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This is a question Dodgy work ethics

Chthonic asks: What's the naughtiest thing a boss has ever asked you to do? And did you do it? Or perhaps you are the boss and would like to confess.

(, Thu 7 Jul 2011, 13:36)
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This question is now closed.

OTMSS and why I cant ever eat a Terrys chocolate orange
Not quite my boss, but as they are clients and pay bills, could be reasonably construed as being such; albeit indirectly.

Some years ago when I was engaged in cattle work I was called upon to regularly certify cattle as being eligible for the (lucrative for the farmer) Over Thirty Months Slaughter Scheme. This involved making sure the identification of the animal matched all the available data, so the animal could be slaughtered and compensation paid.

In most cases this was very straightforward and there were no significant problems. However; there is always one. The "one" was a farmer in the southern shires of the UK who owned a large number of cattle. By large I mean in excess of 10,000. This particular meat-baron is (or was) responsible for a lot of the meat on the shelves of one particular supermarket.

His farming practices were usually OK... ish. His stock raising strategy consisted of buying cheap stock of poor quality and feeding them food waste. This food waste varied markedly and one week could be biscuits and another week could be baked bean waste. It was not uncommon for orange peel to be fed and the smell of this peel coupled with the cow-shit gave the location an odour which was slightly nauseous and is the reason I cant ever go near Terry's chocolate oranges.

I digress. Whilst the feeding and stock raising practices were questionable, the business practices were a little more so. On arriving on site one afternoon. I was asked to certify 2 cattle for the OTMSS (thus securing some cash the easy way - from the government). The 2 cattle in front of me were a) too young, b) the wrong breed and c) had the wrong ear tags for the paperwork. I duly informed the stockman of this and he said "they dont care about the age or the breed and by the time they get to the slaughterhouse the ear tags will match, dont you worry". He had only acquired them from 2 dead cattle (no payment for those and there were lots on his farm) and was trying to pass the 2 beasts in front of me as "ringers". I told him I was not signing such a dodgy document, got in my car and drove off. They got over it quickly and I went back plenty of times.

That was about the dodgiest they got but it wasnt good. Now you might think I was being a bit jobsworth but I was actually protecting the taxpayer from being fleeced by a greedy businessman.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 22:53, Reply)
burger buns
During my student days I was a bit desperate for money. The only place that would have me down in Pompey was .
I was on a late shift, the only girl I will add, when the lads started getting a bit silly. I don't really know quite how the subject was broached, but they basically suggested they would all quite like to see me naked. I tried to laugh it off, and then it started to take a bit of a sinister turn when they began peeling £20 notes out of their wallets...including the manager who had put by far the most in. He was also the ugliest.
Before long £200 was sat on the counter. I can quite honestly say I believed that if I did as they suggested and stood naked in a filthy greasy kitchen, that I might not have made it out alive. I ran all the way home!
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 21:39, 14 replies)
My first job in this country ( I was there for 2 of the shittest months of my life ) was working at a catering butchers. Common practises included the following:

- out of date meat was given in date labels. The oldest meat I saw this done to was 7 years out of date. Repackage, re-label, job done...
- rolling pictures into joints of meat. I never did this but others did, the highlights included centrefolds. You'd not find out until carving the joint post cooking it...
- rolling cigarettes into joints of meat...
- pouring water into bags of mince to get the weight up
- leaving meat out of the freezer for a couple of days, freezing, repeat etc...

Tip - get your meat from a butcher and watch them prepare it. It's better that way
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 20:07, 9 replies)
Dodgy ethics? out and out theft, actually.
Found out that a restuarant I worked at for about 4 months had a cute little scam going for PDQ machines. Back then punters gave their card to the waitress, who put in the machine, asked for the bill amount and got an authorisation slip for punter to sign, took it back for their sig and that was it.
Except they were asking for an extra 1-3 pounds on each transaction and offsetting it with cash when punters paid with money. As long as total bill value was matched by cash and card payments together all was dandy because the bills weren't scutinised seperately. The extra was split like tips at the end of the night, they did ask me if I wanted in on it but I didn't understand it at the time and said no.
Average tips were around £9 a shift per employee. the 'extra tips' were around £40. Roughly £200 a night, 6 nights a week.
It closed down about 5 years ago so no idea how long these things went on for.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 19:31, 17 replies)
Burn them at the stake!
The company I work for, when issuing an apology stemming from a racial discrimination lawsuit, used the phrase "should of."

(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 19:16, 12 replies)
I'm going to be a little circumspect here, because I like my job and the oodles of cash I earn more than than the moral high ground
But my firm often ends up with money that belongs to low paid people. It's their money, and when they ask for it we give it to them. If , for whatever reason, they don't ask for it, we keep it and add it to the bottom line. We have all these value statements about having integrity in all that we do, and not a day goes by without this money being 'stolen' off people. And every company in this sector does the same thing.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 18:26, 13 replies)
Pump up the jam
During the wild and crazy days of the DotCom bubble, I worked for a digital music company in Silicon Valley - they were trying to be iTunes before Apple had thought of it. The company was due to have its "IPO" -- that is, going public on the stock exchange.

In the run-up to the IPO, we were all issued with credit cards, which had several hundred dollars per month loaded onto them, and told to go crazy buying music -- so that the figures looked good for potential buyers. Basically it was company-funded sockpuppeting!
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 15:21, 10 replies)
The worried well
The company I work for sell various products which may (or may not) improve your health. Or at the very least (and this is as much as we can claim) stop things getting any worse.
One of the services we offer to our mail-order customers is a free advice line, which it has fallen to me as the person who appears to know the most about our products, to deal with.
This has caused me some ethical concerns as I don't actually use these products myself, nor do I really believe in the need to.
I did start off in this role trying my best to be honest and give the best possible advice to callers. However, I soon learned that most of the people I speak to have already done their research, know what they want to buy, are going to buy it from somewhere and just want to hear a human voice telling them that they have made the correct decision. So the basic conversation I have usually goes along the lines of:
Caller: I have x condition and I have read that y product is good for this. Should I buy some from you?
Me: Yes. Yes you should.
Caller: Ok, thanks.
Occasionally it can go a little deeper and they might want to talk for a bit longer (and they confess all sorts of intimate details to me, which I really have no desire to hear).
I justify this to myself in that they are going to buy these products anyway (most have already made that decision); they are better off talking to me as I will be straight with them; no harm is caused to them and they leave the transaction happy.

Length? I'll talk as long as you like, if you are buying.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 13:10, 5 replies)
I nearly got done....
Many many moons ago I was working for a terribly posh 'IT type' girl. She had borrowed a tonne of money from mummy, and decided to set up her own little business.

There was only the boss, her assistant and me. I tended to get the shitty jobs.

One of them involved emptying the bins. Now in this area of London town - I am sure its the same everywhere. You had to use special council bags, and only put out the crap on a specific day.

She never got any special bags. So every other night. Like a hungover Ninja I would sneak down from our unit to the main road, up the street and hide the bags by a bus stop.

My heart used to race. Mostly because of the massive drugs, but also the fear of being caught. £1000 fine, which would land directly on my head not the companies! Lovely.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 12:51, 17 replies)
Not me....
but, as some of you know, I used to run a reasonably successful consumer redress website.
One of the programs on the site was one where you put in your name, and it creates a gif of a signature.
You use that signature instead of your real one when dealing with banks/insurance companies etc...
The percentage of letters/agreements for loans etc... that came back with the gif in place of people's real signature when people asked for copies was astonishing. More than 50% for the worst offenders.
Somewhere, someone has knowingly been committing fraud for the most trivial reasons, in an industrial scale.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 12:42, 15 replies)
If anyone ever tells my boss that PHP doesn't need to be compiled, my team and I am in deep, deep trouble.
To be fair, it's just the stock excuse for when we're doing something too complex for him to understand. Kind of like reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. Being the guvnor sounds like fun, but shit rolls downhill, and the accomplices (Well, accomplice at the moment) must be armed for the twice weekly 'What the fuck are you doing?' rants.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 12:29, 6 replies)
A big supermarket chain..
with the first letter of the name between S and U in the alphabet.. and a much younger Scythesmith working there as an underpaid and overworked supervisor. Not much changes in retail apart from me not working there any more! :)

Anyhoo, two little stories I remember.. ~~wavy lines of nostalgia~~

The first when I was a Saturday kid, on the checkouts. Having been brought up to be honest, and thinking it to be the best policy, when I found twenty quid on the floor one day I innocently handed it in.. Bearing in mind that was nearly two weeks wages for me at the time in the late Eighties. A week later I enquired if anyone had collected it, and if I would be getting it back for being honest, to be told it had 'gone into the staff fund' and that was that. I never did find any more cash after that but if I had you can bet I wouldn't have handed it in. I worked there for years after that incident and not once did we ever get anything from the 'staff fund'. Bollocks.

The second story is from a retail training day for said store, where supervisors polished up their management skills.
We were asked what we would do if, for example, there was a problem in the production of doughnuts in the bakery, and some metal shavings got into the mix and we knew about it before they went on sale.
Like most of my colleagues, I said that I would remove them from sale, check the bakery equipment over and make more doughnuts when it was safe to do so and contact another store for stock in the meantime.

Wrong answer.

Company policy at the time was to leave things as they were, put the knowingly contaminated food on sale and wait for complaints!

...Needless to say I'm always a bit curious to know how many food scares that involve recalls by the manufacturer were already expected by the company and they were also waiting for a complaint!

Cynical me?
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 12:24, 6 replies)
The Graz is always greener...
I was once doing an install in Austria for an American company. We'd arrived in Austria at the weekend, ready to start on Monday; the job was expected to take a week to install systems in Graz and Vienna.

On Monday, we discovered that someone in the US had failed to sort the paperwork out properly, and the equipment had been impounded at customs. We were told to tell the customers that the Austrian customs were being difficult, and they would have to pay for three of us to hang around "for a day or two" while it was all sorted out.

It turned out to take a whole week, basically having a holiday - including going to the Love Parade in Vienna - which the customer paid for.

I don't get jobs like that any more.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 12:01, 1 reply)
Yarrrrr!! A tale of teenage morals.
Many moons ago, (well, about 20 years) I worked on a sunday at a local computer fair, helping out a mate of my dad's on a stall. He sold PC gear, blank floppy disks and a bit of software.

Now, in those days, there was loads of shareware knocking about that a lot of stalls would either give away or sell for the price of the disk it was on. One week, he came up with a little experiment - he got two boxes of shareware disks, both containing the same disks, labelled one with "shareware - free" and one labeled "discount PC software £3 a disk". The one selling the disks for three quid emptied in about half an hour, the "free" box was still half full at the end of the day.

"Right", says he, "you know about all this disk-copying lark, don't you? Copy as many disks as you can before next week and I'll split the profit with you"
"No", says I "someone has worked hard on that software and wants to give it away, it's completely immoral to sell what should be free, you're screwing over the little guy!" I might have even given a Wolfie Smitth stile clenched fist salute at this point.
"Fine", says he "I'll work it out myself"

Net result? He drives a Bentley, I drive a mondeo I paid £600 for two years ago.

If he asked me to do it now, I'd jump at the chance.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 11:54, 11 replies)
*something about invading Iraq*
*something about News Of The World*

*something about The Office*
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 11:38, 11 replies)
Out-of-date predictions
I once worked for a communications and interactive services company. One of the company's duties was to supply the weekly horoscope creatives for various magazines. We would receive the text directly from the astrologer (there were about five or so that the company dealt with for various publications), and add that to the designs we had templated, and then sent to the publishers.

One morning we had a call from one of the more well-known astrologers to say they had not been able to complete writing next week’s predictions. Their suggestion was that we should just use the same weeks from last year, as no one would notice...

Knowing how much crap those ‘scopes are, if I see them in a magazine these days, it just pisses me off…
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 11:30, 6 replies)
Acorn Electron Madness
Back in .. oooh 1983 if I remember, I had a saturday job working in W.H. Smiths in their shiney new computer department. Easy money really, just helping bewildered adults to buy the right thing and to stop the brats from typing 10 print "bums" , 20 goto 10 on all the display machines (a fine selection of 16k spectrums, Dragon32s, Orics, Vic 20s and of course the king of them all, the BBC Micro)

Again if memory serves me correctly, back then a BBC Micro would set you back about £400, which in 1983 was a fair old wodge of cash, and as Schools were now begining to use the BBC Micro as their standard teaching micro computer, they were definately the must have item of the era. However the high cost meant only the poshest of kids ever got to have one at home.

However salvation for the masses was nigh, Acorn decided to release a cut down version of the BBC Micro, The Electron, but retaining almost all of its funtionality, i.e, you could run BBC programs on the new Electron and it cost less than half the price! (about £160 I think)

I remember the build up and the hype for the Electron, it was on every parents christmas wishlist to help little Johnny with his schoolwork, and little Johnnys around the country were looking forward to finally being able to run their dodgy copy of Elite on their own system at home instead of sneaking into the school computer lab at lunchtimes. Due to a number of manfacturing problems however, the release of the Electron was delayed and delayed until its final release a few weeks before the christmas of 1983 ... in very small numbers!

This is where the dodgy practice begins. In the run up to christmas in the holidays I was working full time to cover the rush (and earn extra beer money) and we had a delivery of Electrons every 2-3 days, usually 20 of them per delivery. Whenever there was even a rumour of a delivery, the shop would slowly fill up with queing parents hoping to bag one. Trouble is, once the Store manager and his deputys had skimmed some off to sell to their friends, and the various other managers had had their share, there would be only 4 or 5 left of the delivery making it to the shop floor to be sold, and a couple of those went to friends of the various sales staff in return for backhanders. I definately remember 2 deliverys where no Electrons at all made it to the shop floor for sale to the public.

As christmas got closer and closer, people were getting panicky and all sorts of shenanigans was going on. One despondant bloke after missing out yet again in the queue gave me his phone number and begged me to call him when the next delivery came in as he worked in an office around the corner and could be in the shop within 2 minutes of a call. I felt sorry for him and despite promising myself not to get involved in the hype and bollocks, I told him yes.

2 days later and less than a week until Christmas day, an order arrives. So I immediately excuse myself, nip out onto the high street and into a phone box (no mobiles in the 80's kids!) and phone him up. True to his promise 2 minutes later he is in the shop, at the front of the queue and 10 minutes later he is the proud owner of an Electron. So he comes over all smiling and happy, thanks me profusely and presses a roll of notes discretely into my hand, and walks off.

I'm a bit shocked, I didn't do it for money, I did it so that the little guy could score one against the corrupt system (I had ideals and morals back then!!!) I open my hand and count it up ... £100 in crisp fivers! bloody hell! thats Christmas sorted I thought for a fleeting second. Then I ran after him out of the shop and gave it back. He was equally shocked, but then smiled even more, "Glad to see there are still some good un's left, well done, happy Christmas" he said, and off he went into the distance. I can even still rememeber his name after almost 30 years.

Mind you that was before I got a mortgage and kids. I'd bite his bloody hand off now, and have the shirt off his back! ;)
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 11:19, 5 replies)
I once had a summer job in a factory that processed sheet and coil steel
where the management bypassed all the inhibit switches on the moving equipment which was meant to stop you operating it without the guards in place. The rationale behind this was that it slowed the whole process down and time was, indeed, money. Although this sounds rightly dodgy, all of the workers were complicit in this because they got a percentage bonus based on the tonnage of steel that was delivered per month so they were all up for it. Even when someone lost a finger (no more pinky for him) it was quietly hushed up, he got private health care and a lump sum and the practice continued. Mind you, this is also the same place that let me, a 16 year old, drive a forklift with no licence or training....
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 10:55, 8 replies)
Cruel bastards
I used to work as a programmer for a major PC/Printer/Server company (you might know it, it shares a name with a certain brand of sauce).

I found out that the guys who write the code for the drivers for the printers, some of their time is solely devoted to ensuring the printer uses as much ink as possible per page. This to ensure more of their ink is purchased (printer ink being one of the most expensive resources in the world, apparently, since it costs about $1000 per barrel [as in, oil drum]).

(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 10:39, 17 replies)
Receipt messages
I used to work in a shop, selling computers and related equipment (profiteroles as one of our adverts once misread...)

When we cashed up every night, after entering the totals in the till software it would, as a final question before shutdown, ask for tomorrow's "message of the day". This would be printed at the bottom of the receipt until the next end-of-day routing was run, and was for messages such as "Commodore Amigas - order now for Christmas" and "Floppy disk special - ten for £10"

At the end of one particularly stressful day, where the only things we wanted to say to our punters was "up yours" or "there are other shops where you can go and waste people's time" the owner cashed up, and then shouted loudly, "Right, after today you can all f!ck off and die", and duly typed "Fuck off and die" into the till.

Halfway through the next day a regular customer popped back into the shop with his receipt.. "did you know...."
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 9:25, 1 reply)
I have a nanny/housecleaner
Nothing dodgy about it, it's just great that I haven't had to do the washing up for weeks.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 9:05, 11 replies)
When I was a wee nipper...
My parents sent us off to kindergarten at great expense. Everyday the lazy bastards would make us lie down for "nap time" while they sat around, drank tea and did f*ck all for almost a full hour. Talk about taking the piss. There wasn't a second of that nap time where I wasn't itching to get back on the jungle gym. It was pure torture.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 9:00, 1 reply)

I used to work as a secretary for the Criminal Department in a firm of Solicitors. The boss would generally dictate random gibberish which I would then type into something suitable. My favourite example is the day he asked me to "write to the CPS and ask the rotten bastards to send us our disclosure".

I duly typed something appropriate:

Dear Sirs

Where's our disclosure, you rotten bastards.

Yours faithfully

Upon reading his mail at the end of the day, he chuckled, signed it and we sent it on.

Apparently he had some rather vexed junior from the CPS on the phone the following morning.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 2:40, Reply)
Right, better get this out of the way...
My dad used to be the mechanic for a fleet of bakery vans, in the early 1970s. All the vans were Ford Transits, the old Mk1 with the little short bonnet. Under that little short bonnet was a Ford V4 engine with an endearing habit of knocking the main bearings into an oval shape, necessitating a regrind and oversize bearing shells. Even after this, they were (according to my dad) never quite right again, and always gave a bit of trouble. Their other favourite trick was snapping the drive shaft for the oil pump and distributor.

So, gentle reader, there is my tale of dodgy workplace Essexes.
(, Mon 11 Jul 2011, 0:08, 19 replies)
Robert Maxwell
This story was told to me first hand by one of his aides just after the 'great' man died.
As Maxwell is walking the corridors of the Mirror building he sees a man stood next to a photociopier smoking a cigarette.
"You can't smoke here" shouts Cap'n Bob.
"F@ck off" says the other chap.
"How much do you earn a week?" enquires Mr. Maxwell.
"250 quid" he replies. Maxwell peels off a wad of notes and says "Here's a week's wages, get out now and don't come back".

A few minutes later another worker wanders past and asks if anyone has seen the repair guy from the photocopier company.
(, Sun 10 Jul 2011, 15:58, 46 replies)
The video shop
This was one of my favourite jobs - basically got paid to watch videos, eat pizza (from next door), drink sugary drinks and occasionaly serve a customer.

Anyhoo, my boss being the skinflint he was, decided to cut costs by buying the stock from various places - so instead of the rental versions of the films, he'd buy the cheaper retail versions and then simply chop out the tape (during the bit that says 'This video is not for rental') and then put them on the shelves.

Oh, and sometimes we'd put a 'tag' on various customers info - such as 'stupid moustache man' or 'stinks like shit' etc.
(, Sun 10 Jul 2011, 15:58, 6 replies)
A certain computer game store
After a certain console was running out of stock, I was told, nay ordered to go to a rival store, buy the consoles at a cheaper price and then smuggle them back into the shop and sell them at a higher price.

Fuck knows how this was done on the system, but it wasn't my boss's decision - it was the area manager's decision.

I got several pints bought for me though, to keep quiet.
(, Sun 10 Jul 2011, 15:50, 8 replies)
A large DIY chain has a store near us
Every couple of years it "Goes out of business" and then opens up again shortly afterwards. I presume its some sort of scam in itself but hey ho no idea really. One year I was temping in my Uni summer holiday and the store was reopening. I was asked by my agency if I fancied going down and joining the team cleaning the store and restocking the shelves ready for the reopening. First thing in the morning there were a good 40-50 of us. I set to work and as temping jobs go it wasn't bad, better than working cleaning a naval support ship at Falmouth Docks.

After lunch about 10 of us were missing. I wasn't that shocked as I had worked many temp jobs where people just decided the money wasn't worth it and had gone home after a couple of hours, but this job really wasn't that bad. I finished up for the day got my paperwork signed and left, the store opened that weekend and I thought little of it until the following week where the local paper had a story about temp workers clearing out a shitload of powertools and various other items of stock. They had pretty much been filling up their cars and bags all morning and then just drove off at lunchtime. Quite the work ethic they had, all that heavy lifting.
(, Sun 10 Jul 2011, 15:31, 1 reply)
I once worked for a Colombian supermodel who ran a business converting Honda Accords into ice cream vans.
Once my boss asked me to design an automatic feature that would turn on the music on the van once the ice cream ran out.
Needless to say etc.
(, Sun 10 Jul 2011, 15:02, 2 replies)
invoices on photoshop to match the ammount we'd charged the client when they asked for a proof of our equipment hire costs.
(, Sun 10 Jul 2011, 13:52, Reply)

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