how to be a dumbass, by jamie zawinski, age 12

  • buy a paper shredder;
  • pay cash;
  • discover that it is worthless crap;
  • realize that the very first thing you shredded was the receipt.

Yeah, I could go back to the store and spend half an hour fighting with them over it, but I have just now discovered that I would gladly pay the price of the shredder merely to not need to have that fight with someone.

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17 Responses:

  1. sungo says:

    last time i bought a shredder, i got one of those big industrial "body disposal" wood chipper kinda shredders. yeah i shredded the receipt too. but i needed to prove that it actually could process large quantities of paper AND staples. so i shredded the manual. with this shredder, i discovered if you held the manual still, the shredder would lift itself off the floor and climb the manual in its hungry attempt to EAT my HAND.

    i like shredders a lot. my current job outsources it shredding to make sure it gets done properly. is it a sign that you work for THE MAN when you can't be trusted to shred sensitive documents by yourself?

    • nester says:

      My office bought a shredder that promised to shred CD's.

      I tried it.. my co-workers ran away when it got stuck.. Luckily, I fixed it before the bosses noticed. :x

      Needless to say, I was underwhelmed.

      • sungo says:

        at some point, our employers should just start buying big chipper/shredders and point the exit shoot into the incinerator.

        now granted, i'd be there all day shredding stuff. "well, this chair's kinda broken. INTO THE SHREDDER." but at least it wouldnt bind on staples and cds.

      • scosol says:

        when i worked at sega, we had a shredder that would eat QUARTERS without even flinching
        that thing was *not* to be fucked with

      • The proper tool for disposing of CDs is of course the microwave.

  2. hotabay says:

    bring them the pieces of the receipt. I don't think they said it had to be whole.

    I got one on sale from Staples. Then I got one for my dad. Yay for sales!

    It's a cross-cutter, too, so I get to make a nice mess.

    Recently I saw a news article where some company will take all the pieces, glue them down, scan them in, and reconstruct documents.

  3. _revidescent says:

    you could go back, buy another one, bring back the broken one with the new receipt and return it, leaving you with a new one that hopefully works.

  4. a_0001 says:

    If you're looking for a proper shredder, try Security Engineered Machinery.

    455/2 / Maximum Security-Heavy Duty Paper Shredder
    ($5,989.95), for example, "meets all new DoD standards for the shredding of Top Secret/COMSEC/SCI material [including] NSA/CSS Specifications 02-01" and features an automatic oiling system.

    They also sell disintegrators.

  5. naturalborn says:

    You should have gotten a laminater. Then your receipt would be pristine.

  6. msjen says:

    I have just now discovered that I would gladly pay the price of the shredder merely to not need to have that fight with someone.

    That, to me, seems like a very mature attitude towards retail. Just not worth it. So you're not 12, really.

    Does this count as irony? Or does it just suck?

  7. jackbrinks says:

    When I was working for the gub'ment in a former life we had to shred about 100lbs of books a month. Way too much for any office shredder I've ever seen. Onsite there was a small building about the size of a studio apartment that housed only a shredder. The official name was "The Destruction Facility."

    The machine was a permanent fixture, bolted to the floor and weighing easily a few thousand pounds. It had a main shredding chamber that was fed by a 10' long conveyor belt like you see in the supermarket. The chamber had a central axle which contained a spindle of 2' long metal... claws? that would get going fast enough that they'd just tear apart up anything that came their way and keep churning it around until it was small enough to fit through the filter and pass through the ducts that went up through the ceiling and fed out to a dumpster behind the building.

    One person had to hang out by the dumpster as the end product which was the size of fine dryer lint came out of the chute and hose it down so that the wind didn't blow it away.

    Inside the building you had to wear flightline-quality ear protection. Way too loud to talk in there when the machine was going.

    The best part was how much you could feed into the machine. We threw 100+ page soft-bound manuals in there as fast as we could lay them on the conveyor belt without stacking them and the machine never even coughed. You could seriously get rid of bodies ala Fargo with this thing -- or so I'd speculate.

    Now small shredders just annoy me with their jamming. I want a nice quality crosscut shredder that can handle 6 pages at a time without slowing down but have a hard time justifying paying $600 for the one I want.

    • unabomber says:

      I worked for a summer at an injection molding plastic place that made pipe fittings out of PVC and ABS plastic. My job was to go through huge oil-drenched bins of deformed plastic pieces, dividing it into palletainers of black ABS and white PVC. The black could be reused by the factory, but the white (and some really beautiful "marbled" pieces where someone loaded the wrong shit into a machine for a few minutes) had to be chipped up into little bits that were then sold to some outside vendor for use in cheap lawn furniture or something.

      Anyway, I had a machine like the one you describe. It probably weighed about as much as a small car. I would wear a pair of yellow foam earplugs plus one of those headphone-type ear protectors you see airplane mechanics wearing on the tarmac. With both of those on, I could not hear a person screaming right behind me, but I could still hear this machine when I threw in a big piece.

      If you could imagine the size and heft of a T-pipe that connects three pieces of four-inch tube, that's what I had a lot of laying around; each plastic piece weighed a pound or two, and was about a foot across. I could throw one of those pieces in, and it would instantly turn into a bunch of plastic chips quickly blown through a tube to a bin outside. It roughly had the sound of a large frozen turkey hitting the turbine blade of a 747 engine at 400 miles an hour.

      Unfortunately, this was not the "big" size of grinder, and for really huge pieces, I had a band saw to slice things in half. I replaced a guy who had cut off his thumb on this saw. On the first day, the entire saw area was still drenched in blood.

      This was years before the movie Fargo, but I often thought it would be extremely simple to get rid of a body that way. To make things even easier, the factory had a huge pit of various PVC waste that went back 30 years, and later became a huge EPA mess. It would have been fairly simple to put the chipped corpse in there with the toxic PVC soup and have it sit for a decade, until the place got shut down and became a federal cleanup zone.


  8. drjohn says:

    An hour? Sometimes you have to vote with your feet to avoid using them on someone's ass later.

    Costco has such a liberal return policy that IME you can bring it in months later sans box and manual and they'll swap ya or refund it in cash with a smile. This and cheap booze (no membership required) make me feel all warm inside about Costco.

    Walmart, as evil as they are, usually has waiting in line as the annoyance, not wrangling over whether those are the *original* ties bundling the powercord (like some other places). It's as painless as it is impersonal.

    I hope you find shredder heaven. Let us know what you name it.