A lot of us middle-class people certainly face scrutiny from “the man.” Whether it be at work or just in our everyday lives, the small injustices are enough to drive us insane. Well, these folks have figured out ways to get back at them… one small inconvenience at a time.
#1 Evening the Score
For some godforsaken reason or another, the university I attended charged everyone $30 as part of a "lost silverware" fee associated with the dining halls. So, to even the odds, each of my roommates and I took about $30 worth of plates, cups, and silverware that we use in our house now. We don’t even feel bad.
#2 Did You Get My Email?
I work on the west coast, our corporate office is on the east coast. If someone from corporate sends me a passive-aggressive email asking for something and copies it to my manager like I'm a child that needs to be supervised, I'll reply to their email at 1:55 p.m. That way, either they have to stay late to work on what I sent them, or they won't be able to get to it until the next day.
#3 Free Ketchup
I’m sure a lot of fast food joints work like this, but mine was no exception. So, at my old fast-food job, I'd give out condiments for free 90% of the time if a customer asked for some. That is, unless they were acting like a total jerk, in which case I'd charge them the 32 cents and make it as drawn out as possible.
#4 Salary Numbers
Any time someone I work with asks what my salary is, I tell them instantly and completely without shame. Those on top obviously want you to be embarrassed to say the number. The lack of information makes it easier for them to deny you raises. I try to make it less of a stigma by the manner in which I state it.
#5 Pay Me First
My bosses at our pizza place keep trying to implement all kinds of new systems and additional things. I tell them I'm not paid enough to do that, the other drivers follow suit and the new policies are not enforced. Going to laugh at me about raises and workers comp, but then try to require us to run to our cars? Nope, I'll consider it after the raise.
#6 You Best Believe
I know that universities always have these little fees here and there, but mine had a $87 per semester fee for “stealing.” If you can believe it, they were trying to cover for projected losses from kids taking things from the university. Well, you best believe I made sure to take at least $87 worth of stuff every semester.
#7 Flat Rate Fee
Never work for free. To clarify, I’m in IT and not on call. However, sometimes I get calls after hours for urgent situations. A lot of times, it’s a two-minute phone call to clarify something, but my company has a policy that extends to me stating if I receive a call, I am to be paid for the inconvenience. Flat rate for the first hour, then my hourly rate at 1.5x for the remainder. If I get a call at 5:01 p.m., that is a charge even if it takes me one minute to resolve.
#8 Every Penny Counts
In Canada, pennies aren't a thing anymore. So if your total purchase isn't a multiple of five cents, it gets rounded to the nearest five cents if you pay in cash. If you pay with a credit card, no rounding. So if I go to a store and my total would be one that rounds down, I pay in cash. If it would round up, I pay with my card. Each time, I essentially save like one or two cents.
#9 Tuck in Your Shirt
My old school was really, really strict on tucking your shirt in. The higher ups would even go so far as to walk around and legitimately check every morning to see if it was tucked in. Well, to get back at them, I would always wear a sweater with a shirt untucked underneath in the morning, so they never caught me.
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#10 This Door’s Mine
My university docked us $250 for having a dartboard on the back of our door. I dropped in the following year and discovered that the door was un-repaired and still in place. I asked the girls living there if they had noted the damage on the initial damage report and they said they hadn't. We knew that the university was planning to milk everyone for that door, forever. So we took the door, took a second door from a vacant suite, and re-mounted it in the girls' room. Then we floated the original downriver. Hope it turned out okay for the gals — we wound up having a lot of fun together that weekend.
#11 Slightly Underpaid
I'm slightly underpaid for my position, so until I get a raise, I will continue to go over my lunch break by 10 minutes. I work a salary job from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with an hour lunch break from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Luckily, I do not have to clock out during lunch. That said, I still work hard and get my job done.
#12 Parking Pass
I bought a parking pass years ago when I was still in school. Once you do, the school will then email you a temporary pass to place on your dash until the sticker arrives. So, I just took the temporary pass to Photoshop and changed the dates to the valid ones. I then printed it out. I've been doing that for years.
#13 Apps for Free
My work makes us carry our company-issue cell phones all the time so our managers can reach us. The phones come with a multi-page tip sheet on how we can minimize data usage to save the company money. Thing is, we're all on unlimited data plans and no one actually says anything even if you use an unholy amount of data. Sometimes I'll just uninstall and re-download apps on 4G.
#14 Shout Those Numbers
My colleagues and I share our salaries when we’re asked. My colleague actually got pulled aside by a manager and told it was "unprofessional" to have mentioned his new salary around the office when he got a raise. All that means is the company is hoping they won't have to pay us fairly, so shout those numbers as loud as you like.
#15 Cheaper Meals
When I worked at McDonald's, I'd find ways to make customers' meals cheaper, like turning their order into a meal to take a dollar off. I'd also put extra toppings in their McFlurry and throw extra sauces in the bag. Hot fudge in a McFlurry or a strawberry shake is a must-try. I also recommend asking for extra stuff at the pick-up window of drive-thru orders. Oftentimes, the employees don't care enough to charge extra.
#16 On Their Dime
I like to take the multitude of credit card offers I receive in the mail, stuff the return envelope full of random papers (e.g., their own materials torn to bits, expired coupons, etc.), and mail it back to them on their dime. I understand you can really stick it to them by slapping their postage-paid return envelopes on heavy items, but that seems like too much effort on my part. I applaud those of you who do it, though.
#17 Two For One
I worked for Cedar Point. If you’ve ever bought food there, you know it’s jacked up ridiculously high because you can only buy food inside the park. I used to only charge people half price all the time, I’d ring up one fry when they asked for two orders of fries, stuff like that. I’d give out free drinks. At the end of the day, my revenue would still match the other cashiers, so I knew I was quicker than them on the orders too.
#18 Interest Rates
When I bought a new car in 2002, they called a week later saying that the interest rate they gave me wasn't supposed to be available on my car. They asked me to come in and sign a new contract. I was like "Uh, is this going to cost me more money?" She said, "Um, yeah. It might cost a little more" I just went, "Ah, okay. Well yeah, I'm not going to do that then."
#19 Bathroom Naps
When I was in early college, I worked summers at a company where we had single-person, private restrooms. Because of the location of the restrooms, no one could see you enter, no one could see you leave. On top of taking a long time, I would occasionally come to work hungover and take 20-minute naps in the bathroom.
#20 Workaholic Culture
I never stay at the office more than eight hours a day. Sorry, but I don’t care if there’s work left to be done. I do what I can in eight hours, then I go golf or spend time with my kid. I don’t subscribe to this workaholic culture we’ve come to accept in the States. I think it’s utter nonsense and I have a life to live.
#21 Repay Forms
Every time I get one of those official wall post things on Facebook, I report it back to them as harassment. I also used to carry about 20-30 delay repay forms in my bag when I commuted to London and would walk down the train handing them out the second we'd been late enough to get our journeys compensated.
#22 Wasting Time
I know that some people do, but I don't have my student loan payment automatically set up. I have to call to authorize the payment. Every time I call them, I make sure to call the wrong department and have them transfer me. Slowly but surely, I’m wasting their company time and dollars just to get my student loan payment.
#23 Google Ads
For companies I don’t like, sometimes I’ll just Google their brand name and then click on the top result that has a little “ad” icon next to it. Those are the search results the company bids on and pays for every time someone clicks on it. I’ve been sticking it to the man a quarter at a time for a little while now.
#24 Mea Culpa
You're supposed to say "Praised be, Mary and Jesus" to priests and nuns around where I live. I don’t really jive with that rule, though. So, I go with "Hello" or "Good morning/afternoon/evening," which everyone pretty much ignored until an older priest yelled at me for being disrespectful towards him. Whoops?
#25 Nothing to Hide
Whenever I've gotten pulled over by the authorities and they've asked to search my vehicle, I always tell them I don't consent to searches. I literally have nothing to hide from them or anyone else, I just like to exercise my right. If I’m being honest, I also like how frustrated they always seem to get about it.
#26 Getting the Job Done
I have a job that, as long as I'm doing it, I'll make the company money. The funny thing is, as long as I'm getting my job done, they make good money off of my work. I used to have to be here at or before 8:00 a.m. sharp. I slowly trained them that it really doesn't matter how much or how little time I spend at work as long as I'm getting my work done.
#27 Sticking it to the Big Man
Perhaps a bit of a tangent, and also not me, but my friend had recently become a Christian at the time. She was also dating someone and began to engage in a physical relationship with her boyfriend because it was premarital. She was definitely sticking it to the big man. She also said it made her feel naughty.
#28 Taking Dry Goods
My university charged an obscene amount for parking passes and meal plans. I never got a pass, contested every ticket I got, and never had to pay any of them. As far as the cafeteria, my group would unlock a side door every night at the end of dinner and we would come back to raid it later. The amount of gross stuff we saw after hours was unbelievable.
Unwrapped cheesecakes sitting out, trays of deli meats unrefrigerated, bags of milk just sitting on counters in the back, roaches everywhere. We’d throw away the perishable stuff that was left out overnight and take bags of dry goods, such as cereal and chips, back to our rooms to smash all throughout the week.
#29 Free Soda
When I was in high school, I would never order a drink when I got food at the drive-thru. When I would pull up to the second window, I would look curiously at the employee and ask where my medium Dr. Pepper was that I ordered. Almost every time, they would say, "Oh, sorry" and give me a free soda. Take that , Ronald!
#30 Appreciating Artists
I often turn my ad blockers off when I'm watching Youtubers that I like, so they get revenue. But, I turn them on to Youtubers who I find annoying (but for whatever reason, check up on their content every now and then). Whether or not you consider "Youtubers" to be The Man is something you can decide for yourself.
My cousin’s classmate got written up for a dress code violation for having a skirt that was “too short” despite it being several inches below the knee. The girl’s parents raised a point about boys wearing shorts (girls aren’t allowed shorts of any length) and were told via an email that shorts of any length are fine for boys. My (male) cousin and several of his friends cut off jeans into essentially daisy dukes (complete with cheek showing), armed with the principal’s email as proof they were dress code approved.
#32 Best Moment as a Server
I was a waiter at this brewery in Michigan. They told me that the pop there was $1.50 for a pint glass with no free refills. I felt like the food and beverages were overpriced anyways, so the $1.50 no refill price was too much. I never charged anyone there for pop the summer I worked there. Unless you were a total jerk to me.
This one guy, who would come in to play Magic with his friends every Thursday, only ever ordered one glass of Coke. As a result, I never charged him once. At the end of the summer, before I went to college, he handed me $100 and said that I should never change. It was probably the best moment of my life as a server.
#33 One Penny Over
Back in the day, if my grandfather had a bad experience with a service provider, he would write every payment check for one penny over the actual cost. Therefore, the company would be required to refund the over-payment amount, resulting in the office time, ink for printing, cost of envelope, paper, and postage and any additional audits or paperwork headaches. Obviously not getting any additional benefit, but knowing that his net cost to the company went up compared to what he was being charged made him feel better.
#34 Milan Metro
When I was studying in Milan, I had a friend who didn’t want to pay for a metro pass. She got a one-day pass online. Every day, she Photoshopped it to match the day’s date. When it didn’t scan, she went to the help desk to have them take a look at it. They indeed looked at it and let her through every time. I was in awe.
#35 No One’s Around
At my old school, which was in rural Indiana, my exit off of the interstate ended with a lonely stoplight. I could see nearly a mile each way, so sometimes at night I would stop, look both ways, and drive through the red light. Just because a light doesn’t own me. (Obviously, I don’t think like this about every traffic light.)
#36 You’ll Regret That
I went to get a new phone contract. Sprint advertises a 2GB data plan for $20 less than the unlimited plan. I went to get my new phone, they bought my old one, had everything ready, then didn’t tell me my new phone didn’t qualify for the 2GB plan until I was ready to check out. They made me get the unlimited plan. I effectively turned WiFi off on my new phone. In the first week, I’d already used 8GB. As an indication, I’d had a prepaid plan before and never went over my 2GB. If they’re going to make me have unlimited data, they’re going to regret it.
#37 All the Hot Chocolate
I was hired to my current job as a "temporary employee" on a three-month contract. I'm not a contractor through another agency and I'm not a full-time employee for this company. I just work full-time for the company but get jack out of it. No salary, no benefits, no holiday pay. They just "extended" me for three more months instead of just hiring me permanently. Therefore, I constantly drink the "complimentary" hot chocolate and take about three number twos a day whether I need to or not.
#38 Fair Share
I work at a local restaurant and they always schedule way too many waitresses on slow nights. With that setup, each of us only gets a few tables. I'm lucky if I make close to minimum wage on these nights, so I’ve taken to eating bread and other small items from the kitchen to make up the difference. Take that, manager.
#39 Honoring Groupons
If I'm interested in a Groupon or living social ad, I'll contact the company or restaurant and tell them I saw their Groupon. I’ll then ask if they'll honor 75% in person instead of me buying the Groupon. Once, I found out that Groupon and living social take 50% , it irked me to use them anymore. I get it that a company looks at it like the cost of advertising, but I think Groupon could still make money charging 20% or less.
#40 In Hot Water
I was meant to stay in a small hotel for a week or so, but it quickly became apparent my job would finish a day early. I gave the owner four days’ notice that I would be leaving a day early. He thanked me for the early notice and immediately told me he would still be charging me for the room. For the next four nights, as soon as I got back into the hotel, I left the hot water in the bath running until I left to go to work the next morning around 8:30. He charged the company I worked for one night for an unused room. I ran his hot water for about 50 hours.
#41 Paying for Books
One semester in college, I had a teacher who sent out the book list for the semester and it was eight books. This wasn’t a major class either, it was a philosophy class that I had to take. I was broke, so I found a bunch of them on Kindle for .99 cents, which was great until three weeks into the class, the teacher threw a fit about how “some students” think it’s alright to have their laptops out during class. Then I found lib-gen. I haven’t paid for a book since.
#42 Backwards Position
I'm the only female in an office full of men and I promise that there are no problems and I feel perfectly safe. But, the men here can't seem to figure out how to install bathroom toilet paper when it runs out. So, if I'm ever the one who has to install a new roll (which is most of the time), I install it in the "backwards" position. The position that everyone on the internet seems to be so vehemently against.
#43 So and So
I work as a physicist for space stuff. I deal with government people pretty often and it's almost always weirdly aggressive and unpleasant. So, I take small sticky notes and write "so and so is a butt" for every aggressive, rude government worker I have to deal with and hide it in test equipment. Nowhere that would ruin a test or mess with electronics. Just a little something when they get hardware to their facility months or years later.
#44 Leave a Message
At my work, if they have a need to get a hold of you during the day, they’re supposed to provide you with a company cell phone. One of my co-workers (who thinks he’s my boss) calls me daily… on my personal cell. I never answer. He obviously gets upset, calls me again and leaves voicemails, texts, etc. Work won’t give me a company phone? Good luck getting a hold of me during the day.
#45 On the Patrol
My friend likes to start up conversations with cops and keep them stuck talking for as long as he can. He says that there have been plenty of times he's almost been caught doing stuff by patrolling officers that came by a minute or so too late, so he figures he'll give other dumb hoodlums that chance. Not saying I agree with that logic or anything, just sharing.
#46 Wasting Company Time
People are often late to meetings at my work (including my boss). When I'm the only one who actually shows up on time, I sit there and be totally unproductive (go on Reddit, Instagram, play games) because they are wasting my time. So, what do you want from me? I figure that I'll just waste the company’s time.
#47 Rebate Cards
My mother had a whole bag of rebate cards from Staples that she used at the store by spending money buying paper to give to animal shelters. By the time she was done with her batch, she only had less than $50 in the total amount to spend on the card. It got to the point where the manager of the supermarket stopped us on the way out and accused us of fraud.
#48 Twice as Much
My office building recently switched toilet paper and toilet paper dispensers to paper-like toilet paper. I complained and the response was that they switch toilet paper so they could use larger rolls and not have to replace it as often. My response is to make sure I use twice as much toilet paper as I normally would.
#49 Tit for Tat
I work outdoors in the Midwest. The weather can be terrible or great. Some days when it's snowing or pouring rain, I'll go to our Secret Bathroom in a tire shop that is next door and waste 30 minutes. The owner loves us because we give him a 12-pack each month and have a private bathroom our employer doesn't know about.
#50 You Don’t Need to Know
I work in retail and absolutely refuse to wear my name tag. I understand the reasoning behind is to make sure customers know I work there and to come up to me for help if they need it. But I've never been in a situation where someone said they didn't think I worked there. Strangers don't need to know my name. If I think I'll get repeat business out of them, I'll tell them my name and write it on the receipt. But no way am I going to wear a badge with my name on it because corporate decided I should.