People can get pretty desperate and when they are, it seems to fire up people around them to do some pretty degrading things. When this happens at work, the feeling of degradation is doubled or tripled.
We dug through Reddit and found some extreme examples of people willing to do almost anything for a few bucks. Eat nasty things, doing horrible things, saying horrible things, really anything. It's crazy! Content has been edited for clarity.
The Hard Times Of The Bellhop
“Pretending to like people when I worked as bellman/valet at a fancy hotel was as degrading as it gets.
Basically, every businessman man or family man or cougar or trashed idiot would think I was their best friend. I bent over backward and went out of my way on any task because that was expected. This hotel was around 130 years old and had a mystique to it that made everyone act all pretentious towards ‘the help.’
We were expected to be ‘on stage’ at all times. We had a secret bell closet that was the changing room for the valets and bellmen. A hidden door underneath some stairs. So there really was a mystique built around the whole process.
Wasted businessmen were the worst. They would wave a $20 bill and ask you to do ridiculous stuff, like, ‘Bring me a potted plant and something to water it with, I miss my wife’s garden!’ Yeah, sure. Then I sprint off and get them a freaking plant and watering can for my twenty bucks. They’re the worst because they actually say snide stuff about you just doing your job: ‘Just ask him to do it, he’ll do anything for five bucks that you tell him to do.’ I mean, yes I will, but EFF you, bro.
One guy would insult my haircut every time he saw me, then apologize and give me twenty bucks. I made about $140 off that guy.
The first time he did it, he pulled up in his car to the valet. I give him the spiel about parking/welcoming and he looks up at my hair, makes some motions like he’s fixing his hair, ‘Hey, this whole thing you got going on…’ and he keeps fixing imaginary hair like mine.
I ask, ‘Oh? Yeah? You like this?’
He shakes his head, gets all serious and says, ‘Nuh uh!’
I raised my eyebrows because I usually get compliments. He says, ‘Jeez, that was mean, wasn’t it? Here’s a twenty.’
Next time he sees me, ‘Oh hey! I see you didn’t use that twenty to get a haircut…well, maybe you need a little more to tip the hairdresser? Here’s another twenty.’
This continued Friday evening through to Monday morning.
I once got $100 for running to get a guy who was smoking a stogie an ashtray. He was right outside the hotel’s restaurant and the night manager of the restaurant came out to tell him to move away. Instead, he asked me for an ashtray. Well, sorry old Hutch (night manager), this guy has a hundred with my name on it.
Cougars were the only ones that ever made me feel dirty though. They’d call you to their room and wear the complimentary robe, just leave it hanging open. They wouldn’t treat me like a person though, just a piece of meat. They’d keep on calling the front desk, requesting some stuff from their car, run up a newspaper, bottle opener, extra pillow, whatever, just to flirt with you, say lewd stuff, or just walk around showing off their cleavage, I guess. Pat you on the butt, give you $5 and repeat an hour later.
I need to go take a shower now. Forgot how dirty that job made me feel.”
The Bottom Of The Music Business
“I worked for a recording studio, it was always degrading. Here are a few examples:
I got called a ‘minion’ by the head engineer of the studio in front of some of the guys from Blind Melon and Pearl Jam because I was doing my job ‘too much’ in their general vicinity, aka making mic position changes, fixing listen back mixers, etc…
Having to go on stupid errands for producers and pampered artists – like, ‘Go to Starbucks and don’t mess up my insanely specific order or you’ll never get anywhere in this industry, I’ll make sure of that.’ And they would often not give me enough money to cover their order.
Lying to clients saying they were ‘doing awesome, great take, wow nice pass,’ etc… with a producer that was a total snake in the grass type. He would charge extortion prices to any artist that would consider him just because he wrote a song that went #1 and the album it was on that went platinum many times over in the eighties. Now, he just likes to pretend he’s still relevant by using his old clout to lure in any artist. This one girl I recorded literally sounded like she was singing with peanut butter in her mouth. While she was in the vocal booth and unable to hear what we were saying he [the producer] looked at me and goes, ‘Does this thing have autotune?’
I said, ‘Yeah, of course.’ He just started nodding at me. So I turn on autotune just on a default chromatic setting and adjust it for like 10 seconds.
The singer comes out of the booth to listen to her takes and she goes, ‘Wow, this sounds really good.’ The whole time I’m just facepalming because the auto-tune was so atrociously obviously, but she couldn’t tell.
I had to drive around wasted ‘cowboy’ that we were recording. Many, many trips to a store more to drink. They had a billboard on the interstate that I had to drive them out to while they were trashed, so they could get a picture with it. They showed up with all this money in their hands. Literally walked into the studio without knowing anybody, but my manager got a whiff of how much money they had and stopped everything to fit them in. Geez, that was a cluster and it was honestly scary. Those dudes partied the hardest I’ve ever seen anybody do.
For a couple of days, going to work was like, ‘I might die today,’ because I had no idea what those coke heads were going to do.
I hated that job.”
She Hated Ketchup, But That Didn’t Stop Him
“After I graduated school, I had about two months worth of living expenses saved while I started my job hunt and after that, if I hadn’t found work, I was back off home to stay with my parents. Thankfully, right at the end of the second month, I got a call from a company and started working QA for them the next week. I was going to be fine, however, I was absolutely out of money and had none until my first paycheck came in after two weeks.
I stretched the few dollars I had on ramen and rice, but eventually was dead dry, and was only living off of the free fruit in the break room every day. At lunch, a couple coworkers went to McDonald’s and asked if I wanted to tag along. I told them that I was trying to save some cash and didn’t want to eat out but jokingly asked them to bring me back some ketchup packets to eat since they were free.
They actually did, thinking I wanted them for a lunch I had brought. When I told them it was a joke, I mentioned that I was near a point where I’d almost actually eat those though to fill myself up. My manager heard that, and made me a bet, offering me $100 if I could put back 50 of the McDonald’s ketchup packets within half an hour. I didn’t even hesitate and shook his hand before he realized how hungry and desperate I actually was. So he ran back to McDonald’s, and came back with another 46 or so packets, and popped them on my desk.
I went to town. I hate ketchup. I don’t put it on my fries, hot dogs, nothing. Slurped all 50 packets dry, then waited for a moment, and booked it to the bathroom to puke the slimiest reddest vomit I’ve ever experienced. My manager was having the time of his life, laughed his butt off, and coughed up the $100, which I used to buy myself the biggest burger I’ve ever eaten the next day once my stomach had stopped convulsing. No ketchup.”
His Potential Employer Was Too “High Class” For Him
“I was determined to ‘make it in NYC’ as a guy in his mid-20s.
I answered a classified ad to be an elderly disabled man’s personal assistant. The directions I followed took me to a 5-star hotel overlooking Central Park. I called up to the apartment/hotel room (funny how that distinction blurs for the richest of the rich) and was let in. Looking around the multi-room suite with bowls of expensive snacks and artwork, I realized that my potential client was absolutely loaded.
I’d sat there for about 10 minutes, not at all bored just looking around at the place, when a servant urgently came in and told me to go back down to the lobby. The woman who was to interview me, a relative of my potential client, was furious that I’d taken the liberty of coming up to the hotel room rather than wait for her in the lobby. She’d never made that clear when I called her, so I guess it was one of those things I was just supposed to know. Clearly, these people came from a social class whose implicit rules I’m not acculturated to, I realized.
The lady was instantly unimpressed with me. I remember her asking me disgustedly, ‘And… you come to job interviews dressed like this?!’ (I was wearing scrubs. I worked as a nurse’s aide at that time, and thought I was interviewing for what was essentially a nurse’s aide job.) The interview didn’t last long.
I got a call back later that afternoon from the woman, apologizing for wasting my time in the first place. In not so many words, she basically told me her relative was looking for a subservient foreign woman he could verbally abuse when he was depressed. My mother was very, very happy that job didn’t work out, when I told her the story. What I learned was that NYC is full of people who are so rich that they simply assume that getting to power trip and treat people badly that they hire is just part of the package. I want no part of that world.”
Writing For Commission Can Be Gross
“I used to write adult stories on commission. That’s not the degrading part; I loved doing it and most of them where a joy to write, even if it wasn’t my own personal fetish. It was nice to know that someone was out there getting off to what I was writing. Even if the money was limited, as it was when I was starting out, I had a couple of clients who hired me on the regular.
A couple of times at the start, I took commissions for things I wasn’t comfortable writing, but I needed the money. That didn’t feel great. It’s hardly high literature, but you can ask anyone who does it: you put a lot of yourself into your work, and having to basically just dance, monkey, dance for someone else’s (often pretty disturbing) fetishes isn’t a good feeling. It took about three or four bad commissions before I decided that I was absolutely, no-how-no-way, going to take on a commission I didn’t enjoy or that made me feel gross ever again.”
Forced To Deal With The Worst People
“I worked at a personal protection service when I was younger.
Many of the clients were fantastic people. Comedians are usually great, actors and actresses are meh, politicians are usually pricks.
Their families? Almost always awful.
One gig, we were going to pick up an actress’ 12-14-year-old daughter and take her shopping while mom was on set. We had a list of places we were supposed to take her, a list of places that were OK if she wanted, and a list of places NOT to let her go. With kids, the company had a two-body policy, one male, and one female.
I did the meet and greet while my partner for the job stayed in the passenger’s seat of the car. I talked to mom for a minute, got the lists and a credit card and headed for the car. As I’m opening the rear door of the car for Miss Snobby, she informs me we’ll be going to most of the stores on the ‘no’ list and that if I argue, she’ll tell her mom that I touched her.
My partner gets out of the car at that point and stares at the girl, then points to the dash cam. The kid doesn’t even have the decency to be ashamed, she just shrugs and gets in.
No further trouble from that one, but many family members were that kind of bad and demanding.”
The First And Last Time As A Mascot
“Once upon a time, I was an up and coming disk jockey. I worked nights, didn’t make a lot of money then but loved my gig at a classic rock radio station.
The radio station had a mascot. One day the boss asked me if I wanted to earn some extra cash as the mascot and I agreed.
To make a long story short, Santa Claus, Big Al (The University of Alabama’s mascot), and me in my radio station’s mascot suit were touring a VA hospital to spread some holiday cheer. It was going fine until we went to the psychiatric ward. My first clue trouble was brewing should have come when they unlocked a metal gate, let us in, then locked it back behind us. But whatever, right?
We are going along miming ‘hi’ to patients, etc… when a disturbed man leaps out of his bed and knocks me down. My mascot suit was pretty chubby so it mostly protected me from the blows to my body as he attacked me. Thank god the head was so big. The dude pounded away at it leaving several deep dents in the character’s cheeks and head.
To me, it seemed to take forever as I was being mauled, but in fairly short order Big Al and Santa Claus came to my rescue and got the patient off me. I have no idea where the orderlies or whatever had gotten off to, but they showed back up and restored order.
And that was the first and last time I’ve ever worn a mascot suit.”
Working In Casinos Is A Gamble
“I worked as a slot attendant for a casino, was groped almost daily, and didn’t even get to keep my tips. I moved on to another casino as cage cashier, still pretty degrading but out of arms reach and I kept my tips.
I quit the industry altogether when they started pooling.”
His “Charitable” Act Wasn’t So Nice After All
“I needed money pretty badly when I was 17. I moved out of my parent’s house and couldn’t afford to eat or pay rent and I got laid off my job. I went around from house to house asking if they needed their lawn raked. After a couple confused looks (why is a 17 year old doing this?), I prepared a fake clipboard and donation slips for Multiple Sclerosis, saying I would rake their lawn if they made a $10-40 dollar donation.
I couldn’t believe how many of these I was able to do (raking lawns is hard work). I never donated the money, I used it to live, but since I’d lost my mom and sister to MS, I kinda I don’t feel bad about it. I do runs and bike rides for MS all the time now, so I am definitely giving back. I have a son of my own, a great job, a beautiful wife and we are all healthy.”
Hen Parties Can Get Degrading
“So, I was a model for bachelorette parties, and also a topless butler. Let’s see, lots of degrading stories:
-Press ups with women sitting on my back (taking turns obviously).
-‘Pin the junk on the butler’ was pretty bad. It wasn’t pins, but yes, I stood there, they blindfolded themselves, and approached me and tried to put the sticker on my apron on top of my junk. I actually suggested this game, they were originally going to do it to a poster.
-I stripped a bit. I happened to have done a bunch of pole-dancing lessons a couple years before, so I danced and swung on poles on a pink party bus. I waved my junk in middle-aged women’s faces. Then had a 70-year-old woman lick whipped cream from my pecs, abs and she tried squirting it on the willy but I stopped that.
-After the bus got into London, it stopped by the embankment in London. I got out in my boxers and took pictures with the whole party. This then morphed into me taking pictures in my boxers opposite the London eye with random tourists walking past. I was a sort of tourist attraction for like half an hour – until I got cold.
-Posing with the bride-to-be, who had been convinced to strip down to bra and panties, sitting on me while I was lying down as if she were riding me. That was pretty degrading.
-Underwear modelling on a catwalk for a gay underwear fashion event. One of the pairs was see through. A picture of which was later uploaded to Facebook for everyone at my school to see.
There’s probably more but that’s all that springs to mind.”
The PB and J Challenge
“When I worked at a grocery store, I used to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on break since it was cheap. I’d buy all the ingredients and just sit in the break room and scarf down 3-4 sandwiches before returning to work.
One day, one of my co-workers saw me scarfing them down and asked if I could eat the whole loaf of sandwiches. I told him I thought I could but asked what he wanted to bet me. He said if I could do it that he’d buy me a whole loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly. Naturally, I agreed.
I managed to eat the whole thing in a little under 30 minutes, but admittedly I was being pretty sparse with my usage of PB&J by the end. When I finished, I felt like walking at my normal speed would make my body explode, so I walked at half speed and took it easy.
Admittedly, I did it as a broke college kid because I’d save about $4 by having him buy me a new jar of PB and a new jar of J. This experience didn’t stop me from continuing to eat PB and J on future breaks.
Also, later that night, I took the biggest dump in the world.”
This Guy Really Didn’t Like His Coworkers
“I installed rebar when I was 21 for about six months. That was pretty degrading.
It rains here all the time, so the work is heavy and often miserable because you’re never under cover. If you’re not tying walls or cores, you’re tying slabs, which typically means you’re bent over for hours.
The work’s not that bad, but the losers you’re stuck working with though… My bosses were morons with all of a fifth-grade education. They encouraged the other guys to pick on me and hassle me as some form of rite of passing or hazing, so I got it hard from all the other guys who were also troglodytes themselves. These guys were addicts, ex-cons, drifters and otherwise just general lowlifes who worked to spend their weekends getting high and wasted. I hated them all because most of them just saw me for what I was back then: a skinny white kid who struggled harder every day to keep up because I wasn’t as strong as them.
Commercial rebar installing is terrible work. Not necessarily because it’s tough heavy work either, but because you’re typically surrounded by idiots who’ll get you hurt on the job if you’re not careful. Some of these guys showed up wasted and high, other guys just had horrible bad attitudes.
The funny thing is, they all seem to take pride in the fact they’re uneducated knuckleheads who do such a hard and bad job. After six months though, I couldn’t stand it and pretty much dropped my stuff one day at work and never came back.
Slopped roofing and even commercial tilt-up formwork were also bad, but nothing truly compared to those six months I installed commercial rebar. I did it because it paid so well, and I was saving up for school. I am glad that it never became my life.”
Feeling Cheap And Used
“I worked as a cook in an exotic dancer club. The kind where the kitchen was at the end of the bar and you’d have to take the customers’ orders yourself.
One night this wasted, arrogant piece of trash comes up and starts bragging about how much money he had. Then he asked for deep fried chicken we had, which was about $10.
Guy pulls out a $20 and flicks it my way. Tells me he could afford to pay even more. Pulls out another $20 and does the same. Then another, still bragging about his massive wealth. So I proceeded to cook him up the best chicken tenders money could buy.
Kept the extra cash but felt really dirty about it for the rest of the night.”
Rollerskating Is The Worst
“You could say I hit a low point in my early twenties.
I moved to a city to go to culinary school but became very disenchanted in the first semester so I just started working various terrible jobs to pay rent and hopefully have enough for brews and herb as well. Well, I got fired from a breakfast diner for coming in hungover too many times, then got shot in the leg during a bad weed sale in the same diner’s parking lot one week later.
My roommates were going to kick me out so I did the unthinkable. I got a job at Sonics rollerskating food out to the car lot. I did what I had to do at the time so I guess I’m proud and ashamed at the same time. Interesting sensation.”