1715: Household Tips

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Household Tips
To make your shoes feel more comfortable, smell better, and last longer, try taking them off before you shower.
Title text: To make your shoes feel more comfortable, smell better, and last longer, try taking them off before you shower.

Explanation[edit]

This comic is a continuation of 1567: Kitchen Tips, which had four kitchen tips and then a household tip in the title text.

The comic shows Cueball explaining many things one should already know (and are likely already doing without needing to be told), but telling them like most people usually never do it to comedic effect. Below is a list of the five household tips given:

In the bathroom[edit]

To conserve water, try turning off your shower before leaving home: Implies that the shower would "normally" be on at all times, which would be very wasteful. The what if? article "Faucet Power" illustrates similar wasteful and destructive water use. This may be a reference to the common recommendation that people should unplug appliances when they are not in use, as opposed to simply turning them off, as some devices have a "standby" mode that still uses up a small amount of electricity.

Extinguishing fires[edit]

Sick of changing those smoke detector batteries? Eliminate any fires in your house and the batteries may last for months or years!: A smoke detector on standby consumes much less power than one constantly ringing, since standing by only requires that a detection circuit (which draws little current) be on and an LED flashes a few times a minute (which also consumes very little power), while a buzzer used to sound the alarm uses much energy by comparison. The sentence implies that some people have their fire alarms beeping at all times due to their ongoing fires, and then stop up to change the batteries when they stop working. It is surreal that Cueball would have fires just around his house and not be remotely worried.

Of course, keeping one's house fire-free at (mostly) all times is usually done because of other benefits than just saving on batteries, such as preventing fire and smoke damage to valuable property, infrastructure, and human bodies, as well as keeping the noise level down.

Toilet bowls[edit]

Tired of clogged toilets? Try leaving the lid on the upper chamber and use only the lower bowl!: The "upper chamber", the toilet's cistern, delivers plain water to the lower bowl at speed to flush the latter. As such, the pipes that direct the water down are not wide enough for waste to pass. There is typically a lid on the upper cistern because it isn't intended to be used, and many modern toilets have a lid that can't be removed without unscrewing the button first, but access is occasionally needed to fix or replace the flushing mechanisms. The lower bowl, as one should be familiar with, is the one intended to receive solid waste or defecation and is connected to the plumbing by pipes wide enough for this purpose. Going in the upper chamber, commonly called an "upper decker", is a well known prank popularized in the season 5 finale of Louie.

Near the window[edit]

Fresh air doesn't have to be expensive. Many windows can be slid up to create a temporary hole without the usual cost and cleanup!: This suggests that the people he appeals to typically smash a window (or a wall), or simply always turn their air-conditioner on to get fresh air, hence the clean up and expensive replacement of the window or AC parts, once enough fresh air has been obtained or in order to obtain.

Title text[edit]

To make your shoes feel more comfortable, smell better, and last longer, try taking them off before you shower.: People typically remove all their clothing, including and/or especially shoes (except perhaps for some lightweight sandals to protect the feet in public showers), when showering , so while it is certainly true that removing one's shoes before showering will allow them to last longer and stink less (since shoes that have little opportunity to dry produce malodorous molds), this is not in any way a novel idea.

Household tips are yet another type of tips comic.

It is also possible that this comic is a reference to this very wiki. This wiki is here to explain the technical or pop-culture references that might confuse some readers. Not every comic relies on such details for appreciation, though, and Randall will often deliver a more straightforward punchline; this wiki, in the interest of thoroughness, will often explain the obvious.

Transcript[edit]

[Cueball is standing outside a bathtub with the shower curtains partly drawn aside hanging outside the tub. The shower head is dripping water as Cueball reaches in turning the closest of the two taps. Below these there is a faucet. There is water on the floor at the bottom of the tub and a pool of water behind Cueball.]
Cueball: Hi everyone! I'm back with more household tips. To conserve water, try turning off your shower before you leave home.
[Cueball is holding a bucket and pours water out of it to the right. The water still hangs in the air over a small fire with four flames on the floor. A similar fire is behind him to the left, except it seems thre is a burning item in this fire, and a single flame is on the floor between that and Cueball. A smoke detector (off-panel) goes off in the background as indicated with lines and sounds.]
Cueball: Sick of changing those smoke detector batteries? Eliminate any fires in your house and the batteries can last for months or years!
Smoke detector (off panel): Beep beep beep
[A frame-less panel shows a a toilet with the toilet seat up and also the lid has been removed from the cistern at the top. It is hanging in the air above and behind the cistern. There is an X with an arrow pointing towards the cistern and a checkmark with an arrow pointing towards the toilet bowl.]
Cueball (off-panel): Tired of clogged toilets? Try leaving the lid on the upper chamber and use only the lower bowl!
X
[Cueball holding a hand up is standing next to an open window where the bottom part has been slid almost up to the top.]
Fresh air doesn't have to be expensive. Many windows can be slid up to create a temporary hole without the usual cost and cleanup!


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Discussion

I think this references infomercials with a tendency to show people completely inept at doing extremely simple and common things, then offers a slightly more convenient product as if it were the solution to the ineptitude.The problem-solution pattern matches the tone of those. 108.162.217.125 14:41, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

It is possible there is a bit of meta humor going on in regards to this comic (and its predecessor). As the comic is literally explaining in xkcd, it may be a subtle jab at explainxkcd.com, putting those on explainxkcd.com in the amusing and awkward situation of trying to explain in detail about a detailed explanation of something that doesn't needs explaining. 108.162.246.112 23:37, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Doubt it. We tend to explain pop culture references (which not every country will understand) or math formulas, not bleeding obvious common sense.162.158.255.106 20:15, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
Please see the explanation for this comic.--162.158.92.207 11:22, 8 August 2016 (UTC)
I may have started this "explaining the obvious" thing. I figured that since the explanations on this site sometimes further the jokes in the comics by self-demonstration or invocation, explaning "seriously" the points in the comic would have humorous effect.--Troy0 (talk) 00:05, 9 August 2016 (UTC)

Wait, there's more! Even the windows that do not slide up are not always a lost cause - the hook normally used for hanging the hammer you use to let the fresh air in actually turns, allowing the window to be opened or tilted! (Seriously, I think I've never even seen a sliding window in real life - I guess it's only popular in a few countries, including US) --162.158.86.119 12:12, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

I figured the shower thing is a reference to how you should turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth, or the more recent advice to turn it off while lathering your hair/body. 173.245.54.80 14:02, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

I find this one amusing as it is the rare XKCD that is both genuinely funny, AND doesn't need an explanation. Not saying he has many which are not funny, but generally you need some knowledge to find an XKCD funny, and the funniest ones generally require explanation even if you don't need to understand it to find it funny. 108.162.221.84 18:50, 4 August 2016 (UTC) Sam

I actually thought this was a knock at the plethora of YouTube videos and blogs/articles that claim to be "life hacks" but are often just really obvious things (probably because there are so many videos that they're running out of unique content). 108.162.240.24 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think the last one in the comics is actually refering to people who only turn on their air-conditionor without ever opening their windows to let fresh air in. --108.162.222.155 07:04, 5 October 2016 (UTC)