Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Stating the bleeding obvious

From the instruction manual for a telephone with a built-in answering system:

You can turn the answering system off, but if you do so, the answering system does not answer calls and record incoming messages.



Thomas J. Brown said...

Wow. That sounds like one of those warnings that was added because a customer (or more likely, an engineer's boss) complained.

That reminds me of a time when I was working in I.T. and I received a call from the big boss's husband (who also worked for the company, although I could never figure out exactly what he did).

I dreaded receiving calls from him because he was technologically inept. Usually the solution was something inane, such as reminding him what his password was – it was his name – but this call was probably the worst ever.

"My printer is broken," he said. Even at that moment I knew what the problem was.
"O.K.," I replied, "I'll come take a look."

I walked into his office and immediately turned the printer on. I considered just turning around and walking out at that point, but I thought better of it and found a mostly-polite way of explaining what had happened. Thankfully, he found the humor in the situation; that often wasn't the case, however.

Ray said...

I recently acquired a new electric shaver, and a fine thing it is, too.

The only safety-related item on it is a sticker attached to the wire that leads from the wall wart to the unit that holds the shaver. The only thing on the sticker is a red circle with a diagonal line, over the image of a pair of scissors. I'm still bemused.

Barry Leiba said...

Ray, the meaning seems clear to me: it means, "Don't cut your throat with scissors; instead, wrap this cord around your neck and choke yourself."

Barry Leiba said...

Thomas: I thought you were going to say there was no paper in it. I thought the old "make sure it's plugged in and turned on" thing was a joke.

I thought wrong, I guess.

One wonders what his wife, who I presume was no dummy, saw in him.

Thomas J. Brown said...

@Barry - He's a lawyer, so I'm guessing money and free legal advice for her business.

Michelle said...

It reminds me of a silly incident a few years ago where I was reading the instructions to shampoo, right from squeezing it out of the container, lathering it with water, putting it through your hair.. I thought, much like Wonko the Sane upon reading instructions for toothpicks, that civilization was finally over.

Now, that shampoo had recently come from the US with my then roommate so they were in English, which is the reason I even noticed it, I hardly ever read instructions, so I have no idea how typical that is.

Sorry but no point, just making an observation. /end ramble

Barry Leiba said...

Well, that's part of the old[1] joke about why computer programmers take forever to wash their hair: because the instructions on the shampoo say
1. Lather
2. Rinse
3. Repeat

[1] Well, I guess the joke can't be very old, can it?

Thomas J. Brown said...

@Barry - I've never heard that joke before, but it's HILARIOUS! I just laughed out loud.