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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
28th January 2021


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Years ago, as assistant editor on Baker's Review, I was given a Dualit 4-slice toaster and a Warburton loaf at a press launch as a 'thank you for coming' gift. The toast was soon gone but the toaster went on for years, having pride of place in my kitchen where it was probably the most expensive and covetable item.

It had lots of use and eventually one of the elements burnt out - and although I looked at having it replaced, it would have cost the same as a new Dualit, which I couldn't afford. So I continued using it until all but one of the four heating plates broke and I was forced to recycle the thing.

Looking back, it was stupid to keep using an electrical appliance that was clearly broken. However, there was nothing in the instructions telling me what to do if one of the elements stopped working and as Google wasn't around I couldn't ask the masses for advice...

If you read these leaders regularly you may be wondering whether this is another case of me making a risk assessment and deciding the appliance was safe to use, or whether it was simply the hippie in me not wanting to discard something that was still usable (or perhaps even a bit of both?). I'm not sure myself!

Either way, I was lucky as my toaster didn't end up setting a tower block on fire, as the one in Belfast did this week.

Expanding on thoughts in last week's leader, should we be looking at what we put on instructions, so people like me who do actually read them, know they'll only contain important information, rather than silly things such as 'Do not use toaster while in the bath'? Should we be looking at different scenarios in which users might find themselves, and gear the instructions toward those scenarios so users know they won't be wasting their time reading through them? If busy consumers are faced with the silly 'we're covering our backs' type of instruction, such as the fast food restaurant warning that the coffee's hot and may burn, we're less likely to bother taking notice and end up missing something important.

Also, should the typeface be bigger, and thus more readable? And should we be telling people to unplug their appliances when not in use?



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Jan Hobbs



17th November 2017

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