Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Say What ?

It's not often I have a pop at the private sector but one area in which they do tend to lag behind many government bodies is in the standard of written communication.

Whilst public-facing organisations go to considerable lengths to ensure that they write in good plain English (and often in a host of other languages, although that's another, more debatable issue) some companies appear not to think twice about contracting out writing to the same people who do their manufacturing. When that manufacturing appears to be carried out in deepest China, that policy can cause confusion.

We have a trampoline at our burrow. It's one of Womble On Tour Junior I and II's favourite toys. They'll use it all weathers, especially Junior II, who can quite happily bounce for hours on end. The kids' friends love it too, and our house becomes something of a local attraction at times. The one we had had become close to being unusable, simply owing to wear and tear (and being blown over in the recent gales didn't do it much good, either). So we decided to buy a new one.

We bought online from Outdoor Toys Direct, selling a brand called Mad Dash Trampolines. The service was great; the boxes arrived within a couple of days, and included all the components required. Except good, clear instructions.

I have to confess to not being a hugely practical person. I'm not one of those who can take a quick look at all the parts of a self-assembly kit and instantly see how it fits together. I need to be told. I have to say that the instructions for this trampoline were dire. We did finally manage to get the thing put gogether - evidence left - but we really weren't helped by the documentation.

There were two boxes; one for the main bed of the trampoline, with its circular frame and its legs, and one for the enclosing net. We actually gave up on constructing the main bed at first, convinced that it wasn't going to fit together properly. It was only when we tried again a few days later and did things in a different order that we got something that looked vaguely like a trampoline. The instructions were, to put it politely, ambiguous about this all-important point and were very poorly written. The notes accompanying the net, however, were in a completely different league.

Not only did some of the parts in the photos look nothing like (and I really do mean nothing like) what was delivered, but some of the English was just laughable. Luckily, it was all relatively obvious; had it not been we could have ended up with a mess, or, worse, with something that's dangerous.

How about these for a few examples of truly abysmal English ?

Connect the Lower Pole with the Trampoline Leg by W-Clamp. One Lower Pole need 4Pcs(2 sets) W-Clamp and 4 sets of Screws and Nuts.

Make sure that the Foam Covered the Lower Pole should be upper than the top W-Clamp.

Make sure that the side with Plastic Cover should be put into first, otherwise the Enclosure will be easy to be broken !

Ominously, I still don't know what this last statement means, so perhaps the enclosure will be easy to be broken. If it is, I'll let you know.


nuttycow said...

"Whilst public-facing organisations go to considerable lengths to ensure that they write in good plain English" - you're joking aren't you?

Have you ever read anything that's come through the door from your local council? A load of twaddle mostly. And very badly written.

Chilli said...

I think mad dash is just a brand invented by Outdoor Toys Direct...maybe that explains the poor assembly instructions!