Tricks of the trade: Share an insider's tip about your profession!

By Will Chen on 12 August 2007 (Updated 20 August 2007) 44 comments
Photo: iStockphoto

Have an insider tip you normally don't tell the public about? Here is your chance to share the tricks of your trade. Whether you have a friendly tip or a soylent-green kind of revelation, share them in the comments section and win a prize! Three commenters will be randomly selected to win a new Big Student backpack courtesy of JanSport (retail value $40). 

This drawing is now over.  Congrats to Bloggurl, Pastry Chef Girl, and Sage for winning the contest!

To kick things off, check out these secret tips from Wise Bread bloggers:

Linsey Knerl

 When you put your business card into a trade show giveaway draw, you usually don't stand a chance.

I would say that MOST if not ALL companies sponsoring a prize for these things go look at each business card and pick the one they would most like to get business from. This is the card they declare the "winner." What better way to get a phone call answered by a top exec than with a "Congratulations! You won our laptop giveaway!"

Jessica Okon

 Not from my current job but from when I worked retail:

The less you say the easier your return will be. Bring your bag, receipt, and hold the story. The more you say, the more the sales person will check for wear and tear.

Don't ever, ever, ever use the makeup from a department store tester anywhere other than perhaps your hand. Lepers shop.

People stick perfume bottles up almost in their nostrils. Spray the cologne on a card or your hand, don't sniff!

If you're going to buy fragrance, go on the weekend. That is when the fragrance models will be shilling for their various companies, and you're likely to get a free gift or extra gift.

If you want the full attention of your sales person or makeup artist without interruption from other customers, go during the week before lunchtime, or in the evening.

Julie Rains

 I run a business and I think some people may think I have secrets but I don't. Now that I'm a wisebread writer, I have figured out why I am such a lousy sales person: I have a consumer advocacy bent.

But, I do learn from my clients, tidbits that may or may not be well-known. For example, the "service advisor" at the dealership (who calls you to tell you what's wrong with your car) is paid on commission. And drug reps have access to prescribing information of physicians and they plan their sales strategies and sales calls based on that information.

Paul Michael

 Not sure if this is a "trick of the trade" but I'm sure the general public has no idea just how much profiling and research goes into a typical advertising campaign. Everyone is part of a group, whether it's Gen X, Baby Boomer or New Millenial. Along with that comes detailed profiling about spending habits, income, race, sex and so on. It's a politically correct nightmare if you think about it. And then there are focus groups upon focus groups.

You also have professionals specializing in media placement, even targeting kids from an early age for products ranging from bank accounts to alcohol and cigarettes (thankfully, I steer well clear of all that, it's shameful). I am not proud of a lot of what goes into advertising, it used to be a more honest area. These days it can be underhanded and downright seedy behind the scenes. Fortunately I now work client-side (in house) and produce promotions and creative ads for a much more upstanding and honest product. But just know that before you buy anything from dish soap to a new car, an enormous amount of time, money and research has gone into getting you and that product together. It's all about the bottom line folks.

Will Chen

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

 How to get into concerts for free. A photographer friend recently told me how he gets into concerts for free. He calls up smaller local newspapers and offer to photograph concerts for free in exchange for press passes. Many newspapers will say yes because they don't have the money to hire professional photographer for every event. My friend's best tips: Make sure you sound confident on the phone and put up a portfolio of your work online.

Need a reason to stop drinking soda? Soda dispensers are the most disgusting things in the world. I used to work at a coffee shop and hooking up the dispenser was part of my daily routine. During every cleaning I would see an army of roaches pouring out of every hole of the dispenser. I guess sugar and moisture make the perfect roach bait. It was impossible to completely remove the sugar residue from the dispenser so no matter how hard I cleaned the darn thing, the roaches always came back.

Share your tip and you'll be entered in a random drawing to win a Big Student backpack courtesy of JanSport. We are giving away three backpacks to three readers. Deadline to enter drawing is 8/19. Don't forget to enter your email address in the field provided. Only one entry per person. Available to US residents only.

This drawing is now over.  Congrats to Bloggurl, Pastry Chef Girl, and Sage for winning the contest!

About Our Sponsor

Brown JanSport Big Student backpack

This week's prize is sponsored by the folks at JanSport. I've used the same JanSport backpack throughout high school and college, and I still use it whenever I get nostalgic about my student days. I've never tried the Big Student model before, but it looks like a pretty cool backpack.

Updated Design: The Big Student has two large main compartments for versatile storage, front utility pocket with audio electronics organizer and a quick-find cell phone pocket.

More Styles: The Big Student has 14 different colors and patterns. The three we're giving out are chocolate chip, white scatter, and grey skulls n roses. (My personal favorite is the tan camo.)

Rave reviews: These Epinions reviewers love the Big Student's lifetime guarantee and durability.

Contest: JanSport is giving away a trip for four to the Grand Canyon. All you have to do is join JanSport's official Facebook group. Check out this Big Student contest page for more details.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

44 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Guest's picture

No way I'm entering your "giveaway" -- this girl named Linsey told me all about those things ;-)

webmaster's picture

I knew I put Linsey's answer first for a reason.

If it makes you feel any better, we are not sharing any of your personal information with JanSport (and they haven't asked for any). JanSport has sent us the backpacks already. We will be sending them directly to the winners. =)

Will

Guest's picture

If you need to mark something for alteration purposes, use a bar of soap instead of chalk. It lasts just as long and it leaves your closet smelling fresh.

Jessica Okon's picture

that is vile! Roacha-Cola!

Guest's picture
anon paralegal

I work for a law firm that specializes in employment law. We represent hundreds of employees seeking compensation from their a-hole employers. In over 50% of the cases, our clients would probably be happy with nothing more than a sincere apology from the employer for the way they've been treated. Of course, the employers never give an apology because their lawyers tell them it will only give the employee proof of wrongdoing. Our firm has no incentive to push for an apology either because we know we will make more money from the case if our client go forward with it. While this keeps us in business I do feel a bit guilty at times knowing that half of our cases can be quickly settled if someone in the process just showed some humanity and own up to their mistakes.

Guest's picture
Belle

A lot of kids go for humor in their application essays. I have three words for you: don't do it. Humor is a pretty elusive quality. If it works it works wonders. When it doesn't you will fall flat on your face. Admissions officers do like to see some personality shine through your essay. But like everyone else, we also hate reading bad jokes.

A lot of How-To-Get-Into-College books showcase examples of how innovative and funny essay got a kid into Harvard. What they don't tell you is that for every successful funny/bizarre essay, there are twenty more that gets tossed out by me because I just can't take your brand of humor.

Guest's picture

I'm a freelance editor and writer (in addition to my "real" job), and the most valuable thing I ever learned in college is to "know what you don't know." When it comes to spelling, grammar, facts, etc., you can really clean up your writing if you acknowledge that you're not sure about a given item. After you acknowledge that, you can go find the answer. I distinctly remember a class where I looked up nearly every word in an article we were supposed to be editing in AP style because I wanted to be sure that what I thought I knew was right. So, when in doubt--even if it's the most trivial amount of doubt--don't be afraid to reach for a stylebook, dictionary, Google or whatever.

Guest's picture

I do a lot of proposals, and a lot of resumes come across my desk (literally and electronically)....

Don't waste too much of your time on the cover letter. If a recruiter is looking for someone specific to fill the job, he/she is going to flip to your actual resume, and judge you on whether you have the right certifications, years in the business, qualifications and experience.

I literally rip the cover letters off the front and toss them in the garbage, and do quick markups on the resume to fulfill my criteria.

There's a bunch of other things too, but the main thing is: DO NOT agonize over cover letters. Agonize over your spelling, grammar, accuracy and use of acronyms.

My huge post is here on this:
http://fabulouslybrokeinthecity.blogspot.com/2007/08/make-sure-your-resu...

Guest's picture
guest

Having spent alot of time in food service I know what can be going on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant. Here's a tip most of the time if you look confident and just smile and say hi you can get all the way to the back door. Get up and walk into the kitchen, You may be quite suprised. I have gotten up to not return after some of the things I have seen in that "great little place" downtown.

Guest's picture
ryan

do not buy the extended warranties for most items at BestBuy or the like. These are guaranteed moneymakers for the stores.

They estimate a 14% replacement rate max. Most things break during the first year of ownership, which is covered by the manufacturers warranty anyways. the salespeople at BestBuy get a commission for each one sold. sound like a good deal?

Guest's picture
Lucille

I worked in marketing, both agency and in house. In merchandise many of the expensive high end items are identical to items sold for much less at other stores. Items sold at Marshall Fields (aka: now Macys) would have an identical item sold at Target. Same quality, exact same item, made in the same factory in China. The one at Marshall Fields would sell for 4 times the price. The only difference was the manufacturer brand name stamped on the tag.

The other one that really woke me up to how evil marketing can be was when customer tracking started. Company execs are both clueless and ruthless with customer data. They will obtain it, sell it or do all sorts of other things you probably don't want them to and not think twice. It seems to be some sort of disconnect with reality in the minds of the people making some of these decisions. They are so focused on achieving a goal they totally ignore the impact it might have on the customer. Things like privacy, identity theft or other negative impact on their customers don't come into play unless they have some fear of it actually coming back to bite them in the form of a big scandal. So the best thing you can do to combat it is pay cash whenever possible and don't provide ANY information to retail cashiers like your phone number or zip code.

Guest's picture
MTE

What's wrong with giving a zip code? I understand the phone number, but I don't have a problem (until you convince me) with telling a company I'm one of the 75,000 people who live in my city. When I did that at Cost Plus, I always hoped they'd use the info to build one closer to me, and then they did.

Guest's picture
Guest

A lot of headhunters put up bogus job ads on Monster and Craigslist. These guys are farming for resumes! At best your resume will be plastered all over town, thus lowering your credibility. At worst you may end up a victim of identity theft.

Never send your resume to an anonymous posting. Make sure you know which recruiting firm you are dealing with. Check to see if they have an actual address and list of professional clients. Look them up on the internet to make sure it is a legit firm and not just a guy working out of his mom's basement.

Guest's picture

As a freelancer I've learned one thing you have to have is confidence in yourself and your services. If you don't you will sell yourself short and get walked all over.

Guest's picture
tech4u

When you sell your computers make sure you wipe your drives completely with eraser:

http://www.download.com/Eraser/3000-2092_4-10231813.html?tag=lst-0-3

Guest's picture
Sage

I am a nurse. I have been one for a decade. I tell everyone I know to check, double check, and triple check everything.

In offices, docs often look for the most obvious problem because they see you in less than 15 minutes. Even the best doctors make mistakes, or can come in to your exam with a bias. If you get a weird result, double check.

In facilities, corporate interests have increased patient to nurse ratios to ridiculous numbers. They have also cut down on CNA's (NACs). I see a lot of places where the nurse passing meds is barely keeping it together because they removed yet another body from the floor. This isn't unusual, or even rare. In my town, the number of post surgical Medicare unit patients (3 days or more past surgery, non critical) I started with ten years ago was 15-18 tops. Now it's 18-40 depending on the facility. The severity of the care has gone up, and patients are far sicker. I see mistakes happen weekly, or sometimes daily. This is by good nurses, that are just too overworked.

I read somewhere if you have to go inpatient into a facility, take someone. I heartily recommend that. Make sure they understand your meds, and what you need. Sometimes thats the best defense against getting a harried nurse, who wasn't even supposed to be on that floor, thinking you are Jennie in 203 rather than Gina in 204.

Guest's picture
janet

The Sharper Image often has a special deal that is 1/2 off of a product (air purifier, headphones, massager, etc.) with another purchase. If you want this product and don't want to spend more money than you have to, buy a pack of batteries at the counter. The batteries, like most everything else in the store, are overpriced, but it gets you out of buying another expensive gadget.

Guest's picture
Guest

For a non-emergency problem, before you pay for an office visit, call your veterinarian and ask to talk to a technician. They can often evaluate a situation over the phone and can get you in to see a doctor quickly, if needed.

If you have a healthy pet ask to get a 3-year rabies vaccination, rather than the usual 1 year. It's generally less expensive and it is the only vaccination required by law for your pet. Other vaccinations may not be needed in your area or in your situation (for example, indoor cats that do not go outside).

If you drop off your pet for treatment, write down exactly what you want done and have the receptionist put the paper in your pet's chart. A lot of times the veterinarian will assume they're to do all of the usual vaccines and you will be charged for them unless you have proof that you declined them. Also, write down your pet's symptoms if they are ill as the receptionist will use the fewest number of words and acronyms possible to save time.

If you see what looks like small pieces of dried rice around your pet's....umm...butt, your pet has tapeworms. Call your vet, tell them what you've seen and they can prescribe a dewormer without seeing your pet (if they've been seen in the past 12 months). They will need an approximate pet weight, however.

Don't assume that your pet is better off being boarded at a vet clinic. We did not have an extensive area for the dogs to play so most of them were only taken out to use the bathroom and then put back into their kennel. Also, ask for a tour of the facilities before you decide to board there. If they won't let you see it, don't go there. While you're walking around, check out the size of the kennels and find out which one your dog would be out in.

Also, do not assume that your pet is safer staying overnight at the clinic after they have surgery. Unless they have a vet staying overnight with your pet (most don't), they'd be better off at home with you.

And finally, the vet for whom I worked grubbed for every penny out of every client we had. The associate vets were paid according to the amount of money they made per client. I don't know how to find out whether this is the case at your veterinarian, but it led to a lot of unnecessary surgeries at our clinic. Definitely get another opinion before opting for a non-routine (spaying, neutering) surgery.

Guest's picture
Jeff

The best way to detect how well a couple's marriage is going is whether or not the wife laughs when the husband makes a joke. If she doesn't think he's funny, they're about done.

Guest's picture
Hollie

I worked as a telemarketer for years for charites..many calles you get from charites are coming from PAID telemarketrs dont FALL for them with thier stories...if you want to give to a charity, first give LOCALLY where you can SEE what they are doing, and ask for a finicial statement. Did you know most charities recive less then 10% of all over the phone donations.

Guest's picture
Frugal Lifer

If you need or want mental health services, contact your local mental health agency. I have worked for an agency for almost 20 years. Many people think that only practitioners in private practice are qualified - WRONG! You need to check their credentials - many in private practice are fresh out of school or lack education from an accredited university. Community mental health agencies hire experienced, qualified professional therapists. All of my co-workers have at least 5 years experience, master's degrees, and specializations. Agencies also hire graduate students who are in training. If you don't want a student, all you have to do is ask. If at all possible, your request will be honored. However, students are closely supervised by the agency and their university chair - in most cases the service is very good. Most mental health agencies accept medical coupons, insurance, and cash - plus, most states require that they have a sliding fee scale.

Guest's picture
Douglas

the only thing that is not cooked to order at a chinese food returaunt is the pork fried rice. it is kept in a steam table in the kitchen

Guest's picture
Guest

Work on your thesis a little bit every day, even if it seems overwhelming and like it isn't going anywhere. Don't try to get it perfect, just write what you can. That's how it will take shape eventually.

Guest's picture
Brandi

If you are in the hospital for something "minor" you can ask the doctor they will write an order for you to take your own meds (birth control, ect.). This will not only save you the $5 and up for each pill but also the money it costs for the nurse to dispense it. The nursing staff may keep the pills with your other meds so don't forget to take them with you when you leave.

DISCLAIMER - this is not a good option if the patient is easily confused by their medications or the doctor is changing them frequently. Always make sure the nurse knows what you are taking and when.

And take home anything that you get in the hospital (kleenex, toothpaste, ect.). Once it's in your room it can't be used by anyone else and gets tossed when you leave.

I agree with Sage, take a friend or family member and always ask lots of questions...nurses and doctors are people too.

Guest's picture
Guest

I am new to retail after 35 years at a desk job. The requirement to "smile" has been a challenge! It is still not clear who the smiles are actually for, the customers or the managers. When I am a customer, forced smiles on employees are more irritating than helpful, so now that I am on the other side the ambivalence is difficult.

It was actually physically difficult to put on a deliberate smile. Try it yourself and make it as "real" as possible. I exercised my smile muscles for hours in order to strengthen them for work.

Here are my tricks so far:

Visualize Ray Charles. His music and smile are still infectious.

Pretend I am a bikini clad cheerleader on the sidewalk with a sign "free car wash." (This works because I am actually a bald middle age man!)

Pretend the customer is accidentally wearing his clothing backwards, or inside out, or missing entirely.

The best smiles I wear are when I simply and honestly try to personally engage with the customer. Then they are real smiles.

Guest's picture
Weener rap

I worked in a sausage factory for 6 months. We made high grade premium products. Regardless, the wieners (hot dogs) and liverwurst were made the traditional German way. Liverwurst is half "fat back" which is simply slabs of fat from the back of the hog. A large part of wieners is jowls which is the hog's face including huge whiskers, lips, ears, nose, and dangling gobs of salivary glands. Wieners also include the scraps of every other pig part that can't be used elsewhere. We did not make chorizo (Mexican breakfast sausage that I actually love), but you should read the ingredients. It is nothing but spiced up ground salivary glands and fat. Soy chorizo is an excellent substitute.

Guest's picture
Guest

Oh and read the ingredients as if you were reading a spicy novel. If you aren't laughing, you'll be choking and puking.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Well, here's one I came across just recently. If you review books online, the publishers are happy to send you courtesy copies of their titles for the free publicity. In one of my sideline writing gigs, I review lots of titles within a particular genre and need at least one title a month, if not more. I had publishers in this particular topic area lining up to meet my entire output need.

Of course, you need to be actually doing the work and they are going to want to know where the reviews will be posted. Since that applies to me, I'm enjoying at least not having to run around back and forth to the library or finding used copies of books. At the end, I can donate the copies to the library and even offer to hold lectures on the subjects or coordinate book discussions. In fact, the owner of a used book store in this part of the state has already expressed an interest in hosting a hybrid event at his store with myself as the guest lecturer and a local professional from the field to be on hand as well. Should be fun when we get to do it. I guess the extra tip worked in there is that after you spend a great deal of time on a particular topic area, you become a local "expert" and people are very interested in your opinions on a particular subject. Great way to build credibility and pick up extra clients!

Guest's picture
Katie

When I was in college, I worked at the Pillsbury factory one summer. I had always believed that store brands were just as good, but here I saw it with my own eyes: We made frosting in a big bowl. We would run the first frosting and put "Pillsbury" labels on it. Half-way through, we would simply switch the labels and run the "Kroger" the "Sav-a-lot" and all the other brands' labels.

Guest's picture
Dr. T

Hi there.

I have experience both as a student and as a benefits (welfare) worker.

Here's a tip for the budget conscious student who needs a little extra bones for food.

Qualify for student work study? You get food stamps. It's that simple. No, you do not have to work - even though the income is exempt. Just qualify for federal work study and you are qualified for federal food stamps - provided you don't work too many hours. And who does?

Guest's picture
Miss

I used to work at AMC Movie Theaters and the managers told us that people were allowed to bring food in, but we were not supposed to tell them that.

When I worked at concessions, sometimes if people were nice, I would tell them that they could run down to Walmart or another nearby store, get all the snacks they wanted and bring them in without hassle. Most people didn't listen to me, however.

Guest's picture
nomados

If it hasn't happened more than once, it hasn't happened.

Basically: If I cannot reproduce your error, there is no error.

So, Take screenshots of error messages, keep a log of occurences and activities.
Document, document, document.

Guest's picture
Serge Tremblay

I work for a blades and razors company. We make very little margin on the handle and the first cartridge, all margin comes from cartridge refills. If you buy 2 different handles, you can interchange the cartridges - no need to buy a different second box coressponding with your new handle - it all fits the same.

Guest's picture
Guest

No. 18: Sorry, I don't want my cat to get cancer, so I went with the one-year shot. It's rare, but it happens.

Guest's picture
Sarah

Seconding Miss's comment. I used to work at concessions for Regal and as long as you weren't chowing down a Big Mac or anything obvious, you could bring in snacks. Movie theater employees can't search you or anything. The reason why they're so expensive is because theaters don't make much off ticket prices, believe it or not.

Here's one from when I worked at a kids-oriented (though it was fun for adults too), hands-on, play with everything-type museum: we did a culture test for a visiting class one time and guess what was on almost every exhibit by the end of the day?

Fecal matter. Purell anyone?

Guest's picture
Guest

This is true for many items you buy. In college I briefly worked at a plant that packages laundry detergent. I worked on the line filling the bottles. We took an empty bottle, filled it, put the label on and often an oval orange price tag. I once saw them go straight from a famous brand to a convenience store brand with a price tag that was $1.20 more expensive for the same liquid. Hint for finding these: look at the physical construction of the bottle and its cap. Often there is one mold for the bottle in a plant and the only thing that changes is the label and the color of the plastic bottle. look closely and you can see the same bottle for different brands.

Guest's picture
Random

How to get in? My best advice: consider carefully if you even want that degree. From behind the scenes of UCLA, Berkeley and MIT Sloan admissions offices, and knowing some from Stanford and Harvard. Keep in mind that colleges and MBA programs are primarily a lucrative academic BUSINESS that thrives on public imagination...particularly in the upper echelons of top-ten ivory tower. The gatekeepers are responsible to scope for potential endowments, prominent speakers, and get a high score in US News. The more students that apply and submit $40-$65 admission processing fees (and are rejected) the better for the school. They could care less about YOU as a human being.

Regarding business school, don't listen to any of the politically correct auto-responses we are forced to memorize for the public. DON'T BELIEVE A WORD. Not everyone gets equal consideration. Top way to get your application "double-starred" for special consideration is if the letter of recommendation is by an influential businessman who can lend his company name/reputation or give a generous endowment. For public schools, getting a mayor's good word is tantamount to gaining admission with poor (C-average) performance. The best way to get face time with a "busy" dean is to exude influence. Power really matters.

Second are the grades at your alma mater or work experience and how likely you're able to make six figures or more after you graduate, because that factors into ranking at US News. No respectable business school wants a class chocked full of non-profit prospectives---this is why consultants and investment banking analysts have a head-in: money. (And the downside to this, a major complaint among MBA students is that practically only consulting/banking firms hire these folks after their degree. The degree could be worthless, an MBA is NOT good for any career. Regular companies rarely recruiters to MBA job fairs and many Fortune 500 companies discriminate against it for good reason: MBAs tend to be arrogant.)

Third, remember that a lot of these top admission offices of graduate schools and business schools still hire staff based on convenience. Which means people who have no stake or nothing to do with higher education, such as housewives of graduate students or bored undergraduates with workstudy or loans to pay. It doesn't matter if the dean is famous or quoted in BusinessWeek. It doesn't matter if the hallowed halls are graced with CEOs and these graduates have a minted Ivy League name. The name of the game is arrogance---*excuse me* confidence. The real gatekeepers often have no ambition for the degrees that the applicants are so anxious about, and are far less deserving of the boot-shaking fear that a lot of prospective students come in with.

Still going to apply?

The backroom that is secretly guarded: Your application is (mis)handled by 18 year olds, from tearing apart the envelope to sorting the materials. Sometimes, they'll screw up. For this reason alone, never spend too much time making it fancy, and ALWAYS APPLY ONLINE.

If there are several rounds (i.e. several deadlines) always pick the first or second round. Avoid the last round of applications. There are a limited number of seats per class to fill every year. Being human, most readers are more lenient in the beginning and will spend time really reading your personal statement and enjoy your interview anecdotes. Wait until the crushing end of the rounds, when everyone is sick of receiving and reading applications, and when you will be mentally measured up to thousands of other applications that came before you, you stand a very slim chance (unless, like mentioned, you "know" somebody. In that case, you get forwarded to the front line.)

Lastly, know that almost no one---even students at top 5 schools---know what they want to do with their lives. Stuff happens, people change. It's just a sort of bluff that you're supposed to play during the app process, like you really have your game plan and focus. Once you're "in" you'll find out that most of these students can be sleazy, lazy or complaining like everyone else.

Guest's picture
Guest

In a two income family, where one parent makes more than the Social Security threshhold (somewhere around 97K this year I think) - use the dependent and medical flex comp accounts for the lower paid spouse, if offered. You'll save a couple hundred bucks a year in social security tax by doing so.

Guest's picture

I work for a voip company after having worked for a string of mobile operators: if you have inclusive minutes you'll usually never use these fully. Why not use your unused minutes to make voip calls through companies like Rebtel, Jajah, or others. If you google for "mobile voip" you'll see a great many operators. What they have in common is that usually members can call each other for free using "local" numbers. If you call those within your inclusive minutes, you'll even be able to call internationally for free.

Guest's picture
Pastry Chef Girl

At UC Berkeley, I wasn't cool enough to be invited to parties where I'd be able to get my hands on a "magic brownie". But today I'm secretly thankful for those far-out bakers, because I've stolen their method to infuse various tea flavors into butter to make fancy cookies.

For example: To make lavender-chamomile shortbread cookies, melt one cup of butter until hot but not boiling. Steep lavender-chamomile (or your favorite) tea in the butter for 30 minutes. Strain the butter. Whip butter in a bowl over ice to bring it back to a creamy, solid state. Stir in 1.5 cup powdered sugar, 2 tsp vanilla. Add 4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp salt, mix just until combined. Chill dough, cut into desired shapes, bake at 350F until golden brown.

Guest's picture
PhillyCat

I work as a paralegal for a large city DA's office. This city handles over 70,000 cases a year. The best advice I can give is if you get arrested do not say anything without a lawyer present and if a police officer asks for permission to do anything, do not give it to them with legal advice. I see dozens of defendants get jammed up every day simply because they opened their mouths to law enforcement officials. In addition it is a good idea to have a lawyer present at the arraignment if you have had prior contacts with the law, but if you haven't, a judge or magistrate will normally allow for an individual with a first time possession or DUI arrest to be released on their own recognizance. Remember these are only tips and do not constitute legal advice.

Guest's picture
Bloggrrl

I'm a teacher, and here in Texas you have to pass a test called the TAKS to graduate. So, what lots of people do is get their kids tested for disabilities so that they qualify as special ed and are exempt from the regular test. It is amazing how easy it is for parents to drum up some disabilities for their kids. Not that there aren't bona fide ones...but it's definitely gaming the system. Not that I really care, not being a fan of standardized tests.

So that's the tip for parents. For teachers, I've found no better way to grease the wheels than to make brownies. It's really hard for others to refuse a favor from the person who makes every Monday sweet. ;-) That, and asking for dry-erase markers to be included on the back-to-school list, at least if your school has a minimal budget like mine.

Guest's picture
Mimi

Here's some tips: be nice to your pharmacy techs and pharmacists. They'll be less likely to make an error on your meds and they will be more willing to do some digging if there is an insurance issue. Errors= longer wait time for you. We don't care how long it takes to fill something. We just don't want to deal with your whiny ass.

And if you are looking for an item, actually LOOK for it. Don't just come up to the pharmacy counter and expect us to know all about the electronics section.

Remember, generic is ALWAYS cheaper and is just as good (including controlled substances). The four dollar generic list availble at Targewt and Walmart are the same and only include the items on the list. No controlled substances, and only generics. And if you take one tablet a day, but you get a 90 days supply, that's $12. $4 x 3 months= $12. So don't bite my head off because you didn't read.

The basic rule : A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

Guest's picture
Virginia

I spent many long years working for the government. The best tip I can give is to look like the person who is going to interview you. Look like a person who is showing up for work, not someone on vacation. And if you can pull it off without giving the impression of a con artist, show a little empathy: "Gosh, how many interviews do you have to do in a day?" Or give a little compliment if you can do it without choking, but probably not about appearance, because that gets tried all the time. More like, "I bet you've been doing this a long time--it has gone much smoother than I thought it would." Yes, it's manipulative, but what's the harm? It actually brightened the poor beaten-down worker's day, and maybe they will make a decision in your favor that could have gone the other way. You'd be surprised how much leeway there can be. And don't make jokes--if they have to write down what you say, the humor is lost but the craziness stays.