The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'tricks'
An interview with James Freedman, an illusionist and white-hat pickpocket who was employed as a consultant for the film Oliver Twist:
Freedman gives me his jacket to put on. In the inside pockets are two wallets and two pens. Keeping eye contact, he asks what I have in my jeans pockets. I show him some keys and replace them. During those few seconds, he nicks the wallets and pens. As I'm reacting to this first loss, he manages to extract the keys out of my backpocket. I don't see a thing.
It's embarrassing. I knew what he was going to do and yet he still managed to fleece me. I don't even have the excuse of a natural distraction, which, Freedman says, is what pickpockets look out for. "At Westminster Tube station," he says, "the first thing people do when they come out is look at Big Ben." And, of course, thieves love the posters in the Tube that warn people to safeguard their belongings "because people show you where their things are when they pat them."
There is now a Tricks of the Trade weblog:
If you listen to the radio while coding but are distracted by ads or yammering DJs, tune into a foreign internet radio station such as http://www.radiobeat.cz or http://www.futuro.cl, where all interuptions are in a language you don't understand.
Wear a kilt when playing bagpipes on the street. You will make twice as much money than if you wear regular clothes.
If you're faced with an irate customer on the telephone who won't let you help him, leave them on hold for about three minutes, then pick back up and pose as the manager. Thinking they've "won" the battle, the he customer is much more likely to work with you.
If you faced with bad service and are being "escalated," calm down before interacting with the next person up the chain of command. The lowly incompetent drone you've been howling at will likely warn his supervisor to expect a raging psychopath; if you are on your best behavior when the manager speaks with you, he will probably be confused and much more inclined to help you out.
A list of secrets of various occupations; small, inconsequential-seeming things which make a difference in the perceived competence of the practitioner: (via FmH)
Every actor eventually is called upon to act drunk. Most do this by slurring their speech, stumbling around, and perhaps drooling a bit. This is what a freshman drama teacher calls "indicating." A better way to appear drunk is to act very, very sober. Walk very carefully, and try not to let anyone see that you're inebriated. This is much more subtle and will register on a level the audience won't immediately recognize.
Always put copper grease on the battery terminals after servicing a car. The performance benefit is negligible, but when customers look under the hood they will immediately see that something's changed and thus feel happy to pay you.
In Australia, the butchers have a secret language called "rechtub klat" that they use to gossip about customers without getting caught. The code is formed by speaking words backward. Old-timers could have entire conversations in the language, but these days a core vocabulary of about 20 to 30 essential words are used...
If you can't think of a headline for a story, use one of these three magic verbs: "weighs," "mulls," or "considers."...