Category: Liars/Scammers


Give Me My Change Or I Am Sai-Gone

| Vietnam | Language & Words, Liars/Scammers

(A friend and I are on vacation in Vietnam. We go to a big market in a major city to do some souvenir shopping. I’ve visited Vietnam several times, and am familiar with this market. Around the outside edges, high-priced shops with “fixed prices” attempt to lure in less savvy tourists, while deep within the market you can bargain for a better deal. We’ve scored some great deals and are on our way out when I decide to buy a few cheap – but still overpriced – trinkets at a fixed price shop for my young family members… Basically, it’s not worth bargaining over what would amount to a couple cents.)

Shopkeeper: *who speaks very good English* “Those are [price].”

Me: “That’s fine. Here.” *hands her a note for just over the price*

Shopkeeper: *plays with her calculator a bit, rummages around first in her pockets, then in a display case way in the back, then comes back to me, suddenly forgetting most of the English she spoke 30 seconds ago* “You take [less than the correct amount of change, by a decent margin].”

Me: “No! Fixed price! Giá cố định!” *fixed price in Vietnamese*

Shopkeeper: *a little startled by me saying anything in Vietnamese, replies rapidly in Vietnamese*  “No small notes.”

Me: *back to English* “Fine, then give me [what amounts to about $.15 US too much change, but gets us to the next bill I can see she has in her hand]. My advantage, or go find small notes!”

Shopkeeper: *also English* “No, too much! You take this!” *tries to give me the incorrect change again*

Me: *hands her back merchandise and holds my hand out for my original bill* “Không. Còn lâu!” *No! No way!*

(After some plying, the shopkeeper gives me back my original bill. I was a bit surprised that she carried that (common) scam to overcharge all the way over the edge of a no-sale. I walk across the aisle to another fixed price shop selling basically the same items, for basically the same price.)

Me: “Do you have change for this?” *holds up original bill*

Shopkeeper: “Yes, madam. You would like [exactly what I was going to buy five meters away]?”

Me: “Yes, cảm ơn!” *thank you*

Shopkeeper: “Here is your change. Ngày tốt.” *Good day*

(I gave the first shopkeeper the smuggest look I think I’ve ever mustered on my way out. Yes, I realize $.15 is absolutely nothing, but score one for not just swallowing what I know to be a common overcharging scam, by shopkeepers who already charge more and make more profit by being in the highly visible and fixed price perimeter of the market!)


Table(cloth) That Discussion

| NS, Canada | Bad Behavior, Bosses & Owners, Liars/Scammers

(At the hotel where I work all front desk employees have specific responsibilities. Mine is to manage the banquet/meeting rooms. I have to manage the reservations, submit all the catering requests to the assistant general manager, and make sure that the rooms are clean and set at all times. After a recent meeting, I noticed that four of our tablecloths are stained with what appeared to be nail polish. After having housekeeping pass it through the wash twice we still aren’t able to get the stains out so I ask my boss what I should do.)

Boss: “Just throw them away.”

Me: “Okay, but I have a meeting coming up next week that needs table cloths so you’ll have to tell me how to go about replacing them. I’m not sure who our supplier of linens is so—”

Boss: “Excuse me? You have nothing to do with ordering, you got that? You are a receptionist. What makes you think you have authority to spend the company’s money?”

Me: “I… I’m sorry, it’s just… We need to replace these if we’re throwing them out, so I thought—”

Boss: “You haven’t been working here long enough to know how things work. Just throw them out. I’ll deal with it.”

Me: “Okay, no problem, boss.”

(I go ahead and throw them out and get on with my day. The following week I am setting up for the meeting that has requested the tables be dressed with tablecloths, napkins, and name cards. This particular client is especially important; he is one of our investors and from what I understand there are some negotiations taking place that could end in us getting extra funding for some much needed renovations. It is essential that this meeting go as planned. I realize part way through that I really don’t have enough tablecloths to do all the tables. I go see my boss to find out if we replaced the ones we threw out.)

Boss: “I told you before; the ordering is none of your business! Where do you get off trying to put your nose into our affairs? This has nothing to do with you. I will get some new tablecloths when I get them. Now please, learn your place and do your job. Go set the room, please.”

Me: “Well, that’s the problem. I can’t finish the set up without the tablecloths!”

Boss: “So take them from the other meeting rooms!”

Me: “Those tables aren’t the same size! The tablecloths wouldn’t fit and even if they did, those rooms are occupied and the tables are in use. I can’t just walk in there and steal their tablecloths.”

Boss: “Then finish the job without them.”

Me: “I can’t.”

Boss: “Yes. You. Can.”

Me: “No, I really can’t. [Boss], the request was to have all the tables dressed with proper place settings. I am missing four tablecloths. That means that four tables will have napkins and place setting but no tablecloths. Four ugly, brown tables in a sea of white and burgundy. Do you know how mad [General Manager] would be if she knew I left the room like that?”

Boss: “Now you listen to me, girly, you have NO RIGHT to question me! I will be telling [General Manager] about this attitude of yours and if you don’t like the way I run my ship then you can jump ship and find work elsewhere. Got it? Now don’t you EVER question me again. Go set up the meeting room, then clock out and go home. I’ll cover the front desk for the rest of your shift; I don’t want to speak to you again.”

Me: “Ok… Fine. I’m sorry. I’ll go finish up and head out.”

Boss: “Thank you.”

(I go do the best I can but the tables obviously look ridiculous. It doesn’t help that they are old and worn, with the tops scratched and the cork board showing in some places where the vinyl wood finish peeled off. Part of our potential renovations would include replacing these old tables but for the time being we’ve been using the table cloths to cover up these flaws. I try to make sure the least offensive tables are the ones left uncovered but there is only so much I can do. I finish up and clock out. I am off the next day, when the meeting takes place, and come in at seven am the following day.)

Boss: “[My Name], I need to see you in my office, NOW.”

Me: “Um, okay.” *we go into her office* “Is everything okay, [Boss]? Is this about the other day with the table?”

Boss: “No, things are not okay. We depend on everybody here to pull their weight and keep things running smoothly. This is not a daycare we are running here. We were depending on you to get that meeting room set for [Investor] yesterday. You knew how important this was and I feel like you threw us under the bus. We lost the investment because of your insubordination and we will NOT be getting our renovations because of this. I can’t even begin to tell you how angry I am with you and it’s only because of [General Manager] that I’m not firing you today. Instead I am writing you up and you are suspended without pay for one week followed by one week of retraining.”

Me: “I don’t understand. What did I do?”

Boss: “What did you do?! My God, [My Name] you left that room looking ridiculous!”

Me: “How exactly? I did exactly what you told me to do.”

Boss: “We had four tables with no tablecloths! And the tables were all disgusting looking! [Investor] was so insulted and embarrassed that all his colleagues had to see that. He brings these people in here bragging about his business and this is what he is presented with? That was totally unacceptable.”

Me: “WHAT?! You have got to be kidding me! [Boss], I TOLD you we were missing tablecloths and you told me to set it up without them!”

Boss: “Well, you should have made more of an effort to make me understand the situation, then. That was your responsibility.”

Me: “I tried! You told me not to question you and to leave early because you didn’t want to talk to me, remember?”

Boss: “This conversation is over, I’ve told you before not to question me and you just don’t listen. Something needs to change here. Now, please leave. We will have a nice discussion about your future at this company when you come back next week.”

(At this point I’m close to tears because I’m scared for my job and also because I can’t afford to miss a week’s worth of pay. I decide to take a chance and go into the general manager’s office.)

Me: “Excuse me? Can I come in to talk to you for a moment.”

General Manager: “Yes, come in. I imagine you had a talk with [Boss]?”

Me: “Well, yes. That’s what I wanted to discuss.”

General Manager: “You know, you really let us down yesterday. You’ve been doing such good work that up until this I was considering you for a promotion, guest relations/banquet manager. But now, I don’t know. You’re slacking off, leaving early, and you cost us a significant amount of money. I’m so angry right now that I can’t even adequately express it. I feel numb right now. What the h*** happened with you?”

Me: *breaking down in tears* “I told [Boss] last week that some of the tablecloths were stained and housekeeping couldn’t get them cleaned so she told me to just throw them out. I told her I needed them replaced in time for [Investor]’s meeting and she chewed me out for trying to get involved with ordering and spending the company’s money. She told me to learn my place and do as I’m told. Then when I was setting up the room I asked her if she had gotten the replacement tablecloths yet and she chewed me out again and told me she will buy them when she buys them and to finish the set up with what I had. I tried to explain that I really couldn’t do that without making the room look stupid and she told me not to question her and that if I don’t like how she runs things to go find a job somewhere else. Then she told me to finish without the tablecloths and leave early because she didn’t want to talk to me anymore. I did what I could. I really don’t understand how I’m being held accountable for this!”

(The general manager just stares silently for a moment, then removes his glasses and rubs his temples.)

General Manager: “She threw them out?”

Me: *sniffles* “Yes, four of them. They had nail polish or something on them.”

General Manager: “Nail polish…?”

Me: “Yes.”

General Manager: “Did we by any chance host a bridal shower in that room last week?”

Me: “Yes, I’m pretty sure they did makeovers and stuff. The table cloths and carpets were a mess and the room reeked of nail polish remover the next day.”

General Manager: “You do know that our security system records audio, don’t you? And that I’m going to be checking to see if your conversation with [Boss] really took place, right?”

Me: “Go ahead and check them. We spoke at around quarter-to-one outside her office the day before last. The conversation about throwing out the tablecloths was two days after the bridal party, around eleven am, at the front desk. Might have been close to noon, actually; we ate not too long after, I think.”

General Manager: “Okay… I told [Boss] that her sister could not host her bridal party here because we are not a party facility. We host business meetings and conferences. I was not aware that she went around me and had you schedule it anyway.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know…”

General Manager: “And we never throw out linens without logging them in the defects book. Any damaged linens get recycled into rags or floor covering for maintenance and we get our suppliers to replace damaged stock. If ANYBODY had bothered to tell me we threw away four tablecloths I could have had [Supplier] ship in a whole new set in time for the meeting.”

Me: “Oh… I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you…”

General Manager: “No, it’s not your fault. That’s [Boss]’s responsibility. Go home; take the day off with pay while I sort this all out. I’m going to get [Head Housekeeper] to do an inventory of our tablecloths to see if they are, in fact, missing. I’m also going to be checking those cameras. If I find that you are telling me the truth I will call you myself tonight to let you know what’s going on.”

Me: “Okay, thank you so much. And again, I’m sorry about all of this.”

General Manager: “Don’t worry; just go home and rest. I’ll you later one way or another.”

(I did get that call later and was told to resume my normal schedule the next day. My boss was suspended without pay for two weeks and mysteriously ceased to be on staff three days after returning. I have a new boss now who listens and doesn’t act like a tyrant and yes, I did get my promotion about a week ago. I couldn’t be happier!)


A Poor Assessment

| TX, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Employees, Liars/Scammers

(My husband is in the hospital for a very serious illness. Our son is 13 years old and our family is stressed and preoccupied. The washing machine breaks down in the middle of all this chaos and I am just dreading dealing with it, but I call the service center of the place we bought it and they say the repairman will be out the next day. Half an hour later, I get a call that the repairman can come today because he is way ahead of schedule. Within 15 minutes, the repairman arrives… A man who looks about 100 years old shows up with his side-kick, who looks about 17 and clueless. The old man gives the washer a good look while my son and I sit waiting. The clueless assistant just stands there looking at us with a panicked grin.)

Old Man: “Yep. It’s broke.”

Me: “Can it be fixed?”

Old Man: “Yep. It is fixable.”

Me: “Oooo-kaaay. Are you going to fix it?”

Old Man: “Well, little lady, I’ll tell you what… I COULD fix it if I had brought my tools.”

Me: *trying to ignore my son who is beginning to laugh his rear end off* “Well, do you have your tools in your truck? What are you going to do? I am confused.”

(The grinning sidekick shakes his head up and down “yes” vigorously.)

Old Man: “Well, I think I could work you in, in three or four days. I didn’t bring any tools today and I am just giving everyone a quick look today.”

(Now, I am starting to laugh with my son because it is crazy!)

Me: “So, are you giving estimates today? What?”

Old Man: “No, I can’t give you no estimate. Who knows what it will cost? Sometimes when I go out, it is just a plug not plugged in, or the load is out of balance. That kind of a fix don’t require no tools. I like to make sure that there is a need for tools before I bring them with me. Now, YOU… you need tools.”

(The sidekick looks sad and shakes head side to side signifying “no”, I guess. He then pulls out a notebook and I think he is going to schedule me for later in the week. But, NO! He hands me a bill for $75 for an “assessment visit.” I object.)

Old Man: “You don’t understand business terms. Assessment is not the same thing as estimate.”

(I told him I was not paying it. And he left after telling me that he understood how complicated business was for some folks. After he left my son and I just collapsed on the sofa laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. We did report the old fella, we did not pay the $75, and we went with another repair person. But, he did give us a much needed laugh at a time when we needed it badly. Thanks, old fella!)


How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 16

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | Liars/Scammers

(I’d been receiving a series of scam phone calls asking for access to my infected Windows PC. I only have a Mac! One day, I finally have enough.)

Caller: “Hello, I am with Computer Security. We have detected a virus on your PC computer. Please follow my instructions so we can fix the problem.”

Me: “A virus? Oh, no! That sounds serious. Okay, what do I do?”

Caller: “Are you at your computer?”

Me: “No, let me walk over there.”

(I wait two minutes, just sitting in my chair.)

Me: “Okay, I’m at my computer.”

Caller: “Now, click on the Start Menu.”

Me: “My computer is off.”

Caller: “Turn it on, please.”

(I wait three minutes, just sitting in my chair.)

Me: “Okay, it’s on.”

Caller: “Click the Start menu.”

Me: “Start, start, start. Hmm. Looking… Looking…”

(The call goes along this way, and with each step I gradually slow down more and more. I also start to throw random nonsense words into my replies:)

Me: “I’m at the start menu. I type fluffin now?”

Caller: “I will tell you the command. Are you ready?”

Me: “Oh, type I fluffin. Barg.”

(I gradually pick up a sing-song tone until I’m sounding more like the Swedish Chef than myself.)

Me: “Floofin flargin byargin!”

(At long last, after several minutes of attempting to get me to follow his instructions, the scam caller loses his patience. I’ll never forget his parting words:)

Caller: “You are WASTING my TIME!”


How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 15
How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 14
How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 13


How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 15

| NY, USA | Liars/Scammers

(I work from home when I get a phone call.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: *VERY thick accent* “Hi, yes, this is the American Lottery Service calling in regards to—”

Me: “Wait, wait. Who? WHO with the Lottery Service?”

Caller: “Yes, ma’am, the American—”

Me: “No, YOUR name. What is your name?”

Caller: *pause* “Uh. Rashid. I am calling with—”

Me: “Rashid, which floor are you on?”

Caller: “What?”

Me: “Which floor? I also work at the lottery service; it’s so funny you called.”

Caller: *stumbling* “Oh, you… you also work for the Lottery Service. That is good. I am calling to—”

Me: “No, Rashid. Calm down, man. You called the wrong number. We can’t win anything since we work here. You must have forgotten.”

Caller: “I.. uh… yes, ma’am, but you—”

Me: “Hey, no big deal, bud. Let me know what floor you’re on and I’ll hop up and show you how to check things against the database.”

Caller: “What?”

Me: “I’ll come up and show you. What floor?”

(He hung up.)

How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 14
How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 13
How To Win The War Against Telemarketers, Part 12

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