People Have Us Cherishing Their Malicious Compliance Revenge Stories
18. Want Things Done Your Way, Mr. Architect? You're Wrong, But Okay
Even the higher-ups aren’t always correct.
“So this dates back to 1998. I had been working construction for a year as a drywall finisher “spreading mud” when I was offered a job on a big crew. The only reason they wanted me was to be a translator between English and French, I was good but not fast or great at this point, but, hey, $18 an hour was good pay.
We were working on a 5 story building, it was the first time I really had seen just the bones of a building. For those who are unfamiliar with this era of construction, I’m going to give a little background on how it worked on sites this big.
Each company had its own construction trailer, no one really had email so each trailer had a couple of phone lines and a secretary.
This building was for a real estate company, it was to be their headquarters. It was designed by an architect in New York as a favor to the owner of the building.
So here’s where the problem goes. My boss Aland (Al) had all the framing, hanging the drywall, finish the seams and acoustic ceiling. “Ceiling tiles with metal grid.”
Al goes to the general contractor with an issue on the 3rd-floor training room.
Al: we got a height problem with the 3rd-floor ceiling.
General contractor: what’s wrong now?
Al: he’s got it at 4ft off the floor.
General contractor: wait, what???
Al: yeah, the ceiling’s reflected plan and elevation show 4ft off the finish floor. If I scale, it would be 12 ft…
General contractor: yeah that doesn’t sound right, go ahead and send a request for information.
Back then request for information was different than today, usually meant someone was going to have to pay. So Al faxes over the request for information and marks it urgent.
When the request for information comes back they were sent to both the General contractor and the subcontractor.
So I’m sitting with Al and the General contractor just chatting around and both secretaries come out to the site almost running with high heels through the debris, and both with a crap-eating grin on their faces.
I’m thinking oh crap this should be good.
Al and General contractor: slow down ladies. Where’s the fire?
General contractor’s secretary: you got an urgent fax
Al’s secretary: we got the request for information back. (Looking at the other secretary giggling)
They look at their paper then look at me and the general contractor reads it out loud.
request for information #xxx from the office of Jerk architect inc
Urgent request information of discrepancy on ceiling height from Aland office about training room xxxx
Answer: How hard is it for you construction workers to understand never scale anything? I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES.
Refer to page A804 for detailed height instructions.
Cue malicious compliance.
General contractor: well Al what does A804 say about ceiling heights?
Al: 4 ft bud.
General contractor: hey Frenchie do you think you can translate that to the ceiling guys, and tell them it’s a hot priority I want it done by Sunday.
Al: you heard him. Tell him to drop what he’s doing and go to it.
I go to the guy and they greet me with a, are you nuts kid? I tell them what had transpired and told them that Al said to make it 4ft.
They grumbled saying they would charge to do it again.
Now, this training room wasn’t your typical space, it was 300 feet long by 40 feet wide that could be separated to make multiple training rooms or one giant one with a folding partition.
Monday come General contractor instructs the electrician to install all the lights as per prints. “Yes even his prints had 4 ft notation,” typically we would wait for electrical inspection but we didn’t.
By Wednesday the Crew is putting tiles in.
Saturday comes and there’s an owner meeting where he walks the job site with the general contractor and talks about progress.
Everything is going good till he gets to the 3rd-floor training room door and sees a bar 4ft from the ground and all the wires for the ceiling are in plain sight.
Owner: what in the heck is this, don’t you know how to read blueprints?
General contractor: Yes sir we do and we did.
We also sent an RFI. (Shows him the fax.)
Owner: (grins) Yeah he definitely has an ego from heck. Do you have everything documented pictures and all…
General contractor: you know it.
Owner: ok smart guy, now do it at 12 feet. 4 feet from the deck.
You’re making 20% on this screw-up, aren’t you?
General contractor: 20% to the billed invoice. We’re going to have a demo crew come in, then all new material plus the crew already said it’s going to be a 50% upcharge since we’re preventing them from going to their next site.
Yeah, just be happy it’s not coming out of your pocket.
Because the architect gave wrong information and it was built as per his guidelines he had to fork out a few thousand out of his pocket to us dumb construction workers to fix his mistake.”
Another User Comments:
“I wonder if the architect still goes around telling people who ask questions I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES or if he learned his lesson… Somehow I still doubt he thinks this is his fault.” BracksGentleTouch
17. Only Want To Pay For Shipping And Not Handling? If You Insist
“This story is from close to 20 years ago, but it’s stuck with me from how bizarre it was at the time.
It was the early 2000s. I worked in a very small company (three employees, including the owner) that operated entirely online.
We created custom graphic items for personal and professional use based on designs provided to us by the customer (similar to laser-cut stickers). Most of our orders were submitted online through a website, but we also took orders over the phone.
We often had crafters who would order from us who would incorporate our product into their crafts to then be sold at craft fairs or in craft shops. For example, they’d buy sheets of the alphabet in different fonts to customize plaques and the like.
This story involves one such customer, who placed her order over the phone. This was 20 years ago so I’ve paraphrased the conversation for the most part since I can’t remember specifics, but it was pretty close.
I was the customer service associate, so I took all the orders.
I picked up the phone with my usual cheery, “Thank you for calling (Company), this is (OP), how may I help you?”
IMMEDIATELY, without a hello or anything, she launches into her order. “I want six Alphabet in (Font A) at size 1, 2, 3, 4.
Seven Alphabet in (Font B) at size 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Seven Alphabet in (Font Q) at size 4, 5, 6, 7…” (again, not the actual order, but an approximation of how rapid fire she was ordering).
She went on and on, in the fastest voice imaginable.
I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to ask her to wait so I could grab a sheet of paper to actually write down what the heck she was ordering. I was trying desperately to keep track of what she was saying while searching for a working pen and a notepad.
She had a voice like a rusty lemon if that makes sense. Her voice instantly made me envision Aunt Spiker from “James and the Giant Peach,” with all the warmth and friendliness that entails.
Anyway, she reels off a laundry list of separate things she wants to order in a myriad of sizes and fonts, and also some stock images we offered.
It was going to be a pricey order.
When she finally stopped talking (the only way I knew she was done ordering), I read everything back to her, updating the earlier stuff in the order that I hadn’t been able to catch because of my desperate search for a pen.
As I’m reading it back I’m typing the order into our financial software to get a grand total for her.
“Okay, ma’am, that comes to $100 plus shipping and handling, which is $30.” Yeah, shipping’s expensive.
“I don’t want to pay for that.”
“I don’t want to pay for handling.”
This was new to me.
I’d had people argue about paying for shipping in the past but never explicitly argue about paying for the HANDLING.
“Um… I’m sorry, ma’am, we can’t ship you the items without handling them.”
“I don’t want to pay for handling. Shipping’s fine, but not handling.”
“Sorry, ma’am, I don’t know what to tell you.
We can’t ship an item without handling it.”
She argued with me about this for five minutes before I finally said, “Let me see what I can do, ma’am. May I put you on hold?”
My boss was not in and the only other person in the office was at lunch so I just made the executive decision to do what she wanted.
I took a moment to get my thoughts in order then got back on the phone. “Okay, ma’am, we’ll only charge the shipping and waive the handling costs.”
She sounded as happy as a rusty lemon can sound. I told her I’d email her the invoice along with the proofs of her order for her to approve before we actually cut the material, then hung up.
I put together the digital proofs for her order and her invoice. We charged a flat S&H rate for orders based on the total cost of the order, and I couldn’t change it to take off the amount for “handling”. It was what it was.
So on the invoice I manually removed “& Handling” from the line item that reads “Shipping & Handling,” and just left “Shipping – $30.” Then I created an additional row that read “Handling – $0.” I attached it all to an email and sent it to the customer and half expected her to call me back and complain that the shipping cost alone came to as much as the shipping and handling combined and that she wanted to cancel the order and I was a terrible person blah blah blah.
Well, that didn’t happen, and we shipped her order out the next day. I told my boss about my solution to the weird problem and he was fine with it. It came back to bite me, though, because that same woman called back regularly from that point on to order more products and I had to manually edit her invoice EACH TIME. It was a hassle and a half. I left that job a few months later, but my first order from Aunt Spiker the Fast-Talking Anti-Handler has stuck with me in the years since.”
16. You Would Rather Lose Thousands Than Pay Me A Few Bucks? Fine By Me
“I used to work for a company about 15 years ago that involved constant travel every month, both domestic and international. We were based in New York but a lot of people lived all around the US, which worked out since we rarely had to travel to New York if we played our cards right.
There were two main ways of making this work. You could volunteer for an assignment before your normal rotation started and they would fly you from your home to the work location, or if there was work at/near your home location at the start of your rotation, you could just start at home.
If you did the second option, they would pay you (at a reduced rate) for the time it would have taken to fly you from New York to your home city where you’re now starting your rotation. The travel pay was minimal, it was paid 1 hour for every 3 hours of travel but it was a win/win.
The company saved money on airfare and you got to start close to home.
I was living in Hawaii at the time. There was a lot of work in Hawaii so I was fully taking advantage of the option to start in Honolulu.
Since it was a roughly 10-hour flight from the east coast to Hawaii, I got paid about 3 hours and the company didn’t have to buy someone airfare to get there – win/win.
This company could be very petty and aggressive towards its employees at times.
It was a really strange company culture. They would fire or suspend people on a whim along with other questionable practices. For example, I witnessed 2 employees get fired for being in minor fender-benders with minimal damage and no injuries. The kicker was they even fired their immediate supervisors over it.
It was totally random when they would go off the rails with someone so everyone walked on eggshells. It was a terrible place to work and I was trying my best to find another job but the job market wasn’t that great at the time.
I was able to avoid the petty drama for the first year and a half that I worked there but it finally caught up to me. One day, I noticed they weren’t crediting me with the 1:3 travel pay for starting in my home city.
Sometimes that happens and you just need to call in for them to fix it. Up until now, it hasn’t been an issue. So, I call in to inquire about it and I’m told that they don’t pay travel pay. I remind them of the policy and that I’ve been using it lately without issue.
They transfer me to a manager who tells me that it has never been a policy. I tell this manager that as recently as two months ago I spoke to someone in their department to arrange it and it wasn’t a problem.
The manager tells me they are going to research it and find out who it was and counsel them. At that point, I remembered the person I spoke with two months ago was this manager. So I informed them that they were the ones that fixed it last time.
Their response was “oh, well we don’t do that anymore”. I said “ok” and ended the call. Apparently, I made them mad somehow. I have my suspicions of what happened but whatever. Malicious compliance activated!
The next month, and just about every month after that, I volunteer to start early for an assignment in Germany.
Now, instead of paying me 3 hours of pay for the flight I don’t have to take, they are now paying the pay and airfare to fly someone else to Hawaii while also paying for my business class airfare from Honolulu to Germany (along with the pay for the travel).
They’re paying several thousands of dollars in airfare to save paying me a hundred dollars. I kept this up until I was finally able to quit about 6 months later. I got a lot of airline miles out of it as well.
They also had a policy where if you were working in a place where they knew you lived or had friends/relatives that you’d stay with, they wouldn’t pay you the per diem if you canceled the hotel reservation they had for you.
So everyone would just check in to the hotel and then go stay at home or with friends/relatives. Now, instead of saving finances on the hotel, the company was paying for the hotel AND the per diem.
This kind of thinking was common at this company.
If they thought you were getting something too good, they would spend all kinds of money to make sure you didn’t get anything, even if it didn’t cost them anything or if they were saving some bucks in the process. A few years after I left the company ended up going out of business. No doubt thanks to their shortsightedness and mismanagement.”
15. Want Me To Do What The Client Says? Watch It Come Back To Slap You In The Face
“I got a job last year at a company that provides services to a large lead-acid battery company. It was a subdivision of a huge corporation that does this in lots of industries, but the industrial side was like the red-headed stepchild.
Lots and lots of crazy stories from the 4 short months I was there, but this one was well-planned and executed.
So the direct client hated us, as we were forced on him by his corporate overlords, and he had had bad experiences in the past, and he didn’t hesitate to say it to my face.
My team and I were responsible for taking care of certain machinery and nothing else, but my boss had told me point blank to help them out as best I can to help the relationship. But make sure we got paid for any extra work we did.
So the client would request things like moving equipment in a rush for a huge project and I would bend over backward and hire temps to get the work done on his timeline. I would submit Purchase requests and he would email approval.
Then when the actual invoice showed up a month later he would throw a fit and go to my boss, or my boss’s boss, or scream even higher and never pay.
One thing we had that they didn’t have access to was a pickup truck and a credit card for incidentals.
The battery corporate overlords had determined that their location didn’t require such things. Well, they had broken their pressure washer for cleaning powdered lead out of things and ordered a new one. The catch was it was Gasoline, and all they had available was diesel on location, due to insurance and corporate requirements.
Well, every time they needed gas they called me in a rush as their precious was down and needed to be cleaned now HUGE EMERGENCY (planned maintenance they forgot to check the gas though). This time they also busted two of the tires trying to move it with a forklift.
Now by the contract, I shouldn’t even touch the thing. So I sent an email to the guy requesting the gas and repair, the tinpot client, and my boss spelling things out. I said plainly that since so many bills had been disputed that I would not do anything until an official PO had been issued (months usually).
They issued one right away (so you can do that didn’t know you could), and off I went to go get the tires fixed and the gas. Here is where the malicious compliance really kicked in.
When they gave me the credit card my trainer said only use for travel, or emergencies, anything that could be bought through approved vendors would bring the ire of the VP of accounting.
They also had them set to the highest level of warning, if they were even used outside the wrong zip codes they would lock down and you would get phone calls from accounting. I first took the tires to Billy Bob’s Used Tires and got them fixed.
My personal bank had called me when I got one fixed there as it was such a sketchy place with stolen credit cards being used there all the time. Then I went to the sketchiest gas station I know about. Local Town Oil and Sundries.
The pump swipes never work and you have to go in and run it manually, so I told them 25 bucks and put 20 bucks in the can, causing a credit and a debit to hit at almost the same time.
Literally, first thing the next day I get a meeting invite including my boss, his boss, the VP of accounting, and the VP of my division. I go into it without a care in the world as I had already given up on this job.
The VP of accounting is asking why I went and got gas, and so I sent him the email with all approvals. Included in that was my explanation of the times we had done extra work and not gotten paid (I had assumed he didn’t know about that).
My boss did have my back, as it was his boss pushing the play nice, so from that point on it was sitting back and watching the VP of accounting chew on the fact we were doing work, not getting paid, and bowing down to a little tin pot crap of a client to give us a dark green rating (bonus time for everybody but me).
I was out of there in a few weeks, don’t know if anything changed, don’t care. By the LinkedIn accounts, everybody is still there a year later.”
14. Delete My Banking Account Because I'm A Man? Gender Discrimination Is Illegal
“This took place about 15 years ago and involved a large corporate banking entity. I forget the name of it, but for the sake of this story, let’s call it Fells Wargo.
There are some important parts that come into play:
My spouse and I were young and dumb financially.
We both had bounced a few checks on our own checking accounts. They were closed a few years prior.
Fells Wargo offered a way to rehab your checking account history. They offered you the opportunity to pay them an additional $10/month to have the right to have a checking account, they restricted the release of funds and made life difficult to even have a checking account but if you played by their rules you could “graduate” to a traditional checking account after a year.
I participated in the “opportunity checking” and graduated my account. My spouse had lived without a checking account for a few years and wanted to try again.
I took my spouse to Fells Wargo. We specifically explained their previous history and specifically asked for the crappy checking rebuilding account.
We knew my spouse needed to start at the bottom.
The manager of the branch enters the basic information and declared there was no need for the rehab checking account. They qualified for the regular account. We asked again to be absolutely sure.
Yes. No rehab needed. Here are some starter checks. Your ATM card will be in the mail in a week. Gladly took an initial deposit of $500.
Fast forward a week. We get the ATM card. Call to activate it.
“Your account has been closed.”
“We determined you have bad checking history previously.”
We go round and round about how we covered this, disclosed it up front, and asked for the checking rehab account.
“You will have to go back and open that account if you want it. We can’t change the account.”
So, they’re closing the account. Because we needed to have the rehab checking account. The one we specifically asked for and they refused.
facepalm. My spouse didn’t know what to say so we got on speakerphone. I started asking questions.
So, will you pay the outstanding checks and refund the rest?
“No. We won’t pay any checks. You’ll be charged for returned checks from your merchants.”
(My spouse wrote 3 checks totaling less than $100.
Very few places accepted starter checks.). They have the funds in the closed account to pay them. Where is the issue?
“We don’t do that.”
At this point they became flustered. Nobody seems to ever have the funds or the audacity to demand them to pay checks written in good faith.
They had no answers on how they refused the checking account we requested and would have been okay to have. They didn’t think they had a responsibility to notify us the account was closed. And how dare we challenge their policy.
They didn’t like how I kept pointing out how there wasn’t a single thing we did wrong but they think they are not responsible for returned check fees. So they decided to not talk to me any longer.
They hung up. We call back.
Finally, they offer this gem: “We won’t talk to anyone except the name on the account.” click
Their only possible choice to avoid a difficult discussion where they own their mistakes was clinging to not letting someone else ask questions with the account holder’s permission.
THEY EVEN REFUSED TO LET ME TELL MY SPOUSE WHAT TO ASK AND RESPOND TO MY SPOUSE DIRECTLY!
Can only talk to the name on the account? Okay!
So I called back. Miraculously, in sixty seconds, I now identified as a different person.
“Thanks for calling Fells Wargo. May I have your name?”
“You aren’t (spouse’s name).”
Sure I am! Ask me anything!
“Name. SSN. Address. Mother’s maiden name. DOB.” (Verified it all as the name on the account)
“No. You aren’t (spouse)”.
Why do you say that?
“Because you’re a man.”
“Wait a minute! That’s why you closed my account? Because I’m a man? I’m pretty sure that’s against ECOA, maybe Reg B.” (Laws stating discrimination on gender is illegal.
Banks can’t reference gender or other protected classes to close accounts.)
A manager finally comes on. We have a little back and forth about who I identify as. But seeing how I’m not doing anything except demanding they pay checks on my spouse’s account, written by my spouse, with funds in their possession, there isn’t much they can fight.
But they finally agree to pay the 3 checks from the funds in the account. They didn’t want to. Even in the end…but the name on the account demanded it.
Fallout? They had to do the right thing after wasting hours fighting it.”
Another User Comments:
“When my mom died and we were trying to close accounts or switch names on them, things like paying off a mortgage and changing the name on utilities, things that needed to be done soonish after she passed.
I was told repeatedly they would only speak with the account holder.
I understood they were just following their training, but dang, she was dead how are they going to get in touch with her? I told one person that they would need a medium or ouija board to speak to her and if they did make contact to have her call me because I wanted to speak with her too.” Blaith7
13. Make Me Work While Sick? Fine
“So I have been sick for the past few days. I have a fairly intense cold that has left me with little sleep and some difficulty breathing when laying down. I figured I should get a doctor’s note so I went to urgent care, minute clinic wasn’t taking walk-ins due to excess traffic.
The doctor says I have an infection in my upper sinuses and upper respiratory regions. Note the lack of a specific diagnosis because it comes into play later.
I work as a delivery driver at a chain pizza place, which means I frequently handle food and could be a danger to customers if contagious.
I send a text to my GM, general manager, and he says “dw about it, you deserve a few extra days off anyways”. I feel at this point that I can rest easy for a few days until I feel better but in comes my DM, district manager, who wants to know when I will be able to come back to work.
My doctor’s note doesn’t give a date by which I must come back in and just says “until symptoms have passed” so I tell her I don’t know. She says that she will be taking me off the schedule for next week and that I should call her to let her know when I can work again.
I tell her that I will and go back to sleep.
DM calls again later that night to inform me that she has in fact changed her mind and is putting me back on the schedule. My sinuses are feeling a little better but my sore throat and cough have gotten much worse so I still feel that it would be irresponsible of me to be a contagion at a restaurant.
She must have been doing the schedule because she informs me that if I do not come in that she will have to cover my shifts for the week and that, “we were delivering in the cold rain last night so we probably are all going to get colds anyways.” She says that since my note doesn’t have a specific diagnosis on it, it is not a big deal if I come in anyways.
Now, I would almost feel bad for her having to cover my shift if it weren’t for the fact that she was the one responsible for driving away all our employees by being such an insufferable jerk in the middle of a jobs market where every employer is desperate for workers.
Cue malicious compliance. I decided that if she is going to try and make this my problem instead of hers, I’m going to make it as much her problem as humanly possible. I stop taking all my cough medicines and down a few sodas so that the acidic drink can ravage my larynx.
I go to sleep that night coughing up a lung and a half, barely able to shut my eyes.
I get up the next morning and receive a call from DM checking to “make sure I’m coming in today”. I told her in my now hoarse, rattly voice that I could come in today, but that I would need her to give me a written, signed notice stating that she was ordering me to ignore my doctor’s note saying that I was unfit to work.
To my surprise, she agreed. My plan wasn’t actually legal action, but rather to have both that note and doctor’s on hand while on deliveries. When customers would ask the obviously sick, hacking, coughing delivery girl if she was alright, I would simply tell them “No, and I have a doctor’s note saying as much as well.
BUT, I also have this note from my manager saying to disregard the doctor’s note and that I am fit to handle YOUR food”.
As our store didn’t require masks for certain employees, and nobody but me was wearing a mask that day when I walked in with my doctor’s note and inhaler.
I guess DM must have either wised up or talked to her higher-ups because she was singing a very different tune when I walked in the door. No longer is it “come in because I will have to cover your shifts if you don’t” instead it was “oh, I just needed you to come in so I could ensure you had a doctor’s note (I had already sent an image of it to the GM).
You don’t have to stay today, you should go home and get some rest.” I, of course, reminded her that she would have to cover my shifts to which she was now saying she didn’t mind and that I should drink some warm tea and honey for the nasty cough I was sporting. So here I am at home now in my bed writing this all down before I sleep and forget all the details.”
12. Continue Pushing the Pallet Into The Truck Even Though It Won't Fit? I Can Try
“This happened earlier today at the grocery store where I work at. I work in the produce area and when we are done with our boxes we take them to the box crusher and then when that is full it has to be tied up and put on a pallet to be sent back on one of the trucks we get.
We call this a bale for future reference. When I went down there to crush my boxes, the machine was full so I had to empty it.
A couple of other coworkers and I finish tying up the bale and I grab the electric-powered pallet jack (since it’s easier to use for something as heavy as a bale) and pick up the bale to put it on the truck.
Now since it’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, the store is busy as heck, and because of this, there were some grocery pallets on the truck still. Most were on the right side but there was still one pallet on the left (the side I was putting the bale on).
One of the people who helped me tie the bale, we’ll call him Tim, says to put it in front of the pallet on the left and he’ll deal with it later. I say OK and put it there.
Now another guy, we’ll call him Derek, comes up to me after I put this bale on the truck and says that I can’t put it there since it’s blocking the one pallet of stuff and that I need to take the bale back off, move the grocery stuff out, and then put the bale back on again.
I tell him that Tim said to do it like that and he basically says that he doesn’t care and that I need to redo it. A little annoying, but whatever. I start to rearrange things to his liking while using the electric power jack.
He asks if I’ve been certified to operate the power jack (you need to be certified to be allowed to use it) and I say in a very passive-aggressive manner “yes I have been, thank you.”
Now I move the things around and I’m putting the bale back in the truck on the left.
I try to go the whole way down but I can’t. Some product on a pallet on the right is leaning over a bit, which wouldn’t be an issue by itself normally, but there were pallets against the left wall of the trailer so there was barely not enough room to go all the way back.
If I try to force it, then something will fall over and be more annoying to deal with, and I know this. I think to myself, “well it’s only like two pallet spaces to go, it should be fine where it is now,” but apparently Derek didn’t think that way.
Him: “you just gonna leave it there?”
Him: “don’t just leave it there. Push it all the way back.”
Me: “you want me to push it all way back?”
Him (aggressively): “yes, push it back.”
I lift the bale up and, without any regard for what will happen, I push it the rest of the way in with the power jack.
The pallets on the wall get knocked down and pushed back so now they can’t get them if needed. Derek comes up to me and says “now see that’s what I didn’t want to happen.” I look at him and say “I just did what you asked me to do.
You wanted me to push it in, I pushed it in.” He gets visibly angry and says something that I didn’t listen to because I just walked away to finish crushing my boxes.
As I finish my boxes and I see him taking the bale out and stacking the pallets on top of it.
He looks at me and says, “would that have been so hard?” I say back to him, “you told me to push it in, not take it out and stack pallets on it. I did exactly what you asked me to do. I don’t know why you’re so angry.” After that he just walks away in a clearly angry mood and I walk back to my area grinning.”
11. Want Us To Send Your Fake Diploma To Court? Got It!
“I work at a translation office. Our job is basically to translate official documents (work certificates, academic degrees, medical papers, etc.) to be used in other countries. The whole service is controlled and monitored by the judiciary and we are basically under their direct supervision (my boss had to be directly certified by the court).
Some countries also require our translation to be double-certified by the local court and/or the ministry of foreign affairs. It’s pretty routine work most of the time but since these are official documents, there are a LOT of rules we have to follow (like what documents can be issued at official translation and how much we are allowed to charge, down to the smallest pennies).
My boss is usually a super cool guy and does all he can to help people who come in (sometimes even refusing pay from people who can’t afford it even though he still has to pay the tax for the “income” since it gets registered in the system).
Now, this is actually something my boss did (I fully agreed with him but it wasn’t my call to make).
Last week, some guy, let’s call him Mr. X, comes in and brings us a bunch of documents to translate, including work certificates, his academic diploma, and transcript of his grades, and some other stuff.
He brought them in two batches so by the time we received the second set of documents, his first set was already translated and double-certified by the court and ministry of foreign affairs. His grade transcripts were in the first batch, his diploma was in the second batch (this will be important later).
At first, he refused to give us his diploma, saying that his mother had hidden the documents to prevent him from traveling abroad. Not the strangest thing we’ve heard so whatever; but we kindly inform him that we are not allowed to issue a translation of copies and have to at least see the original document (so does the court and the ministry), so he goes and gets it a couple of days later.
Now, I was the one in charge of his translations and the moment I picked up his diploma, something felt off. It was too heavy (I actually had to check several times to make sure it wasn’t two or three documents stuck together).
A closer examination showed that a post stamp attached to the back was not real but instead a copy. Strange. I call my boss since now I’m sure this is a forgery. He comes, checks the document but it’s really strange.
These documents have forgery prevention measures like holograms, UV-light sensitive prints, and seals and most of them are in order except for the stamp on the back and the fact that the photocopy looks strange. At this point, I just suggested calling the cops and letting them deal with it, but my boss, the good guy that he is, didn’t want to get the guy in trouble and said he wasn’t 100% sure, more like 90% so he had someone bring it to the court to check but instructed that person to be discreet, get their opinion, and get out with document (not leave it there as evidence).
So, they did just that, and within the hour, the document was back in our hands with a suggestion from a court official that we probably should treat it as a forgery.
Hearing that, my boss decides to get the fake diploma to the guy and send him away, as long as he brings us the translation we issued for his grade transcripts (which was for the same course as the diploma so was also probably fake).
He even offered to pay back the finances he paid, just get the translation to us, get your things, and go be a criminal somewhere else. Pretty lenient if you ask me, but it’s his business, not mine.
The next day, we get a call from the local court asking us why we are refusing to send the document belonging to Mr.
X to the court to be certified. Turns out the guy had gone to court and filed a complaint against us because we refuse to do his work. So, now my boss is livid and does just as Mr. X wanted: sends the FORGED diploma to the court.
They, of course, immediately can tell it’s a forgery, they seized it, opened an investigation against Mr. X, and now he is on the hook for multiple crimes, some of them with serious jail time. The court also asked us to give them the serial number for all the documents ever translated under this guy’s name (EVERYTHING, including ID documents, work certificates, EVERYTHING) so that they can contact all embassies and warn them about the possibility of forgery (which probably means the guy will be blacklisted in every country that matters).
My boss made some excuse at first about not having all the serial numbers ready, but then Mr. X came in Monday with his father and issued some strange threats, so the next workday, all the serial numbers were at court.
We also didn’t have to pay his bucks back.
And to think had he just done as asked, he wouldn’t be on the hook for so many crimes and he would also receive a full refund.
I would still call the police personally, but I have to admit, this was more entertaining.”
10. Contact My Boss While They're Out? They May Not Get Back For A While
“I work in a customer service-based role, though my job does entail other tasks not customer-facing. Customers have accounts with my company and I am able to access and view many account details.
We have a customer who always demands to speak with my boss.
She doesn’t like talking to me or the other lowly peons who can’t possibly know anything or assist her. I have had past occurrences with this customer to already have her on my List of Craps, though granted she isn’t the highest person (or even in the top 3).
My office opens at 9 AM and I have yet to be proven wrong that whenever the phone rings right at opening it will not be a good/fun/pleasant conversation. The clock strikes 9:04 AM and the phone rings. I take a deep breath and prepare myself for a myriad of potential issues I am about to hear.
A shrill voice, one I recognize immediately, is on the other end. But I still give my typical, cheery greeting.
Shrill Voice: I need to speak to (boss’s name) right now. It’s very important. It’s about my account.
Me: Oh, (boss’s name) isn’t in today.
They will be back tomorrow. Is there anything I can help you with?
Shrill Voice: No, only they can help me. It’s about my account. I have to speak with them. It’s very urgent. It’s about my account. (Please don’t read that in a sweet, concerned tone.
It very much was not.)
Me: Well they are out of the office today, but I can let them know you called and they can call you back when they are back in tomorrow.
Shrill Voice: That is unacceptable. I have to talk to them today.
I know you have contact information and can get in touch with them. You NEED to contact them and have them get in touch with me today.
Now I need to pause because that part, the part you just read is what really made me mad.
Never mind the extremely rude and disrespectful tone I was hearing. I deal with that, anyone does when you’re in customer service. But. How dare you say it is unacceptable for someone to be out of the office because YOU need to talk to them.
You have no idea why they took a day off. It’s none of your business but you still have no idea if someone died, if they’re violently ill, if they are taking a much-needed and well-deserved vacation… and you want me to disrupt any one of those possible scenarios because YOU need to talk to them…
AbOUt YoUR AccOUnt? Nah hon. I don’t think so. Ok, back to the story.
Me, wheels already turning about how to comply: Well I can try to reach out, but again, they are not here today and I cannot promise they will get in touch today.
May I have your name and account number?
Shrill Voice states their name which I already knew and instead of their account number (which I also knew but wanted to confirm), she provides her phone number because obviously, I am going to immediately do as she demanded.
I pointedly ask again for the account number and she provides it. She again states that she must talk to my boss, and that they need to call her today and says goodbye and then hangs up on me.
I have a few pet peeves, some minor and some not, and she hit almost all of them during that conversation.
So I did as she asked and contacted my boss. I texted them about a different matter altogether and had a lovely little text conversation, never mentioning Shrill Voice and her demands.
I did send my boss an email letting them know that Shrill Voice had called and her demands, but it was about an hour or two after the initial call from her.
I did not mark the email as anything special and my boss has been out of the office for 3 days so it will be lost in the sea of emails my boss will come back to. When my boss gets to the email, they can then reach out to her.
Also, fun little speculation on my part: I am almost positive I know what this customer was calling about because again, I can see her account information and I could have helped answer her questions right then.”
9. Speak With My Manager, You Say? Go For It
“A few years ago I was working casually as a bar manager at a major sports stadium after my housemate (who was running the corporate dining) hooked me up with the job as a nice little side earner.
The role was pretty straightforward, turn up, set up the bar, serve drinks and snacks, clean up the bar, and go home.
This made it ideal for uni students, particularly international students who could pick up 3-5 hour shifts without it causing too much disruption to their studies.
While the 5-6 staff I managed were continually changing individually it was mostly Indian international students, as well as the same colleague Anoop week in and week out who was invaluable at keeping the show running.
Given my housemate and I lived together and he had hooked me up with a job I was happy to take on a new person or two per shift who’d never worked in a bar setting before to give them a quick rundown on pouring beer, using the register, etc.
If it was one trainee I’d pair them up with me, two trainees I’d pair the second one up with Anoop. The bar was a ‘members only’ bar that had its own private room that came as a perk of the $800+ membership people were paying to the sports club each year.
It meant, along with getting beer in real glassware rather than plastic, that the queues were also much shorter as well and there were usually a few ex-players kicking around to give the odd speech.
During one particular shift just after the game started, I was doing my thing at one end of the bar when Anoop came up to me and said that there was an issue at one of the registers.
I went over to see and the young student there told me that the patron standing opposite the bar had mocked her accent when she tried to explain to him she was still learning how to use the register.
The guy looked at me and said he just wants a beer.
Summing the situation up quickly I leaned into a tool that I’d learned from my housemate “Sorry, based on what my staff member has just told me you made a comment making fun of her accent. I’d like to believe that’s a comment you wouldn’t normally make, which leads me to believe you must be intoxicated.
I’m not able to serve you anymore tonight, however, I’d be happy to serve your friends but they will only be able to buy one drink at a time.”
Needless to say, he wasn’t happy with this, and after a couple of minutes back and forward he asked to speak with someone else about the issue.
“Absolutely, not an issue,” I said and asked Anoop to quickly duck off and find the Corporate Dining Manager.
After 5 minutes or so of waiting (the game has re-started at this point, so our patron is now missing the game as well) the Corporate Dining Manager, aka my housemate, arrives wearing his lanyard, suit, polished shoes, etc.
I give him a quick summary, the guy pleads his case that he should be allowed to keep drinking here because he’s a member and he’s paid good bucks to be there.
My housemate hears him out and then says “Based on what my staff member has told me you’ve made a comment towards a member of my team which is inappropriate, and he’s made the right decision to prohibit you from buying any more drinks at the bar.
However given you’ve argued that point and your friends here haven’t stopped you from doing so it leads me to believe that all of you are intoxicated, which means unfortunately none of you will be able to be served at this bar for the rest of the night.
If you’ll excuse me I’ll need to get back to the corporate suites, and if there are any further issues we’ll have to get security (points to the guy standing at the door who checks everyone’s membership before you can enter) to escort you out.”
With that, he turns and leaves.
The racist patron and his friends take the L and ask me where the nearest retail outlet is that serves beer. “Not a problem, we’re on level three at the moment so you’ll need to take the two flights of stairs down to level two, and then take a left and wander past the food, merch, and toilets and it will be on your left-hand side.”
Given their seats were on level three that’s a fairly decent walk to complete several times throughout the game, and I’d like to think it gave them time to pause and reflect, however, I suspect that wasn’t the case.”
8. Don't Hotfix Your Code? The Company Will Lose Commission On Thousands Of Sales
“So this is a story shared to me, with permission to share, by a work colleague that I have recently reacquainted with. I will be writing this as if it was me in the situation, as that is how he told it, and I think it will read better too.
I worked as a developer for a company that built and managed the software behind a rapidly growing online E-commerce store that sells tech gadgets and accessories (which I will refer to as “MegaStore” for this story), in a Central African country.
The “MegaStore” started off small, and my boss built the original website on risk, for a cut of the commission that MegaStore earned.
Side note as it is important later: The commission that “MegaStore” gained from the sale of an item on the site, would be split on purchase.
The majority of the commission would be paid directly into “MegaStore’s” bank account and a smaller portion would be paid into my boss’s bank account.
As the popularity of MegaStore grew, so did the demands on my boss, and he was able to build a company around servicing “MegaStore”.
While he did try to grow his client base, none were the same size or scope as Megastore, and thus were not able to carry the company.
“MegaStore” was approached for a buyout by a company (we can call them “Bad Company Inc”) with their own internal development team.
Part of the buyout deal included ending the revenue-sharing arrangement with my boss (an external development company). At the beginning of the process, everything was very positive, as my boss arranged a big payday, and the deal was signed. He had managed to get this great deal because he had positioned that this buyout would kill his company and thus he and all his staff needed to be compensated.
The buyout took several months and by the end, the relationship between “Bad Company Inc” and my boss had completely broken down. My boss had managed to secure another large client and thus didn’t need to close his company. Because of this, “Bad Company Inc” said that they didn’t need to pay my boss a payout.
A lot of these meetings were above my pay grade.
So we are in the final days of handing over the entire site to “Bad Company Inc” and their internal CTO (“JerkDev”), who had complete hatred for the code that ran “MegaStore” as it was a dumbed-down version of an open-source platform.
He considered himself a purist and if the code wasn’t custom-built for the purpose it wasn’t worth anything.
So back to my boss, he had managed to keep some version of the original deal in place, but in the preceding weeks, he had made a big threat to “Bad Company Inc ” that he would do something funny with the code that handled the commission split.
It was very much a threat and blowing off steam, as he couldn’t legally do it, nor was it actually in his nature to do it, all talk, no bite.
However, this outburst did create a situation where “JerkDev” did not trust us to remove our code that handled the commission in our favor.
So on the final build that we are required to hand over, we were meant to remove all code that handled the commission and “JerkDev” would implement new code to handle the commission and then deploy it to the live website instead of us.
The official documentation was reworded from the “supply and deploy” handover version to just the “supply” handover version. Great less work for us.
So D-Day arrived, we had actually completed the build a few days earlier, with the commission sharing code completely removed, and were just sitting on this version, so we could hand it over on the day, as contractually required to do so.
So we handed it over in the morning and were all planning to head out for a long lunch. Just before we left, we checked “MegaStore” for the last time and noticed that “JerkDev” had already deployed the handed-over version. Puzzled as we assumed that any development on the commission code would require extensive testing.
We logged into the site and saw that no code for handling the commission in any fashion was there, nowhere, there was nothing! We logged into the payment gateway, and there were no logs there either. This meant no commission was being deducted at all, so Megastore was losing 100% of its revenue.
We immediately reached out to “JerkDev” via multiple calls, which he rejected until he eventually answered, and yelled that he was busy and that we should stop calling him, followed by him hanging up the phone. So my boss, concerned that this somehow would be thrown back into his face as the funny thing he threatened to do, instructed us to do a hotfix and deploy it to the server without the “JerkDev’s” approval.
Which we did. It was a messy fix, using the old code, we put all the finances into the “MegaStore” account and only 1 cent into my boss’s account, as something had to be deducted for the code to work.
10 minutes after deploying the hotfix, “JerkDev” called accusing my boss of stealing.
Many heated words were shared, followed by my boss putting “JerkDev” on speaker and instructing all of us to quickly record the conversation on our phones.
“JerkDev” informed us that he had already implemented the code, as he had noticed the completed build two days earlier.
We tried to tell him that something was wrong, and he just replied that we were too simple-minded to understand custom code, as we were just simple web admins, nothing more, and that we had 30 mins to remove the hotfix code.
My boss got him to repeat the instructions one more time, and state that we had supplied a build that satisfied the conditions of the agreement, and then hung up on him, as soon as he had uttered those words. It took 5 minutes to revert the code.
We then were instructed to all go to the lunch venue and leave our phones in our cars.
Because “D-Day” was an end-of-the-month kind of deal, it happened to land on a Friday. So the loss of income was only reflected in the bank on the Monday or Tuesday of the following week.
This meant the problem was only picked up after running commission-free for 3-4 days, my boss is aware of the amount lost, but we are not, however, we assumed it to cost the company the commission on between 1000 to 4000 individual sales.
The CTO did supposedly try to spin a story that our boss had tried to do something funny and all my boss did was provide the recordings of their conversation which shut that crap down!
My boss got his payout, all the staff got a great bonus, and we noticed that ‘JerkDev’s” LinkedIn status changed a few weeks later, to “seeking broader challenges.””
7. Don't Listen To The Laws About Snow Removal? The City Will Take Care Of You
The law is the law.
“This happened in the late 90s, early 2000s for reference.
My dad owned a snow blower. During the wicked weather on this side of the Rockies, he would use his blower to take care of the sidewalks in front of everyone on both sides of our block.
Most of the families on my block were either seniors, those with small families, or younger couples that inherited their dead relatives’ homes. Everyone knew everyone, and they understood that my dad was doing this as a courtesy. He was in his 50s and just trying to be a good neighbor.
So, my neighbors two doors down divorced and sell their house to a family from out of state. Fake name time: Picards sounds good. I know they were from a snowy state, but I don’t remember where. They moved in during the late summer, close to the start of the school year.
A couple of months later, our state has a massive snowstorm. It would snow for nearly 24 hours for almost the entire winter. You would shovel and clear snow just to get another dump, and you’d have to keep going and going.
We had something like 350% of average snowfall that month alone.
So my dad is out there during the first big dump with his snowblower, just taking care of business as he’s nice and the third house down had an occupant that walked on arm crutches.
He just made a path from our house to theirs. No big deal; been taking care of this for a while now. He gets done and heads to work. He gets home late most nights so he’s not expecting anyone to be at the door as he walks in.
Lo and behold, the Picards must have been watching out the window for him as they walk up on him as he opens the door.
“Hey. Did you shovel our walk?”
“Our walk! The one that runs in front of our house!”
I did your sidewalk.”
“Well, we’re not paying you for the shoddy work you did! You sprayed our tree with snow.”
My dad is out of it after a 10+ hour day, commute not included, so he’s not getting what’s happening.
“You should be! That tree is too small to handle that much snow blown on it.
You need to blow it somewhere else.”
As my dad was one that religiously read city bylaws, he knew the time frame for removing snow and where you could put shoveled snow. The city doesn’t allow you to blow snow into the street cause it messes with the plow’s ability to take care of the streets.
But Mr. Picard insisted that he had to blow the snow elsewhere. Knowing what he knew, my dad directed the snow into the only other spot available, his driveway! A driveway that is almost 45 degrees down from the carport too! Or so it seemed; Wicked steep either way.
So the next day, the neighbor comes by to complain again. He didn’t know that a small snowfall can get cars stuck in that driveway, let alone what we had plus a snowblower! His car got stuck halfway in the street and he had to get it towed out.
(If my dad were home, he could have saved them the tow fee, but Picard didn’t know that). So Picard is fuming and saying he’s going to do his own walk from now on.
My dad tries to tell him he’s just assisting the neighbor on the other side, and he doesn’t charge for being a good neighbor, etc.
It’s cold and my dad wants the door shut, but Picard doesn’t want to step in and my dad doesn’t have his shoes or coat. So Picard just says “I know what I’m doing. I’m a grown man. I can deal with a little fluff!”
The next day, my dad knocks on the neighbor’s door and tries to tell Picard about how strict the city is about snow removal and how he has 24 hours from the start of snowfall to get things removed, etc.
He wrote down a website where he can go to read the rules, but Picard didn’t take it. The city was constantly driving down our block for reasons I won’t go into here. The Picards were doing a semi-sufficient job manually shoveling snow away properly, but then…
October in my state has a big teachers’ conference, and most families go out of town for a late camping or early hunting trip. So did the Picards! They are gone for 4 days during the worst storm of the season.
They hadn’t arranged to have the walk shoveled, and the snow was piling so high, city inspectors came out! Parents and neighbors complained to the city that they couldn’t walk down our street. It was obvious that the walks were being taken care of, so why not theirs? The city posted a 48-hour compliance notice, but it would be 72 before the Picards got back to town.
The city charged them with hazardous conditions and failure to maintain property accessible to the public. On top of the labor fee to shovel the walk, it was like $350 easily! The city kept a watchful eye on the property for the rest of the winter for any issues from then on! Once the city has you on its radar, it’s hard to be done with them.
The cherry on top of the entire situation: There’s a knock on the door in early November, the same year. One of the Picard kids handed my sister an envelope and just walked away. We give it to my mom, and inside there’s a note saying something like, “This is for the shoveling you did already.” There was a $100 bill inside.
My family tried to return it, but they never answered the door. So we used it to take our large family out to our favorite buffet later that week! Thank you Picards, for paying for a free service. We spent it well.”
6. Instruct Me To NOT Do What The Customer Wants? Okay, Your Way It Is
If you really think that’s what’s best…
“I work at a Printing Hub as a Print and Copy expert, working with the machines to get them to print, setting up files, and quality checking things before they come out. It is a pretty laid-back job, and I really enjoy the technical side of it, not so much my coworkers however.
Don’t get me wrong however, I have no doubt they are good people, but I feel that they have settled into the job a little too much, and every little change gets them riled up. And then there is my manager, Kay, who is a good person at heart, but recently stress has been causing her to take it out on the employees.
I stick with it because up until now she has been good, she at least deserves for me to stick through a stressful moment, especially coming into Holiday Season.
Anyways, the incident. Three days ago I was working with the Big Color Machine Printer.
A rather large job came in for 200 books. This particular job was a rush order and needed to get out the same day, and the value of the job exceeded over $2000. It was also a very important client I have worked with in the past so I wanted to be extra sure everything was ok.
When I printed my proof and leafed through the booklet, however, I noticed rectangular boxes where the text should have been. This is normally caused by our computers or printers missing the font that the customer had used, and I suspect they used a different font than they normally use for the Halloween Season.
(Please, people. Provide your Print Studios with PDFs, not Word Documents) So I called up the customer to figure out the font they needed.
No answer. Well, frig.
The thing was this order needed to start printing immediately in order to reach the deadline, unless I dedicate using both Color Printers we have to print the order (which is actually not recommended as the color calibrations are different on both printers, for some reason).
I emailed the customer and put the order on hold, I knew the customer would want those fonts.
Later on, my Manager Kay asked me why the order was still on hold, and I explained that the file was not correct. I even brought up the file and showed her.
She agreed that the file was incorrect, however, she insisted on printing the order anyway.
Kay: “The order is a rush job, and they absolutely need that order immediately.”
Me: “I understand that, but the file is wrong. If we produce the file and the customer rejects it, then we are out the finances to produce the job.”
Kay: “SLA is more important than a quality job.
We won’t get compensated if we fail to deliver on time.”
Me silently reminding myself that SLA includes quality: “Kay, I have dealt with this client before, I know they will reject this. I am fairly certain they would prefer waiting a day to get their stuff rather than receiving something they can’t use.
Kay: Kole, just print the order anyways.
Me dying inside: Yes Kay.
So, this is funny, because last week Kay got after me about the exact opposite situation. There was an order we couldn’t do correctly because our machines were dumping toner on the files.
I assured Kay that I was certain the customer wouldn’t mind the toner dump, but she said I wasn’t thinking of the customer. I was thinking of the customer, as I was the customer.
Now, I am thinking about the customer, and being told to ignore that.
So I printed the order, all $2000 worth of it. It was a massive ordeal which I knew was all going into the trash, but I did what Kay asked. Before I left for the day, I checked our business Email and saw the client didn’t email us back.
Also tried calling again, and no response.
I took one of the books with me and left for the day. Rather than go straight home I stopped at the business I knew would be selling or giving out what we were producing, since it was on the way, and showed the cashier.
The cashier was absolutely horrified, and immediately contacted the manager, who was out for the day. The employee thanked me for going out of my way to inform them and gave me some store credit which I used on some paintbrushes for minis.
Oh yeah, did I mention this place was one of the local gaming stores I started going to? I knew those booklets weren’t supposed to look like that.
The fallout didn’t happen until today, the order was completely thrown out, and we were forced to redo the entire thing at no charge.
$2000 down the drain. Kay, for the first time I can recall, tried to throw me under the bus when Head Office asked us what happened, but my coworkers supported me and I pointed out on the job ticket that I had actually failed the quality check.
I had no idea how that order went to shipping.
I don’t know what has gotten into Kay lately, but she has been extremely off. Before people start offering advice on how to proceed and such, I have already started recording situations like this and other odd occurrences happening around the facility and advising my coworkers to do the same.
Also updating my resume, just in case. I really would not rather leave this job, but better safe than sorry.
Update: So, today I arranged a small meeting with Kay and my supervisor, and it went unexpectedly. Enter new challenger: Hermit as supervisor.
Also, can’t believe I have to elaborate, not real names.
Kay refused to elaborate on what was going on, saying it was no one else’s business and to just leave it alone. Hermit also expressed his concern that it was affecting staff morale.
She gave a vague explanation about at-home stuff that is happening, the daughter is working on a project, the husband is doing overtime, and the mother is pressuring her to get the decorations for Halloween.
I am honestly not buying it, but if she doesn’t want to be straight with us, and ruin the seven years we worked together, then fine by me.
I tried to approach her in a civil matter and she snapped at me. For now, I am just going to document everything, keep a paper trail, and email trail, cover my butt, and everything you guys are suggesting and more. I sincerely hope Kay will get over whatever is ailing her, but at this point, it’s obvious she doesn’t want any help.”
5. Refuse To Deliver Mail Because Their Mailboxes Aren't Close Enough To The Road? But Their Height Doesn't Matter
“Decades ago, my grandparents purchased a large plot of land out in the middle of nowhere with the idea to build themselves a home and retire on that plot. They were both from the rural midwest, so they originally wanted to keep horses, chickens, and maybe a few other small farm animals on this land–hence the size.
As the years went by and they started actually making plans, they realized that horses weren’t really feasible for a variety of reasons. By that time the area around their plot of land had been significantly more developed, so they instead split the plot into 8 pieces and sold the other 7, essentially financing their original purchase and the construction of the house–leaving their retirement and pension untouched.
Because of their incredibly advantageous position, they made a point to only sell to like-minded buyers: friendly retirees who were looking for their last home and wanted a bit of the same rural isolation that my grandparents wanted. The result is that my grandparents ended up with their dream bungalow on a spacious lot surrounded by friendly neighbors, and without any major time or financial obligations.
They ended up spending a lot of time volunteering and generally making friends with the community that was growing around them.
The area ended up becoming incorporated, and the town they were now living in eventually decided that the two-lane blacktop road needed to be re-paved and upgraded with sidewalks, gutters, and all the other amenities townspeople expect.
Now the county that the town was incorporated from had planned ahead, and there was plenty of room set aside for exactly this type of project, so none of the residents needed to move their fences or give up property to the state.
However, most of them had placed their mailboxes on a post about a half-dozen of feet from their property line–nearer to the road so that the postman had easy access. When the construction started, a city representative visited each property on this street and gave them a heads-up on what to expect, and also asked that the residents move their mailboxes to make room for construction.
My grandfather, being of light schedule and helpful demeanor, offered to help his neighbors temporarily relocate their mailbox and post. He had retired from a career as a handyman, and several of his children owned landscaping or similar businesses. So he and my uncle spent a few hours with a mini-backhoe and unearthed all eight of his neighbors’ mailbox posts–cement and all.
He saved the posts to re-install when the road was complete and mounted the mailbox properly on each property’s fence.
Lo and behold, on Monday they had no mail service. After a bit of investigation, they realized none of their neighbors did either.
So the next morning my grandfather waited outside to see what the problem was. Right on time, the mailman drove down their side of the street, completely ignoring all eight properties. Redoubling his efforts, the next morning my grandfather was able to flag the mailman down and ask what the problem was.
According to my grandfather, the very curt response was “I’m not required to deliver to any mailbox more than 36″ from the edge of the road”. A call to the postal service confirmed this rule: the mailman may deliver outside that limit if they want, but they are not required to.
Now it’s pretty amazing what you can get done with 8 business hours of free time. The problem was that 36″ from the current edge of the road is in the way of construction. My grandfather spoke to the construction supervisor, who was sympathetic but just as stuck as my grandfather was.
My grandfather then visited the postal office and returned with a current copy of the regulations about mailbox locations. After a few hours of study, and another visit to the construction supervisor’s office with a half-dozen doughnuts and some coffee, he had formulated a plan.
Remember his sons who ran landscaping businesses? My grandfather got in his truck and visited both businesses. He returned home with eight 20-gallon plant pots. These things are huge: 30″ tall and just about as large around. You see, while the construction guys couldn’t mess with a federally-protected, fixed mailbox, they were happy to move a pot out of their way in the morning, and back when the job was finished for the day (my grandma makes some pretty darn good doughnuts) which is a pretty easy task when you have earthmoving equipment nearby.
So each post was re-planted in a 20-gallon pot and each mailbox was re-mounted on a post and each pot was placed conservatively within 36″ of the current road’s edge.
The kicker was that a mailbox post that is meant to stick 4 feet out of the ground has at least 2 feet buried in the ground–in other words, it’s a 6-foot post.
When you put that inside a pot with a few inches of soil underneath and that pot on the surface of the ground, a mailbox on top is easily more than 6 feet in the air. You see, the mailbox codes clearly specify how far horizontally a mailbox needs to be from the road, but say nothing about how high that mailbox needs to be.
It took a few more conversations with the postman, and a visit from the local inspector, but the mailman spent the better part of six months delivering to eight mailboxes 6 feet in the air rather than walking the extra 6 feet to the fence.”
Another User Comments:
“I guess laws must be different in my hometown because here most everyone has their mailbox on their own property, most of them being the type that mounts to the side of the house. Our mail lady parks in front of our house and delivers a few blocks’ worth of mail from there on foot, going up on everyone’s porches. I love what your grandpa did, though.” MistressLiliana
4. Give Them The Discount Anyway? Not A Problem
“Many moons ago, I worked at a pizza place as part of a national franchise in a diverse community. It was my first job, and I enjoyed it (though mostly, it was the satisfaction of having my first job). I worked inside taking orders and making them.
After a few days, I was in an odd space. You see, I was new enough to not have a solid handle on everything, but I was there long enough that the manager expected me to be able to do everything already.
So when I kept taking too long recording orders, my manager began getting frustrated. I was only supposed to be taking 3 minutes at most, but I often went over 5 minutes over the phone. Remember how I said we were a diverse community? Many customers had issues speaking English, and even though I was bilingual, there were half a dozen languages being spoken here.
Some were new to ordering pizza too. Some were just indecisive. As a result, a lot of time was spent speaking slower than usual, explaining everything in detail, or waiting for them to decide. I understood, but my manager was upset at my inefficiency and didn’t want to hear it.
One day, I got a call and spent 7 minutes explaining everything to a guy who was new to ordering over the phone in general, going over deals, toppings, menu items, prices, etc. He had a lot of questions. He also spoke English as a second language, so sometimes he did not understand what some words meant.
Not only that, but he was out of the area (I had to explain that too), so he decided to come to pick it up. He thanked me for being understanding and placed his order. I even got a tip for being patient when he came to pick it up.
My manager, meanwhile, was mad. This was messing up her metrics too, so she scolded me for taking so long. I explained the sheer amount of questions he had, and barriers, and noted that I wasn’t quiet at any moment and kept amending the order.
She wouldn’t listen, and told me, “It shouldn’t take that long. Just give them the deals, that’s usually enough.”
Just give them the specials? Ok. We were running a special all week: buy 1 Large 5 toppings for a steep discount, except for the Special Pizzas which came with specific toppings (ex.
The Veggie Pizza or Philly Cheesesteak Pizza which have specific toppings) — those were exempt despite most having 5 toppings or less. It was arbitrary but I followed orders, and just gave them the deals anyways even if it meant side-stepping this.
So whenever a customer called to order a Special Pizza, I would just put it in as a ‘custom pizza’ that just so happened to have the same toppings as a special, but didn’t have the name attached. Therefore, everyone got a steep discount.
Some customers were surprised since they were told the deal didn’t apply to the specials, but it was an arbitrary rule anyways so they weren’t keen on arguing. Since they were saving finances, the indecisive ones decided to just get both sometimes, so calls were quicker.
Cheap pizza all around.
The manager noticed, and got mad at me, arguing that I was just “stealing from myself” for missing out on the profits. ‘Whatever, I thought. I get paid hourly regardless of your profits.’ I just told her, “I was just giving them the deals, but the system wouldn’t let me.”
She knew something was up, but just told me “The Special Pizzas don’t apply even if they have 5 toppings or less.”
A few days later, the deal was removed, and I was on thin ice, but we got a nice increase in customers who kept trying to take advantage of the deal.
The increase in sales helped offset the large dip in revenue from me liberally providing discounts. Even when I told them that the manager specifically reaffirmed the Special Pizzas don’t apply, they understood that it was too good to last, and just ordered anyways.
Also, a customer called who was EXTREMELY indecisive and curious about our deals. He also had poor English that made certain requests rather confusing to understand. I spent 5 minutes on the phone until the Manager told me to just pass her the phone, and she’d handle it.
I did as I was told, and just made pizzas and handled other tasks. I noticed she wouldn’t help me, and every time I looked back she would be on the phone. Turned out the guy was on the phone for 20 MINUTES asking questions, and being indecisive, and in the end, ordered NOTHING. After that, she began being more understanding of me.”
3. Teach Us To Always Conform Even If It's Wrong? Guess They'll All Do The Wrong Thing
“Last summer I was given the extraordinary opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA for the USMC. I can not speak to how boot camp is for the enlisted, as I was/am not a prior, but at OCS there is a certain amount of lee-way that is given for independent thinking due to the strong emphasis on leadership.
Despite that, conformity is paramount and if you look out of place then you are wrong and also a target which brings us to our story.
DISCLAIMER: There will be small tangents here, but they are important to give clarity to certain details and nuances that are unique to the US military, and the Marine Corps.
The training program is 10 weeks. The daily routine did not change much for Candidates. Wake up, PT, shower, go to class, etc. The entire time you are awake, the staff’s job is to stress you out. You’re only reprieve is class time as you are expected to focus entirely on learning what is being taught to you.
However, entering and leaving the hall is a cacophony of screaming and scurrying that never gets old.
One tactic used to stress us out was to have our assault packs (backpacks with webbing on them that can be seen on periphery items carried by your local “Bro-vet”) packed with so much crap that opening and closing the bag was not a quick endeavor.
Nor was removing and replacing select items. The bulkiest of which was a 100oz Camel-bak which was removed from the backpack and placed on the rear of your seat when entering the lesson hall, and replaced into your bag when leaving (you had what felt like 30 seconds to perform this task both entering and leaving).
I discovered early on that were I to not get caught, simply leaving the water source in my bag and sipping from the tube was a much more expedient and less stressful way of entering and leaving the hall, so that is what I did.
Soon others from my platoon began to catch on, but the other platoons seemingly did not.
Enter Independent Thinking.
Our Candidate Platoon Commanders within the company (they would develop plans and get them approved by our instructor staff for the day-to-day goings of the platoon) would meet and cross-reference their individual platoon’s plans so that all ideas meshed and every platoon was in sync.
This normally took place when everyone was supposed to be sleeping because it required sneaking out and going up a deck or two to the rendezvous spot. At some point towards the end of our cycle, my method of handling the study hall was proposed to the other candidates (I am assuming.
I was not there, I did not forward the idea. I simply was in the right place at the right time to see this plan unfold the next day).
Cue our malicious compliance to adherence to conformity.
Our day starts with the usual amount of screaming and scurrying.
Virginia is hot and muggy, our staff is calling members various names and informing our platoon that we would have been better uses to society if we didn’t exist; all is right with the world as we march to the study hall (henceforth called Yeckel Hall).
I enter the hall, remove my cover (hat), place my M16 into the armory, and scurry over to a seat to grab my textbook and begin screaming knowledge as we wait to start. I smirk and say to myself “ah the girls (1st platoon) left their water sources in their assault packs as well.” Well, I was not the only person to notice.
So too did a Staff Sergeant from 1st platoon.
Tangent and Important distinction.
In the Marine Corps, women train women and men train men. Segregation by gender is alive and well. And these women are the toughest and meanest individuals I have ever come across.
To round this out, these particular Sergeant Instructors were doubly sadistic to their platoon and anyone else who was near them. To have one take notice of you, or to question you was not something that was sought out. Back to the story.
Staff Sergeant Rage calls the Candidate Platoon Sergeant and Candidate Platoon Commander over into the aisle. “What is wrong with your platoon?!” She asks exacerbated. The candidates do not immediately know what she is asking about. After a couple of more angry questions comes the winning ticket: “Why is it, that after all this time, your ENTIRE platoon sees fit to leave their Camel-bak inside of their Assault Packs? Have we EVER done that? Has that EVER been okay? Why is that happening Candidate?”
At this point, I am looking out of the corner of my eye, and straining my ears to hear because I wanted no part of this Staff Sergeant’s wrath, and felt sorry for what was happening to this Cand.
Platoon Commander. She responds (screams back) with an absolute unit of answers, which was one this Staff Sergeant never expected: “Good Morning Staff Sergeant. These candidates’ water sources are in their assault packs because the other platoons in the company are doing the same thing!” The SSgt thought she misheard.
“What did you just say?!” The candidate repeats herself in a more confident tone.
It was at this point, I saw one of the most comical looks appear on a staff member’s face. The SSgt looks around and notices everyone else doing the exact same thing.
She realized exactly what had been orchestrated, but also knew that lack of conformity kills. She would not punish the entire company even though we were all breaking the rules, and could not hold up the lesson as there was a strict schedule to keep.
After a brief look of shock mixed with befuddlement, the SSgt regained her composure and stated “Very well then” and simply left. After that moment, our company had one less thing to remove from our bags, and one less thing to replace in our bags.
It’s the little victories that matter. And I am certain that whoever that candidate was counted that moment as David toppling Goliath.”
2. Do It Our Way? Ok, We Did
“I am a uni nursing student, and on top of our own education, we also have to take compulsory language classes (Chinese and English). The tutors teaching these classes were not from our own department, but from the language departments, and boy the Chinese tutor was awful as heck.
His teaching was nowhere near good, but the worst part is with the assignments and tests, where he would give us the work, offering very vague and limiting instructions that didn’t help much. When we tried to ask him to be more specific and give clearer instructions, or to give marking rubrics, he never gave straight answers and just tried to dodge it, but after the work was done, he would nitpick every little thing and would grade us really low.
We were all very frustrated about it but had no way to resolve this.
One day, the teacher said that we had to take a quiz on translating classical Chinese to modern Chinese, which I don’t know what good it does to our profession, but okay, since we had learned that in our prior education in high school anyway, so not a big deal.
Before when we learned it in high school, we were taught to translate it word for word and very literally for the sake of tests and exams, but it was never the only way to translate as you can also interpret according to the meaning rather than to the words, which both ways work.
Anyway, we asked the tutor what would he expect, and he again dodged it and only replied “just do it in your way and it will be okay”, and so we did, in our own ways, and some in an MC way.
A few days after the quiz took place, we were all informed by our department’s head that we “had a plagiarism issue” within our class and stated that academic integrity is held high and they have no tolerance toward such things.
Turns out that the tutor accused half of our classmates (around 50-ish people) of copying off one another because their works were similar, and all the suspected students were sent to see the department’s head for explanations and discuss disciplinary actions.
Two of my best friends were also sent the way and I was able to hear this hilariously idiotic story.
So the tutor accused several students of copying because their answers look similar, and the students were confused, because the quiz was not that complicated, and what on earth was he expecting out of a simple translation of a small paragraph? Surely there would be a lot of similar usage of wordings here and there.
The head was not satisfied with the reason and went on to say that if they had not copied each other, they must have copied it somewhere else on the internet (it was 2020, so we did the quiz on Zoom).
Some of the students said, “uh yea, we certainly did some research on the internet, because we were not told NOT to?” which they were completely right because the tutor never said you are not allowed to, and according to the tutor’s instruction they could absolutely do it since it is their way.
The head was still not satisfied and said that the students should have put in citations and references if they have done any research online. However, the students defended themselves to have done their research, with a dictionary… some with multiple different dictionaries, and that is why their wordings were similar.
How and why would you cite so many different dictionaries, on a simple paragraph translation? We students had never been asked such stupid things, and clearly, the department head had no actual idea of what was going on, she was just listening to the tutor’s side of the story while refusing to believe that the students had not copied.
This argument went back and forth between 50-ish students and the department head for hours, until another department head (a cool guy) decided to intervene and told the students to go home, as he understood and he would try his best to explain the situation to the other department head.
Later as we heard, it was actually not the first time that this scenario had happened. The exact same tutor had made a similar accusation toward the previous batch of students on the exact same quiz as well. Somehow it didn’t cross his mind that it was his problem and maybe he should just change the quiz format once and for all.
As the tutor received all the backlashes from the false accusation, he was trying to cover his butt and announced that “plagiarism” was interfering with the gradings and so the quiz result was voided. Now everyone needs to take the new test that didn’t involve translating.
This made everyone mad, and the students not being accused were angry too at their time being wasted, since none of this would have happened if the tutor had used the new test instead of that buggy translation quiz and he was trying to shift the blame to the students.
In the end, he mellowed down and suggested the “involved” students take the test in order to re-determine their grades while others could take the test of their free will. He never brought up the term “plagiarism” again.
At the end of term, the language department asked me to do a survey on the teaching quality and I gladly obliged, giving the worst possible score and commenting on how bad the teaching was.”
1. Call Her Back? If That's What You Really Want
“For a while, I worked in customer service for a major life insurance company. I had a customer call in that had just received her cheque for payment on the policy she had on someone. Her husband, I think, but that’s not important to this story.
She called because the policy was for $100,000, and her cheque was something like $99,850 dollars and she wanted to know why.
However, she was one of those people that would ask a question, interrupt you while you were answering, and either ask it again in a different way or go off on some tangent.
She wasn’t a particularly polite person, and I don’t think it was merely because of someone’s recent death, it had been a few months, and it didn’t have a bereavement feel at all, just a rude personal vibe, I fully felt that she was just a rude person.
Eventually, I managed to give her the answer (we had subtracted a payment that was due that month and not yet paid to us from the payout, evening everything out in one transaction). She didn’t really have a problem with that answer, but she was argumentative the entire call in general, and complaining about how much of a pain it is to have to call in with all these questions (which were all but one irrelevant question that she brought up when she wouldn’t let me answer).
But as I was trying to get there, she was also asking all kinds of questions about her policy, which she had in front of her. She went off on many topics, including a bunch of things not related to what we were doing.
She asked, “What’s this (type a) policy and (type b) policy?” Well, those were options you could get on the policy when you first took it out, but she didn’t get either one, so they were completely irrelevant to that, but I gave her quick answers as to what they were even though they didn’t apply to her.
This call took a solid hour to give a three-minute answer, and she was rude and angry the whole way through. I was very happy when it was over.
However, two days later my manager told me that he had reviewed the call for random quality control purposes (a real thing), and he noticed that when she asked about (irrelevant policy option she didn’t have A) and (irrelevant policy option she didn’t have B), I gave the answers backward, explained B for A and A for B.
He wanted me to call her back and give her the right answers. This was utterly pointless, as she already had her policy completed and closed, she wasn’t looking to get a new one, and this could not have affected her payout, anything whatsoever.
But he was convinced we would somehow get sued or such if I didn’t.
Now, what makes this malicious compliance is that I knew that I could just e-mail my manager a half hour later, say I did it and she was happy to hear from me.
I knew he wouldn’t follow up because he constantly gave us stupid things to do and never followed up. But this woman was a handful and I also knew she wouldn’t want me to call. So I did as told and called her.
I told her why I was calling and she snapped at me, why would I possibly call her back about things that don’t matter? I’m taking up her valuable time after she’s already been paid? She doesn’t deal with our company anymore and here I am calling her unsolicited?
You get the idea.
I told her that my manager wanted me to make sure she had all the details correct because I made a mistake. And as hoped, she demanded to speak to my manager.
She yelled at him for about 94 minutes by my clock about wasting her time.
I’d like to be able to say that he learned a lesson and stopped giving us stupid tasks. He didn’t. But for an hour and a half, he had a really rude woman scream at him over this one.
(I’d like to reiterate here that at no point did I feel that the woman was deep in her grieving process, I really wouldn’t have wanted to add to her troubles if she was.
This was a solid 6 months after that person had died (which of course I know may be a lot for some, and not much for others), and every vibe I got was of a rude person, not a grieving one.
For the purposes of this story, can we accept this to be true? I don’t want to go off on a talk about angering someone upset about a death. Calling someone after a death is a part of working in life insurance. I’d like to think I was as polite to her as I could be during the entire process).”