Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Picture Says A Thousand Words My Ass!

I would like to give a big virtual high-five to all the morons in the world who have systematically destroyed the ability of any company to provide written instructions for building products.  It is you who have forced us all into a world where pictures are deemed adequate replacement for the written word.  Oh, and by the way, you can all suck it!

Yep, that about covers it!
Why the harsh criticism of the moronic class?  For starters, I spent this weekend building many items for my nursery.  This process actually began Friday with a relatively simple build and proceeded on a downward spiral through idiot land ending up in ridiculousville!

The first item for which I began my adventure in assembly was the Fisher-Price papasan cradle swing.  Even though the building of this swing looked daunting at first, the instructions were very well written and it only took this 7 1/2 month pregnant chic less than 30 minutes to put it all together.  Notice I said the instructions were very well written.  This was an oh so important part of me not dropping the f-bomb continually throughout the process.  Although I am pretty good with visual learning, and there were pictures to go along with the writing, the writing part is still uber important when describing detailed work.  For example, there were times when the swing had to placed on it's side in order to attach certain parts.  A simple picture of this may leave you scratching your head, but a written instruction?  Well let's just say that's what makes you breeze through the steps without wasting so much time rotating the instruction manual in circles trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  I will give props to the pictures included with the manual, however, as they were quite detailed in and of themselves.  I give a two-thumbs up evaluation of the entire manual.  Kudos to Fisher-Price for making my life easier on this one.

Here are some sample pics from the manual:

Notice the use of Left and Right markings...genius!

"Tip the assembly on it's side"...genius!
Gives me bolt size along with picture...genius!
 As you can tell from the pics above, which are directly from the instruction manual, the pictures are used to compliment the written instructions.  My saying "genius" regarding each written instruction is a bit tongue-in-cheek as this should be common sense...."should be" being the operative words here.

As for the completed swing, it is totally awesome!  I have the twilight gender neutral swing already built for the office and the all-girly butterfly swing for home (still awaiting delivery).  The swing plays 16 songs, eight for day and eight for nighttime; two nature sounds, birds chirping for daytime and crickets for night; both forward and side-to-side swinging actions; there is a rotating mobile which has a monkey, moon, and star (twilight model) which move up and down along with a star light show (can be operated separately); it also has a cute little canopy and and the legs conveniently fold together for easier storage when not in use.  In other words, it rocks!  Get it?  It rocks?  It's a swing.  Damn it, nevermind!

Shot of the Starlight model
Here's a quick video of the swing in action.  Hope you can adequately hear the music playing.  

video

Now that I have the swing out of the way, let's go on to the next portion of today's entry...the beginning of the downward idiot spiral, aka, assembly of the stroller!

To be perfectly honest, assembling the stroller was not all that bad.  For the most part the instructions were tolerable, yet the written portion was quite lacking in descriptives.

My stroller of choice is the Graco FastAction Fold Click Stroller in Mena.  Let me preface the following by saying I love the stroller!  The bonus on top of the stroller sundae is that it has a matching infant carrier, the new Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 model that is the only newborn to two-year-old infant car seat on the market.  So yeah, it's a great product that is adorable and multi-functional, bonus!  But let's get back to the assembly instructions.

Here are a few pics directly from the instruction manual:

No wording but completely understandable parts section, I can live with this.
Very little descriptive, but doable for the most part.
Here's where I ran into some issues...
Although the pic above is pretty self explanatory, there is a glitch to the written instructions.  First off, how about letting the assembler know to flip the stroller on to it's front.  Not necessary per se, but some people may not notice that you've laid the damn thing down with the back legs sticking up in the air.  Secondly, and this was a bit annoying, there are no left and right directions for the back wheels.  This would be fine if they were exactly the same, but they are not.  There is a definite right one and a definite left one.  They are not marked, so basically it's all about whether you hear that snapping sound!  This is okay up to a certain point.  Some assembled pieces require quite a bit of pressure to "snap" into place, however.  Last thing anyone wants is to think they are just not applying enough pressure, and next thing you know you've broken something.  So a simple stamped L and R on the wheel parts, or some sort of descriptive explaining the difference one should be looking for, would greatly help.  The picture isn't clear enough to spot these differences, so it's not really all that helpful in that regard.

Now this shit pissed me off!
Can you tell from the pic what to do to lower and raise the seat?  Well believe you me, if you had the stroller in front of you you'd be scratching your head!  First off, the pic and the back of the stroller don't exactly look alike, so there's issue number one.  Next, I kept looking for those dangling strings that look like they're attached to the undercarriage.  Guess what, there are no dangling strings to look for since they are tucked up inside the stroller back.  To get them you must grab a little plastic lever-like thingy and pull them through...sort of like working a bolo tie or a backpack with a cinch-up closing mechanism.  Finally, those other dangling straps you see in the pic, they don't do anything in regards to lowering and raising the seat, but it does look like they are being yanked on in the pic.  Once you figure out exactly what you're supposed to do, it really is simple and you feel like a total ass for cussing the stroller and the instruction writers.  But seriously, would it kill the manual writers to offer up some better guidelines?  "To Lower" and "To Raise" really don't cut the mustard in this scenario!  Instructions of that nature are the equivalent of looking up a word in the dictionary that uses the same word in the definition but gives no actual definition....pointless!  

As Forrest Gump would say, that's all I got to say about that.  Let us move further down the dunce spiral and discuss the assembly instructions for my new bouncy seat.

Now let me reflect for a second, in my head, on the putting together of the bouncy seat so I can get into the correct frame of mind.  Godd***n, son of a bitch, motherf****er!  Okay, that seems about right.  Now I will admit that at this point in the day I had already been through a lot of assembling.  Right before I got to the bouncy seat, I had to deal with the Diaper Genie.  While that wasn't too horrible, I had issues with it at first and had to back up and start over.  Since the title of those instructions were "getting to know your Diaper Genie," this consisted of me being formally introduced to it by my mom, giving it hugs and letting it know how special and adorable it was, and then trying to assemble it all over again.  Guess what?  It worked!  Apparently hugs are necessary to a Diaper Genie's ability to take on the stank!  Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do!

See, I'm not joking!
Okay, back to the damned bouncy seat.  Anyways, by the time I got to it I was no longer in the mood to have to decipher poor instructions.  Too bad, because the instructions had downgraded from idiotic to just plain retarded!  (I apologize to any retarded people I may have just offended as they could do a better job with the instruction manual than Comfort & Harmony did).

The particular bouncy seat I am referring to is the Comfort & Harmony Cradling Bouncer in Cinnabloom.  Once again, I adore the bouncer.  I wouldn't have registered for it if I didn't.  So my irritation with building it is not a direct reflection on the quality of the product whatsoever, so please keep that in mind.  As a matter of fact, here's a pic of the bouncer so you can see how adorable it is.

See, cute as can be!
Although it is cute, the assembly manual was not!  Here is a sample pic direct from said manual.

Yep, absolutely no words!
Talk about a lack of written instructions!  Not a damn word in the whole manual!  Now it may not look all that bad, but in person all the damned semi-circular metal pieces were kind of similar to each other and the pictures didn't help to clarify the differences between them. On the plus side, those little left and right pieces from step 1 were labeled nicely, so that was good.  But those same sort of shaped pieces you see in step 3,well those weren't!  Also in Step 3, that front bar with the little indention in it, well it is not labeled upside and downside, and this was uber important to get correct as the seat wouldn't "bounce" if it was attached the wrong way.  Way to go manual with no words and shitty pics! And to top all this off, once all the bars were forcibly locked into place, there was no way to get them unlocked....well not unless you scoured the internet and found some hapless victim who had gone through the same ordeal who could inform you that there is a secret little screw thingy you can jab with a small, sharp object that will release the death grip connection of the misplaced pieces!  Seriously!  I'm not sure why this little tidbit of info could not be printed somewhere in the manual.  Oh yeah, words are too damn taxing and waste so much paper!  Needless to say, there were quite a few f-bombs involved by the time step 3 rolled around.

After the frame assembly, next it was time to attach the cover.

This is where I gave up the manual and just winged it!
Answer me this, can you decipher these damn pics?  This part was a bitch because the cover is one hell of a tight fit, but if you were a complete moron and had to rely on the pictures to attach this thing, could you do it from what you are looking at?  Maybe it is just me, but this is all kinds of convoluted.  A few bits of written advice would be a nice addition to this mess, for sure.

All in all, I managed to get the damned seat put together without breaking it, which is pretty much a miracle.  Had my patience not already been worn down, maybe I wouldn't have gotten so damned irritated, but I can't go back now.  And at least everything worked and I loved the finished product, right?

By the way, have you picked up on the downward idiot spiral pattern yet?  If not, let me let you in on it.  If you begin with the swing and work your way toward the bouncer, you will notice how each manual gets lazier and lazier with the instructions (and pictures for that matter).  First you have very detailed written instructions with nicely complimentary pics (swing).  Then the written part gets more and more vague, as do the pics, until you end up with absolutely no written directions and the most convoluted pics one could imagine.  I seriously chose the wrong order to assemble all these items.  Had I known, I would have done everything in reverse.  I think I would have handled the bouncer a lot better had it been first on my list.  Then again, it might have set the tone and I might have been pissy from the get-go with all the other delightful baby products.  I guess we'll never know!

I've got some more things to tackle this weekend, so my days of building things is not yet complete.  Next I have to get to work on my co-sleeper and the other lightweight stroller.  I also have a high chair that needs assembling, but I think it can wait till it's ready to be used.  Although, I'd hate to not build it now and then discover it has a missing part or something and not be able to get a replacement.  Oh well, something to think about.

It seems that I'm going to have to wrap this up or suffer never getting it out there.  Been absolutely swamped at work and physically exhausted from toting this little girl around, she's getting so big!  A bit of a rough ending, but the best I can muster under the conditions of needing to get back to work, stat!  Don't worry, I plan on not being such a stranger as I have been recently.  I have some baby shower pics and updated nursery stuff I want to share.  All in good time, but the plan is sooner rather than later.  I will leave you all with an updated belly and nursery pic.  The belly is me at 35 weeks and the nursery pic is a panorama I took last night.  It only shows part of the nursery, but I think it will give you all a good idea at how far it has come over this past weekend.
Getting larger by the second!
Coming right along!  
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