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Malicious Compliance, One Pence At A Time

, , , , , , , | Working | November 25, 2020

I used to work for a haulage firm that was owned and operated by a guy who was notorious for being a cheapskate. This was a fairly sizable firm that operated close to fifty vehicles, but he ran it like it was still a two-person firm working out of someone’s garage. Wages were as low as they could be without making it impossible to hire people, vehicle and site maintenance fell into either essential or never happening… You get the idea. By all accounts, the cash was there, and when the owner was showing up to work in his new Ferrari you knew exactly how he intended to spend it.

Staff turnover was alarmingly high, but there was still a core of people, both office and driving staff, that stuck around for whatever reason. One of these was a guy who was everything: driver, warehouseman, mechanic, etc. He’d been with the firm for fifteen years and was very much part of the furniture.

One day, he was loading bulk containers of wine — 1000-litre tanks — on a trailer and accidentally burst one with the forklift fork. The tank drained completely and he reported the incident to the boss, since it would surely be an insurance job.

Boss: “Those goods were only insured for £100 per ton. Since that tank of wine had a goods value of almost £5,000, you’re going to have to pay back the rest yourself out of your paycheck.”

The driver in question had never had any accidents or other issues in all the time he’d been with the firm and, unsurprisingly, after a highly heated row with the boss, he quit and walked out.

The boss, unwilling to let it go, started to send first letters and then debt collectors after this guy. Eventually, it was heading for court.

However, shortly before the court date, the driver showed up driving a tipper lorry and deposited £4,900 in front of the office, exclusively in the form of 1p coins — over a ton of the things.

The image of him driving away with his middle finger raised in victory shouting at the boss to enjoy taking them to the bank remains by far my happiest memory of the place.

Malicious Compliance, One Gram At A Time

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