Office Story: The M&M Collector Who Doesn’t Like M&Ms

mm-1About her: Teresa Gheen is an administrative specialist for UT’s telephone services and networks warehouses located in mm-2the Communications Building and the Kingston Pike Building. She began working for UT in 2013. “I love working for UT because everyone is so nice, and they have been since the day I started,” she said. Her day consists of receiving shipments, organizing them, and directing the distribution of hardware. “I love the challenge of organizing,” she said.

Who: Gheen has been working for UT for three years, but she has been collecting M&Ms for more than 20. “It began with a secret Santa gift,” she said, pointing to a little tin box in the shape of a green M&M. “It just exploded from there! I now get M&M -themed gifts for every holiday. I love to look for them at flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales. The fun part is the collecting.”

mm-3About her office: Before entering Gheen’s office, people are greeted by four large M&M statue dispensers—like those found in grocery stores. Her office is filled with M&M memorabilia: mugs, cups, plush toys, tin boxes, key chains, figurines, puzzles, and candles. “M&Ms make me smile because they are smiling,” she said.

Favorite object: “Red is my favorite M&M,” Gheen said—partly because red is her favorite color and partly because she loves the red M&M’s personality in commercials. “Red hamm-4s a mind of his own,” she said. “He’s mischievous.” Her favorite piece of her M&M collection is a red 1957 Chevrolet toy car with the red M&M at the wheel. “My brother had a red ’57 Chevy when we were growing up, so the car reminds me of that time,” she said. “Plus, I love that Red is the driver.”

Strange but true: Although Gheen loves collecting M&Ms, she doesn’t enjoy eating them. “I don’t like how hard they are,” she said. “I love the creamy consistency of a Hershey’s chocolate bar. I just don’t like how hard the chocolate is under the candy shell, but I’ll happily give away all my M&M candies to my friends and coworkers.”