People Confess Their Witty Revenge Stories
25. I Embarrassed You? I Only Did What My Teacher Told Me To Do
“Growing up my siblings and I went to a Private Baptist School, our parents wanted to keep us from ‘the World’s evil Influence.’ It did not work as I’m sure 99% of people who attend those types of schools know what actually goes on in those environments… anyway.
Once a year we went to what was called Regional Student Convention, otherwise known as Regionals. This was a big fine arts competition between other schools like ours in the region.
People from Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas came to one spot somewhat in the middle to compete so they could move on to International Student Convention, which is obviously for other schools around the World. Our school didn’t go to Internationals but took Regionals pretty seriously.
There are over 100 fine art categories you can sign up for. Our teachers required at least 7, but no more than 12 I believe.
The categories included photography, acting, writing, color guard, some sports, singing, art, and track and field to name a few.
I would try my best to do the most allotted categories since my parents took the week of Regionals off and liked to see us perform. I would do photography, sewing, research projects, multiple singing groups, some play-type things, and I played on the volleyball team. All of these were picked because I wanted to do them.
I wanted the week to be fun for myself & my family.
One year the teacher in charge decided to micromanage everything about this week. They decided they were going to tell everyone what they were doing instead of letting us pick ourselves.
The Teacher decided one sports activity was not enough and wanted me to sign up for a Track and Field event. I told them I did not want to as I had done it in the past and did not win & ended up exhausted the whole rest of the day as I did not ever train at all for the events – our ‘school’ was a church building that they could convert to the school Sunday nights, so no grounds for such a thing.
Track and Field happened on Tuesday morning & then after lunch, it was time to do singing competitions. It made for a miserable day for me.
The Teacher did not care and decided I would be running the timed 1 Mile Run… They could have easily made me do something less exhausting like the 100-meter dash, but more people signed up for that than they did the mile, so by their logic we ‘had a better chance at a medal.’
Most Teachers that take students to these competitions want to receive a plaque of achievement for that category, so they try to get as many people to participate so the plaque can hang in the School Hallway.
The Teacher did not care that I requested not to do this & told me, ‘you will sign up for it! Even if you walk the whole mile you will participate!’
I replied with, ‘Yes Ma’am!’ and filled out the required paperwork… I’m sure you can see where this is going.
The day of the competition comes and we are all warming up waiting for our events. The Teachers are all there cheering us on as well as all the other students who were not competing.
That part’s fun, just hanging out with your friends. Our School did not take it too seriously, we didn’t have any training or anything, so it was just a morning spent on the grass for us.
After a while, it was time for the Female Mile and I was all smiles. The Teacher asked if I was ready and I replied, ‘Are you ready?’ They had no idea what they were in for.
I lined up with all my fellow competitors & waited for the gun to go off… once off I did a little jog & of course, everyone rushed past me. Then I walked… I walked the entire mile, which if you don’t know is 4 times around a track field.
There was so much confusion & many people came up to me thinking I was hurt. I replied to them all, ‘I’m fine.
Just doing what my teacher told me to!’ With a smile and a wave.
The officials were confused, the other competitors were confused, and even my parents were confused. I turned what would’ve been a 10-20 minute event into a 35-minute event, which is a lot of time considering they could not start anything else till the Female Mile completed so everything was at a standstill because of me.
I eventually finished and my judge didn’t even give me my completed time since it was so ridiculous. I did finish in 6th place since there were only five other competitors, so I still got a medal. Woo-hoo for me!
When I tell you the Principal of our School was mad, I mean if he was a cartoon there would be steam coming out of his whole body. He was silently screaming at me. Telling me how much I embarrassed him, the school, myself, and most importantly God.
I very calmly explained, ‘I only participated like my Teacher told me to do…’
I know that nothing happened to the Teacher for making me do that event, but I was never forced to sign up for anything I didn’t want to again.”
24. Be In The Conference Room At The Scheduled Time? Sure, I'll Be There
“A couple of decades ago I was working as a network engineer for a consulting company. The company owner, Kim, was the best salesperson I’ve ever met. She had a temper (threw a shoe at me once), but great technical knowledge and knew when she didn’t know something.
After I’d been there a couple of years, we got a new engineering manager. We all called him Richard.
Nice enough guy.
Normal company policy had always been that meetings would be announced over the intercom when they were ready to start. We had engineering meetings once a month, early morning. The next one was announced a little later than normal, but eventually, it was announced and we all headed over.
Richard was not happy that few people were in the conference room at the time the meeting was scheduled to start.
He made it crystal clear to us all that in the future meetings would not be announced over the intercom and he expected us all to be in the conference room at the time meetings are scheduled to start.
We all knew the reason for that policy was that the owner was never ready for a meeting to start at the scheduled time. She was always running late or the previous meeting ran over, whatever.
New manager flexing his authority and trying to whip us into shape with a dumb rule? Yeah, we didn’t say anything.
A few hours later it is time for a meeting that actually includes the company owner. I head over to the conference room a few minutes early to find the door closed. I wait until meeting time, knock on the door, poke my head in and ask if this was the meeting.
The owner is like ‘What the heck! No. You know we announce meetings over the intercom. Why would you think this was the meeting?’
Me: ‘Our new engineering manager announced at the engineering meeting this morning that meetings would no longer be announced over the intercom and we were expected to be in the conference room at the time meetings are scheduled to start.’
I’m surprised his head didn’t explode, the look she gave him.
Kim: ‘Meetings will be announced over the intercom when they are ready to start.’
Me: ‘Ok, thank you.’
That was the one and only time he ever announced a new policy.”
23. Accuse Me Of Stealing Your Work? Hope You Like Me Asking For Permission
“Many years ago, in a previous life, I was an investigator in a robbery/homicide/vice section of the organization. I had a partner, Karen, whom I worked well with for the preceding year. I had been warned about her backstabbing behavior in other sections, but I foolishly ignored it. Leading up to the incident she had been assigned three child exploitation cases that all she had to do was confirm the facts of the case and she would have probable cause to obtain warrants.
In spite of my reminders to perform the tasks, she waited until the 11th hour and then went on vacation without having completed the tasks. So, I did it for her. She could now go to a judge without further action.
When she returned, she was livid and accused me of ‘stealing her work.’ I said if she had done that for me I would have bought her lunch.
From that point on our professional relationship deteriorated and I recalled the warnings I was given about Karen that mirrored my experience. A couple of months later our idiot supervisor mistakenly assigned Karen and me the same case. I made contact with members of the task force and spoke with the officer who originated the case. Karen overheard my last conversation and blew her stack, saying words to the effect of, ‘You’re stealing my work again! I was assigned that case! You’re trying to make me look bad!’
I calmly explained that the idiot supervisor assigned me the case and I showed her the paperwork.
She would have none of that though. I offered to buy her breakfast and talk it out, but she told me to screw off and added, ‘You do not do anything on my case without my permission! Do you understand?’
So, I relinquished the case. For the next month, Karen tried to throw me under the bus for anything and everything, going into the idiot supervisor’s office and complaining about me.
I’d get called into the idiot supervisor’s office for a 16-minute coffee break or other such nonsense.
Well, a triple homicide case came down the pipe and she wanted it bad, schmoozing the idiot supervisor to give her the case. Rather than ask me personally, she had the idiot supervisor approach me to do the forensics portion. I told him that I was told not to do anything on her case without her permission and I didn’t want to get in trouble or upset her so I was going to need permission for everything in writing before I did it.
I needed permission to pack the forensic kit. Exactly how many paper bags, plastic bags, etc. How many markers? How many swabs? I would need her written permission to enter the crime scene. How many entry photos? What distance? How would I collect each piece of evidence? How would I label them?
I told the idiot supervisor to make sure she understood that because I was not to do anything on her case without her permission. He scurried off and then returned a short time later and told me that she didn’t want the case and that it was mine.”
22. Boss Said No Shorts, So I Wore A Kilt Instead
“I work at an office that sells bulk goods to businesses that use them, like retail outlets, etc. Our office doesn’t usually have a strict dress code but we recently got a new boss, Jerk, who is quite literally the stick up my behind. He’s constantly yelling at everyone about basic crap, like punching in a minute or two late/early or being a word or two off the script during outbound/inbound calls.
Dealing with him, in general, has made me hate the job more.
As it’s getting hotter I’ve been wearing khaki shorts to work for the past few days, which is something I’ve always done for the past few years and nobody has confronted me about it before, so I figured nothing would change this year. But boy was I wrong. About halfway through my shift this boss comes to my desk and realizes I’m wearing shorts and is visibly annoyed.
He mutters something under his breath and goes back to his office. An hour later I was called into his office, where he proceeded to berate me about breaking the dress code. He was fuming, and ended the meeting with ‘From now on you follow the dress code to the book, or you’re fired!’
Say no more, boss.
That night I went home and read up on the dress code rules.
There was in fact a rule against shorts, so I was annoyed but kept on. And then I found it, there is no rule preventing males to wear skirts/kilts. Here’s where I devised my plan.
I immediately ordered a pink and white striped kilt online, as well as matching knee-high socks and a shirt. There were no rules stated in the dress code against any of this (surprisingly).
About a week later the clothes arrived, and here is what ensued the following workday.
I walked in, wearing my new pink business outfit, and immediately the whole office is staring at me, and the boss who came in to cover another boss’s shift in the morning was beet red in the face and yelled at me to come in his office. He goes on a 10-minute rant about how I’m a useless employee, and that he’s going to fire me for not following the dress code to a T.
I simply stated, ‘I am in dress code, I urge you to read the employee handbook.’ He ended up reading the whole thing in front of me, and I could see him getting angrier and angrier as he realized I didn’t break any rules.
I asked him, ‘Am I free to go back to work?’
And he looked at me with a death glare, muttered something under his breath, and waved me off.”
21. Think You Know Everything? I'll Show You Who's Right
“I worked in homes for disabled adults for over a decade. Every client had an ISP (individual service plan), and as a caregiver, it was our job to know what was outlined in each plan.
Every year, the local baseball team hosts a night for the group homes. This was also when HR would come with any home that might need a hand. I got stuck with one of the most annoying HR people several years ago.
Terry just thought she knew everything. She kept telling me I couldn’t take photos of the clients (I could, we had photo permission), that one client didn’t need their wheelchair to walk to the seating (they did), etc. We were seated next to another home that I used to be at, and so, I helped those staff as needed, too.
One client had in his plan that his socks, braces, and shoes only had to be worn in the van for safety reasons.
We had worked hard with him to get to that point – there was a lot of upset and punching involved, but we got there.
Well, see, Terry thought she knew everything, and insisted that this client had to have his footwear on. We kept trying to tell her that he wouldn’t tolerate it. Her answer? ‘Just do it, I’m right, you’re wrong.’
Cue malicious compliance.
‘Okay bud, we have to put your footwear back on!’ And the other staff and I wrestled everything on.
Not 5 minutes later, one shoe went sailing and landed next to Terry. ‘Oh, bud, we can’t throw our shoes!’ Next went the brace and sock – which hit poor Terry in the back of the head. Soon after, while we were picking up those items, off came the other footwear, of which the shoe and the sock hit her head this time. ‘Whoops! I know you don’t like these, but we have to put them back on!’
Again, everything was stripped and launched.
Every single thing hit Terry in the head again. I went to gather his things, and said, ‘I am so sorry. We will get these back on ASAP.’
She handed them back to me, and said, ‘Forget it. Obviously, the ISP needs to state that he can’t have his footwear on. Let me make a note.’ She looks at his plan, looks at us, looks at it again. ‘Oh. He only has to have them on in the van?’
20. I Parked Wrong And Paid My Ticket But Still Got My Money Back
“On one summer Saturday afternoon I was moving to a new flat. There were ‘no parking’ lines in front of my new building, but loading was allowed, so I left my car there and started to run up and down the stairs with boxes of my belongings. After the last heavy box landed on the floor of my new flat, I really needed a drink, so I started to rummage the boxes looking for a glass or a cup.
One thing led to another and when at 2 am I finished unpacking, I went to bed for a well-deserved sleep.
My building had two entry doors, so it was only Tuesday morning when I used the same doors again and bumped into my car parked right in front of them. ‘Darn, I forgot to move my car after I emptied it of my boxes, let’s hope I did not get a ticket’ – I thought.
There was nothing on my windscreen, no letter came to me over the next couple of weeks, so I just sighed in relief and forgot about all this.
A few months later a strange letter came. Glasgow City Council informed me that I haven’t paid some fine and that if I don’t pay it now, I will have to pay 50% extra. I had no idea what it is about, so truthfully I answered by asking what is it all about as I can’t recall any unpaid tickets.
In the next letter, they informed me that the ticket is for parking my car on a double yellow line. I answered, again truthfully, that I don’t park on double yellow lines, as as a former trucker I am aware of how annoying it is for drivers of bigger vehicles, not to mention that I would like a fire engine to get to my place in case there is a fire.
They answered that they have proof. I then politely asked them to show me that proof.
In the next letter, there was a picture of my car clearly parked on double yellow lines. I instantly recalled the situation described in points 1 and 2. I see no reason to play foul if I was clearly in the wrong, so since there was a copy of the ticket attached to the picture, I decided to pay the fine instantly.
It was written on the ticket that if I pay within 28 days from receiving the ticket (not: from the day of its issue), then I only need to pay 30 pounds. I wrote a letter apologizing for my behaviour, explaining that it was a genuine oversight, but since I was in the wrong, I am to pay a ticket, so I attached a check for 30 pounds.
The check was cashed, yet some weeks later I received yet another letter demanding to pay 60 pounds. It claimed that since I failed to pay and it is now more than three months, I have to now pay 50% extra. I answered that I paid within 28 days from the moment I saw the ticket for the first time, I got a 50% discount and that they’ve already cashed a check so it is surely some mistake.
They answered again that they count this 30 pounds towards the total of 90, so I still have 60 pounds to pay. I answered again, that I paid within 28 days from the date the ticket was first delivered to me, so we should be square.
I was lectured that if the ticket is put behind the windscreen wiper, it is considered to be delivered properly. I expressed my doubts, pointing out that if it was delivered properly, I would be aware of its existence.
I pointed out that a ticket that is placed behind the windscreen of the parked car can be removed by anyone so this is hardly a safe and reliable method of delivering important documents.
The answer explained the matter to me in detail: the ticket, that was placed behind a windscreen wiper of the car registered to me can be considered as a ticked delivered to me, as removing such ticket is an offence, so I can’t expect them to act on the basis of the assumption that such ticket would be removed.
In my answer I politely thanked for this knowledge, admitting that it is new to me. I also informed them that I’ve put a check for 60 pounds into an envelope and I placed it behind the windscreen wiper of the bin lorry.
This time it took them longer to respond. The response can be summed up very shortly ‘What the heck? What bin lorry?’ I was happy to explain.
I quoted their previous letter and pointed out that since this bin lorry was registered to Glasgow city council and putting important documents behind a windscreen wiper of a vehicle belonging to the recipient is considered to be a proper way of delivering them, I consider the check to be delivered properly and hope that this will help to bring the matter to its end.
The next answer arrived much quicker.
It is probably due to this rush that was slightly below the standards expected from the official letter sent to a taxpayer by a city council. To sum it up, the letter stated that one should not place important documents behind the windscreen wiper of a vehicle, as they can be easily stolen. There was also some doubt risen about my sanity.
I was happy to ensure them, that I feel perfectly well both on the grounds of my body and my psyche.
I reminded them that stealing is a crime, and therefore we should not act on the basis of the assumption that someone would steal their check from under the windscreen wiper of the bin lorry.
I guess they were no longer amused. The next letter contained PLENTY OF GIANT, RED LETTERS and informed me, that the matter will be now dealt with by Sheriff Officers and Messengers in Arms.
But if I don’t like it, I can always appeal to a Parking Tribunal in Edinburgh. Of course, I did not like it, so I appealed to a Parking Tribunal in Edinburgh.
The Parking Tribunal in Edinburgh was initially unable to understand the issue: I paid my ticket, I agree that my car was parked on double yellow lines and I still want to appeal? I then explained to them that I am not willing to contradict the ticket itself, but I am not happy with the fact that I am charged extra even despite the fact, that I paid a fine within 28 days from receiving a ticket.
They finally agreed to consider the case and set a date during one of their sittings in Glasgow, thus sparing me the trouble of travelling to Edinburgh.
About a week before the set date, I received a letter from Glasgow City Council. It said that my ticket was cancelled. Now, that’s a different story. I rushed to write a letter in which I pointed out that if the ticket had to be cancelled, then I assumed it was issued wrongly and therefore I paid funds I should not have. I demanded my 30 pounds be returned to me.
I never got any more letters regarding this matter. But on one sunny summer Sunday I logged into my internet banking to discover a payment of 30 pounds from Glasgow City Council.”
19. Set On Improving Production? Good Luck With That
“I recently started working at a company specializing in high-end CNC work. Think aerospace, automotive, and defense contracts that run in three shifts, 24 hours a day, so they can keep the machines running. This is not my malicious compliance, but rather past compliance that I was told about that I am now reaping the benefits of.
When I started I was told that employees were free to take their 30 min paid lunch whenever they wanted.
How nice I thought, a company that’s not micromanaging. After talking with some of the old-timers I discovered the reason this policy was put back into place.
Some background first. A CNC machine is essentially an automated mill. You stick a metal billet or casting into it, it does some magic, and a machined part is created. Lots of cuts made, holes drilled and tapped, all very precisely.
This process can take minutes or hours based on how much/how precise machining takes place. Generally the more expensive the part, the more time spent on the machine.
The story is that a new manager was hired several years ago and immediately set about ‘improving production’. Apparently part of their grand plan was having everyone take their lunches at exactly the same time so as to provide accountability.
Since everyone was taking lunches at various times the theory was that people taking 32 minutes instead of 30 was costing productivity and thus could be improved. No one actually had any record of these 32-minute breaks, but they must have been going on, right?
Since most of the processes took longer than 30 minutes people would take their breaks so that they had just placed a part in, went on lunch, and then came back to continue the job (mostly checking that the previously made part was withstanding tolerance) as the CNC machine worked through the time spent on break.
The new system meant that people would take their lunches and the machines were left in….. DOWNTIME, the most dreadful thing an owner can imagine. No one there to put new parts into the machine means machines not running. Which means parts not being completed. Which means money not being made. People would stop work at precisely lunchtime, regardless of if that meant the machine would stand idle without a part to work on. Machinists would arrive precisely 30 minutes later to start up again.
Since the longer processes were the most affected the most expensive parts were the heaviest hit. Production slumped, shipments got delayed, customers were angry, and eventually the new manager was fired.
The policy was returned to its original ‘take it whenever just please don’t let the machines stop’ form.”
18. Process Contracts Faster? Okay, But You'll Lose Bonus
“I work with a federal contractor responsible to buy or bundle hardware and software any govt organization needs and review the contract in terms of financial viability and legal clauses. In other words, ensure we make money and we are legally covered. The contracts range from $5k to $40M.
Our company went through a re-organization (i.e. fire people and give more work to people still left with the company while paying us peanuts).
We are a small company with less than 200 employees and trying to retain our government customers while big companies like Amazon cloud will replace us in less than 10 years. The government customers love working with us because this is the only thing we do and treat the customers better than big contractors who don’t care.
They laid off 30 people from my team of 50.
So now 20 people do the work for 50 people at the same salary. We are paid by the month and not work hours and we don’t get sales bonuses (important in the story).
I have a habit of reviewing everything carefully and spending hours on each contract even one that just makes us a few thousand dollars. Govt vendor selection process is slow and they are VERY risk-averse so a lot of customers start at a few thousand dollars and end up in an 8 or 9-figure contract if everything goes well.
Since people were laid off I was struggling with the work volume and as a result, contracts were piling up. The sales director i.e. different team did not like me as I was slow and also catching any tricks the sales team tried to play by over-promising the customer or something shady. Government clients/customers loved working with me, the support I provided and was truthful regarding our capability and our drawbacks.
This was something else the director hated me for since he thought I am tanking sales. However, almost all my clients were repeat customers for over a decade.
For example, Sales wanted a school district to buy outdated dell windows laptops while the entire state was moving towards new cheaper Chromebooks. Schools don’t have the budget and whatever they buy stays for 5+ years. Sales were offloading expensive useless stuff to get better bonuses and also charging customers nearly a million dollars to provide ‘IT support’ for faults arising from ancient hardware.
During my conversation with the school district, I shared examples of state governments in the northeast buying Chromebooks and saving funds while future-proofing the hardware. It was my job to get the best quote for customers and develop trust to sign a 5 or 10-year contract. So, this school district bought Chromebooks which were 40% cheaper and had less than 20% of the previously quoted IT support cost.
As a result, the sales team lost a few thousand $ in bonus but we brought this customer with us for a 5-year contract.
The sales director got annoyed as I was working on small contracts at a slow pace and reprimanded me in front of our manager. The manager did not care and did not defend me and asked: ‘Why don’t you follow what the sales director says and stop fussing over small contracts.’
I said small contracts turn into big ones hence I should pay attention to them as well.
Mistakes in small contracts could harm us if the contract becomes big. I am struggling at work because you gave me the job of 3 or 4 people. At this point he was shouting at me that I don’t understand contracts, he has been doing this stuff for 5 years and he makes more in a month than I do in a year so I should listen to him and not question him.
This was a bit insulting as I live in a shared apartment and am struggling to make ends meet while he drives an expensive luxury car and just goes out on fancy lunches with government employees.
I asked the sales director to send an email with a list of ‘suggestions’ to improve my work. He rudely complied and said ‘Can you not even remember what I just said in the meeting?’
His email said ‘Do not review contracts less than $100K and ‘trust’ sales team that due diligence has been done’.
I replied by copying my manager in the email that this could create liability in the future and want him to confirm again that the sales team will do financial and legal compliance themselves for the small contracts and I need to stop revising small government contracts below $100k with no exceptions unless told otherwise. This was gold.
Instead of 2 hours, I spent 10 minutes on small contracts, and voila backlog cleared and I am home by 6-30 PM.
Now, a contract worth 10K comes through. I found some issues with this contract since it said that we offer 30% rebates to our software providers. This was something we stopped doing 5 years ago and now we just offer software providers a 5 to 10% rebate on contracts. Also, I knew the government client recently got a massive budget and was on a spending spree (part of my job).
There is a high chance that this $10k customer will become a $100M and the 30% rebate means we have to give $30M on top of the usual cost.
But I remembered what the sales director said ‘Why don’t you follow what the sales director says and stop fussing over small contracts’.
So 10 minutes later I email ‘No issues detected based on compliance check by the sales team’.
As I mentioned government contracts are slow, no one cared/raised the 30% rebate issue since it was just a $10k customer. 10 months later the state government customer said they want to work with us and get at least the same terms or better terms for a new $50M contract.
This was the largest contract in our company’s history.
The sales director happily gave him a handshake deal that we will offer the same or better terms.
Government can legally just buy more on their current contract so the Sales director had no issues promising the same terms.
Given contract size, everyone from legal, IT, and finance gets involved to work on just one contract. For 3 months everyone worked on one contract.
The sales team was giddy that they will get million-dollar bonuses. I don’t get a sales bonus to ensure I protect customers and the company.
The finance team finishes their review and said the company is going to lose $8M and not make anything. Everyone is shocked, the sales director gave a deal without checking with us and we cannot go back on something we offer. Changing contract terms is frowned upon by the government and they have legal contracts stating ‘NOTHING WILL CHANGE’. We are legally obligated to offer the government the same terms for 3 years.
The legal team says we need to take a hit on our balance sheet and swallow the losses.
The CEO called a big meeting in a fancy conference room with big TV screens and everyone had to find a scapegoat to take the blame. Every department lead, manager, and person involved in this contract were summoned.
The sales leader had to explain to his team why they won’t get bonuses on this big contract they spent over 3 months.
Finally legal and finance meet and share their findings. We lost funds due to the 30% rebate clause. The sales director goes crazy and blames me in front of everyone and asks me to pack my stuff in front of 30 people. Follows by saying I am terrible at my job despite 100% customer satisfaction.
I calmly opened my laptop and connected the display cable and opened Outlook while displaying his email on 3 big TV screens stating that I should stop reviewing small contracts.
While all 30 people read the email with a faint smile I await the sales director’s reaction. He goes into rage mode claiming I misunderstood his email and am terrible at my job. Then I scroll down where he ignored my warning regarding potential liability to the company and his response explicitly asked me to ignore that. His face turned white when he realized he messed up.
He then blabbered trying to find some other scapegoat making racist tirades against our IT consultants in Vietnam and just lost it.
I was told to spend 2-3 hours on each contract and the company eventually figured out that it is cheaper for them to hire 20 people like me and pay us $70K every year than to take big losses on their contracts. Our team has 40 members now, still less than 50 but enough to offset the contract volume.
Because of the losses sales director had to pay back his previous year’s bonus as he had a clawback clause with the company i.e. if you screw up you need to pay us. The sales director had to pay nearly $300K and was fired from his job.
He then sued our company for wrongful termination and we just heard today that he lost the case and now owes us another 200k legal fee. Now he owes over half a million to our company.”
17. Turning A Molehill Into A Mountain? Hope You Appreciate My Solution
“There are four primary types of participants in my industry: manufacturers, vendors, buying consortiums, and patients. I work for a manufacturer, Widgets, Inc. We sell to vendors who in turn sell to patients. The consortiums work out deals with us for our products and pass those products and savings on to specific vendors for a piece of the action.
I take a call from a patient, Monsieur Miserables.
This is unusual, as very rarely will we, the manufacturer, deal directly with patients. They’re supposed to go through their vendor/provider who then contacts us. M. Miserables is having a big problem with the new widgets we made for him. They’re not working properly and appear to be defective. This is definitely our fault and something that is pretty easily resolved but it has to go through the proper channels.
We can’t issue M. Miserables new widgets directly, so I advise him to go back and talk to his provider, Dr. Schmuck.
It turns out that Dr. Schmuck has been singularly unhelpful. He’s been telling the patient that he, Dr. Schmuck, can’t do anything without the approval of the consortium the widgets were purchased through, TrueBluff. He’s lying. This is an easy fix for us. M. Miserables has gotten in touch with TrueBluff.
TrueBluff tells the patient they’ve been in contact with us, Widgets, Inc., and that we’re making them jump through hoops to resolve this. They’re lying. They haven’t. And again, this is an easy fix for us. TrueBluff is also pointing the blame back at Dr. Schmuck.
M. Miserables is disgusted and angry with the lot of us, but he really liked his widgets until they stopped working so he wants to give us a chance to make it right.
I tell M. Miserables that this is an easy fix but for legal reasons, I can’t work directly with him, that he must go through a licensed vendor like Dr. Schmuck. M. Miserables tells me that they, Dr. Schmuck and TrueBluff, gave him our phone number and told him that we, Widgets, Inc., would ‘take care of the problem’ for him.
Oh DID they now?
See, patients aren’t supposed to have this phone number.
This number is for vendors and consortiums to call on. I’d been thinking that M. Miserables was a spillover from the Consumer Relations line. Nope! M. Miserables called us directly. And when Dr. Schmuck and TrueBluff said that Widgets, Inc would ‘take care of the problem’ what they meant was ‘they’ll cover for our screwup.’ They’re basically throwing us under the bus since they think there’s no way we can resolve the situation ourselves.
They’ve taken a simple and easy problem and turned it into a catastrophe they’ve dumped in my lap. But sure, I know how to ‘take care of the problem’.
Me: ‘Well, M. Miserables, it sounds to me like Dr. Schmuck and TrueBluff are the problem. Now, there is a very simple and easy way to fix this but for legal reasons, I can’t process it for you directly.
The request has to be submitted to us by a licensed provider. For ethical reasons I can’t tell you what you should do but I can tell you what you can do. You can, if you like, go back to Dr. Schmuck and TrueBluff and ask them to submit to me a request to process this, again, very simple and easy fix, or, alternatively, I have a list here of other providers in your area.
If you prefer, you can return your existing widgets to Dr. Schmuck for credit, go to one of these other providers, and tell them that you want to order duplicates of your widgets and that you do not want to work with TrueBluff. I am terribly sorry for the trouble. We at Widgets, Inc. want to make sure you get the right widgets for you. I’m not sure why Dr.
Schmuck and TrueBluff have been giving you such a hard time. Would you like a list of other providers? Oh, you would? Wonderful! Here’s the list. Oh, and thank you for letting us know about the situation with Dr. Schmuck and TrueBluff. We appreciate the feedback. You have a good, no, a better day now.’
Was I laying it on a bit thick? Absolutely. But I ‘took care of the problem’. I hope Dr. Schmuck and TrueBluff appreciated my solution.”
16. Can't Talk To A Paying Customer Like That? Fine, I Won't
“Running the drive-thru for fast food has its ups and downs. The ‘ups’ are when we manage to find the humor in the stupidity/weirdness/quirkiness of others, and the ‘downs’ are when we’re treated like absolute garbage.
I’ll start off by saying a quote that Dave Thompson, founder of Wimpy’s, said:
‘Once a customer insults an employee of mine they are no longer a customer.’ If this was an actual quote I could truly say THIS is the malicious compliance, but it lies truly in the fact the customer I’m about to write about didn’t pay for her food.
I wouldn’t let her.
So Mumbles McGee comes in hot on the drive-thru, sputtering her seriously-unintelligible garbage to the tune of
‘I need a burger with pickies and ons and mustard, not ketchup but mustard and no mayo and a chocolate shuck’. This is EXACTLY how it sounded, except ‘Shuck’ really sounded like ‘Chunk’ the way she pronounced it.
I tried to explain to her as she rattled this off that first, I need her to slow down, and second, I needed to know WHAT burger (we have a 2-ounce and a four-ounce burger).
Third, it works better if the customer either says what they DO want, or what they DON’T as a very distant second, but still doable. (I once had a customer list ten things they didn’t want. It was probably Julia Stiles, otherwise known as Ten toppings I hate about You. Rest in peace Heath Ledger). However, listing things that you want with things you DON’T, then unnecessarily repeating the unimportant information is just confusing as heck.
I decided to ask her ‘Okay do you want a Dave’s Single or a junior hamburger? And what toppings DO you want?’
Mumbles ‘continues’: ‘OhmaygardIwannaburgerWith and a chocolate shuck.’
I managed to get the toppings she wanted by some miracle, then I asked about the ‘shuck’. To be clear, it sounded like Chocolate chunk, which is a cookie we have. We also have a ‘Frotty’, which is a shake I guess.
All this time my shift supervisor is hovering around, and my fellow employees are getting antsy knowing stuff is about to go down.
Then it does.
‘Are you stupid!? Oh my GOD, a chorcolip Churp!’ I swear she got less intelligible with each passing second, I almost called an ambulance, but I was too angry about being called stupid.
I said, ‘Ma’am I’m doing what I can with what you’re giving me here, please pull forward.’
I think it’s hilarious how people who call others stupid are literally the stupidest looking people I’ve ever seen.
She didn’t disappoint. Ratty hair, rosacea, late 50s, dumb look on her face that is trying to look angry, but I ain’t buying it. Looks too forced. Frank Gallagher wouldn’t give her the time of day.
By this time I’ve decided I’m going to tell her off, and as she pulls up she starts spitting at me while saying, ‘Is there a Manager???!!!’
I interrupted her by quoting my other manager I remembered who said ‘Ma’am you can’t go insulting our employees because we don’t understand you, you need to just shut up.’
My shift supervisor chimes in.
‘OP, you can’t talk to paying customers like that!’
Enter Malicious Compliance.
I since shut the window on her, as she still continues to yell to the open air, while my shift supervisor knows I’m angry and he decides to back down on this as I tell him how little I care about a crap-paying job, and I’ll have two more of these by the time I get back home, and that management needs to take care of us (we JUST got done with an ordeal where a customer called one of our employees dumb, and the management paid lip service to us but still apologized to the customer…
two-faced jerk). I was so mad that I was willing to pay for her crap so I could tell her off.
That’s what I did.
I handed out her food, wouldn’t let ‘Samantha’ collect on it, told her ‘Here, we don’t want your greasy money, get the heck out of here, and don’t come back without an apology letter.’
This shift supervisor knew exactly what this woman was ordering because she’s done this bull crap before to other employees (evidently). I can’t believe they let her keep coming back. I’m taking a stand on this one. And I never paid for her food, I just let the Crap Supervisor figure it out. She never paid, but I’ll be darned if I’m actually going to pay for her.
And by the way, Chocolate Churk means Chocolate ‘Frosty’. Who knew?”
15. Not Medically Qualified? Enjoy The Medical Emergencies
“I work in a prison and working in a prison means a responsibility to ensure the well-being of inmates. As expected, this includes medical needs. Anything you would see a doctor for the inmates would as well. The procedure would be to send a ‘medical kite’ or letter to medical with concerns, symptoms, etc., and request to be seen. For a true emergency (chest pains, trouble breathing) an inmate can declare a ‘medical emergency’; this is the equivalent of calling emergency services.
When a medical emergency is requested a radio call is made with the location, nature of the emergency, and the requested type of service needed such as facility medical staff, custody staff, and outside medical services. When a medical emergency or ‘code’ is called the facility is locked down. Meaning no movement for the inmates, lunch being served? Sorry, you will have to wait to eat while this code is going on.
Time for you to go to work? Sorry, you’re going to lose some pay until this code is clear.
As expected, there are incarcerated individuals that are not all that mentally stable. They will declare a medical emergency for a hurt toe or heartburn. Now as a regular person I am aware a hurt toe is not a medical emergency so I (and many others) would advise the inmate to kite medical and request to be seen.
This system seemed to work for a long time until the administration began to receive complaints from the inmates that staff was ignoring the requests to declare medical emergencies.
‘You are not medically trained’ was the answer we received when we tried to explain the reason for ‘ignoring’ medical emergencies. ‘Do your job and declare the medical emergencies.’ Message received loud and clear.
Over the next week, medical emergencies went from 1 a day to 3-4 a day.
Inmate has a stubbed toe? Medical emergency. Constipated? Medical emergency. Itchy Butt? Medical emergency. You get the point. The facility was paralyzed, medical was mad because they had to respond to every call. Food services were mad because a meal that took an hour to serve was now 2-3 hours. The inmates were mad because their yard and gym time was affected.
A week later to the day, an emailed directive was received to stop declaring medical emergencies and to use our judgment. A few staff members kept it going for another week until it faded out. There was no sorry for the inconvenience or you were right, but that email was so satisfying to receive.”
14. You Want Me To Format And Reinstall Everything? Will Do
“I’m the IT guy…or one of them. My customers are many, most of them too lazy to push a power button without first making a 30-minute phone call to argue their case as to why I should push the power button for them. I will refer to them as VIPs.
Now, the VIPs have many thousands of computer systems. Some of these computer systems are not used at all during most of the year, but they are HEAVILY used for several weeks at a time.
So, for example, the computer might be doing very important tasks 24 hours a day for all of the month of February…but then put in storage and not touched at all for the next several months.
The computers have to be updated monthly (every month, software updates), or they are banned from the network, making them as useful as paperweights. The VIPs are responsible to update the computers as it would be impossible for the IT folks to do so.
First, there is like 1 IT guy for every 1000 computers (and the updates require ‘touch’ labor). Second, the IT folks don’t know where the computers are stored, and wouldn’t normally be able to access the computers anyway.
The monthly required software updates involve simply connecting the computers to the network and turning them on so that the servers can push updates to the computers. But simply taking the computers out of storage and turning them on is considered to be a real hassle by the VIPs who are responsible to do that every month.
So, some VIPs came up with what they THINK is a better plan, to save VIP time and energy. The plan is simple. Don’t do the required monthly updates, let the computers get banned from the network for missing the monthly updates. And then, right before the computers are needed… turn in the broken computers to the IT guys to have the hard drive (SSDs, now) formatted and Windows and software installed from scratch.
This leaves the IT guys (like me) scrambling to repair hundreds of computers in a very short amount of time… and these are computers that were literally killed by neglect.
But this particular IT guy is OK with that plan. First, it’s job security. IT guys are needed, obviously… if the VIPs are destroying their own equipment. Second, the VIP plan of computer maintenance backfires in a huge way.
Anybody remotely familiar with Windows knows that monthly updates take a very long time to install, often taking several re-boots. Each re-boot feels like it takes a half-hour (it’s like watching grass grow). And that is just one month’s worth of updates.
When the lazy VIPs bring us computers that haven’t been updated in several months, the IT guys are required to spend a few hours restoring each computer to the exact state that it was in SEVERAL MONTHS AGO.
As soon as it can connect to the network successfully, it must immediately be returned to the VIPs who own it.
This means that when the VIPs desperately need to use the computers for important tasks RIGHT NOW…that is the exact moment that Windows starts pulling several months’ worth of missed updates, making the computer impossible to use for several hours…
And the VIPs scream (loudly!) that they can’t use their computers when needed!!! (oh, the irony).”
13. You Want Us To Test Out All The Camera Features? I'll Test Out Its Impact Resistance
“The year was 2011, I was a lead over several departments in a big box chain. Each season, as our vendors launched new product lines in different departments, we’d be sent to training expos where we’d meet representatives from all of the big companies and they’d each tell us why they had the best whatever, and what fancy new features were on the way, so our salespeople would be informed, etc.
There would be cheap catering, small contests to win Starbucks gift cards, a day away from the store, that sort of thing.
The holidays were fast approaching, and we went to the year’s electronics expo ahead of Black Friday. Toshiba, Sony, Samsung, etc., all the big players were there introducing their lineups and we’d rotate from section to section as groups and get a presentation.
Being this was 2011, pocket digital cameras were still a thing people actually purchased, as cell phone cameras weren’t as advanced and storage was smaller.
I don’t remember which brand I was at, but along with their TVs, soundbars, etc, they introduced a new model of camera. One of the big features that they stressed about this fancy, expensive camera was that it was extremely durable. Water-resistant to about 15 feet, and could survive a fall of something like 10 feet onto concrete. They even had a pitcher of water they dunked it into while it was recording to show us it was fine.
So the presentation ends and they start passing a few things to us, seated in a circle, instructing us to try them out and familiarize ourselves with the features.
As the camera was passed to me, in one fluid motion I received it and then tossed it over my shoulder onto the concrete floor of the expo hall. The group went dead silent and stared at me as the camera clattered for a few feet behind me.
‘I was testing the new impact resistance feature you told us about. That was way less than 10 feet.’
Aftermath: The camera still worked, the vendor reps put on a phony laugh and smile but were angry at me, and for the rest of the expo any time anything was handed to me someone would yell not to throw it. Nothing else featured being able to survive a fall, so there wasn’t a need, anyway.”
12. Lied About My Position? I'll Surpass You By Getting My Dream Job
“A few years ago, I worked at a big retail company and had for many years. Eventually, I went through enough grad school education to get my license to work at a higher level. Much more pay, more job satisfaction, more responsibilities, and fancy title, but the job market was rough. I stayed on with my company to work in a ‘floater’ position, where I would cover a large area and work at all the stores within that area on a rotating but irregular basis.
Eventually, I wanted to get a staff position, where I have a single store assigned. The area was huge, the furthest store being over 100 miles from my home, and that is exactly where I was assigned to train for the new role.
It was a rough store, folks in my position were robbed and assaulted at gunpoint, the neighborhood was very unfriendly, volume at the store was among the highest in the state.
Staff turnover was, as you might expect, extreme.
Well, after training I wasn’t really being scheduled to float to other stores. Once a month, at most. I asked to be scheduled a little more diversely since most of the stores in my area were much closer to my home and didn’t require 4 hours of driving a day. Bossman told me that I was the only floater experienced enough to handle that store.
I didn’t buy it, but what can you do right? Well, a colleague told me about the mileage reimbursement policy. Floaters working at a store more than 50 miles from home can file for reimbursement of mileage over that 50 miles each way, and can even include meals.
So I filled a few of these out and sent them to my boss to sign. He didn’t quite refuse, but he never actually signed and filed them.
I suspect as soon as I left his office at our district center he tossed them out. Bossman tells me later that they must be ‘lost in the system.’ Eventually, the same colleague showed me how to fax those same forms to accounts payable, bypassing the district bossman. So I started doing just that.
One day Bossman calls me in a panic. He wants to stop my filing the forms.
I ask to be floated closer to home, but he won’t budge. He needs me at that miserable store. He promises me he’ll make me a staff role at that store if I promise to stop faxing those forms. Staff roles are a promotion and usually come with better pay and a few other little conveniences, so I agree. Bossman says there won’t be a pay bump right away, but that it’ll come down the road.
That never happened.
2 years later the situation at the store has become too toxic for even me. I ask to step down from the staff position to be a floater again and be allowed to float to other stores. Bossman says that I am already a floater, never was in a staff position, but that he can’t let me work at other stores because it’s better for me and the customers if I stay there for ‘familiarity.’ ‘Floaters’ do not get scheduled to stores exclusively, so I am being singled out because they are still desperate to cover that dump of a store.
I’m livid, so I start looking. It took me months, but eventually, I found an opportunity to make my dream career transition.
I put in my formal notice and that’s when the fun started.
Remember that whole mileage reimbursement policy? Well I kept meticulous track of all my shifts, and there is no statute of limitations baked into the policy, so I started filling out those reimbursement forms to retroactively cover every single shift from the past 2 odd years.
I skipped the meal part since I didn’t want to go through all that effort of finding receipts. I had a friendly store manager sign off on them, and I started sending them to Accounts Payable directly again.
I didn’t fax them all in at once, but for each shift in my final 2 weeks, I faxed a few dozen in (we still have fax machines in that line of work, believe it or not).
I figured, what do I have to lose? Worst case scenario, Accounts Payable declines the forms.
On my last few shifts, I started getting the checks from accounts payable. Not added to my paycheck but sent to me directly. Mileage reimbursements are non-taxable income, so this was all tax-free funds coming to me.
It must have taken a while for the charges to show up on a balance sheet because a few weeks after my final paycheck I got a call from my now former Bossman.
He wasn’t happy. He got some big loss-prevention manager involved and together they started saying I was breaking some rule by requesting the payments. They specifically claimed I was ineligible because I agreed I wouldn’t be eligible for a staff position. They then threatened legal action against me if I didn’t remit the full amounts back that same week.
But I had the email chain from when Bossman said I was never staff, and always a floater.
I politely referenced that email chain before letting them know firmly that because I was lied to, our prior agreement didn’t apply and I was fully eligible all along. Corporate policy, as confirmed by HR, agreed with me, so I let them know I wasn’t returning a single penny.
In the end, the reimbursements amounted to well over $21,000 USD, and I transitioned into my dream job.
I could say that I would trade the funds back for the time I lost commuting to that miserable store (4 hours every shift), but all that pressure motivated me to make the best career move of my life.
The great satisfaction of not only professionally surpassing my old boss, but getting to tell him that his lies cost him way more on the way out is almost priceless.
I also shared my story and method with MANY colleagues who were being told wrongly by the Bossman that they didn’t qualify for this policy.”
11. You Want Me To Comply? I'll Do That Until You Change Your Ways
“I’m working at a factory making brake tubes. We operate at pretty high numbers (around 30k finished tubes/24 hours). Our former planner was, in my and coworkers’ opinions, pretty good at her job, but she quit recently and we got a new guy – not new at the company and probably knows his job well, but from his first production plan for the week it was clear he never even stopped to think or ask how things work at our workplace.
To clarify some processes: the warehouse gives us ‘raw tubes’, we put screws on them and flare the ends (form something like a mushroom on both ends of the tube – search ‘brake line flare’ on Google Images to get a picture) and we pack the finished products in big metal boxes (in which the raw tubes also come, so we reuse the boxes when they’re empty).
We followed the new plan loosely, only switching some clearly non-optimal ordering – stuff like:
- Changing tools to set 1.
- Making tubes for an hour.
- Changing tools to set 2.
- Making tubes with those tools for another hour.
- Returning the toolset 1 and continuing production.
As it’s more optimal to try to keep tools switching, thus machine downtime, as rare as possible (when you don’t change tools, different products just have different tube lengths and different screws, but you don’t need to adjust settings to make the product within dimensional tolerances…
Sorry, I digress.)
Also when the plan was for 4000 parts of one type, and we had materials for 4500 parts, we finished it all, to avoid adding warehouse manipulators more work with putting the remaining materials back in the warehouse, and also to get one ‘free’ metal box that manipulators don’t have to bring (and also more often than not we are short of the boxes we need).
All troubles peaked when I had an afternoon shift and I was there by myself (usually we are two setters on a shift, but my shift coworker was sick) and so to make things easier for me, the morning shift kept the toolset they were using and I ‘jumped’ to the end of the plan, to do 250 tubes with the same toolset (so I don’t have to change toolsets twice) and then jump back and change the toolset only once.
I finished the product, changed tools… And my boss came to tell me a customer called that they don’t want the tubes anymore, so we shouldn’t have made them. If I went along with the plan, I wouldn’t have made them. Alright, that was our fault, we admitted. But then the planner guy wrote us an angry e-mail, telling us:
- To follow the plan exactly as he made it.
- To not make more tubes than the plan calls for.
Now the malicious compliance finally begins.
We all decided to stick to the letter exactly. 200pcs of 1-meter long tube remains in 5 meters long box? Send it back to the warehouse.
Changing tools 4 times in 4 hours, when we could do it just once? Alright, more downtime, less work for us.
The first two shifts next week returned 7 boxes to the warehouse. We had slightly more work because when we ran out of metal boxes (which were sitting in the warehouse with 200-500 raw tubes inside them), we had to use wooden boxes which are narrower, so you only put slightly more than half the amount compared to the metal box, but we persevered.
Finally, this week at a bosses meeting, they found out our effectivity went down (not by much, but still…), a warehouse leader complained his staff had to move more boxes than before, and suddenly, we are told we can finish raw tubes if there are less than around 700 tubes, and we can move around the plan order if it’s too wrongly ordered. Also, the planner finally accepted our input on how to plan so we don’t have too much downtime changing toolsets.”
10. Decided To Be Cheap With Your Wedding? Enjoy The Unreturnable Gift
“Almost 20 years ago, I was in grad school and one of my cohorts was getting married. However, the couple decided to be as cheap as possible with their wedding and told all their grad-schoolie friends about it. Buying cases of wine that wasn’t great for the reception dinner so they’d have plenty to take home and drink themselves, only registering at very expensive stores with liberal return policies, openly planning to return as much as possible for cash afterward.
Oh, and trying to get me to drive a completely unknown random person 6+ hours to the wedding (rural Minnesota) as a favor.
But, even with regrets, a gift was needed for departmental political reasons, and thus came the malicious compliance.
I am a crafter. I crochet, knit, and weave. The couple knew this. I nonchalantly asked what the wedding colors were. And then I made them a blanket in their wedding colors which I dutifully mailed to the wedding reception as instructed.
Why is this malicious? I knew very well that both families had a lot of older, skilled handcrafters within. Even in my absence, I knew that the bride and groom would have all of their older rural Midwesterner relatives gushing over this blanket and how it must have been a labor of love and weren’t they so grateful to have such a caring friend.
I knew that they would be steaming over a lovely, yet utterly unreturnable gift. I smiled like the Cheshire Cat over their forced thank you card.
They’re still married, although we’ve lost touch. I wonder if they still like the blanket.”
9. You Want To See All Children Not In School Uniform? Alright, Have It Your Way
“I was fresh out of college and went to teach science in a secondary (11-16) school in a rural town in which a lot of the students were the children of farmers and could be quite a challenge. I was only a few years older than some of them and I was walking a very fine line between wanting to be liked and having some level of respect/authority; something that every new teacher will remember.
I had replaced a popular teacher and had been given his tutor group (home group) and they weren’t making it easy for me (to be fair I probably deserved it).
One of the main protagonists was a boy whose father was a successful farmer who happened to be chair of the governors and who was always keen to protest when he wasn’t happy with something (we’ll call him SH as those were his initials and this was 40 years ago!)
The other person involved in this story is the head of year (I’ll call him Geordie) who was an old-timer who had been unsuccessful when applying for the deputy headship and so there was a fair amount of resentment bubbling away which he tended to take out on children (and occasionally staff).
Our school had a uniform policy, I didn’t have a problem with this as such as it does act as a bit of a leveler, especially when families can’t afford the latest fashion and as a tutor, it was my job to make sure my children were appropriately dressed which I was doing to the best of my ability. Anyway, many of the children were in basic uniform but they sometimes pushed the limits of what was acceptable (a common problem was whether footwear was trainers or shoes) but as long as their appearance was within the spirit of the rules I was pretty much OK with it.
Geordie however was not. At a team meeting, he went on a rant about how standards were being allowed to slip and that we were not being vigilant enough. He reminded us that it was our job to maintain standards and ended with the demand that the next day we send to him ‘any child who was not in proper uniform.’ He waved the school handbook at us and told us if we didn’t know what that was, we could find it in there.
I was well angry, I was walking a fine enough line with these students and this wasn’t going to make my life any easier….cue the malicious compliance. I checked the school handbook very carefully and the next morning I was ready. After I had taken the register, I announced that anyone not in proper school uniform would be reporting to Mr. Geordie (groans and protests!).
First of all, I sent a couple of gobs who were always pushing things too far but then I began the malicious element.
The regulations said black v neck jumper. Yours has a round neck, down you go! Is that a logo on your shirt? It says plain white here off you go! The regs also specified plain black socks (they had been written some years earlier and never reviewed). In the early 80s, many children wore white socks (I know!) so down went all the white socks and the atmosphere in the classroom got distinctly more hostile towards me.
Then I singled out SH, the class mouthpiece.
‘Down you go,’ I insisted.
He was furious and came right up to me and was almost in my face. He demanded to know why, so I told him. He was wearing black socks but I had noticed they had 2 colored bands around the top; I explained that the rules specifically said plain black socks and that his were not plain.
He was mad and our eyes locked and then it happened.
To this day I remember how his face changed as he realized that this was not me against him, it was us against Geordie. He then went around the class helpfully pointing out all the minor infringements that I had missed and we ended up sending every child in the class apart from 3 or 4 who were in full uniform and who were frankly disappointed not to be sent down.
Geordie had gone hard on the first few children who went down and then couldn’t treat the others differently so he got it in the neck from parents who didn’t appreciate being contacted about stripy socks.
Shortly after this, the rules were re-written to be more flexible as long as the spirit of the uniform was upheld. From that day on, I had a fantastic tutor group, SH became head boy and was a credit to the school, and worked as hard for me as any child I taught since. And in 40 years of teaching despite many instances of MC, I never managed to top the time my students collaborated with me in an act of MC.”
8. You Want Me To End It Here? Not A Problem
“A few years back I was on an interview panel recruiting for an IT specialist in our company. The interview process was pretty standard, a series of HR-type questions, a technical test, and the presentation of a scenario. If you’ve worked in IT you will be familiar with this.
As we worked through the list we saw some good candidates and some who really were out of their depth.
Then in came ‘that candidate’, you can usually tell by their overconfident attitude and their body language as they sit down. As you would expect this was a guy and he came in, fixed each of us with an intent look in turn, sat down, leaned back in the chair in what I’ve seen as a ‘power position’ and the interview started.
The HR questions went OK, we went through his CV, discussed previous roles and I probed a little deeper on some of his answers as they started to have the odd hole.
We got to the end of that and I said we were going to move on to the technical section of the process. At that point, he said ‘I can save you some time on that, here are all my certifications. I don’t do contrived tests when I have better skills than anyone here,’ and he placed a stack of certificates on the desk. I’d never seen such arrogance in an interview and was taken aback for a moment.
The person from HR stepped straight up and said ‘Thanks for those details, we will take note of that, but everyone who comes for a role here is treated equally, part of our process is a technical test and this has been explained to you by the recruitment agency.’
The chap responded saying ‘Yes, but I explained to the agency, these tests are pointless and I will not be doing it, if you insist on this then you can terminate the interview.’
Fine, I was more than happy to comply with his request.
I said, ‘thank you very much for coming in, I will get the security officer to escort you out.’ We stood up and left him waiting in the meeting room for security, his power pose had gone and he looked totally shocked. The compliance with his request was probably not that malicious on our part; I just followed our company policy on equality in interviews, but I got a real sense of satisfaction seeing his bluster and arrogance evaporate.
He was less than complimentary about us to the recruitment agency, but we were completely open and honest about the events with them. I gather they chose to stop putting him forward for interviews very soon after that.”
7. Company Refused To Pay Me Over Time, So I Left The Jobsite
“This happened years ago, when I was just starting to wake up to companies abusing employees, and employees taking it cause they are just thankful to have a job.
I worked as a sales rep for a company in the technology field. Two-way radios and alarms to be specific. Said company never had enough technical staff so I started training myself, and asked our lead technician to teach me to program and sort out minor problems, as well as do installations.
Which was nice, since I was doing client visits 1-4 times a month, depending on how big the client was, and then I could sort out problems while I was on site.
I ended up doing most of my client’s installations, and the manager of the technical department was happy cause it’s less work for him, and he knows I do the jobs properly cause I want to keep my clients happy.
Accordingly, he had no problem signing my timesheets and overtime hours as well. OT was around 10-20 hours a month, so 2-5 hours a week. Which I think was a great deal considering I was doing the jobs of 2 people actually.
It went well for a few months until one day just before payday I get called in by the MD/owner. He had my timesheets for the past few months in front of him.
He asked me what they were, and I gave him an explanation. He scratched my OT out, saying sales reps don’t get paid OT. I tried to explain to him why I was claiming OT, and that he can ask the tech manager, but he was having none of it. I was mad as it was a little extra pay, but whatever.
About a week later I was at a client about 160km (100mi) from the office.
We had a big installation and was almost done except for programming and tidying up some cables. I checked the time and told the apprentice technician to pack up. He was like but we are not done with the job. I told him I don’t care, I don’t get paid OT, it’s 2 pm and it’s still a 2-hour drive back to the office. We packed up, client comes out and I gave him the explanation, saying we will be back the following morning (to finish what was effectively 30-45min of work).
Client wasn’t happy but understands that I don’t get paid to work late. I was on the road for about 15min when my phone rang. It was the owner (same one that said I don’t get paid OT). He asked what was I doing and why I wasn’t finishing the job, as the client was not happy. I told him the explanation above, and then said that he said I don’t get paid overtime, so I’m not working late, and will drive back to finish tomorrow.
Silence for about 5 seconds as I assume he realized I was following his express instructions, and there was nothing he could do.
He told me to go back and finish the job and we can talk about it later. I told him no unless he pays me OT. He says he will, I tell him to put it in an email before I will turn back.
I could hear him go red in the face, he said he will send it now. I switched on my laptop and connected my dongle (this was still before smartphones and email on our phones). A few minutes later the email came through. We turned around and finished the job. I got paid my overtime, and never again was there a query over my timesheets or hours booked. I was the only rep out of 5 that got paid overtime.”
6. Not Possible To Have A Lunch Break? Okay, Boss, Have It Your Way
“Ok, so this is two stories in one because they both are based in the same company and both include some malicious compliance.
I used to work for a wind turbine manufacturer in service for some years. A bit of background info: Basically our job was wind turbine maintenance and the occasional troubleshooting. Whatever the reason was to go to the turbine site, most of the time required us to stop the turbine (if it wasn’t stopped already due to a fault or something) and go up to do our work.
Anyone who has ever worked in those things, going up there is not a walk in the park. After stopping the turbine, the time to go up with the elevator is about 10 minutes (those things are slow!). Taking off the harness and other stuff also takes some time, as well as putting all the gear back on when leaving. Not to mention that some sites are quite far away.
Here’s the first story:
Because it was time-consuming and complicated to enter and exit the turbine, we usually had our lunch with us, and we ate it up in the turbine. Because we didn’t have an actual lunch break, we just took 10-15 minutes at some point of the day to eat our food and then resume working. We got an allowance which was (can’t remember exactly), 10-15 € a day when we had our lunch in the turbine.
For some weird reason, our boss started to complain about the extra allowance cost and stated that we are not qualified for it since the conditions of the allowance say that the worksite has to be a certain distance away from the actual point of employment. Of course, the distance was not always long enough (depending on the site we were working at), but the rules also continued to state ‘OR if it is otherwise not possible to have a lunch break’.
When we argued that basically, it makes no sense to leave the turbine for a 30-minute lunch break, he said that yes it’s true but TECHNICALLY we have that possibility so we are no longer getting the allowance. We were frustrated and angry.
However, a couple of my colleagues took this quite literally. Because the boss said we have the ‘possibility’ to go out for a lunch, we do just that.
They came to work at 7 am, packed their stuff, and drove to the site. They were at the turbine at about 8 am, got up, gear off, unload the tools, etc.
At that point, it was about 9-9:30 am. They worked for one hour. At 10:30 they started packing loose stuff back into bags, geared up, and got down, at that point it was 11:00. They drove to a restaurant (usually about a 20-30 minute drive).
At that point, it was 11:30. They had their 30 minutes lunch break. After that, they did all of the above in reverse order. By the time they got back, it was closer to 1 pm.
They worked for an hour and a half and started packing up and leaving because our workday ended at 3:30 pm. So what used to be about 10-15 minutes of quick lunch, became 2-2.5 hours in the middle of the day.
After a while, the boss started asking why basic maintenance is taking so long. (usually about 3 days, but now it was more like 5 days.) My colleague calmly explained that since we are not getting the allowance anymore, they are taking their lunch break out of turbine since we ‘technically have that possibility’, and doing that takes more than 2 hours out of work time every day.
Needless to say, the allowance was brought back quite quickly.
Here’s the second story:
We sometimes had on-calls on weekends, mostly Saturdays (8 am-2 pm). They were ONLY for breakdowns and other unexpected faults. We usually started our on-call at-home monitoring with the surveillance system if everything was fine, and if not, we had an hour to leave home. Sometimes just to drive to a distant site to see that some subcontractor had stopped a turbine for work without informing us.
Our boss had noticed this as well, and he said that we need to wait for a call from the on-call dispatcher before we go anywhere, that it is actually the rules. Maybe this way we will eliminate the unnecessary trips. Everyone knew that most of the on-call dispatchers were VERY lazy.
Of all the years I’d already worked in that company, I remember ONE time getting a call from a dispatcher (a new guy).
Half of the time they were even positioned in a different country with a different time zone! We told our boss this, and he said ‘Well it’s their job, you HAVE to wait for a call.’
Ok, let’s do just that then. Just for information: on a windy day, a breakdown costs the customer SERIOUS bucks per hour.
Saturday morning. I wake up at 7:30 am, have some coffee and open the surveillance to see that there is a fault in one of the turbines and it’s stopped.
I message my colleague. He told me not to monitor them and we decide to obediently wait for the dispatcher to give us a green light. 9 am, no call. 10 am, still no call. Turbine is still down, wind is catching up. This site was pretty far, about 1-hour drive away so the dispatcher should definitely react quite quickly. 11:30 am our boss calls.
BOSS: ‘Why is there a turbine stopped and no one is there?’
ME: ‘We are waiting for a dispatcher to call us, as you instructed.’
BOSS: (mumbles something) ‘Just go there.’
ME: ‘But we can’t go unless the dispatcher calls us to go.
It’s the rules, remember?’
My boss left the call and 10 minutes later the dispatcher calls and sounds annoyed. (Apparently, my boss called him).
Dispatcher: ‘I see you have a turbine down, why are you not there?’
ME: ‘Our boss told us to wait for your call, he said it’s the rules.’
Dispatcher: ‘Well now I called so you can go. I can see there is another breakdown at another site as well.
Let’s hope for easy fixes…’ (I can hear him swallowing his pride since he knows it’s his job to call as soon as breakdowns occur).
After we were so late on leaving home and breakdowns accumulated, we got ourselves a VERY nice overtime bonus after fixing everything.
After this, the dispatcher called EVERY weekend at 8 am when there was a breakdown.
Also, by some miracle subcontractors were very diligent in reporting their stops to on-call from that point. My boss might have had a strong word there.”
5. Retroactive Budget Cutting Leads To Higher Costs? Your Problem, Not Mine
“I worked a job that required a lot of travel. Like cross country flights. The company policy stated that you only got paid for travel between the hours of 8 and 5 but everyone wanted to get home and see their families and there was always a lot of work to do so it was never ever questioned if you worked all day then charged the travel for a late-night flight so you could be home and show up to the office/work the next day as long as you didn’t do something crazy.
Well, one day a manager blew a budget, and to shave some pennies and save face with accounting rejected travel hours for someone who traveled after 5 retroactively without telling the employee to follow company policy. This person’s paycheck took a hit and needless to say they were not happy since they had been asked to travel after hours, to begin with.
Now there are many managers and many employees… and the employees talked… turns out the whole department decided to go union style on them.
If one manager could do that all could do it if accounting pressured them. We all agreed that we would simply follow policy and only travel between 8 and 5. Sounds simple right?
The implication of adhering to the policy while not working for free is that sure the hours are the same, but other managers lose time in the office. More importantly on one or both ends of a business trip, people would need to book an extra day of hotel, rental car, and all the associated meals to stay within company policy that hadn’t been budgeted by management on all upcoming work.
The end result, of course, is that this would cause all the other managers to lose money unnecessarily and the company was forced to announce they would no longer enforce that policy and they retroactively approved that employee’s hours and paid him. This took about a day to have the desired effect.
The mere threat of this by the employees caused all the other managers to freak out.
To be honest most of the managers didn’t agree with the policy, to begin with. It was a corporate thing and everyone knew that manager who did that was a jerk. All our time and travel are billed to clients anyway so there is literally no downside to letting employees travel after business hours and paying them.
Same company tried to not reimburse my business travel expenses from my last two months of working there because ‘I no longer had an employee ID so couldn’t send me a check’. Those expenses were surely billed to the clients and they tried to just pocket those funds.
Funny how with the right kind of pressure the funds got direct deposited.”
4. Nothing Will Stop Me From Taking My Vacation
“This is the story of how I maliciously complied to make sure I get to take a long-awaited Italy ‘Roundtrip’.
First off, I’ve always loved Italy. My family and I went there basically every year until I graduated from school, started studying and becoming independent, and had less time and no funds to go to Italy with my family. I did, however, find a nice job at a swimming pool as a lifeguard.
It paid quite well and I could choose a lot of my own hours, and in between semesters I could give extra swimming lessons for some more money.
After a few semesters, I had a nice amount of money saved and decided, that I could spare some of it to finally visit Italy again. I wanted to make it special and visit places I’ve already been to with my family, but also some new places, all in one trip so I decided to go mostly by train.
My route started in the north at the beautiful lakes (Lago di Garda specifically), then I’d visit Milan for a day, take a train to Rome, and then Napoli. From there I’d make my way to a small town called Villa San Giovanni, because from there I could take a ferry to Messina, Sicily. The last few days I’d spend traveling from Messina to Catania, to a small Village called Piazza Armerina (I know some guys there because of an exchange my school did) and finally to Palermo, from where I’d take the plane back to my hometown.
The trip was planned for August of 2019, and at the beginning of April, I asked my supervisor for my time off. He didn’t want to give me that much time off at once because it meant a lot more work for him. Smart as he was, he decided to offer me a ‘deal’: I’d take over the early Saturday shift forever, which at that point everyone despised and my supermarket always had to take it.
In exchange, he’d give me holiday time.
I just looked him in the eyes and said: ‘I have never taken time off so far, I am rarely sick and I have planned that trip for a long time. I would do anything to go on that trip. Including quitting.’
He again thought he was smart and said: ‘You can try quitting, but I wonder how you’ll pay for that trip then.
I also know what you’re thinking so let me make clear that you can TRY to find another, maybe even a better job, but no other job will come close.’
So I did exactly what he suggested, I tried to find another job but he seemed to be right, there were no really comparable ones. That was until the Easter holiday season came around and I could give 2 weeks of swimming lessons.
I usually chat with parents whenever I have time, mostly while the kids are changing, and that one day I found out, that basically all of them came from rather far away. There was another swimming pool close to them but that one didn’t offer lessons. So I decided to give the pool (which was closer to me too btw) a call and ask if they’d be interested in hiring me to give lessons.
They were hesitant at first until the parent offered to speak to them and confirm, that there’d be lots of other parents who would love lessons there.
So they hired me, starting in September of 2019, a few weeks after I returned from Italy. I went to my old, at that time still recent, employer and gave them plenty of notice. It was April and I told them (in writing with confirmation) that I would be quitting, effective from the 1st of July. When they asked why I was quitting and why with such long notice, I just told them that I had some plans and I’ll go to great lengths to pursue those plans.”
3. Don't Want An Upgrade? Okay, I'll Make Someone Else Happy
“First off, I’m a flight attendant for a European airline. For obvious reasons, I won’t exactly name my employer or my base. As far as I can tell, we have different rules about upgrades on board as our American colleagues. We are strictly forbidden to upgrade at will onboard. You can purchase an upgrade, at the airport or with us.
As you might know, most airlines overbook flights and count on so-called no-shows for everything to work out.
And most of the time, it does. In case the economy is overbooked, the computer system will select passengers at will to get an upgrade. And this is basically what happened that day.
While boarding a fuming woman came to me, she’s gotten a different seat. She paid for her seat (an aisle seat in economy class) in advance and she insists on getting it. A quick look at the boarding pass showed me that she got an upgrade to premium economy.
Usually, people are happy about such a thing. Nope, her new seat is at the window and not the one she paid for. I tried to explain what had happened and that she was one of the few lucky ones who were bumped up. Nope, she nearly started screaming at me, she DEMANDS an aisle seat. After all, she has a fear of enclosed spaces and that’s why she needs that one.
Cue my compliance: I just nodded, told her, I’ll handle it, and left. (Just for your information: the premium economy seat, while not an aisle seat, is much bigger and has more space than a regular economy seat, but oh well). I went to the young woman, who got the woman’s seat and asked her if she was traveling alone. (She was). I told her about the situation and the other woman really, really, really wanted that seat, if she was willing to trade.
She seemed a little skeptical at the beginning because she also wants to have an aisle seat, but I suggested to her, to follow me and take a look at the premium economy seat before deciding. We went and – oh boy – did she look at me with big eyes. She could not believe that someone would (willingly) trade that seat against the other one.
We made her comfortable, she was happy and I informed the other lady that her seat was now available. In the end, she was happy too.
So I’m not sure if it is actually malicious, but I still get to smile, whenever I think about that flight.
Also, if she had been any kinder, I would simply have asked the lady sitting next to her, if she was willing to trade, or another crazy idea: we are all grown-ups, she could have asked herself. But the way she was behaving, I liked my approach even better.”
2. You Want Quantity, Not Quality? I'll Give You Exactly That
“I worked at a law firm that handled an extremely high volume of cases, I’m talking thousands per month, and due to the specific field they were in, the work called for a ton of motion practice. We had to respond to motions on nearly every case, after which the cases would settle, and we would be paid relatively small amounts that added up. To answer all the motions we would use a boilerplate template, input a few specifics via prompts, and send it off – this would take about 15-20 minutes.
It was a profitable scheme, and to be fair, it worked for that specific field of law. This is highly irregular and would be nearly impossible to effectively mount a counterargument in any other field of law, which typically requires research and fact-specific rebuttal to very specific challenges to your case.
Fast forward and now the firm is taking on cases in a new field of law, nearly all between 200-300k per case, or about 100x what a case in their original field would take.
We needed to draft and file Complaints on these cases. To achieve this, the partners insisted that our senior attorney would create a template, our ‘paralegal staff’ making $10 per hour would speak with the client and create an intake cover sheet for each case, and I would be the lucky middle-man who got to input the cover sheet data into the template and generate a complaint, for every single case in this new field that the firm was handling.
In essence, they thought we could handle this new, complex, different field of law with much higher stakes in much the same way they were handling our ‘normal’ cases.
The intake staff had no clue what they were doing, and the boilerplate template was wildly insufficient to allege the particular facts, which varied so considerably between cases (also why intake had problems). The Partners thought it should take me about 15-20 minutes to generate a complaint with their method, but the reality was I actually had to review every file from scratch, figure out what was going on, input the data myself, make massive edits to the Complaint, etc., it would take me at least 1.5 hours to do a good job.
And honestly, that’s what I did, a good job.
As you can imagine, something of a backlog ensued and the partners wanted to know what the issue was. I explained that due to the nature of the cases, they were requiring specific edits. I offered several recommendations for how we could improve our efficiency, but they didn’t want to hear them. I explained that these cases were worth significantly more, and even spending 4-5x longer on them than on our other cases was still a huge win for them.
They wanted paper out.
‘Quantity over Quality’ I was told, leave the decisions to them, do what I am instructed to do, and play my part on the assembly line. Note that these partners did actually no legal work whatsoever on any cases – they once did long ago, but now just watch cameras all day and complain if you’re 5 minutes late.
In a fit of frustration and rage, I maliciously complied.
I actually stayed late a few nights and wimped out maybe 75 or so Complaints that had backlogged. I sent them all to the Sr attorney for final review, with no edits whatsoever, wrong data from our intake team, nonsensical legal arguments, and fact patterns that were completely untrue, just like I was told.
About 3 workdays later I got called in for a meeting about what the heck was going on in these complaints, and that the Senior attorney was about 1/3 of the way through what I had sent him, and not one of the complaints was suitable to be filed.
I told them I was just doing my job on the assembly line and that the issue must be coming from somewhere else, but definitely not from me because I did exactly as instructed and mindlessly input the data and sent it along. They told me this was unacceptable and if there was an issue I should have brought it to their attention, to which I replied that I tried and was not listened to.
They refused to accept defeat and attempted to change data collection, change the templates, to no avail.
It got hostile. No matter what they did, their system just didn’t work, and I continued to comply with their insistence I do my job and my job only. It was unbelievable how stubborn these people were.
Quit that job and moved on. I’ve been tracking some of the cases online, and they’re getting dismissed on motion. Quantity not quality, eh? Not how I practice law.”
1. Customers Only Wait 15 Seconds? I Won't Prioritize Other Tasks
“So I worked in a fairly large store that wasn’t very busy until 3 pm, and only had 2-3 employees on the floor in the morning.
We were getting complaints from customers that they’d have to wait a minute or two at the register before getting checked out. We were always filling stock in the aisles and weren’t allowed to ‘just stay at the register.’
Management decided that the longest any customer should have to wait was 15 seconds before starting check out.
As I always do when given tasks that contradict each other, I ask, ‘Hey, what gets priority – getting our stock out or ensuring this check out happens within 15 seconds?’
They confirmed that it was customer service and that it was a top priority.
I had my cart of stock and I was in charge of the register. My cart was about 7 seconds of walking time away from where I could view the register.
So I literally walked for 7 seconds, checked, and walked back for 7 seconds, which left me with a single second to do stock.
Normally you can get a cart of stock out in about 30 minutes – my cart was still quite full after about 4 hours. Management came by and saw me walking back and forth ‘barely doing any work’. I reminded her that what I was doing was top priority, and since I wasn’t allowed to stay at the register, I was accomplishing both my tasks in the most efficient way possible.
The next day the 15-second rule had been abolished.”