Created By: MichaelJJ on October 12, 2011 Last Edited By: jormis29 on May 24, 2014

Superficial Suggestion Box

A suggestion box that is really just a joke to someone.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Alice is ticked off at her job. She has a Bad Boss, her coworkers are obnoxious, and the employment benifits stink. Too bad there's nothing she can do about it.

But what's this? The boss has a suggestion box outside his office. Oh goody! Maybe this guy isn't so bad after all. So she sits down, writes out her complaint in a polite and thoughtful manner, and slips it through the slot. She begins to walk away, hopeful that her complaint will be heard.

But wait, what's that shredding sound? She glances back at the box, and notices that little strips of paper are coming out of the bottom...and into a trash can. Alice has just fallen victim to the Superficial Suggestion Box.

Basically, a trope where a suggestion box is present in a work area or elsewhere that's really just a joke. Employees can put all the suggestions in it they want, and the employer responds by throwing them out without even reading them, or even punishing them for making suggestions. Rolling Updates.


Examples:

Live-Action Television
  • In Drop the Dead Donkey this was inverted, Pointy-Haired Boss Gus was very serious about his various suggestions, and sign-up schemes. It was the rest of the staff that treated them all as a joke.
  • In NewsRadio the problem with the suggestion box isn't that Dave ignores the suggestions, it's that the others use the suggestions for jokes and insults.
  • In Scrubs, Dr. Kelso's suggestion box is his trash bin.
  • The special features of In Plain Sight, Mary and Marshall use the suggestion box for dueling suggestions, driving Stan crazy to the point he actually puts suggestions in his own box.

Magazines
  • A Mad Magazine article on How To Tell If You Work In A Sweatshop: The last guy to use the suggestion box hasn't been seen in days.

Newspaper Comics
  • In Dilbert, when the Pointy-Haired Boss senses a creative idea being formed, he sets out a suggestion box to identify and destroy it.
  • The Far Side: One cartoon is several demons in Hell reading suggestions out of a suggestion box and laughing uproarously.
  • One issue of Tina's Groove (where the protagonist works in a diner) had a payoff similar to the The Far Side strip where she and the other employees laugh over entries in the Suggestion Box.

Video Games
  • Most of the Suikoden games have a "suggestion box"... which is actually just your collected characters griping about each other, suggesting you buy their stuff, or wondering what to write for the suggestion box. Very few actual suggestions are ever made.

Web Original

Western Animation


Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • October 12, 2011
    TonyG
    In News Radio the problem with the suggestion box isn't that Dave ignores the suggestions, it's that the others use the suggestions for jokes and insults.
  • October 12, 2011
    Dawnwing
    • In Scrubs, Dr. Kelso's suggestion box is his trash bin.
  • October 12, 2011
    GKaiser
    Another possible [[Simpsons]] example is when Bart tells the tale of the Bounty, and Skinner made a suggestion box out of Martin's head - the last guy who suggested a suggestion box.
  • October 12, 2011
    Fanra
    Web Original site College Humor has a series of videos which parody Star Wars, called "Troopers". In Troopers: Suggestion Box, the Darth Vader Captain Ersatz installs a suggestion box. Those troopers who are interested in maintaining good health (or just living) might wish to decline placing suggestions in the box.
  • October 12, 2011
    sliz225
    The special features of "In Plain Sight," Mary and Marshall use the suggestion box for dueling suggestions, driving Stan crazy to the point he actually puts suggestions in his own box.
  • October 12, 2011
    CharacterInWhite
  • October 12, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    In Drop The Dead Donkey this was inverted, Pointy Haired Boss Gus was very serious about his various suggestions, and sign-up schemes. It was the rest of the staff that treated them all as a joke.
  • October 13, 2011
    Arivne
    Here is the Hell's Suggestion Box picture from The Far Side.

    It's too wide to go through the Image Uploader: it would have to be edited first.
  • October 13, 2011
    KevinKlawitter
    One issue of the comic strip Tina's Groove (where the protagonist works in a diner) had a payoff similar to the The Far Side strip where she and the other employees laugh over entries in the Suggestion Box.
  • October 13, 2011
    UglyShirts
    If the sponsor is interested, I edited the "Far Side" comic in question to the specified dimensions, and uploaded it to the the image server right here.
  • October 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Does it really need to be Of Doom? Can't it just be Suggestion Box Gag, or even just plain Suggestion Box (which is rarely played straight anyway)?
  • October 13, 2011
    AFP
    Names that come to mind include "File Thirteen", "Pearl Harbor File", "Circular File", or "Mechanical File".

    Though these nicknames all refer to trashcans, or a shredder in the last case. So maybe not very good names specifically for this.

    Superficial Suggestion Box?
  • October 13, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    Unfortunately, we can't use The Far Side one as the page image because it's a single panel copyrighted work, but we can link it in the examples section.
  • October 13, 2011
    fulltimeD
    I know dialog-y titles are apparently out now (shame) but I can't resist: I Wouldnt Suggest The Suggestion Box
  • October 13, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    ^ I like it.
  • October 14, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Definitely Needs A Better Title because "...of Doom" has very specific connotations which are unrelated to this trope.

    Token Suggestion Box?
  • October 14, 2011
    Dawnwing
    I vote for AFP's Superficial Suggestion Box.
  • October 14, 2011
    Shnakepup
    I was going to say Useless Suggestion Box, but I'll vote for AFP's Superficial Suggestion Box as well.
  • October 14, 2011
    MichaelJJ
    Yeah, I kind of pulled the title out of nowhere...Superficial Suggestion Box would work.

    And too bad about the image...oh well.
  • October 17, 2011
    MorganWick
  • October 17, 2011
    Irrisia
    If this counts...

    • Most of the Suikoden games have a "suggestion box"... which is actually just your collected characters griping about each other, suggesting you buy their stuff, or wondering what to write for the suggestion box. Very few actual suggestions are ever made.
  • October 18, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    I think Ineffectual Suggestion Box is better than Superficial Suggestion Box. The latter doesn't really make any sense. It's not like the box is shallow. I also like Suggestion Box AKA Trash Can
  • October 19, 2011
    bulmabriefs144
    It's superficial because it's just there for show, rather than not being enough (ineffectual). The third option is too long.
  • October 19, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    Ineffectual means it's useless or doesn't work. The first definition that comes to my mind for Superficial is still shallowness, not 'just for show'. It's just a weird word to use for an object to me in this context.
  • October 20, 2011
    MorganWick
    Superficial doesn't seem odd in this context to me, but ineffectual works as well, especially if you look from the suggesters' point of view.
  • May 24, 2014
    DAN004
  • May 24, 2014
    Chabal2
    One Five Second Films has the company jokester put "Shit on my chest" in the box.
    "The top suggestion last month was "Take Worley's Suggestions Seriously, Much to His Detriment," right after "Get a New Toaster Oven For the Break Room." If Worley bothered to attend last month's meeting, he would've seen the new toaster oven and surely pieced together what lay in store for him."
  • May 24, 2014
    school_bully
    What about where the suggestion box itself was installed without authorisation. Sheldon Cooper did this and the only suggestions he got were "Sheldon should take a [holiday]" and "stop installing suggestion boxes".
  • May 24, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ I'd say it counts, since in both cases the suggestions are not really used to improve anything, thus making the suggestion box "superficial". Tropes Are Flexible.
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