Jan 152011

We’ve all grumbled about someone not following the most basic and obvious of instructions so it can be humourous to realize how many of them we ourselves don’t bother with.

After washing my hands (for a very common purpose) in a public washroom, I made my way to the paper towel dispenser and saw what has to be the most rudimentary way of telling the user how to use the machine. You know the one, with the basic drawing of the same machine and the two hands grasping either side of the paper towel sticking out. And yet, how many times have you grabbed it with one hand and sworn under your breath that it didn’t work properly? I’ve done it… I haven’t counted the amount of times but it’s been plenty.

Then there are the instructions given to us by loved ones that we nod at, hear and then go about things in our own way anyway, often resulting in something a bit devastating and sometimes in a hilarious way.

Instructions are meant to be followed. They aren’t rules which are meant to be broken but guidelines of how to properly do something to get the best result. We all know this and we know that someone took the time to write the step by step details of how to set up a book case (right side up lol) for us, the end user. Do we appreciate these people? Not usually, instead we’re usually swearing at them, muttering our own stream of vulgarities and looking at something wondering why it doesn’t look like the picture on the box.

I’m glad I mostly write fiction as if someone has a problem with it there’s really not a whole lot that can be done – it’s not real! It’s my own imagination but the fact that instructions go unheeded isn’t – that’s a reality.

So do me a favour – next time you see something obvious, just do what it says and thank the person for guiding you through it. This may end in more boring results but it’ll save everyone a lot of time and those who taught us how to do it will be thankful.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

  One Response to “We’ve All Done It…”

  1. Too true, Sarah, but sometimes instructions can be hilarious in themselves. For example, when we bought our house we bought a lawnmower – just your every-day, garden-variety gas push mower. The instruction book that came with it sent us into kinks. “Do not carry passengers on your mower.” “Do not use your mower in the dark.” I guess it’s impossible to underestimate human bone-headedness.

    not carry passengers on your mower.”

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