High Expectations?

*This rant brought to you by the makers of flawed merchandise. Feel free to add your own stories in the comments below. (I can’t guarantee improved product development, but surely you’ll feel better after getting it off your chest.)

Sometimes I think I expect too much.

For instance, is it too much to ask that a company test their product before manufacturing it?

I frequently say things like, “This must’ve been designed by a man.” Or, “A man must’ve created this.” Or, “A blind man who grew up in a box with no life experience or common sense must’ve been in charge of this project.”

It’s not really a slap at men. It’s a general critique of business practices and sound judgment. (Okay, maybe it is a slap at men.) Like maybe you should let women design feminine products and people who grocery shop lay out the store. Maybe someone who’s actually had a baby should be in charge of developing baby necessities and for the love of all things purchased and utilized, know that theory doesn’t always translate to practice.

I have a curling iron. Where did you think I was going with “feminine products”? It’s a brand name curling iron, a respectable hair care company. The “off” button is exactly where you put your thumb when you’re using it. It’s not a problem when you hold it, the problem arises when you roll it, you know, to curl your hair. Is this a joke? Or did someone who’s never used a curling iron design it? And what, there wasn’t a single test of the product before it hit the shelves? Ridiculous.

Parking lots are another thing I have issues with. I don’t even bother lamenting how “this must’ve been designed by a man,” because it’s obvious they were not designed at all. Beautiful new structures with all the bells and whistles… restaurant, retail store, Target, whatever… Who designs this in the middle of the property and doesn’t consider the ins and outs? Literally, the ins and outs. It’s like after the fact they go, Oh crap, how will people get here? Then they think… Hey, there’s a good place for a cart corral (when it’s not). And we’ll need a median or five, for no real reason. And some of these rows will be directional but not all and not reliably. Straight parking but narrow aisles, a wonderful place to practice your three-point turn around. No one will mind if we put a crosswalk here, nowhere near the entrance. And here’s a stop sign, but only one.
Seriously, WTH?
We can put a man on the moon but good luck getting him to the shuttle launch.

I got a new iPod for Christmas. Now, despite my graphic design and artistic proclivities, I do not swill the Apple kool-aid. My opinion of the company being what it is, I wasn’t surprised when I realized I’d need a friggin’ adaptor. Because the geniuses changed the charge hole. I have an iPod player for the original iPod, circa long time ago that wasn’t cheap even back then, and lo and behold, the new Gen 5 is not compatible. So I had to lay out an additional thirty bucks. That’s quite a scam you got going there Apple. Funny how that piece of China made rubber costs me another thirty bucks to protect a gadget that alone costs so much it should not only bounce when dropped but climb back up into my pocket and apologize for dissention.

Then, while I was shoving the iPod onto the adapter shoved onto the connector hole, I hit the off button. What the hell? I am not a special person, in any interpretation of the word. I am pretty damn average. Two hands, five fingers each, all right where they should be. I have to imagine that wherever I put my digits when utilizing the adapter are where other people put theirs. So, once again, it was either designed flawfully or never actually tested prior to release.

Sidebar Fun Fact: There were 2,363 recalls in 2012. Obviously releasing improperly tested products is big business. That’s a 14% increase since 2010. Easier to pay the (potential) penalty than test merchandise? Not like you hear about the 6+ recalls on average a day.

Probably you just muddle through, swearing each time you turn off your stuff because the button is where your thumb goes.

Or, and I’m sure this is not true, maybe they sell defective products so that they can sucker you in with the redesign? Naw, I’m sure that never happens.

The Complaint Department is now OPEN. Go for it.


About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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3 Responses to High Expectations?

  1. Mary J says:

    Mary, you crack me up!

  2. K. Miller says:

    Don’t forget the directions written either in Chinese or in “Chinglish”. I am curious of the products recalled and how many we’re made in America.

    • Zach was assembling his Pop-a-Shot, parts in groups all over the floor, off to a promising start. Then he turned from page 3 to page 4 only to find the piece completely put together (on page 12). The guts of the instructions were missing! So now I take issue with the guy that puts together the put-together!

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