back to article Tech bribes: What's the WORST one you've ever been offered?

Some tickets to a Bros reunion gig in return for a favourable article? £1,500 to do a straight rewrite of a press release? Or some "free" man perfume from Kaspersky called Eau d'Eugene. Just what would you accept as a gift bribe to do someone's corporate bidding? OK – I'll 'fess up – Reg Towers was not invited to glory in some …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Why don't you just tell them...

    To sock off...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why don't you just tell them...

      The sock puppets?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why don't you just tell them...

        There are other good uses for socks. The same innuendo twice on the same day no less.

        1. BillG

          Re: Why don't you just tell them...

          Back in the 90's I was an FAE for a semiconductor company. The woman that was the head buyer at one of our Fortune 500 customers really liked the guy that was our director of marketing. She indicated she would send millions of dollars of business our way if she could have an intimate weekend with him.

          Rumor is when our division VP heard of this, his response was "I'll pay for the hotel".

  2. tfewster

    Most misdirected bribe?

    I once got a free track day. Lots of fun activities, but the best was driving old Ford Cortinas on a skid-pan. At the end of the day, I strolled back to the 10 year old Cortina I'd driven there, and reflected that the hosts had completely misjudged my ability to influence purchasing policy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most misdirected bribe?

      I'll take your Cortina and raise you a 600bhp AMG Merc...

      Like you, I have no influence whatsoever. If I had, I would of used their services, not because of the bribes, but because they were genuinely a better company...but the ones with best liars, sorry sales team, won.

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth

        Re: Most misdirected bribe?

        For a couple of years, my job title was "Infrastructure Coordinator (UNIX)", and was visible to the open internet. This then meant that quite a few of the dimmer salesdroids would phone me up on the assumption that I was the bloke in charge of the infrastructure of a major university.

        Sad to say, I never bothered leading these gimps on, not least because to do would involve cutting a particularly unpleasant manager of my acquaintance in on the deal.

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Most misdirected bribe?

          I was unofficialy looking at vendors who had products that would replace the DOS software we currently relied on. I had two software products on the cards one was a Windows version of the DOS product we used already and the second was from a new vendor. The windows version of the legacy software was actually just the same as the original. It still had all the faults and things that people hated with no attempt apparently being made to improve it. The second company was streets ahead and their software was far better than anything we'd used before. They also had a willingness to make modifications/include features and functionality if we asked them nicely which was a revelation.

          Both companies had sent people to London to see me and to answer any questions I might have. Despite explaining that I wasn't going to be swayed by anything other than the software both had taken me out for lunch. I'd already made up my mind which product I preferred and I would be sticking to that come hell or high water. One took me to a very nice full service restaurant in Soho with a decent meal including desert and drinks (soft in my case). The other took me to Pret a Manger for lunch buying me a sandwich and a Coca-Cola. Unsurprisingly it was the new guys who were the former and the existing bunch the latter.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Most misdirected bribe?

      Worst bribes:

      A "Bendy Bill" toy from Microsoft: Memo for MSFT: giving the head of a UK Government IT department a soft toy doesn't work. Try a peerage next time.

      From a certain anti virus company: Lunch and drinks at Oxford v Surrey at The Oval. If we had been required to do a Mexican Wave then there would have been a problem - there were only 28 of us present and 24 were the players and umpires.

      Visit to a gay pole-dancing bar in Manchester. Still not at all sure why we were invited there, perhaps the Cloud suppliers were trying to tell us something.

      My favourite: an IT supplier rep who had forgotten his corporate AMEX card and so we had to pay for our own corporate "hospitality" by his company. He then rings me up the next day to ask me for my receipts so that he could claim back the costs for himself.

      The best bribes are another story ...

  3. big_D Silver badge


    My "best" bribe was from Microsoft, a T-Shirt and "Business at the Speed of Thought" from a certain Bill Gates... :-D

    1. Bob Wheeler

      Re: Speed...

      I attended a MS event at Ascot race course and was given a VHS of the "Independence Day" film (the original) about a week or so before it was released in the cinema.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Speed...

      I had a windows xp baseball cap that MSFT gave me. Not a bad cap actually but I only ever wore it on holiday.

    3. asdf

      Re: Speed...

      My most blatant bribe was actually long ago as a pizza driver when I turned down a $30 tip to not take a check from a customer who had bounced numerous checks in the past. Cool story I know but bored on a Friday.

    4. Nick Kew

      Re: T-shirt

      Among my collection of conference-freebies is a TripAdvisor T-shirt.

      One to wear when checking into a hotel for the next conference!

  4. Franco Silver badge

    I never got my Sophos socks either, I do have a Naked Security t-shirt though which is in a pile of vendor t-shirts to only be used when painting/working on the car etc.

    Symantec used to be very good for swag, I've still got a travel mug and various other bits and pieces from them and have also won a few prizes in the draws at their events.

    Microsoft are pretty poor conversely, other than pens and USB sticks they gave away the oddest swag for attending an event. I was at the Windows 8 roadshow in Glasgow and they said every attendee would get a free first aid kit. We all assumed over coffee that this was health check and readiness and upgrade tools and the like, but no, it was an actual first aid kit of the type available in a petrol station with £10 of fuel, just with a Microsoft logo on the case.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      First aid kit...

      Typical M$. Sticking plaster solutions.

    2. Calum Morrison

      I was at that event and got the same kit too. I needed it for repairing the damage done after repeatedly banging my head off the desk after using Windows 8 and TIFKAM. IIRC, the guys at that event were wide-eyed poster boys for how great everything (even the charms bar) was. I remember wondering how they felt after the reverse ferret that was Windows 10 that launched mere months later...

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Oh yeah, they were all wearing kilts and had that overbearing aura of enthusiasm that comes from not having been punched in the face enough.

        1. Calum Morrison

          That was the one. Maybe they're still running about somewhere extolling the benefits of Windows 8? Who knows; the main thing I took from that day was getting photos of Andrea Pirlo and Pavel Nedved in the lobby as they were in the hotel too. I think they were getting ready to play Celtic rather than install Windows 8 though.

          1. Franco Silver badge

            I'd forgotten that, a guy next to me asked his pal why all these posers were wandering around trying to look like footballers only to be told by his mate that it was the Juventus players going to the gym. Getting out of the hotel was a nightmare too cos of autograph seekers at the door.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          overbearing aura of enthusiasm that comes from not having been punched in the face enough

          Or as the result of the drugs prescribed after the aforementioned punching..

          Although, in my experience Sales and Marketing[1] types are entirely too thick-skinned and up themselves to take the hint.

          Sadly, my current jobs doesn't allow me to be rude to the poor dears when they phone up to flog me the latest tat. Not that I have any ability to buy said tat.

          [1] Never to be mistaken for each other apparently. Or so I've been told. Although it was a sales type that told me that marketing's job was to hold the customers down while sales screws them..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "[1] Never to be mistaken for each other apparently. Or so I've been told. Although it was a sales type that told me that marketing's job was to hold the customers down while sales screws them.."

            They come from the same B Ark. Marketing are sales guys who can either draw pretty pictures or write a document with at least three complete sentences and fewer than 8 misspelled words per paragraph.

            Sales guys are marketing guys that look ok in a suit, know to shower every day, and can remember everyone's name after meeting them one time.

          2. JimboSmith Silver badge

            At one place I worked at they had a "back to the floor" event where the senior management team had to do the job of a person in their division. So the finance director was sent out with one of the sales team to negotiate a deal. The negotiations didn't take that long and he was expecting to go back to the office with sales bloke. However the rest of them were expecting to go to a bar and get rat arsed. He was even more surprised when it turned out that the sales bloke was expected to pay for this afternoon of boozing and planned to do so with his corporate card. The FD had it explained to him by the other side that this was an integral part of the sales process. He raised this with the head of sales and was told effectively to mind his own business.

            At University I was bribed with the chance to view hardcore porn (back when it was still illegal) if I would loan someone my VCR. I was going away for a few days and said they could borrow it but it was to come back in the same condition as it was when I gave it to them. Didn't know what could happen to it but really didn't want it damaged at all.

            Years later I was sent tickets to the Erotica show in London by a PR firm and to this day I don't know why. I felt the need to report that one to my boss in case it became something useful for blackmail purposes by someone else. We sent them back registered post to avoid any chance of that.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              I got a free packet of mints at a Windows 8 launch event. I couldn't work out how to open it. Which really summed up the TIFKAM devs attitude to users, as it turned out.

    3. David Neil


      Still got that first aid kit in my cupboard, gets me some odd looks when i go looking for something and it falls out.

      Oh, and you reminded me I almost wandered into the breakfast bar they had setup for the Juve players that morning, did get a nice selfie with Buffon though, my Son is a goalie and was very happy for me/jealous as hell

    4. collinsl

      I once got a chocolate bar from Microsoft at a uni recruiting event - sadly it was full of bugs.

      Mine's the one with the redhat logo on the pocket...

    5. Andrew Moore

      When Microsoft borged Visio I was invited to their relaunch event and everyone got a free copy of the latest version, with permanent license key. Which was nice.

    6. WallMeerkat

      Went to the Irish Vista and 7 launches, got free copies of both. No first aid kit though.

    7. Tom Paine

      Symantec refugee speaks

      Tchotchke got showered on us to the extent it became tedious and annoying. Aluminium bike water bottles? Well, maybe 5% of us cycle...

      Having said that -- I'm still wearing two (count ';em!) Symc-branded fleeces they handed out when they renamed our borged BU to Symantec Something. I lost the other one... they put us though, IIRC, four different brands in two years and a half years.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Symantec refugee speaks

        "maybe 5% of us cycle"

        But 100% of you drink water. Shirley you're not one of those poor schmucks who think that water only comes in hermetically sealed plastic bottles?

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Think yourselvess lucky

    I would not be surprised to learn that El Reg hacks receive soiled underwear from cheesed off venders 'after' some articles have been published.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: Think yourselvess lucky

      Or the odd horse head...

  6. jake Silver badge

    First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

    The worst one I've ever been offered? A guy offered me his daughter in return for covering up some really bad business decisions ... and he was dead serious. I reported him, but he was a diplomat and considered "untouchable". I no longer do business with outfits headquartered in third-world nations which export oil. Can't stomach it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

      His daughter wasn't a looker then? She was as untouchable as him?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        Does it matter to you what his daughter looked like? Really?

        1. Death_Ninja

          Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

          "Does it matter to you what his daughter looked like? Really?"

          You aren't picky?

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

          If the daughter has Microsoft SQL Server database administrator training...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

            I would expect the daughter to be a blackmail hook, never mind any moral issues.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        Or maybe raping someone doesn't appeal regardless of what she looks like?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

          Or maybe raping someone doesn't appeal regardless of what she looks like?

          That would have been my second thought, once the sense of imminent personal danger had passed. So probably on the plane home.

          Seriously, to me this sounds like a prime example of how evolution favours people who aren't completely shit. If you accept the offer then you're opening yourself to blackmail by someone who doesn't consider this kind of behaviour extreme. Fuck knows what he'll force you into six months down the line.

          1. Tom Paine

            Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

            Fuck knows. So does Donald.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

      He wasn't wearing a black suit, pork pie hat and shades was he?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        Three piece Armani. Probably around $4,500 worth back then (~25 years ago).

        1. DropBear

          Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

          "Three piece Armani"

          Dang it, even suits come in DIY IKEA kits now?!?

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        Upvote for the Blues Brothers reference. Have one for me....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      First of all, I don't get offered bribes. Ever. General failure.

      But I'd have to put that into the category of best bribe (unless marriage was a pre-condition) rather than worst. There's nothing to stop you accepting then grassing him up anyway as no money changed hands and I'm not sure that's the sort of oral contract that stands up in court, Mrs.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: First of all, I don't get offered bribes. Ever. General failure.

        And you, AC, are a part of the problem. Sadly, you probably aren't equipped to understand why.

    4. John Lilburne

      Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

      I'm not above rubies and emeralds.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        I'm not above rubies and emeralds.

        That's not what Ruby and Emerald say about you...

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        Surprisingly, rubies and emeralds are quite traceable.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

      "A guy offered me his daughter"

      Or at least, someone's daughter.

    6. Nick Kew

      Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

      Jake, are you the hero of a comic opera?

      Or even just a limerick. One lurking in a distant memory:

      There was a young fellow from Johns,

      who attempted to fondle the swans,

      Whereupon said the porter,

      Sir, pray, take my daughter!

      The swans are reserved for the dons.

      (St Johns College famously being the only people in Blighty other than Her Majesty with license to eat swans. I dined there as guest once or twice in my student days, but never on the big birds).

      1. John Presland

        Re: First of all, I don't accept bribes. Ever. Personal policy.

        There was a young fellow from Johns

        Oh the primness of today's youth! The version my father learned in the 1940s referred to buggering rather than fondling the birds. And the loyal retainer spoke of "them swans"

  7. monty75

    I seem to be collecting packs of playing cards from various vendors. Odd choice as it kind of suggests their products are a gamble.

  8. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    all of my bribes...

    Came from a non IT based job I had 10 years ago.. think bottles of whiskey/vodka and plenty of tasting sessions....

    I miss those days. Don't miss the pay though, swings and roundabouts.

    Beer because it was an upmarket offlicence.

  9. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge


    So... you registered for the sock lottery and then didn't turn up, right?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Sophocks

      I can't believe El Reg. I'm disgusted!

      How could they talk about a sock lottery and fail to make the obvious comment about the sock draw...

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Sophocks

        I can't believe I went for the pun I did when that was up for grabs.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a bribe. One of my customers was a tobacco company. When I arrived on site to fix a problem they would offer me free packets of cigarettes. As I didn't smoke it was an offer diplomatically refused.

    Apparently the cigarettes were regularly produced in small quantities - and offered for sale in only a few tobacconists. A necessary legal requirement to protect their dormant brand names or precautionary near-sounding ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nick O'Teen

      One company I worked for had as a customer a major tobacco importer, processor and cigarette manufacturer. Working on site there was the last place I saw ashtrays in meeting rooms and it was certainly the only place that gave out free cigarettes and encouraged the smoking of them. It was also one of the few organisations that we worked for that obsessed about 24 hour availability of all systems and was able to give a cost for downtime measured to the penny. An interesting corporate mindset given the end result of the use of their products.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Ha, same here. And it wasn't packets of cigarettes, it was cartons of them. Unfortunately, while I did smoke, I didn't smoke any of their brands (which had a reputation of being very rough).

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "There's only two more week [sic] to go until IP Expo Manchester 2018, Europe's number ONE Enterprise IT event, do'’t forget to register for your FREE pass," stated the email from Sophos.

    "We will also be giving away a pair of free Sophos socks to every 10th person that registers through our registration page."

    Oh well, at least the reminder ads nestled in the elReg headline page don't threaten socks. But we do see where you got the idea.

  12. TRT Silver badge


    a blow job. As an incentive to get there that evening, and not the two weekends away that I said it would take me because of all the other jobs I had lined up.

    She was as good as her word, I'll say that much.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Probably...

      Why the thumbs down? I thought it was a humorous jape and wasn't expecting anything other than my usual, very reasonable, fee of £10 an hour plus parts. I figured if she was that desperate to get it fixed I better get over there... besides, the relationship developed into a mid-length-term girlfriend/boyfriend one, so it was probably offered with more of an ulterior motive than as a method of payment.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Probably...

        Why the thumbs down?

        You forget, Americans read this. Mentioning a blow job is akin to setting fire to the Bible.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Probably...

          Ah yes. Americans. Not cunningly linguistic fella(tio)s.

        2. xeroks

          Re: Probably...

          IIRC there are some states which oral sex is legally referred to as sodomy.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Probably...

            IIRC there are some states which oral sex is legally referred to as sodomy

            Wrong endianess surely?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Probably...

              getting it confused like that would leave a nasty taste in ones mouth.

              1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

                Re: Probably...

                You hope its a taste of things to come?

            2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

              Re: Probably...

              Sodomy, in its broadest possible sense, can refer to any non-procreative sexual activity.

              1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

                Re: Probably...

                Sodomy, in its broadest possible sense, can refer to any non-procreative sexual activity.

                This law is such a pain in the a$$.

          2. d3vy

            Re: Probably...

            "IIRC there are some states which oral sex is legally referred to as sodomy."

            They're doing it wrong

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Probably...

              Just an off-by-one error

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You forget, Americans read this. Mentioning a blow job is akin to setting fire to the Bible.

          Yet it isn't the Americans that are falling all over themselves to codify anti-blasphemy laws to mollify their guests.

        4. jake Silver badge

          Re: Probably...

          "You forget, Americans read this. Mentioning a blow job is akin to setting fire to the Bible."

          Speaking as a Yank, I totally agree!

          The vast majority of us find both activities to be quite pleasurable.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: The vast majority of us find both activities to be quite pleasurable...

            Blasphemy! Just you wait for the second coming.

            1. Montreal Sean

              Re: The vast majority of us find both activities to be quite pleasurable...

              Depends where the second coming comes from...

      2. Grikath

        Re: Probably...

        Pffft TRT... There's prudes, SJW's, Feminists,.... Plenty that will downvote. There's been peeps that deliberately trolled here for the most downvotes in the past. Vulture Central did not encourage that with a weekly roundup all... really.. ;)

        But the sex-for-work angle happens a lot more often than people realise, or are willing to admit. It's actually one of the Worst Bribes because the worst part of *that* offer is trying to turn it down gently without hurting Feelings.

        Although I did cash in one one in the past, but the ladies in that locale were of Negotiable Affection anyway. And their hourly rate outstripped mine.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Account Manager

    I was Tech support Manager for a mainframe based organisation. We didn't need absolutely bleeding edge technology and had tight budgets so I has been buying 2nd user disks for a few years and even a couple of processor upgrades, all legit and maintained by the manufacturer but saving at least 30% on the best price they would offer me. After a couple of years we were tendering for a further processor upgrade and the vendors account manager manged to take me to one side, let me know that her job was on the line if they didn't get this deal,and she would do anything to get it. To be honest I just felt embarrassed and sorry for her I'm fortunate that I've never been put under that much pressure.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: My Account Manager

      We got a new account manager at a reseller. I asked for a quote for some software licenses. The price seemed far too cheap. I went back three times and asked them to check the price. Every time they came back and said the price was correct. In the end, I sent off a PO to them for the quoted price. Thirty minutes later I got a phone call. The account manager had got the price hideously wrong and was told that if I insisted they put the order through, the company would supply at the agreed price but the account manager would get fired on the spot.

      I did the honorable thing and asked them to ignore the order and issue me with a fresh quote.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: My Account Manager

        I knew a person who worked for a company like that. No one ever got fired but their bonuses took a hit. BTW, he quit after the first week as their ethics really sucked. The company only lasted about 2 years with certain execs taking a legal hit.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: My Account Manager

        "The account manager had got the price hideously wrong and was told that if I insisted they put the order through, the company would supply at the agreed price but the account manager would get fired on the spot."

        I'd be surprised if the account manager didn't get fired anyway if the price was still wrong after three checks.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best and worst in one trip


    Symantec flew us to Dublin put us in a 5 star hotel and we raided the bar, we were introduced to the team who reverse engineered Stuxnet


    They gave us USB storage pens (no irony) my colleague who actually used them noted they only worked once and then promptly broke (self destruction to avoid evidence or just shoddy?)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best? A night at Cirque de Soleil in a box with a bartender.

    Worst? Portable battery bank, portable battery bank, portable battery bank, usb speaker, portable battery bank. Seriously, I get those Put-your-logo-on-our-tat catalogues too so I know exactly how little they're worth.

    Also, I don't tend to appreciate a vendor of shitty hardware giving me what, at £2.49 per 1,000, is probably a shitty Lithium Ion Bomb so they don't make it home.

    1. Paul Hargreaves
      Thumb Up

      > Best? A night at Cirque de Soleil in a box with a bartender.

      That's some freaky stuff right there...

  16. Aladdin Sane

    I pretend to work. My employer pretends to pay me.

    Close enough?

  17. Huw D

    Not bribes, but Sophos provided socks as wedding favours for me. MS and HP contributed to the bar, Webroot paid for the boat and Spiceworks paid for the wedding photography.

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Simply. The. Best.

    Have one.

  19. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Got mimecast-branded socks at the one mimecast stall with last year's MyBroadband 2017 conference.

    They're still somewhere.

    And no, haven't been bribed yet.

  20. Horridbloke

    Not me personally but...

    ... iirc the publishers of one of the earlier Doom games had to apologise after sending bags of offal to journalists. Now who wouldn't be delighted to receive a bag of guts?

    (My google skills are failing badly today, only fleeting reference I found is at )

  21. Fading
    Paris Hilton

    So corrupt.....

    That I'll take the bribe but not action any associated request........ Does that then make it a gift?

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: So corrupt.....

      I thought that was a salary?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Apple iSocks?

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      They'll do something unmentionable to your iToes.

      Just make sure your medical insurance is all up to date just in case.

    2. Montreal Sean


      Never accept iSocks, they only work with iBoots and iShoes.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was once accused of trying to bribe a VAT inspector

    I was the only person available on the day they came for a VAT inspection. I had nothing to do with the accounts but had a reasonable idea how the system worked.

    He found that one invoice should have been included on the VAT return for the previous quarter. It was dated on the last day and had simply been missed in error (before software was used to stop this sort of error) and was already included in the "Work in progress" for the next quarter.

    "This is a serious offence" I was told "and could result in a 7 year prison term".

    A quick look at the invoice showed that the VAT amount was £0.58. At that point I asked if it would help if I paid the due amount to him.

    "Are you trying to bribe me?" he asked. My reply - "Well, you must be a very sad, lonely person if you can be bought for 58 pence". He decided it was time to leave at that point.

  24. Bob Wheeler

    Most amusing conversation..

    Many years ago (mid 1990's) I was the technical lead on tender negotiations for hardware/software supply (5 year exclusive supply of PC, server, printers etc.) to a local authority.

    during a long coffee break I was talking with the would be Account Manager and he asked what the Councils policy on 'backhanders' and who was the best person to talk to, to 'ease' the negotiations.

    So I explained that there was six people on the tender evaluation team, and as such was impossible for one single person to sway the other five towards any preferred outcome. The Account Manager was rather dismayed at this.

    However I said that after a contract was given, it was extremely easy for one person to get a contract cancelled say six months later by lodging a raft of complaints about the supplier, i.e. incorrect invoicing, missing items, late delivery, bad services etc.

    While that put a smile on his face, I smiled back, called my boss over and (in front of the sales person) repeated the conversation I had had just had.

    Their tender was rejected within the hour.

  25. Mr Dogshit

    Windows Server launch party

    In Birmingham. Spent the entire day lounging on a beanbag, stuffing my face with free cheeseburgers.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Windows Server launch party

      probably worth what you paid for them

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Feel free to send me your bribes....

    ..won't make a difference. Not because I have any sort of morals, but because no fucker listens to me.

  27. Chris 125

    Not a bribe, but a gift. Microsoft Expertzone have just sent me some socks in a lunchbox, both of which are adorned with an image of a ninja cat riding on the back of a tiger that has lasers for eyes.

    Works for me. Office 365 is great everyone!

    1. Alister Silver badge

      socks in a lunchbox

      That's just crying out to be a euphemism...

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        As Clive James once said, in a TV interview with the Chippendales, "Is that all you in those posing pouches?"

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Socks? Again?

      What the hell is with the socks? That's someth8ing your mother or grandmother give you for Christmas. Seems to be a very common handout by tech companies. Just weird.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Socks? Again?

        "What the hell is with the socks? That's someth8ing your mother or grandmother give you for Christmas. Seems to be a very common handout by tech companies. Just weird."

        California based, more specifically Silicon Valley based or influenced tech companies (or copying said tech companies) where socks are rare and exotic things. Next year it will be ties.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Best bribe (although it wasn't so much a bribe, as a trade delegation) was an expenses paid trip to Vietnam with tours, an ambassador's reception (i kid you not), and luxury hotels in Hanoi and Saigon. It was significantly sponsored by the DTI and the Vietnam government, with various commercial partners like Vietnam Airlines, but led by a technology company that selected the participants. As it was group party it was not a bribe really but more some good vibes about investing in tech in Vietnam experience. Still, I had a great time and hold a warm place in my heart for the tech company and Vietnam, even though I haven't given them any business.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The worst bribe you can get is terrible coffee, yuk Mellow Birds.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I love a cup of the old Mellow Birds. But describing it as coffee is a push. Brown water that's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee perhaps. I'm more of a tea drinker myself, though.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    so, I when I was a sales droid for a large storage company that, er, recently got bought out by a PC vendor, I had some very interesting customers.

    One demanded I take him (and the prettiest SE) to a brothel after a dinner of 64 oysters.

    Fun times eh. Fun times.

  31. Steve Cooper


    We just had a great one - a security company sent us a box of chocolates in a locked box and said we can get the key if we have a sales meeting with them. A colleague simply smashed the box to pieces :)

    1. regadpellagru

      Re: Chocolate

      "We just had a great one - a security company sent us a box of chocolates in a locked box and said we can get the key if we have a sales meeting with them. A colleague simply smashed the box to pieces :)"

      Loot boxes ? Freaking cancer. I'm speaking for video gaming ... Didn't know it ever existed in IT sales !

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A colleague simply smashed the box to pieces

      Doesn't say good things about their security credentials then.

      1. DropBear

        Re: A colleague simply smashed the box to pieces

        Well maybe it was a sort of parable about how as soon as the attacker has physical access, your security is invariably fucked...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: A colleague simply smashed the box to pieces

          You should send it back to them as an example of encapsulated encraption.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Chocolate

      A better approach would be to pick the lock, eat the chocolates, lock the box back up (leaving the wrappers inside), and return the box to them with a suggestion to upgrade their security efforts before trying again.

      Oh, and after reading previous posts, maybe add a sock to the box, because I guess that's a thing that exists?

    4. Old Handle

      Re: Chocolate

      "Thank you for the demonstration, but as we were able to be brute force your security quite easily, I don't think we will be pursuing your products further."

  32. trevorde Silver badge

    Worst. Kickback. Ever.

    In a previous life, I used to be a mechanical engineer. I was running a big project and I placed several substantial orders for stainless steel with one supplier. The total order was about $150k AUD about 25 years ago, so you can work out what it would be in today's money. To be fair, the supplier's prices and delivery were very competitive; and they got fulfilled some urgent orders when we needed material *fast*.

    At the end of the project, I got a call from the account manager along the lines of: "We really appreciate the business and next time I come around, I'd like to give you a small something to say 'thanks'". I was beside myself with anticipation, thinking I'd get a case of beer, bottle of scotch or tickets to the football finals. When he finally came to see me, he proudly presented me with .... a desk blotter! WTF? It was a crappy, paper desk blotter with the company's logo and the current year's calendar (about to run out in 3 months).

    I managed to hide my disappointment and politely take the gift. However, I was *really* tempted to report him for giving such a shitty kickback.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Worst. Kickback. Ever.

      "thinking I'd get a case of beer, bottle of scotch"

      A friend many, many years ago was the manager of a branch of a high street bank. Those were the days when a branch manager's instincts were valued over tick boxes or algorithms. At Xmas it was also customary for everyone to give small presents to various suppliers of services eg postman, milkman, refuse collectors.

      At Xmas he would receive many bottles of various spirits from customers. He had an arrangement with a purveyor of such things to swap them for a box of his favourite whisky.

  33. Gordon Pryra

    An old supplier had it right

    Once a month he would take me out and we would get utterly pissed for the afternoon.

    And then for every crate for HP toner cartridges we brought from him he would give us a PlayStation 1

    We got 3 or 4 pallets of them in the end...

  34. Dr. G. Freeman

    Had two fantastic bribes in the past.

    Favourite was first pick of the newborn pups the briber's dog had just given birth to. Result, is the growling rug of fluff that is Kereberos. Good boy does not do him justice.

    The other was an afternoon's access to a colleague's multimedia server- this was three years ago and still haven't finished reading the ebooks downloaded.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge


      Now THOSE are bribes!!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not bribes as such but one of my regular suppliers whom I had helped boost to salesman of the quarter due to my purchases (he was prepared to put the leg work in, gave me his best price every time etc) asked me did I like Germans or Americans best.

    Turns out he had a mixed case of top German micro brewery lager shipped to me, so it was a well appreciated gift and it was reasonable.

    Compare that to a certain phone company who just wanted to offer me brown envelopes of cash for the 100+ mobile users on the business contract. This was quickly killed by me mentioning "Anti bribary and corruption act".

    However, the whole anti-bribary thing in itself is so corrupt it is a joke. If you are senior enough and tick the right buttons, no one will question it. For example, our corporate policy states that lunches up to £400 PER PERSON are totally acceptable. Thats almost as much as my mortgage for one meal.

    The only thing they take a dim view of is doing business/visiting strip clubs. More is the pity!

    1. Steve Cooper

      I need that corporate policy

      1. greenmantle

        I need that mortgage!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The only thing they take a dim view of is doing business/visiting strip clubs."

      In the 1980s a young friend joined an IT sales support team that expected everyone to participate in the Friday night social activities. Not going suggested you weren't really a team player.

      One of their favourites was strip club. On the occasion of his birthday he was called up onto the stage - and then covered with baby oil. Apparently he didn't merit the team selecting the enhanced option that included the backstage mattress.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If universities count then the laptop bag which I still use is the best, if not then the thorlabs t-shirt just for work-relevant attire with that mascot on it.

    Worst is another one of those usb sticks that die the first time they get a quarter full. I think it was rigged to report a higher capacity than it really had.

  37. Joe Harrison


    My one and only bribe was when I went to a frenzied customer on an industrial estate in Fleet to examine a shipment of PCs where they said our com ports did not work with their proprietary gadget. I suspected their implementation of RS232 but said I would have to go back to my office to work on it. They locked all the doors and the bribe was that they would let me out if I fixed it there and then.

    Managed to escape two hours later with root cause still unknown. It did turn out to be their fault as well.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: Fleet

      Now that's really nasty.

      A good BOFH would've jigged all the PC's with strategically-placed tinfoil...

    2. d3vy

      Re: Fleet

      "They locked all the doors and the bribe was that they would let me out if I fixed it there and then"

      That's more kidnap than a bribe.

      I think in that situation I'd try to resolve the problem by switching the 110/240 switch on the PSU.

      Don't worry if it doesn't solve the problem on the first few you try... better work though the whole lot, just to be sure.


      Unrelated to the story but back when I was at college I was always being pestered by my landlord to fix things with his PC (He lived in the flat below me), being my landlord it was difficult to say no.

      So one time after being called down for the 3rd or 4th time in the same week to switch his keyboard layout back to UK from US (I have no idea why/how he was doing this) I told him that I needed to reinstall windows (me). Of course i 'accidentally' forgot to backup his really important data* first... he never asked me to help again so I guess it must have fixed the problem.

      * It was mostly shitty porn.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Fleet

        Your approach seems a bit scatty.

        Mine's the one with one cup in the pocket.

  38. Peter2 Silver badge

    The best bribe i've been offered was from an overpriced vendor, with one of those salesdroids you take an instant dislike to. Sensing that bullshitting me about how wonderful they were and being overly "best matey" with me was annoying me they fell back upon the killer strategy.

    I was offered amazon vouchers at a percentage value (something like 10-15% from memory, it was a long time ago) of whatever I spent with this vendor. We were spending several thousand a month.

    The vouchers would have been in my name, not the companies who were paying for the goods. After clarifying this point, I thanked them for the offer and kicked them out and reported the offer to management. This was before the bribary act came in, so I don't think it was explicitly illegal at the time, just massively immoral.

    Bribes I have taken include innumerable pens, keyrings and other tat (including a set of Sophos socks) for chatting to sales people for a few minutes at industry events. But that's sort of pretty routine, everybody expects to collect a decent goody bag at industry events in exchange for feigning interest in the stallholders products for a few minutes.

    1. Nick Kew

      Peter, is that illegal now?

      I guess that means they must've done away with that most corrupt of kickbacks, airmiles and frequent flyer programmes, that involve personal kickbacks for spending company money.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        The (anti) bribary act, 2010.

  39. not.known@this.address Silver badge

    What's a bribe?

    Used to work in a Computer Room (before they all became "Data Centres") and got asked by one of the Hardware engineers why we never wore the teeshirts or used the cups etc they gave us?

    "What teeshirts? What cups?" I asked, not having a scoobies what he was talking about.

    "We've brought in loads of stuff with [company name] all over them and you ungrateful buggers have never used any of it - you've never even said 'thank you'!" he explained.

    "Um no, still no idea, sorry Steve." said I and he went away muttering under his breath about ungrateful Operators and whether an arm designed to move a 3480 cartridge from storage slot to tape drive could be used to stuff said Operators into that same drive...

    Back again for a different problem the next night, he came bearing some nice shiny mugs and the explanation for the whole sorry mess. His boss had 'phoned our boss to find out what had happened to all our shiny little gifts...

    Apparently "These are for the Operators" in Engineerese translates to "Give these to your mates you pilfering PHB" in Managementish.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's a bribe?

      "Apparently "These are for the Operators" in Engineerese translates to "Give these to your mates you pilfering PHB" in Managementish."

      Our CFO manages all kickbacks, gifts and such. Her magical cabinet still has things like "Sun Cobalt Qube" T-Shirts and such, it's like a time capsule. When we ask for USB sticks she'll come up with some dingy slow HP/whatever 512MB sticks and still grumbles about the expenses.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: What's a bribe?

      Had something similar- we'd ordered up a large number of 64gb data sticks in order to hand very large data sets to clients that we downloaded off of equipment that they'd hired from us. Only, the first time we went looking for them, turns out management had been giving them away as freebies to their mates and there were none left.

  40. Tim Jenkins

    "Kaspersky branded socks and foul-smelling aftershave"

    A spritz of unidentified liquid from Russia: what could go wrong?

  41. Alistair

    Bribes? or KickBack?

    Way back when RHEL4 (X86_64) was something outrageously new, we had just rolled out a stack of HP P class chassis, and were having a *hell* of a time getting the storage array connected to the blades properly. I punted debugs back and forth between storage vendor and RH. There were bugs on both sides and I convinced management to let me test the fixes. Things worked out and all parties were happy.

    RH tucked my name into a bug report. The storage vendor gave me two bottles of JW Blue.

    Best gift? These two shirts that showed up in the mail recently from the other side of the pond.


  42. a cynic writes...

    One from the vaults...

    Our tariff

    Money can buy us

    By Team Register 27 Oct 1998 at 16:22

    This is The Register tariff We are the corruptibles…

    For £15,000 we will remove any story from our site For £15,000 we will write any story you like on our site For £500 we will attend a press conference as long as it is in London and we don't have to write about it For another £500 we will write about it as well If the press conference is out of Central London, the charges will be double the above

    Integrity -- we've heard of it

    That was of course before Lester put it on a more business like basis:

    I may have been reading this site for too long...

    1. ArrZarr

      Re: One from the vaults...

      @ a cynic writes...

      You're making me feel unconscionably young here. I was 10 when that article was written.

      How dare you.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: One from the vaults...

        And I was one (you read that right). Talk about being young xD!

    2. colinb

      Re: One from the vaults...

      "Pretend we like you and are interested in what you're selling"

      "Fingering of any mole within your company"

      HaHa class.

      Bring back Regmiles. Can't be more useless than Avios.

  43. Philip Stott


    I had one particular scumbag offer me 5% cashback on my consumables budget if I ordered through his firm.

    The fact that I support manager for a well known charity at the time didn't seem to bother him either.

  44. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    A cuppa soup

    From a stationery vendor. At the time I was working as a beancounter for an office supplies chain.

    It was stuck inside a card with some sort of pun about relaxing with a warm cup of soup. I made it, and it was worse than the soup from the vending machine. Something I didn't think was scientifically possible.

    However the same paper vendor also gave out alarmingly noisy squawking cuddly parrots. I think my niece ended up with mine. We did a promotion for them, where if you bought enough white paper, you got a free cuddly noisy penguin. A few thousand of these were delivered in sacks to reception. And the delivery driver tripped and fell onto them. Apparently the noise of a thousand squawking penguins going off simultaneously is indescribable...

    1. Fat-Boy-R-Dee

      Re: A cuppa soup

      [quote] Apparently the noise of a thousand squawking penguins going off simultaneously is indescribable...[/quote]

      Here, lemme try.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My company bought this hardware and all I got

    was a lousy screwdriver.

    To be fair, it was a post-install gift rather than a bribe, and it was a pretty snazzy screwdriver with multiple heads, a magnetic telescopic pole and a built-in torch. Might even still have it around somewhere.

    On a fair more blatant note was a jolly organised by one of our vendors. Not entirely sure how they got around the company's strict anti-bribery rules - and sadly, I didn't get to attend - but apparently it involved being chauffeured around Las Vegas while firing champagne-bottle corks out of the back of a stretch limo!

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: My company bought this hardware and all I got

      I remember getting an incredibly cheap and tacky toolkit from somewhere as a freebie.

      I used the hammer once. The very, very thin metal tubing bent immediately at a 45 degree angle after two blows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My company bought this hardware and all I got

        I bend at more than a 45 degree angle after only... oh never mind!

  46. Fat-Boy-R-Dee

    Nobody has gone here yet, or too obvious?

    Not one mention of "Master has given Dobby socks, Dobby is free!" ... I'm not sure whether to be impressed or disappointed, El Reg.

    Technically not a bribe, but best extravagances I remember were from right before the dot-com bubble burst, and our Sillycon Valley department heads were flying everybody in from around the globe, putting us up at retreats, and paying stupid money for us to eat catered dinners at the Monterey Aquarium. That was, shall we say, a lot more motivational than the current environments of "for lunch, stun a pigeon with your briefcase" and "share a hotel room for this conference - we're breaking you down by gender and CPAP usage" ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody has gone here yet, or too obvious?

      A friend worked for a company who rewarded extra-special efforts with a glass paperweight. It was boldly engraved with the icon of the company's motivational programme.

      On being told he was being awarded yet another one - he said "I don't think my bank manager will accept these for my mortgage"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody has gone here yet, or too obvious?

      "we're breaking you down by gender and CPAP usage"

      Lucky buggers with your CPAPs. In my day, you had to take turns swatting the bastard with a pillow. "try earplugs" they said. Well, earplugs don't mask the sound of a sleep apnea poster boy and they're too small to asphyxiate them once and for all if you tried applying them at the source.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Long ago, in a land far, far away.

    Well, ~9 miles away.

    My then boss offered to buy me a brand new Renault Fuego 1.8 Turbo (I told you it was a long time ago); if I backed him up at the bank, where he was trying to finagle a new loan.

    I refused (and not just because I hate Renaults), but he managed to get the loan anyway.

    Spent it all on himself and 18 months later we were declared bankrupt; I should have taken the car......

    Pirate, because I found out later he had rep for it; he had done the same thing about 3-4 times, leaving suppliers and employees seriously out of pocket.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is often quoted cynically that "Everyone has their price". A better description of human morality is "Everyone has their temptation".

  49. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

    It could have been better

    We were offered free training on the software package being proposed, for the whole team and the training to be conducted in the US, flights from the UK to be picked up by the vendor. Our boss said yes. which was greeted with great joy and we prepared for our team jolly. Then we were told that out of the two sites where we could do the training, Palo Alto had been rejected by our boss as being, "too far away", and that we would be heading for Malvern, Pa. In February. Very friendly people at the Malvern facility, but boy was it cold.

  50. ColonelClaw

    Not that long ago AMD gave me a Radeon Pro WX 9100, but I don't see it as a bribe.

    By the way have you tried out AMD's amazing CPUs and their brilliant GPUs? I can't recommend them highly enough. They're much better than anyone else's.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We will also be giving away a pair of free Sophos socks to every 10th person that registers through our registration page."

    That is *seriously* taking the piss, here ! Wondering what attendance they finally got ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      1/10th of the registered attendee number? (Assuming the prizes must be claimed in person)

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usually I don't post anonymously, but this time, I think it's prudent.

    Beyond the usual sort of branded stuff you get at various trade shows (bags, pens, notepads etc), I've only been "bribed" a couple of times.

    No 1 was an invite from Microsoft to an Xbox launch expo, where I got to go to a club somewhere in Soho and play the original xbox several months before it was released.. The only games I remember playing were the original Halo, and the original Project Gotham Racing.

    The 2nd is considerably more fun. The engineer who was peforming an upgrade on our VMWare cluster invited me and a couple of friends out to a good, but expensive, pub. He put his company credit card behind the bar. Damn good night.

  53. Microchip

    I always end up with socks from the Sophos booth. They're usually pretty comical to be fair.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Christmas Party give-away

    At a former employer, many a year ago: One year (before I was hired) the holiday party was hosted by a 3-letter company. The give-away was a desk clock that proudly proclaimed, "OS/2 - Operate at a higher level". There were a few left on employee desks when I started, all of them not running. I was told that they worked for 3 days after the holiday party, then they all stopped. Apparently they must have been in storage for many a year before the sales droids used them for give-aways. (The joke I made of it was, I took one, and flipped the pulse electromagnet around. After a battery refresh, it was working "at a higher level" with perfect timekeeping - backwards.)

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Texas strip club, an endless drinks tab

    and a young Danish account executive peeling wads of cash from her black leather catsuit to pay the dancers. Just before the .Com bubble burst as it happens.

    The next time I met her she was handing out badges and mugs in a hotel in central London (for the same company after it's acquisition by a generic US software house)

  56. OGShakes

    Good, Bad and ?


    My local youth group has Rugby balls, mini footballs, Frisbees and various other branded stuff that I have grabbed over the year. My wife has not purchased pens or stationary for her small business in years. Oh and none of my friends have had to buy the paid version of a decent antivirus in a while... I train most of my account managers to bring doughnuts if they come near the office.


    instead of answering my technical questions, the team on one firewall manufacturer's stand kept giving me another beer and handing me to another person. This started at 2pm and continued in to their 'after party', at 11pm they took me for a curry then I slept on the sofa in one of their rooms and was purchased breakfast. They never answered my question and so I never used their product.


    I once went to a product demo event where we all got given a free licence (worth about £80) to play with back in the office. My boss took all the staff in the company, took all the free licences from us and sold them to customers...

  57. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Socks? Pfft.. I had Cisco Powered..

    Boxer shorts. Handed out at a RIPE meeting in good'ol Amsterdam. Got some pics of a charming young lady demonstrating the correct way to install and remove them. Gentleman that I am, I let her keep them, although I think they may have ended up being thrown at some other punter. That I didn't get on camera because I know how that vendor dislikes unauthorised licence transfers.

    Best bribes all happened during the good'ol .Com days and pre-(ish) anti-bribery stuff. Or just people pointing out that there could be a tax liability on the value of the freebie. But what happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Back in the mid 90's I got a call from a chap in Moscow wanting to pay me a £100,000 a year "salary" to do some security related work for him. Interestingly this would be in addition to the salary I was getting from the American bank I worked for as there would be no need to stop working for them, indeed the £100,000 a year would only be on the table if I continued working for the American bank.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Moscow

      Is that all? Pah! My mate in Africa regularly offers me much more than that if I'd only let him use my bank account to transfer some money from his dead uncles estate out of the country. He seems to have a lot of uncles who appear to die with alarming regularity.

    2. Tom Paine

      Re: Moscow

      Naturally after you reported it to Compliance and the local law enforcement types, you got a 100k payrise..?

  59. JcRabbit

    Well, not a bribe per se but some years ago I was hired by a foreign firm that was here specifically to organize a special annual sports event.

    I was supposed to be a 'helper hand' at IT, but their IT manager had a family emergency the very next day and I had to take over his functions for the next four weeks, without anybody bothering to explain exactly what that implied. Found out the hard way *all* the logistics were on me. But I digress...

    At the end of the event they were packing up to go home and had a bunch of 'broken' PCs they were about to throw away (it would have been more expensive to ship them back to France), so after confirming they were indeed broken I asked if I could keep some for myself, for parts. They agreed, so I randomly chose three of the PCs and happily took them home (along with a few cases of beer they gently offered for having been such a good sport).

    It was only a couple of weeks later that I decided to check on those PCs... they all booted fine, every single one! Since they were all in working condition, I gave them all away to friends who actually needed them.

  60. JohnFen

    My worst?

    McDonald's for the whole team.

  61. Danny 2 Silver badge

    A £150 bottle of Macallan

    I'd been sent to Germany to take over the network of a subsidiary, part of which meant supervising a contractor doing their wiring cabinet. The contractor was fairly shoddy so I had to correct them several times, which distracted me from my job, and I guess their owner guessed I would not be recommending them. He also sussed I like whisky so he offered me an old, expensive Macallan malt that he just happened to have at home - an unwanted gift since he personally didn't like whisky.

    I refused it. My boss told me I should have accepted it and given it to him but screw that. Firstly, if the briber had taken the time to learn my soft spot was whisky then he should have learned that I like Islay, not Speyside. Secondly, £150 is not an appropriate bribe on a contract worth tens of thousands over years. Thirdly, any bribe is a personal insult an even if it had been a £3000 Islay malt I would still refused.

    I had worked briefly in a local council where corruption was endemic, and the IT director for all his other faults at least had a zero tolerance approach to it. If any contractor offered him a bottle of whisky then he barred them forever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A £150 bottle of Macallan

      This is a way to do good.

      Hi, I'm Jane, I'm from Microsoft. Are you the IT Director? Great. Here's a bottle of whiskey.

      ... problem solved.

  62. Paul 87

    I've had 5 pairs of Sophos socks so far, they've been sending one for each new customer we add.

    For what it's worth they're pretty comfy, with weird designs and made from 75% Sweat wicking acrylic, 15% nylon 10% pokyester and 1% unicorn hair

    1. dnicholas

      So the 101st percent is unicorn hair? That stuff has negative mass

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worst one was easy.

    I was at a trade show & ran across a booth by SCO. Yes, *them*. They were handing out chocolate bars with their logo on the foil. I took one thinking I would give it away to someone, anyone else just as soon as I was out of their line of sight.

    I got distracted by someone else, forgot to give away the chocolate, & wandered away.

    Later that afternoon I was in the loo to take a whiz & heard an awful groaning & moaning from the stalls. I asked if there was something wrong & intended on getting a member of staff if there was a problem they could help allieviate. The answer came back that the four gents stuck on the thrones had all consumed the aforementioned chocolate bars & had found out the hard way that said "chocolate" had a fairly powerful laxative effect. I said I'd go fetch help, ran from the room, & told the first employee I found that "Get a doc, some bottled water, & LOTS of extra bog paper - there's a situation in the loo that needs official attention!"

    I dumped the chocolate bar in the very next rubbish bin & made haste to exit the building. I felt sorry for the victims, glad to not be one of them...

    1. enigma-it

      Re: Worst one was easy.

      What, SCO gave people the sh*ts? Surely not...

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: Worst one was easy.

      Damn! I'd forgotten. As part of the sweetener to renew my contract with Glaxo after they became a Glaxo Smithkline, I was given a box of chocolate asthma inhalers. Not too sure what was going through Marketing's mind at the time.

  64. AdamWill

    On another topic...

    ...ever since the BBC and the Nasty Party conference (ugh) moved in, Manchester's really not that bad. I grew up there in the 90s and it was a right shithole, but now I actually quite like it when I go back, at least where the hipsterization hasn't got *too* far out of hand. Still a hell of a lot cheaper than London, too. Give it a try, you might be surprised. (You're still going to want to give Salford a miss, though.)

    No-one ever offers me any bribes. What am I doing wrong? Anyone got any tips?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: On another topic...

      "(You're still going to want to give Salford a miss, though.)"

      Isn't that the bit where the BBC is?

      1. AdamWill

        Re: On another topic...

        Well, yeah, there's the nice little sanitized bit where there's the BBC office and the Lowry and some bougie canalside apartments and stuff. And then there's the rest of Salford!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: On another topic...

          "And then there's the rest of Salford!"

          I turned down the offer of a degree course at the soon to be rebadged Salford College of Advanced Technology. Joined a computer company instead - one of the better cusps of my life.

          Hearing "Salford" always triggers the ear worm of "Dirty Old Town". This version has an evocative collage.

  65. earl grey

    Never really got offered a bribe

    Well, leastways not that I would have recognised. Guess i was too dumb or not worth the effort. I did manage to be "gifted" a Mapper tie which had been made in limited quantities and have a few pens from a training session that light up in different colors...very entertaining...

    Everywhere I have been employed the last 50 years has had very strict rules about bribes, accepting gifts of almost any value, etc. Never got offered much and never had to worry about the value (of the item or my integrity).

  66. J. Cook Silver badge

    Yeah, the socks are for SOX..

    One of my co-workers is the official Sock Collector- We've gotten a couple pairs from Sophos over the last couple years.

    Worst swag? a really chinzy multi-end USB charge cable. in rubbereized neon pink.

    Best swag? one of our VARS has handed over a couple golf shirts, which are actually pretty nice, except that the VAR's logo has been embroidered on them. At least that's what I've been given.

    The 'meh' swag has ranged from notebooks to twist pens with the tablet rubber tip on one end to goofy thumb drives. One storage vendor puts a 6-1 screwdriver in the crate of every array they sell, which is nice and all, but I've already got a bag full of nicer tools.

    The strangest? That would be the view-master stereoscope in jet black with a custom disc with the vendor's marketing pitch aka a spy movie. *eyerolls* that'd be great if I had any of the old disc when I was.. oh. 6 years old left lying around...

  67. drsolly

    I think Dr Solomon's Antivirus might have been the first company to give away socks. We got through about 50,000 pairs.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      They were. I still have mine...

  68. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Anything from Intel?

    What? And Intel (and/or the PR firm they've hired to "take care" of ElReg) didn't hand out something for "thanking" ElReg for pre-maturely ejaculating the news about Spectre & Meltdown?

    How rude of them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anything from Intel?

      Your username here might perhaps serve as punishment?

  69. This post has been deleted by its author

  70. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse


    I'll be the one in the foyer selling the 'My manager sent me to IT Expo and I didn't even get a lousy pair of socks' T-Shirts.

  71. hammarbtyp

    Worst...concert offer....ever

    2 Gary Glitter concert tickets...

    This was before his predilections came to light, but still...

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weekly bribes, going on for decades

    A company I know keeps sending me fairly huge amounts of money for dropping by and hanging around. I spend the day reviewing things, pointing out mistakes made by others, providing them some IQ points, answering tricky questions, etc. It's been going on for decades, and the total brides are way into seven figures by now. Crazy.

  73. Strebortrebor

    Rusty pens

    We were looking to install fiber optic links from one building to another to get away from stuff getting all blowed up when there was a lightning strike. The AT&T sales dude who called on us apologized for the pens that he was about to give us. They were starting to rust, inside their cheesy packaging, Death Star logo and all. We took them off his hands to help him get rid of them. They didn't write so well, either.

    We didn't buy his fiber optic connectors, for other reasons.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The worst one?

    The worst bribe I was ever offered - and it wasn't really a bribe at all, just someone related to a vendor being nice - was three bottles of chateau-bottled Burgundy.

    I have a blocked biochemical pathway, alcohol turns to acetaldehyde and just stops there making me feel extremely ill.

  75. dnicholas

    I got offered a BJ from a sales girl if my company went ahead with a quote. I was married to her already though

  76. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

    that shit goes over the keybpard....

    The worst bribe you can get is terrible coffee, yuk Mellow Birds.

    that shit does not count as coffee..... I dont even think a real coffee bean has been within 100 miles of the lab that makes that crap....

  77. cdegroot

    Borland, in the '80s, with train tickets to Paris

    To be honest, I was a student, so the bar for bribing was low. Anyway, as a student writing for one of these monthly paper tomes full of computer stuff with "PC" in the title (ah, the good old days) me and my buddy got not only offered a complimentary offering of pretty much all that Borland had on their product catalogue so we could review it (which seemed reasonable), but also the invitation to hop on a train and come to Paris so - well, I forgot the very thin veneer they put on top of the sweetener and called "the reason". I think it had to do with installation assistance or being able to talk to some head honcho over there.

    Needless to say, we took the train ride, the two nights in a business class hotel (which translates to "very posh" for two poor students) and wrote a glowing review of Turbo C and Quattro, or whatever it was we ended up putting in the magazine. Did I mention we were poor students? That should make it ok, not? ;-)

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Turned down - offer of a 'free server' if I attended a sales pitch for an hour (it was a Dell & the sales reptile was known to be a drunk & a liar {hi Steve!})

    Accepted - offer of a bungee jump out of the back of a wokka @~2500 feet if I fixed the crews BFBS satellite TV (had to bribe the RE's to move a section of blast wall from in front of the receiver dish - a slab of wobbly was a fair price)

  79. enigma-it

    My two worst were:

    1) A free USB stick. 512Mb. This was in 2016. The salesman had the grace to be embarrassed when handing it over.

    2) The infamous Gateway computers squeezy cow toy. That was the subject of a product recall 3 weeks later.

  80. GrumpyKiwi

    Best and worse simultaneously

    Was offered a BJ if I drove over and fixed laptop right away from a girl I'd met a couple of days ago.

    On the way over I crashed my wife's car, writing it off* and never made it to 'fix' the laptop.

    Beyond that little episode the worst tech bribe was probably the crappy D-LINK webcam from a potential vender (BHD) or the bottle of Argentinian wine that smelled like it was mostly methanol based.

    *to clarify, we'd seperated and a month back she'd crashed my car writing it off - and had then 'generously' allowed me to use her's while she was off in South Carolina bonking her new American boyfriend.

  81. DiViDeD Silver badge

    Only a couple worth mentioning

    Many years ago (so long ago that Lotus was a thing), Lotus came up with Lotus 123/g, their "we will *never* produce an application for Windows" alternative to Excel. It never really came to anything, and was discontinued in favour of 123/W (yes, the Windows version) shortly afterwards. But at a launch event I became the less than proud owner of a Lotus 123/g WYSBYGI ('What you get before you get it'. No, I don't know what it means either) T shirt.

    The better 'gift just to show we're serious about your business' was when I worked for a merchant bank and we needed 25 PCs for a 6 month project on lease. They were all blindingly fast 20Mhz 386 machines, except for mine, which was a 486DX2 with a Hercules graphics card, 20" monitor and a promise that it was the only one that didn't need to be returned at the end of the lease.

    Happy days.

  82. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    The Head of our Section...

    ...was given an OBE for closing us down in the 1990s.... after our Director was charged with fraud and send down for NOT closing us down.

    Moral: Don't mess with the Cabinet Office...

  83. chrishansenhome

    Bribery over a new server

    Many moons ago I was the test manager for a company that made some software or other--not being specific, you understand. It was difficult for us to get time and space on the company's large server system to run our tests, so my manager suggested that there was budget to buy another server specifically for testing. I thought that was a capital idea, and quickly identified the company that made that server (identical to the one we had). I put a proposal together, got my manager's approval, and entered into negotiations with the outfit that made the server.

    A week or so later, I got a phone call from the salesman for that outfit. He said, "We've got tickets for an important football match and we wondered if you'd attend as our guest." As I'm originally American, and have no interest in I declined. Not being deterred, the salesman asked whether anyone else in my department would be interested. Sadly, no one was, so that bribe went uncollected.

    There followed tickets to Wimbledon, which were dangled in front of us. Again, no takers.

    Meanwhile, the proposal wended its way through our organisation, getting applause at every turn, until it got to the BOFH. He said, "This server would weigh 10,000 kg including the disk arrays. The floor in the computer room is not able to take that additional weight. So, we can't do it."

    It almost made me wish I had been interested in football.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To ignore a stash of homemade gay porn on a blokes company laptop. He'd opened Media Player by mistake and it continued to play the last video he watched.

    He was married with kids, but also shagging his gay boss.

    I declined the cash and just ignored it. Not my problem. I was 19 at the time and didn't know how to handle the just opted to say nothing to anyone.

    In hindsight though, some cash for eye bleach would have been handy...both guys were in their 70's and massively overweight.

    The visuals were shocking but its the slapping noise and hearing two old guys go at it in pinstripe jackets calling each other "naughty girls" and "cheeky bitches" that will forever haunt me.

  85. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Not a bribe but one hell of a nice touch

    CPI / Eimac Division television broadcast tubes... Your vacuum electron device fits into a wheeled chassis that contains the external RF cavities, cooling circuits, and whatnot. Big sucker, but puts out 10s of kW of clean RF power, with extraordinary reliability.

    On the chassis is a little red toolbox, made of high quality steel, with the old Eimac logo emblazoned in gold upon it's lid. Inside are spare o-rings, EMI gaskets, hand tools, and all the little bits and baubles needed for tube alignment and cal. In a world of low quality crap and abusing users, it's a little bit of sanity.

    Interestingly, as cool of a collector's item one would find the boxes - and RF engineers are inveterate tinkerers and frequently collect bits of interesting kit - I've never even heard of one getting nicked.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brace of Pheasants - Which I never got

    A guitar case full of pic n mix which the Briber asked to have returned when they realised that we were a different company with a similar name to who he wanted.

    A crate full of Motorola branded workwear -Which was good but far too big for me.

    All the [White] bread I can eat.

  87. This post has been deleted by its author

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a bribe but très amusant nonetheless

    Back in '87 I landed a internship as a pit trader working for an "agent de change" (private brokerage house) on the Paris Bourse- this was when they still had "open cry" trading pits. I was the only Yank on the floor and as such came in for quite a bit of ribbing & practical jokes. They put me on Pit A (all French stocks) and had a good laugh watching me get screamed at by the other traders and market makers. Helluva fun time.

    Turns out the Chief of Operations had a good scam going with the E&O (Errors & Omissions) account. Every month he'd liquidate it and use the proceeds to treat us traders and back office peons to an amazing dinner at a resto of his choice, and not some touristy steak/frites/moules place either: really good high end places. Nothing but the best! On my last month, he took 20 of us out to some amazing 2 star place and we ate & drank till we exploded. Wads of 500FF bills passed through his hands that night.

    Wonder if they ever caught him...firm was bought by Société Generale about 5 years after I left.

  89. EJ

    I was attending a security conference hosted by Vanguard Integrity Professionals back in the late 90's - early 2000's in Orlando, FL, and one of the vendors on the floor were offering... riding crops. They were black, plastic/rubber with a bit of leather on them and about 2ft long, but they were riding crops nonetheless. I can't recall the vendor who was offering them, but my naive, horse-less elder female co-worker couldn't understand why I was so humored by her insistence on getting one and carrying it around with her.

  90. Tom Paine

    I'm doing it wrong

    A supplier once emailed me a 70 quid Amazon token as a reward for doing a training course on their product, which we'd already bought (eh?). It was the City, I'd just done the anti-bribery training course, I mailed Compliance and of course they told me to politely reject it.

    That is literally the only thing I've got from any supplier or customer in 23y in IT apart from stress balls and the like.

    A senior manager at work who's trying to mentor me told me with a sigh 'your trouble is that you've got too much integrity". Too much stupidity, more like.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cable Guy

    A bit off topic but.. I used to be a Cable TV installer. A man offered to let me sleep with his wife - she was wearing a totally see through top - if I would install an extra outlet off the books, this would have saved him $3.95 a month. I said no, my wife was in the truck anyway doing the books.

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