Some jobs are bad enough to knock a guy off his rocker. If one more person comes by and tells them to put the new TPS cover on the TPS report, they will go on a murderous rampage.
Real Life has more premeditated mayhem. In TV Land, the worker snaps on the spot and becomes an Improbable Weapon User, wielding something work-related, like a boxcutter, letter opener or something hefty to bludgeon with.
Named after a series of incidents involving U.S. Postal Service workers going on killing sprees dating as far back as 1983, and occurring most infamously in Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986 that has henceforth become a part of popular culture.
While Going Postal is strictly a work-related massacre caused by a disgruntled employee, it may involve elements of a Berserk Button, a Rant-Inducing Slight, Beware the Nice Ones, Selective Enforcement or a combination of the four. Compare Axes at School.
- Jagaaaaaan: Jagasaki dreams of doing this because of how utterly boring he feels his life as a police officer is. But when he becomes a Fractured Human, he gets a full taste of what his wish entails.
- Judge Dredd: A lot of people suffer from this. Mega City One is an overcrowded hellhole and the majority of the population is unemployed because all the work is done by robots. It is known as Future Shock or Going Futsie. Interesting in that it is treated as a medical condition, rather than a crime.
- The comic Irredeemable is the story of the day a Superman Captain Ersatz goes entirely and globally postal.
- Pete The P.O.'d Postal Worker. The entire series.
- Dane Cook's "Creepy Guy at Work" routine ends with said creepy guy snapping and proceeding to shoot up his office, with the set up being that you'll be spared because you went out to talk to him and buy him candy.
- The Puella Magi Madoka Magica doujin "I'm working at a mahou shoujo recruitment company, but I think I may be at my limit" has Kyubey going on one of these near the end, putting his workplace to the torch and killing everyone. Being screwed out of good work by his only friend in the workplace (when he's already in danger of being fired) and then finding out that he's been doing the nasty with his wife on the side and that the kid she's carrying isn't his was just too much for our favorite Starfish Alien.
- Demon Knight: Wally. He was going to blow up the post office for the hooker he loved.
- The main characters in Office Space joke about doing this early in the film, in order to establish just how terrible their jobs are. One of the minor characters actually does after extreme abuse directed at him, albeit opting to burn down the building instead of the usual method.
- Fight Club: The Narrator threatens his boss that this might be the consequence if he pushes too much when his boss discovers the photocopied "Rules of Fight Club".
- Jumanji: When Van Pelt goes to the gun shop, the salesman says "You're not a postal worker, are you?" upon seeing a man in clothing from last century buying firearms.
- Jingle All the Way has Sinbad's character Myron Larabee, pretending to be one of these in order to try to strong-arm a radio announcer (and Arnie's character Howard Langston) into handing him the Turbo Man gift certificate (and later to scare off the police). The scarier part is that, while the first time he tried it he used a random package that contained a Christmas present, the second time he was unknowingly handling a real bomb package.
- Parodied in the third The Naked Gun movie. While Frank is dealing with a number of threats (itself a parody of the staircase shootout scene in The Untouchables), a woman screams "disgruntled postal workers!" and he sees a number of mailmen firing assault rifles.note
- This trope led to people mocking advance trailers for The Postman, so new trailers were made without any scenes of Kevin Costner giving the Title Drop. The film itself doesn't have anything to do with the trope, and is closer to an inversion: a man who has made it his mission to deliver the mail in a post-apocalyptic future to help rebuild society.
- Deconstructed in Falling Down. Granted, he doesn't exactly do it on the job, as he was fired a month before the plot kicks off, but the film is a story about "D-Fens", a recently divorced and fired white-collar worker going through a nervous breakdown, letting out his feelings of anger and alienation against a cruel, feckless world, and the Jerkasses who inhabit it. He accumulates a number of weapons through chance and goes on a rampage of destruction through Los Angeles. His character is contrasted against the Hero Antagonist Prendergast, an aging police sergeant who faces the same problems on the job but deals with them with maturity and empathy. Eventually, D-Fens becomes the villain of his own story, has a massive Heel Realization after Prendergast easily cuts down his whining and justifications, and eventually commits Suicide by Cop when he realizes the damage he's done.
- He Was a Quiet Man: Maconel was planning to do this at the beginning. He's beaten to the punch by his co-worker, but ends up killing the co-worker with the gun he brought himself and is unexpectedly hailed as a hero by his bosses.
- Rampage: Zigzagged Trope. While Bill is an ordinary American worker (albeit a Basement-Dweller, reflecting the economic climate of the time period) who initiates a killing spree, it's not really because of frustration with his job or life; he's motivated by various sociopolitical reasons he espouses, making Bill just a straight-up terrorist. Also, rather than simply snapping, he puts an enormous amount of effort into preparing his rampage, allowing him to carry it out without the authorities being able to stop or capture him. However, he still targets various people out of revenge for assorted petty reasons, like a waitress who accidentally spilled coffee on him in a diner.
- One episode of Criminal Minds dealt with a workplace killer willing to do anything to avenge himself on the pharmaceutical company that (from his perspective) had abused him for years.
- The phrase is humorously discussed by Rossi in one episode. He tells Prentiss about a former brother-in-law of his who was a mailman and how he would deliver a mountain of mail all day, no matter what conditions, and the next day, he had to do the same thing all over again. According to Rossi, the phrase "going postal" made perfect sense to him.
- One of the group reaps in Dead Like Me involves this scenario. We don't see the actual shooting, and it (somewhat surprisingly, for this show) isn't played for laughs.
- Humorously discussed by the characters in Seinfeld.
George: Let me ask you something. What do you do for a living, Newman?
Newman: I'm a United States Postal worker.
George: [chuckling] Aren't those the guys that always go crazy and come back with a gun and shoot everybody?
Jerry: Why is that?
Newman: Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming, and coming, and coming. There's never a letup, it's relentless! Everyday it piles up more, and more, and more, and you gotta get it out! But the more you get out the more it keeps coming IN! AND THEN THE BARCODE READER BREAKS! AND IT'S PUBLISHER'S CLEARING HOUSE DAY
Jerry: All right! All right!
- Another episode mentions how Newman had taken over David Berkowitz's old postal route he'd never seen so many dogs on one route before.
- Parodied in the MADtv sketch "Postal Workers Gone Postal". Two postal workers decide to have their murderous rampage on the same day, but of course they don't want to share. They argue about who gets to go on a killing spree, which has the more traumatic past, and which person each of them gets to kill. Then a third guy who was planning the same thing walks in. When a fourth guy walks in, they ask him why he hates being a postman, but he turns out to be a robber. They use their guns to arrest him and are hailed as heroes, and the government makes firearms mandatory for all postal workers.
- Six Feet Under had an episode where a man went on a shooting spree in his office, killing three people and then himself. Fisher & Sons handles the funerals of the killer AND one of his victims, leading to tension between Federico and David.
- Similarly, The Elegant Gentleman's Guide to Knife Fighting has an "office rampage" sketch with two guys (one intern with an assault rifle, one shotgunner who has been waiting for a promotion for ten years) going on a rampage in the same office and getting in a dispute. They both end up being killed by a third party.
- The X-Files. In "Blood", subliminal programming is making people go insane and attack those around them. The main Victim of the Week, whose progress we follow throughout the episode, is of course a postal worker.
- Supernatural. In "Repo Man", a demon has possessed a postal worker and used his vessel to murder women. We later find that the postal worker is a willing participant, as the demon makes a point of seeking out potential serial killers and acting as an Evil Mentor. Naturally, this trope is lampshaded by Dean. "So you find postal workers and help them go postal?"
- Parodied in a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update skit that mentioned a postal worker who had to deliver a baby.
Anchor: The man promptly returned to work, where he shot and killed 15 people.
- The song "The Night Santa Went Crazy", by "Weird Al" Yankovic, pretty much epitomizes this trope with a lovable childhood character.
- Dead Rising 2 featured Carl Schliff, a proud member of the United States Post Service. Before the zombie apocalypse, he had a perfect record at his job. Once he learns who Chuck is, he goes into a homicidal rage, and starts throwing around bombs and firing a shotgun at him.
Carl: Neither rain nor sleet nor hail, NOR ZOMBIES are going to keep me from my appointed rounds!
- In Off The Record, he tries to kill Frank because he thinks Frank committed mail fraud.
- The videogame titled Postal, and its sequel. It's basically The Sims meets Grand Theft Auto. Or to be more precise, Anal Cunt in video game form.
- Boyd Cooper from Psychonauts both parodies and plays the trope straight, being a man who burns down the department store of his former security-guard job with molotov cocktails made out of milk bottles. His mental condition is only cured when he burns down the mental institution for which he worked as a guard.
- In Afterlife, one of the Ironic Hell punishments for Wrath is "The Post Office Game", which makes the damned do postal service in Hell, forcing them to put up with wrong addresses, weird smells, and the occasional explosion. This punishment also puts some damned with packages on endless lines, where the attendants close for lunch every time they can attend someone. Conveniently-placed rifles are found on both sides of the punishment.
- Destroyman from No More Heroes was a post office work for his civilian disguise, fittingly enough he's also by far the single most deranged assassin in the game (and possibly the series).
- Essentially, the whole plot of Fallout: New Vegas is effectively because The Courier had a really bad day at work.
- One storyline in Free Realms inverted it instead of postal workers rampaging, there was a group of semi-anarchists who desired to destroy Sacred Grove's postal system for reasons unknown (which also put them into the territory of Terrorists Without a Cause).
- In the second Paramedium game, the threat of impending dismissal supposedly prompted a school bus driver to kidnap the students on his bus and imprison them in a bunker, where they died. Perhaps it's partly true, but it's fairly clear he had other, darker motivations as well.
- The Chronicles of Taras gives a kind of this (the trigger being a malfunctioning Slurpee Machine) as the reason why Taras Jacobs went on a rampage and killed an entire SWAT Team before permanently disabling the negotiations officer and carving the word 'LIAR' into his chest after he tried to set her up for capture.
- The SCP Foundation has the product of such an event in containment, and this being the SCP-verse, it's an odd one. SCP-2262 is an anomalous letter "B" written on a scrap of paper created by a studio artist and typographer experiencing severe Artist Disillusionment and the mother of all Creator Breakdowns. Viewing the strangely-scripted letter incites murderous rage in anyone with knowledge of aesthetics, art, design, or typography. In a twist, the unveiling actually managed to invert the trope: upon unleashing his creation upon his coworkers, a riot quickly ensued, as apparently was intended. What may not have been planned, however, was the mob focusing its collective rage on the creator of the item and tearing him limb from limb.
- The Creepypasta If You See Ghost Lights, Don't Leave the Trail starts out with a story about a disgruntled ex-employee of the towns textile factory going berserk and shooting the place up.
- Rocko's Modern Life has a postman revealing he was laid off and feeling disgruntled. The other passengers quickly vacate the car... only for him to swing around as he wanted space.
- An episode of "Justice Friends" briefly features a Joker-like villain named Disgruntled Postman, who robs a post office to steal a single postage stamp to mail a bomb to the US President.
- The Simpsons:
- Referenced in a 1999 episode. While on a field trip to a post office, Nelson asks a worker if they go on a shooting rampage. He replies those days are over. Skinner chimes in he's glad he works in a school (which became poor taste as it aired just months before the Columbine Incident).
- A quick joke in "Homer Loves Flanders" when Ned dreams of shooting bystanders from a bell tower à la Charles Whitman, a postal worker retaliates.
- An offhanded joke in The Critic, Jay accidentally slips money under the door of a postal worker, who is happy that he can now go purchase that Uzi.
- Very nearly averted in Archer. After thinking Lana had sex with every man in the office note , Cyril is seen in the bathroom loading a rifle á la Full Metal Jacket, but was evidently stopped by someone who didn't realise the stall was occupied.
- 2 Stupid Dogs had a mail-carrier who tries to explode the post office, before the Big Dog convinces her otherwise.
- Before the term was coined, a crazed (former) postal worker named Richard Pavlick tried to assassinate John F. Kennedy with a car bomb in late 1960 while he was president-elect. He didn't go through with it because Kennedy's wife and children were nearby.
- David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" Serial Killer, was working as a letter sorter for the U.S. Postal Service at the time of his arrest.
- Patrick Sherrill's rampage in 1986 is the Trope Namer.