Stupid Design

Despite my claim of being a Luddite, I do recognize and appreciate when things work well. I love, e.g., the whisk with which to mix things; never had one until I was an adult, always stirring with a wooden spoon or whatnot. The whisk aerates the mixture in a wonderful way.

When I first had my own apartment in college, I was forever turning on the wrong burner on the stove. That wasn’t me being stupid; it was bad design. There would be two knobs on the left of the oven knob, which was in the middle, then two knobs to the right, and they were different positions from the stove I grew up with. Was the leftmost knob the front or the back of the left half of the stove? Finally, stove designers started putting words or symbols indicating which knob controlled which burner, and the threat of me burning down the apartment was lessened.

This brings me to the stupid design of our relatively new dishwasher. You may recall that we needed to buy a new one, because the old one – which was not so very old – was failing to clean many of the dishes, and we found ourselves needing to rewash by hand about half of the items. The problem with the new machine is that one really cannot load the silverware without taking out the silverware holder, since it is attached to the inside door of the dishwasher. OK, but then the removed silverware holder cannot stand on its own, like our previous one could, so we have to wedge it between the kitchen faucet and the wall behind it, lest it tip over, when we load and unload it. As a result of this, I have run the dishwasher at least thrice while neglecting to replace the damn silverware holder in the dishwasher. So we’ll have clean plates and bowls, but a dearth of clean flatware. I thought it was just me, but my wife has now done the same thing twice. We’ve had to leave a note on the machine, composed by the Daughter, to avoid this.

Other flaws: the slots designed to actually hold the silverware are often too narrow for the base of the forks and some spoons; the knives will fit, pointed side down, which is contrary to the cleaning instructions, but in keeping with my safety habits, especially for the serrated ones. Moreover, the silverware holder has occasionally sprung open, dumping the clean silverware all over the floor.

BAD design. Hate it.

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4 thoughts on “Stupid Design

  1. That does sound like a particularly complicated (and frustrating) dishwasher. I often wonder if the people who design them actually test their ideas in the real world before letting them loose on the market.

    I was going to ask you to share the note that your daughter composed, but it might be more entertaining if left to our imaginations!

  2. I too only discovered whisks a few years ago. This discovery radically transformed a very small corner of my life. Now it takes a moment to whip up pancakes. I feel as if I had been crippling myself in the kitchen with ignorance.

  3. Fortunately I have no dishwasher, but on holidays we sometimes rent a cottage with one and in that case we always ask an expert how it works. Once We put some detergent in it and when it fininished the program, I opened it and saw that it was filled with foam. It took me quite some time to rinse it.

  4. On your “Luddite” comment: I have discovered that when I criticize technology in general virtually everyone comes up with the same point: “But… flush toilets are awesome!” I have discovered the flush toilet is the single most popular invention of all time! 🙂

    And yeah, bad design stinks. It’s often a thousand times worse when it’s in computer programs because you can’t figure out what the heck is doing it or how to fix it or even the things that will cause the errors.

    I can put colored stickers on a washing machine to remind me what to do and what not to do. But with a computer program, who the heck knows sometimes why it glitches?

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