Why do small appliances come packaged in containers that could withstand the atmospheric conditions the shuttle faces on re-entry, only to hide a 450 page booklet titled “Read before opening” inside?
When our old microwave became more of a microwhimper, we marched right down to Wal-Mart and gave a boost to the economy the way any good citizen would do. Supporting Wal-Mart is my duty as a loyal American and something we can all do to keep this country great. That and conserving our resources, which would be easier if we didn’t frequent a store where everything is packaged in three layers of plastic and Styrofoam insulation and nailed shut with railroad spikes for your protection.
During the selection process, we considered all the important factors: ease of operation, room on top for paper towel rolls or used coffee mugs, and number of fancy buttons. What we forgot to consider turned out to be a Very Important Thing.
How to get the monster out of the box.
Once home, I broke the hammer, took up a square foot of kitchen tile with the screwdriver, and trimmed my nails by accident with the kitchen scissors trying to break into the package. I was huddled by the box, weeping bitterly and gnawing on an industrial staple, when my teenage son strolled into the kitchen. He was starving, having allowed several minutes to elapse since his last gallon of cereal and bacon cheeseburger combo.
Spotting the cheerful picture of the happy family munching salty snacks on the label, he peeled the thing like it was a banana, nestled it on my countertop, recycled the box, and popped in a bag of Orville Redenbacher’s finest.
While I busied myself trying to break into the adult-proof plastic bag that held the instructions, he ate the popcorn, beat the bosses on the last three levels of his video game, and wandered back into the kitchen looking for a snack. He snagged the bag, busted it like a bubble and tossed me the instruction book.
“How long for pizza?” he asked taking a stack of microwave pizzas out of the freezer and fanning them like a card shark with a new deck.
“It says here not to overcook food,” I read, tracing the important line of safety instructions with one finger.
“Mom, it should say that on every appliance you own in bright, flashing letters.”
“If you’re referring to the cheese toast, that could have happened to anybody.” Who knew American cheese would inflate to resemble the Sydney Opera House if left in the oven too long. It shouldn’t be that hard to make breakfast.
I pointed out the next item with a raggedly manicured finger. “It also says that if there’s a fire in the microwave to leave the door closed.”
He shrugged and chipped a piece of ice from a pizza. "That's the same thing we do with the oven when you make biscuits."
So it turns out that technology isn't all that different these days. The more things change, the more they stay the same. And I don't need an instruction manual to tell me so.