He Just Said What They All Were Thinking

, , , , | Working | July 27, 2020

I work at a small engineering company. We are still very small, only about twenty-five people. We have an IT guy who is responsible for interfacing with clients when their problem is more software-based and installing any modules we program for them. Therefore, he interacts with clients more than most of us engineers. He has a bit of a short temper but is otherwise excellent at his work and great as a coworker.

We also have a very abusive jerk of a client who gives us a lot of revenue and a lot of headaches. He expects each of us to grovel and scrape whenever we interact with him, has sworn at all of us at some point, and is a horrible human being in general.

He’s just found a minor bug on a software we sold him. This is fairly normal and we warranty new software for two to five years because bugs do happen.

My colleague and I, who are the programmers, my manager, and the IT guy are all at his site trying to solve the problem and have already taken a lot of abuse.

Client: “You’re all morons who can’t do anything right. I don’t know why we still bother with your company!”

Manager: “[Client], we are here to fix—”

Client: *Like a chant* “Morons, morons, morons! Come on, sing with me what you are! Morons, morons, morons!”

Three of us there are shocked and don’t know what to do. And then, there is [IT Guy].

IT Guy: “Sure, I’ll sing with you! F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!”

The client’s jaw hits the floor and he starts getting red in the face. But [IT Guy] continues his own chant, raising his voice to the point of yelling in this guy’s – open plan! – office space, and adding dancing middle fingers!

IT Guy: “F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!”

My manager quickly — but not too quickly! — gets us out of there before security comes to get us. [IT Guy] is still yelling as we drag him out the door.

IT Guy: “F*** YOU! F*** YOU! F*** YOU!”

He was fired, of course. In a company as small as ours, we couldn’t afford to let this behavior go unpunished — not with that many witnesses — or our reputation would go down the drain. But he was the office hero for months!

And the client was so hated that [IT Guy] was not fired for cause and was offered a settlement equivalent to two months of his salary, on top of the normal unemployment benefits. My manager also wrote him a kick-a** reference letter and sent his résumé to some connections. He had a good new job in under a month and remained friendly with us.

And we never did business with the abusive client again!

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