July 3, 2024 at 2:14 am

Rancher Tries To Pay Off Debt With A Check Literally Written On A Cow’s Hide, But His Neighbor’s Clever Move Costs Him Big Time

by Diana Whelan

Reddit/AITA/Unsplash/Sergio García

Oh boy, you won’t believe this one…

Picture this: A rancher, a neighbor, and a check written on the back of a cow. This story has all the elements of a wild west showdown, but with a hilarious twist.

Check out the story of how a rancher’s attempt at malicious compliance backfired spectacularly.

A very expensive check

This is a case of an intended malicious compliance being countered by an even more malicious compliance.

My mother is at this time a manager in the central processing office of a now defunct major regional bank — easily the largest bank in our region back in the day.

She receives a rather odd check for processing, and refuses to run it until she has the full story on what is happening. So here’s what she learns:

Get ready for some wild rancher antics…

A rancher has been in a land dispute with one of his neighbors, and it has not gone amicably. We are not privy to the exact nature of the issue, but it seems to have something to do with water rights.

Either way, it ends up in court. And after a long, hard fought battle of legal wills, the rancher loses and is ordered to pay a certain amount of damages to his neighbor by a certain date.

Well, that is not a happy thing for the rancher. So he decides that while he must pay, there is absolutely nothing in the court order that says he has to make it easy on his adversary.

Malicious compliance engaged.

He shaves a spot on the rump of one of his cows, and carefully writes out a check for the full amount of the court ordered damages on the skin of the bovine. He then has one of his trucks deliver the cow to his neighbor to settle the account. A live chewing, pooping cow!

Can you imagine the neighbor’s reaction?

After checking with the bank, the neighbor concludes that it is perfectly legal for the rancher to write a check on anything and the rancher makes it perfectly clear that this is the only way he intends to settle the debt.

But just like folks who decide to settle an annoying bill with thousands of coins sometimes find themselves victims of their own malicious intent, the neighbor’s malicious compliance trumps the rancher’s.

The neighbor loads the cow onto one of his own trucks, and takes it to the rancher’s bank – the bank of issuance – and cashes it against a cashier’s check made out to him for the same amount. This he then deposits at his own bank with no difficulty or challenge.

Talk about turning the tables.

Meanwhile, the rancher’s bank has to order a truck and driver to deliver the cow-check to it’s central processing office, several hours drive away.

This is where my mother comes into the story.

She has to cancel the check and process it. She uses a paper substitute to run through the computer system for it, just like they do for any checks that come in that are too badly wrinkled or damaged to run safely through the system.

Here’s the kicker…

After the cow-check has been properly processed, and the money deducted from the rancher’s account, she then opts to not store the check with his other cancelled checks to return with his monthly statement, but instead orders it returned immediately to the rancher.

And then, after the dust settles, the real fall-out of the neighbor’s malicious compliance is felt.

Since the cow-check involves a great deal of special handling at the bank’s expense, the bank assesses appropriate fees that more than cover the expenses in processing it.

And it gets even better.

If the neighbor cashes it at his own bank, he gets to pay those fees. But since he cashes it at the rancher’s bank, the rancher now gets to pay what amounts to an additional 25% fee on top of the court ordered settlement.

The only cost to the neighbor was ten miles of gas for the round trip to the bank — a trip he routinely makes anyway — and the time spent getting the bank to verify that the cow-check is a legitimate instrument that can be cashed.

When telling me this story, my mother tells me it is the most expensive check she ever processed.

Well, that rancher sure learned his lesson about trying to be too clever with his payments!

The folks on Reddit had some strong reactions to this one.

One commenter had a hilarious take on the situation.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

Another user pointed out an unexpected bonus for the neighbor.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

And finally, some creative advice on how the neighbor could have handled it differently.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

Moral of the story? Don’t write cow checks.

If you liked that post, check out this story about a guy who was forced to sleep on the couch at his wife’s family’s house, so he went to a hotel instead.