General Motors doesn't have a help line for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers -- but imagine if they did. . .
HELPLINE: General Motors HelpLine, how can I help you?
CUSTOMER: Hi! I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and power door locks.
HELPLINE: Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?
CUSTOMER: How do I work it?
HELPLINE: Do you know how to drive?
CUSTOMER: Do I know how to what?
HELPLINE: Do you know how to drive?
CUSTOMER: I'm not a technical person! I just want to go places in my car!
CUSTOMER: I got in my car and closed the door, and nothing happened!
HELPLINE: Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?
CUSTOMER: What's an ignition?
HELPLINE: It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine.
CUSTOMER: Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?
CUSTOMER: My car ran fine for a week, and now it won't go anywhere!
HELPLINE: Is the gas tank empty?
CUSTOMER: Huh? How do I know!?
HELPLINE: There's a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from 'E' to 'F.' Where is the needle pointing?
CUSTOMER: It's pointing to 'E.' What does that mean?
HELPLINE: It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor, and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you.
CUSTOMER: What!? I paid $12,000. for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!
Richard Tickle is a terrific guy, fellow Firehead and technically smart person whom I hired to get my Mac up and running this week. His support business is called" Help Me Run" and if you want to avail yourself of his services, he can be reached at <beached @gte.net>. He sent me this "warranty" adding that "back in the old days when Mac companies were fun and creative, I received this along with a real one for a hard drive I had ordered. Enjoy."
Congratulations! You have purchased an extremely fine device that would give you thousands of years of trouble-free service, except that you undoubtedly will destroy it via some typical bonehead consumer maneuver. Which is why we ask you to:
PLEASE FOR GOD'S SAKE READ THIS OWNER'S MANUAL CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU UNPACK THE DEVICE. YOU ALREADY UNPACKED IT, DIDN'T YOU? YOU UNPACKED IT AND PLUGGED IT IN AND TURNED IT ON AND FIDDLED WITH THE KNOBS, AND NOW YOUR CHILD, THE SAME CHILD WHO ONCE SHOVED A POLISH SAUSAGE INTO YOUR VIDEO CASSETTE RECORDER AND SET IT ON "FAST FORWARD", THIS CHILD ALSO IS FIDDLING WITH THE KNOBS, RIGHT? WE MIGHT AS WELL JUST BREAK THESE DEVICES RIGHT AT THE FACTORY BEFORE WE SHIP THEM OUT, YOU KNOW THAT?!
We're sorry. We just get a little crazy sometimes because we're always getting back "defective" merchandise where it turns out that the consumer inadvertently bathed the device in acid for six days. So, in writing these instructions, we naturally tend to assume that your skull is filled with dead insects, but we mean nothing by it. OK? Now let's talk about…
1. UNPACKING THE DEVICE:
The device is encased in foam to protect it from the Shipping People, who like nothing more than to jab spears into outgoing boxes. PLEASE INSPECT THE CONTENTS CAREFULLY FOR GASHES OR IDA MAE BARKER'S ENGAGEMENT RING, WHICH SHE LOST LAST WEEK, AND SHE THINKS MAYBE IT WAS WHILE SHE WAS PACKING DEVICES.
Ida Mae really wants that ring back, because it is her only proof of engagement, and her fiancee, Stuart, is now seriously considering backing out on the whole thing in as much as he had consumed most of a bottle of Jim Beam in Quality Control when he decided to pop the question. It is not without irony that Ida Mae's last name is "Barker", if you get our drift.
2. PLUGGING IN THE DEVICE:
The plug on this device represents the thinking of the electrical industry's Plug Mutation Group, which, n a continuing effort to prevent consumers from causing hazardous electrical current to flow through their appliances, developed the Three-Pronged Plug, then the Plug Where One Prong is Bigger Than the Other. Your device is equipped with the revolutionary new Plug Whose Prongs Consist of Six Small Religious Figurines Made of Chocolate. DO NOT TRY TO PLUG IT IN! Lay it gently on the floor near an outlet, but out of direct sunlight and clean it weekly with a damp handkerchief.
WARNING: WHEN YOU ARE LAYING THE PLUG ON THE FLOOR, DO NOT HOLD A SHARP OBJECT IN YOUR OTHER HAND AND TRIP OVER THE CORD AND POKE YOUR EYE OUT, AS THIS COULD VOID THE WARRANTY.
3. OPERATION OF THE DEVICE:
INSTRUCTIONS: For results that can be the finest, it is our advising that: NEVER to hold these buttons two times!! Except the battery. Next taking the (something) earth section may cause a large occurrence! However. If this is not a trouble, such rotation is a very maintenance action, as a kindly (something) virepoint from Drawing B.
NOTE: WE MANUFACTURE ONLY THE ATTRACTIVE DESIGNER CASE. THE ACTUAL WORKING CENTRAL PARTS OF THE DEVICE ARE MANUFACTURED IN JAPAN. THE INSTRUCTIONS WERE TRANSLATED BY MRS.SHIRLEY PELTWATER OF ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE, WHO HAS NEVER ACTUALLY BEEN TO JAPAN BUT DOES HAVE MOST OF "SHOGUN" ON TAPE .AND WARNING: IT MAY BE A VIOLATION OF SOME LAW THAT MRS. SHIRLEY PELTWATER HAS "SHOGUN" ON TAPE.
Be it hereby known that this device, together with but not excluding all those certain parts thereunto, shall be warrantied against all defects, failures and malfunctions as shall occur between now and Thursday afternoon shortly before 2, during which time the Manufacturer will, at no charge to the Owner, send the device to our Service People, who will emerge from their caves and engage in ritual designed to cleanse it of evil spirits. This warranty does not cover the attractive designer case.
Faretheewell to 69-year-old Pat Paulsen, who should have been President, because as he told the Times back in 1993, "If you win you get the pension, you know, and the guard and everything -- what more could a person ask for? [But] I wouldn't hang around Washington. Presidents tend to tinker, you know, and mess everything up."
And speaking of death and politics, from this month's issue of London's Fortean Times comes notice that Rio de Janeiro's most famous chimp passed away in the city zoo sending the entire city into a week of mourning. "Big Uncle" Tiao was known for his temperamental behavior, "spitting and throwing excrement at visiting dignitaries, and polled 400,000 votes...as a candidate for the anti-establishment Brazilian 1988. (Daily Telegraph, 26 Dec 1996)" George Tirebiter? Are you listening?
More very soon -- there's too much funny stuff in my In Basket!
© 1996/2002 by Phil Proctor