13 Comments

  1. As lab scientists, their pockets are inherently white, so any holes in them would be white, too. Karl’s untidy appearance seems to indicate that he might be a part-time pickpocket, who is trying to reassure his colleagues that there is a rational explanation as to why they keep losing money.
    P.S. In German, the term “Weißware” (“white-ware”) is used to describe (large) appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers. With that it mind, it seems like Karl’s theory might also be used to explain why individual socks disappear, but almost never in pairs.

  2. Kilby: here, those are “white goods” in retail.
    LoC: this term came up yesterday in an unrelated conversation.

  3. @ PS3 – Thanks for the info. Even though I grew up there, I’ve never had the opportunity to buy a large appliance on that side of the Atlantic.

  4. Except don’t most people wonder where the change comes *from* and why they have so *much* of it? Socks disappear. But clothes hangers and small change multiply.

  5. Like Kilby, I’ve never heard “white goods” for appliances and have never bought them on that side of the Atlantic. But then, I’ve also never heard Weißwaren either. A bit of checking shows it also referring to linen, underwear and porcelain. In the US a “white sale” is for linens, especially bedding, so I guess there’s some overlap there.

  6. @ DemetriosX – I have to admit that my familiarity with the German term “Weißwaren“(*) didn’t come from buying an appliance, but rather from disposing of its predecessor. There used to be specific rules about what kinds of devices the dump will accept for free, and what you had to pay for to get rid of. Things have gotten much more customer-friendly in recent years, because they finally figured out that lowering disposal costs was an effective way to reduce the amount of trash that gets dumped illegally (in forests and elsewhere). These days the stores are required to offer to haul off and dispose of the unit that the purchased one is replacing (for free).
    P.S. The opposite is (or was) “Braunwaren” (“brown-wear”), which used to refer to radios, amplifiers, and (by extension) computers. The new rules make it cheap (and easy) to get rid of almost all electronics; they don’t want any semiconductors or batteries ending up in the landfills.

  7. Speaking of not-very-transparent product category names, I had some confusion growing up about “dry goods” and “package goods”. And still don’t understand why that tavern would advertise that you can buy linens there …

  8. Most people complain about the opposite situation, accumulation of change. That’s usually people who take their change out and put it in something. I use cash so infrequently that the change situation isn’t that big of a deal. When I do, I would try to use change when it makes sense, especially if it’s a smaller fraction of a dollar.

  9. I hadn’t heard of brown noise, but just now listened to some, and can see why it might work for some people. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSaJXDsb3N8 Also gray or grey noise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iGdLDeyeso

    I have heard of pink as well as white noise, and heard examples of both; but only if both are available in contrast examples could I tell you which is which.

    There promised to be some explanation of the differences at a link called “White, Pink, and Brown Noise: What’s the difference?” which wasn’t bad https://www.soundofsleep.com/2017/07/18/white-pink-brown-noise-whats-difference/ but their semi-technical explanations are just a little short of some that I have seen which go a little more into the math of the generation and filtering.

    And I do think I see people putting “white noise” for any and all sorts of cover-up sound. Our neighborhood-forum websites, when people posted to complain of fireworks, got lots of replies along the lines of “Get used to it! Wear earphones! Play some loud music or white noise!”

  10. Phil Smith III – and even if white sale was just bed linens (which are mostly cotton or cotton/poly these days) and towels – most of them are no longer white.

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