Um...What?



  • @lithium Preach it. I wear a 12.5 EEEE. It's almost impossible to find a comfortable shoe. If not for New Balance, it would be extremely hard to find a comfortable sneaker.


  • Pitcrew

    @tnp said in Um...What?:

    @lithium Preach it. I wear a 12.5 EEEE. It's almost impossible to find a comfortable shoe. If not for New Balance, it would be extremely hard to find a comfortable sneaker.

    Get smaller feet.


  • Coder

    @insomniac7809:

    It helps if you learn to translate Customer, and learn how to speak Anti-Salesman.

    Speaking Salesman is like talking to a normal person, but that person expects you to do or say anything to convince them to do something they don't want to do.

    Anti-Salesman is a way of speaking that counteracts this. My managers didn't care for it, but it worked for me. "Hey, s'up? What brings you in. Shoes? Well we have a lot of those. Which shoes?"

    It also helps how to filter Customer back into a language that isn't one spoken by someone who expects you to do or say anything to convince them to do something they don't want to do.

    "No questions." -> "I have a ton of questions."
    "I don't want that." -> "Thanks for the recommendation but I have something else in mind."
    "I have a quick question." -> "I am about to waste your time for half an hour."
    "I have a stupid question." -> "I thought about this already and I'm stuck; please help."
    "Just looking." -> "Keep an eye on me, because I could have a ton of questions I'm just not ready for them yet. I could also be just looking."

    If I can make the suggestion, here's what worked for me as a follow-up:

    Customer: Do you carry BearClaws?
    Me: No, but we do have shearling footwear by <brand>, it has <brand feature> and we're running a sale--I can grab you a size to try."
    Customer: "No, I was looking for BearClaws."

    You: "What about BearClaws were you looking for?"
    Customer: "I can't find anything else that fits my foot as well."
    You: (knowing about BearClaws) Is it the arches?
    Customer: Yeah, <rambling story about how when they were a kid they were frightened by a McDonald's and therefore his feet lost their Golden Arches>
    You: Huh! Well maybe try these MonsterFeet boots on for size. They've got great arches for some people.

    And if it doesn't work for them, then at least they tried.

    This assumes you're on commission. If you're not on commission, it's super-busy, or you just don't want to deal with this person, then skip the advice. Making five-minute friends in a retail environment is not impossible. As a light introvert, it's I think it's kind of fun.



  • @aria This strikes particularly home for me.

    My grandfather just died (on Christmas Day), age 94, he was from Lithuania. He was also an Oberfeldwebel in the Luftwaffe in World War 2. I mean in his instance this was not entirely voluntary, he was in his late teens when the Russians invaded Lithuania in 1939 then fought the Soviets as a partisan until the Germans took control in 1941, then he ended up being conscripted into the German military after volunteering to keep fighting the USSR.

    Him then commanding work parties of Soviet prisoners of war to scavenged downed power lines after he was trained as an electrical engineer was pretty voluntary though. After I joined the army and he started drinking with me the one time he opened up with a lot of things he had not spoken about before. My grandmother (and mother, and uncle) all got shocked and assumed out loud he would have been shot if he had not done this. Nope, he confirmed that using Russian prisoners for slave labour got him promoted and extra pay and he also fucking hated them.

    Also when the war was ending he destroyed his identity documentation, switched to civilian dress, then fled west and surrendered to American troops whilst claiming he had been a forced labourer rather than a senior NCO in the German military. It worked.

    I spent every weekend with my maternal grandparents prior to starting school, they were like a second set of parents to me and he was one of the hardest working, gentlest and kindest people I have ever known.

    He was also built like a brick shithouse, blonde and blue eyed. Apparently he actually met Hitler, shook his hand and was partially promoted because he was picked out as an example of a model member of the 'master race' from outside of Germany. Bleh. He was crying when he described how his family and him cheered as the jews from their village were rounded up and shipped off though. It was not something he was ever proud of in retrospect, just stuck in a fucked up situation for everyone involved but he did end up going along with it.


  • Coder

    @thatguythere I also had one of those situations in college with an answering machine. The only people who ever called that number were our moms. (Our friends texted our limited talk-time mobiles.)

    We did change the greeting to: "You've reached [Rachael] and [Monica]. If you're not calling for [Rachael] or [Monica], please don't leave a message. Otherwise, hi, mom, your daughter will call you back later."

    One day, we got a message that went, "Hey. I know her name isn't on the answering machine, but if you guys can get in touch with Sandy, tell her that Melissa is looking for her. It's really important."

    You can't win!


  • Admin

    @packrat said in Um...What?:

    He was crying when he described how his family and him cheered as the jews from their village were rounded up and shipped off though. It was not something he was ever proud of in retrospect, just stuck in a fucked up situation for everyone involved but he did end up going along with it.

    People change; they gain insights and rethink how the world works and how themselves are part of it. I read an interview a few months ago you might find relevant... but first, some context.

    In Greece - my homeland - during WW2 communists (who were very popular at the time) and traditionally right-wing parties fought together against the invading Germans as part of a guerrilla rebel force which fought both on the mainland and Africa with the Allies. The communist factions became pretty powerful, their ranks well trained and armed, led by experienced leaders who knew the terrain extraordinary well and meshed with the local population at will.

    After WW2 ended the western powers that be were concerned communists might have too much power and that they might use it to ally themselves with the USSR even though they had stated they had no such plans. Even after they were asked to voluntarily put their weapons down (which they did, even though they were in a position to refuse) they got hunted down... hard. I'm talking death squads and concentration camps here. British snipers opening fire openly in the center of Athens years after the war was over. And once Britain's influence waned, American influence took over from them.

    Eventually paranoia became too much and a western-backed dictatorship took over in the late sixties. Things got even worse - people started to disappear and get tortured, that kind of thing. The regime lasted for a few years until, in 1973, a prestigious engineering university's students rose up in a non-violent way, barred their gates and demanded change.

    That change happened, but not before a tank drove through the school's gates, leading to hundreds of those students being brutally beaten up or killed.

    Anyway, so the interview I read was by the guy who drove that tank back then.

    He was really emotional about recalling how it felt, how everyone around him hated 'those damn communist long-haired kids' so much, and how they wanted to hurt them. To kill them. How he wanted to kill them, despite the fact they were unarmed (and said so, it was their actual slogan - 'we are unarmed, free, and your brothers and sisters'). How after he drove the tank and saw the fear and panic in them he screamed in delight, and everyone - all of his friends, his fellow soldiers, his superior officers, everyone congratulated and praised him... how proud he felt for doing it.

    He was crying as he said it. He couldn't relate to his 19 year old self any more, it was like a stranger to him. Being in that kind of environment does things to a person, especially a younger one. He talked about how dehumanizing those students made it easy, almost effortless to hate them. He doesn't now, and I believe him.

    I don't know if this helps at all.



  • @Thenomain
    +1 to all of that stuff up there that I'm not going to quote because holy crap that's a lot of quote to +1.


  • Politics

    @packrat said in Um...What?:

    He was crying when he described how his family and him cheered as the jews from their village were rounded up and shipped off though. It was not something he was ever proud of in retrospect, just stuck in a fucked up situation for everyone involved but he did end up going along with it.

    My father was born in 1939. He grew up as the second of twelve kids in a Chinese family living in the Canton province. He remembers when he had to be a bike courier for local criminals before the Communists swept into power, which he had to do so that his family could afford to buy food. He and most of his brothers were taken in by Jesuits, and he was raised at a Jesuit school.

    He doesn't talk about his time in the motherland much. What he did tell us as kids was how lucky we were. I thought this was because he had managed to grab a sliver of privilege in North America, for we were pretty well off.

    My mother was chased from Hong Kong by the Communists. While most of her family were able to afford passage to North America, they couldn't take everyone. For a couple of years, she hid illegally in Singapore with relatives, until she could afford a ship to North America, where she was reunited with the family that had, essentially, left her behind.

    She doesn't talk about her time in the motherland much. What she did tell us as kids was how lucky we were. I thought this was because she managed to rise up from being a Girl Friday to a well-regarded logistics manager whose fiery temper scared the living shit out of the truck drivers that worked for her.

    What I do know comes from my aunt. She lives in Hong Kong. She tells stories of how and why communism took hold in China so completely, and why Westerners do not understand why the majority of Chinese still look at Chairman Mao as a hero. Her stories are sad because, as many Chinese now desire Western culture and ideals, they are antithetical to communist principles, and so there is a huge clash. She tells of how, whereas the people were starving all over before communism, they now starve because of the capitalism that was ushered in.

    There is horror outside of the U.S. that many people do not understand, and this is why I am strongly considering public office.



  • @ganymede said in Um...What?:

    There is horror outside of the U.S. that many people do not understand, and this is why I am strongly considering public office.

    I'll cross the state border and vote for you! ;)


  • Coder

    @thenomain said in Um...What?:

    Me: I...what? Did I Kickstart something and completely forget about it?

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that does that ._.



  • @chime Given how long some Kickstarters take to deliver, I bet this happens often.

    n.b. So far, it is video games and big board games that have taken the longest. I also now have my board games. I have one video game, Drifter, which is playable, but still way in development. Looking at you Kitaru, Mandate, Emerald ...


  • Coder

    It has on-again/off-again bugged me that at the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Nickelodeon was okay with showing a 14 year-old boy kissing a 16 year-old girl, but at the end of The Legend Of Korra they wouldn't show two women the age of consent kissing.



  • I got a key to a game recently like this. I checked it out, and it's a game I would be interested in, but I had never heard of the game (or the company, I think?) so I emailed to say thanks, but I was confused. They said I was on a fan list.

    I don't have any of their games, so maybe a creator fan? Or I signed up for an email? I don't know. Fun game though. Spoooky.



  • @insomnia So what you're saying is that I should sign up for every mailing list I can find?



  • @tinuviel Absolutely!

    And if you get bored, or feel like pranking someone, why not prank me! I heard giving me $1000 is an awesome prank!



  • Apparently my voice has it's own Benjamin Button thing going on:

    Trainer: Is this your first job?
    Me: Work from home?
    Trainer: Sure Work from home, out of school, whatever.


  • Coder

    I just realized that between being a writer and an artist, a writer may have to live with a world for years, while an artist is often hired to do a thing, does the thing, and moves on.

    I don't have any conclusion here, but it did make my brain "um...what?" because it doesn't really say anything about anything.


  • Pitcrew

    @thenomain True, in some cases! Though there are probably lots of workaday-type jobs in writing, too. Copy writing, freelance journalism...buzzfeed articles.



  • @kanye-qwest
    Yeah, I did technical writing for awhile, and it's very much workaday on a particular project, then move on. Wouldn't mind doing it again someday! Though I was contracting at the time and the erratic aspects of that got to me. Still, I liked having the freedom to pursue more side stuff.



  • Even a bit of normal journalism is like that. My father handled sports for the local paper for over 30 years; while he was assigned to a variety of teams and had friendships with a number of the owners/managers/players through the years, it was still pretty scattered without being freelance.

    (In part, this could be because he was never actually a sports fan to become a 'fan follower' in that respect; this is ultimately why he did so well and they kept him where he was for so long. He actually had really wanted to write movie reviews.)