"This Microwave Is Out of Order at This Time"

An editing exercise.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

A "found editing exercise" (by analogy to found poetry) just seen in an office kitchen.

[Yes, I see the connection to the "Fresh Fish Sold Here" story, though overediting can sometimes be a danger, too.]

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  1. Go to the nearest thrift shop, buy a microwave, recycle the old one, and strike the whole sign as superfluous. Who the hell repairs microwave ovens?

    That said, a simple “Out of Order” sign is fine. If you need to be more specific than that, call an office-wide meeting and summarily fire anyone who doesn’t understand it.

  2. Tip: You have to click on the link, read the entire story written in cockney, and then re-read the article to get the joke. Yes, it’s a lot of effort.

    1. But worth it.

    2. Cockney? Irish-American.

  3. It’s actually a poor version of the joke..

    Better is the version where, when only the last word is left, someone comes by and says,

    “Everyone knows you sell fish. You can smell this place blocks away.”

  4. The appliances are supposed be lined up, smallest to largest, in the way that elementary school classes used to march. It should be the coffee maker, the slow cooker, the microwave, the stove and the refrigerator. The security camera shows that at 5:00 it was so, but at 5:30, the microwave had pushed in front of the slow cooker. However, by 6:00 the stove and refrigerator had taken responsibility and put the microwave in its proper place. The prosecutor points to the 5:30 photo, and says, “the microwave is out of order at this time.”

  5. “[A]t this time” seems both superfluous and ambiguous. If the sign is still up, the microwave is out of order, but it does not give us any information on when the microwave fell into disrepair. If it was recent, there may be a good chance that a replacement microwave will arrive in short order; if the microwave has been broken for several weeks, it is not likely that a working microwave will make an appearance any time soon.

  6. The story in the Insurance Journal reminded me of when I went shopping for furniture shortly after moving to Philadelphia. The salesman said to ask for “Moike” if I needed anymore help. Not being familiar with that name, I had him repeat it a couple of times and then asked him to spell it. “Moike, M-I-K-E,” came the response.

    The lightbulb finally switched on.

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