Bartenders Who Received A 'Safeword' Drink Order Share What Happened
Anyone who's spent time in bars knows how rowdy things can sometimes get. No one knows this better than your friendly neighborhood bartenders, who have sometimes had to intervene. We were reminded of this after Redditor Mehariel asked the online community:
"Bar staff of Reddit, have you ever had a man use the "safeword drink" escape, and how often does it happen?"
"I used to..."
"I used to bartend for a gay bar. One night I had a group of guys who seemed to be having a great time. After another round of shots, one sticks behind at the bar and asks for an angel shot. I bring him behind the bar and into the office. He was with a couple coworkers and their friends. He knew the coworkers were gay, and would be taking him to a gay bar, but apparently things started to get out of hand when they started trying to grope him. I tell him he can chill in the back room for as long as he needed, he hands me a handful of crumpled 1s and asks for a burger."
"We didn't really serve food besides bar snacks, so I hand him back his money and give him a couple bags of chips. About half an hour later I go to check on him, and notice that he's really messed up. To the point where he can't even talk. Luckily all his a-hole friends were still there drinking, so I called the cops. He's rushed away in an ambulance immediately. I shut the bar down so the cops and I can co through the security footage. We managed to catch two of the guys he's with putting some powder into his beer. Both of them were arrested, the other two were somewhere else at the time, and were let go."
"One of my regulars..."
"I used to bartend and do front desk at a hotel. One of my regulars was in for the week, real nice guy, very friendly and happily married. We also had a cuckoo bird lady staying with us that week. She was good looking but def had something crazy in those eyes. They were both at the bar and they were talking for a while. Him being a nice guy, he didn't want to outright blow her off I guess. He stops at the front desk to say what's up and we talk for a bit while the girl is just standing behind him."
"He shoots me a look that says get me out of this situation as he starts walking towards the elevator. Once she gets in the elevator I called him back to ask a question about Detroit because "I was going there next week." He got off the elevator but so did she. Then I told the lady there was a problem with the card she had on file (there wasn't) and he slipped away. He called me thanking me a few minutes later."
"I worked in a nightclub..."
"I worked in a nightclub that was popular with the gay community for a couple of years, we didn't have a safe word but one night there were two guys clearly hitting it off they were flirting and having a great time. After a couple of drinks one of the guys was clearly being very forward and touchy, the other was not enjoying this and had withdrawn. He attempted to walk back to his friends but the first guy wasn't having this and pulled him back. In an attempt to get out the guy started vigorously shaking his head anytime one of the bar staff walked by."
"After this happened a few times we realised something needed to be done and spoke to the guy that was being all forward and explained that we didn't think the other guy wanted to stay at the bar with him. He got aggressive then and started screaming at us because how would we know what the guy wanted; although it was blatantly obvious. Eventually we got security down to escort the guy out of the place so that the guy who had been trying to get away could go back to his friends, have a good night and not have to leave."
"There were never..."
"I used to work in a high quality seafood restaurant as a chucker. There were never any safewords but there were a lot of telling looks. People behind the bar hear a lot of your conversations, they usually know whats going on before you do. I've had to escort more people than my job required off of the premises. Look at the bar staff in the eyes and slightly shake your head and we know."
"Turned out the girl..."
"Yup, had exactly this happen to me years back in a nightclub I managed l, only time I've ever experienced it so I wouldn't say it happens often."
"Turned out the girl he was with was an escort and she had threatened him saying guys were waiting outside to beat the him unless he paid up so many hundreds more than what they had agreed earlier. We immediately got the police involved instead of just escorting him out, It spiraled out of control briefly but all was well in the end."
"Ahh had some good times working in the cub industry."
"He came up to me..."Giphy
"Am a bouncer, had a regular dude meeting a tinder date. She was pretty hot and I gave him a thumbs up. She was very polite and nice, 2 drinks later she became an utter loon. I walked up to him to see how it was going and he explained while she was in the toilet how much a of a loon she was being to everyone."
"He came up to me, said how good the whisky was he just had and I knew straight away (he's a beer man through and through) he wanted to bail. I asked him if he would stay if he didn't meet her, he nodded. So I kicked the girl out and told her she was too drunk."
"He met his girlfriend of now 3 years 2 hours later after I kicked her out."
"Only had one incident..."
"Only had one incident of a man using Ask For Angela (UK safeword scheme). Gay kid on a bad date. His date had been extremely overbearing and even having to witness it from the bar was extremely uncomfortable. We smuggled him into the kitchen and out the side door while his date went to the bathroom and called him a taxi. Date came back from the bathroom, asked where the kid was, I just went "dunno". Date started getting aggro with me, so supervisor ended up throwing this guy out by the collar."
"It honestly doesn't get used enough, by either men or women, especially here in the UK. It absolutely sucks, especially when you as a bartender can't really legally do much or you risk not only your job, but the bar's reputation."
"I knew about..."
"Yep, I work in a nightclub in a small city in England in Lincolnshire. I once had a guy who seemed to only recently turned 18, ask if Angela was working (Ask for Angela is a UK scheme that helps prevent violence and assaults). I knew about the Ask for Angela scheme and immediately I brought him into the glass wash room. Turns out there were a bunch of lasses encouraging this one lass into seducing him, grinding up on him, trying to kiss him and groping him. This apparently continued even after the man had walked away into other parts of the nightclub after showing and saying he wasn't interested."
"I had reported this to my supervisor who was a little hesitant at first but eventually called the bouncers into the back room too. We explained the situation to them. Now these guys are basically 200-300 pound tanks who you would expect to joke about this and tell this guy to man up and enjoy it but to my suprise, they took it seriously as well."
"They managed to track down this group (5 women including the one who was doing the grinding) and they escorted all of them out of the building. Meanwhile, a taxi had already been prepared by my supervisor and the taxi firm was literally down the road, so it didn't take long for it to arrive. I escorted the man through the back stairs that continues down to the stock cellar but leads off to the side exit of the building near the bins. A taxi was parked just outside."
"It would be a rare occasion when someone uses "AskAngela" where I work, let alone a man so I'm really glad that all of the staff took it seriously and helped as much as they could."
"I have been..."
"I have been manager of a night club in Holland for 1.5 years. We got good night out trainings. This is a training that helps you recognize when someone is getting sexual harassment and/or assaulted and how to react to the situation. We would put up the good night out posters all over the venue. So if we miss it, people know they can trust the staff and tell us."
"Because it is hard to really recognize this in a night club we had more people that would go to the bar and ask for help. They would just tell us, we had no safe word. If this happened I was called and I stopped with everything I did and started helping this person."
"A LOT can feel as harassment. So we would always take it seriously. First I would try to take them off the dance floor and backstage so I could sit down and hear their story. After that I would always ask them if they want to press charges. If not they could point the person that was harassing them to me and I would kick them out. If they want to press charges I had to call the police and also try to find the harasser and hold them until the cops arrived."
"This would not happen a lot, maybe once every 1/2 months. Still to much but for a night club it could be a lot worse."
"If someone tells you they are getting harassed always take it serious. He/she already feels ashamed and had the balls to tell you about it."
"I work occasional shifts at a gay bar, where they don't really have a safeword drink because where would they advertise that without the other party knowing? But there are still other ways that people surreptitiously ask for help, like writing something on the receipt or on a napkin. One guy, probably 19 or so, walked up to the bar and asked if he could charge his phone. When he handed it to me, he had already dialed in 911 (or, well, our equivalent)."
"And I'd say we get someone walking up to the guards or to the bar to complain about a creep at least once a week. Especially when they're pretty young."
"I haven't done it personally..."
"I haven't done it personally, but a friend had it happen to him who is a bartender."
"He was finishing up his shift when a man walks up to him, asking for a safe word drink (I forget what he said it was called) and said he wanted it on the rocks."
"Friend just said "Yeah, sure," and helped him to the taxi. Just as the man got in the taxi, the woman he had been there with came running out towards the taxi and yelled profanities, calling the man she had been with "white trash" and "he'll never amount to anything" and some shit like that."
"Last I heard, she was banned from that bar (and several others) while the man who got help became a bit of a regular."
"I used to work..."
"I used to work in a bar in Orlando and one Friday night were pretty heavy and have a guy (regular) and a lady on a date at the bar and it looks pretty well until he asks for 2 stomach shots A.K.A. "Please help me, I really really don't want to be here with them" and he excuses himself as our manager calls him a taxicab and explain to the lady and she gets mad and tries to leave saying that a man should pay for the bill no matter what"
"In our bathrooms..."
"In our bathrooms, there's an option to ask for "Angela" at the bar however these posters are only up in the women's bathrooms. This has backfired on me once in the past because I found a guy in a situation he probably didn't want to be in."
"I was doing a walk through, collecting glasses (we don't have barbacks in the club I work in) and keeping an eye on things. I noticed this group sat down, one girl with her shoes off all over this guy who was staring forward and tense. Clearly uncomfortable. She was very drunk so I managed to ask if he was okay without her noticing, he shook his head, I radioed for a bouncer and she was removed from the venue."
"Even if someone is unaware of the safe word or knows that the person they're trying to get away from knows the safe word, most bartenders and bouncers will try and keep an eye on people and make sure everyone is having a good time."
"This happened to me."
"This happened to me. A man came up to the bar and said: "Hi there, do you know where Angela is?". I wasn't sure I heard him right, so I replied: "Sorry, what was that?". He then repeated "Do you know where Angela is?" whilst giving me a funny look with his eyes."
"We had just had a new starter at the company called Angela who was working in the kitchen (the bar I worked at is in a restaurant). The fact he referred to her by name and his facial expression made me think he was a friend/spouse of hers, but he was unsure if she was working today or that he was at the right restaurant."
"I told him I'd check the back for her. She was in the kitchen, so I went back to the bar and told him to follow me. I then pointed him towards Angela and he glanced over to her and said "Oh, right. Cheers." and then ran out of the fire escape next to her (one of those ones with a bar to open), setting a loud alarm off."
"My manager came running in asking what was wrong, and I told him what had happened. My manager stopped the alarm and informed me that 'Where's Angela?' is a new scheme the police have brought in, but he hadn't got round to telling us. I told my manager that it would have been nice to have been informed."
"Was in a night club..."
"Was in a night club, working instead of a friend who had an exams next day. I took his two shifts since i had whole week free. There was a date where the guy was definitely afraid of a girl. Asked for permission to "engage" and decided to calm two down."
"I took the man to our security booth where you have camera control, who was literally shaking out of fear. I had him calm down, paid for cold soda myself and gave one to the guy and i drank one myself (instead of cigarettes - i hate smoking)."
"After it, and nice talk (turned out he was a businessman) i called him a taxi. Wanted to give me equivalent of 300 dollars.... I said "no its my job" but he insisted... damn its a lot when you paycheck equals 800USDs. Taxi arrived and took that guy to his home. He thank me once again and gave me his number. Sadly i don't have it anymore. But still nice thing to happen."
"I worked in a pub/club in Glasgow and there was this night I was the victim of a crazy drunk woman."
"It happened shortly after the smoking ban. This woman started smoking inside the place and I happened to be walking by with some glasses. I informed her that she had to either put it out or be escorted out by the bouncer."
"Unlucky me had that woman wanting me to escort her out. But I couldn't do it because she actually put her cigarette out and I didn't have any reason put her out of the pub/club."
"Even though I was behind the bar, she kept on hitting on me. Bouncer didn't do anything about it, other staff were mocking me and even the manager was taking the piss, teasing and instigating the woman."
"She started asking me for a kiss and the manager said he'd only interfere if I gave her a kiss."
"It was my first job in Glasgow, as I had just moved from Brazil. I felt humiliated, anxiety kicked in, and, fearing being fired, I had to kiss her to have some peace."
"After that, depression took over and I didn't last longer in the place. Ended up being fired, but for other reason, but related to bad management nonetheless."
"The lady in question..."
"Yes. I have had this happen in a venue I managed in Melbourne."
"The lady in question became very forward, slightly abusive and threatening. The gentleman was obviously concerned for himself and did not like the way the date had progressed, we booked him a taxi and walked him out a back exit whilst he was going to he toilet. I spoke to the lady and covered his half of the bill. She became hysterical, paid and then left."
"There was a huge power imbalance."
We're so glad to see the bartenders had these everyone's back. Be sure to see if your local bars offer things like an "Angel Shot" or see if they call it something else.
Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments.
Reddit user JohnnyNuclear asked: 'Anyone ever find a dead body unintentionally? What’s the story?'
In August of 1982, author Stephen King's publisher—my fellow Maineiac—released his book Different Seasons. It was a collection of four novellas set mostly outside the horror genre King had become famous for.
The four novellas—subtitled to reflect the four seasons—were:
- Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: Hope Springs Eternal
- Apt Pupil: Summer of Corruption
- The Body: Fall from Innocence
- The Breathing Method: A Winter's Tale
The first three became the major Hollywood films The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil and Stand By Me respectively. 1986's Stand By Me helped launch or solidify the careers of Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland and the late River Phoenix in the critically acclaimed coming of age film directed by Rob Reiner.
I read the book when it was published then saw the film four years later. Both are superbly done and I immediately think of them every time the experience of finding a dead body is discussed.
That is the central plot point of the story—four boys on the cusp of adolescence take a pilgrimage to see a dead body discovered in the woods by the train tracks. The journey is life-changing for the fictional characters.
But what is it like in real life?
Reddit user JohnnyNuclear asked:
"Anyone ever find a dead body unintentionally? What’s the story?"
The Scene of the Accident
"I was at a family reunion forever ago. On my 13th birthday Papaw and I wake up early to go fishing on the big lake right next to the campsite."
"We get in my uncle's bass boat and start making our way out to find a spot. We eventually come across a jet ski, with the front end and handle bars all messed up, floating amongst some rocks."
"I will never forget it."
"We both immediately looked at each other and we knew what we were going to find."
"We didn't say a word, just took the boat over to the rocks and sure enough, there's a guy face down in the water in the rocks, obviously dead."
"We called the cops and waited so they could find him easier. They showed up maybe 20 minutes later and pulled him out..."
"Apparently he was drunk and riding his jet ski fast as Hell the night before and smashed into the rocks head on. Poor dude, think he was in his 40's if I remember right."
"We fished all morning and didn't say a thing. Didn't catch anything either."
"Had a paper route when l was a kid. Part of my route was delivering to a retirement block."
"On this day l stepped out of the lift and as l approached the door to the corridor l saw a trail of blood running underneath it. As l opened the door an old lady was laid head first on the floor with blood pouring from her head, her front door open."
"Tried to help her but she was clearly gone. I chucked the paper over her body and into her flat and ran down to the warden's flat."
"40+ years later, remember it as clear as day. Got offered counselling and a trip to McDonald's from the police."
"I did search and rescue for a long time."
"I left because I was tired of the lack of rescues and mostly finding or recovering bodies."
"It was pretty draining."
Or Maybe the Scene of the Crime
"A buddy of mine skipped school one day to go fishing."
"He thought his fishing line was caught on debris, but as he reeled in a human hand surfaced."
"He called the cops and they yelled at him for skipping school."
"Well, the hand was connected to a whole body."
"My friend just freaked out when the hand emerged."
"My youngest sister would babysit for the woman at the end of our block. She was a divorced woman with 2 kids."
"The ex-husband hadn't heard from her for a few days and came by her house to no answer. Came to my house to see if maybe the kids were there with my sister and if she had an answer why he hadn't heard from his ex-wife."
"Sister wasn't home but he and I went to the house. Knocked a few times, and then he just went to open the front door. It was unlocked."
"Her body was in the living room. She was murdered and her children were gone (turned out kidnapped by her then boyfriend)."
"The ex-husband was rightfully shocked and terrified, immediately called the police and reported as much info as he knew. My little sister had to answer some questions about the boyfriend, help give a description vehicle type. Just basic stuff."
"The kids were found unharmed at the boyfriend's mother's house if I remember correctly. I know for sure that they were OK and their dad was able to get them safely."
"I think the boyfriend was caught because of his mom. She called the cops once she saw the story on the news."
"Playing hide and seek in the woods . I was running after my cousin and tripped and ate dirt over what I thought was a rock."
"Turned over to get my shoe unstuck and saw it was something white and I pulled my shoe out. I got up and saw it was actually a pelvis (I didn’t know what the bone was named at the time but I knew what a bone was)."
"I screamed and my older cousins came running out from their spots to see me crying and trying to get away from the skeleton sitting in the dirt."
"We went and told my parents. We were pretty deep in the woods so one of us stayed near by it and another one of us waited about 50 feet away but to where we could still see each other."
"We basically made a trail of human bread crumbs to make sure we got back to the body to show the cops."
"I honestly can’t remember why it was there but I know it was only like a year old and partially buried."
Sometimes It's Just Natural Causes
"Leaving my house for quick errand briefly noticed an elderly lady parked on side of the road."
"When I returned, her car was still in same location and as I looked closer she appeared unconscious so I stopped but her doors were locked so dialed 911."
"It was determined she had passed away."
"Had a guy collapse dead of a heart attack in my store."
"He put his full
coffee cup down first."
"My friend Vinnywent to a new worksite. The supervisor brought doughnuts and coffee and was introducing everyone to everyone."
"He said this is Joey, Vinny, Jeff, Chad, Morris and then just fell over dead."
"He didn’t even finish introducing everyone."
"Worked at a movie theatre. It was a weekday morning, so usually pretty slow for us."
"Went in to clean a showing of The Hateful 8, there were only two people in the theatre. One in the very back, and one towards the front."
"Walk in to clean the theatre, see the guy up front. Figure he was sleeping, happens sometimes. Say a couple things to see if he’ll wake up. He does not."
"Get spooked and call my manager. Manager shook him a couple of times, realized something was wrong, called the police."
"Dude was dead."
Over 53% of Deaths Occur at Home
"When I was 11 I woke up and was looking for my mom. Couldn't find her anywhere. Walked to her side of the bed and she was dead on the floor."
"That was in 92. She was 27. I'm 43 now."
"My hardest birthday was 28. I felt so young still and my life was just picking up, but I just imagined all the stuff she missed."
"I had a friend who called me around midnight when I was 15. I had a very lax childhood so both me and my mom were awake, but she wasn't exactly happy about my friends calling late at night."
"She chewed me out before I picked up the phone, so I picked up the phone and yelled at him because obviously I was upset that I had just been yelled at."
"He had just found his mom dead. She died of natural causes. She had been sick for a while, I don't recall what exactly was wrong with her."
"He called me after 911 because he didn't know who else to talk to or how to process the situation and the first thing I say is 'why the hell are you calling me this late?!'."
"I will never not feel like the biggest pile of human garbage for that."
"I woke up around 2 in the morning to get a glass of water. I walked past my fiance, who I thought fell asleep on the couch playing his video game."
"Went to touch him to tell him to come to bed.. well, he was cold to the touch and wasn't breathing.. worst day of my life."
"We had celebrated our 10 year anniversary just the night this all happened. He had a heart attack in his sleep."
Regardless of Circumstances, It Makes a Lasting Impression
"In 2017 I used to work as a photographer for one of the biggest shoe stores in Gdansk, Poland. Like one of those with limited, mostly overpriced rare kicks mixed with normal New Balances and Nikes."
"I was responsible for doing packshots (pictures of the product on white background you see on every website) and more lifestyle type of content for social media. The latter was really fun, because I got to take 5 or 6 pairs and go somewhere to shoot with my friend, who would just put them on for pictures."
"Guy was very athletic so if I envisioned him standing on his hands, jumping very high or running super fast for photos, there was no problem with any of that."
"The golden rule was that location had to match the shoe in some way. For example soccer cleats somewhere on the field, basketball shoes on court, running shoes on track etc...."
"It was my role to get creative with it."
"One day I had to do a pair of Timberlands, some Puma running shoes and Vans’ in collaboration with Nintendo."
"I was really looking forward to those Vans because I managed to book a local arcade spot before it opened, so creatively it was dope."
"We shot quick pictures of running shoes on a local track and decided to take Timbs to a nearby forest where we knew there were some old, post-war bunkers."
"It was winter, so grey concrete, some snow and trees seemed like a perfect spot for mustard-colored shoes to pop up."
"And it was in theme since in Poland 6 inch Timbs are more of a winter shoe than work boots."
"So my friend put the shoes on, went to a spot near the entrance to the bunker where I told him to stand and froze..."
"He turned around and said 'Come here and tell me that I’m not seeing what I’m seeing'."
"So there I went thinking he found some money or a phone or something. Nope, there was a body like 2-3 steps inside the entrance. Completely covered with some rugs and cardboard except the creepiest, now engraved in my memory paper white face, with open eyes and open mouth 'looking' right at us."
"He was lying on his side and his head was turned up towards us, which made it even creepier."
"We just stood there for like 20 seconds not moving, not breathing in complete silence. Like we were waiting for him to say something or I don’t know, stand up."
"It was clear the guy was dead but we yelled 'hey' a few times because we couldn’t believe what was happening."
"The fact that this guy was near the entrace and there was this whole, huge, dark hallway with bunker behind it started to create weird scenarios in our heads straight from zombie/Friday the 13th movies."
"We went back to the car and called the police. Patrol car came in like 2 minutes. We told the two cops where to go since we really didn’t want to go there again."
"Turned out it was a homeless guy who got very drunk and went to sleep right after downing a whole bottle of vodka. Froze to death."
"Cops said they knew him, he was about 60, in and out of jail. It took them like 2 hours to take our statements."
"I remember one of them not believing that taking pictures of shoes can actually be a profession so I had to show him the pictures we’d taken already that day."
"We didn’t go to the arcade to take those Vans pictures. We went to a bar instead."
Luckily most of us will probably never have the experience of stumbling across a dead body.
But death is an integral part of life.
Whether we witness it first hand or not, it's something we all need to be prepared to face.
Is it just us, or does it seem like as the internet continues to grow, so do the solutions and "hacks" that turn out to be total snake oil?
And we don't mean "snake oil" like oil that comes... from a snake. Because that sounds painful.
Rather, we mean "snake oil" like deceptive marketing, scams, and fraudulent medical claims, like cure-alls and overnight dramatic weight loss options.
But every once in a while, there's a solution offered that sounds too good to be true, but it turns out to be totally legit.
Curious what surprisingly good hacks others had come across, Redditor ThePonyboyCurtis asked:
"What seems like snake oil but is actually 100% legit?"
The Powers of WD40
"WD40 cleans candle wax off your living room carpet. If ever in doubt, consult an old housewife."
"There is a guy on Snapchat that I follow and I can't think of his screen name right now, but he legit uses WD40 on just about everything. It's crazy some of the sh*t he does with it."
"That’s because it’s a solvent. It’s not a grease meant to loosen up tight screws, it’s a solvent that breaks down the crap making your screws stuck."
Everyone Likes the Smell of Cedar
"I had a weird-smelling basement. Someone said to get aromatic cedar blocks, sand them down, and leave them there. I thought there was no way this could work. But it did. The smell is totally eliminated."
"12 blocks. Each two by two by two inches. Just top layer sand down, half a millimeter maybe. I left them next to a pipe that I believe is the culprit. The basement is like 900 square feet."
"An offering to the stink gods."
"Ah, inches, millimeters, AND square feet. You like to confuse both sides of the ocean, nice."
Don't DTR with Your Hiccups Just Yet
"The whole 'hold your breath to get rid of hiccups' trick."
"The thing is, most people just don't know the proper way to do it or why it works."
"It's got nothing to do with simply holding your breath. It's got to do with using your lungs to hold down the diaphragm and stop it from spasming."
"You breathe in until you cannot fit literally anything else into your lungs. When your chest is as full as humanly possible then you hold it and within about 15 seconds the hiccups are gone."
"So THAT's why it works sometimes and not others."
"I've never had success until I held it until my lungs burnt. That 'oh my god, we're suffocating' feeling is a legit life hack for making your body stop acting stupid."
"It also works for stuffy noses. If you exhale all your breath, then nod your head repeatedly until your lungs burn, and then breathe back in normally, your nose will magically unclog."
"If you have really bad congestion because of allergies or a head cold you sometimes have to do this several more times (the most I've had to do is five times)."
Impossibly Clean Windows
"Vinegar and newspaper to clean windows."
"I thought the ink would come off and make an even bigger mess."
"Almost turns the window invisible."
Magical Mystical Magnesium
"Taking magnesium. It really can cure some joint, nerve, muscle, heart, and breathing problems."
"Of course, the only ones it can cure are ones that are caused by a magnesium deficiency which a surprising number of people have."
"Some life events that can rapidly use up magnesium in the body are pregnancy, surgery, viral illness, and major periods of stress."
Not Just for Painting Toinails
"I was suffering with plantar fasciitis for over six months. I tried new shoes, new insoles, pills, and physical therapy, but none of those things fixed it."
"A friend kept suggesting I try these gel toe separator things like they wear when painting toenails. I thought it was silly, but they were only $10 on Amazon, so what did I have to lose?"
"I wore the neon blue gel thing at night feeling very silly. After the first night, my foot hurt like h**l, but after the second, it felt a whole lot better. I wore it for two weeks straight and plantar fasciitis was gone. Those things were like magic."
"The toe spacers are stretching out your tendons in the feet, therefore reducing the tightness that causes plantar fasciitis! Another thing that should help is putting something like a tennis ball underneath your foot and rolling it around."
"Sitting on your deck in summer or are you having a nice picnic when suddenly you're being accosted by the h**lspawn known as wasps? Get rid of them with this one easy solution: burn some coffee!"
"'Burn coffee?' I hear you say incredulously. Yes, burn coffee! Take a little saucer, pour a little pyramid of ground coffee on in, and use a lighter to light the top."
"It will smolder slowly and give off a smoke that smells, well, like burnt coffee. It will also instantly get rid of any wasps that are bothering you. No idea why, they absolutely hate the smell."
"Some people also dislike the smell of the burning coffee, I understand this. But ask yourself this important question while the smell is annoying you: what do you dislike more; wasps or the smell of burning coffee? I know what I would pick."
"I keep coffee grounds in a short jar on the deck for burning and put the lid on when we are going inside. It keeps the wasps away, and also, it repels mosquitoes."
The Indoor Sunrise
"Someone mentioned melatonin, so it reminded me of the opposite. I bought a daylight lamp last winter because I get depressed when it’s dark outside for long periods of time."
"I got one off Amazon for 40 euros, and now I can’t live without it in the winter."
"I thought it was a sham initially, but the light basically imitates the wavelengths of light emitted by the sun (bar the UVs) and inhibits the production of melatonin. Not only that, but it also boosts my mood and morale. You just have to be careful because it’s difficult to fall asleep for a couple of hours after using it."
"There's a subset of these types of lights that also work like alarm clocks. Wakeup Lights."
"The slightly more expensive ones even fake a sunrise for you. It actually slowly increases in brightness from a dull red, all the way to that bright white/yellow, and THEN starts making noises."
"I used to be such a heavy sleeper before I got mine, and now I can pretty easily get up even at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning even in the dead of winter. I could not imagine living without one going forward, HUGE quality of life improvement for myself."
"And I have not managed for a single family member to try it, not even outright borrowing mine for a week or two. Because they think it sounds dumb and pointless."
"I had chronic back pain for years. Then, just a few years ago I slept on my neck wrong and had neck pain that wouldn’t resolve."
"I saw a physical therapist and the first thing she did was look at how I sat and how I stood and walked. She told me nicely but essentially that my posture was horrible, affected by years of slumping in my seat and also being told continually by my mom to 'suck in that tummy!' when I stood or walked, which led to me thinking a pelvic tilt was necessary for good posture."
"The therapist showed me how to sit and stand with a straight back, my chest up and forward, and my back keeping a healthy lumbar curvature."
"Let me tell you, it was HARD. My shoulder/back muscles were not used to it and I had to train them like any muscle is trained, with a posture bra and also using a long sheet tied like a strap around my neck, arms, and waist. It also felt so unnatural at first to be sticking my chest and butt out, like I was looking for attention, which is part of the reason people have such terrible posture; we feel that’s 'immodest.'"
"No lie, three weeks later, all my back pain symptoms were gone and haven’t returned. I can do some slumping when I sit with no great penalty now, but when I walk, or when have to stand for a duration, or sit on something backless, I use my good posture and I am pain-free."
"I'm trying to spread the word on this makes me feel like a 1950s health movie ('Posture Pals!') but it’s so effective, I can’t stop sharing. Years of chronic back pain completely eliminated by just a few weeks of good posture training."
The Power of Meditation
"Meditation. When I was an alcoholic and drug abuser, my friend used to tell me about meditation to help with anxiety and stress."
"I thought, 'B***h, we use Xanax around here, no one’s got time to meditate.'"
"We no longer use Xanax and have the time to meditate."
Water in the Ear
"Hopping on the opposite leg when you have water in your ear after swimming. It works every d**n time."
"I need to try this. BRB (Be Right Back), gonna get water stuck in my ear..."
"Saltwater swish and gargle for toothache and sore throat (as long as it’s not something like strep). Source: currently have strep and ain’t nothing working."
"Otherwise, even the dentist tells me to salt water swish if I get tooth pain or something stuck. Total relief."
"I’m a once-a-year strep throat sufferer. For a severe sore throat, my doctor told me to mix a one-half cup Mylanta (kept in the fridge) with a tablespoon of Benadryl. Gargle every few hours. The cold Mylanta cools and soothes and the Benadryl reduces inflammation."
"She said saltwater only dries the throat out more and creates more pain. It works wonderfully."
"A few jobs ago, I worked as a pharmacy tech. There was a doctor out there who would call in 'Magic Mouthwash,' a one-to-one-to-one ratio mixture of Mylanta, Benadryl, and Lidocaine."
"It's great for strep, as well as mouth sores often caused by radiation and chemotherapy. Sounds like you got the over-the-counter recipe."
The Importance of Vitamin D
"Vitamin D supplements. it's much more important than any of us realized."
"I started doing this a few years ago and it's not straight-up noticeable right away but hot d**n, even a couple months into that first winter, I was like, 'Huh, I don't have that soul-crushing gloom like I usually do this time of year.'"
The Truth About Yoga
"Yoga. I have severe upper back pain and went through months of physical therapy. I couldn't keep up with the millions of appointments and started doing yoga as a way to stretch my upper back instead. I was doing it for 30 minutes each day and forgot that I had pain."
"It's so annoying that it does what people say it does because this whole time, I thought they were just being annoying but they're one hundred percent right."
"There's an app I like that's called 'Down Dog Yoga.' It's a blue dog as the logo, that's the app I really enjoy! You can customize the time and focus area so you can fit things in when you have time."
Something For Our Four-Legged Friends
"Does a dog thundershirt count?"
"I had an anxious dog with storms and loud noises, so I got him one, and while not perfect, he did seem to calm down with it on more often than not!"
Whether it's mocking back-and-forth conversations in the comments section on social media about, 'But have you tried yoga?!' or laughing at an informercial about Dog Thunder Shirts or Wakeup Lights from the comfort of our couches, we've surely all questioned at least one of the items or hacks on this list.
But it's humbling to know that every once in a while, the thing that seems too good to be true... will actually deliver on its promises.
Fortunately, for most of these hacks, trying them for a week or two wouldn't be a serious feat, and who knows, maybe they would work for us, too!
A movie is only as good as its ending.
Unless audiences are left with a major cliffhanger under the premise there's a planned sequel, all plot points should be resolved to a degree.
However, even the best films that are thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable can lead to a disappointing finale that leaves audiences hanging with no promise of a follow-up. It can be frustrating.
And then there are the thin plot holes that are so arcane, it's nerve-wracking trying to make sense out of them.
Yet, there's somehow logic in them that escapes the minds of audiences with short attention spans.
Curious to hear examples of these, Redditor Animeking1108 asked:
"What infamous movie plot hole has an explanation that you're tired of explaining?"
Scenes from these thrilling films left some audiences stumped.
Beast Follows Feast
"In Jurassic World, Claire didn’t 'outrun' the T-Rex (in heels) … because it wasn’t CHASING her. The dinosaur was conditioned to equate the flare with feeding time so it was patiently following her to an anticipated meal. The situation is similar to how zookeepers can have (limited) interactions with lions and bears."
"How does Sarah Connor know which button to press to crush the Terminator in Terminator(1984)?"
"Because she accidentally presses it a few minutes earlier and it set the crusher off, it what lead the Terminator to find them."
"Oh, like in The Incredibles where Elastigirl has the remote and Bob tells her to push that button again."
The Glitch In The Machine
"The matrix reloaded the scene where Neo is talking to the architect, the screens behind them are not other ones, it is the predictions the machines are making on Neo’s responses, most of the scenes are incorrect in those predictions, except for when Neo must choose between Trinity and all of humanity, the machines nailed that response on all screens."
These classic examples left some viewers completely flummoxed.
"There was a whole topic on the front page a while back about The Truman Show asking about what happens when Truman wants to sleep with his onscreen wife, is that upsetting to her because she’s just an actress, how do they avoid showing it on TV. People offering all kinds of explanations like 'he was raised not to know what sex is.' I thought I was going crazy because not only does the movie directly address this (two guys watching the show complain that the camera always cuts away when Truman and his wife go to bed) but it’s an actual plot point in the movie that she’s trying to have a baby with him so that they can start Truman Show Phase 2, and his obsession with a woman they kicked off the show years ago is ruining the director’s plans."
Remembering Memory Loss
"In Memento, people always wonder how a guy with short-term memory loss remembers he has memory loss. But he’s conditioned himself to say it, just like Sammy was subjected to conditioning in the flashbacks."
"One of Charles Foster Kane’s servants was outside his bedroom when Kane said 'Rosebud.' The door was wide open. The dialogue later confirms that a butler heard Kane’s dying words and reported it to the paper."
Establishing Reality Up Front
"FRIENDS. 'How did they pay for that apartment on their salary in New York?'”
"The very first episode, Monica mentions that her grandma owned the apartment, and she would never be able to afford it otherwise!!"
"And it was rent controlled, plus i think it was an illegal sub lease and they had to hide that from the super."
Playing On A Steretype
"I am so late to the party but… Legally Blonde"
'OMG, a dumb blonde sorority girl studied for the LSAT for a summer and aces it? Bullshi*!
"No. No, the point is that Elle Woods was never a 'dumb blonde.' She was always brilliant. Literally the first scene is her interrogating the salesperson and catching them in a lie because she was observant and smart."
"Rather, Elle was pigeonholed by the circumstances of her looks and her privileged upbringing to pursue a vapid life. While inspired by the wrong reasons, it results in her breaking the mold she was confined in so that she is able to reach her full potential."
Is it too much to ask the audience to suspend their disbelief?
It depends on the movie.
Witnessing The Supernatural
"People sometimes wonder how Indiana Jones initially remains sceptical of the mystical events happening in the second film, when he just witnessed a magical ark mass killing a bunch of Nazis in the first film."
"But that's because the second film is a prequel."
Accepting The Mythical As Real
"Also the majority of artifacts and myths Indiana Jones interacts with are completely mundane. They have fascinating cultural significance and implications on history, but they're ultimately just mundane. The encounters with the supernatural are clearly rare exceptions he gets caught up in, not his primary field of expertise."
"Like, even if literally Atlantis was discovered right here and now today, that doesn't mean the lost continent of Mu, or the city of El Dorado, or the lost colony of Norumbega, or anything else is real. It means Atlantis is, apparently, real."
"On watching The Sixth Sense it may seem completely improbable that Bruce Willis' character didn't realize that he was dead. Yet it's explained right there in the movie: ghosts see only what they want to see."
What makes the moviegoing experience enjoyable is the assessment afterward with other cinephiles.
It's fun to discuss the contrasting takeaways each person may have had from watching the same movie.
Occasionally, there are plot holes that seem easily identifiable, but wind up having a perfectly logical explanation behind them, which warrants a second viewing.
But one movie that my friends and I had a difficult time figuring out was Back to the Future.
Even though Marty successfully corrected the course of time with his parents falling love, wouldn't they have recognized their son when he eventually became a teenager?
They each interacted with the catalyst–their future son–who brought them together in the first place after all.
But that's just an example of the suspension of disbelief.
Sometimes, you just gotta go with it.
Everyone has heard the stories of hardships and struggles, but sometimes in life, things can be surprisingly easy. Whether an unexpected life hack, trade secret, or just through pure luck, these stories encompass the little victories of everyday people.
I lived in New Jersey, and a friend of mine invited me to a commercial audition at a New York City bar. I went because of the bar and only auditioned after two drinks. I left thinking it was a waste of time. I had no idea what was coming.
A month later, I get a call that they want to use me for the commercial. Plus, it turns out the director was the guy who directed the original Space Jam. I got lines and ended up in two of their commercials. I then got a 40k payday, where I thought someone made a clerical error. This kick-started my acting career.
Staying Linked In
On LinkedIn, I always have my status set to “looking for work” even when I have a job. One day, a recruiter asked me if I wanted a job. I found the position and applied with the company directly, and apparently, they had been looking for someone with my qualifications.
Just like that, I made $20k more and got a super laid-back job with flexible hours where I never had to commute to work. I also have a really nice title now and actually just interviewed for another job that’s a higher title with higher pay. I’ve only been at my current job for seven months.
Not So Common Knowledge
My small victory was overcoming a lifelong speech impediment at 22 years old. A lot of the "common knowledge" around speech impediments is that if you can't beat the thing by the time you're 10 or so, that's pretty much it for you.
The idea is that your speaking patterns have become so ingrained at this point that you basically have to accept that you're stuck with it for the rest of your life. This was the explanation given when I was cut from speech therapy in third grade.
It was a big part of why it took me until I was 22 to return to speech therapy as an adult. I assumed this issue was stuck in stone, and that I was kidding myself by thinking it was something that could be fixed. But someone had made a big mistake. Turns out that common wisdom was all incorrect.
There actually is no deadline for when you can fix a speech impediment; you just need to be given competent speech therapy. So, my lifelong lateral lisp was gone within two sessions, and my lifelong rhotacism (can't pronounce 'r's) was gone within a month.
It was awesome! But also, really? It was that easy? I could've had a happy, normal childhood this whole time but I just...didn't? Because the adults in my life thought the issue couldn't be fixed back when I was only eight years old? Well, that sucks.
I achieved a small victory fixing clogged drains. It started out because my sink drain plug wouldn't stay up. I poked around under the sink and found the pop-up rod had rusted completely through and broken.
It cost me five dollars for a new one at the plumbing supply store next to where I worked at the time. It took five minutes to figure out how to swap, and now I know how sink and shower drains come apart, which makes unclogging them simple.
Maybe it's just me, but in my brain, it seemed like that was something I'd have to call a plumber to come to unclog, but it's all remarkably simple.
Small Victory At Small Claimsman in black shirt sitting beside woman in white shirtPhoto by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash
My small victory was suing someone in Small Claims. It was surprisingly easy because my case was rock solid and I had a professionally printed document of evidence, witness statements, and precise records sent over to the court.
Meanwhile, the defendant did literally nothing but send unlabeled loose printouts of my Facebook page as her so-called evidence. It was a very quick judgment for the plaintiff.
Best Job Ever
I've hated every job I've ever had. Then at 18 years old, I joined the forces for six years. That sucked the whole time, then I went into customer service at Walmart, and the staff was mean to everyone. I tried security and the staff was just degrading.
I had job after job doing what I thought was the "right" thing. One day, my life changed. I decided to apply for a local HVAC company and worked at a call center. Nothing big, I think there were a total of nine of us on the phones. Honestly, it's the best job I've ever had.
We all get along, spend hours a day on our group chat sharing memes, and our management has one-on-one meetings every two weeks with the goal of "this meeting is not work-related but we want to know just how you're doing, how's is life treating you, what do you need".
There's constant communication about expectations and how we can better meet them and how they can help us perform better. The majority of the company's profits are used to better employee lives (I get monthly commission and residuals, and $30 a month in healthcare) along with monthly potlucks, paid lunches, and competitive pay starting at $17 an hour.
I haven't seen any turnover...none! My position was only hiring because too many people got promoted.
Too Good To Be True
For months, I had been applying for tons of jobs on every platform I could find. I was also talking to friends to get critiques on my resume/cover letter. Updating my online portfolio, et cetera.
Then one day a recruiter messaged me out of the blue on LinkedIn and basically handed me a dream job. It was one interview and then a call to say “Hey you're hired”. I legitimately thought it was a joke right up until my first day of work.
How I Doubled My Salary
I got a salary request when applying for a job, and accidentally wrote double what I meant to write since the number keys were right next to each other. They accepted anyway.
The 20-Dollar Flat Screen
I found a 60-inch TV by the dumpster. Plugged it in but it didn’t turn on. Looked up common problems with the model number, bought a part on eBay for $20, replaced the part, and had a huge TV for $20.
Sleep Hackedperson holding white medication pillPhoto by Mariana Rascão on Unsplash
I never slept well. Then one day, there’s an over-the-counter magnesium supplement called “calm”. I drink a cup every night and sleep like a hibernating bear. It was that easy.
No One Else Applied
This is how I got the Erasmus scholarship. We had only two places each term for the 300+ people in my university program. I always thought of applying, but I thought my chance was too small to get into one of the places, so I didn't really push myself to apply.
Until I did. Turns out I was the only one applying, and I spent the next half a year in the lovely city of North Sweden completely financed by the European Union.
When In Doubt, Try Amazon
I had a loose hinge on my door. It kind of drove me crazy for three years, but I had no idea how to fix the wood that had been stripped. Then I found a product on Amazon for $10 where you shove on a sleeve, break it off and then screw in the new screws.
I bought two new hinges that don’t squeak. It took about 10 minutes and cost $20 and it’s no longer a problem.
A Cheaper Fix
The power steering failed on my Acura. My local Acura dealership wanted to charge me well over $1,000 to fix it. But I had a better idea. I bought a power steering pump off Amazon for $70 and found a YouTube video that explained how to fit it.
I don't have any car maintenance experience but it only took a couple of hours to do the job myself and it worked like a charm.
Thank God I’m Fired
I had accepted a new job but was anxious about giving my notice at my old job. I had been there for 8 years and really loved my team. I had also been stressed out that I was taking a week off between jobs because it was a stretch financially.
I finally set up a meeting with my boss. I couldn't even sleep the night before. An hour before I was going to give my notice, my boss's boss called me into a meeting with HR. I was being laid off along with a large number of other employees.
They were so sorry, and my boss's boss was in tears. She promised they would "take care of me". Anyway, I got 20 weeks of severance and a full three weeks off between jobs. Definitely, the best thing that's ever happened to me.
I was so shocked that I almost started laughing during the meeting and had to pretend I was trying not to cry.
The Miracle Cureclear drinking glass on white tablePhoto by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
My small victory was drinking water. I went from having sleeping issues to waking up fully rested. Water has changed my life! I thought it would be super difficult to kick soda, but once I tried, the benefits certainly outweighed the lack of taste.
Lying On The Job
I got a job that required full-time fieldwork for minimal pay. On my first day, they asked about my other skills. I saw other people using AutoCAD so I said I used it in college but I was rusty. This was a lie. I had only ever used it once to draw some circles.
The company was excited and got me a 4-day refresher class. I learned AutoCAD and haven't been in the field in over a year. I later asked for more pay since I wasn't a field tech anymore.
They said “no”, so I got another job using AutoCAD for double the salary. Pro tip: learn AutoCAD C3D, it's not that hard, and people will think you're a tech genius.
“DJ's Got Us Falling In Love”
In my sophomore year of college, my buddies were throwing a party at their house. One of them was a moderately successful DJ in the local college scene. We were having a good time and the DJ was doing his thing when he had to use the washroom. That's when something beautiful happened.
As he's leaving, he taps me on the shoulder and asks me to just stand at his turntables to make sure no one messes with them. He had songs queued up so I just had to stand there and wait.
About 30 seconds later, two women walk up to me and say how much they love the music. I tell them it’s just a playlist and I’m only keeping it running. But they are still super impressed.
A few minutes later the actual DJ comes back and I give up my post. Then one of the girls comes up and asks me to dance with her. One thing leads to another and we ended up having a great time.
At one point I told my friend about this girl I’d met while covering him at the DJ booth. He laughed and said, “Yeah sometimes it’s that easy”.
Worth A Try
My small victory was getting a job working for the US Department of Defense. I'd always thought that those kinds of jobs required prior government service, and a whole host of various degrees or such to get a job with them.
Then I saw a job opening for one site near where I lived and thought to try it. So I applied. I honestly didn't expect to even get a callback or anything. I not only got the callback, but also got hired for the job.
The requirements were far more lenient than I expected. All the job required was a clean criminal record and a willingness to learn. I ended up working as a wastewater treatment tech for them, and eventually got an environmental engineering degree with their help.
Never Too Late
My small victory was going back to school. I've been toying with the idea for years, but telling myself it was too far, too expensive, too time-consuming, et cetera. Because I had a home, job, and child to maintain, I couldn't do it.
Something in me finally cracked recently and I thought to try it and made a call to a tech school nearby. Three days later I'm on a tour. The tour is maybe an hour or two in total. The papers were all done online, and I start Monday!
They also threw a ton of financial aid at me. I'm only going to pay about $50 a month until I've graduated, and then those payments go up to about $95. Still very manageable. My classes are only four hours long and are at night, and I only have to be in class two days a week.
The rest of my studies are done at home with a tablet they provide me, so I didn't even have to buy a computer or anything. I couldn't believe how easy and affordable it actually was.
Up, Up, And Awaywoman in white knit sweater inside aircraftPhoto by Jon Ly on Unsplash
I got my pilot license. To be fair, I did study a lot but it was one of those things I wasn't sure I was going to do well on. My instructor said I'm ready, but I still wasn't sure.
Day of the check-ride, I answered every question correctly without hesitation, and did every maneuver correctly. We parked and my examiner said "So how's it feel to be a private pilot". I thou.ght in my head "There's no way" even though I did everything right with relative ease.
A Little Research Goes A Long Way
I'm a 24-year-old female who knows absolutely nothing about cars. Well, I bought myself a nice front/rear dash cam without considering how to safely wire it and found out I would have to remove parts of my car to wire it behind airbags and stuff so it wouldn't prevent an airbag from deploying properly.
I thought I was going to have to pay someone to install it for me, but then I found an amazing solution. It turns out a simple YouTube video walked me through the whole thing! Now my dashcams look professionally installed. I also learned how to change a blown fuse on the same day because my USB adapter wasn't working.
I was high on the achievement of something new and had a brief hyper-fixation on learning to mod my car but thankfully got over it.
Learning To Love
My small victory was breaking up with someone who wasn't good for me. I stayed way too long in relationships that I didn't want to be in. Once I learned to like myself, I realized I don't have to settle.
I didn't mind being alone in between, and because I liked myself, I started to draw the type of people I actually wanted to be around. The type of people who made me want to keep challenging myself to be better.
If you're in a relationship where your heart aches all the time, where you're accepting less than love and respect and kindness, and if you're in a position to leave and still be safe, just do it.
Even if you don't like yourself yet, you will. This is true for all relationships, not just romantic ones. Surround yourself with people you like to be around, and who like to be around you. Time is all we have, so invest wisely.
The Broken Fridge
Some previous owners left a "broken" fridge in the kitchen when we moved in. They put it in the paperwork that the fridge was broken and that they weren't going to dispose of it. So I made plans to get a new one the week we moved in, but just for fun, I decided to plug the old one in to see what was wrong.
Four years later and we're still using it without issue. We did find that the push-to-connect plastic water line for the ice maker was leaking a bit so we replaced that for about two dollars.
All Little Action
When I was working overseas for a US company, many of my co-workers and I all developed a similar chronic health problem due to our employer's ongoing violation of several workplace health and safety laws.
I repeatedly urged my co-workers to file SPOT reports, because it was not the kind of health issue that goes away on its own. Not one of my co-workers could be bothered to file a report, even though everyone complained constantly about their resulting health issues.
So, I filed a SPOT report. They had no idea what they were missing. I ended up in two years of physical rehab back home, hauling in overseas money tax-free, while not having to work, and ended with a generous five-figure cash settlement.
My health issues, thanks to the medical attention I was able to get by holding my employer accountable, have been resolved. My former co-workers, I imagine, are still just complaining about theirs. There was no lawsuit and no attorney. One single report of injuries was all it took.
The Family Favoritewoman standing beside black and gray concrete buildingPhoto by ᕈ O W L Y on Unsplash
My parents and grandparents all had this really annoying habit of making anything and everything sound way harder or more demanding than it actually is.
Whenever I'd perform the feat and realize how insultingly easy it was, I'd be left a little offended while my family would cheer me on. I never could tell if I was offended because I expected a harder challenge or offended because my own family thought I couldn't handle something so simple.
Maybe it's an ego thing, maybe it's Maybelline. I don't know. But here's the twist. After I turned 18, I started treating everything like it was easier than it looks so I didn't let my mind get caught up thinking I couldn't do it at all. The result of this was that I became one of the handiest and most skilled people in my group.
A Little Upgrade
My small victory was learning to code. I’m no programmer by any means, but I was working a data management job that heavily utilized Excel to update a database via file drop. We were using formulas to check our work against the master file of the database after loading it.
I showed an affinity for working with data and my manager encouraged me to learn SQL and move into analytics. I was intimidated so I put that off for about two years.
Finally, I was so unsatisfied with the job that I knuckled down and got started learning SQL. I was so surprised at how much easier it was than I expected.
With just the basics I had a new job within three months. Now I use it every day. Not so much writing SQL, but using and tweaking existing code to suit my needs. Reading code to determine what it’s doing is a great way to learn as well. With any luck, this time next year I’ll be starting as an analyst.
One hot Summer night, we had a severe thunderstorm that hit my area hard. Power got knocked out everywhere around me. So the next morning, they were able to get the power back on, and all of my lights and appliances came to life...except for one big problem. The 65-inch TV that I bought two weeks prior still wasn't working.
Obviously, I tried to turn it on, unplug and plug it back in, et cetera. I tried every single thing I could think of, and after hours and hours of attempts and endless research online, I came to the conclusion that my TV was just donezo.
I figured even though I had the proper surge/power protection hooked up to it, it somehow must’ve gotten fried in the storm. I was devastated.
But after more hours of reading sites and forums about how to repair it, I find a post on a forum that describes the exact issue I’m having, and they said that all they did was get a hairdryer and aimed warm air into the back of the TV and all the internal junk inside.
I say to myself, “There’s no way that works, but what’ve I got to lose” so I grab a hairdryer and aim it into the back of the TV for about seven or eight minutes, and then plug the TV back in.
And boom! It comes back to life and turns back on. Crisis averted. Not too sure why it worked, but I was ecstatic, to say the least.
I got an email from Amazon that said I was being invited into their "Amazon Vine" program. I had never heard of it, but the email said that I can just request free stuff, and all I have to do is review it.
It sounded too good to be true. In fact, it sounded exactly like a joke. I was 90% sure it was one, especially since they needed me to sign up with my name, address, and social security information. You know, exactly the kind of information you should never give out on the internet.
But the email seemed to come from Amazon itself, so it made me curious. I did some looking into it just to see if it was a joke and how it worked. However, after looking into it more, it turned out to be completely legit.
In the last year, I've gotten about $45,000 worth of free stuff from Amazon, and all I had to do in exchange was write honest reviews about it. If I like it, I say so, and if I hate it, I say so.
I've gotten all sorts of stuff, like a large-screen HD TV, an ice machine, boxes of snacks like cookies and Doritos, furniture, dash cameras, tablets, tattoo machines, and more. My neighbors must think I have a serious spending addiction, and my poor delivery drivers think I've opened up a retail business or something.
I do owe the IRS a bit because it technically counts as income, but for my income bracket that ends up not being too much anyway. And because people always ask me how they can join, well, you can't. You either get an invite, or you don't.
Nobody knows how they choose whom to invite, but it's based somehow on reviews you've done in the past.
Knowing Your Worth
My small victory was negotiating a pay raise. Rumor got around work that I could use a computer. They tried me out on the CNC machine. Turns out my hobby of playing with computer programming for the past 20 years meant I was absolutely fantastic at it.
It also turns out that fixing the edge banding machine isn't that hard if you learn how it works. Suddenly I was the most valuable person in the place. I expected to just get a pay raise because I have the belief that people should get what they deserve.
No pay raise was forthcoming after 18 months. I am a fairly anxious person, but with some encouragement from my friends and family, I worked myself up to ask for the raise. The response made my stomach drop. The first time I asked, my boss just chuckled.
I don't think he was condescending, I just think the way I framed it sounded like a joke. The second time I asked, my boss said he'd think about it. I immediately started looking for a new job.
Turns out, I am a highly desirable employee. Within two weeks, I had three job offers. I resigned. Everyone was sad. My bosses panicked and asked me what it would take for me to stay. So, I demanded a fairly high wage for my trade to stay.
They didn't even hesitate to give it to me. Now I'm the highest-paid person in the place.
Dream Home Dealbrown and white concrete house near green trees under blue sky during daytimePhoto by Johnson Johnson on Unsplash
I got my place because it was sitting on the market for months. It was slightly more than I wanted to pay and it wasn't exactly my style, but it had "potential". It was only four years old and a 15-minute walk to the beach.
It was also on one of the larger blocks in the street. Anyway, I decided to buy it. The pest and building report came back confirming the house was pretty much immaculate. Two months later value had gone up $50,000.
Two years later, the place is worth $200,000 more than I paid. I think everyone overlooked it initially as it only has one bathroom and one small garage, but it does what I need.
I saved 18 years for a deposit and had a great credit score and savings history. I just found the one unicorn property and am so fortunate for it. I managed to even get a bank loan without having to rely on a broker. I absolutely love the place now.
I have a little garden and am putting in trees for the visiting wildlife. The street is quiet, and the neighbors are friendly. I was so lucky to come across it.
Just Another Lego Set
Building a PC is my small victory. With so many sophisticated videos on YouTube that didn't teach the trade well, I thought it would be hard to build a PC. Then I tried it once, and apparently, it was just an adult Lego set, but easier.
Carefree Car Troubles
I completely ruined the first (and last) brand-new car that I ever financed by being a sloppy driver and never changing the oil. Like, not only did I trash the interior of this car, I completely ruined the engine. But here's the kicker.
By some insane stroke of luck, I was granted a recall of my entire engine, due to some unrelated issue. They replaced my engine free of charge, and I drove the car for another 60,000 miles. I recently traded it in for a nice used car and am treating this one like my baby. I used my spare life already.
A Breezy Breakup
My small victory was divorce. Maybe this is an unexpected answer but I was dreading it. I worried it'd be this whole huge debacle. Once I mustered the courage and we got over the initial upset after an hour or two, we just began separating.
The divorce paperwork was simple, the court visit took less than an hour, and boom, we’re divorced. We both moved on amicably. I just feel like people always paint divorce as this incredibly difficult thing but it doesn't have to be and isn't always all that hard to get through.
I once was a temp at a tiny office on a construction site around 2003. I was only there for one day while the regular person was on some training.
They sat me down and told me that I just needed to copy all these numbers from one program to another. So, I selected them, hit ctrl c and ctrl v. They stared at me. Turns out about 60% of this woman's time had been spent manually typing numbers from one place to another.
Machine Takeoverblack flat screen computer monitorPhoto by Jake Walker on Unsplash
I used to process HSA claims around 10-plus years ago. One system we had to use back then was an old terminal program that took four line items per page. That's it. For a usual claim, no big deal, and not too hard to keep track of things over two or three pages for a longer claim.
Most fit on one. However, we also had the dreaded shoebox claims. This was the person who saved up every receipt all year in a metaphorical shoebox and sent everything in, once a year, to empty their account. We hated them.
Dozens or hundreds of line items totaling thousands of dollars. Just because you only have $500 in your HSA doesn't mean we get to stop there. If you sent in $4,000 in receipts, I've got to account for it all. Totally ruined my numbers for the day, and they tracked claims per hour religiously.
The main issue was double-checking that everything added up right when you were done entering it, and at four items a page it took forever to tally. But I came up with a genius plan. I made an Excel sheet.
It was laid out so I could enter every single line, then run a macro that would calculate the needed totals and dump all the text to a text file formatted exactly so I could select four items at a time, and paste them directly into the terminal window from the default starting cursor position, and every field would fill in automatically.
Copy, paste, next. Copy, paste, next. Copy, paste, next, et cetera, et cetera. This easily halved my entry times, with way less work. Finding any typos was much easier. I just had to look at a single organized sheet instead of scrolling through hundreds of pages of terminal text. It was great.
I showed it to my manager so the rest of my team could use it. Her reply made me see red. She was horrified I would use something like that, as no human was "double checking as they went along". This is despite demonstrable improvements to my error rates on large claims after I started using it.
She ordered me to stop using it and forbid anyone in her team from automating any part of their job at all. I kept using it for all of the two months I stayed there after that. I had some of the highest claims per hour numbers and lowest error rates on her team.
I never developed any more tools for them. She didn’t deserve them.
I used to have to make two contracts for every person I brought on a traveling training team. I said two contracts were unnecessary and made them into one, sent it to our lawyers, and they approved it.
Still, it took me a long time to update each contract with different names, pay rates, and dates. So I went on an Excel forum and found out how to make a mailer list, and hours of work suddenly took me 10 minutes. I didn’t tell anyone this though, so I just took my time.
Then I had to make floor maps for restaurants to send to the company that puts them into our scheduling program. Well, all of our restaurants are cookie cutter, so I just used Paint to piece them together rather than make all of them each time. I’m a Picasso with Microsoft Paint.
Then they wanted me to use Excel to keep track of training teams. One of my co-workers used Smartsheet and loves to teach people things. So, I jump on Smartsheet with her and she shows me around.
It's way easier to publish it so that people can see the teams but not mess up any information. I used forms to avoid asking them 30 questions that auto-populate my Smartsheet and shared it with payroll so they never have to reach out to me.
I had templates on Outlook and tons of stuff. I basically took a lot of my job and realized there has to be an easier way. So I would ask on Reddit or just look things up, and spend maybe an hour learning something that will save me many hours in the future.
I always tell people to just look things up. They say “I don’t know what to look up” and I say “Whatever your problem is just search it up the exact same way you’d say it to me”. Then when they look up “Excel thing that makes this do that” they are shocked that they find their answer.
A few years ago, my mom was tasked with fixing my grandparent's toilet while we were visiting for the holidays. The toilet reservoir was constantly filling and running, and thus flooding the bathroom, because the buoy arm wasn't lifting high enough from the water in the reservoir to switch off the water flow.
My mom (who is normally a very practical person) had been tackling the issue for hours. She was pretty distraught, thinking we would have to order a new buoy arm, maybe even a new sensor, or switch and pull the whole assembly apart to replace everything.
She was planning out a trip to the store and pricing things out when I walked in. The solution was so simple. I took one look at it and bent the metal arm the buoy was attached to down so the arm had a slight upwards curve.
The buoy still reached the same level in the reservoir but registered on the sensor as higher because of the curve in the arm. Problem solved.
I watched it dawn on her what I had done, and she just looked at me like I had a third eye. She said, “I've been struggling with this thing for four hours and you fixed it in four seconds". She was very happy I saved her from more work and spending more money.
She calls me her “little toilet engineer" from time to time. I work on Aircraft, so it's mildly demeaning.
A co-worker of my husband's got locked in their office. He was out on a Friday night for a few drinks. He walked past the office on the way to the taxi stand and decided to pop into the office to use the washroom.
When he tried to leave, the magnetic lock on the door wouldn't release. This was one of those buildings where the ground floor was a separate unit, a separate business was on the first floor, and their office was on the second floor.
The only other way out was a rolled-up emergency evacuation ladder he could toss out one of the larger windows, but he was drinking and scared of heights so instead he sleeps in the break room.
The next morning, when the co-worker is still unable to leave, he calls my husband who lived nearby. My husband talked him through where to find the management keys and contact numbers for the security company but they were no help.
So, I grabbed our tool kit and my husband and I drove to find him. We get there and the co-worker is chatting through the letter box. Now, these two men are highly educated. The co-worker is a senior software developer with the company.
The first thing I say is "Sure it's a magnetic lock, so do you not have access to the breakers to cut the electric"? They both just stared at me. The breaker box was right beside the door, and all the co-worker had to do to all night was open it up and cut power.
Suddenly the letterbox closes, we hear the snap of the breaker being flipped off, and the door is open. We all laughed at the situation as he only then told us he'd been there overnight.
Since they both worked with software and it seemed to be a software fault, that's where they focused. But I just thought "door doesn't open because of the magnet, and the magnet needs power, so remove power".
Funny thing is, this is the second time I'd had to come down to that office and release someone trapped inside.
Serious About Scholarships
My girlfriend didn't realize most scholarships aren't even applied for, so they give it to whoever applies to it by default. With her help, I wrote four essays that were tweaked for each scholarship application.
I did the writing because I'm a writer by trade. By the time she transferred to her new college, she had an excess of $1,500 to spend every month. Because of that, she could focus on her studies instead of trying to balance a job on top.
Suddenly Irishblack and brown electric guitarPhoto by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash
When I applied to college, I applied for an Irish American scholarship. Turns out they had so few applicants they just gave me $40k towards my tuition. I have a secret, though. I am not even remotely Irish.
Never Hurts To Ask
I was at a private concert with maybe 50 people for a band that used to sell out stadiums. My friend was a huge fan but too shy to talk to the band. So, I dragged him up to the edge of the stage after the show and explained the situation to the lead singer.
He dragged my friend onto the stage and took his picture with the whole band. My friend had a great time. Sometimes it is that easy.
Right Place, Right Time
I went to the bar one night with some friends and ran into a girl who had worked for me a few years earlier. I said “hi” and we chatted for a minute. Then she asks me where my girlfriend is, so I let her know that we broke up a couple of months earlier.
Suddenly, she replies "Oh cool, well I'm here with my friends and I'm going to go hang out with them, but if you want to hang out after the bar closes, I've always liked you". I blinked about 10 times in a row before finally saying "That sounds awesome". We ended up having a great time.
This One Weight-Loss Trick Doctors Hate
I lost 25 pounds...and all I had to do was stop eating before bed.
Seriously, Did You Try Turning It On?
I was given a TV because the audio didn't work on it. On the back was a "sound on/off" button.
Did Somebody Say Free Electronics?trash against wallPhoto by Kevin Butz on Unsplash
When I was a kid, I used to regularly dumpster dive for electronics. The vast majority of electronics are thrown away because some minor part was broken. Often, it's as simple as a fuse.
From Home Cook To Chef
Turns out it’s so easy to learn to cook with raw ingredients. Throwing in random things that taste good together usually works as long as you understand what you like.
All It Takes Is A Personal Touch
I was recently looking for an apartment. Rent in my city, like most cities currently, is outrageous. So after three days of looking, I found this 2-bedroom apartment with a price that normally would get you a roach-infested one-bedroom/studio in a bad part of town.
But these apartments look nice and are in a good part of town. The reviews online are all positive. I can't figure out the catch! Then I saw a disappointing detail. I see there is a year-long wait list for this place. As a result, I decided to go to the leasing office directly.
After talking to the property manager, I get bumped to the top of the list for an apartment that becomes available next month. I keep waiting for the bottom to drop out. Most people spend months looking for places in my city and they'd be paying a third more than I'm paying at a minimum for a similar place.
I looked for 3 days and found this place, but I think I just got lucky and it was just that easy.
Did You Try Turning It On?
I worked on an almost five-million-dollar lighting rig for a concert as a junior guy on the job. We get it all plugged in and patched, but it all went so wrong. None of it would turn on. All the guys were freaking out trying to figure out why.
The team collectively had about 150 years of experience...yet no one checked to see if the generators were turned on. I was like “No way this is why but I'll just go check if the generators are good”. Flipped stuff on and voila.
One Man’s Junk, Another Man’s Treasure
When I was a kid in the 80s, my family was broke. Like, we were two paychecks away from living in our car. We actually did have to live in our car for a few months before my mom landed her job.
Anyway, imagine a single mother of three, who works three jobs just to make ends meet. I was just attending 8th grade, and I was playing in the back of our house. I noticed something in the dumpster that I hadn’t seen before.
I fished it out and brought it home. It was a computer. A monitor, keyboard, and a tower thing. At that time monitors sat on top of the box. And they were huge! Not to mention expensive. I managed to set it up and it was already booting into Windows 3.1.
When my mom got home, she was livid! She thought I had taken it from someone. We couldn't afford anything close to that. No way! But once she saw the grass stains on the side, she knew.
We had that computer for four years. It helped me in ways I can’t even believe. Because of that computer, my love of electronics and my curiosity flourished. No, I am not a computer technician now, but I am the resident computer nerd for my family.
I make a living online, and I attribute most of my knowledge to what I can Google. So yeah! It “was” that easy!
Arcade Awakeningbeach under blue sky and white clouds during daytimePhoto by Roland Denes on Unsplash
I was at Carolina Beach last summer around Memorial Day. We got to the boardwalk one afternoon and there was an arcade there.
I found this skill game where you have to press a button that moves a fixture with a razor on it. When you let the button go, the device stops and the razor snaps through the middle. There's a small string close to the glass. If you time it right, the razor cuts the string, and this huge door opens, and you get all the prizes in the machine.
I swiped my card to play, pressed the button, and held it before releasing it. Suddenly, the rope cuts and the doors open. My son was losing his mind, and I'm just regretting the next two hours where I have to lug this giant bear and box of sand castle toys all over the boardwalk.
I still have not decided if I'm a savant at this game, or if it’s just really easy.