The Town Suffers From Brown-Outs

, | Related | April 19, 2017

I grew up in a small town that is primarily Caucasian. When I was three years old my mom took me to a mall that had a much more diverse community. Being that young I don’t remember what happened that day but my mom will never forget that trip.

Apparently I looked around and shouted: “Mommy this is just like [Town] mall except for all the brown people!”

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Putting That Problem To Embed

, , , , , | Working | April 19, 2017

Recently, we have been working on expanding our audience through social media and digital publications. The director of our nonprofit signed off on this project, which entailed two new positions and a suite of stock photo and web services products. We start integrating social media embedded posts and share links into many of our online publications. One day, the director starts urgently calling and emailing, and ends up yelling at us in person about something “seriously wrong” with a recent story. He keeps saying that the link in the story is broken and no matter where he clicks, it takes him off the page and he can’t figure out how to go back. He also keeps asking why we added “such crap” to the story after he signed off on the content. This all rings alarm bells, and we’re desperately checking the page to see what happened to the code or if someone hacked the site.

Not seeing anything wrong, we ask him to demonstrate. He furiously goes to his computer, opens the story, and clicks on an embedded tweet, which launches Twitter in a separate window. “Why are we including THAT?” he shouts, pointing at some rude comment replying to the original tweet. “And why can’t I read the rest of the story?”

We try our best to explain that he is now on Twitter, he can close the new window, and he’s seeing replies to the Tweet we linked to, not anything that we chose to put online. He doesn’t understand and insists that we remove the offensive comment. Eventually, we just had to stop using embedded tweets because he freaked out each time and could not understand that we can’t control comments on a site that’s not ours.

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Tagged You From The Start

, , | Right | April 19, 2017

In the early 1990s I was working my way through college in a national shoe chain known for its inexpensive shoes. The most expensive pair we sold was $50. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be alone on shift. One day I open, which among other things involves marking the weekly sale items with these sticky green cardboard tags that would hang off the edge of the box, displaying the sale price ($5, $10, etc). The original thought with these tags is that they could be reused, so they are almost the stickiness of post-its. I open up, take the old sale tags down, put the new sale tags on, and wait for customers. Half an hour after I finish, the first customer of the day comes in.

She heads directly for the women’s 8 1/2s and after greeting her I let her browse and try on stuff in peace. 10 or so minutes later, she’s brought a pair of shoes up to the register to check out. I immediately notice the $19.99 shoes have a $5 tag on it — and I know I did not put it there, nor has this style ever been on sale (no possibility I missed taking a tag off).

I ring her up; gee, what a surprise. It’s $19.99. She protests, demanding the “sale price.” I shake my head, saying no. She continues to protest but is losing steam over my wall of no. Finally I sigh and let her know I just tagged the items on sale that morning, she was the only one in so far, and I could check the video footage (gesturing towards the wall mounted curved mirror in the corner), but I was pretty sure the tag just happened to fall off and into the box below, right?

She turns pale, pays, and leaves. I go back to the aisle and she’s moved half the tags around, probably in an effort to bolster her story. It mystifies me to this day why anyone would risk a class one misdemeanor for theft, which carries up to $1,000 fine and/or 180 days in jail, to get a cheap pair of shoes.

The company eventually made the glue on the back of the tags too strong for would-be thieves to try this stunt. The real kicker to this: we, as wasn’t unusual at the time, didn’t have a security camera. The mirror was just that — a mirror.

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Thinking He Can Ruler Over You

, | Learning | April 18, 2017

When I was in high school, I lived on my own and money was really tight; I could barely afford food and textbooks for school.

I had a math teacher that seemed to hate all the students. But some, he literally bullied — he called us names, belittled us, refused to explain things that we didn’t understand during his classes, etc.

My ruler broke and I hadn’t had the chance to buy a new one (nor did I have the money for it at the time) and my math teacher kept bugging me about it, even though we didn’t actually need rulers on the course he was teaching, nor was it a requirement to have one. He kept bugging me about it for weeks, and at first I thought I’d be mature about it and just borrow one from a friend, but he kept ridiculing me in front of the class, saying stuff like “If you’re so poor, you don’t deserve to go to school,” and I finally got fed up with it.

So, I visited my mother’s home, and borrowed something from my eight-year-old little sister. The next time my teacher walked up to me and said “So, still no ruler? Still can’t afford one? Why do you even bother to attend my class?” I took out a pink, 3 cm long Barbie-ruler, put it on the table, and smiled at him.

Needless to say, I was kicked out of the classroom. I walked straight to the principal’s office, had a meeting with her, and told her everything. She didn’t reprimand me, but laughed at the pink ruler and invited the teacher to her office.

To my surprise, not only did he not deny anything, he also swore at the principal! Which was great, since I didn’t actually need to prove what he was like, since he outed himself right then and there. During that day, about 20 different students had short meetings with the principal about the teacher and all said the same things: that he was a bully, treated us unfairly, and didn’t teach us properly.

The next day, the principal had a teachers’ meeting and my math teacher was suspended for a month, but before the suspension was over, he voluntarily quit.

So, that’s the story how, thanks to a 3 cm long Barbie ruler, a horrible teacher quit his job.

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A Negative Impact On Your Grades

, | Learning | April 17, 2017

I’ve just completed the group’s PowerPoint by myself. The presentation goes okay. They know enough not to just read my slides, at least.

Afterwards, we are asked to fill out a review sheet evaluating each others’ performance. Against my better instincts, I answer honestly.

A week passes, and my group is happy to get As. Guess what I get? B minus. I ask my teacher why, and she responds with this gem:

“Your group members said you had a lot of negativity towards the end of the project.”

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