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The philosophy of great customer service

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I was honestly surprised that my company, CD Baby, was such a runaway success. But I was even more surprised to find out why.

CD Baby had lots of powerful well-funded competitors, but after a few years they were all but gone, and we dominated our niche of selling independent music. 150,000 musicians, 2 million music-buying customers, $139 million in revenue, $83 million paid directly to musicians.

What was the secret to CD Baby’s success? I never did any marketing. Everyone came by word-of-mouth. But why? I honestly didn’t know.

So whenever I was out talking with my musician clients, I’d ask them. For years, I asked hundreds of clients why they chose CD Baby instead of the alternatives. Or I’d just listen as they’d rave to others nearby about why they loved it.

Was it the pricing? The features? Nope. The #1 answer, by far, almost every time someone raved about the company, was this:

“You pick up the phone! I can reach a real person.”

They called and got a real person on the 2nd ring, instead of an automated call-routing system. Or they emailed and got a surprisingly helpful personal reply, instead of an impersonal scripted FAQ response.

And that was it. Who could have guessed? That despite all efforts put into features, pricing, design, partnerships, and more, clients would choose one company over another mainly because they liked their customer service.

I structured the business to match this priority. Out of 85 employees, 28 people were full-time customer service.

Since then, many entrepreneurs and interviewers have asked for my customer service tips and tricks, but I recently realized it’s not something you can add on top, it’s really a philosophy - a mindset that has to come from the core.

I’m no expert on the subject, but I’ve learned a few things from 16 years of experience, so here are the 6 key mindsets that I think guide great customer service:

(Actually, I prefer the term “client care”, since “client” implies a relationship, instead of “customer”, which is transactional. But I'll use the normal term instead of confusing things by using mine.)

#1: You can afford to be generous

The #1 most important mindset to start with, underlying everything, before engaging in communication with a customer or client, is that your business is secure.

Even if it’s not, you have to feel that it is. Money is coming your way. You are doing well. You are one of the lucky ones. Most are not so fortunate. You can afford to be generous.

All great service comes from this feeling of generosity and abundance.

Think of all the examples of great service you’ve encountered. Free refills of coffee. Letting you use the toilets even if you’re not a customer. Extra milk and sugar if you need it. A rep that spends a whole hour with you to help answer all your naive questions.

Contrast it with all of the bad experiences you’ve had. Not letting you use the toilets without making a purchase. Charging an additional 50 cents for extra sauce. Salespeople who don’t give you a minute of their time because you don’t look like big money yet.

All bad service comes from a mindset of scarcity, feeling like they’ll go out of business if they don’t fiercely guard their bottom line.

They say the reason those in poverty so often stay in poverty is that short-term thinking of desperate survival doesn’t leave room to think of long-term solutions.

If you really feel secure, abundant, that you have plenty to share, then this feeling of generosity will flow down into all of your interactions with customers. Share. Be nice. Give refunds. Take a little loss. You can afford it.

Of course it’s also just smart business. Losing 10 cents on extra sauce can mean winning the loyalty of a customer who will spend $1000 with you over the next 10 years, and tell 20 friends that you’re awesome.

#2: The customer is more important than the company

Think of a time where you had to make a big decision. For example, the choice between a job that pays more money versus another that pays less but gives more freedom.

Do you remember how it felt when you were conflicted between these two choices? Weighing pros and cons, going back and forth?

The way you resolved this was to finally decide which value was more important to you. For example: more money or more freedom.

Most of us don’t decide which value is most important to us until we’re forced to make this decision.

But if you want great customer service, you need to make this value choice up-front, and decide that your customer’s happiness is your top priority, above company profitability, then make sure that everyone in the company knows this and acts upon it.

You can’t micro-manage the details of every possible scenario, so make sure everyone in the company knows that whenever they have to make decision about what is the right thing to do, always do what’s best for the customer, what would make them the happiest, and don’t worry about the company. The customer is more important than the company.

#3: Customer service is a profit center

Companies put so much energy into sales - getting people to buy - but they don’t put as much effort into the customer experience after people buy.

Anyone can see the reason to focus on getting customers to buy. It’s obvious profit. But it takes some wisdom, experience, and long-term thinking to understand that keeping your existing customers thrilled is even more profitable.

Customer service is not an expense to be lessened. It’s a core profit center, like sales. It’s something you put the best people on, not the cheapest.

You’ve heard the old business truism that it’s 5 times harder to get a new client than it is to get repeat business from an existing client, so this is where you put it into practice.

Hire the sweetest most charming people and make sure they have all the time in the world to spend with your clients, making sure they’re so heard, and so happy with your service, that they’ll tell everyone they know.

Hire enough people so that they have the time to pick up the phone, instead of routing people into an automated system. If they’re so busy that their communications are getting too succinct, it’s time to hire another. It’s worth it.

#4: Every interaction is your moment to shine

Probably only 1% of your customers or clients ever bother to make a customer service interaction.

So when they do, this is your time to shine. Three minutes spent talking with them is going to shape their impression of your company more than your name, price, design, website, or features all combined. This is your shining moment to be the best you can be, to blow them away with how cool it was to contact you.

If your customer service is taught to be efficient, it sends the message, “I don’t really want to talk with you. Let’s get this over with quick.”

Since that’s what everyone else does, do the opposite. Take a few inefficient minutes to get to know anyone who contacts you.

For example, at CD Baby, if someone would call, saying, “I’d like to talk with someone about selling my music through you,” we’d say, “Sure. I can help. What’s your name? Cool. Got a website? Can I see it? Is that you on the home page there? Very cool. Is that a real Les Paul? Awesome. Here, let me listen to a bit of the music. Nice, I like what you’re doing. Very syncopated. Great groove. Anyway... so... what would you like to know?”

I can tell you from my own experience of being a self-promoting musician for 15 years that it’s SO hard to get anyone to listen to your music. So when someone takes even a couple minutes to listen to you, it’s so touching that you remember it for life.

This isn’t some sales technique, it’s just good human behavior. It makes life better. It makes work more fun. It’s the right thing to do. And it pays off.

When people would call to buy music, we’d ask them where they heard of the artist, not in some monotonous scripted way, but as part of engaging the customer in a little conversation, sincerely interested in the details, maybe asking if they often discover new music that way, or whatever. Then we’d include these details in the order on the backend, so the musician could see it, too. It helped the musician be more connected to their fans, and helped both them and us understand why people were buying music.

Imagine what you’d do if Paul McCartney called. You’d drop everything, gush some praise, be thrilled that he’d contact you at all, and give him all the time in the world for whatever he wants. So that’s how we should treat everyone that contacts us. Why not? You don’t have time? Make time. It’s how everyone deserves to be treated.

You know there’s research that says that we don’t smile because we’re happy. We smile first, and the physical act of smiling makes us happy. So I think the act of acting your best, being sincerely interested in others, taking the time to make each person happy, even if you weren’t in the mood at first, is a great way of actually being your best.

#5: Lose every fight

Customer service often starts when someone has a problem, and is upset.

But kind of like you need to feel secure for your business to be generous, you need to feel secure enough to lose every fight.

Whenever they’re upset, let them know that they were right, and the company was wrong. They win. You lose. And you’re prepared to do whatever it takes to make them happy again.

I’m saying this, but let’s admit that it’s so hard to turn off our human nature to feel things are directed at us - to lash back, and show them they’re wrong, to not lose this fight. Occasionally, still, I start typing a response that’s not so nice, but after years of getting burned for doing that, I catch myself, and replace it with something angelic instead.

But you know that scene in the movies, where someone is saying something nasty or secret, and then realizes their microphone is on, so they immediately straighten up, correct themselves, and say the publicly-acceptable thing instead?

Well, your microphone is on. There is no private communication in customer service. Anything you say is likely to be put onto someone’s blog or Facebook, retweeted, and seen by everyone.

So you must be the best version of yourself. You must let them win every fight. You must humbly bow to your superior, and make them happy. And kinda like I said about how smiling makes you happy, I think the act of doing this every day is very peaceful. It feels like daily empathy practice.

Over the years, my company had some huge evangelists: people who loudly told everyone they met that they absolutely must use CD Baby to sell or buy their music. Funny thing is, when I’d look back through that person’s history of communication, I’d often find out that the first time they contacted us, they were loudly upset about some problem. I think the lesson learned is that loud people are loud people, whether complaining or praising, so when you get some loud complaint, take it as an opportunity to do whatever it takes to make them so happy that they become a loud evangelist.

#6: Rebelliously right the wrongs of the world

You know there’s this little passive-aggressive move we all do, when we don’t like how someone is behaving, we instinctively “take the high road” to show them how to behave?

Like if someone is talking too loudly in a quiet place, you speak extra-quiet to them. If someone is being a complete slob, you clean up your zone before confronting them.

It’s a kind of defiant act that says, “No. You’re doing it wrong. Here. Watch me. I’ll show you how it’s done.”

Well, I think your business is your little part of the world where you can right all the wrongs of the world, and show them all how it’s done.

To do this, you need to be rebellious. Don’t follow norms. Don’t do what the other businesses are doing. Instead, think of the worst you’ve experienced, and do the opposite. Show them how wrong they were. It’s very cathartic.

What do you think? Did I miss any important ones? I’d love to hear any suggestions.

girl on phone by Mark Roy
(Photo by Mark Roy.)
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2 days ago
Principles for great customer service. Awesome.
2 days ago
Brilliant guide to customer service.

Ink Molecules

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Ink Molecules

Suppose you were to print, in 12 point text, the numeral 1 using a common cheap ink-jet printer. How many molecules of the ink would be used? At what numerical value would the number printed approximately equal the number of ink molecules used?

David Pelkey

This is the kind of problem where Fermi estimation comes in handy. In Fermi estimation, we're not concerned about exact numbers. We just want, before we start doing research, to get an idea of how big the number is going to be. Will it have 10 digits, or 100 digits, or a zillion?

We'll see what we can figure out before we look anything up.

An inkjet cartridge lets me print out some number of 8.5"x11" black-and-white pages. Let's be optimistic and say a few hundred. If each page has 500 words and each word has 5 letters, then each page has 2,500 letters. 100 pages is 250,000 letters and 400 would be 1,000,000. So the number of letters per cartridge probably has six digits.

Now, how many molecules are in an ink cartridge? This will be harder to estimate without cheating and looking things up, but let's try.

Let's say I remember hearing about "Avogadro's number" in chemistry class, but I don't remember exactly what it is. It's definitely something times 1023, so it has 24 digits. And I remember that it's the number of atoms in some number of grams of something. It was a smallish number. Probably.[1]For the record, it's 6.022×1023, and it's the number of carbon-12 atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12 (or the number of hydrogen atoms in a gram of hydrogen).

Inkjet cartriges probably also contain a small number of grams of ink.[2]Citation: If it were a big number, they would be hard to pick up, and if it were less than a gram, the idea that we've been paying $30 for them is just too upsetting to contemplate. Let's assume it's the same small number, because Fermi estimation lets us do that.

I have no idea what's in ink. (Remember, we're not allowed to look stuff up yet.) I know squid can make ink of some kind, so maybe ink has some big complicated organic molecules in it. That's bad, because I have no chance of estimating their weights to within even a few orders of magnitude.

Fortunately, what we need to worry the most about is the smallest molecules, because they'll contribute the most to the total count.

Ink probably has a lot of water in it, like many liquids. On the other hand, I bet most of those water molecules wander off when the ink dries—since that's what the word "dries" means.

We have nothing to go on here, so let's take a wild guess and suppose that a 10% of ink's bulk comes from large numbers of little molecules, ones comparable in size to the [mumble mumble carbon or something] atoms in Avogadro's number. Since Avogadro's number has 24 digits, 10% of it would be a 23-digit number. If our other guesses are right, then the number of molecules in an ink cartridge might also have about 23 digits

If there are a 23-digit number of molecules in an ink cartridge, and that cartridge prints a 6-digit number of letters, then each printed letter (or number) should contain a number of ink molecules with 23 - 6 = 17 digits.[3]What we're doing here is dividing by subtracting the number of digits. If you think this is a cool shortcut, and decide to develop it further and make it a little more rigorous and precise, then congratulations! You've just invented logarithms.

That means a printed 10-digit number contains about an 18-digit number of ink molecules, and a 100-digit number contains a 19-digit number of ink molecules. Aha! The crossover point, where the number of molecules and the printed number are equal, must happen somewhere between 18 and 19 digits.

So our answer, according to Fermi estimation, is in the neighborhood of a high 18-digit number. We might be off by several orders of magnitude in either direction, but in either case, it's definitely a number you could print out on a single line.

Now, let's do some actual research and find out how we did.

Inks, unsurprisingly, are complicated and vary a lot. Color inks contain a lot of large and heavy molecules, especially some of the pigments. Fortunately, cheap black inks—which are what David asked about—are simpler.

As our example, we'll take the ink used in the random HP printer at my house. HP doesn't disclose everything about what the ink is made of, but they do publish a material safety data sheet for it here.

The MSDS data tells us that the ink is over 70% water. It also contains the molecule 2-pyrrolidone (which is apparently used to synthesize the anti-seizure drug Ethosuximide) and 1,5-pentanediol.

In addition, it contains up to 5% "modified carbon black", a form of crystalline carbon (like graphite and diamond). This is great news for our estimate, because crystalline carbon is very simple; its molecular formula is just "C".[4]Assuming you count each carbon atom separately. You could interpret David's question to mean particles of ink, so each hunk of carbon black would only count as 1. However, that would mean working out exactly what water fraction remains in the dried ink and how much weight 1,5-pentanediol contributes and so forth, and that sounds like more work.

Conveniently, "C" is also what's used in the definition of Avogadro's number. Small consumer cartridges contain a few grams of ink, which is less than the 12 grams used in Avogadro's number. That might make our estimate about half a digit too high. And while we were lucky at guessing carbon, HP ink contains less than 5% carbon black, not the 10% we guessed. That pushes the real answer down even lower than our estimate. But all in all, we did pretty well!

Of course, this is a reminder of how much easier the digital world is:

It's also a reminder of how expensive ink is. Speaking of which, the ink sac from the tiny Octopoteuthis deletron squid are probably a few milliliters, based on the collection bottle sizes mentioned in this paper, for a squid that probably only weighs a hundred grams or so.

$30 could probably get you a few kilograms of fresh whole squid, and—if you picked the right squid—a total of five or six cartridges worth of ink.


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3 public comments
1 day ago
I just want a squid printer now.
1 day ago
More Fermi Estimation.
1 day ago
"Now, let's do some actual research and find out how we did."
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

What's Better Than A Total Eclipse Of The Sun? Check This

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What's Better Than A Total Eclipse Of The Sun? Check This

Any eclipse is worth seeing. A total eclipse — where the moon completely blots out the sun, where day turns to night, where solar flares ring the moon's shadow like a crown of flame — that's the eclipse everybody wants to see, the alpha eclipse that eclipses all the other eclipses. Everybody knows this (me included), until I saw this ...

Solar eclipse or cross-eyed space alien?
Solar eclipse or cross-eyed space alien?

Yes, it looks like a cross-eyed space alien staring out of the darkness, so to make things clearer, let me add one more "eye," like this ...

A set of three images showing the larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos, passed directly in front of the sun as seen by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.
A set of three images showing the larger of Mars' two moons, Phobos, passed directly in front of the sun as seen by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.

What are we looking at? On Aug. August 20, 2013, NASA's robot Curiosity was sitting on a Martian plain and one of its cameras looked up at the sky and saw the little moon Phobos passing across the face of the sun. Curiosity's camera snapped a picture every three seconds. So what you see here is a sequence. The moon appears on the right side of the sun, moves center, exits left, a passage that took about 37 seconds. Had you been on Mars that day, this (NASA animated its photos) is what you would have seen ...

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/YouTube

Obviously, this is not a total eclipse. Phobos, it turns out, is too small to cover the sun. It is, amazingly, only 14 miles wide. Our moon, by comparison, is 2,160 miles across.

So how does this itty bitty moon manage to loom so large against the sun, and how come it's so rock-like, so bumpy around the edges — so utterly gorgeous to watch?

The answer is, Phobos orbits very close to Mars' surface. It's only 3,700 miles up. Our moon, by contrast, is (on average) 239,000 miles away. So, Phobos is sailing very, very near, which is why Curiosity can see it in such detail and why it blots out so much of the sun.

Which Would I Rather See?

If you asked me to choose between a total solar eclipse of our moon, and a chance to catch Phobos voguing in sharp outline while I watch from a Martian plain, I'm going for the Martian option: the Little Guy in Partial Eclipse. Not only is it thrillingly beautiful, it is also, I should mention, a tragedy in motion.

Our moon, the Earth's moon, has been gradually drifting away from us. When the Earth earth was younger, our moon was 10 times closer than it is now. Phobos, on the other hand, isn't moving out, it's moving in — closer and closer and closer to Mars. What's more, it's slowing down.

These days it circles Mars every eight 8 hours. But in the next 10 to 15 million years or so, Mark Lemmon , of Texas A&M University University, told Space.com, Phobos will slow its speed so significantly that, at some point, it will "get so close that tidal forces from Mars will very likely break it up before it does start grazing the atmosphere and come down."

Oh, No ...

What happens then? When a moon disintegrates, it breaks into hundreds of millions of pieces; those pieces splay, then gather, and (at least for a while) they become a ring — like the rings we see around Saturn. When Phobos goes, "Mars may briefly have a ring system," says Lemmon.

'Goodbye,' The Little Moon Is Saying

Which is why, when you see Phobos in partial eclipse on Mars, you are watching a diva making what will one day be its final appearance in our solar system.

So consider what we've got here: a death spiral, a light show, a dying beauty backlit by the sun, What's more fantastic than that? Yes, total eclipses are still nice, still worth traveling to see, but now that I know what Mars gets to see, see — I'm switching sides. When it comes to eclipses, Partial is the new Total.

At least when I'm on Mars.

Thanks to Marc Kaufman, whose new book, Mars Up Close: Inside the Curiosity Mission, introduced me to some of the images featured here.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
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2 days ago
Sooooo cool.
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1 day ago
I'm with Phobos. I want to die on Mars
Idle, Bradford, United Kingdom

Reeder and NewsBlur, sitting in a tree...

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First comes feeds, then comes training, then comes social for those days when its raining.

That’s not it! That’s not all! Runs on iOS and Mac, so have a ball!

The world’s most popular RSS feed reader now supports the world’s best RSS feed reader backend. Download Reeder 2 for Mac and iOS.

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2 days ago
Reeder can now use the Newsblur infrastructure!
2 days ago
This is pretty exciting! Reeder has added NewsBlur support, and now I hope to see sharing and training. Sooooon.

Make sure you tell @reederapp on Twitter how you feel about fuller NewsBlur support. Every tweet helps.
The Haight in San Francisco
2 days ago
That was a fun post intro.
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5 public comments
18 hours ago

Reeder was my google reader client of choice.

OTOH, I've gotten very used to the iOS NB app.

But I'll have to try this...
18 hours ago
Okay, so the interface is even better than I remember, and it's blazingly fast compared to the NB app, but... But... No seeing comments. No friends' shares. No sharing. So not a replacement. Yet.
Mother Hydra
1 day ago
Comments and community are Newsblur's secret sauce. I could see myself loading this up only occasionally.
Beneath Innsmouth
1 day ago
Yeah, personally I still prefer the NewsBlur app. I never used Reeder as I didn't care for its navigation. Hence why NewsBlur's iOS app works the way it does.
1 day ago
Glad to hear but using Reeder or ReadKit both appear to loose the public comments that I can see directly on NewsBlur. I enjoy that social aspect of NewsBlur.
1 day ago
Great news
2 days ago
Finally! I used reeder back before the end of google reader, and I've missed it.
St Louis, MO

Why You Should Not Take Photos Of The 7 Ugliest Buildings In D.C

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On July 16 and 17, I visited seven different government bureaucracies throughout Washington, D.C., so I could photograph how ugly their architecture was.

Are you ready for the secret behind how I did it? You sure you want to know?

I stood on the public sidewalks in front of the buildings, along with all the other tourists and pedestrians, took pictures, and then hopped on my bike and went to the next building.

I did not cross any police barriers, nor did I ever take any photos inside the buildings.

And while it is very obvious that you are being watched …

…there are definitely no signs prohibiting you from taking pictures of the massive, ugly buildings from the street.

I mean, from the street, right? Big tourist town, right?

That’s why I found it so odd that I was confronted by federal police, and often told to leave, at six of the seven stops.

This restrictive behavior is totally different from what many department and agency officials will tell you.

1. The Federal Bureau of Investigation:

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the FBI told BuzzFeed that you can take photos outside of the building, adding: “Tourists do it all the time.”

But when I tried to take this photo of a building entrance…

…police stopped me, telling me that “only photos of the front of the building” are allowed.

Then, I was approached by an armed bike cop who questioned further why I was taking photos.

The bike cop rode a few yards behind me while I walked the remaining circumference of the building. He stayed in this spot until I walked across the street and left.

2. The U.S. Post Office Building

A spokesperson for the U.S. Post Office did not return BuzzFeed’s calls for comment.

When I tried to take photos there…

…after taking the above photo of the public, ahem, SpongeBob mailbox, an armed security guard approached. He told me the pictures I was taking were “suspicious” and said I was not allowed to take them. “This is a public sidewalk, why not?” I asked. He then told me I was no longer allowed on the property and to go across the street immediately.

I asked, from across the street, why I could not come any closer to the building.

He said, “You would not want people taking photos of your office, would you?” Ultimately, he asked me to leave.

3. The Department of Health and Human Services

On Friday, a spokesperson for HHS told BuzzFeed that there is “no restriction on photos of our building, so long as you are outside.”

But when I tried to take photos there…

…a guard quickly exited this cement booth and asked what I was doing. “I’m a reporter doing a piece on government architecture,” I said. “Well, you can’t take photos here. Move to the front of the building.”

Around the front of the building, I took this photo of a busted up cement barrier.

The above security guard yelled, “What are you doing? You cannot take photos of our building like that, up close.” I told her I was a reporter and showed her my credentials. She said “I do not care, you can’t do that,” and told me to move along.

4. The Department of Labor

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Department of Labor confirmed there are no formal restrictions on taking any photos of the building.

But when I tried to take photos there…

…a security guard directly asked me to leave. “The photos you are taking make people here nervous. I have to ask you to leave.” I asked to speak with his supervisor. When the supervisor arrived, I showed him my credentials and explained why I was taking photos. “I can’t have you near the building taking photos. Stay on the sidewalk.” (This was about 25 feet away from the building.)

After ultimately telling me I was allowed to take photos on the sidewalk, the supervisor (below, in white) went from officer to officer around the building, telling them to keep me at a safe distance.

From then on, everywhere I went around the building, an armed security officer trailed me.

“Easy on the pictures,” an officer yelled at me when I snapped this photo of Labor’s Veterans Park.

“Why? It’s a public park,” I told him. “I have orders,” he said. The supervisor had walked up and told him to watch me moments earlier. The officer remained looking over my shoulder, just a few feet behind me the rest of my time at Labor.

5. Housing and Urban Development

A spokesperson for HUD has not returned BuzzFeed’s request for comment on the photo policy.

When I took this photo…

…three armed guards approached me. “You cannot take photos of the building entrance. You have to delete that,” one demanded. I asked them what right they had to make me delete a photo on my personal camera. One of the guards called for a superior and went back inside the building.

When the supervisor arrived, he said he could not force me to delete my photos.

But it would be best if I “left the premises.”

6. The Department of Energy

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Department of Energy Security told BuzzFeed: “There is no problem or restrictions in taking photos of the building,” and simply cautioned against photographing employees.

But when I tried to take photos there…

After I took this photo of a public walkway in front of the building, four armed guards surrounded me and my bike. I was ordered off my bicycle and told to hand over my camera. “Where is your identification? Why are you taking photos of our building?” an officer asked me. I explained my role as a reporter and asked what rules I had broken. “You are suspicious, and we are in a post-9/11 world,” he said.

The four officers surrounded me right here, directly in front of the building entrance.

I could not take their photos since they had my camera. The four armed guards prevented me from moving or getting on my bike. After calling my boss, and discussing with the guards, I was given my camera back. “Be smarter next time,” he said, “and don’t take any more photos here.”

The only building without any problems was the Department of Education.

They apparently have bigger problems to deal with.

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2 public comments
2 days ago
If you have any more interest in this kind of thing check out http://photographyisnotacrime.com/
Mother Hydra
4 days ago
All of these security guards and cops should be fired for ignorantly towing the line. Apparently living in a "post-9/11 world" is the blanket excuse for abusing and breaking the law.
Beneath Innsmouth
4 days ago
Or the policy on photographs should be the same as the public statements on photographs of government buildings.
Mother Hydra
3 days ago
The disconnect is what angers me. If you don't want people taking photos just out and say so, we know the reasons why. But this whole theory versus reality exercise just makes the guards look incompetent and paranoid. Is this the natural state of existence inside D.C.? I've traveled there for leisure but do not recall all of the spookiness.
3 days ago
Indeed. Pick a policy and stick with it.
2 days ago
Honestly, I think it would have done this reporter some good to push back just a little to see how they'd respond under a little more pressure. Not that he should have crossed the line himself, but if he's going to probe for a response, go a little further...
2 days ago
Toeing the line, as you say, means doing just as they are instructed. Do you expect these $10/hr employees to be constitutional experts? Of course they are just doing what they are told. Some one should be fired, to be sure, but your anger is misplaced.

07/21/14 PHD comic: 'Writing'

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Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Writing" - originally published 7/21/2014

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

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3 days ago
This is *exactly* how I feel everytime I need to write...
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
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