5 Awesome Acts Of Revenge That Qualify As Creative Genius
Revenge is a dish best served cold. For most of us, that saying simply means that you shouldn't punch a dude the second he mocks your Animorphs T-shirt; you should wait about a week and then punch him when he least suspects it. It's funnier that way. But, some folks put a hell of a lot more thought into revenge than we do. Like ...
A Man Drives His Roommate To Paranoia Using Targeted Facebook Ads
Brian Swichkow found his roommate, Roderick Russell, on Craigslist, and the two became fast friends. Not long after moving in, Russell pulled what Swichkow only describes as "a rather elaborate prank" on his roommate. Swichkow was sure to warn him that he had made a big mistake this day, and Russell had left him no choice but to escalate the situation.
Now, Russell was a man with a very obscure and unique weakness. Though a professional sword swallower by trade, he was ironically unable to swallow pills without gagging. Swichkow, a marketing expert, had a specific, Liam Neeson-esque set of skills to exploit this, and so the game was set.
The mission: to slowly drive Russell out of his mind with a bombardment of incredibly specific Facebook ads.
Using Facebook's marketing algorithms, Swichkow was able to set himself up as an advertiser and launch ads targeted to an "audience" of just one person. Then, he began a series of ad campaigns with targeted questions such as "Does it seem ironic that swallowing swords is easy and then small pills make you gag?" and an ad for dildos that said "So you like swallowing things?"
"You certainly managed to swallow this crock of shit."
Swichkow rolled the ads out slowly and discontinued them shortly after discovery in an effort to keep the prank going as long as possible. Compounded with the fact that the Snowden surveillance scandal had just broken in the media, it only took a few weeks for Russell to become deeply paranoid and stop using his phone.
Eventually, Swichkow sent Russell an ad containing information that Russell had only ever told Swichkow and his girlfriend, which is when he finally started to catch on to what was really happening. Swichkow decided now was the time to end it, partly because he was afraid he was actually going to send his roommate to an asylum. So, he sent one final ad:
"That's right, I was responsible for most of those dildo ads!"
The next day, Swichkow found a message on the kitchen whiteboard simply reading: "VERY VERY VERY WELL PLAYED," which is basically the written equivalent of the slow clap. The story later went viral on business websites as a lesson in niche marketing, though we're not exactly sure what that lesson is. "You could potentially destroy a man with the right ads?"
Paying Fines With Mounds Of Pennies
In July 2009, Tallahassee college student Jordan Renken emerged from a bar to discover that his car had been towed, resulting in a 15-mile walk home. He needed to pay $88 to release his impounded car, so Renken decided to exact his revenge on the towing company by delivering the fine ... in the form of 8,800 pennies.
The ordeal was recorded in a video that quickly went viral. Initially, the cashier refused to take the money, telling Renken and his friends that they were out of their minds. She then relented slightly by telling them that she would take the pennies only if they were rolled. Renken, who had read up on the law beforehand, knew that they were required to accept the money as long as it was legal tender. And although pennies are the redheaded stepchild of legal tender that you can go your whole life without using, they are still money.
"Just be glad I'm paying in clean ones."
Renken refused to back down to the point that she called the police, and the cops found it pretty hilarious. After several back-and-forth exchanges between Renken and the cashier, the police maintained that the cashier must accept the pennies, rolled or not, and the only restriction being that they had to fit through the tender window. After almost an hour of debate and the threat of getting the feds involved, Renken managed to both retrieve his car and give a certain towing company employee the worst day she's ever had.
This isn't the only time someone has gotten away with paying a large sum of money in couch cushion leavings. In 2012, Thomas Daigle of Milford, Massachusetts, hauled more than 62,000 pennies, weighing in at about 427 pounds, to his local bank to make the final payment of the mortgage loan on his first home.
Frankly, we're more impressed by a $620 mortgage payment.
He made the payment on the couple's 35th wedding anniversary, making these arguably the most romantic and inconvenient 62,000 pennies on the planet. At least he rolled them. Even though, we stress again, he totally didn't have to. You don't, either. Not even if you're paying Comcast. We mention that for no particular reason.
Man Gets Revenge On eBay Scammer By Setting Up A Fake Blog For Him
In 2005, Thomas Sawyer purchased a laptop on eBay for 375 pounds from seller Amir Tofangsazan. The laptop took two months to arrive and, when it did, Sawyer discovered that it did not work. Tofangsazan brushed off all requests for a refund, so Sawyer took matters into his own hands. After some fancy technological footwork, Sawyer recovered enough of the hard drive to enact a creative, albeit humiliating, revenge.
The buyer found more than 90 voyeuristic photos of women's legs, shot on the London subway, in addition to several kinds of porn and tons of personal information -- including Tofangsazan's CV, passport, and selfies. So, Sawyer used what he had gathered from the hard drive to set up a mock blog written from Tofangsazan's perspective.
"If only I had washed that huge pile of laundry so I could take a selfie with a damn shirt on."
The blog, called The Broken Laptop I Sold On Ebay, includes photos of Tofangsazan as well as embarrassing items from his voyeuristic and porn collections. Speaking as Tofangsazan, Sawyer jokes nonchalantly about not issuing a refund and the justification for using the blog to put Tofangsazan in the spotlight.
"The buyer of my laptop was understandably miffed at being ripped off but highly amused at finding this wide selection of information so easily accessible," Sawyer says. "What else could he do but publish this information on the Internet for the whole world to see what a sad man I really am!"
"Sad man" being a nice way of saying "Seriously creepy fucking voyeur."
In case you feel even remotely sorry for Tofangsazan, it was later discovered that he was a serial con artist who was eventually arrested for defrauding women in an online dating scheme. He was caught, in part, because one of the women he scammed Googled his name and found the blog. Let this be one of two lessons to you: either don't con people or remember to wipe your hard drive.
The Guys Who Thwarted Telemarketers By Setting Up Sex-Line Style Phone Rates
In 2012, Englishman Richard Herman was growing increasingly frustrated with cold calls offering to help him claim compensation for an accident he never had. Eventually, Herman advised the cold callers that he would begin charging them 10 pounds per minute for his time. The company called his bluff and continued to phone him. Too bad for them that he wasn't bluffing and began recording their calls. The UK courts decided that the company's persistence indicated an agreement to his terms, awarding him 195 pounds as well as an additional 25 pounds in court fees.
A similar revenge occurred in 2011 when Lee Beaumont of Leeds, also in England, got so sick of cold callers that he paid 10 pounds to make his home phone number a premium 0871 line, which is the British equivalent of a 1-900 number. So, after that, whenever a bank, insurance agency, solar cell conglomerate, or funeral plan company cold-called him, they were unwittingly spending the equivalent per minute of someone on a phone sex line.
Hopefully Lee, at least, took his shirt off and moaned a bit so they got their money's worth.
According to Beaumont, the number of cold calls he received fell from up to 30 per month to just 13 since adopting this strategy. Although it sounds like a stroke of genius, premium phone number regulators advise strongly against it, suggesting that it could be considered a form of fraud. Of course, if you just offered to dirty talk anybody who called, then everything would be legit. Right?
Related: Celebrated Composer Hans Zimmer Now Apparently Makes Ringtones, Likely Delighting Telemarketers
Charlie Wilson Ruins The Campaign Of The Congressman Who Killed His Dog
Charlie Wilson was a 12-term Texas congressman and the basis for the Hollywood biopic Charlie Wilson's War, although you probably know that particular episode of history better from Rambo III. In Charlie Wilson's War, there's a scene in which Wilson (portrayed by Tom Hanks) recounts an anecdote about getting back at his neighbor for killing his dog. It might sound like Hollywood fluff, but the story is actually true.
Growing up in Trinity, Texas, Wilson had an asshole neighbor by the name of Charles Hazard, who hated Wilson's dog because he used to jump the fence and trample on his flower garden. So, Hazard made the rational and totally sane decision to grind up a glass bottle, mix it with dog food, and feed it to the pup.
Wilson's dog died as a result, and Wilson, at the age of 13, responded by pouring gasoline on Hazard's precious flower garden and setting it alight, presumably while walking away in slow motion and putting on a pair of sunglasses. But, that wasn't even enough -- Wilson had to make sure that his vengeance was complete.
Never make enemies with a man with no personal restraint.
It just so happened that Charles Hazard was a city official who was up for re-election that year. So, Wilson decided to offer the people in his neighborhood a free ride to the voting booth on election day. After delivering them, Wilson told his passengers, "I don't want to influence your vote, but I would like you to know that Charles Hazard poisoned my dog."
About 400 people voted in the election, with Wilson providing free shuttle service to 96 of them. Hazard lost by just 16 votes. And that's the plot for the upcoming prequel to John Wick.
Kevin Phelan is a New York-based reporter who talks to people such as the kids from Willy Wonka, Chunk from The Goonies, and a professional wrestler or two. Tweet at him here. Nichole Urban is a freelance journalist in the greater New York City area. See her work and connect with her on LinkedIn.
Everyone loves a good tale of vengeance. Like the hilarious way Vermont inmates got back at the police that put them there. And then there was the Soviet housewife who purchased a tank to fight Nazis. See all that and more in 21 Acts Of Revenge That Took A Baffling Amount Of Effort and 5 Historic Acts Of Revenge More Epic Than Django Unchained.
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