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6 Service Industry Code Words They Don't Want You to Know

#3. ID-ten-T

Most of you probably don't need help getting your computer fixed. Computers in general have gotten a lot more reliable over the past 10 years, and thanks to the Googles, it's now possible to self-diagnose and fix most issues when they do come up. But that wasn't always the case, and especially in workplace settings, non-technical (re: old) people often needed help from the IT department to get their computer fixed. If the IT tech on call was a real dillbag, they might have mentioned that the computer had an ID-ten-T error, which sounds very technical and very bad.

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"Will it ever porn again?"

But when "ID-ten-T" is written out as "ID-10-T," we see what this dicknose of an IT tech was actually saying. They were calling this person an idiot, presumably for wasting their time with a problem that was easily solved. Now, that person very well may be an idiot ...

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"Is it maybe the firewall? I read that word in the newspaper once."

... and indeed the Internet is full of stories of poor beleaguered IT techs having to answer very, very stupid questions about computers. But that's their fucking job, and actively insulting their customer in front of them is pretty obnoxious. Also, "ID-10-T" is an idiot's code, a thousand times less clever than it seems, as are its dorky cousins like "RTFM" (Read the Fucking Manual) and "PEBCAK" (Problem Exists Between Computer and Keyboard). If you ever hear one of these spoken over your shoulder, you can be pretty sure you're speaking with a dick.

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"My computer runs on smugness. Does yours? I didn't think so."

#2. Bob

This is another one that shows up in grocery stores, although if you hear it, there's no reason to run in fear for your life. Just in fear of justice.

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I've noticed that an alarming number of my columns end with people fleeing justice. I'll admit it; it's a worry.

The way this one goes is a cashier innocuously asks their bagger or another cashier if they've "seen Bob." But they're not talking about some dude or an unpopular Microsoft operating system (surprisingly), but are in fact asking their co-worker to check the "bottom of basket," the lower part of your shopping cart, which is hard for a cashier to see. Basically, they suspect you of trying the old shoplifting technique of "forgetting" something in the bottom of your shopping cart.

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"Were you going to pay for the $80 worth of Fudgsicles down there, sir?"

This is actually a serious drain on grocery store bottom lines: Studies have shown that the hilariously named "BOB losses" actually cost a grocery store $6 to $10 per lane each day, which adds up quickly. So the stores take it seriously, but use the cute code words so they don't get caught accidentally accusing their regular customers of theft.

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"I was going to pay for them, actually. I just couldn't lift them up there because of my crippling diabetes."

#1. Koch's Disease

Doctors have a massive advantage when it comes to speaking in code, in that they essentially already speak in code all day, with a vocabulary that is miles beyond what most of their "customers" have. While they often have an interest in making themselves clear to their patients, they can quickly switch to technical terms or jargon if they need to speak with another doctor without the patient knowing what's going on, or to simply sound less frightening. "Koch's disease" is just one example of this -- another term for tuberculosis some doctors use when discussing a case without wanting to alarm the patient or their relatives.

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"You have acute cerebral vacancy."
"Is it serious?"
"Well, you certainly won't feel any pain."
"Thank golly!"

And that's when the doctors are speaking to their patients, and presumably being respectful to them. This is not always the case. Doctors have a notorious reputation for dark humor, which can include using some shockingly disrespectful terms to refer to their charges. "Beemers" can mean "obese people" (as in BMI). "Frequent flyers" can refer to people who keep visiting emergency rooms. "FTDs" can mean "failure to die," for people who have lived, annoyingly so.

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"So you're still here, huh?" -20 second sigh-

In their defense, doctors deal with death and intense pressure every day, and they have every right to use humor as a release. And sure, an individual sick person deserves respect, but if you had to deal with a hundred of them a day, yeah, they might lose a smidge of their unique humanity in your eyes and the eyes of your colleagues. These kinds of cruel labels seem to get used a lot by people in stressful occupations, soldiers being the most obvious comparison. So if you do overhear one of these labels while visiting a hospital, know that the doctor saying it isn't necessarily a cruel, unfeeling maniac.

She just hates you.


Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and is sure everyone's talking about him behind his back to his face. Join him on Facebook or Twitter to talk to his face to his face.

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