October 2, 2023 | David Chung

Workers Share What's Common Knowledge To Them But Unknown To The Rest Of The World

It's easy to think that everyone has the same common sense. But each person comes with their own background knowledge and career-specific information, which isn't always common. The people in these stories all have valuable information to share, from what your IT technician is really doing when they fix your computer to why you should never let your kid swim without a life jacket. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn some in-depth information about a variety of topics and fields: let someone else be the fool who doesn't know what's up.

Don't forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!

#1 A Picture to Haunt You

Your eyes and mouth don't stay shut when you're lifeless. Somebody who works as a mortician has to shut them to make a deceased person look more presentable. There are also ways to reconstruct areas of the body that may have been damaged during an incident that caused the person to pass. 

It's DEFINITELY not always a pretty sight at the start.

Shocked and confused people split image

#2 One Thing Is More Important Than The Other

If you're putting in a new carpet, always go top shelf with the pad. The increase in cost is negligible and the upgrade will be a much better dollar-to-value ratio than spending on the carpet itself. Eight-pound memory foam is maybe $2 a yard more than the trash, apartment grade stuff, but it's 10 times better underfoot.

Go for the cheapest carpet you can stand (remember, you aren't going to be running your fingers through your house's carpet for more than three days after it's installed) and put the best darn pad money you can buy under it. You'll spend less and it'll feel like you bought $50 a yard carpet. Totally worth it in the long run.


#3 It's Not Like The Movies

Drowning is silent. I pulled out a kid literally less than a foot away from a large group of adults and not one of them noticed that his head was totally submerged. Despite the fact that he was struggling and thrashing around, he was enough underwater that you could barely see his thrashing and the splashing of the water on the surface.


#4 Teach Your Kids To Swim

It takes just a few seconds for someone to go under and for the pool surface to return to normal as if the person never entered it. That said, it can be extremely hard to see someone once they are under the surface if they aren’t moving. You should always lock up access to home pools and always keep children in view AT ALL TIMES when anywhere near water.


#5 But It's Not On The Label

Most swiss cheeses (Gruyère, Emmentaler, Appenzeller) are lactose-free, as well as any cheese that's been aged at least two years, like Parmigiano Reggiano or an aged gouda. I work at a cheese shop, and clients are usually surprised when I share that information with them. I wish more people with lactose intolerance knew about it!


#6 It's Not Medicine

The "essential" in essential oils doesn't mean it is essential to your body or health. It basically means that it is the pure essence of that particular plant or flower. So many people have taken this to mean that they are literally essential to our health and well being. It hurts my brain whenever I have to explain this to a customer.


#7 Don't Worry, This is Just a Drill

More people pass in lifeboat drills than they do in any other marine incidents. Most seamen see fatalities related to the operation of the action lifeboat. In fact, according to the Marine Accident Investigations Branch in the UK, lifeboat-related fatalities were equal to the two other causes that had the most fatalities offshore: entering confined spaces and falls overboard.


#8 Time For A Vacation

There is a period of time every year that, in the US, the Department of Transportation pulls over any and every truck that they can. During this period, many trucking companies take vacation time, as the potential hassle is not worth the money made. That may be something to think about if you're considering going into the trucking business.


#9 So Maybe Just Be Nice All The Time

Just because a disabled child or person is non-verbal, doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t understand everything you’re saying. It’s crazy how often I have to tell my own staff to watch what they’re saying. These kids still get embarrassed or upset if you talk about the massive #2 they just took right in front of the whole class.


#10 All Cancer, All The Time

Potential cancer cells develop in the human body every day and our immune system efficiently eliminate them without any trouble. Then, we just go on living our lives like nothing ever happened. There could be any random instance that our immune system fails to detect them. Live healthy to give yourself the best chance. Don't take your health for granted.


#11 This Is Why You Follow The Rules

It really does help us at the library when you don't reshelve your own materials. Not because we don't trust you to know where they're supposed to go, but because if you put it away yourself, we can't keep track of the fact that someone looked at it, which is useful information for us to have. Just let us take care of it, it's our job to anyway!


#12 So Don't Drown

I'm a lifeguard. During my training, I learned that nearly no drowning victims ever wake back up. They usually pass away. CPR only has a 10% success rate and even then the chance that they will be a veggie for the rest of their life is something like, 80%. So, in reality, you have about a 2% chance of ever being normal again if you drown. Moral of this story is: wear the life jacket if told to and stop arguing with the lifeguards about how your child is a fish.


#13 It's All About The Baby

The maximum spacing between spindles in a railing is 4" because that's the average size of a baby's head. Most building officials will carry a 4" sphere with them when doing inspections on new-construction. They want to make sure all of their railings are baby-proof to avoid any potential accidents (and subsequent lawsuits) from occurring.


#14 All Kids Can Be Safe

When public play structures are being evaluated, the evaluator brings two size paddles, one which is equal to the average size of a new baby's head, and one that is equal to the largest average size of a child under 10. They then stick the paddles in all crevices of the play structure. If the smaller one (the head) can get through, the bigger one (body) must also be able to, otherwise, the structure won’t pass inspection.


#15 I Know Google!

Anyone can get an entry-level IT job if you know how to use Google and have an aptitude for learning new things. Only when you get to the analyst positions is it necessary to have a strong foundation of IT knowledge. And programming is something else entirely—that's a craft you'll really have to hone in. Not that you have to go to school for it; a lot of programmers are actually self-taught. But school helps.


#16 But TV Shows Tell It Differently

I'm a civil attorney. We almost never go to jury trial and the job can be unbelievably boring. Movies and TV shows like to spice up the drama a lot, but in real life, it's just a lot of research, investigation, and paperwork. So, if you want to become a lawyer just because it seems like it would be fun, you should probably reevaluate.


#17 Kids Learn

The best treatment for a child with anxiety is treating their parents' anxiety. I am a licensed mental health professional that specializes in children. Anxiety is a necessary and healthy reaction that all people experience, very true! Having some worries help keep us safe and lets us know when there is a danger. It’s the worries that interfere with daily functioning that become an issue.

I think of anxiety issues on a spectrum: on one end is a healthy dose and on the other is a diagnosable anxiety disorder. There are people all across that spectrum that would benefit from therapy or learning some adaptive strategies. Some have pointed out, a child’s anxiety is not 100% a result of a parent’s anxiety. There are, of course, cases where a child develops anxiety due to other circumstances.

However, in the majority of cases with anxiety in children, it can be treated by treating the parent. Children look to their parents for guidance to learn about what is and isn’t “safe.” They are sponges that are constantly learning how to react to different things they approach. One of the easiest examples to see this is when a child experiences a minor scare, they will naturally look to a trusted adult to judge how they should react.

If the adult gasps, while running with their arms extended and making a worried face, the child learns the situation was bad and they should be upset. If the parent was to smile, shrug, and say “Oh man!” the child will likely brush it off and move on (unless they acquired an injury, of course). Think about this on a bigger scale, if a child is consistently learning the world is a scary and dangerous place, there are threats everywhere, etc. they are being set-up for anxiety issues.

Same goes for specific phobias, many of these are directly taught to children by seeing their parents in fear. Nothing says to be afraid of something more than the person you rely on for your survival showing their own genuine fear. Simply following up with children regarding a scary or uncomfortable experience can make a world of difference!

If you can inform them of what made that specific experience dangerous or scary, that helps teach them what to look out for instead of generalizing that fear to any experience that involves the same factors. One common example is the children’s fear of bugs. The children have never had a bad experience with bugs, but the fact their parent runs away screaming from them each time she has an encounter is a pretty clear message to them that they are not safe to be around.


#8 Either Way, You're Squished

An elevator will go up to the top of the hoist instead of crashing to the floor, in most catastrophic failures, due to the counterweights. The problem is when the counterweights give in because you'll be all the way at the top of the chamber. The best thing to do is to stay calm and not make any heavy movements.


#19 Movies Are Wrong

Normally, lifts (or elevators) have 4, 8, 12 or 16 or more cables. They can't snap. They can be cut, or something can destroy them, but the cables themselves literally can't all snap at once. Each cable can support the lift's weight itself (or should be able to) and there are between 4 and 16 per lift car. Then, there are breaks on many lifts on tall buildings which should be able to slow the lift down by clamping on to something (essentially metal bits grab metal bits).

On smaller buildings, these aren't used because they take time to work. They're not instant—they may initialize instantly, but they take time to slow the lift down, like breaking a car at 20 miles an hour. You don't just stop you carry on for a few meters. If the building is only 20 or 30 meters high, it's not really worth it.


#20 So Try Not To Spill Your Coffee On It

Office copiers cost upwards of $7,000. Some can go for $15,000 to 20,000 depending on print speed and capacity. Don't mess around with your office copier. It may be easy to overlook because it's so accessible, but it really is a luxury product to have. Plus, you won't want to have to cover the cost of a repair or worse, be forced to buy a new one.


#21 Sticking To E-mail

The toner in your printer is just plastic being melted on to the paper.


#22 Terrifying Symptoms

Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.) start way before the first symptoms appear. No one wakes up suddenly one day with Alzheimer's. From actual data, it seems that the disease is rampant for 10 to 15 years before the first symptoms. Some research says that you can start identifying abnormalities 20+ years before the memory loss begins. And it works for all neurodegenerative diseases.


#23 Call Before You Dig

There is a surprising amount of infrastructure under your feet. You’d be surprised how much public utility runs underneath the private property. Always call before you dig. Better yet, seek the help of professionals. You don't want to accidentally damage an important structural component or hit the main gas line.


#24 More Than Meets The Surface

In some museums, what you see on the shelves can be less than 10% of the whole collection. For example, The Louvre has over 460,000 items in their collection and only has space to display about 35,000 of those (roughly 7.6% of their total collection). Due to limited physical space, and for aesthetic purposes, most items in museums stay back in storage.

Plus, most items need to be maintained at certain temperatures, and light. If we can't meet those needs, it will never be allowed for public viewing, ever. There are most likely some of the most amazing, visually stunning pieces of artwork, that you or anyone will never get to see. Also, Accession and De-accession can also be a touchy area. Just because it's "old," doesn't mean we're going to take it and add it to the collections.


#25 Simple Words

I worked as an insurance adjuster. Most people have no idea what homeowner's insurance actually does. Here is a very simple guide to understanding what is covered by homeowners insurance: a sudden and one-time occurrence. While there are some exceptions to this, understanding those few words will help you understand 95% of what is and is not covered by your policy.


#26 Still A Girl's Best Friend

When it comes to jewelry, a diamond is a luxury expense, not an investment. Gold is the investment. If you try to sell your engagement ring, you’ll get maybe 20% of what you initially paid for it. Jewelers can get diamonds for a fraction of what you paid for it. Gold, on the other hand, appreciates in value. Take care of your gold jewelry.


#27 Milk Shop Doesn't Have The Same Ring

Coffee shops spend more on milk than coffee.


#18 Lots of Panicked People

Most emergency calls are not remotely close to being emergencies. Some people call for health advice, some call to misreport an incident... It all just stems from a whole lot of unnecessary panic. There are actual lives needed to be saved. Please use 9-1-1 responsibly and stop wasting people's time.


#29 Just Workin'

I'm a sign language interpreter. This is based on the comments I get from the general hearing population: We do not take care of or help the deaf person. We work for them, same as we are working for you. No, I'm not related to this deaf person. I'm not even friends with them. We are not nurses or caretakers, but we are trying to assist them in different ways.


#30 If I Wanted To, I Would

If we're signing and I'm not interpreting what is signed, I'm just clarifying and confirming what was said, not whispering about you. If I wanted to whisper about you, I wouldn't do so by making obvious hand signals. That can be done just fine with facial expressions. Honestly, if you're not sure, just ask—it'll save a lot of time and trouble.


#31 Serious Misconceptions

Put very simply, nuclear power plants generate electricity by boiling water. The "smoke" coming from the cooling tower is just steam, and it isn't radioactive. If it was indeed smoke coming from a reactor it would indicate a HUGE problem and you should run away very fast. The smoke wouldn't be coming from the tall cooling towers though; those are usually some distance from the reactor containment building, and there isn't anything in there that's radioactive or that can catch fire. Very important note if you see smoke rising from a reactor: if possible, RUN UPWIND and keep going.


#32 Poor Cats

Heartworms are treatable for dogs, but not for cats. Also, keep on top of your heartworm prevention for your dog; if they get heartworm but you can prove that they've been continually covered (which isn't difficult; the receipts are good enough, and your vet will have them in their database), then the heartworm prevention manufacturer will pay for the treatment.


#33 Heartworm Comes From Mosquitoes?

Your indoor cat or dog can get heartworms. Mosquitos can come inside your home.


#34 That Makes It Really Cool

Gold and silver have been recycled much more than you think. Because gold from multiple sources is routinely melted together, it is entirely possible that the gold inside your wedding ring was from historical times. It is quite possible that some of your gold witnessed the burning of Troy, Carthage, and Tenochtitlan. Gold is the physical essence of human greed and malice. That's what is so great about it.


#35 New = Better

The new house you just built probably has much better insulation than your old house from the '70s. Since the house is much more energy efficient, the size of the furnace or air conditioner may be smaller than what you had at your old house even if the new house is larger. No, we can't use rules of thumb to size your HVAC equipment no matter what Google says.

We have to use a load calculation and that has to be approved by the building department. Having an HVAC system that runs all the time but just barely gets you to the temperature you want is more energy efficient than a larger system that turns off and on all of the time. Even if it seems like the system is running constantly.


#36 It's Not That Easy

I repair large format printers for a living. They are designed by electrical engineers who make big bucks. I can diagnose a bad fuse on a PCB and replace it but if the customer gets a CPU error or anything deeper, I suggest replacing the board. Every once in a while I get a guy who says, "If you are a certified tech how can you not repair the board? You just want more money for a new board!" I have to explain to them that electrical engineers go to many years of school to be able to design these boards and make a lot of money doing so. If I could do it, I wouldn't be fixing printers! Most people understand but some people won't budge.


#37 Everyone's A Liar

Most people are not good at detecting lies and consistently score no better than 50/50 when tested. The score goes up slightly when it's someone they know that they're talking to, but not much. Ironically, most people rate themselves as very good at detecting lies, but they're wrong. There's a method of the interview where the interviewer asks the interviewee to tell their version of the event multiple times, however, each time only describing what specific senses they were experiencing.

Tell the story about what you saw, then tell it again but only what you heard, what did you smell, what did you feel. They literally take that transcript and just feed it into a computer which counts the number of words, the number of unique words and creates a ratio telling you whether or not the person lied based on that. It's supposed to be like, 80%+ accurate.

Theoretically, it's harder to elaborate and keep multiple strings of a lie straight, so if you are trying to do so, you tend to keep the story shorter and less elaborative. The Stazi, East German secret authorities would do just that, with the exception that the person telling the truth would become more curt with each retelling while the person telling lies would repeat the story or even add details. It's ultimately highly imprecise. Even the 80% success rate is statistically horrible. Say that only one out of 1,000 people questioned had something to hide. You would find 200 potential liers and a 20% chance that the perp wasn't among them.


#38 It's Not As Clear As You'd Think

Many of your car's features are directly connected to your windshield. They're also a pretty important safety feature in your vehicle. Unlike your side and rear windows, which are typically tempered glass (also, in part, for safety reasons), windshields are laminated which is why they crack instead of shatter unless something really drastic happens.

Also, because it's laminated, it can crack all the way from side to side and you'll still be safe. For most makes, most of those new safety features like lane departure warning and forward collision alert are on sensors that work through the glass. Rain sensors, condensation sensors (if your AC automatically kicks on), auto dimming mirrors... they all have different brackets and frit cutouts to allow them to work properly.

 Those black dots that drop down in the center by the rearview mirror that most people think is an antenna? Nope. Just an extra sun shade that's supposed to help block the sun in between your visors. Also, fun fact, if you ever need to break a window in your car, for whatever reason, the smaller pieces of glass are often the most expensive piece of glass on your vehicle. Go for tempered door glass. Knowledge to some, but after almost a decade in auto glass, I learned that most people have zero clues when it comes to their auto glass.


#39 Just Keep Driving, Just Keep Driving

A lot of truck drivers, especially out west, are at least partially distracted just to keep themselves from falling asleep behind the wheel. Some of us have YouTube or Netflix just for noise, or coolers for snacks or drinks. Others are talking on the phone while trying to keep their dog or cat out of their lap or reading a GPS looking for a place to pull off for their break. And anyone who is a trucker that says they have never done any of that is either brand new or is a liar. We do pay a lot more attention when in the mountains or in a populated area though.


#40 Just Add An Extra One

When I worked at Starbucks, not a lot of people understood that a larger espresso drink does not always mean more caffeine. A tall drink has one blast, a grande has two, and a venti also has two; unless it’s an iced coffee, in which case it gets a third. So, many times, customers would order a grande latte and say, “You know what, you’d better make that a venti, I can use the extra caffeine,” when in fact the larger size is just more diluted with milk. If you are looking for more caffeine, drip coffee is going to be the most bang for your buck. Also, this seems really obvious, but a lot of people would get upset when they order a flavored coffee and saw that I just put syrup in it. No, coffee beans do not naturally come in caramel, vanilla, toffee nut, raspberry, etc. flavor.


#41 It's A Wig?

You cannot go from having black hair to silver or platinum blonde in one sitting. It takes multiple sittings and, nine times out of 10, your hair will be fried beyond repair by the end of it. Kim Kardashian or whoever you pinned on your Pinterest page is wearing a wig. Don't do that to your hair—if you want to inject some color into it, opt for the wig. You don't want to end up like Jennifer Lawrence. In an interview with Yahoo!, she said all the bleaching and dying of her hair caused it to fall out. That's why she opted for a pixie cut at some point.


#42 If It Works, It Works

People think that turning off and on again is a joke, but it works most of the time. I've been doing IT for 20 odd years—if no one changed the configuration, turning it off and on again is going to "fix" the issue. Sometimes stuff just happens and it needs a reset. Half the time, my job seems to consist of being on conference calls with C-level executives explaining why we need to turn it off and on, and when I can do it.


#43 So Don't Do That

Truckers leave extra space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them because if they are fully loaded they need the extra space to be able to stop without flattening someone. A truck can weigh the same as more than 50 small cars. They don't leave the space for a couple of cars to squeeze themselves into and create a potentially fatal situation!


#44 Learn About It Before You Pay Double

“Organic” foods aren’t necessarily grown without chemicals. There’s a ton of organic label pesticides out there, many of which are just as bad as their synthetic counterparts. When I say "grown without chemicals", I was referring to man-made products like fertilizers and insecticides. No duh, all crops are produced with chemicals. Water, technically, is a chemical.


#45 Sad Fact

In emergency medical situations, when the patient says "I think I'm not going to make it," they usually don't...



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