Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

What to do with an MFA?

For Sale Sign

If you’re a newly-minted MFA wondering what to do with your degree, perhaps you can take inspiration from Eric Wahl, who works at the University of Washington’s surplus store. Wahl puts his writing skills to use by crafting hilarious descriptions of items for sale–and offering proof that pretty much everything gets way better with a dose of creativity. Says the Seattle Times:

Wahl, 42, began working at the store in November 2010 as a program coordinator, a job that means he not only works the cash register, he does the Web marketing.

He couldn’t help but notice that the descriptions of items for sale were on the dry side — an office desk was an office desk was an office desk.

And so Wahl decided a little humor might help attract customers other than the usual inveterate thrifties, scrap-metal buyers and resellers who buy stuff on the cheap only to re-sell on eBay.

Here’s some of Wahl’s snarky copy, courtesy the store’s website:

Retro Slide Viewers ($15): Now you can see all of the Brady’s Grand Canyon trip slides from when Bobby & Cindy went missing & were discovered by a kindly Native American kid who taught them how to eat pork & beans out of a flashlight. Seriously, what were 1960’s TV writers smoking? At any rate, we’ve got two of these retro-cool Singer Caramate slide viewers. All they need is clip-in slide carousels for their tops, and we happen to have lots of those available as well!

Couch: The Whoa-Nelly ($20): Bizarrely, this piece of, well we’ll call it furniture, looks as though it has never been used … as if it never left Conway Twitty’s basement. It’s certainly a conversation piece; I’m just not sure I want to have that conversation.

I could have spent all day reading this site. Ahem.

Wahl isn’t above taking swipes at other writers, either:

Server Rack ($35): Each morning we find chimps banging sticks and bones against the ground near this big black Dell server rack. By lunchtime, though, the chimps have cleared out to go write Nicholas Sparks novels.  Server rack comes with 2 keys.

Image: U-W Surplus Store

Image: U-W Surplus Store

And there’s also this:

Best Thing Ever! ($5, but can you really put a price on this much AWESOME?): Almost unbearably awesome, this. It’s like winning an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, and, like, the Hasty Pudding Award all at once! I really hope someone puts this square in the center of their next birthday cake, because—why not? Shockingly, the underside of this masterpiece is marked “Lenox 2001.”

Alas, it has been sold.

Further Reading:

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