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The Cost Of Revenge Can Be High, But Sometimes It’s SO Worth It

, , , , , , , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: ANONYMOUS | August 30, 2023

I used to run a small business (a wedding space), and I was very successful in a very short period of time. It got to the point that I was getting all-expense-paid invites to industry conferences less than six months after I opened. Needless to say, this ruffled feathers.

Enter [Competitor]. [Competitor] is a chief [Entitled Jerk] who competes in the same space and has been nothing but awful to me from the moment she became aware that I wasn’t just competition but was doing better business than her. She complained that I had gotten expenses paid and implied that it was because I was pretty, said that she felt people who had been in the space longer deserved it more, and made a vaguely racist statement about how my outfit colors “don’t look good” on dark-skinned people. She also reported my booth for accidentally being less than three inches outside of our ten-by-ten slot, and she has tried on more than one occasion to have my competing products removed from vendors’ halls. Needless to say, I despise this woman.

Fast forward a little bit to the global health crisis. I saw major issues on the horizon for my business, so I decided to step out and sell it for a pretty penny. I bought a condo, took a job at a non-profit, and moved along with my life. But some of my friends still in the industry would give me updates or vent, and I was absolutely right to sell; most everyone doing what I did had already closed, including the person I sold my business to.

[Competitor], however, was still going strong, though I noticed that her prices were really, really aggressively low. My friend then showed me screenshots of [Competitor] bragging privately about claiming to be unemployed/disabled by using her long-time partner as a cover for her business and then dropping prices below what other sellers could because she was double-dipping.

This really, really, really made me angry. I have a mobility disability, and I felt horrible for the people she was running out of business by pricing so low. So, of course, I reported her, but nothing seemed to come of that. Then, one of the biggest conferences in our local industry came up on my calendar. This conference costs $8,000 to $10,000 to vend at, and many vendors make 50% or more of their yearly income from this one event.

My friend runs the vending hall, so I asked her to place me right next to [Competitor]. When I left the industry, I still had great contacts on the manufacturing side because I speak Chinese fairly well. I found the manufacturer for [Competitor]’s top-selling items and ordered a sizeable inventory to take with me to the conference. I priced them at cost, made ginormous signs about inventory liquidation, and created these super-aggressive bundle deals that made it nearly impossible for [Competitor] to do any business being right next to me.

I could see her over there fuming, and she did try to come over and complain, but our booth was too busy to even entertain her obnoxious huffing and puffing.

[Competitor] closed her shop last week. I lost about $5,000 doing this, but I got a lot of people deals on packages and items that they never thought they could afford for their special day, and it was honestly fun to help people out, especially at [Competitor]’s expense.

His Credibility Is In The Toilet

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 8, 2023

My father was a school superintendent and went to a conference with other school administrators. The speaker opened with one of those “super teacher helps out the kid everyone else ignored” stories. The kid in the story was named Pepe. Unfortunately, the speaker apparently didn’t know how to pronounce the name.

Speaker: “Little Pee Pee didn’t speak English very well.”

Speaker: “The other kids made fun of Pee Pee.”

Speaker: “Pee Pee would hide in the bathroom and cry.”

Not quite the encouraging message he was going for.

What Happens In Vegas… May Cost You

, , , , , , , , , | Working | CREDIT: clevercubed | October 28, 2022

A few years ago, I went to a very large week-long conference in Las Vegas. One of the evenings, our company was throwing a massive party for our customers. These parties were known to be epic, and everyone there to work the booth looked forward to it every year.

But, at the last minute, the CEO, wanting to keep costs down, decided that engineers weren’t allowed at the party because of the cost, despite the fact that we had been busting our butts for weeks for the show. Our Vice President protested and was told just to take us all out for dinner — on the company’s dime. 

So, our VP took us all to a VERY expensive restaurant on The Strip.

VP: “Get anything you want. Let’s max out my company card!”

Everyone got Wagyu steaks, expensive wine, OLD Scotch, and all of the desserts. The bill came out to around $15,000 — at least ten times what allowing us in the party would have cost.

You Tease!

, , , , | Working | July 8, 2022

They’re giving out door prizes at a conference I’m attending. I have ticket #500.

MC: “And for a free book, #487. A coffee gift card, #522. T-shirt, #550. And the grand prize, two free nights at this resort, #500!”

Me: “Yes!”

I jump up and go running to the stage.

MC: “…and 17. #517.”

Apparently, she’d just paused for dramatic effect.

Impossible Demands? I Won’t Hear Of It!

, , , , , | Working | June 25, 2021

I’m a biologist, and my boss made me the “volunteer” audio-visual person at an international consortium of about 150 people. This was mainly because, as one of the youngest scientists at my company — I’m in my mid-thirties — I was known for being reasonably comfortable with computers. To be clear, I really have no useful A/V skills; I just know how to plug a laptop into a projector and advance Powerpoint. We had an IT person, but my boss didn’t want to pay the expense of sending another person to the conference.

None of this would be a big deal, except that the conference was in a hotel conference room, and my boss balked at the hotel’s charge for A/V rental. Instead, with just a few hours’ notice before I had to leave for my flight, my boss told me that he didn’t want to rent any A/V equipment there, and I needed to somehow acquire and take all of it with me to the conference.

We had a computer and projector but no audio equipment. On such short notice, our IT person ran out to the only place he could think of — a guitar store — and bought an amp, microphone, mixing board, and cables. He saved the receipts, knowing that he’d be asked to return it all after the conference.

He had about ten minutes to show me how to plug everything in, and then we packaged it all up into a few duffel bags that I then had to lug through the airport.

The morning of the conference, I set everything up, but it was clear that this amp — the largest he could buy at the time — was clearly too small and too low-quality for the conference presenters to make themselves heard. As conference participants entered the room, it was like I was watching a car crash at low speed. I knew no one would be audible, and I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The darned amp was balanced on a chair in the center of the room and all dials were maxed, and yet the room was just too large for this single amp to do anything. THIS IS WHY YOU PAY FOR THE HOTEL’S A/V.

You can guess what happened next. The first speaker started, and after about a minute, the room broke out in:

Attendees: “Can’t hear! We can’t hear!”

Of course, all of our international attendees looked at me, thinking I was some sort of actual A/V person and not just a biologist who got “volunteered” and wished he were anywhere else. I couldn’t fix the problem, and with my boss breathing down my neck, I couldn’t tell anyone what the problem was.

Attendee: *Pointedly* “We can’t hear!

Me: “That is accurate.”

It was a long, long two days.

At least we got a refund at the guitar store.