pick the shelves clean

Eric Chengdu

Senior Member
Chinese
You'd better get to the store early during the big sale, because people pick the shelves clean in no time.
You'd better get to the store early during the big sale, because people strip the shelves bare in no time.

I'm not sure if expressions like "pick the shelves clean" and "strip the shelves bare" could conjure up the same funny images in your mind as they did in my mind when reading them. I think it's the metaphors that make speech more interesting, colorful. I wonder if there're any other expressions you would use in this situation, which produce the same effect. i'd like to pick your creative brain. :)
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    "Picked clean" is a metaphor taken from the fruit growing industry. When a fruit tree is "picked clean" all the usable fruit has been plucked from the branches.

    I think "picked ... clean" works fine.
     

    Eric Chengdu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "Picked clean" is a metaphor taken from the fruit growing industry. When a fruit tree is "picked clean" all the usable fruit has been plucked from the branches.

    I think "picked ... clean" works fine.
    Thank you for your help. I had a different picuture in my mind though, I can see a swarm of vultures picking the animal carcass clean or a dog sitting there, picking a bone clean. I think yours also makes a lot of sense :thumbsup:
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    According to Google Books' Psalms, from which I cannot quote, the origin of "picked clean" comes from "picked" meaning "plucked". So a bird being readied for cooking would be picked clean (plucked of all feathers).

    I think this makes more sense than my original suggestion and probably makes more sense than "picking a bone clean".

    The quote appears about 2/3 of the way down the page as shown.

    Psalms 1-50, Volume 19
     

    Eric Chengdu

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    According to Google Books' Psalms, from which I cannot quote, the origin of "picked clean" comes from "picked" meaning "plucked". So a bird being readied for cooking would be picked clean (plucked of all feathers).

    I think this makes more sense than my original suggestion and probably makes more sense than "picking a bone clean".

    The quote appears about 2/3 of the way down the page as shown.

    Psalms 1-50, Volume 19
    Yeah, that makes more sense. You've won me over :idea:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Either of your original sentences works perfectly well. There's no risk of your being misunderstood or of anyone thinking "that's odd".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Either of your original sentences works perfectly well. There's no risk of your being misunderstood or of anyone thinking "that's odd".
    I did not mean to imply that "strip the shelves" was wrong; I was only commenting on "picked clean".
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I agree the originals work but they brought a picture to my mind similar to the one Eric was thinking of - a horde of predator-like shoppers descending on the store and carrying things away. S1m0n's sounds more peaceful.:)
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    I agree the originals work but they brought a picture to my mind similar to the one Eric was thinking of - a horde of predator-like shoppers descending on the store and carrying things away. S1m0n's sounds more peaceful.:)
    I took the question as asking for additional suggestions that conveyed the same idea. I didn't mean to suggest that there was anything wrong with the proposed forms; they're all fine.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I agree the originals work but they brought a picture to my mind similar to the one Eric was thinking of - a horde of predator-like shoppers descending on the store and carrying things away. S1m0n's sounds more peaceful.:)
    There's nothing peaceful about big sales, is there? :rolleyes: There certainly isn't in London.
    You'd better get to the store early during the big sale,
     
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