People Break Down Which Things Are Completely Normal In Their Country But Weird Everywhere Else
Part of the fun of traveling is experiencing different cultures around the world.
Seeing the different ways people live their lives is a fascinating social study and can make one wonder why certain customs are so vastly from ours.
However, there are some customs that might be perceived as especially peculiar and unimaginable.
Curious to hear about different perspectives, Redditor dunjabgd asked strangers online:
Unusual For Americans
These Redditors found they were definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Leave Me In Peace
"I have no idea if this is common anywhere else, but in Norway talking to anyone in the public (on buses, on streets, etc.) is avoided as much as possible, and we avoid strangers as much as we can."
"If we're on the bus, whenever a new passenger comes in, we pray to God that they don't sit next to us, because we enjoy our privacy. We want to sit alone and enjoy music / movie / staring out the window, knowing that the presence of another person is non-existent."
"So to speak, norwegians were always prepared for battling [the virus]."
"We call a traffic light a robot. I really don't know why."
"South Africa, right?"
"We sit fully naked in a wet, hot room with either friends, family or strangers and whip each other with bath brooms (basically birch branches tied together, called 'vihta's)."
"Simultaneously, we're often described as stereotypically socially awkward and reserved people."
Customs And Traditions
In Australia, Denmark, Venezuela, and Italy, respectively, there is nothing unusual about the following:
Stop By For Tools, Walk Out With Lunch
"Going to a hardware store and leaving with a sausage sizzle."
"Australia. Sausage sizzle!"
"In Denmark, if you haven't gotten married before the age of 25, you'll get tied to a streetlight and get showered with cinnamon. It's common to see big orange spots on the ground around streetlights. It's a very old tradition and we don't actually expect people to get married before 25, but the tradition still goes on."
An Italian Greeting
"Kissing the cheeks as a way to salute between men. It's pretty common here, but when I've done it in America while visiting a friend of mine some other people asked us if we were gay."
"EDIT: they didn't came to our face saying 'Hey buddy you're gay?', they simply misunderstood and told this friend of my they didn't know he was not straight. It was nothing disrispectful."
"We scream when we cut the birthday cake in Venezuela. It is expected to be a blood-curdling scream, and people laugh at you and ridicule you if it wasn't loud or scary enough. Also, our birthday song is like 2 minutes long."
How You Like It
"If you ever find yourself surrounded by three or more Spaniards and want to start a mini civil war, you only have to ask 'With or without onion?'. You don't need to specify what; they'll all know instantly what you're talking about. In the highly unlikely event that they all were in agreement, there is a follow-up question guaranteed to succeed where the former one failed: 'Raw egg, or fully cooked?' (although the degenerates who like their egg raw refer to it as being 'juicy' or 'Galician'). You'll have a massive argument going on in no time!"
"What can I say, we take potato omelette very seriously."
Cultural Dishes On Steroids
"We make over exaggerated versions of every international dish. Hot dogs? Put every sauce and French fry possible. Pizza? The sky is the limit and every topic is available even fish, even shrimp even Doritos. Sushi? Put cheese, mayo, and sometimes even guava in it!"
People don't bat an eye when seeing the following while out in public.
"children playing on a playground while artillery fires not even half a mile away from them. Ukraine."
Traveling With Rifles
"In Switzerland: Carrying your military rifle with you. You get the sig 550 when being conscripted in the army and you take it home, in your own property. Now, there 2 different cases: When you're going to or coming from the military base, you also have your whole gear with you and you're in uniform, so no one is suspicious."
"But, there's the 2. case: We have mandatory shooting here ('obligatorisches' aka 'schiesswesen ausser dienst'), so you go to the shooting range: Many young guys don't have a car, so it's legal to transport these guns just with the train etc. without wearing your uniform."
"There were actually some alerts to the police, made by tourists, which thought there was a criminal or active shooter on the way, the military did made a response to the press later and said, that was legal (that was the case of a radio moderator which had his gun with him as he was going to work in morning and to the shooting range on afternoon, he was ride his bicycle and had his rifle on him)"
"Today, the soldiers don't carry ammo with them, but in my time, that was before 2007, we had the "taschenmunition" (emergency ammo), which was a sealed package with 50x 5.56mm NATO rounds."
"Maybe, this is not weird for US-redditors, but for many countries in the world with strict gun laws. Like in germany, a weapon have to be separated into parts, separated from ammo and always to be in a locked suitcase according to the law."
Lose The Shoes
"In New Zealand it is normal to be barefoot in public. In the mall, the supermarket, fast food places etc. It's even normal for kids to go to primary school barefoot. It's recognised this is unusual and has become a point of national pride for some people."
"Don't get me wrong, it's not like everyone is doing this, but it's a noticeable minority and would be seen on a daily basis, even in winter."
"I found out that brushing my teeth in a public bathroom was strange outside of Brazil."
"Edit: It's nice to see all the other countries that also have this habit. We are the toothbrush international league now."
"Wearing socks is sandalas. You guessed it, I'm Czech."
The chaotic rush hour of New York subways is hardly a surprising phenomena.
A train arrives, and commuters on crowded platforms ensure they get on the train by pushing past those trying to exit before the inevitable "stand clear of the closing doors" announcement.
What I thought was "weird" was that strap hangers in Tokyo all waited in lines at train stations – often without visible markings on the ground on platforms – so they could board the train in the order in which they arrived.
Civility on the subway? So weird.
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!
The only thing more satisfying than wiping the smirk off the face of some mean girl, mansplainer, or smarmy smarty pants is reading about it. And although some say revenge is a dish best-served cold, these Quora clap backs are comin’ in very hot. In fact, you may want to pop an Ozempic before diving into all of this sweet, sweet revenge.
Unwarrantedman in grey crew-neck t-shirt smiling to woman on counterPhoto by Clay Banks on Unsplash
This happened a few years ago when my wife and I were buying an iPad for our teenage daughter. We went to a UK computer chain called “iStore”. They aren’t part of Apple, they just picked a name that made it obvious what they specialized in. My daughter and wife had picked out the model and a case and headed to the register.
The idiot at the register, however, decided that what iStore really needed was the revenue from an extra warranty. My wife told him, “No, thanks”. He persisted and again, she said, “No, thanks”. I was standing pretty far away from them—very much NOT at the till with them. Then the sales guy turned to me, and said, “Are you sure she doesn’t need an extended warranty”? I wasn't having any of it.
I ignored him and turned to my wife. “Do you want to go? We can just buy it on Amazon”. My wife agreed with me. The sales guy looked at me open-mouthed, and I said, “You’ve lost the sale. She was the customer”. I can only hope that he learned about assuming that the woman could be overruled that day.
Right Back At Ya
It was my freshman year of high school and my parents had recently divorced. My mom, siblings, and I moved to a small town in upstate Pennsylvania. It was difficult enough dealing with family dynamics, let alone moving to a new town. During my first week at my new high school, I was trying to find my way around the school and get familiar with the teachers.
Most of the kids there had known one other for years. They had grown up together. I was an outsider with a weird accent and a different style. Some kids were very kind and welcoming. Others were cruel, unkind, and very stuck-up. In English class, I just so happened to sit in front of a girl who was one of the stuck-up kind.
The teacher asked me to introduce myself and share where I was from. So, I did. After I finished, we were told that there would be a pop quiz. The teacher asked me to take it so she could gauge my skills. As the teacher was handing out the quiz papers, the girl sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to look at her.
She leaned in and said with a smirk, “Special ed is down the hall”. I just looked at her for a second, blinked, and then turned around. I was slightly irritated. This girl had no idea who I was, and yet she had already made up her mind about who I was…and wasn’t. Yep, I was fully irritated at that point. I filled out the quiz and handed it in for immediate grading.
As the teacher handed all the quizzes back she said, “There was only one student in the whole class who got a 100% on the quiz. Do you want to know who that is? It’s the new student”. She looked at me and said, “Congratulations! If only everyone else would do that well on the next quiz”. I turned around and looked at the girl behind me.
I gave her a big smile and said, “Remember, special ed is down the hall”. The smirk on her face disappeared in a flash. She didn’t say a word.
I met this guy at a party who thought he was really special because was a corporate lawyer. When he asked me what I did for a living, I told him that I was a computer programmer. “Oh yeah”, he said with a sneer. I could tell he was about to try me. “You’re one of those guys who take perfectly clear requests and turn them into some obscure language that only other people in your profession understand”. “That’s right”, I replied. “Just like a corporate lawyer”.
A Truth-Or-Dare Tipwoman in gray crew neck t-shirt standing beside woman in black and gray long sleevePhoto by Adam Winger on Unsplash
A few months ago, I was at a sleepover with some of my friends and we decided to play truth or dare. I didn’t exactly get along with one of the girls there—let’s call her “M”. Anyway, I chose “dare” and M decided to dare me to jump out of the window. This was especially cruel of her because she knew I had a friend who ended her life that way.
I jumped out of the ground floor window and then it was M’s turn. She also chose to dare. I dared her to go home—and her next move took me by surprise. She did go home. It was absolutely, hands down the best feeling in the world to see that petty smirk get wiped off her face. She couldn’t exactly refuse because the other girls, who were also angry about the window dare, peer pressured her into leaving.
You’re Not The Boss Of Me
I had the unfortunate experience of coming face-to-face with my old school tormentor at, of all places, work. We had gone to school together all the way from kindergarten to graduation. I was dismayed to learn that he had just been hired as an entry-level shipping clerk and was leaving the HR office on his way back out to the warehouse.
He proceeded to tell me how wonderful his life was, how successful he was, how much money he had, and so on. He then asked me in a very snide way: “So what have you done with your life”? Like I had accomplished nothing in the 10 years since we last saw each other in high school. My simple reply: “Well, you are standing in my office, please shut the door on your way out.”
I’m not normally one to pull rank on someone, but this guy deserved it. The look on his face was priceless, and, yes, he did shut the door on his way out.
Respect The Hustle
I was 21 and my younger brother Kenneth was 11. It was a Friday, and I took him to the lake because I was off work. At about 12:30, we went to a burger place to get some lunch. They had one pool table there, and Kenneth was watching four college kids play. Back then it was 25 cents to play and they were playing for a dollar a game and the challenger paid for the game.
My brother said, “Gimme a buck and a quarter”. All right, sure. I had an idea of what was coming. He walked over and said he wanted to play. The guy who had won the last game said he didn’t want to take a kid’s money, so I said, “It’s my money. Don’t worry about it, just let him have a game”. OK. There were four guys, about 20, shaking their heads and grinning.
Kenneth breaks hard and sinks a ball. He ran four more after that and then barely missed a bank shot. Those guys’ grins were gone. The other guy took his shot, missed, and then Kenneth ran the rest of the table. It was hilarious. Now all those guys were drinking and laughing every time he sunk a tough shot—saying things like, “No way”! and “Jeezus Christ!”
Kenneth picked up the two bucks and said, “Anybody wants to play”? They all did. One after another, they all lost, along with the waiter and two more guys who came in. We were there for hours. He made about twenty bucks. It was the funniest buck and a quarter I ever spent. The kid had been standing on a box and playing pool in our garage since he was four.
And Not A Moment Too Soonwoman in white spaghetti strap top standing on the seashorePhoto by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash
One day my first husband had his friends over and was trying to be the big man by poking fun at me and generally being a jerk. His friends were asking why I didn’t have much in the flat and he said that I only cared about my clothes. Then came the fat jokes followed by orders to feed him and his mates. One of his friends tried to shut him up by telling him he shouldn’t speak to me or anyone like that. His reaction was blood-boiling.
He just laughed it off. Another friend tried warning him by saying that if I left my husband would be in trouble because I had the money. As I walked into the room, my husband looked at me and said, “Nah, she won’t leave me, she loves me too much, don’t ya”? I replied, “Actually, Paul, I filed for divorce a week ago and since you won’t leave, I will”.
He didn’t know I’d already packed a suitcase. Just like that, I left, but not before enjoying seeing him sit there with his mouth open wide like a basking shark, but nowhere near as cute or intelligent.
Put Up Your Dukes
I’m a boxer, and this one time the kid I was supposed to be fighting came to my changing room and told me that he’d stab me if I won our match. He was a little taller than me but he was VERY skinny and I’m quite toned. When we touched gloves he had a huge smirk and looked oh so very confident. We walked out on the first bell and had a pretty even round.
After the second bell, he boldly stormed out and straight into my body shot—and he COLLAPSED. He went into the neutral corner and promptly threw up everywhere. Needless to say, he didn’t stab me and I never had to see his indulgent smirk ever again.
Horrifying Teachable Moment
When I was a cop, I worked in CSI but I was also part of the special victims unit. One of my frequent assignments was to go talk to community college classes about serious offenses. Invariably as I began, there would always be a few males leaning back in their chairs and smirking. I started by quietly discussing a recent atrocity in our town…
A woman had been in the hall putting clothes in the washer when she had been jumped. The aftermath was appalling—the assailant used a blade to pierce her more than 70 times. The medical examiner and I tried to count the wounds by laying a sheet of paper over the body and marking each one. But in some places, they ran together. She had tried to crawl down the hall to her bedroom, trying to reach the phone.
The assailant followed her down the hall and watched her perish. As I was speaking, the young men would slowly sit up straight, the smirks would leave their faces, and they would pay close attention to the rest of my talk.
Touchétwo men talkingPhoto by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash
I was with my friend and our respective partners, discussing wedding plans. Since we were good mates, it went without saying that we would be each other’s best man. At least until my friend’s other half took us by surprise: “Can you even be the best man? Isn’t the best man supposed to be single”? To which I replied, “I don’t know. Isn’t the bride supposed to be a virgin”?
Do You Know Who I Am?
I am an old, 60-plus white lady, and I don’t really look the part for some of my pastimes. One time I went to an opera that featured whirling dervishes as part of the performance. During the intermission, I was commenting on the form of some of the whirlers and the finer points of whirling to my companion. A man standing nearby must have been listening.
After eavesdropping for a while, he turned to me and said rather snarkily: “Oh, because you’re such an expert on whirling”? I calmly replied, “Well, kind of, since I’m their teacher and I trained them”. The look of surprise on his face was priceless. I enjoyed watching him whirl around and quickly scamper away without another word!
I was working the register on a very busy Saturday. There was a constant flow of customers, but this wasn’t my first rodeo. I’m especially good at making change. I rang up a customer and gave her the total. She pulled out $50 and began digging in her purse for coins. I rang up the next customer, took their payment, and was about to start on the third customer.
I was watching customer number one, as she dug for change. She then put her $50 back in her wallet and stood there expectantly with her 15 cents, waiting for her change on the $50. I patiently explained that I still needed the $50. I had seen her put the cash back in her wallet and so had my co-worker who was standing beside me. This customer is now holding up the line.
Her husband came to see what the holdup was. She told him, “I gave her $50, but she doesn’t remember taking it”. Of course, she said this loud enough for the 20 people waiting in line to hear. Now I point to the camera that is watching my every move. She smugly asks to review the footage—a request she'd soon regret. I took her $50, and she can’t wait to prove it.
The owner came down to talk to her and review the footage. The customer was indeed wrong and got back in line to pay. She couldn’t look me in the eye. “I guess I was wrong”, she said. That was her apology. I took her money and told her to have a nice day. I’m good at three things. Being a mother, standing my ground, and not taking flak when I know I’m right.
Pitch Perfecttwo people playing Sony PS4 game consolePhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
I was at the mall with a friend and as we got to the food court, I noticed that there were two small TVs where people were lining up to play FIFA 20. While my friend was ordering food, I decided to play seeing as it had been a while. I left her and went over. There were only guys in line and they all gave me the most annoying look. One of them asked, “You wanna play”?
I said that I did and he responded, “Aw, that’s cute. You’ll play next”. When my turn came, I beat him. Now, I’m not good at FIFA. I just happen to have brothers who ARE good. They are so good that when I play against other people, I feel like a legend because I’ve played with the best. I can literally count the number of times I’ve beat my brothers in any match, on one hand.
The guy I beat went off about how he’d gone easy on me because I was a girl. He had a lot of excuses. I didn’t care though. Then the next guy came—and he was something else. He was so arrogant. He started making those chauvinistic comments about how I might be cute, but he was going to “show me how the game is played”. By halftime, I was leading with a score of 1–0. The match ended at 2–1. I won.
He was a sore loser and he asked for a rematch but I had to leave so we agreed we’d only play the first half. By the time it was halftime, I was sitting on a score of 2–0. I beat him. Twice. He was so embarrassed and I may have been a bit smug about it. When I left, I was tempted to say something about the final score being cute, but I decided to let it go.
Very Mean Girl
As a teen, I remember being out of class for a parent, student, and teacher meeting to discuss my progress. When I returned to class, I noticed that the girl I was sitting next to was smirking. Before I could sit back down, she said, “Can you go get me some coloring pencils”? I said no as I found her behavior suspicious.
She sighed and got up. I pulled out my chair and I saw it was COVERED in glue. So I switched the chairs and sat down. She returned and sat down while looking at me laughing. I decided to play dumb. “What’s so funny”? I asked completely poker-faced. “I glued your chair”! She could hardly get out her words because she was laughing so hard.
I smirked and laughed with her and said, ”I’ve just swapped it with yours”! I was really trying not to laugh. Her face fell. It was absolutely priceless! She soon changed her tune and refused to speak to me for the rest of the class.
Drive-Thru Rain Man
I hit the drive-thru late one night after school and handed the cashier a $20 for my $6 meal. She handed me $4 and closed her window, expecting me to move on. But I didn’t. I knocked on the window, ignoring the honking behind me, until she opened it and asked me what was wrong. I said in an even tone, “The change should be $14, not $4”.
She told me that I gave her a $10 bill and was fairly adamant about it. When she began to close her window, I asked if I could speak to her manager. It was late and it was possible that I could have handed her a $10 rather than a $20, but I have a habit that I’ve fallen into because of a similar situation. I now memorize the serial numbers on large bills before I hand them over…
The manager listened to my request for the extra $10, looked at the receipt, and then pointed out that the girl had put in $10 as the money was submitted. The girl is looking annoyed and has the classic “I told you so” look on her face. I asked the manager to look at the top $20 bill in her drawer and proceeded to recite the serial number.
The cashier’s face was stuck in shock and awe when the manager asked me to do that again and I repeated the numbers for her. I was given my correct change and an apology before driving on to the next window for my meal.
A Daughter-In-Law Strikes Backwoman lying on sofaPhoto by Inside Weather on Unsplash
My mother-in-law is a well-practiced shrew. I wear a size 12 but I consistently get 3X and 4X tops from her for Christmas. One time she even told my husband that I wanted to buy a house in the woods so I would have a place to bury him after I butchered him. There are so many crazy comments, smirks, and insults that I could write a book.
When my husband and I moved into our new house, I rented a moving truck for the day and my mother-in-law and my husband’s stepdad showed up, presumably to help, as did his dad. My hubby and his stepdad were taking forever to decide which way to take things in for the upstairs and downstairs, and at that rate, I was going to need to rent the truck for a week. I just knew something was coming.
My father-in-law had just had four toes amputated and I didn’t expect him to be able to do anything, but I had managed to wrangle our sofa off the truck and he looked at me and said, “Can you get that end”? I grabbed it and we headed to the house with it. Hubby’s mom called out and said “Oh Cindy, you’re more of a man than me”!
As I went by her, I stared into that evil face and said, “Yup, and more of a woman too”. Her face flushed and she looked like she wanted to kill me. She was only married to my father-in-law for 10 months and she got even madder when he dropped the sofa and was rolling on the ground laughing like a hyena. Ah, good times!
Read The Room
When I was eight, I loved reading books. At the time, my favorite was Jane Eyre. At the time, I understood about half of the words, and even if I didn’t understand what they meant, I could sound them out. One day, I was reading this book at a relative’s house. Everyone was so chatty, and being a quiet child back then, I just sat there and read.
One of my cousins, whom we’ll call Belle, was really, really annoying. When she saw that I was reading Jane Eyre at that age, she pointed to me gleefully and exclaimed, “Look! Look, everyone! She’s reading Jane Eyre at age eight! As if she can even understand it”! Correction: I was quiet but sassy. I stood up and asked, “What’s it to you?”
I guess rudeness ran in their family because Belle’s mother rolled her eyes at me and said, “If you’re so smart, why don’t you read a part for us”? I gave her a wry smile, cleared my throat, and began to read. Somehow, even though I didn’t understand half the words in the paragraph, I was able to sound them out all right.
After I successfully read a few paragraphs, Belle’s mother cleared her throat and cut me off. Her eyes were glassy, scared, and ashamed. They were cast to the floor as her face slowly turned a beautiful beetroot red. Belle huffed and ran into her room, slamming the door. I just sat there, smirked for a brief moment, and went back to reading—silently this time.
Roll back more than 40 years ago to my very first job out of college—an engineer at a car manufacturer. I had been on the job for a month, and it was quite low-level. At one point, I was assigned to deliver some hot reports to the plant manager’s office. I walked into a birthday party. I asked who was having a birthday and was directed to the assistant plant manager.
I politely wished him a happy birthday. He gave me a flirty look, popped out his chest, and told me he just turned 43. Everyone was telling him how good he looked. Obviously, I had the scent of fresh meat in what would be considered a poisonous workplace today. They didn't expect it when I deadpanned: “Why, you’re just a year older than my Dad, his birthday is next week”. He deflated like a balloon.
And for the record, my dad is way younger-looking.
Best Parting Shot Everwoman facing on white counterPhoto by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash
I was counting my change as I left the checkout when I noticed that the cashier made a mistake. I started to tell her this, but she cut me off and said, “I NEVER make mistakes”! I shrugged and started to head toward the door, but as I walked away, I dropped the mic: “OK then. Just remember that tonight, when your till is $10 short”!
That’s Just Like, Uh, Your Opinion, Man
I met my husband at work. We had a colleague who didn’t like me. I’m not sure why but, you know, it happens. My now-husband mentioned to this colleague that he liked me (this was before we got together), and her response was, “I’m surprised. Wouldn’t you want to go out with someone who is classier and less straightforward”? This had no effect on me—because I was about to shove it in her face.
I guess he didn’t agree with her because a few weeks later he and I were an item. One night, we went to the pub with a few work people, including this woman, and I kissed my husband, turned to her, and smiled winningly. All I can say is that her expression was very pleasing.
Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?
Shortly after my now-husband and I started dating, he took me to his hometown to meet his friends Brant and Tommy. While we were there, my then-boyfriend was sitting on the floor in front of me and I was massaging his shoulders. After a few minutes, Tommy looked at me and asked, “When do I get a massage”? I smiled sweetly—then I dropped the hammer: “When you get a girlfriend”.
The look on both Brant's and Tommy’s faces, not to mention my boyfriend’s, was utter, priceless astonishment. After we left, my boyfriend explained that I was the first girl he had ever known to turn down Tommy for any attention. He said that more than one of his previous girlfriends had given Tommy any and all of the attention he requested.
Years later, my husband admitted to me that the moment I turned down Tommy was the moment he knew that I was “the one”. To me, it wasn’t even a difficult decision because Tommy kinda gave me the creeps.
Pole Positionthree people sitting in front of table laughing togetherPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
When I was in college, the cancer-stick area was the place to relax during breaks between classes. Everyone would gather, smoker or not, to talk and hang out. I met tons of new people every day. We would get a lot of different personalities shining through, some of which screamed “entitled”. Now, I’m Polish. However, due to my very British accent, you’d never guess it in a million years.
I’d hear talk about politics, immigration, and the sorts almost daily. On this particular day, I was with a bunch of friends who were talking about said topics. I wasn’t chiming in, but rather just quietly listening to their opinions. Then a very entitled person entered the conversation and instantly started bashing the Poles. Things were about to get interesting.
My friends took one look at me, and I just tried not to laugh. I think they realized it would be best not to say anything just yet. This entitled person was ranting about how immigrants should “go back to their own country” and how “lazy” Polish people are. He went on and on without anyone else interrupting.
Mr. Entitled decided to chime in with one more comment. “I’ve never met a Pole who bothers to speak English and actually does something productive”. To which I finally responded, “Well, today’s your lucky day. Here I am”. His face went through a few phases of confusion, realization, shock, and embarrassment. My friends began laughing and I just stood there smirking.
Been There, Done That
My paternal grandfather worked with a bunch of guys who in the early days of paintball would go every weekend and crow about how good they were. They kept asking my grandfather if he would like to go but he always politely declined. One day, one of the more obnoxious guys said he knew why my grandfather didn’t want to go.
He announced loudly that it was because my grandfather was afraid. He messed with the wrong man. My grandfather quietly replied that he had done something similar for five years in the early 1940s in Africa, Italy, and Germany.
Always Treat Your Servers Well
This happened while I was working as a roaming drink vendor at a local sports venue. A young man waved me over to purchase a brew. He looked a little on the young side to me, and since my employer had been giving the drink vendors a whole lot of grief about making sure our customers were of drinking age, I asked the guy to show some ID.
This did not seem to sit well with him because he made a huge display in front of his even younger-looking date about how stupid it was that I had to ask for ID and how I was wasting his time…blah, blah, blah. He finally finished his rant and handed me his driver’s license. He was 21—barely. He and his date were treating me like I was a moron for even considering asking for ID. Well, I decided to give them what they deserved.
So, instead of handing him his drink, I flipped his driver’s license back to him and said, “I’m sorry, sir. You not only have to be 21, but you also have to act like it”! And off I went, no worse for the encounter.
The Fabulous Furry What?a group of people in a room with a projector screenPhoto by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash
The lecture portion of my university biology class was held in an auditorium where I usually chose a seat near the back. There was a guy who sat a couple of seats away from me and seemed contemptuous of me from the get-go. I should note that this prof taught straight from the book. He had slides that were mostly just a synopsis of each paragraph.
Since I learn better by reading than hearing, I didn’t always go to class. When I did go, I would only pay half attention while reading something for fun. On one such occasion, Contemptuous Guy barked, “Why do you even come if you’re just going to read some dumb comic book”? I replied, “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers isn’t just any comic book. Besides, I want to get next week’s assignments”.
I skipped the class after a big exam. When I came back, I got my paper, 65 points. I flipped until I realized it wasn’t 65%, it was raw points. So I asked the guy, “Do you have the grading scale for the exam”? He smugly said, “You need at least a 52 to get a C”. I said, “OK, so is the cutoff for an A above 65”? His eyes narrowed…
“YOU’RE the one who wrecked the curve”? he hissed, angry and shocked. On the rare occasion, I’m able to think of the perfect comeback right on the spot. This was one of those occasions. “Hmm, maybe you should read more comic books,” I said nonchalantly.
How Do You Say “Boom! Roasted” In French?
Some years back, I was taking the train to work when an enormous group of French foreign exchange students boarded. They were mostly in their mid-teens with a few adult supervisors. They took up virtually every seat and most of the standing room. There were only about a dozen people in the car who were not at the party.
I could see that some of the kids were practicing small phrases in English with the regular commuters. They were really excited and clearly had a great time. Some of the commuters were even enjoying responding and it was quite a beautiful scene—or at least it was until the supervisor totally ruined it.
She proclaimed to her students in French that there was no point speaking to any of us because British people are too stupid (her words) to speak English properly, let alone another language. Well, my stop was coming up and my blood was boiling, so I stood up and, in the most strongly projected voice I have ever managed, spoke to everyone in perfect French…
I wished the students a lovely trip and told them that I hoped they would think before judging other people in the future. The supervisor turned the exact shade of a boiled beetroot and did not utter a sound. The coup de grace, however, was when a little old lady piped up: “I bet you weren’t expecting that then, were you”?
Maybe She Was Flirting?
I was sitting beside my sister-in-law’s pool watching my kids swim, having a drink, and talking with my brother-in-law. One of his neighbors got in the pool and swam a half dozen lengths in about three minutes. After that, she got out of the pool, walked over to us, and haughtily proclaimed, “Some of us like to get some exercise”.
I looked back at her and threw her some attitude back: “I ran 11 miles this morning”. She stood there for about 15 seconds trying to come up with a retort, and then finally just turned and walked away. My brother-in-law managed to wait until she was out of earshot before he burst out laughing.
As One Does…two handsPhoto by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
I’m Jewish and my wife is Armenian. I used to sit next to a Turkish guy at work. Occasionally he and I would have arguments about the Armenian genocide. He, in keeping with official Turkish policy, insisted that it a) never happened and b) was blown way out of proportion. He also claimed that the Armenians were the ones actually doing the slaughtering.
I told him, that I disagreed with him and that the Turks knew exactly what they were doing and it was intensely personal. He smirked and said, “How do you know that”? My response shut him up completely. “My wife’s grandmother was in her house in Chomaklou when a package arrived from the post office. She opened it. Inside it was her husband’s head.”
Well, Allow Me To Retort
I went to a house party many years back, and there was a guy there who was a total loser. He was making rude comments, insulting people, and irritating everyone. We weren’t even sure who he was or how he was invited. Anyway, I grabbed a drink and started playing with Newton’s cradle that was on the host’s living room table.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see the jerk walk over toward me. “Small things amuse small minds”, he chuckled. I replied, without skipping a beat: “In that case, maybe you should take your hands out of your pockets”. The people around us burst out laughing, and, of course, he had no comeback. He just slithered away and I never saw him again for the rest of the evening.
Back in 1988, I took a job delivering wholesale ice in the Washington, DC area. Despite the frigid temperatures one winter, we were very busy with commercial orders for the local sports arenas. We would also occasionally get orders from the larger hotels and convention centers when their own ice machines couldn’t keep up with the demand. I will never forget this moment.
On one particularly cold Sunday morning, I was awakened very early at home by a frantic general manager whose ice machine had failed overnight when the pipes froze. He pleaded with me to rush a pallet of crushed ice to his hotel by 10:00 am for a huge political charity event—the kind where the participants pay $25,000 per plate to hobnob with celebrities.
I hurried out there. While waiting to get paid after unloading, I noticed the kitchen staff all laughing and smirking. When the chef returned with my check I said, “What’s so funny”? He replied, “No offense, but you must be the dumbest person on the planet, driving around with three feet of snow on the ground in the middle of winter trying to sell ice”.
As I took the check, I said, “Nah, I’m not the one buying it”. You could hear a pin drop. As I left, I heard everyone bust out laughing even harder, and the chef yelling at them all to shut the F up.
Ready, Set, Gah!black traffic light with red lightPhoto by Luke Thornton on Unsplash
I was at a red light and some dude in a modified compact car pulled up next to me and revved the engine while looking over at me with a cocky smirk. This stretch of road was a pretty popular place for people to drag race, and what I could just barely see that my new friend could not see was a cop hiding behind a shrub.
So, I revved my engine back at him. This caused him to laugh and rev his engine even more—but I wanted to really get him going. I started to just barely creep up an inch or so. As soon as the light turned green, I stayed put for a few seconds while he popped the clutch and laid rubber the entire length of the intersection. He was immediately pulled over. I smiled and waved as I slowly drove past.
When I was in college, I was talking amongst a group of peers about Japanese, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cuisines, which I am extremely passionate about. A woman in the group said, “What would you know about those cultures? You’re just a blond-haired, privileged white man”. I thought, What? But I kept my mouth shut.
A few moments later, we were looking at my photo of a recent family gathering. What do you know? My brother-in-law is Moroccan and was wearing his traditional clothing. He cooked Moroccan food for us daily while living with us. And, oh no, my two brothers are dating girls from Japan who are like sisters to me. The humanity! Wait, two of my cousins are from the Philippines?
You get the picture. Someone in the group said, “Wow [person who insulted me]! You must feel pretty dumb right now”. And I could tell that they did feel pretty dumb. I love my family and I wish we could all stop judging others based on appearance. That’s just extremely shallow. It’s 2020! We’re a huge melting pot. C’mon, folks.
Twists And Turns
A guy was hitting on me in a restaurant bar as my husband Tom and I were waiting for a table. Tom was chatting with the guy next to him, all hunched over and speaking sotto voce, as he often does. I was idly stirring my drink, when this fellow wandered over and started hitting on me. Now, ordinarily, I love to flirt, even with strangers…
This guy, however, reeked of booze and started by putting a hand on my thigh. It wasn’t even a grope; more like an attempt to get his balance. And, yes, he smirked as he said, “So, lovey, wanna go to my place? I’ll show you a good time”. It was too much. WAY too much. I can only hope his friends put him up to it, as a bet, or something.
“Tom”? I said in a sort of panicky voice like I’d spotted a spider or something. Now, you have to understand that my husband, bless his heart, looks like Neanderthal. Seriously. Except he’s 198 cm (six foot six), weighs 127 kg (280 pounds), and he’s built like a Bulgarian weightlifter. He has deep-set eyes, a thick nose, a sloping forehead, and some tattoos.
He would definitely be typecast as a Russian Mafia. And Tom, who is normally a baritone, can reach all the way down to basso profundo. So when he’s hamming it up, and trying to look intimidating, even Batman would think twice. “Yes, my little dumpling”? he rumbled as he turned around and straightened up, putting one hand on my shoulder.
And that was the end of that man’s smirk. Yeah, I was flirting, but Tom adores me, and he loves to do chivalrous things like that. We had a good giggle over it later.
Time To Tap Outwoman in white suitPhoto by Thao LEE on Unsplash
I am a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a woman, I often get paired with new students who try to tell me how to do a technique. I’ve noticed that this never happens to the guys, by the way. Usually, I’ll just let them talk and then show them what’s up when it’s time to roll (training against a resisting opponent).
Typically, one roll will put an end to their patronizing behavior, but this one guy wasn’t getting it. He kept trying to correct me but he was consistently wrong when describing the techniques. Our head instructor even heard him on several occasions and told him to stop trying to correct me because he doesn’t know what he was talking about.
On this particular day, we were drilling the double-leg takedown. I should mention that I have been coaching the kids' classes for about six years, and this is one of the main takedowns the kids do. I gently took him down, because we were just drilling—and he tried to tell me I did it wrong. I told him it wasn’t wrong, and he argued. So I decided to shut him down.
I looked him straight in the eyes, then looked down at his white belt, and then I looked at my belt, and back to his eyes. I simply said, “Huh”, and I took him down hard, using the same technique that he said was wrong. Let’s just say he never tried to correct me again.
If It Pleases The Court
My now ex-wife and I were trying to do an amicable dissolution. It didn’t end well. So, we drew up a plan and I took it to a lawyer just to have her look at it. This lawyer wasn’t six months out of school. She was inexperienced, cheap, and kind of dumb, but she was good enough to look over our document. She had concerns. I spoke to my wife to address them.
The wifey wanted changes. Then she wanted more. Then she hired the best attorney in our small town. Basically, this guy is a pitbull and everyone knows it. There is nobody who can beat him in court—at least not in our town. Who can beat him? A guy from about 70 km (45 miles) away who is more than willing to take him on.
“I’ve dominated him more than once, already” he proudly told me. Fast forward to the first court date. No one was aware that I had hired him, and it just so happened that my first lawyer had a case the same day, so she was at the courthouse. I saw my ex and her lawyer pointing at my old lawyer and already celebrating. Then our case was called…
They beamed at my first lawyer, but she sat still. My new lawyer, however, joined me at the front of the courtroom. I could see the blood drain from her lawyer’s face when he recognized my attorney. Her lawyer whispered something to her, she shook her head as if she didn’t understand. They had a brief discussion and my wife became 100 percent more reasonable.
Macho, Macho, Man
I am a stay-at-home father, among other jobs. Once a year, my wife’s company holds a meal at a nice restaurant, and the spouses are expected to attend. There’s free food and some of my wife’s coworkers aren’t idiots, so I don’t mind it. All night, one of her coworkers, unfortunately, one of the non-idiots, is doing the “I earn this much, I am SO manly” routine.
Meanwhile, I am actually sharing some of my recipes with her other coworkers. The idiot then makes a joke about me being a “good wife”. I just stare at him. He is in his 30s, short, mostly bald, not quite fit but not actually sloppy, and desperate to make everyone else in the room look less manly than him. “So what do YOU do”? He asks.
This an annoying question because I know he’s been listening to me talk about making sure dinner is on and all my duties as the stay-at-home parent, but unbeknownst to him I have another profession. “I’m a blacksmith” I state proudly. My wife’s wannabe uber-macho coworker deflates like a soufflé in an earthquake.
Username Checks Outman weight liftingPhoto by Sopan Shewale on Unsplash
I was at the gym where I worked and there was a group of guys in their early 20s who thought they were the greatest things to walk the earth. They maybe had 50 kg (115 pounds) on the squat rack and they were arrogant, rude, loud, and just generally annoying other members. So, I figured a little competition wouldn’t hurt anyone.
I set up the squat rack next to them and began repping 155 kg (345 lbs). I’m also built pretty small, so their jaws instantly dropped, and no joke, they packed up their stuff and walked off super defeated.
Born To Be Wild
As background, I make my living teaching people how to ride motorcycles. A long time ago, I used to do this in the New York area. The battery on my personal motorcycle had drained, and I had a new one on order. In the meantime, I was commuting by car. When the new battery came in, I picked it up after work and put it in my trunk.
On my drive home, I encountered a group of riders on the side of the road. They were clustered around a motorcycle that had clearly broken down. This was back before everyone had a cell phone, so I stopped to see if they could use some help. I know a thing or two about how motorcycles work and generally travel with tools. Little did I know I would get myself into a little kerfuffle.
Now these were a bunch of gnarly biker dudes. Wearing leather, chains, and tattoos…they ticked all the biker stereotype boxes. I’m sure they were amused that a lady pulled over to help. I asked, “Do you guys need any help”? One replied snarkily, “Not unless you have a motorcycle battery in your trunk” and the group shared a laugh.
You can see where this is going. I replied sweetly, “As a matter of fact, I DO have a motorcycle battery in my trunk”. Between my new battery and tools and skinny girl fingers that extracted the old battery from a tight spot, I got them on their way. They ended up being a friendly bunch and I hope they will give a warmer response when the next person offers help.
Know Your Worth
Every five years our contracts are rebid at my government job and there are not many positions like these in this area, so I am somewhat beholden to whichever new contractor comes in. One day, the new contracting company manager came in and wanted to talk to me. I only had a short time to talk because of an appointment I had about an hour later.
The manager for the new company started off by saying, “You are overcompensated for your age and experience. You are making as much as people who have been here for 30 years. In order to bring you over to the new contract, we will have to reduce your pay by $10,000”. He smirked in that “I’ve got you and there is not much you can do about it” way.
I responded and said, “That’s unfortunate”. He did not realize it at that moment, but it was unfortunate for them. I ended him with my next response: “Well I need to get going to my interview appointment and from what you just told me, I don’t want to miss that.” His smirk was wiped from his face and he stuttered a bit, and asked if I was going to be in tomorrow or on Friday.
I told him, “No, I’m sorry, [the contractor I was currently with] was flying me out to Maryland to interview with another group out there because they wanted to keep me on their payroll”. We said our goodbyes at that time and the following day I had an offer in my e-mail with a slight raise from the new contracting company.
A Pleasure Doing Businessa man sitting at a table with a laptop in front of himPhoto by Adetola Afolabi on Unsplash
This story has it all: an international setting, payola, corruption, and, of course, some smirk-wiping. This story is about a friend of mine named Richard. We worked together at The Economist. He was in Hong Kong and I was in New York City. When I’d travel to HK for work, I’d stay with him and his wife. And when we were both stationed in London, I rented their attic.
Richard is an American and was about 35 in the story, which takes place at the turn of the millennium. His wife, Jyoti, was a bit younger and from India. After his stints in HK and London, he moved with his wife to her home region in India, and he started a business building sewers. Richard looked a bit like Michael T. Weiss, star of the late 1990s series The Pretender.
To win contracts and get the permits to install sewers, he often had to meet with local and regional government officials. At the time, India’s officials were notoriously open to, ahem, “gifts”. After discussing the permits, the bureaucrats would switch to Hindi and talk amongst themselves about the “gifts” they would demand in order to move Richard’s paperwork along. This worked perfectly in Richard's favor.
The bureaucrats would then switch back to English and tell him their requirements. They were never called bribes, of course, but it was clear that that’s what they were. At that moment, my friend would switch to fluent Hindi. Hindi is so good that, apparently, if you were on the phone with him you would not know he wasn’t Indian.
Indeed, he told me he went to these meetings in person so the bureaucrats would take him for a sucker. When he turned the tables on them, they would be so embarrassed that they would grant him the permits at the correct rate. His business wound up being the only one that didn’t have to pay extra.
Chivalry Is Alive And Well
My wife didn’t know how to drive when we got married. I encouraged her to learn, and she did. Now she is a very decent driver—very cautious and focused on safety.
We were at a party where there was this guy she dated back before we started dating. I think he’s sort of an idiot, but since I had no beef with him, we were speaking in a friendly way.
Then, my wife started mentioning that she had finally gotten her driver’s license. She was so proud of herself. This guy was like, “Wow! I wonder how that works. Man, you must be nervous when she drives with you in the car”. I really felt like breaking his face. Nobody makes fun of my wife. Instead, I decided to take a different approach.
I looked him straight in the face, and told him, “No, I don’t feel nervous at all. She happens to be a great driver, and I feel totally comfortable with her at the steering wheel”. The idiotic smile on the guy’s face immediately disappeared, and everybody within earshot smiled and looked at the guy like the idiot he was.
I’m sure my wife appreciated my answer better than if I had gotten physical with the guy. I still wanted to punch his face, though.
Many years ago, my husband and I attended an Independence Day celebration at a large stadium as are both Vietnam veterans. We weren’t stationed in combat zones, but we served during the conflict. During the event, the emcee asked active duty personnel and veterans to stand up and be recognized. We both rose to our feet.
A man behind me jerked on the back of my T-shirt so hard that I almost fell back into his lap. “Sit down”, he hissed. “They said veterans, NOT their wives”. My husband immediately put on a sinister smile. He looked at him calmly and said, “My wife is a veteran,” Thankfully, we did not hear a peep from the guy for the rest of the show.
Sharpshooterholding hand couplePhoto by Imam Fadly on Unsplash
Over 30 years ago, I was a deputy sheriff. I’d been one for a year or two when I met this lady who was a paramedic in the same county. We dated for a few years. One weekend, I was at her house and had just purchased a Beretta 21 semi-auto in .22 cal. because I was getting tired of lugging a .38 around on my ankle as a last-resort weapon.
I went into the backyard with my girlfriend and tossed an empty tuna can onto the ground, loaded a magazine, and aimed. The first shot missed. Well, it’s a new piece, let’s try again. At the end of that magazine, I still hadn’t hit that tuna can. The second magazine’s the charm, right? NOT! I still hadn’t hit the can. I was really angry at this point.
Suddenly I heard my girlfriend say sweetly behind me, “Honey, do you think I could try”? I loaded up a magazine and showed her what to do and said, “You won’t shoot any better with it than I did, but go for it”. She took it, aimed, and fired. TING! The can went flipping into the air. TING, TING, TING, TING, TING, TING. She hit the can six more times.
Seven shots and the smirk was definitely wiped off my face! I had foolishly forgotten that her father was a WW2 and Korea vet AND an avid collector and instructor who had taught both his girls how to shoot and obviously how to shoot well. We will soon celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. I’m so lucky that she agreed to marry me!
Mother Knows Best?
My brother stopped by our home one afternoon with his new girlfriend in tow. She was a tall, big-boned, top-heavy blonde. He introduced her to our mother who took him aside moments later. With a smug, self-satisfied smirk my mother informed him: “You know she’s not going to be able to keep her figure, don’t you”? My brother replied, “So…Did you”?
When I was in my early 20s, I went clubbing with some friends who brought along some other friends. One guy was trying to impress me with his “intelligence”. At the club, there was a screen where they projected various images. At this particular time, it was astronomical stuff. He asked me if I knew what it was. I just kinda smiled and asked him to tell me what it was.
He said that it was a close-up of Jupiter, and went on and on about it for a while. He then asked me what I thought it was. This is when I had some fun. So I told him that is Orion’s Nebula. He paused and replied incredulously, “Wait, do you know about this stuff”? I just smiled and stated that I was going into my final year of astrophysics at the U of T.
Wedding Crasherwoman in white and pink off-shoulder top standing beside wallPhoto by Olivier Rule on Unsplash
I was at a distant cousin’s wedding a couple of months back. Since my grandmother was invited, I decided to tag along. On the day of the wedding, I could tell that everyone had done their best to get glam and gorgeous. Thankfully, some of my cousins were there, too, so I wasn’t totally bored. About halfway through the function, was approached by a woman I didn’t know.
I was standing beside six of my male cousins, just talking and laughing, when this lady, who was just a couple of years older than me and so thin that she looked like she’d never eaten anything, came up to me and said, “You just have to start exercising. You’re so fat, look, I can see your fat through your dress. Haven’t your parents taught you anything”? That was bad enough, but she kept taking it further.
I admit that I’m chubby, but my fat could definitely not be seen through my clothes. This woman went on ranting some more, just insulting me and saying that no one would marry me because I was fat, and that I’d never have kids. I was listening calmly. When she was done, she looked at me, smirked, and asked “Don’t you agree”?
I very calmly replied, “There is a disadvantage to you being thin. A small head means you can only fit a small brain in there. It makes you a narrow-minded person. As for me, I can proudly say I have an open mind as well as a big heart”. The lady’s face turned bright red as she sputtered and tried to think of a response. She ended up just turning and stalking away.
The Doctor Is In
When I mentioned that I have a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, a software engineer smirked and said, “What are ya gonna do with that”? I had spent several years as a professional research scientist, but I skipped over that in my answer. Instead, I kept my slayage simple: “Well, I taught myself to code, so nowadays I’m an IT consultant. I did all the math for a huge database merger project at Microsoft".
“Oh,” was all he said. And, yes, his smirk was gone.
Fast And Soon-To-Be-Furious
I was driving a muscle car and pulled up to a stoplight with my girlfriend at my side. A couple of guys in a Porsche pulled up beside us and tried to get me to race. I shook my head. We were on a date and I was trying to be on my best behavior. To provoke me, they started yelling some very hurtful things about my girlfriend. Obviously, this infuriated me—and I knew I had to get payback.
When the light changed, I gunned it and my car leaped out ahead of them. I then quickly backed off just in time for them to blow through the speed trap I had passed on the way to pick her up. We laughed all the way to dinner.
Sir, Yes, Sirmen's black and red topPhoto by Chichi Onyekanne on Unsplash
Many years ago, I was an army wife and was in my car in a shopping center parking lot, when someone hit my car from behind. The other driver, who was wearing his shiny new army uniform, pulled rank on me. He aggressively said that he was in law enforcement, that I was in trouble, and that he hoped I was well insured.
I sat quietly until he asked for my insurance. Then I suggested he call my husband for the details, as my husband was his new boss—and obviously outranked him substantially. Needless to say, it was very amusing to watch him deflate. But the best part? He then got called into the office and reprimanded for pulling rank on a civilian.
Comin’ In Hot
My stepfather used to love to make my life miserable. One of the ways he did this was to walk through the kitchen while I was washing dishes, plunge his hand into the dishwater and yell, “This dishwater is ice cold! You can’t get dishes clean in cold water. Now empty that out, make some hot dishwater, and wash all these over again”!
Since I detested washing dishes, this would always make me cry and feel defeated. Then he would smirk and walk out of the kitchen feeling very proud of himself. It didn’t matter how hot the dishwater was, he always did the same thing. So one night I had enough. I put a stockpot on the stove to boil, then poured the boiling water into the sink with some dish soap.
I loaded the sink with dishes and then stirred them around a bit with a wooden spoon to make it sound like I was doing dishes. Sure enough, I soon heard him coming my way. As he walked into the kitchen, I took a step back so he could easily reach the sink. He plunged his hand into the boiling hot dishwater! His hand came out of that sink so fast, it was a blur.
He said nothing and gave no indication that he had just stuck his hand in boiling water. He just looked at me with mingled hatred and respect and walked out of the kitchen without a word. That was the last time he ever tested my dishwater.