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More Problems with the Economy - Scott Adams' Blog

More Problems with the Economy

I’ve run into this situation twice in the past year: A sales person will tell me, in insincere confidence, what a jerk some other customer is. It usually comes in the form of a story that is presumably meant to amuse me, as in “You won’t believe what this customer did the other day.” There’s usually a point to the story, such as Don’t waste a sales person’s time if you aren’t going to spend a lot of money. Or Don’t ask stupid questions. I suppose the sales person who shares these stories wants me to think he’s bonding with me. But all I feel is a desire to beat him to death with whatever he’s selling, while yelling “If you don’t want people buying inexpensive items, why do you carry them in your f%&@ing store???”

And after he’s dead, I might keep beating him while yelling something along the lines of “If your products weren’t so f@&#ing confusing, maybe people wouldn’t have to ask so many questions!

On another topic, I believe there is a special place in Hell for companies that make consumer electronics with black buttons on black faceplates, especially when those products are generally used in low light situations. Is that even trying?

Let’s talk about thermostats. How many people know how to program their thermostats? My guess is 30% of the public. In my last home, the interface was so random that at least half of the time we simply gave up trying to set the temperature and assumed “Something must be broken.” Imagine how much energy could be saved with a little work on thermostat interfaces. The market system doesn’t work with thermostats because they generally come with the house. And if you shopped for them in the store, you wouldn’t get a full sense of how easy they are to use. Maybe there should be a law that says if 75% of consumers can’t set the thermostat in controlled tests then those products aren’t allowed on the market.

We use retractable leashes when walking our dog. The good versions of this product have a handle grip and a thumb control for stopping the leash from retracting. If you need to reel your dog in, you pull the handle while pressing the button. It’s a very nice design. Recently we got one that changes things up. If your dog starts running into traffic, you have to pull on the handle while releasing your hold on the retraction button. That’s right – you have to squeeze some muscles in your hand while releasing others. Try that at home. Squeeze your thumb and your index finger together while relaxing your pinky. You can do it, if you get in the lotus position and burn incense, but it’s not the best design if you’re in panic mode and trying to keep your dog from running into traffic. I wonder if the designers ever tested the product. And if they did, how many dogs died?