professionalism in IT … at the movies

My first boss was a real ball-breaker.  He had a very good idea of what was possible with computers, what the users might need and how to achieve that.   He could have literally done it all himself except there were not enough hours in the day – so he needed staff.  When his staff had problems and needed assistance you could come to him for help.

First and foremost, when you show up, wait for him to finish what he was working on.  At the time it seemed like a power move but after years of reflection it was so he could finish whatever debugging he was in the middle of.  It takes longer than you would think to be in the zone and it is easy to get knocked out.

He would have expected that you had at least done your homework.

  • be able to clearly describe the problem
  • have the exact error message at hand
  • demonstrate what you have done in an attempt to correct this problem
  • be prepared to describe what you have done
  • know the code you bring to him

If you weren’t prepared the meeting probably wouldn’t go all that well.  He helped to cement how I would work on problems and what level I would expect from my colleagues.

I have a tendency to think about him whenever I see what I consider to be stupidity in the workplace.  I was surprised when I almost heard his voice at the movies.

It seems sloppy that in 2016 computers and point of sale terminals should be providing less information now than they probably did in the 1950’s.


Concession receipt for 2 sodas and some popcorn

It my be difficult to see but this scanned receipt is a reasonably high res receipt that includes special symbols, German special characters, and bar codes.

I am a bit surprised how the number of items is represented.  I personally don’t think that the concession stand will be selling double digit of anything much less four digits of anything.  Someone decided they want all of their numbers to align so that isn’t the oddity but the leading zeros are.  Perhaps that is just a personal dislike.

The receipt itself actually has more information about the company and the branch than the food.  I know that snacks at the movies are expensive but from looking at this receipt it is almost as if the movie theater is embarrassed to say just how expensive each item truly was.

It is a possibility that receipts in Germany are more of the simple variety, but alas that isn’t the case.


receipt for USB cable and a flashlight


This is a receipt from a store that would be most like a dollar store in the USA.  This receipt contains as much information about the store in general as well as a lot of information about what was purchased.  The item #, description and cost per item is all clearly displayed.  Closer to the bottom you can even see how much of your purchase went to the government in the form of taxes.  This is a great receipt.

Taking one final look at my concession receipt

Dies ist keine Rechnung im Sinne des §14 UStG…

Well, I guess the receipt that I asked for is a receipt but not a receipt in the sense of what is a receipt as described by a long and dry law description clarified by §14 of UStG.

It is not like this particular movie theater cannot produce more complicated output.  They did a much better job with the tickets – font size, German characters and QR codes.


These are actually both the receipt and the ticket.  Plenty of information here as well including a nifty QR code which probably contains all of this and more.

If worked on the concessions output then my boss would be pulling me aside right now for a small talk.

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