Category: Advertising

5 more things to worry about


I work with a very nice woman named Brenda, who loves her car. I mean really, REALLY loves it.

She only drives it on days when there is no rain in the forecast. She stores it in the winter so that it is never driven in the snow. She vacuums it out every night. If you ride with her, you are instructed to make sure you pick up your feet when you enter it, to as to not soil the kick plate. Brenda doesn’t get many passengers and I’m sure she’s just fine with that.

My relationship with my car is a bit different. I have a long commute each morning and tend to have breakfast in the car while I’m driving. I also have a large dog who sheds, so I cover the back seat with a “hammock” that keeps the seat somewhat covered. Somewhat.

In short, my car is not in showroom condition, although I do prefer clean to cluttered. I decided that I needed a small vacuum to help keep it respectable, so I went online to that Online Retailer We All Love to Hate and found a small shop-vac that received rave reviews and I can see why.

For one thing, this little guy is cute–there’s just no other word for it. It’s a small version of a wet/dry vacuum used in workshops, although the canister is only 1.5 US gallons. It has built-in wheels, a strong motor, and several attachments. What’s not to love?

It is perfect for what I need but I am not here to talk about its features. No, I want to discuss the warnings in the User Manual.

Having written more than one manual in my time, I understand the precautions that the Legal Department takes. If we warn them in the manual, we might not get sued if something goes wrong.

Being the jaded woman that I am, I just enjoy reading these warnings for their entertainment value. This little vacuum, generated 24 warnings in the manual. Here are my favorites:

1. Do not allow to be used as a toy.

Sorry, kids. You’ll just have to ride the dog instead.

2. Do not pick up anything that is burning or smoking, such as cigarettes, matches, or hot ashes.

I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Duh.”

3. Use extra care when cleaning on stairs.

I live in an old house with a twisting, narrow stair case. I just want to say “Thank you” for this important reminder.

4. Do not use your cleaner as a sprayer of flammable liquids such as oil base paints, lacquers, household cleaners, etc.

Well, this pretty much wipes out my plans for Saturday, but I appreciate the information.

5. To avoid spontaneous combustion, empty tank after each use.

OK, this one creeps me out. I watched the movie “Spinal Tap” and I remember how they lost 2 drummers to spontaneous combustion. Now I’m really concerned.

I didn’t realize that Brenda was putting her life on the line every time she vacuumed out her car. Maybe I should warn her about the spontaneous combustion?

When your car drives better than you do

KTneKaL8c Have you seen the “Distracted Driver” commercial for Infinity automobiles? As the man at the wheel drives through the streets, his mind is racing: “Am I missing a deadline?” “Will I get there on time?”  “Am I going too fast?” (On this last question, might I suggest he check the speedometer on his dashboard?)

A mere four seconds into the commercial, he makes his first driving error: he drifts into the next lane. But wait!! His Infinity alerts him. “Stay in your lane,” he reminds himself.

Does this mistake cause him to sit up a little straighter and pay attention to the road? No, it does not. He goes right back to daydreaming. “I don’t think I sent that e-mail.” “I should have made a reservation,” he thinks as his car drifts into the path of an auto in the next lane. Didn’t he learn anything from six seconds earlier? Apparently not but what does that matter? His Infinity is on duty and it sounds the alarm! Accident averted. The driver realizes his mistake. “I thought it was clear,” he thinks. (And how many times have we read that statement on an accident report?)

Certainly the driver has been jolted into a state of caution, you might think. But you would think wrong because this driver is now gazing out the right side window as he drives. He is unaware that the van in front of him has come to a sudden stop. His Infinity saves his bacon once again. There will be no rear end collision because the Infinity brakes for him, but the driver is not chastened. He does not park the car and walk. He does not admit that he is the worst driver in the world. Instead, he keeps driving and we hear him think, “I didn’t see that coming.” Well, duh!

So does the commercial end with a disclaimer to not ever drive like this man? Of course not. It ends with a voice-over announcer delivering the tag line about this Infinity: “Its instinct to protect leaves you free to drive.” Yes, drive like a blindfolded chimpanzee. Drive into Walden Pond. Just drive someplace where you won’t hurt anyone.