Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Assignment #238: What a Rip Off!

I've decided to follow Carly's lead, and combine the new Weekend Assignment post with the previous week's results. Please let me know if you have any objection to this. First we'll cover the new topic, and then we'll double back to review your responses to last week's entry.

Weekend Assignment #238: As you can see from the entry below this one, I found out on Thursday morning that someone ripped me off by plagiarizing a poem of mine all over the Web. Tell us of a time you've been ripped off - that is, stolen from or cheated in some way.

Extra Credit: Is there anything you do differently now because of what happened?

Seeing my best poem garbled and reposted under someone else's name is a minor annoyance compared to a few memorable ripoffs of yesteryear. When I lived in Columbus, Ohio in the early 1980s, I had a Honda moped that was stolen. It was chained to the side of the house, and we were home at the time, but neither we nor Jenny Dog noticed anything until the following morning.

Store #1, featuring the Prince display again.
The register I had to empty for a robber - twice

A year later I was held up at gunpoint at work - twice. I was managing a location of Buzzard's Nest Records (albeit without a manager's title) for $4.00 an hour when a guy came into the store on a Saturday afternoon. I was alone. He said to give me all the money, "and don't look at me like you want to get to know me." All I can tell you about his appearance was he was white and wore a stocking cap. I gave him all the money in the register, and then lied about whether there was other money on the premises, thus preventing him from getting the money in the Central Ticket Office outlet operation or the petty cash in the back room. That bit of dangerous loyalty wasn't good enough for my boss, George. He claimed that the guy must have cased the store (unlikely, since he didn't know about the ticket money). George also ranted that there was a standing rule (never, ever mentioned to me until that night) that if you couldn't get to the desk in the back room with the extra cash, you were supposed to "skim" the twenties and hide them in the bottom drawer of the cabinet under the register. Needless to say, I was not pleased with my boss's compassion that night for his distressed employee, who had put her life on the line to save him from losing even more money to the robber.

A week later, again on Saturday afternoon, the same store was robbed again. This time there were two of us working due to shift overlap, but it made no difference. All I can tell you about him was that he was black and wore a stocking cap. Oh, and one more thing: he knew about the "skim the twenties and put them in a drawer" trick, and made me hand them over. Again I lied about whether there was any money in the back room, and again the ticket money was not discovered. The guy then ordered us into the back room and ran out the front.

As far as I know, neither robber was ever caught. A detective did bring around mug shots one day to try to get the first guy identified, but none of the photos matched my memory. Whoever the detective thought it was, it wasn't.

Since arriving in Tucson, I've had a few things stolen. Someone broke into our van in 1987 or so, and stole me Canon AE-1 and a pair of John's slippers. And about seven years ago I came outside one morning and discovered the ignition was missing from my 1987 Chrysler New Yorker, which formerly belonged to me mom. Some would-be thief or joy rider had tried to use a screwdriver in place of a key but had not actually managed to drive the car away. So I guess it doesn't quite count as a rip off.

I don't think any of these experiences has changed the way I look at the world, except maybe to be just a smidge more careful. I still prefer to assume other people are honest and reasonable unless reason or evidence suggests otherwise.

Your turn! Tell us of a time someone else tried to cheat you or steal from you. Write it up in your blog along with a link back here, and leave a link to your entry in the comments below. I'll be back in a week with a roundup of your responses.

Speaking of which...

For Weekend Assignment #237: Spending Spree, I asked you to pretend you were obligated to spend a $10,000 inheritance in just a week or two, as asked how you'd spend it. Let us count the ways:

Julie said...

Like Karen, though, I'd probably spend it on travel. And not just to England, to part of Europe as well. There are three of us, so the money won't go as far as her trip with John would. Still, we would like return to England at some point. We visited in 2001 (pictures here, in a part of the site that desperately needs revamping) and had a wonderful time. Chris was just eleven or so at the time, which was a little young to appreciate a few things. This time we would like to get a car and drive around the countryside and stop in Scotland to see the Holy Grail castle among other things. Since this is a frivolous expenditure, we'd pay any extra fee to the rental companies so he could take a turn behind the wheel. I still don't know if they'd let him, since he's under 21, but we'd certainly try.

Tall Paul said...

Who needs a week? I head on over the Yamaha Dealer and put down the ten grand on a Star Midnight Warrior. Hey! The rules never said I couldn't put the money towards anything that cost over $10,000!

(He also has a detailed Plan B.)

Jama said in comments...

This is going to be easy to spend for me, just grab a few laptops, plasma tv, DSLR, and some home furnishings. :)

Martha said in comments...

I was going to write about it but it's not long enough to post a whole entry about - I'd get a face lift! (I'd probably be too scared in real life to do it, but since this is fantasizing...)if there was anything left over I'd buy a new clothes.
Can't remember the last time I bought something for myself that wasn't a necessity ::sigh::

Florinda said...

Hmm, I could use some new bookcases. I never seem to have enough space for all my books, since I keep getting more of them. But I'm not talking about the IKEA build-'em-yourself kind of bookcases. I'd like some real furniture, the kind that comes on a delivery truck and gets set up in your house for you.

Mike said...

I'm not going to go into specific brands or anything, but most of the things I'd buy would be electronic gadgets. Or toys, if you like. First, I'd buy a laptop. I may have mentioned that before. I don't know what kind exactly, but with 10 grand to spend I can buy whatever I want. Then, I'd buy a new camera. Did I tell you ours broke?

Kiva said...

I would love to take my husband and my dog on a train trip around the U.S. in a private railroad car. We could stop any where, explore the area, and then get picked up by the next train to somewhere. Can you imagine the great pictures that I could take and what fun we'd have?

Carly said...

I can't do much about changing my priorities at this point, so I think I will find some things that will aid me in my life. Not necessities, but practical all the same. For example; I love to cook, so I would love to purchase a new set of cookware, and some new food processors. Also, I have never owned a really nice set of China, so I would buy me some dishes and flatware in a pretty pattern for all those gourmet meals I like to make! With what's left over, I will pick up some new clothes, like the ones I found this past week at my favorite store, Old Navy.

APOOO said...

With everything going on around us…sometimes we need to dream, hope, smile, smell the roses…even when it is not the weekend…who says we can’t do this little exercise on any day.

(APOOO did not actually answer the question, but passed it on to her own readers, along with an interesting bling photo.)

That's it for now. Don't forget to post your ripoff stories, and I'll see you back here in a week!



barrettmanor said...

Here you go:

Mike said...

Wow, that is a scary record store story. I hope you didn't work there much longer after that. My stories are not exciting, but you can find them here.

Florinda said...

I wasn't sure I was going to do this assignment, but here goes!