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Reader Knowledge Test #2

Trolley Full of Bits

I am not making this up.

That is the phrase that was part of a sentence spoken to me by actual English-speaking people.

What is amazing to me is that people from England and people from America use the same words—largely from the same vocabulary list, albeit with different accents—yet the English say things using those words that do not communicate anything useful. (I submit that we speak properly, and they are all arrogant-sounding, like they are the king and queen or something… unless you are Dick van Dyke doing a fantastic chimney sweep accent, ‘oo used words what was proppah.).

In talking to our friends Bill and Julie, from England originally, but then France more recently, and finally near Valencia, CA presently, they were trying to communicate an otherwise fascinating story to us and used the phrase trolley full of bits in such a fashion that it actually sounded like they have used such a ridiculous phrase before. Seriously.

My eyes glazed over.

Teresa just had stunned eyebrows, and was shaking her head “no.”

Now, these people did eventually explain what the phrase was referring to, but not after a lengthy display of amazement that we seldom if ever use the word “bits” in a grown-up sentence.

But I am wondering if any readers can guess what that phrase was used to communicate to us.

Answer posted Friday as an Update in this post.

No fair using any look-up services, like dictionaries, wikipedia, or anything like that. You must use only your wits, as we were required to do.

Keep in mind that these people also said that Dick van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins was absolutely horrid.

Bill and Julie are not allowed to participate in this round of RKT

Update: So, Julie is telling me that she and Bill had just moved into their new home and so were at a large box store, whose name rhymes with Stall-Mart, and they were commenting on how Julie had asked Bill to come to where she was and help her get something off a high shelf, and when they went back their trolley full of bits was gone.

It turns out it meant: Shopping Cart full of all the things they were buying to accessorize their new home: tableware, utensils, napkins, glasses, soap dishes, placemats and the like.

I was naturally supposed to understand this from the word “bits.”

As it turns out, a helpful Stall-Mart employee had taken their cart—after it had been left alone for upwards of 10 seconds—and pushed it to customer service where another helpful employee took it back into the store and was almost finished putting everything back on the shelves when Julie recognized the last remaining items. Bill and Julie had spent nearly an hour and a half shopping, and another 45 minutes looking for their missing trolley full of bits which was now virtually all put back.


  1. I’m going to go with a full cart of groceries.

  2. Used to denote something is junk or useless or unworthy, something along those lines.

    “That car is a trolley full of bits” or “Oh, don’t go to see that movie, it’s a trolley full of bits.”

    NOW can I go look it up online?

  3. well come on you must admit, Dick van Dyke…. have you ever heard such a bad english accent and anybody else that speaks the Queen’s english would obviously know what a ‘trolley full of bits’ is!!!

  4. Ha! Excellent. Even after I guessed and went to find it online, I couldn’t find it anywhere!

  5. I have heard something similar only instead of just bits, it was bits and bobs.

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