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by Pauli Poisuo
The trick to a good, petty act of revenge is that the pettiness is recognizable, yet it makes you think, “That’s so impressive, I’m not even mad.” Like when your upstairs neighbors stomp on the floor too often, so you hire an entire Riverdance squad to rehearse in the apartment above them. It’s a thin and occasionally buttholish line to walk, we know. But when someone manages to pull it off, you can’t help but throw your fist in the air like Judd Nelson at the end of The Breakfast Club.
A Bank Treats A Grubby Looking Guy Like Crap -- He Closes His $1 Million Account
Few things are more cathartic than stories where the little guy just completely and utterly sticks it to a bank that’s been mistreating him. Take this 1989 tale from Spokane, Washington. Old National Bank’s typical day of old national bankery was rudely interrupted by a scruffy, vagrant-looking man who pulled up in a battered pick-up truck. The man marched to the nearest teller and asked that they stamp his parking slip. The teller did what any self-respecting bank employee would: she refused to have anything to do with this clearly broke-ass person and his filthy parking validation. The man then demanded to see the manager, who performed a higher-ranking version of the teller’s “scoff and refusal” dance. Satisfied with averting further contact with a poor person, everyone got back to being high and mighty and singing inspirational songs where the only lyric is “Money”.
Or that’s how the bank thought things would go down.
Turns out, you can become wealthy in a whole lot of ways, and not all of them require you to wear a pinstripe suit. The “poor” person the Old National Bank chose to look down on was John Barrier, a local self-made millionaire. Barrier had paid a quick visit to his broker, and when he was leaving, he discovered there was a 60-cent parking fee. Since he had been doing business with the bank for 30 years (and actually cashed a check there earlier that day), he felt he might as well validate his parking there. Instead, he got the douchebag treatment.
Can we borrow Chris Tucker so we can throw a "DAAAAMMMNN" on this?
So Barrier shrugged and stated: “Fine, you don’t need me and I don’t need you.” Then, he calmly closed his million-dollar account on the spot and took his business to a more well-behaved bank down the street. The Old National Bank manager and teller were left sitting on their thumbs and spinning. Some people say their rotation still hasn’t fully stopped.
A Wealthy Grandmother Gets Back At Her Greedy Family
Inheritances can get messy, especially if there’s enough money to make will readings consist of more than half-hearted arguments on who has to take care of Great-Aunt Hilda’s 17 feral cats. The easiest way to turn a peaceful ghost into a cackling poltergeist is by forcing them to watch their living relatives argue about silverware.
In 2015, one Austrian grandmother knew her family well. She was acutely aware that her younger relatives were in it for the money, and granny herself could just suck it. However, what the young ’uns were forgetting was that the oldest person in the house is generally also the craftiest. It was time to give painful life lessons and chew gum, and son, no one at this age can physically chew gum. So she decided to take the money out of the equation.
The problem with making a large inheritance disappear is that you can’t just spend the money on cool stuff. The family would just inherit the stuff. Making bad investments is also out of the question, because there’s always a chance that the investment scheme turns out to be BitCoin. However, Granny came up with a solution. When she finally passed away at the ripe age of 85, her family found her entire $1.1 million fortune in her home. On her bed. Shredded. Not just “shredded” as in “taken through a shredding machine”, either -- the source article makes it sound like she had personally cut it into pieces so tiny that they could be considered confetti. That’s personal.
"Also, I wiped my butt with every last one of those."
Unfortunately for her revenge plot, there was a small hiccup. Although authorities originally ruled that the money was worthless and the old lady’s intent was pretty damn clear, a bank stepped in and said that they juuuuust might have to pay out the money after all. They just needed all the money fragments so that they could inspect all the signs that verify that the notes are legit.
Though there’s no way to know whether this was the intended outcome, we can’t help but imagine her ghost watching the ungrateful relatives spending weeks, painstakingly taping banknotes together in the same room as they begrudgingly learn to appreciate each other. See, kids? Your inheritance was love all along!
A Litterbug Finds A Mountain Of His Own Trash On His Front Yard
No one likes littering (except for litterers -- they love that stuff), but it’s usually not the hill people choose to die on. That is, unless you’re in Australia, and you're the guy who has to pick up illegally disposed of piles of garbage. In 2015, one Bakewell litterer found this out the hard way when he returned home after dumping garbage in the bushland, only to find a giant pile of that very same garbage neatly dumped on his driveway.
This dumpster delivery was courtesy of Frederick Tomlinson, a local outdoor enthusiast who was sick and tired of buttheads treating the continent’s great, murderous outdoors as prime real estate for their personal garbage piles. He had taken to picking up after litterers in his spare time, so when he and his friend caught wind of yet another big ol’ pile of trash out there, they immediately set out to make things right. To their dismay, this particular trash dump was several carloads worth. To their delight, several pieces of discarded mail were clearly labeled with the culprit's address, so they decided to make an evening out of it and hauled the entire pile to the litterer’s doorstep.
Their original plan was just to ring the guy’s doorbell and kindly explain to him that he had left a big pile of trash with his home address in plain sight of every official and murderous animal in the area. However, the guy wasn’t home, and let’s be fair -- it’s not like you could resist pulling the old “the garbage found its way back home” trick. We know we couldn’t.
Artists Are Masters At Screwing With Annoying Clients
When someone grates on their nerves badly enough, artists are not above picking up a paintbrush and making sure that the person will be remembered as a (possibly literal) ass for all of eternity.
A 14th-century painter called Buonamico Buffalmacco once had a client who’d ordered a religious painting, but tried to pull the old “Can’t really pay you, but think of all the exposure you’ll get” on him. Ol’ BB responded by turning in the painting with a tiny little change: he painted a bear over the top of baby Jesus. When the client saw it, he begged him to change it back ... so the painter got a wet sponge and washed the bear away, because it turned out that he painted the addition in watercolor. Then he made the client pay him twice: once for the Jesus painting, and once for the bear painting.
In more modern times, Daphne Todd, one of Britain’s leading portrait painters, once had a young customer too obnoxious for her tastes. So she straight up painted devil horns in his portrait, but hid them behind his mane of hair so expertly that they will only become visible as the paint fades over the next few decades. Daphne didn’t mention which person was the subject of her stealth demonification, so presumably many of her clients spend a lot of their time casting sideways glances at their mantelpieces.
Even classic masters weren’t above getting in on the action. When the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies Biagio da Cesena told Michelangelo that The Last Judgment featured a few too many naked people for the Sistine Chapel, the artist’s response was to add Cesena himself in the mix:
Subtlety is an acquired taste.
You can't truly appreciate the work, though, unless you see the finer details, so do yourself a favor and check out the much larger version.
Politicians Love Petty Vengeance
We know that it’s shocking in our politically peaceful day and age, but politicians have been known to indulge in petty dickery from time to time. In the interest of not making this article novel-length, we’ll focus on two of our favorite examples of unholy political pettiness.
Our first is from Britain, circa 2015. It all started with a particularly unsavory piece of trivia about then-Prime Minister David Cameron. According to the story, Mr. Cameron was a fraternity type in his youth. As part of his frat rituals, he’d once stuck his dong in a dead pig's mouth. If you’re familiar with Black Mirror, boning bacon is pretty much par for the course for a British PM, as is the reputation that follows. However, the whole story was actually a complete fabrication made up by a fellow politician called Lord Ashcroft in his self-published, unofficial book about Cameron. The reason for casually turning the leader of his own nation into Mr. Pig Dong? Ashcroft was kind of annoyed that Cameron didn't offer him a high enough position in his cabinet.
"Below this podium ... nothin' but loin, baby."
An even pettier example would be America’s gloriously named Senator Roscoe Conkling, who was a bitter enemy of President Andrew Garfield. Garfield was assassinated in 1881 and his successor, Chester A. Arthur, tried to mend fences. Arthur offered Conkling a taste of true power in form of a position in the Supreme Court. Conkling graciously accepted.
His appointment went through channels, and just as everyone was salivating at the chance to utter the words “Justice Roscoe Conkling” out loud ... Conkling pulled out. In a move that he’d allegedly been planning for months, Roscoe Conkling threw shade all over the administration and told them to suck it after countless hours of red tape and approval motions, just to give the finger to the dead guy that he used to feud with. That’s dedication.
Like this article? Check out "Awful Pranks That Backfired So Hard, They Made The News" and "5 Real, Creative Punishments The Law Handed Out To Morons".