People Touch On The Best "Pushed To The Edge" Revenge They've Ever Done
16. I Guess You Don't Want Me To Look Professional After All
“I served in the Army for about a decade and was maliciously compliant a lot. I didn’t know the term for it back then and have since forgotten most of the stories I would otherwise have, but I have at least one that has stood the test of time.
I was at a training course called BLC (basic leader course), which is basically a class to learn some tasks required/expected of people of a certain rank. I was in the Army for a lot longer than most people before finally going to this course.
Because of that, I had a lot more knowledge than anyone in my classroom, and very possibly, more than any of the other trainees (about 150 people).
We are about a week into the 2 weeks of training.
We come outside, in the dark, for early morning PT (physical training).
We do this every morning except Sundays (we had all of Sunday off). It is a requirement in the Army to be clean-shaven in order to keep a professional appearance. Now, I have thick facial hair; it grows fast, and I have sensitive skin, so shaving sucks for me.
I know from experience that I get a better shave after PT (between the sweating and the shower after, it tends to go better for me), and in order to keep the professional appearance, that’s what I do.
I use an electric razor before PT, so I don’t have a full beard, but it isn’t close enough to be professional, then I use a regular razor after PT. If I shave before PT, I have a 5-o’clock shadow by noon and a full beard by end-of-day.
Plus, I figure if there is going to be a part of the day where my hair is a bit long, I figure when it’s dark out is the best time.
One morning, during PT, one of the instructors pulls me aside and asks if I shaved that morning.
I told him what was going on and explained my reasoning. He doesn’t accept this, and he writes me a “counseling statement.” In this context, a counseling statement is a formal reprimand that unless you get a bunch of them, they don’t really matter.
That said, because I was in a school setting, this counseling statement took me out of the running for the Army equivalent of valedictorian. This aggravated me, because I had perfect scores up to the point and spent a lot of time helping the other soldiers because I didn’t really need the practice myself.
I get told I have to shave every day before PT. I listen to them, and just like I had warned, I start ending the day with too much hair. I get ANOTHER counseling statement (If you get 3 counseling statements during this training you get kicked out) for “not shaving.”
I made my case to my instructors, and once again, they didn’t care.
They told me to maintain a professional appearance; I had to shave 4 TIMES A DAY. Which is ridiculously insane and would ruin my face. I tell them this, and they say that without a medical shaving profile (medical exemption) that I have to shave 4 times.
Finally, we come to the malicious compliance (almost).
Shaving profiles are fairly common in the Army but are almost always only given to black guys. Black people get bad bumps and razor burn on their faces more often than caucasian people for reasons that I don’t know and haven’t bothered to look up.
To give you an idea of the rarity of caucasian people with shaving profiles, over my more than a decade of service, I saw a total of… ZERO caucasian people with shaving profiles. Until…
I call my home unit and request to speak with a medic.
I tell him what’s happening, and he writes and e-mails me a profile stating that I can have facial hair below a certain length (I think it was 1/8th of an inch) due to my skin condition.
On some people, that much hair isn’t crazy, but with my thick dark hair, it’s very obvious.
I go to PT in the morning, not shaven, and get pulled aside again. I get asked if I shaved, I say “no” and pull out my shaving profile.
The guy reads it, hands it back, clearly upset, and says “ok.” The entire day and the rest of the training, I get confused and angry looks from leadership. I get stopped regularly and asked what’s going on (I’m telling you, caucasian guys don’t get shaving profiles).
The highlight was at graduation when all the really high-ranking people show up.
I have sergeants majors, colonels, etc. staring me down. I see them talking to our instructors pointing at me. Gosh darn, did that feel good. I hope I looked professional enough for them.
(A little extra: I ended up getting 5 total counseling statements and somehow still graduated.)”
15. Accuse Me Of Reporting You? I Will For Real This Time
“I worked for this small company for 6 weeks at the end of 2020 (it was landscape architecture). He sacked me with no real explanation. I have undiagnosed (highly suspected) ADHD, so I wasn’t massively surprised (it affects my performance).
But I was surprised by the timing and the fact it was via email. I asked for more clarity. I was never rude to him. I just told him I wish he’d called me, so I could get some feedback.
He got really mad and proceeded to write a long list of my (over-exaggerated and some false) shortcomings e.g. too slow, distracted (stuff he never mentioned at the time). He then said, ‘If you want to take legal action against me, let me know.’ I didn’t.
I left it and moved on.
Fast forward to today. He just called my mobile from a private number asking how I was. I was taken aback as we have had no communication since. He said, ‘Someone has put in a report I’m using unlicensed software.
Was it you? Because I know we left on bad terms.’ I said I’ve no idea what you’re talking about. He made it seem I was devastated he sacked me (lol) and would have good reason to report him.
No matter what I said, he was convinced it was me. He even accused my dad who works in IT.
I didn’t even know he was using unlicensed software. I said, ‘I feel like you’re unfairly accusing me here,’ and he raised his voice and shouted, ‘WHY DO YOU ALWAYS PLAY THE VICTIM? STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM!’ (probably in reference to the fact I questioned the way he sacked me).
It sounded so rehearsed, I honestly had to hold back laughter. Then he said, ‘I’m not accusing you, but did you do it?’
Looking back, I believe it was unlicensed. We only ever used the student version of Autodesk (which is illegal when you’re running a business).
This combined with his accusation tells me he is in fact breaking the law.
I was so angry by his accusation that I reported him to both Autodesk and the BSA. He’ll have to run an audit and likely face a huge fine.
He thinks I did it either way, so what harm can one more report do?
I didn’t complain because he sacked me. I just questioned the way he did it. A simple phone call would have been better than an email.
When you’re fired you have a right to ask why, and that’s easier to do in conversation (best in person). I literally didn’t have a problem when he sent a list of my shortcomings. I just accepted it and moved on.
I also take full accountability for it. The ADHD played a part, but I’m still to blame for losing the job, not the ADHD.
At no point did I ever say I shouldn’t have been sacked. If you actually bothered to read the whole story, you wouldn’t be making that assumption.
I was just angry he pointed the finger at me for the report. Also, I love this mentality that because I’m a graduate I’m a little trick and bosses can never be in the wrong. You’ve clearly never had a job to not know that.
Also, my dad does not work there.
Like I already said he is a software engineer, not a landscape architect. So stop telling me I’m ‘happy to put him out of work.’
In regards to the ADHD, I didn’t know I had it until recently. But it makes sense in hindsight, especially considering the reasons he fired me are all ADHD symptoms. Although I haven’t been officially diagnosed (awaiting), my doctor highly suspects I have it.”
14. Won't Remove My Phone Number From Your Website? I'll Mislead Your Customers
“A few years ago, after changing jobs, I found myself in a new office, with a new phone number.
After some orientation, training, and other new-hire stuff, I finally get to sit down and do the things.
I get my voice-mail and answering machine set up, set up the email, and the phone rings.
“Good morning, engineering.”
“Yeah, when can I take the GED test?”
“Sorry, wrong number.”
“Seriously, when can I take the GED test?”
“Like I said, wrong number.
This went on for weeks. 15-20 calls a day. People screaming at me for not being the Adult Learning Center. One day, an epiphany:
“This isn’t the Adult Learning Center?” “Nope.” “Do you know the number?” “Check Google.” “I did.
This is the number on their website.”
A little Google-fu of my own, and I dig up a few numbers, and give them a call.
They tell me that they don’t maintain their website, and there’s nothing they can do about it, and it’s not their problem.
I’m just going to have to “deal with it.” My favorite line of that conversation was, “What are you going to do about it? I work for the state. You can’t do anything. Bye-bye.” And you can imagine that “bye-bye” just dripped with the condescension that only hubris and decades of Karenhood can muster.
Heck. No. Let’s dance.
The next day.
“Good morning, “
“When can I take the GED test?”
We give that on request. It takes about an hour and a half. Come on down.”
“Oh, awesome. How much is it?”
“10 dollars. Bring a pencil.
We’ll sharpen yours, but we can’t supply them. Budget cuts, you know.”
“Naw, I get it. See you in a bit.”
“Take your time. They don’t like me telling you this, but if you get here before we close, they HAVE TO give you the test.
See you when you get here.”
“Thanks, man. See you later.”
Now for those of you who don’t know, the GED test takes a WHOLE DAY. It also usually costs upward of $100, depending on the state. In the state I was living and working at the time, it was around $200.
As such, it was only offered at certain intervals.
So, as I was telling dozens of people PER DAY that it was $10, took 90 minutes, and offered on request, I’m sure that they were absolutely inundated with angry people with freshly sharpened #2 pencils, waving their $10 bills, and demanding the test that the guy on the phone told them they could come and take.
Every morning, I checked the website to see if my phone number was still on there.
I also took the liberty of crawling around and getting the phone numbers for some managers. I was happy to hand these out when people called back to complain that they hadn’t been allowed to take the test.
“Head back down there, and ask to speak to and tell them that they called the number on the website and this is what they were told.
It took them about 6 more weeks to change the website. For some reason, all of the managers’ numbers disappeared from the website as well.”
13. Can't Have Surgery At A Local Hospital? Then Give Me A Bed For A Week At A Hospital 4 Hours Away
“This happened about ten years ago, not long after I was diagnosed with endometriosis. I live in the UK, so we luckily have the NHS; however, the rules can differ in different parts of the UK. At the time this malicious compliance occurred, I lived in North Wales about 4 miles from the border of England.
With endometriosis, there are 2 different types of surgery you can have to remove it: excision and ablation. Excision is much more effective, but can only be performed by specialist surgeons at certain hospitals which are classed as “accredited” endometriosis centers.
In order to be classed as one of these specialist centers, a hospital needs to perform a certain number of very complex surgeries each year amongst other criteria.
At this time, if you lived in England, you had a right to choose where you were treated.
So if you had endometriosis and lived in, for example, Liverpool, but your local hospital wasn’t an accredited endometriosis center, you could choose to have your surgery in Manchester instead.
Wales had a similar rule, but you could only choose to be treated at another hospital in Wales.
Doesn’t sound too absurd in principle; however, Wales had one accredited center at the time (Cardiff, South Wales), and England had about twenty.
I’d already tried ablation surgery, and it hadn’t worked; I was in extreme pain every day and was getting to the point where I was unable to work or go to college.
I went to see my GP to ask for excision surgery. I mentioned the “right to choose,” which I’d been told about and asked if I could be referred to a specialist on the Wirral, which was a 20-minute drive away.
I was told this wasn’t possible as it was over the border in England and that I could only choose from hospitals in Wales.
Where I lived was so close to the border that the nearest big town was in England.
Until the month before I had worked in England every day. I crossed the border to England every time I went to do my weekly shop. But I wasn’t allowed to go there for health care.
The only specialist in Wales as I mentioned was in Cardiff, which was a 4-hour drive away.
When I asked my (not very good) GP what else I could do as I needed the surgery, his reply was, “Not a lot unless you’re willing to go to Cardiff for it!”
This is when I had my idea.
I calmly turned round to the doctor and said, “OK then.”
You see the thing with excision surgery is, although it can take several hours and be a large operation, in most cases, they will let you go home the same day as long as you have someone to collect you.
So I calmly explained that, yes, I’d be happy to travel to Cardiff; however, my dad couldn’t drive that far, so I wouldn’t have anyone to bring me home. This would mean they’d have to keep me in for up to a week until I was well enough to take the train home, as opposed to sending me to the hospital 20 minutes from my house where my dad could pick me up the same day.
I got a call the next morning to say they’d approved my request to have the operation at the hospital just over the border.”
Another User Comments:
“I’ve always found it funny how rules that can’t be broken suddenly can be broken once it negatively impacts them.” latents
12. Getting His Brother Arrested After Long Feud
Petty, maybe, but worth it!
“My uncle has always been a self-righteous, petty slime ball with a foul temper and grandiose idea of his own importance but little to no brains. My dad always just took it and tried to keep the peace because family is so important to him.
This is the story of how my uncle finally pushed my dad too far and ended up getting arrested for his trouble. It is pretty long since it covers several months of a feud between them.
As background, my dad and my uncle are neighbors in a rural community of 600-ish people.
My dad built the house my uncle lives in and sold it along with a small plot, so my dad’s remaining land is about 6 acres and runs along the side and the back of my uncle’s smaller property.
My uncle is a dealer for HVAC units. My dad is in the HVAC business and would buy some things from his brother, even though his brother’s prices were higher and he had a more limited inventory than other dealers, in order to help his brother out.
My dad also rented a building his brother owned and used it as his shop/office. He only rented the building and parking lot, but in the field out behind the shop, my uncle and my dad both would collect old HVAC units.
These things are rusty and all-around fugly, but when they didn’t have anything else to do, they could go get one of these old units to break down for scrap.
This story starts when one day my dad went to his brother and said he needed a certain unit, but his brother quoted him a really high price and also couldn’t deliver in the time frame my dad needed.
So my dad called up another dealer he works with, and that guy had a unit on hand to give him for a much lower price. A no-brainer. My uncle found out about this somehow (dudes in the HVAC business are apparently like gossipy teenaged girls) and confronted my dad, basically giving him an ultimatum that if my dad wouldn’t commit to buying 100% of his units from my uncle, then my uncle wouldn’t sell him anything.
I already told you my uncle is an idiot…
So my dad didn’t say anything to his brother, but he took him at his word and stopped buying anything from him.
A month or so later, my uncle showed up at my dad’s shop and confronted him again wanting to know why my dad hadn’t ordered anything from him that month. When my dad told him why, my uncle exploded.
They apparently had a screaming match, and in the end, my uncle announced that my dad was no longer his brother, they were no longer doing business together, and my dad was evicted from the shop.
I will note that legally, my dad was not evicted because evicting him would have required a legal notice, a certain period of time, etc.
But my dad was over it, so he said fine and began converting the barn at his house into his new shop. So my uncle, who apparently had thought my dad would not call his bluff, showed back up at the shop a few days later and informed my dad that he also has to move all of the old HVAC units scattered around in the field behind the property, or he would sue my dad for the cost of removal.
Now, this too probably had no legal power, since my dad’s lease was only on the building, not the field, and my uncle contributed to and used the old units as communal property.
But when my dad is infuriated, he is extremely angry.
So he agreed to move the old units. He took his tractor over and loaded each one onto his flatbed trailer, drove out behind his barn, and painstakingly arranged hundreds of rust-bucket fugly old HVAC units an inch or two off the property line at the back of my uncle’s house.
Note that my dad could not see these things from his house due to the way his property is set up, but my uncle had an HD view of them in his backyard.
My uncle started being even more of a creep than usual and was always spying on my dad’s house, so my dad decided to build a privacy fence down the side of his property that runs along my uncle’s property (but not the back of the property where the HVAC units are).
The fence guys arrived and worked for a few hours before my uncle came screeching into his driveway and exploded out of his truck already screaming because these poor fence guys had laid posts or tools or whatever temporarily on his side of the property line as they were building the fence.
My uncle called the police, who basically told the fence guys, “Okay, dudes. Just don’t put anything on this crazy man’s property” and left.
The next day, apparently, someone left a hammer across the property line, so here comes my uncle screaming at them again.
He called the police again, but by the time they got there, the guy had already moved his hammer, so the police were just annoyed by this point but could only warn them not to do it again.
Later that afternoon, my uncle called the police a third time, I kid you not.
This time, he wanted to report that my dad had stolen a backhoe from him. Like one that attaches to the back of a tractor. One that, again I kid you not, my uncle had given to my dad two whole years prior because my uncle didn’t even have a tractor big enough to attach the thing to.
The cop was not amused when this story came to light, and since it was the same cop who’d been there earlier that day, she was beyond annoyed at that point.
My dad helpfully said, “Come get the backhoe if you want it,” knowing full well my uncle had no way to pick the thing up or haul it even the few feet to his own yard.
My uncle replied that my dad was just trying to trap him and would say he was trespassing if my uncle came onto his land (even though the cop was standing right there when my dad offered and, by the way, this conversation was taking place in my dad’s driveway).
He then said that he wanted to file a complaint with the police that basically amounts to a restraining order against my dad (it isn’t a restraining order because it isn’t issued by a judge, but the cops treat it that way–it’s for habitual trespassers).
Annoyed Cop helpfully informed my dad that this would mean that even if my uncle texted or emailed him and invited him to come over to his house to discuss things, even if my dad had that written proof he’d been invited, if my uncle called the cops or even took a picture of my dad on his property he could potentially get arrested for trespassing.
My dad said he wanted to file one against his brother too.
The revenge part of the story is now upon us.
My dad knew full well that his brother had no real clue where the property lines were and was not going to dig up his survey to check.
He only “knew” where the lines were because my dad knows exactly where they are and maintains wooden stobs in the ground periodically along his property lines. So when his brother was away for a few days, my dad moved all of the old HVAC units along the property line over further onto his own property by a few feet and moved the stobs back the same distance.
So, basically, it looked the same as it had before, except it looked like the property line was a few feet further back than it actually is. He then placed some random piece of scrap across the fake property line (still on his own property, but it looked like it was across the property line if all you had to go by were the incorrectly placed stobs), set up a few game cameras aimed at the line, and waited.
Sure enough, his dumb as rocks brother came storming out of his house as soon as he noticed this scrap on “his” side of the “property line,” crossed the real property line to get a good look at the scrap, and called the police.
My dad was waiting for them with his survey showing where the actual property line is, a copy of the report Annoyed Cop had given him, and game camera footage of his brother clearly trespassing on his land, and it was my uncle who got arrested.
The only way his revenge for all the trouble and heartache his brother caused could possibly have been any sweeter would have been if it were Annoyed Cop who showed up at the scene and arrested my uncle, but alas he had to make do with someone he and his brother had both gone to high school with, which worked out since it was especially embarrassing for my uncle to be arrested by someone he knew well.
And who could make sure everyone else in town knew.
Nothing really came of my uncle’s arrest, or at least not that my dad has heard about (and he’d hear about it since this is a town of like 600ish people).
But it was probably enough for my uncle just to have to get put into handcuffs, spend a night in jail, and have people know about it because my uncle hasn’t caused any more trouble for my dad other than generally existing where my dad occasionally has to see his truck drive by.
My uncle is also now in a business dispute with his partner’s sister and his brother-in-law, so presumably, he is trying to take his anger out on another target who hasn’t already beaten him (and also who isn’t his older and much larger brother who has been perfectly willing to beat his behind all their lives whenever it’s devolved into physical disputes, and yes, my family are rednecks).
My uncle, aunt, cousin, and my cousin’s partner all unfriended me on social media so I only know what going on with them via small-town gossip nowadays.
My sister was driving down the road recently, saw my uncle in his yard, and waved at him. He turned away like he didn’t know her. None of us got an announcement when my cousin’s partner had her baby recently. So I think the end of the story is just that we are all dead to my uncle and his family, but he is too afraid to do anything besides pretend we all don’t exist!”
11. Kick Me Out Of An Apartment Viewing? I'll Tell On You
“I live in a country where the real estate agents do no work. They post an apartment on one of the real estate sites, and you need to chase them to see the listing at the precise time that they choose.
I found an apartment that seemed ok and messaged the real estate agent on WhatsApp to which he responds, “Call me.” A little bit short but no big deal. I give him a call, and again, he is very brisk on the phone telling me that I must be on time as he a very busy man.
Ok, again no big deal.
The appointment is for 6 pm, and I got stuck in a meeting but still expected to be on time, but just in case, I texted him saying I would be 5 minutes late.
I show up at exactly 6:01 pm and see that he isn’t even waiting for me. He has his real estate office on the ground floor of the building complex that I am seeing the apartment. He is in his office doing work, and I walk into his office, say hi, and he immediately starts complaining that I am late.
I apologize and say I am here, but a friend (a local who is fluent in the local language) is going to be here very shortly to see the apartment with me and should be here very soon.
I call my friend, and he says he is 2 minutes away, to which the real estate agent tells me that he has another appointment and that he will have to make us wait until after the next appointment.
I respond that my friend will be here very shortly and to please wait a little bit until he arrives. He responds that he makes sure all of his appointments are very organized and that he does not like having multiple people at the same time.
I tell him I do not mind having someone else with me and can ask the next group if they do not mind seeing the apartment with me. He ignores this comment and keeps working.
My friend then shows up at exactly 6:05 pm.
I know because I checked my clock. My friend walks in, says hi, and the agent then takes his time getting up and locking his office, so we can go upstairs to see the apartment.
We walk to the 3rd floor, knock on the door, and the tenant lets us in.
I start walking around and start chatting with the current tenant and his partner. The real estate agent says don’t talk to the tenant; look at the apartment.
I continue walking around, see most of the apartment, and then continue chatting with the tenant and begin asking a few questions about the apartment.
I ask how the noise is in the apartment. The real estate agent immediately interrupts and says not to talk to the tenant. I ask the real estate agent why, and he ignores me. The tenant begins responding to the question and ignores the real estate agent telling me the apartment has practically no noise.
My next question is how is the landlord. The real estate agent interrupts saying very loudly, “What did you say?” I repeat my question to the real estate agent, and he says to not ask about the landlord but to continue looking at the apartment.
The tenant begins responding that the landlord is fine, but the real estate agent again interrupts for us not to talk.
I thought, ok, maybe the agent is stressed that the next appointment is coming and say, “Ok, can I have the tenant’s number, so we can talk afterward?” I appreciate that this is taboo to real estate agents, but speaking to the tenant is a must in my book, and if we can’t speak now, then why not speak later? I had no intention of going around the real estate agent.
The real estate loses it.
He starts aggressively telling me to get out. Cue Malicious Compliance.
You want me out, fine.
I go outside and wait on the front steps of the building and notice it is now 6:41, which is likely close to when he scheduled his next appointment.
I see a couple approach the building and approach them asking if they are there to see the apartment. They say yes, and I proceed to tell them to be careful of the apartment and the landlord as something is very wrong with it if the real estate agent does not want me talking to the current tenant.
The real estate agent starts yelling at me and threatening to call the cops. I ignore him until I complete the story to the new couple to which they thank me and go inside with the real estate agent.
We’re not done yet.
Still waiting outside, my friend sees someone new entering the building.
He approaches the new guy, quickly telling him what just happened. The guy responds that yeah, the real estate agent is awful, and he would be happy to give the number of his landlord.
I call his landlord and explain the situation, to which he responds he is sorry this occurred and would be happy to give me the number of the actual apartment owner.
I call up the actual owner tell the owner the story. The owner apologizes that it happened, said that she would talk to the real estate agent and see what can be done, and that his behavior was not ok.”
10. Mess With Our Vacation Time? Good Luck Running The Place With No Employees
“I am a social worker with a moderate-sized nonprofit compared to the city we are in. We serve individuals with disabilities in a variety including on-site and in the community.
About a year and a half ago, our exec director retired after 15ish years.
They were an awesome person, but due to age and some health problems, had kind of checked out of running the organization. The new director came from a much larger for-profit organization and seemed to feel that money is king, and the only way to be respected is to be feared.
She was a monster in every sense of the word.
Now, being a nonprofit, our pay isn’t fantastic, and the benefits aren’t stellar, but the one thing they were good at was the vacation roll-over. We were allowed to keep 200 hours of roll-over, and while it took some time to build up, those of us that had been there a while tried keeping our hours somewhere around there (this is our vacation and sick time put together).
The new director decides that our entire vacation policy is too generous, and 1, cuts our accrual rate (I personally lost almost 2 full weeks a year), and the major kicker, tells us we can only keep 80 hours of a roll-over.
Again, I get it, the world pause hit us hard, everyone has to be expected to make some cuts somewhere, but see, the problem is, she told everyone this the first week of October, and we had to be down to 80 by January 1st.
Anything over 80 just goes away. We tried negotiating, we tried offering alternatives, we asked for exemptions by a few months. She would absolutely not hear it and finally said the next person who asked about our PTO policy would be walked out of the building.
So, my coworkers and I came up with a plan.
Enter the compliance. I will admit, this only worked because the rest of our administration team felt the director was horrible and also lost their PTO time too.
We all put in for vacation at the same time. Even those that really didn’t need to because they were closer to 80 hours anyway. We literally had 85% of our staff off for weeks at a time.
We worked it out amongst ourselves that we had just enough staff to ensure work was done to keep us compliant with the state, but anything above and beyond that ground to a halt. I also need to clarify that we are not an emergency service, so the clients we serve did not lose out on our essential supports.
Well, our board meeting comes around in December, and the new director has to try and explain why there was such a drastic drop in revenue over the last month and a half.
Apparently, she didn’t give a good enough answer because the board started talking to the employees and SR management for the first time since the new director came on. Let me tell you, we did not hold back.
After hearing the horror stories of some of the other stuff she was doing, the board promptly decided that having her in charge was (according to the all-staff email that got sent out), “Not going to lead us in a direction that would lead to long-term success and stability for our organization” and kicked her butt to the curb.
I am happy to say they found a new director who has already gone above and beyond what we could have hoped for, and our staff and most importantly our clients are hopefully on the path to many years of success.”
9. My Partner Isn't Eligible For A New Phone For Another Year? Okay, But I Am
You see exactly where this is going.
“When I was with my last partner, we were always on a tight budget. It got a lot tighter as my late ex was a bit of a klutz. She put my mother-in-law’s parrot and cage on top of the TV, and the parrot knocked over its water tray, shorting out the TV.
This was at a time when having TVs repaired was worth it. Ca-ching out of MY pocket.
I’m out of town on an assignment, gone less than a week into a 5-month job assignment, and she breaks her glasses by sitting on them.
Normal replacement, <$100. She went to one of those 1-hour places… $400. Yeah, that was her specialty.
The one that falls under malicious compliance had to do with her cell phone. She always had a glass of ice water handy and sipped it throughout the day.
Suddenly, the ringer stopped working. She’d only had it for about 4 months, so we took it back to the store. The clerk looked at it and said that the phone had gotten wet which was not covered under the warranty.
The condensation of her glass of ice water did it in. Because of her health conditions, she had to have a phone close by at all times. We were looking over replacements, and they didn’t have anything for under $100, and we’d have to pay for it.
While I never worked in a cellphone store, I HAD worked in telecommunications customer service for over 6 years.
I knew there had to be a way around it. Then I remembered my last statement and that it said I was eligible for an upgrade. “Okay, I can’t swing a new phone for her, but if I take my upgrade, which would move me to a (cheap) smartphone, could we take my old flip phone, and change it to her account.” The guy looked at me confused, at first.
He’d been trying to make a sale (upgrades were a better sale for him than a replacement, apparently) and he was also trying to help us out. After a moment of thought, calling the store manager over, he said that’s the ticket.
I got my smartphone for a penny, (that time, they added it to my next bill), and reprogrammed my phone for my partner to use.
I’m glad I was there. My partner normally would turn all Karen, but since she let me do the talking, she got what she needed, I got an upgrade, and the CSR got closer to his monthly quota.
Or, as my old AT&T boss used to say, “Always try to find a win/win situation.””
8. Do Nothing? This Company Is Going To Suffer
“For the last three years, I have run sales for this company we deliver products and services of a consultative nature. In three years, I have grown our revenue significantly and during 2020 managed to retain 90% of our clients and grow the business further, despite our consultants having a bit of a jolly and dropping the ball repeatedly.
I have in the last three years got to know the trends, the industry, the clients, prospects, in sales you get a feel for the ebb and flow of things, mostly because you are talking to people day in and day out.
During the first “world shutdown” back in March 2020, I realized we could create a new source of revenue from online meetings, webinars, events.
The boss supported the idea, the consultants felt we should give it 6 months before doing such things. I pushed back, and we ran a few events which resulted in client retention, improved communication, and new business.
The consultants felt it impacted on how they delivered our products and services, and by autumn, the consultants were too busy to do the events due to client meetings despite their diaries being mostly empty.
In short, the consultants just stopped delivering products due to be released in September 2020, came out days before Christmas, and at one point, I had a bespoke client project deadline in November skipped as one consultant gave me a choice: the long-delayed product or the client project.
As the product would potentially bring in more business, I chose the product, but neither got delivered! (I worked with the client, retained them, and then finished and delivered the project in January.)
In January, I went to the boss and stated the case, suggested products, ways forward, advised what clients wanted, what was trending, and importantly, I pointed out that one of the consultants had a conflict of interest.
He was aware of it, and said he would deal with it.
By now, my commission is taking a hit. I am worried I can see a dry patch coming and know my savings will see me through it, but that is an unwanted last resort.
February no product, no sales, no commission.
Internal discussions result in a small amount of pressure put on the consultants.
March, we deliver a product, it bombs, almost no interest, sales are terrible, and we lose clients. The product is rushed, incomplete, and well below standard, all that mattered little as it was not relevant to the business needs of our clients.
I have conversations with the boss in March which lead to nothing, and every time we talk, I am suggesting, giving options, and putting forward a case for my suggestions, but nothing happens.
March my commission is next to nothing.
April, I talk to my boss again.
I have had a few conversations with him, but this one is the malicious compliance one.
Me, I express my concerns, how our failure to deliver products or services that are relevant, to schedule, and of good standing are impacting the business and impacting me personally and financially.
I talk about key topics, what clients are requesting, and what we should be delivering and when, I evidence their needs and give examples of our competitors delivering what we should be.
In short, he tells me to keep out of it and that I am, after all, just a salesperson; consultants, and their names are the reason clients come to us.
Specifically, I was to do nothing until they deliver the product, and then I was to sell it; that is what I am paid to do.
So that is what I did!
The next day, I also get an email from a consultant telling me they will deliver a specific, relevant product in May, as long as they get no further interruptions.
Fine by me!
April ends, no product, no sales, no commission.
May ends, no product, no sales, no commission.
What was sad was that my boss didn’t even call to find out what or why.
Yesterday, I got took a new role with a larger company; I had had enough. Coincidently on Monday, our largest client chased us, wanting to know why we had not delivered a project, a 20-day consulting project.
The consultants doing that project are the same consultants who didn’t deliver the product in May.
I gave this company my all during the “shutdowns” whilst working long days and late nights. I was a parent, teacher, and a salesman.
It was very tough at times, very tough, yet still I delivered. I feel a touch of sadness as I felt this company had potential, but I have a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed.
Obviously, there is a lot more, but I have to be a little vague due to the nature of the company and its products and services.”
7. Not Putting In Enough Hours? I'll Work More But Put In Less Work
If that’s what you prefer…
“A few years ago, I worked as a field engineer for a call recording company. I worked primarily with 911 agencies and would integrate recording systems with radio and phone systems to record the calls and radio traffic.
If you’ve heard a 911 call on the news from one of a few states along the east coast, there’s a very good chance I built and installed that system. As part of our company’s policy, we would do preventive maintenance every 6 months.
This was where we went on-site, tested everything was functioning properly, and showed some value in our maintenance contracts through face time with the customers.
After some years, I had climbed the ladder to become the lead engineer, installer, and trainer.
I trained most of the other engineers and techs within the company along with performing my normal duties. I had also installed the vast majority of the systems I was doing maintenance on and was extremely familiar with them.
A maintenance visit took me around an hour where it took the new guys 4-5 hours, and I would usually knock out 2-3 maintenance visits in a single day. I had literally triple the numbers as the next closest tech.
As often happens, eventually, the company was bought out.
The new owner came in and presented himself as very metrics-focused.
The problem was that he didn’t understand what we did in the field, so his metrics weren’t always good ones. Eventually, I got written up and put on a “performance improvement plan.” The reason? Days I didn’t have to drive far, I would finish 3 maintenance visits and still be home in less than 6 hours.
Again, my actual performance metrics were legitimately triple the next closest tech, and most days, I worked well over 8 hours when driving was included, but instead of looking at those metrics, he used time as his only metric and focused solely on the shortest days.
And, unfortunately for me, I objectively worked less time than anyone else.
Now for the malicious compliance. Instead of scheduling the way I had previously, I started scheduling to ensure I hit 8 hours a day, every day.
Previously, I had started at a customer site at 9 AM whether it was 1 hour away or 5, so would get up at whatever time that day required. I would also try to knock out multiple customers in the same area on the same trip to save driving time on longer days.
Some days, I would drive 12 hours total, knock out 3 maintenance visits taking another few hours, and have a total day of 15+ hours. Afterward, I left for sites at exactly 8 AM and tried to get home at exactly 5 PM.
For those sites that were 5 hours away? Can’t do them without a hotel room. Instead of costing a full tank of gas and a single day’s wages for 3 clients, it now cost the company the same amount of gas, 3-4 nights in a hotel, and multiple days of my salary.
For closer sites that I didn’t need a hotel, I would make sure I didn’t leave too soon to get home at exactly 5 PM, so would sit in a server room playing games on my phone for a few hours.
If sites were close enough, I would still try to knock out 2 or sometimes 3, but if time was the metric, I was going to make sure I worked as closely to 8-5 as possible without doing anything detrimental to a customer.
Overall, I was trying to make a point to show that while I may have been meeting the time metric, I was actually doing less work by meeting that metric.
We did employee reviews every quarter, so when my next review came around 3 months later, I tried to bring it up. Instead, the new owner praised me for working harder and ignored that I was doing significantly less work.
During that meeting, I tried showing that it was costing the company more, and I was achieving less by meeting that metric instead of an actual performance metric, but somehow (despite my spreadsheets showing costs, site visits, completed maintenance, and everything else), he refused to understand it.
He kept praising how my work ethic had improved and didn’t want me to change anything or go back. So I didn’t change a thing and coasted at that job for the next few years.”
Another User Comments:
“Employers are like the worst of customers. So long as they’re happy, then let them be and just talk about their stupidity on the internet for the rest of us to anonymously laugh at.” Stabbmaster
6. Only Use Windows? Have It Your Way
“Before I start, let me just point out that this is not a Windows vs topic.
Some six years ago, I worked in a small IT services shop that had an extremely liberal BYOD policy. You could use anything you wanted, as long as it got the job done and does not introduce any problems into the client’s network or infrastructure.
Sounds fair enough.
As I have been using Linux for almost two decades, and most of my job is centered around sending emails or traveling to the client’s offices to diagnose any problems, I figured a Linux machine would not compromise my workflow much.
Most of those devices are network appliances that are managed either by a command line or a web-based GUI. And if the device in question was a standard server running Windows, I could RDP into it using xfreerdp, nothing that specifically required Windows.
Now mind you, desktop Linux has its own fair share of problems that Windows users will never ever encounter, even by today’s (yes, in 2021!) standards.
Teething and longstanding problems like laptops failing to resume after suspend, mysterious hardware issues caused by the kernel drivers, the Linux sound system and graphics system failing to properly switch over after the laptop has been connected to an external display or projector, X suddenly throwing a fit and deciding it doesn’t want to start up the desktop GUI, and on and on.
It’s one thing when these problems happen at home, but it’s a totally different level of anger and frustration while they happen while out at work.
Naturally, my clients didn’t appreciate me taking longer than usual to address their issues when Linux decides to act up, but since I generally managed to (eventually) resolve their problems, they tend to close one eye as a professional courtesy.
Besides, it also meant that they could seek me out for ‘free’ advice on certain issues that involved their Linux servers, in exchange for their silence on my laptop’s mishaps.
My manager thought differently though. To him, it is an embarrassment for a support staff’s laptop to be running into all kinds of problems while at a client’s premises.
Finally, after one too many mishaps, he chewed me out big time.
Manager: (After a presentation where my laptop decided to pull a Murphy and started flashing a nice mess of colors and lines over the projector in the middle of the session; most Xorg graphics drivers were and are still a complete joke today.) You! How many times has this been?!
Me: I’m sorry, sir.
Manager: Don’t give me that! From now on, you will use only Windows on your laptop.
Do I make myself clear on this?
Now, in all fairness, I was already considering a switch to Windows 8 (Windows 10 was not released yet) for my work laptop because of all the little papercuts that I had to put up with on Linux.
Habit and ‘because I’m used to it’ has no influence on the matter when work is concerned. But at the same time, I was petty enough that I felt the urge to put up some form of token resistance, if only just even the score, so to speak.
Regardless, I took out the hard disk containing Linux from my laptop, installed a new hard disk in its place, and performed a clean installation of Windows 8, and life was so much better. Still, I kept the old hard disk in a portable case in my bag at all times with a set of screwdrivers, should there ever be any need for it.
One fine day, I followed my manager to another client’s site to inspect some networking issues.
The client was running a network test appliance in their lab network; this tester generates garbage but proper network traffic to a defined destination IP address, and they were wondering why the destination was only receiving less than 1% of the garbage they were expecting to see.
Now, I am way out of my league here; I have no formal training or certifications in networking outside of my own experiences and self-study and informed the client as such, but they weren’t bothered; they assured me that they just wanted to exhaust all possibilities as to why the destination node wasn’t getting the garbage they were supposed to see, and it would be a learning experience for all the people involved, including themselves.
With that assurance in mind, I had them lead me to the destination node, which was…
a workstation running on Windows 7 with Wireshark to perform a packet capture of all incoming traffic. The first alarm bell starts going off.
Before I could even say anything, my manager cut in and said that it’s probably because they were using Windows 7 for the destination node and that my laptop with Windows 8 may produce better results.
I swear, I had to fight the urge to roll my eyes on hearing this. And when I tried to explain to him how unlikely a newer version of Windows would even solve anything, he brushed it off, saying that we should try everything.
Well, if he wants to make a fool of himself, I’m game.
For the two hours, he kept giving me all manner of instructions and suggestions, which naturally did not work (changing the MTU size, changing the NIC settings, applying certain Windows Updates, etc), and I had no desire to oppose him in making a fool of himself.
Finally, when he was about to call it quits as the client’s working hours were about to end, I asked the client if they could tell me a little more about the traffic that was being generated by the network tester.
“Oh, all kinds of traffic.
GRE, MPLS, VLAN and stacked VLANs, fiber channel, a lot of types actually.” The second alarm bell starts going off.
For those who are not familiar, hardware network drivers in Windows are usually end-user drivers supplied by the vendors of the NIC and submitted to Microsoft for integration purely as a convenience.
That is, they are drivers that are designed to be used for nothing more than standard TCP/IP and UDP/IP communication over Ethernet. Any frame or packet that is not recognized by the driver gets dropped silently. No warning, no alert.
Just dropped. Such drivers are perfect for normal networking but are almost completely useless for diagnosing enterprise network issues where VLANs, tunnels, and other protocols are commonplace.
On the other hand, a NIC driver in Linux usually supports a much more comprehensive network stack and thus has a drastically higher chance of seeing and recording different kinds of network traffic than Windows during packet capture.
So I was fairly certain at this point that there was nothing wrong with their network tester or their lab network at all; it was just the NIC driver in Windows doing exactly what is was supposed to do (drop any traffic it does not recognize) and asked the client if they could kindly stay back for just about 30 minutes after their working hours for me to try one last option.
They agreed, so I took the old Linux hard disk out from my bag and proceeded to do a hard disk swap on my laptop. In the meantime, my manager was grumbling non-stop about me ‘wasting everybody’s time’ and ‘being stubborn and refusing to use Windows as instructed.’
With the old Linux hard disk installed, I booted up into my old installation, connected the laptop to the network tester, and started tshark.
Almost immediately, everyone could see my laptop’s gigabit port being flooded with traffic and the packet count was easily more than 30 times what was observed in Windows. Finally, for the coup de grace, I cut the capture and opened the pcapng file in Wireshark, which proudly displayed traffic from all the various network protocols previously mentioned.
Of course, I also informed the client that there was nothing wrong with their workstation, with Windows, or with the network tester; they just needed to find a modified or debug driver that could recognize such traffic or otherwise set up a temporary Linux node for their packet capture requirements.
On the other hand, my manager was rather POed at me for what he claims was “wasting two hours of everybody’s time” when I already knew what the problem was right from the start but refused to share it with the others until now.
So it was extremely gratifying when the client stepped in and put my manager in his place by pointing out that 1) he never bothered to ask about the traffic type, 2) he assumed that it was a Windows configuration issue, and 3) he never thought to ask me what I thought might be the cause.
My manager never spoke to me again after that incident, outside of a half-hearted attempt to retain me when I finally resigned a year later.”
5. Shush Me When I Try To Warn You About A Mistake? Your Loss, Boss
“So, I am a lawyer in Brasil, but when I was at college, I got an internship at a Tribunal. I usually worked behind the scenes, dealing with paperwork and some bureaucratic stuff. It was usually a nice place to work, but occasionally, the Judge (the boss of my boss) would require some intern to help her with the hearings.
It was not unpleasant work but more of an annoyance since we were only 8 people dealing with the paperwork of over 10k lawsuits, which means that every time she requested someone to go help her, they knew that there would be a lot of accumulated work when they got back.
Something I need to point about this specific judge is that she was a very polite and pleasant person outside of work, but at the court, she would become extremely micromanaging, especially about bureaucratic stuff that she never had to deal with and didn’t understand, usually making our work take way longer than it needed to be, and whenever a lawyer was present, suddenly, she became very rude and demanding to anyone below her.
I understand that most lawyers that worked there were extremely chauvinistic, and that was just probably her response to that, a way to say, “Don’t you try me.
I know what I am doing, and I am good at it,” but I can not agree with her taking that frustration on everyone else.
On this specific day, I had been assigned to help her with a very long hearing.
In Brasil this stuff is all recorded, so for me, that meant taking care of the computer, taking notes but mostly making sure that the camera was on.
The thing is, whenever you do these recordings it has a kind of script that needed to be followed: First, she would tell me to start recording, then she would present herself, tells what case was being judged, then name the first witness and show their documents to the camera (to prove that we were questioning the right person).
Only after that, she would start questioning the witness, then the lawyers take turns doing the same.
I am not sure why, but she was more annoyed with me than usual that day and did everything in her power to show everyone in the room that SHE WAS THE BOSS, and I was supposed to just do what she said without arguing.
But despite that, she was talking a lot with the lawyers about trivial stuff while waiting for some witnesses who hadn’t arrived yet.
Finally, everyone is there and the hearing can begin, but for some reason, she was so distracted with the conversation that she forgot about the script and just started questioning the witness without doing the proper presentations and asking me to start recording.
As soon as she started questioning him I tried to discretely warn her, but all I could say was, “Your honor…” before she loudly shushed me without looking in my direction.
It was not at all discreet and everyone was visibly embarrassed (including me), so I did the only thing I could in that situation. Nothing.
I couldn’t start recording without the presentations and definitely not do it in the middle of the hearing.
So I just sat there and waited. After almost half an hour of questioning, she asked me to stop the recording because they would do a small recess.
All I could say was: “As I tried to warn you, Your Honor, the video was not recording when you started questioning him.”
She got visibly white and started saying “But you should have…” before realizing her mistake.
She tried looking around for support but everyone saw the way she shushed me and had that look of “Well, he’s got a point.”
I don’t know exactly what happened after that because they did the recess anyway, and I was sent back to my usual work and didn’t get to participate in the rest of the hearing (it was a relief because I had a lot of work to do).
I graduated a couple of days later, and I don’t think there were any big repercussions about this specific mistake, but I heard a few years later that, since her productivity was extremely low (and after other, more serious mistakes), she got demoted. She is an “auxiliary-judge” today, which means that she helps other judges but is not responsible for dealing with any lawsuits on her own.”
4. Too Stubborn To Have Professional Tree Removal And Want To Do It Yourself? Good Luck
“I live in the capital of a Central European country and recently visited my parents in the countryside. They needed me to help to deal with some trees they wanted to be removed. I assumed they wanted to finally make short work of the semi-healthy trees along the driveway that kept branching into the way.
But no. They decided that the row of beeches at the southeastern corner of the property had to go.
You should know three things here: 1) those trees are really REALLY tall, like 15 meters (about 50 feet) and rather thin.
2) There is an equally high barn just a few meters behind those trees on the neighbor’s property to the south. It is pretty old but has been renovated time and time again to serve as a storage and party location.
3) In front of the trees are compost containers, a crooked walnut tree and bushes that my mother planted, creating a corridor of only around 7 meters (23 feet) for the trees to land in without breaking anything.
Also important: my sister (also living in a bigger city and not present when these events took place), and I are actually the co-owners of the house and property as my father transferred ownership to us some years ago.
While so far those beeches had survived their fair share of storms, they’d probably become a problem as they kept growing.
And since new neighbors on the property bordering on the eastern side are in the process of building a house, they’d be their problem as well. So I agreed that they had to go.
However, my parents wanted to remove the trees by themselves, meaning my dad would be the one to operate the chainsaw for them.
He worked as a technician before retiring and always did a lot of repairs and building work in and around the house. But he is past the age of 70 and has adopted a rather unhealthy lifestyle after leaving the workforce and his eyesight and motoric skills, while still perfectly suited for most kinds of technical operations, have deteriorated a bit.
Knowing this, I objected and suggested hiring a professional to do the job and sharing the costs.
I argued that any damage – beechwood is pretty heavy – or injury that might occur if things went sideways wouldn’t be covered by insurance and thus become quite costly. Also doing this without even as much as notifying the local authorities might be illegal.
(Okay, it’s the countryside. If any regulations of such kind even exist, folks here like to interpret them as “friendly advice” rather than an actual law, but I digress.)
My parents wouldn’t have any of it and even refused to get an estimate from a professional.
I did some basic research and found out that the costs would probably come in at around 500 to 1000 euro (600 to 1,200 U.S. dollars). Not a small sum, but the forester or lumberjack who’d take up the work would be responsible for any damage.
No dice, even after trying to bring my points across several times. “Nah, we don’t need a professional. Why should we waste money when we can do it by ourselves?” they said. “It will be fine,” they said.
And while I usually am able to put them off bad ideas by convincing one of them, this time both were bent on going for it. And once that is the case, all hope is basically lost as especially my mother can be the most stubborn as heck.
At least I know whom I inherited this trait from.
As property co-owner, I technically could have just forbidden my parents to fell those trees on their own. But they’re my parents, I love them, they’re adults, they live there and keep stuff in order, so I refrained from taking this route.
So I told them that they should go ahead if they really want to, but I would not help them with this. My mom asked if I would help them cut it up and carry the wood once the trees were laying on the ground (an important aspect).
I agreed. Also, I begged them to wait for my sister to call them the next day at lunchtime since I messaged her about the situation, and she wanted to back me up.
But no. The next morning, I was woken up by my mother calling me to help cut up the first tree which my father had brought down successfully.
So I dutifully crawled out of bed and did my part in this little deforestation project. Tree 2 and 3 (out of 5) also were felled without any incidence. Then came tree 4. My father apparently had not seen a higher branch that stretched between the branches of tree 5.
So once the chainsaw had fully severed the stem, instead of falling sideways as intended, it got caught up, swirled around its axis, and crashed into the walnut tree which started to bend significantly due to the load.
Now they wanted me to help move the beech by pushing it to “roll” along the edge of one of the walnut tree’s main branches.
Besides me knowing that this wasn’t doable (as I said, a 15 meters high tree is a heavy affair) I refused. “But you said you’d help us once a tree is removed,” they pleaded. I pointed out that I’d only assist once it was laying on the ground and “leaning into the walnut tree” doesn’t quite fit that definition.
More pleading, but now it was my time to be stubborn – and rightfully so.
Since there was no way (or machinery) to pull the beech away, my father decided to cut parts of its lower stem until handling it would be possible.
Multiple laws of physics however intervened after he had cut the second large chunk, shifting the center of mass of the beech so that it suddenly started to tilt when its branches prevented it from sliding downwards as intended.
Then the walnut tree reacted to the lighter load and shift of balance by “springing” back, knocking the beech into the neighbor’s barn-like a battering ram.
The dry wooden wall planks didn’t stand a chance and splintered away as the fallen tree forced its way into the building, creating an impressive hole.
My parents now stood there, dumbfounded. My dad slowly scratched his head and tried to realize the situation while my mother slowly started to panic (“oh no, no, no, what do we do now? What if the neighbor calls the police on us?”) I had watched the spectacle from the balcony and couldn’t decide whether to be shocked or to descend into uncontrollable laughter.
Closer investigation from outside showed that the tree had crushed a chair, a table, and also caused a cupboard with party equipment to collapse.
Though my dad had at least reached his goal and freed the beech from the “grasp” of the walnut tree. But there was no way of getting it unstuck from the barn without entering.
A few hours later, the neighbor – who knew about my parent’s plans – returned home, which is where this story might have taken a very bitter and costly turn.
But he proved to be a very gracious guy and took the incident (which in the worst case could have made the whole barn collapse) in stride. He first was negatively amazed by what had transpired, but after inspection of the barn, he didn’t deem it to be necessary to involve the insurance or officials and said he would repair the damage by himself if my parents agreed to pay for the materials, replacement of the destroyed furniture (thanks, neighbor!) and some beer (probably A LOT of beer) for his time – which they gladly accepted.
His “bill” isn’t yet in as he has just begun patching up the hole, but it will easily be upwards of 2000 euros (roughly 2,400 U.S.
dollars), plus the beer, of course, still making a professional tree removal look like a REALLY good deal. My father offered him to assist with the repairs. The neighbor thought about it for the fraction of a second and then politely declined. I wonder why.”
3. Want Me To Always Stay Busy? You Can Do Part Of My Work!
“This happened back when I was in high school in my senior year.
I worked as a cashier/bagger at a local grocery store that was a pretty big chain in the mid-Atlantic US. I started as a bagger and then was trained as a cashier after a year.
I got paid a bit over minimum wage and usually worked between 25-36 hours a week, mostly 7.5 hour shifts, so they didn’t have to give me a lunch break, just a 15-minute break, which I wasn’t guaranteed.
It was a pretty crappy job, and people were always calling off; if you’ve worked or do work in retail, you can probably guess why.
So there was usually a lot of available shifts so long as you didn’t go over on your hours. If you were part-time and over 18 (like I was), you couldn’t work more than 36 hours a week.
At the time of this story, I had been working there for about 3 years and was well-liked by mostly everyone. I had customers who would only check out with me if I was working, and I generally just kept busy if things were slow.
I’d empty the trash cans under each register, refill bags, etc. My supervisors generally had me in the express lanes on Sundays (always our busiest day) because they knew I could do the job and would do it right.
I didn’t want to rise to checkout coach (front-end supervisor) because that would mean full-time and no social life. So I was happy where I was.
Important note: My store was known as a “training store,” meaning that we usually had a new manager every six months or so.
We had a rotation of general managers who were regular but always at least one “manager-in-training.” While they mostly moved on after six months, sometimes they came back as a department manager (think like Dairy or Produce), but mostly, we never saw them after their stint was up.
Sometimes we got some pretty good ones; most of them were not great. And then there was Mel.
Mel was a manager-in-training when I started working at 15. She was/is also a lesbian. Being a lesbian in a small town where being anything but hetero-normal in a predominantly red state in the early 2000s was…
well, not very common. And Mel was a full-blown feminist lesbian. I don’t know if she had a bad experience with men or generally just saw anything with male parts as the source of all her troubles.
Regardless, she generally didn’t treat us guys very well. She had rotated out after six months, and then my senior year, came back as the PM front end manager (FEM). This meant that she was in charge of the checkout area from about 3:30 PM-12:30 AM.
After about 5, the general managers generally went home, and the department managers usually left about the same time. So after 5:00 PM, the front end manager was usually the person in charge of the entire store.
They could call a local general manager should they absolutely need to, but they were expected to handle everything that came their way.
Our story takes place in August 2007. I had turned 18 back in January. This meant that I could legally work up to 36 hours and often did.
I was also known as the person who would almost always come in if someone called off. Lo and behold, on a random Saturday afternoon, I took a shift working 4:00-7:00 PM as a bagger. I told the manager that I would have to clock out by 10:45, or it would put me over my hours, which the store could get in big trouble for.
They said that would be fine. I took the call at 2:30, and I clocked in at 4:00 on the dot. Talked to the AM FEM to make sure I had to punch out by 10:45 and not a second later; otherwise, the store could be in serious trouble.
This is key for later. I said sure, no problem. I remember the AM FEM wrote it on the schedule that was kept at the front end.
If you were on the schedule as a bagger, that was what you were.
They could have you jump on a register if it got busy, but they tried to keep as few lanes open as they could. I was told by the AM FEM to jump on a register for a bit (after work rush) and then go out and do carts.
I did this and promptly went outside to collect carts. It was a big lot (several acres), and people generally don’t put carts in the corrals. As I was the only one doing carts and the day shift slacked off (it was hot as heck that day), there were a lot of carts to collect.
I spent a good hour getting the carts back in the store. When I came back in, the AM FEM was gone, and in their place was Mel.
Mel and I usually butted heads at least once a month.
Nothing terrible, but she was known for making me do the crap parts of the job. One time, she made me pull an old cooler away from the wall to clean behind it because someone had spilled milk the day before, and it had seeped underneath where the compressor was (and so smelled horrific), despite having trained custodial staff.
I’d have to mop floors, stock sugar and water, dust around registers, etc. Mind you, she never made any of the girls do this, even if they were just standing around, just us guys and me in particular.
I have no idea why she disliked me so, but she did. And it sucked.
By this point, it was about 6:30. Most of the cashiers were cleaning their belts and then leaving once their shift was up.
When I walked in from doing carts, Mel made a beeline for me and told me that I had to stock sugar and water immediately. Biting my tongue, I went to the back to grab a cart to stock sugar and water.
This sucked because it was the store brand five-pound sugar containers that were never sealed well and the massive 24 pack water. And while the sugar usually wasn’t bad, on a hot day, the water tended to sell out quick.
Which meant lots of stocking. I spent another 30 minutes refilling the sugar and water. Before heading back up, I stopped to hit the head and hydrate.
Once back upfront, it was dead. One cashier, the checkout coach, Mel…
and me. The cashier was a girl who I knew (I had dated her best friend briefly) and talked to every now and then. To keep from getting told to do something, I refilled the bags at the end of each lane and collected the baskets.
By now, it was 7:00. It was usually extremely dead at this point. Because there wasn’t much to do, I started chatting with the cashier. All of a sudden, I hear my name being called.
Mel: “NobodyUnusal626! Come here!”
I walk over to the front-end counter where she and her friend the checkout coach were just talking before she saw me talking to the cashier.
OP: “What’s up?”
Mel: “I know you like talking to the girls, but you’re here to work, not waste my time! You KNOW you’re supposed to keep busy.
You’re wasting my time here. You can go and do garbage. NOW. And replace ALL the bags.”
I. WAS. LIVID. Here I was working extra hours, and I had to put up with Mel. AND being told that I was slacking when it was known that I was a pretty good worker.
as I walked away, a plan formulated.
Garbage was just that: collecting garbage. The store had approximately 50 garbage cans of all sizes inside the store, 4 outside by the entrances, 6 in the corrals, and 8 at the gas station that was approximately 200 yards away.
Most of the bags were the big industrial-sized ones you can fit a Mini Cooper in.
Garbage detail sucked booty. Generally, if the day shift did it in the morning, it wasn’t bad. But they never did. We had to use what we called U-boats (inversed U-shaped handles) to collect garbage, which is about as useful as a tanning bed in the Sahara.
You could only put a few bags on it at a time before it was full, and you had to go slow, so the bags didn’t fall off and rip. Sometimes I’d tie the bags to the U-boat, but that meant that they were free to swing around.
Because I just did the job the way they wanted, I was usually asked to do it but only if the bags were full or ripped. Replacing all the bags, taking them through the store to the compactor, and doing a good job usually took a minimum of two hours but usually closer to three.
Which was part of my plan. And once you started garbage, you had to finish it, which was also part of my plan (management had problems with people timing it, so they had to leave before doing half of the garbage).
I remember going to the back and finding exactly one U-boat free.
I always grabbed a new roll of bags when doing garbage. Usually when doing garbage, I’d do the ones nearest the compactor first, so I didn’t need to put them on the U-boat; I’d just carry them back.
The only department I wasn’t allowed to do was the meat department (probably a safety thing with the knives and equipment). So I did all the garbage in the back of the store first and then worked my way forward, replacing all the bags as I went.
Because the bags were HUGE, I’d have to tie them smaller, so they’d fit the cans. While this isn’t hard, they needed to be tight, or the bag would fall inside the can, and the can would need to be cleaned out using a hose and sanitizer (I never understood this).
I eventually make it to the front end, where I go through and get the garbage from behind the front end (Mel usually watched me, like legit would turn around and watch me do garbage). The U-boat is full, so I wheel it back to the compactor which is now full.
As I was not a manager, I wasn’t allowed to run it. So I had to got get Mel to run it (there was a key to keep it off) which entailed her ordering me to stuff more garbage in it without helping me.
The compactor really was just a dumpster that compacted the trash.
The door we used only opened to the chute. You had to be careful to make sure the compactor was retracted before adding more garbage to the chute; otherwise, it could damage the machinery (that was the story I was told).
Mel, being the conscientious manager, made sure that it was retracted before I added more. The snag was… the machine was slow, especially when the dumpster was empty. There was no way to see how empty it was other than to listen to it and stop it when it seemed to be under stress.
As Mel was in a hurry to get back to the front end, she ordered me to just stack the garbage in front of the door to the chute and to let her know when I was done with garbage and then I could add the garbage to the chute with her running the compactor.
Problem was, I was now heading outside.
This was the part that took the longest as cans next to the entrance were ALWAYS full, the corrals were pretty far apart, and their cans were ALWAYS full (I found a whole fake Christmas tree in a corral garbage can once).
And then there the gas station cans, which were ALWAYS full. This was going to take at least an hour (it was already about 9:00) if I was in a hurry, which I wasn’t.
Why not, you ask?
Because it was Saturday night.
And Saturday night meant that the local farm took their migrant workers out to do their weekly shopping and to wire money back to their families via Western Union. And this farm employed A LOT of migrant workers.
Think of a couple of school buses worth. And where was the local Western Union station? Behind our front end. Who was allowed to operate the terminal? Checkout coaches and managers. How long does it take to send one person’s money? About five minutes.
And I knew, because I knew the farmer, that he chose Saturday because that’s usually when the Western Union terminal is free. He usually came around 9:00 or so.
So I act all meek and mild and go outside to do garbage.
I do the corrals first and take them in and pile them up outside the compactor. The corrals’ cans were always disgusting; people put EVERYTHING in those cans. As I’m going outside for the cans nearest the entrance, I see the farmer’s bus pull into the lot.
I counted as 32 workers get off the bus and walk into the store. I looked at my watch (this is before cell phones, kiddos), and it was 9:15. Perfect. I take my sweet time doing the garbage by the entrance and even got the one in front of Blockbuster, just to use up more time, dragging my feet all the while.
By now it’s 9:40. I take a load in.
Mel is hard at work at the Western Union computer, wiring her hard-earned funds. I’ll say this for her: she worked hard. But it was bittersweet because these workers haven’t been around women much and, even though they’re speaking Spanish, they’re talking to her and hitting on her.
Mel, who is Hispanic but doesn’t look it, understands every word. I’m sure it pained her little black heart to smile as each flirty worker tried hitting on her or talking to her.
I take the garbage back, piling up the bags in front of the chute.
The pile is now waist-high. And it reeks; it’s August, remember.
Back to the gas station, I take my sweet time and get all of the gas station bags and the bag in the “hut” in two trips.
This takes another 45 minutes, mainly due to the slow walk back. Each time I make sure to just breeze back to the compactor, piling the bags and heading back outside. I made sure one bag ripped, so I had to stop and put that bag in another bag (don’t want to leave a mess now, do we?).
And then take it back inside. I drop off the U-boat and clean it off (we had to hose it down; otherwise, the smell would be… worse?). We usually cleaned it off with a hose and a disinfectant.
So I made sure that U-boat was REALLY clean. I spent ten minutes hosing it down and getting it nice and purty.
It is now 10:40, five minutes before I have to punch out. I walk very slowly up to the front end.
Mel has gotten through about half of the migrant workers.
The migrant workers are just shooting the bull and having a good time not working and flirting with the cashier. Most of them went back to the bus to wait (I know some of them were not legal).
OP: “Mel, the garbage is all done.”
Oh. Good. Did you throw it down the chute?”
OP: “Nope. You told me to come find you so you could compact it.”
Mel: “Just go back there, and throw it in the chute. I’m busy!”
OP: “Sorry Mel, no can do.”
Mel: “What do you mean? NobodyUnusal626, go throw the darn garbage in the chute!”
OP: “I can’t.
I need to leave.”
I swear she turned tomato red.
Mel: “You. Can’t. LEAVE. Go throw the garbage away, and do it now. I’m writing you up for insubordination!”
OP: “Does that mean I get overtime pay?”
Mel: “What?! NO! Why would you get overtime?”
OP: “Because I need to punch out in about a minute, or I’ll be over my hours, and you’ll have to explain to the general manager why I have to get overtime pay.”
I explained quickly that I was already at my max hours for the week. The AM front-end manager had cleared this with the general manager that I punch out at 10:45 PM and had written it down on the schedule.
All the while, the checkout coach is trying to ring up some of the migrant workers, and the cashier is signaling that she needs a manager’s help.
Mel looked like she was going to have a conniption, but she can’t because my butt is covered.
I punched out, grabbed my keys from my locker, and headed out the door.
The cherry on top? I found out later that Mel had to throw the garbage out herself. After it had sat in the back for several hours and blocked the door, meaning that she had to move each bag at least twice.
Because the bags weren’t the greatest quality, many of them ripped, spilling foul-smelling garbage everywhere, forcing her to then clean the floor (food was stored there short term before it was moved to the shelves). Since she was always a sharp dresser, I have no doubt she had to get some clothes professionally laundered if not just throw it out.
It was almost one when she was able to leave from what I heard. Even suckier for her? She was salaried, so it didn’t matter how many hours she worked; she didn’t get paid anymore.
I wish I could say that this stopped her from being a royal princess, but it didn’t. She couldn’t say anything to me, though, because I was just making sure I didn’t waste any more time and kept busy.”
2. I Charged You The Wrong Amount? Oops, I Accidentally UNDERcharged You!
Thank you for catching that, kind, honest sir!
“I work in a pet store with a grooming shop connected in the back- typically it’s by appointment only unless you just want a nail trim or something really simple done, like a little bit of a face trim on your pup.
Well, yesterday, I had a customer come in at about 6-6:30, right about when the groomer was prepping to leave.
After they came out of the groom’s shop, they shopped around some more, then came up to check out.
Two dogs, two nail trims, two face trims. Nails and face are $12 per, so altogether, he owed me about ~$48 pretax on the cuts alone. His partner walks out with the two dogs, and he just has a general rude vibe.
It’s hard to recall what exactly it was about him, but the way he spoke was aggressive. Well, I ring him up and present him his receipt. Before I can even hand it to him, he’s overly critical, staring at the groomer’s ticket and comparing it to the receipt.
C: I think something is wrong here.
I dunno if you charged me right.
Me: Oh, did I? (At this point, I could tell he was just trying to get something out of me.) Let me check.
C: (Turns the receipt sideways, so I can look but shifts it back a bit, so I can’t accurately see what he’s talking about.
However, I do catch a $6 purchase x2, equalling out to be $12. What do you know; it’s a face trim.)
Me: Oh, I actually undercharged you. (I start to ring up the face trims again, leaving them at $6 since he already paid the original $6.)
C: No, you overcharged me.
That guy in the back didn’t give us our quoted rate. (He stops for a second and looks at the ticket again before realizing his mistake.) Oh, no. I was wrong.
Me: Yup, that’ll be 12.99! (At this point, he looks upset that he now has to pay more after trying to fight me on paying less.)
C: Uhm, let me go ask my partner what the groomer we called quoted us.
(He walks out, thankfully leaving his items, so I don’t have to worry about him ditching and talks to his partner. He comes back in, and lo and behold… “Yeah, that’s what we were quoted.”
Me: (I finish ringing him up once again, then with a cheery smile I ask) Would you like your receipt for that one?
C: No. (He then looks away and says something loud but unclear because I also was wishing him a good evening. I won’t ever know what he said, but hey, what can you do?)”
1. A Teacher Who Doesn't Want To Teach? I"ll Teach You Instead!
“Senior year I took AP CompSci Principles. For anyone not aware, this was a new course that was available for the first time nationwide that year. As such, the school had to hire a brand new guy to teach it.
We’ll call him Mr. Z.
The first few weeks went by and we covered the basics. You know, the parts of a computer, how to read binary, elementary parts of the trade. The end of the first month rolls around and we still have yet to actually do anything.
No assignments, a single ungraded quiz, not even any notes. I found it odd but rolled with the punches, wanted to see where this led.
As months went by, nothing seemed to change. We were taking no real direction.
The farthest we’ve gone was doing assignments for the entire period that were turned in and never graded. My grade in that class was entirely just participation and attendance.
After class one day, about 3 months in, I went up to him in private and asked why we weren’t learning anything.
The truth was we weren’t, very little new information had been presented to me by him. Everything I learned came from people in the class who already knew it coming in. He explained that the administration didn’t want AP teachers just talking for an hour in front of a slide show giving notes and quizzes all day.
I knew he was lying, as I had 2 other AP classes that year and they were pretty on top of giving us notes. So I said “ok, so it’s an issue with the administration, not you.
I’ll take this up with them” and I left.
During my next class, I composed an email to my administrator. I explained in great detail everything that had happened so far and how let down I was that nothing was moving.
It didn’t even take 10 minutes for me to get called down to the front office, and when I arrived, there my administrator sat with a disappointed look and a sheet of paper with a highlighter all over it.
He had printed out my email and was not happy with what he read.
For about an hour, he asked me questions about the class and Mr. Z in general. We went over the email word by word, he left no contention unexplored.
He really put in a lot of effort in displaying to me that he was upset at Mr. Z for these deficiencies and wanted to help me as best he could. It was a true display of how much the administration cared for its students.
After we got things straight, he sent me back to my class and I’m told he called Mr. Z in after the end of the day to have a talk with him. I made sure he would not be shown or made aware of the email.
Things were different for me from that point on. The teacher didn’t get better, oh no, that never changed. The way I was treated in that class changed. He seemed to like to call me out more often in class, singling me out.
Even without evidence, he knew it was I who sold him out to his bosses. Alright then, if it’s a war you want, it’s a war you’ll get.
I’ll admit, I was childish, but I don’t regret any of it.
I began to get defiant. I’d play games or watch movies all day in his class, and refuse to do any of his work. His threats of deduction from my participation grade were empty, I maintained a 100 the whole year.
Beyond my defiance, I began to comply maliciously. We had to do a project that would count for 1/3 of our AP exam grade, a video that we had to make ourselves on the most revolutionary piece of computer technology ever invented.
I chose the microwave.
My video was 50 seconds of me cooking Easy Mac in my kitchen with Darude Sandstorm playing in the background. I still have it, it’s my crown jewel of high school. There was no narration, no explanation of its significance.
Only a title shot that said “MICROWAVES.”
My compliance became tiresome in time, so I decided to go for kill shots. Everyone was thinking the same as I was, rallying support was not hard. All I had to do was take a stand.
It was a month before the exam when we were taking a 75 problem practice test in preparation. Ungraded, of course. I called him over for help and asked “When did we learn this?” He proceeded to explain the concept to me and gave me the right answer.
I thanked him, but repeated my question, when did we learn this? He became frustrated, saying if I had paid attention I would know. I kept calm, and I dug my heels in. No way he was gonna convince me this was my fault.
I told him he had failed to teach me this and he pulled me out of class into the hall.
He asked me “Do you want me to call your parents?” I stared back and said “I dare you.” He was taken aback, not expecting such a response.
He asked if I was sure and I said “Please, feel free.” After the period he called my father. I was one step ahead. I knew he’d call home eventually and told my parents the whole situation in advance.
Thankfully he called my father, who throughout the last 25 years of his life has been certified as an expert in 7 different fields of computer science and engineering (most impressively, with a bachelor’s in Fine Arts).
A lot of that expertise came from his time at the Federal Reserve.
Mr. Z opened his conversation with “Hello, sir, I’m Mr. Z, u/PKMNTrainerKing is one of my students. I don’t know if you understand just how complex computer science is, but…” my dad cut him off there.
“Actually Mr. Z I’ve been working with computers for most of my adult life, I think I have a pretty solid grasp on the difficulty.” He then explained his extensive background and made it clear he was leagues above this guy.
From that point on my dad’s butt was kissed up and down, and eventually, he kissed mine, saying how I’m a delight to have in class. Mr. Z was outclassed. My dad texted me after the call, basically telling me he didn’t care what I did in class but don’t be such a jerk so he doesn’t call again while he’s working.
He threatened to call home twice after that, I gave my consent, and it never happened again.
I continued to give the administration updates on the class, eventually, the principal herself got involved. I included the phone call home in my reports, I used his own scare tactics against him.
I made the administration aware that he took time from my father’s work schedule, at first to condemn me but then spinelessly sing my praises after he realized how severely outranked he was. They were not happy about that.
At this point, I knew I had won. I began skipping 2 – 3 times a week, because why bother showing up anymore? Usually, I’d just leave school altogether and go downtown to a cafe or something.
I never once got caught, and my attendance grade was never affected.
The administration was angered beyond belief that nothing had been fixed, that so much had been wasted on AP course costs, and that he lied so often to his students and his bosses. At the end of his first year at my high school, he was fired, one of the only teachers to get let go that year.”