In pretty much any industry, workers get their fair share of ridiculous, "totally not my job" type requests, be it from a customer, a coworker, or even their boss. If you're young and naive, you might acquiesce because you think you have to. But if you're older and more experienced, you know when something is out of line and when to say, "Up yours."
Whether it's a student who expects extra special treatment, a customer asking you to discipline another customer, or a colleague who passes the buck too much, it's annoying to have to even explain why their wishes are absurd. Here are some of the workers of Reddit's most laughable, ludicrous stories of unreasonable requests they were asked on the job.
He Was Beyond Disgusted With The Mess He Was Expected To Clean
“When I was 18, I worked part-time at UPS and part-time at Burger King, which was more of a way to eat for free every day than anything else. This was in 2000, so the minimum wage was around $5 and I wasn’t making much more than that at Burger King.
I was working the drive-thru window one night when a visibly wasted couple came into the dining room and ordered some food. My manager was working the register and one other guy was there ‘cooking’ the food. The couple ordered a bunch of deep-fried stuff and we didn’t have enough chicken tenders on hold, so my manager told them it was going to be a couple minutes while the tenders and fries cook. They said no problem and went to use the restroom.
The restrooms were down a hall and the doors faced each other, so we didn’t think anything of it when they went down the hall together. Then their order came up and they weren’t back yet, so we bagged it all up and left it under the heat lamps while we waited for them. Two minutes turned into five, and I was busy on the drive-thru window so I forgot about them.
An indeterminate amount of time went by, probably 15 minutes, maybe half an hour. My manager asked me if I’d given them their food yet. I tell her no because they never came back for their food after going to the bathroom. She went into the women’s room, didn’t see anyone, then opened the door to the men’s room…
I heard her dry-heave from my station at the window, a good 20 feet away. She came around the wall that separated the dining area from the work area and it looked like she’d seen a ghost or a dead body. I asked her what was wrong, and she just shook her head, telling me that she would take over the drive-thru window because I had to clean the bathroom.
I geared up with elbow-length gloves, goggles, dust mask, and slickers, not knowing what kind of terror was unleashed in that stall. Nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for what I saw in there. It looked like they hooked up a colostomy bag full of mostly-liquid feces and semi-chunky vomit to a paint-sprayer and blasted every single surface in there with the poop/puke. The stall was caked, the door handle had poo smeared on it, and there was vomit in the sink, next to the sink, in the trash can, and next to the trash can. Freaking everywhere I looked, there was poop, puke, or both.
I didn’t even make it three steps into the room before my gag reflex reminded me that it existed. My eyes were watering, my stomach was doing somersaults, and I was choking back my own barrage of puke when it hit me: ‘Hey, eff this.’
‘Nope, not a chance, ‘I choked out through gasps of air. ‘Not a freaking chance I’m cleaning that up, call HAZMAT,’ I said, half-joking, not thinking my manager would actually expect me to clean that up. Boy, was I ever wrong.
‘Listen, if that bathroom isn’t clean by the end of your shift, then don’t bother coming ba-‘ She didn’t get to finish the sentence, because I’d already thrown my hat and shirt on the floor.
‘Sorry, Jill, but you don’t pay me nearly enough for this. I can find another bad minimum-wage job tomorrow, so good luck with that debacle in there,’ and then just like the phantom pukers, I was gone.”
“She Was The Worst Narcissist I Have Ever Had The Displeasure Of Knowing”
“I used to work for a crazy lady who was trying to get a cooking show off the ground (it never happened). She also ‘ran’ a nonprofit that was supposed to get kids into reading. I say ‘ran’ because in the two years I worked for her, I never saw anyone do any kind of activity with the nonprofit. They sure did collect donations for it, though!
The worst thing she would make us do was beg for free stuff. She made me hit up a large gourmet grocery for a donation to the nonprofit, which of course she was planning to use on the for-profit cooking show. They generously donated about $400 worth of any food in the store. She sent me to pick it up and my instructions before I left were, ‘Ask for more, don’t leave until they give you extra. I’m going to call and find out if you asked, so you better not say you’re going to ask then not do it.’ I didn’t ask.
Then she got super into goat cheese and during that phase we visited a local goat cheese farm I found online. The place was pretty cool, actually; the animals were treated really well, the cheese was delicious, and the owners happy to get some publicity. So we all rolled up in our van with the camera dudes in tow and the owner gave us a tour of her lovely (and obviously extremely expensive) farm and cheese making facility. At the end of the tour, she was graciously letting us sample all of the different types of cheese they made.
Toward the end of the tasting, we started wrapping things up and the camera guys and I were all purchasing wedges of cheese to take home. My boss pointed at a wheel of the owner’s best blue cheese and said, ‘Can I have that?’ The lady was a little flustered and started to cut off a wedge. Then my boss said, ‘No, that. The whole thing. Can I have it?’
She just expected this hard-working woman to give up an entire wheel of her most expensive product. The lady kind of mumbled something about how her investors would shoot her if she gave away that much product. The entire drive back into town, my boss complained at length about how rude it was that she didn’t get the entire wheel of blue cheese. Then she tried to stiff our waitress when we stopped for lunch, but I was able to sneak behind her and leave some cash without her seeing. She was honestly the worst narcissist I have ever had the displeasure of knowing.”
“He Literally Expected Me To Be In Two Places At Once”
“I used to work at a grocery chain as a courtesy/utility clerk. One day the vendor for 7UP and Dr. Pepper messed up stacking their pallets, so they all fell over, creating a nice pile of broken glass, sticky soda, and wet, messy cardboard.
My boss made me clean it all up and told me not to leave it for even for a second. I got it all cleaned up in about two hours, which wasn’t bad save for me nearly getting shanked by some large glass shards on the floor.
Where it became unreasonable was the very next day, I got called into the office and written up…by the same boss. Why? I had failed to do floor inspections. He literally expected me to be able to be in two places at once.
I ended up contesting it with the union, but it stayed on my record and was eventually used to fire me one year later. Apparently, if you miss floor inspections three times in a year, they can fire you. That was never consistently enforced on anyone else, except for me.
I didn’t even bother trying to get my job back, and that store ended up closing a few months later. To top it all off, the union also wanted my remaining dues; like, my final paycheck was $100 and they wanted $50. Sorry guys, there’s just no way.”
Her Fear Of Germs Was Way Beyond The Pale
“I did some nannying for this really crazy lady last summer. She had hired me to take care of the kids, but it was mainly housework. She was an extreme germaphobe who obsessively made me wash my hands after I touched any surface (not exaggerating) and would make you wash the bottom of your shoes if you went outside and came back in.
She would constantly be on me for not cleaning the kitchen, BUT I was not allowed in the kitchen at the same time as her. She would literally be in the kitchen asking why it wasn’t clean yet, and I would have to sit on the outside threshold and jump in the second she left or else she would freak out. Then she would come storming back in and I would have to jump out and explain why I wasn’t working (because she’d freak out if I was in the kitchen at the same time).
Then, once in the kitchen, I could only use the sponge and gloves on the left side of the sink, and I was only allowed to touch dirty dishes, never ever clean dishes after the dishwasher was done. One time I had to wipe every knob in the house with hydrogen peroxide because strangers had done some work and touched all the knobs. So, moral of the story is, if you ever nanny, ask around about the mom first.”
He Was Deeply Irked By Her Holier-Than-Thou Attitude
“I’m a bartender, and on Good Friday at 9 pm, a lady had the nerve to ask me to tell another customer to quit swearing because it was Good Friday. I told her as nicely as I could that we’re all adults and that I simply wouldn’t feel ok with telling another paying customer to stop swearing.
My boss saw the conversation and me walking away while the customer had a sour expression on her face. He asked me what that was about so I told him. He actually had the gall to tell me that I needed to go tell the guy to watch his mouth.
Now, keep in mind, my boss was a cool guy so I could speak openly to him. He wasn’t the best bar manager; he was a banker before and got the job because he was the owner’s friend and just got tired of banking.
I responded to him like I wish I could’ve responded to her, which was something along the lines of, ‘If the sanctimonious witch is so worried about swearing on Good Friday, what the heck is she doing drinking in a sports bar? I will literally walk out of this job right now before I impose her will on another customer because of her beliefs.’
He replied, ‘Good point, eff her.'”
Some People Seem To Think College Should Be A Cake Walk
“I teach at a university and I’ve been asked to lower my grading standards in order to ‘help retention numbers’ (I teach a first-year weed-out course). I’ve been asked to pass a student who got an overall 25% in my class ‘because they are a good kid and need to move on.’ Move on to what, the next class in the sequence? Umm, no.
I’ve been asked to change the time of a final exam for 200 students because one student forgot when the exam was and scheduled something opposite it. Seriously, it wasn’t, ‘Can I take the exam at a different time?’ it was, ‘Can’t you just change the exam from 8 am to 1 pm? I bet everyone would like that.’
I’ve been asked to teach two courses more per semester than my regular teaching load (which is already high) and then been told that I ‘don’t care about the students’ when I refused to do so. And perhaps most horrifyingly, I’ve been asked to pass students who plagiarize on assignments and tests, and even on their thesis or dissertation.
Sadly, this entitlement stuff happens a lot. Students think that rules like ‘no late homework’ or ‘if you don’t show up for the test, you don’t get to take it’ don’t apply to them. There’s also the, ‘Well, it can’t hurt to ask for special treatment,’ mentality. Pro tip: it CAN hurt to ask for special treatment.
The problem is that some students ask/expect special treatment and actually get it. For example, when I was an undergraduate at a large state school, I took a class in basketball officiating just for fun. There were at least four freshman members of the basketball team in the class and I was the only female. I got the highest grade in the class on the first test, which the teacher used to shame the other students in the class: ‘a GIRL got the highest grade!’ For the second test, the professor sat the four freshman basketball players around me and told them to ask me for help during the exam if they needed to know the answer to any of the questions. I looked at him, puzzled, and he said, ‘It’s okay, just help them out and give them the answers.'”
Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes!
“At OfficeMax, I was asked by a customer to laminate his Ticketmaster stub to keep as a memento. I explained that it was heat sensitive and would make the whole thing just a black rectangle of nothing.
He argued and said that was not going to happen, saying, ‘Go ahead and laminate it,’ and started getting angry. I did the lamination and he got a laminated black rectangle in return. Then he called my manager and my manager gave him a $25 gift card and told me off in front of the customer.”
She Frantically Wanted Her Child Born In A Hospital
“Back when I was a paramedic, I was once told to IMMEDIATELY place a freshly delivered newborn back inside the mother. She delivered in a transport ambulance en route to Weil Cornell and lost it that her baby wasn’t born in a hospital, especially such a good one.
The mother told me to ‘hold the baby in with your freaking hand.’ I explained it wouldn’t work and that we were having this child on 3rd avenue in 50-degree weather and she flipped!
She and I made an agreement that I would say the baby was still inside her body until we backed up at the hospital. I guess that satisfied her requirement of the baby being born at a hospital vs. next to a dry cleaning place on 3rd Avenue. So as far as that kid knows, she was born in the Weil Cornell ER ambulance bay.”
No One Likes To Be The Bearer Of Bad News
“I was once asked to layoff a group of employees for another manager. She begged me to do it and initially, I refused. This manager selected and approved the list of people being let go, and was 100% responsible for even needing a layoff. She overhired in her area because she misrepresented her projected needs and let her group’s performance fall below standard.
No one wants to be part of a layoff on the receiving or giving side (unless you’re a total sadist) AND I really believe if you are laying your people off, you need to have the balls to do it yourself, period. I wound up doing it because everyone in the building already figured out something was happening based on her behavior and it seemed excessively cruel to postpone things since everyone was on edge.
I felt like the Angel of Death that day; people couldn’t even make eye contact with me as I walked the halls because if I stopped at someone’s desk they knew they were losing their job. My people were terrified and I still feel terrible about how that day went down because I couldn’t say anything until it was done. Layoffs are horrible and this manager hiding from their responsibility made it even worse. Fortunately, my boss agreed and he fired her for it.”
He Should Never Have Gotten Behind The Wheel In That State
“Back when I was the manager of a movie theatre, I once worked a 14 hour day because someone called in sick. Then I tried to submit payroll to accounting, but the fax wouldn’t go through, so they asked the accountant to go to the office (about two blocks from her home) to see if she could fix it. She said she was too tired and that I should instead drive the 50 miles to hand deliver it.
I ended up doing it because if I didn’t, then my staff wouldn’t get paid, but there were about eight nasty e-mails I sent afterward to various higher-ups. A few weeks later, I quit that job to become a busboy, which was the single best career move I’ve ever made.”
He Was A Bigger Penny-Pincher Then Mr. Krabs
“I worked in a shop that did sound/lighting gear and we had a ‘things to do’ list which was busywork, and one was to clean the fog machines. This is done by running distilled water through the machine as opposed to the usual fog fluid. However, we didn’t have distilled water in the shop. I asked the owner (it was a small shop) to buy some and that went on for weeks, because he’s super cheap
Finally, I just bought a bottle at the store when I went for lunch one day. I finished the task and then began to pour the remainder of the bottle out off the back loading dock. The owner FREAKED out and started yelling, ‘WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?!’ and I stopped.
Me: ‘What? I’m just dumping it.’
Owner: ‘DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT COSTS?!’
Me: ‘Yeah, about $2.50.’
Owner: ‘WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? I DIDN’T TELL YOU TO DUMP IT OUT!’
Me: ‘Well, I paid for it, and I chose to dump it.’
Owner: ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DOING THIS! STOP NOW! I’D PAY YOU FOR IT!’
Me: ‘Nah, I think I’m happier dumping this out.’
That’s just one of many similar stories. I strived to give the man a self-inflicted heart attack from losing his mind about wasting money.”
They Gave Him Zero Warning For A Huge Undertaking
“I was working in an English program overseas and the boss came to me one day and said we were going to have a summer day camp type thing, which would be like three days a week for two months and he wanted me to run it. It would have about 60 students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade. Fine. I asked if the school had any theme planned or anything they particularly wanted me to do. Nope. Ok, fine, I wasn’t really paid enough to put in that much extra work to plan it but whatever, I’ll deal. Then I asked when it is planned to start…
In five days. What? You want me to plan a two-month summer camp for sixty kids and you couldn’t bother to tell me about it until five days before? The kids were all registered for it already so the school obviously had been planning on doing it for a while without ever mentioning it to me. That was bad enough, but the real kicker was after I acted a little hesitant, they were like, ‘No, it’ll be fine, you don’t really need to plan anything…’ Great idea, I’ll just spend six hours a week for two months with sixty kids and not have a plan, that’ll work out really well I’m sure.
What they didn’t know is that I was already on the verge of a mental breakdown from working for them six days a week for two years, so I just quit the next week and went to stay with my parents for a month before going back and finding a new job.”
They Expected Their Executive Assistant To Do Babysitter Duty
“I was asked to go on a business trip to NYC for 10 days. My position was salaried as an executive assistant, so there was no overtime pay. It turned out I was brought along so they wouldn’t have to pay the nanny hourly since they wanted a babysitter 20 hours a day. They even booked a connected room with two beds, for me and their 3-year-old. The baby got to sleep in my room for one day before I complained.
One of many ridiculous things my boss asked for: waiting in a 5-block line to hold spots for them to watch the 4th of July show on the Hudson. They expected me to then take the baby home when they got there and babysit all night. After two hours and finding out there was no way to hold spots, they asked me to meet them at the hotel (about 9 pm.) They ended up not coming back until 11 and said they stayed out at a rooftop restaurant to watch the show. I got to walk all the way back in the rain for nothing.
When I asked for an afternoon off, I was accused of just wanting to get wasted and party. I quit after working nine days with barely a lunch break. I booked a later flight home and took the rest of the time to enjoy a free visit to the city.”