Sunday, July 12, 2009

Issue 5 - The Price of Reason

There are certain things in life I wish someone would just get right. Simple things, which the majority of the Western World uses every day, like staplers and photocopiers.

I have been three years in my current job and not once, in all that time, have I had a stapler that staples. As for photocopiers: don't get me started. The current model I am forced to work with has a feeder that is capable of dragging the entire Yellow Pages through at once (completely unbidden) and then jamming on a piece of fluff. My relationship with a new photocopier does not reach a truce until I have worked out the exact position to place The Boot. In photocopier terms, I have discovered, The Boot is far more expedient than calling in an engineer. It also has the advantage of simultaneously relieving stress and letting the photocopier know who's boss.

You would think, by now, with the amount of usage these things get, somebody would have come up with a design that actually works. You know why I think they haven't? Because too much of the developers' time is wasted trying to unjam their office staplers and photocopiers.

Take jeans, as another example. I do not know one woman who doesn't struggle to find jeans that fit. Jeans are all designed for the Kate Mosses of this world, or, if those of us with a larger derrière do discover a pair that we can wriggle our way into, what do we find? The designer has automatically assumed we also have a beer belly to rival Homer Simpson's. We're women! We have curves! The general rule is hips: out; waist: in.

Starbucks' spoons. How hard can it be to come up with a type of plastic spoon without a razor-sharp edge that strikes mid-muffin and leaves you vaguely resembling The Joker?

Toilets! If Australia can make toilets that flush properly and don't require plunging at the first reminder of last night's curry, why the heck can't Britain and the USA do the same? This makes no sense to me. (On a personal note: WHY OH WHY does Britain have this insane policy of not allowing power-points and light switches in bathrooms?! I hate drying my hair in my bedroom!)

While we're on this subject of nonsensical things, why do they fill olive jars right to the top, so that you cannot possibly open the lid without getting covered in garlic-y brine?

Why don't they fill chip packets up? I don't ever recall asking for “half a packet of delicious, crispy, artery-clogging, potato-y goodness and half a packet of air, please.”

Why do they always discontinue the nicest-smelling fabric softener/perfume/air freshener/deodorant? And the best colour lipstick/nail polish/eye shadow/foundation?

Why do software upgrades always remove the best features of the programme and make it more unstable and completely incompatible with all your other programmes?

Think how wonderful it would be if producers actually made products that did what people wanted them to do! Surely, this is not too much to ask? Or is the price of reason in design just too high? Personally, I think the man who could make a common product using a bit of common sense would be raking in the cash.

But hey, what would I know? I'm just the consumer.

1 comment:

  1. I think the 'common man' making common products that you refer to at the end of your blog actually does exist; and his name is Steve Jobs.