A million conspiracies in your everyday life
August 19, 2013 6:37 AM   Subscribe

A reddit thread entitled “What is a ‘dirty little (or big) secret’ about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?” gives a profound glimpse into human nature. Corners are cut, be it for sloth or greed, and people, animals, and tax dollars all suffer for it. The thread contains material for dozens, if not hundreds, of documentaries, and just goes on and on. And on.

Reading a few inside stories will make you fundamentally reassess your world view. There are the funeral director, restaurant workers, burger-flippers, animal-rescue workers (NSFL), Washington lobbyists, Big Pharma employees, UPS workers, military contractors, teachers, prison guards, and people from all walks of life.

Some stories are not for the faint of heart.

Finished reading, faith in mankind destroyed? Have some cute animals!
posted by blook (127 comments total) 143 users marked this as a favorite
 
I read the first two top-rated ones (the one about oil spills and about pet stores) and quit.

Jesu Christi....
posted by magstheaxe at 6:40 AM on August 19, 2013


I have a lot of trouble believing anything I read in comments on a site where people are rewarded for making up outlandish tales and there is no barrier to entry.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:42 AM on August 19, 2013 [94 favorites]


I don't get on reddit at work so I can't search for them, but one of these threads pops up every few months. Generally they're full of disgruntled fast food employees with the occasional very interesting but hard to verify claims.
posted by DynamiteToast at 6:42 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Remember, however, that this is reddit, and stories are embellished and flat-out made up for sweet, sweet karma (that doesn't even get you anything beside a number on your userpage). In addition, there are a number of people astroturfing on reddit that may use this sort of thread as a dig against a competitor or something along those lines. I try to have a healthy amount of skepticism when I read threads like this.
posted by autobahn at 6:42 AM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


"NSA Employee here! we read all your email and then laugh about it."
posted by Going To Maine at 6:44 AM on August 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


dirty little secret of freelancing: Yes I am working on your very important project in my star trek robe, drinking an Irish coffee out of a WORLD'S GREATEST GRANDMA mug.
posted by The Whelk at 6:50 AM on August 19, 2013 [81 favorites]


I have a lot of trouble believing anything I read in comments on a site where people are rewarded for making up outlandish tales and there is no barrier to entry.

Have to agree. Lots of disgruntled people who think their experience is universal.

Also, the more a comment fits with a certain political ideal, the more likely it is phony.
posted by gjc at 6:51 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I work for the goverment and we literally tax minoritys less on purpose to fund are false flag mass murders."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:53 AM on August 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


"Obamacare here. I am taking away your medicare to give it to Adam and Steve for an abortion!"

"NO I AM OBAMACRE. I AM SAVING YOUR HEALTH."
posted by Going To Maine at 6:55 AM on August 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


Seriously, some of those are real food for thought.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:55 AM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


"I work for Metafilter and only mullacc's comments are geniune. The rest are fake."
posted by mullacc at 6:57 AM on August 19, 2013 [31 favorites]


I work at the Soylent factory and the crazy shit that goes in the green flavor will make you never want to eat again. VOTE ME UP!!1!
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:59 AM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Vegetables might have manure, fertilizer or bugs is a secret?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:01 AM on August 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I seriously feel uncomfortable with how snobbish this sounds when I see it written down in blue and white, but my first gut reaction to strong skepticism about stories like these is sincere happiness that there are still some sheltered lives left out there.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:03 AM on August 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


I'd love to hear ColdChef weigh in on that funeral director post.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:03 AM on August 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


dirty little secret of freelancing: Yes I am working on your very important project in my star trek robe, drinking an Irish coffee out of a WORLD'S GREATEST GRANDMA mug.

Take me with you.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:04 AM on August 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


Maybe I'm too cynical, but lots of the things on here aren't surprises. Some of them aren't problems (e.g. people with boring jobs are drunk and high while on the job, chain restaurant food is prepared ahead of time and reheated before being brought to the table), either.

That story about ripping the covers off mass market paperbacks because the publishers can't be bothered to take them back and don't want them on the market is terrible, though. Also the one about half of all imported honey actually being rice syrup (which has a citation!).
posted by subdee at 7:07 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The funeral director's comments won't surprise anyone who knows about Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death - which was first published in the 60s.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:07 AM on August 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


There was a really juicy one about Hollywood casting couches written by someone claiming to be a script doctor, but it was deleted.
posted by subdee at 7:08 AM on August 19, 2013


a search of coldchef's history is filled with counter points to the whole funeral directors are preying scum or whatever. any time he talks about burials or funerals or anything related to his business, i'm reminded of what a kind and wonderful man he is.
posted by nadawi at 7:12 AM on August 19, 2013 [28 favorites]


Edit: Thanks for the Metafilter gold!
posted by alby at 7:18 AM on August 19, 2013 [54 favorites]


That story about ripping the covers off mass market paperbacks because the publishers can't be bothered to take them back and don't want them on the market is terrible, though.

That practice of cover-stripping goes back decades, though. It seems fair enough: the publisher sells X copies to the bookstore, the bookseller can't sell them all, and the covers get stripped and sent back so that the book store can get credit. There are minimal shipping costs / environmental costs incurred by shipping back covers instead of whole books, and unless that bookstore was incredibly, uniquely dumb in making that order, it doesn't seem likely that the books could be resold anywhere else.

The books very often find their way to less picky readers anyway. My old SF collection included a fine selection of coverless paperbacks acquired from thrift shops, the variety store I used to work at, and the general vicinity of other stores on certain days of the week. *cough*

The Reddit thread seems to claim that it's common practice to also destroy the coverless book. If that isn't just the experience at that one store, and if it is now an industry-wide standard, that is a shame.
posted by maudlin at 7:18 AM on August 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


Those cute animals did not help. The pugs are scabs, having helped bust the basset hound cutunions, and those "kittens" are really cynical adult cats with plastic surgery working a terrible scam. Now I feel terrible about everything.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:22 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the UK, we have (had?) a law which says that if you work shifts you should have a minimum of 11 hours between them. I have worked places where this isn't the case. One place I worked, the policy was the manager who did the close also had to come in the next morning to do the open, so finishing at 11 and back at 7. They also had a policy of moving managers and the maximum distance they could move you was 25 miles. My manager was moved to our place and easily lived 23/24 miles. So when she closed at 11, she had a 24 mile drive home, a cuppa tea, bed, and then up to get ready/do make-up, and then another 24 mile drive to work. And it was a physically demanding job.

One gastropub chain I worked for had the same policy about close/open, although I believe it has since changed it. Another did similar stuff, such that the Kitchen Manager ended up working from 8 am till midnight some nights, and then had to come back in at 8am the next day.

How they get away with this is beyond me. You just cannot do your job properly and safely if you have not had enough sleep and rest, which is probably why they do it - to keep us subdued and unable to rise up.
posted by marienbad at 7:24 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Former paramedic here. I've never once checked, judged, or cared whether you had on clean underwear. Your parents lied.

I KNEW IT
posted by ook at 7:25 AM on August 19, 2013 [50 favorites]


Here's what I can contribute (sorry no details): "Technical due diligence" in software mergers is pretty much a rubber stamp in my experience and happens after the non-technical M&A people have shaken hands. Any time you see an ad showing "Workforce Suite" or "[some other] Suite" of software products, visualize 3 or 4 products that came from acquisitions and whose back-end integration won't even begin for months or years afterward, if ever. You know how you change your address and other info with places and then the next person you talk to somehow still has the old address? Yeah. Integrations aren't integrated.
posted by freecellwizard at 7:26 AM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was invited to a book bonfire once -- coverless books remaindered from a bookstore which a bookstore employee friend of mine had promised to destroy. He let us pick through the pile first to see if there were any we especially wanted to rescue.

I wanted to be outraged, but first of all, they were terrible books. Really, out of a couple of yard-waste-sized garbage bags full, I think I found one actual novel that looked like it might be worth reading, and I don't think I finished that. Most of it was like, self-help books and faddish business advice.

Second, he made this point: "The publisher printed too many. How is destroying them any worse than if they had printed fewer, as they would have done if they had known it wasn't going to sell? Everybody who wants these books pretty much had their chance to buy them, and there are still lots and lots of copies of them around. And that's what these are, copies, not originals. As long as the text is still out there where people can get it, this is just paper and ink. And it's paper and ink that nobody wants."

Which, since I didn't really want any of them, I couldn't exactly argue with.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:29 AM on August 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


TIL: 24 miles is considered a long way away in the UK.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on August 19, 2013 [35 favorites]


After working where I have for the past 15 years and hearing stories, I have one theory about civilization that explains so much.

"Civilization is held together by duct tape."
posted by symbioid at 7:30 AM on August 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'd love to hear ColdChef weigh in on that funeral director post.

Sounds like he works for a greedy corporation and doesn't care much for the work he does. Comparing corporate funeral homes to family funeral homes (like mine) is like comparing Chili's to your local steak house. I feel sorry for the poster. My job brings me a lot of joy. It's a sacred honor to help families through their worst days and I take the responsibility seriously.
posted by ColdChef at 7:35 AM on August 19, 2013 [179 favorites]


Metafilter does actually have a cabal.
posted by jaduncan at 7:36 AM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Every time someone talks about poorly-regulated business: OMG THIS IS AN OUTRAGE WE NEED MORE LAWS AND SOME SORT OF ORGANIZATION TO BE PREVENTING THIS

Every time someone mentions the government (good or bad): OMG GOVERNMENT SUCKS WE NEED OUR LIBERTARIAN UTOPIA RIGHT NOW

Oh, Reddit, you never surprise me anymore.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:38 AM on August 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


Metafilter does actually have a cabal.

You make it sound so sinister.

I mean...


Shut up.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 AM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Reddit thread seems to claim that it's common practice to also destroy the coverless book. If that isn't just the experience at that one store, and if it is now an industry-wide standard, that is a shame.

They're supposed to be destroyed, and the returned cover is meant to be proof of that destruction. Compliance varies widely, and the books re-enter the market by way of non-compliant employees or even dumpster-diving.

Years ago, a newly-constructed mall bookstore I worked at flooded due to heavy rain. We got to build floodwalls out of the stripped paperbacks, which was completely awesome and absorbent.
posted by asperity at 7:42 AM on August 19, 2013 [24 favorites]


Sounds like he works for a greedy corporation and doesn't care much for the work he does. Comparing corporate funeral homes to family funeral homes (like mine) is like comparing Chili's to your local steak house.

Yeah, I'm not making any comparisons, just wondering if, being in the same industry, you know anything about the big chains and how they operate.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


We got to build floodwalls out of the stripped paperbacks, which was completely awesome and absorbent.

Jesus. How nightmarish was the process of cleaning up the floodwalls made of soaked paperbacks afterwards? Because that sounds like just-burn-it-down-and-start-over territory to me
posted by ook at 7:44 AM on August 19, 2013


There's a flea market stand around here that sells cover-less mass market paperbacks. They've been doing it for years. I thought book cover stripping was common knowledge.

Also, you would not believe how many books a law library throws away/recycles every year.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:46 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not making any comparisons, just wondering if, being in the same industry, you know anything about the big chains and how they operate.

I'll say this: I've never actually seen or heard directly of someone doing the shady tactics that he describes in upselling caskets and that kind of thing. Maybe thirty years ago, before regulation and before "Six Feet Under" and before the internet that kind of thing happened. But I can't imagine it happening today. Most funeral directors I know, even the corporate ones, are kind and looking out for the family first. But I live in an area where funerals are a social obligation, so YMMV.
posted by ColdChef at 7:46 AM on August 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Going To Maine: ""Obamacare here. I am taking away your medicare to give it to Adam and Steve for an abortion!"

"NO I AM OBAMACRE. I AM SAVING YOUR HEALTH."
"

Why do I now see an ad campaign "I am Obamacare..." with stories from all ranges of people who have benefited...
posted by symbioid at 7:47 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus. How nightmarish was the process of cleaning up the floodwalls made of soaked paperbacks afterwards? Because that sounds like just-burn-it-down-and-start-over territory to me

I don't remember, which probably means I was off shift at that point, which is the best of all possible worlds.
posted by asperity at 7:49 AM on August 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


In every industry there will be people who hate their jobs and/or their customers who view their time at work as a slow torture. There are also people who love their jobs and/or customers, who go out of their way to make the experience enjoyable. Guess which ones are going to post on that Reddit thread.
posted by Runes at 7:50 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe it's the (low) quality of the books I read, but I thought the "If you bought this book without a cover you should be aware this book is stolen property" blurb on the first page or two was standard on paperbacks? I am surprised that ripping the covers off and destroying the rest thing wasn't common knowledge.
posted by adamt at 7:52 AM on August 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


Banks are out to get you. Not just the big, obviously evil ones, but also the little, local ones... and those are actually, probably, worse, because they're run by incompetents whose only qualification is that their granddaddy started the bank. I'm talking, "let the local big shot run up $189,000 in debt on his debit card because he's good for it" levels of incompetence. Their IT departments are a joke, and I'd never trust my financial information with them. The company I was with at that time was selling them $200,000 Microsoft Access "applications," and they were buying it happily.

I bank with a big, evil, corporate bank. It is a deal with the devil; I know this. I also get more services, and a security infrastructure that probably isn't run by a 71 year old lady who became the database administrator because she'd been the filing clerk back in 1980 when they bought it.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:54 AM on August 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


Maybe it's the (low) quality of the books I read, but I thought the "If you bought this book without a cover you should be aware this book is stolen property" blurb on the first page or two was standard on paperbacks? I am surprised that ripping the covers off and destroying the rest thing wasn't common knowledge.

Yeah, I thought people knew this for the same reason. A quick survey of some books lying around my house suggests it's (mostly? only? usually?) mass market paperbacks that say that, but was I intentionally checking non-trashy books. Mass market paperbacks seem to be increasingly less common, I assume because the profit margin is higher for trade paperbacks. However, I'm guessing we're just weird for reading the first few pages.
posted by hoyland at 8:03 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


throwaway account here, obv. I work in one of the biggest scam industries there is: Bird Identification Books. A lot of people don't even know it's a scam, thanks to Big Birding. (please, no need for "Big Bird" jokes; in my line of work, we get that all out of our system in the first month of working here). But yeah, it's rotten from top to bottom.

So bird books seem simple enough, right? A few hundred kinds of birds, along with descriptions of their foliage, their calls, their natural habitats, etc. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong.

The truth is, most of these birds don't even exist. There are only two types of birds out there:

1. Pigeons
2. Seagulls

That's it. That's all the birds there are. "But wait," you might be saying, "what about robins? What about.. what's that bird that's on money.. oh yeah, eagles? Don't eagles exist?" These are really common questions, and totally understandable, given the way Bird Deceivers operate in our society. But let me break it down for you: Robins are just pigeons that have a slightly reddish color on their stomachs. Eagles? They don't exist at all. They're just big-ass seagulls that the original pilgrim colonists mistook for another kind of bird. Of course, no one in the US government wants to admit that they've been selling us a lie, so we keep up the fiction of "eagles", and slap them anywhere we need a logo. Not quite as impressive when you know it's just a dirty seagull clutching arrows in it's Bird Feet.

"But chickens?" you might be asking. "Aren't they technically a bird, too?" They are yes, but they're are also just pigeons. Think about it -- most of the time, you never even see a chicken in person, just the plucked carcass in a supermarket. When people DO visit a "chicken farm", the farmers just gussy up the pigeons to make them look like the Fiction Bird we call "chickens". I should know -- I used to have a freelance job sticking cotton balls all over the pigeons' backs and painting there beak's yellow. We'd disguise the pigeons, then stand behind a barn making "chicken noises" -- some kind of soft "clubble ubble buttel" sound -- until the tourists left. It was disgusting.

A question I get from a lot of "so-called" "bird questioners" is this: "aren't swans birds too? they've got long necks. They obviously aren't pigeons or seagulls!" But think about it: have you ever actually SEEN a swan? Have you ever touched one? Think hard. You'll find the answer is no. I know, kind of surprising, right? You could have sworn?...? but no.

Of course, if this ever got out, they'd probably make laws to make more birds, so obviously the government wants to keep this quiet (and I should point out that the Democrats are JUST AS bad about this as the Republicans). But the next time someone mentions a Fake Bird, like a "duck" or a "talking parrot", you can just shake your head and proudly tell them, "You're an idiot, its is a pigeon"

EDIT: wow, some of the comments here are REALLY ignorant. To clarify: yes, cats are also pigeons
posted by Greg Nog at 8:06 AM on August 19, 2013 [731 favorites]


In the early 90s I desperately wanted to blow the whistle in racism in the market research industry, but with no Internet, not as easy to do that as it is today. Basically the company that did most of the market research for consumer product advertising (pop tarts, for example) refused to allow us to turn in surveys with more than ten percent black people in the sample. They had no other restrictions, on anything like age or gender. They were 100% clear that 0% would be fine with them, and in fact, preferred.

I was doing surveys in a mall with a customer base that was probably 30% black at the time. We often had to tell people that we recruited that we couldn't use them when the manager told us that we were over quota. The office manager would ask them what their zip code was, and whatever they said,she would say, oh, sorry we're over quota for that zip code. Then they'd tell us that we couldn't survey any more 'zips'. Sometimes black people would directly even stop and ask us why we didn't survey them, if I ignored them and asked a white person that walked by after them. I never had a good answer. I have no idea if and when they ever changed their practices. I quit the job over doing market research on cigarette ads while my grandmother was dying of lung cancer. I wish I'd had the guts to quit over the racism thing.
posted by empath at 8:09 AM on August 19, 2013 [38 favorites]


I liked the olive oil one. (Even though I've seen it before.) *That's* why all olive oil I buy tastes like rancid cardboard. Why can't I find plain old California olive oil?
posted by gjc at 8:14 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As an artist, I want you all to know, that when we talk about our shit, we're just making it up as we go. Really. When we get together on Beret Night at our local indie coffee houses for the weekly meeting, anyone who invents a new word and actually gets it printed in the newspaper has to buy the first round. Now you know why so many famous artists (i.e.: Damien Hirst, Annie Leibovitz) are in such financial straights and why Banksy wants to remain anonymous.

But don't tell anyone, I might find a black palette knife in my bed (courtesy the Central Committee) for letting this secret out in the world....
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:15 AM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Former movie theater worker here...That popcorn you're eating was probably popped two or three days ago. We would regularly fill several big 20-gallon trash bags full of popcorn a day or two before the weekend. We'd store them in a utility closet, and then try to discreetly fill the poppers before the crowds hit. The heat lamps would warm the kernals, and that "butter" you guys had us ladle on covers up the fact that the popcorn was just a bit on the stale side.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:18 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually the most important skill I've noticed an artist can have is to talk to people and explain thier aesthetic choices to people who aren't as visually oriented or sensitive to aesthetic detail and commicate these ideas in a clear way ( or calm down people who are taking a risk and want something "concrete" to base thier decisions on, okay some of that is bullshit but it's bullshit with a corn kernel of truth.)
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I worked at a movie theater, the only time you'd get popcorn from the night before was during the first matinee. It tasted fine if it was less than like a day old, to be honest. I brought a trash bag full of popcorn home for a poker night once and that was super fun.
posted by empath at 8:22 AM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I design industrial weighing systems. Almost every industry uses scales at some point, so my work takes me into a diverse array of industrial facilities. As a result I've been shown where a lot of the bodies are buried. Absolutely nothing in that Reddit thread surprises me.
posted by localroger at 8:25 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did really like this one:

I worked for Hasbro for a while, specifically with GI Joe and Star Wars figurines. During my time there I learned that Hasbro does NOT keep an archive of past toys. No warehouse, no expanse of shelves and containers, nothing. What do they have? A tiny dingey basement where they keep all of the toys they buy on ebay when they need to reboot a series.

Yes, that's right, whenever you see a "Top 10 GI Joe Re-release!" or "Best of past Star Wars figures!" there's no magical place where they go to dust off the old master molds. Nope! They hit ebay and the GI Joe forums, buy up the old toys, re-sculpt, re-cast, repaint based on the old figures, and then re-release them.


Maybe especially because I know that Lego actually does keep everything
posted by Mchelly at 8:27 AM on August 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


The secret if you want to get decent olive oil is to look for the phrase "first cold press" on the bottle. Ignore "extra virgin" or "virgin," these are not protected or legally defined, so any oil maker can put that on any bottle they like. "First cold press," being a description of the actual manufacturing process, is subject to truth in labeling laws and has to actually be true.

I was surprised when I looked at my grocery store's olive oil section - lots of "extra virgin," but only two were actually first cold press.
posted by echo target at 8:28 AM on August 19, 2013 [86 favorites]


I'm always amused by the term "disgruntled" being thrown out as if it is somehow invalidating. Snowden and Manning were just "disgruntled," too, if you want to look at it that way.

I wonder what a non-disgruntled secret would look like? "Wow, you guys are so lucky! Instead of being cooked in that filthy kitchen, that sauce you're eating came from a sterile plastic bag delivered by America's largest restaurant supply company! Isn't that cool?"
posted by tyllwin at 8:32 AM on August 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, it's interesting how general disapproval of book-burning-as-a-form-of-censorship and dismay over the Library of Alexandria and etcetera have all turned into a sort of taboo for some people: "It's wrong to destroy books for any reason. Using fire to do it is especially bad."
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:33 AM on August 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


There are voluntary USDA standards for olive oil.
“U.S. Extra Virgin Olive Oil” is virgin olive oil which has excellent
flavor and odor (median of defects equal to zero and median of
fruitiness greater than zero) and a free fatty acid content,
expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams,
and meets the additional requirements as outlined in §52.1539, as
appropriate.

“U.S. Virgin Olive Oil” is virgin olive oil which has reasonably
good flavor and odor (median of defects between zero and 2.5 and
median of fruitiness greater than zero) and a free fatty acid content,
expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 2.0 grams per 100 grams,
and meets the additional requirements as outlined in §52.1539 as
appropriate. Olive oil that falls into this classification shall not be
graded above “U.S. Virgin Olive Oil” (this is a limiting rule).
The defects mentioned above are detected by a panel of tasters. The procedure is described here.

If an oil meets the standard, it should say so somewhere on the label. California olive oils are generally great.
posted by jsturgill at 8:36 AM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Honestly the biggest secret in these threads always seems to be "industries staffed by fallible and usually stupid humans instead of the rugged consumer cogs in the unfailing machine of perfect capitalism we all vaguely assume exist."

The cashier doesn't care if you actually have a nice day, they have to say that or they'll get docked by corporate. OH SHIT THE WORLD IS AN ILLUSION.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:37 AM on August 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:39 AM on August 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Disgruntled doesn't necessarily invalidate someone's facts, but it makes their opinions tainted. Since most of the stuff we are reading is just opinion (or unverifiable), this means it is suspect.
posted by gjc at 8:40 AM on August 19, 2013


....I will confess to only two inside secrets.

FROM STAGE MANAGING:

This was a tip I got from a costume designer. If one of the actors who had a particular history of fussiness came to me with a complaint about their costume, I would (of course) first check to see whether there actually was a problem (was the button really loose? the hem really too short that you could see her hoo-hoo when she sat down?). If all was well, but the actor still insisted that there was a problem, I would tell the actor that I would have the costume designer do a "French repair" on it.

A "French repair" consisted of: taking the costume and simply hanging onto it for a day or two, and then giving it right back, otherwise unaltered, and saying "try that now." Invariably, the actor would say it was much better and thank me.

FROM LITERARY MANAGING:

Yes, we do hang on to the seriously record-breakingly awful stuff for days when we need a cheap laugh. Granted, it is only a rare few scripts that win this dubious privilege, and we don't divulge details to anyone outside the company unless we really like you and trust you (and maybe it also takes a couple drinks), but...yes, if you've sent us something that is mind-bogglingly and colossally bad, we do laugh at it.

In my defense - it's a self-defense mechanism because HOLY SHIT SOME OF THE STUFF I'VE HAD TO READ YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE IT I TELL YOU
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on August 19, 2013 [26 favorites]


Whoa whoa whoa, is this one about how to block the crappy YouTube servers or whatever in favor of the fast ones real? Because that would be wonderful.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:51 AM on August 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


I worked in the house paint industry for a few years as a computer science intern and learned that there's a whole hell of a lot of different paint brands that have exactly the same paint in the can. The big three paint manufacturers have bought up most of the brand names and just slap different labels on the same cans of paint from the same factories. The actual liquid in the can has very little relationship to the price that you pay for that can.

The big book that cross referenced manufacturing codes (internal) vs. product codes (external) only existed on paper, and you weren't allowed to xerox pages. Giving out an internal code to a retailer was a firing offense even though most of them had figured things out on their own. Occasionally when I had to man a phone during the summer customer service crush a paint store clerk would try to pry info out of me. "This <$20 can> is the same stuff as this <$40 can>, right?" And I'd have to say, "No sir, that <$40 can> is our highest quality interior product."

The biggest take-away I got from that job was the realization that the concept of "The label has no relation to the contents of the can" probably applied to many industries like beer, gasoline, oil, etc.
posted by octothorpe at 8:51 AM on August 19, 2013 [27 favorites]


"I wonder what a non-disgruntled secret would look like?"

Are you sure you know what disgruntled means? There's nothing contradictory about someone who is not disgruntled with X job or employer who reveals something negative about that job or employer. But a disgruntled person is someone with a grudge — that is to say, they have a motive to lie.

"Yeah, it's interesting how general disapproval of book-burning-as-a-form-of-censorship and dismay over the Library of Alexandria and etcetera have all turned into a sort of taboo for some people: 'It's wrong to destroy books for any reason. Using fire to do it is especially bad.'"

That's so true and it is very interesting, now that you mention it. But in my case, I think the formative experience was Fahrenheit 451. I have a strong memory of it being discussed in elementary school, which is sort of odd, actually. The film version?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:54 AM on August 19, 2013


Wretch729: I've been using it since yesterday, and it feels faster (I'm getting almost instantaneous loads) but I have no hard evidence.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:56 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


If I enjoy my work am I throughly gruntled?
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Engruntled. Begruntled.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:04 AM on August 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Be the gruntle you want to see.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:04 AM on August 19, 2013 [21 favorites]


I thought an interesting one is that most factories never follow their own protocols to the letter. If they would, they would be immensely ineffective. A work-to-rule strike is a strike where this is abused: everyone follows each protocol exactly as written, and the factory line comes to a standstill as a result.
posted by allsemantics at 9:07 AM on August 19, 2013 [31 favorites]


When I get my next raise, I'm going to thank my boss and HR for regruntling me.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:09 AM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Disgruntled doesn't necessarily invalidate someone's facts, but it makes their opinions tainted.

No more tainted than someone who's enthused about the job or the company, surely? Insiders are rarely going to be neutral and disinterested.

Are you sure you know what disgruntled means

Discontent, dissatisfied, with an implication of surliness, or pouting. I don't think it requires a serious grudge. Do most people take that as part of the meaning?
posted by tyllwin at 9:15 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe especially because I know that Lego actually does keep everything
I just took a moment to appreciate that they have such a site as lego.gizmodo.com.
posted by blook at 9:20 AM on August 19, 2013


Not so much an OMG - just a Huh, I Never Knew That…

Used to work in advertising and my agency had a couple of fashion clients. On photo shoots for the new season's advertising and catalogues half the clothes had fabric samples cut out of them, and would be carefully held together with bulldog clips once they were on the models. We'd frequently have to modify the planned poses so as to hide the gaping holes.

(And can't believe for how long I'd hadn't realised how often brands and labels are the only differentiating feature of so many products. Watching milk from the same vat go into two different bottles - one of which sold for twice as much as the other - shouldn't have been an eye-opener, but it was.)
posted by puffmoike at 9:27 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's so true and it is very interesting, now that you mention it. But in my case, I think the formative experience was Fahrenheit 451.

Oh, good call! Yeah, and it probably helps that the burning scenes in there are so florid and dream-like. It's almost a supernatural horror novel, only with combustion instead of ghosts.

I could totally imagine coming away from it with the sense that burning a book is the equivalent of, like, building an altar to the devil or lighting black candles on someone's grave or something — technically probably harmless in purely scientific terms but OH GOD CREEPY WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:29 AM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought an interesting one is that most factories never follow their own protocols to the letter. If they would, they would be immensely ineffective. A work-to-rule strike is a strike where this is abused: everyone follows each protocol exactly as written, and the factory line comes to a standstill as a result.

Yeah, work-to-rules are far better than out-and-out strikes in a lot of situations for getting results. We always used to do that rather than strike when I worked as a glazier.

Meant nobody was losing wages, but the company always got the point quick enough and it felt far less "high stakes" for both sides (I can only rememer of one time where it didn't end reasonably amicably in a compromise).

It's basically rules-lawyering for the workplace. The first time I was involved in one I just couldn't escape the feeling that at some point I was going to hear some D20 hitting the factory floor.

"Hold on Dave! How heavy is that double-glazed unit? Are we technically able to lift it?"

"Good point Phil! Okay... Employee Handbook says yes, but we have to roll 15+ on strength."
posted by garius at 9:29 AM on August 19, 2013 [37 favorites]


Librarians never reveal how many books are lost (never returned) by patrons. I was looking for papers or discussions of collection losses on the Web and could find very little information.

Accessions to make up the losses are part of library budgets, but funding for public and school libraries is precarious enough as it is. It's like "Students don't do their homework, so let's fire the teachers and defund public schools!"
posted by bad grammar at 9:42 AM on August 19, 2013


Ghostride The Whip: "The cashier doesn't care if you actually have a nice day"

Or to quote lyrics from Breakfast with Amy: "Why do they always say 'have a nice day' when they really mean 'paper or plastic'?"
posted by symbioid at 9:57 AM on August 19, 2013


OK, now I need a chart of dinosaurs indicating which ones are seagulls and which ones are pigeons.
posted by straight at 11:05 AM on August 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


I work for a major, publicly-traded, internationally marketed foodstuffs brand. It's made of people.
posted by Mister_A at 11:40 AM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is it Jelly Babies?
posted by garius at 11:54 AM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Whoa whoa whoa, is this one about how to block the crappy YouTube servers or whatever in favor of the fast ones real? Because that would be wonderful.

If someone could memail me and give me the "computers for dummies" way to follow the instructions at this link I would owe you favors.

Note I do not say what kind of favors. That would be negotiated.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:38 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I taught in the community college system, it was a big no-no to talk about the amazingly high numbers of incoming freshmen who had to take remedial English and Math courses fresh out of high school. I think the logic was largely to keep the HS system from looking too bad, especially since it was heavily tied-in administratively on the state level with the community colleges. Also, it was commonly observed that if the High Schools ever started really doing their jobs, half of us in the Post-High biz would be out of a job. As far as how well the so-called remedial programs actually worked in eventually getting students to graduate was never looked at too closely or talked about much and generally assumed to be abysmal.

Also, ever wonder how people get to be presidents and deans in community colleges? True story, on the campus where I worked, it was "common knowledge" that a change in the presidency was coming soon, and the new person in line even appeared at a number of faculty meetings and was pretty clearly in the process of coming on board. Then after her husband lost his bid for election in a high state office, she just sort of disappeared.
posted by TwoToneRow at 1:35 PM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


since we're talking dirty secrets and book burning, here's a little pea roast about my days in the Salvation Army.

Also, having worked on the donation end f the Salvation Army. I promise you nothing good gets out. Employees get on that:

I once watched a coworker throw a mandolin to the top of an 18 ft pile of crap in the back warehouse. He didn't know I wanted it. I got at it a week later.

I still own a bunch of guitar pedals and comics from those days, including the entire Garth Ennis run of Hell Blazer.

Once had a beautifully hand-painted dresser come in, covered "Day of the Dead" style depictions of hell. It was deemed unsaleable. Some lucky fellow coworker walked off with it.

And yeah, plenty of books are in need of a good burning. Usually the least offensive ones.
posted by es_de_bah at 1:37 PM on August 19, 2013


I also really enjoyed the guy who'd worked at MTV and confessed that they shot the man-in-the-street requests after the TRL play list was set. I've never shot vox pops any other way--how else can you get people to say what you want? (Personal favorite: working on Disney special and coaching my own children to respond with 20 different answers to "What's your favorite Disney movie?")
posted by Ideefixe at 1:53 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yikes. There are some really, really angered people posting there. Wow.
Some of them were so well written that they just could not be true.

But then again, I have stories of my own that are so f*cking ridiculous that they would be perceived as BS by most. I'm sure we all do.
posted by Jim On Light at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everything on the internet is fake. There are no other people on the internet. It's just you. Everything you see is created by an algorithm trying to figure out what you like and hate. This is done for mysterious and no doubt nefarious purposes by a shadowy cabal.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Probably covered in the OP, but...

Computer security is, generally speaking, dreadful.

Along with documentation (which is its own story), security is one of the first things to go to the chopping block when the PHBs need to keep a project on schedule or under budget (or when they'd simply prefer to spend those man-hours elsewhere).

The difference between a secure system and an insecure one is generally invisible to the client (and, more importantly, to the PHBs themselves)—at least until the system gets compromised—so why not? When the inevitable happens, just let the shit roll downhill onto the developers.

If a website or a piece of software is visibly shoddy otherwise, it's generally safe to assume that its security is shit, too. But the reverse is not true: there are plenty of slick, polished products that have dreadfully broken security.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's basically rules-lawyering for the workplace. The first time I was involved in one I just couldn't escape the feeling that at some point I was going to hear some D20 hitting the factory floor.


I'm electrician and it amazing how playing DnD prepared me for doing work regulated by a Code Book. Right down to the rules lawyering with the Authority Having Jurisdiction.
posted by Mitheral at 3:13 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I promise you nothing good gets out.

It probably depends on your definition of "good" but I am here to tell you that my girlfriend desperately wishes this were true.
posted by pullayup at 3:15 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a lot of trouble believing anything I read in comments on a site where people are rewarded for making up outlandish tales and there is no barrier to entry.

I, on the other hand, have absolute and complete faith in the infinite cruelty and stupidity of mankind, and have zero problem with accepting every single story I hear about man doing something incredibly shitty.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:20 PM on August 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


> "A 'French repair' consisted of: taking the costume and simply hanging onto it for a day or two, and then giving it right back, otherwise unaltered, and saying 'try that now.'"

I was taught to do a similar thing when running sound for musicals in a set-up, run-for-a-weekend, tear-down summer stock theater. If you're asked to tweak the levels, first time you just touch the knobs without moving them and ask, "How's that now?" Around 90 percent of the time they are perfectly happy with the "new" mix. If they say they still don't like it, then that means they were serious about the request instead of just wanting to feel like they were participating, so you actually do something.

> "Yes, we do hang on to the seriously record-breakingly awful stuff for days when we need a cheap laugh."

Oh my yes ... for those of you who have never had a slushpile reading job, these are WORSE THAN YOU COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE. (Although in one case, one of the ones we kept around for a laugh ended up getting staged ... Someone decided it was too awful NOT to perform ...)
posted by kyrademon at 4:46 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's another one: If you want to know where the gasoline you put in your car was refined, get one of the refinery maps that's available online and find the closest refinery to you. That's where it comes from. No it doesn't matter who owns the refinery or which gas station you go to. Some of the brands will add trace additives which can be introduced once the delivery truck is loaded but for the most part gasoline is a total commodity and nobody will ship it from their refinery when they can pay a "competitor" to ship it from a closer one much more cheaply.
posted by localroger at 5:01 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know several people who work for a military complex. You can't even imagine the stories of incompetence and waste. Nearly unlimited budget, no oversight, and a power structure that is highly motivated to keep 'problems' under the covers. After all the next promotion depends on keeping a clean record.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:12 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


My favorite example of the "French repair" I did was when I had a boss who fancied herself an artist but would give me and the graphic designer onomatopoetic instructions like "It needs more sizzle! You know! Pop! Fwoosh!" (yes, she actually said "fwoosh" in a tone of deadly seriousness), so we settled on a course of nodding solemnly and disappearing for the rest of the day to screw around on the internet, then returning to her for another dose of onomatopoetic praise/criticism, and eventually we'd wind up using the thing we'd made initially but with a readymade excuse for screwing around for days/weeks on end.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:21 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The emotional reactions in that thread are interesting. About half are, "I don't want to live on this planet anymore." and the other half are "This thread is awesome!"

Is it possible they're both right?
posted by evil otto at 5:38 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never worked in a pet shop, so I can't speak to practices there as an employee, but I do know a bit about it from the rescue side of things.

This was Jack. He was a big amiable Buddha of a hamster, never nipped or excreted inappropriately. He was a rescue from a pet store, and his story is bad and common.

Jack had initially been sold to a couple for their five-year-old daughter (note: BAD IDEA) and was returned, a few days later, with a protruding eyeball - proptosis, I think the term is. The child had squeezed Jack too tightly and in his scramble to get away, the eye escaped the skull. The parents wanted to exchange Jack for an undamaged animal, like merchandise. They were allowed to do so. I don't know why.

Jack was put in 'the back room' where the sick and dying animals go. A woman who worked there smuggled him out, one day, and set him up at her home with a little mouse cage and wheel -- all she could manage for him. She nursed him through the eventual loss of the eyeball, because aside from being no longer in his skull, it was badly damaged. She also hand-tamed him, and I am not sure how that even worked because if ever there was a reason for a rodent to hate humanity... but it did.

Then she posted to Craigslist: a ham in need of a home, the story of his life thus far, and a few photos. I responded, and we arranged for me to pick him up.

He lived a long happy hamster life with me, in the biggest rat cage I could find, with special-order health food, soft dust-free bedding to keep from hurting his eye socket, and delicious treats. After about two years he succumbed to kidney failure, which is very common in hams, given that they're all terribly inbred. I heard him wheezing, and he died cupped in my hands. It's okay. You can go now.

Jack was lucky. Most of them don't make it out of the Back Room Of Death.

Sorry that's kind of a downer. Have some happy hamster video from better days.
posted by cmyk at 5:38 PM on August 19, 2013 [35 favorites]


Any time you see an ad showing "Workforce Suite" or "[some other] Suite" of software products, visualize 3 or 4 products that came from acquisitions and whose back-end integration won't even begin for months or years afterward, if ever.
I worked on a marketing campaign for such a Suite. The team came up with the clever slogan, "Bringing the Best Together" which jaded field sales engineers (probably related to freecellwizard) quickly turned into "Slinging the Mess Together."

Also chickens are not pigeons, they are dinosaurs. The beady little red eyes.
posted by evilmomlady at 5:38 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I work on a large state university campus. When a light bulb burns out in our building, we literally have to call the department that changes light bulbs and put in a work order with them. We also have to literally wait until a certain, unspecified number of light bulbs in the building are burnt out before it's worth their time to come out. When they do come out, it LITERALLY takes two men TWO DAYS to change one of the light bulbs. One of them holds the four-foot ladder, while the other talks about the problem he's had keeping algae out of his doughboy pool. For two full days. With lots of 20-minute trips to their truck.

If these light bulbs are outside, a supervisor must be present to literally watch one guy change a light bulb while guy number two watches him.

And then, the light bulb shop charges our department for the service, by the hour.

Also, the newly replaced light bulbs burn out within a month or two. I swear they put in used bulbs.

I am not making any of this up, and I've been looked at funny for just suggesting that we just buy our own damn light bulbs. "Oh no," I'm told, "that's just not how it's done."

So what I'm saying, I guess, is that my campus must have a light bulb mafia. If there are any investigative reporters out there, call me.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:07 PM on August 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


I don't get how $5 entry will get you supposedly gruntled employees happily bragging about the company they love chucking out standards and practices like trash.
posted by DaRiLo at 6:38 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


mudpuppie, I've seen worse. After a horrible incident where a guy nearly got killed $Large_Chemical_Company wrote a set of electrical access guidelines so restrictive that, in order to change a light bulb, even in an office environment, you needed to be wearing a full body flash suit and have a second person standing by with a fire extinguisher. And this was a very rule-bound organization where you either did it by the book or took the highway. It was a particular nuisance for us because we had an instrument which we sold them that could not be calibrated unless the enclosure was opened, revealing those HORRIBLE HORRIBLE VOLTAGES which triggered the flash suit and fire extinguisher guy requirement. They stuck with that rule for more than two years before sanity prevailed.
posted by localroger at 6:44 PM on August 19, 2013


Although in one case, one of the ones we kept around for a laugh ended up getting staged ... Someone decided it was too awful NOT to perform ...

Dude, I once got submitted something that it would have been literally impossible to perform, because it broke laws not only of storycraft, narrative structure, and dramaturgy, but also broke laws of air currents and fluid dynamics. On top of also completely getting wrong the history and criminal proceedings of an entire nation. And in order for one plot point to happen a character would have had to have been clairvoyant.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the real lesson here is that ALL PLACES STAFFED BY TEENAGERS ARE TERRIBLE.



Sadly I don't really have any good exposes. The best ooh-let-me-tell-you-how-things-are story was from my days of working at a well-known One Hour Photo chain, which was all things considered a pretty decent place to work and not even a particular ripoff to the consumer. But yeah, we definitely had an album in the back room full of reprints of the most insane stuff that came in on customers' rolls. Bad moments in amateur pornography, awkward family photos, terrible weddings, bad prom dresses, inanimate objects that looked like genitals, ugly pets/babies, signage from unfortunately named towns in Pennsylvania, whatever. Basically every store had an album and if you had an excuse to drive to another location and waste time there, it was fairly common to find "their" album and see if it was qualitatively better/worse than other stores'.

Which is to say that it was basically like a very low-bandwidth version of the Cheezburger Network, and the entire chain's collection as a whole probably wouldn't move the needle on reddit's /r/pics today. Such was life before the Internet.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:03 PM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


In re: olive oil, while volunteering at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival last year I learned a lot from a professor at one of the California state universities who was basically The Olive Oil Guy. He said that in addition to the "first cold pressed" label being fairly reliable, if you REALLY want to know that you're getting the freshest oil you should look for a brand that prints the "Harvested On" date on the bottle, and try to find one from six months or less ago (not always possible, but there you go). As with Extra Virgin, the "Best By" date isn't regulated in any way and manufacturers can just put whatever they want on there.

There aren't very many manufacturers that are readily available that print the harvest date, but when I find one I am never disappointed in the taste.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 10:15 PM on August 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the "clean underwear" thing is pretty stupid considering most people soil themselves in their death throes.
posted by Renoroc at 4:26 AM on August 20, 2013


I think the real lesson here is that ALL PLACES STAFFED BY TEENAGERS ARE TERRIBLE.

I think the surprising part (for some people, at least) is that unfortunately many places staffed and run by so-called adults are just as bad.

Me personally, I've had enough of a checkered past on the the ol' employment funhouse ride, that I was surprised not one whit. Well, I was maybe surprised that it's not always as bad as my embittered self would like to believe.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:16 AM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like reddit.
posted by j03 at 8:01 AM on August 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's not that all places staffed by teenagers are terrible, it's that any place that can successfully avoid consequences of their actions fosters more and more extreme actions.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:10 AM on August 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love the shock and awe in that Reddit thread that CEOs of multinational charities aren't wearing sackcloth and eating ... Panera. It's as though they're in it for some combination of good works and bank!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 2:03 PM on August 20, 2013


Some of the places I've worked where teens and older people work side-by-side, the teens come in all fresh-faced and eager, and leave jaded and uncaring.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2013


I used to work for a size phone company that served businesses, primarily in CA/NV/AZ. They weren't at the ATT/Verizon/CenturyLink tier, but right underneath.

You know all the 'metadata' that everyone is losing their shit over because the NSA has access to it? Well, all that was keeping the entire world from getting to that stuff from our end was a publicly facing website with something like $COMPANY_NAME and the numeral one as the password. I think $COMPANY_NAME was the username.

Trust me, your metadata was (or might still be, they didn't move fast in fixing stuff) much safer at the NSA than with these guys.
posted by sideshow at 6:04 PM on August 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


When used bookstores say they'll recycle your books, they literally mean they'll wheel them out to the paper recycling bin.

A significant number of boutique guitar pedals are just Ibanez Tube Screamers with slight modifications, and the ones that aren't Tube Screamers are usually Big Muffs.
posted by drezdn at 6:14 PM on August 20, 2013


A significant number of boutique guitar pedals are just Ibanez Tube Screamers with slight modifications, and the ones that aren't Tube Screamers are usually Big Muffs.

Not sure if music store or sex shop.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:15 PM on August 20, 2013 [21 favorites]


Greg Nog is a paid agent of the crows.
posted by briank at 6:23 PM on August 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Gruuuuuuuu
posted by The Whelk at 6:24 PM on August 20, 2013


Not sure if music store or sex shop.

instructions unclear: dick stuck in reverb tank
posted by emptythought at 7:58 PM on August 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


METAFILTER: where people are rewarded for making up outlandish tales and there is no barrier to entry.
posted by philip-random at 1:11 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Not sure if music store or sex shop.
posted by chavenet at 6:21 AM on August 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


I used to work for a size phone company that served businesses, primarily in CA/NV/AZ. They weren't at the ATT/Verizon/CenturyLink tier, but right underneath.

Navigator or Cleartel?
posted by entropicamericana at 8:06 AM on August 21, 2013


Greg Nog is a paid agent of the crows pigeons.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 8:58 AM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


i used to be quonsar.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 11:46 AM on August 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


"i used to be quonsar."

Holy shit! Mind. Blown.

You know, I occasionally would see a comment and your username and I'd think, huh, that name really reminds me of quonsar for some reason and, hey, what the hell ever happened to that guy? I miss him.

And it turns out it was you all along. Quelle surprise!
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


someone claiming to be a script doctor

Want to know a dirty little secret about Hollywood?

Anyone using the expression "script doctor" to describe their own work probably isn't one, and most likely knows fuck all about how movies actually get made.
posted by Sara C. at 3:52 PM on August 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Fine dining cook here. 30% of your meal is butter. That's why it's so good." – SG804
posted by jeffburdges at 3:53 PM on August 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh my god, I was wrong
It was quonsar all along
You finally made a monkey
(Yes we finally made a monkey)
Yes you finally made a monkey out of meeeeeeee!

I LOVE YOU, QUONSAR!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:12 PM on August 21, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Fine dining cook here. 30% of your meal is butter. That's why it's so good." – SG804

As the husband of a pastry chef who currently has *checks* five pounds of butter in his refrigerator just in case, I can vouch for the accuracy of this statement. Watching her roll a pound block of butter flat over a pound of dough to make croissants was disgusting to watch, but delicious to eat.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:02 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hm. I'm not sure that there are any "secrets" that I've picked up from my jobs, but I'll list a few things that most people might not know:

Teaching teachers is crazy difficult. Motivating any sort of institutional change in an educational setting is often incredibly frustrating for this reason.

The true measure of the cleanliness of a restaurant is not in the kitchen, but in the refrigerator.
Food can sit in the unrefrigerated loading dock of a warehouse for a long time between being picked from the freezer, and loaded into a reefer truck. Don't trust restaurants that don't have their food delivered by a professional courier (If you see the owner unloading food from his/her car, run). The restaurants with the cleanest dining rooms often had the dirtiest kitchens. Crab meat is almost always fake.

You should become friends with your UPS driver. Many drivers know almost every single customer along their route, and they'll go through surprising lengths to help you out if you're friendly to them. (This is doubly true for commercial customers, since the drivers often earn a commission from businesses along their route.)

When you watch the House and Senate floor debates on TV, you're watching a video feed that was created by Congress. The media is not permitted to bring recording devices of any kind into either chamber. When you watch these "debates," there are rarely more than a handful of legislators in the chamber, although the House/Senate rules explicitly prohibit the camera crews from showing this. In fact, there are a very specific set of rules that specify exactly where the camera needs to be pointed. If it is a congressperson's turn to speak, the cameras are pointed at them, and only at them.

The East Front of the US Capitol building is a replica that was built in 1960. The White House was completely gutted in 1949, and contains virtually no traces of the original structure beyond the exterior walls. Presidential inaugurations have only faced the National Mall since Reagan was inaugurated in 1981 (he wanted to face California as he was sworn in).
posted by schmod at 7:07 AM on August 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Be the gruntle you want to see.

I wish I hadn't already signed up for MetaFilter so that I could do it again with gruntle as my username. And then grumblebee and I would be like The Odd Couple-style pals.
posted by aka burlap at 11:14 AM on August 23, 2013


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