February 4, 2024 at 3:44 pm

Sales Team Is Staying Late And Stealing Another Team’s Work To Take Credit, So Engineer’s Lay A Trap That Blows Up The Whole Scheme

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA

Some workplaces are a pleasure to be in, the people wonderful to work with, the pay and benefits make you want to stay, and all is right with the world.

Others…they’re nothing but toxic from the start, and as soon as you can afford to move on, most people do just that.

OP worked for one of those second kind of workplaces.

Decades ago I worked the worst crap job of my life as a software engineer, writing code for an OBD II car code scanner at a completely dysfunctional business I’m not going to name, but I’ll drop a hint and say all their products are all orange.

It was right after 9/11, I was laid off, and jobs were nearly impossible to find. But I managed to land one there and out of desperation I took the job.

And there I met probably the best friend I ever made at work, I’ll call him AgentS. AgentS was a coder’s coder, a real laid back guy, and an all around good egg.

Imagine if “The Dude” could code, you’d pretty much have AgentS. We had many wonderful overlong lunches working there.

There was so much distrust that they were instructed to lock up everything at the end of the day.

And I needed the calm he taught me, because that place was NUTS.

All the departments poisonously hated each other, the head of engineering was as paranoid as a Russian Czar, rampant abuse, theft, the works. A total madhouse.

But eventually everyone has their limit, and AgentS had put in his two week’s notice. Just to let you know how nice he was, he was the only person that quit that wasn’t escorted to his car immediately by an armed guard, which was standard procedure.

He was permitted to put in his last two weeks. So imagine my surprise when AgentS said “I want some payback before I go!”

Maybe a few days earlier, the paranoid Czar of engineering gave us this odd missive. “When you leave your desk for any reason, you are to take your papers on your desk and lock them in your desk. You are to lock your computer. You are to put a password in your BIOS and shut down your machine when you leave for the night. You are to erase your marker boards. Leave no scrap of paper out or any hint of what you are working on.”

And no explanation why, which was standard for him. Just do it.

It turned out this was because sales was stealing their ideas.

Of course, we all wanted to know why.

So our “man in the field” – I’ll call him Bond – went about finding out. Bond was social and likable and had friends in every department in the increasingly Balkanized organizational structure. “I’ll ask around, and don’t tell anybody.”

He found out.

Engineering Czar got word somehow that people in the Sales department were working late and waiting for Engineering to leave.

Once we left, they were going through our desks and computers looking for clues as to what we were working on. They would then copy this stuff down, claim it as “a project I’m heading up” and present the materiel to their superiors so they could look valuable and get raises and all that fun sales stuff.

Yes I know – Sales is supposed to query their customers for features they’d like, then make proposals to Engineering. I did say this place is dysfunctional, right?

Engineers drove the product design since Sales couldn’t be bothered. And why should they, when they could just steal it instead. Right?

When his friend got fed up and quit, they decided to give them something to steal.

So AgentS had had enough. We made “Project Skunk”. All projects in this place were named after an animal. We decided to leave a hint in the name that all was not as it should be. And we dreamed up the most amazing OBD II scanner in the world. Here are some of the specs:

Since everyone knows 32 bit processors are more expensive than 8 bit processors, we would save money by using a 2 bit processor.

The EEPROMs that held the automotive database were expensive as well. So to save space, we would use ZIP to compress the database 12 times and store it on a single 4k EEPROM.

Predictive analysis. If you enter in the last few codes your car threw, it would extrapolate and tell you the next part on your car that was going to break. (I thought of this one, I’m especially proud of it)

…and so on.

We spent a happy afternoon drawing up box diagrams (with flux capacitors and n-dimensional grommets and Yoyodyne compensators), lots of specs and analyses and other assorted bits of utter nonsense.

We scattered them all over AgentS’s desk, then went home.

They were rightfully embarrassed.

The very next day, our “man in the field” Bond gives us the news. “Project Skunk is a HIT. The entire building is buzzing over it. Sales people are tripping over each other taking credit.”

It took about a week before the stolen goods were finally passed upstream to the six-figure guys before someone with half a clue noticed that everything in the project was absolutely impossible.

OP remains delighted.

AgentS had left by then, but I tracked him down and we had lunch, and I told him the results of the ill harvest he had left behind.

Sales had been seriously embarrassed in front of their superiors, and the ones over them as well.

I don’t know if anything came of it. It was an old-boy’s network there, and I’m sure they covered for each other somehow. But they were embarrassed and they were hurt.

How do I know? Every day from that day on, any time a person from Sales passed me in a hallway or something, they would physically turn their face from me to shun me.

It was hilarious. Like somehow I’m the a—— for making fake stuff for them to steal.

They went under not too long after that. The building is now a medical company supplying Covid masks.

And what about Reddit? Let’s find out!

The top comment would have loved to have been a fly on the wall.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person would have loved to have been a part of it.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Ooh they missed quite an opportunity here.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Maybe it’s not such an odd way of doing business.

Source: Reddit/AITA

They say it’s excellent pro revenge.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This one is pretty funny.

I think I’d like to be their friend.

If you liked this post, check out this story about an employee who got revenge on a co-worker who kept grading their work suspiciously low.