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  1.  (4956.1)
    "When in doubt, black it out."
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    From 7 months of working in retail for a certain fruit-centric computer company:

    - Regardless of whether it is a product you bought from our store, if it doesn't have a receipt and no packaging, and you tell us you bought it in a completely different state, there is NO WAY we're going to return it. Being an asshole doesn't make us want to help you, either.

    -Patience is a virtue. Being that ass who comes in right before store closing to shop around is not.

    - Sundays are the worst days to do shopping for electronics or computers, and Saturdays the second worst. Do it during the week; we've got nothing to do and we'll give you more quality personal attention. Also, there's a lower rate of mental breakdown.

    -Just because we have internet access does NOT mean you get to go looking at girl-on-goat porn in the store.

    - Yes, we can help you. It's kind of what we're here for.

    -Yes, that computer does "come with the internet". But if you're asking that question, and under the age of 50, I'm obligated to ask a complimentary question - does your head come with a brain, or is that optional?

    -No, you cannot have a frankenstein laptop, made up of one's guts and the other's case. It doesn't work that way.

    -The manufacturer parts warranty doesn't cover being a dumbass. Ditto on drinking and typing.

    -You clearly don't understand our policy on price matching. We don't do it.

    -Asking us to fix your hard-drive mp3 player and calling it a piece of crap, after you admit to taking it jogging, dropping it a shitload of times, and abusing the bejeesus out of it, does not ingratiate you to us. Especially when you bring your brother, and your entire family to pick a fight. If we lose your business, good riddance.

    -Don't come in looking to pick a fight, ever.

    -That said, the most useful thing you can do in a tough situation is to try and get a manager involved. They put up with a lot of dicks, but if you're nice, they'll bend some rules.

    -Please, if you're under the age of 18, don't take risque pictures with the digital cameras. It's never cute.

    -We will kick you out if you're checking your myspace account repeatedly.

    -Why a parent lets a 12-year old have a myspace account, I will never know.

    -Haggling doesn't work. But if you've got a hot niece who's incredibly flexible, I might be persuaded to part with my employee discount.

    -The holidays are hell on earth.

    -Stop asking about sales. [fruit-based electronics company] has not, in the years and years since I've bought things and been aware of them / started with their products, never offered a sale, coupons, et cetera. It just doesn't happen.

    -Only buy the extended warranty. Don't be sold on the other extras. They're mostly useless things that any rube would love, but any computer-savvy individual would realize they could get for free, and not have to pay money for.

    -Yes, that was Stephen Baldwin.

    -if you're buying a certain cellular device of marked popularity, get the warranty. Why? it covers the battery, which, due to major effed up design, can only be replaced by replacing the unit itself. $60 now means you don't have to shell out a few hundred later, and trust me, the batteries go quicker than you'd think.

    -and lastly, if you're asking about new products, we aren't allowed to say anything. Funny enough, you most likely know more about it than we do, because the last goddamn thing we want to do is go home and look up spy pictures of new company gadgets.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    It's easier to play too much than it is to play too little. (aka. "Make it talk, son, make it talk... Ok, now make it shut up.")
  2.  (4956.4)
    Oh, and if you own a comic book store...hire cute geek girls to run the counter. You sell a lot more that way. Seriously... :P

    My girlfriend applied for a gig at a seemingly very decent comic shop (not a nerd lair constructed mainly out of Babylon 5 dolls) and the bulk of the interview consisted of the other employees leering at her and being stunned, STUNNED, that she read comics.
    "Does your boyfriend read comics?"
    "So you read what he gives you?"
    "No.I get my own stuff." and proceeded to rattle of creators she liked, runs she'd enjoyed and such.

    She didn't get the gig, they hired some chatty fat bastard who smelled like corn nuts. They're loss, she's a cute workaholic bibliophile. And she's cute in an objective sense. I have graphs.
  3.  (4956.5)
    For retail I will add:

    - The logo on the t-shirt, and the way I'm carrying a large stack of books? That means I work here.

    - 'Info Desk' means it is *not a till*.

    - If it's so much cheaper online, why are you here?

    - Do not walk into a charity bookshop and get mad because the latest release is 80% off and therefore cheaper at the supermarket.

    - If I am repeating this, well that's all good: the kids' department is not a creche, and, for the love of fuck, do not leave them there while you do your own shopping.

    Some personal things:

    - This is mainly addressed at the guy who came in last week: If you are going shopping, and you have a feeling you might need to ask some fairly detailed questions and therefore stand really far too close to me for a good ten minutes, HAVE A SHOWER FIRST. I might not pass out.

    - This is exclusively addressed to the guy from last summer: Do not, under any circumstances, pull out a handful of change that has your nail clippers sticking out of it.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    I'm a video game coder, specialising in game AI these days, so:

    -Video game AI has nothing in common with academic AI. Hardly any games can spare the CPU time to do genuine intelligent behaviour.

    -Our goal isn't to make the opponents in a game intelligent. It's to make them not stupid. As long as they're not doing stuff like walking into walls or killing each other to get to you, the player will assume that every random thing that's happening is actually really clever AI coding.

    -Most of the time in a game when you hear some enemy yelling stuff like 'flank him!' and 'moving up!', they're not actually doing that. 'Calling your attacks' is now one of the oldest tricks in the book (thank you Halflife).

    -That shooter you love? Where an enemy shoots and it just misses you, but the shot is in front so you can tell where it came from, and then you like totally spun round and kicked his ass? That's deliberate. Cause it makes the game fun.

    -And to follow on from the tester guy: We totally know about that bug too, but we've been told that only things that crash the game get fixed from date X. We will be fired for not obeying this.

    And some general games industry ones:

    -We don't play games all day. Even test don't. They play the same game all day every day for 2 years or more. I honestly don't know how they do it, it would drive me insane.

    -We don't accept unsolicited game design ideas. We don't care if you have this great new idea for a game that you want us to make for you and then split the profits. Ideas are easy, everyone working at a games company has dozens of them, it's all in the execution.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009 edited
    "We don't play games all day. Even test don't."

    Similarly "It must be great to get paid to sit around all day reading comics." is not a good way to apply for a job.
  4.  (4956.8)
    On Professional Services Software Development:

    - NOBODY in web software development bug tests. There's a reason all web services are forever in beta. It's cheaper to use the customers as testers.

    - 90% of what you learned in college will be obsolete by the time you graduate. Focus on Algorithms and Data Structures. Java libraries are always changing but stacks are forever.

    - Before starting work on a project, everything had better be in writing. and I mean EVERYTHING. Signoff dates, delivery dates, prices charged and a detailed list of the work to be done. The last is very important. Customers will always tack on additional work halfway through the project and still expect you to deliver on time.

    - There are two types of project managers: those who negotiate realistic timelines and those you want to beat to death with a shoe. Most of them will be in the second category.

    - Create abstract code that you can re-use from one project to the next. Nothing's more boring than having to write the same 200 lines into every project.

    - If your team is pulling 12 hour days during the final two weeks of development, for god's sake, buy them dinner. If your team is pulling 12 hour days for over a month, your turnover is about to skyrocket.

    - There are days where you will do nothing but stare at your monitor and copy and past code randomly in an effort to look busy.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    I've had the fucking miseryjoy to work for a number of call centers.

    In-bound Patient Call-Center for an HMO in California (the one that likes Thriving a whole lot):
    -If your doctor is out of town, and you're insisting on talking on to him/her, you're fucked. No, we aren't told where they are going, no, we don't have any contact information for them, and, no, we have no way of getting a message to them; generally the only info we have is that they aren't working and for how long. At best what we can do is send a message to their nursing team and maybe they can get it to them in the event it is, actually, super important. Most likely it'll wait until they get back b/c doctors are people too and need some fucking down time.

    -That being said, 90% of doctors, when acting as patients, are dicks. All of the doctors working for said HMO know the call center rules but try to get around them because they're "a doctor" while we're just answering phones all day.

    -We know that you're sick and, believe me, most of us working in the call center sympathize (except for a few people who only continue to live out of habit); we've been there. It's easy to get frustrated when you've got a shit doctor who doesn't return messages or it's hard to get an appointment at the height of flu season but keep in mind that we're not at fault for any of that and we're more likely to help you if you remain calm and polite, even if you're angry or frustrated.

    -If you call up and say any of the emergency symptoms (chest pain, numbness down the left side of the body, shortness of breath, suicidal, etc.) we're going to put you through to a nurse even if you don't want us to. Do not try to say, "Oh, it's going away now." The calls are recorded and if we don't put you through we get fired: period.

    -Do not call up for your ex's information. First of all, there's this thing called HIPAA where anyone wanting to keep their job knows that we can't share any patient's information with someone else without their explicit permission. Getting your new boyfriend to pretend like he's your ex (and, please, your husband "forgot" his own address?) just makes you a double plus douchebag.

    -Put the baby down. Sweet Jesus, if Snookums doesn't feel good I can understand you wanting to hold it but I can't hear you on the phone over their wailing. Your baby will not explode if you put them down, you can even stand and watch over them while talking to me if you're nervous, but for the love of God at least put the phone on the opposite ear.

    -If you call me, stop fucking eating. It's disgusting hearing you chew.

    -Women, when you are calling a call center like mine and you get a man, all we're doing is getting some basic information by reading scripted questions. Being embarassed about personal medical issues is one thing but telling me, "It's a woman thing, you wouldn't understand." in some waspish voice is completely ridiculous; a woman's going to ask you the same questions.

    -Men, same goes for you. And don't be an asshole. If you tell me that you called back because you got a woman the first time and "well, women just don't know what they're doing" I will fuck with you the entire call out of sympathy for my call center sister.

    -If you did something embarassing, we will talk about it. Seriously. And as long as we don't identify who you are, we can. So when you tell me you "accidentally" fell on that carrot and now a piece is lodged inside of you (You make salad naked from the waist down? To each their own, I guess.) we will talk about it in the lunch room, believe me.

    -Parents, repeat after me: a lack of planning on my part does not constitute an emergency to you. If your child needs a physical before they can attend school, schedule it more than two weeks before the start of school! We know for a fact that schools warn you to give it plenty of time to get an appointment. Do not lie to us.

    -Travellers, if you're going to some exotic location and need shots for stuff like malaria or typhoid, make sure you call months in advance. Some shots for these drugs have to be taken at specific intervals with weeks sometimes between them. Not taking them at the appropriate times means you could get very ill. This is for your own good.
  5.  (4956.10)
    Some tips I've learned from playing in bands over the years.

    Never tell the crowd to "come up to the stage", "move closer", or "get the fuck up here". This will invariably make you look like a dick. People will move closer if they are interested, so just earn the crowds respect and give them something to be interested in.

    No matter how good your original music is, you will probably get paid more for playing someone elses music.

    Your record contract is not nearly as promising as it looks. Read the fine print. Most of the time you can make a much higher return on your music and merchandise by selling it yourself. What (good) labels do provide is good contacts for booking and promotion and an air of legitimacy. It's up to you if you would rather do the leg work yourself or take a cut in profits.

    That Advance you just got from your label must be paid back. It's a loan, not a paycheck. You will not get paid any more until your advance is recouped. If your record sales do not cover the advance you will held accountable for repaying the balance.

    Just because you got a huge advance to record does not mean you must use all of it. Record smartly, don't skimp but don't waste time or money needlessly, it's money in your pocket.

    Be prepared before you go into the studio. Its never a bad idea to demo all of your songs before you are tracking them on your dime for hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour. Know your parts, arrangements, and what you want to do ahead of time.

    Play to the room (size of) and the PA you have. It is generally better to turn your amp down (no matter how painful it may be) and get a good mix in the PA. No matter how much you love feeling your nuts shake, the crowd mostly listens to the vocals.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    More music guidelines:

    - Keep your set short rather than too long. It's a good idea to leave the audience wanting for more.
    - Be nice to the staff at the venues. They can make life miserable for you.
    - Bring spares. Batteries, cables, strings, underwear. Spares.
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009 edited
    American tax time is coming up. Hint hint to any tax accountants or Irs employees lurking. Google "anonymous proxy" if needed.

    (I'm working on a "Trade Secrets of IT: How to Get Around the Firewall" post real soon now. )
    • CommentAuthorgjmiller
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    From my days as a PC and network tech:

    These things are not covered by your warranty:
    - Urine or feces anywhere inside a machine. No matter where they came from
    - Breakage caused by you or your children. We can tell the difference between a manufacturing defect and damage caused by you throwing your PC down the stairs. Especially when your wife comes to pick it up and tells us you did such a thing.
    - Damage caused by heat buildup due to fan failure. Two inches of pet hair or the scum from your smoking habit do clog the fans. Yes the fans are needed. Yes you should've cleaned the computer out.
    - Improper installation of components by you. This includes but is not limited to: improper grounding of components (ex: screwing the motherboard directly to the case instead of using spacers), failure to plug the power supply into the correct spot on the motherboard or failure to plug in the fans.

    We will look through My Documents to see what you've been up to. We will treat files by these rules:
    - Good porn will be copied and shared amongst us.
    - Weird or sick porn will make us give you a nickname.
    - Improper or illegal porn will result in a call to the police.
    - The pictures of aborted fetuses you use for your pro-life newsletter and keep in a nondescript folder will cause us to give your computer back to you and do our damnedest to keep it out of our shop.
    - Racist or otherwise offensive files may 'disappear'. Their disappearance may be related to the issue you asked us to look into. Even if we were just fixing the sound card.

    Having to clean your computer before we work on it ups the service fee. It goes up more if we have to wear gloves to do so.

    Unless we genuinely like you or you've referred a lot of customers our way, we will not waive the minimum service fee.

    If we do on-site service and we charge $X point to point and it takes an hour to get there one way and we worked on something for an hour, we're going to charge you $X * 3. No, we did not record the time it took us to eat lunch on the work order.

    Asking us to look up prices for half and hour and then telling us you can get it cheaper on eBay will make us hate you. Telling us you got it cheaper on eBay next week will make us try to set you on fire with our minds.

    If your internet service was shut off due to a late payment, we cannot turn it back on (we can actually) until the billing software processes payments at the end of the day. These excuses will not work on us:
    - I have items that I'm selling on eBay.
    - I'm bidding on things on eBay.
    - I make my living off of eBay.
    - My kid has a report due. Do you remember how libraries work?

    If your internet service is shut off every month because you can't pay it and you pay by credit card every month, you should let us put you on autobill. Forcing us to enter your credit card information every month makes us hate you. No your service will not be turned on right away.

    If you see us outside of the shop, please _do not_ use this as an opportunity for free tech support. If your question goes "My computer is doing X, can I bring it in?" fine, but anything beyond that is pushing it.
      CommentAuthorSimon B
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    Some tips from a poor bastard who's worked too much hospitality.

    Rule 1: Your Waiter is Bullshitting you. No, seriously. When you ask us to describe the wine you're drinking? We're bullshitting you. When we tell you that you're the best customer we've had? We are bullshitting you. It's what we're paid to do, honestly. The entire point of our job is to convince you to come back and spend more money. Thus, we bullshit.

    Rule 2. Thank you for your napkin, with your phone number and the cute message claiming we're hot. We're going out the back to laugh our fucking faces off now, and unless we think you're the hottest thing ever, we're likely to either throw it away... or pin it to the notice board. (Yes, several places I've worked have Number Boards, where those little notes get pinned up for all the staff to be amused by)

    Rule 3: Tip us, you bastards. We work ridiculous hours, for one of the worst wages ever. The least you can do is chuck us a couple of bucks. That fake smile we have to wear will probably, for at least an instant, become a real one, depending on the tip. And hell, if you tip well, and do it regularly, we'll probably be willing to go out of our way to do shit for you that we really shouldn't. Like annoying the chefs.

    Rule 4: We do not annoy the chefs without damn good reason. As a general rule, they don't like us, we don't like them, and they have the knives. Please don't ask us to.

    Rule 5: We don't believe you when you act like an entitlement bitch, and then claim to be in the industry. Everyone who's actually in the industry tends to treat people with a little bit of respect, and not fly off the handle about petty shit like the wrong fucking lettuce in your salad. Also they tip, you stingy bastard.

    God. I have a lot of vitriol regarding this. I'm just gonna stop for the moment.
    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    If you are going to work in a children-focused book store, you are going to have to deal with a lot of fairy books. Seriously, fairy books out the ass. You will grow to hate the sight of those little winged fuckers. Baby animals will be a close second.

    On a slightly more personal note: parents, for the love of God and the future of the human race, pick some intellectually stimulating books out for your kids. No, put that crap back on the shelf. What's the matter with you? Are you actively trying to keep your children stupid? Have you no shame?
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    More music:

    Give the touring band your share of the door and they'll return the favor when you play their town and need gas money.

    Sell merch. T-shirts, stickers, buttons, patches and hoodies are all great. You can use the proceeds to pay for CD pressing.

    You can't choose your fans. If they like your band, like them back. They'll bring friends to your shows, buy your stuff and introduce your music to new fans.

    Buy a box of cheap earplugs. You can sell them for $1/pair, but they only cost like $0.20/pair. You can also give them away if you need an icebreaker when hitting on the opening band's girlfriends.

    If the venue has a smoke machine and strobe lights, they're going to use them both and there's nothing you can do about it.
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2009
    Dog Kennel (since retail has been covered)

    You asked for extra play time with your dog? Well your dog is an asshole, he's going straight back in the kennel after the required 30 minutes outside. If your dog is really kickass, then they get to stay out longer. Don't pay for extra playtime.

    Don't try to make us feed your dog a Raw Diet in a kennel, unless you: are gone for only a few days, send really fresh meat, give us money for groceries, or use one of the frozen sausage type ones. They go bad! It's not good for anyone if a less than savvy Kennel Tech gives your dog rotten meat. Cleaning up shit all day is one thing, but cleaning up diarrhea is a pain.

    We follow your feeding instructions to the letter, know how much you feed your dog. If the dog looks like it is losing weight we'll adjust, but make it easy on everyone and either give us what you use to measure or figure out the actual measurement.

    Don't leave really detailed psychological notes about your dog's likes and dislikes. No one pays attention to them.

    Your dog hates strangers? Oh good. Now we get to spend a week or so with a dog that attacks the gate every time we walk by.

    We do go out of our way to give special attention to dogs that are in lock up for extended periods.

    Seriously if your dog has a history of biting tell someone. No one likes being bitten, and we'll take extra precautions to avoid getting fucked by your precious Cujo.
    (We had a 200+ lb dog that was basically trained to attack anyone that wasn't his owner that came into his space...)

    We wash EVERYTHING, I promise the kennels are far cleaner than you would thing (or the one I worked at). All the runs are washed out every day and we clean the beds every other day (unless they are horribly dirty).
    That said... nearly all dogs crap their run at least once, and it might get on them... That's just how it goes.

    If you are gone for more than a week try to get a housesitter or take the dog to dog daycare place that lets them play with other dogs. They get stressed being in a kennel especially if they are unused to other dogs.

    Get a tour of the facility if you can, try to talk to a Kennel Tech (shit scooper) and if you get a bad vibe, don't take your dog there.

    Don't board your cat. They hate it. The majority cower in the corner of their kennel the entire time and go off food.

    ---I might add my insight on sample taking later, but anyone following me on twitter has seen my tirades about that set of etiquette.
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2009
    god i hate strobe lights when i'm playing
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2009 edited
    Comic con attendeees: you are having fun, the booth holders are not.

    A big con means several days prep work, busting your arse loading and unloading trucks; NOT screaming at the venue tech who put your phone line (needed for credit card transactions) in the next booth over and gave you their triple-phase power supply (needed for their big screen display); assembling the stall; NOT telling con volunteeers wandering around before opening to fuck off when they want to read the stock you're trying to sort and lots of other even less fun stuff.

    Think the venue is hot during the con? - The air-conditioning isn't even turned on during bump-in and break-down.

    Oh and you've invested thousands of dollars in the con and if you don't get it back you might not make rent this month.

    The con itself is four days of hands jabbing at you with money and voices screaming at you trying to be heard over the J-Pop Karaoke contest on one side of you and the wrestling demo on the other.

    No, I didn't see that panel with my all-time favorite creator on it, I did however manage to make it to the john on my one and only break of the day before my bladder burst.

    As others have said, I smile at you and pray for you brain to explode as you ask if I have any copies of "Teen Tentacle Rape" hidden away. Loudly. With your gut peeking out beneath your sweat-stained multiply-holed Vampirella t-shirt, ignoring the family with the children next to you who HAD BEEN considering letting their five year old buy a Disney comic.
  6.  (4956.20)
    @orwellseyes I still think its hard for girls to break into a Geeky-Retail place. Back in my Retail Electronics Outlet days, I had a few dozen run ins with guys who'd rather buy their stuff from a Geek Dude, then a chick with the lipstick.

    I work at a Hotel :

    * If the price seems good online, book it. The front desk clerk is unlikely to give a rats-ass about how cheap it was online, and charge you whatever the night's rate is.

    * The night-clerk cannot fix your rattling heater/airconditioner. Nor can we plug into the matrix and make ourselves magically plumbers. If the toilet is running, close the bathroom door and do your best to deal.

    * Please do not be alarmed when your hotel room is nothing like your house.

    * I am not a prostitute in addition to my front desk duties.

    * If you are rude, smell bad, or abrupt, I will go out of my way to make sure you pay as much for your room as I possibly can. (the inverse works, if you are sweet, nice, or easy-to-please, I will give you discounts because you cut in HALF the time I have to stop playing WoW to check you in.)

    * Most of the time, the Front Desk Clerk can't do anything about anything. If there is no manager on duty at that time, simply wait and take whatever your issue is up with him/her.

    * If I tell you we are the only chain in town, I'm trying to tell you that you should probably just buck it up and stay here, or go to the next town. (You won't like the other options).

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