Richard Phillips was a senior associate with the biggest law firm in London (Baker & McKenzie) and as such, was under a lot of pressure to be an even bigger dick than a normal lawyer.
So when a fifty year-old secretary and mother of two accidentally spilled some ketchup on his pants, he saw the perfect opportunity to pull the biggest dick move in the history of the firm by sending her this email:
"Hi Jenny, I went to a dry cleaners at lunch and they said it would cost $4 to remove the ketchup stains. If you could let me have the cash today, that would be much appreciated. Thanks Richard."
Of course, we can't read Richard's mind, so maybe he had some great reason as to why, based on an accident, he had to demand financial restitution from a secretary making a fraction of his six-figure salary. Maybe he suspected it wasn't an accident? Or worse, that it wasn't ketchup.
Either way, when Jenny didn't respond fast enough for his liking he went to her desk a few days later and left her a note to collect the four bucks, without which he could obviously not make his mortgage and car payments.
As it turns out Jenny was a little slow to pony up the cash because her mom had gotten sick and died, which on the grand scale of things ranks slightly higher than paying some bullshit claim for dry cleaning. This explains why she was pissed when she came back to work and she decided to offer a reply:
"Obviously your financial need as a senior associate is greater than mine as a mere secretary. Having already spoken to and shown your email and Anne-Marie's note to various partners, lawyers and trainees in ECC&T and IP/IT, they kindly offered to do a collection to raise the $4"
We think she was being sarcastic. Also, she copied her message to a few hundred people in the office.
Richard's pathetic attempt to get the money and Jenny's subsequent bitch slap response was forwarded to pretty much everyone in the city, and then it was loose on the internet for the whole world to see. Soon the law firm had to respond by investigating the incident (the investigation likely consisted of the partners at the firm asking Richard why he was such an asshole).
This little guy doesn't seem to mind the ketchup.
Eventually Richard resigned from the firm, claiming he wanted to take time off to study and not at all because he became the laughing stock of lawyers everywhere. It may not have worked out much better for Jenny, however, as she also took a leave of absence, indicating co-workers wouldn't deal with her after the incident. Probably not by email, anyway.