bank called my employer to complain I was rude, my boss wants me to take a sticker off my truck, and more

I’m on vacation. Here are some past letters that I’m making new again, rather than leaving them to wilt in the archives.

1. My employer wants me to remove an offensive sticker from my truck

I recently broke up with my girlfriend and to retaliate, I put a sticker across the front windshield of my truck that says “Lift it! Fat girls can’t jump.” (My truck is raised or “lifted” really high. You have to climb up to get in. The sticker makes fun of fat girls not able to get in my truck.) It was funny to me and my friends.

I drive the truck to work every day, and about the end of the first week, my manager came and asked me about it. I explained and he asked if I would take it off since some people had told him they found it offensive and embarrassing. I said I would park at the end of the lot and face it away from building. He came back next day and asked again if I would remove it. I said I would cover it up when coming on the property. The next week, HR approached me and reminded me of the anti-harassment policy. I am holding my ground on offering to cover it up but not removing it. I spent $150! I am waiting on what will be decided but what do you think I can expect?

I think you can expect to be seen as an ass, since you’re acting like one. And yes, acting like an ass is a fireable offense. It’s also one that destroys your reputation and harms your ability to get promotions, raises, and references. Is this really the hill you want to die on?


2. A coworker at my new job is someone I slept with four years ago

I’m in my 20s and have just started a three-month internship with a large company. Today was my first day where I met a variety of business leaders, as well as the previous interns and graduates who went through the same program.

There was one graduate who I knew already. I’d met him at schoolies/spring break about four years ago and had sexual relations on two occasions during this time. I was going through a tough time and was simply seeking comfort with no strings attached back then. I have since overcome such challenges, but it was extremely awkward meeting him and shaking hands today to “meet him for the first time.”

I am not sure if he even remembers these events. If he does, I am concerned that people in the office may find out.

How should I go about this problem? We are both in long-term relationships (I checked his Facebook) and I am definitely not interested in him. Despite this, I feel quite awkward and slightly embarassed around him in the office. I’d prefer to avoid him completely as professionally acceptable as possible and not speak to him unless absolutely required. Some background information: we work in separate business divisions – he is in Finance and I am in Technology, so I highly doubt we will work together in the foreseeable future.

You, like millions of other people, slept with someone a couple of times years ago. This is not a scandal or something you need to carry around embarrassment about.

Act as if it doesn’t matter, and you might begin feeling like it doesn’t really matter. And even if that never takes hold for you emotionally, acting like it doesn’t matter is still the best approach if you do run into him at work again. Hell, pretend it didn’t even happen if it makes you feel more comfortable in your office. If he ever says anything to you about having met before, be polite but keep a professional distance. “Yes, good to see you again” is perfectly polite, followed by a work-related topic or a polite exit.

If he’s in a relationship, he probably isn’t looking to stir things back up between the two of you, although if he does, you can just clearly say that you prefer to keep the relationship professional.


3. A bank called my employer to complain I was rude

I have been working as a bookkeeper for five months at my current job. There was a problem with a bank statement, so I went to the bank to find out what happened. The bank is a small local bank with hardly anyone ever in it. When I walked in, four tellers all smiled at me and said hi (no customer was in the bank but me). I smiled, said hi and then asked lightheartedly, “Who would like this problem?” Then one teller piped up and said she could help me. I explained my problem, and she said since I wasn’t on the account yet, she couldn’t help. Then I asked if I could call my manager to give permission over the phone. She said no, that she would do it this time. So the problem was fixed, and I told them I was grateful and thank you. I left.

Well, today I got called into a manager meeting saying that the bank called them and complained about my behavior, that I was mean and rude and demanded someone to help me fix the problem, then huffed away after snapping at them when they told me they couldn’t help me since I wasn’t on the account. This did not happen at all. They did help me, and fixed the problem. I am completely dumbfounded at this situation, and really hurt because that kind of behavior is not even close to who I am. I got written up at work, and I feel like a fool. I find it completely unprofessional that a bank would call my employers and make up this story. Is there anything I can do, or anything I should do in this situation? I am completely deflated, and feel liked I got slapped in the face.

Is there any chance that you came off much differently than you realized or intended? It’s a pretty big deal for a bank to call someone’s employer about something like that, which makes me wonder if they could have reasonably misunderstood your tone or actions.

If you’re positive that that’s not the case, I think you could say this to your boss: “I’ve been over and over this in my head, and I just can’t understand what prompted that phone call. When I was in the bank, I was cheerful and polite, and I was understanding when they said I wasn’t on the account. I feel terrible that anyone thought I was being rude or snapping at them; I would never do that in a customer service situation, and I’m mortified that anyone felt that way. As best as I can figure out, this must be a misunderstanding and I don’t want you to have the impression that I would do something like that.”


4. How to disinvite an intern from our trivia team

I work for a large company in a small town. Like “literally everyone in town works for this company” large. It’s the summer and now there are tons of interns about. Last summer I had an awesome trivia team and it’s started up again this summer. Last year, we kind of cobbled together a team and we turned out to be pretty good! There were four of us, but we brought friends every now and then, no big deal. I was hanging out with another set of friends and there was a guy, Cosmo, who said he was into trivia, so I invited him.

Big mistake.

Cosmo doesn’t actually know much trivia. He makes fun of us when we make bad puns or spout some extra trivia knowledge (calling us dorks/geeks/nerds, we all have a STEM background so this is just strange to me…). He doesn’t speak English well enough to understand the host on the mic, so we end up repeating the question to him several times and then he always says “oh, I don’t know [that category]”. He will contribute nothing and then if we win, he’ll still take a cut of the prize. All of these things on their own have happened with guests we bring, we’re usually pretty laid back about it but all of these things together have been a headache!

Another intern, Wanda, organizes the group and has agreed with me several times that she doesn’t appreciate Cosmo being there, bringing us down (mood wise but also the score), and then taking our prize money. Wanda has stopped responding to his messages, but there’s one trivia night in town, he knows where we’ll be even if we don’t confirm it. This is a small town, everyone knows each other, everyone works with each other, how are we supposed to tell Cosmo to take a hike?

Can you be straightforward with him about the problems? For example: “When we’ve invited you in the past, you’ve made fun of us, called us names, and taken a cut of the winnings after not contributing any trivia answers. So for now we’re going to keep the team to just the four of us.”


5. Should I send an anonymous email to my terrible manager’s new job?

I have a situation where I feel really compelled to send an email to an organization to warn them about a new employee they have taken on. However for various reasons, maybe the strongest of which being my own cowardice, I want to do it anonymously.

The situation is that I used to work for a charity (which I am actually returning to next week). The employee I have referred to above used to be my manager. She was toxic and demoralized staff completely; the only saving grace was that she was only in our service two days a week so we coped as best we could. However, in the space of a year and a half, she forced three employees out, forced another to take a demotion (and affected her mental health), and she also had a detrimental effect to my own mental health. She was eventually moved to another service within the charity and after wreaking even greater havoc there (it was a bigger service with more staff) she was let go from the organization.

I have now found out that this person has taken up a new post as a manager with, ironically enough, a mental health charity. I have no doubt that the charity I worked for did not give a true picture of what went on with this person, as they are notorious for hushing things up and it would probably make them look bad that they let it go on for so long (she was a manager in total for our charity for five years).

However, I really feel strongly that this person should not be allowed to work for any mental health charity when she was responsible for negatively affecting the mental health of so many people. I feel that her new employers should at least be made aware of this. Obviously I am also angered that she behaved in the way she did and still went on to land another managerial position. Do you think there is any point in sending such an email?

I totally understand the impulse; it’s frustrating to feel like you’re just stuck standing on the sidelines watching a terrible manager move on to a position where she’ll spread further toxicity. But no, I wouldn’t do it. They’re not likely to rescind her job offer over an anonymous note, and it’s likely to just seem weird and uncomfortable to whoever receives it. Best case scenario, it might prompt them to watch her more closely for a while — but most employers really aren’t likely to take that kind of anonymous note seriously (after all, it could be from someone with a personal ax to grind against her, or from someone who didn’t like being appropriately held accountable by her when she was their boss, or so forth).

Even if your note weren’t anonymous, they’re not likely to take serious action based on a note from a stranger. They’re likely to ask her about it, and she’s fairly likely to explain it away by claiming that you were a toxic employee. I would love to tell you that there’s a way for you to get them information in a way they’ll listen to, but unless you actually know someone at her new company, you’re just not in a good position to intervene. I’m sorry!


{ 351 comments… read them below }

    1. Aphrodite*

      I wonder if the OP’s now ten-year older self looks back at this and agrees with Alison that he was an “ass.” Or is he still one perhaps having changed focus but not actions.

      1. Meep*

        Considering he doubled down with that sexist sticker all because he broke up with a girl, I am more hoping he is still single.

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          I want to know what kind of turd breaks up with someone and then feels like THEY have to retaliate.

          1. GammaGirl1908*

            One who then thinks it is appropriate to demean women on his vehicle (and go around explaining the unfunny joke). Ugh. I hope that girlfriend knows what a hail of bullets she dodged.

            1. Dr Sarah*

              Oh, I’m pretty sure she does. I hope so too, and I hope that she is now with a decent person who appreciates her and that the only time she thinks about this guy is occasionally in the context of ‘let’s laugh about how terrible our worst exes were’ moments with friends.

              1. EpLawyer*

                That’s what I got out of it. Girlfriend got lucky there.

                Although wanna bet she dumped him? Despite claiming he dumped her, because OF COURSE he decides when the relationship is over.

            2. Dino*

              The explaining is what got me, like dude everyone gets the joke. Literally everyone. It’s just not funny.

              1. I guess my entire department was the new work wife the whole time*

                To be honest, I needed the explanation. I had no idea what to “lift” nor what that had to do with anyone being able to jump or not, to say nothing of the falsehood of his claim about who can or can’t jump.

            3. Kuddel Daddeldu*

              In my mind, I can’t shed the thought that people driving a “lifted truck” voluntarily need to compensate… something… very hard.

          2. Antilles*

            It makes perfect sense if you assume that he’s full of crap.

            Dollars-to-donuts that what *actually* happened is that she broke up with him, then he replied with the high-school caliber retort of “no, you’re not breaking up with me, I’m breaking up with you!!!” and he’s just been telling his inaccurate story ever since.

          3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

            The kind of turd who doesn’t see the irony of driving a great big, jacked up truck.
            Like, my dude, what do you think that says about YOU?

            1. AnonORama*

              Hahahaha I had a friend who used to yell “sorry about your penis!” when trucks like that cut her off or otherwise acted rudely on the highway. I thought it was funny, if not the safest thing to do.

          4. Observer**

            I want to know what kind of turd breaks up with someone and then feels like THEY have to retaliate

            I’m betting that one of two things happened:

            SHE broke up with him, but he can’t admit that a girl, and a FAT ONE at that! would ever dump him, since he’s SO great! So he’s telling the world that HE broke up with her. (Along the lines of “you can’t fire me! I quit!”)

            He broke up with her because she wasn’t being a “good” girlfriend (ie not being as appreciative of his garbage as he wanted) so he’s mad at her for “making him” break up with her.

          1. Curmudgeon in California*

            He has probably founded an MRA group, joined *chan, and has his truck set up to “Roll Coal” whenever he sees a Prius or a woman that he thinks is “fat”. His truck also probably has a giant set of “Truck Nuts” and flies a ragged American flag below a Gadsden flag or the flag of a failed politician. He hangs is red hat off of his gun rack when he goes into a restaurant.

            IOTW, he is a “type”.

            * 4 or 8, I forget which is worse.

        2. A. Tiskit & A. Taskit LLC*

          Look on the bright side: This is the kind of man who can make some nice young woman very happy by remaining a bachelor himself!

          Oh, and LW? That stupid sticker will wind up costing you a LOT more than $150 if you’re fired because you won’t remove the damn thing! And I doubt that many companies are eager to hire someone who got canned because he chose having a sexist sticker plastered on his car over having a job. Even employers who really want workers aren’t keen on bringing that kind of legal headache into their company!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        My experience is that people change all the time. He might well look back on this with embarrassment now.

        Or he might believe he was way too mild-mannered in every sphere where things were blowing up.

      3. CommanderBanana*

        I don’t understand how a dumb sticker on your truck is an effective retaliation against an ex-girlfriend?

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Some people out there really think calling someone else fat, even if they don’t hear it, to be the worst possible insult.

          As a fat person, I really don’t get why people hate us so much. But they do.

          1. Zennish*

            I think some people simply have a very narrow and warped view of how everyone is “supposed” to be, and they resent anyone who isn’t torturing or repressing themselves into compliance.

          2. Lydia*

            One time on Twitter, someone “insulted” me by telling me I look like Jimmy Carr and I laughed because I could totally see it. Misogynists, transphobes, and generally shitty people always out themselves when they want to insult you.

            1. Beanie*

              Someone insulted me on TikTok by saying I looked like Elon Musk. Haters gonna hate. I was actually happy to get my first troll. It means I’m reaching success!

          3. Avril Ludgateaux*

            Sometimes I like to start shit with racists, misogynists, and miscellaneous bigots on places like reddit, instagram, etc. Invariably, the “worst” insult they can come up with is to call me fat, single, and surrounded by an army of cats.

            None of those are true and yet invariably this is the insult slung at any woman on the internet who speaks on certain topics. There’s no creativity, there’s no reading of a person to find a real sore spot. If it weren’t for the “army of cats” part, I would assume it is projection (because anybody with an army of cats would reasonably be thrilled to have earned their loyalty, and I imagine these dudes are the kind of people that dogs bark at and animals in general steer clear of).

    2. Tiger Snake*

      Its extremely immature as well as showing his an ass; and the fact he wants to double down and even wrote into a blog to try and get backing after his work has made it clear this is a firable offense – well, I feel like we know why the relationship didn’t work now.

      I sincerely hope that this little boy has grown up to be a man now, and that if he were to see this repost he’d be cringing with shame.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I wish, but with some people I don’t hold out much hope. And this sexist jerk is one of those.

        1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

          This was 2013…unfortunately if I was going to put money on it, I’d say he’s worse now.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        “X isn’t working, so it’s time to double down!” isn’t exactly a new mode of reasoning he made up.

    3. fluffy*

      I’m finding it almost hilarious that he had to explain the joke, and expected that the explanation of the joke would make it funny.


      1. Scarlet2*

        I came here just to say this! Like, my dude, did you think it was subtle or something?

        Also not sure how him spending $150 on a sticker is “retaliation” against his ex. If she ever saw it, it probably made it extra-clear that she dodged a massive bullet.

        1. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

          Also, it sounds like only the sticker was new post-breakup, not the lifting. So the ex gf very likely got into and out of said truck multiple times (assuming this is America, where most dates require you to drive somewhere). So the whole “joke” makes even less sense.

      2. birch*

        Same, it’s so weirdly specific, too. I feel like some people think they’re really clever for this kind of “joke” but it not only makes them look like a jerk but is also not even remotely clever in a way that makes it clear how small their world is. How many people in the world would even understand the point about having to jump up into the truck, or care?!

        1. bamcheeks*

          yeah, but it’s not really about it being “funny” in the sense of humorous, though, is it? It’s about being mean and relying on misogyny and fatphobia to make himself feel superior. It functions totally differently from an actual “joke”-joke.

        2. londonedit*

          Yeah, I mean I didn’t understand it (I didn’t know what ‘lifting’ was in the context of trucks, I’d probably have assumed weightlifting or something) but I’m also definitely not the target demographic for this sort of ‘humour’ (being a. female and b. a decent human being).

          1. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

            I live in the Midwest and while I don’t have a great sample size, everyone I’ve seen with a lifted truck is 100% an ass. I don’t like judging a book by its cover, but sometimes the cover gives it away.

              1. TomatoSoup*

                Thank you for the link. I’ve only ever seen that a few times and assumed that either the rear part had fallen or they just stopped mid-lift. It didn’t occur to me that anyone would want to do that intentionally.

              2. Starbuck*

                “A rival petition to keep the Carolina Squat legal drew less support, as backers essentially said that the custom look is “sexy.””

                Lord, these men should all just go and marry their trucks like they clearly want to and leave the rest of us alone.

            1. Birdie*

              I’m in the south, and same experience. The only think worse than a lifted truck is a Carolina Squat truck.

            2. I am Emily's failing memory*

              Yeah, I hate to judge a book by its cover, but a lifted truck is usually telling a very particular story.

              1. RLC*

                NW USA: same here! I can’t help but wonder how soon the laws of physics will catch up with any vehicle with the center of gravity raised so much from the manufacturer’s design. Snowy, icy mountain roads often provide illustrations of the poor handling characteristics of said vehicles, stuck in roadside snowdrifts.

            3. Gigi*

              Agreed. I’m not saying that you can’t be smart, kind, well-read, and charming and own a lifted truck. I’m just saying I’ve never met this person.

              1. Rex Libris*

                There may also be unicorns, but really, I’d argue that the personality you describe and one that values putting that kind of time, effort and money into a truck are probably mutually exclusive.

            4. Leems*

              There are certain vehicle styles that make me immediately think “thanks for putting the warning labels on the outside, at least.”

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                I see a lowrider & know that person will probably speed. On the other hand, they’re more likely to help a disabled vehicle. (A bunch of guys in a junky lowrider once helped move my stalled car out of a busy street.)

            5. Charlotte Lucas*

              Just was cut off by one this morning!

              In my area, parking garages often have “compact car only” spots. And I often find those trucks parked there. Even when there are better spots. Or when the driver would have to squeeze in & out of the cab. Like sure, dude, I’ll park my tiny car elsewhere. Because it fits anywhere!

            6. Pescadero*

              My rule for judging this:

              Do you drive your ridiculous lifted truck for everyday commuting, or do you haul it on a trailer to some off-roading location for use?

              If it’s the former… I’m sorry your penis is small.

            7. COHikerGirl*

              Colorado and everyone I know with a lifted truck is an awesome human. They all also use their lifted vehicles for 4WDing. And sometimes around the cities.

        3. Just Your Everyday Crone*

          Plus, that thing where men like this are convinced that just because they only value women based on their appearance, women only value themselves based on their appearance, and furthermore that we all evaluate our appearance based on whatever guy decides to “share” his opinion at that moment. My dude, you overestimate your importance to the genpop of women.

          1. I&I*

            Well, it might make a lot of women’s day worse – not by making them think, ‘Alas, I’m not good enough for that princely driver!’ but ‘Ugh, thanks for yet ANOTHER reminder how many crappy people they are in the world.’ Which is power of a sort. It’s just the power of a little boy with a carton of rotten eggs.

        4. Dust Bunny*

          Also, I’d bet money he doesn’t jump into the truck, either. He’s probably got running boards.

          1. Empress Matilda*

            Right? This isn’t the Dukes of Hazzard, dude – you climb into your truck just like everyone else does.

    4. Lilo*

      I mean at the point LW wrote to Alison he had already torched his rep at that company too. Even if he followed her advice and removed it immediately he’d already made his coworkers hate him and repeatedly defied his boss over it.

    5. Lime green Pacer*

      The funny thing is that the high price might be because the sign shop charged a big “spite fee” for making an offensive sticker.

      1. Heffalump*

        Do sign shops actually do that?

        When the original post ran, it occurred to me that the $150 could have gone for dates with prospective new girlfriends.

        1. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

          One of the few bright spots about the terrible computer shop I worked for was that we were allowed to charge an extra half hour of labor as Asshole Tax if the situation called for it, so I can absolutely see a sign shop charging “your sticker is bad and you should feel bad” tax.

            1. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

              It did not, though I was tempted to add it to a few particularly nasty specimens. No, it was just lumped in under “labor.”

          1. Verthandi*

            Not uncommon. I know performers who charge extra if they’re performing at a wedding. They base the surcharge on how much handholding is required, which makes it a fair price of their services. Weddings bring out the worst in people.

          2. Chirpy*

            I am absolutely allowed to add extra feet on items sold by the foot if someone wants, say, 20 1-foot pieces of chain, because it’s obnoxious and takes forever. It’s for “all the extra cut links plus labor cost” if the customer asks why.

      2. Antilles*

        I just Googled it and the current price for a custom bumper sticker appears to be about $5 for a small one and $25 for a typical sized one. Can’t verify what it cost a decade ago, but it seems reasonable to assume the prices weren’t dramatically different.
        So yeah, he definitely got overcharged here.

          1. Happy meal with extra happy*

            Oh my god. I’ve read this question before on the site, and I’ve always just pictured a bumper sticker sized decal on the front windshield. But, we’re probably talking about one of those decals that span the entire width at the top of the windshield, yeah? Oh god.

            1. Birdie*

              It was likely a custom vinyl cut out, so $150 ten years ago sounds about right to me. I briefly worked at a design and print shop, and part of my job was to handle custom vinyl. We charged a design fee on top of the cost for the amount of vinyl used. If the guy had it professional applied (my shop did not offer this), I can see it easily costing $150.

              1. dmeez*

                Christ, the fact that an employee would spend $150 to get a custom anything across the windshield of their work vehicle, let alone a stupid offensive joke to make fun of an ex, should be enough indication that this person makes stupid impulsive decisions and shouldn’t be trusted with any responsibility.

                1. Birdie*

                  I mean, the things people wanted us to make…..

                  This would have been 2004. The shop owner was mega liberal. He turned down requests ALL THE TIME when people wanted shirts, signs, banners that he found offensive. He once refused to print brochures for the local “Pro-Life Women” group headed by a congressman’s wife. It was full of lies like “abortion cause breast cancer.” “Take that [garbage] elsewhere!”

                  Before my time in the shop, but he was a legend in town for refusing to produce “Democrats Hate America” yard signs leading up to the Iraq War.

    6. KayDeeAye*

      I wonder if the $150 was for something to use to temporarily cover up the sticker while the truck is parked at work? That doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it makes more sense (I guess) that a $150 bumper sticker. Maybe it’s decorated with gold leaf or something. :-)

        1. KayDeeAye*

          Wow. That’s…that’s commitment right there! Which in this case isn’t a good thing, of course.

    7. NotAnotherManager!*

      Not just a sticker but a sticker that is misogynist and shaming. I just cannot imagine spending that kind of money on something so tacky, but, hey, truck nuts have a market, so tacky clearly appeals to some people. I honestly can’t think of anything I feel so passionately about that I’d buy a $150 car decal to announce it. I remember being put off by how expensive my university alumni decal was, and I don’t even think that one broke the double-digits.

    8. Yes And*

      I came to this comments section to see LW1 being torn a new one, and this community does not disappoint. The only thing I’d add is that lift kits make already oversized trucks all the more dangerous: to themselves (rollover risk), to occupants of other vehicles (force of collision/small cars getting plowed underneath), and especially to pedestrians (reduced front sightlines). OP’s behavior is just what I’d expect from someone who thinks being a mortal danger to himself and others is an acceptable trade-off for publicly performing his alleged masculinity.

    9. Flippycat*

      If that sticker is that important why doesn’t he just park off the premises? (I know that’s not possible for everybody). I don’t think they can say anything if he’s not parked on the property.

      1. Whimsical Gadfly*

        He’s still marked as someone I wouldn’t want to work with. And suddenly all his micro-aggressions are going to be under a magnifying glass…

      1. PsychNurse*

        Well, the letter is from 2013, so he WAS an immature boy. But somebody at 35 can be very different from the same person at 25. Here’s hoping.

        1. Heffalump*

          At age 19 I treated a woman very badly when I (wrongly) thought she had done me wrong. It took me a couple of years to see the error of my ways, but I did eventually see it. I will say that if I were in this guy’s social circle, the burden would be on him to show that he’d changed.

      1. Heffalump*

        Some years ago I was on a gearhead listserv, and there was a thread about a guy (who wasn’t on the listserv) in the San Francisco Bay Area who wanted to get a ZYKLON B vanity license plate. (Zyklon B was the gas used in Nazi gas chambers.) The California Department of Motor Vehicles said no.

        One of the listserv participants said if it were up to him, the guy would be allowed to wear his bigotry on his sleeve so the people around him would know what they were dealing with.

    1. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

      I love when people have this stuff out in the open. It’s so much easier to see a huge, waving red flag than it is to find one that’s hidden. When I see people with offensive slogans on shirts, tattoos, etc, I think, “Great! Now I don’t have to bother talking to you at all to know you’re an ass!” So much easier to avoid.

      1. NotRealAnonforThis*

        “Best” one I’ve seen was a cartoon tee-shirt (I suspect it was not actual brand, because I just can’t see that happening with the particular company) that showed a character in a confederate print tee shirt yelling something utterly homophobic and disgusting that I will not retype here.

        Cool dude. I’m going to not just not know you and not bother talking to you, I’m going to not even act like you’re associated with my child’s sports team.

      2. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

        Yup – I actually need some concrete work done at my house – I’ve eliminated one company just based off of the horribly racist stickers I keep seeing on company trucks. I declined to even get an estimate from them because I don’t want the stickers on a truck in front of my house!

        Tell me you don’t want my job, without telling me you don’t want my job.

        1. Critical Rolls*

          It amazes me the ish people will put on their work vehicles. Especially the small businesses. People have options, why give them a reason to reject you out of hand?

          1. Michelle Smith*

            Because they don’t want business from people who have a problem with it. It’s like the bad universe version of wearing your hair natural or not hiding that you’re LGBT in an interview because you don’t want to work for a company that would have a problem with that anyway.

            1. Observer**

              That’s the thing – it is NOT true that they don’t want the business. They DO but they want all the terrible *choose your insult* people to stop being such BABIES and give them the business anyway.

              Listen to the whining that sometimes goes on, and you’ll see what I mean.

              1. MigraineMonth*

                Exactly. Have you noticed that people who complain about others being “too sensitive” have the thinnest skins in the entire animal kingdom?

                Once more, for the people in the back: “freedom of speech != freedom from social/economic consequences”.

                1. TomatoSoup*

                  It’s like a certain subset of ex-military who will go on and on about how tough they are (because they were in the military) but watch them lose it if you misstate which branch they were in. The rest just shrug and either politely correct you or don’t respond at all.

        2. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

          The really sad part is the owners will see other people come give me estimates. The CEO lives two houses down, his brother in law the CFO is three houses down the street.

          And yes, some of the other neighbors have agreed with me that the stickers are disgusting. We see the trucks in the neighborhood all the time – because they run the company out of CEO’s house.

        3. Contractors hate doing free work*

          You should have gotten an estimate from them. Assuming they don’t charge a fee to do the estimate, that’s free work they’d be doing for you. And if you wanted to be extra special petty you could have them price it a million different ways with different materials, and take a week to review every one, and then ghost them for a month and then tell them you went with someone who promised to do it $0.50 cheaper. I think that covers all the preconstruction pet peeves a contractor could have.

  1. nonee*

    I feel OP 5. I had a manager who terrorised us all separately for a year or two, until we finally started talking to each other and realised she was doing it to all of us. Perfectly sweet, on the surface, but aggressively competitive and constantly unkind to the point of lying to our faces behind closed doors. A smiling assassin. The business didn’t take us seriously and made my whole team redundant as part of a wider reorg. It only took about 3 weeks for her to be fired after that, because we weren’t covering for her any more.

    It turned out she’d been “asked to resign” from her prior two positions for similar reasons, even driving one junior to attempt suicide. I can’t understand why she kept going for management positions after years of this.

    I’ve been very tempted to contact her later employers, but I would just look bitter and a bit crazy. I certainly am still bitter, but not crazy. She shouldn’t be inflicted on anyone!

    1. Meep*

      I see you worked with my former manager too. She has bounced from bookkeeping in health care to sales to real estate to technical sales now because she has burned a lot of bridges in different industries. Now she is working on winning business for military contracts on a contractual basis with an employer who knows her history. I cannot imagine that will go well for them, but they were warned… (They are investors at my startup, so they are on the board and know why she “resigned” – I think they are just using her as a crutch until they can find a new sales associate.)

      I agree. I daydream about her ending up losing her second house in 3 years to foreclosure (she had money to pay the mortgage, and she and her ex-husband were being spiteful towards each other – so spiteful in fact she tried to get me fired because I was buying a house, during a global pandemic) because she cannot get another job. But then I remembered she has gotten fired from her last six and averages 14 months at any company. (Probably less because she still claims to work at our company on LinkedIn despite being fired 4 months ago.)

      It isn’t worth it because they will get themselves fired. In ten months in this case…

      1. Observer**

        Now she is working on winning business for military contracts on a contractual basis with an employer who knows her history.

        They KNOW her history and they hired her? If she manages ANYONE, I hope this blows up in their faces in a big way. I don’t care about the difficulty in hiring – one of the ways to find and keep good people is to treat them well. And *knowingly* hiring someone like this is simple abuse and stupidity. Especially since her spitefulness sometimes outweighs sense and even self interest.

        I remember you talking about her. Just terrible.

      2. Meep*

        I doubt she is managing anyone. Six months before she was fired she was kicked off from managing anyone, because I threatened to go to EEOC if she wasn’t. We had a HR lawyer come in and investigate her. The lady said she had never seen someone so problematic in her twenty years.

        But yeah, based on the fact she liked to tell me all the time that I would be the one who would get in trouble if we weren’t ITAR-complacent like I was even on the project, I wouldn’t hire her to work on something that can literally get you fined. I am not saying she forged my signature, but I do know for a fact she has forged her ex-husband’s.

    2. Saraquill*

      I’ve considered doing similar to a false friend who was nice to me in person but a flaming bigot towards me and others online. When I found out she works for an anti bigotry non profit, I thought of sending screenshots of her old blog posts.

      I soon answered my own question my realizing digging up 10+ year old posts was more effort than it was work. That and non profit was unlikely to take such old posts as a dig against her present self.

    3. Not teenage but still ninja turtle*

      It really is an unfair system that those in positions of power can abuse it horribly over and over. Employers check references from managers–sometimes I wish employers hiring for management roles checked references from the people they managed.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        I think that would be a good practice to have: when hiring an experienced person for management roles, request references from people they have managed in the past.

    4. Smithy*

      So as someone who’s had a few of these bosses, I’ve genuinely found the best way to processes this to be more personal and philosophical than practical action.

      In nearly all of the cases the bad behavior was never entirely the responsibility of the boss alone. Either they were working in the same toxic employment system I was – and their coping skills as a manger were just horrifically poor. And/or it was a case where those above the boss knew what was happening and minimized it, didn’t believe it was happening, or openly approved of the behavior.

      And while I’m more than happy to share my experiences working in those environments, my life is not going to be about fixing those institutions – from the inside or out. Particularly at risk to my own mental health. All to say, finding ways to hold a symbolic Viking funeral in my mind has just been my best way to move forward. It’s not so much about forgiving those people, but rather putting those situations to rest as much as I possible can.

    5. Slow Gin Lizz*

      I totally misunderstood at first “driving one junior to attempt suicide” in that I thought what you meant was she literally drove the employee there, like in the “drove him to the cliff he wanted to jump off” sense. I’m glad I am wrong because that’s a million times worse (and who does that anyway?) but a million times worse than absolutely horrible is hard to quantify. I’m sorry you had such a terrible boss and hope you are living your best life in retaliation (and not purchased some awful $150 bumper sticker instead).

    6. Lydia*

      I read that letter and it was almost exactly the process of one of my former bosses. If it hadn’t happened 2 years prior to my run in with Toxic Boss, I could have sworn it was me with some details changed. I have fantasized about writing a letter to editor of the local paper describing what a horrible person she is and the damage she’s probably doing to her employees and the people in the program she works for (it’s a well-known and old program in the small city where she lives, which just happens to be the same small city my family lives in), but, yeah, I haven’t lost all reason.

  2. Amy mango*

    How is a $150 sticker “retaliation”? I’m assuming the ex no longer sees you, works with you, or whatever. Make it make sense, lol. It seems like a silly thing to do, and offensive yes. Big girls can definitely get into lifted trucks, short girls, maybe not so easy!

    1. Ginger Pet Lady*

      It’s not. He’s just one of those dudes who thinks calling a woman fat is the ultimate insult. Which is so eye roll worthy.
      All he is doing is advertising his immaturity. And wasting good money on it, too.

      1. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

        True – he did warn them all what he was. Guessing he stayed single for a long time.

    2. Allonge*

      Yeah… I got nothing.

      On the other hand, if he wanted to retaliate, this is a fairly harmless way of doing it (not defending it but ‘retaliate against ex’ has so much scarier versions). So there is that.

      1. Rosemary*

        Not so sure I’d be so quick to call this “harmless.” This very well could be tip of the iceberg if he’s willing to display what a misogynist a***hole he is so publicly.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Lot of guys who were “just” misogynists in 2013 are now full-on domestic terrorists. I’m sure there are some who grew tf up, but the trend of the last 9 years has been pretty blatant.

        2. Insert Clever Name Here*

          I think Allonge wasn’t trying to defend him but meant that when you consider other types of “retaliation against exes” (posting intimate photos, calling their workplace to harass them, stalking, etc), a misogynist sticker on a truck is comparatively harmless — not smart or a beacon of mature behavior following a breakup, but better than something that could physically harm the ex. In other words, thank goodness for the ex that *this* is what this absolute ass thinks is retaliation.

        3. Allonge*

          I guess my point is that we should not encourage people to be more efficient at retaliation?

          And I am talking about the sticker only, so indeed that may only be the tip of the iceberg but it’s the topic in question.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        As long as this was the only retaliation, I agree. I know the saying that if you seek revenge you should first dig two graves, but in this case OP1 seems to have dug only one and then jumped into it.

        I can’t imagine being willing to get fired over this juvenile shit.

    3. Noodles*

      I’m a skinny woman, and a few years ago a man I saw regularly at my climbing gym decided to hit on me by cruelly making fun of my fat friend. Why he thought that would work I have absolutely no idea. But they really do be like that, sometimes.

      1. Lilo*

        Agreed. Any man who tried to compliment or pick me up by insulting other women was a firm no from me. Misogyny in amy form is a massive turn off.

      2. Risha*

        Wow. I want to say I’m surprised a man would do that. But I’m not surprised at all. I honestly don’t know what these types of men hope to accomplish by doing that.

        However, there are quite a few women who are perfectly ok with putting down/tearing down other women and would think that type of behavior is cute.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          My SO (a male) has pointed out more than once that men’s behavior around women they’re attracted to often shows that they’re out of ideas. If they had any to begin with.

        2. MigraineMonth*

          Yeah, there was a point in my life that I thought “you’re not like other women” was a compliment (though if they mocked my friend they would have made a lifelong enemy of me). Then I graduated from high school.

          Nowadays I really want a man to tell me that so I can respond, “How do you know about my vagina dentata?”

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            Tbh, this just flashes me back to the beginning of the “Thriller” video, when Michael Jackson tells his date he’s “not like other guys.” (Back before we knew just how true that statement really was.)

    4. Blue Moon*

      The thing that gets me is that he’s “retaliating” against someone HE broke up with. What is there to retaliate against when you are the one who ended the relationship?

      1. Green great dragon*

        I know he writes he recently broke up with her, but I say either that’s just how he reports ‘we broke up’, or he managed to get the words out first in a conversation that was clearly going to end with her breaking up with him.

        1. parsley*

          She almost certainly initiated the break-up and he’s just fudging the facts to make himself ‘look better’. If he thinks dating a fat girl is so shameful, imagine how ashamed he must have been to be dumped by one.

      2. Fact & Fiction*

        Sadly, some people DO feel like they have the right to retaliate after a breakup, even if they instigated it. One of my closest high school friends and I went through several months of terror when her ex-boyfriend–who lived NEXT DOOR to her–decided to stalk her and by extension me because she spent a lot of time with me in increasingly threatening and terrifying ways until we had to get a restraining order against him. Which…fun times since he LIVED NEXT DOOR TO HER!
        We’re talking repeated threats to kill her, me, her family, our friends, any guys who even looked at her including a poor junior high guy we were friends with. Late nights of him trying to run us off the road just to get her to talk to him. All because HE broke up with her and she refused to take him back.
        So I suspect this guy either wanted her to take him back and she wouldn’t or he lied about who broke it off…But regardless, yeah. For people like this it’s generally about the need for control.

    5. Hotdog not dog*

      Yes, he was definitely an ass, but at least he advertised it clearly so that women could make an informed decision to avoid him.

      1. Alice*

        Hah, let’s just hope that pedestrians, bicylists, and people in unlifted cars have been able to avoid him too. The sightlines of a lifted truck mean that drivers can’t see what’s in the “shadow” directly in front of them, and the too-high bumpers mean that such trucks are more dangerous to other road users in an accident.

    6. JelloStapler*

      He probably dreams that she will see his car and burst into regretful tears that she did not stay with him and immediately go on a diet to win him back.

  3. aelstuart*

    OP1 – if you’re reading this, would you update us on what you ended up doing? I’d love to hear how this ended up working out.

    1. MicroManagered*

      I love imagining that the guy who spent $150 on a “fat girls can’t jump” sticker in 2013 was and is a daily reader of this blog about professional work norms!

      This lifted my whole mood LOL

      1. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

        I actually don’t think they were a routine reader – more that they googled work advice columns.

        1. Observer**

          I suspect that you are right. Because I cannot imagine any regular reader thinking that Allison (or the comment section!) would support him.

    2. New Jack Karyn*

      There’s no way he’s coming back here, after the ass-kicking he got last time. It was deserved, but it sure was thorough and memorable.

    3. Beebis*

      He’s probably spent the last year seething about Lizzo, has no plans of stopping, and won’t realize this letter has resurfaced

  4. F,em*

    OP #3. There is a large number of young employees who feel you are being rude, badgering, etc. if, after they say jo, you continue to try to solve the problem. You can be pleasant and professional, and they consider it “rude.” I’ve been a target of a couple of these, fortunately I have a boss who knows these employees are unreasonable.

    1. Tiger Snake*

      While that’s not a universal experience, I won’t discount that the teller in question may be overly sensitive – but the OP is a client to the bank, not an employee in a different branch or something.
      Their manager called her manager, one of their clients, to complain about her. That’s extreme enough behaviour that I feel the complaint needs to be given more credence and taken more seriously than just dismissed as “young people these days don’t know how to problemsolve”.

      1. Starbuck*

        I’m confused though, as their claim so so easily falsifiable:

        “Then I asked if I could call my manager…She said ….she would do it this time. So the problem was fixed”
        “the bank called them and complained about my behavior, that I ….demanded someone to help me fix the problem, then huffed away after snapping at them when they told me they couldn’t help me since I wasn’t on the account.”

        Wouldn’t it be obvious that it didn’t happen the way the bank employees claimed, when the boss checked to see if the account issue had been fixed after all, and could see that it was? I’m not sure why OP didn’t suggest that at the time, as an easy way to show that the complaint wasn’t fully truthful.

        1. Tiger Snake*

          Some people below are speculating that, since helping the OP when she wasn’t registered on the account was illegal; that the bank manager rightly freaked when he realised what had happened. In the face of being made accountable for having messed up that badly, the teller then claimed OP had been so very hostile she’d felt forced to do it. Everything from there would be the bank trying to cover its own behind.

          Its a very cynical view and probably relies on occum’s razor, but it does seem more believable than the ageistism of “Kids these days are too sensitive”.

    2. Corey*

      > There is a large number of young employees
      > I’ve been a target of a couple of these

      This is *literally* the Principal Skinner “Am I out of touch?” meme.

      1. Czhorat*

        Pretty much.

        I’ll add that while THIS case seemed to be an outlier, in general we should be very careful in how we joke with service people, and be very careful about teasing them. A person working customer service can’t tease back and often will be reluctant to tell you to cut it out because it’s they’re job to be nice to you. It’s kindest to give them as much courtesy as you reasonably can.

        1. Aerin*

          Even if there’s nothing bad about it, you’re very likely telling a joke that they’ve heard half a dozen times just that day. And of course the worker has to laugh like it’s the first time and it’s actually funny. It’s exhausting. Stay on script, we’re begging you.

          (One time at the Mouse, I was at load in Jungle and had been working 12-hour days there for like 3 weeks straight at the peak of summer. Someone asked me if anyone has ever fallen in the water, and my filter just failed. I said “Someone falls in once every 3-4 months. Someone asks me that question once every 3-4 minutes.”)

          1. Albert "Call me Al" Ias*

            And when you do fall in, make sure you’re up to date on your tetanus shots. (Same if you fall in at Small World too, and probably most of the water rides)

            1. Aerin*

              The enclosed water rides should be fine because they’re filtered, but the green water is all connected and all noxious. We referred to any skipper who had fallen in as part of the Jungle Cruise Swim Team, and I always wanted to make T-shirts with the slogan “We needed our tetanus shots anyway”

    3. Spider-Man*

      My brother is lovely. He really is. But he’s always been quick to anger. I thought maybe he’d chill out a little when he got a minimum wage gig at a movie theater in highschool and college, but nope. He’ll complain about entitled customers and then two seconds later tell me about the cashier at the grocery store who wouldn’t accept his card (either the machines fault or his, but definitely not hers). I’ve tried pointing it out to him, but it’s like he’s blind to it. From his point of view he’s doing great at his job, so if a customer has a complaint that’s on them, but when he is a customer and has a complaint it’s the cashier’s fault.

      1. Workerbee*

        My brother never grew out of his entitled phase either. But I also wouldn’t call him lovely since he lives in a world of people and those people are apparently always wrong, never him. It’d also be great if he would just never talk about it, but alas…

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          oh, like the adage, if you run into one jerk today, you’ve met a jerk. If you run into 20 jerks today, you are probably the jerk.

    4. MK*

      Here is the thing: going into a bank and expect to be allowed to take any action about an account you are not named on, without authorization from an account holder, is not a “problem” that needs “solving”, it’s demanding the bank bend their very proper and reasonable rules for you, and it’s inappropriate, no matter how polite you are in your demands.

      So, maybe reflect on whether you are indeed rude, and also confusing “trying to solve the problem” with “wanting to get my way”.

      1. M. from P.*

        There’s actually a lot more to the story (the OP had followed up in the comments to the original post).
        Long story short, the OP was perfectly happy to either have the bank get the authorization over the phone or walk away but the teller said they’d perform the transaction anyway “just this time”.
        The OP also mentioned the bank had had business with her former employer and that the employer had reported the bank for misconduct which might have given them reason to retaliate. So the letter kind of buried the lead IMO.

        1. JSPA*

          That makes more sense.

          Basically, “we did something totally illegal as a favor, then manager freaked out because the nice person we did it for had been involved in reporting past illegal activity, and we / they rushed to come up with a scenario where we did it because of almost-threats, to cover our asses…and to get that on record, we called their employer.”

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            That makes sense! When I worked retail, someone reported me as rude because I wouldn’t do something against store policy. (She shouted at me from across the store asking to use the bathroom for her kids while I was at the register handling a cash transaction & had a line. I told her where the mall restroom was, but that wasn’t good enough. My terrible manager who *was* often rude & never saw me be impolite did not back me up at all. Keep in mind this woman had been the rude one to me & everyone in line.)

          2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Oooh yeah that explains what happened! I was mystified. like, how could they say OP huffed away after snarling at the employees after being told that her problem couldn’t be fixed, when her problem was in fact fixed and there’s got to be proof of it?

        2. I need a new name...*

          Thanks for that insight!

          I think the way OP approached the transaction could certainly be interpreted as rude by some, though I’d still argue not enough to warrant the complaint. The previous history could certainly explain the drastic escalation though.

          (and a well-meant fyi: ‘bury the lede’)

          1. FashionablyEvil*

            Either spelling (lead or lede) is correct. “Lede” is just the journalistic jargon version of the word.

            1. Not Australian*

              Oh, thank goodness someone has explained this: I was wondering where this word had come from all of a sudden!

              1. londonedit*

                Journalists use ‘lede’ precisely because ‘lead’ is already a word (with two different meanings and pronunciations in its own right!) but either one is fine outside of journalism.

              2. WantonSeedStitch*

                The story I heard in journalism school was that the “lede” spelling was to distinguish the word from the “lead” of the lead type that was used to print the newspapers.

        3. wilma flintstone*

          When I read this (in year 2022), my first reaction was to wonder what the races of the OP and bank personnel were. Because there’s a thing where members of a particular race are often unfairly coded as ‘angry’ by members of another race.

          1. EvilQueenRegina*

            From memory of the original post, it happened in Hawaii, the teller was Hawaiian, OP was white and from some state other than Hawaii.

        4. Skytext*

          My thought is that the teller got in trouble over “bending the rules” and tried to save herself by claiming the OP was so rude and aggressive that she felt bullied into making an exception. But the thing with OP’s former employer just takes it to a whole new level.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I was perplexed that the bank did a “just this once” rather than “sorry; you need to come in with the person on the account, both of you with photo ID, and get added.” That is terrible practice, and around access to financial accounts??

        I really thought this was ending after they told OP they couldn’t help anyone not on the account, and OP left, and then there were two tales of the professionalism displayed by everyone involved.

      3. ecnaseener*

        What do you mean “without authorization?” LW offered to call their manager for authorization, the teller said no. If a phone call isn’t adequate authorization, LW didn’t know that. LW didn’t insist on anything.

      4. Yorick*

        But there was a “problem” outside of LW not being named on the account, and they did help her fix that problem despite it.

      5. Starbuck*

        Yeah I went back and read the original post + op Deborah’s comments, she really doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong here.

    5. Sandgroper*

      I’ve had a similar situation occur with a bank…

      But what it really was about was ‘cover your butt’…. The bank in question was NOT following processes, and was doing some very shady stuff on the account authorities, and I went in with the director of the company to sort it out (as he wasn’t banking/process literate, as evidenced by the complete mess that they’d created).

      It took THREE visits to the bank to get the fired (for fraud) business assistant off the authority, and even then he was still listed as an ‘authoriser’ (and thus could put himself back on if he so chose). We were LIVID. But unfailingly politely we did the 200km round trip AGAIN to go in and sort this out. The bank rang and complained about me… because I dared to question their process and suggest that after about 800km of driving that they should be able to resolve this, and we’d quietly wait in their sitting area while they worked it out. At no time was I rude, I just refused to take “we’ll do it later” as an excuse anymore. This went all the way up to state and national customer relationship manager office levels, and what do you know? The bank manager has been colluding with our competition for years, and has decided she doesn’t like us. (This is the biggest bank in Australia.)

      It’s still not sorted, so we’ve moved banks. Somehow they’ve fudged up the entire customer record so thoroughly that short of us getting new ABN and TFNs etc we can’t operate there without connecting to the old records.

      But the complaint? Was to cover their butts so they could divert attention from their own failings. As Sun Tzu would say… sometimes the best defence is a good offence.

      1. WS*

        As soon as you mentioned the driving distances I knew that this was in Australia, even before you got to the ABN and TFN! Local branch managers can be absolute tyrants, or they can be fantastic. Ours was fantastic so of course they closed the branch and now it’s a 150km round trip.

      2. ecnaseener*

        Butt-covering seems a much better explanation than “kids these days get offended over everything.”

    6. Pyjamas*

      The OP gave details in comment section and it does sound like the bank teller threw her under the bus, possibly because the teller broke bank regulations, possibly because her previous firm had had issues with the bank’s professionalism. Her comments are under the name “Deborah.”

      1. EpLawyer*

        Okay but WHY was HER employer willing to write her up? This is where I have a problem. For whatever reason the Bank called her employer to complain. Then rather than hear her side of things, they just wrote her up. I’m majorly side eyeing her own employer. This was pretty unreasonable on their part.

        1. Risha*

          Yeah, this is the part I’m confused about too. Why would her employer write her up for this without getting her side first? I would not stay with an employer that didn’t even ask me for my version of events and just believed someone else straight away. I hope the LW took this for what it is-having a crappy boss/employer and found another job.

        2. Observer**

          Probably because they didn’t have the context.

          It’s a shame that the OP didn’t include that information, because I am sure that the original advice would have been different.

          1. EpLawyer*

            They didn’t have the context because they just went straight to write up without investigation. Which means they SUCK.

            1. Mississippi*

              From the original thread, it’s a small town where everyone knows each other and OP was not from there originally. So her manager automatically believed the person they knew best.
              I had a similar thing happen, where my manager went straight to writing me up based on a fabricated complaint. I was new; the person making the complaint had been there for years and was very senior and well respected.
              Managers suck sometimes.

    7. Asenath*

      In this case, there’s four tellers, who presumably were all available to give their side of the story. I’ve encountered an occasional employee who becomes unpleasant if I am trying to work out a problem (although not of any particular age group), but it’s rare enough that if four different workers said LW’s approach was rude, I’d be inclined to think it might be.

      1. Lilo*

        The OP gave details in the original post and it was very clear the bank had messed up (allowed her to make changes when she wasn’t in the account) and was lying to cover it up.

        1. Starbuck*

          I wish we’d gotten an update after she’d shown the receipts to her boss to prove that the tellers were lying about what had happened.

    8. NotAnotherManager!*

      I have not noticed this being isolated to young people. I just had to go jump through a bunch of hoops to get added to a bank account for a volunteer position I took on, and people did indeed seem surprised that I wanted to continue to try to solve the problem once we hit a road block. I eventually got transferred to an absolutely lovely woman whose position was, “What? Oh, no, we are going to get this fixed right NOW.” (and she did!) but it took a few tries to get someone who was willing to move onto Plan B (and then C).

      I think it’s generally also a good idea to be as patient and kind as possible with front-line support because no one ever calls then when things are going right.

    9. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      I am speculating, but please hear me out.

      Employee made a bad call and justified it by saying s/he was “forced.”
      I really believe that the bank required some sort of action on this event for their own personnel accounts.
      We’ve gotten other letters here about “three strikes” type situation. So to avoid a black mark (or at least mitigate it) bank employee exaggerated the interaction.

      OP was told his/her request was not possible.
      OP replied.
      Bank employee offered to do it anyway.
      -going against their own rules, which, like perm care, are simple and finite.
      “do not give information to a person not named on the account.”

  5. Somebody Call a Lawyer*

    Re: those looking for more from OP3 — in the comments for the original post, she responded with more info under the name Deborah.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      Thanks – I went and read the comments, and it DEFINITELY sounded like a) a bank employee screwed up and processed a transaction they weren’t supposed to do, b) got caught, and c) blamed the OP for browbeating them into doing it as a way to not get disciplined themselves, and then d) the OP’s employer wrote her up without even getting her side of the story.

      I hope the OP came out okay. People were advising her to find another job because her real problem was with her own manager – which I agree with.

      1. Asenath*

        Oh, those responses from Deborah put a new perspective on it, and I wish I could delete my previous comment. There’s clearly something very abnormal going on both with the bank and with her employer, and it sounds like she’s been railroaded because of it. Could be the tellers, could be someone senior to them who wants to make trouble. I worked as a teller many years ago, and we were always encouraged to refuse transactions that we were uncertain about (and so wouldn’t have done one “as a favour” unless we knew it was OK) and to come clean if we were confused or uncertain about something we had done. It wasn’t a disciplinary-type approach, and I’m sure it was much easier for the powers that be to sort out real problems immediately than it was after some poor teller had been trying to conceal them for a while.

      2. EpLawyer*

        YES THIS. The problem isn’t whether the incident was misunderstood. It’s how her employer reacted to it. I would consider finding a new job over this too. What else will the punish without finding out the whole story?

      3. ScruffyInternHerder*

        Really glad that when a similar situation happened recently on a youth sports account on which I am named, the bank employee who screwed up did such a horrid job of covering their tracks that the bus didn’t even make it to my ZIP code.

      4. Observer**

        I went and read the comments, and it DEFINITELY sounded like a) a bank employee screwed up and processed a transaction they weren’t supposed to do, b) got caught, and c) blamed the OP for browbeating them into doing it as a way to not get disciplined themselves, and then d) the OP’s employer wrote her up without even getting her side of the story.

        I would add e) OP’s manager did not WANT to “get the OP’s side of the story” because it would have made her look bad as well.

    2. 1LFTW*

      Thanks for this.

      I’ve read through some of the comments, and it’s a a pretty wild ride. I’d love an update from Deborah.

      1. Starbuck*

        I know, it’s such a shame – she had such clear evidence to prove the bank was lying about her! I hope it helped but it seems like maybe there was no salvaging it even if it was obvious she didn’t do anything wrong.

  6. Francie Foxglove*

    #4: I’ve been there! Except the non-participant was at least pleasant and friendly. One trivia-team member, Wakeen, was clueless about women, and when he got on outside-socializing terms with a female co-worker, he started bringing her to trivia. Trivia was not her thing either; mostly she looked adorably confused and giggled, “I dunno!” Besides the fact that we didn’t want her sharing our winnings if she didn’t contribute, there was also the fact that Wakeen was *not* winning her over this way! She would have preferred a date alone with him, not spending two hours or more in a group activity “that just makes me feel stupid.” And, sadly, by the time we got to discussing this, she was interested in someone else, who she’d met clubbing. Which was her thing. NTTAWWT.

    1. Lirael*

      For those who are wondering:

      NTTAWWT: Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      I can usually figure stuff out but never would have got that one!

    2. Antilles*

      Except the non-participant was at least pleasant and friendly.
      This is the critical point.
      Given that the typical prize for winning a weekly restaurant/bar trivia is something along the lines of “here’s a $50 gift certificate in house cash”, the real reason for doing bar trivia is for fun with friends. Oh sure, everybody loves the thrill of winning and the house cash (read: free meal) is always welcome…but at heart, it’s a social activity first and foremost.
      So when someone is there being unpleasant (e.g., Cosmo making fun of people for their trivia knowledge), it just ruins the entire experience.
      If this was any of the various trivia teams I’ve been on in the past decade-plus of weekly bar trivia, we’d definitely be removing Cosmo from the invite list after only a couple weeks.

  7. Amy*

    Re letter 3; I work in a furniture and appliance store. At the time in question, I was a customer service supervisor, and one of my main jobs was making sure deliveries were scheduled properly and in a timely manner. We went through a bad period where salespeople and my staff were not properly confirming delivery details, which was costing us money and inconveniencing our clients. I created a store-wide protocol with specific directions on what to ask and say to clients when confirming deliveries, met with all staff, and created a checklist to be added to all POS stations. It was so well received, that I was told by the store manager to send it to my district manager, and it ended up being sent to over 13 stores in 3 provinces.
    Imagine my surprise when my SM called me one day on my day off, to tell me that I had not properly confirmed a delivery, and that I was straight out lying that I had done no such thing. Apparently, the delivery truck showed up, was told the client who had ordered a stove did not live there, still decided to switch out the machines, and now the actual client was furious they not only weren’t getting their stove, they would have to wait two more days for it.
    After swearing up and down that I had asked the client for their info, the SM said he would call the client on his office phone on speaker, with me on speaker on his cell, to ask if I had actually asked for their address. I said fine. I knew I had done my job.
    He calls her, he asks her if I had confirmed her address, she says yes. He asks her, well then why did the delivery truck go to her old address? She says, when we bought the stove, we knew we were moving, but didn’t have the address yet. So I told her our old address was the right one and figured I could talk to the new owners about the delivery.
    SM hangs up, and I say “I did my job. She just said she gave me the wrong information.” My manager decided I was still at fault.
    All that to say, just because a manager says something, does not make it true.

    1. Appletini*

      I am so sorry. I applaud you for not immediately employing every profanity you know — I don’t think I would have been able to resist.

  8. ex-teacher*

    #2, I did a career change in my 40s and went to be an intern. And one of my new (and more senior than me) colleagues is someone I had taught when he was in middle school – for extra bonus, also a classmate of my son. We haven’t met face to face yet (yay WFH, and also not being on same team), but possibly will during Christmas party. I’m wondering how awkward it will be, especially for him, because “the ones I once taught are now grown-up and potentially my colleagues/boss” is nothing too unusual for teachers.

    1. Michael*

      About 12 years ago, I found myself on the hiring committee interviewing my grad school advisor for a job. It was never an issue (he got the job and we worked together as peers for two years before I moved on), but there was a very slight moment of awkwardness at the start where he was clearly trying to place me after many years and out of context.

    2. NerdyPrettyThings*

      Yes, you’ll know you’ve reached a “certain age” in a small town when your loan officer, nurse practitioner, and optometrist are all people to whom you taught 9th grade geometry! Ask me how I know.

      1. Rebecca*

        My dad got out of speeding tickets in my hometown because he’d been the teacher/coach of nearly every cop in town!

  9. M. from P.*


    A relevant detail that was mentioned in the original thread:

    The bank had had prior interactions with the OP (Deborah) in a different business. The previous business (Deborah’s former employer) reported the bank for some sort of misconduct. Even though Deborah was not behind the complaint, she was the employee they interacted with the most and the bank had reason to suspect she was the one who reported them.

    I wish we could have an update for this one.
    It did seem like the bank might have wanted to retaliate.

    1. Lilo*

      I think it was also relevant that OP hadn’t been added to the account, she offered to call thr manager to authorize it over the phone and the teller said no, they’d just do it now.

      My guess is that teller absolutely 100% should not have done that.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I agree that’s a point that was missed.

        Per the LW, when she suggested the bank teller call her manager to obtain authorization the bank teller waived it off an agreed to do it against the bank’s policy. My initial bet that this complaint was a CYA move about violating a very sensible and reasonable policy.

        OTOH the bank claims that they didn’t complete the task and the LW says they did. That should be verifiable.

        It’s a mess. The LW was defensive in the comments and there was apparently a history with the bank.

        1. Lilo*

          I didn’t find her defensive in thr comments and she pointed out the banks claims were verifiably false because she had receipts. I find her comments credible.

          My guess is the teller broke policy and tried to blame her for it.

        2. Enai*

          How is “being defensive” different from “defending oneself, on account of having done nothing wrong”, here?

          1. Wendy*

            Yes, that is a good question

            If you *general you*, did nothing wrong, especially when your employer “claims” you did, wouldn’t you want to explain your side of the story?

            How is explaining your side of the story considered your being defensive, especially when you were never given the opportunity to do that?

    2. Forgot my name again*

      More relevant details from the original thread:

      October 11, 2017 at 8:20 pm
      It could be cultural, I am in Hawaii. They were Hawaiian and I am white from the mainland. Hawaiians are very nice people, and I love them dearly. I was tired, and it was the end of a busy day, but I absolutely wasn’t rude. The teller even called me later that day to say my receipt was ready for the transaction, and I thanked her again and told her how awesome she was.

      ▼ Collapse 4 replies

      Another Haole in Hawaii*
      October 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm
      Deborah… as someone who has lived in hawaii 15 years.. this is EXACTLY it!! Small town + you being a haole…. Sorry, they railroaded you! I once had a deli manager at Safeway scream at me, and throw me out of the store, when I pointed out that the price she rang up my cheese for didn’t match the price on the sign. I was so nice, and so respectful… but guess what “this rude haole” got kicked out. All I did was ask if she or her manager could please fix the price, and she went to get her manager and told her that I’d threatened and yelled at the deli clerk… Then they kicked me out of the store. This kind of stuff happens… A LOT…. out here, and sadly there’s not much you can do. Everyone is related and/or knows each other out here, and it sucks! Good luck to you. Aloha!

      October 11, 2017 at 11:48 pm
      I was hoping the Haole thing wasn’t the case :/ But it could have been another reason for the complaint. I have been lucky and found most people so wonderful, but I know there are some that do not like us. :(

  10. The Gnome*

    Not gonna lie, I’m curious to hear about what sort of consequence resulted from OP1 choosing to die on the fatphobic sticker hill.

  11. RadManCF*

    I once had an adjunct professor that was a larger woman who was into off-roading. Not only did she drive a lifted Jeep Wrangler, she lifted it herself.

    1. L.H. Puttgrass*

      I misunderstood “lifted it herself” at first, and thought: she wasn’t just big, she must have been hella strong, too!

      Then I figured it out.

      1. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

        Lol – hubby and I also have a truck that we installed a factory lift kit on ourselves. We also installed our own step rails, so our kids can get in and out of the truck.

        For those that are curious, we like to go off-field camping and putting in a two inch factory lift gives our truck the same ground clearance as our camper. And 90% of the time if we’re driving the truck, we either going camping or are going to the home improvement store and need the bed of the truck to haul home our purchase.

        But when I read OP 1 – I’m picturing a massively jacked up silly truck that is obviously been altered from factory. The two inch lift on my truck just makes me the same height as the diesel version.

    2. Adds*

      Something tells me that LW1 doesn’t work on his own vehicle. The labor to apply his custom vinyl is probably why it was $150.

  12. Gnome*

    I wonder for OP3… How would Alison handle it if she were that manager and they came back and said that to her (obviously, she wouldn’t be, as Alison would get the story from them to begin with).

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah the answer to number 3 feels…slightly accusatory. Which I get, to an extent, but the employer’s reaction is really weird and I’m surprised she didn’t touch on that.

      1. Myrin*

        I felt the same way, especially since we’ve absolutely had other letters in the past where a manager took action against an OP in some way without actually asking about their side and I think the first reaction has basically always been to wonder why that is/to stress how that’s not terribly professional or logical/etc. As always, I think it’s fine to point out that an OP might have come across differently from how they thought they did, but the whole letter reads like Alison kinda thinks OP didn’t describe her tone and demeanour accurately which she normally only does in really outrageous cases (the guy who got the company owner’s wife’s coat dirty with his bike comes to mind).

        Especially given how there’s a possible explanation for the bank’s behaviour right in the letter – the teller did a procedure she wouldn’t have been allowed to do since OP wasn’t authorised regarding that specific account, making me think someone above her found out and she blamed it on OP’s aggressive, forceful attitude -, I was really surprised by this answer.

  13. Fat chick with a lifted Jeep*

    Sorry, but the day an employer tells me what I can or cannot do with my personal vehicle is the day I NOPE outta there. How would you feel if your employer told you to remove a political sticker from your vehicle? Or a sticker promoting your preferred cause? Or your cartoon character sticker? What if they decide your actual vehicle doesn’t fit their image? All set with jobs that think they can govern my life outside of it.

    1. Presea*

      Eh, I can see your point, but I think this is closer to asking employee to not engage in hate speech or harassment than a straightforward case of policing the employee’s car. The difference between this and all of the examples you listed is that the sticker in the letter more or less /only/ exists to make a demeaning joke against a specific demographic – everything else you list is much more personal and neutral.

    2. KayDeeAye*

      My employer has a perfect right to tell me that I cannot insult people while I am on the employer’s property. Do I have a right to walk up to coworkers and call them “fat” or “ugly”? Sure, but my employer has has a right to fire me for being a jerk. So if I can’t say it to people’s faces, why should I be able to say it in writing?

    3. Jackalope*

      Since this is probably set in the US, where at-will employment is the law for most of the country, employers can fire you for just about anything they want, with a handful of exceptions such as being a member of a protected class.

      And the slippery slope fallacy is just that: a fallacy. It is entirely reasonable for an employer to decide that employees can’t have a bumper sticker whose purpose is to harass members of a protected class, particularly when other employees have already complained. Multiple people in the original thread also pointed out that they would be unwilling to do business with a location that had such open disdain for large women, and that’s something the employer gets to take into consideration also – is this employee losing us business by displaying this sticker. That’s much different than having a cartoon character on your bumper.

      1. metadata minion*

        Unfortunately, body size is not a protected class most places :-( But I’m still absolutely fine with employers requiring employees not to display hateful bumper stickers of any kind.

    4. Antilles*

      I think there’s a pretty major difference between “a sticker actively insulting overweight people” (which might include co-workers or clients) and a sticker of Daffy Duck.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        There’s even a difference between a sticker naming your preferred political candidate (*even* if that candidate is a flaming misogynist) and a sticker that is in itself flamingly misogynist (and fatphobic). This is where the words “Hostile work environment” in their real sense come in; you cannot discriminate based on gender, and this sticker is doing that.

    5. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

      Personally I don’t think there’s a problem with a company saying they don’t want racist, sexist, or other things insulting to large swathes of the population (and by extension their potential customers) seen at their business. Because yes, customers can and do vote with their feet.

    6. Czhorat*

      In most of the US they absolutely CAN forbid political bumper stickers. Employers have a TON of power over who they hire, so long as it doesn’t discriminate against protected class.

      You could make an argument that forcing removal of, say, a HRC “=” sticker would discriminate against gay people. Forcing removal of a fatphobic window sticker only discriminated against fatphobic jerks.

      1. Elitist Semicolon*

        This is a really good point. Not all sentiments expressed on bumper (or window) stickers are morally equivalent.

      1. Observer**

        Hate speech is indeed protected speech in the US.

        But it’s protection from the government. No speech is protected from consequences.

    7. Critical Rolls*

      This is textbook false equivalence, with a nice slippery slope fallacy for good measure. The sticker in question is actively, intentionally insulting to fat women and as visually obvious as OP could make it. This is in no way comparable to a “cartoon character sticker.” And running this all the way to “you can’t have your vehicle here, it doesn’t match our image” is absolutely wild to the point where I have a hard time believing in your good faith.

    8. Michelle Smith*

      If my preferred cause was spite, like OPs is, I would not expect my employer to tolerate it. This decal is not the same thing as a Biden or Trump sticker that basically just says “Hey I’m voting for this guy in 2020.” If the sticker says something insulting a group of people, that’s when it crosses a line.

    9. Observer**

      Sorry, but the day an employer tells me what I can or cannot do with my personal vehicle is the day I NOPE outta there.

      Please do everyone a favor and go! And tell them all WHY you are going so they know to be careful of being too enthusiastic when they get called for references.

      If you choose to bring insults and slurs, and not just to an individual but a whole class of people! to your office you don’t get to claim that your employer is trying to “govern your life outside” of work. *YOU* BROUGHT IT TO WORK.

      1. EpLawyer*


        EXCELLENT POINT. If you only kept the truck in your driveway, your employer really couldn’t say much. But you PARKED IN THE OFFICE LOT. They can say you can’t park that car in our lot.

    10. I should really pick a name*

      I’m sure they’d be happy to see you go.

      There’s also a distinction here that would matter to some but not others:
      You’re not being told to remove a sticker. You being told to keep the sticker off of their property. You could bring another car. You take public transit. You could park in a public lot and walk over.

    11. learnedthehardway*

      There’s a world of difference between “Save the Seals” and “I’m a Misogynist” stickers. There’s even a difference between “Mainstream political party” or “I support this Idiot for President”, and offensive stickers.

      As an employee, what you say/do in public does reflect on your employer. There are limits, but if you’re parked in their parking lot in an employee parking space, and you have an offensive sticker on your vehicle, your employer has every right to require you to remove it, cover it, or not park there (and that includes not work at the business).

      Same goes with social media, by the way – if you defame your employer or complain about them, have overt ties or participate in objectionable groups – expect to be confronted about it at work, and to potentially lose your job.

  14. Falling Diphthong*

    Anonymous notes remove the context–I might take things seriously from Greta, a serious person, but dismiss Bob’s ongoing complaints about everything that conspires against him. If people know nothing about you beyond that you enjoy writing anonymous notes, they’re going to put you in the Bob category.

  15. A Pound of Obscure*

    All anyone needs to know about the first letter-writer is that his letter began with an obvious lie. People who do the breaking up don’t need to “retaliate.” Poor, fragile Bro was dumped! I hope the girl met and married someone less emotionally stunted. Having said that, I believe that free speech applies to everyone. Yes, the sticker was distasteful to the point of being loathsome, but asking him to remove it from his personal property is even more distasteful. Sometimes it’s good that these toxic bro-types tell us exactly who they are by driving obnoxious lifted trucks with offensive stickers (and, I’m guessing, the obligatory flags and hateful political memes) on them. It makes it easier to silently mock and avoid them.

    1. Fishsticks*

      You do have a point about it being a big old warning sign and a giant red flag, but I also think the employer is within their rights to not want to be associated with the kind of person who thinks such a sticker is funny.

      That said, I think ‘park at the back, facing towards this bush so no one sees this thing’ is a worthwhile compromise. But I also know that I would hesitate to spend my money at a place where people have those kinds of stickers on their vehicles.

      1. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

        “But I also know that I would hesitate to spend my money at a place where people have those kinds of stickers on their vehicles.”

        This I think is what was the company was worrying about. People seeing the sticker and voting with their feet to take their money and business elsewhere. And it sounded like the guy saw his big old lifted truck as an extension of his persona (hence the doubling down). Sounds like this is a guy who was at the wrong job – because it’s not unreasonable of a company to ask you to avoid deliberately insulting a huge portion of your potential customer base.

        1. Observer*

          because it’s not unreasonable of a company to ask you to avoid deliberately insulting a huge portion of your potential customer base.

          You would think that this would be obvious. I really don’t get all the gasping about freedom of speech around this.

          The employer was almost certainly worried about either offending (potential) customers or getting sued for allowing sexual harassment. It’s just really strange to me that anyone thinks that this is in the least bit controversial.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      I think it is well within the company’s rights to say that they don’t want to see that sticker on their property.

    3. Workerbee*

      I am totally not saying dude isn’t a lying sack of bolts, but! In my experience, dudes doing the breaking up can get vicious if their ex moves happily on to be with someone else. How dare they continue to exist, etc.

      Interestingly, during the recent letter about Jane having a fit when coworkers parked their cars around her car, I had pointed out that this was personal property, et al, and at least one other person said it was on work property so personal property doesn’t count (or something).

      1. MicroManagered*

        Displaying hate symbols or speech while you or your personal property is on COMPANY property is much different than the letter you are referring to. Jane was upset about where people parked their cars (closer to hers than usual/closer than she prefers), but those cars were still appropriately and legally parked in the company’s parking lot.

        The company has a legal obligation to protect its employees in protected classes (the message on the sticker is targeted at women) from a hostile work environment, so they have more of a standing to tell him he can’t park that vehicle on their property as long as it has the sticker visible.

        1. learnedthehardway*

          Hm… arguably, the business would have done more to protect women at their offices from a hostile work environment by simply firing OP#1. I mean, anyone who puts a sticker like that on their vehicle has ATTITUDES about women.

          But they were being nice and only telling him to remove the sticker. One does hope that his attitude was noted and that an eye was kept on him vis a vis how he treated female colleagues in the business.

      2. New Jack Karyn*

        Jane’s car was personal property, so it’s good that no one so much as touched her car. However, the parking spots are work property, and it was legit for the coworkers to use them to park in.

    4. Colette*

      In the world at large, sure. But this is a workplace, and the employer is well within their rights to protect the other workers from his sexist, fatphobic sticker.

    5. Happy meal with extra happy*

      Read up on what “free speech” is. Hint – it’s not private companies not allowing specific types of speech on private property.

      Also, no, letting people say/promote such awful things is why Nazis are back. Shaming terrible people into silence and tiny little holes works.

      1. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

        THIS. So Much This.

        Just because you say it doesn’t mean that I have to hear it or be associated with it. And it was pretty clear the company was saying you are welcome to have it on your car – but that car isn’t going to be here while that insulting sticker is on it (and I got the impression that the truck was his daily driver).

    6. Birdie*

      That’s……not what Free Speech means.

      Look, I love my Flyers orange Gritty-on-a-riding-lawnmower Four Seasons Total Landscaping (*not affiliated with the Fours Season Philadelphia) t-shirt, but I’m not about to wear it to work, because A) absolutely in violation of our dress code; B) I’m a public facing fundraiser; and C) while I don’t know how they voted, there’s a sizable contingent of conservatives in my organization. I could stomp my feet and screech “free speech!” but that’s just not the hill I’m interested in dying on.

    7. This or That*

      “Yes, the sticker was distasteful to the point of being loathsome, but asking him to remove it from his personal property is even more distasteful.”

      It was being parked on company property where it could be observed by customers and fellow employees.

      Let’s use an extreme example to make the point. What if he had used the N-word in a decal to disparage blacks?

      Would the company be within its rights demanding he remove the decal or not bring the truck onto company property? Obviously they would.

      Now that we’ve established that there is a line that can be crossed, the only questions is: did the LW cross the line.

      If the decal contained a political statement you might have a point. Political speech is protected in the US. But it didn’t. It was just an uncouth criticism of overweight people. No politics or thought, just a slur.

      I think the company is within its rights to say they don’t want that type of speech associated with the company, even tangentially.

      He doesn’t have to remove it from his truck. He can find another job, park his truck down the road, or Uber to work everyday. He just can’t park his truck in the company parking lot.

    8. NotAnotherManager!*

      Being somewhat cynical, I would suspect that the employer’s desire not to see the sticker was less about being kind and politically correct and more about not wanting such things parked in their parking lot or associated with their business. Telling him to take it off, cover it up at work, or use alternate transportation without slurs on on it is well within their rights and is not even remotely a “free speech”/1A issue.

    9. Critical Rolls*

      If casual tee shirts were part of the dress code, and this had been on a tee shirt, would it have been allowed? No. Because while this person is at work, he’s a representative of the company. The employer gets to decide they don’t want a highly visible insult displayed all day in their parking lot, making staff and customers uncomfortable, undermining confidence in the org’s judgement, or maybe running people off altogether.

    10. Claire*

      See, what you’re doing here is making the common right-wing argument – generally made in bad faith – pretending that there’s no difference between saying “You can’t do thing X [have trashy hate stickers on your car, use the N word, advocate for all immigrants being deported, etc.] on my property or on my time,” and saying “You can’t do thing X, period, on your property or mine, around me or otherwise.”

      That argument is nonsense. You can do thing X anywhere else you want, on your own time, but if you do it around me there will be consequences you won’t like, in this case including firing. That’s not depriving you of free speech. There is literally an entire world outside of OP1’s job where he can exercise his loathesomeness without consequence. Pretending that OP1’s freedom of speech trumps his co-worker’s right to not be insulted in their workplace, the company’s freedom to decide who they want associated with their brand, and the company’s right to, you know, stay in business because they didn’t needlessly tick off their customers is solipsistic and destructive.

      OP1 learned that his right to swing his fist ends where someone else’s nose begins. That’s a lesson we would all do well to keep in mind a little more often.

    11. pieces_of_flair*

      You think it’s worse for a private business to prohibit hate speech on their property than it is to actually spout the hate speech? Gotcha. You’re right, sometimes it’s good when toxic bro-types tell us exactly who they are…

    12. Observer*

      Yes, the sticker was distasteful to the point of being loathsome, but asking him to remove it from his personal property is even more distasteful.


      Also, he had another choice – he could have stopped driving the truck to work. But an employer is WELL within it’s moral and legal rights to tell someone that they can’t be rude to whole swathes of the population on their property.

  16. Fishsticks*

    I am genuinely kind of shocked that LW1 got all the way through that little tale without having a moment where he realized HE is the problem, deleted the entire letter, and went and took the stupid thing off his truck. What an awful sticker to think is funny, and what an awful pointless terrible hill to die on.

  17. Anonymoose*

    I’ve worked for two mental health charities. The staff at one were very nice. The staff at the other were not conducive to anyone’s mental health. She may fit right in.

  18. Former Teacher*

    #5– A school where I taught once had a teacher transfer in. It was a hard-to-fill position. I knew this teacher of old. When she requested the transfer, I told the principal what I knew about her: That I’d caught her stealing twice (once from me, once from another teacher), that I’d heard her make anti-semitic and racist remarks on numerous occasions.

    The principal nodded and said “Okay” and the transfer happened. A few weeks after the teacher arrived, he told me he’d seen no signs of what I was talking about. I acknowledged that I hadn’t, either; it really looked like she’d turned over a new leaf.

    By the end of the school year, the new leaf had rotted, and her behavior had become an Issue.

    I guess my point is people don’t listen even if you tell them in person. And you risk your own capital in doing so. But bad behavior will out.

  19. Empress+Ki*

    #1 is a total jerk. I am obese and I find this totally offensive. However as long as he doesn’t park on his company premises, I don’t think they should have a say in the matter.
    It reminds be a bit of the srory of the obnoxious shop assistant who sent a private text to her boyfriend insulting another passenger about her weight. Someone saw the text and reported her to her employer, but this had nothing to do with her job. Not okay even if shop assistant was a jerk.

    1. Czhorat*

      Most US employment is at will; they can fire him for damn near anything. “You said something we don’t like on your own time” CAN be reason for dismissal if they think it harms their reputation.

      Heck, “I don’t like the color shirt you wore to the office last Tuesday” can probably be legal cause for termination.

      1. Empress+Ki*

        I was not referring to employment law, but what seems ethical to me. I am in Europe, so it may be influencing my opinion.

        1. Czhorat*

          That’s a fair point, though I’m broadly in favor of people suffering repercussions for sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise bigoted behavior.

          If those statements are so outside of accepted norms that making them can cost ones job then people will stop making them.

          Also, in this case it wasn’t immediate dismissal; he had the chance to remove it.

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah, I really don’t see a problem with an employer saying ‘you can’t park your truck in the company car park with that sticker on it’. There’s nothing to stop this bloke parking somewhere else, but his employer doesn’t want to be associated with misogyny and presumably also doesn’t want other employees to have to see that on a daily basis.

    2. Observer*

      Well, the truck WAS parked on company property.

      Also, there is a difference between this and the other story. In the case of the shop assistant, she was being reasonably discreet – someone had to really be looking over her shoulder to see what she was typing. So, yes a jerk, but someone really was really looking hard.

      This idiot but this huge sticker on his windshield. He is absolutely TRYING to broadcast his attitude. And he WANTS to be offensive – note that he said that he was “retaliating” which is to say that he’s trying to offend SOMEONE.

  20. Risha*

    I feel LW5’s frustration. I really do. One of my managers at the last toxicjob was really disturbed and for some reason, she took a disliking to me (and 2 other women) for no reason. She would tell me wrong info on purpose then try to write me up when I followed her wrong directives. She said I’m like a rabid dog that needs to be shot (!!!). She made several comments about my body shape and my race. She compared me to another woman on the team who is the same race as me and said my body should look like hers instead. She would lie and say people on other teams complained about me but would never tell me what exactly the complaints were. I never went to HR because at the time, my mom was dying of cancer (manager knew this also) and I just had so much on my plate that I couldn’t handle dealing with this too. I asked this manager a few times if I did anything to offend her and is there anything I can do differently. She would simply say for me to stop being me. She was just a mess and a bitter miserable person.

    After she left, I wanted to destroy her job and reputation so very badly. You have no idea how badly I wanted to see her fail. Well, people like that usually get their reward. Apparently, her attitude was the same way in her personal life. Her husband left her for another woman. She started her own business then lost it due to mismanagement of funds, she lost her entire investment. Her adult kids went no contact with her. It was beautiful and she deserved every single thing. I only know about it because after she left the job, she requested me on FB. I accepted the request in the hopes that I would see her fail someday. And I got what I wanted!!

    So I would suggest just writing the email that you would send to her new job. But don’t actually send it. Just type it up, get out everything you want to say. Let it sit overnight. Then delete it. The new job doesn’t know you and won’t take what you say seriously. Let the new job see for themselves how horrible this person is. Believe me, they will show it once they feel comfortable at this new place.

    1. Where’s Your Common Sense?*

      Personally I love hand writing the whole thing out and then burning it in my barbecue grill. It can be soothing to watch the little sparks float and carry away my anger.

  21. Elm*

    Fat girls can jump, my dude, and our big booties can both bounce into into your truck or off to HR if we need to. That IS harassment. I wonder what’s happened to him in the last nine years…

    And if the girlies aren’t getting into your lifted truck… Well, it’s not because of the truck’s height. It’s because this dude has to be a creep IRL.

  22. Software engineer*

    For OP3, it’s hard to know how you come across sometimes (and what other BS they’ve put up with that day)

    But the bigger red flag that stood out to me was you didn’t have permission to access an employers bank account and they let you anyways?! Because they didn’t want to bother with calling an authorized person to get you added?! That’s a huge security issue, and what guarantees do they have that you’re legit? Bad news

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Yeah it sounds like that was the bigger issue, and they complained about OP to cover their screwup

    2. Lady_Lessa*

      If you check the original for updates, the LW (3 here but 1 on the original) goes by the name of Deborah, and the story is wild.

  23. Sunflower*

    #1, $150 in 2013 is $180-192 in today’s value per googling.

    I wonder what he and his friends thinks of themselves now that they are in their 30’s or older. Some mature and some never do. But I’m sure a lot of women appreciate the warning to say away back then. And yes, I fully believe she broke up with him and not the other way around.

  24. RagingADHD*

    I think LW 1’s concerns about women (of any size) chasing him down to jump unbidden into his truck are unfounded.

    It’s OK, you can take the lifts off, buddy. You’re safe.

    1. Francie Foxglove*

      And what is his threshold of “fat”, anyway? Plus, what does he look like? What’s his BMI? (Although, IME, fat-shaming guys are often skinny with no muscle tone, which is just as unattractive as a gut.)

      1. I should really pick a name*

        Reading between the lines, I assume that his ex was fat. One can conclude that this wasn’t a problem for him until the breakup, so his definition of fat is “person who doesn’t want to have sex with me”.

  25. LizB*

    I will never stop being amused by LW#1 spelling out the “joke” behind his sticker. Yeah, bud, we know you’re making fun of “fat girls”. This is not a complex, multi-layered double entendre that you need to interpret for the uninitiated. It says it in plain English.

  26. JelloStapler*

    #1- Probably one of those people who tell everyone else that they’re ‘too sensitive’. What a jackass. Ex-gf lost a lot of excess weight dumping him.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Alison intentionally doesn’t do that as it could discourage people from writing in.

  27. El l*

    OP5: I’m sorry you had to go through this – but you will accomplish nothing by this.

    Even if you identify yourself, you’re a stranger with an obvious axe to grind (anonymous, you’re even less).

    There are I think only two ways you can get them to seriously consider what you say:

    1. If you can show evidence that they did something illegal in their last job (like the boss posting confidential employee details and merger notes on Twitter).
    2. If they reach out and ask you.

    I can tell this experience affected you (stop describing yourself as having cowardice) – so focus instead on moving on. Not your circus, not your monkeys, not anymore.

  28. lilsheba*

    Normally I would fight for the right to have any sticker you want on your own personal vehicle, because it’s none of your job’s business. But not on this one, you are being an immature ass and kind of deserve some retaliation on your truck imo.

  29. Tesuji*

    Honestly, #3 is the kind of letter I dislike, because it looks like an interesting situation at first glance, and then rapidly turns out to be completely explainable upon closer inspection.

    The teller fucked up and did something that was against bank policy (and maybe even illegal). She covered her ass by claiming that LW pressured her into doing this. The bank manager called her manager because (a) that was a reasonable thing to do under the facts as he was told, and (b) to cover his ass because there was already friction between the bank and LW’s employer (as the LW trickled out in the comments).

    If the response didn’t have to waste time on trying to unravel the mystery, maybe it could have delved into actually interesting subjects of “How to handle situations where it’s obvious someone is throwing you under the bus to cover their ass” and/or “Here’s a lesson about how someone breaking the rules for you might not really be doing you a favor.” Instead, we basically got a “Here’s how to bumble through a conversation where you’re clueless AF about what’s going on, but you’re trying to convince your boss that you’re innocent” response.

    To me, if anything, the first level of the response should have been more about addressing the LW’s naivete, and about how if you think someone is flat-out lying about the situation, giving a moment’s thought to *why* they lied is worth the time, and will help you frame how to react to it. (“Everyone lies; the innocent lie because they don’t want to be blamed for something they didn’t do, and the guilty lie because they don’t have any other choice.”)

    1. Enai*

      Yes, “what to do if someone is obviously lying about you to your detriment” would be an interesting topic! Not least because its a) rare and b) if it happens you rarely get confronted right away, and will leave any but the smoothest of operators flustered, I think.

    2. Mississippi*

      “How to handle situations where it’s obvious someone is throwing you under the bus to cover their ass”

      That’s a great subject. I posted up thread about how someone fabricated a complaint about me—He actually wasn’t trying to cover his ass, to the best of my knowledge. I genuinely do not know what motivated him to invent a complaint – it was a really stupid complaint, too. Nevertheless, I had no idea how to handle being handed a piece of paper with a lie about me and being told to sign it. I mean, I said it was a complete lie, and I was able to produce emails that clearly indicated actions to the opposite of the lie. However, I could definitely have handled it way way better in the moment. It’s just such a shocking thing to be presented with something out of the blue.

      1. Mississippi*

        One take away –You don’t have to sign a paper just because they are handing it to you. I wish I hadn’t signed it. But, as I said, it is just so shocking in the moment.

  30. FrivYeti*

    The automated ads next to this roundup are all showing me Weight Watchers, and if that isn’t an indictment of “smart advertising” I don’t know what is.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Interesting. The automated ad on my screen proclaims “Grow your business with custom stickers.” Did I say interesting? Make that downright creepy! It’s a visually cute ad–blue and black line drawings (stickers) on an apple-green background–but not cute enough to atone for the Big Tech Is Reading Over Your Shoulder vibe.

      1. Eff Walsingham*


        I just have an ad for the Adidas store. I have never searched for or bought Adidas… not retail, anyway. Once at a car boot sale on a trip. Very strange.

  31. Eff Walsingham*

    During early Covid, our break room was too small for our staff population, so people had to find other places where it was safe / hygienic / permitted to eat. So for 2 years I chose to eat in an auxiliary loading bay into which we had introduced a couple of tables and a microwave. It is open to the parking lot on one side, and there’s a supervisor’s office across from that exit door.

    One day, coming in from lunch, I blurted to the supervisor (not mine, but we are on friendly terms): “Whoever that guy is with the ‘F*CK TRUDEAU’ sticker on his pickup truck, he needs to NOT run his engine during my entire lunch break! My pasta is tasting like exhaust fumes!”

    This is Canada. We support lively political discourse. Anyone should feel free to express contempt for our elected officials. It’s a democracy. Also note that I didn’t complain about the sticker, I just used it to identify the truck I was referring to for other purposes.

    Friends, *I never saw that truck again*! Most likely it’s a complete coincidence. OR, my spontaneous rant was escalated to someone in management who told whoever-it-was that we try to keep politics out of our parking lot, and did he have something else he could be driving on the daily? Or, he decided to park off the property so he could run his engine as much as he pleases? (How anyone can afford so much gas, I’m unsure.) Or, someone said something about it that was the last straw for him, and he breezed up and quit… it’s a turbulent environment. Regardless, I went from seeing that truck every day at lunch time to never seeing it again.

    It cannot *possibly* have been the profanity. It’s a warehouse. In fact, the company sells all sorts of incredibly rude (and misogynist) stickers for people to put on their trucks. Also, sexist mudflaps. (Along with every other auto related thing a business could sell, and a lot of other stuff.) So it’s a mystery.

  32. Polly Hedron*

    Yes, the real problem was Deborah’s boss. The best analysis in the original thread was from Statler von Waldorf, October 11, 2017, at 1:00 pm.

    Deborah posted 57 times in that thread, thoroughly explaining the situation and being very polite to all the commenters, even to those who didn’t believe her. Deborah was entirely innocent, actually too hard on herself about her innocuous humor.

    Deborah said that she was about to have a review with her employers, that she was also applying for “dream job as a certified personal financial counselor, and that she would keep us all posted, but she never updated after that first thread. I hope she did escape from that awful employer.

  33. Mark*

    In the end, there is no way to tell who is “right” regarding #3. Working at a bank, I have seen many co-workers who are indeed overly sensitive, but I have also seen customers who snap at employees, possibly without realizing how their tone is coming across.

    When you read “Then I asked if I could call my manager to give permission over the phone”, there is no tone to it. But I’ve heard similar requests MANY times, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that 90% of the time it is coming across as either snarky, rude, or as if they are telling us to do it rather than asking us.

    1. Polly Hedron*

      Click the link to the 2017 original, read Deborah’s many comments, and you’ll see that she is right.

  34. Ambrianne*

    #2: that’s what you call pretend you-know-what. It’s the same as regular you-know-what, except you pretend you didn’t have it. (Sorry, don’t want to get flagged.) I hope OP2 realized it truly was no big whoop.

  35. Former Employee*

    “I recently broke up with my girlfriend and to retaliate, I put a sticker across the front windshield of my truck…”

    Who needs to retaliate if they are the breaker upper?

    No doubt a very attractive, curvaceous female broke up with him because she saw how immature he was and he proceeded to prove her point for all the world to see via that sticker.

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