Word on the Street: Soup

In my new job, I have the opportunity to engage with people from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe as they visit “my downtown.” Today is my first on the job and I am in training all day; I am also in uniform, which means folks know what my role is.

On my lunch break, I was asked by a man in a wheelchair if I would go down the block to the Walgreen’s to see if they have “those soups you pour hot water over” and find out how much they were and if there was tax on them.

Now, I was on a break returning from grabbing a sandwich and hastening two blocks to the office to get out of view because I’m still in training. But I’ve been in training all morning stressing how visible we are in our uniforms, how we are here working for everyone we see. So what could I do? I hurried down to Walgreen’s, found out that the cups of noodles are $1.29 and $0.69 each; store workers didn’t know if they are taxable.

I returned to the man and he was thrilled that they had one for $0.69 and I imagine he was on his way down there as I made my way back to the office.

First of many interesting encounters to come, I’m sure.

Merry Phishing Scam To You

Another day, another phishing scam. The reason we keep getting these is because they work. And they often work because aside from some details that can take a technical eye to notice, they look so authentic. I’m sharing this one that was attempted on me this morning — with no positive result for the scammers — because it looked particularly polished and more reasonably authentic than many I receive.
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Tales from the Checkstand: Contact

A couple of weeks ago, a customer came through my line who left a lasting impression. An older woman, very short, a little taller than the height of the credit card machine on the platform in front of the register, so 4-foot-something. White hair loosely tied up in a bun, toting a granny cart.

Her eyes downcast, she was quiet and withdrawn. I recognized the signs immediately: she was avoiding eye contact and discouraging interaction. As I attempted to greet her, she waved me off, indicating what I suspected, that she is deaf.
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Tales from the Checkstand: Feelings

A man approaches with a striking arrangement of perfect roses in a very pretty and unique vase from our Floral Department. He’s a well-built stocky guy: short, blond, well-groomed, tight t-shirt, bulging muscles. Kind of a classic gym bunny look.

He places the flowers and a box of Fran’s salted caramels down in front of me with sort of a grim look on his face; almost a frown.
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Tales from the Checkstand: Lemonade

On the first or second day of a 3-4 day forecasted heatwave, with temps expected to rise as high as the mid-90s, two young gentlemen, 12-ish in age, approach my checkstand carrying two YUUUUGE bags of large lemons (32 @ PLU4053), a 5-pound sack of sugar, and a bag of ice (PLU804).

As I’m ringing them up, I look them over and remember the heatwave happening outside; I decide I must have a couple of budding entrepreneurs in front of me.
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If your child were born deaf, would you get them a cochlear implant?

The question was posed on Quora: If your child were born deaf, would you get them a cochlear implant? This was my reply.

Absolutely. I speak to this issue as someone who lost the bulk of his hearing due to spinal meningitis at the age of 10 months in the 1960s. I spent the next three years failing to develop critical language skills as a result of living with hearing loss.
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Out For a Walk

A man is out for a walk in his neighborhood in an affluent niche of Silicon Valley, a lovely historic district home to a vibrant downtown scene, surrounded by loads of charming old homes lovingly restored and maintained, interspersed with attractive new construction here and there. It’s late afternoon on a bright, sunny day.

As he approaches the driveway of a downtown parking lot, a police car screeches out in front of him, blocking his way; he notices a shadow on the sidewalk in front of him cast by a police officer rushing up from behind, shouting at him. Several other police officers run up from different directions, all shouting at him.
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OpenSATX: Data For The People, By The People

San Antonio’s Code for America Brigade, dubbed OpenSATX, got off to a robust start on Saturday at CodeAcross, held at Rackspace headquarters. About 50 participants, comprising city staff, Rackers, Geekdom members, students, and other engaged citizens gathered to spend the day discussing how the city can better open its data to new and innovative applications to serve residents and businesses in San Antonio.
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