The team lost the big game, by the way.
According to the movies, being a leader consists of putting up with your team's ineptitude and shenanigans for 80 minutes, before giving a rousing speech at the end that motivates them to overcome all of their lovable flaws. Unfortunately, those speeches sound a lot sillier in real life without the melancholic instrumentation, forcing leaders to come up with insane motivational tactics, such as ...
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In the early '90s, school shootings were already becoming a disturbingly common thing -- just ask Pearl Jam, who got a hit video out of a real 1991 case. So try to put yourself in the shoes of the Libertyville High School football team when, in November 1993, their coach's pep talk in the cafeteria was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot. The students saw coach Dale Christensen bravely confront an armed student, get shot, and fall down with a red substance covering his body.
And then they saw him get up again and presumably take a bow, because that red shit was ketchup and he put it there himself.
Fifty-seven varieties of DEATH.
Oh, and the gun was fake, too. According to Christensen, the idea behind his stunt was to get the kids pumped up for a big game they had the same day by making them ask themselves, "What would it take to make the ultimate sacrifice for the team?" Instead, the question that quite understandably popped into their heads was, "How do I get my ass out of here as fast as possible?" The players ran for cover and called the cops before Christensen could tell them they'd been Punk'd, causing a media shitstorm that ended in the coach's resignation. In his defense, Christensen said he'd tried the same stunt on his wife before and she "wasn't affected at all," because she was used to his practical jokes (Yes, dude. That's why she didn't care).
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"A prank? How ... awkward ... anyway, this is Chad, and these are my divorce papers."
Parents and students said they were shocked by the coach's poor judgment, but there were a few warning signs they missed -- like the time he had his players dismember a dummy dressed like a member of the other team, or his tendency to show students images of World War I and Vietnam, because "Preparing for a football game is about the closest we get in our society to the military."
"What about the actual military?"
"OK, the second-closest thing."
The team lost the big game, by the way.
Having a contest at work is generally a way to distract employees from the soul-crushing reality of the menial tasks they perform, and the petty rivalries that naturally form like hate mold in every workplace. Unless, that is, you work in one of Iowa's QC Mart convenience stores, where the owner ran a contest designed to achieve the exact opposite. He tastefully (and excitedly) titled it "GUESS WHO WILL BE FIRED!!!"
The most popular vote was for "Whoever wrote this."
In 2011, company owner William Ernst sent out a memo encouraging employees to try to guess the name of the next cashier to get sacked from QC Mart, because as we all know, the secret to an awesome work environment is turning on each other and viciously rooting out the weakest member of the team. As part of this fun bonding experience, employees were reminded that secret shoppers would be coming to the stores and reporting anyone who was spotted breaking the chain's rules by doing stuff like "wearing a hat," "talking on a cell phone," or the vaguely ominous "among other things." The winner would get $10 and the satisfaction of seeing their work nemesis ruined.
"Soon, the night shift, and the extra 25 cents an hour that comes with it, shall be all mine."
Initially, employees thought the whole competition was a joke, but after realizing Ernst really did intend to turn their jobs into some sort of royal rumble of supermarket employment, many of them quit. The whole contest was flawed anyway, because what was stopping someone from picking their own name, slacking up, and then using those $10 to fly to the Caribbean or something?
Ernst was sued for creating a hostile work environment, and lost. But hey, at least he still has his sto- oh, whoops.
Jeff Cook / Quad-City Times
"You're fired." -- Iowa to QC Mart.
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Quitting your job generally boils down to one of a few things: A) you've found a better job, B) you think you're going to be fired and want to get out in front of it, or C) you've simply decided that poverty is better than the damage your current job is doing to your soul. But if you work for Amazon, you've got a fourth possible reason: they'll literally pay your ass to quit.
It's both a slogan and the last thing your boss ever says to you.
And we're not talking about some kind of severance deal when they want to cut back on the workforce -- we mean every veteran employee at Amazon's distribution warehouses around the world face the same choice every year: quit their job and receive $5,000 dollars, or turn the money down and continue to work for Amazon. It's like a reverse bonus -- staying means refusing extra cash. It's purely to see how badly they want to work there, and we can't decide if it's insane or freaking genius.
Now, we know what you're thinking: what's to stop someone who has no intention of staying from showing up, working for a day, then taking the five grand?
"My reason for applying? The ca- I mean ... boxes. I love boxes."
Well, they thought of that -- the way it works is that you have to work there a year, at which point you get offered $2,000 to hit the bricks, then it scales up from there with each successive year, until it caps out at the five grand. Still, everybody in the building with more than twelve months of service has the promise of a pile of cash waiting for them if they just ... walk away. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos (who adopted the idea from Zappos, one of their subsidiary companies) figured it was an easy, if expensive, way to filter out the workers who aren't 100 percent on board.
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"Stacking brown packages on top of other brown packages used to be so exciting, I'd practically have
an erection all day. Now? Two-three hours, tops."
Though in reality, it seems like you're filtering for people capable of thinking long-term; it's not like a few thousand bucks is going to do you a lot of good in an economy where you might spend two years looking for another job. Which is to say, we suspect that there are more than a few people out there who put in their year and then promptly went out and bought exactly $2,000 worth of weed.
There are two types of people who tattoo company logos on themselves: crazy fans, and crazy company owners. Rapid Realty in Brooklyn, New York is working hard to create a third breed: employees desperate enough for a raise that they'd let their bosses brand them permanently, like walking billboards. Or, we guess, cattle.
"Bitchin' tat, bro! Anyway, your soul is legally mine now."
Starting in 2013, Rapid's owner, Anthony Lolli, began offering his 800 employees a 15 percent raise if they got a tattoo of the company's logo anywhere in their bodies (though we think he should double the raise if someone chooses somewhere with pubes). Lolli came up with the idea after getting such a tattoo himself, presumably regretting it instantly and then figuring he might feel less dumb if he shared that specific regret with other people. So far, over 50 employees have taken the plunge and got tattoos on their ankles, arms, and backs, including a guy who had only been with the company for a month.
Everyone was fired the next day for having too many tattoos.
Now, call us old-fashioned, but we can't help thinking that this isn't such a great decision for the employees. Sure, getting a pay raise without having to work to earn it sounds nice and all, but right away you should subtract the several thousand dollars that those long, painful tattoo removal procedures cost. You know, for when you stop working there for whatever reason -- like, for example, when the company goes bankrupt because they paid for too many employee tattoos. Otherwise ... ever seen someone wear a McDonald's cashier shirt outside work? Imagine looking that sad all day, every day.
"You're right, my sweet bridge does look slightly like the logo of my old job. Hadn't noticed."
We should mention, however, that Rapid Realty also offers 15 percent raises to employees who do charity work, which is pretty cool. Hopefully those charities don't frown on tattooed volunteers.
No feel-good sports movie is complete without the scene where the plucky underdogs walk into their school to find that their superior, possibly steroid-using rivals have pulled a dickish prank. Well, this actually happened to the football team at Marion High School in Jasper, TN. Right before a game against South Pittsburg (a team they'd lost to seven times before), they found that someone had rudely redecorated their school and field house, writing "SP" everywhere.
Doug Strickland / Chattanooga Times Free Press
It was clearly Sean Penn bragging about his five Oscar nominations and two wins.
The Jasper team was only brought closer together by this heinous act, and they proceeded to mop the floor with their rivals ... is what we'd say if this was a movie. But it isn't, so not only did they lose spectacularly, but it turned out it wasn't even South Pittsburg who was behind the childish attack -- it was one of Marion High School's own coaches.
Authorities say assistant coach Michael Schmitt's Scooby-Doo-esque ploy to motivate his team caused $7,000 in damages, because if you're gonna trash your own house, you might as well go all the way. Note that a significant part of that money went into covering up the bathroom-stall-level language Jasper's favorite role model scrawled on the walls.
Doug Strickland / Chattanooga Times Free Press
"There, now no one can tell that it said 'SUCKERS.'"
The cops said that text messages found in Schmitt's phone showed him and other coaches planning this little inside job and framing South Pittsburg for it. It's unclear how the cops came across the texts, but it may have happened when another coach had his phone confiscated after being arrested for breaking into the rival school's premises to steal their playbook. So now you know what happened to the characters from Animal House: they became coaches in the same high school.
As for those jock assholes at South Pittsburgh, they shoved their victory in Jasper's face by ... volunteering to help clean up the damage. The smug bastards.
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