Some people spend hours and days surfing the internet, hoping to find encouragement or laughter or just something to fill the time. Most of the time we have varying levels of success, but sometimes we absolutely hit the jackpot.
Now, the jackpot might not be what you expected, and it might not even be pleasant, but listen – if you can’t forget it, I’d argue that you still won.
These 5 people are passing the winnings along to all of us!
5. How this person explained relative wealth.
I can answer this one. For some reason, I attract these people into my life. I don’t do anything super extraordinary. I am not famous. But I count many people with ultra high net wealth among my close friends and I have spent more time than even I can believe with 8 different billionaires. This is not just meet-and-greet time. This is small group and even one-to-one time. I dated the daughter of one billionaire several decades ago. So I have gotten a peek into this life.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. There are gradations of rich. I see four major breaking points:
Worth $10mm-$30mm liquid (exclusive of value of primary residence). At this level, your needs are met. You can live very comfortably at a 4-star/5-star level. You can book a $2000 suite for a special occasion. You can fly first class internationally (sometimes). You have a very nice house, you can afford any healthcare you need, no emergency financial situation can destroy your life. But you are not “rich” in the way that money doesn’t matter. You still have to be prudent and careful with most decisions unless you are on the upper end of this scale, where you truly are becoming insulated from personal financial stress. (Business stress exists at all levels). The banking world still doesn’t classify you as ‘ultra high net worth’
Net worth of $30mm-$100mm
At this point, you start playing with the big boys. You can fly private (though you normally charter a flight or own a jet fractionally through Net Jets or the like), You stay at 5 star hotels, you have multiple residences, you vacation in prime time (you rent a ski-in, ski-out villa in Aspen for Christmas week or go to Monaco for the grand Prix, or Canne for the Film Festival–for what its worth, rent on these places can run $5k-20k+ per NIGHT.), you run or have a controlling interest in a big company, you socialize with Congressmen, Senators and community leaders, and you are an extremely well respected member in any community outside the world’s great cities. (In Beverly Hills, you are a minor player at $80 million. Unless you really throw your weight around and pay out the nose, you might not get a table at the city’s hottest restaurant). You can buy any car you want. You have personal assistants and are starting to have ‘people’ that others have to talk to to get to you. You can travel ANYWHERE in any style. You can buy pretty much anything that normal people think of as ‘rich people stuff’
I know its a wide range, but life doesn’t change much when you go from being worth $200mm-$900mm. At this point, you have a private jet, multiple residences with staff, elite cars at each residence, ownership or significant control over a business/entity that most of the public has heard of, if its your thing, you can socialize with movie stars/politicians/rock stars/corporate elite/aristocracy. You might not get invite to every party, but you can go pretty much everywhere you want. You definitely have ‘people’ and staff. The world is full of ‘yes men’. Your ability to buy things becomes an art. One of your vacation home may be a 5 bedroom villa on acreage in Cabo, but that’s not impressive. You own a private island? Starting to be cool, but it depends on the island. You just had dinner with Senator X and Governor Y at your home? Cool. But your billionaire friend just had dinner with the President. You have a new Ferrari? Your friend thinks their handling sucks and has a classic, only-five-exist-in-the-world-type of car. Did I mention women? Because at this level, they are all over the place. Every event, most parties. The polo club. Ultra-hot, world class, smart women. Power and money are an aphrodisiac and you have it in spades. Anything thing you want from women at this point you will find a willing and beautiful partner. You might not emotionally connect, but damn, she’s hot. One thing that gets rare at this level? friends and family that love you for who you are. They exist, but it is pretty damn hard to know which ones they are.
I am going to exclude the $10b+ crowd, because they live a head-of-state life. But at $1b, life changes. You can buy anything. ANYTHING. In broad terms, this is what you can buy:
Access. You now can just ask your staff to contact anyone and you will get a call back. I have seen this first hand and it is mind-blowing the level of access and respect $1 billion+ gets you. In this case, I wanted to speak with a very well-known billionaire businessman (call him billionaire #1 for a project that interested billionaire #2. I mentioned that it would be good to talk to billionaire #1 and B2 told me that he didn’t know him. But he called his assistant in. “Get me the xxxgolf club directory. Call B1 at home and tell him I want to talk to him.” Within 60 minutes, we had a call back. I was in B1’s home talking to him the next day. B2’s opinion commanded that kind of respect from a peer. Mind blowing. The same is true with access to almost any Senator/Governor of a billionaires party (because in most cases, he is a significant donor). You meet on an occasional basis with heads-of-state and have real conversations with them. Which leads to
Influence. Yes, you can buy influence. As a billionaire, you have many ways to shape public policy and the public debate, and you use them. This is not in any evil way. the ones I know are passionate about ideas and are trying to do what they feel is best (just like you would). But they just had an hour with the Governor privately, or with the Secretary of Health, or the buy ads or lobbyists. The amount of influence you have can be heady.
Time. Yes, you can buy time. You literally never wait for anything. Travel? you fly private. Show up at the airport, sit down in the plane and the door closes and you take off in 2 minutes, and fly directly to where you are going. The plane waits for you. If you decide you want to leave at anytime, you drive (or take a helicopter to the airport and you leave. The pilots and stewardess are your employees. They do what you tell them to do. Dinner? Your driver drops you off at the front door and waits a few blocks away for however long you need. The best table is waiting for you. The celebrity chef has prepared a meal for you (because you give him so much catering business he wants you VERY happy) and he ensures service is impeccable. Golf? Your club is so exclusive there is always a tee time and no wait. Going to the Superbowl or Grammy’s? You are whisked behind velvet ropes and escorted past any/all lines to the best seats in the house.
Experiences. Dream of it and you can have it. Want to play tennis with Pete Sampras (not him in particular, but that type of star)? Call his people. For a donation of $100k+ to his charity, you could probably play a match with him. Like Blink182? There is a price where they would simply come play at your private party. Love art? Your people could arrange for the curator of the Louvre to show you around and even show you masterpieces that have not been exhibited in years. Love Nascar? How about racing the top driver on a closed track? Love science? Have a dinner with Bill Nye and Neil dGT. Love politics? have Hillary Clinton come speak at a dinner for you and your friends, just pay her speaking fee. Your mind is the only limit to what is available. Because donations/fees get you anyone.
The same is true with stuff. You like pianos? How about owning one Mozart used to compose music on? This is the type of stuff you can do.
IMPACT. Your money can literally change the world and change lives. It is almost too much of a burden to think about. Clean water for a whole village forever? chump change. A dying child need a transplant? Hell…you could just build and fund a hospital and do it for a region.
RESPECT. The respect you get at this level is just over-the-top. You are THE MAN in almost every circle. Governors look up to you. Fortune 500 CEOs look up to you. Presidents and Kings look at you as a peer.
PERSPECTIVE. The wealthiest person I have spent time with makes about $400mm/year. i couldn’t get my mind around that until I did this: OK–let’s compare it with someone who makes $40,000/year. It is 10,000x more. Now let’s look at prices the way he might. A new Lambo–$235,000 becaome $23.50. First class ticket internationally? $10,000 becomes $1. A full time executive level helper? $8,000/month becomes $0.80/month. A $10mm piece of art you love? $1000. Expensive, so you have to plan a bit. A suite at the best hotel in NYC $10,000/night is $1/night. A $50million home in the Hamptons? $5,000. There is literally nothing you can’t buy except.
Love. Sorry to sound so trite, but it is nearly impossible to have a normal emotional relationship at this level. It is hard to sacrifice for another person when you are never asked to sacrifice ANYTHING. Money can solve all problems for someone, so you offer it, because there is so much else to do. Your time is SOOOO valuable that you ration it. And that makes you lose connections with people.
Anyway, that is a really long answer, but I have a very unique perspective because I have seen behind the curtain of the great and mighty OZ. just wanted to share.
4. How poop socks almost ruined a relationship.
TL;DR: Found my gym socks in the garbage covered in poop. Asked girlfriend about it. She started yelling at me and crying and left.
I don’t even know where to start with this. I’m dumbfounded. She just stormed out the house and I’m sitting on the bed asking myself A LOT of questions.
I live a pretty normal life, and I thought so did my girlfriend. We’ve been together for a few months and after things got serious, we moved in together. We started sharing a lot of the household responsibilities, but the one thing she was adamant on doing was the laundry. She would come home and find me in the bedroom getting the laundry together and would quickly ask me to go do something else. I’d come back to finish the laundry and she would have already started it. I always thought it was sweet and never her job to do it alone, but hey, if it makes her happy to do it all the time, I wouldn’t stop her.
This is where it takes a turn for the weird. I keep all my socks and underwear in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I also go to the gym frequently, so I always keep a good supply of clean gym socks ready to go. I never kept count, but I know by just a visual glance I several pairs. This morning when I went to grab a fresh pair to pack for the gym, I noticed there were several dress socks, but no gym socks. Again, not weird, they must have been in the laundry. I went to check the laundry basket and it was empty, so I checked the washing machine and dryer. Both were empty. I couldn’t figure out where all of my gym socks had gone. So, I did the very natural thing of asking my girlfriend what had happened to them. After all, she is the one who does the laundry all the time. She went silent, turned red and ran out of the room. When I went after her to see if she was okay she wouldn’t talk to me. I told her I wasn’t mad, I was just looking for my socks. She kinda mumbled “I’ll don’t know.” I still wasn’t mad, of course, but I was super confused. Socks just don’t disappear. So I asked her again, even laughed about it and she just looked at me and got mad and said “I’ll buy you new ones!”
The first thought that went through my head was she had somehow managed to destroy my socks while washing them. I thought the sight of that was actually pretty funny, so I joked with her about ruining my socks. Wrong. Thing. To. Say. She started immediately crying. Like, full on sobbing. At this point I don’t care about the socks anymore, I want to know what’s wrong with my girlfriend. I sat down next to her on the bed and put my arm around her and asked her of she was okay. She just kept saying she was sorry and that she would buy me new socks. I tried assuring her again it was okay. Even went so far as to say I would buy new socks and she didn’t have to. I sat with her for a few minutes trying to calm her down and eventually had to get ready for work. I told her loved her and got my things together to leave for the day.
On my way out I grabbed the garbage to take outside. When I got outside I lifted the lid off the garbage can and I noticed a small plastic bag sitting on top of the garbage already in there. I could see through the bag (kind of the semi see through ones) there were socks in the bag. Since I was sure she had somehow managed to ruin the socks washing them, I wanted to see for myself. I opened the bag and immediately regretted my choice. There, inside the bag, were several pairs of my gym socks covered in what looked like poop. As soon as the smell hit me I knew it WAS POOP.
We don’t own any pets.
We don’t have any kids.
WHOSE POOP WAS ON MY SOCKS?
Work could wait. I couldn’t go the rest of the day wondering why my gym socks were covered in poop and inside a plastic bag in the garbage can. I grabbed the bag and walked back inside. As soon as my girlfriend saw the bag she flipped out and started yelling at me. She said I shouldn’t be going through the garbage and that I was disgusting for bringing it back into the house. I asked her to calm down and that I just wanted an answer as to why there was poop on my socks. I wasn’t blaming her of anything, but she started accusing me of blaming her. That’s when it clicked. I don’t know what it was that lead me to ask this, but everything leading up to this moment had just been so crazy. I asked her “Is this your poop?” She started sobbing again and ran out of the house. I didn’t go after her this time.
So, now I am sitting on my bed with a bag a poopy socks on the floor and a lot of questions in my head. The only conclusion is that she used them after going to the bathroom. Which that alone has its own set of questions above everything else. I sent her text asking her to come back.
She hasn’t responded yet. I don’t even know what I’m going to say when (IF) she gets back.
3. That time someone posted in the fantasy football subreddit asking for relationship advice.
First time asking for relationship advice online, so bear with me.
I have been with my gf for about 5 years. We both still live at home with parents while going to college. Over 5 years, we have had very happy moments, but also some bad moments.
One thing about her that has always driven me nuts is that she is ALWAYS late to everything. I mean like a daily thing. If we planned to see friends at 3pm, she wont be ready till 6pm.
It also extends to doing things on time. For example, this is the 3rd year in a row she did not give me a gift for on my bday, saying she has it ready but she’ll give it to me later. Well, its been about 2 months since. Another example is this past Saturday, we we’re supposed to dress up for Halloween and meet friends for a night out at 5pm, yet she wasn’t ready until 9pm, at which time my friends were all long gone.
I realize some people just make a habit of being late, but it’s been 5 years and I am not joking when I say this happens every other time we see each other. The worst part for me is that she will always have a random excuse and won’t admit fault at being late. She’ll blame traffic, her parents, got an important phone call, etc.
This has really gotten on my nerves and we’ve argued about this several times before. Before I met her, I was sort of a perfectionist and would usually be on time to mostly everything, but ever since I met her I have become more and more like her. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to make plans with her because I just get lazy at the thought of her.
She is a very caring, nice girl and I do love her, but I am at a point where I’ve basically had enough of this. On 3 seperate occasions, I’ve been really close to breaking up with her over this before but she has made false promises of changing this behavior.
Am I overreacting or is this a legitimate reason to break up?
tl:dr Over past 5 years gf has constantly been late and seems to always make excuses.
Should we break up over this?
2. A very goofy smile.
I have one moment that stands out above all the rest. I was waiting for someone to ask me this question. It’s the reason I left a good job as a VIP Tourguide and moved to the Character Department.
I was working City Hall one day when two guests came in with two little girls. One was in a wheel chair and the other one looked like she had just seen death. Both were cut and bruised and the one in the wheelchair had her arm in a cast. The two women were actually nurses from a hospital and were asking for a refund on the girl’s tickets, something we avoided doing at all costs. When I asked why they told me the story. The two girls were with their mom and dad at Epcot and on the way home they got into a horrible car accident. The mother was beheaded right in front of them. The father eventually died too but the two girls didn’t know that yet. They were from overseas and had no money and no contact information for anyone they knew. They were bringing the tickets back to get the girls some much needed money to help get them back home. My heart absolutely sunk. If you had seen these girls you’d know why. They were truly traumatized. I refunded their tickets and got permission to be their private tour guide for the rest of the day (which they were not expecting). I walked them to the VIP viewing area for the parade which was as far as I could walk them in the costume we used to wear at City Hall. I had to leave them there while I put on my VIP costume. On the way down I pulled out every kid joke I could think of. I was a REALLY good tour guide (I helped write part of it) and I knew how to make kids smile. Nothing worked. These girls were too far gone for that. I left them at the bridge to go change, walked backstage and bawled my eyes out. I just had never seen something so horrible. I was truly affected and it was a terrible feeling of powerlessness not being able to fix the situation. When I came back I brought them to get ice-cream, take them on rides and stuff but they never smiled, not once. The nurses were loving it and were trying to get them into it but it just wasn’t working. We went back to the bridge to watch the parade. It was there that I honestly saw true magic. Real magic, not bulls**t. I had called the parade department to let them know what was going on and set up a private meet and greet after the parade. As the parade was coming around Liberty Square I told the girls that I had called Mickey and told him all about them. I told them that Mickey asked to meet them after the parade.
The little girl in the wheelchair smiled.
“Really?” she asked. My heart skipped. “Yes, really! He told me to tell you to look out for him in the parade and to follow the float back to City Hall.”
The other girl smiled.
“You mean right now?” she asked.
It had worked. They were talking. Not laughing, but talking. It was the first time I had heard them speak. Every single parade performer came up to them on the bridge and told them to look out for Mickey. Every one of them told them that. When Mickey’s float came up Mickey (who was attached to a pole at the top of the float) managed to turn her body sideways, look down at the girls and point towards Main Street. That was all it took. The girls were excited now. They had forgotten about death. They were lost in a magical world and I couldn’t believe I was watching it unfold in front of my eyes. We followed that float all the way back to City Hall, singing “Mickey Mania” the whole way. Back then, City Hall used to have a VIP lounge behind the desk that was for privacy during difficult situations or to host celebrities. I took them in and showed them the book where all of the autographs were. They were eating it up.
The girl who was Mickey that day got down off her float and without even taking her head off walked up to me backstage and said “Let’s go.” I walked in with Mickey behind me so I got to see the exact moment the girls met their new friend. They got shy but Mickey was in control now. Those girls met the REAL Mickey Mouse that day. Every single parade character stayed dressed to meet those girls. One by one they’d come in and play a bit then leave. We were in that lounge for over an hour. Mickey stayed in costume the entire time (which is hard to do after a parade). When Mickey finally said goodbye I had two excited girls on my hands that couldn’t stop smiling. They talked and talked and talked. We had a wonderful day after that but what I remember most is when we walked by the rose garden, the older one said “Oh, my mommy loves roses! I mean…” and she stopped. I held out my hand and walked her to the gate, picked her up and put her on the other side and said “Pick one!” She looked happy as she picked out her favorite rose.
She didn’t say anything more and she didn’t need to. I said goodbye to the wonderful nurses and the wonderful girls then walked backstage behind the train station. This time I didn’t cry. It felt so good to be a part of that. I realized that as much as I liked helping guests at City Hall, the true magic of Disney was in the character department. I auditioned, transferred and never looked back. Thanks for letting me relive this. It was a special day for me.
1. This priceless advice from an ex-insurance claim adjuster.
Hey OP… I used to be the guy who worked for insurance companies, and determined the value of every little thing in your house. The guy who would go head-to-head with those fire-truck-chasing professional loss adjusters. I may be able to help you not get screwed when filing your claim.
Our goal was to use the information you provided, and give the lowest damn value we can possibly justify for your item.
For instance, if all you say was “toaster” — we would come up with a cheap-as-fuck $4.88 toaster from Walmart, meant to toast one side of one piece of bread at a time. And we would do that for every thing you have ever owned. We had private master lists of the most commonly used descriptions, and what the cheapest viable replacements were. We also had wholesale pricing on almost everything out there, so really scored cheap prices to quote. To further that example:
If you said “toaster – $25” , we would have to be within -20% of that… so, we would find something that’s pretty much dead-on $20.01.
If you said “toaster- $200” , we’d kick it back and say NEED MORE INFO, because that’s a ridiculous price for a toaster (with no other information given.)
If you said “toaster, from Walmart” , you’re getting that $4.88 one.
If you said “toaster, from Macys” , you’d be more likely to get a $25-35 one.
If you said “toaster”, and all your other kitchen appliances were Jenn Air / Kitchenaid / etc., you would probably get a matching one.
If you said “Proctor Silex 42888 2-Slice Toaster from Wamart, $9”, you just got yourself $9.
If you said “High-end Toaster, Stainless Steel, Blue glowing power button” … you might get $35-50 instead.
We had to match all features that were listed.
I’m not telling you to lie on your claim. Not at all. That would be illegal, and could cause much bigger issues (i.e., invalidating the entire claim). But on the flip side, it’s not always advantageous to tell the whole truth every time. Pay attention to those last two examples.
I remember one specific customer… he had some old, piece of s**t projector (from mid-late 90s) that could stream a equally piece of s**t consumer camcorder. Worth like $5 at a scrap yard. It had some oddball f**king resolution it could record at, though — and the guy strongly insisted that we replace with “Like Kind And Quality” (trigger words). Ended up being a $65k replacement, because the only camera on the market happened to be a high-end professional video camera (as in, for shooting actual movies). $65-goddam-thousand-dollars because he knew that loophole, and researched his s**t.
Remember to list f**king every — even the most mundane f**king bulls**t you can think of. For example, if I was writing up the shower in my bathroom:
- Designer Shower Curtain – $35
- Matching Shower Curtain Liner for Designer Shower Curtain – $15
- Shower Curtain Rings x20 – $15
- Stainless Steel Soap Dispenser for Shower – $35
- Natural Sponge Loofah – from Whole Foods – $15
- Natural Sponge Loofah for Back – from Whole Foods – $19
- Holder for Loofahs – $20
- Bars of soap – from Lush – $12 each (qty: 4)
- Bath bomb – from Lush – $12
- High end shampoo – from salon – $40
- High end conditioner – from salon – $40
- Refining pore mask – from salon – $55
I could probably keep thinking, and bring it up to about $400 for the contents of my shower. Nothing there is “unreasonable” , nothing there is clearly out of place, nothing seems obviously fake. The prices are a little on the high-end, but the reality is, some people have expensive s**t — it won’t actually get questioned. No claims adjuster is going to bother nitpicking over the cost of f**king Lush bath bombs, when there is a 20,000 item file to go through. The adjuster has other s**t to do, too.
Most people writing claims for a total loss wouldn’t even bother with the shower (it’s just some used soap and sponges..) — and those people would be losing out on $400.
Some things require documentation & ages. If you say “tv – $2,000″ — you’re getting a 32” LCD, unless you can provide it was from the last year or two w/ receipts. Hopefully you have a good paper trail from credit/debit card expenditure / product registrations / etc.
If you’re missing paper trails for things that were legitimately expensive — go through every photo you can find that was taken in your house. Any parties you may have thrown, and guests put pics up on Facebook. Maybe an Imgur photo of your cat, hiding under a coffee table you think you purchased from Restoration Hardware. Like… seriously… come up with any evidence you possibly can, for anything that could possibly be deemed expensive.
The fire-truck chasing loss adjusters are evil sons of bitches, but, they actually do provide some value. You will definitely get more money, even if they take a cut. But all they’re really doing, is just nitpicking the ever-living-s**t out of everything you possibly owned, and writing them all up “creatively” for the insurance company to process.
Sometimes people would come back to us with “updated* claims. They tried it on their own, and listed stuff like “toaster”, “microwave”, “tv” .. and weren’t happy with what they got back. So they hired a fire-truck chaser, and re-submitted with “more information.” I have absolutely seen claims go from under $7k calculated, to over $100k calculated. (It’s amazing what can happen when people suddenly “remember” their entire wardrobe came from Nordstrom.)
I don’t know if I’m the same person now, but thanks?
What’s the wildest ride you’ve ever taken online? Tell us about it in the comments!