These workplace stories are downright chilling. From shady employers to horrific accidents on the job, these Redditors have endured the worst conditions imaginable. If you have a job you love, thank your lucky stars, because these real-life nightmares are not for the faint of heart.
1. This Penguin Was Flipping Me Out
I worked at an aquarium. One time, the penguin keeper needed help with a baby penguin, who was about the size of a cat. The penguin keeper's hands were full, so it was my job to hold the baby penguin and make sure she didn't get hurt while I went down this steep stairwell. It was so cute, I thought I was so lucky!
Then the keeper turned around and said something utterly terrifying: "Make sure you don't let go of her neck, or she'll rip your eyeball out in less than a second". She added, “Don't be afraid of choking her; wring her neck out if you have to. It won't hurt her, and it's just for the stairwell".
The little gal did indeed try her hardest to take my eye out, and because I didn't want to hurt her, I was afraid of choking her. Then it became an all-out fight. Luckily, I still have both eyes, and the penguin still pecked away at that aquarium.
2. Seeds Of Doubt
I was working the customer service booth at a grocery store. I had an elderly woman call multiple times, cuss me out, and call my credibility into question because she purchased oranges that did not meet her highest standards. Not only was she upset that the oranges were not tasty, but she accused me of pulling a bait and switch on her.
I had offered her a total refund or exchange, but she wasn’t having it. She said, "What is this? You put out the good oranges, and then when someone tells all their friends to buy them, you put out the bad ones?!" I replied, "I'm sorry, ma'am, that you had a negative citrus experience, but I can assure you there was no intent to trick or deceive you". She didn’t believe me.
3. The Secret Was Out Of The Bag
I used to work at Victoria's Secret—and oh my god, did they have a secret. We were required to refund and take back any used underwear as well as anything else that came back in the store. It would then immediately go back onto the sales racks, even if it had obviously been worn.
I showed my manager a used pair of panties that had a disgusting smell, and she advised me to "just spray perfume on it". I would often grab a pair of scissors from the back and accidentally cut the ones that I knew had been worn so they had to "damage" them out and not be sold.
4. Up In Smoke
I was looking out the window toward a shop area where two men were getting ready to set up for their annual summer picnic. I suddenly heard a deafening BANG.
I saw one of the men swiping at his face while the other guy stood there. Then they both walked away, and I found out later that the propane exploded in his face. He went to the hospital with second-degree burns. Needless to say, they weren’t going to be using propane for the BBQ.
5. Saved By Some Famous Last Words
I worked as a background actor in TV and films. It was a minimum-wage job where talking to an actor on set could get you fired. One day, I was sitting next to Jimmy Smits in a bar scene and tried to keep to myself. The next thing I knew, my brand new and completely silenced phone was ringing.
I didn't know the alarm could go off even if everything was set to silent. I ran out of the room, only to return to one of the other actors in the scene saying I should be let go. I was nearly in tears, but then a miracle happened.
Jimmy Smits then stood up and announced to the room, "I'm sorry my phone rang, everyone, but I had to take it. It was my agent". He gave me a little nod as he sat down and saved my job. It just goes to show there are nice celebrities out there.
6. Recycling Was The Key To Their Demise
I worked for a gelato shop that made us dig through the so-called recycling bins to fish out used plastic cups and spoons to wash and give to new customers.
Even if the spoons had bite marks from other customers and were coated in chewing gum, we were told to wash them up and only throw them out if they were really unpresentable. We were told to do this because "These things are expensive!"
Furthermore, all the other stuff in the recycling bin got thrown in the dumpster. Customers ATE IT UP and told us regularly how GLAD they were that we were a “green” business that cared about the environment enough to recycle. It didn't take long before I just couldn't keep doing all of that with a clean conscience.
I turned the company in to the health inspectors, who were absolutely horrified at what was happening. About two months later, I got laid off, and the business closed its filthy doors forever.
7. Not For Sale!
I worked at a restaurant that was like a regional IHOP. In our front display case with fresh pies, we also had a tray of caramel pecan cinnamon rolls that were at least four years old. They had been sprayed with food preservatives and other stuff and were hardened. We had a host who sold one of those rolls to a customer.
A lady asked him for a roll and pointed at the one in the display case. Instead of telling her that those rolls were for display purposes only, he took the tray into the back of the kitchen—how no one noticed is beyond me—and hacked at it with a steak blade. He boxed it up and sold it to the lady.
Meanwhile, no one had noticed that the tray of rolls in the front display case was gone. Several hours later, this lady called back and demanded to speak with a manager. She had microwaved it, and it started burning. She didn’t know if she should call the health department, the authorities, or what.
Needless to say, we gave her a full refund, as well as a free pack of cinnamon rolls. You'd think the guy cutting into it would have realized that if it takes that much effort to cut into the rolls, there was probably something amiss.
8. An Honest Review
My brother and I owned a restaurant together for seven years. One night, a lady came up to pay her bill and my brother was helping her while I was standing next to him making small talk as we did with all our regulars. Out of the blue, she told us she was so sorry—then, before we could even ask her what was wrong, she caught us off-guard with a truly disgusting display...
She fully projectile-vomited through her fingers into my brother's face. I let out a scream and ran to the hills while my brother was screaming, "Oh no, oh no" repeatedly. He ran into the kitchen and started pouring soap into his mouth. He still gags when I bring up that story.
9. Some Sleight Of Hand
We had one employee, Johnny, who just didn't want to do any work. He was in the kitchen so his duties were to cook, prep, clean, and restock. His favorite thing to do was prep. Ask the man to make a Big Mac and you'd get the worst sandwich ever. Ask him to slice tomatoes and you'd get perfection. Anyways, one day Johnny comes to me—and when I saw him, my blood ran cold.
His hand is sliced, bad. It’s down to the bone, he’s bleeding everywhere. It looked like he put his hand in the tomato slicer and just smashed it onto his hand. Thing is, he was so calm. He looked pleased with himself. We sent him home thinking that was that. He strolled out, said goodbye to his co-workers and we never saw or heard from him again.
That night, I was sorting out all the tills to take the dailies to the safe drop at the bank. We were missing nearly $5,000 in cash from the manager's safe. Never happened before. Never happened again. Don't know how he did it.
10. I Had To Make The Dreaded Call
I once was left as the only manager of a warehouse with 14 miles of conveyor and about 300 employees working that day. My senior manager had called me to let me know that my boss and my two counterparts had all called off that day. At the end of the phone call, he said, "Don't call me unless the building is on fire".
Well, I actually got to make that very call later that day.
11. I Couldn’t Pack This One Away
I worked for a self-storage place. They made every customer sign a lease agreement that said they wouldn't be held responsible if the unit was broken into and things were stolen. I found out that we had about seven to eight burglaries a year. The owners would get sued, but they would always get off because they would produce the lease agreement in court, and the judge would dismiss the case.
One day, I came in from vacation to pick up my paycheck—and I made the most disturbing discovery. I found the owner and the manager loading up a truck with the contents from a unit that wasn't theirs. I went around the corner to an area where the fence allowed me to look in without being seen.
I saw that they went to another storage space, cut off the lock, and proceeded to load up the truck with a telescope, big screen tv, and some power tools. I came back the next day and asked one of my co-workers about it.
He told me that the owners of the storage facility would sell the stuff they snatched from renters and that the manager and owner did the same thing with another property that they owned as well. I quit and called the authorities to tell them what the owners were doing.
Unfortunately, they said that there was nothing they could do unless they were caught in the act.
12. Caught In The Act
I worked as a receptionist for a chiropractor. One day, our first appointment came in, so I went in the back to look for him. I walked in on him doing the deed with a co-worker on the table. It was the same table the patients sometimes would lay on face-down on.
I went back to the front and said, "He'll be with you in a couple of minutes". I was disgusted. He was married with two young kids. I didn't work there long after that.
13. These Customers Were Whey Out Of Line
I worked at a frozen yogurt shop. One afternoon, the shop was moderately busy. A man came in, joked around with my coworker, and asked her if he could leave a bag behind the counter for "like ten minutes". She said yes. He left the backpack and exited.
Five minutes later, a woman at least 10–15 years older than the guy came in and said, "My husband left a bag behind the counter, I just need to put something in it, and I'll bring it right back". It was a little odd, but you couldn’t see the bag from the front of the shop, so she had to have known it was there.
I saw her come in from across the parking lot; therefore, she couldn't have been watching the exchange between the man and my coworker. I said, “Sure". She took the bag and went over to a table. I was helping someone, but I heard her say thanks and put the bag back.
She then went to the bathroom and got some yogurt. About ten minutes later, she was still back by the yogurt machines when the man came back in. This is when all hell broke loose. He was furious. He came through the doors cursing at the woman.
They argued for a moment, then he grabbed her arm, dragged her back to the counter, and grabbed the bag. I said, "Excuse me," but they were arguing again, and this time she hit him across the face. I'm still not sure what this dude was doing, and as they started to leave, I yelled, "EXCUSE ME!"
The man turned around, snarled, and cursed at me loudly in front of my 15 other customers—three of whom were under the age of six—and left. An old man who was in line yelled, "Hey!" and some college kids who had just paid stood up from their chairs.
A moment later, the wife of the old man said, "Hold onto these, we're just going to go check on that". She handed me their yogurt, and she, the old man, and the college kids went out after the guy in the parking lot. At first, they were lecturing him, and then he went to punch the old man, so the college kids got the guy in a headlock.
Then, the old man said something that made the dude go pale and something to the woman, who went equally pale. Afterward, they came back inside and paid for their yogurt as if nothing had happened.
14. Lady, Get Over Him Already
I used to manage a group home for developmentally disabled adults. I was in charge of hiring the staff that we needed to make the house run properly. I saw a name come across my desk that I had to interview and I instantly looked them up. Turns out, this was a girl that had an obsessive crush on me from years ago and, based on her social media, she still did.
I was in a panic, because she was basically stalking everything I did, and I really couldn't back out because it was five minutes before the interview. She came in, and it was so weird... she acted normal. We interviewed in a professional manner for about 15 minutes, I showed her around, and I thought, "Wow, maybe she has done some maturing and just let it go".
Then we got back to my office. I started a sentence like, "Well, (name), it's been a pleasure having you here and I-......" "Oh, no no no, we aren't done yet. You think you can ignore everything like you don't know what's going on?! I know where you work, now. I know where you live, and I'm going to keep calling". There was more she was saying along the lines of me telling her to kindly leave, but a phone call to the authorities, as well as a restraining order, kept her away from work and my life.
15. Don’t Bank On It
I used to work for Wells Fargo bank. It was all-around shady. We had to straight-up lie to people to get them over to a banker to open up checking accounts by telling them our policies were changing, and they had to do this. We had to make sure they had every single product we offered, whether it actually benefited them or not.
We weren’t supposed to give up until the customer had them all. This is the most chilling example: One time a blind lady came up to my window with THREE separate checking accounts under her name, and she didn't even know why she had them. A banker had opened them all up for her to meet their quota. Once I quit, I moved all of my accounts elsewhere.
16. Dangerous Obsession
I work at a high school. One time, a student pulled a revolver on one of the teachers in the parking lot after school. Initially, we thought his motives were rooted in revenge, but the truth was much more shocking—he made her give him the undergarments she had on. When local authorities caught him later that day, he told them he did it simply because she was hot.
17. This Boss Was Bad For My Health
I worked for a small-business owner. He kept deducting the employees' health insurance premiums but would never send the payments into the carrier. After a few months of this, our insurance was canceled, right before one lady's teenage son was in a fairly severe car accident. She found out at the emergency room that she had no insurance whatsoever when she thought she and her dependents had been fully covered.
The next day she went into the owner’s office, very upset, to find out what happened. He gave his usual song-and-dance and made excuses for not having been able to send it in. This normally mild-mannered woman picked up a stapler and threw it at him! But that wasn't the most despicable thing he'd done. He'd also spent thousands of dollars a month of company money on groceries and big-ticket items for his house.
This was in addition to his already generous salary. Then to top it all off, the owner actually TOOK THE EMPLOYEE TO COURT for the stapler-throwing incident. After hearing the story, the judge dismissed the weasel's case and made a comment to the effect that if he were in the same position as her, he probably would have done the same thing.
18. Not In My Rented Room
I worked in a hostel in Miami. I've learned to deal with a lot of different people. Some are eccentric, some are reserved, and some are just plain stupid. I've had a guest the past few nights who is obviously gay and sometimes tries to flirt with me. I personally have nothing against this—I actually find it flattering that he's attracted to me.
But I do find it a little odd that he knows I'm straight and he still finds the need to flirt with me. I am a 6'1" straight male and happily engaged to the love of my life. I am comfortable enough with myself and my own sexuality to not be at all bothered by this...but this other guest clearly struggles with that. At one point, the gay man came by and complimented my beard before heading into the guest-area kitchen.
Soon after, a man with a Scottish accent came to me with a complaint: "What the heck was that, mate? That queer just got all feely on you and you don't have a problem?" I responded, "I'm sorry, sir, but how is that your business?" He said angrily, "Because a man like yourself shouldn't have to be flirted with like you’re a pixie, mate".
I stood back a bit, then told him, "I'm sorry that that bothers you, sir, but that is none of your concern. Please, enjoy the rest of your night". That's when things got really heated. "Oh, so you ARE gay," he blurted out loudly. At that point, I just give him the ultimatum. "Sir, here we tolerate people of all backgrounds and sexualities. If you do not respect that, then you are welcome to find other accommodations for your stay here in Miami".
He proceeded to flip me the bird and walk away to the guest area. Moments later, the man who was being a flirt came out and said that the guest came to the kitchen and called him and his friends' names before he went to his room. I went after the guest to kick his dumb butt out, and he told me: "It's fine, you queer-lover. I’m leaving anyway. This place doesn't deserve my money".
I proceeded to get his passport photo from our system and uploaded it to the group chat I was in with the other night auditors in the area. My new gay friend bought me some pizza and wings, so that was cool. After that, the rude guest tried to check into other hostels in the proximity and got rejected.
19. This Place Left Me Flooded With Rage
I worked at a salad place called Doc Green's. The bathroom piping had burst in the wall. At first, it was a slow leak, but then there was literally poo and pee oozing out of the wall into a booth and eventually in the entire back of the house. I brought it up to several people's attention, and no one did ANYTHING. I was appalled.
There was poo flowing on tables and down the wall. The staff and I ended up squeegeeing the flooded wastewater out of the side door, toilet paper, and all. I seemed to be the only one horrified by this. IT WAS A SALAD PLACE. LETTUCE IS EXTREMELY POROUS and can definitely hold moisture full of bacteria. Luckily, the place eventually closed.
20. I Couldn’t Stomp Out Their Unethical Protocols
I used to work for a major office supply chain. One day, I went into the back and found one of the cashiers standing over a pile of stuff—printer cartridges, calculators, etc. She was stomping her little heart out and trying her best to smash all of it. I was like, “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING!?!?” She said, “Oh, they told me to break this stuff because they can't sell it".
I marched into my manager's office and asked what they were thinking. Their response FLOORED me: “Well, that stuff has sat in the clearance bin for months. We can't afford to keep it on the floor, so it has to be destroyed". I asked, “Why can't you donate it to, like, a SCHOOL or something?” Their response was, “Well, if we donate it, we have to write it off as a loss, and it makes our profits look lower. This way, it's written off as damaged property, and it improves our books".
They did the same with blank CDs. There were hundreds of them in stacks. I figured I could use some of them, so I grabbed a bunch and put them under my jacket. When I came back at the end of my shift, they had taken them back, and another cashier was taking them one by one, scratching them with her keys, and dumping them in the trash. It totally shattered my youthful optimism.
21. Temper Tantrum
I worked at a very popular sandwich shop that is known for its "fresh" eating. The owner of the store hired me and within a month, I was made the store's main closer. I ended up getting all the responsibility of a manager without any of the authority or recognition. One day, a guy walked in and asked to speak to a manager.
Being the only one there with anything close to that responsibility, I asked him what I could help him with. He told me that the sandwich that he ordered online was messed up and that he needed a refund. I informed him we couldn't do refunds, but I could give him credit for next time, or make him a new sandwich right away.
His reaction was absolutely deranged. He proceeded to start screaming, saying that if I didn't give him his money back, I'd regret it. I warned him that I'd call 9-1-1 if he didn't calm down, and that just made everything worse. He attempted to climb over the makeline to grab me, but luckily I was able to back away and stay out of his grasp.
He ended up throwing his phone, which hit me in the face and cut my eyebrow open. Luckily, another customer had called the authorities a while before and they walked in just then. I think it goes without saying that he got apprehended and I pressed charges. The worst part? My owner berated me, saying I needed to work on my people skills.
22. This Job Drove Me Crazy
I used to sell cars at a major dealership. We had an unofficial sales contest to see how much over MSRP we could sell a car for by confusing the customer on the price. We would use payments/financing, manipulation of trade value, and sometimes outright fraud, like promising manufacturer rebates then not applying them to make their head spin.
The "winner" for the two months I was there was over by $10K by selling a car that should've been about $20K for over $30K. The sad part was that the customer had no idea because they still got the PAYMENT that they wanted.
23. She Removed More Than Just Stains
I worked at a dry cleaner. The lady who ran the place was heavily into voodoo/black magic or something along those lines. I didn’t understand it because I was too scared to quiz her. What the customers didn’t know about the place was that the owner would actively assess the customers at all times in terms of first impressions, perceived health, wellbeing, spiritual makeup, karma, etc.
Anyway, once they had given the clothes over to her for cleaning, she'd show her unsettling true colors: She'd perform incredibly elaborate rituals with the clothing in order to affect the lives of the customer. I would hear extremely unsettling noises coming from the back room and have seen several unrecognizable objects in there.
Once, I heard her just laughing for about 15 minutes. Then at the end of a "session," she came out covered in sweat.
24. Giving Up
I spent three months doing an internship at a mining company. A guy fell from a 30-meter ridge and lost his life on the spot. They ruled it an accident, but a lot of us aren't convinced. Rumor has it that he actually jumped because he fell headfirst—if you're not looking to end it all, you always try to fall feet first, or at least instinctively use your arms to break the fall (for all the good it will do you).
But nope, eye-witnesses said that they saw him crashing down with his head. I never saw the scene or the aftermath, but apparently, it wasn't pretty. The company gave two weeks of paid leave to those who witnessed it.
25. Kids Say The Darndest Things
Teacher here. One day, during lunch duty, a four-year-old raised her hand. She cried that the boy next to her said he was going to go to her house, end her mom's life, and bury her in the yard while the girl watched. I knew I needed to report the incident immediately, but first, I tried to console the girl. I said: "That would upset me too if someone said that, but sometimes people say things they don't mean to hurt us".
At that moment, I was cut off by the boy in question, whose reply sent shivers down my spine. "I did mean it. I'm going to end her mom's life!" Of course, when I reported it, it was brushed off. The kid had a known behavioral problem, one that actually led another teacher to quit, and the school's disciplinary action against him was always, "Don't pay attention to him, but when he's good, reward him".
I couldn't even hug the girl to make her feel better.
26. I Wasn’t Horsing Around
I worked as an equine assistant at a ranch in Indiana. The stuff that went on at that place made me so depressed to the point where I was crying every night. The ranch mostly had horses, with a few goats here and there. The horses were underfed, overworked, and just miserable. At the time, the owner had around 20 horses ON A HALF-ACRE OF LAND.
By right, one horse needs around three acres for adequate space. There was also little shelter, and the entire "pasture" was a huge mud-lot all summer. The owner had no knowledge of equine nutrition, so she made us change the animal’s diets almost daily. This resulted in two colic cases where the horses could not pass anything for about 48 hours.
I pleaded with her to call the vet, but she refused. We also had two horses with fevers that were still being used on rocky trails at the time in 108-degree heat. The same thing happened with two horses who had hoof abscesses. Most of them hadn’t had their yearly shots in two years, and none of them had their teeth done for five. The only thing she provided for was hoof care.
The worst part was that the owner was praised by many people for her horses and her facility. She also had a boarding facility. She had gotten horses sick, their diets get mixed up ALL the time, and we had a horse almost die from the contaminated feed as a result of a horrible raccoon problem. I ended up calling the local ASPCA, hoping SOMEBODY would go out there and take her horses away from her. She inadvertently found out and threatened to sue me on the matter.
27. Different Rules For The Rich
I used to work in the woman's lingerie department for a really big designer clothing company. The company policy stated that they do not do exchanges or returns on underwear. I believed it and lived by it. I would refuse customers’ exchanges or refunds no matter what their excuse was. One day, a customer wanted an exchange and had asked for it right in front of my supervisor and me.
I refused it. Then, my supervisor looked at me with eyes like she was about to gut me like a fish and simply said, "Oh, I'm sorry. She's new here and still doesn't know our way of doing things". She led the customer away, let her pick out other underwear, and took back the other ones. I assumed that maybe the company would throw away the underwear or something.
In less than five minutes, the same pair of underwear that had no tags on it was re-tagged and put back up on display for sale. It turned out that the company only does exchanges and refunds on lingerie from the wealthy, regardless of whether the undies looked worn or the tags had been removed. Ever since then, I started soaking all new lingerie in boiling water, then throwing it into the washing machine and dryer before I even dare put it on.
28. Power Plays
I worked in a factory. There was a kid whose father was the regional manager, so he felt like he could do whatever he wanted. This kid was maybe 18 years old and went around flashing a blade at people he didn’t like...which was basically everyone. It had a six-inch blade and he kept it under his shirt in a holster. He also harassed all the women, never did any work and blamed the temps for his failures.
He would constantly be pushing up against women and telling them what he wanted to do to them, and he even took personal information from the computers for employee records to get their phone numbers and addresses. How he got access was easy—the manager above him let him use the computer with his password whenever he wanted because he always pulled the “I can do what I want because my dad is the regional manager" card.
He had tons of complaints against him. The authorities even showed up once and detained him at work, but nothing ever came of it. They took his blade as far as I know, but he had a new one a week later. Before I left, he was made a full manager, and whenever anyone went directly to his dad, his dad just sighed and kind of zoned out, acting like he couldn’t hear.
It was a messed up place, but luckily it closed down a few years back. I don’t know where he’s at now. A funny detail to add is some girl there did actually date him for like a month for some reason. She said it was literally the worst intimacy she ever had, so we got to have a laugh at him for a few days. That said, they had a massive argument and she was “let go” the next day when they broke up.
29. Contemptible Cafe
I was a manager at a cafe, but because the boss’s sisters also managed occasionally, their word was final. On the shifts they managed, we used out-of-date milk. When I say out-of-date, I mean so out of date you might as well call it cottage cheese. We also had an electronic point of sale machine that would show the name printed on the card on the merchant receipts.
My boss would hang around and scope out potential women, sometimes young girls barely 18. If they paid by card, he would take note of the time, track down their name, and add them on Facebook or Twitter. But that wasn't all. There was also a complete lack of procedures for nut allergies and gluten sensitivities, that almost injured a girl.
If I had not known her and if she didn't have her EpiPen handy, which was in her car 10 minutes from the cafe, she would have sued, or worse.
30. Cellular Sham
I worked for a major cellular provider. It literally costs nothing to send a text message, and the worst overages were always some teenager sending a bazillion texts without a texting plan. An individual text message is piggybacked on data that your cell phone was going send already to maintain contact with the cellular network.
So, that individual packet of information costs nothing for your cellular carrier to move because something was going to be moved anyway. Even if you don't have a text messaging plan, if your phone is turned on, it is taxing the network the EXACT same amount as the person paying to send messages. This ONLY applies to SMS.
MMS is more taxing on the network and has to be sent through 2G+ connections. That said, a single MMS takes far less data than loading an average webpage. Hence, the pricing, especially for individual messaging rates, is completely incommensurate with the actual costs of providing the service, and therefore, a giant rip-off.
The system is designed to drive people into unlimited plans that provide the company with a nice steady revenue stream. Even working tech support, I was constantly being harassed to increase the revenue stream—get them more insurance, a more extensive text messaging package, a bigger data plan, etc. On top of that, I would always get chewed out for over-educating customers.
31. Creepy And Crawly
I used to work in low-volt integration, wiring smart homes. Being the lead pre-wire technician, I was in charge of all pre-wire installations unless a more experienced tech was on the scene. Being just 24 at the time of my employment, I was usually the one to go into crawlspaces and attics since most of the older guys didn't want to do it.
On more than one occasion, I've met my worst fear up close and personal. I've been bitten by two brown recluse spiders and one black widow spider. I still have a scar of one of the brown recluse spiders that bit me on my side. The scary part? The brown recluse spider has NO anti-venom in the entire United States.
32. Hospital Chaos
I work as a nurse in an ICU. Two of my coworkers found out while on their shifts that they were “with” the same guy. They proceeded to physically fight each other in the hallway. That was chaotic enough, but then, out of nowhere, a patient started coding down the hallway and a family in another room set the trash can on fire. It was a wild, wild night shift.
33. The Bad Conditions Were Bugging Me
I worked in a restaurant that had a roach problem. There were also gnats everywhere. Customers could see them flying around the salads, fruits, and pies we had out, but I guess it didn’t disgust them enough to not come back. More than a few times, customers complained about bugs in their drinks that had ended up there after they fell in our ice machine. But I'll never forget the worst insect debacle...
A live cockroach ended up in someone's salad because it was on their fork as they went to take a bite. Not only that but, whole-cooked slices of turkey and roast beef had been dropped on the floor and served. None of the managers or even employees cared at all.
34. The Owner’s Wife Was Neither Classy Nor Fabulous
I worked for a vet and ran a whole month of raffles, nail cuttings for donations, and pet pictures with Santa for the SPCA. When we added up the last of the money from the month, I put it in the safe. The practice owner's wife deposited the money and bought herself some new Chanel makeup. I couldn't believe it. I quit in disgust.
35. In The Money
I knew a guy who worked at Subway back when they gave out stamps. Basically, for every six inches of sub you bought, you earned a stamp. Once you filled a card with eight stamps, you could get a free six-inch sub. So this guy started only giving stamps to customers who asked for them. If they didn't ask, he pocketed their stamps and grew a sizeable stack of complete stamp cards. Then he set his brilliant plan into motion.
Over time, he started cashing them in. Like, when a customer paid with cash, he would ring it in as a freebie, place his own completed stamp card in the till, and pocket the cash. The customer got their sub, the till was balanced, and he had an extra five to 10 bucks in his pocket. He worked there for a few years, and the word was he racked up a few thousand dollars running this scheme.
I have no idea if anybody complained or if he was ever caught, but he did buy a motorbike.
36. Caught In The Act
Back when I was a warehouse manager for a major office supply chain, one of my duties every month was to gather items from our inventory that were selected by corporate. They were to be donated to local charities. All items would be collected, scanned, placed on pallets, and loaded onto trucks to be delivered to the charity distribution center.
After a few months, I started to notice that some of the donation items that should have been shipped out, mysteriously ended up missing or being used in my general manager’s office. I later discovered that on the days that the donation items were collected, my manager would send me out for lunch. He would then revert the scans on whatever donation item he desired and keep it for himself.
One day I returned from lunch early and caught him in the act. Needless to say, he was not able to come up with a good excuse. Instead, he insisted that I take my pick of whatever I wanted from the pallet as well. I was so disgusted that I immediately put in my two weeks notice during the busiest time of the year and filed a complaint with corporate.
37. Every Dog Has Its Day
There was this guy named Gus who worked in retail with me. My boss told me, "Hey, this guy's got anxiety, go easy on him OK?" So I was like, okay, that's cool, I can relate. I did everything I could to help him make sense of the infernal godforsaken hellscape that is retail. He started off with little mistakes that were forgivable things—forgetting a task, accidentally giving the wrong information...things like that.
However, he quickly devolved in popularity as his complacency grew over time and his helpful attitude shrank. Gus started screwing around during his shift, getting caught on his phone while ignoring backup cashier calls, etc. He would also make stabbing motions behind the manager's back to other employees, then and play it all off like he was some innocent dope who didn't know any better.
None of this got him fired. Day after day, there was a new complaint from a different employee about some responsibilities he shirked. He also got reported for telling customers blatantly wrong info, saying stuff like, "Oh yeah, we have another location up on the hill" when we didn't. We had no idea whose son he was or whatever because that was apparently all kosher. What ACTUALLY got him fired was a doozy.
One day, he brought a dog wearing a super-expensive dog collar into work. He claimed he almost hit the dog on the way to work and it was running around wild, etc. He then tried to sell the dog collar to a customer, and even pushed to "adopt out" the dog to a co-worker. This co-worker was competent enough to take the dog to a vet, whereupon they found a microchip and contacted the actual owners.
THAT'S where the fun started. It came out that Gus never found the dog at all. He straight up KIDNAPPED this dog from his neighbor and tried to pawn it off, knowing full well what he was doing. The guy lawyered up immediately, tried to sue Gus, and threatened to sue the store and the store manager if Gus wasn't fired. Suffice to say, Gus was gone the very same evening. We talked about him for years and years.
38. This Place Was A Designer Dud
I work in a designer clothing retail store. The clothes were quite expensive, and the assistants were required to only wear full-priced garments. So the whole team would just pick clothes off the rack wear them all day, including during lunch and bathroom breaks. At the end of the shift, we would replace the tags and put the clothes back on the shelf for the customers to buy at full price. I was grossed out my first day there.
39. He Put Himself Into His Work
I used to work at a local higher-end pizza place—and believe it or not, this is actually what went down. The owner, who was a fairly hairy dude, would come in and stir the pizza sauce himself every morning with his ARM. He didn’t wear any gloves or anything. He would just use his bare, hairy arm. Sadly, that was just one of the many disgusting secrets that place had.
40. A Big Impact
A few weeks back, I was filming a football match where a young lad collided with the other team's goalkeeper. He got winded and was lying on the floor, freaking out. I figured he just needed to catch his breath and that he'd be just fine. After a few minutes, he was helped off the pitch and he got substituted. I saw him a while later and he was gingerly walking around.
It turned out, he was not okay; far from it, actually. He was taken to hospital that evening and the doctor dropped a bombshell diagnosis on him—an exploded liver! The poor lad spent hours in surgery and nearly lost his life. He lost 30% of his body weight and was held together by an obscene amount of staples. He eventually got released. I have slow-motion footage of the entire thing. I hope he makes it back to where he was.
41. Burnt To A Crisp
Real estate appraiser here. I've seen all kinds of screwed-up stuff. The worst one for me though was when I found a guy in the basement of a vacant, foreclosed house, flat on his back and a little charred. Apparently, he tried to take the electrical wiring (to add to his copper plumbing stash) and the electricity was still on. I'll never forget the smell.
42. There Was No Dancing Around This One
I used to work at Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire Dance Studios. Most dance instructors are not well qualified and have no formal training. They would begin teaching after a week or two of video training along with what they were taught by another instructor in the studio. Whatever the instructor learned that morning during training, they would teach to their new student that afternoon.
Instructors were basically students who had one more lesson than the people they were teaching and were thus called instructors. Yet, the studios would charge more per hour than most doctors did, regardless of the instructor's experience. It was ridiculous considering the vast majority of them did not have a big name nor the experience to warrant such a high cost for lessons.
Someone could receive a lesson from an instructor who was well known worldwide in the international arena for half the amount. Also, the dance studios believed that your talent was based upon the amount of money that you shelled out every month. The less you would spend, the fewer compliments you would receive, and the less they would care about you.
43. Hot Diggedy Dog
I used to work at a major movie theater chain, and we would recycle the hot dogs. It was pretty nasty. Basically, if the links were on the spinning rack all day and didn't get purchased, they would be thrown into a bucket and re-frozen. We poked a fork hole in one to see how long it would stay in rotation. We were shocked—it was a full seven days!
I worked as a pizza delivery driver. You see everything in my line of work. Our store is right on the edge of the city, so we deliver to the country towns a lot. The weirdest delivery I made involved a guy who paid me $150 to feed him a slice while he was in black leather from head to toe, tied to a door. I regret nothing.
My dad is an electrician. A while back, he had a job testing the wiring in council properties. One time, he walked into a flat where the tenants kept way too many pets...cats, dogs, and birds were absolutely everywhere. Whilst he was testing a socket in the living room, he was caught off-guard with the most surprising sight—a freaking tortoise emerged from under the sofa and casually made its way past him. The tenants later told him that they had "forgotten" that they even owned the thing.
46. Mental Health Check
He was a new hire. He was kind of weird and definitely suffering from a lack of social skills, but whatever. Well, fast forward a few days—a customer came back to return a piece of merchandise, claiming that when they got home, there was blood on it. We looked. Yeah, there was blood. We looked up the transaction, which was only made about 45 minutes earlier.
The new hire had set it up. We went to find him, but he wasn't in his department. But that was not necessarily a big deal, since we had to go back into the warehouse for stuff all the time. So now we went to find him in the back and there he was, in the warehouse, cutting his wrists with a razor blade and bleeding all over the place.
47. This Was Not Music To My Ears
I did the music for various media around Tokyo, from big corporations to sketchy dirty production basement deals. Once, I witnessed a director, who had a bad reputation, threaten an actress. He told her that if she continued with her gloomy face during the filming, he would take her child away. I even saw him hitting her on her head.
It was all very serious and cold. The look on her face as she quietly agreed with him ate into my very being. Then, I thought how in a few weeks, hundreds of people would get off watching her without actually being aware of the reality of the situation. I felt disgusted even getting paid by the same company.
48. I Wanted To Cut These Puppy Dog Ties
I worked for a popular national pet store chain. We would tell our customers that our puppies came from reputable breeders and not puppy mills, which wasn’t true. We got them from puppy mills. I can't express how many of them came in on the back of large, pitch dark freight trucks, malnourished, scared, and sick. We also adopted cute kittens from the local shelter and charged customers outrageous amounts of money, most of whom just felt bad for the kittens.
49. Dark Ritual
As a paramedic, I am required to go into the filthiest places imaginable to drag people out. One time, I showed up at a scene and there was an officer waiting in front of a trailer. As I walked up, he just smiled and said, "Be prepared". I anxiously walked in and my jaw dropped. There was blood, guts, and chicken feathers EVERYWHERE.
Inside was a dude with pure crazy in his eyes waiting for me. I asked him what was going on and he explained that he was demonstrating to his children how to make a proper sacrifice. The dude had taken his kids' pet chickens and beheaded them. Needless to say, that was one nerve-wracking ride to the hospital.
50. A Messy Situation
Barista here. There was this one old woman who would come in several times per week. She'd stay for hours at a time and never buy anything. She'd just ask for a glass of water and a place to sit. She was at least 90 and was clearly losing her memory, so I felt bad for her and let her stay. Little did I know that she would end up being a nightmare.
The first few times, she'd just drink her water and leave, but then she started using the restroom. Now, I can only assume this woman used diapers, and perhaps she didn't quite remember when it was time for a fresh one. Because every time she'd use our bathroom, there'd be poop. Not in the toilet. On the walls, floor, door, trash can...any combination of these.
She'd obviously tried at least a little to clean it up, but her poop persisted. We started calling her Poop Granny in secret. I have spent hours of my actual life cleaning this woman's poop off various surfaces; so many hours that my manager eventually had to ban her.
51. I Couldn’t Compute Their Policies
If you came into Geeksquad with a computer under warranty, we were required to at least perform a $70 diagnostic on it before sending it out for repairs. If viruses were detected, that price would go up to $190 for the removal. I have had to remove viruses from a client's laptop and then send the computer off to get the hard drive replaced.
One time, our department was doing poorly in sales, so they brought in a specialist to give us an after-hours training session. His very first sentence shocked me: "If anyone is stupid enough to walk through those doors looking for a repair, they deserve to be charged $189 for it". I hated working there—it was the worst.
52. Nothing Sweet About THIS
I worked in an expensive tea house and cafe where we were forced to recycle customers' jams. We would serve a scone with clotted cream and jam. Then, when we cleared the plates, any leftover jam went into the jam bucket by the dish wash. This jam was then used for the jam layer in the $6.70 per slice Victoria sponge cake. The leftover sponge cake was used to make truffles and cake-flavored ice cream.
53. Pool Bandit
I was a lifeguard. One evening, during a closing shift with my manager, I headed inside to the pool house to clean up when I heard shouting. I briskly walked out to the pool deck to find my manager yelling at a single guy to get out of the pool. The man refused, so I thought he was on something...but when he replied, he revealed the disturbing truth.
He started yelling back that he couldn’t get out…because it felt too good. The individual had been getting frisky with the pool jets. My manager yelled at me, a 17-year-old female at the time, to go back to the office and call 9-1-1. When we told him that officers were on the way, he jumped out, hopped the fence, and ran away.
This happened at a nice, family neighborhood pool. He was immediately banned.
54. Work Is A Four-Letter Word
I was a supervisor at a movie theatre. We had a new hire, who had been on the job less than a week, throw a very loud, unbelievably childish tantrum in front of a lobby full of customers. Why? All because her direct supervisor asked her to sweep up some popcorn that a customer spilled. She kept screaming, "I ain't cleaning up someone else's mess! Make them do it!"
She was 24 years old. The meltdown she had when she got fired for her tantrum was nuclear, with lots of screaming and threats about how her parents were going to "call the company and get everyone fired!" The next day, someone claiming to be her dad did call and told us that we were “going to rehire my daughter and apologize to her or else".
But nothing more came of it—the top manager just laughed and hung up. I've never seen such an epic, entitled tantrum before or since.
55. I Booked On Out Of There
The company I worked for had to maintain a trust account where money owed to clients was kept, and then they were paid out of it. There was a small lag of about 30 days between when the money came in and when it was sent to the client. It was a highly regulated industry. For more than three years, the company hadn't been paying their clients and had been fudging the books.
I found this out when I was told to stop sending reports that showed clients were owed money. I pressed management and found out they had been lying to clients for well over three years. One client, who was top three in the nation in their particular industry, was owed one million dollars. Collectively, thousands of companies were owed tens of millions of dollars.
I was instructed to lie to the clients until they were so fed up they threatened to sue the owners, then they would get paid. This was common knowledge and was openly discussed with customer service until I filed a formal complaint with the regulatory agency. None of the more than 100 employees had ever reported them—not one.
After I gave proof to the regulatory agency and quit, they swooped in and seized the company books. All of my allegations were true. However, instead of filing charges against the executives involved, the regulatory agency just fined them and then made them pay back the missing money to the trust. No one was charged. No one lost their job, and no one was put on probation.
56. This Internship Made Me Lose My Spirit
In my last semester of university, my program had to do an internship with a real company and help them come up with an advertising campaign. One of my friends in the program was really excited because he had gotten his internship with Jack Daniels. However, his view on advertising completely changed after his horrible experience.
One of the bosses at JD literally told him to go to AA meetings and figure out how to get those people drinking again.
57. Scum Of The Earth
I travelled with my boss a lot. He wasn't the greatest guy, but he was really good at his job. One time, we got to the hotel and a woman walked across the road without looking. It was annoying but not too dangerous as we were only doing 5 mph. My boss, ever easy to anger, started raging. I was usually unaffected by his tantrums, but this one was different.
He started saying really disturbing things: "Man, I'm going to find her room and end that witch. She's asking for it, you know what I mean?" That was bad enough, but then he took it to the next level. He asked the clerk at the desk: "Who was that woman who just signed in?" The clerk obviously was like, "Err. No". I was horrified by his comments and actions.
He said all of those things in a company car that had dash cams and mics. When I checked in, I got room service for the night, trying to forget about what I'd heard. Later that week, I went to the big boss to talk the incident through. She said she'd get to the bottom of it. Recordings subsequently disappeared and I was told to drop the issue.
I resigned fairly soon after and got a new role. I couldn't stand by a company that would protect someone who made statements like that. The guy got the boot a few years later, but not before he'd earned his stack of cash. I'm still mad about this.
58. He Let His Guard Down
I used to work at this cabinetry place that had this big industrial saw know as a "beam saw". To use it, you lay material—in this case, sheets of particleboard or MDF—onto some rollers and the machine clamps the ends while drawing the piece inside the machine. A guard then comes down and a large blade makes cuts that have been entered into a program.
Well, one time, an operator put a piece down, hit start, and the machine started pulling the board in. At the last moment, he noticed that the piece wasn't "square" and tried to push it in quickly. Big mistake. The metal guard came down and trapped his hand. The program then started and the blade ran through the middle of his knuckles, completely cutting off four fingers.
59. I Couldn’t Wait To Retire This Position
I once worked as the night watchman for a small retirement home that was owned by a church. I, and everyone else, could smell the odor of poo wafting down the halls. The nurses at the stations would typically wait until their mandatory rounds to deal with it. So basically, they let the residents lay in their waste. I'd say about 10% of nurses actually cared about the residents. The rest were just there to get paid.
60. I Couldn’t Keep Calm About This Storm
Years ago, I worked as a bartender at one of the many bars on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Our famous Hurricane drinks were pre-made and kept in five-gallon buckets with little spouts at the bottom to pour the drink from. But here's the big secret: These buckets were never emptied or cleaned. One year during Mardi Gras, one bucket became so empty we could actually see the bottom.
Much to our disgust, we found a t-shirt in it—a nasty, old, gross t-shirt. There was no telling how long it had been in there. Not only that, but all the random booze leftover from the promos were dumped and made into a Hurricane. And don't even get me started on the Tooter shots.
61. They Profited From The Pooches
The veterinarians where I used to work were all paying off student loans and adding pools and decks to their beach houses. They would get spiffs on procedures they provided to clients. So, if your dog came in with a case of vomiting and diarrhea after something minor, they would talk you into an exam, Xrays, bloodwork, and about five different medications.
Clients trust their vet, so they would believe them. It would break my heart to watch. Especially cancer patients. Even if they KNEW treatment more than likely wouldn’t work, they WOULD NOT tell the client this.
62. This Employer Was A Rotten Egg
I worked overnight in the dairy department of a Wal-Mart—and it was a downright horror show. We would often get returns or stuff that had been left out in the store. It was our job to put it back into the cooler; however, there was no thought given as to how long these things were left out. It didn’t matter if a gallon of milk had been sitting out for five minutes or five hours.
It was put into a cart and wheeled back into the cooler, and probably put back out on the shelf. This is done in the name of "expediency," which is what drives every policy at Wal-Mart. Things don't get done right—they get done fast. Therefore, if a dairy employee finds milk outside the cooler, it would probably go on a return pallet.
Dairy employees knew better than to put room-temperature milk back in the cooler. The store then would get a refund on the milk we would send back to the milk company. However, regular employees were trained to put it in a basket, wheel it into a cooler, and hand it off to the next guy, who was probably being told to "get this stuff back on the shelf".
Meanwhile, eggs would come in with general freight. There were no returns on eggs. So, once again, if a dairy employee picked them up, they probably got ditched in the giant bin of milk/eggs/flour that would sit outside the cooler. It would ferment and smell terrible but never see the shelf—unless someone got yelled at to put it back out. I hated every minute of working there.
63. Sickening Sandwich Shop
I used to work at a grocery store deli. If we ever dropped cold cuts on the floor, we were supposed to go to the back and "just rinse it off" in the sink. The first time that it happened to me and my boss told me to do that, I did it to appease her. I just ended up throwing it into the food waste bin after she left—and every time after that.
64. This Job Was A Rocky Road
I used to work at Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory. We were forced to do all sorts of disgusting stuff. The white chocolate was blended with Crisco shortening, and when the caramel apples sat out and became moldy, we sampled them to customers. If chocolate strawberries did not sell, we would put them in the fridge for the next day.
When they became shriveled, moldy, and disgusting, we had to drizzle them with chocolate again to hide it. When the chocolate would become dusty and have a white film called "bloom" on it, we would have to polish it with wet paper towels to make it shiny again. And for the record, none of the chocolate was made there, we had it shipped from Colorado.
65. Warning! Danger Ahead
I was working in a production lab that had very strict cleaning protocols. Shower in, shower out, respirator required at times; that kind of stuff. One time, I was in the lab by myself, just doing my work when all of a sudden, the most intense fire alarm I had ever heard in my life went off. Like, there were sirens blaring, lights flashing, and a robotic voice saying, "Evacuate the building immediately, this is not a drill".
I panicked because if I went out the fire door in the lab, I was going to contaminate the entire production wing, but also, I didn't want to lose my life, and the alarm seemed to make it pretty clear that was imminent. Luckily, my coworker busted into the room to get me and we evacuated through another airlock that was made for that kind of thing.
Turns out, the situation was incredibly dire—someone had dropped a 50-gallon drum of some nasty chemical in the wing and they had to shut down the entire production floor for a day.
66. Totally Helpless
I drive a school bus for a school district. A co-worker I used to work with every day had a severe heart attack one time. She wasn't on the bus; she had gotten in her personal car. Because she was one of the last to make it back to the base lot, nobody realized she was suffering. Her car was in park and she had her foot on the gas while she was literally dying.
They got her to the hospital, but she was too far gone. School bus drivers are at high risk for heart attacks, given that we are often sleep-deprived and overweight. I'm one of the youngest in my company and I'm still terrified.
67. What A Waste
I used to work at a pharmacy and was surprised at how much medicine would go to waste. Anytime we sent medications to homes, and they were paid for by Medicare/Medicaid or whatever, they would be considered "used". We would literally get huge trash containers full of unopened boxes, full pill packages, etc., that had to be destroyed. It made me sick to my stomach.
We weren’t permitted to donate these medications to people that actually needed them either because it was not allowed.
68. Repulsive Rentals
I used to work at a major rental tuxedo store. We used to color in black collars with sharpies and burn lapels to make them stop fraying, minutes before the suits headed out the door. The jackets were not dry cleaned, and the vests were rarely washed, just Febrezed 10,000 times. Neck grime would still be visible around the collars. But that's not the most horrifying part.
We've found wasps nests in a few of the tuxes, probably from some wasp-ridden corner of the warehouse, and pocket-handkerchiefs were made out of cut-up ties. Even though a rental would cost $200, the jacket and pants were purchased from the manufacturer for around $95 total. The tuxes were also an identical fit and material as the non-name brands but rebranded by high-end designers.
69. Oh, Poop
Our construction worker took a dump in the toilet of a vacant apartment that didn't have running water and then left without saying anything. All the workers were aware that they are supposed to use the bathrooms in the offices and clubhouses because the vacant units never have running water. The complex didn’t find it until three days later when they brought in a potential tenant for a walkthrough.
It had been over 100 degrees all week. The woman I spoke to said there wasn’t any toilet paper, either.
70. An Acquired Taste
I had a co-worker who always had a really strong stench, and I thought it was just bad BO. Turns out, she was addicted to mothballs and she was licking them during working hours. The chemicals gave off an unbelievably strong smell through the skin. We got complaints about her odor but didn’t take them seriously since we thought people were just being jerks.
That is until someone saw her actively licking mothballs on the job. I was leaving my job when this was discovered and I was sworn to secrecy because it’s not the kind of thing we can advertise around our office. It was the kind of smell where you could never really quite put a finger on what it was, but once we figured it out, it made a lot of sense.
It doesn’t smell exactly like the real thing...more like it’s been processed through the body and skin.
71. It Was In No Way Finger Licking Good
I worked at KFC. If we dropped any uncooked chicken on the floor, we were expected to wash it off and cook it. If we dropped cooked chicken, we just threw it back on the fryer for a second or two. My 23-year-old manager at the time refused to make us serve the dropped chicken. He was fired, and most of the other staff, including myself, left with him.
72. I’d Give This Job A Bad Rating
I used to be a customer service employee for 13 years. The surveys we would send out after we closed a ticket determined whether or not customer service representatives would keep their job. If they get enough bad surveys, they go to the bottom of the stack, and they're the first ones to be fired or laid off. Unfortunately, when people fill out these surveys, most of the time, they are grading the experience they had with the product, not the customer service.
They don't realize it is the customer service person who is affected by the survey, not the company itself. The company doesn’t do anything with those surveys other than grade the personnel. You might think they would take the feedback and use them to make their product or service better or to improve their management processes so that you have a better overall customer service experience, but they do not.
It's all a numbers game. Since a majority of the surveys are going to come back with negative responses, usually because the customers are angry that their product was broken, the managers hold on to them. When it comes time to reduce staff, they use these surveys to justify laying off or firing people. As a result, when someone applies for unemployment, the company can deny the application, stating that they were a bad employee because they got lots of bad reviews.
73. Karma Comes Back Around
This woman named Cheryl thought she was hot stuff because she was married to a retired football player. One day, she came in and started beating on one of our plant vendors. When we told her we were calling 9-1-1, she tried to angrily drive her SUV away. Thankfully, karma was on our side that day—she accidentally backed into a pallet of ceramic pots and then hit the front end of an officer's car when she pulled forward.
The best part? The officers immediately did a search of her car and they found a flask of Jack in her purse. She was subsequently apprehended and charged.
74. Thrashed Around
In another job, a roofer was carrying a sheet of plywood on top of a four-story beach house. It was windy, so it was dumb for him to be up there in the first place. All of a sudden, a big gust of wind got underneath the plywood, and, for some reason, he held on. The events that followed made me wince. He ended up falling off the roof and hitting his head on the concrete.
The corner of the sheet of plywood also went through his chest. It was gory; so much so that the owners were traumatized and ended up selling the unfinished house.
75. Not Really The Happiest Place On Earth
I was a former Disneyland employee. It was a standard policy that no one dies in the park. Someone could be decapitated, but the ambulance would have to announce the tragedy after leaving the park grounds. Also, the Rivers of America ride was kept dirty to hide the tracks for the large boats. So much so that if 60% of a guest's body is in with the water, Disney has to send you off to get a tetanus shot.
76. I Couldn’t Dream Of A Better Life Working Here
I worked at a Ralph Lauren store. We were required to buy and wear their clothes while at work, all based on a salary of $8 per hour. Not to mention they only gave us 15-20 hours a week, so they could employ more people, rather than give fewer people more hours. I had to quit because the job literally wasn't even paying for itself.
77. The Takeover
I worked a job a few years ago for a company that was sold to new ownership unexpectedly. One day, a bunch of guys in suits walked in and announced that everyone in upper management was fired. Everyone else was required to do job interviews and substance tests to see if they would get to keep their jobs. It was absolute chaos.
Upper management started packing their offices and calling their significant others, crying. Middle management was running around trying to keep things functioning while preparing for their job interviews. Meanwhile, about four employees were very focused on the substance tests—one of them even went to hide in a shed on the property with a five-gallon jug of water from the water machine.
He drank the entire thing too fast and ended up going into a seizure during his interview from desalinating his body. Another guy went home for lunch and came back with his infant's urine in a bag taped to his thigh. But the worst part was when they told me that I failed my test. I have never done substances in my life, so I was naturally angry.
I made them test me again and the results came back clean; however, it took two weeks before I was allowed to return to work. I stayed for like three more months after that, then I bounced. The new management was terrible and lazy. They blamed everything on the original employees and would say stuff like, "If you all were so good at your jobs, why did we have to buy the company?"
This was in 2008 when the market was in shambles from the housing collapse. Our original owner was a wealthy guy who had a dream of making it big, but he couldn't sustain the losses forever and eventually sold the company.
78. A Near Miss
One night, I was doing night time delivery of bread all around Melbourne, to both stores and markets. I took my usual shortcut through the back of Brighton which involved going up a driveway and then turning through a grass park that led into the next main street. As I was driving towards the end of the road, I saw heaps of blue and red flashing lights.
I assumed it was a booze bus, but it was 3 am on a Tuesday morning, which was kind of unusual. As I got closer, I was confronted by a ton of officers pointing their weapons in my direction. I came to a stop and held my hands up out of just instinct. I approached one officer who told me to pull over on the left and not move until I was told to.
When they finally told me what all the fuss was about, my face turned white. Turns out, I subverted a complete lockdown of the street during an active shooter incident. I straight-up told them that I had simply cut through the park to make my deliveries. At that very moment, I heard a huge bang back down the road from where I came from.
I was told to get the heck out of there immediately. I found out when I got home at 6 am that I had driven right through a terrorist attack. The suspect managed to end a homeowner’s life during his rampage.
79. This Was Straight Up A Bad Gig
I used to work at a mall kiosk selling straighteners, curlers, hair extensions, and other hair products. I was basically one of those annoying sales ladies who had to approach people walking by and try to get them to sit down and try the products. However, we weren't actually allowed to approach people. I was once threatened with a $250 fine by the mall manager.
I was caught off guard and completely unaware of that rule. My manager just told me to be more careful. I was also told by my manager to tell customers that all of our products were from Italy. That was a total lie. Whenever we restocked the shelves with a new shipment, it was my job to take all the "Made in China" stickers off the boxes.
We were also told to tell customers that they could exchange the products at any time, but when they came back with any returns, we would nail them with a $30 exchange fee for no real reason. We would sell VIP passes that would allow the customer to come in and get their hair done for free at the kiosk. When customers would come for their VIP treatment, most of my coworkers and the manager would make up some reason as to why they couldn't do their hair at that time.
Not only that, but everything had a maximum and a minimum price. For example, we tried to push our straighteners for $200. The minimum price we could sell them for was $100, which gave us all sorts of negotiating room to make up sales tactics that "end today" in order to throw on "free" products if the customer was dumb enough to buy the straightener for $200.
So, throwing in a "free" straightener was really just selling them both for $100. On Amazon, you can get these straighteners and curlers for $30. The hair serum I had to sell for $75 was only $10 online. They weren’t bad products, just overpriced. Once I had done the research and found out you could buy the products way cheaper online, I put in my two weeks notice and quit.
80. Seafood Shambles
I worked at a Red Lobster, and every night, the leftover food would be stored in the walk-in freezer. About once a week, a couple of women would come in to pick it up for the local food bank to help feed needy families or the homeless. All I would EVER hear them say was, "OOOH yeah, we havin' lobster for dinner tonight".
Then the other would reply, “Well, I have lobster almost every night. I wish they would start giving us something else". You could just see their mouths watering over the free, fairly expensive food they were getting. I knew for a fact that, unfortunately, none of the food we gave ever made it to the food bank with those two in charge of pickups.
81. Why Can’t We Be Friends?
I work the night shift at a packing line. We had two new temps in, and they were polar opposites. One was a super bubbly religious guy who was pretty emotional. Like, he cried during his favorite songs. The other guy was grungy, pretty cynical, but a darned good worker. Well, they both ended up working on adjacent lines and I was training them.
Things were great until the bubbly guy decided it was his mission to befriend the grunge guy. The grunge dude wanted to be left alone so he could work, but the bubbly guy kept going to our team lead to tell her he couldn’t understand why the grunge guy wouldn’t be his friend. My team lead, who was oblivious and despised by most of our crew, came down and told them to play nice and be friends.
I told her that bubbles needed to leave grunge alone, but she wouldn’t have it. Grunge walked out, and bubbles cried for two nights straight. He never came back.
82. You Think You Know Someone
We had this guy as a delivery driver. He was super nice, quiet, and never showed any signs of anger even in stressful situations. Then we started getting calls, mainly from older women, saying that our delivery driver was cutting them off, flipping them off, and calling them names. I didn’t believe it at first. I thought maybe they cut him off, he honked, and they wanted him fired so made up some big story.
Then I saw that the back window got busted out of the vehicle and the radio looked like it got punched out for whatever reason. Everything came together and we found out he had huge anger issues. He stopped showing up so it resolved itself, but it was crazy how good of a front he put on.
83. Say “I Don’t” To Working Here
I used to work at David's Bridal. The company wouldn’t donate discontinued or lightly damaged gowns to charities. They would instead make workers shred the dresses to bits and throw them away. They would also purposely play "Butterfly Kisses" when they thought you were close to buying a dress and make you imagine being walked down the aisle.
If they could make you cry, you were more likely to buy the gown. The veil stories were mostly baloney to get add-on sales, and the undergarments were ridiculously overpriced. Lastly, the interest on the credit card was nearly 24%. They would say you could make payments before the no-interest period was over, but they wouldn’t send a bill before then, and good luck finding the address of the company to send your payment to.
84. I Turned The Tables On Them
I worked at a Joyce Leslie clothing store. Once a year, I was given the most jaw-dropping task. I had to take a rack of out-of-season and unsold clothes and destroy every garment with scissors. I was supposed to cut the clothes so they couldn't be worn. When I asked why they couldn't just donate them, I was given some nonsensical corporate answer.
The stock boy and I decided to donate them anyway. I spent an hour pretending to cut them. He bagged them and threw them behind the trash bins. I scooped them up on my way home and dropped them at a local women's shelter.
85. What A Shocker
My co-worker was removing the top of a tree. He was using a rigging system, but the guy on the ground let it run too far down. The tip of the tree ended up on top of a primary power line, and the bottom got wedged into the crotch of another tree, creating a nonstop current of electricity. It wasn't too scary at first...but then the worst-case scenario happened. After the first few initial blue explosions, the tree started catching fire.
The poor climber had to stay at the very tippy-top of a spar and hang out there for two hours, breathing in smoke because he did not want to move and risk being electrocuted. The fire department eventually came, and the whole neighborhood went pitch black, but luckily no one got hurt.
86. An Unbearable Pain
A dad was co-sleeping with his new baby in a comfy chair in their room on postpartum. I was told that dad stumbled out to the nurses' station cradling his cold deceased child. We coded for an hour and we were able to get ROSC before shipping out via helicopter, but that baby was mostly gone by that point. The most heartbreaking thing is how it actually happened.
The baby got malpositioned and suffocated with its face pressed up against the dad. They ended up donating the organs a few days later. I've seen way worse things happen to babies, but this will always stick in my memory because of that dad. He was broken in a way that I'm not sure can ever be healed. Utterly, inescapably, indescribably, and permanently devastated.
I hope dad is okay. I hope that the postpartum nurse is okay. Practice safe sleep.
87. There Is No Real In Reality Television
I used to edit reality television and it should be no surprise, but very frequently what you are seeing happen in no way relates to what actually happened. This was a bigger deal on some shows than others. We routinely faked whole conversations and conflicts on shows like Whale Wars. That boat pitching around like crazy with people flying everywhere was edited together from around ten different moments.
88. This Job Left A Bad Taste In My Mouth
I used to work at a for-profit culinary school. They didn’t want anyone to know the actual placement and graduation rates. That information was buried so deep in the small print of the 28-page document students had to sign, and they wanted everyone to stay away from those topics of conversation during enrollment. The admissions representatives were just salespeople who had to hit quotes based on how many students they could enroll.
They would take anyone that had the money to pay but pretended to be exclusive with an application process.
89. Maintenance Mishap
I used to work in retail at a big box store. We had a maintenance guy who was an immigrant from eastern Europe. He was always nice to everyone and was able to fix practically anything. One day, I came into work and saw the whole office and locker area was wet and they had these carpet drying fans everywhere. I asked what happened and my manager told me a pipe broke in the sprinkler room and flooded the front.
I was buddies with one of the security guys there and I asked him what caused the pipe to break. His revelation shook me to my core. He told me that the maintenance guy had hung himself in the sprinkler room by the pipe and it broke under his weight. It was really disturbing to find that out. The place was never the same after that.
90. Code Yellow
I'm a psych nurse in a psych unit. There was this one female patient who hated female nurses. When one of them brought the patient her medication, the patient screamed at the nurse and refused to take her meds. As the nurse left, the patient did the unexpected—she jumped on the nurse and tried to pull her eyes out. Luckily, one of the staff saw this and screamed out, "Code Yellow!"
The entire staff grabbed the patient and medicated her before she could do any real harm.
91. Lesson Learned
I was a special education teacher who taught intellectually disabled and autistic children. Teachers would spend more time doing paperwork to prove they are teaching these high needs kids than actually teaching them. Not only that but the kids who had high profile parents, meaning the ones who were highly involved, received most of our time.
92. This Manager Deserved Coal For Christmas
I used to work as a hostess, busser, and drive-thru attendant at a Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant. It was both filthy and corrupt. No one in the kitchen wore gloves, and the cooks loved making people eat old food or food that had been dropped on the disgusting floors. The manager would take the waitress's tips and blame the customers or the sketchy-looking bussers. The most corrupt thing the manager did while I was there was around Christmas time.
He would take $100 out of each of the new employees' cash drawers, call their parents saying that their kid took the money, and have them brought in to be questioned. I was one of them. It happened to a few of us, and we all got mad. Luckily, we knew exactly how to get our revenge. We took the key that locked the box to the camera controls.
We re-wound the tape to the day in question and watched until we saw the manager start doing his thing. Every single one of us reported him, and he was instantly fired. It was glorious.
93. Mr. Noodle
I worked at an Americanized Japanese fast-casual restaurant. We used to cook these gigantic pots of noodles. Like, you better use proper lifting procedures or you'll hurt yourself. It was a daily affair. From the stove, they get tossed in an ice bath and then portioned into roughly one million individual bags. Obviously nobody liked doing it, but it had to be done.
This one kid, who always sucked, (slow, late, dumb, complained, just generally bad) decided that if he just poured them down the garbage disposal, he wouldn't have to portion them. Not including the water, it was probably 40 pounds of noodles. This was a bad idea. It clogged the pipes to such an extent that the floor drains across the back of house started flooding and we couldn't use the dishwasher or drain sinks.
And guess what?! We just cooked more frickin' noodles! The selfishness required to destroy product/property, screw our shift over, REALLY screw the next shift over, and the stupidity to think nobody would notice, just to escape some tedium just boggles my mind.
94. The Dressing Room Vandal
In the '90s, I worked at a JC Penney Catalog Outlet. The catalog sold wedding dresses, so the ones that didn't sell would be sent to the outlet. Typically, the fitting rooms were staffed by women, as you could only go into the fitting room of the opposite gender when it was empty. Since men tried on fewer clothes than women, it made pretty sense to have female staff there.
Please remember this was the '90s, so people were not aware of gender identity and LGBTQ issues. A gentleman came in, informed the staff that he and his partner were having a ceremony, and that he wanted to wear a wedding dress. He reported to the staff that he identified as a female and he asked to use the women's dressing room.
Due to the time period, and store regulations we were unable to comply. We did offer him the male fitting rooms though. The customer took the six dresses to try on in the men's fitting rooms and we were unable to check on him. After three hours, we called security. They checked in on him and he said he was almost done.
When he finally came out, comes out, he said none of the dresses was his type. He left them in the dressing room for a staff member to collect. When she went inside, she was absolutely mortified. Every. Single. One. Was. Soiled.
95. This Was Not A Barrel Of Laughs
There were two gay guys who worked at a Cracker Barrel in the deep South with me. None of the staff had any problem with them; they were just ordinary guys who happened to be attracted to other men. The managers were sort of prejudiced, though, and didn't like them. One day, two regulars came in to eat.
These regulars were notorious for requesting a million things before the meal even got there. They were annoying, but at least they tipped decently. One of the gay guys accidentally told the regulars something about his boyfriend. They went ballistic and asked him if he was gay. He told them he was. Then, one of the two regulars grabbed his hand and forced him to sit at the table. They then crossed the line—they proceeded to lecture him for about a half-hour about how he was going to the underworld for eternity.
I was watching this from another dining room and could not help him out because we were swamped. So, I got my girlfriend to help cover his tables because every time he told them he had to go, the man would grab his arm and physically force him to stay put. I finally got the manager, who simply said, “Well, he needs to hear this stuff anyway". and refused to do anything about it.
Eventually, after about a half-hour, once the regulars realized they couldn't convince him to give up his "sinful" ways, they said, "Well, we're going to need back every tip we ever gave you. It's okay if you can't remember exactly how much; just give us back an approximate amount. I think $200 should cover it. We can't be supporting the gays".
96. Locked Down
I took a job at a residential treatment center as I was desperate for a job. The interviewer said that most of the kids were court-ordered and were a step away from juvie. The interview didn’t go well, so I was honestly surprised when they called and offered me the job. On the morning of training, we went over all of the state and federal laws that governed the place, like resident rights and staff-to-resident ratios.
That afternoon, we went on a tour of the facility, during which it became readily apparent to me that exactly none of the laws we’d just covered were being followed. I left at the end of the day and never came back. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen at that place. A few months later, they were shut down after a night riot, resulting in several serious injuries to both residents and staff.
Glad I wasn’t around for that.
97. Am I On Candid Camera?
I was a cashier at Lowe's during college for less than a full day. I made it through the multiple-day training, but there was so much stupid stuff going on I almost thought I was on a hidden camera show. All of the employees complained about how hard they had to work while simultaneously not getting enough hours. Nobody understood why they were hiring like four new people (I was one of those four).
The truth turned out to be darker than I could have expected. They hired us because they were progressing through a harassment complaint that required restructuring of the store and firing off some employees. This was known to HR and explained to the new hires (which was against company policy, by the way), but it wasn't known to the other employees.
The hiring manager was inappropriate and told us not to worry about the harassment stuff, assuring us that everything would "go back to normal" soon enough and we wouldn't have to "be so uptight". They fired her the day before I started, along with one of the cashiers who trained me. She also offered me terrible guidance for the application process.
They were looking for part-time help and two of the three days they needed me, I was off from school. I told them I could work most nights, but if they needed daytime help, it had to be on those days. In my first week's schedule, I was working mornings every day that I was in school, and I wasn't given any hours on my days off.
Aside from the fact that I was given two times the hours the position called for (when other employees were shorted), my work schedule was impossible to consolidate with my school schedule. I only went to work on my first day to tell them I was quitting and that their application process was a mess.
Then they asked who trained me and everything made sense. They thanked me for "at least showing up to quit" unlike the other three they hired, who just stopped returning their calls and no-showed their first days.
98. Only A Little Messed Up
I used to hire people for a non-profit organization. We had an application from someone who had the degree the job required, but she was in prison in Louisiana. She was going to be out soon, and she was trying to find a job for when she got out. I thought this was really good for her, but there were some convictions that would rule her out for this job, so I didn’t want to waste her time.
I told her that there was a background check, and some things would rule her out. I asked: "For the sake of expediency, would you like to tell me something about your conviction? " Her response sent chills up my spine. "Yeah, it was murder". "OK. You were convicted of murder?" This definitely ruled her out for the job. "Yeah. It was a really messed up deal". That was it.
She'd been in prison for twelve years, and the best summary she could come up with was, "It was a really messed up deal". I mean, say it was self-defense? Say he was abusive? Say he was attacking someone else? Say something? You're carrying a murder conviction around—probably the most important sentence you'll ever speak is the single first sentence you say after someone finds out about that. You get one sentence.
Convince me you're actually a decent person, okay? Great! Go! "It was a really messed up deal".
99. Following Up
My insufferable manager followed me after work to my second job because she didn't believe I had one and was just using it as an excuse to get out early. My manager at my second job said, "There's some crazy lady banging on the doors yelling your name". So, I grabbed my uniform from my bag, opened the door, threw it in her face, and told her to shove off.
100. Deserving More Credit
The client let slip how much they were paying for me. I was stunned. In one month, they paid more than my annual salary. I asked my boss for a pay raise and was told there was just no money available. I said I'd give them six weeks to look for it, and she laughed at me as I wasn't, "the type to give ultimatums". That was the last straw.
I secured a better offer from another company and handed in my notice. That was when my boss's boss offered me a 50% raise to stay.
101. Behind The Door
My colleague was absent from work for a couple of days and she wasn’t answering their phone, so my boss and I went to her home. The building manager gave us a key to her apartment (which was totally against the law, I know), and we opened her unit. What we saw shook us to our cores—there she was, on the floor, completely lifeless.
Even before we entered, I had already smelled something sickly sweet and I just knew it wasn't good. We had to wait for the ambulance service to come to declare her gone…Turns out, she was sick for days and she didn’t contact a doctor or anyone else. She just slowly wasted away at home. I will never forget that first look into the apartment.
102. Projecting Gossip
I worked at a restaurant and the hostess was convinced I was sleeping with the owner. I was not. She was convinced the money I was using to take a vacation must have come from him and that I was hooking up with him behind his family’s back. She made things really weird and horrible for a couple of days. She told the new hires I was saying nasty things about them and made up really bad rumors about me.
I walked out of a shift after she confronted me in the storage room demanding I admit I was banging this guy. This guy who I never interacted with outside of the occasional table transfer or inventory update was bald, fat, and married, and had hardly said more than a hundred words to me beyond work instructions. After I left, I found out the dark truth. It turned out they were sleeping together and she was crazy. I'm so glad I quit.
103. So Much for Privacy Settings
I was interviewing for a big promotion at my old job. I had put in the time, the hours, and the effort for this promotion, and I had been passed up a few times, so I was sending out resumes while trying to get this promotion. I go through the first interview, and everything seemed great. They invited me for the second interview.
I was so excited. Flash forward two days, and I go in for the interview. The interview is with the regional and site managers. Everything is going great, they are asking me, "What are your priorities, goals, etc". At the end, the site manager changes his posture and says, "Would you say that you're a loyal employee?"
Taken aback, I say, of course, I've been here almost two years, etc. And like a shark circling his prey, this dude turns his computer monitor around, and shows me my PRIVATE Facebook posts that I posted that I was in the market for a job in the same field. Now, there's no way he could have seen this, as it was a friends-only post.
Someone I work with had to have tattled on me here. He then proceeds to read them to me out loud, not only the posts about my job search, but personal posts about my health situation and questions that I didn't bring up to anybody other than personal friends. I look at the regional manager and this guy won't look me in the eyes, he is shifting, obviously uncomfortable.
I tried to say that I was looking just in case this promotion didn't work out, as I am a college student paying my way through school, but he kept interrupting me and saying, "Loyalty is key". He then tells me, "We will think about it," and points toward the door. The regional manager kind of coughs and goes to shake my hand, but by that point, I was already out the door.
So I said "Thanks anyway," and then proceed to have the most uncomfortable walk back to my desk—I was wearing heels for the first time in like a year so I stumbled on my way out the door—with coworkers asking for the details if I got the promotion. I didn't get the job. I think the whole thing was just an "in your face" type deal.
I went on to get a promotion in a different department. I worked there for about another year and a half, and then I moved on to work for Netflix, actually. So, it all worked out! That manager was unfortunately promoted to regional, but the replacement manager was much nicer and not a huge jerk.
104. Company Transformers
At my last job, they told us “Under no circumstances are you even to look at what's going on in the other half of the plant". Obviously, I decided to peek, but when I saw what was going on, my stomach dropped. All of us were doomed. They were building an automated side of the factory. I got replaced by a robot a year later.
105. Imperfect Strangers
I found out that this guy was stalking a female employee. We worked at a 24-hour retailer and she was a morning shift worker while he was a night shift worker. Basically, there was no way they knew each other. Then, one day, I was filling in for a different manager and he came into the break room, taking pictures of the morning shift schedule.
I asked him why and he told me some story about another employee who just wanted him to send their schedule to them. I came in on my day off later that week during the day shift and caught him staring at her from a different aisle while she was stocking. She had no idea. The full story was so creepy, though. He would follow her home and watch her house and all that.
She was 17, he was 38. I called the authorities and had him escorted off the property. I also helped her get in touch with the right resources for a restraining order. He ended up violating the order multiple times and the last I heard, he’s behind bars.
106. Overwhelming Toxicity
I visited this one Brazilian family weekly. The couple had a tumultuous relationship—he ran around on her all the time and was known to give her a smack every now and then. Any time she spoke up, he threatened to kick her out. She was undocumented and he wasn’t, so she and her kids would have been homeless or worse.
The social worker and I had been secretly working with her for a while, trying to get the authorities involved, etc. Then, one day, I was doing therapy with the baby when the husband came out to show me the revolver he just bought. His next words were appalling—he said he got it so that he could “deal with anyone who messed with his family".
I felt terrible because they pulled me out of the home right away and left the baby there. I don’t know what happened to that family. Worst of all, our Brazilian translator just brushed it off, saying, “Eh, that’s just how Brazilian marriages are. “ It broke my heart.