People Leave Us Wide-Eyed With Their Malicious Compliance Revenge
17. Leave If He Doesn't Like It? Bye
“My dad has been a mechanic for almost 30 years. We immigrated to the US ten years ago, but in my home country, he was both a mechanic and a workshop manager since he studied engineering in college.
When we moved to the US, he chose to move all of us, which meant he had to work very long hours (10-13 hours 6-7 days a week) as a mechanic to make ends meet.
He could’ve maybe gone back to school and gotten a better job, but he wanted all of us to be together.
Anyway, my dad had been at this job, I won’t name which one, but for a big shot car company as a mechanic for years.
He had another job before this but had to relocate after we moved into an actual house (yay!). He was really their star employee. He overworked himself to the point of fainting at work, and all he did was ask his coworker to bring him water and continued working.
He never took lunch breaks. He would eat food quickly in 10 minutes and would go back to finishing tickets. None of this is healthy, and I’m not glorifying it at all. I wish he didn’t have to do all of that to make ends meet.
After almost seven years at the company and never having gotten a raise (my dad never asked, he didn’t even know he was allowed to), him working himself essentially to death, and doing the work of three people as one person, he was told he would get $18 an hour.
He was making $15 an hour. This would have been huge for our family and we would have gotten to refinance the house and lower our mortgage! He worked overtime a lot so he was excited to make more.
Then, a mistake happened. Not even my dad’s fault, another worker forgot to put oil in the engine before letting the customer drive off. Obviously, the car broke down and it fell back on the company to reimburse the customer.
They decided that they would take it out of the worker’s paychecks because “everyone should have been paying attention.” They told my dad they were canceling his bonus.
He finally decided to stand up for himself and said that’s not fair.
They said if he wishes to instead, he could pay for a portion of the engine’s cost himself if he wants to keep the bonus. He declined, which was met with “just leave if you don’t like it.” They assumed that would be an empty threat because not only was this during the height of 2020, but obviously no man working those grueling hours would be able to afford to just leave.
But that’s exactly what he did. He simply said “okay,” and walked out. They tried saying something, but he told me he paid them no mind and drove to the nearest gas station. He then called his old company’s manager.
This manager was very kind to him! I remember, when I was younger I even went to his kid’s birthday party and that was the first birthday party I had ever gone to. I didn’t have any friends in the beginning due to my accent and kids being mean.
Apparently, his old manager (who had moved to California himself, then came back to our home state earlier that year), had offered my dad a job when he moved back. This was at another big-name car company, but I won’t name which one.
My dad had initially told him that he couldn’t just leave his workplace since he had been there for years and felt responsible for the company. I honestly don’t understand this “company loyalty” stuff, especially if they pay you like garbage, but maybe I’m too young to understand that.
Anyway, he explained the situation and asked if the position was still available. My dad got started at his new job at $20 an hour with a raise based on his performance and a sign-on bonus.
Literally just had to do a substance test, no interview, no nothing and got hired on the spot. After three months, he got bumped to $25 an hour. I always worried about him overworking, but he kept reassuring me that it’s a lot less on him even though he still works 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.
He tells me a lot of times he’s making house calls, so he gets to drive on company time which relaxes him and that the workload is a lot less for a lot more.
I hope he’s telling the truth for his own sake, but he does sound happier. They’ve even let him borrow the company’s cars during winter, while the roads are icy because my dad has this beat-up 1999 Toyota Camry that creaks and rumbles while running, and his manager said he doesn’t want my dad risking his safety to drive to work.
He told me today that they’re making him do managerial duties now too! It’s what he used to do before we moved to the US, so it’s really easy for him, and as compensation, they’re giving him 25% more than what he was getting before.
I’m so happy for him and very proud of him. I’m glad he’s not overworking himself and left behind that crappy company. They’ve tried reaching out to him to match what the new job was giving him four times, but he’s declined every time.
They even said they’ll give him a sign-on bonus. Obviously, he’s declined.
Screw around and find out I guess. If you really are going to threaten your most hardworking employee with the “if you don’t like it, leave it” then you should be ready to accept the consequences.
No, you don’t deserve any two weeks’ notice, no you don’t deserve any more of his labor. My dad deserves everything though and I just want to share his story because I love him so much and am so proud of him.”
16. Request A Total Job Costs Breakdown? It Turns Out, YOU Owe US
“I work as a project manager for a precast concrete company. Construction contractors will contact us with plan sets and we will fabricate their storm drainage inlets and manholes in our shop, then ship them to the contractor’s job site where they set the concrete in the ground, connect all the pipes, and bury it all.
We bill out each structure (complete drainage inlet or manhole) as it ships. Now, on these sorts of jobs, everyone agrees to pricing terms upfront. The only catch is that plans can change halfway through the job resulting in change orders, shifts of scope, etc.
Usually, the pricing is done in a way to simplify everything. Rather than putting an individual price on each structure, they’re grouped by average height and type. This can create issues when billing out the structures later as the accounts receivable (AR) people can mis-bill a shorter structure at the taller price and vice versa.
This is really only an issue for larger jobs that have dozens of structures as keeping track of everything can become overwhelming.
So a few years ago, I started at this job and the first contract I manage is a very large one consisting of over 100 structures and was worth about $400,000.
For context, most other contracts I manage have 30 structures or less on them and usually hover around $100,000. Anyway, it takes over a year and many change orders to get this contract completed.
Then come the billing disputes.
It seems like this contractor had bid lower than they could actually manage on this contract. So afterward, they were trying to make up as much pay as possible. They sent over a short list of misbilled structures (some from over a year prior) and requested a billing credit of around $4,000 to compensate for the difference in price.
Looking at the list and double-checking their math, it all checked out and I authorized the credit. The next week, they reached out again asking for a complete list of structures, invoices, and shipping tickets.
Their claim was that we had shorted them on a number of structures from the original purchase agreement as well as they claimed to have found more misbilled structures. They already had all this documentation as we send it to the contractors at every stage of the project, so I was fairly annoyed by their request.
Well, after a few conversations with this contractor that go nowhere, I concede and cancel work on all my other projects for the next few days so I can gather up all the information they’ve requested.
Emails, text messages, delivery tickets, and invoices, stretching back over a year all printed out on my desk. I put it all into a single spreadsheet. I listed out each category of structure, modeled after the original purchase agreement, added fields for all the relevant change orders, and listed each structure on this job.
I listed the structure ID, the sheet number(s) it appeared on in the plan set, the structure height, the correct billing category, the price based on the original purchase agreement, the invoice number, the price on the invoice, the delivery date, the shipping ticket number, and any relevant notes regarding that particular structure.
It took me days to sort through all the data, track down all the supporting emails for each change, and get it all organized into this single spreadsheet. I even had a second sheet dedicated to tracking change orders which I reference from the main sheet.
It was glorious. And also enlightening. There were many instances where my company had billed the incorrect price for a structure, even more than this contractor had indicated, but most were billing them the lower price for a shorter structure than the correct price for taller ones.
I also found a few structures that were built and delivered but were never billed out. It all came down to the bottom line where it was revealed that through all the change orders, the total contract value had decreased by about $20,000.
So good for them on saving some bucks. But the cherry on my sundae was looking at the final balances. In the end, it turned out the contractor owed us over $15,000, not including that $4,000 credit we had sent them earlier.
I sent this magnificent spreadsheet off to the contractor along with an invoice for $19,000. I never heard back from them again, but my AR folks let me know when their last check cleared.
Had they done this analysis themselves, with the documents they already had, they could’ve seen how good a deal they were getting and saved thousands. I know my company wouldn’t have noticed had they not asked for me to do the analysis. I still pull out that spreadsheet and look at it on occasion. Gotta appreciate the little victories in life.”
15. Do Some Soul Searching? I Will, And I'll Decide This Job Is Not What I Want
“I started working for a company as an administrative assistant. Purchasing office supplies, routing paperwork, coordinating meetings, etc. A person on my team left, so I picked up their duties while my boss looked for a replacement.
The interview process for the replacement started in March 2020, but it was not completed. I continued to cover both jobs easily since my original position did not have a lot of work to be completed while working from home.
My boss compensated me for the extra work, at a 10% salary increase, and all was going well.
As we navigated the last few years and realized how to work efficiently from home, my position(s) picked up more and more duties.
I was designated as the executive assistant to my boss’ boss’ boss, which added an additional part-time position to my role.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was not happy doing the work of two and a half people and bringing in a measly 10% salary increase.
I started discussing growth options with my boss last September. She asked me to put together a justification document as to why I deserved a growth path/promotion. I put something together within a few weeks (doing 2.5 jobs kept me really busy) and sent it to her.
We discussed it at our next get-together, and she said she’d have to discuss it with her boss.
The next time we met, she asked me to put together another document on where I saw myself in 5 years.
Okay, I put that together and sent it.
The next time we met, she asks me to put together another document on the justification. I told her I was not going to keep pursuing these tasks if they aren’t getting us anywhere.
She said she’d discuss this with her boss.
We’re in February at this point, and I’m getting tired of being strung along when my boss finally sets up a meeting between her, her boss, and me.
We meet, I voice my frustrations, they give me reasons as to why I am not entitled to a promotion (my boss said she already told me the reasons, but this was new information to me), and encourage me to do some, “soul searching”.
I start soul searching. Am I really happy in this role? No. Do I feel supported by my boss or upper management? No. Why do I want to stay here if I know I’m not going anywhere career-wise? Beats me!
I start applying for different jobs.
Within the company and externally as well. I am still ‘working towards’ a promotion in my current position, but I can’t get my boss to give me any timelines or solid processes to follow.
We’re now into April and have gotten nowhere. She is now asking me to look into different options other than a promotion, which do not follow the original path I wanted. The promotion would allow me career growth options in my current position(s).
Pursuing the other paths led nowhere.
I interview for a position internally under a different supervisor. While I wait to hear back on that interview, I have concluded that I am no longer interested in the promotion.
It was now May and we were still at square one. My boss sets up a meeting with HR to discuss what needs to be done for a promotion, which I feel like should have been done in September when we started this whole process.
My boss made a comment that she never knew the process fully and wants to follow all the rules. Great. We’ve been wasting my time for the last nine months. Fantastic.
Finally some good news for me; I got the job! As soon as I knew I had the job, I told my supervisor I was resigning.
She. Was. Dumbfounded.
She made comments about how we could have moved past the problems we faced, we were working towards a promotion, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care.
Everybody who interacted with my supervisor during my two weeks’ notice said she was grouchy and didn’t want to talk about my departure.
She now had to figure out how to complete my 2.5 duties while finding my replacement.
I started my new job, and due to when I started work in the morning and my new supervisor started work in the morning, I had some extra time.
I was going to finish up some things (my new boss was super accommodating with that plan!) but my old boss took away the access I needed.
I gave her a detailed list of what I was unable to complete, and she granted me the access I needed to complete those tasks.
Too late. I was already knee-deep in introductory meetings and no longer had the time to assist.
It’s been three weeks now, and I couldn’t be happier! My old boss and team are falling apart due to my boss being unable to lead a team.
An awesome new hire (2-3 months of work for my old boss) is already looking for a new job due to being bait and switched. I know of more people who are fed up with the leadership in my old team, beyond my boss, who are also looking for new jobs.”
14. Leave Me In Charge Of Employee Incentives? I'll Make Sure Our Incentive Fund Is Being Used Properly
“A while back, around 2008ish, I was working for a small outbound sales call center. I had gotten the job in a transitional position because I needed money while building my own business. A couple of friends of my family worked there in management roles, so it was basically a hook-up job anyway.
I started as an outbound sales associate and we were contracted to sell identity theft protection for some very popular card brands and banks. These clients also provided the program with incentive bucks every month for us to spend on the employees who were selling their products (remember this, it’s important later).
I have a background in management so I was easily able to get myself moved from sales, to team lead, to program manager to operations manager in the span of about 8 months.
By the time I made it to OM, we had opened another call center close by, and I was informed that my center would be shutting down, and we would all be moving to another program at the new call center when our contract was up.
This was followed by a conference call with the clients and senior management. It was on this call that I learned that the incentive pay for the program even existed. Later I found out why, the previous managers had hidden this fact from me because they were in fact, pocketing a large portion of this pay.
I learned that day we were being given $10K/month just for incentives, and there was only about $2.5K mailing it to the employees for per-sale incentives. I was heated to say the least at this point.
This is where I get malicious.
When everyone else in the building had moved over to the new place, it left only me, my team, and one IT guy left in our building (which they planned to only keep for 2 months max.
So I went to the branch manager (call him Corporate Bob) and got the credit card for my program. He hassles me about what I’m going to buy, and I tell him “just a few prizes for employee incentives this month” to which he begrudgingly agrees and says something about receipts (OK Bob).
I then proceed to tell my team leads to decorate the center in some circus-themed crap we found in a closet for the next day.
The next day was the beginning of a new call cycle which meant new bucks for incentives.
I started a month-long campaign with our sales teams and we got a bunch of fake toy dollar bills. Every time they made a sale that month, not only did they get their regular commission and whatever bonus we may have had going, but they also got these fake dollars which they didn’t know what they were for, just that they needed to hold on to them until the end of the month.
At the end of every week that month we had carnival food of some type brought in. I’m talking funnel cakes, those long corndogs, jumbo turkey legs, etc.
Now, this whole time, Bob has been on my case about the card and those receipts, but only via text, not email which is required by the company for all business correspondence.
This was odd because this was literally the only text that I ever got from him. But I kept delaying and delaying. I then sent an email out to everyone in management in the other building to come over to our building on the last day of the month for a “lunchtime special event”.
They all showed up, sans a couple of program managers, but all the upper brass was there.
Let’s rewind back to my shopping. Once I found out we were getting $10K every month, and we only spent about $2.5K, I went to Walmart, Best Buy, Conn’s, Cabellas, and more.
I bought TVs, Blu-Ray players, video game consoles, camping gear, BBQ grills, Stereos, board games, and a bunch of smaller stuff. I spent a bit over $7,100 in total.
Flash forward back to the “special event”.
I stopped all of our outbound calls and waited for the queue to clear, I then rolled out a cart full of all of the prizes from the office and had all the salespeople come take a look over them.
Then I informed them we would be having an auction using all the fake bills that they had been accumulating all month and then sent them all to lunch. Senior brass circled me like the hyenas from Lion King at this point.
I explained that I felt we had been underutilizing our incentive fund and since the program was nearing the end of the contract, I wanted to incentivize the team to keep pushing through. I then handed Bob the receipts and went back to planning the auction.
He and the two others were hot under the collar but couldn’t express it. I still haven’t seen that shade of red duplicated to this day.
Here’s the thing though…IT FREAKING WORKED!! The sales team went on to shatter every center’s sales record for the next 6 months, staying open 4 months longer than expected, it sparked an investigation into the use of the previous funds, 3 people were fired and a couple more quit.
The auctions continued every month. I got promoted over at the new building but left soon after to move and focus more on my business, but not before I promoted my leads to management.”
13. Want A Coffee? Sure And I'll Delay The Arrival Of Your New Laptop
“In the early 90s, I worked for an international airline company in the IT department as desktop support. I was the first woman in IT for that company (and most companies in my country back then).
The company was located at an international airport and the company was housed in many buildings and airplane hangars spread across and around the airport.
The buildings I serviced were mainly the hangars meant for airplane maintenance.
Every 6 weeks we would order all the IT equipment that was requested, stuff like specialized printers, computers, terminals, etc. My job was to take the equipment, set it up and have the person responsible for said equipment to sign off on it.
If it wasn’t signed off for whatever reason, the equipment came back with me, would be returned to the vendor, and had to be reordered by the department.
Being a woman in her early twenties, in a male-oriented profession, and dealing mostly with airplane maintenance men, I had to deal with a lot of crap and misogyny.
From snickering men having set up their computers I was supposed to service, with hardcore inappropriate screensavers, to men refusing to let me touch their computers and demanding I get a male colleague to do it.
Most of the time I just pretended not to have seen or heard what was going on, finish setting up their hardware, have it signed off, and leave. Until that one day, I just had enough of their bullcrap.
That day I had a trolly with me stacked with a bunch of printers and one laptop. Back then only management got a laptop and if one was delivered it was kind of a big deal.
Remember, I’m talking about the Windows 3.11 era.
I walked into the airplane hangar with my stacked cart, setting up printers throughout while a team of airplane maintenance dudes was servicing a cargo plane. The minute I walked in there was catcalling, whistling, and “hey baby, where you going with all that heavy equipment?” As usual, I ignored them and just plowed on so I could get the heck out of there.
When I was done with the printers I had to go find this manager who had ordered the laptop and set it up for him. Airplane hangars are weird places. It seems to be one giant space with some glass offices just off the side, but it does have all these nooks and crannies that seem to be nothing but are actually small offices or storage spaces.
It’s hard to find the right place to be sometimes. So I walk up to a bunch of maintenance guys that are just about to take a break and ask them where I can find Mr.
Manager dude when one of them goes “hey baby, you done with all the heavy stuff? I’d like a black coffee with sugar and my colleague here wants an espresso.” To the 5 or 6 other guys, this was hilarious and they started shooting off how they wanted their coffees.
One of them actually brought out a tray and handed it to me telling me to be quick about it.
I’d about had enough and a thundercloud must’ve been forming around my head because Mr.
Manager guy (I assumed, because he was wearing a suit), who just walked around the corner, snickers and goes, “Aww, what’s up sweety, got your period?” Of course, this was heartily laughed at by all the other guys.
I asked Mr manager guy if he wanted coffee too and which kind. I can’t remember what kind it was, but I took my cart with the laptop on it, drive it to the coffee machine, made all the coffee, drive it back over, and handed everyone their coffee order.
When I handed Mr. Manager guy his coffee he said ” OK honey, let’s go I’ll show you my office so you can set up my new laptop.” I looked him in the eye, smiled, and told him “I can’t, as I’m late for my next appointment with all the coffee orders, I really have to run.
Unfortunately, your laptop will have to be returned and you will have to reorder one. So I will see you in 6 weeks. Bye!”
Of course, he tried to tell me he reaaaaaally needed that laptop now, and the coffee thing was all in good fun and I shouldn’t be so sensitive blah blah blah.
When I just kept on walking with my cart it turned ugly pretty soon. I was a witch, and he was going to have me fired. Did I have any idea who he was etc? I just silently chucked everything in the car and drive off with him screaming after me.
He did try to get me fired, but my manager had my back and made sure his reorder was “delayed” a few times to teach him a lesson. When I finally delivered his laptop 4 months later he was very respectful though.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last time I had to deal with this kind of crap.”
12. Make Me Demonstrate Crappy Software? I'll Make Sure Everyone Knows How Horrible It Is
Now everyone hates it too.
“This story begins with software. In the year before the Plague, the college I work at decided to buy some software to handle online assignments and track grades. It didn’t replace the existing software, but it was supposed to be better and we were gradually supposed to transition over.
It was also clearly the Big Thing an administrator had planned as their flagship contribution to the university.
The problem was that it wasn’t a big thing. No one wanted to use it. Partly this was because the college provided no training on the system.
Partly this was because some not-insignificant fraction of my colleagues personally survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, and if you ask them about technology, they start ranting about those new-fangled steam engines. Mostly, though, this was because the software was terrible.
I tried the software because I’m not afraid of learning new things, but key features were broken, so I filed a series of bug reports (which were completely ignored) and stopped using it. However, in this process, one of the great beasts of bureaucracy was stirred from its slumber long enough to register that I had used the software.
Then in 2020, the world changed. We found ourselves teaching online and, largely, wishing we had opted to slam our heads repeatedly into our desks instead. Administration, never one to skip an opportunity to throw gas on a man on fire, realized that they could push this crappy software as a solution! However, they would probably need someone to run a training.
Somewhere, a great beast stirred again, and my phone rang.
The person on the other end was my ancient nemesis. Years before, when I was a young professor, she had repeatedly tried to get rid of me.
These days she has moved over to an administrative position where her primary duty is to send mildly-chiding emails to faculty for not attending poorly-run self-help seminars. It suits her perfectly.
She’s offering me the “opportunity” to run a training on the terrible software.
I quickly realize that this is baited with just enough bribery to make it easy to paint me as “not a team player” if I refuse. But if I accept, people will be trying to use software that was probably actually written by squirrels, and when it doesn’t work they will think, “Who can I call for help?” and there’s my number in the directory.
It’s a nicely-crafted catch-22, some of my opponent’s better work. On the other hand, she doesn’t know a hard drive from a shipping palette of lemon bars, so it’s probably an accident.
I steel myself.
If you can’t bargain with demons you won’t last long in academia, and I craft my statement with all the guile and cunning that years of faculty senate meetings have burned into my soul.
“You say that I should cover all my tips and tricks for using the software. Does this include workarounds for issues in the software?”
My nemesis is friends with the administrator whose baby this software is.
“What issues?” she bristles.
“Well,” I say, “The backend database doesn’t always synchronize with the course shell in real-time, for instance.” I’m pretty sure my nemesis thinks a backend database is rude to discuss in polite company.
She certainly doesn’t hear “sometimes grades vanish into thin air.”
“Well, sure, if there are technical issues like that, make people aware of them so they can use the software without problems,” she says.
“I’d be happy to cover any such issues,” I respond.
The trap is closing. My hand will not be in it.
“Excellent! Start working on that, and I’ll send you an email with more details.”
The day of the training arrives. It’s on Zoom, since everything we do is at this point, and I begin to go through my talk.
My nemesis is pleased to see that I have taken the time to set up an account as a student, and am switching between a professor-view and a student view on the software as I explain things.
She’s also not one to sit through a boring training she asked for, so after about ten minutes she quietly signs off.
“Let’s discuss the anti-plagiarism features next,” I say. This has become a big deal since all our tests are being given online.
The software has billed itself as having excellent protection against plagiarism, and it’s been a major point the people in favor of adopting it keep bringing up.
I create a quiz, set it to ultra-secure mode, and then begin taking it as a student.
As I do so, I point out various bits of trivial information, clicking through questions on the quiz. And then I hit a particular combination of inputs that I had discovered in my two weeks of extensively cataloging every flaw I could find in the software, and the lock screen closes.
I’m still in the quiz, able to answer questions, but I can open a new tab in Google as well. Without commenting, I switch over to professor-view and point to where we can see my student-self’s test status: green, for zero security issues.
It takes a second for the penny to drop.
There are a lot of questions, and in the answers, I mention that I had actually found several ways to break the security on the software, and just used the easiest one.
But the training must go on!
“You were probably wondering why some of these questions are poorly punctuated, too! That’s because many punctuation marks break the software. Here, let me put a semicolon in a question and try to save it to show you.”
The question fails to save.
I pull up a short list of known bugs. “It’s worth letting you know about these issues… sorry, all of them,” I say, as I hit “Forward” on my slides and the list grows to such a size that each item is now in 5-point font.
I spent another half-hour saying things like, “As you see, the student has sent me a message in the portal, but because they used a mobile browser, it’s being displayed in simplified Chinese characters, so I have no idea what was said.”
Several semesters later no one has asked me for help troubleshooting this software, probably because adoption of the software on campus is lower than it was before my training.”
11. Unload My Trailer On My Own? Okay, But It'll Cost You
“So I was a trucker for a while, and that comes with plenty of stories of crazy things in so many places. One of my favorite stories, however, comes from a piece of malicious compliance that came together just perfectly.
I tend to be a bit on the lazy side when I can get away with it, and I searched for quite some time to find a company that would keep me far away from unloading the trailers myself.
I found a good one that had a 95% drop and hook rate (Drop off a trailer full of goods, then grab a new one that’s either loaded or to take to the next pickup).
4.9% of them are either handled by the receiving dock or by lumpers (dockworkers hired by warehouse companies specifically to unload trucks). That .1% is a list of places that just want to watch you work, or be convinced that you really shouldn’t operate their lifts.
In my contract, I saw that there was a place where your hourly rate for unloading was stated. Not for the hours that you were sitting and waiting to be unloaded but for when you were the one unloading your own trailer.
I also saw that the contract allowed for alterations to be made to the price of this service to be charged to the customer. As a joke, I put in not one, but two extra zeroes.
$1500 an hour for unloading a trailer? Should deter most people. Most people saw that, got a good laugh, then pulled in someone to unload for me.
Most people, like I said, were smart. This run was set to arrive at 0300 to a certain clothing store in the mall, let’s call ’em I.B.
Nickeled. I’d been to this store a few times before and it was always the same manager, Mr. Dime, receiving me, and it was always the same runaround. If I wanted to get unloaded I had to wait for someone to get there, then I’d have to sit and wait while the poor kid back there got the load off, then I’d have to wait for traffic to ease up to get out since it was always almost 1030 by the time I finally left, leaving me with only a couple of hours left on my clock to get to a truck stop for the day.
I got there and, yep, Mr. Dime had come in to accept the load. It was always hard to be smart at 0300, and I can only imagine that was part of Mr. Dime’s usual runaround.
This time was a bit different for a few reasons. One, he smelled like there was a bit of an herbal calming remedy about him to settle his nerves for the night. Two, he said that he was completely understaffed and there was no one around to unload me, so I’d have to do it myself.
Three, I couldn’t stay to my usual time because he had to leave before 0500.
To be fair to him, I did try and say, “sure, but my contract says-”
“I don’t give a darn what your contract states! I don’t have anyone in until the store opens, and I’ve got an appointment that’s more important than some trucker’s contract! Just unload it yourself!”
I considered it for a moment and went back up to my truck to get my tablet (This was in 2019, and the company had just swapped over to tablets for certain things, like signing off on expenses or getting permissions.) Mr.
Dime was fuming when I came back and handed him the tablet. “Just read through and sign with your finger.”
He didn’t read through. I had twenty pallets at one and a half thousand pounds each.
The only available tool to unload was a manual pallet jack. I started my work clock and began unloading at 0315. At 0500 Mr. Dime looks on in satisfaction to see me about three-quarters of the way through as he’s out the door.
At 0515, Mr. Dime’s replacement, Mr. Quarter of the day shift, comes running in with his face white as a sheet to see me taking off the fourth to last pallet.
“Please tell me that I’m reading this wrong,” he pled fruitlessly.
“I wish I could,” I lied, knowing that Mr. Dime was about to be up a muddy creek with a spoon. “I even tried telling Mr. Dime what he was getting into, but he just skimmed and signed.”
“Wait here. I need to call my district manager.”
“Better be quick. I want to be out of this lot by 0630 to beat the morning rush and get a good breakfast.”
He ran back and I continued unloading.
When I finally got the last pallet off at 0550, I turned off my time clock as the district manager came in, We’ll call him Mr. Dollar just to keep consistent, followed both by Mr.
Quarter who was looking somewhat relieved and by Mr. Dime who was somewhere between terrified and furious.
“You’re Mr. OP?” Mr. Dollar asked, holding a printout and looking at it for the name.
“That’s me,” I agreed.
“I take it they sent over the contract Mr. Dime signed?”
“Yes, and that’s just it. Mr. Dime is accusing you of forging his signature on this since there’s no way he’d sign off on a multi-thousand-dollar contract just to unload a trailer.
Especially since he claims you insisted on unloading it yourself.”
I whistled. “That’s a heck of an accusation. Hey, is that CCTV I see up in that corner over there?” I asked, knowing full well that the entire loading dock was covered by a slew of cameras.
The one I pointed out was positioned just right to catch the whole conversation at the door.
“Mr. Quarter, get the footage,” Mr. Dollar said. “We don’t have audio but we do have visual on them.” Mr.
Dime lost his fury and now just looked petrified.
One review later and I was grinning like a loon back to my truck. I called my manager, booked some home time, and walked away with enough pay to last until the end of the month. The next time I went into that IB Nickeled there was a new, much more sensible manager who always had a man on staff to unload the trucks.”
10. File Safety Reports? Don't Get Mad When I File A Bunch Of Them
“As a bit of context to understand the story, I work at a big box retail store. Over the past few months, they’ve decided to weigh a more heavy emphasis on store safety. Where to find safety tips, how to do things safely, and also how to file safety reports.
There are two people on the security and safety team.
It was around the last month that they really started cracking down on making sure that everyone in the entire store knew how to file a safety report.
And the safety guy would spend a decent amount of time going around the store and quizzing people on how to file them and also other safety-related things. And as a side note that will become important later, I am pretty good friends with him.
Once I was taught how to do it, my non-malicious compliance began. Normally, working in retail, you do your job perfectly and there’s no real need to file any sort of safety report because nothing bad happens.
But with my special case I like to put it as, “most others can do their jobs perfectly and be safe, but as the cart attendant I can do my job perfectly and still get run over by a truck.” Anyone who has worked in retail can confirm just how stupid customers can be at times.
Now when you put them behind the wheel of a multi-ton vehicle, things can get very dangerous very quickly if you don’t keep your guard up.
And so the safety reports begin to pile in from me.
Typically it was about two per week. Most of the reports came from having to make a turn or cross through an intersection in the parking lot. I would be stopped waiting for a safe opportunity to continue, a vehicle would come to a stop, I would begin to continue moving carts, and then the car would suddenly start moving and narrowly avoid hitting me and/or my row of carts.
And so, I would just file these nearly missed accidents. I never really thought much of it. That is until we had a safety huddle for the entire store. That is when the leader announced that their quota for safety reports for the whole store was one or two a week.
For me, it hit that in the past two weeks from the safety reports that only I had made, not accounting for the other employees who were also filing. I was effectively giving the store the quota that it needed.
I just thought it was funny, and later on that day told the safety guy about it.
In our conversation, he told me that I was actually filing so many safety reports that the head of the store actually got mad at him because I was filing so many of them.
As he put it, “they told me to teach you guys how to file safety reports, and here you are filing legitimate safety reports. I don’t know why they’re mad.“ As we later put it, management quite doesn’t recognize how dangerous it is to be in the parking lot.
By this time, I had turned in my two weeks’ notice for separate reasons, but he gave me a new drive. Just the knowledge that I was effectively taking blows at upper management just by doing exactly what they wanted me to do was enough to switch from normal compliance to malicious compliance.
Because the parking lot is practically my domain, nearly missed accidents are abound for me. In the time since then, I still made about three or four safety filings.
Today was my third to last day that I am scheduled to work at the store.
Typical idiot drivers were abound, and I wind up making a safety report an hour into my shift. I don’t think too much of it, other than the fact that maybe some management is infuriated that I’m doing exactly what I should, again.
Later on, I noticed the head of security and safety had left their office and was coming in my general direction. Because I was right next to the registers at the time, I thought that something else was going on.
Just gave him a typical greeting, but was surprised when he came towards me and stopped.
He said to me, “hey, if you ever have any more (safety filings) that deal with vehicles, just come to me or (safety guy) and report it to us directly.“ As soon as he left, I felt a sense of victory.
My compliance, in both malicious and non-malicious forms, was too much for management and they finally buckled under the weight of my safety report filings. I was almost laughing at the thought. I told a few coworkers about it, and all of them agreed with me that it was hilarious.
The guy with the most dangerous job just got asked to stop making safety reports on the most dangerous aspect of their job because they were filing so many.
As I said before, I already gave my two weeks in and I only have two more working days to go, so I don’t really care that this feels unusual and not right.
I’m just happy to move on to a new job.
And in case anyone is wondering, yes, I did have to go to the head of safety and security during my shift today because someone almost hit the cart pusher later on in my shift.”
9. I Have To Clock Out At 1:30 AM? Will Do!
“I (28f) work a part-time job in a well-known fast food chain (dear American readers, I live in Europe, if something doesn’t make sense to you, you know why) while I try to finish my master’s degree.
I usually work evenings/nights and close the café area from 1 to 3 times a week; the café takes a lot of time to close as 1) is a lot of work per se (dishes to wash, machines to clean up, refrigerated counter to clean and stock, etc…) 2) my coworkers usually leave a mess and don’t really clean up after themselves and 3) I also have to work the front and we’ve been painstakingly understaffed for months…
So it’s quite common for me to stay another 20-30 minutes after my shift is over, even more time if needed.
I take pride in doing my job well and I hate leaving a mess for the opening shift to deal with, some of them are my friends and I generally respect the vast majority of my coworkers.
Things started to go south some months ago, we are understaffed and are being “asked” to work longer shifts and overtime for the “wellbeing of the company” (yeah, they really said it); sometimes it happens that someone has to work more than 10 hours-long shifts because no-one can cover their role/we have a sudden influx of clients (it’s illegal, btw).
To avoid paying us more, they are using in a not-very-legal way our paid leaves and vacation days (not illegal either, it’s more in a grey area, but they are not supposed to do it the way they are doing it.)
Week schedule is put out with just 1/2 day’s notice, we are not allowed to ask for free weekends, and looks like they are mobbing some coworkers in order for them to leave.
On to the story: as I’ve said, I really like my coworkers and I need money, so I was kinda fine working more hours and keeping up with maintenance and extraordinary cleaning (this pace has been damaging my mental and physical health, I’ve a couple of conditions that are not in check anymore); moreover, I’ve always thought that the store manager and I were kinda friendly…
Until Sunday, when I learned from a manager that this gentleman wrote in the manager’s WA group that “people closing the café are not supposed to stay after the end of their shift” and “if they can’t close properly, they need to quickly wipe with a cloth in the last 30 minutes”.
Needless to say, he was talking about me and another colleague (the only ones left who can actually close the café and clean it enough to be in line with company policies) as we are the ones that usually stay late to properly do our jobs.
The other girl that takes ages and does a poor job (but is kind of a snitch) was completely ignored.
I have GAD and MDD, I still rely a lot on my performances to evaluate my worth…
let’s say I didn’t take it kindly, I’ve felt hurt and I’ve spent the last few days thinking about it.
Tonight, closing shift.
Me: “Soooo, the store manager said that I have to leave at 1.30 am, right?”
Shift manager (M): “Yup.”
Me: “I’m not required to do the extra stuff no one else will do?”
M: “Still don’t get why you are doing it in the first place, but no, you are not.
Just clean it up enough to not look like a landfill and stock the counter.”
Me: “Basic cleaning and resupplying?”
Me: “Copy that.”
The shift runs smoothly, with few clients now and then, no need to rush.
At 12.45 am, the café is in okay condition. It will probably pass a health inspection, but we are far from corporate standards (they dictated even how sugar should be displayed) or my usual closing ones.
At 1.10 am I enter in the office and sit down, scrolling on my phone.
M: “What’s up?”
Me: “I’m done.”
M: “You can go home. You don’t need to stay…”
Me: “It’s 1.10 am.”
Me: “So he said 1.30 am.
I’ve another 20 minutes left on my shift. I mean, he didn’t say that we can leave early and save the company some money, he said I need to leave at 1.30 am.”
M: “Know what? I’d really like some company…
And, after all, he said 1.30 am. He’s the store manager, I’m not supposed to contradict him.”
I clocked out at 1.30 am, as requested.
Is something going to change? I don’t think so, I don’t think they really care enough to notice, not during their power struggles and whatnot.
Maybe, just maybe, they will realize something is wrong and try to change it, but I wouldn’t bet on that, more likely we are going to have a new store manager (the 5th in less than 1 year and a half).
But it feels good being paid for scrolling Reddit and smoking instead of keeping up with the extraordinary maintenance the management can’t be bothered to do/require the closing staff to do and being unappreciated.
After all, I was required to clock out at 1.30 am.”
8. Cranes Must Have A Safety Inspection Before Each Shift? Got It
“Years ago before it died, I worked at a steel mill. The economy was hitting everyone hard so they started to cut back on OT and shifts. I was the lowest seniority in the lab so I was bumped out to ladle treatment (LT to save time).
Everyone hated LT except the people working there. It was noisy, dirty, and busy…I loved it because it made the day go by fast and there was always something happening and I hate being bored…it makes me do stupid things.
At LT there was a small remote crane that moved supplies around and every inch was accounted for so when you were moving things it had to go over work areas. Everyone had to clear the way so supplies could go through…usually only takes 2-3 minutes…usually.
I was the “New” guy at LT but while low on the totem pole for the lab I was probably the 4th highest compared to LT people (Everyone hated it so transferred as soon as possible).
I didn’t have a choice since I was just “on loan” instead of being laid off.
The crane was broke as heck. It was missing a wheel. When you have a few tons hanging from a crane it starts a pendulum effect with the load swinging.
(I spent a few years in a crane I knew how to run them.) The problem is that a few tons will pull a tiny little crane like this one and when it pulled to the corner with no wheel the crane would jerk to a halt and cause even more swing….and so on and so on…and the crane wouldn’t move.
We had been dealing with it and it was super dangerous swinging tons of aluminum coils over people’s heads. I had brought it up to the safety team and they agreed and together with management came up with the idea that it’s okay to be broke as long as no one’s around.
The wheel was ordered but would take months to arrive.
I wasn’t filling out these little OSHA checklists because if you marked anything as dangerous you were not allowed to run it by law. My first day shift, the foreman I didn’t know and who never came up to LT had to get the paperwork since someone was on vacation and noticed I hadn’t filled out my daily required checklist.
He starts getting in my face and telling me this and that like he normally would for the “new” guy at LT (fresh hire). He wasn’t informed about me he just didn’t know who I was.
“All cranes must have a safety inspection filled out at the start of every shift!!” and he stormed out with a smug look and his yellow teeth. OK, Mr. Man…you asked for it. I filled out the checklist with the “Red flagged” items (do not use by law) and there was a comment section.
“OK TO RUN PER 3RD SHIFT FOREMAN!” and I signed it…take that legality with you, I had been around long enough to know if you sign something it’s on your butt.
I come in the next shift and the crew going home is just abuzz but won’t come clean.
“Wait till the foreman gets here.” Ok, I know it was going to do something.
It turns out that the returning foreman just grabbed all the papers off the clipboard and dumped them on the General Foreman’s desk like every day.
The GM saw what was on my checklist and knows it has to get turned in to OSHA, and he tried his best to cover it up but he couldn’t make it go away because the checklist had 3 copies…his/OSHA’s, the safety team’s, and mine.
He couldn’t make all 3 go away. OSHA lost their crap when the safety team turned in their copy. The regular foreman came up about lunchtime and wanted to talk to me, but we are busy, so I can’t leave the station and he has to do it in front of the 4 of us on the crew.
The wheel will be overnighted and repaired in 2 days, don’t put “OK PER FOREMAN” on the checklists, and was I a union lawyer? “Well no I’m no lawyer, but I’m not stupid if you force me to run this crane and force me to fill out the checklist you get what you get.
You and I both know this place can’t run for 4 hours without that crane. I will run this crane as safely as I possibly can but if I have to inspect it, I’ll fail it.
So now what?” He just walked away and that was the last time I heard about my daily checklist…I filled them out every day after that and if it was broke I filled it out that way and let management deal with it.”
7. Only Allow Customers To Use The Change Machine? I'll Become A Customer Right Now Then
“A couple of decades ago, I was moving away from the suburbs of a major US city for the last time. Over many years of living there, I had accumulated quite a bit of loose change.
I gathered it all up one night and it mostly filled up a gallon-size Ziploc® freezer bag.
I took the bag of change, together with a few checks, to my bank—a local operation back when those still existed (I’ll call it LocalBank here; I’m sure they’ve been swallowed up by one of the oligarchs by now).
Oops, they didn’t have one of those automatic change sorters; the best they could do is offer me however many of those paper coin sleeves I might need and let me sit there hand-stacking rolls of coins.
Mmm…no. Their branch across town had a machine, but it was 3 PM and traffic was getting heavy, and anyhow I didn’t really feel like driving there. There was a Wells Fargo bank across the street that used to be a Norwest (and before that it had been…yep…another local operation).
My bank called Wells Fargo for me and asked if they had a change sorter: yes, but it’s only for customers.
Y’know that scene where the Grinch gets this big, devilish, ear-to-ear grin on his face? Yeah; even back then, before the last, what, fifteen years of revelations about just how crappy Wells Fargo is, there were darn good reasons why I didn’t bank with them, and now an idea had sprouted.
I deposited my checks at local banks, less a $100 bill, which I crammed in my pocket. Drove across the street (Suburbia; no crosswalks because LOLOL get a car) to Wells Fargo, walked in, plopped my bag of change on the front counter, and asked if I could get it converted into paper change.
“Do you have an account here”? asked the front desk lady. “If you aren’t a Wells Fargo account holder, we won’t accept your change”.
“I would like to open an account” were apparently the magic words; I was directed to the desk of the accounts manager, who discussed the various account options with me.
I like accounts that don’t have service fees or minimum balances, so I selected their “Incredible Free Checking” or whatever it was called, the only requirement of which is that the account be opened with $100.
Lucky; I just happened to have a $100 bill in my pocket!
The accounts manager ran two credit checks and some other kind of background check. All three came back clear (and certainly cost the bank some amount of money).
She spent probably 15 minutes typing on the computer, filling in forms, and then another couple of minutes printing out 20 starter checks. I told her I’d hold off on ordering “real” checks because I was moving and didn’t yet know my new address.
25 minutes after the start of things, I had a brand-new Incredible Free Checking account and 20 specially-printed starter checks. I was still well ahead on time spent, compared to sitting in a traffic jam.
I thanked Ms. Accounts Manager, stepped across the bank to the teller line, handed over my bag of change, and forty seconds later got $66 worth of $2 bills, a new dollar coin, 84¢, and a few foreign coins.
Would there be anything else? Yes, thanks, I’d like to withdraw $100—just a hundred-dollar bill will be fine, thanks—from my Incredible Free Checking account.
I stepped back across the bank, sat down at the Accounts Manager’s desk, and said “Please close my account.” She said “Close it…? But…you just opened it!” I said “Yes, I did.
Please close it now.” She did a bunch of key punching and digging forms out of various trays (costing the bank money with every minute spent on me), then said “Okay, it’s closed…but why?”
I said “I became a customer nine minutes ago to comply with your customers-only rule on the change sorter.
My brief time as a customer cost you whatever administrative time and effort it took to open the account, and whatever fees I’m sure you were charged for those three background checks on me, and whatever the materials and operating costs were for you to print these starter checks, and whatever time and effort it took you to close my account just now.
And it cost you the possibility of my ever becoming a Wells Fargo customer for real. Thanks for playing!”
She was lost for words. I left, drove back across the street, and deposited my $167.84 at local bank, where the tellers got a howling hoot out of my story.
I give myself about a 91 (A-) on this effort. That’s because Wells Fargo bothered to send me a statement on this account (“Initial balance 6/23: $100. Withdrawals total: $100”, blah blah blah, blah blah, two pages worth of +$100, -$100, +$100, -$100), thus driving their costs for their dumb rule even higher.
So why does this knock 9 points off my grade? Because I should have withdrawn $99.99 from this “no minimum balance” account and simply walked away from it, letting them spend money to generate monthly statements in perpetuity. Oh well, I guess I saved some trees instead!”
6. Send Me A Delinquent Notice Before Insurance Pays? You'll Be Making Less In The End
“My parents both passed away in their house, requiring hazmat cleanup. The company showed up the morning after I called, which was great, and did the cleanup that day, which was also great. When I made the appointment, the technician suggested that homeowner’s insurance may cover the work.
I filed a claim and provided the info to the technician at the time of service. When he left, he asked for the $500 deductible, which I offered to pay by card but he requested I mail a check.
The contract I signed was for a flat rate amount of under $10,000.
I assumed the guy knows how to write insurance estimates and claims and that he was going to get the max amount from the insurance company.
Which was fine by me, he’d come out and clean up during a very stressful time, and I’m all about people being paid well for service.
Work was performed on a Friday, the following Tuesday he called to ask where the check was, which I thought was odd.
I had mailed it on Monday, told him as much, and saw later in the week it was cashed.
Fast forward two weeks and his secretary calls me to ask if I’d heard from the insurance company.
I told her they had requested pictures which I had sent and access to the property which I’d given them, but that was it. She then told me that because insurance was taking so long, she had no choice but to send me a Two Week Delinquent Payment notice.
I basically told her, “Fine, do what you have to do, I’ll contact the insurance company”.
I contacted the insurance adjuster and he was slow to respond. A few days later, I got an email from the secretary who cc’d the insurance guy, asking about her payment.
In that chain, the adjuster finally responded and attached the claim, and indicated payment had been issued.
So, at this point, I had received the delinquent notice and read the contract. The contract was for a flat rate for X amount of dollars.
Flat rate meaning, no matter the work, this was the bill. As I had suspected, the line item on the insurance claim was about $3,000 over the flat rate fee.
Cue malicious compliance.
I wrote a check for the flat rate amount and mailed it with the delinquent notice and a request for a statement indicating the account was paid in full.
As well, in the email chain with the adjuster, I stated that I had received a delinquent notice from the service provider and had mailed a check. I also requested the insurance adjuster correct the line item to the flat rate amount and reimburse me, rather than issuing payment to the service provider.
I really had no goal or intention of achieving anything other than, “You want my delinquent payment? Fine, here it is. Figure out how to navigate this now.”
The insurance guy is a twit, and he never had a comment about the amount of payment or the delinquent notice.
The service provider, they had some thoughts. I got a call from the service provider, and he told me that well, holy cow, the insurance company overpaid them. How about that? He said he got my check but they had been paid already from the insurance company and they were going to mail my check back to me.
This was really where I thought it was going to end. The service provider had requested and received payment from two entities (me and insurance), for conflicting amounts, the lower of which was a signed contract.
A bit of a pickle to be in but a pickle that they had created.
Being in this pickle, the provider told me that he was going to mail me a check for the overpayment portion from the insurance company.
I hadn’t been trying to get extra bucks, but I told him great, send it on over. My insurance correspondence continued because I waited two months for payment from them. I mentioned the reimbursement from the service provider, but as expected, I got no response from the insurance company.
So I deposited the check into the estate account, and it will just end up being part of the disbursement for my parents’ estate.
The day the guy came out to clean up, I had just expected him to get the maximum payout from the insurance company, which was fine by me. But because they hassled me for delinquent payment (which I maliciously complied with) due to a lag in the insurance process, they ended up making almost 30% less.”
5. Won't Bury An Exposed Telephone Line? Fine, Then Keep Repairing It
That’s one way to get them to do their job.
“Ok, disclaimers first:
This happened approximately in 2013/2014ish. It’s been a while. The conversations are obviously rephrased and are not necessarily verbatim.
This story was told to me by the colleague in question.
I have always known this dude to be a stand-up guy and knowing what went on in this industry, I have no trouble believing the veracity of the story. Still, if he lied to me, I’m lying to you.
Years ago, I worked in technical support for an Australian ISP called iiNet. My colleague, (let’s call him Dave, which obviously wasn’t his name) and I both supported ADSL1 and ADSL2+ connections running over PSTN (POTS).
All the copper running between the telephone exchange and customer premises was owned by a third party, Telstra, and my company sold ADSL and phone services over their lines.
Dave got a call from a customer who bought the property from a previous owner.
The property was 100+ years old (which is freaking old in Australia), near the center of a major city. The previous owner was an old lady who only had a phone line there. They decided to renovate it and introduce basics like internet access.
They call Dave, and Dave can obviously hear there’s noise on the line. The copper lines, likely 60+ years old, are probably to blame. Dave lodges the fault with Telstra. A few days later, they go out and fix the issue.
Dave has the internet connected at the customer’s property, and the speeds are below 1.5mbps, but the line length indicates they should be getting at least 8mbps. The customer had all the wiring in the house redone during the renovation and brought up to modern spec, so we know it’s not the customer’s wiring.
1.5mbps is the minimum speed the line has to hit, so they go ahead, lodge an ADSL fault. Telstra sends a tech, tech report says ‘No Fault Found’, the customer gets slung with 200+ AUD in incorrect callout fees.
Internet is still crap.
Dave and the customer go back and forth, eventually filing multiple phone and ADSL faults. It’s obvious that the copper is crap because when it rains, there’s noise on the line, but when the line dries out, the noise goes away.
After multiple faults filed, Telstra finally sends out a team who dig up the line between the customer’s house and the street (the so-called ‘inplace’), but no doubt due to some stupid reason, the trench crew have to leave before the Telstra tech dude even arrives to replace the wire.
So, the trenching crew fills in the trench not to leave an unaccounted hazard. The Telstra tech comes later on, replaces the line, and just leaves it running over the front lawn, given that the trench is filled in.
The customer calls in, absolutely livid. When will the Telstra crew come in to bury the line? Dave checks with the wholesale contact, who tells him that the fault is resolved, and the issue is closed.
Nobody is coming. The customer asks if they can bury the line themselves, but our standing orders are to heavily discourage that. The cable is the property of Telstra, and the trench has to be certain spec and other stuff.
Dave informs him that they should not do it. The customer calls around with a few companies who do such work, but the moment he tells them he wants them to bury a Telstra inplace they all nope the crap out of the job.
A few days later, the customer calls, wanting us to do something. We have nothing to do. The line is working properly now, so there is no fault. Ultimately, Telstra knows about the issue, Telstra’s tech left it that way and noted so in his report, they just don’t give a crap.
Dave asks the customer for pictures of the cable. With the pictures, Dave goes to Telstra Wholesale and after calling in a few favors, he manages to convince the dude at Telstra to add the issue to what they call a project list, which is a formal list of network segments needing improvements.
But, the list is prioritized by severity and impact, and the Telstra Wholesale guy tells Dave that there’s no ETA and there are projects on this list that have sat there for 10+ years.
Dave informs the customer, and they are willing to give it a few months to see if Telstra does anything.
6 months later, they call. There’s been no movement. There likely won’t be any movement.
So, the customer asks Dave:
Customer: ‘So, you’re telling me that the line is not supposed to run over open ground, and Telstra knows that, and they know the line is exposed, and they still won’t do anything?’
Dave: ‘Pretty much.’
Customer: ‘And what happens if it gets damaged?’
Dave: ‘Telstra has a legal obligation to keep the telephone line working, in case of emergency, so they must fix it within 2 to 5 working days.’
Customer: ‘And who pays for that?’
Dave: ‘Telstra does.
It’s their property. You only pay if there is no fault, for tech’s time. This is why we cannot lodge a fault right now. Your line is working. But if it was not working, we could lodge a fault, and they would fix it at their cost.’
A couple of days later, the customer calls, their phone is down. Their brother-in-law managed to snag the line and damage it with his car. Dave lodges a fault. Telstra comes out and fixes it.
Leaves the line above ground. A few weeks later, the customer calls again. They were mowing their lawn, and they hit the line with the lawnmower blade. No phone. Fault filed. Telstra comes out and pays for the fix.
The line is still above ground. A month later, the wife was gardening, and accidentally put a shovel through the line. He apologized profusely. Fault filed. Telstra fixes. Telstra pays. The line is still not buried.
You get the idea. Every few weeks or months, they call with a more outrageous scenario that caused damage to the line. Every callout is at a minimum $130 a pop for Telstra.
After the 6th fault is fixed, Dave called the customer for a follow-up call to check if everything is working.
The customer says it is. And funnily enough, Telstra tech brought along a trenching crew, who buried the line properly. The customer said: ‘Curious they’d put in the effort to fix such a low-impact and low severity issue.'”
4. Get Me In Trouble For Being 22 Seconds Late To Work? I'll Make Sure To Notify You Next Time
22 seconds?! Are you serious?
“This happened several years ago because it was some malicious compliance that lasted for years.
My former employer uses a points-based system to track attendance. The parts of the policy relevant to this story are:
- Tardy with call-in prior to the start of shift: 1/2 point
- Tardy with no call: 1 point
- Accumulate enough points and you’re fired
There’s a set of train tracks crossing the street that leads to this facility.
Occasionally, trains will stop while blocking this crossing. If you’re caught there in the last few minutes before you’re supposed to clock in, you have a decision to make: wait or go around. Either way, you might be late.
Sometimes you’ll decide to go around and then the train clears the crossing and the folks who waited get in before you. Sometimes you’ll wait and watch through the gaps in the train cars as folks who went around pull into the parking lot while you’re still idling at a blocked train crossing.
To be clear, “going around” involves taking a lot of secondary county roads as well as a few field access roads (it’s an extremely rural area), so you literally never know what kind of road conditions you’re going to find along the way around.
The roads may even be entirely unusable during the winter months when snow covers them.
One night, during my years on third shift, I was stopped at these tracks and decided to wait. Eventually, the train moved on.
I raced into the parking lot, used my key card to zip through the turnstiles, and ran to the punch clock. My clock-in time was 10:30 PM.
They have these biometric punch clocks that read your fingerprint to clock employees in and out.
Sometimes these clocks just will not read your fingerprint. I got to the punch clock and it said “10:30”. I’m golden. It doesn’t track seconds. I entered my employee ID number and placed my finger on the sensor.
Three beeps: failed read. Tried again. Three beeps. Tried once more. Three beeps. Nope, not trying again because by this time the clock was likely to tick over to 10:31 in the middle of reading my finger.
When I got to my assigned work area, I told my team manager what happened. He said don’t worry about it, he’d manually punch me in.
I should have listened. But I’m a worrier.
In the morning, when the front office people started showing back up, I went to the attendance office to confirm that my situation was all good.
The office administrator decided to check my “gate time”, and use that as the determining factor. I scanned my key card at 10:30:22 PM. That’s a tardy, no-call. One full attendance point to be issued.
I reiterated that it was a train stopped on the tracks, completely beyond my control. She advised me to either leave earlier (and just wait an extra half an hour for my shift to start on the majority of days) or else get a cell phone (I didn’t have one at all back then) to call in with from the road next time.
Well, what I did instead was start calling in absent “just in case something comes up after I leave home but before I arrive at work” in the evenings before leaving for work. The first few days the attendance office up front was just bemused.
After weeks, they became annoyed. After months, they’d apparently complained enough and I finally got told to stop. During the course of this conversation, they revealed that calling in too early before the start of your shift made it extra challenging to make sure the notice gets to the right members of management because the message is no longer flagged as “new” by the time they’re creating logs for the next shift.
This was great news for me. From then on, every morning before leaving the premises at the end of my shift, I used one of their phones to call in absent for my next shift that evening.
They tried to write me up for insubordination but the labor union slapped it down, pointing out that the collective bargaining agreement specifies the time we must call in by, but does not specify a time before which call-ins may not be made.
Cue the huge grin across my face.
I never forgot that my team manager tried to do me a solid though. If I was actually going to be late or absent for some reason, I would call that TM’s desk line directly to let them know.
Even long after I finally got a cell phone, I continued doing this; I’d just call in on my way home, instead of sticking around to use their phones after my shift. Found out years and years later from some union reps that upper management never got over this.
Drove them nuts that they got beat at their own game by something so simple. It didn’t bring the walls crumbling down, but it was a persistent, enduring source of frustration and impotence for them.
And really, knowing you can manage all of that with just a 22-second phone call a day… that’s the kind of thing that gets you out of bed in the evening.”
Another User Comments:
“Former young worker (now middle-aged worker) here:
I used to aim to be there right on time.
“They aren’t paying me for those 15-20 minutes to be there early, so I refuse.”
Eventually, I realized the karmic penalty of that mindset. Stressed any time something unexpected happened. Flustered and breathless before I even sat down at my desk.
Every morning, before my day even really got going, I was worried and anxious.
One day I just decided to aim for being there 20-30 minutes early. Waking up 20-30 minutes earlier had almost no effect on me – in other words, it was equally difficult to wake up at 6:00 than it was at 6:30.
I wouldn’t clock in when I got to work. I’d go make a big coffee. I’d use the bathroom. I’d tidy up a little. When start time came, I was relaxed, caffeinated, and much more zen.
Getting to work early (sometimes ridiculously early) was for my benefit, not my employer’s.
I own a business now, and when I’m meeting a client, I arrive ridiculously early and hang out in my car listening to podcasts until it’s a much more reasonable time to meet.
When I fly, I get there sometimes 3+ hours early so I don’t have to stress.
You have to get up and go to work anyway. Just a necessary pain of life. Might as well make it as easy as possible on your overall mental health.” ilikemrrogers
3. Come Get Our Stuff? Okay, But It Might Slap You In The Face
“So I work for a company that sells and services POS equipment (Point-of-Sale, i.e. those new-fangled registers). We also usually install updated network equipment, run wiring, and set up new wireless that has separate networks for both the business and guests if need be.
When we go to install this equipment and get the customer set up we have various documents for them to fill out and sign that range from the fact that they did receive the equipment in working order to whether they wanted a guest network setup and what they wanted it to be called.
One of the important areas that we have the customer initial before signing the bottom of the form is that, if for any reason they decide to cancel their contract with us we would remove all of our equipment and they would be responsible to either have someone else there to hook it back up how they wanted it or they could pay us an extra fee to configure everything how they needed it to work without our equipment.
So on to the customer of the story: We had just demoed and sold a system to a local “health food” cafe and I was tasked with getting all of the equipment installed and setup.
They “did us a favor” and didn’t open till noon on the day we installed. So when I arrived I discussed all the things in the document for them to sign and told them if they would like to review it before signing they could and I would start unloading all the equipment and would answer any questions they had.
Like most customers, they skimmed it and then signed. So I installed the registers, credit card readers, got the internet provider to allow our router to take over, installed the wireless system, ran cables for the kitchen printers, and the whole nine yards.
Even was nice enough to run an extra cable for their manager’s computer (like 15ft away) and reset all of their Nest cameras to work with the new network (a pain in the butt as they had about 10 and you had to scan each of the cameras with an app and then change each of them to the new network, about 1.5 hours just to get that figured out).
So needless to say I did a little extra for no cost as a courtesy.
Longer story shorter, they had the system for about 1.5 months before one little thing wouldn’t work how they wanted (we never said it would) and they got mad and said we just needed to come get their stuff and that the only time we could come to get the stuff was either before 6 am or after 7 pm when they close.
We agreed but advised them we would have to charge them for an after-hours service call because those were well outside our service times. This went back and forth for about a month until they got their next payment for the equipment auto-deducted from their account (because they refused to let us come during normal business hours).
At that point, the calls started to get more and more heated until the fabled line in the title happened and they said I could come the next morning and their manager would be there.
So the next morning, I arrived at about 8:30 am, after their morning rush, and found that their manager wasn’t even there yet and so I advised the employee what I was there to do and how that would affect them and if they would like to call the manager first to confirm I could wait (I’m not a total monster).
They called and confirmed what I was there to do so I started unplugging our stuff. Router, gone. Wireless Network, gone. No more network means, no more accessing cameras, phones are VOIP so they stopped working.
Their old POS they reinstalled was all on wireless – oops no more wireless. It took all of 5 minutes to get our stuff out and I plugged everything back in how it was before.
I was lucky enough to not have any customers come in until after I left.
Aftermath – they were down for a day and a half on their internet because they refused to call their ISP to get it configured how it used to be because that “was our job” (which it didn’t help that they were the type of place that “didn’t take cash, how gross”).
Then they called and said “we NEEDED to come hook their cameras back up how they were” and started threatening legal action if we didn’t. I finally just took a picture of the form they filled out and highlighted the part they initialed and just started ignoring their calls.
I think they finally got the hint and stopped calling. Never heard from a lawyer and found out later that half the staff left because of the owner’s attitude towards everything and since they started using Square again their credit card fees went back up.”
2. Insist It's My Lawn Mower When It Isn't? Fine, I'll Take It
“This starts with me purchasing a lawn mower at a big box hardware store. In the interest of keeping them anonymous, let’s just call them Rob Lowe, or, Lowes for short.
I walked in one day looking to finally purchase a new mower, and I was in luck as they had a smoking deal on a “display” model.
Unprepared to be going home with a new mower that day I didn’t bring my truck. So I simply asked if I could set it aside and come back in a little bit with my truck.
I returned maybe 30 min later and picked up my mower and headed home. This should be the end of the story but weirdly, it isn’t.
Fast forward about 2 weeks later and I get a call from lowes informing me that my mower is ready for pickup.
Confused I replied, “pardon me?” So they reminded me that I ordered a mower about 2 weeks ago and it just arrived and is awaiting pickup.
Now I know most would have seized the opportunity right there but I decided to be a good person and I explained to the employee that no, I didn’t order a mower, I bought a floor model and set it aside to pick up later, which I did.
The employee thanks me, apologizes for the confusion, and says he’ll update the order.
Welp, one week later they call again, the same thing, and I once again explain why it’s not mine. They did this once a week for 3 weeks straight, and after the 3rd time I tell the wife I swear if they call me again I’m going to pick up “my mower.”
At this point now I’m just excited, I’m watching my phone, hoping they’ll call, because in my mind I’ve earned it at this point and I want my free mower! Well lo and behold week 4 hits and guess who calls!
I am now ready to accept my free mower but I’m also unsure how this is going to play out.
I don’t know if it’s paid for, I don’t have a receipt, and it seems like a long shot. So I simply tell the employee I’m so sorry I haven’t been in yet to get it, but I got called out of town for work and just got back, and with that said I have no idea where I put the receipt.
The employee kindly replies “oh no worries! It’s paid in full so all you need is a photo id matching the name on the order.”
I call the wife to let her know I’m picking up our new mower, she just laughs, still positive that once I get there they won’t have a mower to give me.
But you’ll be happy to know I pull in, tell customer service I’m here for my mower, show them my ID, and next thing you know some guy on a tow motor is loading a brand new, in the box, unassembled mower into the back of my truck and off I go.
Still have that mower today!
I thought about returning the original afterward, but I just got nervous it would somehow raise the alarms. Then I was going to sell it on the marketplace, but shortly after all this I had bought a new house and my best friend put in a lot of hours helping me move and he too had been looking for a new mower so I just gave it to him instead as a thanks for helping me.
I still ended up with a brand new mower for essentially 60% off and then was also able to pay for movers with the original one so it was still a win-win.
I genuinely tried telling them it wasn’t my mower, but they insisted it was, and it would be rude to refuse their offer.”
Another User Comments:
“I know of a woman in Australia that got jail time because of this sort of thing.
Not receiving the mower, but as a staff member invoicing them and pocketing the pay.
She’d get receipts or orders and process refunds. It is a huge store, so a faulty chainsaw or two going missing from the returns section wasn’t noticed, but she got really brazen and was doing it more and more regularly.
Because it got so blatant, she would then double-process orders so that the total stock on hand looked right, and customers that had already picked up their orders didn’t pick up the duplicates because she was the one supposed to call them.
The shell game eventually failed though, and they prosecuted her for embezzling around $300k. By the time she was in court, she’d left the job because it was her university job, and the bucks went to pay for medical school. I think she went inside for about 18 months.” Kozeyekan_
1. Make Me Work Just To Get Interviewed? Fine, But I'll Submit A Fraud Claim
“I mostly work in a niche-ish area of law called discovery. Basically, when someone starts a legal proceeding each party gets to ask other parties for certain documents relevant to the case. Sometimes parties refuse to produce certain documents because of reasons like attorney-client privilege.
I argue why my clients’ documents are properly withheld or the other sides’ documents are improperly withheld.
One day I see a job board post from a local law firm looking for a research/writing position with the required experience in discovery disputes.
This raises a red flag for two reasons. First, local law firms normally do not need to hire full-time R&W people because >95% of that firms’ cases are very similar (i.e. a personal injury firm normally only handles personal injury cases, so keeping a full-time researcher is not worthwhile when all your cases are basically the same).
When these local firms need something researched they either just do it themselves or pay someone else for a few hours of work.
Second, this local firm hired a friend of mine by telling them “start here, work hard, and move up to senior associate in a few years” before promptly letting them go after a few busy months.
I go ahead and send my resume over and get scheduled for an interview pretty quickly. During the interview, I gave them a fairly high salary ask which they agreed to almost instantly. Then the partner hits me with the following:
Partner: “We ask all candidates to provide a writing sample before the final interview.”
Me: “Sure thing.
I thought I attached one to the application, but let me grab my phone and double-check.”
P: “Oh not that writing sample, that is too generic for evaluation. Here is a legal question that we want you to research.”
M: “I see.
More than happy to do that at an hourly rate.”
P: “It should be fairly quick work. No other candidate has asked us for writing-sample-compensation, and this makes it seem like you won’t be a team player.
If you aren’t interested in the position just tell us.”
M: “Let me think about it.”
So I go home and search a couple of local court dockets and wouldn’t you know it this firm is involved in a case with a hearing set on exactly the discovery question they want me to produce a free ‘writing sample’ on.
I send an email back saying sure thing; I will make the writing sample, as long as it guarantees consideration for the R&W position. They say yes. I write a fantastic memo and send it in.
A few weeks go by and I email asking for an update on the final interview. No response. Then I check that court docket and wouldn’t you know it they straight up copy/pasted parts of my memo in the response.
I send a demand letter for payment + fees. No response. I file a lawsuit for fraud. Oh, baby THEN I got a response. A frothy, salty response. Frothaltly. I got called some names.
They went on and on about how I was going to lose AND after I lost how they were going to counter-sue me.
I said “sounds good, can’t wait to lose. I guess you did hire a full-time R&W attorney.
I mean, it would be like baby-town frolics easy to win if you never hired for that position. Actually, it would be even easier if you never even had a final interview for the spot.
I’m sure you aren’t that dumb though.”
Got the check 30 days later.”
Another User Comments:
“One of my very first ‘real job’ interviews screwed me like this and I was too naive and excited for the opportunity to stand up for myself.
Got ‘interviewed’ for a position that was a great cross-section of my niche hobby and field of study, after 2 interviews they told me it was down to me and one other candidate so they wanted us both to work on a ‘test project,’ compensation was never discussed and I didn’t even think to ask.
Long story short, it took about 40-60 hours to complete the work, the other guy got hired, I didn’t get paid, and they used my work to greater effect than that of my competitor as far as I can tell. To this day my content from that project 15 years ago is still on their website.
I didn’t do anything about it, because I WAS stupid. But I learned my lesson.” MorningNapalm