Week 484 (CLI) : Manufracturing


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Copyright The Washington Post Company Dec 15, 2002

If Nike made kitchen appliances,

basketball would be a much slower game.

This Week's Contest was suggested by Christopher L. Parkin of Washington, based upon the old Web jokes about what would happen if Microsoft designed cars ("They'd crash twice a day for no reason"; "With every new model, you'd have to learn to drive all over again, because the controls would be entirely different," etc.). Your challenge is to take any product and explain how it would be different if it were designed by a different existing company. First- prize winner gets a unopened, vintage 1963 package of 36 individual fluted cardboard "chef's party trays" for holding hot dogs.

First runner-up wins the tacky but estimable Style Invitational Loser Pen. Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T-shirt. Honorable mentions get the mildly sought- after Style Invitational bumper sticker. Send your entries via fax to 202-334- 4312 or by e-mail to U.S. mail entries are no longer accepted. Deadline is Monday, Dec. 23. All entries must include the week number of the contest and your name, postal address and telephone number. E-mail entries must include the week number in the subject field. Contests will be judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post.

Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published in four weeks. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by Thos. Witte of Gaithersburg.

Report from Week CXLVII, in which you were asked to become The Terminator, and come up with responses to some unwanted advance that would stop the approach in its tracks.

A T-shirt goes to John T. Durkin, who has developed a fine telemarketer protection shield: As soon as he ascertains the caller is trying to sell him something, John robustly breaks into song. Show tunes, usually. He favors "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" from "Guys and Dolls" because there is a high G in the second line "and that really echoes in the headsets." Usually this does the trick nicely. Once, he said, a telemarketer listened politely, applauded, and then went calmly into his spiel, at which point John segued into "I'm Henry the Eighth I Am." The guy finally hung up when John got to the line "Second verse, same as the first."

Also, a T-shirt to Cecilia Albans of Leesburg, who shares the telemarketer shield used by her 15-year-old: "My mom can't come to the phone. She's in the shower. No, my dad can't come, either. He's in the shower with her."

{diam}Third Runner-Up: Missionaries at the door: "Sorry, I'm just the burglar. Can you give me a hand with the VCR here?"

(Brian C. Broadus, Charlottesville; Brendan O'Byrne, Regina, Saskatchewan)

{diam}Second Runner-Up: Vacuum cleaner salesman: "Quick, get in here. The baby's coming out butt first, and I'm gonna need some help with the blood." (Robert Doherty, Alexandria)

{diam}First Runner-Up: Telemarketer: "Correctly answer these questions three, and I will buy some thing from thee. One, what is the Latin name for the gauzy, ribbonlike larva of the east Asian eel?" (Art Grinath, Takoma Park)

{diam}And the winner of the tea-bag-dunking-penguin travelogue:

Prostitute: "Actually, I charge women a lot more than you're asking. Well, I guess it would be fair if you just pay me the difference." (Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

Political activist in the street: "Hey, I know you. You're the guy who killed my cat! I can't believe it! Right here in front of me, bold as brass, the guy who killed my cat! Hey, everybody, this is the guy who killed my cat!"

(Bird Waring, New York)

Telemarketer: "Please talk verr-ry slowww-ly, because I want to write down ev-er-ry word you say."

(Shaina Stark, Darnestown)

Door-to-door gutter cleaner: "Sure, and can you look for my pet black mamba when you are up there? He got away this

morning." (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Perfume spritzer at the mall: "Boy, am I glad to see you. Let me get my blouse off so you can target the precise source of the problem." (Milo Sauer, Fairfax)

Long-distance service telemarketer:

"Sorry, I don't have a telephone."

(Rebecca Nilson-Owens, Madison, Wis.;

Richard Wong, Arlington)

Sidewalk three-card monte dealer:

"Can we just play for funsies?"

(Stephen Dudzik, Olney)

Adopt a Greyhound: "I don't know, they look a little tough and stringy to me." (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

"Will you accept a collect call?": "Will you

accept a blast from my air horn?"

(Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Telemarketer: "We're trying to teach little Susie to use the telephone, so I'm putting her on now." (Colette Zanin, Greenbelt)

Panhandler: "Sure. Can you change a deutschmark?" (Mark Young, Washington)

Insurance salesman: "If I commit suicide tomorrow, how quickly can my family

collect?" (Seth Brown, Williamstown, Mass.)

Telemarketer: "Hi, we're the Smiths and we are hearing-impaired. Using the

letters on the keypad, please spell out your message." (Judith Cottrill, New York)

Girl Scout cookies: "I am sorry, but I am not allowed by law to come within 200 feet of a Girl Scout. Unless you would like to sign this waiver . . ."

(Seth Brown, Williamstown, Mass.)

Prostitute: "Sure. Do you have change for a five?" (Kurt Riefner, Fairbanks, Alaska;

Roy Ashley, Washington)

Salesman at the door: "Good timing! We need another hostage."

(Robert Doherty, Alexandria)

Guy selling vinyl siding: "Vinyl siding killed my parents."

(Robert Doherty, Alexandria)

Panhandler: "Change? May I suggest your underwear, my good man?"

(Dave Ferry, Purvis, Miss.)

Newspaper subscription caller:

"Excellent. Does it come in Braille?"

(Kurt Riefner, Fairbanks, Alaska)

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