Words Without Thought

Movie Theaters:

“Are Saving Private Ryan and Private Ryan two different films?” — Asked of a moviegoer, referring to the theater’s marquee, that displayed abbreviated film titles due to a lack of letters.

“For The Lion King, you have shows at 11:45 and at 12:15. Does that mean it’s a half-hour long?” — Asked by a customer of a multiplex.

“Can I still have a ticket? I’ll find a seat.” — Asked by a customer after being told a particular showing of a movie was sold out.


Video Stores:

“Do you sell butter dishes? Why not?” — Asked by a customer.

“Diapers! I need diapers!” — Demanded by a customer, gesturing angrily and waving his arms around.


Muddled Movies:

“Oh, that’ll be cool. Like Lethal Weapon 4.” — A friend, after being told about the screening of some Monty Python and Mel Brooks movies.



“I need blades for this.” — Woman, holding up a belt sander.

“Do you carry blades that can go over rocks?” — Woman, buying her third lawn mower blade in two weeks.

“Do you have wheels?” — Customer who, when questioned as to what type of wheels, replied, “You know! Wheels!”

“I don’t think we got any of that, but we got Skoal.” — A grocery store clerk, after being asked where the oregano would be.



“What time does the 7 o’clock ferry leave?”

“We might be late because of bad weather. If we are, would you hold the ship until we get there?” — A man on the phone with a ferry service.

“It depends. Are you coming from the north or south?” — A man, when asked if one should turn east or west after getting off the freeway.

“Horizon proudly donates a portion of the proceeds from our complimentary in-flight service to the preservation of Glacier National Park.” — A flight attendant, describing Horizon Airline’s complimentary beverage and snack service.

“Are you going by bus?” — Asked by a bus driver, when asked to let a passenger know when they got to Masson Street.


Dictated To Staff Members of a Typing Pool:

“According to witnesses, he suddenly struck the victim with a clenched face.”

“He walks up and down stairs, holding onto mother’s hand one foot at a time.”

“Mother reported a gunshot wound to the derriere, apparently grazing the ear with subsequent hearing loss.”



“When I press on my brakes, the car doesn’t stop. Do you think this is something I should have fixed?” — Asked of a worker at an auto repair shop.

“If you record silence on a tape and then play it back with the volume all the way up, will that drown out the noise in the room?” — Asked by a woman of her boyfriend at the time.

“How do I tell the difference between the big staples and the little staples?” — Asked of a fellow office worker in South Africa.

“The Renaissance was during the 1920’s, right?” — Asked of a high school student by another.

“Where do you think water comes from? The SKY?” — From an overheard argument about water conservation.

“Do you want specific information in general or what?” — From an overheard conversation between two managers.

“I wasn’t able to tape Oprah. Could I possibly come down there and watch it?” — Asked of a local television station.

“Can I speak to Tom Brokaw?” — Asked of a local cable service representative.

“What day is New Year’s again?”

“How much is that $10 watch?”

“Oh, honey, here’s a watch store — maybe they have it. Do you have any toe rings?”

“Glenn Miller? Didn’t he die in a car crash flying to France?”

“I hate stereotypes. We Canadians don’t really talk like that, eh?”

“How do I get my car fixed?” — Asked of a health insurance company.

“What do you do with the mogels in the summer?” — Asked of a ski lift operator.

“Where’s the kosher pork?” — Asked of a worker at a grocery store.

“Is Scott there?” — Scott, asking for his friend Jim.

“Isn’t it funny how Thanksgiving lands on a Thursday every year?” — Woman, overheard in a diner.



“No, just a driver’s license.” — Woman, when asked if she had a photo ID.

“Debit. I wanna CHARGE it!” — A customer of a department store, after being asked, “Debit or credit?”

“A turtle!” / “An elephant!” / “Sheep!” — Answers to the question “Can anyone name a non-violent predator?” asked by a teacher.


Signs and Notices:

“How To Repair Your VCR.” — The title of a how-to video tape.

“Great New Taste!” and “Same Great Taste!” — On opposite sides of a drink cooler in a grocery store.

“Watch Blow Out” — A sign outside a jewelry store.

“Ears pierced while you wait.” — A sign in a shop.

“Free Parking ($1.50 per day)” — A sign at a parking lot in Ocean City, Maryland.

“Please! No walking allowed without membership card.” — A sign in a mall.

“If you can’t read or write, phone this number.”

“Lunch and Learn Seminar: ‘Who’s controlling your life?’ (get your manager’s permission before attending)” — The contents of a flyer for corporate seminar.

“Warning: Dangerous Area. No Trespassing Without Permission From Main Office.” — A sign outside a lumber yard in Troy, Idaho.

“Be Kind — Please Rewind.” — A label on a DVD disc at a rental.

“We are sorry, but these toilets are out of action. Please use floor.” — A sign on a shopping center’s restroom door, indicating that the restroom was closed. The sign was intended to give directions to the nearest open restroom, but the staff had forgotten to fill in the blank.

“We expect to return to normal service the soonest time possible. Please check back after that time.” — Part of an automated customer support response message that was sent when a user sent email to technical support about an issue with Hotmail.

“Shoe Rental: Adults: $2.00. Seniors and Children: $2.00.” — A sign in a bowling alley in Katy, TX.

“Hours: Sun-Thurs: 10:00 AM – Closing. Fri-Sat: 8:00 AM – Closing.” — A sign in a bowling alley in Katy, TX.

“Mon-Fri: 6:30. Sat-Sun: 7:30.” — A sign on a coffee shop in Spokane.

“Saturday: 12 noon to 12pm.” — A sign at a University Center.

“Free Juice Packet– $0.35” — A sign at a gas station in Orlando, Florida.

“Do not open this door when locked.” — A sign on a gym door.

“Employees Only: No Visitors Allowed.” — A sign on a factory bay door, immediately behind which is a bathroom with a sign that says, “Visitors Only.”

“HIGH PRICES!!” — A sign at a gas station called ‘El Cheapo.’

“$2.99 ANY GARMENT” — A sign in a dry cleaner in Murray, Utah, which continued, in smaller print below, “MOST GARMENTS.”

“Speed Limit 5 Miles per hour” / “No vehicles beyond this point” — Two signs on the same sign post at a camp site.

“Welcome to the Flippin Church of Christ.” — A sign outside a church in Flippin, Arkansas.

“Eyebrow Free Methodist Church.” — A sign outside a church in Eyebrow, Saskatchewan.

“Ear Piercing Pregnancy Testing” — A sign in a local drug store that offered both ear piercing and pregnancy testing services.

“Walkin’s Welcome” — A sign in a nail salon.

“Those who use stolen credit cards will be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“Desktop Model has INCLUDED a FREE 3 Year On-Sight Warranty” — An advertisement for a computer.

“Please put the toys back when you are threw with them.” — A sign in a thrift store’s toy section.

“How do you spell ingnorant? R-O-C-K-E-R” — A sign held by a Mets fan, referring to Atlanta Brave John Rocker.


Marquee Ads With Missing Letters:

“Now hiring losers.” — A marquee notice for “Hot ‘n Now” fast food. The “c” in “closers” was missing.

“Idaho Pot / 10 Lb. Bag / $1.49” — A marquee ad for an IGA.

“B O, Every Saturday Night, 6:30pm” — A marquee ad for Bingo at an American Legion Post.

“Try our new zesty owl.” — A marquee ad at Kentucky Fried Chicken. The “b” in “bowl” was missing.


Programs and Bulletins:

“All fiends and relatives.” — On a funeral card, referring to honorary pallbearers.



“The telephone company is urging people to please not use the telephone unless it is absolutely necessary in order to keep the lines open for emergency personnel. We’ll be right back after this break to give away a pair of Phil Collins concert tickets to caller #95.” — A Los Angeles radio DJ, shortly after the February 1990 earthquake.


Tour Guide Quotes:

“As you all can see all three races are represented in the memorial; there is an African American, White, and Caucasian in the statue.” — A tour guide, providing information about the Vietnam War Memorial.


Legislator Quotes:

“It is indeed fitting that we gather here today to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a log cabin that he built with his own hands.”

“Unfortunately we are not equipped with hindsight in advance.”

“From now on, I’m watching everything you do with a fine tooth comb.”

“There comes a time to put principle aside and do what’s right.”

“These are not my figures I’m quoting. They’re from someone who knows what he’s talking about.” — A congressman, during a debate.



“Sure, it’s going to kill a lot of people, but they may be dying of something else anyway.” — A member of the Texas pesticide review board, on chlordane.



“Because the number and quality of applicants is so high, it is impossible for us to accept any of the qualified people who would like to study at [name of university].” — A letter rejecting an application to enroll in a graduate program in English.

“They’re multi-purpose. Not only do they put the clips on, but they take them off.” — An explanation for why the Air Force bought $1000 pliers.

“If we [the Americans] had not won the Revolutionary War, we might be speaking English.” — Part of a discussion in a high school history class.

“In no way is it possible for a person to be in two places at the same time, especially if there is a great distance in between.” — A judge, on a defendant’s alibi.


Mangled Expressions:

“Water under the dam.” — A television news reporter, referring to the Clinton/Gore campaign fundraising issue.

“Water over the bridge.”

“We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it.”

“Your heart is the lifeblood of your body.” — From a radio commercial.

“Let’s nip this in the butt.”

“Let’s nibble this in the butt.”

“Don’t eat with your mouth full!”

“I’m not going to let this guy shine on my parade.”

“He’s disgusting. He smokes like a fish!”

“We’re killing two birds for the price of one.”

“If it had legs it would have bit you.”

“You’ll know it like the back of your head.”

“You can barely see your face in front of your hand!”

“That’s the way the crumble cookies.”

“I don’t want to sound like a dead horse.”

“Let’s take a wild stab in the back.”

“Around here, it’s always feast or phantom.” — A waitress, when it was pointed out that the restaurant was not very busy.

“If you could get it working I’d be internally grateful.” — From email sent to a web site administrator (no, not the administrator of this one).

“This is the piece of the puzzle that allows you to paint in the rest of the pie.” — A salesperson, describing a new telephony service.



“Books should not be falling down, sideways, upside down, or backwards.” — From a training manual for library workers.

“A reminder to all lady Lancers that you are not to wear t-shirt tank tops on campus. If you do so, you will be asked to remove them.” — An announcement that appeared in a Hilltop High School (Home of the Lancers) bulletin.

“1. Resolved, by this council, that we build a new jail. 2. Resolved, that the new jail be built out of the materials of the old jail. 3. Resolved, that the old jail be used until the new jail is finished.” — Board of Councilmen, Mississippi, mid-1800s

“To ensure that Roy High School remains a place where all can feel comfortable and safe, the following guidelines have been established based on student government, school board, and court decisions. The following are examples of clothing NOT acceptable at Roy High School. 1. Bandananas, skull rags, mambo hats, and altered hats. 2. Clothing, headgear, and accessories that are vulgar.” — An unusually strict dress code at a high school.



“Tired of the same old diet plans that don’t work? Try this one!” — On a billboard.



“But I thought the ocean went all the way around the world!” — A young woman, in response to an attempt to explain why Arizona doesn’t have any beaches.

“That green stuff down there — that looks like the ground!” — A passenger on an airplane.

“Oh! I get why they call it a scarecrow!” — Exclaimed by one friend to another.

“What? I walked in here with all my parts, and I’m going to walk out of here with all of them, too.” — Man, when asked if he wanted an organ donor sticker on his driver’s license.

“Monogamy is a type of wood, you idiot!” — Man, upon receiving an answer when he asked what word described someone remaining with one person in marriage.

“I bet NATO will be glad to see the end of the Warsaw Concerto.” — A woman, commenting on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the likelihood that the Soviet Union would lose its satellite countries.

“It works fine. It just doesn’t heat.” — Customer, describing a broken microwave to an employee of a repair shop. Also said to this employee, this time about a broken TV, “It works great. It just won’t come on.”

“Honey, you tell your husband like I told mine, if you kill it, you clean it!” — Advice one friend gave to another, who said she had spent the weekend cleaning grout.

“Raw toast? Eww.” — A high school student, looking dubiously at her sandwich.

“But it’s only the bottom half that needs to be fixed.” — A teenager, to her father, after being told a flat tire would need to be replaced.

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