1533: Antique Factory

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Antique Factory
WARNING: This item was aged by the same inexorable passage of time that also processes nuts.
Title text: WARNING: This item was aged by the same inexorable passage of time that also processes nuts.


Beret Guy has a new job with a paradoxical premise. When asked where he works, he says "Antique factory!" which is an oxymoron since one cannot build an antique object directly in a factory: Only when the item is old enough to be worth more than its original price (and will often have to have been in use during this time period), can it be called an antique. Alternatively, he could simply be referring to the factory as "antique“ which may be correct.

At the "factory", Beret Guy walks up to a chair, a table, and a small cabinet, then simply sits down in the chair and does nothing else. Of course, one does not simply make or manufacture antiques - instead, one must wait. Beret Guy appears to be doing exactly this. The implication is that the "antique factory" is simply a place where furniture is stored until it becomes old enough to be considered "antique", and that Beret Guy doesn't perform any useful function (except perhaps using the items to make them look old and worn, or keeping an eye on the inventory so it won't be stolen).

The title text refers to allergy warning labels saying May contain nuts. More specifically, they may say "Manufactured in a facility which also processes nuts", "Manufactured on equipment that also processes nuts", or similar. These warnings indicate that bits of powder and oil from nuts may have been mixed into the product, creating a hazard to people with nut allergies. Sometimes these warnings are used for allergens besides nuts, but nuts are likely the most common.

The joke here is that of course the time that has passed for a specific item to become an antique will be the same time that has also passed while elsewhere nuts have grown. Thus the time that has inexorably passed to make a specific item antique will also have processed nuts.

Beret Guy has previously "traveled" into the future in 209: Kayak. He has also previously waited for a long amount of time in 1088: Five Years and in 1617: Time Capsule.


[Beret Guy is leaving with a briefcase in hand.]
Beret Guy: Gotta go - I'm late for work.
Off-screen voice: Oh, where are you working now?
Beret Guy: Antique factory!
[Beret Guy arrives in a room with a chair, a table, and a small cabinet. He pulls out the chair.]
[Beret Guy sits in the chair. He has placed the briefcase behind the chair.]
[Beat panel.]

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The reference to inexorable passage of time reminds me of 209: Kayak Effy (talk) 11:55, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

The briefcase seems to be slightly different from the third panel to the fourth. Is this just a drawing difference, or something significant? Technetium (talk) 12:29, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Arguably, the premise of the comic is that while an antique may be something old that has been in storage (e.g. an attic, or an otherwise unused spare room) for most of its time since it was actually new, some would consider that less desirous than an item that was thoroughly used when new, and has acquired signs of wear and tear (or even an actual patina, rather than the perfect surface of the freshly manufactured goods) over a significant proportion of its existence.

Indeed, fake antiques of various kinds are subjected to intense (and artificial) 'usage' to give them the look of age that they lack, to add to the authentic-looking (but actually deliberately 'back-dated') construction methods that were used. Or even to make up for this being done wrong.

In this comic, however, there's no sign of criminal intent. It seems that contemporary pieces of furniture are being 'used' (the chair sat on, which may be fair enough; the table sat at, which is a somewhat more intangible process) roughly in line with how a then-contmporary antique would have been used, when new, with no intention to accelerate or artifice the 'aging' process. Normally one would not consider this a cost-effect business model, but this argument has never troubled the character before, so why should it now?

(I leave it up to someone else to summarise this idea in the main explanation. If they agree with it.) 13:09, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

I thought that the premise of the comic is that he went to somewhere where normal things (now antiques) were once made, but he's VERY late for work. 16:42, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Giving Randall's affinity for Terry Pratchett the title text may be a reference to one of his books. On the title page inside the book The Science of Discworld II: The Globe: 2 there is a waring at the bottom which says: "Warning: May contain nuts". May contain nuts is also the title of the last chapter (#32) in that book. And there is a foot note in that book where the Tyrant Lord Vetinari makes it clear that you can never be certain that any item do not include nuts... --Kynde (talk) 18:32, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

It's also probably not coincidental that there is evidently an acorn seated in the picture. Aging. 23:33, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Sometimes the veneer of the furniture is made of nut tree timber. And creating new antique furniture, advertising with nut tree veneer shall make them more valuable. --GeorgDerReisende (talk) 08:57, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

So... the way the hat is positioned it looks like he's turning his head towards the reader in the last panel. Anyone else notice this? Schiffy (Speak to me|What I've done) 09:30, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

The explanation misses the obvious play on words: "antique factory" could both mean a "factory to create antiques" (through the passage of time) and a "factory that is antique." It's amusing since the latter would be logical meaning of the expression yet the comic relies on the former definition. Regarding the title text: as some people are allergic to nuts, I'd argue most people are allergic to time (since it is ultimately lethal) and thus need the warning label on the antique objects. Ralfoide (talk) 16:20, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

What about items made using materials (wood, nails, etc.) that have been previously used? OK, so the product isn't going to be antique, but its composite parts are. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I added "Category:Beret Guy's Business". This comic isn't explicitly about running his own business, but it's weird-business themed so it seem appropriate anyway. And maybe he's a consultant antiqueer? Lii (talk) 07:40, 3 September 2016 (UTC)