No, he wasn't Bruce Wayne. (If only...). (And servant =/= butler).

I worked in this guy's summer house in the Northeast US along with 3-4 other full time service staff folks. I was just a regular servant for one summer full time, and several summers part time. I also spent one summer full time working on what we called "The Project," which entailed painstakingly cataloguing every item he owned, including a giant basement full of expensive crap with boxes that literally hadn't been opened since the 1980s. The idea was to get all this appraised for insurance purposes, but that ended up being a ridiculous scam....

My boss was a weird old dude, and I have some pretty odd stories. Incidentally, the place he lived was also home to some other very wealthy and famous people in the summer, including a couple movie stars. I don't want to name them because that would make it too easy to look up the location and figure out who this guy is -- which doesn't seem fair to him -- but trust me, you've heard of them. The guy I worked for wasn't famous, though, just rich and weird.

Not sure exactly how I can prove this, but I've uploaded photos of some of his old memos and documents we made working on "The Project" to an imgur album here:

You'll see that some of them are memos that he left for me and two of the other guys I was working with, and some of them are organizational documents I myself created while working on "The Project." There's also a shot of one page of the ceramics section of the catalogue of all his possessions (the whole document is crazy long and I don't have the actual files -- all that stuff was on his computers -- but luckily one of the guys I worked with kept all these printouts).

My wife and I just got a new puppy so we're pretty busy, but I will try to answer all questions in as timely and thorough a fashion as possible.

EDIT #1: Hey guys, thanks for all the questions! I'm gonna go to bed now, but will answer more tomorrow!

EDIT #2: Oh wow, Shitty_Watercolor made a shitty watercolor of the Button Duck. This is actually pretty accurate! Thanks!

Comments: 1362 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

MixedTape847 karma

So, did your old boss ever get shot in his swimming pool because he his romantic partner accidentally ran over someone's wife? Edit: Thought Reddit would get the reference without all the details. I've learned, I'll be completely specific next time.

custerc133 karma

Not as far as I'm aware. He was a terrible driver though, so it's possible he ran over someone's wife I suppose.

meganelizabeth_asu583 karma


custerc228 karma

haha yea...those are just a couple examples, but he wrote/printed at least three memos (copies for the three 'summer servants') every day we worked, and all of them were like that: bold, colored text, mostly underlined. He had just bought some printers, a bunch of spare ink, and a bunch of Apple laptops. (Actually, working there was the first time I ever touched/used an Apple laptop).

ConspiracyMomma503 karma

Would you go to his funeral?

custerc665 karma

No. Not that I hate him or want him dead or anything, but I don't care. We never had a warm relationship, and he was never particularly generous with me or treated me as anything other than some dumbass who polished his shoes.

Plus, his funeral would be attended by the rest of his family, and from what I saw of them, they're even more intolerable than he could be.

edit: great question, btw

Tan7364 karma

How did he feel about your foot fetish?

custerc411 karma


Csaxon319 karma

Jesus, I know my fair of eccentric rich people, I too, have worked for quit a few of them. Some are Really great people, and then there's the other ones. The ones that wish, at least subconsciously, that could still own slaves. Basically, they haven't EVER done any kind of manual labor, and act like they live on a fucking plantation. One lady I worked for had about a 6 acre yard. I had to spread fertilizer and ant-poision over it, With a hand-spreader, the kind with the crank, that you Carry with 30-50 lbs on your chest and stomach. It was August, about 104F everyday. I started hallucinating the second day, and as soon as I sat down to drink some water, and figure out what was real in my field of vision. BAM, she'd come out and tell me I needed to work faster, or she wasn't gonna pay me. I was 15, and she paid 4.50-5.00, an hour. Seveteen years, and I think she's still the worst one.

custerc190 karma

Yup, that sounds pretty similar to this guy. Luckily though, the place I was in is pretty cool climate wise, so even in the summer it was exhausting but it was rarely really hot. I doubt it ever got above 90, and even 85 would have been pretty rare. Sounds like you had a very rough time!

(Our boss would also come and tell us to hurry up on water breaks, though. I think he felt like we were time-stealing by drinking water a lot, but carrying his crap around all day is sweaty work!)

Frajer263 karma

What's the coolest and weirdest thing you found in his collection?

Did he ever leave his house?

custerc469 karma

What's the coolest and weirdest thing you found in his collection?

The coolest thing was probably a platinum and gold replica of his old sailboat. This thing was probably worth at least $10,000, and it was just sitting in his basement in a box until we unpacked it for The Project. It had been there for decades. The boat had sunk by the time we unpacked it though, so maybe he was just saddened by it?

The weirdest thing, by far, was the button duck. I dearly wish I had a photo of it, but this was in the time before (I had) a cell phone camera. So I'll have to describe it: it was a big ceramic duck, probably at least three feet long and two feet tall. It was shit brown -- honestly, the ugliest shade of brown I have ever seen in my life -- glazed, and covered in costume jewelry that had been embedded into the glaze. You know those fake plastic pearls young girls sometimes have as toys? That's basically what this was, the whole body was covered with lines of those fake pearls. Instead of eyes, the buttons had been embedded into the glaze as well. And instead of feet, the duck had brass baby shoes.

We pulled this out of the box and needless to say, had a very long "WTF?" moment. Who would buy something like this? Was it some children's art project gone wrong? Just as we were wondering, the boss came downstairs and saw it. He made a beeline straight for it. He said something like this (probably not an exact quote, but very close): "Oh my goodness. This is marvelous. We need to get this upstairs right away." So he had us bring it up and set it in his foyer so it's literally the first thing guests see when they walk in the door. Later we learned he had paid several thousand dollars for it. WTF.

Did he ever leave his house?

Yes,he wasn't a recluse, he was just weird. He didn't leave often but he would go to the yacht club to eat, to play tennis and to go sailing or (more frequently) watch other people he paid to sail his boat in yacht races.


oh man! where is that shitty watercolor person!

FLUFYgrnBUNYman290 karma




custerc23 karma

OMG. Thank you. This is actually pretty accurate.

(Although I forgot to mention the boots were just fused to the bottom of the duck, so there were no legs like that. That's my fault for initially leaving a less-than-complete description by accident. Sorry!)

moraljto254 karma

In Adventure Time, everyone calls Finn "Finn the Human." Doesn't this imply that there are other humans in Ooo? Or at least evidence of their existence?

custerc382 karma

I have no clue what you're talking about, but my gut says no. It's clear humans are quite rare, otherwise "the human" wouldn't be useful information to include when referring to him. If there are other humans, then, presumably there aren't many. But from what you've said, there's no way to be sure. It's also possible there are no other humans but Finn, at some point, told them that he was a human, and the name came about that way.

edit: btw I respect the use of the AMA to ask questions unrelated to the title. That seems to happen only rarely, and I don't know why. It is, after all, ask me ANYTHING.

Nessmuk212 karma

When working full time, were you required to live in a servant's quarters and serve during odd hours of the night?

If your comfortable saying, what was your rough monthly wage doing this full time?

How did you find the job and what sort of skills were necessary to be hired?

Lastly, whats the most embarrassing, disgusting, or horrible thing you've ever had to do while serving?

custerc628 karma

When working full time, were you required to live in a servant's quarters and serve during odd hours of the night?

No, we were 9-5 most of the time, or sometimes other hours if he needed it but we didn't live there. However, there was a "servant's entrance" we had to use when we entered the house; we weren't permitted to use the regular front door. He also wanted us to wear hospital bootie type things over our shoes when we were inside, but if he wasn't around we usually didn't bother with that.

He did used to have a fill time staff of more like 30 people, and at that time, I believe some of them were around-the-clock, live-on-the-grounds type staff. However, he got in some kind of trouble with the IRS and lost a bunch of his money before I started working for him, so he had scaled back quite a bit.

If your comfortable saying, what was your rough monthly wage doing this full time?

Answered elsewhere. Minimum wage, basically.

How did you find the job and what sort of skills were necessary to be hired?

No real skills required. My uncle had worked for him on his boats sometimes, and I guess he ran into my uncle at the store one day and mentioned he was looking for some new help.

Lastly, whats the most embarrassing, disgusting, or horrible thing you've ever had to do while serving?

Hmm. I always hated polishing things, just because he made us do it constantly and it was utterly unnecessary. Did all fifteen of his pairs of shoes really need to be polished every day? I'm not a shoe expert, but I doubt it.

The must unpleasant I ever felt about how we were treated was when he asked us to polish some leather chairs one morning. We started with other things because (a) the chairs didn't need polishing and (b) no one ever even went into the room they were in anyway.

Around 11:00 he came and yelled at me, called me lazy and a bunch of other crap I don't remember, because I hadn't polished them yet. I told him I was doing something else and would get to it later in the day.

But then, before I could actually get to polishing them, he came by again and said, "Great job, the chairs look much better." No one had touched them whatsoever. it was simultaneously a relief and a reminder that most of what I did was so utterly pointless that even the man assigning me these tasks couldn't tell if they'd been done or not.

Snailians187 karma

How did your boss earn his riches, and what did he do to keep the money flowing in?

custerc300 karma

He earned it from real estate, but by the time I worked for him he was just getting it from owning companies, I think. He served on some boards but he was already old and he definitely wasn't working in any full time capacity. He went to "meetings" sometimes, but half of those were actually just meeting people for golf or tennis at the yacht club. He would go out for meetings sometimes in a ridiculous tennis outfit that looked like he had stolen it from the costume department on the set of a Wes Anderson movie.

I always had the impression that his family already had money anyway, and I know his wife's family had even more money, so he also didn't really need to keep money flowing in. They (especially she) were what they call "old money."

Raspolozenje103 karma

Did he seem like he was a competent businessman? Or was retaining all of that money just accidental?

custerc165 karma

Honestly, I don't really know. He certainly didn't seem all that competent at home, and the fact that he lost all that money in the tax fraud case would seem to indicate he wasn't too great at stealing...hard to know though. I also worked for him when he was pretty old; I suspect he was probably sharper when he was younger.

It definitely helped his family, and his wife's family, were already rich though.

FireDougWojcikNow50 karma

Tax fraud case?

alxq9 karma

My thoughts exactly. Assuming OP delivers further down the page.

Jobusan52494321 karma

I think the tax fraud case was connected to the cataloging project referred to up top...

I don't think this is something the OP could discuss in too much more detail though

custerc14 karma

Not related to the cataloguing project, the tax fraud case was something that happened to him years ago. To be honest I don't know any details about it, it's just something that I heard. However, I believe it to be true because I know that something caused him to have to move to a smaller house and fire most of his staff (and because the information came from a former staffer of his I trust).

But this case took place elsewhere and quite some time ago, I really don't know any details. I always speculated the cataloguing project might have some uses in terms of tax accounting if one was inclined to use it that way, but that's pure speculation on my real idea what he did with it. He just told us to do it, and we did.

clemenzzzz162 karma

Tell me about the puppy.

custerc250 karma

She is a gorgeous 11-week-old german shepherd named Maya. Very feisty, although she's conked out on the floor at the moment. Here's a photo album of her I posted in /r/lookatmydog

(the lady in the photos is not me).

Takochu148 karma

Why was the project a scam?

custerc225 karma

Well, he wanted to know the value of his possessions for insurance, and probably also for some tax writeoffs. However, the appraiser he hired to appraise his stuff was a total crook. He flat-out told us that he put worthless stuff down as "$10,000" because "rich people don't like to be told their stuff is worthless."

We also caught him totally making up numbers when one night he stopped appraising items in a drawer, then went back to the drawer the next day and accidentally re-appraised a vase he had already valued the night before.

Vase's value on Thursday: $50,000.

Same exact vase on Friday? $100,000.

We showed this to our boss -- his appraisals were written by hand on tags we'd made for each item, and signed, so we had hard evidence -- and our boss did not care at all. He just told us to put down the higher number in the catalogue. He clearly didn't give a crap what any of his stuff was actually worth; he just wanted to have a huge total number to report to the insurance company in case anything ever happened.

He had also been previously involved in a tax fraud case as I understand it, so there may have been some tax reasons for this as well. However, I can barely understand my own taxes, so I don't claim to know anything about that, just speculatin'.

Takochu91 karma

Given that he was paying you essentially minimum wage and the glut of very expensive yet abandoned nic nacs he kept in storage were you ever tempted to pocket anything, and did you?

custerc148 karma

Answered elsewhere more thoroughly, but the tl;dr version is yes definitely tempted, but no, never actually did it. Maybe I should have though. Stealing is wrong, but at least I'd have gotten some use out of all that stuff that's (far as I know) mostly still just slowly rotting in his basement...

heardlb127 karma

What is the weirdest thing you saw or heard of him doing?

custerc287 karma

One day I came up from the basement and he was sitting on his back deck having lunch. He was wearing a blue full-body jumpsuit, a bit like astronauts wear (but blue) and a giant hat. It's hard to describe, but imagine a sombrero with -- if possible -- a larger brim but none of the cheery flair. He looked like he was headed for some kind of Mexican Space Station or something, but he was just sitting there eating lunch. It looked really weird.

Oddly, he was a huge fan of home shopping via TV. Or maybe his wife was, but he had all of those TV infomercial type products. Apparently the jumpsuit/hat combo was something he saw on TV. Something about protection from UV rays. I have to admit, it would be hard to get a sunburn in that getup....

He was just generally weird, though. No huge things, just lots of little things. For example, he had an intercom system installed in his house, with a unique phone and phone number for each room. This for his house that (aside from us) he lived in with just his wife.

You can also see this in the memos he wrote for us daily, I posted a couple examples. As you can see, he was a big fan of color, bold, and underlined text for some reason. He would print out three copies of each memo for the three of us 'summer servants' and circle one of our names on each of them, as though we were incapable of reading the same memo or splitting up three identical memos among the three of us without some guidance as to who should get which piece of paper.

There's probably a bunch of other weird stuff too though, I'll keep thinking...

YupThatsADouche330 karma

He circled your names separately on each memo so that, should one of the summer servants start an AMA on the internet, and give away vague details about his life and possessions, and then post the memos for the world to see, he could pinpoint



did it

watch yourself, Tim.

custerc16 karma

LOL. Actually, this is terrible, but I'm not Tim. (You'll be surprised to learn that we didn't really give a crap about which name was circled, since the memos were totally identical anyway).

FranzVonSoxhlet113 karma

Did he keep his urine in jars and wear tissue boxes as shoes?

custerc130 karma

He did not.

edit: Should add: to my knowledge. He wore that jumpsuit/sun hat combo, so I'm pretty sure tissue box shoes is possible.

scottishmoors107 karma

Did you have to do simple stuff for him that he should have been able to do himself?

custerc184 karma

Yes. the job was probably 75-90% simple stuff he could easily have done himself, and then 10-25% stuff that no one needs to do ever, like hand-washing the outside of his house, or washing his cars once a day.

xenokilla84 karma

does he have some awesome cars?

custerc130 karma

At this house, he just had an original VW bug convertible (probably expensive but not really "awesome" by my standards) and a fairly unremarkably luxury sedan, BMW I think. Again, probably expensive, but there wasn't much really flashy or awesome about it.

I only worked at his summer house though, his year-round house was in Florida and my impression is that he had a large garage of cars down there, including some flashier sports cars. Unfortunately, I never got to see them or go down there, though.

gokuak82 karma

besides this cataloguing event, what was another strange thing you had to do?

custerc148 karma

One summer -- when there was a severe drought -- he bought something like 30 trees and had them planted around the property. I don't know what kind of trees they were, but he told us that each of them needed to be watered in such a way that we needed to fill the circule of mulch around them to the brim three times daily. It's hard to describe the process exactly, but basically it entailed having 4-5 hoses running full blast constantly for probably 3 hours to water all these trees...all during a summer when the surrounding area was having water shortages and drought.

Like I said, not sure what kind of trees they were, but I've always felt that he must have been wrong -- how could any tree that exists in nature possibly require that much water each day? I'm pretty sure we were giving them more water than even any rainforest tree would ever get.

ItsTheFeds146 karma

Newly planted trees actually do need to be heavily watered for the first year after transplanting. Their roots aren't developed enough after transplanting to be able to survive without watering. Trees growing in nature have an undisturbed root system and can typically survive on their own without watering.

custerc117 karma

Interesting! So it wasn't totally made up. Hopefully that means he's stopped watering them like that, too...(assuming he hasn't since replaced them with some newer trees, which he probably has).

DutchPrisoner35 karma

So are the trees still there?

custerc60 karma

As far as I'm aware, yes, although I haven't been past there in several years. Last time I drove by they were still there, though (maybe 3-4 years ago). I'm not sure if he's still watering them like that though. I freakin' hope not.

ideapathic81 karma

how much did you get paid?

custerc127 karma

Minimum wage, but he paid us in one giant check at the end of each summer, and he'd usually bump it up to the closest whole number. So, for example, if the minimum wage that year in the state was $6.50, he'd usually end up giving us a check that equaled out to $7/hour.

Spinnakerr85 karma

Why did you do this job?

custerc123 karma

Answered elsewhere, but will try to explain in a less nonsensical way.

Basically, I needed to do something that paid money. Given my age, skills at the time, and most importantly location (very isolated area, not possible to commute elsewhere, very few businesses in the area) I didn't really have any choices. My options were this sort of work, or working for slightly less money (minimum wage without the rounding-up bump) at the local general store. I worked at that store for years too, actually, and one year I worked part time the store job and the servant job at the same time. That sucked.

I know it might sound ridiculous that those could possibly be the only options, but trust me, they really were. This place is very isolated.

Watch_Out_Official61 karma

What were the oddest thing that you found in the house? The oddest thing that he didn't mind you finding and the oddest thing that he didn't want you to find.

custerc92 karma

The oddest thing that he didn't mind you finding...

Answered already, see "button duck" story.

oddest thing that he didn't want you to find.

He really didn't have any secrets, as he thought his life was totally normal and everyone lived like that, basically. He and his wife hated each other, so there was never any sex stuff or anything like that, either.

We did, however, discover at one point that the appraiser he had hired to come and value all his possessions for insurance was a total fraud who was just making numbers up. (The guy valued the same thing two days in a row by accident; somehow it apparently doubled in value overnight!) We took the proof of this (written and signed in the appraiser's own handwriting) to our boss. We also told him the appraiser told us that the appraiser put worthless items down as $10,000 'because rich people don't like to hear their stuff is worthless.' He didn't care at all. He told us to just put down the bigger number in the catalogue and not to mention it again.

Given that this guy had already lost a ton of money after being involved in some tax fraud situation years ago, I thought that was very sketchy.

fosterwallacejr60 karma

Is there any story to tell on how you know him and his wife dislike each other?

custerc10 karma

No one specific thing, but they were just constantly bickering in a very passive-aggressive way. I'll give you an example conversation, though. This is totally made up -- it's been too long for me to remember any one specific argument -- but this kind of thing happened all the time. We'll call them Bob and Sue for convenience (not their real names).

Read this in the most hostile, passive-aggressive tone you can imagine.

Bob: [to us] Let's move this couch up into the guest room.

Sue: Bob, I don't think we want to do that.

Bob: Well, Sue, we don't want to, but we've got to do that because we're moving the other chair in here for the party.

Sue: [to us] Let's just leave the couch here for now, I'm sure we can find somewhere else to put the chair.

Bob: Well, Sue, I think we've just got to move that chair in here, so let's just have them move the couch into the guest room.

Sue: Bob, I just don't think that's a good choice!

Bob: Well, Sue, it may not be a great choice but it's the best choice we have....

At that point, they'd be glaring daggers at each other and would usually remove themselves from our presence and go fight somewhere else (it's bad form to fight around the help). It may seem like a dumb little thing to fight over but this happened basically every time she was involved in any decision-making process with him (that we saw).

oftheninetreehill52 karma

Smithers? Just kidding. Was it a worthwhile experience? What did you gain from it (other than money)? And where you ever resentful of him?

custerc87 karma

Was it a worthwhile experience?

I think so. It was definitely good in terms of keeping me humble, and I got some good stories out of it. Beyond that, I think I also learned a bit about what money can do to people, and how to treat people who are serving you properly.

And were you ever resentful of him?

Yes. We talked in sort-of-jest sometimes about backing a van up to his basement door at night, loading up the stuff, and driving away. We never would have actually done it, but he was kind of a dick, and he had so much valuable stuff that was just doing nothing, it had just been sitting down there since the 80s and was being put to no use. Most of it literally hadn't been seen by anyone in decades before we started unpacking it for The Project. It just seemed like such a waste.

We worked with two people who worked for him year round for years, and they fucking hated him. Absolutely 100% hated. I got the impression they weren't much better paid -- or treated -- than I was, so it sort of makes sense. He was also just a very difficult person to work for in a lot of ways.

MooseV245 karma


custerc91 karma

No, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it. The year we worked on The Project, it was almost immediately clear to us that he had no idea what was in his own basement. We could have stolen virtually anything aside from the customized/personalized stuff and no one would ever have known.

It would have been really easy, too. Because it was in such a remote area, he had no security and we had keys to his basement. Could have just driven a truck up late at night -- he was a heavy sleeper -- and loaded whatever we wanted into it and driven off. As long as we left enough stuff behind, I doubt he'd ever have suspected a thing.

AlphaQ6945 karma

What's your position on taxing the rich? Your boss seemed like he was trying to evade or reduce his taxes, even though he was obviously well off.

custerc132 karma

I'm 100% for taxing the rich. Granted, I'm not rich, so I may be biased. But I think it's entirely fair. This guy could easily have paid a 50% tax rate, probably higher, and still lived the exact same lifestyle. He could have paid a 90% tax rate and still live a life that's more comfortable than you or I will probably ever experience. Why should he be paying a lower tax percentage than me just because he can afford to hire expensive accountants to find loopholes and write-offs everywhere?

(As a sidenote, I assume the guy was a republican just based on his attitude and some things he said, but he never actually talked politics with us. In fact, he never really talked about anything with us beyond what he wanted us to do. Given his history of illegal tax evasion, though, it's obvious he doesn't have any interest in paying a fair tax rate.)

Beericksen43 karma

Was there any spending he did that you thought was completely wasteful?

custerc90 karma

Virtually all of it was completely wasteful. Aside from food, I honestly can't think of a single thing I saw him spend money on that wasn't wasteful.

To try to give you a picture of it, this guy is living with his wife in a house that's got probably 15-20 rooms, all fully furnished with really expensive furniture. Most of these rooms never saw any kind of activity whatsoever. Then in the basement, he had enough stuff to basically furnish another two or three houses; hundreds of thousands of dollars of vases, china, crystal, jewelry, and other crap that was just sitting down there for decades (and, as far as I know, is still sitting down there now that we've catalogued it and put it all back.)

Then there was also a garage, the attic of which was full of even more stuff. We never catalogued that, but I know that among other things, there were very expensive high performance racing sails in there (different from the ones he actually used on his racing sailboat, and very expensive), more china and crystal glassware, lots of expensive but kinda outdated AV equipment, etc.

Mind you, this is at the guy's summer house, so in addition to all this, he has at least one other house down in Florida that's way bigger and has tons more expensive furniture, china, cars, etc. etc.

Aside from fresh food, there was really no reason for him to buy anything ever. But he bought new stuff all the time. While we were working for him, he went on a gadget kick and bought a bunch of Apple laptops (like five or six) and a ton of gadgets and other weird stuff that he saw on TV infomercials. For example, everything we used to clean his cars had the "As Seen On TV!" logo on the box.

elecki42 karma

What's the below stairs/above stairs dynamic like? Is it different from a normal boss/underling relationship? I always thought it'd be weird to either be or have a servant.

custerc77 karma

Yes, it's definitely weird. Well, it was to us anyway. He seemed to quite naturally treat us as underlings. Not in a cruel way most of the time, at least not intentionally, just in a pedantic, I'm-better-than-you-and-that's-the-natural-state-of-things sort of way.

Needless to say, we talked tons of shit about him and his wife (she was worse) behind his back. So did the other people who worked for them. I'm fairly certain resentfulness and derision from the servants is a pretty natural occurrence. Of course, we never let him know we felt that way, though!

eigthaday47 karma

How was the wife worse?

custerc138 karma

She was just a straight-up jerk to everyone, constantly. Just treated everyone horribly. Me, the other staff, delivery guys, and arguably even her own husband. They had super passive aggressive arguments in front of us all the time. (It's bad form to fight in front of the help, so they were trying to hide it). I got the impression she was really mean to him when we weren't around.

My uncle, who had worked on this guys boats for years, still to this day will call her only "Friggin' [her name]." I've never once heard him say just her name, it always has the friggin' prefix. It's well-deserved.

The thing she did to me that permanently cemented my hatred of her was related to The Project I mentioned above. I had spent literally days sorting through their collection of art in an auxiliary storeroom in their basement. They had a ton of paintings that were just laid on racks with no organization whatsoever, and we spent days moving them around into a system that organized them. I printed out a guide (similar to what's depicted in my imgur proof gallery, but that's for a different room) and made it so easy that it was possible to find any specific painting within just a few minutes (previously it could have taken hours).

So we finish all this, and then his wife comes down and without even looking at my system or asking about it, forces us to rearrange everything basically randomly, just according to whatever evil neurons were firing in her brain. It's not that she didn't like our system and wanted something different; she didn't ask or want to know at all. She just made us move everything around for no reason, far as I can tell.

That hurt, since it undid the days of work we had done. But the real kicker was later when she asked us to find a specific painting and then got mad when we couldn't locate it quickly enough.

Maxables6 karma

Did you ever do anything secret to 'get back' at her, or her husband? Apologies if this was already asked, and good on you if the answer is no.

custerc10 karma

No I never did, nor did the other guys I was with. We did used to discuss fantasies of what we would do (fire her out of a cannon into the sun, for example) but we never did anything.

Greggywegs23 karma

What was the most eccentric thing he has done or does regularly?

custerc53 karma

Well it varies but when I was there he was on a kick of buying all those infomercial products you see on TV. Tons of them. We ended up using a lot of them, actually, since there are lots of cleaning/lawn type products that he'd never actually use himself. But for some reason he just bought them anyway. There was a big stack of them in the garage and more of them around the house.

He also was obsessed with washing and polishing things, or rather, having us do that. We washed his cars nearly daily, even when they hadn't left the garage or been driven since the last time. Polished his shoes also almost every day. Totally unnecessary and usually he couldn't even tell the difference before/after. But he REALLY wanted it done anyway.

He also had some weird obsession with lighting fires in fireplaces with one match. This was summer, mind you, so there was no reason to ever have a fire anyway, but he wanted us to elaborately set up wood and kindling in all of his fireplaces in such a way that he could light one match at any time and it would just "automatically" turn into a comfy roaring fireplace fire. And even though it was summer, he seemed to light fires fairly often, or maybe he just threw the wood out...we had to redo these frequently.

Will edit in more later if/when I think of them.

selvenknowe20 karma

What kept you going back? Was there anything you liked about him? How did he get wealthy enough to pay multiple people in multiple houses to do ridiculous tasks? Did he treat you well?

custerc38 karma

What kept you going back?

Needed money, and this particular location was such that there really weren't many other jobs available. It was in an isolated and hard-to-get-to area which was where I lived, so my options were basically that or work in the local general store. (I also worked in the local general store for several years, and met plenty of weirdos there too...). Sorry this is so vague, but I don't want to give away the place it was, so this may not make any sense.

How did he get wealthy enough to pay multiple people in multiple houses to do ridiculous tasks?

Real estate, apparently mostly in Texas. I believe by the time I worked for him he owned several companies and had sold others. He was probably also involved in other businesses, but the main one was real estate.

Did he treat you well?

Depended on his mood, really. He could be an asshole sometimes, but mostly he was just totally oblivious, so he treated us kind of like you'd expect a "servant" to be treated, I guess. Most of the time he wasn't really mean or degrading, but he was (unintentionally) I think really insulting and pedantic just in the way that he dealt with us. You can probably see that a little bit from the memos that he wrote; unnecessarily detailed and copied in triplicate with a name circled on each if we were too stupid to figure out that of the three of us named at the top, each one gets their own copy.

Ceramic_owl15 karma

I used to fly a rich eccentric's plane. What a job. I kept feeling like I was being paid to hang out with him because his attitude offended and annoyed people. Like dealing with a $100 million dollar 5 year old.

custerc9 karma

do an AMA!

Sapporoham8 karma


custerc24 karma

He did require us to wear cloth "booties" over our shoes when moving from outside to inside so as not to track dirt around (not that we would), but other than that, nope.

sugarfig7 karma

How did you find this job? What were the qualifications he was looking for?

custerc19 karma

How I found it is answered elsewhere (tl;dr via my uncle). In terms of qualifications he was looking for...a pulse? I'm not sure. It wasn't something I even interviewed for, he just said come by and do this stuff and if you do it well then you can keep working here, basically. So I did. But the vast majority of what we did (washing, polishing, moving stuff around, arranging furniture, building fires in fireplaces, etc. etc.) doesn't require any special skills. Anybody could do it.

big-karim6 karma

You said your boss bought a lot of infomercial stuff, which I'm sure most normal people rarely do (or at least, I don't). So I'm curious: Was any of that infomercial stuff actually good/useful? Did you enjoy using it? How much of it was total crap?

custerc7 karma

Actually, I was amazed at how useful some of it was. Some of it was really good. I had always assumed it was just total crap and that was why you couldn't get it in real stores, but a lot of it worked pretty well. He had a couple hoses that were made of some weird cloth and could be wound up and flattened into a plastic container for easy storage; we used those all the time and they were great except that because they flattened easily and the material was different from a regular hose, they could get pinched very easily. He also had some as seen on TV car washing stuff that we used pretty frequently. Seemed to work well.