A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from February 24, 2018
“I told my boss I needed a pay raise. I said that three other companies are after me” (joke)

There’s an old joke about an employee asking for a raise:

EMPLOYEE: I need a pay raise, sir. Three companies are after me!
BOSS: What companies?
EMPLOYEE: The gas company, the water company and the electric company.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1930.


16 January 1930, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), “Movies and Movie People” by Mollie Merrick, pg. C-5, col. 4:
An old-timer was in hard straits, and sought a job with a director who had kept the wolf from his door many times in the past.

“It’s tough sledding, Frank,” he said, “what with the rain and all. If I could only rely on having something to do at a definite date—“

“Two weeks from now,” said the director, “I am scheduled to begin my next picture. I’ll give you a part of some kind in it—my word of honor.”

“I hope I can depend on that,” said the old ‘un, “because two companies are after me hot and heavy.”

“What companies?” The director looked incredulous.

“The gas company and the telephone company.”

23 September 1931, The News-Herald (Franklin, PA), “Broadway Screen,” pg. 5, col. 1:
Donald Crisp, a well-known director, tells this one about a seedy looking individual who approached him for a job. Realizing the man’s need, Crisp gave him a small role.

“What about my contract, Mr. Crisp,” was the next question.

‘What do you mean, contract?” gasped the startled director. “You never had a contract in your life.”

“But I must have a contract,” persisted the man. “Four companies are after me.”

“Crisp picked up his ears. “What companies are they?” he asked.

“The gas company, the electric company, the ice company and the renting company,” sighed the old man.

18 October 1931, Atlanta (GA) Constitution, Highlights of Broadway” by Jack Lait, magazine sec., pg. 2, col. 3:
One layoff movie extra panicked a casting director by whispering, “If you got anything for me, speak quick—there are a lot of other companies after me,” and when the c. d. demanded to know which, the comeback was, “The gas company, the electric company, the—“ well, you get the gag.

18 April 1932, Every Evening (Wilmington, DE), pg. 6, col. 6:
Won by His Wits.
The film director thought he might be able to use the applying actor later, but there was no opening just then.

“If you want me at all,” replied the actor, “you’d better put me on the payroll right now. There are several other companies after me.”

“Yes?” answered the produced who had often heard that remark before. “And what companies are they?”

‘Well,” said the actor, “there’s the electric light company, the telephone company, the milk company—“

The producer laughed and the man was put on the salary list.—Boston Transcript.

4 May 1937, San Diego (CA) Said to be true one that had its foundation in a wholesale stock room on lower Fifth ave.:

An employe asked his boss for a raise. "If I don't get one," he said. I'll have to leave. Several other companies are after me."

"No doubt," responded the boss cynically. "I suppose it is the gas company, the furniture store and the radio shop."

20 December 1939, Illinois State Journal (Springfield, IL), “Making Conversation” by J. Emil Smith, pg. 10, col. 3: 
Laborer: “I’ll have to have a raise, sir. Three other companies are after me.”
Boss: “Is that so? What companies?”
Laborer: “Light, water and fuel.”

23 June 1941, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 9, col. 7:
Much in Demand
As his request for a n increase in pay had been received in a stony silence, Jones thought he’d better strengthen his case.

“You see, sir, the reason I;m asking for more money is because three other companies are after me,” he explained.

His employer smiled coldly.

“Indeed!” he sneered. “And may I ask who they are?”

“Well, sir,” replied Jones, “there’s the gas company and the coal company and the company we got our furniture from.”—Stray Stories.

2 December 1941, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, “Batch of Smiles,” pg. 12, col. 1:
Employee approaching the manager:

“Could you manage to give me a raise of salary, sir? Three other companies are after me.”

“What companies?”

“Gas, electricity, and water, sir.”

Google Books
July 1945, Boys’ Life, “Think and Grin” edited by Frank Rigney, pg. 33, col. 2:
IN DEMAND
Employee approaching the manager: “Could you possibly give me a raise in salary, sir? Three other companies are after me.”

“What companies?”

“Gas, electricity and coal, sir.”

16 January 1947, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 14, col. 4:
“You better give me a raise, sir,” said the assistant. “Two other companies are after me.”

“A likely story,” said the boss. “What two companies?”

“The light company and the gas company,” said the assistant.

Google Groups: talk.origins
Reply to John Harshman
Greg G
2/2/04
(...)
Employee: You need to give me a raise. Three other companies are after me.
Boss: Really? Which companies?
Employee: The electric company, the gas company, and the phone company.

Twitter
Evolve Not Devolve‏
@darwinsf
Worker to Boss: “You have to give me a raise. 3 other companies are after me.” Boss: “Really?” Worker: “Mortgage Co, Telephone Co, Gas Co.”
12:25 PM - 27 May 2010

Twitter
Doctor_Giola‏
@doctorgiola
I told the boss i desperately needed a raise,and to hurry cause 3 other companies were after me.(who?) he said:The Gas,Cable and Phone Co’s!
1:00 AM - 21 Jan 2011

Twitter
Miss Aquarian‏
@AmritaPursnani
‎​Employee: I need salary increment. Three other companies are after me. Boss: Really? Which three?Employee: Electricity,telephone and gas.
12:44 PM - 20 Jun 2011

Twitter
aaquib‏
@aaquib_
Employee: I need salary increment, 3 other companies are after me.
Boss: Which companies?
Emp: Electricity,Petrol &Credit Card companies
6:29 AM - 24 Jun 2011

Twitter
Chris Burns‏
@OneFunnyBastard
I told my boss I wanted a raise because 3 other companies were after me. I didn’t mention the companies were Gas, Electric, and Mortgage.
4:33 PM - 3 Aug 2012

Twitter
Ms. Behave‏
@MamanyaDana
I asked for a salary raise.. I told the HR that other companies were after me..
I forgot to mention they were Credit Card Companies.. 😗😗
8:12 AM - 3 Feb 2015

Twitter
Shit Jokes‏
@ShitJokes
I told my boss I needed a pay rise, I said that 3 other companies were after me
Boss “which ones?”
I said “the electric, gas, & the water”
1:42 PM - 30 Aug 2016

Reddit—Jokes
I went to my boss at work and said, “I need a raise. Three other companies are after me.”
submitted July 5, 2017 by tmackus
He said, “Really? Which companies are after you?”
I said, “The electric company, the utilities company and the phone company.”

Reddit—Jokes
Told my boss I wanted a pay raise, 3 other companies are after me!
submitted July 8, 2017 by _LadyBoy
He said “Oh yeah, which ones?”
I told him “the gas and electric company, the phone company and the credit card company”

Twitter
Shit Jokes‏
@ShitJokes
I told my boss I needed a pay rise, I said that 3 other companies were after me
Boss “which ones?”
I said “the electric, gas, & the water”
11:45 AM - 25 Feb 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, February 24, 2018 • Permalink