of either going with an obsessive-clean-freak person, or with a slobby-messy-desk person.
Our prankster went with the messy one. I wonder if he or she has realized that the big boss starts his vacation on Monday.