Stories like this would go viral, prompting every company involved with foreclosures to pre-emptively punish their employees:
If your wacky Halloween costume's punchline is "Haha, that family lives in a dumpster!" then maybe dress as a pirate instead.
Sarah and her co-workers were strongly encouraged to avoid social media. In the cold, sober light of 2016, maybe that wouldn't have been a bad thing for us all to do. But back in 2008 this crap was still new, fun, and not filled with articles about Hillary Clinton's mythical child sex slavery ring. Forcing employees off of it seemed a little strange. But the bank had an explanation:
"If you seem happy on social media, then you're mocking everybody, you're taking it as a joke."
Sarah's office soon got a sobering reminder of just how real shit had gotten:
"One day a political cartoon of a gingerbread house being foreclosed on was circulated around the office and we were all almost destroyed by one of the higher-up managers."
Gary McCoy/Cagle Cartoons
"We all had a little laugh, and then we were all threatened to be fired, there was a big meeting. They were basically saying that, this isn't a joke. You don't understand the size of what's happening. The collapse of what's happening. And anyone who takes this as a joke or does anything that seems mocking will be written up and likely fired. You couldn't go out and celebrate ... They were like, don't go out with your managers, don't go out with employees, don't be friendly with each other because what's going on is so serious."
"You left more people homeless than a major earthquake today. Maybe skip the TGIF toast."
It didn't hit home (no heartrending pun intended) for Sarah quite yet, but it would: "It ruined me online for years. Angry homeowners found my social media and took screen grabs." She'd unwisely posted the cartoon on her own Facebook page, somehow not foreseeing that she'd be tracked by vigilantes pissed off at realty robots. "They sent it to corporate and accused me of turning their misery into a joke."
It was a dumb move, but remember: Sarah wasn't a bank executive. She never sold anyone on a subprime mortgage. She made $40,000 a year. She didn't get bonuses for foreclosing on homes. She barely got a lunch break. People like her -- young, naive, and in need of steady work -- had to deal with the emotional fallout, and the lion's share of the consequences: "I went to school for creative writing. I have two articles on Cracked that I wrote. The second I got out of college, wanting to do some sort of writing, I fall into this [job], and I got married, and five seconds after I change my name I'm on the internet as a robo-signer. Now I wrote a manuscript, and I'm trying really hard to get it published, and I'm just so terrified they're going to Google me."
There's a reason she didn't use her name on this article, despite having a writing career: this job still haunts her. Meanwhile, the actually guilty parties received bonuses so large they qualified as newsworthy:
What better way to punish someone for crashing the economy than giving them a large part of it?
"They all shook out without major consequence -- as long as you were loyal to the bank, they would represent you in court. If you spoke out against the bank, you were screwed."
On the upside, unchecked capitalism has brought us some pretty sweet phones, though.
For more insider perspectives, check out 4 Scary Things You Only See Cutting People's Power As A Job and How To Find Anyone: 5 Lessons From Serving People Papers.
Have a story to share with Cracked? Email us here.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 8 Great Movies Made Even Better By Fan Theories, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Follow us on Facebook, and let's just hug each other.