Secrets the Emergency Room Staff Won’t Tell You
1. We do it because we care.
We’re the only doctors who will take care of you first and ask questions about payment later, so we end up giving one third of our care for free-and lose about $100,000 of income a year. Yet we still do it. This is the best specialty in the world.”
2. Say “Thank You.”
3. An ambulance isn’t a fancy taxi.
4. Arriving by ambulance doesn’t mean you’ll get a red-carpet escort into the ER.
5. Yes, we know you’re waiting…and waiting.
6. We need you to cooperate.
7. If we tell you to stay in bed, we mean it.
8. We don’t believe you.
9. We play favorites.
10. We can only do so much.
11. We’re pretty used to people trying to intimidate us.
12. Speak up, please.
13. We don’t want you to have to come back.
14. The 411 on 911.
15. Don’t call from your cell phone.
13 Things a Movie Theater Employee Won’t Tell You
1. Why does it smell so good? The popcorn has chemicals in it to make its aroma fill the theater.
2. “Extreme Digital” is actually lower quality than IMAX digital. We use it because it’s easier to maintain.
3. For the first month or two of screening, money from ticket sales goes to movie studios. Theaters rely on concession stands to make money. That’s why concessions are overpriced. Popcorn costs almost nothing to make.
4. I know all the methods you use to sneak in. I just don’t always care enough to kick you out for it.
5. The only foods I trust are the popcorn, drinks, and boxed candy. I wouldn’t eat the pretzels, hot dogs, or nachos.
6. Chances are, if you complain to the manager and he sides with you, he’s just putting on a show to calm you down. The manager might pretend to yell at me for a minute, but he’ll pat me on the back the moment you’re out of sight.
7. Combination deals don’t save you money at some theaters. You’d pay the same price if you purchased the items separately.
8. Think you’re saving calories by ordering a small popcorn? That “small” popcorn could have been a medium last month.
9. Stop getting angry that your food isn’t ready. Microwaves can’t cook frozen pizzas in 30 seconds!
10. No, I can’t give you extra cups. Everything is inventoried at the end of the night.
11. Your suspicions are correct. Sometimes I sweep excess food under the seats. Movies often end every few minutes. Sometimes, three or more screenings end at the same time. I don’t always have time to clean everything up.
12 Yes, movies start late. But they almost always end on time – otherwise, the ushers wouldn’t know when to clean up. Theaters tell you to come in early so you have time to watch commercials and previews.
13. Popcorn keeps for a day or two. Many customers confuse warm with fresh.
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Things an IRS Agent Won’t Tell You About Tax Planning
1. You may be eligible for free tax software
If you earn less than $57,000 annually, many major tax program companies will provide services for free. Even if you don’t qualify for the program you want, everyone is eligible to use the IRS’ online forms, which cuts down on paperwork, if not costs.
2. Rewards may be taxable
3. Follow three easy steps for a quick refund
4. That said, refunds aren’t as exciting as they seem
5. File even if you can’t pay
6. Filing late can hurt your credit score – eventually
7. Itemization can mean a bigger return
You’ll want to be careful when itemizing, however, as too many deductions may increase your chances of being audited. For example, the IRS might take a closer look if you made charitable donations that seem disproportionate to your income. Don’t make the IRS wonder how you covered your basic needs because of how generous you were!
8. You may not be able to avoid an audit, but you can try
9. Even part-time self-employment counts
10. Get a receipt for charitable donations
11. Green home improvements can earn you tax credits
12. You can recoup childcare costs
13. There’s an app for that
Things Your Child’s Teacher Won’t Tell You
1. If we teach small children,
Don’t tell us that our jobs are “so cute” and that you wish you could glue and color all day long.
2. I’m not a marriage counselor.
3. We’re sick of standardized testing
4. Kids used to go out and play after school
5. When I hear a loud belch,
6. Your child may be the center of your universe,
7. Please help us by turning off the texting
8. Guys who dribble a ball
9. We take on the role of mother,
10. Kids dish on your secrets all the time-
11. Please, no more mugs, frames, or stuffed animals.
12. We love snow days
13. The students we remember are happy,
14. My rule for hormonal middle-schoolers:
15. My first year of teaching, a fifth-grader actually threw a chair at me.
16. You do your job, I’ll do mine.
17. We don’t arrive at school 10 minutes before your child does.
18. We are not the enemy.
19. The truth is simple:
20. Encourage your child to keep reading.
21. It’s their homework, not yours.
22. Teaching is a calling.
23. Check their homework.
24. We get jaded too.
25. Talk to your kids.
26. We spend money out of our own pockets.
27. Supportive, involved parents are crucial.
28. Having the summer off is great, but…
29. Academics aren’t everything.
30. Nobody says “the dog ate my homework” anymore.
31. Don’t ask us to do your dirty work.
32. We know you mean well, but…
33. There are days when I just want to quit.
Things Your Bartender Won’t Tell You
1. Yell, whistle, or wave money and I’m going to make you wait. Make eye contact and smile, and I’ll come over as soon as I can. Know what you want and have your money ready. Don’t create a traffic jam.
2. Start a tab. If I swipe your card five times this evening, that’s five times as much paperwork I have to do at 4 a.m.
3. You want a drink made ‘strong?’ Then order a double-for double the price.
4. Liquor sales in bars and restaurants were down 2.2 percent last year. Even beer sales are slow. But people scrimp on food first, drinks second.
5. A lot of bars have comp tabs, which allows me to give away drinks. It’s smart business and helps build a base of regulars.
6. Bars that don’t have regulars (in hotels, airports) have started using wireless gadgets that measure how much is poured and automatically ring up each shot. They’re meant to prevent overpouring and to cut losses, but I don’t like them-neither do customers.
7. If your tipping guideline is still ‘a buck a drink,’ listen closely: That doesn’t fly if you order a $12 cocktail. Tip at least 15 percent.
8. At some bars, the sliced fruit garnishes sit out until they’re gone, sometimes for days. Munch accordingly.
9. The smoothest guys compliment a woman, then walk away-it’s very nonthreatening.
10. I have the police on speed dial, and I never hesitate to call.
11. Don’t order a round of drinks after last call. Last call applies to everyone-even you.
12. Some of us get a cut from the cab company when we call a taxi for a tipsy patron. Not that I’ve ever done that, of course.
13. Last week, a couple had a little too much and got into a dumb argument, then asked me to choose the ‘winner’ of the fight. There isn’t a tip big enough to get me involved in that situation!
14. If I cut you off, don’t argue. If anything, you should apologize if you’ve made a scene
15.Get a room. The more you make out with your date, the closer you are to being cut off.
16. I’ve heard it all. One guy told me I had the worst smile he‘d ever seen. I found out that he thinks a girl won‘t remember him unless he puts her down. I guess it worked; I‘m telling you this story three weeks later.
17. Think tending bar isn’t a real career? You’re wrong. The craft of bartending is coming back, and some of us are even called “mixologists” now.
18. I love sharing what I know. If it’s not busy, ask me about the history of drink or the latest cocktail I’ve invented. You’ll learn something new.
19. I like a sophisticated palate. You’ll win points with me if you request gin in your martini.
20. My knees hurt. Bar mats prevent slipping, but I really like them for the cushioning. I use sole inserts in my shoes, too.
21. I can tell if your date is going well or not. And I notice if you bring in a new date every week.
22. Everyone should bartend a few nights in his life. You learn so much about people.
23. I’m not a piece of meat. If you’re going to hit on me all night, at least leave a big tip.
24. It happens every time. The songs you line up on the jukebox will play right as you’re leaving.
25. I do more than mix drinks. I love being your psychiatrist-matchmaker-entertainer-friend. Otherwise, I wouldn’t tend bar.
26. Please, take a cab.
9 Ways Marketing Weasels Will Try To Manipulate You
It’s a fascinating examination of why human beings are wired and conditioned to react irrationally. We human beings are a selfish bunch, so it’s all the more surprising to see how easily we can be manipulated to behave in ways that run counter to our own self-interest.
This isn’t just a “gee-whiz” observation; understanding how and why we behave irrationally is important. If you don’t understand how these irrational behaviors are triggered, the marketing weasels will use them against you.
In fact, it’s already happening. Witness 10 Irrational Human Behaviors and How to Leverage Them to Improve Web Marketing. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Let’s take a look at the various excerpts presented in that article, and consider how we can avoid falling into the rut of predictably irrational behavior – and defend ourselves from those vicious marketing weasels.
1. Encourage False Comparisons
When contemplating the purchase of a $25 pen, the majority of subjects would drive to another store 15 minutes away to save $7. When contemplating the purchase of a $455 suit, the majority of subjects would not drive to another store 15 minutes away to save $7. The amount saved and time involved are the same, but people make very different choices. Watch out for relative thinking; it comes naturally to all of us.
• Realize that some premium options exist as decoys – that is, they are there only to make the less expensive options look more appealing, because they’re easy to compare. Don’t make binding decisions solely based on how easy it is to compare two side-by-side options from the same vendor. Try comparing all the alternatives, even those from other vendors.
2. Reinforce Anchoring
Simonsohn and Loewenstein found that people who move to a new city remain anchored to the prices they paid in their previous city. People who move from Lubbock to Pittsburgh squeeze their families into smaller houses to pay the same amount. People who move from LA to Pittsburgh don’t save money, they just move into mansions.
• Scale your purchases to your needs, not your circumstances or wallet size. What do you actually use? How much do you use it, and how frequently?
3. It’s “Free”!
According to standard economic theory, the price reduction shouldn’t have lead to any behavior change, but it did.
Ariely’s theory is that for normal transactions, we consider both upside and downside. But when something is free, we forget about the downside. “Free” makes us perceive what is being offered as immensely more valuable than it really is. Humans are loss-averse; when considering a normal purchase, loss-aversion comes into play. But when an item is free, there is no visible possibility of loss.
• You will tend to overestimate the value of items you get for free. Resist this by viewing free stuff skeptically rather than welcoming it with open arms. If it was really that great, why would it be free?
4. Exploit Social Norms
• Companies may appeal to your innate sense of community or public good to convince you to do their work at zero pay. Consider carefully before choosing to participate; what do you get out of contributing your time and effort? Is this truly a worthy cause? Would this be worth doing if it was a paid gig?
5. Design for Procrastination
The results? Group 3 (imposed deadlines) got the best grades. Group 2 (no deadlines) got the worst grades, and Group 1 (self-selected deadlines) finished in the middle. Allowing students to pre-commit to deadlines improved performance. Students who spaced out their commitments did well; students who did the logical thing and gave no commitments did badly.
• Steer clear of offers of low-rate trial periods which auto-convert into automatic recurring monthly billing. They know that most people will procrastinate and forget to cancel before the recurring billing kicks in.
6. Utilize the Endowment Effect
There are three fundamental quirks of human nature. We fall in love with what we already have. We focus on what we might lose, rather than what we might gain. We assume that other people will see the transaction from the same perspective as we do.
• The value of what you’ve spent so far on a service, product, or relationship – in effort or money – is probably far less than you think. Be willing to walk away.
7. Capitalize On Our Aversion To Loss
Players tended to try all three rooms, figure out which one had the highest payout, and then spend all their time there. (These are MIT students we’re talking about). Then, however, Ariely introduced a new wrinkle: Any door left unvisited for 12 clicks would disappear forever. With each click, the unclicked doors shrank by 1/12th.
Now, players jumped from door to door, trying to keep their options open.They made 15% less money; in fact, by choosing any of the doors and sticking with it, they could have made more money.
Ariely increased the cost of opening a door to 3 cents; no change–players still seemed compelled to keeping their options open. Ariely told participants the exact monetary payoff of each door; no change. Ariely allowed participants as many practice runs as they wanted before the actual experiment; no change. Ariely changed the rules so that any door could be “reincarnated” with a single click; no change.
Players just couldn’t tolerate the idea of the loss, and so they did whatever was necessary to prevent their doors from closing, even though disappearance had no real consequences and could be easily reversed. We feel compelled to preserve options, even at great expense, even when it doesn’t make sense.
• If your choices are artificially narrowed, don’t passively get funneled towards the goal they’re herding you toward. Demand choice, even if it means switching vendors or allegiances.
8. Engender Unreasonable Expectations
When students were not told about the nature of the beers, they overwhelmingly chose the balsamic beer. When students were told about the true nature of the beers, they overwhelmingly chose the Budweiser. If you tell people up front that something might be distasteful, the odds are good they’ll end up agreeing with you–because of their expectations.
• Whatever you’ve heard about a brand, company, or product – there’s no substitute for your own hands-on experience. Let your own opinions guide you, not the opinions of others.
9. Leverage Pricing Bias
When told that the drug cost $2.50 per dose, nearly all of the subjects reported pain relief. When told that the drug cost $0.10 per dose, only half of the subjects reported pain relief. The more pain a person experienced, the more pronounced the effect. A similar study at U Iowa showed that students who paid list price for cold medications reported better medical outcomes than those who bought discount (but clinically identical) drugs.
• Price often has nothing to do with value. Expensive is not synonymous with quality. Investigate whether the price is justified; never accept it at face value.
What I learned from Predictably Irrational is that everyone is irrational sometimes, and that’s OK. We’re not perfectly logical Vulcans, after all. The trick is training yourself to know when you’re most likely to make irrational choices, and to resist those impulses.
If you aren’t at least aware of our sad, irrational human condition, well … that’s exactly where the marketing weasels want you.