If you’ve ever been wronged before, you’ve most likely been advised by someone you trust to just take the high road and let it go. But sometimes, people need to be taught a lesson, and the only way to do that is to get your hands a little bit dirty. The following people took the phrase “Don’t get mad, get even” to a whole other level—and we’re all for it.


1. World’s Best Coffee

One of my best friends, “Alex,” was a staffer in a legislative office. His boss was head of a key Senate budget committee, so there were always people coming to solicit the senator’s support for a particular project or grant or whatever. Someone representing an arts program that was looking for a $250K grant is waiting. I’ll call her “LobbyAnn.”

She comes up to the reception desk and asks for a pen. The Senator keeps giveaway pens with her name on them in stock—reasonably nice ones—so Alex reaches over to the can where the pens are. LobbyAnn says something along the lines of “Well, then the Senator will know that I showed up without a pen.” (So what?) She looks across the desk.

Alex has some work spread out with his own favorite pen, an expensive one with lapis inlay and engraved with his name and term of office of a campus organization. LobbyAnn reaches over, snatches it up, and drops it in her purse. Alex, who is a very polite person, is completely gobsmacked and then tells LobbyAnn that’s his personal pen and it’s not up for grabs.

In a few minutes, the senator comes out to get LobbyAnn. As they’re walking past Alex’s desk, he stands up and says in a very clear voice, “I’m going to need my pen back.” LobbyAnn stops in her tracks, as does the senator, and Alex says, calmly, “That pen is precious to me, you took it right off this desk, and I want it back.”

The senator kind of gasps and says “She took your lapis pen?” and then she turns to LobbyAnn, who is frantically fishing around in her purse and stammering something about just borrowing it, and says, “Give it back.” Once the pen is back in Alex’s hands, the Senator says to Alex, “Come on back, I need you,” and turns and walks back into her office, leaving LobbyAnn standing there as the Senator shuts the inner office door in her face.

Then the senator picks up her purse, smiles a big bright smile, and says, “Want Starbucks?” So she and Alex go out the side door and across the street. They could see the front door of the office from the Starbucks. It apparently took LobbyAnn about five minutes to realize how bad she’d messed up, and that she was not going to see the senator that day or any day.

Indeed, the project that she was going to ask for money toward was probably doomed as well. She’d lined up strong support in the House, so it might have made it through, though it was not the kind of project the senator favored. When she came slinking out, she almost certainly saw Alex and the senator sitting there drinking their drinks. Alex always ends this story with, “That was the best coffee I’ve ever had.”

karendonner

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