Rank and File

Since a comprehensive list of Microsoft codenames already exists, I would like to move on to another taxonomy project that fascinates me. I would like to collect a list of weird titles so common in many big-name corporations. Here are some notes that I collected already.

Also I am adding a little note about certain not very publicized rules that the company has that might help you get better service, or so to say to hack the system. You’ll see what I mean.

Every employee carries a title of “Co-worker”. Employees use the term Kinkoid instead.

Kinko’s hacks:
All Kinkoids seem to live in fear of “mystery shoppers”. The corporate mothership sends special agents that pose as customers, and then evaluate the Co-workers. On at least several occasions I asked for some collating and printing jobs and quoted long wait times by Co-workers, which strangely had a change of heart and did the work right away. Your job is to make a Co-worker suspect that you are a “mystery shopper”. How? I don’t know, but apparently I managed to pull it off a couple of times.

Generic title: Crew Member. There are special non-management Crew Members with many years of experience called Crew Superstars. Managers carry the title of Crew Leader.

Fast Food Hacks:
This is a little known fact, but almost all soda fountains have a special button that will dispense seltzer. So technically the soda choice include seltzer. Sometimes when I am not in the mood for caramel coloring and phosphoric acid, I buy a medium soda and then ask them to find the button (most employees don’t know about it).

Barristas are known as Hourly Partners. I’ve seen a title of Coffee Master on a manager’s card.

Starbucks Hacks:
There’s an 8oz cup called “Short” as opposed to the holy trinity of Tall-Grande-Venti. It’s never advertised, but I successfully ordered it on occasion.

I learned a new trick, which I am not planning on using, but which surprised me. I found a tiny sticker which outlined Starbucks refill policy. It reminded me that Spongebob episode where Bubble Bass pointed out to the microscopic print on the Crusty Crab menu that outlined the refund policy. Anyway, it seems like the rule is that if you finish your drink within the hour, you can ask for a refill in the same cup at an unspecified reduced price. How will they know if you consumed your drink in an hour? There’s a label on the cup that records the time when the drink was ordered. You can also apparently bring in your own cup and have it filled at 30 cents off or so.

You can ask for free coffee grinds at any Starbucks store to use as fertilizer for your garden or farm.

Barnes and Noble:
This is a surprising one. All B&N employees carry the title of “bookseller”. Even computer programmers and janitors. Thank you, anonymous tipster for this slice of corporate weirdness.

Most employees at Disney World are titled “Cast Members”. “Face” characters, like Cinderella and the like are “Union Actors”. Disney weirdness is too huge to discuss here, there are whole sites dedicated to the subject. “No Disney Cast member at the Disney reservation center has the same name. If there are more then two with the same then they are given a name.” Whoa.
Thank you, Merlin!

Pacific Theaters
Ushers and the like carry the title of “Talent”.
Thanks you, Greg!

This calls for a gratuitous Spongebob quote:
“Squidward: Repeat after me. “I have no talent”
Spongebob: I have no talent.
Squidward: “Mr. Tentacles has all the talent”.
Spongebob: Mr. Tentacles has all the talent.
Squidward: “If I’m lucky, some of Mr. Tentacles talent can rub off on me”.
Spongebob: If I’m lucky, Mr. Talent can…rub…his tentacles on my…art… (smiles)”

Toyota Canada
Salesmen carry the title of “New Vehicle Advisor “
Thank you, Aidan R.

WL Gore & Associates
Every employee is – you guessed it – an “Associate”.
Thank you, Joe Grossberg.

Gouvernment employees are called “Guvvies” and contractors are called “Swaliens” (because they are frequently from Swales Aerospace.

Thank you, anonimous commenter.

IKEA employees have the same designation as Kinkos – “Co-worker”. I am not sure if this is a recent development or not.

If you have any information like this, please let me know.


I really hate email these days. Gmail might have solved (at least for me) the storage problem and mostly solved the spam problem (the filter is very efficient), but there is soooo much crappieness in email.

Email servers and clients are just out of whack lately. Even Gmail checks zip files for executables somehow (neat trick) and refuses to add them. It works ok if you change the extension to .zip.foo or something like that. But this at least is a decent way of dealing with the problem of people sending virus laden executables – warn that you are not sending it and let through people who are smart enough to rename the extension.

On the other hand I’ve encountered every type of nastiness – from silently dropping emails to stripping the attachments (again, silently) to bouncing the email back with absolutely unintelligible error messages.

Filter stupidity similar to what excellent Joe Grossberg is describing here is also rampant.

Oh, and trying to send out an email in Russian. Fugedaboudit! The extra bits in Unicode or KOI-8 get chewed off every which way rendering my laboriously typed and spelling error infested emails unreadable half the time. If there is a way to reliably send Russian encoded emails without using attachments – I was not able to find it yet.

Worst of all, you sit there waiting for a replies wondering – are people just ingnoring me? Did the message get silently dropped, swallawed or chewed up on the way? Did it get lost amongst spam about Ciagra and Vialis? (As a side note, my co-workers were joking this morning about how I should write on my cubicle dweller’s box that contains vitamins, painkillers, antiacid and caffeine pills “V1A8RA” in marker). Did the person mean to answer me but forgot lately? Did something happen to him or her?

But you know what I hate even more than email? Public comments in blogs. Letting my own often illiterate and/or stupid comments spill out onto the Information Superhighway and having them fester and petrify there for future generations is not a good idea. From now on my policy is not leaving any comments whatsoever. I’ll use exclusively email from now on. If you want to leave me a public comment in Livejournal – go ahead, but I’ll probably answer via email. I do try to answer most comments.

Also a part of this policy is not reading or writing any private posts in Livejournal. Nothing good ever comes out of them.

In other news, I am thinking about leaving a little note at the bottom explaining obscure puns in my topics. For instance this one is based on the Sopranos Episode 204 title – “Commendatori” (Knights). Babelfish tells me that “commentatore” means “commentator”.