I Fought The Law And I Won [NOT 11/3/22]

Sonny Curtis Wasn't Always Right

I fought the law by Banksy
Credit: Banksy

Sometimes You Can Fight City Hall

Let’s talk about standing up to authority.

Back when I was in college I had a summer job in restaurant. One morning the moody chef came in, fixed a grizzly eye on me, and told me out of the blue I was fired. Now, it was a crummy summer job but I really didn’t feel like looking for a new one with maybe a month left before school. So I told him flat out he couldn’t do that. He snarled back that no, he could, and he was firing me. Get out. I told him no, only the owner could do that, she was the one who signed the checks, and I wasn’t going anywhere.

Eventually the owner rolled in, moody chef stormed off to talk to her… and silence. I still have no idea what happened, but I kept working, and in a few days moody chef was gone and replaced by a sunny chef. I think moody chef had been feuding with the owner for a while and was on the edge of quitting anyway. He was maybe hoping that he could assert his authority over his kitchen by asserting his authority over me. Or something. Maybe he was just being a moody dude. Anyway, 19 year old me held my ground for my crummy low paying summer job, and that was that.

So, Deadsplinterinos, talk about times you stood up to authority and won.

The traffic ticket you fought and won. The boss you looked in the eye and said the software he wanted to buy was garbage and the salesman had lied. The teacher you confronted over a grade who backed down. The three year old who insisted they were watching Frozen one more time, but you put them to bed and turned out the lights anyway. The homeowners association that told you your front door’s color was wrong and you told them to stuff it.

Yes, the law often wins, but not always. Tell us when it didn’t.

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17 Comments

  1. ill let you know when i find out

    so far the closest thing to a win ive had was an $1800 fine

    and they let me off with a warning if i paid it

    so i did…duh

    being that i already have a record…i dont stand up to the forces

    i assume the position and hope they dont fuck up my plans

  2. My first job in high school was at the local Blockbuster video. I could walk there and I didn’t have transportation so this was great. Plus free video rentals every week and candy and soda on sale while I worked, it was a perfect job.

    Anyways, the first round of managers were awesome and qualified. Then an assistant manager got promoted to a general manager of a different one and the replacement was a real chucklefuck.

    Dude was like a younger version of Farva from Super Troopers (Kmart Farva from here on out). Talked big talk about how he was on a waiting list to be a St Louis County cop. Learning the aggressive cop driving skills, etc, bragging about his cool gun collection. This was in the early 00s so it wasn’t quite normal yet for suburban men to be super open about sexual obsession with guns.

    Anyways, he kept talking about the cop courses he was taking and what a tough guy he was and a different manager was like oh yeah really? Kmart Farva takes other manager to his parked car and shows him a trunk full o’ guns. Other manager comes back inside visible shaken and we just all finish our shift.

    The next day, 17 yr old me called the non-emergency line for St. Louis County PD and said that a coworker was acting really unprofessional about their training program and telling us all about it and by the way he showed my coworker a trunk-load of guns and how Kmart Farva made 17 yr old me very uncomfortable.

    HAHAHHAHAHA they showed up at the Blockbuster the next day and turns out Kmart Farva wasn’t supposed to have those guns and he got arrested. Also fired.

      • 17 yr old me was stupid in many ways.

        Adult me would have just quit jobs to get away from him.

        Also, he wasn’t even the worst creeper I dealt with at that job. A year or two later there was another assistant manager who low-key sexually harassed me for weeks but naturally 19 yr old me was like “don’t make a deal about or else I’ll lose this job.” He was a “wiccan” and I use the quotation marks because I guarantee whatever he said or did was not what practitioners actually believe.

  3. I’m usually the law abiding type. Respect authoritay and all that (it is in my Asian nature.)

    Every so often I go off script like when I basically had to take on 2-3 levels of management just to keep my goddamned current job.

    As I have mentioned before, Cokehead Narcissist tried to ruin my life.  My (seemingly jealous of my abilities?) supervisor did his level best to help her and my pompous shithead of a manager at the time did his inept best to add to the fire. The then director didn’t like me either (we clashed in a meeting), but I don’t know if he had a hand in things or just left it to his flunkies.

    They nearly won.  I’m still one of a few folks who has a stack of warnings and a suspension to his credit and still working (I even got promoted albeit temporarily.)

    When they promoted jealous asshole, they promoted an inept petty man to supervsior who did his level best to continue the pressure on me, but failed because in a past life I used to be a supervisor and knew things he didn’t (and I took notes.)  I used HR and my notes as a club to put inept petty man in a bad place. Pretty much gave him the choice, “leave me alone” or “I will continue to fuck with you.” He chose wisely.

    Every one of those involved know how much I loathe them.

    The manager now director tried to make small talk with me in the cafeteria line once.  I chose to check my non existent text messages instead.

    The saddest/funny part is that when I got (temp) promoted, I learned that I was a hot topic of office gossip.  I was apparently painted as a troublesome idiot (hard not to be when I also had to bail out on an important interview with a director and I’m not there to defend myself) which is typical of shithead manager types who do their level best to paint the targets of their ire as morons.

    Lots of jokes and sniggering till I showed what I can do.  Threw figurative elbows at a couple of people as well just to let them know the office gossip wasn’t true.

  4. When my.wife was 8 months pregnant for our first son, she worked at Stream on Watertown NY, a call center for Garmin I think. As is the fashion, they screwed her over when it came time to pick schedules and wrongfully assigned her to the 3-11 shift, even though her record earned her a better shift and she explained it wouldn’t be feasible considering she was 8 months pregnant, it was February, in northern NY, and she had to drive at least an hour toy apt or her parents house. After 2 weeks of different paper work or letters from her doctor that the manager asked for (the shift hadnt kicked in yet) they basically told her she was screwed and had to work the shift. She did not show, they fired her and denied her unemployment. We fought and won, obviously, because corporations suck, but the kicker, she stopped claiming unemployment when they denied it, so she only got 2 weeks out of the few months she deserved. The system is broken.

     

    That’s as close to a win as I can think of, other than just being lucky as heck to have the life and people I have around me.l

    • Stunning that they did that to someone at eight months, but I once knew an employment lawyer who said she had to explain to companies a lot that yes, firing women as soon as they announced they were pregnant would get them a big class action lawsuit.

      I guess at a minimum you can know they probably ended up wasting a lot of hours dealing with their stupidity. There are a lot of costs to covering things up so even when they “win” they still lose.

  5. I have a habit of asking questions for clarification, inadvertently, annnnd that has occasionally gotten folks (co-workers) unemployed😖😬🙃

     

    One time, it was when I asked for some clarification of certain parts of my role, because I just seriously didn’t grok what it was, that I was being told to do, and I was still new at that company.

    Except that the person who I asked (my Work Mentor–the one who was helping me to understand all the parts of my role there), knew that the part I asked her about–the part that had me confused–wasn’t part of my role.

    It WAS part of the role of a different person (pseudonym: Sue) who was trying to get me to do the parts of Sue’s job, that she just didn’t feel like doing & didn’t want to do anymore

    Once my Work Mentor realized that I was doing lots of Sue’s duties, Work Mentor started doing some digging, and talking to the CFO, they realized that Sue had shifted most of her duties onto other co-workers, annnnd they decided that “since she’s shifted her duties to Emmer, the Shipping Department, and others, we can safely eliminate this position, because there aren’t enough duties for a fully-staffed position anymore!”

    So Sue was supervised cleaning out her desk & promptly walked out of the building one day.😖

    Another time (much more recently), was at my first Grocery Store.

    We had a receiving person in the grocery department. My Grocery manager butted heads with her a lot, but I didn’t really know her.

    That was the manager who let me check dates & had me “leveling the shelves” (facing), the last 2-3 hours of my shifts. He and I both fall on the ADHD/ASD-ish spectrum, and we worked out a system where every few weeks, I’d hit a sector of the store where we had products that were “dogs” (didn’t sell well, but corporate makes us carry those specific products), and rotate the shelves, check dates, and pull anything with sell by/use by dates which were within ____ days, so we could mark them down before they expired.

    The problem was, that sometimes that meant i was pulling 2-3 carts full of exposed product-which had to be scanned to determine whether it went back to the corporate warehouse or could be boxed for Second Harvest Heartland (the local food bank system).

    And there would be as many as 5-6 carts full of close dated items, which needed to be marked down for quick sales…

    That receiving clerk didn’t like it when I pulled all that stuff she then needed to process… even though she had a 40-hpur a week job, and we didn’t receive product all day, every day (so there WAS plenty of downtime to process the goods, and technically date-checking & pulling dead stock was supposed to be part of her job

    A couple weeks after a weekend where I’d pulled dogs on both Saturday and Sunday–iirc, 10+ carts in total–on one of the next days I was in, there was a cake in the breakroom, saying “Good Luck (Receiving Lady)!”

    I thought she was moving on to a different store or another company…

    Turns out she was being cut, for not doing the parts of the job I was doing, when I did those end-of-shift pulls😖😱

    My Grocery Manager had been frustrated with her for years, and he saw her for the dead-weight that she was on his Grocery bottom line, but we’re a Union shop, and she’d been there for years before him (she was making more than $25.00/hr)…

    He’d complained to management about her dead weight, but been unable to get her out of his department, until I came along, liked doing leveling & “seek & destroy” on date-pulls, and he could prove that she wasn’t doing major parts of her job.

    I kiiiiinda felt bad (still do, tbh!), but it definitely made a ton of sense afterward, as to why she always seemed to dislike me in that bristly “you are a threat to me” sort of way, that i could never quite figure out!

    I just thought we were a team and that I was just pulling my weight & helping my bosses look good… but it seemed like whenever I interacted with that Receiving Clerk, all I got were “prickly vibes,” and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that I was doing to bug her**

    That “were a team” vibe was 100% the way the all my bosses/managers acted, and it was also reinforced by how happy they all were at that year’s inventory, when we came in under Corporate’s “expected Shrink number” of 1.5% (iirc, we were down under 1.2%?). Corporate thought we’d fucked up the inventory, but my Grocery Manager was able to show them that it was all because he’d had me working out those dogs of products, and that by checking dates hard, and marking them down & selling them before they expired, we’d simply moved the dogs out before they could negatively impact the department’s bottom line.

    We were also excellent at that store, about saving the barcodes & scanning out damaged goods, so that helped tighten up the rest of the “lost” goods that weren’t stolen–and that made a big impact, too.😉

     

    **having ADHD/ASD-ishness, I’ve always been aware that I can TOTALLY rub folks the wrong way!!!

    It’s been something that’s occasionally happened ALL my life, so–like ALWAYS when I get that vibe from someone–I just tried to be cordial, friendly, & helpful, and just give her space so I didn’t bug her too much!

    (Edited a bit to clarify!)

    • Sometimes people don’t realize or care that working as a team means we look out for each other and it helps protect us when the whole “redundancy” cost cutting thing comes along.

      If you’re strictly looking out for yourself then it usually comes back to bite you in the ass as your coworkers found out.

      We had someone like that at work when it came to OT.  I usually don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect me (ironic) unlike a number of folks who like to stick their noses in other people’s business. However, this person habitually fucked with everyone’s including mine so it became my business.

      That person later accused me of crossing their name off the list. Moi?  I would never do anything like that.  If I decide to fuck with you I don’t go petty, I go big so wrote an email to the manager and named that person as the one who ruined the weekend OT sched complete with a copy of the original OT sched that didn’t include the person.

      I wasn’t the only one who blamed this person, but I don’t think it was a coincidence that this person got shipped out of our dept a month later.

       

      • That “Team vs Looking out for Oneself” thing is what killlllllls me!

        I’ve been a few places (obviously!) where things weren’t team-oriented, but because I grew up in a tiny (population under 300 people!) rural town, team-orientedness/ cooperation/ reciprocity/ mutual aid agreements/ teamwork have always been my preferred methods of working.

        Wherever I go, I try to build teams with folks, because it makes everything easier, and we end up with less stuff going wrong, because we can trust that everyone is looking out for each other & catching the errors early in the process–meaning less fuckups & “do overs.”

        I mean YEAH, it makes the bosses happy… but it makes US happier as workers, too–because customers are happy that they can get *exactly* what they want/need (pride in our jobs being done WELL!), the bosses are happy because “no fuckups AND money!” and when both ^those^ sectors are happy, we don’t have anyone breathing down our necks and we get the ease of just doing the job, getting paid well, and not having any hassles as we work.

        It both amuses and frustrates me, how often I’ve been told by folks I work with, that my hiring/working with them has completely shifted the way they view things…

        And it REALLY kills me, that it’s happened in every field I’ve been in!🙃

        From Theater, to Sewing, to now Education, I come in, see areas where a process can be smoothed/simplified, or where something just seems dumb, but is “the way it’s always been done!,” I start asking questions of the folks around me (like, “Does this really work for you, or would _____ be easier?”), annnnnd then we often switch the processes up, simplify them, and get more done, with less stress & effort🤫🤫🤫

        It honestly all goes back to growing up in that tiny little town, where if you wanted to get anything done, or do fun stuff like have a sports team, there was a good chance that you had to get everyone in your grade involved. (i.e. if you wanted a volleyball team, at least 8 of the 9 girls in class needed to join!😉😆🤣)…

        But that “drag everyone around me, so we can ALL do the fun stuff!” mentality also means that i try to make sure my co-workers have the things they need to be successful in their positions, that they receive the praise they need to feel good about themselves in those spots, and that we ALL pull together, so that work is more “fun” than “stress.”

        Because it’s miserable working in a place where folks are selfish & back-stabbers/back-biters.

  6. The last time I stood up to authority is when I told my mom she wasn’t the boss of me.

    I have learned my lesson since then.  I keep my  head down and follow the rules.

    • Yep!!!

      We like to celebrate success, Myo!

      (Annnnnd schadenfreude is delicious!!! Especially when it’s served up like the iciest of cold revenges!😉😁😈)

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