Breakups suck. Even when they're the best thing for you and everyone involved is good with it, they're still kind of sad. It's so much worse when you realize the breakup was a huge mistake. One Reddit user asked:
What was your 'oh sh!t' moment when you realized you shouldn't have broke up with your ex S.O.?
The responses were rough, honest, heartbreaking, and eye-opening. The sorts of things that make people realize they were wrong were shocking. Some of the breakup reasons were really petty to begin with, and Facebook factors into more than one story. In all of that, though, lots of lessons were learned. Brace yourself, some of these stories are really sad or infuriating. But it's not all bad. I made sure to give you at least one happy ending.
Merry Christmas, Mom
My mom left my step dad. She was always traveling back and forth 2 states over to take her grandma to chemo and during that time his father passed away and they just couldn't reconcile. They loved each other but life, you know?
He got remarried to a great lady and is super happy now. My mom told me recently that leaving him was the biggest mistake she made because he was the only good man she ever really knew. We all have Christmas at their house (seriously he and my mom divorced and he's still grandpa to my sisters kids and we call his new wife our step mom. They're awesome) but my poor mom has to watch them being happy together every year while she lives alone.
It really f*cked me up when I broke up with my fiance ten years ago because I realized I could never be the same person I was with him, with anyone else ever again.
That sounds emo, but we had so much backstory, so much history, so many inside jokes, so much shorthand for everything. We'd known each other for 15 years.
I had to mourn the loss of a part of me, a whole side of my personality, that I would never get to be again. Besides just losing him.
Obviously you can build history and jokes with new people, but it's not the same of 15 years of history from age 16 to age 32. Those are formative years.
Regardless, it was the right thing to do to leave him. Realizing what I had lost made it even harder. But it was the right thing to do for many reasons that aren't for here.
The Wedding Photos
My friend dumped his girlfriend of 12 years because he'd never dated anyone but her, they were struggling financially, and he wanted the chance to experience more relationships. Right after the breakup, she finished her PhD and started making six figures. She found someone else then got married within a year.
My friend tried dating a couple of people, but none of them have worked out and he still misses her. He said the moment he realized that he made a huge mistake was when he saw her wedding photos on Facebook and started crying.
I left her for someone else because I'm an idiot. The other girl turned out to be a jealous, mentally and physically abusive psychopath who eventually ended up in a psychiatric hospital. My S.O, quite rightly, refused to take me back.
An old friend left his wife because he felt the sex was awful and he wanted someone who he felt he could have great sex with. Wife pleaded with him to stay (no kids) but he refused and filed for divorce.
Divorce is finalized about a year later. This guy dates lots of women, but still finds the sex unsatisfactory.
Meanwhile, ex-wife meets this other guy about a year after the divorce and they have that type of whirlwind romance that truly is from a rom com. She marries this new guy, they have kids and the perfect marriage. She tells everyone that the divorce was the best thing that ever happened to her and can't believe how happy she is and could never imagine that a marriage could be so wonderful.
The guy, who is my friend, is more miserable now than ever. Constantly says what a mistake he made leaving his wife. Doesn't even go on dates anymore and has not had sex in years.
That's a rough way to find out you are bad at sex, but believe me he now knows it's HIM who has work to do in that department. The evidence is irrefutable.
Changing The DJ's Set
I broke up with a woman I was head over heels in love with over something that on reflection was fairly minor. Spent half a year progressively dropping into a deeper and deeper funk. Wouldn't admit it to myself at all that I'd made the wrong choice.
I was hanging out with a friend when she pointed out to me that she had never seen me as happy as I'd been when I was with my SO. Another friend pointed out that same week that the music I'd been DJing had become much more depressing over the past few months and asked me if something was wrong. That woke me up and made me realize how special she had been. It took another year for me to realize she was the first woman I'd really loved in the way you come to love somebody for who they are, rather than what you imagine them to be.
I never saw her again. I wish I'd never left her. We only would have had six years together, as she came down with cancer that eventually killed her. It didn't change how I felt; I'd take those six years in exchange for all the years I have left.
The Happy Ending
When I saw her at her birthday party with another guy.
It was kind of a mutual-ish breakup; it was my first relationship so I found it kind of oppressive.
Weeks later, I took her to dinner and told her I thought we had a future together and that I would be more committed to the relationship.
We've been married for 11 years now :)
We were on a break cause I was being a dick. In order to get a reaction I ended the relationship on Facebook. That was the end of the friendship and all. Regretted it ever since. It's only added years of misery to my life
Overwhelmed And Suffocated
I pushed her away because I got overwhelmed. I don't know if it's an oh sh!t moment, but I miss her.
I have this habit in relationships where I always end things whenever I feel overwhelmed. I really, really loved her. But little things start to pile up. I don't say how I feel because I just don't like confrontation. And then one day I just didn't love her like I used to. I don't know why. And with her, I fell back in love with her for a while and I opened up to her about it. She tried to get me to open up to her more regularly about how I'm feeling, but I just...can't.
I fell out again and ended it. She tried so hard to figure things out with us, but it just...I didn't want to try. It didn't seem fair to her to continue this when I'm just going to keep feeling suffocated. And when she tried to help, I felt trapped.
I don't know why I'm like this. And I know she really cared and loved me. Part of me wants to reach out to her again and really mend things, and figure out how to not feel so suffocated anymore. I don't think it's anything she did, she was really understanding...it's just me. I don't know how to deal with me. And I miss her.
I checked out his new girlfriend's social media accounts and saw how they were living exactly the same kind of life we had, and also living out things that my ex and I had planned. The difference is she seems so, so happy about it. Her captions about him shows how she treasures him and thinks highly of him, like she's so lucky to have him. He is indeed a good man. But during our time together he hadn't really figured out stuff yet. I felt like I always had to encourage him, to motivate him. I felt that I was always going to be the captain and cheerleader in the relationship.
When I read his current girlfriend's captions, it wasn't an 'oh sh!t' moment exactly, more of a disconcerting feeling of 'Was I wrong? Should I have been happier with that role? With what we had? Should I have not wished for more? Is there even a 'more'?'
But ultimately, I am happy for him. I don't think I'd ever be loved like that again tho.
Missing What's In front Of You
Because I was a very stupid young man who wasn't thinking at all. I had dated her for a little bit before I broke up with her, cause another girl who I thought was hotter showed a lot of interest in me. And it got really messy after that before we simply stopped existing to one another. That girl I left had been my longest steadfast friend who cared about me way more deeply than I ever deserved. Every relationship since then has exposed very deep flaws in me as a person and allowed me to make very fucking stupid mistakes that I wish had never happened. Every so often I think what if, but I'm not dwelling in the past. She now has an amazing man and I wish them the utmost happiness in this life and the next. I have worked tirelessly to reform myself so I never hurt anyone or make the mistakes I did, and also so that if I meet a girl like that again, I don't mess up again.
"I Don't Blame Her"
One of my Ex's I just never made time for. She was a great girl, we got along well, I just had different priorities at that point in my life.
She brought it up to me twice, she put in effort to fix it, tried scheduling dates, sat down and talked to me and explained why she was feeling hurt. And I'd change for a week. But I'd go back to my old ways. I just wasn't committed. I had other focuses namely my career. Finally she just said she still enjoyed my company but couldn't call seeing me once a week for a 2-3 hours a relationship. Even after she tried to stay friends but time between my responses got longer and longer until eventually I looked at it and her last text was from over a month ago. I felt too ashamed to respond, I probably should have.
But I don't blame her. She had needs I was not paying attention to. So I guess it's more she broke up with me, but she didn't want to. I forced her hand by just not being around.
The important thing was I learned from it. I learned I needed to pay more attention to my partners. I learned that just because I am very long-term focused that I cannot ignore the more immediate concerns and justify it with "It'll pay off in the long run". And that is a lesson that has lead to success since then.
Not me, but a friend of mine dumped his girlfriend of 5 years because he'd never gotten to have anal sex, and wanted to try it, and his girlfriend wouldn't do it because she was in remission from her fibromyalgia and she was afraid that the pain would cause a relapse. His girlfriend came from a wealthy family, and was supporting him financially at the time but apparently anal was just that important to him.
He dumped her and realized almost a year later when he finally met a girl who was willing to let him do anal that he was completely repulsed by the reality of it. He had been in denial that he'd made a mistake before then, but really broke down after he finally did the act. He was broke, and basically homeless (couch surfing). He missed his original gf, she'd been the only woman who'd had the patience to handle his eccentric personality for more than a couple months. He tried to get back with her but she'd moved on. He's never fully recovered in my opinion, he's still essentially homeless and has developed an alcohol problem in recent years.
Should Have Listened
One of the last things she ever told me was "you're going to be single for a long time." It's been 2.5 years. She was right. Not that I necessarily want to be with her again, but she was right that it would be hard to find someone again who'll give me a chance.
When I was 16 I briefly dated a girl who was 17. She wasn't in my peer group; she was an "outsider". But she was nice, had curly blond hair. I liked her. She had an old 1970 Cadillac and she let me drive it. I had never driven before so maneuvering that giant boat on the narrow streets of town was...fun. After a few months my friends were bugging me about why I was wasting my time with this girl. She didn't smoke or drink or listen to hard rock. So I let us drift apart. She turned 18, graduated high school and then won the New Jersey state lottery for $6M. I should have stayed with her. My friends were all bums.
With Friends Like These...
The break up was kinda mutual (didn't want to break up with him but, I had no choice.) A few weeks after we broke up, I started to catch up with some friends - all of which tried to take advantage me. The first guy wanted nude pictures of me, the other tried to get me into bed. I felt very sh!tty and disgusted, and couldn't help but remember how gentle and careful my ex was with me.
A Mile Down The Road
I hope she sees this.
When I got about a mile down the road after packing all of my things, I truly regretted leaving. We tried to hang on for a month afterwards but it didn't take. She couldn't handle that I just left instead of staying and trying to work on things. It's my biggest regret.
I was too wrapped up in myself to really see what was causing all of our issues, I only wish I could've seen it sooner. I tried to talk to her about it, to show her that I know now what I could do to help mend everything but I caused too much damage and pain.
I hope to see her again one day, but all I can do now is work on becoming the best person I can be. I'm currently working on all of my issues that caused all of these problems. It just saddens me because I know that down the road I'll meet someone new who will have this version of me that I will have put a lot of time and effort into. But in my mind's eye my ex is the one who deserves all of that work from me.
Mean What You Say
I wasn't the one the broke up with my ex, but breaking up was always a topic that was there due to long distance. We were talking about the future one day and she was pretty adamant about pursuing her career, which meant she wasn't planning on moving back with me. It turned sour really quick and I threw out a "maybe we should start thinking about breaking up."
The next time I visited her, she told me that she decided - and we broke up. I guess the "oh sh!t moment" didn't hit me until a month after when I tried to win her back by flying out to her (I had to give her stuff back, at least that was my excuse). But it didn't work and might have been even more painful cause it seemed like she had someone else already.
When I got home I sat on a bench in a park and couldn't stop crying. I felt like what I just lost was equivalent to losing my best friends that always followed along with all the dumb childish ideas I had, losing my mom with her undying love and loyalty, losing all the vibrant colors that are in the world that made everything seems so beautiful, losing my dreams of possibly one day having kids (I never really liked kids but I always thought if we had kids they would've been awesome), and then some.
The "oh sh!t moment" lasted for about a year, and I still remember her fondly with no resentment because I was dumb. But I take the advice "say what you mean, and mean what you say" pretty seriously now.
Mental Health Crisis
I left my girlfriend at the bottom of a debilitating mental health crisis. I guess I just ran out of energy for it and figured if I was good enough to get her, I was good enough to find someone easier and healthier to be with.
Nope. Coming up on five years. She recovered completely, no other woman has shown a shred of interest since then. All I had to do was stick it out.
What's on the menu? What are the specials? What's popular? What's your favorite item?Tell me everything.
Back when I was in hospitality, these are part of the litany of questions I would get from visitors to our country. It became a bit irritating. I should've made a sign with "Regular FAQs."
I didn't have a lot of answers, due to the fact that I find American food pretty run of the mill. I'm going have to be schooled on what is considered extra yummy only in the states.
Although I must admit, the shoe definitely swaps feet when I travel. Tell me everything. The rest of the world is far more compelling with their menus.
Redditor u/Well_shi__-_- wanted to discuss what menu items we all need to discuss by asking:
What common foods in your country are considered delicacies by foreigners?
The closest "delicacy" for America I can come up with is pizza. Right? But only in NYC. And bagels, but only in NYC. Maybe alligator in Florida? And oranges, but only in Florida. Were very centralized here aren't we?
Berry WayThanks Strawberry GIF by DriscollsBerryGiphy
"Goji berries. We put that stuff in our soups and many people pick that out when they drink the soup."
"(good) Olive oil."
"Kirkland California Extra Virgin Olive Oil is white label Cobram Estates, which is the California grown product of the Australian olive oil company, Boundary Bend. They have an unimpeachable reputation for quality and win many awards!"
"It was supposed to be caviar, but now it's also unaffordable for us. cries in Russian."
In the Forest
"Hmm, forest berries perhaps. I live in Finland. We have a lot of forests, so lot of berries such as blueberries and lingonberries. Everyman's Rights mean that you can just go and pick as much as you can find. It's kinda one of those things where if you live near any forested area, and are willing to spent time there come late summer, you'll probably have enough to last until next year in your freezer."
"We have so much berries that people from poorer countries (Thailand is a common one for some reason) are hired to pick them up, because doing berrypicking enough to actually profit monetarily is heavy work. And apparently the pay isn't worth it for most Finns. At the same time, forest berries are considered a superfood around the world, very healthy and trendy. Dunno about actual delicacy status, but definitely a difference in how we think about them."
The Little Lambbaby lamb GIF by The DodoGiphy
"I worked for a charity in Iraq for a year and we'd buy a dozen lamb chops for the equivalent of $5. That's like $60 to buy in the US and it's worse quality."
Ok, now that is what I call a menu. And I actually had a few of these items on my list when I heard the question. Only in Italy can you find true oil. And caviar? Guess I'm flying to Russia. Knock, knock Vlad. LOL
"Hawaii has somehow turned spam into a sought after food, especially by visitors from Japan."
"I would add mushrooms for Finland. Especially porcinis (herkkutatti), chanterelles (kantarelli) and C. tubaeformis (suppilovahvero) are incredible food mushrooms which are sought after e.g. in Italy. We can just go pick them in the forest thanks to our "jokamiehenoikeus", every man's right, which allows anyone to pick mushrooms and berries etc. on public land such as state-owned forests."
When in Mexico...
"Avocados here in Mexico, pretty common and cheap."
"Jamón Serrano, here in Spain is really common and you can find very good product for a very affordable price."
"We are going to Madrid this fall and my husband has already informed me that he plans to eat his weight in Jamón Iberico. We used to get slivers of it from a Spanish importer near our old house for crazy money."
Truth Hurtsbritish crown GIFGiphy
"Englishman here, been scrolling for sooooo long to find my country..."
"Maybe some stereotypes are true."
Spam? Just, no. And I will say, I think the English are in the same boat as the good ole US of A. Empty food treasures. I've been to London... the supermarket sandwiches were good and you can drink in the streets. I guess you make up where you can.
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Standards for dating people are definitely very varied, because we as people are varied, and we as people are flawed. Little things might get to us from the get go, causing us to be very very picky about who exactly we let through a couple rounds of dating.
Those things can be really small. Do they wear white after labor day? Are they one of those weirdos that refrigerates their red wine? Have they recently been spotted at a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament?
"What's the pettiest reason you've rejected someone?"
The answers were as varied as the humans who gave them.
So She's Making Things Up Again
"We went bowling and she started saying the bowling ball was hurting her fingers."
"She was convinced that there were bugs inside the bowling ball biting her fingers and that was the reason for her pain."-Wacky_Sacky
Okay But Only Psychos Cut Their Spaghetti
"I have a friend who has a whole list of petty reasons she's rejected guys:"
"•He cut his spaghetti before eating it"
"•He wore brown shoes with black jeans"
"•He cut his hair too short"
"•He dropped something and said 'whoopsie'"
"•After watching her favorite movie, Ever After, for the first time he said it was 'just Okay.'"
"And then once a month she cries about how she's still single."-Johannes_Chimp
Avoidant Attachment Style
"She smelled funny. Not bad. It clearly wasn't a case of not washing or anything like that."
"She just smelled... Weird. Couldn't get over it."
"For clarification: I didn't know how to broach the whole 'I like you and you're funny and smart and sex is great but you smell weird,' so I just moved to a different country."-BeefPicklesCheddar
It really is pretty interesting to see how people deal with these petty reasons as well.
Hoppy Beer Made Him Hoppy On Out
"I was rejected because I didn't like the taste of his preferred beer."
"That was it, I wasn't asking him to stop drinking it - I just didn't personally want to drink it. We were about to order another round, he asked if I knew the one he had just had, and offered me a taste."
"I gladly accepted because I try to be open to tasting new things."
"I just said I found it a little too hoppy for my tastes and I was happy to stick with what I was drinking. I wasn't rude, I said it was nice, but a little hoppy for me."
"His face dropped, it was almost comical. He then said something along the lines that he had changed his mind and he had better get home."
"That was the end of that first date. As in he literally decided he no longer wanted another round. The date was over. He had blocked me on Facebook before I walked the 100m to the bus stop."
"Pretty sure I dodged a bullet there."-Sharkoslotho
"My ex's name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse."
"We broke up after she f**ked another dude."
"I got over it, and met another girl. Her name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse. Nope."-somniumx
A Taste Log Of The Day
"This dude was super sweet and had a lot of good qualities."
"He was a plumber and casually admitted to me that sometimes he will bite/clean his nails after work and taste the remnants of what he touched that day. I could not get over that and had to move on."
"Things were really going great, like he said all the right things and he was a genuinely good person with similar interests. Up until the point he said that, I was considering moving forward with the relationship."
"Also, I see nail biting as a habit that could be changed, and even practicing better hygiene (which he mostly did, except for those damn nails)."
"Once he said it, and he was serious, my views and feelings for him changed. It's just one thing that completely turned me off from him."-AdmiralPendeja
Half The Fun Of Having Cats Is Having Them Be Bratty
"My perpetually single friend has turned rejecting people into a bit of a sport."
"I'll Tinder for her, which is all sorts of amusing, but one day, I had actually met someone for lunch and thought 'here's someone that's kind of her type, I wonder if she'd be interested!'"
"I ended up pulling up his website and showing her some pictures of the guy. We get to about the sixth photo in, of two of his cats, in a treehouse. She explains 'his cats look bratty.'"
"Yeah, well, that's why you're single. Still. Six years later."-disillusioned
And the reasons people will find just to get away from people and keep themselves alone is also very interesting.
Was It Worth It?
"Went on a first date with someone that was out of my league. Couldn't believe my luck! On our way to dinner, everything was going fine and the conversation was flowing. She seemed really into me."
"Suddenly she screamed at me to stop the car. Not pull over, stop right here right now immediately in the suicide lane of a 4 lane major road."
"Just before I came to a complete stop in the middle of this busy road, she opened the passenger door and tried to jump out. If a cop saw all this it probably looked like she was escaping a kidnapping."
"She jumped out of the car and played Frogger across two lanes of traffic, and I sat there stunned with my passenger door hanging open into traffic. A few seconds later, she came running back with something under her arm."
"I couldn't see what it was in the mirror. She had a huge smile on her face and as she climbed back into the car she squealed with delight as she showed me what it was."
"A f**king hubcap. She said it was to commemorate our first date, and that we could share custody of it. I could have it first."
"That was our first and last date."-Uncle_Baconn
Elton John Would Probably Laugh At This Story
"We spent our first date browsing various record shops in Manhattan and Greenwich Village. I took him to my favorite ones. I told him what Elton John album I thought was best."
"He disagreed and was adamant I was dead wrong. He was going to a party at his brother's after and didn't believe in subways (as his dad had died in 9/11)."
"The party was 100 blocks away in Brooklyn. Decided to walk him to the party despite having mild asthma and severe post nasal drip. Once there at the door he decided it wouldn't work out because he couldn't put our differences aside."
"His last words were, 'Do you really believe Honky Chateau is his best work?' Of course I do. He had this horrified disgusted face on and said, 'Yeah, no. That's just wrong. Not gonna work out since you have poor taste.'"
"Literally got rejected over Honky Chateau, but it's okay. My FIL thinks that album is the hottest sh*t."-intothethickofitoh
Tiny Teeth Committee
"I broke things off once because of the size of her teeth."
"They were tiny compared to the size of her mouth. It shouldn't have been an issue, but it creeped me out. I don't know why, but it was one of those things that I couldn't ignore and gradually became the only thing I could see."
"Grown woman with a mouth full of baby teeth... just weird."-CarrollGrey
It is really a wonder how humans are so easily poked, prodded, and annoyed. But it is part of what makes us who we are.
We wouldn't have fun, funny, interesting stories to tell each other otherwise. We simply have to honor these little, "petty" reasons for not getting with others.
There's nothing funny about having an employee show their true colors after you've already hired them. Upon hiring, they seemed completely normal, pleasant, like they would be a good worker. Then as they get the lay of the land, they show that they actually have a different personality when the manager isn't around to see.
A Redditor wanted to know:
"Employers, what's the most insane complaint you've had about an employee that turned out to be completely true?"
These stories will shock you. The things that these people did were deceitful and, quite frankly, illegal in some cases. How the managers didn't catch them sooner is what makes it so unbelievable.
The hotel party.
"I was the head night auditor at an upscale airport property. Had a youngish night auditor who put a room into out of order status and let his friends in to party and have an orgy that he joined during his lunch break. He got caught because of a noise complaint. Police called, he was fired and blacklisted from being hired back."
"I hope he had a 1hr lunchbreak. If he joined the orgy for 15mins that's kinda disappointing for everyone."
"That is hilarious, I had almost the exact same thing happen at a property I worked at, except:"
"a) It was a tiny 30 room historical property, so it wasn't going to go unnoticed."
"b) He threw his drug fueled party in the "Queen Anne Suite," our most expensive room."
"c) He didn't even have the sense to put the room out of order or even kiiinda clean up afterward, assuming the hotel staff would just not notice or care that a room we didn't rent that night was ABSOLUTELY THRASHED."
"d) He just made keys for his friends that he handed out, and came in through the back or something, rather than just renting the room at a discount or something so it would all be kosher on the books (if you don't have 50 bucks to rent a room at the employee rate then you don't have the money for a party bud)."
"e) He did all this on MY shift rather than his own, thinking I wouldn't catch on that something was fishy on one of our TWENTY FOUR SECURITY CAMERAS."
"f) He really thought he could prevent us from catching him by coming in on my shift, acting like he left something behind on his last shift, then while I wasn't looking, STEALING THE CORDLESS MOUSE TO THE CAMERA MONITOR. IN PLAIN VIEW OF THE FRONT DESK CAMERA. He just. Palms it. Then shifts a guilty lil glance at the camera."
"Surprise surprise, we were able to roll back the security footage and catch all this on tape when we pulled the high tech maneuver of 'Plugging In A Different Mouse.' He was fired so fast. I've never worked with such a dumba** in my life. He really thought he pulled the heist of the year."
"For context, this was not a teenager. He was obviously in his 40's, receding hairline, lanky and always a lil sweaty and dodgy and socially awkward. Not 'quiet and timid' socially awkward, more like... this guy gives me bad vibes, makes inappropriate uncomfortable jokes and laughs too hard, doesn't really get professional workplace boundaries, seems like the sort who would try too hard to impress teenagers because he has a car and can buy them liquor but can't hang onto a friend his own age to save his life. My hiring manager really knew how to pick 'em."
At the bank.
"Working in a bank. Had a teller (about 19 year-old) get pissed about the way a customer (retail store owner) would send in her deposits at the drive up window. The teller complained about the customer on Facebook! Tagged the lady personally, as well as the store! Customer called the bank and told me, furious of course."
"I told the customer we would investigate, I asked the teller. She straight up admitted it, and says "What's the customer or Branch Manager going to do about it? My Grandfather is friends with the bank President." I called HR and Bank President on conference. Girl lost her job in under 15 minutes of me receiving the call from the customer. Breach of customer confidentiality in banking is a MAJOR law violation."
"I love the fact that she thought her grandfather being 'friends' with the bank President was going to do jack for herself. Even if it had been her father being friends with the president she would still be fired. Even if she had been friends with the president she would still be fired. If she was the bank president she would still be fired. The only scenario where she gets out of this untouched is if she had a time machine to slap herself before she tagged the customer."
"This is why it is important to distinguish between nepotism and networking. Networking can look like nepotism but you are actually taking advantage of the fact that you know competent people and thus don't have to play roulette with new hires. The catch is that if you give a bad recommendation it reflects poorly on you and you lose status in the network, and the new hire is not protected at all."
"Though if you break the law even nepotism won't save you most of the time."
Should have run a background check.
"Hired a guy on a trial basis. He was super polite and careful when speaking to me, but several of my female employees told me when I wasn't around he was creepy. After about 5 days, one came to me and said almost verbatim: 'I think he's a rapist.' She just a had a gut feeling about him. So I ran a background check on him... yep, he was a convicted rapist."
"For those of you saying 'This is why you run background checks BEFORE you hire...' this was almost 20 years ago when it was not standard procedure, and I was not in charge of that regardless. HR would make the decision. In this case I requested it specifically because the safety of my employees appeared to be at stake, but not one other time in my career did I feel the need to ask for one."
Subway stamp cards scheme.
"I knew a guy who worked at subway back when they gave out stamps. Basically for every six inches of sub you bought you earned a stamp and once you filled a card with 8 stamps you could get a free six inch sub."
"So this guy started only giving stamps to customers who asked for them. If they didn't ask he pocketed their stamps and grew a sizeable stack of complete stamp cards."
"Then over time he started cashing them in. When a customer paid with cash he would ring it in as a freebie, place his own completed stamp card in the till, and pocket the cash. Customer got their sub, subway's till was balanced, and he had an extra five to ten bucks in his pocket - everybody was happy."
"He worked there for a few years and word was he racked up a few thousand dollars running this scheme. No idea if anybody complained, or if he was ever caught, but he did buy a motorbike."
Innocent retail worker gone wrong.
"So I worked retail and we got this guy named something like Gus."
"My boss tells me, 'Hey this guy's got anxiety, go easy on him OK?' And so I was like, okay that's cool I get it I can relate. I do everything I can to help him make sense of the infernal godforsaken hellscape that is retail."
"It starts off with little forgivable things -- forgetting a task here, forgetting things there, accidentally giving the wrong info and things like that. You know, newbie retail stuff like that."
"He quickly devolved in popularity as his complacency grew over time and his helpful attitude shrank. My guy started messing around during his shift, getting caught on his phone while ignoring backup cashier calls and things like that. He would make stabbing motions behind the manager's back to other employees, tell off new employees, and play it all off like he was some innocent dope who didn't know any better."
"None of this got him fired. Day after day was a new complaint from an employee about responsibilities he shirked or a customer about blatantly wrong info like, 'Oh yeah we have another location up on the hill,' and we didn't. No idea whose son he was, because that was apparently all kosher."
"What ACTUALLY got him fired is the one day he brought a dog and a super expensive dog collar into work. He claimed he almost hit the dog on the way to work and it was running around wild, etc. He tried to sell the dog collar to a customer, then tried to 'adopt out' the dog to a coworker."
"This coworker was competent enough to take the dog to a vet whereupon they found a microchip and contacted the actual owners. THAT'S where the fun started."
"It came out that Gus never found the dog at all. He straight up KIDNAPPED this dog from his neighbor and tried to pawn it off, knowing full well what he was doing. The guy lawyered up immediately, tried to sue Gus and threatened to sue the store and the store manager if Gus wasn't fired."
"Suffice to say, Gus was gone the very same evening. Nothing else came of it, but we talked about him for years and years."
These stories are unbelievable but true. How some of these people didn't get arrested is beyond us!
Thank goodness there were employees who caught these people in the act.
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The magical, curated experience for paying guests is only the tip of an iceberg of hard work, dicey ethics, and a robust corporation with all the policies and economic motivations that you'd expect.
Lucky for us, some Redditors were there to see all that goes on behind the curtain.
And my goodness do they have some stories.
Redditor memezdankton asked:
"Former Disney theme park employees of Reddit, what are some dirty secrets or stories you can tell us about your time there?"
Many people were cast members: princes, princesses, people in giant, fuzzy costumes. Those smiles, plastered there for hours at a time, aren't always legitimate.
"My SIL got a the role of Cinderealla at Disneyland Paris."
"She had to practice Cinderella's autograph over and over because although different actresses play her all over the world, the signature of the character has to be identical anywhere it's signed for consistency."
"You have to be in specific height ranges to play the different characters. Because Mickey's height range is so short he's usually played by a woman. Likewise for Donald, although the most successful and best known Donald that I knew while I worked there was a little person."
"When the princess face characters come backstage they have to take off their dresses so they don't get dirty while they're on break so the princesses are usually walking around in a smock and bloomers if you see them back there. There is some serious cognitive dissonance when you walk back and see Snow White in her bloomers on her phone cursing up a storm."
"People sexually harass the characters super frequently. I was working with Ariel and cast members will always count down before they take a photo so people have time to get into position. I counted down and this teen boy decided to try to rip off one of Ariel's shells."
"I had to open his camera and expose his film so the photo didn't get developed and passed around. I found out later that I was supposed to take it to the Kodak shop to have the film developed and that one removed - but I'd always heard the rumors about ruining the film and nobody really trains you on that so I just went with it. The little a**holes deserved it."
The Show Must Go On
"Worked at Disneyland for almost 5 years. I personally haven't gone to see the 'Disney' doctor for cast members but I know friends who have an heard the doctor doesn't give a sh** about the CM's coming in for injuries."
"The time I was there, photographers and other departments weren't allowed to drink water from the water fountains because we are 'on stage.' It was a big issue the last year I worked there and some of the leads were fighting for umbrellas for photographers. It gets really brutal in Carsland where it's 5x hotter. Almost past out from the heat and dehydration."
A Very Hostile Work Environment
"I had a friend who was a gorgeous red head in her early twenties. She got cast to play Ariel at Disney World. She returned home after a few months saying that they were pressuring her into getting breast implants.
"To quote her (quoting her manager), 'There is no way Ariel has such small boobs.' "
Others discussed the employment policies that are sure to leave you scratching your head. Or calling your union rep.
What Can and Can't Be Shown
"Disneyland first interview papers include a blank outline of a person to indicate where you have tattoos."
"It's referenced if you want to change positions internally, to indicate how said tattoos could be revealed, based on what your new uniform would be."
Playing the Part
"I worked in reservations. They give you a name, that is not your own and you better use it. My name is not Robyn Leigh, but in Disney reservations, it was."
Never a Good Sign
"Disney Employees started referring to Disneyland as Mousechwitz due to working conditions."
"Management told them to stop, so they used Duckau instead"
And others shared the obscure and strange stories that only a Disney employee, with a front row seat to a massive institution, could ever know about.
A Big Loss
"During the construction of Pandora at Animal Kingdom, a very beloved superintendent passed away on the project of an immediate heart attack. Mid-sentence and while opening the door to the construction trailer, George Burke just…died."
"The project was very affected by this. His knowledge of the work that needed to be done was deep and irreplaceable. His laughter and personality was loved by all 1400 workers that were there. A couple years after he passed, we were finishing the project and found the perfect way to pay homage to George. They invited his family to the middle of an active construction site to let them view it."
"George's red hard hat, with the black Nordic Cross on top was attached to the rockwork, in the middle of the flowing river, to the left of the entrance to Flight of Passage, and plastered over. The family, friends, and a few Imagineers, were the only people there. Only we can point out where the hardhat is underneath the plaster, theming, and plants. I revisit the spot everytime I go back to Pandora. :-) Peace!"
Truckin' It Out
"Former cast member from the early 90s. There was a central 'bank' near the Magic Kingdom tunnel entrance where all the park gift shops, restaurants etc would deposit the day's cash. Each day an armored truck would drive into the tunnel to haul away the loot. i can only imagine how much cash they took outta there!"
"I worked there for 3 months 2 years ago with my gf at the time and anything news worthy that happens there (usually negative) immediately gets shot down by the official page of Disney (Twitter, insta, Facebook etc) they keep everything hush hush."
"Lighting struck a bathroom building and there was a small fire and my gf and I weren't working that day but we were there enjoying the park for free bc we're cast members and she records it and posted it on her Twitter. News media pages were commenting and asking her questions like when, how, what's being done and before she could reply the Disney page said to disregard the video bc it wasn't true and the video is edited and the media pages stopped asking after that."
"She gets called into the office the next day and was super close to losing her job. The reason she didn't was bc of how much seniority she had but she was basically on probation after that."
It's a list that'll leave your mind wandering a whole lot more if you ever do go to Disney again.
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