Is That English?

A few weeks ago Denis was helping throw a lavish birthday party at his office and brought out our buffet server – it was brand new in the sense that we bought it over a year ago but never used it. So it was still wrapped in plastic in the unopened box.

It looks great and worked well for the party (it has three compartments for food and he said it kept things in pretty good shape throughout the party – we plan on using it at this year’s White Elephant party FOR SURE).

Anyway, this post is not about the server itself, but rather the instructions that came with the server. Now, you’ve probably come across some very poorly written instructions because it seems like they have been translated a handful of times until they finally get to something resembling English.

Our instructions for the server were doing pretty well:

1. Read all instructions before using.
2. Do not place the appliance in the presence of explosive and/or flammable fumes.
3. Notice that the tray only can put food or liquid at the 2/3 of capacity.

Okay, so number three was a bit wonky – could have been phrased better. But then it got back on track:

4. Do not touch the hot surfaces.
5. To protect against electrical shock and affecting the function, do not immerse the body, cord, or plug in water or other liquid.

So we’re trucking along now. Completely understandable English, right? Number seven made us laugh:

7. Turn the thermostat knob to the “OFF”, the appliance stopping working.

But then we hit number nine. And number nine was so confounding that we each read it at least 4-5 times, desperate in our need to know what it was trying to tell us. It was obviously some sort of secret code, and we didn’t have any way of cracking it:

9. Do not operate the appliance without any things, or else the body is easy to change shape.

What could that mean? we asked ourselves. What things? What is this changing shape. Are they trying to tell us that our buffet server is actually some sort of shapeshifter, like Mystique in X-Men? Is our buffet server a superhero in disguise?

Or could it be that we’re just not supposed to use the heating component without the trays sitting on top, because it could cause overheating, resulting in the heating component to melt?

Nah – that can’t be it.

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5 comments

  1. At a local grocery store there was a cashier who wore a button that said, and I’m not making this up,”I’m new–please bare with me.”

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