I’m procrastinating this morning, so I’m just going to rant about something that sticks in my craw: the use of the stupid-ass, bureaucratspeak phrase “your mileage may vary” to mean “your experience might be different”.
The EPA started this crap. The language originated when EPA fuel economy ratings were mandated for new cars. Essentially, the EPA and auto manufacturers were saying that the ratings are developed under ideal circumstances and, depending on a driver’s habits, there could be a significant variance from the EPA bogey.
So, what the hell does that have to do with picture quality of a TV? Among other places, I’ve seen the phrase used in the context of electronic equipment reviews. I’m really happy to know that the new TV I’m wanting to buy gets 30 mpg, but now you’re telling me that if I have a heavy hand on the remote, it might get a lot less? That might be a deal breaker. I guess I won’t get a gasoline powered TV after all.
Following the progression from trite, overused phrase to trite, overused acronym, you’ll find that on geek and even non-geek message boards, blogs, and comment threads, the term is abbreviated to “ymmv” and is frequently followed by one of the following so-called emoticons: 🙂 or ;). Just in case you encounter this nonsense, you’ll know what the hell it means.
Perhaps our President-elect might want to devote some of his precious time to regulating verbal abominations in everyday usage.
This post is brought to you by the Coalition to Regulate Abhorrent Phrases On Line Andotherwise (C.R.A.P.O.L.A.).