Evidence that one can waste hours of one's life and risk injury because of other people's thoughtless instruction writing

Yay!  250 followers.  That's three since I said I wouldn't be blogging much.  It obviously works.  So, let me say, here and now, that I am NEVER BLOGGING AGAIN.  NO, NEVER.  NOT EVER.  NOT EVER AGAIN.....

But, while I'm here, I have a few thoughts about following instructions.

1.  On the toilet roll holder in a cubicle at work today, I saw that it said, 'If toilet roll has run out, turn clockwise for another roll'.  Well, the roll did run out, and what a rigmarole that is!  Standing up.  Pants round your knees.  Turning round a few times (I got it wrong at first and went anticlockwise - I didn't get my Spatial Awareness O'level).  And all that in a small cubicle only just bigger than me.  What's more, not even a SUGGESTION of a new toilet roll making its way down.  What a con that is.  Next time I'll take my own tissue.  Pff.

2. Last week, I bought this chocolate steamed pudding which came in a tin.  It said on the side, 'Pierce the can lid and then stand in a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes'.  Well, I was thirteen hours in A & E after that and the blisters still haven't gone down.  Not just that, but you try clambering up onto your gas cooker to get two size 7 feet into a pressure cooker full of boiling water.  I had to get the ladder out of the loft and EVERYthing.  Don't these manufacturers THINK?

3. I was trying to get a cup of coffee from a machine recently.  The sign said, 'Select your coffee option and then depress the red button.'  Well!  I'd been there for half an hour, telling that button what a rotten, useless, ugly waster of a red button it was and that it should be ashamed of itself, and STILL no coffee.  Plus, there was a whole CROWD behind me, obviously wanting a coffee too.  I just don't get it.

4. I was travelling on the underground recently and a sign said, 'Baby buggies MUST be carried on the escalator.'  Blimey, it took me ages to get that organised, people being singularly unwilling to let me borrow their buggies so I could get down to the lower level.  In the end, the woman I wrestled the buggy from - not to mention its yelling baby occupant - didn't seem too happy, but, heck, I was in a hurry.  And now a court case!  I mean, how unjust is THAT?

You see, I was trying to take one of my new headache tablets, and it said, 'Press down cap and twist.'
I've been dancing for hours now and I don't feel ANY better.  I'm definitely going to sue.


  1. I attended at wedding reception on Saturday in a nice hotel in Bristol. The sign in the toilets advised me that only toilet paper was to be flushed down the loos. I swear my bladder has now stretched to twice its original size.

  2. Steve - now THAT had me doubled over! Very funny comment.

  3. Fine. Just fine. BE that way. Blame the poor innocent, defenseless, overwork and underpaid yet still surprisingly charming and lithe technical writer. These are clearly errors in manufacturing and design.
    The worst example that I ran across was a "Certificate of Quality." Five typos, including the company's name being mis-spelled, yet still management wanted the dang thing prominently displayed on the inside cover of every manual.

  4. Anonymous18/5/11 11:02

    When watching a DVD (back when DVD's were all new and techy and fancy), when the little sign that says "This film has been formatted to fit your TV" came on, someone asked, "How do they know what size television we have?" And no, it wasn't me that asked. - G

  5. Oh Fran, life can be hard can't it? (Especially for you).

  6. Ha ha - great post and great comments too!

  7. When I were nobbut a lad, I remember my dad opening a new packet of cornflakes. The instructions said 'Slide finger under flap, and move from left to right. So he did, literally. Oh, how we laughed!

  8. P.S. Congrats on new job!

  9. Oh, Fran......this was the funniest blog I have ever read....honest.

  10. I'm glad you found my blog so I could find yours. You are a scream. I love your sense of humor. #4 - you were only following directions that were stated in writing. Love it!

    Oh, and you have a new follower: It is I.

  11. You're such a funny twat Fran! I read signs in the same way as you. E.g. On the motorway 'POLICE - SLOW' - why is it only police who have to go slow?

    E.g.2. Many cars have 'Objects in the mirror are nearer than they seem' etched onto the wing mirrors. Don't wanna touch one of them, you never know what might leap out.

    But on a totally unrelated note, what do signs saying 'Soft Verges' mean? What are you supposed to do?

  12. Love it! But I must disagree about the efficacy of instructions.

    I read on the side of a box of matches once: 'Keep away from children' - and that's been working just fine for the past 30 years!

  13. Big LOL on Steve's comment!

    Loved these, Fran. Made me snort!

  14. The Merry - that's very funny - mistakes on a Certificate of Quality. It reminds me of when I saw an advertisement for a job in a 'grammer' school. Tut tut.

    Georgina - funny! Are you SURE it wasn't you?....

    Katie - yes, especially for me. You've gathered, then.

    PhotoPuddle - thanks, and, yes, I love my commenters' sense of humour. Sometimes it's at my expense (sob) but hey.

    Martin - that made me laugh too. Move from left to right! Good one. And it still says that on cereal packets, I think, especially Weetabix.

    Lo - thanks. You can come again.

    Retired - thanks for following! We English teachers, ex or otherwise, must unite.

    Annie - yes, the soft verges one is most confusing. It's almost like an invitation to get out of the car and stroke one.

    broken biro - brilliant! Yes, always good advice (says the teacher ...)

    Talli - Steve's comments can be relied on to be funny, but usually very rude. I have to tell him off sometimes. I have younger readers ...

  15. I just love this Fran - chocolate pudding had me in stitches! Your sense of humour is fantastic.

    Anna :o]

  16. I always wince when see the 'Heavy Plant Crossing' signs. I've only ever witnessed bulldozers and tractors...no Triffids.

  17. I once couldn't go into a park because it said that litter had to be put in the bins. I didn't have any litter with me.

  18. Hypercryptical - thank you. Chocolate pudding usually has me in stitches too but that serves me right for eating 3 portions at a time.

    Martin - that one always makes me laugh, too, and the kids used to get SO bored with me saying so every time we saw one while out driving!

    Isabelle - sometimes life is just so difficult, isn't it? Sigh.

  19. In an effort to encourage this hanging on to blogging despite telling us you were off I've given you a Liebster Award over on mine.. I'm afraid working out how to add the button I will have to leave to you: Countrymummy (who gave it to me) hadn't managed to add it and I don't know which of the methods I tried worked!

  20. May contain nuts. And yay! It does!

  21. Fran, I vote that your best ever blog post - especially the 'depress the button' bit.
    Thanks for the belly laugh.

    Anna May x

  22. Glad I stopped in again.

    You still crack me up.

  23. hausfrau - Thank you for the Liebster award. I think you'll find it was a very appropriate award for me, because when I looked it up in the dictionary it meant 'a person who continually threatens not to blog any more just to get more followers'.

    Val - ha ha! Good one. Always read the packet, that's what I say!

    Anna May - thanks! And I'm glad your belly was so amused.

    Brilliant Sulk - Hello again! How're you doing?

  24. That post was hysterical!This is not the same idea at all but in our village there is a sign up saying SLOW CHILDREN which makes me cross as there are only 5 in the village, one being mine!!

  25. I always, always, always take my own tissue paper to the loo as it is a known fact that multiple loo holders do not work! I just can't understand why hotels etc don't work it out - surely the bathroom floor covered with small shreds of paper and fine papery dust is a good indicator....


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