People Absorb Our Attention With Their Acts Of Revenge
11. Find A Way To Illegally Run Microsoft For Free? Better Hope Your IT Guy Doesn't Rat You Out
“This happened back in the late 90s during the “dotcom era.” During this period, if you were good at IT (and sometimes if you weren’t) employers would be fighting for you and a person could make VERY good money just by switching jobs or transferring to another city.
As an example, from 1997 through 2000 I was able to triple my salary by making strategic moves and relocating across the country.
I was working for a small software company in a niche market located just outside Boston. I’d been working for the company for a couple of years when we all learned we’d been bought out by another company based in New Jersey.
A couple of weeks after the buyout was announced, “The Bobs” from the parent company came and interviewed each one of us, to determine what our fate would be. I thought I did well, but it was still a nervous month or so until we found out the results.
When the inevitable restructuring was announced, I was given the opportunity to transfer to the head office in New Jersey and report directly to the CTO as -Manager of Network Services-. The company agreed to pay for my relocation costs if I agreed to work for the company for at least one year (This will be important later.)
I would have a staff of 5 sysadmins and 2 DBAs and be responsible for all of the infrastructure, including the power generation and HVAC plant.
Of course, one of the first things I had to do was perform an assessment of all the systems to make sure everything was in order. I found that from a technical perspective, things were just okay – there was definitely room for improvement – but what was in complete disarray was software licensing.
They were running an all-Microsoft shop and didn’t have ANY licenses for their server operating systems or databases. Essentially they were pirating software like Captain Jack Sparrow. Now it’s one thing if Little Joey runs a hot copy of Photoshop on his home PC, but it’s entirely another thing if a company of this size, in a technical field, is running ALL pirated software in their data center.
I immediately contacted the CTO, who was also a relatively new hire, to let him know what I’d found. We agreed it was a serious issue and we prepared an agenda item for the next management meeting, with a cost estimate of nearly $100,000 to bring us into compliance – and that was just for the servers.
Now, the senior leadership of this company were VERY rich people who made their money in the construction business and thought that jumping on the dotcom bandwagon was a good idea. They had absolutely zero experience with a large IT infrastructure or in managing knowledge workers, but that could be a whole separate story.
We presented the dire state of our compliance and requested the funds to get legal. The request was denied, of course. When you’re in IT, you can’t just do things like that because if it ever comes out that you’re pirating software in a business setting, they’ll go after you personally in addition to the company.
So, as a CYA, the CTO or I would bring up the licensing discrepancies at every management meeting, and we documented it on paper and in email form.
Fast forward a few months and the poor management decisions are starting to surface.
The pipe dream of going public is slowly dying and they’ve taken to looking for a buyout from another company. The finance burn rate is phenomenal with payroll alone… the company is circling the drain. It comes down that I need to start laying off staff – something I’d never had to do, and let me tell you, it’s a gut-wrenching thing.
Of course, the people who made the decision want no part of looking those people in the eye during the process, so it fell to me. Soon, I had no more staff and was doing all the work of keeping the place running myself.
I’d decided it was time for my own exit, but there was that one catch… I was still under contract to work there for a few more months, and they were using that to make me stay. If I left, I’d have to repay them thousands in relocation expenses.
So, like any enterprising young man, I decided my best course of action was to try to get fired. I told the CTO of my plan (he and I are still great friends) and he tacitly approved my course of action, while he was planning his exit as well.
I decided that since I was now the entire IT department, I deserved a bigger office. After everyone had left for the day, I moved all my stuff upstairs where the nice offices were, and picked the largest empty one. The next morning arrives and the evil COO walks by and does a double-take at me working away in my nice, new digs.
A few days later, Evil COO goes to my boss and tells him that I need to move because they want to consolidate office space with another company they own, and they want my office for the accountant from the construction company.
I drop an ultimatum: “Tell him if I take my stuff out of this office, it’s going to my car.” I quickly start work on lining up a new job and type up a resignation letter to have on hand. This lasts for another 2 weeks or so.
Evil COO again approaches my boss with an order of “No, really, he’s got to move out of that office.” My boss advises him against this course of action, but he persists despite the warning. CTO walks into my office and informs me of Evil COO’s demand, so I print out my letter and walk into his office, without knocking, slide my resignation letter on his desk, and walk out.
The look on his face was priceless; you’d need a shovel to scrape his jaw off the desk. I’d already packed most of my things, so I grab the box and walk out the door.
The end? Oh, no my friends, this is only the beginning.
When payday comes around, I call to inquire about my last paycheck. Evil COO tells me they’re withholding it as compensation for the relocation expenses. I inform him that it’s illegal to do that; they can sue me for the expenses if they want, but by law, they have to pay my wages.
He again refuses and I drop ultimatum #2: “Either you cut me a check now, or when we hang up I’m going to make 2 phone calls, and you’re not gonna like what happens.” He said, “Do what you gotta do.” “Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you…”
I also found out when I asked for COBRA that they’d been deducting health insurance from my paychecks, but had never set me up with a policy, so I’d been paying for exactly nothing all those months.
Call #1 was to the New Jersey State Labor Board to report the non-payment of wages.
Call #2 was to the Software Publisher’s Association, which at the time represented a number of companies, including Microsoft, in licensing disputes. I provided them with documentation of all their systems, the state of their licensing non-compliance, and offered to testify at any depositions or trials that may be required.
I also warned my CTO buddy that this was in process, and to get ready for the coming storm.
The labor board hearing came about and we went before the arbitrator. The HR lady smugly provided the signed agreement regarding the moving expenses (which I had included in my filing anyway) thinking that would be her silver bullet.
After they made their case I argued that because I had been offered the position of “Manager of Network Services” but had to lay off my whole staff, I was no longer a manager and thus they’d breached their part of the agreement.
The arbitrator agreed. She ordered them to write me a check on the spot for the missing wages, times 3 as a penalty, and to repay all of the healthcare premiums that had been deducted from my checks. Phase 1 complete.
CTO reported to me that the SPA showed up with lawyers and accountants to do an audit on all their systems. CTO provided them with the documentation that we’d presented where this was a problem, along with their responses. The audit was brutal; they ended up settling for $250,000 to avoid going to court over the piracy, and the SPA paid me 10% of it as a bounty.
The settlement was one of the final nails in the coffin. The company only lasted a couple more months and was bought out for pocket change by a competitor, just for the customer base.
Moral of the story: Don’t screw with your IT guy when he’s got big-time dirt on you.”
10. Think You're So High And Mighty? You Just Messed With The Wrong Person
“As I sit in a bar, enjoying my coffee, a story pops into my mind from 10 years ago of how I put a jerk down to the ground for venting his frustrations over to his subordinates.
Let us begin with the back story, which is quite long, but necessary for you to get a feeling of what was going on at the time.
It was just months before the financial crisis and I was working for the tech department of a very large company. It was quite a large department in which we handled electronics.
That department stood out from most of the company, as it was receiving a bit of a different treatment.
The company thought if they create an extremely pleasant working environment there, they could get away with paying those stationed there considerably lesser wages than they could be eligible for.
And it was also a “meritocracy.” Your rank and station were based on what you were capable of, not how long you were in the company.
I say that because just after two years, I was running the whole department! The reason for that was that aside from being a computer technician, I also had skills in electro technics, electronics, programming, and online advertising, which the company realized and put me in charge of the whole bunch.
However before you question the validity of this story, you should know that while I had the rank, I made only marginally more than the rest of the department, the only plus was the rank, and that I had half the working hours of the rest of the department.
My only job was to make sure that everybody was at their best while doing their job and paperwork, along with comms and coordinating with the rest of the company.
I felt it was important that you knew the entire story because now I want to introduce you to Rick (fake name).
Rick was a hard worker, but a sick, evil, miserable jerk who was at the company for over 6 years but couldn’t get any higher up the ladder other than shift supervisor for the machinery boys because that’s all he knew how to do.
He was 2 ranks below me. Rick was an utter jerk. He constantly picked on his subordinates, berating them, yelling at them, picking on the “coffee boy” (it was the rookie, bringing coffee was an initiation ritual), essentially Rick being in charge of you was a very unpleasant experience.
At the time I didn’t know this was going on, Rick was not in the group I ascended over and I dealt with that group over his superior. I didn’t know what was going on because I had my hands full with running the whole thing from an office halfway across the company building (big building).
Before we continue, you should know that my country has a law against workplace maltreatment called “bossing,” in which, if there has been emotional harm inflicted, the person who performed bossing could even face jail time, and the company in question could pay massive fines.
To continue, suddenly I received an email from my superior, telling me there was an incident regarding Rick and that I have been scheduled for disciplinary action. Apparently, there was a coffee girl in his group which he utterly destroyed to the point where she had a nervous breakdown, and as a department administrator, I received huge flak for “not sustaining a pleasant working environment”, which was department policy so that people wouldn’t complain so much about the subpar pay they are getting.
Rick got me in so much trouble that I had to spend a week of constant damage control with my own superior. In the end, I was ordered to take appropriate action against Rick to prove that I was still “the man for the job”.
Rick got me in a lot of trouble. Rick was going to pay. There was just one problem – there was no evidence against Rick. So I was going to have to be sneaky. I send a message to Rick’s superior, notifying him that they will be getting a replacement coffee boy from another group tomorrow…
ME! I was going undercover to stick it to Rick.
There is a saying: you see a guy in a suit and tie and you think he’s successful until you realize he’s working for a man in jeans and a polo shirt.
This holds true as Rick is a suit-and-tie guy while I wear jeans and a polo shirt to work.
It’s the day of revenge. I take no special preparations other than a hidden recording device, and I even wear the aforementioned outfit.
I arrive at work and ask two security guards to go with me to wait just outside Rick’s work area. I purposely wait until I am 5 minutes late, then enter the work area with Rick’s people, greet everyone and go straight for the coffee pot.
Rick notices my tardiness and starts ranting:
RICK: Coffee boy! What the heck do you think you’re doing? Come late on your first day? Get your butt moving and serve everybody!
ME: Yes sir!
I serve coffee to everybody, but one of the techs recognizes me.
I pour some coffee into his pot and tell him to say nothing because I am recording Rick. At that time Rick was across the room, insulting another employee for misplacing his tools.
After I finish serving coffee I go to “my” workplace and start working.
I intentionally fumble at my work, as a rookie would, in order to get Rick’s attention. It works and Rick notices me and races right toward me.
RICK: What the heck do you think you’re doing boy? What is this mess you made? You are completely useless! I cannot use you for anything! I should send you to mop the floors and you will even screw that up!
I turn towards Rick, put my hands on my hips, and lean forwards, going in Rick’s face.
Rick presses his second and third fingers against his thumb and starts to wave them in my face:
RICK: Don’t you get uppity on me boy, I am your boss, I know the administrator and I can get your butt on the street in 5 minutes! Do you want to go home? ANSWER ME!
ME: I am the administrator.
Both guards arrive, going into full baddie mode, grabbing hold of their mace pockets with one hand and fists clenched in the other. I swear, Rick immediately dropped a couple of spoonfuls into his pants.
GUARD: Yes, Mr. OP?
ME: Escort Mr. Rick to my office immediately for (I lean right into his face) SEVERE disciplinary action.
GUARD: Mr. Rick, come with us.
Later in my office, Rick was sat down, and listened to the audio recording of the incident, as well as I made him read out loud an extract of the labor law concerning “bossing”, then I go full cold turkey on his butt:
Rick, you have been caught severely abusing your employees, which is not only against department policy but is also a criminal offense, punishable by jail time in certain circumstances. Do you have anything to say in your defense?
Sweating, shaking, stuttering: RICK: I would, I, but I, I am…
ME: It’s what I thought. Let me tell you what is going to happen. I have brought evidence to pin the breakdown of coffee girl on you, which means that I have the power to send you to jail. (Not sure if true, I was bluffing).
So your disciplinary action is going to be as follows. Firstly, you are to be demoted for at least a period of two months. Your previous group was lacking a coffee boy, I think you would be perfect for the job.
Secondly. You are going to love it. Thirdly, you are going to send flowers and a letter of apology to the girl you broke down. But if you: #1, try to quit within the time allotted for your punishment, and #2, so much as look at your former subordinates in a way they wouldn’t like it, and #3, do not do your work with utmost distinction, I will send this evidence to the authorities and use every scrap of power I have in this company to send you to a jail so bad that when you come out of it, you will be wearing diapers for the rest of your life, HAVE I MADE MYSELF CLEAR?
Utterly pale and defeated Rick: yes, Mr.
To add insult to injury, I inform his group of Rick’s demotion. I told them that he has absolutely no authority over them anymore and that he is going to serve them coffee until a time I see fit to rejoin them, but only as a serviceman equal in rank to the group.
Rick was also forced to clean out his office in front of the group, as the coffee boy wasn’t even entitled to his own cubicle, let alone a desk.
Is this nuclear revenge? I disagree. I feel that he got exactly what he deserved.
He is now going to have to lick the boots he treated so badly before. I am by no means an angel, after all, I did fail to notice the crap that was going on underneath me, but to be fair, nobody was brave enough to stand up to Rick in fear of losing their jobs due to the crisis looming overhead.”
9. Won't Pay Me For The Drums? I'll Get My Pay One Way Or Another
“I had been watching eBay for a particular drum set I wanted. I’d been watching for over a year when a set finally popped up. It wasn’t exactly 100% what I wanted, but for the price ($2000 for a drum set that would cost me over $4000 new), I could overlook it!
So I buy the set, and I communicate with the owner.
He asks me if I could pay a little more for shipping, and I agree – there are six drums total, and they’re VERY heavy. I ended up paying $2400 total for this drum set.
I have them shipped to my employer, and they finally arrive in two large boxes.
Both boxes have visible external damage. I’m a little freaked out at this point, so I load them into my truck, take them home, and take loads of pictures as I open each box and inspect each drum.
The rack toms and floor toms are fine, as they were nested inside the bass drums (it’s a double-bass drum set).
Both bass drums are damaged – they each have a gouge of wood missing from the bearing edge (the ridge that the drum head sits on). One drum has damage on the resonant side (the side of the drum the crowd sees); the other has damage on the batter side (the side the bass drum pedal hits).
So I contact the seller and tell him what happened. The shipment was insured with UPS, so he started a claim. For the first couple of weeks, he kept me updated. Then, one day while I was at work, a UPS worker came by to pick up the bass drums in order for the insurance company to get them and assess the damage.
I didn’t know he was coming by, so I didn’t have them. He said he’d come back by tomorrow. I contact the seller – nothing. UPS comes by the next day; I told him I can’t get in touch with the seller, and I’m not letting go of the drums yet.
I keep trying to get in touch with the seller, and I don’t receive any communication. I call UPS – nothing. I call the shipping insurance company, only to be told that they can’t tell me (the buyer) any information about the claim or any sort of settlement.
I couldn’t believe it. I BOUGHT THE DRUMS!!! THE SELLER GOT PAID!!! I’M OUT TWO DRUMS THAT I CAN’T USE!!! HOW IS IT THAT I CAN’T GET ANY INFORMATION???
It had been weeks since I’d spoken to the seller…but my luck changed one day.
I called the shipping insurance company again, just trying to get a little bit of information. The person I spoke to was very compassionate and seemed to understand my frustration. She finally revealed that the insurance claim on the drum damage had been paid two to three weeks before, in the form of two checks (two drums in two different boxes, one check each per tracking number – this is important later).
The claim paid $3000 – $1500 per check! She told me the checks were sent to the UPS shipper in the seller’s city/state. I thanked this woman PROFUSELY.
At this point, I google information for the UPS shipper, and I call him.
He, too, was very nice, realized quickly that the seller was trying to rip me off, and was more than happy to give me information. He remembered shipping the drum set, he remembered the seller coming back to make the claim, he remembered that two checks were sent, along with the amount of each, and he remembered the day the seller came to pick them up.
At this point, I talked to my roommate. He formerly worked account security for a large cell phone provider, and he still had friends who worked there. I gave him the little bit of info I had on the seller (name, city/state he lived in), and asked if he could talk to one of his old friends at the cell phone company and see if they could find any information on this guy.
He took my e-mail address and told me he’d get somebody on it. Thirty minutes later, I had:
- Seller’s full name
- Seller’s DOB
- Seller’s SSAN
- Seller’s home address
- Seller’s car make/model and plate number
- All of the above information for seller’s girl (it was a joint eBay account, and they lived together)
- All of the above info for seller’s sister and mother, both of whom lived in another state.
- I also found out that seller was an active-duty US Army officer…this is VERY important later.
I looked at small claims court info for the state seller was in…but the max award was only $2500; I wouldn’t be able to recover every dollar! I was a little disappointed…until I realized TWO DIFFERENT DRUMS, TWO DIFFERENT BOXES, TWO SEPARATE TRACKING NUMBERS, TWO SEPARATE INSURANCE CLAIMS, AND TWO SEPARATE CLAIM CHECKS = TWO SMALL COURT CASES FOR A TOTAL OF $5000 MAX REWARD!!!
With some googling, I was able to find out the Army base and unit the seller was assigned to.
I found contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses…including his army e-mail address; it turned out he was in a particular management position, so his contact info was listed.
At this point, I check the price of flights from my town to his; they were super cheap! I bought a ticket (and travel insurance).
At this point, I put together my e-mail to his military e-mail address. It included:
- All of his info I had
- All of his chick’s info I had
- All of his mother’s and sister’s info I had
- An attached photo of my plane ticket to his town
- A few choice photos of the drum damage
I tell him I knew the insurance claim had been processed, I knew the checks were sent to the UPS shipper he used, and I knew he’d picked the checks up weeks before and had not contacted me.
I told him that I either wanted the full $3000 of the claim payoff sent to me (which, frankly is more than fair – I’m the one with damaged drums), or I would sue him in his state’s small claims court, filing two claims – one claim per drum/box/tracking number, plus I would sue to recover the cost of two plane tickets, two hotel reservations, and two car rentals (one set to go to his city/state to file, and one set to appear in court for the trial).
I told him that there was a reason I sent this information to his military address, and that was to create a “paper trail” with his military address. I explained to him that I was a prior military. I also explained that the military looks poorly upon financial problems and lawsuits, even small claims lawsuits, which involve their members, especially officers.
Receiving information about the poor character of one of their members, plus having that member involved in something like a lawsuit, could negatively affect their next promotion, their duty station…it could possibly be career-ending.
I told him I didn’t need to get an e-mail from him.
I didn’t need to hear from him. All I needed was the $3000 insurance claim. My e-mail was sent on a Friday; if I didn’t receive the payment by next Friday, I’d be leaving for his city/state that following Monday to file two small court claims (the state would serve him notice).
The following Thursday, I received multiple pay orders from him in the amount of $3000.
I then canceled my plane ticket and recovered that cost (minus the few bucks of travel insurance).
So here I am – reimbursed $3000 in damage to a drumset I paid $2400 for.
I’m $600 ahead, but with two damaged drums.
It just so happened that, when this situation happened (8-10 years ago), I lived in an area that had a few custom drum shops. A few guys even built their own drum shells. I found a guy that did drum shell repairs, so I took my bass drums (which UPS never made another appearance for), took off all of the hardware, and took them to his guy’s shop.
He looked at the damage, and he said he could fix it. Since the damage occurred on opposite sides of each drum (resonant on one, batter on the other), he’d have to cut down all 4 sides so the drums would match.
I said okay, and left the drums with him.
About a week later, he called me to tell me the shells were done. He did a BEAUTIFUL job – you couldn’t tell there was any previous damage! When I asked him what I owed him, he said, “You know, it was fun to fix these – plus you pulled all the hardware off before you brought them to me; most people don’t do that, but it made my job a lot easier – how about $100?”
Drum shops usually charge $150 to recut ONE SIDE, and he cut down FOUR. For $100.
I profusely thanked him, happily paid $100, took the shells home, reinstalled the hardware and heads, and finally got to play my new drums after 2+ months of having them – and I was still $500 ahead!’
8. Think You Like Chocolate So Much? You'll Never Want Chocolate Again After This
I think I’d still love chocolate after this, honestly.
“I grew up in the late 80s and early 90s – a time when the best things in life were Saturday Morning Television and shops that sold sweets you could actually afford with your pocket money.
And I had a VERY sweet tooth.
Growing up, you’d never describe me as a thin kid. While I wasn’t a boy mountain, I was certainly chubby. My mom used to use the phrase “big-boned” a lot. I only realized later in life that this was an attempt to be polite about my weight and I was in fact, a chunky monkey.
In any case, like all kids, I loved a good chocolate bar: Penguin, Club, or my (personal favorite) a Crunchie!
I was the third child in a family of 6 children, and we were all fairly close in age, so it meant that my mom had to stay at home to look after all of us while my dad worked hard to support the family.
As a teacher, he didn’t earn a lot, so treats such as chocolate bars were exactly that: a treat. They were expensive, even back then, and with my dad’s wage, not something that could just be consumed whenever we wanted. They were for packed lunches and packed lunches only.
Not that my sugar-craving adolescent mind knew or even cared about such things, of course. No – there were chocolate bars in the cupboard and I was hungry. So I munched on a few, without a care in the world, indulging in that chocolate-fueled sugar rush that only a child truly knows.
Not all of them, but enough to be noticed.
When my mom found out, she was LIVID!
Because my dad worked long hours and was away all day, it was usually left for my mom to do the punishments at home. And when he found out what had happened, he was really annoyed – money was always tight and the idea of wasting finances upset him more than anything else in those days.
My mom also had “the voice” whereas my dad was much quieter and more passive, so naturally, we were more terrified of our mom’s vocal outbursts than anything. Needless to say, I got an earful from her that night. I guess they thought that was that and I’d learned my lesson.
Obviously, they didn’t understand the “call of the chocolate bar”.
Sure enough, the following week, after the shopping arrived, there in the cupboard was a fresh, new pack of Clubs. Coming home from school that day, it was hot and I was hungry from playing football in the park for the last hour or so.
I opened the cupboard and helped myself. I didn’t mean to eat as many as I did; maybe it was sugar madness. Who knows? But the fact was, the Club bars were all but gone before I realized what I’d done.
I buried the wrappers deep in the bin, hoping to conceal the obvious evidence of my crime. But there would be no getting away with it. When my mom came to make the lunches that evening, she would notice the glaring gap in the cupboard where the chocolate bars should have been.
I braced myself for the oncoming storm and went to my room.
Sure enough, that evening my mother’s voice called out from downstairs.
“OP! Can you come to the kitchen please?”
I gingerly made my way downstairs to the kitchen, where my mom had all the empty lunch boxes for us laid out and the cupboard was open with my crime fully visible to see.
“Did you eat all the chocolate bars again?” she asked. She didn’t seem angry, just inquisitive. I was a little puzzled and slightly confused by this. My young and naive brain didn’t spot the reverse psychological word trap. Thinking maybe I was actually going to escape from this with my ears intact, I nodded slowly.
“Yeah, sorry,” I mumbled. “I was hungry.”
“I see,” my mom said, straightening up with a more determined look on her face. “Ok, well I’ve thought about this and since you appear to love chocolate so much, Dad and I think we’ll let you eat as much chocolate as you want from now on.”
My eyes goggled.
“What? Really?” I was utterly confused. This was the most amazing thing I’d ever heard! All the chocolate I wanted? Whenever I wanted?
“Yes,” my mom replied, with a glint in her eye that I did not catch, once again. “As much chocolate as you want.
Every meal from now on, you can have chocolate. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chocolate… and… ONLY… chocolate.”
My young, teenage brain raced with this news and I couldn’t believe my luck! Chocolate every day? This would be heaven!
The next day, my mom made Spaghetti Bolognese – my absolute favorite meal.
It smelled amazing as we all sat down at the family dining table to eat. Mom dished up big helpings to my siblings. As I held up my plate, though (forgetting the previous day’s agreement), my mom deftly plonked a Penguin bar on my plate.
“There you are, OP. Enjoy your meal,” she said, smiling pleasantly. I was slightly cautious now.
“Could I have some spaghetti as well?” I asked, slowly.
“Nope!” my mom said. “Chocolate only, as we agreed. There are more chocolate bars here if you want them.”
So I ate my chocolate bar, while my siblings goggled at me.
There were some cries of annoyance and disbelief from my younger brothers who also wanted chocolate, but they were silenced by my mom and dad who told them chocolate was just for me, today.
Feeling a little confused, but still happy, I ate my chocolate bar.
It didn’t fill me up much, so I had another one to top it off. Strangely, it didn’t taste quite as good as the first one, though.
The next day at school, when the lunch bell rang, I had a look in my lunch box.
In the box, was a bottle of water and three Mars bars. That was all. I ate them and felt a little sick afterward, but all the other kids at my table treated me like a king for having so much chocolate in my lunch box.
That evening, for dinner, my mom had made a big roast meal – another favorite in our house. As we sat at the table, I saw each of my siblings with their plates filled with roast potatoes, chicken, parsnips, the works! On my plate, my mom had placed a Crunchie and Snickers bar.
I finally began to realize the depth of my fate. I didn’t want chocolate. I wanted a roast dinner. I wanted peas and potatoes and gravy and delicious savory things.
“Mom,” I said. “Please can I have what everyone else is having?”
“No,” she replied, curtly.
You are having chocolate. That’s what you wanted, so that’s what you’re having. Forever.” The last word hit me right in the doomed sense! Only chocolate. Forever?! No more Spaghetti? No more roasts? What is this? How can this be allowed? Surely this wasn’t right? Feeling a little tearful, I sat and ate my Crunchie in silence.
I didn’t touch the Snickers.
The next day was Saturday. I wasn’t feeling so good and my stomach was aching a bit, too. And then my dad dropped the nuclear bombshell that would finish me off… He took us all to Mcdonald’s!
Now, back in those days (in England), Mcdonald’s was somewhere you went as a really special treat.
Our family certainly couldn’t afford it normally, so it was a once-in-a-blue-moon event to go and eat there. And you can guess what happened, of course. Everyone got their choice of burgers and food except me. I got another Mars Bar.
I didn’t want it. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to see another Mars bar as long as I lived.
I wailed at my parents, “Pleeeeease! Can I have Mcdonald’s? I don’t want a chocolate bar.” But my parents were unrelenting in their dedication to their revenge.
I cried and I stomped and I fumed and raged, but they ignored my desperate pleas (taking me outside to calm down when it began to worry the other customers). I didn’t eat my chocolate bar.
That evening, I was miserable. I was hungry, fed up, and sick of chocolate.
The very sight of it made me feel nauseous and I was thoroughly sorry for myself.
I miserably trudged into the kitchen that evening, in tears.
“Mom,” I said. “I’m sorry. I really am. I don’t like chocolate anymore. Please, can I have something normal to eat?”
My mom examined me for a moment – and I guess she decided I’d learned my lesson – and made me up a big bowl of soup and toast.
Despite being a cheap brand cup-a-soup, it was one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted.
After that, a funny thing happened to me. I couldn’t stomach even the sight of a chocolate bar… for 2 years! I don’t think I actually ate another one for about 3 years after that event.
Her revenge worked better than I expect even she had hoped.
And I’ll never forget it either. To this day, I don’t like things like chocolate cakes or chocolate desserts. I can eat a chocolate bar if I need to, but I don’t enjoy it. My sweet tooth was gone for good.
Good one, Mom!”
7. Fake An Injury? We'll Make Sure You Don't Get Any Sleep Tonight
“Some context: I work in a nursing home. Nightshift on a men’s dementia floor, to be exact.
Normally, I wouldn’t harbor ill will towards any resident since dementia makes them do bad things and it’s not their fault. A perfectly sweet lady can become an abusive jerk once Alzheimer’s kicks in.
But this resident in particular didn’t have dementia. He was 100% legally competent and totally with it and not even in his thirties yet, he was just stuck on my floor because he was physically incapable of taking care of himself due to a lack of strength in his arms and legs caused by some injury.
As for why he was on my unit instead of in a hospital or taken care of at home… that’s anyone’s guess, but judging by his behavior I assume it was because no one could stand to be around him for more than five minutes and we tend to get a lot of the residents with “behavioral issues.” Just so we’re clear, this guy wasn’t our normal case of “dear ol’ grandpa who was shellshocked in ‘Nam is now violent due to dementia,” this guy was mentally sound and was just a jerk.
Case in point, this guy was frequently abusive with the staff. He also had a severe case of “Oh and one more thing” whenever anyone tried to help him, going as far as to frequently lie and make stuff up for people to do just for attention or to exert control or whatever.
Naturally, dealing with difficult people is my job, but this guy had no excuse to be as difficult as he was, so I had absolutely no patience for the man and neither did literally anybody staffed on that floor. When the people who very frequently deal with residents who make absurd demands and physically assault the staff are complaining that this guy (who, again, was completely with it) was too much to handle, you know it’s bad.
One particular night, after dealing with his crap for half an hour straight around 3 AM (he didn’t tend to fall asleep until 4) it was getting ridiculous. I was trying my darndest to do what I could to help him because I had to, but my patience was wearing a bit thin so I was being a bit more terse than normal.
At this point, he was insisting he needed a new bed alarm because his didn’t work. I told him, several times, that it was a silent bed alarm (so it rang the front desk but didn’t BEEP BEEP loudly itself so as to not disturb his roommate).
To “prove” his point, he very suddenly conjured up all the strength his body somehow hid and flung himself off the bed as I stared in disbelief, not able to react.
The area he landed on was free of anything he might hurt himself on, and in fact, he had fall mats on the sides of his bed to catch him anyway.
He also had a very low bed. In total, he fell about 6 inches onto a soft mat as I watched him. But this guy insisted he had hit his head (despite no object even coming with a foot of his head on his descent).
Normally, if a resident fell like that and someone watched it, we’d have to take vitals (incl. blood pressure) anyway just to make sure they’re alright, but the resident could refuse the vitals. But, he said he hit his head…
Naturally, I called in the nurse on duty.
She’s normally a sweet lady who’d feel guilty if she looked at a fly wrong, but also had the sense of humor of a wet blanket. When I told her what actually happened (that he threw himself onto the mat and was fine) he insisted that he had actually fallen out of bed and hit his head and that he needed a new bed alarm so that wouldn’t happen, somehow.
Unfortunately for him, our policy is that if a resident says they hit their head, even if the fall was witnessed as the contrary, we have to treat it as though they hit their head. Also, our policy is that in such a fall, the resident gets vitals taken every 15 minutes for the next 4 hours.
For added fun, the nurse also has to do neuro checks (stuff like shining a flashlight in your eye and asking you to move your legs and arms to make sure you’re not concussed), and the resident can’t refuse these because a concussion is quite serious!
I got to watch her gleefully explain all this to the man.
He realized he wouldn’t be getting a wink of sleep that night and tried to back peddle and admit that he hadn’t actually hit his head, but… sorry! Gotta follow procedure!
So from 3 to 7 AM, the nurse dutifully went back there every 15 minutes for a quick round of blood pressure and other fun stuff while he kept whining about how he just wanted to go to sleep. Honestly, I’m not even sure if she had to do the neuro checks every time as well, but she wanted to be extra careful, so she did them anyway.”
6. Refuse To Be Appropriate On The Job? Your Career And Love Life Will Dissipate
“My parents separated early in my childhood (around 5-6 y/o), but both remained very cordial and friendly with each other. They agreed that both parents should be involved so they shared custody of my younger brother and me. Shortly after separating, they both started seeing other people and they have been a part of my life ever since.
They are, in essence, my step-parents without the official title. There is no animosity between my parents and stepparents whatsoever. Now, my mom does not wear makeup, but she looks really young. Like, she has been confused on MANY occasions to be my sister.
I don’t know if it’s her genes or if she found the fountain of youth, but she is very attractive. This is all important as you’ll see.
So in middle school, I joined the intramural wrestling team because I was bullied a lot and needed a place to let off some steam.
I was a sensitive teenager and going to wrestling practice was my form of therapy. I even joined an outside wrestling club a few towns away that I’ll call “WC.” While there, I had many coaches including the main coach of the story I’ll call Coach Mitch.
Mitch was a total jerk; one of those jocks who brags about how intoxicated he got, how many girls he got with, and how many illegal things he did. He would walk into WC with this black leather jacket, a backward cap, and sunglasses and talk up a storm about his nightly conquests.
Wrestling was his life and his job at WC was the most important thing to him. On the mat, he was a rough and strict coach who prided himself on his insane cardio training program. If you did anything not to his standards, you would get a stare full of anger and hate we called the “Mitch Glare” and sent to run gassers.
I went to every single one of those practices and he remembered my face.
I joined high school and the high school wrestling team as a freshman but ultimately didn’t wrestle much due to a concussion and other injuries. After the wrestling season ended, the head coach announced he was leaving the team to help his wife diagnosed with breast cancer and there would be a new head coach next year.
Sophomore year rolls around and there was an announcement for students to meet the new wrestling head coach after school. So I go with a bunch of old teammates and new recruits and in walks Mitch with a leather jacket and a stride full of swagger.
My heart sank. After the meeting, Mitch pulled me aside and told me he expected great things from me after wrestling in his WC program.
The first year under Mitch was heck and difficult to adjust to, but I managed. I made varsity for the first time, but I wasn’t skilled enough to win many of my matches which Mitch did not let me live down.
Every opportunity he got after a loss to make his frustration known, he seized. I would often look to the sidelines to see him giving me the Mitch Glare. I was disappointed with my season and desperately wanted to improve.
I went back to WC that summer with a renewed sense of purpose.
I went to every single practice that spring and summer including Mitch’s session and the improvements were noticeable to everyone. Everyone except Mitch. After one practice in the summer, Coach Mitch told me that he wanted me and another wrestler to come 30 minutes ahead of practices to practice take-downs.
I agreed I would, eager to hopefully get on his good side. I should have said no.
One day over the summer, my mom drove me to WC and we arrived before Mitch so the doors were locked. Since it was a hot, sunny day, my mom stayed until Mitch came.
We were chatting when around the corner came Mitch’s black Cadillac and parked right next to us. I thanked my mom for the ride and got out of the car to greet Mitch. As I walk a few feet away, my mom rolls down the passenger window and yells to me that I forgot my water bottle.
I go back and reach through the window to grab my water bottle and turn around to get a face full of Mitch. I was about to say something, but Mitch, in one fluid motion, shoved me aside with his left arm, pulled his right hand on the roof above the passenger window, and reached his head inside the passenger window.
To my horror, he begins to flirt with my mom right in front of me! At first, Mitch thought that she was my older sister, but then he realized she was my mom which made him VERY interested. I managed to extract him from the window and we went inside.
Once inside, he refused to do anything except talk about my mom. It was very unsettling to hear a 30 y/o man talk about getting with your mom. When I told him that she was with my stepdad, he scoffed and said for now.
The rest of the summer and into my junior year was constant torment from Mitch about my mom. It was not long until Mitch brought up to all the wrestlers and my teammates how hot my mom was, how he was going to rock her world, and how he was going to replace my stepdad and I would call him dad.
My teammates laughed and joined in on the tormenting. They even replaced the words of that classic song “Stacy’s Mom” with my mom. Every single bus ride to a meet or tournament, Mitch would blast that song. Every. Single. One. Teammates and Mitch would send texts in the group chat about my mom and videos of them singing to that darn song.
Mitch would often look up into the stands for my mom (who was a regular at my meets) and would tell me while I’m warming up that she’ll be coming home with him afterward. While this was all going on, I felt embarrassed and powerless, but also angry.
I kept my head down and pretended like it didn’t affect me despite the fact it did. I thought if I pretended like it didn’t affect me, then he would lose interest and stop. But it never stopped.
My junior season was incredible from a wrestling standpoint; I won numerous tournaments including sectionals and went to states where I lost the round prior to placing.
Sectionals and states are the equivalent to the playoffs in football/baseball/etc. I vowed to return next year and place at the states. Senior year came, and I was winning tournaments and matches again. And while Mitch never got on me for my wrestling, the tormenting of my mom continued despite the fact at this point he had a partner.
Many times after walking off the mat, Mitch would come up to me and tell me that it was a good thing I won because he didn’t want his stepson to be a loser. This made me rage on the inside, but I refused to give him the satisfaction of a response.
But there is only so much that I could take and there was gonna be a day that I finally snap.
It was the weekend before sectionals and we were at the league tournament where I was about to face my archrival from a few towns away in the finals.
I was pumped because we had faced each other in the finals of last year’s league tournament and I won. I was warming up off to the side with my mom, stepdad, and dad all sitting together in the stands. I was on deck when Mitch strolled over to me and told me that I better beat this punk or I wouldn’t have a bed when he and my mom got married.
I pretended to not hear him, but that made my blood boil.
I ended up losing the match and was really upset with myself as I ran off the mat to retrieve my clothes. And seeing the opportunity to kick me while I’m down, Mitch barrels towards me, gets chest-to-chest with me, and starts yelling in my face in front of the whole gym although not loud enough for everyone to hear.
He was telling me that I should be embarrassed, that I would never amount to anything, and that he doesn’t know if he could marry my mom anymore because he would be associated with a loser. I LOST IT! I shoved Mitch away, told him to screw off, and stormed out of the gym into the parking lot through the back doors.
I was so angry and frustrated that I was seeing red. My parents saw what happened (but could not hear it) and my dad ran after me. He caught me in the parking lot, shaking from anger and helplessness. I wouldn’t talk to him and told him to leave me alone.
As he turned to leave, Mitch entered the parking lot (Mitch Glare in full effect) and told me that I was suspended indefinitely from the wrestling team. I didn’t say anything to him as he walked away. I turned to my dad and told him we needed to talk tonight and to grab my mom and stepdad.
It was time to get my revenge on the man who tortured me for years.
I return inside to collect my medal and to take a few forced pictures on the podium. I did not return to the team bus and instead had my mom and stepdad drive me home.
I spilled EVERYTHING during that car ride home. Their collective reaction was of horror, rage, and disgust. My stepdad, who is an avid health nut and gym rat as well as a former wrestler, wanted to introduce Mitch to his fists; but we convinced him that was not the way to settle this.
They vowed to not let this go unpunished and together we hatched a plan. We were gonna take everything from him.
That Monday came and my mom, dad, and I called a meeting with the vice principal, the principal, the athletic director, and the superintendent.
I recounted the entire saga all the way back to WC and showed them the texts and videos from the group chat. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my dad, who always videotaped my matches so I could review them later, caught the exchange between Mitch and me but without the audio.
The men stared in horror as I shared everything, like wide-eyed fish gasping for air. Then, my mom turns to the men and tells them that she has been in contact with a lawyer and that they are planning on suing under Title IX against the district for harassment unless something was done immediately.
I did not know if we actually could sue and if this was a bluff, but the effect was instantaneous. I have never seen a group of four men flinch in unison together and stumble over one another to assure us that they would take action immediately.
Mitch was fired that day.
But we did not stop there.
Mitch was so enchanted by my mom, right? So much so that he sent text messages and videos to proclaim how much he wanted to be with my mom. Well, I found Mitch’s girl on social media and sent her all those messages/videos and told her how he had tortured me for close to two years.
SHE WAS LIVID! I wish I could have been there for the fight that ensued, but she dumped his butt and her relationship status turned to single.
But we did not stop there.
My mom and I then returned to WC later that spring and talked to the manager and other coaches about Mitch’s behavior towards me while a member of WC.
At first, they didn’t fully believe the story, but after showing them the messages and videos as well as having some legal persuasion from my mom, they quickly backpedaled and assured us that there was no place for that behavior at WC.
We stood at the counter with the manager as Mitch walked through the door. The look of horror that crossed Mitch’s face was absolutely priceless. While we could not be present for the dismissal in the office, we watched as Mitch reappeared from the office and left WC with his stupid Mitch Glare on his face.
My mom and I high-fived in the car and laughed the entire way home.
To finish the season, my suspension was revoked and the assistant coach was promoted to interim head coach. I ended up placing fourth at states that year and it was the proudest moment of my life.
I had dealt with so much drama that I felt all of it was finally worth it and I had accomplished my ultimate goal. We had won the battle against Mitch, I placed at states, and I was going to a great college to wrestle with a nice scholarship.
But it does not end there!
That summer going into my first year at college, I dislocated my arm at the shoulder and tore my labrum which required surgery. The morning of the surgery came and my mom was driving me to the hospital when we came across a brown and grey pick-up truck broken down in the right shoulder.
My mom slows down because it was a one-lane road with on-coming traffic on the left. As we pull alongside the truck, from the front of the truck around the driver’s side stepped Mitch in a yellow safety vest and tan cargo shorts.
Time seemed to slow as we made eye contact and his face twisted into that Mitch Glare. Gone was his nice black Cadillac and nice clothes and replaced with a broken pick-up truck and construction attire. As we drove by, my mom and I looked at each other, asked if we both saw him, and then laughed all the way to the hospital. Karma is great!
To this day, I still cannot listen to Stacy’s Mom.”
5. Try To Get Me To Turn Over The Data Files? The Law Doesn't Say I Have To
“Many years ago I was a freelance Computer-Aided Design specialist. I did work for places that needed proper plans drawn up from an idea. House plans, remodels, store demolition and remodel, venue lighting and audio systems, drainage plans, manufacturing machinery, and so on.
If it was being used in the construction or manufacturing of something the odds were pretty good that I could put it on paper.
Big Al worked in the construction industry. Primarily housing but some other stuff occasionally. His primary job was managing the development of a subdivision for a major home builder.
Big Al and I had known each other socially for a few years. He was successful at his job but had reached the top level. This would sit fine with a lot of people but Big Al’s ego, and his semi-trophy wife’s financial appetite, wouldn’t let him be satisfied.
He wanted to be the big cheese and be making big bucks by the truckload.
I get a call from Big Al one day. He needed some drawings done for building permits and custom home plans. The company’s CAD person was backed up so Big Al contacted me to do some work.
Additionally, and with the blessing (and investment money) from his boss, Big Al was starting up his own construction company and wanted to use me for his plans. I was enthusiastic because Big Al is a strong type A personality and will rise to the top of whatever he takes on.
Which means he’ll make some serious bucks and I’ll get some coin along the way.
For two years everything went great. The only contract we had at the start was a handshake agreeing to be honest with each other and treat each other fairly.
Big Al started his business as a one-man operation in the loft of his house. After several months he moved to a small office with a little old lady secretary/receptionist. From there he moved to a larger office with a staff of several people to help manage the business.
The company had several subdivisions around the area and business was booming. Big Al had developed about 20 base house plans. Each had 5 exterior options (types of roof line, windows, etc.), plus all the siding/brickwork customization one could visualize. So all the houses in each base model were very similar to build but they all looked distinctly different.
Big Al would allow some customization of the interiors, too, for a price increase. People couldn’t move the load-bearing walls but everything else was open to discussion. I printed out some handout sheets for him with a basic floorplan on one side and the 5 exterior frontal elevations on the back.
Like I said, business was good for Big Al. He needed a right-hand man and offered me the job. I would be pulling down about 3x more than I was making on my own. In all honesty, I had no desire to work for him.
Big Al was a strong type-A personality and I’ll be darned if I am going to be in a situation where I would be subjugated to someone like that guy. I sure enjoyed working with him but did not want to work for him.
But I didn’t want to turn him down outright so I put some unreasonable demands on my conditions for employment. Flexible hours, lots of benefits, bonus opportunities, and so on. Nope, he wouldn’t budge. Thankfully. Not sure what I would have done if he had accepted.
I continued to do work for Big Al. By this time he was ready to fancy up the handouts of the various models. He wanted an individual floor plan for each of the 5 plan options and a landscaped rendering on the back.
The landscapes had to be unique on each one. They couldn’t look like I just dropped a house onto the same set of vegetation. Not a problem but a bit involved. I told him I’d need to do one to see exactly what was involved and then give him an estimate.
He agreed, and I gave him what I believed was a fair price. Big Al gave me the green light as I started on the first 3 plans.
When I delivered the first 3 sets of renderings (15 total), Big Al wanted to introduce me to someone.
The guy’s name was Harry, and Harry was now Big Al’s right-hand man. I would no longer be dealing with Big Al. Harry would be my primary contact. I really didn’t care as long as I got paid.
There was something off about Harry that I couldn’t quite nail down.
Something in the back of my mind was telling me not to trust him. Big Al trusted him, though, and he knows a lot more about people in this industry than I do. So I just put those thoughts aside and moved on with the project.
After all, we had 17 more sets of 5 renderings to complete. I would be getting paid for the work. Or so I thought.
I finished the next 7 sets. That would be 35 renderings in the package. Somewhere in the neighborhood of about $5000.
Harry was thrilled to have them, said to leave the bill with the secretary and they’d get it in the next round of checks. No problem, that’s been SOP since Big Al hired his first secretary. He now has a new one, Fran.
Several years earlier Fran had been the secretary for another client. We had a good relationship. She was a real sweet person. She knew Big Al for years and he had been trying to get her on board since he started the company.
Fran is the type that is sweet on the outside, but she knows everything going on and can read people. Don’t mess with Fran. She knows where the bodies are buried.
A week after I dropped off the renderings I get a call from Harry.
He tells me they will not be paying this bill at this rate as they’ve found someone who can deliver the same product for less than half of what I’m charging. I told him they were certainly within their rights to use someone who can do the project at a cheaper rate, but I expected to be paid at the rate Big Al had agreed to pay.
Harry informed me that they didn’t have to pay at that rate because we did not have a written contract. He was right. Big Al and I had worked for years on a handshake. I’m trustworthy enough to do that and I thought Big Al was as well.
Harry said Big Al was no longer involved in the business at this level. So I hung up and called Big Al. He said it was indeed Harry’s issue to handle and wasn’t getting involved.
I emailed Harry and copied Big Al, informing them that I expected to be paid at the agreed-upon rate and would not be doing any more work for them until that happened.
Harry accused me of ripping off the company from the beginning and that I was mad because he had just found my cash cow. Big Al said nothing.
Harry contacted me a week later wanting the data files for all their floor plans.
They were working with a new CAD person and didn’t want to pay him to redraw all the floor plans. I told him no, those are related to work product. Since we didn’t have a contract, and our verbal agreement was only for printed plans, I am not legally obligated to turn those files.
Harry started with legal threats and I told him to go ahead and call his lawyer. The lawyer would say the same thing I said. No contract, no files.
The irony is that I would have just given them a copy of the files if the relationship hadn’t soured.
They had paid me to create the drawings and those files were just sitting on my hard drive doing nothing but taking up space. People have asked for their drawing files in the past and I have no problem with being a nice guy.
Now, however, is not the time to be a nice guy since I have an unexpected bargaining chip.
A week goes by and Big Al calls. Says he values our past relationship blah blah blah and we need to work something out here.
I let him know I was not pleased with how I was treated in this mess, particularly the tactics Harry used, and the way Harry was blindly backed by Big Al even though we had a great relationship prior to Harry’s arrival.
Ever the seeker of dollars, Big Al asks what it would take to remedy this situation and get the drawing files. I told him to pay the $5000 I’m owed and we’ll talk. Big Al balks at that, says he needs to do a deal that doesn’t make Harry look like an idiot.
I told him nothing would change the fact that Harry is an idiot and I can’t believe he was trying to cover Harry’s butt. Big Al makes a counteroffer: $2000 for the renderings and $3000 for the drawing files. I agreed, with conditions: I would come in the following week to deliver product and get the check even though it was out of their usual cycle; Harry would be the one to give me the check and take possession of the product; Harry would also apologize for the way he treated me.
Big Al took the deal.
The big day comes and I arrive at the office. Fran holds up an envelope with a check in it. I said that wasn’t what I agreed to. She smiled and said she tried to tell Harry but he wouldn’t listen.
Fran called back to his office, told him I was here to drop off the drawings, and wanted my check. 10 seconds of silence as Fran listens to Harry. He’s so loud I can hear his voice coming down the hallway from his office.
Fran says she’ll ask, says nothing for a few seconds, then tells Harry I said he needed to hold up his end of the deal or I’m walking out the door. An obvious look of surprise came over my face! She smiled, hung up the phone, and said in a loud voice “Harry will be here in a moment.”
I was momentarily confused, then realized there were several offices within earshot of the reception area.
I could see into 3 and those people perked up so they could listen in. All I could figure out is that this was not the first time Harry is having to eat some crow in the lobby. Harry came in, took the check from Fran, gave a half-hearted apology, and gave me the check.
I set the renderings and data files on Fran’s desk and left.
I later found out that Harry was regularly apologizing to someone in the lobby, much to the delight of everyone in earshot because I wasn’t the only one treated badly.
Fran told me when we ran into each other a few months later. She also expressed her disdain for Harry and hoped he would screw up bad enough for Big Al to fire him.
Big Al did indeed fire Harry about a year later.
It turns out that Harry changed a lot of Big Al’s contractors to companies and people Harry has worked with in the past. These subcontractors would funny up their bills and give Harry a piece of it in the form of a kickback.
Harry and Big Al ended up in a lawsuit over it. Big Al won but it nearly cost him his business and he lost a lot of personal relationships with contractors due to Harry’s idiocy.
I managed to get paid for the work I had done but missed out on the rest of the project.
$5000 worth of work. That always stuck with me. Big Al and I still bumped into each other socially but we kept our distance. I vowed to get even with him if I was ever in a position to do so.
As far as I was concerned, my business and personal relationship with Big Al was finished.
Or so I thought. My chance to get even came three years later when he contacted me about taking on another project. That story will come at a later date.”
4. Wrongfully Cut My Department? I'll Fight For It Back, Plus More
Revenge that turned out positive for almost everyone in the end!
“Before I start, I want you to take everything I tell you with a grain of salt. Every bit of information I have is at least second hand and I normally do not dabble in university politics or budgeting.
I am merely a student that worked part-time for the library department I am about to tell you about.
The whole thing unfolded over the last 2 years and just culminated in what I would deem the most professional way of handling the interest of the many in spite of the greediness of the few.
So I am just a mere student at a university somewhere in Europe. The university has departments for a lot of different fields of science, but the two main players are economics and law. Both of them get anything they want, even if it happens by taking from others.
When I was in my second year at this university, I started working in one of the libraries the university provided (there are four different libraries: law, economics, philosophy/languages, and math/science/political science/history) and was delighted to have an extremely committed boss.
Now about that boss, he was the born librarian, loving everything from the upkeep of a library to doing research and providing all different kinds of services for students. Before I came to his team he had implemented long hours in all the libraries (we were open from 8 in the morning till 12 at night), revamped the online search and added a 3-dimensional floorplan to make finding books easier, did reviews including the students learning the libraries four times a year, developed courses for students on how to do better research, which was made mandatory in a few areas of study and did a whole lot of other things, he truly was amazing.
But as you can imagine all of this cost a lot of money and was only possible because he found a lot of sponsors, the biggest of which was some kind of investor who graduated from this university.
Him getting all these finances on board and his commitment to the cause will make his reaction to the economics department building a totally unnecessary underground section of new rooms, which also meant basically rebuilding a whole wing of the main building and going vastly over budget, much more understandable.
Half a year after I started the dean announced that there was a deficit in the budget of about 3 or 4 million euros. That in turn meant that the other departments had to take a step back and that the finances from sponsors would go towards the project started by the economics department.
About a month later the library only opened until 8 pm and the courses on research were disbanded. Not only that but the dean told my boss that he would have to fire at least a few of his full-time workers and give more hours and work to students like me, that normally would sort books in their free time.
Needless to say, he was royally livid. He put about ten years’ worth of work into gathering finances and building up his department and he wouldn’t give that up without a fight. He started by going over his own books, which proved that his whole department before the cut was functioning well under budget and that cutting his ability to do his work was completely unjustified.
He then looked over how much of the finances he got from sponsors actually went to his department’s budget, since when giving funds to the university the investors weren’t really able to demand where it was allocated. He found out that only about half of this actually went into his budget (which of course wasn’t a problem up to that point because he had more than enough).
When the next budget revision came along about a year after the budget cuts, he put forward that information and proposed an audit of the use and necessity of the building that was finished just then. You see, the economics department had argued that there weren’t enough rooms to accommodate the rising number of their students.
So over the next half year, the usage of the new space as well as all old spaces was monitored. This audit was finished last year in August.
Meanwhile, my boss started to groom the sponsors he had pulled on board. He asked them what they thought about how the university was managed, how happy they were with their funds going to other departments, and if they wanted to change anything.
And they were not amused. A lot of these sponsors, including the very big one, wanted something changed. They didn’t have any influence on the university politics directly, but the one who owns the finances owns everything. So they went to the university and told them that they were unhappy, at which point the dean and everyone else in charge realized that if they don’t change something, the financial flow would dry out, only increasing the already way too big deficit.
Then the results of the audit hit. After monitoring for half a year the university found out that the number of dedicated rooms before building the new project was more than enough and that the project specifically was not only over budget, but the same number of rooms would have been able to be generated by renovating an older building, for much less.
The new rooms were also only open to students in the economics department and thus didn’t really help the university as a whole.
In the end, my boss got all his workers back, the libraries were again open till 12, his courses were reinstated and expanded and a larger chunk of the budget was allocated towards the library department.
The economics department on the other hand lost a lot of privilege. The new space was opened up for all departments, other projects were put on hold and they were told that any further ambition that went over the now set-in-stone budget would have to be paid for by raising funds from new sponsors.
I’m telling you this story today because my boss told me just this morning that he had raised enough finances to renovate three of the four libraries, rebuilding (of all things) the economics library completely.”
Another User Comments:
“I love the fact that the economic library was also remodeled. How crappy must they feel knowing that a remodel only came after revenge was implemented? It’s a kind but insulting gesture with what I imagine is some passive aggressiveness.” acovarru91
3. Don't Think I'll Call Your Dad? I Have Nothing Better To Do
“I work at a large chain of pizza restaurants. Let’s call it Pominos Dizza. Like most places, we get a few prank calls a week from pre-teens. Usually, it doesn’t bother me and I’ll go along with it because it gives me something to do when it’s slow.
But being a Friday night, we were busy and I wasn’t having it.
Me: Hi thanks for calling Pominos Dizza, how can I help you tonight?
Kid: (trying but not succeeding in holding in his laughter) Hey is Mr. Wall there?
Me: Um no sir there isn’t one that works here.
Kid: What about Mrs. Wall?
Me: Nope none of those either
Kid: Then how is your building standing up?!
Kid: laughter from him and background
This went on a couple more times with classics such as “can I place an order to your sister’s house?” And the CLASSIC “is your refrigerator running? Then you better go get it!!!”
Finally, I had had enough.
I let the kid know I was done playing games.
Me: alright look it says here that your dad’s name is (dad’s name) (we keep names and addresses of past customers and their orders in the computer for future orders just to speed up the process).
If you don’t stop this I’ll give him a call and let him know what’s been going on.
Usually, this would stop the kids. I knew it did back in my earlier days of being a dumb kid. But some people just can’t be bothered and have to push the envelope a bit too far.
Kid: I know you won’t. Go ahead and call him.
Oh boy he didn’t have to ask me twice. I hang up the phone and get back to work for a little bit, knowing that the kid will be camped at the phone to answer it for the next 15 minutes or so.
The compliance: I get back to work, free of prank calls from the kid. I should have left it there, having solved the problem, but hey the customer is always right and at Pominos Dizza we always give the customer what they want.
After the supper rush is done, around 45 minutes to an hour later I fulfill the request.
Me: Hello this is OP from Pominos, how are you doing tonight?
Dad: not too bad, what’s the reason for the call?
Me: unfortunately, we’ve been getting a number of calls from this number.
We’re really busy and it’s pushing customers away because of the wait times. Can you please have a talk with who I assume is your son and ask him to knock it off?
Dad: Oh goodness I’m so sorry I’ll have a chat with him and his buddies.
Me: Thank you so much and thanks for choosing Pominos!
At this point, I think the story is done. Kid will get a talking to, won’t do it again and that’ll be the end of it. Boy was I mistaken.
Around 30 minutes later a man and a chubby kid around 12 years old come into the store.
I don’t think much of it, thinking they’re just getting a few slices for a snack. They come up to the counter and ask for me.
Me: Yes I’m OP.
Dad: I think my son has something to say to you.
The kid is visibly nervous.
He keeps looking around the store, won’t look me in the eye.
Kid: I’m very sorry for calling you, I know you’re busy and it won’t happen again.
Then to further the awkward suffering of the kid who I kind of feel bad for at this point, the dad places an order for carry out, and sits in our small eatery section where the kid has to try and avoid eye contact with me for the next 20 minutes. Left me a good tip too.
At Pominos Dizza, the customer always gets what they want.”
2. Try To Scam People Online? Oh, You'll Get Caught Alright
“My little brother (in-law…known from here out as LB) told me about a decent-sized social media group devoted to a type of collectible we are both into. I join the group and he tells me about this great deal he took part in.
The group has sponsored vendors a.k.a. people who throw a few bucks at the group’s mod and they get a shiny star saying everyone should trust them…keyword should.
That stated, LB tells me about a particular vendor who was running this deal..read scam.
Another bit of pertinent info. These collectibles, there are common ones and rare ones. The rare ones are worth many times more than the commons and are generally available to the public. The company put out the rares at a set ratio like 1 in 20.
On the shelves will be rares but for the same retail price as the commons. Although some stores will grab it and jack the price up to make up for the price of the commons which don’t sell as quickly. That all being said this vendor was offering a type of gamble, they would show a picture of a dozen or more of the collectibles but with many more of the rares than would normally exist with that many commons.
All you have to do is pay a price that is higher than the retail for the commons and you have way better odds of getting a rare one. My LB thought he was slick and got around 3-4 from the person playing the odds that he should get at least one rare for less than the book value/eBay cost.
Immediately my bullcrap meter goes off. Quick math says when all his merch sells (which they stated needs to happen before they ship anything out…odd) it goes for way under book value in a group of nothing but people marking things up to make an immediate profit.
As in some of these collectibles come out and after costing around $15-20$ they get a day 1 book value of 200+…so there is some real profit to be made…but not this guy. Also, he is selling these deals to minors.
So, I go look up the post and the vendor, no exaggeration, sells out his stock in just under 30 mins of posting almost $2k worth of inventory. Seeing that I almost reconsider that I might have jumped to the wrong conclusion, thinking that a scammer would get called out really quickly in a community like this.
So I posted a very polite question asking what proof we get that they ship out the rares and not just commons. Immediately they start giving me crap saying I am ruining the “good times” everyone is having with his “sale”.
Also, they have done this repeatedly and have sent out tons of rares I just have to search all the happy customers posting pics in the group. I’m now thinking, crap, I messed up. Off I go to look at all these pictures.
Magically, there is only 1 pic of all the dozens of rares they claim to have sent out and wouldn’t you just know it was the cheapest rare available at the moment? So now I know something’s up and I’m livid they took my LB’s $$ for what will be effectively overpriced commons when they sell for way under retail from multiple large sources.
Overnight things blow up on social media, the vendor gets a buddy or two to start messaging me telling me the commons they got are great (wut?) and I need to screw off and stop ruining the fun and good times for everyone…huh? They kept using that as the main attack on me…apparently asking for what is promised is no fun for anyone.
The jerk starts then asking me to take down the questions I asked and then offers me a rare just to shut up and go away. I decline the offer then he tells me I need to take it down or the cops will be called and I will be removed from the group…that pushed me over the edge.
Now I was on a mission. So I start googling the company. The first thing I find is a negative review that is buried by replies from the owner and his friends and partner. Slamming this kid for complaining about them charging a 30% re-shelving fee for shipping him a damaged item in an undamaged box.
Unluckily for the owner of this company, I’m a stay-at-home dad with odd hours of free time. I basically became a semi-pro reviewer in my free time. I have some special crap with Amazon because my reviews have been liked so often? They also sent me some kind of offer with Amazon Next Generation? So my reviews seem to hold some weight with them, Google too.
I got into the beta of Google Guides. The service where you review anything and everything and get points, last time I checked I was lvl 7+ due to a couple of bored slightly buzzed nights out and about leading to some stupid but popular reviews.
Now that you all believe I am a big man of the interwebs… let me show you how I put those finger muscles to use.
Basically, I just searched for everywhere you could review his company and didn’t leave a negative review (1 star of course) but one with screenshots asking Hmm is this legit, what do you think? The majority of them blew up.
Also contacted Amazon with the same screenshots asking if they were interested in knowing a vendor was self-reviewing their own business w/o listing they are an owner (big no-no on Amazon) and are running gambling offers to minors (another big no-no in their particular state).
Now I have the top half dozen posts when you Google this person’s company, with almost daily replies of more and more people coming out of the woodwork calling this company out. Seventy-two hours later they are no longer on Amazon.
Their business had started out with a 4.75-star rating average, now it’s 2… They did get me kicked from the group, but an alt account magically got the word and reviews out to the rest of the group, whose numbers have dropped post this. Wonder why. I am quite okay with not being in a scammer-supported group TY.”
1. Think A Security Guard Can't Get You Arrested? Think Again
People undermine security guards.
“This happened a few years back when I worked at a hotel. I myself was initially employed as a maintenance engineer with simple responsibilities (test pool chems, replace filters, room maintenance, etc.) However, during the spring I was changed to overnights pulling security while one of the night guards was heading to do his 2 weeks of Army training.
Luckily for me, I was also getting paid slightly more for the overnight shift, so I didn’t complain much.
As a night guard, you had to be keeping the peace around the hotel, all 6 floors. This wasn’t a hassle because I had a backup guy with me most nights so I wasn’t alone handling some ruffians whenever they caused a stir.
One night (I believe it was a Friday and my partner called in) we had a group of adults hanging by the pool around 11 pm after the pool was closed half an hour earlier. It was something I was used to, so I entered the pool area and told them (party of 6) that the pool was officially closed at 10:30.
I got a couple of scoffs and some complaining after, but they weren’t too in a hurry to get out, taking their sweet time to get out, dry off, and out to the elevator. I noticed they left around 9 bottles of booze near the pool and had to clean up after them, no big deal.
Around 30 minutes later we get a noise complaint from the 5th floor where some people were playing some loud music next door. I told the front desk lady that I’d check it out. Sure enough, I got up to the room that was complained about and knocked on the door, getting to see one of the patrons from the pool area answer the door; He looked like he would fall over out of exhaustion if you gave him a breathalyzer.
Him: “Yo, sup security dude?”
Me: “Evening. I’m here to remind you to keep it down, I could hear you from across the building. People are trying to sleep.”
Him: “So what? Not my fault if they can’t sleep through it.”
Me: “It WILL be your problem if we need to come back.
We have plenty of pilots and businessmen that are staying the night and need to sleep.”
Him: “Screw off, kid!” (He slammed the door in my face and turned the music down to an acceptable level)
I shrugged it off and headed back down to my post to check in with the front desk lady.
I gave her the low-down and went back to waiting for another call. Not even 30 minutes later, we get a call from a different room complaining of a smoking scent coming from the room next to theirs and loud music being played.
I checked the fire panel, and sure enough, a smoke detector was disconnected from the room I JUST visited. At this point, I was unnerved at their audacity to keep disturbing the peace, but then again, they seemed to be very intoxicated.
I head back up there again and knock on the door. Sure enough, the music quiets and someone creeps up to the door.
Someone had stuffed towels under the door so no smoke could escape (fun fact, that doesn’t work) and they were trying to remove them without being noticed.
I lick my lips out of irritation and wait for them to open the door again. Slowly a guy opens the door, the light is off, and holy heck is there a whiff of smoke in the room.
Him: “Can I help you?”
Me: “Yeah, we got a complaint that your music was loud and we got an alert saying your smoke alarm was disconnected from your wall.
Is everything alright?”
Him: “Screw off, we’re fine. Why do you people have to be so freaking nosey?”
Me: “Well for 1, I’m here to keep the hotel from going to crap, and 2, I’m one of the maintenance people here. If your smoke head is acting up, I need to ensure it’s working properly.”
Him: “Well you can’t right now, it’s too dark in here to see…”
I smirk at him and flip the light switch.
Lo and behold, he and his party were getting lit like the 4th of July. This was when crap started to hit the fan.
Him: “What the crap, man! We’re trying to sleep here!”
Me: “Looks like you’re doing more than sleeping. What’s in those baggies?”
Him: “None of your business, now get the heck out!”
Me: “Absolutely, because I’m kicking you out and fining the room for smoking!”
Him: “Chill out loser, we’re not even smoking-”
Me: “I’m partial to getting the police involved here real quick, but I’ll tell you what; you can get out, take the fine, and find another hotel, or I call the local police and have them arrest you for possession.”
(My partner and I were fairly lenient on substances, as long as you took the fine and left, we didn’t do much else.)
Him: “Oh screw you, I’ve had it with you rent-a-cops!”
Me: “You have 15 minutes to grab your stuff starting now..”
I shut the door and start walking towards the elevator feeling a bit irritable but shrugging it off as I walk.
A couple of seconds later, the door opens. I don’t think much of it, but in an instant, I felt something slam into the back of my skull with a strong force. I lunge forward and turn around to see the same jerk I’d just talked to grab an unopened bottle of ale and smack me in the back of the head with it.
At this point, I’m LIVID. Bear in mind, I’m not the strongest guy but I can take a hit, 5’8 and around 250lbs, so I’m a bit on the heavier side. I glare at him straight in the eye. Out of his intoxicated vigor, he decided to take another swing at me.
I blocked the bottle with my arm and pulled out my baton, knocking the inside of his knee in to get him to fall forward. As he did, he dropped his bottle and I quickly knee’d his back so he fell onto the ground and cuffed him.
He squirmed and cursed me out, waking up most of the floor and having a couple of people come out of their rooms to see the commotion. The other party people were shaking and scurrying towards the elevator with their belongings where I followed after them and headed down to the lobby.
Girl1: “Are you going to arrest him?”
Girl2: “OMG he could arrest us too!”
Him: “No he’s a freaking wimp, he won’t arrest you, just likes showing off.”
Me: ” No, I can’t arrest you, I’ll leave that to the police.”
Him: “Because you’re too freaking fat to be a cop.”
We arrive at the lobby and the rest of the party bolts for the other elevators to the ground floor so they can get the crap out of the hotel.
I bring the guy down and throw him into a chair and tell the front desk lady to call the police. She gets off the phone with them and says it’ll be 30 minutes. The guy is sitting in the chair spouting profanities till an officer comes about 35 minutes later.
The officer walks up to the desk and turns to the guy. The officer shook his head slightly in disbelief because he RECOGNIZED the guy – turns out he had a warrant for his arrest in another city for possession, selling, assault, and attempted murder.
The officer wasted no time calling up his buddy who must’ve been waiting downstairs in a squad car. The officer asked if he assaulted me and if I wanted to press charges. I declined but did mention that there was a stash of substances up in the room.
His backup arrived and kept an eye on the suspect. We went back to the room and sure enough, there were still some substances hiding in cracks and crevices, the toilet bowl, the sink, and even under the mattress. I guessed there were about 3 or 4 pounds of just substances, not entirely sure how I came to that conclusion.
We went back to the guy who denied having possession of any substances until the officer dangled a baggy in front of him. He was escorted down to the squad car downstairs and that was the last I heard of him.
Funnily enough, a few days later I found out that the room wasn’t in his name, but one of the girls’ names. Turns out she was ALSO wanted and her card had the billing address where she was actually living, with the second girl!
Overall, I had one of the crappiest nights of my life, but I digress.
My head hurt for a week, no major bleeding but there was a bump. Was it worth it? Probably… Ok yeah, it was TOTALLY worth it.”
Another User Comments:
“Holy heck. You should have got checked out by a doctor AND pressed charges.” Catacombs3
“To be honest, I should have, looking back on it. Surprisingly he didn’t break anything and my wound healed quickly.” Beasy95