Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poorly-designed products

I love this soap! It's biodegradable, with no animal products, and, since it's liquid, I can use it on Shabbat (Sabbath) without breaking any rules. But check out that spout--it shoots as straight as it looks. Unless I remember to hold my hand at an angle, most of the soap ends up on the sink, floor, and/or shower door. What was the container's designer thinking?

This is one of those violin-vs.-saxophone stories. Sure, the timer on the left has fewer dials and looks streamlined, like a violin. But the looks come at a price for Ms. Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome--in order to set the timer, one must depress every single individual black tab (on the outside of the numbers and arrow) that indicates half-hour intervals during which the item on the timer should be turned on. I just bought this a few days ago, and my poor husband ended up pressing 32 tabs to set this for our bedroom light on Shabbat. Sometimes a higher-tech object, like a saxophone, may look more complicated, but may actually be easier to use.

This water-filtering pitcher is so heavy when full that one must use both hands to take it out of the refrigerator, or else it will spill on the floor. Why will it spill, pray tell? Simple--the pitcher's cover does not cover the spout. Gee, thanks. Not.

The piece de resistance is a refrigerator whose door opens only partway. Not only does the door, when open, block the kitchen entrance completely, it also prevents one from removing the crisper unless one applies brute force.

Shira's Shots
April 25, 2010

April 28, 2010 update:

April 28, 2010 update: In response to comments suggesting that the refrigerator is simply too big for the space and/or that the fridge door is being blocked by the kitchen door frame, I've taken this shot of the open refrigerator door from outside of the kitchen. As you can see, the fridge door does not touch the kitchen door frame at any point. Either the hinges are defective, or the delivery guys didn't know how to attach the door properly. One way or the other, it's not possible to open the door any farther, so moving the refrigerator or putting the hinges on the other side wouldn't solve the problem.


Blogger Larry Lennhoff said...

The timer strikes me as having ableist assumptions built in, but otherwise I prefer them greatly to the other type shown, mostly for reasons having to do with my idiosyncratic understanding of the laws of timers on Shabbat. Does every product have to be designed for the blind, the lame, and the halt?

For the pitcher, the failure to cover the spout is inexcusable, but the size again is a matter of what is convenient for one person is a problem for another.

The refrigerator is poor design on the part of whoever chose to install it there, but I don't see it as poor design of the refrigerator. I don't know what the trade offs were - perhaps the person wanted a larger fridge even though it was difficult to access vs. a smaller one? What is the layout of the kitchen - is there another place for that size fridge that would work better?

Mon Apr 26, 09:03:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Since my late grandmother and mother, my first cousin, and my son all became hard of hearing before the age of forty, and my father and I have both had eye surgery, I count myself and my family among "the blind, the lame, and the halt." Therefore, my answer is "yes." That's the Torah's answer, too, as we read this past Shabbat/Sabbath in Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19, verse 14: "Do not curse the deaf, and in front of the blind do not place a stumbling block."

As for the 'fridge, it was the biggest model we could get through the kitchen entrance. Our previous fridge had a door that opened all the way, and we never had any problem getting around it. Moving this fridge to another location in the kitchen wouldn't improve matters in the slightest, as the door basically takes up almost the entire space between one wall and the cabinets on the opposite wall when open. It's possible that the installers didn't know what they were doing.

Mon Apr 26, 10:44:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

You know, you could simply flip the fridge door mounting so it opens into the kitchen, instead of into the doorway, where its obviously being blocked by the doorframe Its just a matter of a few screws, what you need to do will be obvious from the exterior of the fridge). Or, just pull the fridge forward about 2.5", so it clears the door frame and opens wider.

There's nothing wrong with the fridge design, its simply too big for the space.

Tue Apr 27, 10:33:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Larry and JDub, see the new photo that I added today showing that the door frame is *not* blocking the fridge door. Would that the solution to the problem were as easy as the ones that you've suggested.

Wed Apr 28, 11:09:00 AM 2010  

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