11 Ways People Used Money To Get Some Serious Payback
Vote up the money flexes that made you say, “Yeah, I'd do that.”
When someone does you wrong, you might have the desire to get revenge - or at the very least, get the last word. Whether it's a small evil or an egregious error, that feeling of needing to throw a bit of spite back at the other person is very real.
Payback comes in many forms, and money is certainly one way to show the world you're not going to take it anymore. Granted, being wealthy can help you make a much larger display of dissatisfaction, but even minor money flexes can make a major point.
We found some examples of people using various amounts of money to get back at the folks they felt did them wrong. Some of the acts are kind of petty, while others are as serious as they come. Across the board, they're all pretty relatable - to the extent that they left us saying, “Yeah, I'd do that.”
- Photo: Walter Baxter / Geograph / CC-BY-SA 2.012,308 VOTES
Residents Found Creative Ways To Outmaneuver Their HOAs
Some of the rules and regulations put into place by homeowners' associations can be tedious and tiresome. Around the end of the year, many HOAs dictate the types of holiday decorations residents can display, when they can go up, and occasionally, even how much money homeowners should spend. For one Jewish individual in Oklahoma, the HOA guidelines about Christmas decorations proved especially egregious:
My HOA in Oklahoma required that you hire a professional company and spend at least $500 to put up lights at Christmas time. They threatened to fine me when I refused, so, since I'm Jewish, I got a company to put up a huge Star of David in my front yard. They removed the requirement from the HOA rules the next year.
It's not uncommon to encounter HOA restrictions when it comes to satellite dishes and comparable devices. One resourceful man found a way to spend a little money and improvise in that regard when his HOA said he couldn't have a satellite dish on his property. In the words of his neighbor:
So what does he do? He buys the ugliest hearse he can find, attached the satellite [dish] to it, and parks it on the street. HOA board calls the cops on cars every 24 hours (law is your vehicle has to move every 24 hours or you get a ticket/towed). So to spite them, every day he moves his hearse, with the satellite, to avoid a ticket or getting towed. And they couldn't do anything about it.
- Photo: Elf / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.022,155 VOTES
Charles Froling Built An Obnoxious House To Get Back At His Neighbor
In a story that has literally become the stuff of legends, Charles Froling reportedly built a house on his land with the intent of irritating his neighbor. As a bonus, he could also irritate the town in which he lived. According to records, Froling built “a two-story dwelling… nine feet wide [that] shut out the sunlight from a part of” his neighbor's house in 1908. The distinctive structure was 20 feet high, 54 feet long, and 10 feet wide.
Froling erected the abode because the city of Alameda, CA, had seized part of his land, so he put what's now called “The Spite House” on the land he had left, with the intent of proving a point. Although he was angry at the city, his neighbor showed Froling no sympathy (and may have actually helped Alameda go after him), so the blocked sunlight was intentional.
Zoning and construction regulations forbid a house like Froling's from being built today, but the structure still stands.
- Photo: USA International Trade Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
In what Warren Buffett openly said was a move that involved committing “a major amount of money to a terrible business,” the businessman bought enough stock in Berkshire Hathaway in 1965 to take control of the company. His rationale was to get back at Seabury Stanton, who ran Berkshire Hathaway at the time.
In 1964, Stanton made a verbal promise to buy Buffett's stock in Berkshire Hathaway at $11.50 per share. When the written offer came in, however, Stanton proposed $11 3/8 or, in Buffett's words:
He chiseled me for an eighth… If that letter had come through with 11 ½, I would have tendered my stock. But this made me mad. So I went out and started buying the stock, and I bought control of the company and fired Mr. Stanton.
As far as money moves go, the potentially bad purchase eventually paid off for Buffett - but not right away. While he expanded the business from textiles and entered the insurance industry in 1967, had he made that move sooner, “Berkshire would be worth twice as much as it is now.”
- Photo: Paalso / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.041,198 VOTES
Mariya Oktyabrskaya Sold Her Possessions To Buy A Tank And Fight In WWII
The demise of her husband, Ilya, was the last straw for Mariya Oktyabrskaya. Born in 1905 in Ukraine, Oktyabrskaya took an interest in tanks two years after the death of Ilya - when she was finally informed of his passing. In 1943, she donated the money she had to the Red Army, asking that they make a T-34 tank she could use on the battlefield. In the letter she sent, Oktyabrskaya wrote:
My husband was killed in action defending the motherland. I want revenge on the fascist dogs for his death and for the death of Soviet people tortured by the fascist barbarians. For this purpose I’ve deposited all my personal savings - 50,000 rubles - to the National Bank in order to build a tank. I kindly ask to name the tank “Fighting Girlfriend” and to send me to the frontline as a driver of said tank.
The Kremlin agreed.
Oktyabrskaya undertook tank training, fought for the first time in the autumn of 1943, and participated in her last military action in January 1944. During her time on the battlefield, she reportedly demonstrated herself to be skilled at maneuvering her vehicle against the enemy. After her tank was damaged on a night mission on January 14, 1944, she disobeyed orders and tried to fix it. Oktyabrskaya was either shot or hit by shrapnel and succumbed to her injuries two months later.
- Photo: Curb Your Enthusiasm / HBO5773 VOTES
'Tom' Guo Opened Up A Spite Store To Really Make A Point
The idea of a “spite store” (inspired by real events) was front and center during season 10 of the long-running HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. When Larry David opens his coffee shop, Latte Larry's, it's to get back at Mocha Joe's, an establishment that banned David for being too critical. In the show, several additional spite stores pop up, including Sean's Exotic Birds (owned by Sean Penn after the rival store, Ray's, sold him a mute bird). Other spite stores were owned by Jonah Hill (who opened a deli to avenge a hairy sandwich) and Mila Kunis (who drove a jewelry store out of business by opening a comparable one next door).
It might seem extreme, but there are real examples of spite stores - businesses developed to specifically take on another establishment. One example is Tom's Dim Sum Mania in Media, PA. Opened by Jintao “Tom” Guo in 2019, it was just two doors down from another dumpling - Tom's Dim Sum. Guo used to be business partners with the owner of Tom's Dim Sum, but, as he expresses it, “people use your name, then take you out.”
The battle of the dim sum shops resulted in a lawsuit over naming rights. Tom's Dim Sum accused Guo of opening and operating:
…a restaurant under the name of “Tom’s Dim Sum Mania” only approximately 20 feet from [Tom’s Dim Sum], which services and offers the same type of food… for the deliberate purpose of misleading, deceiving and defrauding the public as well as stealing away [Tom’s Dim Sum’s] business unfairly and diverting [Tom’s Dim Sum’s] customers to “Tom’s Dim Sum Mania."
- Photo: Stanley Howe / Geograph / CC-BY-SA 2.061,085 VOTES
Robert Edleston Erected A 40-Foot Column To Overshadow The Cemetery Next Door
When the family of Joseph Edleston, a former vicar at St. Mary's Church in Ganiford, England, requested a monument be put up in his honor in the church's cemetery, the religious house declined. They actually suggested the Edleston family donate land - which ran next to the cemetery - for a monument instead.
Rather than do this, the family built a large house on that land - another so-called spite house - but they didn't stop there. In 1923, Robert Edleston put up a 40-foot column that he'd purchased right next to the cemetery wall.
The column dated to roughly 1750, was initially built to commemorate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession, and had long since lost the statue that once accompanied it. Considering the house was built in 1904 and the column was added nearly two decades later, the introduction of the latter was presumably a sign of continued animus.