Author Topic: Strange Company rules and manipulations  (Read 875 times)

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Offline EEEnthusiast

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Strange Company rules and manipulations
« on: September 19, 2019, 12:44:28 pm »
Just opening a new thread to discuss strange company rules and various techniques used by companies to manipulate employees (engineers who are actually working).

Strange rule on sexual harassment
=========================
In one company I worked, there was a set of rules on sexual harassment as was needed by law. It had many clauses like, employees should not indulge in pornography and sexual acts while at office and so on.... One strange clause was "Indecent exposure of body parts". I could never understand what is the difference between a "decent exposure" and "indecent exposure". So I asked the HR lady to explain what length of a skirt worn by some lady would contribute to "indecent exposure". Or how many inches below the waist line can a guy wear his jeans? Does the company have a minimum length criteria? For unknown reasons, the email was never replied and I'm still in the dark about this rule.

Have you come across any such rules or any other manipulation methods?
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Offline StillTrying

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 12:57:08 pm »
I used to work in a company that decided it was a good idea to think up some new daft rules almost every week, and everyone had to sign a list to show that you'd read them. I thought it was a ridiculous idea so every time including the first I signed it Mr. D. Duck, and amazingly no one ever asked who Mr. D. Duck was.
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Online tggzzz

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 01:06:05 pm »
I used to work in a company that decided it was a good idea to think up some new daft rules almost every week, and everyone had to sign a list to show that you'd read them. I thought it was a ridiculous idea so every time including the first I signed it Mr. D. Duck, and amazingly no one ever asked who Mr. D. Duck was.

In the UK, that would still count as a signature. Roughly speaking, here you can call yourself anything you like provided you are not committing fraud. Besides, what someone else might read as D Duck could just be your cruddy writing :)

Having said that, in unpleasant companies HR-droids love having minor infractions available on your record. They make "good justifications" for firing you later. (No, I haven't been a victim of that!)
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Online DenzilPenberthy

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 02:05:58 pm »
When my mum entered the workforce back in the '60s it was completely normal for men to have porn mags on their desks and grope secretaries. It was normal for an experienced member of staff to take you to one side on your fist day and warn you about who not to be alone in a room with. Fortunately most places have come a long way since then.

Was your intention with your hilarious email to HR to convey the message 'I don't think there should be rules against sexually harassing my colleagues', or ' I genuinely don't know how to behave appropriately in a professional environment, please help me'?  I don't think either of those reflects well on you an an employee to be honest.

Almost all stupid rules are there because people are surprisingly stupid. They are removing 'but there's nothing in the employee handbook about not getting my nob out in the office for a laugh' as a defence because there are definitely people around who are that dumb.

 
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Offline PwrElectronics

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2019, 04:24:45 pm »
The heath & safety dept would regularly inventory the contents of the first aid supplies in the lab.  If the count of band-aids changed and there was not a corresponding "incident report" filled out, the lab supervisor would get grief that was passed down to all the engineers and techs who may have been working in the lab during that time period.

If you DID fill in a incident report, that would set off some annoying drama and a meeting with H&S and your supervisor.  The stats then end up on the quarterly OSHA reports, etc.  All employee memos on how to be more safe at work to follow.

Makes sense if you were really hurt BUT totally stupid for a nicked or jabbed finger from a probe or X-acto blade, etc.

Most everyone started to keep their own stock of band-aids in their tool bag.  OR, like me who was out once, washed off the blood, put some paper towel over it and wrapped in electrical tape and went back to work.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2019, 04:38:08 pm »
If you do have an industrial injury, fail to report it, and it goes sideways, you are on your own.  No report, no injury as far as the company is concerned.  I know it seems stupid but what if that little nick gets infected and then things go very wrong.  It's better to have the company's insurance.
 

Offline kamtar

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2019, 04:44:14 pm »
Quote
The heath & safety dept would regularly inventory the contents of the first aid supplies in the lab.  If the count of band-aids changed and there was not a corresponding "incident report" ...
I'm surprised about that, here they are usually happy when you don't report injury because it means they are not responsible and don't have to pay you if something happens.
 

Offline PwrElectronics

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2019, 05:15:35 pm »
Quote
If you do have an industrial injury, fail to report it, and it goes sideways, you are on your own.  No report, no injury as far as the company is concerned.  I know it seems stupid but what if that little nick gets infected and then things go very wrong.  It's better to have the company's insurance.

I do get what you are saying.  Maybe its my (and most coworkers) upbringing and background to not even think about suing, etc.  This being a smaller city in the upper US midwest with lots of folks (me included) that came from the farm or small towns.  Add to that the heavy-handed way they went about things.  Also, the H&S manager at the time had something of a "Napoleon Complex" going on and ticked off everyone he interacted with...  No desire to be interviewed/grilled by that SOB....  If it was just a simple log that person X used a band-aid on date Y and they left it at that, probably nobody would have made a fuss.

At a prior company I was giving a tour of the mfg line to the customer and while standing near a bench with the customer nearby, a steel lid off a phone wire junction box in the open truss ceiling of the plant crashed on my head.  I got taken care of by the first aid volunteer and got a ride to the ER for stitches by the plant manager.  I actually returned to work after that for a bit and later heard the customer was quite impressed I was not knocked out!  At any rate, if a incident report was filled in for that, it was not by me and no admonishments about not being safe at work either.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2019, 05:27:02 pm »
So I asked the HR lady to explain what length of a skirt worn by some lady would contribute to "indecent exposure". Or how many inches below the waist line can a guy wear his jeans? Does the company have a minimum length criteria? For unknown reasons, the email was never replied and I'm still in the dark about this rule.

A good-faith approach to good-faith rules produces the best results.  A comfortable, relaxed work environment with happy, productive employees.  One does not need to get specific, because every situation is different, and sometimes the rules need to bend one way or the other to serve a greater overall (moral) purpose.  Anyone who treats others fairly, will receive the same in return.

A bad-faith approach to good-faith rules produces people like you.  What length of clothing constitutes indecency, or tone of voice constitutes harassment, is exactly the wrong kind of question to ask.  You are implying that you fully intend to commit such acts, to the fullest possible degree, while still technically complying with the letter of the rule.  A good-faith rule reacts to bad-faith behavior by stamping it out when the spirit of the rule is violated, not necessarily the word.

Now, it's not clear if the rules were also in bad faith.  Rules that get overly picky, and self-contradictory, may come from the same kinds of people, whether indirectly (through upwards pressure on management) or because they are management and have no expectation of receiving fairness from others -- nor giving any in the first place.  Rules in bad faith don't deserve good faith, and you might ask such a question fairly, but the better solution is to leave.

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Offline FreddieChopin

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2019, 05:39:28 pm »
One day while walking the dog I picked up two fresh and empty 200ml bottles of nalewkas. It's cheap affordable way to get drunk so bums leave them everywhere. Cleaned them up a bit and next day at work I placed them deep in a cupboard used to store bags of coffee. About 2 weeks later we started having random, mandatory breathalyzer tests for all employees  >:D   >:D and HR lady was going crazy, asking everyone for a confidental face-to-face meeting to identify colleagues who could've consumed alcohol at work  :-DD
« Last Edit: September 19, 2019, 05:42:49 pm by FreddieChopin »
 

Online langwadt

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2019, 05:45:43 pm »
Just opening a new thread to discuss strange company rules and various techniques used by companies to manipulate employees (engineers who are actually working).

Strange rule on sexual harassment
=========================
In one company I worked, there was a set of rules on sexual harassment as was needed by law. It had many clauses like, employees should not indulge in pornography and sexual acts while at office and so on.... One strange clause was "Indecent exposure of body parts". I could never understand what is the difference between a "decent exposure" and "indecent exposure". So I asked the HR lady to explain what length of a skirt worn by some lady would contribute to "indecent exposure". Or how many inches below the waist line can a guy wear his jeans? Does the company have a minimum length criteria? For unknown reasons, the email was never replied and I'm still in the dark about this rule.

Have you come across any such rules or any other manipulation methods?

what were you trying to accomplish by asking such silly questions? 


 

Offline FreddieChopin

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2019, 05:47:18 pm »
Just opening a new thread to discuss strange company rules and various techniques used by companies to manipulate employees (engineers who are actually working).

Strange rule on sexual harassment
=========================
In one company I worked, there was a set of rules on sexual harassment as was needed by law. It had many clauses like, employees should not indulge in pornography and sexual acts while at office and so on.... One strange clause was "Indecent exposure of body parts". I could never understand what is the difference between a "decent exposure" and "indecent exposure". So I asked the HR lady to explain what length of a skirt worn by some lady would contribute to "indecent exposure". Or how many inches below the waist line can a guy wear his jeans? Does the company have a minimum length criteria? For unknown reasons, the email was never replied and I'm still in the dark about this rule.

Have you come across any such rules or any other manipulation methods?

what were you trying to accomplish by asking such silly questions?

Sometimes its not about accomplishing anything but just pissing off people for the fun of it. Chaotic neutrals will understand.
 
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2019, 07:14:58 pm »
Strange and ill-defined rules are the best for those that enforce them. They get to decide how the rules are applied if it ever comes up.
Of course you will never get any answer. They didn't answer not just because they thought it was silly of you to ask. Answering that in a clear fashion would COMMIT them to clear criterions, something they will never want to do. Especially for something as subjective as "indecent".
 

Offline Brutte

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2019, 07:20:05 pm »
One of my former corporations had an official regulation that we were not allowed to archive any emails that "could be of any value to government authorities" in case of a potential investigation and litigation. The limit was set to 3 months, older emails were wiped out.

I suppose all corporations have these rules.
 

Offline tooki

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2019, 09:09:13 pm »
There’s the old adage that rules are a history of all the stuff someone has done at some point...
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2019, 10:02:34 pm »
One of my former corporations had an official regulation that we were not allowed to archive any emails that "could be of any value to government authorities" in case of a potential investigation and litigation. The limit was set to 3 months, older emails were wiped out.

Yes, I also worked for a company that had a similar rule and forced deletion of all emails unless there was an approved exception. This came into place after a length and costly law suite. It's interesting to look at the tactics employed by companies large enough to have legal divisions who need to justify their daily keep.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2019, 11:57:42 pm »
One of my former corporations had an official regulation that we were not allowed to archive any emails that "could be of any value to government authorities" in case of a potential investigation and litigation. The limit was set to 3 months, older emails were wiped out.
I suppose all corporations have these rules.

I've never heard of such a rule, and never worked at company that had that.
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2019, 12:08:59 am »
One of my former corporations had an official regulation that we were not allowed to archive any emails that "could be of any value to government authorities" in case of a potential investigation and litigation. The limit was set to 3 months, older emails were wiped out.
I suppose all corporations have these rules.

I've never heard of such a rule, and never worked at company that had that.

I've only come across this when working in the US. But, I suspect the company I worked for adopted the practice across their global entities.
 

Offline windsmurf

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2019, 12:11:17 am »
One of my former corporations had an official regulation that we were not allowed to archive any emails that "could be of any value to government authorities" in case of a potential investigation and litigation. The limit was set to 3 months, older emails were wiped out.
I suppose all corporations have these rules.

I've never heard of such a rule, and never worked at company that had that.

Its becoming more common in the U.S. ... email records tend to hurt companies in court more than help them. 

 

Offline DTJ

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2019, 01:29:07 am »
Just opening a new thread to discuss strange company rules and various techniques used by companies to manipulate employees (engineers who are actually working).

Strange rule on sexual harassment

Have you come across any such rules or any other manipulation methods?

At a company I worked at in the late 90's an employee was reported to management for sexual harassment. A receptionist had reported him to management for persistently looking down her top when talking with her.

He agreed that he did look and told HR that if she was going to wear low cut tops and then he may continue to look. HR had no response and the world kept turning.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2019, 02:15:44 am »
I hate excessive rules and the world is filled with them now days.   I believe in using common sense and case per case basis, but sadly not how society works.  Though if there is no specifics for those indecent exposure rules it may very well be a case per case basis thing.  So say something you're wearing is a tad on the risky side you'd probably just be approached and asked not to wear that again rather than immediately get in trouble because you are over some arbitrary measurement limit of how much skin is exposed or something.

I consider myself lucky my company is not riddled with rules but as a professional environment I think everyone is just expected to follow common sense with everything.   The good thing with broad rules is typically if someone feels you are against, there is no way to measure it, so rather than being cut and dry and getting in trouble, you'll get a warning or a friendly request first before getting in trouble. 

At the end of the day though when it comes with anything if I have to ask myself "is this allowed?" chances are the answer is probably no.   On subject of dress code my company is quite liberal which is nice.  I can wear shorts and tshirt to work.  But that said I would not wear a shirt with offensive writing, or ripped up shorts etc.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 02:18:06 am by Red Squirrel »
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2019, 02:28:57 am »
I consider myself lucky my company is not riddled with rules but as a professional environment I think everyone is just expected to follow common sense with everything.   The good thing with broad rules is typically if someone feels you are against, there is no way to measure it, so rather than being cut and dry and getting in trouble, you'll get a warning or a friendly request first before getting in trouble. 

At the end of the day though when it comes with anything if I have to ask myself "is this allowed?" chances are the answer is probably no.

This.

Rules are there because agitators insist they be put there.

If you feel it necessary to push the line, you shouldn't be doing that in the first place.  Once in a while -- accidentally say -- that's fine.  There needs to be some forgiveness for that.  To do otherwise would be just mean.  To draw a hard line, removes that forgiveness, and makes the system worse for everyone.

There seem to be more rules in places where there are more agitators, or min-maxers.  Places with lots of employees (or on an even broader scale, countries with lots of citizens).  Places where traits like psychopathy are present by default, or are specifically concentrated (say, military, finance).

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Offline Rick Law

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2019, 03:45:28 am »
One of my former corporations had an official regulation that we were not allowed to archive any emails that "could be of any value to government authorities" in case of a potential investigation and litigation. The limit was set to 3 months, older emails were wiped out.
I suppose all corporations have these rules.

I've never heard of such a rule, and never worked at company that had that.

Its becoming more common in the U.S. ... email records tend to hurt companies in court more than help them.

For those not in the USA and had not participated in related process, it can seem kind of strange.  I am not a lawyer, but I participated in related processes before.  So here is my layman's understanding:

In the USA, we have something call discovery process in a law suit.  Say if I sue my company for for sexual harassment from co-workers, somewhere early in the processes (pre-trial), discovery process starts - lawyers from my side can look at the company (defendant) records in search of supporting evidence.

Almost any company would have someone who said something stupid some time, and there is always a chance some juror who may interpret something innocent as something evil.

If you start to destroy things when a law suit is filed, even if you did that before a court order to preserve evidence, you are destroying evidence.  If a long long time before there is any legal proceeding in the works, email got destroyed as regular company policy (that all emails are NOT stored after X days), they are gone.  You merely destroyed your property but you did not obstruct justice (which would be a felony).

So, if the benefit of having the record is exceeded by the risk of someone filing some gold-digging law suit...  Folks here are smart, I can stop here.
 
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2019, 04:18:42 am »
Which I think also connects with the "you shouldn't be doing that" premise.  Consider a shady Enron-like company that's covering their ass with such a practice.

In my experience, in engineering (and on the nicer side of that, I would dare say, or guess), records are kept, because we are indeed doing our job, and if legal got involved, we're only going to end up proving that.

Better still not to even get involved in the first place; I've yet to be involved in, or work with someone who has been involved in, contract disputes that went to the courts.  This, I imagine, takes good vetting not just of your employees and managers (and your managers knowing their employees' capabilities well), but of your customers as well.

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Offline EEEnthusiast

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2019, 04:23:06 am »
Another strange rule was to not allow female workers to stay beyond 8pm in the office, in order to avoid sexual harassment. However, they also enacted another policy to prevent gender discrimination in the office. These two are self contradictory.
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2019, 04:33:09 am »
The heath & safety dept would regularly inventory the contents of the first aid supplies in the lab.  If the count of band-aids changed and there was not a corresponding "incident report" filled out, the lab supervisor would get grief that was passed down to all the engineers and techs who may have been working in the lab during that time period.

If you DID fill in a incident report, that would set off some annoying drama and a meeting with H&S and your supervisor.  The stats then end up on the quarterly OSHA reports, etc.  All employee memos on how to be more safe at work to follow.

Makes sense if you were really hurt BUT totally stupid for a nicked or jabbed finger from a probe or X-acto blade, etc.

Most everyone started to keep their own stock of band-aids in their tool bag.  OR, like me who was out once, washed off the blood, put some paper towel over it and wrapped in electrical tape and went back to work.

At a company I worked at there was a formal policy that you could not have your own bandaids, aspirin and the like, and most especially could not share them with co-workers. 

There was a somewhat logical explanation for this, similar to rstofer's comment.  They needed to know how much exposure to injuries they had so that appropriate insurance and treatment facilities could be funded.  The practical effect of this, on a huge plant site with hundreds of employees was that a paper cut or other minor injury handled the officially correct way meant a long hike to the nurses location or major drama as the plant fire and rescue team showed up.  So many scofflaws kept band aids and other stuff around.

This company was also one with a formal policy against archiving emails beyond a fixed period (90 days as I recall).  Based on a real life problem with an engineer I knew well who generated some well intentioned emails that were quite embarrassing to the company when taken out of context.  They decided that the value of old emails was not worth the potential embarrassment.  And were probably statistically right, as an high percentage of company email has no value when written, and the value of most of the remainder drops off very rapidly as time passes.  I was a scofflaw on that one also, and received neither approbation or congratulations when my archives were useful to the company defending themselves against a lawsuit a few years down the road.
 
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Offline Brutte

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Re: Strange Company rules and manipulations
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2019, 10:18:48 am »
If you start to destroy things when a law suit is filed, even if you did that before a court order to preserve evidence, you are destroying evidence.  If a long long time before there is any legal proceeding in the works, email got destroyed as regular company policy (that all emails are NOT stored after X days), they are gone.  You merely destroyed your property but you did not obstruct justice (which would be a felony).

This might of course explain this rule.
However, when I read that back then (1+ years ago) I came to the conclusion that the true reason was different. I believe it was a part of a "Protection Act Against Whistleblowing". I cannot quote this and other regulations literally as I do not work there any more, but this particular paragraph meaning +- was like that (for sure it was in one sentence):

It is forbidden to archive documentation that could have any potential value to competitors, or any value to government authorities in case of a litigation.

Now imagine a hypothetical situation where a corporation gets involved in illegal actions (discrimination, mobbing, theft of intelectual property, falsifying documents, etc). Then a whistleblower will have to collect the evidence, violating second part of this rule. If he gets caught, corporation will prove he was collecting that for competitors. If however whistleblower succeeds with collecting evidence and goes to court, by law this evidence will have to be presented to lawyers that represent the corporation. Then the lawyers can copy this evidence and "prove" beyond any doubt in a second litigation that this information was sold to competitors by whistleblower, incurred losses and demand compensation.

Concluding, this is for protection against whistleblowers. Of course this is by no means 100% effective but it will discourage most of the people from even thinking about collecting evidence.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2019, 08:36:10 am by Brutte »
 


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