Friday, May 12, 2006


I recently put new rubber treads on my back steps. Here are the instructions (I think they were written by a mother):
  1. Remove Step Guards from the bag and throw the bag in the trash.
  2. Make sure the step surface is clean and dry. Determine the preferred position for the Step Guard on your step. The edges of the Step Guard should not hang off or over the step.
  3. Peel the tape backing off the Step Guard and throw the tape backing in the trash.
  4. Press the Step Guard to the step in the desired location.
  5. Make sure the Step Guard is firmly secured to the step.
  6. Repeat above instructions until all Step Guards are securely placed.
  7. Discard all bags and tape backing.
Somebody took a lot of time writing these instructions. I think it was a mother. She's helped us avoid several pitfalls in this process.
  • Step 1: We're not throwing away the bag with the Step Guards still in it.
  • Step 2: We're being sure the preferred position for the Step Guard is on the step - not, say, on the lawn.
  • Step 3: We're throwing the tape backing in the trash, not just on the floor.
  • Step 4: We're putting the Step Guard, not just any old place, but in the desired location.
  • Step 5: Having pressed it firmly, we should now be sure it's secured firmly.
  • Step 6: Luckily there are only two Step Guards in the package so I don't have to repeat the steps all the way down the sidewalk.
  • Step 7: In case we missed the first two "discard" instructions, here's another chance.
Sadly, the man we may have delegated the task to isn't reading the instructions, so be prepared to go pick up the bag, the instructions and the tape backing and put them in the trash.

Seriously, writing instructions is tough and sometimes comical. We should all practice it more often. I wonder why it's not a party game, like Charades.


Pam in Tucson said...

I used to write Users' Manuals for software; I had a reputation for being able to break any piece of s/w that was breakable. I also wrote them as if I were a mom - step-by-step in excruciating detail. There are so many instructions that are incomprehensible - some originating in this country, some obviously mistranslated. I love this post! I bet you could market the game idea into something quite lucrative, if you felt entrepreneurial.

Maggy said...

love it... I'm putting together dishwashing instructions for the roommates as soon as I can.