People Describe The Most F**ked Up Piece Of Literature They've Ever Read
Books that demand full attention from the reader is a testament to the imagery an author provides.
And when a book is written well, regardless of the genre, it's hard to put it down.
But not every tome is a page-turner because the reader wants to find out how a murder mystery is solved or if a hopelessly romantic protagonist winds up with their true love.
Curious to hear of some of the most unsettling literary works out there, Redditor umuhwait asked:
"What's the most f'ked up piece of literature you've read?"
Books relating to social commentary gave these Redditors the heebie jeebies.
"Storm Of Steel"
"Its kind of f'ked up in a different way but Storm Of Steel by Ernst Junger. Its a WW1 Memoir of a German soldier who volunteered at the start of the war at the age of 19."
"The amount of sh*t this guy went through is insane from gas attacks, watching half his company get blown up by an artillery shell to witnessing the guy you were just having a casual conversation with get shot in the head by a sniper."
"He fought through the entire war and while and the entire memoir is shockingly impersonal, and at times quite dry (especially the first quarter). but the lack prose only adds to the impact of events, for example despite the lack of any attempt to create suspense or excitement, Junger's description of entering the battle of the Somme was one of the most chilling and enthralling moments I have ever read. They feel so, real."
"I find this book so fascinating because it has no agenda and makes no appeal to ones Pathos, it is simply a presentation of events and what he thought of them, people call this book pro war because it does not denounce war, but it seems that this book is neither pro war or against war, it simply is and that's what makes it so fascinating."
"The Jungle by Upton Sinclair"
"It was supposed to be about the plight of the working class. The conditions food was manufactured under was just an example of how tough their lives were. But while he meant to help bring about a socialist revolution, Middle class and rich people focused on what effected them, the condition of the food."
"There's a reason people learn about the book, but don't read it, in High School. Reading it might make socialists as it was intended to. Can't have anything interfering with the capitalism is the best system narrative. Upton Sinclair said something to the effect of he meant to hit America in the Heart, and instead he hit it in the stomach."
"How about a nonfiction book that would give most people nightmares?"
"'Dark Remedy', which came out around 2000. It's about the history of thalidomide, which interestingly was starting to make a comeback around that time as a cancer treatment. It was co-authored by the son of Yul Brynner, who used that drug to treat a rare autoimmune disorder after nothing else worked."
Sensually unsettling might be how these Redditors decribe their disturbing reading experiences.
"The 120 Days of Sodom"
"I would say The 120 Days of Sodom."
"In college I pretended I was into some f'ked up stuff and just wanted to prove how cool I was, so I read like that. I wish actual brain bleach was a thing."
"Perfume: the Story of a Murderer. Not as f'ked up as some of the other stuff out there, but pretty f'ked up still."
"Very well written though."
"Oh Lolita as well. Also f'ked up but incredibly well written."
"Everyone here needs to read Naked Lunch by Burroughs. There’s a scene where two typewriters grow genitalia and have sex with each other. And that’s like the 10th weirdest part of the novel."
The following novels had traumatizing effects on young adults.
"Flowers In The Attic"
"Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews"
"Why the f'k did every girl I knew in middle school read this book at some point????? Why did the adults around us act like it was fine??? It's such a f'ked up book and idk why but at least where I'm from it was treated like a (secret) rite of womanhood. No one really talked about it but somehow everyone was expected to read it."
"There was a novel i read in high school called 'You' can't remember the author but it was also second person and had some similar themes. But its definitely more toned down then what you just described. It was a young adult novel and occasionally it just pops into my head because it was so damb good."
"EDIT: Charles Benoit!"
"11 years and I finally remember the authors f'king name! Chuck Donut!"
"Johnny Got His Gun"
"Johnny got his gun by dalton trumbo."
"i just can’t, tbh. it’s royally f'ed. a guy gets super f'ked up world war 1, and he’s basically unable to talk or hear (communicate in general with anyone), and his entire face and arms are gone. his only wish is to die, but he can’t communicate it to anyone, so he’s sort of just stuck in a bed wanting to die but unable to do it."
"American Psycho. Rats going in places they shouldn't be at, if you ask me."
"Literally read it over and over. The gore and violence ( poor kid at the zoo) was the part that was easy to read , coming from a Stephen King background. It was the inane descriptions of all his clothes and the sheer pretentiousness that was tough to wade through."
One novel I picked up was because the master of horror, Stephen King, recommended it.
It's called The Ruins by Scott Smith and is about flesh-eating vines that kill off each of the young tourists who are stuck at the site of an ancient ruin.
It is very well written, but the horrors depicted in the novel as each victim meets their gruesome demise were some of the most sickening things I have ever read. Yet, I couldn't put it down.
You should read it.
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Reddit user finnjakefionnacake asked: 'What things do men do that are sexy that they don't realize are sexy?'
More often than not, when men try to do something "sexy" in an effort to impress a woman, it tends to backfire on them.
Perhaps it is the visible amount of effort behind what they're doing or the fact that they don't do it as well as the movie star they took inspiration from.
Either way, despite their best efforts, women tend to find this sort of behavior anything but sexy.
In fact, more often than not, men have a way of turning people on without them even realizing it.
As it's often the little things that can make someone blush, anything from opening a door or slicing into a ripe tomato.
Redditor finnjakefionnacake was eager to hear all the sexy things men do without their even realizing it, leading them to ask:
"What things do men do that are sexy that they don't realize are sexy?"
When They Don't Even Know Their Own Strength
"Was getting busy with a girl one time and her head was too close to the headboard, trying to save her a potential concussion, I moved backwards and grabbed her under her hips and pulled / lifted her about two feet down the bed towards me."
"The sound she made and the look she gave me is still in my head lol."
"Afterwards she brought it up and said it was incredibly sexy how I could just handle and move her around so easily with so little effort."- Mage2177
So, So, Hot...
"I once changed a radiator in my house and that, without doubt, got me more attention and flattery from the women in my life than anything else I've ever done."- Jasper-Packlemerton
It's The NOT Knowing...
"It’s a trap fellas, just live in ignorant bliss."
"Once you realize something is sexy, you will become a self-conscious dork about it and it will no longer be sexy."- PMMeUrHopesNDreamsWhat Just Happened Wtf GIF by SomeGoodNewsGiphy
"My bf and I went to eat at this restaurant before we knew we had feelings for each other."
"While I would talk he would either laugh or smile and once while doing so he circled the rim of his glass with his finger."
"I later found out that he did it unconditionally but I short-circuited while he did it."- AsasLowkey
To Each Their Own...
"An ex of mine once got turned on when I told her I put a hand on the wall when I pee."
"I’m not sure I fully understand that one."- PaleAleDale
One Hand, One Heart...
"My wife has told me taking my shirt off with one hand is a thing."
"That kind of blew my mind."- trugrav
"One- handed steering wheel grip, reverse parking with their arm resting behind the passenger seat."- getupandstudymotor oil shot GIFGiphy
Doing It For The Thrills... And Then Some...
"My girlfriend was locked out of her apartment and I picked her lock."
"I picked the hell out of that lock."- paulo39Atati
Hits The Spot...
"My heart does a little flip each time my significant other, ever so slightly puts his hand on my back when we’re walking (to guide me), or if he’s trying to squeeze by behind me."
" I don’t know why that gets me fired up lol."- princess19977
Knowledge Is Power!
"If I ask my boyfriend a history question and he randomly knows the answer to it or if I ask about a math problem and watching him figure it out is the hottest thing, like yea you divide those numbers baby."- maneaterlexMatt Damon Math GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy
Nice And Oily...
"An ex said it was hot watching me change her car's oil."- SafeAndSane04
Compassion Is Always The Answer
"Caring for helpless things."- Maleficent_Scale_296
Speed Can Be A Turn On...
"There was a study done in Japan to see what school-aged ladies saw as attractive in their male counterparts and 'running fast' was like number one or two for elementary and middle schoolers."- Embershot89Run Fast Running Man GIF by TRTGiphy
There's Someone Out There For Everyone
"I heard one million power in 'Rise of Kingdoms' gets you any girl you want."- Key_Vermicelli_3138
Strong And Efficient...
"Carrying as many folding chairs as you can at once."- KbossDPT2019
Most of the time, the sexiest things are also the most unexpected.
That being said, any good boyfriend knows that a wet t-shirt now and then can't hurt...
Imagine starting a new job and learning that the uniform was chaps and a thong, or that the company had just fired most of the staff and you were hired to do the work of three people. These Redditors shared their horror stories of the moment they decided to walk off the job. What would it take for you to do the same?
Signed, Sealed, Deliveredman driving motor scooter delivering goodPhoto by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash
I got fired from a pizza delivery job once and was told I had to finish my shift on a Friday night. They said I was a “no call, no show” the previous day. There was just one problem. I hadn’t been scheduled. They wrote me in but didn't call me. The ink wasn't even the same color as the rest of the schedule. So when I showed up for work the next day they told me I was fired for “no call, no show”, but I had to stay and work. I said screw that and walked two doors over to the Chinese place and asked if they needed a delivery guy. I was hired on the spot. Plus I got free egg rolls.
The owner of a restaurant I was managing spilled boiling freshly made chicken noodle soup on my middle torso all the way down. It was so hot and painful to the point I had to strip my soaking boiling shoes. My reaction was to run and swear. He told me If I swore so vocally again he would let me go. I then needed medical attention, which he refused.
I went to the hospital anyway, came to work the next day with bandages, and was told I would work today's shift as repayment for missing my previous one. I explained that it was against the law and gave him an ultimatum: either he fix it by paying my medical bills or I walk. He laughed, saying I had no control over it. So I walked.
Three months later after filing suit, I supplied all the information needed to indict him on tax evasion, failure to properly insure, and failure to maintain a safe workplace. This and his other businesses had to be sold for him to afford the legal costs, my medical bills, and the mandatory restitution payments. The stupid idiot is still paying me out, and now that he's fulfilled his sentenced time, he lives in a relatively medium-sized town and we frequent the same locations, I consistently remind him of when his next payment is due.
The IT Crowd
I quit a job on the first day. I was hired as an IT tech, however this company did not know what IT techs were. They thought "IT does everything", including making sure their lights were replaced. I had one lady complain about me not changing her lightbulb fast enough because the burned-out one shattered on me and cut my hand open. I knew just what to do to get revenge. I dropped the box of fluorescents, shattering literally all of them, and walked out. I told my supervisor he needs to hire actual maintenance cause IT fixes computers.
All Work And No Playman standing in front of people sitting beside table with laptop computersPhoto by Campaign Creators on Unsplash
A large corporation I worked for kept “downsizing” the workforce but not the workload. Those of us who were left (team of 15 reduced to two) felt so lucky to have a job that we didn’t complain about taking on the jobs of three people, and we worked 60+ hours per week. The company hires a new department head and a couple of months later I have my annual review where he says, “we just need you to do more”, to which I replied, “No”. No forethought. No plan. I just knew I couldn’t take on more. I definitely caught him off guard, and I couldn’t believe “no” came out of my mouth. We were both stunned. But that was effectively my two-week notice.
I was working as an engineer for a big corporation. I was supposed to get a promotion to Senior Engineer at the start of Covid lockdowns, but they told me I wouldn’t get one because of Covid. Fair enough, but a couple of weeks later they told me our salaries would be reduced because the company wasn’t doing well. Not nice, but nothing I could do.
A couple of months later, the company promoted two Vice Presidents to Senior Vice Presidents and gave them a huge bonus. I then asked for my promotion and they told me that no promotions would take place under Covid. I waited a few more months until they finally gave me my promotion…and the salary increase was £100 A YEAR.
This is much smaller than what my salary was reduced because of Covid. I took home the letter indicating I had a promotion, gave my notice, and began looking for a senior engineer role somewhere else. Screw greedy corporations. Of course, I forgot to mention that they removed all our bonuses during this time period, but management got it all.
They changed my schedule and didn't inform me, and then yelled at me when I showed up following the old schedule. Someone had quit just before my three days off and I texted my boss to ask if he was going to need me those three days, and he said no. So Friday rolls around and I come in following the old schedule. The boss is there, he doesn't say anything about me being late, and I just work my shift like normal. Same thing on Saturday.
Sunday I am ten minutes late because of traffic. It was my fault but I am rarely late so I figured I would apologize and that would be the end of it. My boss’s reaction was diabolical. He lays into me for being late three days in a row. Confused, I ask what he's talking about. He had changed the schedule on Friday/Saturday and apparently, I was four hours late for both those shifts.
When I pointed out I wasn't informed the schedule changed and I even asked him on Tuesday if he needed me. He replied, "it's your job to know when you should be here". I just laid my keys on his desk and left.
Too Old For Thisman wearing white dress shirtPhoto by CDC on Unsplash
It was a CNA job for a nursing home. I worked for my facility for three years faithfully. We got bought out in the third year. They cut staffing, supplies, and kicked out patients that weren’t “money makers”. I went through Covid with these guys and kept expecting things to get better. My last straw was the day I came in to 29 patients with just me and one nurse. During the day.
They expected eight baths to be done and almost half of my patients were in lifts. Three-quarters were incontinent. I called my boss in tears because there was no way I could take care of all these people. I told him it was against the law to do this. I told him it was poor treatment of elders. I begged him to send someone in to help me.
He laughed in my face and told me that the law in our state doesn’t specify the number of patients a CNA can take care of so therefore what he was doing was legal. And no help would be coming, so figure it out. I quit right on the spot. I told the nurse I’d finish my shift because I cared for these people for three years and they deserved more. I finished my shift and quit right after.
Do It For The Dough
It was my first night as a pizza delivery boy. It was my second or third delivery of the night. On the walk from the car to the apartment, in the apartment complex courtyard, I was approached by two men. They hit me in the head several times, knocked me to the ground, took the pizza and the money bag, and ran. Good thing they didn't take the car. This was in 1989, so it was long before smartphone apps. I went back to the pizza shop and quit on the spot—but I was in for another surprise.
The owners were very kind, they took me to the ER to be checked out, they paid for the hospital visit, and they totally understood why I'd want to quit.
In The Mines
Let me preface this by saying the mine was shutting down within four weeks anyways...Sand mines have things called "screen towers" which is essentially a tall (60-foot) sifter where the sand gets shaken and separated. It was a Minnesota January, -11 degrees out with 25+ MPH winds so it felt like nearly -40 degrees. The seals went out on the screen tower and we can't run without it. So the six of us went up there in the godawful cold, replaced the seals, and started it back up.
About three hours total, 60 feet up in the air, howling winds. It was absolutely MISERABLE. Now, even though we pleaded with the mine superintendent that we need high-temp seals even though it was terribly cold (those things get to be a few hundred degrees), he made us use the low-temp seals as he figured extremely cold=low temp seals....but they're typically used in water screens where near extremely cold water is constantly running over them.
About 15 minutes after it started back up, the seals failed....as we predicted, and he wanted to send us right back up there for another two to three hours because he was stubborn and didn't listen because he was the one with the apparently meaningless engineering degree, and we were just lowly heavy equipment operators.
I went to my locker, grabbed my stuff, and just drove out of there. I didn't tell a soul. When he called about 20 minutes later, I told him there was no way I can fathom working for someone like him for another minute. I did have a job offer from a mine in Texas so I gave them a call on my way home, told them I accepted, and was down there two weeks later.
In Hot Waterwoman in black headphones holding black and silver headphonesPhoto by Charanjeet Dhiman on Unsplash
I worked for a well-known Australian plumbing company in the call center, booking jobs. I had a call come in from a desperate single mother. Her pilot light had gone out on her hot water system and she hadn't had hot water for over a week. She couldn't afford the repairs and had just been doing her best to cope. One of our technicians was already at her neighbor’s property, so she approached him for help.
He followed procedure and gave her the number for the call center, assuming since he was already next door, that we could waive the $150 call-out fee and he could, at the very least, assess the problem and give her a quote for repairs. Well, my operations manager refused, saying she would cost the company, etc, etc. But then it got even worse.
By this time the woman on the phone was in tears, extremely upset, and my ops manager said, "Well, I guess she can decide what a hot shower is worth", with a big smirk on her face. I packed up my desk and walked out.
I told them I couldn't work Saturdays because I played rugby. That was fine for months until I found myself rostered on a Saturday a few weeks in advance. I told the manager I couldn't do it and reminded her of my sports commitments. She said she would amend it. The following week I noticed I was still rostered on that coming Saturday. She wasn't in at the time so I left a message saying that there might be a mistake because I was still rostered on.
I received a reply in capitals saying something along the lines of "You're rostered to work 9:00 am - 2:00 pm Saturday, come in then or don't come in at all". So, I left that afternoon and didn't return for another shift. I received calls and messages for about two weeks asking when I would be returning, but never answered or replied to any.
Flapjack Faux Pas
I quit working at IHOP after about five minutes. I applied for the job, got hired, and was told to come back a few days later to start. At the time, I had a full beard, and I figured it would be a good idea to trim it up a bit before my first day, so I shaved it down. I walk in on my first day, and the manager who interviewed me started telling me about how they were going to take X dollars out of my paycheck to cover the meal I was allowed to eat while working.
That sucks. I come to work to make money, not give it away, but I can live with it. Then the manager kind of pulls me aside and tells me, "I told you to be clean-shaven during your interview. You need to take care of that". The problem is that he said no such thing, so I responded with something like, "No, you didn't mention that, but I'll”... and he cut me off with, "Yes, I did".
I have no problem being clean-shaven. I have no problem following the rules of the place I'm working. I do have a problem working with people who can't admit even the possibility that they made a mistake and then double down on it. If he'd said, "Oh, I thought I did mention that”... then everything would have been fine. I instantly saw what working for this jerk was going to be like, so I took off my IHOP shirt, handed it back to him, and told him this wasn't going to work out. I never got paid for those five minutes, and I didn't eat at an IHOP again for something like 15 years.
What A Toolblack and silver car wheelPhoto by Tekton on Unsplash
I was working at Goodyear. It was well beneath my skill level, but they were hiring when I needed a job. Their lead tech had to leave because he tore his bicep. The same day they fired the guy below him on the totem pole for smoking a joint on his lunch break. I was assigned all the technician duties. Anything more complicated than an oil change came to me.
I asked if this came with a raise or a promotion and the boss said, "Bring me two ASE's, and three local seminars and I'll give you a promotion, a dollar raise, and a percentage of the work you do". I didn't have enough money for the racket that is ASE testing, and seminars were $200-$500 a person. They hired a new guy from a Firestone across the street.
He couldn't do technician work to save his life, he blew a couple of main fuses on some cars but could bust tires like nobody's business. Several times a week I was coming in to fix his mistakes or bail him out of a job he was not qualified for and did not have the tools for—but the madness didn’t stop there.
The boss called a storewide meeting. The new guy got promoted "In recognition of his service in the industry". No ASE's. No seminars. I gave my notice I was quitting right then and there.
The boss called me later as I was leaving for the day and begged me to stay because he realized no one else was qualified to do work beyond tires and oil changes. He offered a dollar raise if I brought two ASE's in. I laughed and reminded him that's what he offered me several weeks ago, then told him just for that I was going back in to pack my tools.
Not My Job
I was an assistant store manager at Papa John's. I was 19. I was doing nearly everything the General Manager should have been doing: scheduling, inventory, ordering, counting drawers/cashing out drivers, taking deposits to the bank, covering when people called out, working open to close on a regular basis…literally doing his entire job.
After a busy Friday night I just walked into the back office and had a fantastic conversation I will never forget: Me: "Hey man, unfortunately, I won't be able to come in tomorrow". "Oh, got plans or something”? "Nope. I actually won't be able to come in Sunday either, or any day after that”. "What do you mean”? "I mean I quit. Good luck, see ya". Put my keys down and walked out the door, and never looked back.
I was 15 years old. It was my third day on the job at a convenience store. The manager patted me on the head all softly like as I cleaned shelves. Then later the same day, he took me aside alone into the office to accuse me of taking money. The cash register I had used the previous two days had not added up right because I had made a lot of mistakes in using it due to a lack of training.
That and several other staff were dipping in and out of my till all day and I didn't know this wasn't normal. In hindsight, it was probably all a pretext to get me alone in a private space. Nooooooope. €3.50 per hour is not going to keep me here around this creep. See ya. I ran down the street crying and have never worked for anyone except myself since.
Every Day I’m Hustlin’a yellow notepad on a keyboardPhoto by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
I was working at a nursing home in medical records. My micromanaging supervisor, whom I hated, had retired but not recommended me for her position even though I knew as much as she did. They hired someone with zero experience off the street. I asked for time off to go to a conference for my side hustle and was told no.
They said the State might come in and do their yearly inspection, and the new manager had never been through one before so I needed to stay. They cut my hours due to a declining patient population, but the new manager reported I'd been missing shifts (not that she'd cut my hours), so I walked in during the morning meeting, threw the keys on the table, told them I didn't work for liars and left. My side hustle went full-time. Never looked back.
I had a job mostly driving and a lot of heavy loading and unloading. I got a concussion while working (my fault, I wasn’t paying attention and was rushing) and was not feeling right while on the road. I got pulled over and asked to be picked up to go to see a doctor. I got lots of attitude the whole time. The doctor confirmed a concussion and told me no driving, heavy lifting, or repetitive up and down movements for two days.
My boss then says he was putting me on light duty in the warehouse. That was the moment I knew I had to leave. The warehouse is absolutely not light-duty. They paid well enough that we had enough saved to cover a couple of months. So, my wife suggests I just take some time off and look for something new. I had a backup plan if nothing came up. I never showed up the next day.
I’ve never quit a job like that before and probably never will again, but it was a pretty awesome feeling. I already knew I wasn’t going to stay, I was not a good fit and it was affecting my home life…the worst job I ever had.
Plus I got to spend a whole month and a half off with our three-month-old. I feel like it did a lot for our bond…and the whole situation put me where I am today, I suppose.
My mom got me a job bussing (with intent to serve…that never came around) at a brand new up-and-coming bistro/bar in our small town. The pay was horrible (tips were meh...and obviously under-reported), but it was a job while I was in school, and the hours weren't too bad. They had me work Easter (with a bonus) at their country club a couple of months in with a couple of the other wait staff from the bar/bistro.
It was buffet style, so the wait staff and my single busser self were supposed to all be grabbing plates that were finished from tables. MOST of the wait staff from the bar/bistro hid in the kitchen and ate the food the whole time while I and some of the permanent staff from the country club cleared tables with one or two of the bar/bistro staff helping once in a while.
There were over 40 tables for four people...plus the other three to four hiding. When I got my payslip, I asked the food runner what he was paid for the holiday. He told me a sum over $120 more than what I got (which was about $120) and about $100 off from what he overheard the wait staff getting. He told me my pay for what I did was abysmal, and I agreed with him.
So I went to the boss to ask why my pay was so low, considering I did the majority of the work while everyone else hid and ate except the permanent staff. His answer was demented.
He told me I wasn't worth what I had received. I told the other busser I was sorry and I put my badge and keys on the counter and walked out of there leaving them with one busser for the rest of the day.
Both of us (boss and I) were servicemen at the time, from different branches, but that level of disrespect from another service member was just another level of jerk on top of it all. I called my mom on the way home to tell her what happened, and she quit within a month after me. She was one of their best waitresses and a bartender.
Pack It Upbrown wooden shelf on white floor tilesPhoto by tommao wang on Unsplash
I was working in a warehouse job when I was 17 years old. We'd just moved into a much bigger warehouse and needed another store person. I had a friend, let's call him Greg, looking for work so I got him a job there. Greg was not very good at this particular job but Greg had a driver’s license to do deliveries to customers and I did not.
A month later, the warehouse manager gives me a heads up that apparently head office doesn't want to pay two people, and the head office wants to keep Greg because he has a license. This is a new warehouse with literally hundreds of pallets of items to unpack and put on shelves so I decided to just bugger off…good luck to them. But Greg only liked the job because he got to work with his mate, and with me gone, he felt no need to hang around. Greg emails his resignation that afternoon and leaves them in a lurch with 150,000 different items to unpack without a store person.
In December 2019 the census was looking for part-time workers for the 2020 census. Some global things happened in early 2020 which postponed all the census work. I thought it would be a fun thing to do in the spring, but instead, we didn't get on-boarded until August. I did all the training, got the equipment, and did my first day.
It was over 90 degrees. I drove around (my addresses were spaced out, not walkable) for around three hours doing 30 addresses, and only had three people answer the door. The second day was more localized. It was 90+ degrees again. I walked to ten different houses with no answer before I told myself, "This is ridiculous. I don't need this job, this was supposed to be a fun little side thing to do but this blows". So I walked home and texted my field supervisor that I quit.
She didn't even act surprised or give any pushback. She just set up a time that I could meet her to hand over all my stuff back to her. Little side thing about quitting: All the Census stuff was done on a Government issued iPhone. When I returned all of the items I did not include the headphones from the iPhone. She made me drive back home and get the (used) earbuds to return.
Just The Tip
Many moons ago I worked at PF Chang's as a server, and we were on our third General Manager in one year. He decided to make this rule that if you had a party of eight or more you had to have two servers and split the tip. It was this random rule he had made when we had a bunch of servers that sucked and couldn't handle large parties on their own.
But for the veterans, we basically refused to do it because we would always be paired with a crappy server and end up doing ALL the work anyway. They just became glorified food runners. I have no problem tipping out my food runners but splitting the tip....no. So among the good servers/veterans we would pretend to partner up and just serve the table as normal.
Of course, we would help each other if needed but no splitting the tip (unwritten rule). Now to the story. It was a lunch shift. Super slow. One of the idiot servers was "working", meaning she spent most of the shift in the bathroom or talking to BOH. A party of eight walks in. I had to partner up with her because the General Manager was standing right there.
She got water for the table and then she disappeared. She reappears when they settle the bill and looks me straight in the face and says, "Ohhhh how much did WE get”? This is why I know she was high. "We?!?! No. I'm not splitting this”. She goes to the General Manager who KNOWS she didn't do anything. He watched me take care of the table myself.
He comes over to me and says, “You have to split the tip”. I said, “No, she didn't do anything but get water”. And he says, “I don't care, that's the rule”. I said, “She ain't getting nothin’ and cash me out now. I'm done. And if you don't give me the full tip, I'm calling corporate”. I waited for 10 minutes and then I just left with the full bank plus my tips. I later found out through my friends/coworkers that I only owed $30 or something so they weren't going to charge me for taking the cash or anything. The "I don't care" comment made me so angry. It's literally your job! I don't regret it to this day!
Prime Timeman in blue polo shirt and blue denim jeans standing near brown wooden shelfPhoto by TheStandingDesk on Unsplash
I was working for a small warehouse business which is the middleman between Chinese companies and Amazon (ie, they put the barcodes on Amazon Prime shelves). It was run by three females and one man. This place was a gong show with no health and safety and no system for their warehouse racking or storage for items.
Two of the females (one being the wife of the man who owned the company and co-owner) moved some things around and the next thing I knew he came up to me and started shouting at me calling me an idiot. That was strike one. In the meantime, the three girls in the office became like high school mean girls and would talk to me like I was stupid.
The next week, I was using a pump truck to help put pallets in place so the forklift could come along and put them on a lorry. The male owner snatched my pump truck from me whilst I was in the middle of doing this job, whilst calling me useless. I went, "You know, what screw you! Screw this place", all whilst holding my two middle fingers up at him and I walked away. They conveniently forgot to pay me when payday came and I only got my money when I threatened them with ACAS.
I worked at a company where, every time I pointed out something incorrect about an interpretation regarding how technology works, they would always argue with me, their HEAD OF IT, that I was wrong, and I would always be proved correct. Quite often this would relate to stuff like how Google Ads works or algorithms, etc.
Often they would still not heed my advice which would either result in me having an extra ton of work to do or in the company spending unnecessary money for services that weren’t needed, all because they don't listen to me. One day, I brought this up and the Managing Director of the company said, "When you don't agree with me, I don't trust that you are telling the truth".
I knew just what to say. I told him, "If you don't trust me in this capacity, then you shouldn't still retain me to work in this capacity and I'll be tendering my resignation effective immediately". I walked out of the office, saw them about six months later, and was straight up told that they regret not having me around because every IT guy they've had since has dusted within a week and all the IT services they are provided by external parties aren't anywhere near as effective as they had believed they would be. I dropped a final, "I told you so", and haven't seen any of them since.
Not exactly on the spot as I gave a two-week notice, but…a co-worker quit and they handed me 100% of his projects because they were punishing the other two PMs for lack of performance by scaling their projects back. He quit because he was way too overworked and got a $25k upgrade for 1/4 the effort. Too much is too much. The company got the Covid money, still laid off 30 employees, and left just four of us to run the company.
They took the money and bailed on employees. I didn’t see them for a year and they came back with $100k+ cars and bragging about new vacation homes they were both building on a golf course in Florida. Of course, they sold the company and it is officially a dumpster fire. Only three original employees are left and sales will definitely not break $4m after it was at $25m when they bailed.
Garbage MantextPhoto by Sigmund on Unsplash
I'd been out of the Marines for a couple of years, and I had previously done IT work in California. I couldn't afford to live there anymore so I moved back to Ohio. I couldn't find a job in the dinky town I'd moved to and had burned through everything I had saved, so I went to a staffing agency. They got me set up with a job doing picking at a recycling center.
There's basically a conveyor belt that brings a bunch of garbage through and you have to pick out all the things that aren't specific metals. It wasn't a terribly hard job but it was 12-hour shifts standing in the same spot bent over all day, and my back couldn't handle it. I think I lasted two or three weeks. I was ashamed and embarrassed but I am grateful I had gotten that job. The paycheck got me through until I could find something more suitable for me.
Covid turned my boss into a megalomaniac. He didn't have Covid, he just wanted to jump on every possible opportunity to exploit it. He had become increasingly unhinged over a period of weeks, and one day called me out of the blue because I hadn't completed a checklist or something he had sent me, and he treated me like a child caught by a teacher. Incredibly patronizing and nasty.
I quit on the spot, and that is how I went from a work-from-home job to a warehouse job in the middle of a pandemic. Naturally, he immediately went into the whole, "Let's not be hasty, maybe we can work something out" routine, but I wasn't having it. Was it worth it? 1,000 times over. Now I'm back in my old profession working for a competitor.
I worked at a restaurant for about six months, working my way up from dishwasher/salad maker to line and prep cook. The head chef was always talking about how he is "worker-friendly" and "will get you the schedule you want". Six months later I haven't had more than a few days off with my fiancée despite multiple requests. She worked 9-5, I worked 4-11, so we barely saw each other.
Finally, a full-time prep position opened up which allowed me to work days instead of nights and have full days off with my partner. I was thrilled. I told friends and family about it. I was working on new recipes at home. It lasted a week. The head chef hired someone that they knew to replace me on the line working nights.
One week later he sent me a long text saying how "going forward" I was better working random nights on the line and the new guy was taking my prep shift. I texted back "I quit". They were like What! Why”? I couldn’t help but laugh.
A few months later they fired the guy they replaced me with. I got a kick out of that. I have a much better job now too.
Curtain Callbrown cardboard boxes on white floor tilesPhoto by Mak on Unsplash
I used to work for this small drapery shop as a warehouse guy. I had only been there a year, hired as a cutter/shipping guy, but due to others leaving, I had effectively become the warehouse stock manager. But the pay never reflected that. There was a weird lull in the year where others had quit and new people needed to come in.
I live in a college town and the owner liked to only hire cheap college students. When it came down to just me running solo, I asked for a raise to match the work I was doing. All he offered was a 25¢ raise. I quit on the spot after he told me that. The same boss spent months on vacation but couldn't afford a legitimate raise for his best—and at the moment, only—employee. Screw that guy.
On Your Knees
I was in a supermarket, stocking shelves with newly delivered products. The manager insisted people not sit on anything to reach the lower shelves, so we had to sit on our knees. At some point, this caused a lot of fluid to build up in my knees, making them quite painful. I called in sick for my shift and went to the doctor who confirmed it was likely due to the work conditions.
Later that evening, I went to a theater play my mother was in—sitting on a chair, was OK'd by the doctor. Apparently, the manager had come to our house and noticed I wasn't home, so he left a letter requiring me to come in early the next morning to explain myself. He never saw or heard from me again. I had my work clothes at home and they were technically company property.
I never got asked to return them and I never did. Sometime later, I started the same job at a different supermarket and when the floor manager saw me clumsily trying to fill a bottom shelf he asked me why I didn't just grab something to sit on from the storeroom. I immediately made a much better impression and I worked there for quite a while without any complaints.
I worked in a factory, with three-day shifts, one free day, and then three-night shifts. It's a cycle, every shift is 12 hours. We were working with very old machines. Time is money in that factory, you can't sit around and do nothing, you have to work non-stop. I left because the machine was always breaking, and the mechanic was always sleeping, he wasn't there on the spot when we needed help, and my colleagues were always taking smoking breaks—like eight in a shift, and for 10 minutes, on top of their 20-minute lunch break.
When the machine had a bad day, we made about $14 per shift. The highest per shift was $50, and that was only once every two months. The average per shift was $27. There were months when I got only $450. I worked there for eight months, walked into the office part of the factory, and told them that I quit. She asked why, like she didn't know anything about the situation...
Tax-Freeman wearing grey blazerPhoto by Charles Büchler on Unsplash
Day one, I quit on the spot. The manager/owner was so weird and I was convinced there was no way he was going to pay me. He hired people who were very slow and struggled. I think he was hoping I would be their leader. It was a general labor-type job. He was “managing” the money for the employees and gave them cash when they needed it.
I confronted him when I realized I started but never filled out any tax forms and he didn’t even have my SSN. He said he would work the same deal with me and I wouldn’t have to pay taxes. I quit on the spot and demanded my money. He refused and said I didn’t work there. I said I was walking to the parking lot and I was calling the IRS. He handed me some money. I called the IRS and reported what was going on anyways.
Fresh out of college, I went to work for a company where I had spent every break of at least five days over the prior three years, doing good stuff and improving their processes. This was back when 8-bit machines were common office equipment, and knowing how to do anything more complex than basic typing or Lotus 1-2-3 data entry with them made you a wizard.
And I was very good, creating complex spreadsheets, writing custom software that let account reps do in five minutes what had previously taken half a day, etc. At the end of my final spring break, they said to come back in June and they’d create a role exclusively for me to continue doing my magic to make them better competitors.
I went back in June. They made me a file clerk. A) Not what was promised. B) Not what I enjoyed. C) I really wasn’t good at it. Told the office manager I wasn’t happy a couple of weeks in, and he told me to give him a couple more days and then we’d chat. He set up a meeting specifically for that chat. The day came…and he wasn’t in.
He wasn’t sick, he didn’t reschedule. He just wasn’t there. I let the office’s HR person know about the situation and then left. The office manager was furious when he found out, he called me and tried to beg me to come back, and was apparently stunned when I said no. A few months later I walked in off the street and got a job at the place I have been ever since.
I worked for a generic parcel delivery service. The boss puppet told me before starting my shift that I owed the company $800 for damages to company motor equipment, which is against the law to ask where I am from. Nevertheless, needless to say the puppet had a REAL good double shift that day. I immediately ran to the work court to submit a complaint. I didn't even have to go up to the judge. The thing was settled in no time and they don't do that anymore.
Extra Creditwoman in blue dress shirt and blue denim jeans standing beside brown wooden chairPhoto by Daria Pimkina on Unsplash
I had worked just shy of four years for a company I adored. I would go in early every morning, stay late if need be, I came in on my days off and worked six days if they needed the help. I was good at what I did and I loved the company so it never bothered me. My manager had hired her own daughter a couple of years back and when her daughter got a new job, my manager kept her daughter on the payroll books just in case her new job didn’t work out.
Her daughter was coming back to work for the company and I happened to be offered a job elsewhere where the opportunity was too good to pass up. I sat down with my manager and gave her a month's worth of notice left of me working for her full time, though because I loved working there so much I asked if it was possible to take her daughter’s old position of still being on the payroll and I could work a weekend here and there to help them out. Her reaction was brutal.
My manager told me the position suddenly no longer existed!! She typed up my resignation and made me sign it on the spot and made arrangements to promote a different staff member straight into my role. I was devastated and hurt that the company would hate on me like that. Instead of fighting it/arguing my case, I wished them good luck as Christmas was two weeks away, and I walked out on the spot and enjoyed my Christmas break before starting my new job. It was the best thing I’ve done for myself.
I was a cabinet maker by trade at the time. I accepted a contract role fixing shoddy installs in a building with 16 apartments to go through. I did a walkthrough with the supervisor and oh my god, it was some of the worst work I had ever seen. Some of the kitchens would literally have to be completely pulled apart and reinstalled to make them acceptable.
He gave me a timeline that was so unattainable I literally laughed when he told me. I asked how many others would be working on them with me and I was told I was the only one. I asked if he was "freaking kidding me”? He was completely serious. I told him he had no idea what he was doing and left. I didn't even get my tools out of my car.
I'm a welder/ fabricator and quit my job after about four or five work days. This place had a fairly large workforce (over 100 people on the shop floor) and had recently moved workshops. Some corporates came from another state to do a health and safety audit on the place and decided to ask me why certain things were not up to standards.
After trying to explain to them that I was a temp worker who had been there for four days, and I felt like this was not my responsibility, they carried on trying to berate me. For the rest of the day, I sat in the break room and waited to clock out to make sure I got paid. Also, the health and safety officer who worked full-time at the workshop happened to be off on the same day...
Family Firstwoman holding man and toddler hands during daytimePhoto by Jessica Rockowitz on Unsplash
A very well-known British fashion label pushed me out of seeing my ailing mother on her 60th birthday. I was put in an awful position and they knew it. My mum knew it and she was devastated but knew I had to. So I went to the stupid manager’s conference in Melbourne anyway—but they didn’t stop there. When I returned, they tried to cheat me out of the time off I had booked to spend on our last-ever family holiday.
I also needed to help pack up the holiday unit and bring the folks back—both had terminal cancer and weren't very well by the end of the week. After 15 minutes of back and forth with the area manager, I gave one week's notice. I informed them I was going to lunch. I walked to the local cafe, got myself a new job, and laughed with relief for the rest of the day.
I had just got a new girlfriend a few weeks prior. My job was as a delivery driver for aerospace parts. Most of my driving was in metro LA and our shop was more inland empire. I was coming back from my last trip a little early around 7:30 pm, and along the way, I called my new girlfriend and told her I'd be at her place in about 30-45 minutes.
I pulled into our shop, and they wanted me to run back down to LA with some parts that were getting expedited. I told my immediate supervisor that would bring me back late, and I got PLANS. "I don't care, we need to get these down there ASAP". I took the truck fuel card and my badge and threw them on the flatbed trailer, and said, "I'm not going back down there tonight". Supervisor: "Are you sure you want to do this”? Me: "NO, but I'm NOT going back down there TONIGHT". He said "OK", took my cards, and jumped up in the truck, and did it himself. I went in early the next day to get my last check and bounced.
Sharing Is Caring
I get an interview for a data analysis/mining job. I go to the interview. After repeatedly dodging my questions about their business, they finally admit they are one of those companies that advertises timeshare properties—come and listen to our sales pitch and win a free gift. They need someone to mine prospect data and create their mailing and phone list. I got out of there. I didn't even collect my free gift.
Injury Freeblack corded telephonePhoto by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash
My job was cold-calling people about injury claims. "Have you been injured in the past three years”? That kind of thing. The thing that really irked me was that all of the people I called in those 20 minutes were polite, said they're not interested, and they were just sitting down for dinner. I realized it was a horrible job and I was in no way cut out for it. I left after 20 minutes and just walked out the door without a word.
I worked at a grocery store when I was in high school and told management I needed a day off for my girlfriend's birthday. I told them about a month in advance. No worries. The manager leaves and the new manager tells me I have to work that day. I told him I had already requested the day and made plans so I wouldn't be coming in. His response was that I was fired if I didn't come in. I told him if that was the case then I just quit.
Many years ago I worked at a popular sports bar as a line cook. On the first day they had me train with a guy who didn’t speak English for two hours. Not a huge deal. Mostly you observe people in a kitchen and that’s how you learn. The owner came back and said she was scheduling me to be alone the next day....which was Super Bowl Sunday. I got out of there so fast. Left right then and there.
Knock Knockpeople sitting on chair in front of table while holding pens during daytimePhoto by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash
I went into an office for an interview. They said they had several positions available and I wanted to do some admin stuff...well, after the interview they told me to get in a van to do the next part of the process. Turns out we drove an hour away so I could shadow one of their door-to-door salespeople. They would ask residents to go into their basement to check their hot water heaters to see if they were eligible to replace them with their companies own.
I felt pretty uncomfortable about this and pretty annoyed that my whole day was gone doing this. The worst part was the girl I was shadowing spent half the day sitting around in the truck reading magazines and waiting for people to come home from work. I was sort of asking questions about the job and she got defensive and said, “Well I decide if you get this job or not”, to which I replied, “Yeah I don't know if I want to do this”. But she kept insisting that it was her who decided if I worked. I don't think she understood I meant that I didn't want to do this stuff. Just a waste of a day.
I found out that the educational assistance they touted in their advertisement applied only to full-time employees and that they defined full-time as no fewer than 40 hours, and kept anyone who would apply for that assistance from ever being qualified for it. None of this was advertised and the people I interviewed with assured me, a college student, that working 21 hours a week would get me the benefits.
Too bad I read my contract before signing it and called them out. Don't lie to your employees, especially during an interview on something that can be easily and swiftly disproven. If you're willing to lie to me about this, what else are you willing to lie to me about?
I was interviewing for a contract position at a very small game development company, and they told me they were looking for someone to help finish up an existing project. But then I saw what they were talking about. Literally, the game looked like it was made in MS Paint. As if they had just hired some random guy off the street and asked them to make some art for them.
Granted it's a mobile game and sold for the standard 99 cents, so maybe that's not the worst, but the game itself doesn't look engaging at all either. But I figured, worse comes to worst I could make some money on the side with some low-effort work. Then they told me that my pay would be a percentage of the sales. I got right out of that one.
Secret Ingredientbreads in display shelfPhoto by Yeh Xintong on Unsplash
I worked in a bakery. It was my first day, so I got there in the morning to meet everyone. Then they have me grease up baking trays for the others to fill. I lift up the first tray and like ten to 15 cockroaches just scatter everywhere from under the tray. I told the guy showing me the work that there were cockroaches and he just shrugged.
This was all in the backstore, and customers were about ten feet away. So I tell the guy that I'm not feeling too well after about an hour of doing that and I head to the bathroom. When I came out I told him I couldn't do that job and he told me to get a real job then, so I left and got myself a “proper” job somewhere else.
I had an interview at what I thought was a regular steakhouse in a new town I had just moved to. The interview went well. It was just before the restaurant opened so it was pretty empty. At the end, a waitress starting her shift walked by in chaps and a thong. Turns out that was their uniform. The manager called like 30 minutes later saying I got the job. I had to politely decline that one.
Mine was fast food. It's your regular fast food story, unfortunately. We had two cooks and myself during the day shift. I was running front line, drive-thru, and fry station by myself for four hours straight. I couldn't keep up. For four hours, I was struggling and getting yelled at by customers because of their wait. My manager decided at that point to come out and help the two cooks...I watched her do that so she didn't have to deal with the irate customers for another hour, until I cracked.
The last customer I spoke to was screaming at me in the window for having to wait ten minutes to get his food. I just walked up to my manager and gave her the headset and walked out. I sat in my truck in the parking lot and had a full-on panic attack for an hour before I went home. I was going through a very rough time at that point in my life and just couldn't handle it anymore. That was probably the only time in my life I ever had an actual panic attack. It was not fun at all.
Which Waywoman sitting on chair beside tablePhoto by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash
I was working as a personal assistant to an ad agency exec. He sucked at people skills, and he had a ridiculous rule. He expected me to sit at my desk until he went home at eight, despite me coming in at nine. He came in around noon. My father was sent to emergency for heart problems. I went to tell the exec that I needed to go to the hospital immediately.
His reply was, “No, I need directions first”. It was directions to a place he’d driven to the day before. Another power trip and I was done with them and him. I walked out of his office, and packed up my stuff. I walked out of the building as he paged me continuously. My coworkers knew I was quitting and all stayed quiet as they heard him calling my name. Screw you, Frank. And your snobby wife.
It’s Been A Slice
Working at a late-night pizza place as a driver, the shift manager kept sending his BFF on double and triple runs, and sending me on single far away runs. I protested, but the shift manager blew me off, then sent his BFF to do the Ford truck plant lunch deliveries alone—it was like eight orders. That was my final straw. I spent the next couple of hours fixing myself pizzas and chicken wings and food and taking it to my car.
I took like eight pizzas I wrapped in plastic wrap, several bags of frozen chicken wings, frozen bags of French fries, six 24 packs of sodas, six 24 packs of beer, and a large box full of family-size packs of Double-Stuf Oreos. I told the shift manager I didn't do anything for prep that I was supposed to for that night because he's a jerk. I hope he enjoys the extra work. I quit.
They tried to screw me on my last paycheck, saying it didn't come in. I told the main manager he better pay me now or I'm going to report them for selling booze to minors—another thing the awful shift manager did for his BFFs. My paycheck manifested very shortly after that. The restaurant closed less than a year later.
Most people think that by the time they're in their 30s, they'll have their life together.
It's only when they get to that point that they realize that's not totally true.
Maybe those in their 30s have a job, are in a serious relationship, and have a home. Perhaps they're married or have kids.
However, that doesn't mean they don't make mistakes.
According to Reddit, people in their 30s make all kinds of mistakes, and Redditors are ready to share what those mistakes are.
It all started when Redditor cthulhu34 asked:
"What’s a common mistake people make in their 30s?"
"Stay in unhealthy toxic relationships."
"Alternatively, leaving healthy relationships because you’re bored and want to have fun."
"Romanticizing your 20s and fearing your 40s. (live where you are)."
"This is so good. So easy to romanticize the past and fear the future. Life is organic and so are we. We will keep changing and often times in a good way (stronger, wiser, more confident etc.). I'm so happy to be who I am at 37."
Compare and Contrast
"Comparing their lifestyle to other 30-somethings."
"This is a good one. Your peer’s success can seem perfect from afar and make you feel inadequate."
"But if you sit down and talk with them you will learn all sorts of shortcomings and difficulties in their life that will make you appreciate something about yourself and your situation."
"In other words we all just out here tryna function."
It's Never Too Late
"Thinking they are too old. Never too late to switch career paths or look for a new relationship or start taking care of your health."
"Almost 40, just started my MBA. Never too old!"
"It's absolutely never too late. I'm 42 and honestly feel like everything is getting better, ESPECIALLY dating and relationships in general. It's a relief to finally know myself and what I want."
"Also, I'm returning to study next year and looking forward to a career change. Having a beginner's mindset, always curious and learning. My dad is an inspiration, her had a stroke in his 60's and changed his life. After he recovered, he got a divorce, moved countries and decided to study medicine. He's now in his 70's living this dream and working as a doctor. It's never too late!"
"I feel and look younger than when I was 30! I know many people well into their 60's and 80's with this growth mindset and I'm determined to be like that until I die."
"Not exercising enough and eating a crappy diet. You can't get away with those things anymore like you did in your 20's."
"My doc told me at the end of last year that I'm not 16 anymore and now is the time in my life where I get to decide whether I want to see my daughters grow up or whether I wanna die of a heart attack in my 50s. Sh*t cut deep but I got the message lol."
"Dropped 40 pounds since January and might be in the best shape of my life tbh."
"Your 30s is when you are really in the thick of "adulting". It's easy to loose focus on what is really important to you among all the demands and responsibilities."
"Not Fostering Friendships: As you enter your 30s, maintaining and nurturing friendships becomes more challenging. It's a time when connections can fade, and forming new ones becomes harder. It's very important to invest effort in the friendships you currently have. Edit: A few people have commented about what to do when people don't reciprocate? My advise - keep trying! Everyone is under water in their 30's, they likely won't be able to make every attempt at outreach you make. But over time as things become less hectic they will remember you kept trying (without guilt) and will appreciate it and come back to you. But toxic people, yeah cut those out!"
"Not Nurturing Your Romantic Relationship: Responsibilities increase in your 30s like careers, parenthood, and caregiving for aging parents. It's common for the most crucial relationship – your romantic partnership – to be inadvertently neglected. Avoid taking your partner for granted, assuming they'll always be around, or treating them as an outlet for your worst moments."
Be Who You Are
"Not Preserving Your Identity: Similar to the previous points, your 30s come with a whirlwind of conflicting priorities that can lead you to lose touch with your identity. It's easy to forget what truly brings you joy and satisfaction. Maintain a hobby that gives your life purpose and regularly reflect on whether your job still fulfills your needs in terms of purpose, financial stability, and overall satisfaction."
"I'm 33 and in the process of rediscovering who I am, what I like doing beyond just 'filling in time' and how I like to present myself. It's scary to be caught off guard by the realisation that you don't know you and just as scary trying to start down a path to change that."
"I'm happy with my job and my role as a mother. But as an individual... I just feel like a crusty 90's kid, wearing 00's fashion and focusing on everyone else's needs because it's hard to find a direction for me that will 'spark joy'. I want my wonder and whimsy back!"
Change Always Happens
"Thinking you're a finished product, not likely to change all that much."
"Have you tried not moving in the ocean? It’s damn impossible. You can’t be stagnant in the turmoil of this world."
NOT Forever Young
"Biggest mistake I made in my 30's was not enjoying them more."
"Young enough to party, still play some sports, and perfectly in place in any bar. You have energy, you have a circle of friends (that will get smaller, trust me)."
"Try to carpe a diem every once in a while, the decade passes VERY quickly."
"Do whatever you can while you are young. 30s is a peak time. I'm 64 now, forced into early retirement, and I can't do half the things I "thought" I would be able to do in "retirement". Can't bend to do gardening, can't climb the ladder to get into the pool, can't handle a walk for more than a few minutes due to arthritis and more. I'm mentally "still young" but my body is telling me otherwise."
Life Is Tough
"Got laid off at 32? Just said F it, got 2 degrees in different fields (37 now). But I kept expenses really low and saved/invested a lot of money when I did work. I went from medical research, to analytics, to education, to computer science now."
"30's...uhhh not starting investing by 35, because that's the last stop on the compounding train."
"Also, I see people get wrecked by bad marriages/relationships. That's probably one of the biggest wealth and happiness destroyers I've seen."
"Also, waiting over the fertility window. People tried to have kids later on and it looks like an absolutely expensive brutal experience with the OBGYN visits and the $15k USD IVF rounds (multiples). Then dating over your thirties seems like a hopeless market from what I can see. I never really tried so I dunno (data analyst in me looked over the stats as a 5'7 East Asian male in North America, I'm out!)..."
"Oh yeah!!! Health! Working out is crucial. After 40 it gets super tough to achieve any exceptional fitness goals. That's the best case scenario. Some people come down with nasty metabolic diseases like diabetes, and the CVDs - hypertension, cholesterol, and heart disease - these are very difficult to reverse and they kind of stick to you with more aggressively the longer they persist."
"Also, daily brushing/flossing, apparently dentists are expensive in older age. Brushing avoids cavities, flossing avoids gum disease and cavities."
"Also, not constantly learning about economics and economic/social/technological/political trends, because the pace of technology will wipe out people's economic opportunities faster than their head can spin. I see a lot of people get broad sided by economic malaise because they didn't get their financial house in order before a crisis hit. Life can be rough!"
– Deleted User
I'm not 30 yet, but I sure will learn from these stories!
Yes, civilizations have rules for legitimate reasons. However, when you invent around those rules or find loopholes, does that make you a vigilante? It sure puts some people in hazardous situations, but for these rebellious minds, the rewards outweigh the risks.
Rank The Concertred and yellow light on a dark roomPhoto by Wesley Pribadi on Unsplash
When I was 16, a friend and I created a website with fake reviews of concerts in the Washington, DC area that we didn't actually go to. It ended up working out better than I could have ever imagined: Once we had built it up to our satisfaction, we used it as credentials to gain backstage access to a huge DC area music festival three years in a row.
A simple call to the radio station that sponsored the event got us free passes and access to hang out with and interview most of the bands, including Cypress Hill, Coldplay, Social Distortion, and Offspring. Nobody ever caught on, and oddly, nobody seemed to be suspicious of our age.
The Parking Spot Whisperer
I used to keep a can of white paint, a can of yellow paint, and a small paint roller in the trunk of my car. Why? Because I'm an evil genius, that's why.
Whenever I pulled into a full parking lot I just added a space. I expanded a total of four parking lots before I decided to quit. I also cut a “NO PARKING” stencil from two pages I printed off the internet. It didn't really benefit me in any way, I just wanted to see how obedient people could be. Turns out people are very obedient. I spent an entire day at my bedroom window, watching people drive up, almost park, then pull out and drive around the block looking for spaces. One of the better moments in my life.
Sorry, Wrong Applicant
I was applying to colleges, and having slacked off all through high school, I was getting rejected from every one of them. I finally applied to a university I had no chance of getting into, and marked down that I was "Native American", though I'm very clearly white.
A month later, I learned that I had gotten in, contingent on me completing a summer in a program for minorities, focused on bringing up their skills and background to their more-qualified peers. I accepted, had a very interesting summer—a whole other story—and graduated with honors.
You Here?men's blue collared top near silver MacBookPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash
When I was a teenager I worked for one of those crappy call centers with one of those horrible micromanaging plans. So they would divide us into "teams" with "team leaders". So one day they switched our teams and I noticed that they never placed me in another team—therefore, I was never accounted for. I had a crazy idea. I figured there was no way it would work, but I had to try:
I would go in every day, clock in, go home or whatever, then come back and clock out. Eventually, I got too lazy for this and just paid a girl to clock me in and out. This lasted for a month and a half before anyone ever noticed.
That’s Why They Hire Interns
When I was in Paris studying abroad, a large group of us had called a trendy club early in the night to reserve a couple tables, so we showed up around 1 am or so expecting to skip the line—which was a few hundred feet long at this point—and get our table. That's why you make reservations, right?
Well, naturally the bouncer apparently didn't get the memo and wouldn't let us in. After a few minutes of pseudo-arguing with their management, my friend pulls out his secret weapon: His ABC press pass—his expired ABC press pass—that he had from his summer intern work for ABC in London. He told them that he was writing a story on Paris nightclubs and that theirs was now going to be let off the list because they weren't letting us in. I started laughing thinking, "yeah sure Ted, good one, let's go home".
And then, boom, all of a sudden the velvet ropes open up and we get two bottles for free at our tables.
That was the coolest trick my friend Ted has ever pulled.
Have You Been A Good Boy?
This happened many, many years ago when I was still a kid. As I was old enough to figure out the truth about Santa Claus, mom took me shopping with her for Christmas. She was buying gifts for the whole family, so the shopping cart was quite full. The department store ran a well-publicized contest where each customer could have all their purchases reimbursed. It went like this: at checkout, the cashier asks you to pick an envelope. If you get the magic voucher, you just walk away and don't pay anything.
Obviously, she asked the "innocent kid" to pick the envelope. But, I quickly realized something: As the cashier handed me the envelopes, the lighting was well-positioned behind them, so I could see through. They're thin and I quickly realize most of them are empty; only one contains a piece of paper. The rest is family history. Not an impressive feat, but it made my day as a young boy!
Car Swapred car parked on parking lotPhoto by Krzysztof Kotkowicz on Unsplash
Working in the city, I really didn't want to pay $80/week for parking. I noticed there was very little differentiation between the “0” and “O” they used on plates. That gave me a crazy idea. I registered a custom plate—O101101—and parked my car on the street every day. 9/10 times, they would put 0101101 on the ticket. Never came back to me and I saved a ton of cash!
Not Lost But Found
Go to the library a day after it rains and tell them you forgot your black umbrella. Free umbrella!
Lose your phone charger? Go to the front lobby of any hotel and see if they have a match in their lost and found bin.
You Better Have My Money
There used to be a routine that you could do which took advantage of the lag between funds available and check processing with ATM deposits.
Basically, it worked something like this: You have two bank accounts with nothing in them. Write an uncovered $1000 check from one to the other. Wait a day and write a $1000 check from the second to the first. The first check will eventually clear using the phantom money from the first because funds were available faster than check processing.
With the right timing you could get a substantial amount of imaginary money flying around in a long cycle for more or less as long as you like. You could then take short-term loans out of the circulating money but managing it would be a lot of work.
I never did this myself, so I might have the details wrong. I had a friend who did this when he was short on cash. But he's maybe not a guy you should listen to... I'd check with him for the details—but he's currently in federal penitentiary.
Did You Beat The System, Or Beat Yourself Upsmiling boy wearing white crew-neck t-shirt during daytimePhoto by Moses Vega on Unsplash
When I was four, I was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes. When I was six, I took over the day-to-day management of it. That included testing my blood sugar and taking my injections, which then was twice a day—parents still supervised of course but didn't need to do everything and anything for me. It took a few months before I was capable but eventually, I was able to take care of it all on my own and therefore able to do all the other things my Grade 2 classmates did, like have sleepovers and go on school trips, etc.
Sometime later, I can't remember how old I was but I would have been under ten, I discovered how the machine that tested my blood sugar level did it. It would read the color of my blood.
For those who don't know, Type 1 diabetics need to test their blood sugar by pricking their finger and putting the blood on a small strip of plastic. That plastic then goes into the machine and the machine tells you what your reading is. Back in the 80s, it was a little different. I had to drop the blood on the strip of plastic, wait about 90 seconds then wash the blood off with water, then put the strip in the machine.
I figured out that the darker my blood was on the strip, the higher my reading, and the lighter it was, the lower my reading... and the lower my blood sugar, the more I would need a "boost"...like candy.
So my young self thought, “That's interesting”. What is also interesting is that the strip I have to put the blood on is white.
So I started doing my blood tests as normal, then not putting the strip in the machine properly. The machine was no longer reading my blood, it was reading the white strip and giving me a low reading—which to my young mind was full of win! Lollies, cake, and all the awesome things I was never allowed!
My parents were scared and confused. The doctors were baffled as my pathology results were not matching my daily readings, the manufacturers were confused as when they tested my machine it was in full working order. I was getting all the awesomeness I wanted...and getting sicker and sicker.
Eventually, I confessed to my doctor. Although my parents were a little angry I think my doctor was a little impressed.
So there it is...not so much beating the system when all I'm doing is making myself sick but as a child, it felt awesome!
Throughout college, I had a sneaky way of cheating the system when studying for tests. Whenever it was time for me to study, I would send out an email to my entire class saying something like "Hey, I'm working on a study guide for the test...if anyone wants to send me a copy of theirs I will send you mine...just to make sure we haven't missed anything of course".
This is the genius part: Within an hour I would get several study guides sent to me...and I would just send them back a copy of another person's study guide. In the end, everyone is happy and none the wiser.
Thunder Buddies For Life
My swim team has meetings every Saturday morning. They tend to last between three to four hours. On one particular Saturday, there was a thunderstorm. Every time you hear thunder you can't get in the pool for 30 minutes, so the meeting got delayed several hours.
By the time the storm cleared up everyone just wanted to go home. So to encourage the officials to cancel the meeting, I walked out to the parking lot and hit a dumpster with my fist. The boom it created sounded just like thunder. From where I was standing, you could hear everyone in the pool area yell "THUNDER". Dismayed by another delay, the other team's coaches forfeited the meeting and we all got to go home.
You’ve Got Mailperson showing white envelopePhoto by erica steeves on Unsplash
Used to live in NYC for a long time. For personal mail within the five boroughs, I would put the recipient's address in the return address spot on the corner and my address in the center of the envelope. I'd "forget" to put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox. Inevitably, the mail would be returned-to-sender...to the address I wanted it mailed to. It worked every time.
Tweet All Your Worries Away
We all know customer service phone centers make it impossible to get good customer service, especially when you need to return something or get your money back. But I found another way.
Pretty much all large companies now have teams of people monitoring Twitter for complaints. Since hardly anyone uses Twitter to complain, I find that any time I complain via Twitter, someone contacts me almost immediately and rectifies the problem.
For instance, my dress shoes fell apart—Johnston & Murphy—and calling their phone center was really painful, but after I complained on Twitter, I got a brand new pair shipped to me the same day. Pretty decent move if you ask me.
My dad works in a chemical company as a scientist. One day, when he was cleaning out the old chemical closets, he found an unopened package containing one kilogram of solid Silver Chloride that had gone past its expiration date. Normally it would get thrown out, but my dad decided to take it instead. He took it to the kilns and decomposed the Silver Chloride back into elemental silver and chlorine gas, and managed to get about 700 grams of silver out of it.
An Endless Roller Coasterpeople riding red and white roller coaster during daytimePhoto by Gabriel Valdez on Unsplash
My dad and I waited in line for hours to get onto the fastest ride at Six Flags. Feeling adventurous, we decided to just see what happens if we don't get off the ride at the end. It turns out that in the rush, nobody notices that you're still on the ride. I couldn't believe it worked. We were only asked to step off after getting five or six rides, but by that time my dad had blacked out anyway.
Thinking Outside Of The Box To Get Inside Of The Bin
When I was in second grade, our school had a carnival with a bunch of different midway-style booths, run by our teachers. One in particular challenged us to build a paper plane, throw it about ten feet, and land it in a small trash bin. Nobody had succeeded in doing so, and I watched many paper airplanes veer off to one side, nosedive, tailspin, and so on. Cleverly interpreting the definition of "paper airplane", I wadded my piece of paper up into a really compact ball, aimed carefully, and tossed my paper ball into the trash bin.
They didn't award me the prize.
Doppelganger Saved The Day
Didn't happen to me but to a woman I met in Japan a couple of years ago, who had gone on a trip to China. After driving in a bus for two hours, they arrived at some destination only to be told that it was already crowded, it was late and they would have to return the next day. Well, one of the people on the bus looked a little like a certain ex-president's daughter, so they told the Chinese people that it was Chelsea Clinton. The place was suddenly open for business again.
Evil Twinphoto of woman's face reflectionPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
My friend really didn't want to go to her group meeting for a group engineering assignment in the first year of college. Every week, we persuaded her to make up an excuse and not go. After a few weeks, we've started to run out of plausible excuses. So we decided that she should have appendicitis. And then I had an incredible, devious idea.
I decided that it would be fantastic if she walked into her group meeting, pretended to be her own identical twin and told them that she had appendicitis. She did, and they ended up doing the whole assignment for her.
I took the SAT for my best friend. We had someone at our school store make a school ID for us using my picture and his name. When I got to the testing center I told them I lost my driver's license and this was the only ID I had. Worked like a charm. I scored a 1400 for him, which was better than I got for myself, and apparently was about 400 points higher than what he scored when he took it himself.
This threw up a red flag and the SAT people weren't happy. They told us—him—we had three options: get a refund and cancel the score, cancel the score and take the test again for free, or send in handwriting samples to prove it was really him who took the test. This is when we decided to roll the dice. We chose to put up a fight and take option three. I pulled a bunch of homework assignments that I hadn't written my name on and put his signature on them.
We sent them in but apparently, there was still too much of a discrepancy in the score and handwriting that they couldn't accept the score. And that was the end of it.
Cooperating With The Teachers
My school had trips to Spain offered every two years. As a fundraiser, we would sell candy bars. I was quite a bit more entrepreneurial than my counterparts, and offered candy bars on credit. This caused me to essentially corner the market to a point that one of the teachers went into competition with me.
The problem with that sales system was that we could only do it the year before the trip, not after. This is because it was, after all, a fundraiser for Spain. I decided that if I wanted to keep my business going I would need to get a little bit shadier.
The same teacher who ran the Spain trip also was in charge of Key Club. I gave 25% of my profits—not total sales—to Key Club in exchange for protection from the school authorities.
All in all, I netted around $1,600 in profit, or $3,200 in revenue—about 4 per person in my school—while going to school, without breaking the law. The year after was the Spanish fundraiser, so the teacher wouldn't accept protection money.
Like Having A Time Machinered apple fruit on four pyle booksPhoto by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
When I would have an assignment that was overdue, I would leave it somewhere under or around the teacher's desk. So, they would just assume you turned it in on time and that they had just misplaced it; I did this once or twice.
The hotel I work at has a membership to a full-service gym that's totally free for guests. All they have to do is show their room key, and bring a towel.
The cheating part comes from knowing that they don't verify that people with a room key are actually staying at the hotel. Hello, free gym time!
One Step Ahead
In college from—1998 to 2002—at the end of a semester, I already knew who my professors were for the next semester, and those professors used the same coursework every semester. So, I would download their entire website, where they had the current semester's homework/quiz/test answers. That info was very useful when I started the class.
Taking Quality Notesflat lay photography of blue backpack beside book and silver MacBookPhoto by Matt Ragland on Unsplash
When I was in school—at the beginning of the year—we were supposed to deposit empty notebooks for each subject. Throughout the year whenever the teacher for that subject would give us a test, they would distribute the notebooks to us to take the test on at the beginning of the day.
After the test was completed and checked, the notebooks would be again collected and locked in the class cupboard. What I and some of my buddies did was, whenever they would distribute the notebook at the beginning of the day we would write the answers to most probable questions or important stuff on the last pages of the notebook. When the test was taken, we would copy the answers from the back pages. Once done with the test, we would quietly rip off the last pages before submitting the notebook to the teacher. We always scored well.
Hey, Can You Come Pick Me Up?
In high school, a friend of mine had a cell phone. During class, if he felt like leaving school, he would just call the classroom he was in, imitate a security guard's voice, have the teacher write him a note and he was on his merry way.
Losing My Religion
In grade nine math, I told my teacher I was Jewish—I'm not. She was from the Caribbean and had no knowledge of the Jewish religion. Whenever I would miss a day and she asked why, I would just say "Oh, it was Yum Kavandash" or whatever series of Jewish-sounding words I thought would work that day. Basically, this let me take two weeks off the class while playing cribbage with my buddies in the cafe.
Friend With Benefitsman wearing blue denim jacket and sunglasses taking selfiePhoto by Tânia Mousinho on Unsplash
I had a friend from Belgium of Moroccan descent.
This guy was the most charismatic human being I've ever met in my life. I used to own businesses on the Santa Monica Promenade in LA—in the 90s before it became a corporate dystopia—and he worked for me. I remember going to the movie Independence Day when it came out at the time and was about to pay at the box office for myself, him and two other employees who had all done a hard day's work in the sun when he suddenly stopped me.
Instead of "wasting my money" as he called it, he dragged us—a party of four—to the ticket checker and started sweet talking rapidly—something about a lost cell phone. The next second, we were all waved through without paying. We were all astounded but elated. We'd somehow hacked the system through this guy. And my wallet was heavier through not having to pay. He would have taken it as a personal affront if I had paid. He impressed me to the point that I still remember him 15 years later.
Soon after, I learned he had talked the California DMV into granting him a driver's license even though he was a foreign national. Also, not long after, I learned, he'd gate-crashed the Oscars dressed as a chef and hung out for the night with Oliver Stone. All of this I confirmed.
The guy blew my mind.
We Love Free Candy
My high school had a shop run by the student council and they kept all the candy and soda in a locked room by the gym. One day, I noticed they had left the key in the padlock. During football practice, my friends and I snuck in and looted several duffel bags of candy. We did this for the next few days until they finally changed the lock. The best part, nobody thought twice when they saw a bunch of kids making off with full duffel bags because it was by the gym and everyone had them!
Play The Sick Card
I was up the Sydney Tower and for some reason—I can't remember—they were delaying everyone going down the lift. The queue was approx 1.5 hours long to get in the lift down. They wouldn't allow me to take the emergency stairs—but I knew I had one card to play.
I stated I was a diabetic and I needed my injection which was in my hotel, since I never planned on being up the tower so long. They told me to wait in the queue and I agreed as long as I had a Sydney Tower letter signed by the manager stating that I told them I was diabetic and I was to wait in line delaying me getting my injection. They asked what I wanted this for, and I stated that it was so I had evidence to help my case to sue them when I fell into a coma. Needless to say, I got the next lift down.
Catch Me If You Canperson holding credit cardPhoto by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash
I used to fill out credit card applications: Platinum Visa, AmEx, Discover card, etc. It took about three weeks, but they'd send me cards. I used to go from store to store and just "charge it". After about two weeks, I'd call in and report the card stolen. Then just repeat. I guess based on their system, it's hard to catch or something. I would also buy stuff from the mall with said cards, then take the bags back and get the cash.
College On A Budget
College textbooks are very expensive, but buying used books at the Student Book Exchange (SBX) can save you some money. However, you need to act fast when the book is a new edition and there won't be many used copies available. Since everyone tends to sell old books and buy their new books during finals week, you need a game plan to lock in a deal, especially if you are short on cash—which was me.
What I used to do was cruise the bookshelves and find a used copy of the book I knew I would need the next semester that got turned in early, a week before the current semester was over. I wouldn't have my cash then as I had not yet traded my current books in, so I would create a bridge loan by taking that used copy from one shelf and sticking it behind a big pile of books nearby. The bigger the pile the better as that pile needs to hold up until I return the following week. Piles that are all new books last longer than a pile of used books.
The next week I would sell my books, walk over to the big stack and grab the used copy that I had stashed and buy that one at a lower price. Often that used copy I had stashed was the only used copy available.
When There’s Smoke, There’s Fire
When I was 16, there was a fire drill in my high school in Texas. My boyfriend and I were skipping class and walking around the hallways when we heard the alarm go off. We decided it would be really awesome if we stayed in the school while everyone left—there's about 2,000 kids at my high school. So, we hid and waited.
When we couldn't hear any more voices we proceeded to skip around the halls and goof around. I realized I had a pack of cigarettes in my bag. I told this to my boyfriend. The moment I said it I knew I had to smoke one, the irony was too much to refuse. So, while the fire alarm was still going off, and in the hall right in front of the library, I lit one and we shared it. He put it out on the wall and we ran away screaming with laughter.
Twenty minutes later, after everyone had already come back in, we decided to check out that hallway again. We come across the administration—the principal and a few of the vice-principals. They were sniffing around, clearly wondering why it smelled. I've never felt so empowered.
That’s Why They Call It “Payphone”gray phoneboothsPhoto by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash
There was a row of pay phones outside of my local movie theater. After finishing a movie with some friends, we all waited outside to get picked up by my mom. We were bored, just walking and looking around when I saw a quarter stuck in the middle payphone. I tried pulling it out but couldn't reach it, so I took a piece of cardboard on the ground and pushed it in. Little did I realize, I'd just hit the jackpot: A huge pile of coins came tumbling out from all the people who put money into the—malfunctioning—payphone.
The next few days I would pay a visit to this payphone and push the coins in the back and collect my payment. I even went so far as to create "Out of Order" signs and put them on a few of the other phones to encourage people to use the broken one. Eventually, the theater fixed the phone and put an end to my easy money, but I made away with something like $40 in coins.
Nobody Can Block My View
My house is on a very popular public beach. Tourists usually like to come on the holiday weekends and they will set up tent cities right in front of my house—blocking my steps and walkway to the beach.
So, I just started setting up a whole row of fishing rods and chairs near my steps and walkway. You see tourists start to walk up, take one look at the fishing equipment, and say to each other "Ugh, let's sit over there instead".
Solution Is One Button Away
Recently? Big conference. 18th floor, top of the building. Everyone was going down the limited number of elevators at breaks. Big lines.
People are not going down the stairs by one floor because if you hit down you'd just get a completely packed elevator. My solution? Go down one floor. Hit “up”. Board empty elevator. Welcome people on the 18th and enjoy my quick trip down. The greatest hacks are the simplest.... though it would have been better if it didn't fail the categorical imperative.
Of course, if I wasn't an American I'd just take the stairs all the way down.
Let’s Reset The Tankperson holding black corded devicePhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
Several local gas stations near me would switch from "regular'' pay to prepay-only at a certain time of night. Let's say it was 10 pm. I'd pull up and start filling my tank at 9:58 pm—making sure to keep filling as the clock rolled over to 10:00. When it hit 10, the pumps would go into the pre-pay mode and reset themselves. I'd finish filling my tank and only have to pay for about two gallons.
This stopped working when gas went to $4/gallon and drive-offs became a huge problem, making all the stations go to pre-pay-only full-time.
Life Hacks: Airport Edition
As a college student that lives on one coast and goes to school on the other coast, I have to get a lot of stuff across the country every year. This trick saves me a ton in overweight bag charges.
Go down to the nearest Army/Navy surplus store and pick up one of their backpacks. These fit a ton of stuff and don't look all that big. Pack two backpacks—one regular, one from the surplus store—plus your personal item. When you get to the airport go through security as usual, they don't care if you have more than the usual “1 bag + 1 personal item rule that the airlines use.
After getting through and to your gate, go up to the counter and say you're worried the flight is too crowded and/or you think your bag won't fit—don't let them see the other bag. Ask if there is some way to check your bag now. Most likely they'll "check the bag gate side" for you. Which means they put a tag on your bag and when you walk down the ramp there is a spot to put it. They then put it below with the other checked bags. On the way off the plane, you pick up your bag and you're on your merry way. Best part is you don't get charged for it.
For two years that I was in the dorms, I picked a roommate who said he was going to pledge and join a fraternity. That way, a few weeks into the term, he would move out. It would take another one or two terms to get the paperwork in line that I needed to get a new roommate. I would pick another guy who was soon joining a fraternity. I had roommates in my closet-sized dorm room for maybe two months of my two years, and I only paid for 1/2 the room.
Photoshop Your Way To The Topman in grey shirt using grey laptop computerPhoto by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash
I was a junior in high school, and I was transferring schools due to a recent move. However, my grades at my previous school were mediocre to say the least. The awfulness of my grades didn't stem from stupidity—I'm quite brilliant, mind you, but rather I had problems with undiagnosed insomnia for a very long time and never went to school because of it. My new school required a personal interview between the principal and myself. During this interview, I was told the school had very strict GPA requirements—my grades didn't cut it.
They'd requested a copy of my transcripts from my previous school, and as I was walking out of the office, I saw a sealed envelope on the secretary's desk—it was from my previous school. I took the envelope from the secretary's desk when she wasn't looking and proceeded to go home with it. I opened it up and sure enough, they were my transcripts.
I took the transcripts to Kinko's and had them scanned at the maximum resolution and quality possible and took them home with me on a CD. Then, I meticulously photoshopped the transcripts and changed my GPA from a mediocre 2.3 to an astounding 3.9. Finally, I had a buddy of mine whose dad worked for the US Postal Service don his dad's work uniform and deliver the transcripts the next day.
Needless to say, it worked. I went on to graduate with a 3.8 GPA in my senior year—I got my stuff together—and was accepted to one of the state's best 4-year institutions. I've since graduated and have a very rewarding career.
Is It A Six Or A Nine?
I went to a conservative university that had a nightly curfew. If you went away for some period of time, you'd have to fill out an overnight leave form online which would need to get approved by a student dean or dean or something. One fall break, I needed to fill out one of these forms for 10/03/06 to 10/06/06. I purposely filled it out for 10/03/06 to 10/06/09—in my mind, hitting a nine instead of a six was a legitimate typo if I had to explain myself. Their online system didn't automatically check for this kind of discrepancy, and the student dean overlooked it when he approved it because the month and day columns looked correct. It got me three years without curfews. I never had to worry about it again.
Think Simple, Think Fast
There was this really nice apartment complex next to our not-nearly-as-nice apartment when I was in elementary school. During the summer, it got really hot and the community pool was not walking distance. Unfortunately, the complex was pretty well fenced so no one without a key could get in—and they had a really nice pool which everyone was envious of. On top of that, the people living inside were pretty strict and would never just let us in. One day, I realized I could stick my hand through the metal grating of the fence and open it from the inside. I swam a lot more after that.
Don’t Overthink Itwhite plastic laundry basket beside yellow front load washing machinePhoto by Anca Gabriela Zosin on Unsplash
I used to live in a condo building that had three clothes washing machines and two dryers on each floor. Often all of these machines would be in use at the same time that I wanted to use them. My solution: Go to another floor and use the machines there. There are 18 floors in the building, that's 54 machines to choose from, so that I could wash my clothes simultaneously, in parallel. It's kind of obvious, but when I first realized this, it seemed pretty cool to me.
Okay, so in Ireland we have two official languages, Irish—Gaelic which is the first—and English. Because of our constitution, all services provided by the state have to be in the two official languages. The funny thing is though that the majority of Irish people cannot speak their mother tongue—Irish. Whenever I do my taxes or any other business with the state I always conduct it through Irish or demand that it be conducted through Irish. The advantage of this being that the queue/line and waiting time for things to be processed for things such as passports, tax credits etc. is always minimal or practically nonexistent.
I don't like the way my co-patriots don't speak our language, but it sure is a massive advantage to me. Also, if the state cannot provide the service through Irish, they try to fast track you through their system of whatever so as to try and not to offend you so you wont complain. I love it.
We’re Here, Obama!
My friends and I went to the Obama inauguration and since driving and walking were out of the question, we took the Metro. Well after the ceremony ended we headed towards the nearest metro stop which happened to be near the Air & Space museum. The stop was closed with a huge crowd of people trying to get in, so we went back to the museum and played poker for an hour and a half. After that we checked back at the station, still closed, so we walked up three blocks to another station, also closed. Then we were told we had to walk all the way across the mall.
At this point it was like four or five in the evening and we had been up since 3:30 am. So, we sucked it up and walked the mile or two across the mall to the one open station, and there was a line because it wasn't open yet...so we waited in a nearby food court for an hour until the station opened, and then we got back in line.
After we got inside the station, there was a solid mass of people trying to get back to Virginia, it would have easily been another hour or two waiting for the train. Then, I noticed that the Maryland-bound platform was nearly empty so I said, "Hey let's ride up a few stops then get on the train headed the other way".
Everyone agreed this was at least a better idea than waiting. After two stops, the platforms were empty and we got off that train and right on to another headed towards home. I was quite pleased as we rode past the platform of people who would be stuck waiting for empty trains for hours.
Like Father, Like Sonperson using phone and laptopPhoto by Austin Distel on Unsplash
I got a free trial cell phone and just didn't give it back. It stayed free for like 7 years, until someone took it from me.
Also, me and my dad used to tell the cable company that C-SPAN wasn't broadcasting clearly—like there was static and stuff. They would come over and remove some "block" which allowed us to watch HBO for free.
Also, in 1999, my dad worked in the IT department of a large insurance company. For Y2K, they needed one person to stay in the building, in case everything exploded or whatever. To determine who would stay, there was a tournament of coin flips throughout the company. Out of the hundreds—maybe thousands—of people who worked in the building, my dad was one of the final two people. It all came down to one coin flip, between him and his former college roommate. My dad said, "Okay, if it's tails, you stay, if it's heads, I don't". Apparently, the guy did not realize that either way, my dad would win.
Also, my friends and I inadvertently realized how to get free food at fast food establishments. You go through the drive-thru and tell them something like you spilled a drink in your car and you need some napkins. Something that they won't make you pay for. Then you pull up to the first window, they just wave you on, because you didn't order anything. Then you get to the second window, and usually, you'll get the food ordered by the people behind you. The two windows don't communicate. The first one just assumes you're going to ask the person at the second window and not take someone else's food.
Does This Ring A Bell?
When I was in high school, we had a bell system that sounded through a tone in the phone that was in each class instead of an old school bell. That gave my friend a brilliant idea. Realizing that this "bell" sound had a very digital ring to it, my friend and I decided to record it one day. Now having acquired the tone, I was able to replicate the sound of the bell, thus fooling my fellow students—who instinctively would get up and leave once they heard the bell—and the teacher into believing that the class had ended.
I was able to use this to end class early throughout a large part of the year until the administration caught on and started changing the tone daily.
This one time on a road trip me and my friend stopped at a local restaurant and bar to grab lunch. Halfway through my friend knocked over the salt and I told him to throw some over his shoulder for good luck. Unfortunately, the man behind us didn't enjoy it so he came over—he was much, much larger than us—and secreted a fluid out of his mouth right in my friend's burger.
Disgusted, but wanting to get back at them, I came up with a great idea. I went over and apologized to him and his friends and offered them a round of beers. They of course accepted and then, me and my friend headed over to the cashier. We said that this man and his group of friends felt bad and wanted to pick up our tab. The girl was skeptical at first but we pointed him out, and he signaled for what he thought was his round of beers. The waitress obliged and we headed out of the restaurant with a free lunch!
Count Me Twicegray computer monitorPhoto by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
About 10 years ago, I had a summer job that used online timesheets. When I started, my name was spelled wrong on the system. I had it corrected and received a new login, but they didn't disable the old one. That gave me an idea. For two months I completed two timesheets every week and got paid double. Nobody ever found out.
Confidence Is Key
My best “cheating the system” moment wasn't even clever or really even cheating the system. It was just outright lying mixed with extreme confidence. When I was seventeen, a bunch of my friends who were already eighteen wanted to go to an adult club. I didn't have a fake ID, but I didn't want to miss out—so I just went with them anyway. As we're walking in everyone gives the woman at the front podium—there was no outdoor bouncer—their IDs. I'm the last in line and I just gave her my real driver's license.
She looks at it for a minute, and then looks at me with confusion on her face: "This says you're only seventeen". Figuring there's nothing to lose I just went for it: "No it doesn't". She looked back at it, back at me, shrugged, and said, "Okay, go ahead".
BOOM, adult club jedi.