Why Bitcoin Mining is not profitable anymore - I Know First UK

Blue Beelzebub (Final)

Link to Part 1
Link to Part 2
Mortaren’s appointment had left a slim window through which to prep. As a freelancer, I was free to travel across the country or the world for a story, so time off from work wasn’t an issue that vexed me. I opted to fly to Denver then drive I-25 to Walsenburg - a city to the east of the San Luis Valley and a spot my travels made familiar over the years. By week’s end, after a numbing but uneventful commute, I reached the comfort of my hotel days in advance - I wanted that buffer to breathe and to reconnoiter the site of our meeting.
The coordinates pointed to a site too remote for satellites to remap every year. Neither Google nor Bing ever sent cars there to photograph the area. The drive through US-350 was monotonous - mile after mile of farmland parched a uniform yellow. The only excitement, if such were the word, came from the prompts the GPS indicated which eventually took me onto a gravel road.
The route crossed a railroad. To my right was a farm. To my left was the overlook - a weathered and wizened hump of earth a geologist told me had been the remnants of a butte millions and millions of years prior. It stood by itself amid seas of grassy plains. A road lurched onto its peak; there the earth had been pressed into a level (and empty) lot. It felt like the safest place to stop, (hopefully), out of sight and out of mind.
My rented Wrangler was the sole vehicle at the overlook.
For a while I gazed westward. The sky was a vibrant shade of blue that smothered the distance. Across its haze I caught outlines of the Spanish Peaks. I let my eyes wander southward, toward that spot at the horizon where US-350 vanished into a point. I couldn’t see a car anywhere coming or going. A train roared as it approached from the side of the highway.
Eastward and below - at what I gauged may have been a spur of the historical Santa Fe trail, I noted the ruins that had drawn me onto that spot. It had escaped my eyes when I drove by it and then, then I realized why. It was at the top of the overlook that the effect was appreciable. The ruins, through the years, had been smothered to its roof by an orchard of junipers.
The ruin was that of a two-story house which had been built partially into the ground. I gawked at the style of it for it appeared so out of time, so out of place when compared to the architecture typical of the area around La Junta. The closest match was Spanish Colonial. The eeriest aspect of it was that in spite of the juniper’s swallowing it, it didn’t look like it had been abandoned for any lengthy period of time.
I approached the door - a slab of wood impressively resilient to weather - and stuck my head into the shadow beyond its yawning threshold. Its walls were tagged with an eclectic mixture of symbology, some of it Satanic, some of it native. Others defied my erudition.
As I grew bold enough to enter, my advance was stopped by a voice.
“Yeah, figured you’d check it out.”
“Mortaren?” I turned to face the orchard, whose miasma cloaked the figure. “Wanted to see it for myself. Doesn’t strike me as a place to stash a server.”
“Exactly.”
Mortaren, my erstwhile host, stepped out of the enshadowment and joined my stance at the door’s threshold. I sensed by the immediate familiarity he conveyed to the structure that he wasn’t a stranger to its curiosity. I followed into the abode and almost immediately choked at a waft of putrefaction - urine and feces from sources unknown. Squatters - or worse - I started to suspect may have sought the refuge of its confines. Still, Mortaren was not concerned.
Nor was he curious about the freshly-minted tools strewn about the rubble. Gear that I recognized from my years of hiking had been folded into the mess as if to disguise it. I detected, too, the odor of gasoline - faintly and sublimely - as if it were a suggestion stirred by the train that passed by.
“It hasn’t been a residence since the seventies.”
“Well if that’s so, it’s a mix-up.”
“No! Little of the sort, bub, this,” he said of it, swinging a finger around his head toward the upstairs, “this is the spot. Everything that happened, happened here. All of that was filmed where we stand. ZuZu or whomever they worked for, they chose this site not for the way it looked outside but inside. Then ZuZu embedded those clips of it into the code.”
“Is it booby trapped?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
We worked past the foyer and the library that followed it. We walked: Mortaren at the front and I at the back. Could it be doubted anymore? My host splayed intimate knowledge of the abode which could have come only from a personal investigation. How many times had he stopped by? Perhaps he more than stopped by? Perhaps he more than investigated.
We entered a wide, tall hallway and paused. The chamber was pitch except for a window at the apex of the stairs which blasted a square-shaped spotlight onto the floor at our feet. Behind us the hallway emptied into a kitchen. Light that filtered through its windows lent it a vibrant, green glow. A glow that came from the vegetation clogging that chamber. I noted flickering, whistling lights like fluorescents out of view but not of earshot.
Mortaren refused my help to unroll a tarp; “touch nothing, nothing - don’t leave a print anywhere, kiddo, you gotta trust me, OK”. He revealed a set of tools: pliers, machetes, rakes, and a crowbar. My host took the crowbar and aimed it at the stairs. “Let me give you a word of warning - if you insist you want that game - alright more, more than a word. Yes - I got it. And I’m far from the only sucker, let me say. I suggest, whatever you do, you don’t ever install it, you don’t ever play it, you don’t even stick it into a drive that autoplays, OK?”
We ascended; the stairs were droopy and I struggled to stay upright.
“Not saying that ‘cause of what it’ll do to your rig - you know what it’ll do, I don’t need to tell you what it’ll do. It’s the sort of stuff that’ll bring the FBI to your door faster than you can say Blue Beelzebub. No, damn it, it’s how that abomination tears into your soul. It’ll compromise you and that’s intentional not accidental. It wants to beat you into submission. The fear - that you’ll be found, that you’ll be trapped - imagine every day, every day thinking ‘today’s the day it happens’. It took a year to convince the FBI I didn’t know what that game was about and then it was too late to save my arse.”
Upstairs, my host drew my steps into a chamber whose walls were a faded memory of yellow. Cracks formed like veins running the heights of the walls. The reek of corruption, like that of decay, attacked us fiercely. A hum issued out of the air; it was strongest at the center where the rug that cloaked the floor bulged.
Mortaren applied a streak of coroner’s salve to his upper lip. I added a dab to my face. My host insisted I should be thorough; so I complied.
The chamber was a formal salon, a pit of “opulence and decadence” for the 70s. Furniture lay scattered to rot. An armoire, as tall as the salon, waited at the far end with its doors wide, agape almost like arms outstretched to greet us. It, like the rest of the furniture, soaked the elements and charred into onyx as if burned. Slowly my eyes accustomed to the ambiance and as such I grew cognizant of a trove of esoteric details. Books strewn about. Mounds of salt. Blobs of candles. Pentagrams. All of that competed head-to-head with the scratches etched into the walls.
I found a fingernail embedded into those scratches....
“After I posted the demo, a fan - let’s say they were a fan - contacted my office about it. They offered assistance and I, reluctantly out of curiosity - I complied. I sent them copies of the game. That was my downfall, kiddo.” He stopped to take a breath. “Imagine it. The stuff of nightmares that destroys a man’s life fits so perfectly into a pair of three point five inch floppies. Well, that fan reverse-engineered the executable. Dude sent everything right back to my house with a stack of paper. Never heard of them again. I assumed they were the first to contact the FBI. Can’t blame ‘em.”
Mortaren pointed to the rug that spanned the floor.
“Is that hum under the floor?” I asked - he nodded.
“The sound isn’t from the server, though.” Mortaren lifted the corner of the rug with the crowbar. We cleared the furniture and rolled away the carpet. It decomposed into rubble just by touching it as we did. “It’s a crazy layout. The house was built over a shaft. This room it’s, it’s right over that shaft. The hum comes from the way air works through it.”
“So ... the server is real and it’s here?”
My host nodded; “The game’s cloak and dagger - a virus that turns your rig into a zombie. You work for them, now, now, you’re part of something worse than anything you imagine. The events that created this mess, this wreck that you see - it was filmed right where we stand. ZuZu transferred the footage to AVI clips and used it to create the maze’s layout and texture. My fan, when they broke apart the game, they found the clips embedded right into the code and I had to watch ‘em, didn’t I? I had to watch ‘em. Look, it’s not over, OK. The ritual they started, it doesn’t end, it doesn’t, ever, end.”
I dared not ask what kind of ritual it was. The gaze of his eyes as they relived the video spoke volumes. His whole entire body shook as if the violation were fresh.
“I tell you the strangest part of this business. The people who started it, they’re a crazy kooky sex cult out of NAZI Germany. Yeah, they used Crawley’s sex-magik. They never touched kids, though. It wasn’t about the Cheese Pizza for ‘em. But the Chinese Sandwich wasn’t any better.”
We walked into the center of the salon, to a spot where the rug had bulged. Removed, we saw what it was. A circle had been drilled into the wood and plugged by plate like a manhole.
Mortaren lodged the crowbar into the crack at the circumference of the plate.
“You’ll never get it until you see it from their perspective. Twisted as it is. You gotta see it through their eyes. The game exists to re-create the ritual - to recreate the ritual and make you part of it. Simply by watching it, by playing it, you get tainted and that by itself makes you part of it. Damn it.” He tapped the crowbar to the plate that refused to budge. “Haven’t I tried? It’s not enough, is it? Am I too old, at the end? The server.... It’s at the end of the shaft, a hundred feet below. I donno how it’s powered. Maybe it’s geothermal? I donno. It’s there, idling, watching and waiting for a signal to awaken. It’s what sustains the game and the spreads the ritual. It’s the heart of the beast.”
###
Cheese Pizza and Chinese Sandwich, to those not aware of 4CHAN and its vernacular, is code for ‘Child Pornography’ and ‘Child Snuff’, respectively. ZuZu and LVN used the dog-whistles of their day to advertize the game to a certain clientele. But the cult that bankrolled Blue Beelzebub abhorred the former as it embraced the latter. And the game itself contained tedious 90s shock - glimpses of death and its like - it never showed the goods, so to speak.
The CD contained the augmented DOS the game installed as well as a thorough, documented unraveling of the game itself. Mortaren’s fan discovered and saved BMPs and AVIs that had been embedded into the code. I slipped that CD into a drive and scanned its contents with my virus and malware checkers. Not a single program detected a problem. Given the sizes of the files, though, I found it disconcerting that my checkers took minutes to complete.
Mortaren’s fan had placed their deconstruction of the game’s executable into a ZIP folder. The majority of it consisted of code that they converted from binary to ML to C. It was fascinating to gawk as the code which appeared so professional. Yet, as C was not a strength of mine, I found it vague and cryptic overall.
I dug into the multi-media directory and extracted images and clips that had been stored there. Saved to my laptop, I selected the largest AVI and played it. That film, whose sights and sounds were equally vivid and jittery, oozed the impression of an 8 mm production. It had been subbed in German and I (mostly) followed it.
Mortaren got it right - the clip had been filmed at the house by US-350, specifically, at its salon. I paused to check the layout and compare it to my notes of how I found the furniture and the other, macabre ancillary. Amazingly, decades after the fact, everything matched.
###
The clip itself comprised a continuous stream formed of what had to have been a sequence of shorter segments:
1irst Segment:
At a couch sit three women - an older, frailer matron flanked by younger versions of herself. They chat with the cameraman (I assume).
2econd Segment:
The matron walks out of the frame and the cameraman pans to the opposite side of the salon where a man approaches the couch. The man is dressed in a style similar to that of Crowley’s regalia - decked head to toe with shades of violet and onyx. The magik-man approaches the couch with the women and offers them leis that they take and wear.
3hird Segment:
The matron reappears, followed by a pair of Amazonian-like natives - they were naked but their bodies were painted. The lei’ed women at the couch rise as the matron introduces them to the natives. It’s at that juncture that the cameraman reveals the women, too, have been painted. Neither men’s or women’s paints are native-like; rather, the runes are straight out of Thelema.
4ourth Segment:
The magik-man sits at the rug between a pair of circumscribed pentagrams. The magik-man lights a roll of sage (?) - the lack definition masks the identity of the object. Smoke billows out of it as he waves it over the pentagrams. The matron sets lights and sets six candles - three to the left and three to the right of the magik-man.
5ifth Segment:
The cameraman drifts down and to the left, down and to the left, down and to the left, to reveal the orgy. Painted men and women are paired and writhe about the pentagrams. The males lay with their backs to the floor and their heads crowned by the candles. The females lay atop the males. Their limbs intertwine. Their bodies contort. All to the rhythm of the magik-man beats into a drum.
6ixth Segment:
The matron, naked and painted, sits in front of the magik-man and extends a chalice.
7eventh Segment:
The magik-man pours the content of the chalice onto a loaf of bread. The cameraman zooms into that bread - it is shaped like a baby. At that instant the hands of the males and the females, their paint smeared and mingled post-orgy, reach onto the bread and yank it into four-quarters. They eat the bread.
8ighth Segment:
The magik and camera men remain at the salon; it’s night, it’s lit by torches.
They peel away the rug and reveal a circular portal into a shaft.
For a while the magik-man speaks to the cameraman. Subtitles state: “we consecrate the well - are you ready to see it again - to see it as it is enlivened by the spirit of [REDACTED] spurred by the ritual - are you ready - do you think you are ready”, then, “it looks like a hundred feet”, then, “as if a hundred feet were enough”.
9inth Segment:
The bulk of the video consists of the exploration of the mine at the base of the shaft. The magik-man takes turns, sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, always speaking although the German is not translated throughout this segment.
The pair reaches a part of the maze that collapsed. Although their posture is merely suggested by the aim of the camera, the pause and the silence that follows indicate that they are not ready for the obstacle and so struggle to clear a way through it. The viewer notes by the appearance of their hand that the cameraman is at last captured by their own footage.
The pair works through the collapse and discovers a vast, circular chamber.
The chamber is lit, awash by an eerie, hazy blue light. A crack crazes across the chamber. The light filters through that crack. The cameraman savors the chamber - it’s adorned like the salon; it’s a site where the cult practices its rituals. The cameraman sweeps toward the crack, prompted by a sound that startles the magik-man.
The cameraman zooms into the crack - it’s like a well, filled to the brim with water. It’s almost like an abyss, it sinks on and on hundreds if not thousands of feet; the limitations imposed by the film and the pixilation cannot do the reality any justice.
The water is upsettingly transparent through and through - and straight into the blur of light at whereever its bottom lay.
As the magik-man speaks off-screen and the cameraman continues their zoom, it’s apparent that there are things, things of a sort not floating but swimming through the water.
I scream as the view jostles - it is not a jump or a cut, though, it is the cameraman’s shake. Whoever it is that films that site, they had been startled by movement elsewhere. As the camera’s view twists to the side, it pans by where the magik-man stands and captures a glimpse, just, a glimpse of something that had been standing at the other side of the chasm right as it jumps into the water.
###
The house off US-350 loomed abandoned in appearance only. Nobody occupied it since the 70s; however, it was not derelict. County records verified that its owners - Ache Industrias, SA - paid its taxes year after year. Ache Industrias, named for a tribe of South American natives, was a company from Paraguay famous for its advances (and patents) re: GMOs. They were a partner to Monsanto but not as known outside of agriculture. Ache Industrias owned that house and the farms that engulfed it; a total of 500 acres.
BM: “Word is that the company wants to use this land for research.
“A lobby out of Denver, that represents a lot of cattlemen, filed a lawsuit working its way into the Supreme Court at this rate.” Farmers and ranchers who would be, effectively, neighbors, sharing their grazing rights of the nearby Comanche Grasslands objected to the idea, fearing the consequences to their business if their livestock mixed with the GMO livestock.
“Meanwhile the acreage isn’t dormant; it’s rented and reaps a lot of profit from royalties.”
Ache Industrias wasn’t the first owners, or, as it should be stated, wasn’t the first incarnation of the first owners.
BM: “An occultist, Straniak, was its proprietor of record according to my contacts from Brazil.”
Straniak, in partnership with two other expatriated Germans, formed a company c. 1930 then known as Straniak-West. Although the exact nature of Straniak-West wasn’t advertised, it’s suspected that they profited from the Chaco War and the partners became wealthy in spite of the Great Depression (which had been a world-wide phenomenon). As Europe verged into WWII, Straniak-West changed its moniker to Ache Industrias c. 1940. Around the tail end of 1941 the partners bought a thousand acres around the La Junta area; about half of the original estate was shed through the years.
BM: “Straniak and cohorts summered at their Colorado estate. Right up until they started to rent the land, the house had been the estates only, permanent structure. They used its solitude to mask their rituals.”
The cult / company was especially fond of that house and guarded its secrets.
Mortaren, as an aficionado of the occult, a passion that spurred him to review games of that genre, became aware of Aleister Crowley and the Thules, chieftains of bizarro early 20th mysticism, strands of which wormed their way into the works of Lovecraft, Blackwood, and a slew of other writers.
Straniak, and allies, German mystics intimately linked to the Thules, “a society with their own weird take on Aryanism” whose forays into sex-magik, blood-magik, and sacrifices made them too extreme even for the NAZIs.
“He fled to South America before Hitler, if you believe that sort of stuff.”
The house wasn’t built by Straniak and Co, though. It already existed by the time they hired a crew to survey their property c. 1933.
That area of Colorado had see-sawed between Spain and France before it was ceded to the US after the Mexican-American. Records from two centuries ago were hard to come by. Historians were reduced to combing through diaries and correspondences, however, the ephemera revealed a portion of history that otherwise had been lost.
The house used to be part of a hacienda granted to a patron of great wealth. Disagreements arose re: their identity as the sources used to piecemeal the history were themselves uncertain if the figure was American / English or French. Nevertheless, they built an extensive estate c. 1792. The house used to be larger; an earthquake c. 1820 reduced it more or less to the dimensions that Straniak & Co. found it.
What probably enticed the occultist crew was what legends claimed had been revealed after the earthquake. Namely - that the house had been erected over a mine from prehistory. The earthquake, as it leveled the house, revealed a shaft into that mine – which so happened to contain gold. Tthe patron used its revenue to rebuild the house - albeit to modest proportions - with the novelty that the house hid or capped the entrance into the mine.
BM: “The cavity underfoot itself isn’t the end-all and be-all. The cult was attracted to something else, something else not connected to wealth. Is it a portal into another realm? I donno what but it called to them and they poured resources into it.
“They recorded all of their rituals; the climax of which, which became Blue Beelzebub, if my timeline’s correct, matches an earthquake in 1983. It wasn’t much of an earthquake but it explains part of the video. It ripped a gash through the system. The server’s got to be inside that chasm, drawing power from geothermal. A system designed to work for ages without intervention while their poison spreads through the internet. Ah, but it won’t be there for long, I promise you.”
Night cloaked the house as we descended its rickety, tilted staircase. It felt as if the structure somehow, someway gained a sort of sentience after decades of mysticism echoed through its confines. I fancied it understood Mortaren’s intentions and shook at the foreknowledge.
If it goes, won’t that destroy the evidence? What about the crimes they committed? Won’t they go unpunished?
BM: “Altruism, don’t deny it, kiddo.”
My erstwhile host was adamant about their business and refuted my pleas to reason otherwise.
By destroying the house, they claimed, they would be saving lives, lives yet to be taken.
BM: “Kiddo, you’re talking about people, people who will never be punished never, never, never be punished for anything. Blue Beelzebub, it’s just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. And you know it. It’s always like that. They regroup and reorganize. But they took me down. And I’m gonna take this much, this much if anything away from them. Mark my words, they’ll imagine another way to entrap kids and spread their filth. And that’s where you and those like you continue what I start tonight.”
###
A stark midnight moon loomed to the south west over the jagged peaks of the Sangre De Cristos. There wasn’t a cloud to mar the sky. Crisp, summery wind stirred a floral scent about the air, then it faded, driven away to the ether by a tide of gasoline then of a char / smoke. I drove by the orchard where I noted how the orange escaped the house. It almost looked like a face, a skeletal face, buried into the junipers. I waved. Maybe the gesture was or wasn’t returned. I didn’t stay.
That was the last I saw of Bobby Mortaren.
I dismantled the laptops’ HDDs; I scraped the platters then I applied a welder’s torch to them, fusing them, melting them, obliterating any trace what so ever of the data they contained. Later I shredded the floppies and the CD and the papers. For all I knew those may have been the last, extant copies of Blue Beelzebub.
My paying job resumed its malaise although I noted that my contacts with the FBI waned. Then my editors shuffled my workload. Cases I had been assigned to were re-directed elsewhere. Leads dried. I was shunned more and more. I could not help but recognize a familiarity to the pattern - to the way I was being isolated and overshadowed. I tried to squash the paranoia that may have transferred to me as I entertained the notion of starting yet another career.
Little had been reported about the explosion south of Timpas that night.
I eked out a single article about the decline and fall of bitcoin. After that I put my thoughts together to form this record of my dealings with Blue Beelzebub. Partly to settle the history of it - as much of it as I understood. Partly to form a defense. I wanted to be transparent; there’s such scant cover for journalists nowadays.
Earlier I received a call from a woman, a former FBI agent who claimed they owed me a favor.
They warned that “I had been flagged by an anti-virus software vendor that works with the government”. Apparently, the anti-virus / malware scan had detected a rare item and reported it to the vendor’s server for analysis. That’s how the NSA discovered “the executable” with “embedded content” that “raised eyebrows”. It wasn’t just the government that started to investigate Blue Beelzebub, they continued, “a third party, a cryptic South American outfit”, long suspected of trafficking and exploiting minors, “sparked a lot of chatter across the deep-web about you. You got enemies, son, lots and lots of enemies.”
I didn’t know of any FBI agent, current and / or former who “owed me a favor”. I stated that in fact I had received a couple of floppies from a source familiar with the game. Naturally, I scanned the media. “I couldn’t get the program to work properly. It needs DOS and there aren’t too many PCs like it anymore. I destroyed all of that ‘cause it gave me the creeps.”
It wasn’t entirely a lie.
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Markets and Price-Setting: Thoughts on information, created goods and services, fixed-supply commodities, financial instruments, and other market values behave

I've been reflecting on Paul Mason's Postcapitalism, particularly as concerns what he identifies as a hum-dinger of information goods: Information goods destroy the price formation mechanism based on scarcity.
That's one of a few cases in which markets as price-setting mechanisms fail, or are subject to very high degrees of ambiguity.
Four particular instances come to mind:
Each poses specific failures to usefully set a market price that corresponds to the true costs of production.
What I'm posing here is more an exploration of aspects I've found, and still find, contradictory. I'm not claiming to have final answers, though I'm starting to land a few good leads.

On "natural prices"

While much lay discussion of economics holds that the market price is the fair price for a good or service, the question of what a "natural" or "fair" price has occupied a great deal of economic thought and discussion since the time of the Greeks. Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations proposed a definition which remains close to what's commonly accepted today -- a total cost of inputs, plus normal profits:
When the price of any commodity is neither more nor less than what is sufficient to pay the rent of the land, the wages of the labour, and the profits of the stock employed in raising, preparing, and bringing it to market, according to their natural rates, the commodity is then sold for what may be called its natural price.
The cases I'm considering here all violate this in one way or another. This is troubling as they're increasingly key to economic activity.

Information Goods

Information wants to be free.
-- John Perry Barlow
In an efficient market, quality information is consistently undervalued.
In this case: fixed costs of production are high, but marginal costs of production are low. It takes a lot of time and research to create a quality book, a piece of music, software, news reporting, pharmaceutical, chemical process, etc., but once developed the costs of manufacture are far, far less, effectively zero in many cases.
That's one fundamental contradiction of the "knowledge economy".
There's the further problem of Gresham's law as applied to information: cheap, low-quality information tends to drive out high-value, but expensive-to-produce information. Ask anyone in the news, broadcast, or publishing industries.

Extant Goods

There are good cars and bad cars (which in America are known as "lemons").
-- George Akerloff, "The Market for Lemons"
This is the second-hand market -- goods which are re-sold by an initial buyer, after initial purchase. Flea markets, swaps, Craigslist, consignment stores. And antique shops and auctions.
The fundamental characteristic of each of these is that the good already exists. There is no production function. Price, instead, is effectively a motivator -- what does it take to convince the holder of a good to part with it?
There's a Spanish folk saying I've only recently learned, its English translation "Buy from desperate people, and sell to newlyweds." In both cases, the supply and demand curves are shifted to the advantage of the middleman buying in the first instance and selling in the second.
In some cases, there's an alternative to buying used: you can buy a new item or make one yourself. For many utilitarian goods (clothing, furniture, children's toys, used books or records), the second-hand market offers considerable savings over new or self-made.
Keepsakes and mementos have highly asymmetric valuations: the holder usually ascribes a high sentimental value, while others may view the item as little more than clutter or "old junk". In this case it's typically unlikely for the piece to be sold -- the holder's valuation is higher than any potential buyer's, unless the former is desperate.
Antiquities or fine arts, as opposed to personal mementos and keepsakes with high sentimental value pose a different situation: if it is the specific item in question and not a functionally equivalent replacement that is sought, then there is no ascribable production cost. You cannot make a "new" original Rembrandt, or Picasso, or Ming Dynasty vase, or piece of ancient Egyptian art. Price of such goods is entirely dependent on the demand for such products. It calls into question the entire concept of what a "natural price" of such a good is.
This case is actually the genesis for this essay -- the example I had in mind was of a Stradivarius violin -- there are about 650 left in the world, largely manufactured between 1680 and 1700, and present market values range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
This despite notable failures for blind listening tests to distinguish or prefer Strads over other instruments. While modern mass-produced violins can be had for as little as £80 new, more expensive hand-crafted instruments comparable in tonal quality to a Strad fetch about £15,000. That's still a considerable discount on the Strad -- by a factor of 200.
The embodied labor?
It takes around 120 hours to make a violin, 150 hours for a viola and 300 hours for a cello.
That's an all-in £125/hr cost of labor, assuming labor is the principle input.
Similarly, nearly indistinguishable art forgeries are fairly common, there's the case of "Jefferson's Bottles", literally an instance of new wine in old bottles. Or forgeries of antiques, antiquities, and the like.
In all cases, the immediate quality of the forgeries is quite difficult to tell, though dating of materials by radioisotopic means usually manages to distinguish them. What's changed is the perception. What marketers call "selling the story".
Or, quite bluntly: changing the demand curve for a product.
Extant products fall into two general categories:
And finally, extant goods have the "lemon" problem, and in fact, in the form of the used-car market, are the basis for George Akerloff's "The Market for Lemons" paper noted in the epigraph for this section.
In the case of established goods (e.g., antiquities and fine arts), the asymmetry detailed by Akerloff tends to be minimized. In the case of certain complex goods: automobiles and electronics certainly come to mind, concerns on the part of the buyer over the serviceability of the good in question tends to 1) keep prices depressed and 2) limit the number of quality items actually offered to market -- the seller knows that it will be unlikely to recapture the true value of a quality item.

Financial/Investment Assets

Because that's where the money is.
-- Willie Sutton, on why he robbed banks.
Here, you've almost the inverse situation of information goods: marginal cost of production is exceptionally high - - there's either a workfactor cost, or simply a finite supply (for numerous reasons, to be explored more). Will Rogers on land: they're not making it anymore. The asset value of precious metals is that their supply is (theoretically) constrained by the high costs of mining. Bitcoin is similar.
But the intrinsic utility of the good is close to nil. A dollar bill has little intrinsic value, or, if you prefer, a $100 dollar bill. It's a piece of paper, ink, and anti-copyright features. The production cost is a factor of regulatory limits on production. Gold and silver have some utility, but this is generally less than is reflected in its exchange value. Diamonds are a case of induced scarcity, though with a few other twists which tends to inflate the retail value while affording virtually no resale value.
The added value by virtue of being money is referred to as seigniorage:
the difference between the value of money and the cost to produce and distribute it.
What's key is the "story": not all rare things are valuable, but all valuable things are rare. The key to creating a market for a given asset class is to convince people that other people are convinced of the value. It's a bit of a circular definition.
Some assets have value ascribed to them. I've previously discussed what gives money value, in particular the United States Dollar. There are five key aspects:
Several of these elements are recognized as well by Modern Monetary Theory which I'm coming to like.

Real Estate

Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff.
-- Will Rogers
Other asset classes are real, in the sense that they're tangible, with real estate being a classic example. In Smith's time, the value of land was largely based on the produce one could derive from it: crops, lumber, cattle, fish. Perhaps wind or water power. In urban economics one learns that the value of housing (whether rented or sold) is based on the earning potential and travel time associated with it -- generally housing costs fall as one moves further from an urban center.
But a secondary factor of housing is as an investment, though as many critics has pointed out, the long-term performance isn't particularly good, the carrying costs are high, the asset can be highly illiquid (especially when it's carrying a mortgage valued more highly than the property itself). In some areas title may be difficult to establish -- Hernando de Soto and Niall Ferguson discuss this in their respective books The Mystery of Capital and The Ascent of Money in the context of South America, and the resulting difficulties and alternative conventions.
One interesting conclusion is that surplus profits of labor (or of business) tend to be subsumed by increasing housing (or office / store-space) costs.

Extractive Goods

These are also consistently undervalued.
Any resource that's being extracted or consumed at rates greater than its replenishment is effectively an extractive good. The typical examples are minerals and mining, and fossil fuels, but this can include other and nominally renewable resources: topsoil, freshwater, groundwater, rhinoceros horn, timber, topsoil, fisheries....
The market price is set by the access price: how much effort it takes to extract the resource, but not a depletion allowance for the fact that the removed unit(s) will not be restored. The latter is a suggestion of many authors, including Herman Daly.
It's interesting to note cases of societies which were formerly based on extractive technologies which have run through the entire resource and have lost their former wealth. A classic instance is the island nation of Nauru, briefly the wealthiest nation on a per-capita income basis during the 1980s due to deposits of phosphate rock -- bird guano -- valuable as fertilizer. Its 9,000 inhabitants on 21 km2 now rely on revenues for running a detention center for the Australian government. It's also served as a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals.
The export land model of Jeffrey Brown describes the dynamics of oil exporting nations as domestic consumption rises to exceed total extraction capacity. Some analysis of the Arab Spring revolves around falling oil extraction in Egypt, Syria, and Libya as contributory causes, though a prolonged drought in Syria has also been mentioned.
Cataloging a list of other nations formerly based on exported natural resource wealth could prove illuminating.

Overconsumption of Luxury Goods

As a counterpoint, there are products obtained unsustainably for which the market price is high (though possibly still undervalued). Rhinoceros horn would be an example, whale meat, and tropical hardwoods others. Often within what's a globally small market -- rhino horn is largely valued in south-east Asia and China, whale meat in Japan -- there's a significant social signaling status (Veblen good) for the product. Paradoxically, price is itself a signifier of signaling value, and total quantity demanded, while in excess of replenishment factor, is such that increasing the cost of the good doesn't reduce overall demand (or at least not sufficiently to avoid exhaustion or extinction of the source).
Arguably the price is still too low (there should be an extinction/exhaustion premium), but even with increasing prices due to scarcity, the market response is not rational. Moreover, the value ascribed these goods isn't intrinsic to their practical application but to social signalling status. That is: a cheaper replacement would be inferior simply on the basis that it's cheaper, and hence, a weaker signal.

Information vs. Assets

The most striking aspect of Mason's Postcapitalism lecture is his juxtaposition of information goods, in which scarcity drives prices to zero, and of financial assets, in which an ascribed value increases the worth of an asset above its intrinsic value.
But more critically:
The key contradiction in modern capitalism is in this emerging contradiction between free socially produced abundant [information] goods, and a system of monopolies, banks, and governments who are forced, in order to survive, to behave desperately to maintain this information asymmetry.
That is: Facebook or other service providers retaining proprietary control, and often, secrecy, over their APIs. There's an intrinsic fight between the network, information goods, and the hierarchy, proprietary and material goods.
I further see the need for the financial system to see ever further growth, and interest payments, which a largely information-based economy is unlikely to provide.

In summary ...

I don't want to title this section "conclusions" because, generally, I'm far from them. I do hope this proves useful (and not too personally embarrassing to me) for further discussion / exploration on where and how value is ascribed and attributed.
submitted by dredmorbius to dredmorbius [link] [comments]

[Table] IamA Manager of a sex shop/adult boutique! AMA!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-12-01
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
Thank you! I'd absolutely come to you for my next purchase, but 3000 miles is just a tiiiny bit too far. I'm officially a fan of yours now though! Thank you! Get in line! :P Everyone loves me!
That is the number one reason I enjoy getting my toys at my local shop. Nothing beats a helping hand and a few tips here and there. "Helping hand" :P.
I've taken a number, don't worry. Lol. <3 Feel free to contact me if you ever have any quesitons! My main username is somewhere in this post.
What do your friends and family think about your occupation? Do you often see the cliche creepy customers? My friends and family always look down about it, but who cares. They dont pay my bills or put food on my table. Plus, im working towards ownership. So yea. They can bite it :P.
Care to answer the second question please? :D. Sorry friend.
As far as cliche creepers? Yes. Theres a bunch of them, but there are also a bunch of regular customers. Id say 70/30 Normal/Creepy ratio. A lot of people are discouraged of coming in because they think its full of creepers waiting at the door for them to come in so they can be mauled by perv vision lol. Its not as bad as people make it seem. Usually the creepers are LGBT and are looking for other LGBT. Single women usually are not on the checklist for who to hunt down lmao.
How did you end up in your current career? I mean, it's not like you said when you were 13 "I want to work in a sex shop!" ( or did you? ) I personally have been on my own since I was 16, so ive jumped jobs ALOT for obvious reasons. This is my 22nd job in the past 10 years. I got this job (as previously answered) from a friend who asked if I needed a job, I said yes. Done.
Also, what kind of experience do you need for this type of work? I am personally a great salesman. I have a lot of knowledge about relationships and sex. I just needed to come in and up my knowledge on toys. I am a very good people person and have a great judge of character. Its really easy for me to take nervous and embarrassed people and turn them into "FUCK YEA THIS STORE IS AWESOME" and have them tell me their life story (not always wanted).
What has been the funniest question a customer has asked? Lets see, funniest...It's kind of hard. I look at things differently. For example, there have been a handful of women aged 25-35 that don't know how to stimulate their clit or gspot. I had to show a woman on a doll exactly where her clit was and what it does. Some people find this funny, but I find it...I dunno...not funny. Its educational. Poor thing didnt know how to get off.
If I had to choose one...its probably the creepers who come in and ask me if I know of any prostitutes. Even if I did, who the hell says "yea man, heres a number to call".
It's kind of hard. Ha. I see what you did there.
It was you. ;) Hey also, as I read through I saw something about Powerzens. How many come in a pack of them, and how much are they? I'm sure I could google it, but you need more karma. Lol. One pill is 20 bucks for the extremes. (2000mg) and about 15 for the Golds. (1500mg). Everything is one pill, lasts about 3-4 days. Advertised as 5.
That's not bad, if it works as well as you described. Do you recommend? For sure. Once you try one, you will be hooked.
I feel bad for wasting your time by asking all these silly questions... but, what exactly does it do? What IS male enhancement? Lol. Makes you harder, gets your blood pumping, but the biggest kicker is the recovery time. Once you finish, you are right back up again. Then you finish again...Right back up for some more. The cycle continues for days.
I would imagine your sexy time threshold is very high, being surrounded by sex all the time. Do you feel like you need more stimulation to get turned on? Yes. Its a bit tough when it comes to vanilla sex. I can honestly admit that if it isnt interesting enough, I more than likely go limp in the middle of it, which is a bit of a problem.
Interesting. What have you done to try to mitigate the problem? Find women that arent vanilla when it comes to sex :P Im more of a bdsm kind of guy anyway.
I totally thought you were a chick. Now a lot of your responses make a lot more sense. I'll have to look for you on fetlife. I don't have a fetlife account. Was totally thinking of it though.
Also, what made me seem like I was a chic? :P.
Easier said than done. Im glad me and the wife clicked with that situation lol. Indeed easier said than done. Which is why im single! :P Im glad that worked out for you!
Single dude that is into bdsm that WORKS at a sex shop and you aren't on fetlife??? Come on son! Your opening line is "I can get you cheap sex toys" BAM! Instant blowjob. Works 90% of the time a 100% of the time. Lol. Nice.
Standard retail shit, right? Easy. Been doing that for... far to fucking long. I'm not following. Regarding what? Im trying to imply his first question and your statement. You mean "Hire people just like you would for standard retail." ? Or maybe "Sounds like the job contains standard retail shit, which is easy". Im having a hard time.
Do you get discounts on the items that you sell? What have your past/current significant other thought about your job? I do get a discount. Can't really go on about how much :P.
Previous SO was pretty jealous of my job and she left. I am currently single because every woman I come across thinks its hot, wants a fling, but cant actually be with someone who does this for a living. Too many jealousy problems.
I am so sorry to hear that! I don't see the big issue for you doing that as a living. I would think it is a bigger perk than anything! I'm not a jealous person, so I'm a bit confused. What jealousy issues arise? "You hit on girls all the time"...Its my job. "You get hit on all the time"...Same as getting hit on in the street? "You look at all the girls that come in there because you know they are freaks"...Uhh?
I can relate to that some what I used to bouncer and body guard strippers at one point, I looked at them like clients and money on the table and my ex saw it as an opertunaty for me to cheat due to it being a sex entertainment field... Le sigh. ^ This. All I see that walks through that door is a big dollar sign. Once in a while we get a girl who just knocked the breath out of your body, but picking girls up in here is near impossible.
They are either: 1) Getting a toy, which they dont need you at all for. 2) Picking up something for her and her SO, which she doesnt need you for.
The only time you really "pick up" a girl is when they come in, look around, decide they are broke and slip you their number or hit on you.
How silly. It's quite a shame. If my husband worked at an adult shop, I would just want to know his funniest stories of the night and the weirdest combo of things he sold. (or at least something along those lines). I hope you find someone who doesn't care where you work! =) Help me find her! Ill give you a discount! :P.
Do you ever get people coming into the shop that yell at you or chew you out for working in an "immoral" profession or any BS like that? Conservatives saying the shop shouldn't exist? Protestors? Nope, never.
Also do you have to deal with rude customers like other retail? Any notable examples? Rude customers are just every day retail customers. Nobody is particular. Nothing sex or toy related. Maybe a couple of women who try to chew me out for thinking that I know what feels good for them better than they do. (Im usually right, since they are inexperienced and coming to me for help to begin with. Dont know why they fight it so much.)
Where is the Store located? I know in some parts of the states this can be a big issue... Connecticut.
Where in CT? Eh...Southwestern. Lol.
Ever have anybody ask you for beastiality stuff? Yes, but in my state its illegal, so I direct them to New York.
You should probably send them to Bad Dragon instead. Don't know what that is and I don't think I want to know :P.
It's not illegal in NY? Videos. No.
tilts head Never heard of videos being legal here in NY... TIL. Last I recall, purchasing bestiality videos in particular is legal. Which is why I send my customers there.
Me: "Unfortunantly, that item you are trying to return was already returned once, so we dont take things back twice." Customer: "Thats fucking disgusting, you sold me something that was...oh. Right. I see" Me: "Have a good day". That's very clever. Did you come up with that? Yes. I will indeed take all the credit for that one.
Most interesting story? To be completely honest, that's way too vague to answer. There are countless number of interesting stories that happen. As you can imagine. Getting hit on multiple times by guys, girls, couples. Lesbians coming in and trying to rattle the cages after I tell them that "Nothing surprises me anymore". (They started making out and moaning in front of me and left pissed when I didnt give them what they were looking for.) Tons of stuff.
Ever had to call the cops? Why? Yes. Had a couple of hoodlum kids come in here and cause a scene. They got upset because I asked them to leave after they made the rest of the customers feel uncomfortable. They would point and laugh at things and go "lololol look its a vagina lololol". Once I kicked them out, they started shouting death threats and calling the store non-stop. We close at midnight. One of the girls that works here was scared, so I made sure she was safe.
Lesbians making out and moaning left pissed? wha twere they looking for? why were they pissed whe nthey did that infront of you? They did it in front of me to try to get me...worked up. They were pissed because I wasnt effected at all. Im surrounded by sex, talk about sex and am very sexually active. They are used to making out or showing off in front of regular guys and have the guys be all over them. Not me. I just kept playing on my phone and told them to try harder. Lol.
Kids are allowed in the store? Jeez. Can they purchase products? I was just wondering... It's for my girlfriend I swear. "Kids" being 19-20 Legal policy is anyone 18 and up. Store policy is 21 and up, but its bendable. If I have a 19 year old couple that are mature enough to actually walk in and discuss the needs and wants and not be a child about it, no problem.
I imagine that's a bit like pointing a hair dryer at someone in a sauna. They can feel it, it just doesn't matter. Pretty much nailed it with that statement.
How many people have you caught "testing" out products? Absolutely none. We keep a close eye on that kind of stuff.
I've been trying to talk a friend of mine into opening a sex shop. Any advice for her? Any cool avenues sex shops aren't, but could/should be, pursuing? It's really tough to fight the internet. I honestly wouldn't do it. Unless you have some amazing plan to fight the internet with, then you won't make much money. Retail in general is dying a very painful death to internet prices, which only causes them to jack their prices even more to put themselves deeper.
Ah, yes. We gotta do what we gotta do. What does your username mean? Does it relate to your work? Or is it a toy? I tried to make this AMA on my main account seeekay but it wouldnt let me :( So i made a new one. Also, Seekay is just a nickname IRL. As well as my online handle in mostly...everything. :P.
Have you ever used any of your own products? Yes, I mainly use some of the pills from time to time since they are awesome. (Powerzens, make sure you get a real one and not a ripoff). I usually test out all the new stuff that we get ahead of time. Reps try to push product on us and the first thing I say is send me a tester and we'll talk.
What do they do? Powerzen makes men fuck like gods. No bullshit.
These actually work? And any brands or things I should look for when trying it? Make sure its real. Coloring on the package is pure. The date is on the top right corner of the back. And you see the "Pld" logo in the front. Make sure the image of the woman on the front is crisp and not blurred.
I just googled this to know what it is and this is the top website, I trust you, but this is really funny : Link to www.herbsexenhancement.com. Thats it. But the extremes at my shop (2000mg) Usually run 20 bucks. Anything more than that and you are getting ripped off. Anything that is way cheaper is most likely a fake. Dont buy any online because you cant check the authenticity before hand.
Also anything comparable for women?? I have a crappy sex drive. Comparable for women, i believe i answered this. Try sex shots (liquid) ive been told they work by plenty of women. If not, try spanish fly (liquid or pills) and then you've got max desire and viva herbal.
Agreed. That's how I got him into one once before! Nice! :)
Is it blatantly obvious when people are coming in for the first time, and is there anything you do to try and help them relax? First I give them time. Once they start whispering to each other, I usually start with "You should ask the guy who works here!" for an ice breaker. Then they are either super shy or just ask. Based on what happens, I either joke with them and open them up through laughter or get very professional with them and open them up through the "you can ask me, im a professional" lol.
How many customers is there daily? Per week\month? What about the profits of the shop? Any legal issues? Its hard to put a number on that. Everyday is different, usually in the week (Mon-Thurs) There can be 3 customers a day or 20. Its really random. On the weekend is when we get busier. Usually around...I dunno...I'd say about 20-40 customers a shift. It is starting to kick up due to christmas and holidays. Both for the lonely people and the couples.
I cant go into exact profit details, but the average transaction is about 40 dollars. Some people are cheap and come in looking for what they can get for 5 bucks and some people come in and blow 200-400 in one sitting. Like I said, its -really- hard to gauge.
Legal issues: Nope. We have to be careful when it comes to poppers. (Use google) Other than that, we just have to be careful with window advertisement. (We blacked out the whole store, thats how we deal with that) :P.
Is it even possible to buy something for 5 bucks lol? Hardly. We've got like...sample pills and sample lubes for 2-5 bucks. Thats about it...
Also would like to ask a few more questions: the shop is 24\7? If yes, how are the sales at night? How many people own\work at that place? It's a part of someone's sex empire or just a small local store? And the last one, funny question: do you have to deal with horny teenagers? You know, like asking them to leave the moment they walked into the store? Thanks. Sales in the day are mostly older gentleman with videos. When it gets dark, thats when people deal more with the toy side. Then really late, around midnight, its a toss up. 3 Employees total, including me. One owner. Owner used to own 7 stores, after the economy got bad, he now has just this one.
I deal with immature teens all the time. I simple ask them to leave. If they ask why, I tell them they have to be 21 and up. They throw the "No, its 18 and up". I reply with "No, its what I say it is".
What is your favorite part of the job, the thing that keeps you coming back? The coversations. The connection. I am a people person. I build rapport. When those customers come in and tell me that everything I told them made them a better husband/wife/lovewhatever, it really gets me going. Im all about teaching and learning the ways of relationships and sex.
What's the kinkiest toy you sell? Link to www.amazon.com
In my eyes anyway. Either that or the straight jacket from fetish. Or maybe the dick rambone 14 1/2 inch dildo...theres a lot to choose from :P.
Link to imgur.com I'll just leave this here. Nice.
What is your finest, most expensive sounding dildo? Seriously sounding? No clue.
Seriously expensive? We used to carry the lelo brand. Once it started to collect dust because nobody wanted to spend 150-200 dollars on a vibrator, we got rid of it. We just picked up Picobong. Lelo makes it, lower end toy, but still up there. Think of a mercedes. Lelo being an S class, Picobong being a C class.
I never knew lelo made picobong. You've given me a bit more to research... Picobong = lelo without being rechargeable. Its battery operated. Same everything else.
Weirdest customer off of the top of your head? Jesse. That guy is weird as shit. He will literally buy the same two toys on the same day of the week, every week like clockwork. He buys a bullet and high intensity massage toy. He never remembers that he bought it and while hes "looking around" he is constantly talking to himself. He walks fast into the store and runs out. Hes nice, just weird.
Some times pornstars will film a small thing in these shops. has that ever happened in yours? Never anything filmed in our store, but we had a couple porn stars come in here and sign our wall and stuff. Maybe Ill get a picture for you guys.
What would you say is your best selling product? Also, can you send me a toy? ;P. Someone asked this question. Answered. And maybe :P.
Well if you're just giving out toys, may I please have one? I don't care what it is, I will find a use for it. :) I was just joking..
Do you except Bitcoin? I wish we accepted it. I personally do :P.
What is the male to female customer ratio visiting your store and buying your products? Its really mixed. One day Ill get nothing but guys, the next nothing but women.
Overall, id have to say about 60/40 Men/Women.
What is your most popular product among men? Women? Or even both? Welcome to the realm of asking the same question that every person asks me as soon as they walk through the door. :P.
Its absolutely situational. Everyone comes in for different things. Its -really- hard to put any type of "guesstimation" of the "most sold" product. There are tons of "fads" and "flavor of the month"s as well. Its really hard to judge.
Some things that sell on a consistent basis no matter what?
Women: Pocket rockets (cheaper versions), Doc Johnson Realistic Cocks and rabbits mainly.
Men: Dr. Joel Kaplan products, delay spray and penis thickening creams. (This is a whole other topic of "it pisses me off". So many guys compare themselves to porn stars and feel inadequate. Women watch porn and think every guy is hung like one as well. Society sucks balls when it comes to penis length. But hey, it makes money)
Couples: Vibrating cockrings, wevibe products, under the bed restraints.
No offense man but as a manager you should know a lot more numbers.. Its not that hard to keep track of how many customers a day, what sells the most/least.. They are all pretty important stats.. No offense, but I try not to tell everyone what the personal business does as far as profit and numbers go. Which is why I try to answer the question with "rough estimates".
Here's an idea. Give me your address, I'll mail you our ledger.
Hey I'm not trying to be mean. If there was a tv show, lets call it Dildo Rescue, with a successful sex shop owner, lets call him Mr Cox, going around, they would tear you a new one for saying 'guesstimation.' I only bring it up at all because you said you were working to be owner. Cool.
Are there video booths in the back? Do they have glory holes? Yes. And no. Just regular booths.
Is it your job to mop up cum? Nope.
Well you do have booths so I'm wondering what pour soul has to clean them? I personally don't. (Cough) Lackeys.
Anyone ever take a shit in the booths? You know...just cause? No. Someone took a piss in them before though. That pisses everyone off. (Pun intended).
You mentioned pills for guys that actually worked, and how to make sure they were real. Best pills (or gels, etc.) for ladies, and how to make sure they're legit? Spanish fly or sex shots. They dont counterfeit those. They work. Or try max desire.
I'm looking for a bullet with a wireless remote. Do you have any suggestions? I'm so lost on what to look for :/ Price is kind of important but not too important. I just want it to work and to last lol. Try one of the cheaper ones first. I know california exotics makes a cheap purple one. Once you decide you like it, go for a fetish brand. Its wireless panties, but its pretty much a wireless remote bullet put in a panty.
How do you explain that on a date? That I work at a sex shop? I usually tell women I know everything there is to know about relationships, sex, and sex toys. If they are intrigued, I tell them where I work. If they look at me like a pig, then I dont get anywhere :P.
How much does one make in terms of a salary as the manager of such a shop? Not much more than an average salary of any other retail store.
Sell any Tenga products? Unfortunately not. There was a wave, we didnt get on it. The sales for tenga arent all as high as they used to. Also, we tend to try to not to carry what regular stores carry. (Like KY and condoms, where people can go buy at CVS or something.)
Do you ever get turned on at work? Nope. Sad to say.
What caused you to become a manager at a sex shop? I imagine that could be a rather awkward job to apply for. Also, do you ever see anything items being sold in your store that make you think "what the fuck?" Already answered, a couple of times.
How do you guys handle product recalls? We haven't dealt with one yet. Im sure if there was a recall it wouldnt be too much of a problem. We order toys every two weeks, so theres not much backstock.
What's your best sellers and what's the weirdest thing someone's asked for? Already been answered. A bunch of times :P.
Have you ever sold gay porn to a straight couple? No but ive sold gay porn to married men.
Would u rather sit on a duck or sit on a dick? Depends on how your mom feels about it.
Talking to women about what sex toys to use to get them off better. Not giving one fuck when two chicks were making out in front of you. Mainly I just wanted to beweeve! Lol. I guess that makes sense.
Whats your funniest or most audacious attempt at someone trying to return an item. Customer: "I want to return this item" Me: "Im sorry, there are no returns" Customer: "What do you mean no returns? Thats bullshit" Me: "Unfortunantly, that item you are trying to return was already returned once, so we dont take things back twice." Customer: "Thats fucking disgusting, you sold me something that was...oh. Right. I see" Me: "Have a good day".
What were they trying to return, if you don't mind me asking. People try to return all types of things all the time. One guy tried to return 2/3 condoms. He pointed out the one he used he didnt like, so he wanted to return the rest.
What is the weirdest thing that's happened to you while on duty. Id have to say the 300lb jacked up muscle head who walked in with a dress, bra and high heels. It was clearly not a joke. He/she had the voice/face/eyes/vibe of a murderer. I was legitimately scared, but he/she was so nice.
You must have some awkward situations deciding whether to say ma'am or sir.. When those times come. I dont. When they obviously want me to say ma'am. I do. When they want me to say sir, I do. Whatever floats your boat, I could care less what your preference is. As long as you leave my store happy.
That's respectful. I try :)
Couldn't care less. You got me. Funny thing is I usually correct people on that. Thats why I found it twice as humorous.
For some reason, there are a lot of muscleheads who are into crossdressing. I've only seen two in my life. Well, in person.
"Ma it's not a sex shop! It's an adult boutique!" That's actually hilarious. Except it doesn't apply to me :P.
Jesus Christ, I read every single comment on this thread. I just wanted to take the second and thank you for a very educational AMA. Your welcome. I said I would stop at 10pm EST. Its not 4:22am. Gonna answer these last batch of questions and head to bed :P.
I've known a few employee's from different chains of stores, they have told me a story revolving around a robbery attempt thrwarted by being beating up the robber with a large fister or a dildo. Have you ever been in that situation or beaten an employee with a sex toy fight. My go to for sex toy fights are the glass toys. Because once you take those out, everyone is like "hey man, thats not fair" and it ends. Lol.
Sorry if this question is stupid but i can just immagin what it would look like if i were a police officer looking at the video tape of the robbery lol. As far as a stories regarding robberies and stuff like that. Sorry. No.
Have you ever had any complaints about TOKO lube products, me and the wife used it for a while and it actually destroyed some of her toys and caused... injuries. It wasnt a heat up lube or flavored or anything which is odd. Some lubes eat up some toys. For instance, silicone lube eats a lot of toys up. Make sure your toys are labeled as "silicone friendly" or something of the sort. We do not carry TOKO ourselves. As far as "injuries" go, feel free to inbox me so we can get to the bottom of this. If you are talking about rashes or skin problems, you can go for "All Natural" lubes which are a bit more watery/less thick/less lasting but have a lot less ingredients for sensitive skin.
Would u rather sniff a penguin or sit on a frog.. Sniff a penguin, they are so cute.
Hey I just want to say thanks for being understanding and non-judgemental. I've only been to one sex shop, and the lady behind the counter was super helpful to my friend. She was also helpful to me, but I couldn't use any of the lubricant due to allergies. No problem. You make it seem like I did something in particular :P But you should totally use all natural lube. It isnt as thick, its more watery, but it practically has nothing in it. If that fails, use silicone lube. Its really messy, but it literally has bar-none in it.
Wow.. this thread needs a NSFW tag, i looked at 2 pictures and im at work, both with dildos in them.. lol. Im sorry :(
Never anything filmed in our store, but we had a couple porn stars come in here and sign our wall and stuff. Maybe Ill get a picture for you guys. Imgur.com/b0z4oHR.
I think I need a pornstar signature wall in my room... It would be a nice thing to have :P.
Do you sell spice and other stuff like that, if you do have you ever tried it yourself? Im sorry, spice?
You know that fake weed stuff and those "bath salts?" I've seen some of the sex shops sell that kind of stuff? Nope. Thats next door. They sell all that stuff.
Suck a big, black dick or a massive, bulging Asian one? Depends on what your mom prefers.
Last updated: 2013-12-05 23:39 UTC
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Bitcoin Mining In Trouble? Examining the research and FUD

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