Today’s great tale of revenge through malicious compliance comes to us from a retail worker who had a bone to pick with his new boss – a serial micro-manager who thought he knew better than the company’s guidelines.
He Was Getting Ready to Wear Shorts
Our original poster (OP), a sarcastic and easily annoyed guy in his 20s, was working at a home improvement store one spring in the flooring department. It was just starting to get warm out, and he was looking forward to the magical date when certain employees were allowed to switch their pants for shorts.
The problem was they had a new department manager, let’s call him Darren, who was aggressively chasing a promotion to Assistant Manager, then store manager.
He thought he could accomplish that by being super by the book and being relentlessly metrics-focused. This translated into a manager who was a know-it-all, micro-managing jerk.
The Day of the Transgression
On the day in question, OP was working the early shift at 5 am, and it was time to wear shorts. He walked in all light, airy, and bare-legged. Darren, who was the overnight manager the previous night, saw him and threw a fit. “Why are you out of uniform?” He asked.
“I’m not. I can wear shorts starting today!” OP proclaimed.
“Not your position in your department. Who told you that you could?” Darren retorted.
“The employee handbook and SOP? I can show you if you don’t believe me.” OP offered.
“I know the SOP, and your department doesn’t get to wear shorts. That’s only Garden. Go home and change right now!” He demanded, face getting redder from OP’s defiance.
OP replied, “Ok, Darren, if that’s how you want to play it. I’ll be back in an hour.”
Darren shouted after him, “Maybe the loss of an hour of pay will teach you something.”
He Knew Better
OP knew better. The reason he knew better was because he’s one of “the weirdos who actually read the entire Standard Operating Procedure document and the employee handbook (which is actually just a subsection of the SOP).”
And he really hates being wrong, so he checked the SOP before doing anything different day-to-day. In his store, the SOP was like invoking god. If the SOP said so, that won every single argument.
So he went home, changed into pants, but brought his shorts back to work with him. By now, Darren’s shift was over, and OP asked the new morning Manager On Duty, let’s call him Michael, to meet with him.
“Why, what’s up?”
“Oh, just an SOP issue.”
“Oh… ok. Give me, like, 10 minutes?”
So OP swung by his desk and printed out several things:
- His latest pay stub that included his official job title and department number.
- The company directory that listed the department names and their associated numbers.
- The SOP that dealt with when and which departments/employees can wear shorts.
- The annual email from the Regional VP confirming which departments could wear shorts starting when, which also included the line “and this letter is to be posted at the time clock between the dates of xxx-xxx.”
- The SOP detailing the company transportation and mileage reimbursement policy.
- A Google Maps route that mirrored the route he takes to and from work, with the total mileage highlighted.
So, he met with Michael and explained what happened and handed him each page in turn as they became relevant. At the end of the conversation, they agreed that OP was right on every single account, and Michael asked him what he wanted.
- He wanted the time back. Darren had turned him away before he could clock in, so he wanted to be paid from the start at 5 am. He told Michael to check the CCTV if he wanted to confirm when he arrived.
- He wanted the mileage because Darren sent him on essentially a company errand with his own vehicle through no fault of his own.
- He wanted the VP’s letter posted at the clock like it said it was supposed to be.
- He wanted Michael to talk to Darren about this incident because he’d told him it was in the SOP before he got sent home.
- He was changing back into his shorts.
Shorts All Round
Michael simply said, “All of that sounds more than fair. Get the paperwork for the clock adjustment and mileage to me today, and I’ll sign it.”
The letter from the VP was mysteriously missing from the time clock the next day, but OP replaced it every day until he saw Darren angrily snatch it off the board and throw it away.
The OP reported this to Michael, and the letter stopped going missing. Darren didn’t talk to OP much after that, and OP was transferred to another department a month later. All in all, a win-win!
Reddit users loved his story. One said, “Hilarious that Darren thought that being by-the-book *really* meant being a humorless jerk to his EMPLOYEES while HE was fine with violating company rules by hiding that he was lying and in the wrong.”
What do you think about this tale of malicious compliance? Have you ever had an experience with a micro-managing boss?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.