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A Classic Comeuppance

, , , , , , | Learning | March 12, 2022

This isn’t my story, but rather one my high school economics teacher told me.

When my teacher was in college, he didn’t have a lot of money to his name. He had to work part-time just to cover his tuition and the bare essentials. However, there was one luxury he afforded himself: shampoo. When possible, he’d buy himself a bottle of super-fancy salon-grade shampoo.

Unfortunately, as anyone who’s ever lived in a dorm will tell you, when you live with a bunch of college dudes, people will invariably manhandle your stuff. When my teacher was going to take his regular showers, he’d pick up his fancy shampoo bottle and notice it was distinctly lighter than the last time he held it. Obviously, he was rationing it out for himself, which meant someone else was using it.

He went to his dormmates in the common room to make a case.

Teacher: “Hey, guys, has anyone been using my shampoo?”

Guy #1: “Nope.”

Guy #2: “Not me.”

Guy #3: “No.”

Teacher: “Okay, well, I think someone might have been using it, so if you are, please stop.”

Days went by, and the shampoo bottle continued to drain away. He asked his dormmates several more times, reminding them that that shampoo was literally the one nice thing he can afford, but none of them admitted it. 

Finally, my teacher decided to take the kid gloves off; if they wouldn’t tell him, he had another way of sussing out the thief. There was still a bit of shampoo left in the bottle, so he popped the top and poured in a teensy bit of laundry bleach. He left the bottle in its usual spot and went to hang out in the common room.

Later in the day, he was doing nothing in particular with two of his dormmates when a scream sounded from the bathroom, followed by loud, angry footsteps down the stairs. It was [Guy #3], and he had a gigantic blonde streak in his hair.

Guy #3: “I’M GONNA KICK YOUR A**, [TEACHER]!”

And then my teacher, with a mask of absolute calm, turned to [Guy #3] and asked:

Teacher: “Why are you blaming me for that?”

[Guy #3] opens his mouth to speak and then stuttered. It is at this moment that he realized my teacher had checkmated him; if he said he’d gotten the bleach streak from the shampoo, he’d out himself as a thief in front of the whole dorm. After a bit of angry stuttering and posturing, [Guy #3] stomped off wordlessly.

Nobody ever touched my teacher’s shampoo again after that.

Ah, Capitalism

, , , , , , | Right | February 4, 2022

I love cooking; it’s something that has helped me massively at university. Even on a budget, I can make a whole week of meals in batches, and they taste pretty good. That turns out so well that I start selling meals to other students. I don’t charge much at all; sometimes I just use the leftovers for a meal for me.

Student: “I’m having a party. Could you do some food?”

Me: “I tend to do odd meals, not whole parties. How many people are coming?”

Student: “I don’t know, whoever turns up.”

Me: “That doesn’t help much. How much have you got to spend?”

Student: “I don’t know, £50? Can you do me a discount?”

Me: “No, no discounts. I buy the food and take a tiny bit for my time and electricity.” 

Student: “Well, how much can you do?”

Me: “I will let you know.”

I look into it and initially struggle, but I work out that if I add the £50 to my normal shopping bill, I can buy bigger batches cheaper. This would give us both more food for our money. I let the guy know how much he will be getting, and he seems happy.

He pays, and I make and deliver the food. I’m pretty happy as it’s more than I thought, it tastes good, and I have a little extra for myself.

A few weeks later:

Student: “I’ve heard you’re selling my party food.”

Me: “I made extra. I’m selling that.”

Student: “But I paid for that; it’s mine.”

Me: “No, you paid for the food you received and were happy about it. You got plenty of food for your money.”

Student: “I’m telling everyone you’re stealing from them.”

Me: “I knew this would happen. Here is the receipt. This is what I used to cook your food. Look familiar?”

He gives me a blank stare.

Me: “See how the amount is more than the £50 you gave me? That is because I bought more than I needed, and what was left over, I used to make the stuff I’m selling.”

Student: “But you’re profiting from my food.”

Me: “What, did you expect me to do it for free?”

Student: “This isn’t on. I’m telling everyone.”

Me: “Tell people I’m selling food for a profit, using my time, my expertise, and my electricity bill. Yeah, I’m sure that they will be appalled.”

He tried to start a massive slander movement against me, but unsurprisingly, people didn’t care and continued to buy from me. If anything, I think business went up a little bit. I didn’t see him the next year, so I can only assume he dropped out. The fact he was studying business makes it all the more obvious why.

You Have To Watch Out For People Like That

, , , , , | Learning | January 19, 2022

I am in my freshman year of college, living in the dorms. My roommate and I immediately become the best of friends. 

One day, I realize I’ve misplaced a watch that my father gave me. I’m sad as I really loved it. About a week later, it shows up on my roommate’s half of my shared desk. I’m thrilled to see it and immediately put it on. 

A few hours later, my roommate comes in from class.

Roommate: “Hey, I’d put a watch on my desk. Did you see it?”

Me: “Oh! That was my watch I’d lost. Where did you find it?”

Roommate: “Uh, no, that was my friend’s watch that she left here. I was saving it for her.”

Me: “I just lost my watch somewhere around here a week ago. I’m pretty sure this is mine. Did your friend have the same brand?”

Roommate: “You’re lying. My friend lost her watch, and I found it in the common area where we were hanging out. No way you also lost yours there.”

Me: “Um… I mean, this is the watch I lost. And I sit in the common area, too.”

Roommate: “NO! You just want it for yourself!”

She starts screaming at me. I’m completely stunned as she’s never been mean to me and I can’t understand why she thinks I’m lying. I have anxiety, as well, and I can’t help but tear up.

The commotion gets the Resident Assistant’s attention. 

RA: “What’s going on here?”

Roommate: “She stole my friend’s watch! I found it and I already told her, and [My Name] is pretending it’s hers.”

RA: *To me* “Is this true?”

Me: *In tears* “No. It’s my watch that my father gave me. It’s really important to me. I lost it and I saw it on the desk and thought [Roommate] had found it.”

Roommate: “LIAR!”

RA: “Calm down, [Roommate]. [My Name], can you prove it’s yours?”

Me: “I mean, it looks just like the one I lost here in the dorm. Haven’t either of you seen me wearing it?”

Roommate: “All I know is, my friend lost her watch and I found this one. It’s gotta be hers. [My Name] is just jealous because she doesn’t have nice things so she’s trying to steal it!”

My family has never been well-off, and I have been mocked for years for wearing secondhand clothing and not owning expensive things. I’m so hurt at this point.

RA: “Okay, that’s enough. I’m keeping the watch until this is resolved. [Roommate], have your friend send a detailed description of their lost watch. [My Name], you write down all the details you remember.”

The next day…

RA: “Okay, I’ve compared the two descriptions to the watch. They are very similar, to the point that I almost couldn’t find the difference. But one detail stood out to me that proves…”

I’m thinking, “Get to the point!” [Roommate] stares smugly at me. 

RA: “…that this is [My Name]’s watch.”

Roommate: “WHAT?! That’s not fair! She had time to study it!”

RA: “That may be true, but your friend said that her watch used Roman numerals. And this watch uses Arabic numerals…”

Roommate: “She could have misremembered!”

RA: “…and [My Name] said her watch used Arabic numerals.” *Hands me the watch* “So, here you go.”

Roommate: “THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

RA: “Enough. It’s resolved, and I don’t want to hear any more about this.”

While I have my beloved watch back, my roommate stares daggers at me. Our friendship is over. A few days later, I overhear her talking to her friend.

Roommate: *On the phone* “Oh… you found your watch?” *Nervous laugh* “That’s great!”

Still, she never forgave me. She made mean comments every chance she got. I caught her messing with my belongings several times. Eventually, she was bullying me so badly that I had to switch roommates. I was glad to be rid of her, although that incident definitely gave me trust issues for years!

And yes, I still have the watch fifteen years later.

The Name’s The Thing

, , , , , | Learning | September 12, 2021

I was seven months into my first year in University and had to stay at the student dorm with around 500 other first-year students. My uncle kept pestering me whether I had met his friend’s daughter. I kept telling him that it was like looking for hay in a haystack. One day, his wife called when I was at the canteen with a friend and their roommate.

Friend: “Why did you sound annoyed at the end?”

Me: “My aunt and uncle are asking me the darndest thing.”

Friend: “What?”

Me: “They keep asking whether I have met their friend’s daughter. They don’t even know her name — the most important clue I need!”

Friend’s Roommate: “My dad, too! You might as well be looking for me and I’m looking for you.”

Me: “Might as well. What’s your dad’s name?”

Friend’s Roommate: “[Uncle’s Friend].”

Me: “That’s the same na—” *eyes going wide* “Wait! No!”

My friend’s roommate’s eyes went as wide as mine.

Friend’s Roommate: “You’re kidding?!”

Me: “Does he have a friend named [Uncle]?”

Friend’s Roommate: “Yes!”

Me: “With a son that looks like [Famous Chinese Actor]?”

Friend’s Roommate: “YES!”

Yep. She was my uncle’s friend’s daughter, and we had known each other for seven months at that time. We had just never mentioned my uncle’s or her dad’s names, and they kept forgetting our names.

Good Thing You’re Alive, Because I’m Going To Kill You

, , , , , | Friendly | March 24, 2021

As a student, my wife used to live in an apartment block that was built specifically for students. The insulation of the building was extremely poor. When someone walked through the corridor on the same level, it was clearly audible in her studio apartment. During winter, it was next to impossible to warm it up, while during summer, the heat was intense because the architect apparently thought a black building would look nice. And obviously, she could hear every sound her next-door neighbours made. Luckily, her best friend was one of them and she, like my wife, couldn’t stand loud noises.

One day, my wife woke up to the “lovely” sound of her other neighbour’s radio, which was playing quite loud. Since she spent most of the day at home, this made the day quite tense. Several times she walked over and rang the door in the hope that he would turn down the music. He never answered, apparently since the music was so loud.

By night, my wife was obviously fed up. She wanted to go to sleep, which the loud music made impossible for her due to her light sleeping. After some final attempts to get his attention, she decided enough was enough and called the police.

When the police arrived, they couldn’t get him to respond, either. My wife, however, had also mentioned to them that she had tried to talk to her neighbour the whole day, but that he never answered the door, while the music kept playing. She had noticed that it was now taking strangely long for him to reply and suggested that something could have happened to the neighbour. This was enough reason for the police to try and force the door open. They didn’t manage. Another student, who walked by, ironically did. (No, he was no burglar. He just had experience with accidentally locking himself out.)

Now, what on earth had happened to the neighbour? Was he dead? Or just completely stoned? No, nothing of the sort. Turns out, he wasn’t even home that day. And that he had forgotten to turn off the alarm of his clock radio.