The Money Is Fine, But The Karma Is The Real Bonus

, , , , , | Working | July 2, 2020

My boss, the CEO, calls me to his office. Our company has a policy that if you speak a foreign language, you get a bonus, but you have to have an official certificate to prove it. I can speak several languages, but since I don’t “have a paper” to prove it, no money for me.

CEO: “[My Name], on Monday there will be a meeting with one of our suppliers from Italy. We have some problems with late delivery of the material and I think they are bulls***ting us. I want you to attend the meeting and tell me what they say in Italian.”

Me: “Boss, you know I’m not paid to speak Italian. I don’t have a certificate to prove my language skills, and [Human Resources Director] said—”

CEO: “Don’t gimme that bulls***. You studied and worked in Italy for a year. But don’t worry; I spoke to [Human Resources Director] and you’ll get a one-time bonus for it, and another one if you find out something useful. [Human Resources Director] wasn’t very enthusiastic about it, but we really need some leverage; because of them our schedule is late and we may have to pay some fees to our customers.”

I give him a wicked smile.

Me: “As you wish, my lord.”

I attend the meetings as “a person responsible for writing the minutes of the meeting” and find out that while our supplier prepared our purchased material, right before the shipping they sold it to our competitor at double the price, but their official statement for us was that there were some problems at the forgery and they had to postpone the production because of a broken machine.

I send my findings to my boss by email and he is very pleased. He uses this information — packed in some fairy tale about how he found out about it — during two days of negotiations and the Italian side isn’t very happy that we know. They apologize a lot and pay some hefty fee for breaking the contract with us.

Also, because I stayed in the meeting room during the breaks, I heard that they did the same thing to us before and to our sister company, as well, and I heard about some other problems they have.

After the last meeting, the head of their delegation is in the corridor on his phone telling the results to his boss. Unknown to me, an agent from a different Italian supplier has come to visit us. He is an older man and very fond of me since he found out I could speak Italian — as the only person in the whole company. I’m passing by the Italian on his phone when I hear a familiar voice.

Agent: *In Italian* “Oh, my dear, how are you, sweetie?!” *Hugs me*

Me: *Also in Italian* “Hello, [Agent], I’m fine. How about you? How was the flight? Let’s go to my office and grab some coffee.”

The head of the delegation stares at me, completely shocked. 

Head Of Delegation: “F***.”

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Anger Danger

, , , , | Right | July 2, 2020

I am a customer at a well-known fast food restaurant. I’m also a single mother with a four-year-old son. We’ve sat down to eat in a booth when a customer takes exception to a rather well-mannered and happy worker. He is swearing very loudly so that everyone can hear him. I don’t hear most of it but there are a lot of obscenities.

Another customer turns to the angry customer and says, gesturing to my son:

Other Customer: “Hey, there are young children here. Have some respect.”

The angry customer is still loud but now a little sheepish.

Angry Customer: “Oh, there are kids here?”

This customer soon left. Afterward, the worker who was the “cause” of this came over to my booth and apologized, followed by the cashier and the assistant manager. I was so impressed with how the workers handled the whole situation that I called the 800-number to give feedback, and I ended up getting coupons for free milkshakes.

It made my week to see people in such terrible circumstances care about all their customers enough to apologize over a situation that was not their fault.

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A Teacher Devoid Of Common Sense

, , , , , , | Learning | July 1, 2020

A very long time ago — in the 1970s — I was taking a general science course called “Physical Science”. This was a required course, so the classroom was very large and packed full of students, most of whom were only present because it was required.

The instructors of two adjacent Physical Science classrooms frequently opened up the temporary wall between the classes and held joint class sessions, especially when reviewing material for examinations. The instructors had very different teaching styles; [Popular Teacher] was popular with students and always cheerful, while [Strict Teacher] was very formal and was widely reported to have never smiled. 

Even in my early teens, I was very interested in science. I frequently read science and engineering journals at the school library — which irritated the head librarian as those journals were intended for the teaching staff. As a result, I was usually bored to tears in the Physical Science class. The material presented was intended for a general audience of people unfamiliar — and often uninterested — in science, specifically to give students a basic understanding of what science was. I was enrolled in [Strict Teacher]’s class and often clashed with him when he put out material from the required curriculum which was outdated and/or inaccurate. 

“There are three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas,” [Strict Teacher] explained.

“Excuse me, Mr. [Strict Teacher]?” I interjected. “I read an article in Scientific American which says plasma is a fourth state of matter.”

“I read the same article,” the teacher explained, “but I have to teach what is currently in the course textbooks.”

Since I was usually right, we would have a brief discussion in class about the new information which hadn’t made it into the course materials, and my grade never suffered for challenging his authority.

[Popular Teacher], on the other hand, did not enjoy being questioned by students. He was popular with most of his students because he encouraged those with no interest in science to tease and mock those who wanted to learn. Oddly, [Strict Teacher]’s students tended to have higher test scores in all manner of scientific subjects than the students in [Popular Teacher]’s classes.

During one of the joint class sessions, while discussing scientific terminology, [Popular Teacher] mentioned that the suffix “-oid” was used to describe something similar to the root term. A couple of students asked about hemorrhoids, which [Popular Teacher] said didn’t count. Another student asked about asteroids, at which point [Popular Teacher] began to mock the students questioning him, calling them “nasty kids.”

[Strict Teacher] went rigid with anger, because [Popular Teacher] was belittling students who were at least interested in the material, encouraging their uninterested classmates to bully them. Because he was unwilling to confront [Popular Teacher] in front of the students and thereby diminish [Popular Teacher]’s authority in the classroom, [Strict Teacher] held his tongue, but he looked annoyed.

I raised my hand, and [Strict Teacher] called on me.

“Excuse me, Mr. [Popular Teacher],” I said. “’Hemorrhoid’ is a medical term adding the ‘-oid’ suffix to the Greek word for ‘vein’. ‘Hemorrhoid’ basically means, ‘little vein.’ So that was a valid question.”

“All right, smart guy,” said [Popular Teacher]. “What about ‘asteroid’, then?”

“Also valid,” I confirmed. “’Aster’ is the Greek word for ‘star’, so ‘asteroid’ means ‘little star’.”

[Popular Teacher], slightly taken aback, just said, “Okay, whatever.”

As [Popular Teacher] tried to get his lesson back on track, I noticed [Strict Teacher] turn quickly away from the class… to hide his smile.

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Sorry, Sir, It All Sounds Like Greek To Me

, , , , , , | Right | July 1, 2020

I work in a deli with an elderly female coworker who is from Greece and has an obvious accent but is easy to understand as she has lived in the US for many years.

A customer approaches the counter and my coworker attempts to assist him.

Coworker: “Hello, sir, how can I help you?”


My coworker is taken aback. The rest of us behind the counter are staring at the customer in shock.

Coworker: “I’m sorry, I wasn’t very clear. What can I do for you?”

Customer: “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! You could at least have the decency to speak proper English when you come to America to work!”

The customer promptly storms off. Skip ahead two weeks later, and the same customer shows up. Both my coworker and I happen to be working again. The customer is glaring at my coworker.

Customer: “Have you learned more English? Can you take my order?!”

My coworker gives the sweetest smile she can but with a tone dripping with sarcasm.

Coworker: “Sorry, sir, I can’t understand what you’re saying!”

The rest of us there are doing our level best to stifle our laughter at this and the customer gets red-faced.


I go over to the phone and page one of our managers, explaining the situations including the previous incident with this “gentleman.” The manager stops me short in my explanation and says that this customer put in a complaint about two weeks ago and that he is aware of the situation and will be right over.

Manager: *To the customer* “Sir, what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Why do you insist on hiring these d*** Mexicans?”

Everyone is now looking at each other in disbelief.

Customer: “This country is being ruined by immigrants, and companies like yours are allowing this to happen by hiring them!”

Manager: “Let me stop you there, sir! We here at [Store] have a no-discrimination policy, regardless of creed, gender, ethnic origin, or personal preferences. And furthermore, this country was founded by immigrants, so if you don’t care for our policy, you can kindly take your business elsewhere!”

The manager gestures towards the front doors. With a huff, the customer leaves.

Me: *To my manager* “You, sir, just became hero of the day!”

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Liver Die By The Spoon

, , , , , | Related | June 30, 2020

It’s dinner time. My younger brother’s eyes are glued to his device and he is barely eating. My parents are adamant that I am not to steal his device — again — so I am reduced to nagging him to eat faster. It isn’t working. After I’ve lost my patience, I say this.

Me: “[Younger Brother]. You will start eating your food faster, or else I’ll be forced to feed you.”

He’s like eight. I thought that threatening to feed him like a baby would have been embarrassing enough. Alas, he calls my bluff.

Younger Brother: *Not even looking up* “Sure!”

I sigh, scoop a mouthful of food, and offer it to him. He eats it without even looking and visibly winces. After struggling with the worst expression of disgust, he finally swallows his food and glares at me.

Younger Brother: “What the h*** was that?”

Me: *Unrepentant grin* “Liver. It is just the worst, isn’t it?”

The two of us absolutely hate liver. On the other hand, our mom loves it, which is why there is some available at the dinner table.

Younger Brother: “Why did you feed me that?!”

Me: “It’s not my fault you weren’t looking at what you were eating.”

That finally got him to put down his device and start eating in earnest. Unfortunately, over the years, I’ve had to redo this trick several times to get him off his device, mostly using chili, which was more common than liver and had far more amusing and effective results. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson by now.

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