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The instruction booklet

3 mins read

By Lee Scott

My friend Al stopped me in the gym the other day and told me about a plant he and his wife Sheila had bought. 

When Sheila opened the box and looked at the instructions, she was a bit surprised. The first step: Dig a hole. 

When Al told me, I burst out laughing. Talk about your basics. 

But I told him I had gotten away from reading instruction books lately because some things are just intuitive, like digging a hole for a plant. Besides for the most part, the manuals seem so onerous with all the cautions and disclaimers. 

Then I told him about my new vacuum cleaner. I put the instruction booklet in a plastic bin where we keep all the other operating manuals. 

After using the vacuum several times, I realized I did not know how to empty the canister. It was not evident, so I went looking for the instructions. 

The book contained more than 100 pages. 

“How much is this vacuum cleaner capable of doing that it requires one hundred pages of instructions?” I asked myself.

Then I realized that the first 10 pages were in English and the other 90 pages were in different languages. No problem. I tore off the non-English sections and threw them away. 

Then I got through all the cautions. Do not let a child around any of the plastic bags. Do not operate in water. Etc.

Finally, I got to the actual operating instructions and discovered “how to empty the canister.”

As it turned out, the clip on the bottom comes undone. They also should have written: Caution – empty canister over a garbage container. Live and learn.

Then I discovered there were three filters on the machine that I had to clean. I also found that one of the attachments I was ignoring was specifically made to pick up dog hair. If I recall, that is the reason I bought the machine in the first place!

There have been other instruction booklets that we have put aside, like the TV remote manual. Now the remote is something you would think would be easy to use, until the electricity goes out and you have to reprogram the television set. Or you are hooking up to a new device, so you must find “Source” and determine whether you need HDMI, AV, or some other option. 

Fortunately, our remote’s instruction manual has pictures for challenged consumers.

So, Al thanks for telling me about your plant’s instruction book. 

My fear now with my next electronic purchase, is the instructions will read like your plant instructions.

“Dig a hole and throw the unit in, because you are not bright enough to operate it.” 

Now those are instructions I can understand. 

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