We all have to do things we don’t want to do—things we find stupid, or boring, or completely pointless. This especially happens at work, when we can’t say no to our horrible bosses, or when some other authority figure is involved. Yet somehow, these Redditors made following stupid instructions to the letter the perfect form of passive-aggressive revenge. Welcome to: “Malicious Compliance.”
1. Time To Face The Music
I was talking to some friends from undergrad and this story from my freshman year came up again. The second semester of my freshman year, I was taking a music theory course. The professor was very serious about her job and this class was a bit of a weed-out class for students who wanted to pursue Music Education (I was taking it for fun).
By the time the end of the semester rolled around, I got the feeling she didn't really like me much because I didn't pay attention in class but still got As on the homework/exams/playing tests (I'd played piano for a decade by this point), so she couldn't really punish me for anything since I wasn't disrupting the class, but I was just a thorn in her side through lack of participation.
Our final project was to find a poem we liked and craft a song using the poem as the lyrics. As she passes out the requirement sheet, she announced that she would be playing these for the class, so we need to put in effort so that we don't feel embarrassed by what she plays in front of everyone. She shoots a glance at me—the least involved student—as she says that. I took it as a challenge.
I found a poem called "A Minor Bird" and decided to craft my masterpiece in the key of E-flat minor. The reasoning: 6 of the 7 notes are lowered a half-step. So it's not a matter of thinking "everything I see is lowered," it's "everything but one note is lowered," which is fairly hard to keep track of while sight-reading something that utilizes both hands on the piano.
We were to hand them in at the beginning of class and she would go through the stack and play them, without practicing first. It's a freshman-level class. How hard could it be? I spent weeks working on this because I wanted to make sure it was both well-written and an absolute plonker for her to play. I had upperclassmen take a look at it to make sure everything was labeled correctly, and they told me I was the most magnificent jerk ever.
Apparently, this prof had irked most of the students in the department who had taken her class. Then the day comes. We all turn our papers in, and I'm visibly excited by everything. The prof comes in and goes full Dolores Umbridge: "I certainly hope everyone met the requirements and put care into their work. If not, we'll soon find out!" She goes to the piano and pulls the first paper off of the stack.
She makes some comments about it that aren't negative but are a bit goading, regarding the amount of effort it seemed to take to write it. She pulls mine up about 2/3 of the way, sits down to play it, and stops at the first chord. Then my moment came. She looks around, makes eye contact with me, and straight-up glares before regaining her composure and plunking through my piece.
There are several chords that make a nice crunch before she corrects herself (that darn NOT-flat note tripped her up every time), and it sounds like whoever wrote this piece did an awful job because of how it sounded. At the end, the meek international student—who has perfect pitch—raises her hand, and goes "Excuse me, Dr. ? That piece just played...it has 6 flats in the key, yes?"
Prof: "Yes, it did. I didn't quite expect that." Student: "You...didn't play all 6 flats, it didn't sound." Prof turns, glares at me, and goes, "No, no I did not." I got a 97% because she marked a chord label incorrect. I went back in and showed her that she missed the not-flat note in the chord, and that it was actually labeled correctly; got it changed to a 100%.
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit
Back in 2013, I was a senior at a high school I had just transferred to. I had moved earlier in the year because my parents got divorced, and I made the deliberate choice to leave my old high school and move in with my dad, attending a new high school. I won't go into much detail about the why, but it was my decision to leave my mom, my old school, and my hometown in the Bay Area, and move into a small apartment with my dad.
This comes up later. Normally, switching schools isn't a huge deal, but it was sort of an abrupt move; I wasn't able to take any of the AP classes I normally would have taken because they all had mandatory summer projects that I wouldn't have been able to do in a week. But that wasn't the worst part. A week into the school year, we were told about this stupid senior project they wanted us to do.
In a nutshell, there was some acronym like IMPACT or something, and each letter represented a value of the school. They wanted us to write about how IMPACT had influenced us in our time at the school. We were then told that, should we not do the senior project, we wouldn't be able to walk for graduation. I heard this and thought it was stupid for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that I had only just gotten there, so their dumb acronym didn't mean anything to me.
I brought this concern up to the lady telling us about the project, and her response was that I just "figure something out, or don't walk." Well okay, then, here we go. I brought it up with my dad, asked if he cared whether or not I walked for a high school graduation. He did not. So I just figured that I wouldn't do the project. End of story, right? Wrong.
You see, a few months into this senior project, they did a checkup on every senior. We just lined up in our homeroom to talk to some lady from the principal's office and told her how close we were to being done. When I walked up, I told her that I wasn't doing it. She was confused. "You're not going to do it? You have to. It's non-negotiable."
"No it's not. I don't have to do it." "But you won't walk if you don't do it." "Yeah." Then we just sort of stared at each other, and she wrote my name down and shooed me away. I correctly assumed that this would not be the last interaction I had regarding this non-issue. Several weeks later, my suspicions were confirmed. I was pulled out of class and brought into the main office.
They ushered me into the vice-principal's personal office, where she made a bit of a show of pulling out some papers. She told me that the meeting was regarding a misunderstanding I may have had regarding the senior project. She was apparently told that I didn't know what to do for the assignment, and I chose to boycott the whole thing as a result.
I quickly corrected her and explained that I very clearly understood what they wanted me to do, but that I thought it was stupid and wasn't going to do it. I also explained that I understood the penalty, and was fine with it. She, like the first lady, seemed confused by this course of action and just let me leave, since there wasn't really much of a conversation to be had.
A few more weeks later, I get pulled out of yet another class for this same thing. Again, I'm brought up to the vice-principal for a one-on-one. When I get there, she looks like the cat that ate the canary, and I knew I was in trouble. She begins, "So, I know you were in here a while ago, and you said you didn't want to do your senior project..."
"No," I interrupted, "I said I wasn't doing the project." “Well," she continued, "we had a chat with your mother over the phone earlier this week. She told us that she really wants you to walk on your graduation." I was quiet for a moment. "Um... I live with my dad." "Right, but your mom said she'd like to attend the ceremony and see you walk." "I don't think you get it," I stated, "I live with my dad for a reason."
If ever there were an expression that perfectly exemplified the dial-up tone, that's the face she made. After she collected herself, I was released and headed back to class. By this point, I was mostly just not doing the project because it was dumb. But them calling a family member to strong-arm me was crossing a line. On top of that, they tried to strong-arm me using a parent with whom I was no-contact.
I decided right then that, no matter what, I wasn't caving into them. Screw the project, screw the school, screw the weird tactics they were trying to use. Though, in my anger was also confusion. Why the heck did these people care so much about one guy not doing an optional assignment? Also, I made myself very clear, so was that the end of it right? Spoiler: It wasn't.
A few more weeks later, I got pulled into the actual principal's office. The principal, for reference, was one of those guys that tried to make a show of being overly friendly and goofy, but to the point where it came off as superficial. When I got to his office, he was his usual extroverted self, greeted me, and sat me down in front of him.
"So, I've heard about this whole senior project problem you've had going on. And I get it. Trust me, I really do—you're new here, so our motto hasn't had as much of an impression. So, after talking about it with the folks grading the projects, we think it'd be just fine if you had a modified project. Just do a project on one letter of IMPACT, and you're golden."
He gave me a big warm smile. "No." "Sorry?" He asked, still smiling. "I'm not doing it." His smile was slowly fading, "But you only have to do one letter. It's really not that much." "Yeah, I got that. I'm still not going to do it." I stated. "But you won't be able to walk on graduation day." "Yep." "So what's the issue, exactly?" "You called my mom."
His mouth was open like he was going to say something, but I guess nothing came to mind, as we sat in silence for a good twenty seconds, him trying to formulate an argument, and me just staring. I told him if that was everything he needed to talk about, I would be heading back to class. He didn't protest, so I just left. It was after this meeting that I got the real story.
Apparently, California schools will shuffle principals around every few years for some reason that probably makes sense, but I don't care enough to research. Our principal was going to be switching schools after the semester had ended, and one of his big plans was to leave that high school with 100% participation in the senior projects that would otherwise not affect any final grade...
He used the threat of preventing students from walking at graduation to pressure everyone into doing the dumb project. ...Almost everyone. I stuck to my intentions and refused to do it. And sure enough, after the deadline had passed, they made a big deal about how happy they were that 99.6% of students completed their senior projects, even though they were hoping for 100%.
And the absolute dumbest part about this exercise in stupid? After everything was said and done, I was called in one last time to the VP's office. She told me that despite my refusal to do the senior project, they were still going to let me walk, and gave me five tickets for friends and family. I laughed, walked out without the tickets, and didn't attend my own graduation.
3. Can You Spare Some Change?
Despite the big bold sign written at our store about not making change for big bills, almost everyone with $50s and $100s thinks they don't need no stinking bank and will just go to us to get that big bill broken down. Well, it keeps wiping out our tills when they raise a fuss and eventually they called corporate. Their response was to have us rescind the policy and...carry more money in the tills.
Obviously, they have never worked a till in their lives, otherwise they would know why we don't carry disgusting amounts of money in the register. But they didn't tell us we needed to have $20s and $10s. So we decide to start some malicious compliance. We go to the bank and their mouths twist into a grin when we tell them about our plan. We get dozens of $5s and $1s...and wait.
First guy walks in and smugly places down a $100. His change is $95. Here we go! I start singing the Schoolhouse Rock song. Five ten fifteen twenty twenty five...he gets nineteen $5s. He asks where the $20s are and I tell him "We are out. People keep paying with $50s and $100s and wipe out the $10s and $20s." Second guy comes in and pays for a $0.50 cookie with a $50.
When he gets nine fives he says he wanted twenties. I inform him that he could always go to a bank. This continues for four more people. Take THAT.
4. Cutting Off Your Nose To Spite Your Face
Back in the days when 33.6kbps modems were THE thing, I worked for the engineering department of a growing company. This company had started small. It was privately owned, and the VPs had all put in a portion of their own money to start the company. By this time in the story, they were finally making a respectable 30-40 million a year in profits.
But they still acted like a small company. In other words, penny-pinching. Our engineering department was designing circuit boards with embedded computer systems. And to program these, instead of soldering the microcomputer to the board, we would solder on a microcontroller socket, and then plug in an "In-Circuit Emulator" that would pretend it was a microcontroller, and allow the programmer to create the required program.
This In-Circuit Emulator, or ICE, was made by Hitachi. It plugged into a free PCI slot on your PC, and had a ribbon cable that would attach to the specialized microcontroller die that plugged into the socket. It was an absolute mess. It gave our tiny IT department headaches. It cost $15,000, and it was an absolute necessity for most of our most popular product lines.
And there was only one of them. And we were renting it. It cost $4,000 a month. The first month we had it, our CTO and Marketing VP planned our whole new product line around this family of microcontrollers. So, at the end of the month, us engineers ask management to buy this for us, since we would be using it for a while. The Engineering VP saw the price tag and told us to just rent it.
Surely we would be done with it soon. Engineers, being practical, forgot about the objection and just put our noses to the wheel. The CTO and Marketing made plans to keep us busy using this microcontroller line for a while. They pre-ordered a few million chips. After a year, the VP of Finance asked about this recurring contract line item. They called the engineer who had originally started the contract.
The engineer helpfully forwarded the approval from the Engineering VP, and his later email asking to buy it, and the VP's reply where he demurred. By the end of the week, this toy was ours. Along with a second one, since finance determined that product rollout was being affected by not enough access to the equipment. Hitachi just gave us the first one.
Stopped charging us, and never asked for it back. We paid $15,000 for a second one. No one got fired or demoted. But at the next department meeting, the Engineering VP tried to tell us that we didn't have enough money to upgrade our PCs. That one engineer spoke up, "Would $40 thousand cover it?" The company found the money.
5. A Real Work Around
I worked for a Medical Transportation company that had a contract with Medicaid. One of their many rules was that you could not provide any assistance to the patient INSIDE of their house. One elderly lady had an old house with a very small foyer that you had to climb three steps to get to the main floor. The only other entrance was around back and up two and a half flights of rickety steps to an old deck that opened into a bedroom.
Upstairs. She's in a wheelchair. Common sense says take her in the front door, up three stairs, and she's home on the level she lives on. Medicaid says take her up the outside stairs, dump her in the bedroom upstairs and let her worry about getting down to the living room level. We ignored their policy and took her in the front door anyway.
A random inspection by a random inspector showed that we were not in compliance. He soon wished he’d never bothered us. We appealed, the inspector came out and saw the different options and decided that we had no case for appeal. Take her up the outside stairs. Nope. From then on, when the driver arrived at her house, he would get her out of the van in the sidewalk, and then get on the radio and tell the boss to shove his stupid job.
Now that he was no longer an employee, he was free to assist this lovely person into her front door and up the stairs. Once finished, they would come back to the van, tell the boss they'd reconsidered, and ask for their job back. Boss was ALWAYS understanding and took them back, but very carefully noted the 10 to 15-minute break in their employment, to show that the company remained in compliance.
Aftermath: We had contests to see who could have the most dramatic "I quit" scene. Medicaid noted our activities, but couldn't put a handle on how to stop it.
6. Micro-Manage, Huge Problems
My new manager at work is one of those people that absolutely have to be in control. Even when you're exceeding every scorecard measure, keeping your head down, not putting a toe out of line, she still asks you to come to a meeting room to discuss some minor issue or another. Recently, she pulled me into a meeting to discuss me being late for work.
The protocol is to call in, say we'll be late, then submit a schedule adjustment request when we arrive. She accused me of not calling in or submitting a request, but was able to prove I did. But she didn’t leave it at that, oh no. She insisted I now needed to call her and explain why I was late. That's not the process, I told her, and she said she was making a new one.
So now I call her at 6 am on her day off to let her know if I'm gonna be late. She also had a meeting with me because my scorecard for a stat was 99/100, with a target of 50—she had to point out the 1/100 (!!) I missed. She also did the same for a handling time issue where I am hitting an average of 600 seconds with a target of 1500; she needed to tell me about a call I took too long on. Suffice to say, complaints have been raised to her manager.
Following an incident where she was asked to follow up on something for me and claimed “if it's not in writing, it didn't happen,” I've been asking for everything in writing and repeat that mantra back to her when she claims to have told me something. Last week, she asked me to see her after my call. I walked over and she wasn't there, so went back to my desk. This ended up being perfect for my revenge.
She asked me why I didn't stay around and got angry at me. I reminded her of the time she put, in writing, that I wasn't to spend more than one minute waiting for her if she asked to see me and was to go back to my desk to take calls, not wasting time. She asked me to come over again, and when I did, she wasn't there. This repeated twice more before my shift was over.
Each time I documented "Logged out at 14:14:35pm, came to your desk, you were not there, spent 45 seconds waiting, returned to desk and took another call at 14:16:38pm" in chat. She messages me to ask what time I finish. I tell her it was two minutes prior, and she says we can catch up now. I tell her that my shift is over, and ask if she'll approve overtime pay for an out-of-hours meeting.
She tells me not to be silly, and it'll just take 10 minutes. I refuse, and say if I don't get paid, we can do it tomorrow when I am being paid. She's typing, then not, then typing, then not, choosing her words. I know she's angry at being challenged, and she decided to employ one of the tactics she used when she managed a team for a company where this was standard practice.
"Okay, well, if you'd like to go home now, I can always make it a formal meeting?" A “formal meeting” where I work is code for a meeting with HR, documented on your record, for misconduct and repeated issues. She thinks she's won, but she’s really lost big time. "Not a problem. Make a formal meeting, ensure I have 24 hours’ notice, send a formal invite, and I will bring a support person with me."
I log out and leave, but not before grabbing screenshots and saving a copy of the chat logs. Next day, she's called my bluff and has a meeting scheduled. I send it to my union rep, and she comes in on the day. HR sits down with us and opens with "So we're here today to discuss some concerns. Your team leader asked you to attend an off-the-cuff catch-up three times, and for some reason you refused?"
I quickly clarify what actually happened. My manager claims otherwise, and I repeat her mantra: if it's not in writing, it didn't happen. Then I show the receipts. Her demands to put things in writing, her chat, my timestamps, my call logs, and her message to me afterward. My union rep stares at the two of them, with a small smile, and asks, "So do you maintain the position that employees should attend meetings unpaid, and that misconduct investigations are a good use of resources if they refuse?"
HR said there may have been a miscommunication, and that I could return to work. I have it put in writing that I am not accused of any misconduct, and have been cleared of any false accusations, with nothing documented on my staff file. Yesterday, my team was advised that our team leader had decided to pursue opportunities outside of the company and we were getting a new manager.
7. Geography Lesson
I work for a flooring company, running installation for one of our markets. The vast majority of the crews that work for us are filled with guys (and the occasional gal) from Central America. Being in a state with blue cities and red country between, we definitely get some of the "Good Ol' Boy" mentality from some of our customers. We had an install go out months ago, and the customer specifically requested: "Don't send no dirty Mexicans to my house."
While we have some guys from Mexico, we truly have the gamut of Central America represented in our subcontractors. So we do our schedule, not sending one of the guys from Mexico. The salesman was in the installation office when the customer called, rather frustrated. Customer: I thought I told you not to send Mexicans out here.
Salesman: Yes, sir, you did. Customer: So why are there Mexicans at my door saying they're from your company? Salesman: Well sir, it looks like Gustavo is out to your house today. Gustavo is actually from Honduras. At that point, the rest of us couldn't hold in our laughter, so the salesman left the office to finish the call. Gustavo and his crew were allowed into the house to install the flooring, but we haven't made a repeat sale to the customer just yet.
8. Gimme A Break
Back in 2015, I worked for a pretty dismal call center. It was an outsourced center that handled customer support for a lot of UK retailers. Staff turnover was real high, with the vast majority being on temporary contracts and the promise of a permanent contract being hung over people’s heads to make them suck up being treated badly.
After working there for about two years, in late February of that year I was offered a permanent contract because they wanted to put me on their team leader program. The pay was slightly better, the job security was better, the only major difference was how holidays were handled. People on temporary contracts were paid for any unused holidays at the end of the working year in April.
People on permanent contracts had to use their holidays or they would lose them. I had just over three weeks of holidays saved up, so the day I accepted I booked three weeks off in March so I wouldn't lose them in April. March rolled around and my manager told me that my holidays had been refused. I said that's fine as long as they pay me for them, and he replied that no, if you don’t use your holidays you lose them.
I said that I was trying to use my holidays and they were not letting me. He shrugged said it's the "duty of the employee to manage their holiday time wisely and I should read my contract." This was despite the fact I had only gotten that contract three weeks earlier and the holidays worked differently. Understandably annoyed, that evening I went home and read my contract from beginning to end. That’s when I discovered my manager had overlooked one crucial part of the paperwork.
The contract clearly stated I had to give a week’s notice, and that any holidays not used would be paid to any leaving employee in full on their last paycheck. The next day I came into work and announced I would be quitting unless they paid my holidays or allowed me to take the time off, and if they accepted my notice then to be sure my holiday days were included in my final paycheck.
My boss asked me if I was really going to quit over this, and I replied was he really going to lose one of his most reliable employees over this? He wouldn't budge. I assume he thought I was bluffing. So I handed in my notice, and on my leaving interview with my manager’s manager, I made sure to explain exactly why I was leaving. And yes my final paycheck did include my unused holiday days.
9. The Meat Of The Matter
I own and operate a BBQ and grill restaurant. We run a special promotion for the Euro Cup where we have a promotion for 1kg of skewers (pork or chicken) for 6.50€. This happened on a Saturday night. A group came to watch the match between Belgium and Portugal. One of them is a guy known to almost all of the restaurant owners in town.
Let's call him Dick. Dick has a tendency to complain about the food in order to get freebies (either something extra or the whole order). They place their orders and about 20 minutes later they're served. A few minutes later my head server, Mary, comes inside furious. Mary: Give me the scales! Me, slightly confused (I was sweating over the grill, since we had a lot of orders): What for?
Mary: Just give me the scales! I give her the electronic scales, she grabs an empty plate and heads outside. I follow her, because I know that something is up. She goes to the group that includes Dick, puts the scales on the table, and proclaims "Let's weigh them!" You see, Dick had ordered the promotion and then said that his order was missing almost half of it and demanded four more skewers "to make it correct" (his words).
Now, in almost any other place he would be probably right. Most of them buy their skewers already made and they weigh between 100 to 120 grams, which means that a kilo is usually 10 skewers. But we prepare our skewers in house and they are much bigger, between 180 to 220 grams (which is written on the menu), so our kilo is usually six of them.
So, basically, Dick was demanding almost another kilo of meat for free. Dick, smugly: Yeah, let's weigh them and then you can bring what you still owe me! Mary grabs the skewers and a fork and starts removing pieces of meat and placing them on the scales. Initially, Dick has a very smug smile. But he starts to frown when three skewers are emptied and the scales shows more than half a kilo of meat.
Finally, with the second piece from the fifth skewer, the scales show just above a kilo. Mary, holding the remaining skewers and smiling smugly: It seems you were right about the order not being correct. We put more. I'll take those (waving the skewers in her hand) back to the kitchen. Enjoy your food! Mary returned smiling to the kitchen and put the skewers aside, while Dick ate his kilo of meat sullenly and the rest of his group laughed at him.
10. Appreciate What You Have
When I was doing my articles at a small law firm, I was the go-to person for everything at the office (setting up computers, buying stationery, paying bills, going to court, seeing clients, etc.). After being admitted as an attorney I continued doing all this because the secretary only did about 20% of what a secretary would usually do and refused to do anything else.
My boss does some shady business (doesn't pay taxes, etc.) so he couldn't just fire her for fear of her ratting him out. He also never disciplined her. We are not in the US. Since we worked from my boss's mother's house, the secretary also spent about 50% of her day just chatting to his mother and they became fast friends. Guess who was always the evil one that everyone ganged up on? Yours truly.
I was made out to be incompetent at my job and I used to cry a lot and almost became an alcoholic from work stress. One day, the secretary got really upset with me after I asked her to buy stationery since we didn't even have staples. After a heated argument, she told me that I'm not the office manager and should stop lording it about as if I was.
Bear in mind I was her senior both as an attorney and in number of years I worked at the firm. My boss did nothing and rather got upset with me and so did his mother. I decided there and then that I am done doing both secretary work and my attorney work because I was working roughly 50-60 hours per week (standard is 40) trying to get everything done without receiving overpay.
She knew this and my boss knew this but no one cared that I was basically working myself into an early grave. Introducing: my perfect revenge. If everyone agrees that I am not the office manager, then I will stop managing the flow of the office and only do my attorney work. I stopped paying the bills, buying the stationery, reminding my boss of important meetings, etc.
Within two weeks, the electricity was cut off for 10 days because it wasn't paid and my boss's elderly mother and the rest of his family had no electricity. We could also not work for those 10 days. Once the electricity went on, the phone lines were cut because of non-payment. We could again not work. The post piled up, because there was no stationery.
We couldn't do service of court documents because our service providers cut us off. It went on for weeks. I simply worked around the issues and sorted my life out (one example: when the Wi-Fi was off I used my cellphone to hotspot my laptop without telling anyone). In the end, my boss and his mother begged me to do what I used to do, but I refused.
Since I was focusing more on my actual work, my fees increased and my pay increased as well. Shortly thereafter, I moved away from that office to our secondary office and worked alongside lovely colleagues who all did what they got paid to do. I have been at this new office (same firm, just a different location) for the last two years, and it’s so much better.
11. Service With Some Snark
My friend told me this story and it was just too good not to share: So the town we live in has lots of good old-fashioned British pubs, and one that is a pub during the week and then turns into (sort of) a club at the weekends. Since it's the only place open past 12/1 am, it tends to attract a lot of jerks. My friend was working one night with two other bar staff.
One other guy and a girl who I've been told was pretty attractive. It was about 11:55pm and a guy walks up to the bar. My friend wasn't serving anyone at the time and goes to take his order. "No thanks mate, I'll wait for her." My friend tried to explain that she was serving customers at the other end of the bar and that he would be the one to take his order.
"No. I am ONLY getting served by her! No one else!" Sure mate, no problem. My friend then waits for his colleague to finish serving her existing customer. By the time she's done it's around 11:57 pm. So my friend turns to her and says "Hey, you've only got three minutes left of your shift, so you might as well leave now, we've got it covered." So she leaves. My friend and the other guy working both refused to serve him for the rest of the night, as per his request.
12. Picking Up What You’re Putting Down
Up until fairly recently, I worked as a camp bus driver in a major industrial area. What my duties were was to pick people up from the camp (where they lived for a certain amount of time—I was two weeks in, one week out) and take them into the plant and drop them off at a variety of drop-off areas (depending on what their job was), then pick up anyone who was returning to the camp for their rest period.
Now, there were certain designated areas for the buses to pick up and drop off (you know, a bus stop) and only buses were supposed to be parked in those areas. The issue was that people would keep parking their work pickup in the bus areas and block us off. We kept asking them to not do that, they kept doing it, and eventually, it all boiled over.
A higher-up in the company started giving us heck about picking people up out of the designated areas (because people kept blocking the areas with pickups). We explained why we did it, and the higher-up promised to do something about it, but never did. The second time that higher-up gave us heck over picking people up out of our designated areas, my manager told us (the bus drivers) that the next time this happened that we should let him know via radio and then just leave.
So that's what I did. Now, we didn't just spring this on our passengers. We made sure that every single one of them knew that the next time it was blocked off, that the bus would just continue on its way and leave them behind. When I spread the news to my passengers I heard a lot of laughter and could tell that they didn't believe me. However, the next day, it happened again.
There were pickups in our areas once again and like the good little minion I was, I did as I was directed, got on the radio to my manager, let him know what was happening, and left. I understand that there were a number of interesting phone calls afterward. But we never had a problem with pickups in our areas afterward, imagine that.
13. Being A Good Samaritan
You know all those Amazon vendors that are offering gift cards and free items in exchange for 5-star reviews? What I do is accept the offer, write the review, get my gift card, then edit the review to one star and explain the situation. I started getting items in the mail like headphones or whatever with a note that offers free stuff and 10$ gift cards in exchange for writing a 5-star review on Amazon.
I’m a fairly big reviewer, and over the years I have written more than 2,000 legit reviews. To me, reviews are the most useful aspect of Amazon and nothing makes me angrier than fake reviews to promote a bad product. So I said “screw it” and I started writing the review, emailing the “scammer” with a link to my review, get my $10 gift card, then I edit the review to explicitly explain how this scammer is trying to rig the system.
There’s absolutely nothing to prevent you from doing this. Not only do you waste their time and money, but your review can help raise awareness of this.
14. An Extra Large Prank
I work in a major pizza delivery chain that has so far been unsuccessful in out-pizzaing the hut. Our store is in a college town, and everyone is bored as heck right now for obvious reasons. So we've gone from maybe one prank call a day to at least 3-5. Which isn't much but still really annoying with how much more business we've been getting, again for obvious reasons.
The worst part is how uncreative and low effort most of them are. At least 80% of them are "Can I get a boneless pizza," or "is this the Krusty Krab?” This had been going on way too long, so I took up the habit of just hanging up whenever someone starts saying something stupid. The boss wasn't too happy about this but didn't care enough to say anything…until one incident.
I hung up on someone who wanted that “boneless pizza” and he called back angry because he actually wanted to order. So I get a stern talking-to from boss man and he sends a message to the company's group chat app saying: "I know we've been getting more prank calls than usual, but please don't follow in certain people's footsteps and just hang up on them. Take the calls as seriously as possible. If they order something we can't make, calmly explain it to them and offer them something we do actually sell. We want to try to make money off of them even if they're acting dumb." So the very next call is where the fun starts.
"Thank you for calling, what can I get you?" "I'm soooooo hungry, can I get an extra-extra-extra-extra large pizza with triple every topping?" "I'm sorry ma'am, we can only go up to one extra and double each topping." "Hmmmm ok then. Can I get twenty XL's of each meat y'all have. So like 20 pepperoni, 20 sausage, etcetera." These people are obviously giggling in the background the whole time.
"Sure, give me a sec to ring it all up...Ok so that's 180 pizzas, the total will be $1,000 (don't remember the actual price but close enough) and it'll take about three hours." "Awesome thanks! We'll pay with a check when we get there—dial tone.” So I place the order, and my justice comes through immediately. Not 30 seconds later I hear "What the actual heck” from the boss and he runs to the computer.
"How are they paying for this?" He asks me. "They said with a check, we do still take checks for orders over $200 right?" "They can't have been serious, was this a prank call?" "Not sure boss, you said to take all calls seriously." He just grumbles and picks up the phone and calls the customer, and all I hear is super loud laughter as he hangs up.
Meanwhile, other employees have started actually making the ridiculous order, not noticing anything weird about it. So by the time the boss finishes the call and cancels the order on the computer, there are already five XL pepperoni pizzas in the oven. So we got free dinner for everyone working that night as well as another message in the group chat app simply saying "in regards to my last message, please just use good judgment when taking orders."
15. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys
"You're not to get involved in your mom's Facebook stuff." These were my dad's words years ago when I started a discussion with my mom over some dumb prejudiced stuff she said on Facebook. Facebook brings out the worst in my mother, who in real life used to be a lovely woman but over the years got lost in her echo chamber of stupidity.
So today there was an illegal protest in my city. A protest organized on Facebook by the lowest of the low of our society. We have a group of about 100 delusionals in the country who are actually willing to get from behind their keyboards and disrupt public transport in my city any opportunity they can get in the name of “the people.”
My parents (not a part of the 100 but seem to be well on their way) went to today’s protest, the protest was again not sanctioned, they were told to separate and leave, they didn't, they got detained. Ha. They didn't have any form of identification on them so they were not allowed to leave. My dad called for the first time this afternoon asking me to go to their place, pick up the IDs and then go to the station.
I asked if this was about the Facebook event, he said yes. I said "I better not get involved then," hung up, and ignored his next 17 calls. My aunt apparently went to pick them up later tonight and everyone's mad at me, saying I'm a traitor—except for my grandma, who called to say she misses me, and I haven't been able to get the grin off my face.
16. You’re Hot Then You’re Cold
I briefly worked as a manager at a Ralph’s (a NYC-area ice cream chain) and one night as I’m helping out scooping, I hear a customer getting annoyed at the window and starting to get snippy with one of the young kids who was working the window. I head over to smooth the situation as manager. The woman is mad because the hot fudge on her hot fudge sundae is hot and going to melt the ice cream.
I explain to her that hot fudge is indeed served hot, but she insists so I make her a new sundae with magic shell topping instead and let her keep the hot fudge one. That was far from the end of it. By the time I return with that, this customer is stirring her spoon through another cup of cream ice (kind of like a sherbet) she ordered, obviously about to complain about it, too.
The flavor she ordered was called “graham crunch” and she proceeded to tell me that there wasn’t any graham crunch in it. That she orders this flavor all the time and she knows that I am intentionally stiffing her. I tell her that this is just how the flavor is and I don’t name or make the ice cream, but she isn’t having it. She wants me to “fix” it.
We’ve got some crushed graham cracker topping in the back, so as she is berating me I just walk away from her and grab the entire container and come back to the window with it. At this point, we’ve got a line of people down the block because this lady has held us up, so there are lots of witnesses to what I was about to do. Without breaking eye contact with her as she continues to tell me that I’m wrong about the ice cream I scoop 6 days a week, I open the lid of the container and empty the entire thing over her cup of the offending ice cream.
Graham crackers are everywhere. Her ice cream is now definitely crunchy. She loses her mind at this and starts yelling at me that she knows the owner and will get me fired. I tell her “Yeah, Steve is a nice guy” and she responds with “I’ve known Steve a long time” to which I respond, “Well his name is John. Get out of here and don’t bother my employees for free ice cream again.”
Now sufficiently embarrassed in front of the long line of customers, the lady leaves in a huff and indeed never returns as long as I worked there. The next few customers left us $20 tips in the jar to make up for her, so the kids who worked for me left with quite a bit more in their pockets than they normally would and realized that their manager had their back.
17. Everybody Loves A Pizza Party
About 10 years ago, during my first full-time job out of college, I had a boss who decided she hated me. I'm not completely sure why, but she would go out of her way to make my life miserable. Demoted me to an overnight shift but wouldn't give me a reason, changed my shift around on a whim without notice, and once changed my schedule for the next day after I had left without telling me, then wrote me up when I didn't show up on time.
Stuff like that. She was a monster, so I was looking for another job. Well I found one, and I went in to give her my two weeks’ notice. My timing was perfect. This happened to be in the middle of a mass exodus for the company, as I was the fifth person to quit over the course of about 3-4 weeks. Morale was very low, and whenever anyone quit she would buy pizza for everyone instead of addressing why the place was so miserable and people were leaving.
After I gave my two weeks, she said "Don't tell anyone you're leaving." So I said OK, and walked out of her office and announced to all my co-workers, "Hey, guess what everyone! You're all getting pizza!" and they instantly knew what had happened. She was very unhappy and I felt great. I served out the rest of my two weeks and she never spoke to me again.
18. You’ve Got To Crack A Few Eggs…
So, my first job was as a server at a very popular 24-hour breakfast diner/chain. We had lots of colorful customers. One morning, I’m serving a woman sitting by herself. I ask her what I can get her, and she says she’d like an omelette. We have a list of pre-built omelettes, or you can build your own, so I ask her how she’d like her omelette. “Just a regular omelette, please” she tells me.
“Okay, so you don’t want one of the signature omelettes, what would you like inside of yours?” I ask. “Nothing, just a regular omelette.” She replies with a huff. I pause for a second because this order does occur, but not often. Some people like their eggs scrambled and cooked, then rolled up. “So you’d like an omelette with nothing inside?” “YES! A plain omelette!” She snaps, now irritated that I’ve questioned her several times.
So I enter the order, a 5-egg omelette with no fillings and no toppings. A few minutes later it comes out, and she is appalled. “What is THIS?!” "Your plain omelette," I reply... “But where is the cheese, or the ham, or the onions?!” She is irate. “Ma’am, you ordered an omelette with nothing inside...” She gets cocky and says “An omelette is eggs rolled up with ham, cheese, and onions! Everything else is extra! You should know this, working at a breakfast place!”
I look at her deadpan and inform her, “Actually, ma’am, omelette is French for scrambled eggs that are fried and rolled or folded; everything else is extra.” I’m busy so I walk off and help other colorful customers, meanwhile she flags down a manager to complain, who confirms what I told her and points out that in the menu there is, very specifically, a ham, cheese, and onion omelette with a large picture in the middle of the page.
He then tells her she has to re-order her meal and wait a second time. She didn’t leave a tip.
19. A Whole Lot Of Nothing
I used to work as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, and I once took a call from a lady who was complaining about a Black man walking down the street. He was doing nothing wrong...except, as she put it, "he's Black and walking down the street." She insisted an officer be dispatched to speak with her, and we had a policy that we had to dispatch. Soooo...I sent the only Black officer on duty.
It was out of his area, but a computer message to him and the supervisor made it obvious why he was going. When he arrived, she went nuts and called again screaming that there was now a Black man knocking on her door. I said, "Yes this is the officer you requested." Ultimately I had to send the supervisor out because she refused to open the door and was throwing a huge fit on the phone.
20. Bend, And Snap!
Years ago, I worked as a bartender and waiter. A group of suits came in and sat down and I went to take their order. I got a bad vibe off them from the get-go, but I didn’t know how bad it would get. After I finished the order and went to leave, this 30-something sleazy guy said loud enough for everyone to hear, “walk away slowly baby so we can watch.”
I then smiled at him and started to do an over-dramatic slow-motion back away, keeping eye contact with him and smiling the whole time. I told the other waiters about it and everyone started doing these slow motion walks whenever they walked past their table. The best one was a bus boy who deliberately dropped something next to their table then did a very slow and sexy pick up like the “bend and snap” from Legally Blonde.
They left pretty quickly.
21. Dancing Around The Issue
This happened when I was 16 years old and just got my driver’s license. My parents had me run to the store to pick up some groceries. I stopped by my friend's house on the way back home for maybe five minutes to show him I got my license and I was out driving alone. It was a really fun moment in the life of a 16-year-old. Only, I soon regretted it.
My stepmom Mary Ann freaked out. "We did not give you permission to drive to Bill's house! We told you to go to the store and that is ALL!" I told Mary Ann and my dad that they had let me drive to Matt's house the day before, so I didn't think it was a big deal. They went all unreasonable and laid down the unbendable rule that set up my revenge.
"You are not allowed to drive anywhere we do not give explicit permission for you to drive. Period, end of sentence. Just because you were allowed to do it previously does not ever give you permission another time. Ever." Fast forward three days later. My 13-year-old stepsister has been a jerk to me all day, and I'm sick of her. She goes quiet for about 30 minutes and then comes out all sickly sweet.
"Hey Brian, it's time to take me to ballet." I have taken her to ballet three days a week since I got my license. It's basically one of my chores. But I see my opportunity. That is, to say "Screw you!" to all three of them at once. "Sorry, Tina. I'm not allowed to take you to ballet. The parents didn't tell me to take you, and I don't want to get in trouble!"
She screams, she cries, she begs, she threatens. She calls her mom and leaves a message. She calls my dad and leaves a message. Just like Steve Miller says, "Time keeps on slippin', into the future." I'm not sure I'm brave enough to hang on to the bitter end and actually go through with it. I'm shaking, but I know I've got them. No call back from the parents and the clock goes on past the start of her class.
Stepmom comes home and Tina runs to meet her. "Tina, what are you doing here? You're supposed to be at ballet!" I hear Tina tell her rendition of the story, leaving out how miserable she had been to me, and they go back and forth. Mary Ann comes pounding down the hall and yells (as God is my witness) "You just wait 'til your FATHER gets home!"
I had to stifle a laugh because I never really believed people actually said that. An hour later dad comes home and the TWO of them go running out to meet him and tell him how horrible I was. I wait in my room for the hammer to fall. About 10 minutes later my dad calls down the hall, "Brian, would you please come here and talk to us?"
"Well, Brian, you did it." "What do you mean, Dad?" "You got us all, and there's absolutely nothing we can do about it. OK, let's make this reasonable for everyone..." And they did. They agreed that they were over-the-top. They recognized that Tina isn't always very nice to me, and they spoke to her about that. I was allowed to have reasonable freedom if I was driving somewhere, since I had good grades and had never been in trouble.
I walked down the hall back to my room, my back to my parents, with the world's biggest grin on my face.
22. We Are Never Getting Back Together
Nearly two years ago, I started work at a company as their digital marketing person. After I started, I learned why they really wanted me. It turned out that I was brought in to put out the fires left by my predecessor, the VP Marketing, who had a team of four plus himself, and spent over $1 million in one year while he brought in just five deals, two of them for under $10K.
As you can well imagine, after a performance like that, I had lots of work to do, and very little to do it with. Aside from one or two paid tools, everything else was to be done using free tools only. I’m going to do some bragging here, but I beat the previous year’s figures in all categories with 10% of the budget. When I started, I thought Bossman (Founder/CEO) had a really good management style.
He would say things like: “Your successes are yours, your mistakes are mine,” and “The enemy of good is great. I don’t expect perfection, I want you to make sure things work and get them done.” In essence, I was allowed to run my own (one-man) department and outsourced freelancers, and as long as I was getting results, he left me alone.
Since I was the only person on the marketing team, I also had to learn a large number of skills and platforms that weren’t directly related to digital marketing. Not to say everything was perfect, but things were pretty good. But there was one glaring thing. One of the main things that weren’t perfect was that Bossman had serious anger management issues.
As I said before, he left me alone, but I saw him blow up at and fire other people for stupid stuff. He lost it at me too once or twice, but he’d calm down after a couple of hours and things would be back to normal. If it looks like an abusive relationship, that’s because looking back, that’s exactly what it was. As the year came to an end, I approached Boss and initiated a performance review.
I ran him through everything I had done in the past year, and he was pretty surprised at how much I had done with so little. I asked him for a raise, pointing out that I was currently making well below what other people doing my job were. He said he’d get back to me, and never did. Every time I asked him about my raise, he had another excuse. After the last excuse, I began looking for something else.
The other day we had a meeting, and it turns out that two months ago I made a mistake. It wasn’t a critical mistake, and it was rectified within a few hours of discovering the mistake. No harm or damage was caused whatsoever to the company, but Bossman flipping LOST IT. I mean slamming on tables, yelling for the whole office to hear, what have you. Then he said the magic words.
“Pack your things up and go home. Think about whether you want to keep working here.” So that’s what I did, and 10 seconds later I said “No, I don’t.” I started packing my stuff while he turned an even deeper shade of red and got even louder. I didn’t answer him at all, just kept on packing up my things and saying goodbye to my colleagues.
Turns out that being ignored really pushed his buttons, to the point where he started threatening to call security to have me removed, while I was actively removing myself and my things from the office. Here’s the part where it gets beautiful. My country is very strict on employee rights. His words and behavior are considered an improper dismissal.
By law, he’s required to give me 30 days’ notice of dismissal, which he didn’t. When he realized his mistake, he convened a pre-dismissal hearing, but it was already too late. He’s opened himself up to a lawsuit, which I’m already talking with lawyers about. Because by law he has to give me those 30 days’ notice even though he already fired me, for the next 30 days I’m eligible for ALL the benefits and social rights in my salary.
But I can do NOTHING and there’s nothing he can do to me without making the incoming lawsuit 10 times worse. I’ve already got four interviews lined up for next week, paying almost double what Boss was paying me, and best of all, I’ll be interviewing for other places on his dime. The cherry on top is that because I’m the only marketing person, without me, nothing happens in the marketing department for the next month, and if he doesn’t hire someone on in time, I won’t be around to answer any questions the new person might have.
23. Trying To Do The Impossible
So, when I was living in the city, I had a contract with my internet provider. After a year in my apartment, I decided to move in with my then-boyfriend (now-husband) on a farm. A farm on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. So I call to cancel my internet. Me: I need to cancel, I’m moving— Them: (interrupting me) your service moves with you! You signed a contract for x years and it only ends early if we are unable to provide service!
Me: you ARE unable to provide service, I’m moving to a rural area. Them: not possible! We provide service to many rural communities. What’s your new postal code? (I provide it) that’s for townname. We have service in townname. Me: but I’m not living in townname. That’s just my postal address. I’m living on a farm OUTSIDE of townname.
Them: repeats contract speech, with the additional offer of an absurd buyout fee if I want to cancel my contract early “without cause.” Cue my revenge. Me: fine! You know what, I would LOVE high-speed internet instead of horrible satellite internet! When can you come? The install guy had to call me three times from the van. Twice because he was lost and a third time because he was stuck in a snow drift.
When he finally arrived, it took him about 30 seconds to determine that there is obviously no infrastructure for high-speed internet. I offered him hot coffee for his trouble coming out and he happily canceled my service free of charge and accepted my equipment return. Cost them a 3-4 hour call out when you count the drive, just to try to keep one impossible contract.
24. Count ‘Em Up
I was forced to do a task, and instead got my entire Chain of Command fired. I've been serving in a certain military branch for five years and I'm nearing the end of my contract. So the "give a care" is completely gone. I'm in charge of the inventory of specific pieces of equipment. Smaller pieces that are used by many people at my job.
From time to time, these pieces "disappear." Most of the time, that just means things are misplaced, but we just got out of a certain period where we had MANY hired contractors at our job who tend to take things. Now, every once and a while we conduct an inventory of these pieces of equipment for accountability reasons. When we lose things, it looks very bad on my work. More specifically, bad on my bosses.
So I prepared the inventory and was startled by the number of missing pieces. I did everything I needed to do and presented the inventory to my boss. He didn't believe we had so many pieces missing and asked for me to inventory them again. SO I did, got the same number, and put the inventory in his inbox. Few months go by and I get the same thing.
"There can't be that many! Do another one." So I'm very compliant and do it again, and again.....and again. This gets dragged on over a year, and I'm starting to notice something. My boss is about to leave soon and he is deliberately pushing this off to the next guy to cover himself. So last week, I was sleeping since I work nights and I'm woken up.
My boss tells me I have to do a specific survey with my co-workers that will get sent up to the head honcho. This survey allows the small guy to have a voice directly to the top. I tell him that I have the night watch, but he doesn't care and demands I go and do this survey. Fine. Before the survey starts, our boss tells us we need to be completely honest and all these surveys are anonymous.
Rad. I wrote down what had been happening with the inventory and directed them to where they could find the documentation of the done inventories. Fast forward to yesterday. I came to work to see quite the surprise. All my bosses are fired and now I'm reporting to new people, who are now fixing the issues with the inventory.
25. You Get What You Give
I worked in an electricity retailer call centre. It was highly unionised, but the management tracked login times to the minute. One incredibly ridiculous thing they did was if you were a minute or two late, they would literally dock your pay by that many minutes. It wasn’t really enough for us to really notice, and I’m sure they didn’t actually save any money.
I mean, if you were 15 minutes late I could understand not paying, but three minutes late? Well, eventually the union discovered what they were doing, and were completely ticked they hadn’t been consulted about this jerk move. This is where their revenge comes in. The union demanded logon and log off times for everyone in the call centre.
What management hadn’t counted on was that all of us would often need to wrap up calls and clear the call queue before the call centre could officially close. This often meant that operators would leave several minutes after their shift. On bad occasions, it could be a 15-20 minutes delay before they could clock off, but mostly it was only a few minutes. The union made management recalculate everyone’s pay for the year based on clock on and clock off time.
They also pointed out that staying past the end of shift triggered penalty rates. It turns out everyone (and I mean everyone!) had spent more time wrapping up calls at the end of the day than they were late clocking on. Each of us got paid for lost wages, at overtime rates. It cost them a fortune and they never docked the pay of anyone who was late ever again.
26. Out To Lunch
When going over my expense report, my company saw I tipped 20% for lunch one afternoon. Lunch was $15, the tip was $3. They told me that is too much "because I wouldn't do that with my money." Heck yeah I do. I just took the better part of an hour of my server’s time. The least I could do is leave $3. It's $3 for crying out loud, but rules are rules.
However, my company is fairly generous, allowing me $75 a day to spend on food, which I never do…and that's about to change. For lunch today instead of my usual salad or sandwich, I went for the lobster grilled cheese. And of course upgraded my regular fries to the duck fat fries. Enjoy "saving" that 5% for the rest of my travel meal expenses.
27. You’re Fired—And Hired
In my late high school and early college years, I had a job doing telemarketing work during winter and summer breaks. While it was boiler room cold calling, we primarily were soliciting donations for agencies that had contracted us to do the work, so it felt less scuzzy. Think fire departments, etc. We kept a portion of donations for operating expenses, and everything over a certain threshold went directly to the receiving party.
Everybody wins. I enjoyed the job as the scripts were simple, I was allowed to read a book and such between calls, and a number of my friends were also employed there, so we could hang out during lunch breaks. The pay was a decent chunk above minimum wage at that time, so it was a good gig. I also had a knack for it, and at one point was 5th in "sales" across all their sites they had in operation, second in our building.
One summer, while driving to work, my car promptly kicks the bucket with no warning and I'm left stranded on the road. As you do in this situation back before cell phones for poor college students were a thing, I walk to the nearest house and ask to use the phone. I call my dad who starts driving to get me and call my work to let them know I'll be late.
My boss says fine and that he will chat with me when I get in. Father shows up with my mother in two cars, I take the extra and he begins the arduous process of "towing" my car back to the house. This involved tying a rope to the front of the car and to the back of his vehicle and crawling back home so he could fix it himself. I've been in that back car, and did not envy my father being in the back car with only 10 feet of space between him and the car my mother was driving, but I'm off to work.
I arrive to work, clock in almost an hour after the start of my shift, and am promptly told by the front receptionist that my boss would like to see me in his office. So I head on back. My boss and I have always had a good rapport. I'm a good worker, get good reviews, and he and I have some similar interests outside of work we can chat about occasionally.
When I arrive in his office, he's shuffling some papers around and has laid out a few documents facing me. As close as I can recall, this is the conversation that followed. It threw me for a loop. Boss: "Hope everything worked out with the car, glad to have you here. Couple things I need to discuss with you. First of all, as I'm sure you are aware, being more than 30 minutes late to work is considered a class C violation (3 classes, from C to A, C being the least egregious) if insufficient time is given prior to the occurrence. This is your first violation, so I'd like to talk to you about what happens next."
I'm sweating at this point. I've never even been talked to about being out of order on anything while working here, and getting my first violation scared the heck out of me. So I'm sitting there, white-faced, and he continues. Boss: "No official writeup or anything occurs for a first violation, or even the first few Class C violations, but it is manager's discretion on the punishment depending on past behaviors.”
“Now, you are a good employee and I've put into corporate a few times to give you a raise, but because you only work during your school breaks, it is denied as you aren't considered 'full time.’ So the papers I have here are your termination papers and an offer letter I'd like to extend to you to hire you back on again. So, in short, before I file these, I'd like to ask. Is it ok if I fire you?"
So we go through the process of him "firing" me, which then allowed him to extend an offer to me to rehire me at roughly a 25% increase in pay, since he could justify to corporate the bump as he was hiring someone with experience. In talking with him, he let me know it was something he occasionally did to the high school and college workers to get around corporate's policy of not allowing raises to people that didn't work 1,000+ hours in a year.
It was his own way of being maliciously compliant with a policy that didn't allow him to reward some people that he thought deserved it. He had been apparently waiting for me to do something that he could technically fire me for. The way their back-end systems worked, it wouldn't even show up as a break in service, since the firing and hiring happened on the same day, and since I never worked more than the minimum 1,000 hours each year, I didn't have any tenure or anything to be worried about losing.
The laugh he and the receptionist had when he walked me back to the front to introduce her to the new employee was enjoyable, and I've had a fun story to tell ever since.
28. Did You Get What You Wanted?
My job is very mentally taxing. I also have my own mental health issues, so I try my best to balance, but I just want to help so I get caught up taking more responsibilities than I am actually able to. So a couple of weeks ago I realize my mental health is in steep decline. I was ignoring the signs to push through, but anyone with mental health issues knows that you can only ignore the signs for so long.
I try to get ahead of a mental crash and talk to my supervisor to tell them that I need three days off (W, T, F) and as I had the weekend off after the days I requested, I figured that might be enough to get a good rest and reset. I did tell my supervisor why I needed the days (burnout, mental health) and they said they understood and would get back to me.
They contact me back and say they can probably give me Wed., Thurs., but that they couldn’t give me Fri. I ask if we can do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday instead and I could work the Friday, have my long weekend and that should still be fine. They say they will get back to me. I get a text soon after to ask me to help cover other shifts. And I obviously can’t, so I decline.
They get back to me the next day. “We can get your shifts covered for Wednesday and Thursday, but not Tuesday and you have to make up the hours.” That was the last straw. I just broke. I was asking for a break because I was working too much because it was hard for me to say no. I even called them (they had me on speaker) in tears and explained even further why I need the days.
I have been going through trauma therapy and my mental health has been declining. I had told them that I had spoken to my doctor and that my doctor said I was showing signs of burnout and recommended some days off (which is true, as I had talked to him the day before). All they heard was doctor and said “we need a doctor’s note.” Okay fine, good thing I have another appointment.
I had to work that day just defeated because they couldn’t find anyone to cover my shifts. I talk to my doctor and he says that he can tell I’m in distress…and he puts me on two weeks of leave immediately. They did not look pleased when I handed in my doctor’s note. That was two weeks ago, I went back to the doctor and he extended my leave for AT LEAST another month.
Oh also, when I gave them my doctor’s note with four weeks on it, one of the supervisors wouldn’t even look at me and the other just said, “Oh doctor’s note, thanks.”
29. Think Fast
I own an escape room company in a town that borders a pretty touristy area and is very close to an airport. As such, we tend to get a lot of bookings from people all over the UK who are visiting the area for the weekend or international people coming to do an escape room on the way to the airport. We only take online bookings and don't take walk-ins, therefore the site is only really manned whenever we have bookings.
As such, our cancellation policy is that we only allow refunds if the cancellation is more than 24 hours before the scheduled start time. If it is less than 24 hours before the start time, we can only reschedule the booking. Now, it's worth mentioning that for the majority of cases (weekdays) we are pretty relaxed with our policy as long as it doesn't cause any big issues and try our best to accommodate a group.
Usually I am the one hosting them so there aren't any additional expenses on our part (i.e. staff wages/loss of income from other potential customers). However, the only day where this policy is really relevant is on Saturday where we are almost always entirely booked from morning to night and have staff members working for us. So any canceled slots would most likely have been filled by other customers, and we are of course still paying our staff for that time.
Although I must say, we have only ever had to enforce this policy a couple of times as we are usually able to accommodate a group in some shape or form. So I get a call earlier today from a gentleman with a thick Scottish accent who was scheduled to come in with his group in around two and a half hours from the time of the call.
The group said that they would be unable to make their booking as they were running late with some other activities or something like that, and asked to reschedule the booking for a later slot. I checked our schedule but didn't have any slots left for today in any of our rooms. He then asked for a refund as they would be returning back to Glasgow tonight and didn't know when they would be next down here.
I told him our policy and that our system only allows reschedules instead of refunds due to the time frame. I also explained that given it's a Saturday we can't refund so close to the time as staff has been arranged. Rescheduling wouldn't have worked for them as they wouldn't be in the area anytime soon. After a short pause, he asked if we had any free slots to schedule for next month.
I checked the system and offered to move the booking to the same time on 16th November, to which he said "yeah I think that works." I didn’t know what he had planned at all. I changed the time on the system and informed him he would get an email confirming the new time slot. He replied "Great, so the booking is more than 24 hours away now right?"
Me: "Yes it's booked in for four weeks’ time from today." Him: "Right so, the booking is more than 24 hours away, I won't be able to make it, can I have a refund?" I paused for a second, trying to process what had just happened in my head, and realized that he had found a loophole in the system! TECHNICALLY, his booking was more than 24 hours away so he is TECHNICALLY entitled to a refund.
I started laughing and congratulated him on beating the system as I processed his refund. Gonna have to think about that one…
30. See Ya Later
This happened when I was 15. My mom was (let’s be real, she probably still is) a mentally, emotionally, and physically harmful narcissist. Some highlights are when she was teaching my twin sister and me to read at the age of four or so. It was around 2 am and my sister was having trouble learning, so my mother's solution was to beat her with a sandal every time she got a flash card wrong.
Same thing happened when my mother had me transcribe an essay she had written in my handwriting when I was seven. Every time I started a letter from the wrong position (like starting a capital M from the bottom line), she would beat me with one of her shoes. This too happened later at night, so when I got too delirious from the exhaustion and pain she would drag me, by the neck, and literally throw me into a cold shower to wake me up so we could more easily continue the waking nightmare.
When I was 13, I told her I wanted to live with my dad (they were divorced) and she told me she didn’t care what I did…but only after I turned 18. I later figured out the disturbing reason for this. It was because the child support stopped at age 18. Aaaaaanywho. Fast forward to age 15. Our relationship was understandably strained. We had had guests and she liked to use guests as a way of controlling our behavior through shame.
It's easier to be an angsty teenager when your grown-up friends from church aren’t watching and judging everything you do. This made it easier for her to pretend to be a firm but loving mother, all while slipping in sideways comments like velvet daggers. Well, I decided I wasn't going to subject myself to the whole thing and spent the day outside in the woods nearby.
When I saw our guests had left, I went to go back inside. My mother, perhaps unhappy at being denied a daylong punishment routine, told me I wasn't welcome and that I should leave. My 15-year-old brain heard her words and knew that she only meant for a little while, but it also recognized that she failed to specify any timeframe at all.
So, I hiked a couple of miles to a friend’s house and asked if I could spend a couple of days there. When my friend’s dad found out that I was there and why, he was angry and said I could stay as long as I needed. I didn’t go home that evening, or the next. My mom became concerned and contacted law enforcement to report me missing. This is a big deal for several reasons.
We lived in the mountains on a national park, so it was a very real possibility that I had been attacked by a wild animal, become injured while hiking, drowned, or been kidnapped. Nobody knew of my mother's horrible tendencies or the squalor and neglect my sister and I lived in. Most importantly, the law enforcement was the local park rangers, with whom she worked daily.
They immediately contacted my dad's side of the family to see if I had turned up there or contacted them. They promptly freaked out and came to my house with lawyers on standby. The officers then hired dogs to track my scent and then everyone freaked out because the dogs tracked me to a nearby river where my trail ended because the dogs couldn't pick up any more scent.
Over the next couple of days, there were people going in and out of my house. Rangers, lawyers, my family, etc. Several noticed the overpowering scent of cleaning chemicals, but only the lawyer considered why a “clean” house would reek of chemicals. Officers started to canvas the nearby woods. My friend's dad came to me and asked if there was somewhere else I could stay.
He told me that he wouldn’t kick me out but didn’t want to have to lie to the authorities or let the dogs on his property. My friend and I figured we would just go camping for a week or so, but instead I looked up my dad's side of the family and called and they picked me up right away. Understandably, everyone had questions. When I told them what was happening, the lawyers, horrified, pounced.
A judge issued an emergency change of custody and prevented her from gaining custody until she underwent a psych eval and therapy (which my mother would never allow). The rangers, equally horrified, completely shunned my mother and she eventually lost her job. Since she was only allowed to live on the park because she worked there, she was kicked out of her house too.
My friend's father and the trackers were members of the local community and churches and they too shunned my mother. She lost her job, her house, her church, and her friends all because she told me to leave, and I did.
31. You Only Get One Shot
This didn't happen to me, but to my dad, and it's one of my favorite stories he tells. Some years ago (by which I mean two or so decades, roughly) my dad was at a several-day course to earn some additional qualifications for his job. On the final day, there was going to be a multiple-choice test to actually pass the seminar. On test day, everyone got settled into place, and the teacher announced that he would not go easy on cheaters.
You had one strike to be caught trying to copy off of someone else or use a cheat sheet, but if you were caught a second time, you would be immediately thrown out and your score made invalid. Now, this teacher was very old-school strict and treating grown working people like unruly school children, and my dad does not like that very much.
So my dad proceeds to take the test, and it goes pretty well! When he's through with the questions, there is just one left where he's not sure he's got it right. And he has a free strike, after all. So my dad...yells out into the class. Just calls out, "what's the answer to question 14?" Some complete bro elsewhere in the room yells the answer back.
My dad fills in the sheet, gets up, walks to the teacher's desk, presumably tries to not trip on the teacher's jaw as it lies on the floor, hands in his test, and leaves the room. To the teacher's credit, he approached my dad afterward with some...begrudging respect. I don't know if he changed his policy afterward, or the tone in which he conveyed it.
32. Caught In A Loop
I worked at a Subway that didn't have any authority/managers, just a couple of minimum wage base-level workers. I don't remember what this particular customer was mad about, but she was arguing with me and didn't like the answer I gave her. She asked to speak to the manager, and there not being a manager, I decided to promote myself on the spot and replied with "manager speaking, how can I help you."
This did not make her very happy because she realized she was not going to get a different answer and asked for a phone number to call. The owner has specifically told us never to give his cell number to customers, so I did even better. I gave her the store number. She gives me a grin thinking about how much trouble she's about to get me in…when the phone behind me starts to ring.
I will never forget the face she gave me as I answer the phone, look her in the eyes, and ask her how may I help you.
33. Putting On A Show
Yesterday, I emailed my teachers and I told them I’ll be in the hospital getting an infusion for a chronic illness that I have, as well as a blood transfusion. I asked if they would mind if I had my camera off for the online class meetings. All of them said yes, except for my history teacher. She said she needs to know I’m actually in the class. I tried to explain my situation.
I said I was uncomfortable with the class seeing me in the infusion clinic with my central line (I usually wear sweaters to cover it at home, but it feels weird when I wear a sweater over it during an infusion) and all my monitors. She basically said “too bad” and that I need to show up for class. Well, I gave her exactly what she asked for. So the class starts and I log on to the meeting.
You can very clearly see the central line in my chest, the IV pole with the unit of blood, and the monitors that go on my chest. My teacher looked visibly uncomfortable the entire time and emailed me after class saying I made her uncomfortable and what I did was completely unprofessional. I reminded her that she said I had to have my camera on the whole time.
34. On The Straight And Narrow
My brother has struggled with drug addiction for most of his life. About five years ago, it tore his family apart. His wife filed for divorce and was awarded full custody of their son. This is all right and proper, as my brother was in no condition to be a father at this time. The road to recovery has been long, but my brother has been working the program and has now been clean for several years.
He has no formal custody of his son, though he gets visitation at his ex-wife's discretion. He's been a good and stable father to his son in the last years. However, his ex has not wanted to allow for the possibility that my brother has become well. In fact, she has begun jerking him around with visitation, even planning on removing the son from his father for a period of several months so she can take a long vacation with her new family.
My brother, not willing to let this slide, immediately filed for joint custody. The court case was just a day ago, and as expected, his ex has badmouthed his former use and attempted to paint him as still an addict and a threat to their son. Again, he totally is not—him being clean for years, employed, and owning his own home now. But then it escalated.
The ex was so self-deluded and confident that he had backslid that she loudly demanded, in front of the judge, that my brother provide a letter from the local president of the drug counseling program stating that he has attended every meeting for the last several years. My brother smiled at the judge, and said, "Not only is that not a problem, your honor, but I can provide that document today."
The judge asked how this is possible, did my brother already think to bring it with him? "No, your honor, but, you see, I am the president of our local chapter." I wish I could see the look on that hateful woman’s face. It's not official yet, but yeah, he's totally getting joint custody.
35. Pound It Out
I worked as a cook at a chain restaurant that had a “wing night” where you could get a pound of wings at a discounted price. We didn't actually weigh the wings, but our specs said eight wings to a pound. Four drums and four flats. One night, a table comes in and everyone orders a pound of wings. A little while after the wings go out, the server comes back a little flustered and explains there has been a complaint.
Apparently, one of the guys at the table complained that it was “obvious” that he didn't get a pound, because it would be a huge coincidence if everyone's pounds led to the same number of wings on each plate. He insisted that the server go and weigh these (already discounted) wings to make sure he was "getting what he paid for." This dude wished he’d never said anything.
So we weighed it. Sure enough, it was not a pound. It was a pound and a half. We tell the server to bring it out and tell him he's getting more than a pound. She says “Heck no. He paid for a pound, he's going to ‘get what he paid for.’" She threw two of his wings in the garbage and re-weighed the food. Still over. Throws another one out. Bang on one pound of wings.
So she brings the tray back out with his five wings and calmly tells the gentleman: "Here are your wings, sir. You were right, there was more than a pound there. So we threw the other ones out. Good catch." When they ordered a second round, he didn't complain that everyone got eight wings to a “pound."
36. Putting The Children To Work
When I was in eighth grade, I was in the first year of an experimental technology school. I had a class of about 180 eighth graders (12- 14-year-olds) and about 10 teachers. So everybody shared the same math teacher. For our first semester, we used a software called Gage. It was alright for most classes, but it was absolutely atrocious when it came to math.
Nothing worked with math. We were supposed to use the lessons they had, but it just didn't work. Math symbols didn’t show up right and some questions even had the wrong answer marked. My math teacher wasn't allowed to just move to paper, and the company insisted that the problem was that our math teacher was older and just didn't understand technology.
They said that if she had a genuine issue to email them. One day I get to class, and there are seven email addresses written on the board. She told us that we were going to go through our math lesson today, and take screenshots of every mistake we found and email them to the company’s executives. One screenshot = one email. 10 emails = a packet of gummy bears.
We had a blast trying to send as many emails as we could. One kid got 10 packets of gummy bears by end of the hour class. By lunch, the principal called my teacher aside and asked for her to stop. She said “Heck no! My afternoon classes haven't had fun yet!" Long story short, our school district got all of its money back from using the software, and the company no longer exists.
37. Pay It Forward
So I am a business consultant, and usually during the week we are at a client site and get paid for travel, meals etc. The meal policy is quite flexible, and doesn't limit what we can claim, like some of the other consulting companies. So we can claim lunch, drinks, whatever. The policy, however, does lay down a GUIDANCE for a daily limit for food expenses, based on the country where you're traveling.
I capitalized the word GUIDANCE, since that is exactly how it is written in the policy—it is a guidance, not a hard limit. For the UK, where my current project is, the limit is £40 per day, which is mostly ok, but can be a bit low if you're in the centre of London for example. Now I do Intermittent Fasting, so most of the days I don't have breakfast and lunch, and just have one big meal a day.
I have no problems keeping to the £40 (usually around £20). On some days, I might go to a fancy restaurant, have a couple of scotches with a steak, and run up a $60 bill. But during the course of a five-day week, my average meals would run about £30 a day, if not less. I've never had a problem claiming these expenses in my nine years with the firm, but recently a new project manager (read, bean counter) came on board. This is where my problems began.
He sent back a couple of my expense reports for having meal expenses in excess of the £40 for a couple of days, even though the average meal expense over the week was much less than £40. I tried to reason with him, told him that anyway, it was a guidance and not a hard limit, and I was keeping the costs down on other days. He refused to budge and said I could only claim £40 a day for food.
So guess what? I started doing exactly that. Every day, I made sure I was claiming £40 or thereabouts for food. I started buying meals for the homeless people around the train station to make sure I could make up the £40. So now where I was claiming less than £150 a week for meals, I now claim £200 and get some good karma for it.
38. That’s So Random
Many years ago, I worked for an outdoor activity centre/playland in the retail department. Throughout the park, there were many different shops that we manned and I absolutely loved working there despite it being hard work for little pay. One day, I had a run-in with a manager who seriously berated me in front of the entire team along with others from different departments.
I was advised by a manager from a different team to make a formal complaint, which I did. Others then came out with similar complaints and the said manager was advised to find employment elsewhere, but not sacked. Now, unbeknownst to me, I triggered the chain of events that would lead to me leaving the company.
Now before the main story there's some background information that is relevant. There were a few rules in place that were designed to prevent theft, including no more than £10 to be allowed on the shop floor. This was to be checked before your shift, and anything over this must be declared to management and left in your locker, and all staff had to agree to random locker/pocket searches.
In the two years I'd worked there, I had never been picked for a random search. There were around several hundred employees so the odds were incredibly slim. As soon as our disgraced manager left, though, I suddenly found myself picked at “random” for a search. This involved turning out my pockets, removing my shoes/socks, and then being escorted to the locker room to empty the contents out.
Nothing was found so I was sent back to the shop floor. But then the most suspicious thing happened. The following week I was again picked at "random" for a search, which again turned up nothing. Rumors were soon doing the rounds that I had upset my department’s remaining management team after instigating the action against my former manager, and they were going to force me out using any means necessary.
I realized that I needed to act, so started job hunting…and then began plotting. I started taking a backpack to work filled with £20 in pennies. Every morning I declared the amount in my locker as required, and sure enough after a couple of days I was once again selected for my weekly "random" search. I then got paid to watch a security guard and supervisor count 2,000 pennies.
As expected, I passed said search and off I went. This happened a second time with now £30 in pennies, and I decided to up my game. At the start of the following week, I patiently awaited my "random" search with glee knowing what awaited them. The day soon arrived and off I was marched to the lockers ready for their treat. I lift out my backpack and pass it to the security guard and supervisor.
They dive straight in without any gloves. Oh, how they retched as they discovered what was in there. I had several pairs of my period-soaked pants waiting in there especially for them. They were gingerly laid on the floor beside my bag as they counted my bag of pennies. The smell from the pants was unreal, they'd been festering in there for days in anticipation.
Once again the search revealed nothing and off to work I went. After that, I was not picked for another search again. I left after a couple more weeks to a new job and after keeping in touch with some people, I discovered that a new rule was introduced that tried dictating what you could and couldn't take to work with you. This soon led to a mass walkout of staff and after a year the place shut down due to unrelated matters.
39. Absence Makes The Job Get Harder
My boss tells me I'm not a manager, so I stopped doing her job. For background: I work in mental health and substance use services. I have worked in my job for a long time now. My boss is never available for help and hardly on site. Recently, she has got a new manager who is not impressed with her work ethic, but it hasn’t done much good.
My boss will often ask me to do her work for her to save her coming in, which I have never minded doing up until recently. I had a meeting with my boss after an incident at work where someone tried to assault me. I told my boss I didn't feel supported by her after it had happened as she wasn't present and didn't manage it well afterward.
In the middle of the meeting, my boss says: Perhaps you want to consider some easier work in a different department? Me: What, why? Boss: Well you do take on a lot of extra work that you don't need to. A lot of this work is managers’ jobs. Maybe you need to learn to say no to taking on all this work? I asked if there was something wrong with my standard of work, if she had concerns, etc.
She says no. Three months down the line, four people from the team leave and they get new people in. Boss: Oh, hey, can you induct new starters on their first day? Me: Sorry boss, that's a manager’s job. Boss: Can you complete a fire risk assessment? Me: Sorry boss, that's a manager’s job. After a while, she stops asking me things, then one day she's working from home.
I'm pretty sure she has been telling her manager she's on-site throughout but mostly isn't. Then disaster strikes. A huge incident kicks off with residents, emergency services are called, etc. I call the boss and explain to her what happened. Boss: Can you please do follow up with the staff and residents involved, write the report, then send it all directly to me please?
Me: Sorry boss you will need to come in to manage this, I'm not a manager, that's not my job. Boss: Just this once please? Nope. I refused to manage the incident, and then the dirty truth came out. Turned out she was visiting a friend who lived up the coast while she was meant to be on site! Someone accidentally let this slip to her manager when he called in the incident and there was no one to manage.
He then asked me to deal with the incident. I explained I couldn't and that my boss had reported me as taking on too much work. A full investigation has now been launched into her conduct and ability to do her job. The manager now talks to me directly and supervises me, and he is helping me apply for a promotion. The boss is on “leave, pending investigation.”
40. A Woman In Uniform
My first job out of school was as a language teacher in a private school, and it sounds like it's straight out of a fiction book. I was employed to teach grades six to nine. However, because I was the only teacher for that language, the owner begged me to teach grades one to five when I had any time to spare, even though I wasn't paid for the extra work.
I taught each of the classes I was employed to teach, twice a week, and the other classes once a week. Aside from that, lunch duties were added to my work, so I hardly sat all day. The school had a preschool at a different location, and all the teachers there wore uniforms. The preschool workers (all females) were the only ones required to wear uniforms.
I was the only female teacher on the grade one to nine staff. One day, the owner calls me to her office and asks me why I'm not in a uniform like the preschool staff. I tell her no one informed me about wearing uniforms in my department, and also the male teachers do not wear uniforms. She gets slightly angry and orders me to sew one with my own money.
I try to protest but I see there's no way of getting through to her, and my parents convince me to let it go and sew one. I thought it was over, but I was so wrong. When the owner sees me in the uniform, she goes off about how figure -flattering the uniform is on me and tells me I'm trying to seduce the boys. She then orders me to sew a new one or don't come back.
My uniform was not short (way below the knee), didn't show cleavage, nor was it tight. I ignore her and she fires me a week later, while I'm in the middle of a class. I just packed my stuff and left. The next day, the principal calls me to tell me the owner is asking why I didn't show up that day. Duh. You fired me. The owner calls me herself and orders me to come back to work, talking about how do I expect the kids to eat lunch.
Good luck finding a donkey like me to work for that pittance. I went back though, but not without double my pay. I then quit the next month.
41. You’re A Big Boy Now
This happened just a couple of hours ago, this story is so fresh you can still smell it! On our community garden, we get teams of kids from the local school to come to help, and it's often the case that they turn up on a Saturday morning as well. They're almost entirely well-behaved, which is a good job as there's not a lot we can do about bad behavior beyond a stern voice.
There's this one lad who came for the first time last week. We didn’t know him but we made him very welcome. However, he only lasted half an hour before storming off in tears after his THIRD telling off for spinning round and round holding a tool and then letting it fly off at head height. This morning his mom (I assume) came with him.
I saw him point out my friend and me, but he didn't ask to join in, so after shouting hello we let them be. After about 10 minutes he started wandering and my friend shouted to him, "Don't go round behind the greenhouse mate, it's not safe round there." Well, his mom had obviously been waiting for this. She went 0 to 100 in two seconds flat, demanding to know do we OWN this garden, and if not what business is it of ours where her son goes?
We explained we just want him to be safe, and she replied that she's quite capable of taking care of that herself, thank you. Fine, on you go. Off he went, exploring behind the greenhouse, which is not safe because it's the compost heap, which is very unstable, and the muck mound, which is a giant pile of horse manure we get delivered every autumn.
By the spring the inside is all nice and rotted down, and the outside is hard, crusty...and less strong than you think. After a minute there was a crunch, a squeal...and I think we did very well to drag him out without saying "I told you so" or breaking into guffaws. He was absolutely black from chest height downwards, and although well-rotted manure doesn't smell really bad it is very thick, and sticky, and slimy.
His mom grabbed him without a word and they headed for the gate. He started bawling as soon as the surprise wore off. My friend said, "Would you like some bin bags to spread out in your car?" and to her credit she did say thanks when he handed them over. I wonder if we'll see them again next week?
42. A Star Is Born
In 2008, I was involved in a federal lawsuit when my rural Texas high school tried to suspend me for wearing a shirt supporting then-democratic hopeful John Edwards. (Hindsight is 20/20). They said it was a violation of the dress code, which was only ever selectively enforced. My parents had my back and agreed that it was, to quote my very white dad, "redneck cracker nonsense."
I'll never forget during the initial meeting when my principal called in a school board member. He said that if I got suspended I would probably get kicked off the football team, and that could hurt me getting into college. It didn't matter, I was a miserable player and a smart kid so it wasn't going to be what took me to college. But the slimy fake concern as he tried to leverage my future against my speech is something I'll never forget.
Anyway, as the case goes on, the squeeze gets tighter. First they have the football coaches try to get me to drop it. Having the football coaches talk about how my " selfishness" means that they can't wear Fellowship of Christian Athlete shirts anymore, trying to embarrass me in front of the team. I'm a fat kid who openly plays Magic: The Gathering in high school, hit me with your best shot, I have no shame.
Next they host a meeting with all the teachers telling them I'm a "problem" and that they need to keep an eye on me in case I "slip up." I found this out years after the fact when I bumped into my English teacher at a friend’s wedding. Finally, they just start pulling in students from my classes to get them to say bad stuff about me. I was a class clown so this turns into every single dirty joke or rude comment I ever made getting reported to school administration.
Which then leads to this awful little toady vice-principal calling me and my parents in and reading them back in front of my mother. That one stung. My parents still knew it was a load of junk, but who wants their locker room jokes aired in front of their mom? They used this as a pretext to expel me for six weeks, and they shove me into the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, and I am steaming.
The program is basically where they warehouse kids with emotional problems they can't handle. You just sit in a room in a refurbished insane asylum and can't do anything but read or use the computer for monitored educational purposes. You also get booted from extracurriculars while you're in there. I know at this point they want me to make a scene so they can punish me further, so I do the exact opposite.
I channel all my rage and new free time into my school work, doing homework I would usually ignore because I knew I could ace the test. Now I'm doing both and my GPA is climbing. I start looking into scholarships and find a bunch that are really interested in political activism and guess who now knows a little bit about that? I apply and rip on my school in every one.
Then, I work with my dad and we find an attorney who will take our case pro bono, which means while the school bleeds fees, it doesn't cost us anything to keep it in court. I spent those weeks like a monk, motivated entirely by spite, doing everything I could to make their awful attitude work for me. I got out, got back on all my teams, and ended up applying for a prestigious honors program at my dream school.
Not only did I get in but I got way more financial support than I thought I would. Eventually, we lost the case, but the school had to abolish the dress code anyway because they couldn't afford to get sued over it again. I don't like the idea that a school lost money, but man they made the choice and they could have backed down whenever. Now I've graduated law school, am taking the bar in two weeks, and already have a job investigating government corruption.
43. By Any Other Name
I was granted a name change a few months ago. Long story as to why, but simply put—I hated the “unique” spelling of my first name and wanted to ditch my surname. I didn't have much trouble updating my name in most places. Social security, driver's license, insurance, yada yada. No bumps in the road—until I got to the very last thing to update.
My credit card. I use this particular credit card a lot. I'm self-employed and use this card to rack up travel points for flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. However, if you've ever checked into a hotel or picked up a rental car, you'll know the name on the card must match the name on the ID. So I call the CC company. They told me I have to fill out a certain document and mail that in, alongside a copy of the court document.
Fair enough. Two weeks go by. Hear nothing, so call again. They say they haven't received it. I'm then informed they have a fax number that I can use to send in the documentation. So I fax in everything necessary using an app on my phone. Another two weeks go by. Still nothing. I call again. Same spiel on the other end of the phone. "Please mail or fax......" You get the deal.
I once more did what they asked. Yet another week passes. I call....again. Told the same script. I'm starting to get annoyed by this point. I have an upcoming trip planned and need the card to match my ID. So I ask to speak to a manager. They give me some bull about a manager not being currently available. Anyways. I fax in the document and court order once again.
However, this time I decided I was just going to keep hitting send after the previous one had shown as delivered. I thought I'd repeat the process a few times. Just to “make sure” they got it. After sending it 25 times the first day, I got no response. Next day I was sitting on my couch watching football. Thought I'd send the fax a few more times. By the time I realized how many times I'd hit send, I had sent it over 130 times.
The very next afternoon I got a call from a manager at the CC company. She sounded quite angry over the phone. I just played dumb. "You guys asked me to fax it in..." I got my updated card in the mail three days later.
44. Go, Team!
Waaaaay back in 2013, I was a sophomore in high school, and there was a tradition that on Fridays, the cheerleaders, football players (without their pads of course), band members, and the other groups performing wore their uniforms to class. This wasn’t a written tradition, and only the cheerleaders and dance team’s uniforms broke “dress code,” and nobody really batted an eye about it.
I wasn’t a skirt person, but I liked dresses once in a while. I grew up in Texas, and it’s still significantly hot in August/September. So one time while wearing a casual sundress in September, I was pulled out of class and reprimanded because the end of my dress was 4 inches above the knee, when the dress code said no shorter than 2 inches.
I pointed out the cheerleaders’ and dance teams’ uniforms every Friday and how they reached mid-thigh at their longest, but was told that was okay because “students can wear official school uniforms.” And I was sent home to change. Clearly, someone had forgotten something crucial. I was on the golf team, and immediately my mind was turning to the next Friday.
The school had recently upgraded the golf team uniforms the year prior, and the girls’ team uniforms consisted of a short sleeve collared polo shirt and a skort. If you don’t know what a skort is, it’s essentially a skirt and short shorts combined. It looks like a skirt, but they essentially act like built-in bike shorts, and these guys were SHORT, I’d argue shorter than the average cheerleader skirt.
So that next Friday (about three days later) to my parents' surprise, I was ready to go that morning in my golf uniform, as compared to taking a bag to keep the clothes in to change into after school. But I just said “Fridays we can wear our uniforms to class” and they accepted without question and took me to school. Well, by the second period, I was sent to the office yet again.
The first thing the assistant principal asked me was why I would “deliberately disobey her right after our last conversation” and threatened school suspension, saying I’ll never get anywhere in life by not listening, yada yada yada. When I finally had a chance to get a word in, I absolutely crushed her. I said “but this is my school golf uniform” and I pointed to our school’s logo that was sewn into my polo shirt.
“You said students can wear official school uniforms to class. Why are the cheerleader uniforms okay and mine isn’t? This isn’t even a skirt, it’s a skort, it has pants!” I still remember how angry she was. She stared me down for what seemed like a millennium. Then she snapped and told me to get out of her office and go sit in the lobby area. That I knew what she meant and she would be calling my parents about this blatant disrespect.
So I waited and played on my iPod and chatted with the nice secretary, trying to keep myself distracted, because in reality I had been really trying not to cry. I had massive anxiety when it came to authority, but I still had my naive sense of injustice, and I didn’t just want to let this go. After about 20 minutes, she popped her head out and in a very monotone voice told me I could go back to class and to let teachers know I had gotten permission from the front office to wear my uniform.
Then she went back in and closed the door before I could even think to respond. I spent the rest of my day dealing with teachers questioning me about my outfit and one or two calling the front office to double-check my claim that I had in fact gotten permission, and went to practice after school as normal before being carpooled back home. I only figured out later what happened.
My dad met me at the front door with a small smirk and I asked him what in the world happened because I knew he was the go-to contact for my school, so I knew she called him. He explained that when she called and tried to get him to come to the school and get me and talked about punishments for my insubordination, he immediately began to argue with her.
He admitted he raised his voice quite a bit, asking why I wasn’t allowed to wear my sports uniform that the school provided to me as a dress requirement at my golf practice, and mentioned taking this all the way to the school board and resolving this “obvious favoritism.” He then asked me not to do that again, but said that he was proud of me, and told me “I know I had told you never to start a fight, but to always fight back. I always thought physically, but you darn sure took the advice.”
45. It’s Quittin’ Time
About four years back, I started a new banking job. All was well, just that the management was pretty strict with timekeeping, which was weird as we were back office. My experience was in a similar field at another bank, and we had flexible schedules and received time in lieu. But rules are rules, so I followed them. I learned my tasks and got to know the wider team.
Anyway, about four months in, I started to realize my senior manager didn’t like me. I’m pretty assertive as a person, and I do know how to stand up for myself. He hated it. I would speak up during the meetings, ask questions, give suggestions, and so on, while the team would stay quiet. Then came the nightmare week that everything went south.
I was working overtime, which was (obviously) unpaid. On Thursday, I did nearly two hours of overtime. On Friday, I thought I’ll leave a few minutes early as I was done for the week. My manager was off. I left 10 minutes early. On Monday, I come to work, and I got called into a meeting straight away. There were three of us in the room: myself, my manager, and my senior manager.
Our conversation went as follows: My manager (MM): I heard you left work early on Friday Me: I did. I left 10 minutes early. MM: Did you ask for permission to leave early? Me: It was 10 minutes. You know I did about 4 hours of overtime last week. Why are we having this conversation? Senior Manager (SM): Because you left early without asking for permission. As a senior, you should be setting an example for the rest of the team.
Me: Is this a joke? SM: Your working hours are 9 am to 6 pm, not 9 am to 5:50 pm. You shouldn't leave early without asking for your manager or my permission first. Is that clear? Me: Got it. It’s perfectly clear. I listened and started coming into the office at 9 am and leaving at 6 pm on the dot. At first, they didn't realize what was happening. But the week after the meeting was the last week of the month.
And let’s say the last week of the month was…intense. Especially the final day. The reports had to be completed, signed off, and submitted before the month's end. We covered multiple jurisdictions and would deal with Southeast Asia in the morning and the Americas in the evening. Our team was “expected” to work overtime due to this.
Here comes Friday, the last day of the month. Showtime! I’m at my desk at 9 am sharp. Most of the team have already been at the office for at least an hour. I, of course, have a cup of coffee from the cafeteria because I was a bit early. My manager looks at me and raises his eyebrow, but he doesn’t say anything. Work work work. Break time (we had two 20 minute paid breaks and 1-hour unpaid lunch).
I’m the only person to go on my break. Lunchtime. Everyone was eating at their desks, while I go to meet my friends for lunch. On the second break, I once again leave my workplace and go for a short stroll around. Back to work. About a quarter to 6 pm, I get a call from one of the senior managers in the US. She needs the report amended.
There were four of us on that call. I’m doing the amendments as we speak and closely monitoring the time. I see it’s two minutes to 6 pm… One minute… 6 pm. SM2: *rambling about the report* Me: apologies, but I have to stop you right here SM2: yes? Me: It’s 6 pm here. My day is over. SM2: Huh? Me: As per my management, my working hours are 9 am to 6 pm, so I must leave now. Have a great weekend, and we’ll catch up on Monday!
I logged off, got my coat, wished everyone a great weekend, and left. It was 6:04 pm. Both my manager and my senior manager were dumbfounded by what has happened. Looking pale, they stare at me in disbelief. It was a glorious sight. I wanted to apologize to my senior manager that I wasn’t able to leave at 6 pm on the dot, but I thought that would have been way too passive-aggressive, so I just left.
I relaxed the rule a bit after a few months. Yet, I never did more than 30 minutes of overtime. Ironically, once my stakeholders understood that I will not be available for 10+ hours, they started collaborating earlier in the month. I would have most of my reports done and submitted by the last day of the month. It actually all worked out REALLY well for me.
46. Call On Me
A few years ago, I went to the doctor's to make an appointment. I had to go to the pharmacy next to it, so thought I'd pop in instead of calling. The receptionist tells me they can’t take walk-ins (I didn't want an appointment then anyway), and can only take bookings over the phone. So I stood at reception, got my phone out, and called the number for the phone right next to her.
I made eye contact with her the whole time as she answered the phone and booked me in.
47. Lawyer For A Day
So this is about five years ago. I worked as a chef at a bakery, and it was my job to make everything but the baked goods. Every morning the Baker and I would walk in at about 4 am and knock out all the food needed for the day. This would leave me ready to go home around 10 AM or so. This put us at the perfect time to deliver online orders.
It was common for companies or other entities to place large catering orders with us. The baker and I would split them down the middle and deliver them on our way home. The delivery in question was for Bob, Dick, and Harry, Attorneys at Law. I have never delivered to BD&H before, but they were a regular of sorts. Every financial quarter, they would hold a huge meeting.
This meeting would require roughly $700 of bagels and bagel accessories. This spread included eight dozen bagels, all ten of our flavors of cream cheese, pastries, brownies, and enough coffee to power a college dorm though finals week. My passenger seat, entire back seat, and entire trunk are filled with food. Now, BD&H is located on the ninth floor of a commercial skyscraper deep in an industrial complex downtown. Parking was non-existent.
There were meters outside the building, but I knew I would need close to ten trips to deliver all this food, and didn't have a lot of change on me. Company policy was to just pay whatever fines I needed to park and then turn in my receipts. The money would end up on my next paycheck. So the building has its own parking garage, so I pull on in. My problems start here.
The security guard, let’s call him Sam, stops me and says that the parking garage is for employees only. I happily show him my delivery invoice, and offer him a bagel (never leave the store without at least two extra). Sam refuses the bagel and says I can park in one of the guest spots on the bottom floor. The fee is $5 for every 30 minutes, minimum $10.
I thank him and head to the bottom floor of the garage. So there are a total of six guest parking spaces. Just six. All of them are taken. I head back up to talk to Sam when I see an open parking spot reserved for Bob, Dick and Harry, Attorneys at Law. There are cars in every spot, with many spots being reserved for employees by name. The last spot is empty, and is reserved for "Guest of BD&H."
Perfect. I pull on in. I grab the most important part of the delivery (the coffee) and head to the stairwell. I get into the elevator and hit the button for floor nine. Then another wrench in my plan comes. The elevator asks for my employee ID card. Well...crud. So, I try the lobby. That works. From there, it's nine flights of stairs until I am outside of the Bob, Dick, and Harry office.
After introducing myself, I am shown to the room where the meeting will take place. A table is set aside for me. I set down the coffee and head for trip number two. That is when I see Sam talking to the receptionist. At this point, I realize I’m in big trouble. He runs over and starts shouting at me. "I am putting a boot on your car. I told you to park in guest on the bottom floor!"
I don't get a word in before he launches into a speech about security and how I could be hurting his building or people. That is when a very well-dressed man walks over. It so happens to be Bob, the Bob of Bob, Dick, and Harry's. Bob asks what is the problem and soon the two are arguing. Bob: He is delivering food for my meeting. He is allowed to use my parking spots.
Sam: Those parking spots belong to the building. You are leasing them like you lease this floor. I am the one who says who can park there. He isn't an employee so he isn't parking! Bob had the perfect response to this. Bob: Then I am making him an employee! Sam: You can't do that! Bob: ... ... ... You know what. You are right. Harry! Harry! get over here.
Harry walks over with an amused look on his face. Bob: Harry here is the head of our HR department. Harry, hire this boy. Harry pulls out a piece of paper and scribbles, "He is now a member of Bob, Dick, and Harry's" and signs it, then asks me to sign as well. I do so. Bob reaches over to the receptionist, who is already grabbing some things.
Bob: Here is your employee badge, your -PARKING PERMIT- and your elevator key card. Now please, do the job I have -HIRED- you to do, and deliver my bagels. Sam looks on in utter fury as I ride the elevator down to my car. Seven sweet, sweet elevator rides later, all the food is delivered. Bob and Harry meet me at the table. Bob: Now, you have made great strides in this company and I am proud of your work, but I feel it is time for us to part ways. Here is your final check.
Bob then hands me a crisp $50 bill. Harry: And your severance package. Now please be sure to return your badge and card on the way out. Harry hands me a $20 and sends me on my way. The receptionist is sure to validate the parking ticket that Sam gave me, and I head on out. On the way out, Sam grins at me and asks for my ticket. I place it in the machine in his station.
It sees the validation I got, and lets me out for free. Sam glares at me as I drive off into the late morning sun.
48. Nickle And Diming
This happened a few years ago, I was working at a large national chain restaurant as a manager. I was asked to temporarily re-assign to a location in a city about an hour away, and accepted...they put me up in a hotel, the whole nine yards. The first weekend I was there, I discovered that the general manager had screwed up and not ordered any change (small bills/rolls of coins) for the safe, and that the local branch of our bank would be closing in the next hour.
I also happened to have a personal account at the same bank, and had, in the past, gone and gotten change from the branch back home. Since time was tight, I quickly looked up the address of the bank, grabbed $800 dollars, and jumped in my car. I get to the bank, wait in line, and then ask them to make change for me from the bills.
The teller tells me that the bank doesn't make change. Me, thinking it was because they didn't know me, informed her that our restaurant had an account she could look up. Her reply made my stomach clench. She then told me, "No, we don't make change at all." The thought going through my brain was, "What the heck? You are a BANK!!!" I tried explaining the situation, but was quickly shot down.
I left and went back to my car. Then I had an idea. I went back inside the bank with my personal checkbook. Got to the front of the line, and (luckily) had the same teller. Before she could even greet me, I held out my checkbook and told her, "I would like to close this account, since this bank is no longer customer service oriented." She kind of rolled her eyes, but went about my request.
Then she asked how I wanted my cashback. An automatic response, I'm sure, but it was one I was counting on. I said, "$400 in $5s, $300 in $1's, $70 in rolled quarters, $25 in rolled dimes, $4 in rolled nickels, and $1 in rolled pennies. The rest can be on a cashier's check." No reason for her to deny it, so I got my change. And the following Monday, I returned, closed out the other two accounts I had there, and I opened accounts at a different bank where I have been banking ever since.
49. Watching The Clock
In my last job when I started, I would log in as soon as I got there, and if I had anything to finish up I would do it before I left. I didn't mind as I'm a team player. This resulted in me doing 20-30 minutes a day unpaid, but I liked the company and liked a clear desk. Fast forward two years and my father-in-law was terminally ill. We got a call from the hospital telling us we had to get there ASAP as he didn't have long left.
I told my manager and left at 3:45 (core hours were 10-4). The next month my pay was docked for a whole half a day. I had already made two hours extra unpaid that week but they told me they couldn't make exceptions and the extra I did was my own decision. Allllrighty then! I knew exactly what I had to do. After that, I came in on the dot and left in the dot.
I did this for five years, I worked to the letter of my contracted hours. My manager was talking to a new starter and in my earshot she told him she hated “clockwatchers” who left on the dot as this doesn't show company loyalty. I leaned over and replied that loyalty works both ways, and being docked half a day’s pay for attending the passing of a beloved family member when I'd already done more than my weekly hours was cruel and unfeeling.
So I show the company the same level of compassion they showed me during the roughest time in my life so far. After all, rules are rules and exceptions cannot be made. The new starter started on the dot and left on the dot, as did the whole staff. I dread to think how many extra hours they lost over the whole department over the next few years.
50. Getting Real Salty
This story is from a dinner party I hosted. I invited six folks and shortly after the invites were sent, I received a call from Sally. Sally (not her real name) advised me that she was now on a "salt-free diet" due to medical reasons. She advised that at home she cooked without any salt and gave me a speech about how wonderful salt-free life was.
I was skeptical and advised her that I would personally find it difficult to give up all salt. Was she sure she wasn't just on a low sodium diet? Sally advised that unless her dish was salt-free, she wouldn't be attending. While telling her no was an option, I'm not that person. Honestly, I was annoyed at Sally for years of being difficult at the dinner table and restaurants.
Trust me, there was always something wrong with her meal, or its preparation, or the flavor, or the waiter, or...So with a smile so large you could hear it through the phone, I assured her that her request for salt-free was 100% going to be accommodated. She would end up regretting it. On the dinner night, I prepped the meal. Sally was getting the same thing as everyone else, with one critical difference.
All of her food was prepped in separate containers, baked on separate racks, and seasoned with exactly the same flavors, sans salt. Dinner time and my guests arrive. I have all of Sally's food plated on white plates. Everyone else gets grey plates. First round: Appetizers. Fried calamari with a lemon jalapeno butter sauce. This dish typically has salt in both the batter and the sauce.
As Sally couldn't have that, I battered her calamari in salt-free seasonings and flour. Her condiment looked exactly the same but was made with unsalted butter and no added salt. I place Sally's plate in front of her first and she immediately states she asked for salt-free. I assure her that her dish is salt-free and I made sure to cook hers separately and even used a different colored plate to keep it straight.
We all sit to talk and enjoy the squid. Sally takes a bite and makes a face. Mine has no flavor! She exclaims. All of my other guests tell Sally it's divine, delicious, best they've had, etc. I smile at Sally and assure her that her dish was flavored exactly as everyone else. The only difference is that she received absolutely no salt. It's at this point that Sally has a moment of clarity.
It's painfully obvious on her face. She realizes she can't complain about the lack of salt as she's already told the table about her salt-free life. She also can't claim it tastes terrible if everyone else is raving about the food. She literally looks like she was about to cry at the table. As my guests enjoy their dinner, Sally is slowly doing the toddler plays with her food munch and pushing her calamari around the plate.
After a few moments she reaches for the sauce that I made for everyone else. “Sally! Be careful, the salt-free sauce is in the white bowl. That one has salt.” She mumbles something about wanting to taste the difference before literally dumping the bowl on her calamari. She then exclaims how much better it tasted. You and I know that, of course, things taste better with salt.
So this drama repeated itself over the main course of honey roasted salmon with pine nuts. I also am no heathen and had both salt and pepper on the table for my guests. I'm not going to judge you for needing more flavor. Here we go! Sally takes a bite of her fish and once again realizes that it has no salt. She reaches for the salt shaker and conversation stops.
Another guest asked Sally if she was okay with adding salt to her food. She says that she can occasionally have salt. She proceeds to shower her fish with salt sprinkles. I also baked some cookies for dessert. The dough uses a little salt. I made sure to whip up a separate batch of cookies wrapped to go for her. Salt-free of course! When I handed her those cookies, the look of defeat that hit her face warmed my heart.
Dinner is over, everyone is happy except for Sally. I called her the next week to make sure she was okay as she's consumed sodium at my party. Sally told me her doctor has removed her sodium restrictions and she won't need that accommodation at future meals. On the phone, I congratulate her on her good health. When I hang up I laugh until my sides hurt.
Salt-free life apparently doesn't taste good when the salt is actually omitted!!! To anyone on a low or no-sodium diet for their health, I commend you. Sally, however, wasn't actually on this diet. This is evidenced by her shock at how salt-free food actually tasted. I confirmed with her husband that she's never stopped using salt at home. Her salt-free claims were a ploy for attention that backfired tastelessly.