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Absurdly Detailed Instructions

June 2, 2009

I am addicted to Gardenia Wheat Bread.  There’s just one thing I find absurd about it:  the instructions.

I know, I know.  Gardenia’s goal is to impart information.  This bread company is so proud of its G-Lock (in all fairness, the G-Lock does keep bread fresh until the stated Best Before Date) so perhaps Gardenia wants to emphasize how unique the G-Lock is by making it seem like using the G-Lock is quantum physics.  I mean, come on!  Do you really need specific instructions on how to use that plastic chip clasp with a fancy name (i.e. G-Lock)?

The specific instructions currently escape me (and I don’t have an empty Gardenia Wheat Bread bag handy), but here is what I remember of them.

Factual note:  The instructions are not really numbered; they are in a paragraph format.  Nevertheless, there are two boxes of instructions on a Gardenia Wheat Bread pack; there is one on how to open the pack and another one on how to close the pack.  There’s a third box tells us what the G-Lock color indicates and what we can find printed on it.

To Open:

  1. Twist the top of the plastic bag
  2. Put two fingers underneath the G-Lock, one finger under each of the G-Lock “plates” (I use plates for lack of a better term)
  3. Push the G-Lock with your fingers up the neck of the bag
  4. Slide the lock off the neck of the plastic bag

To Close

  1. Twist the top of the plastic bag
  2. Put one finger on each of the two sides of the G-Lock (the fingers are positioned at the outer sides of the G-Lock, this time; simply put, hold the G-Lock with two fingers)
  3. Slide the G-Lock down the neck of the plastic bag (that’s the twisted part of the plastic bag) with a downward, inward motion.
  4. Slip the lock into place (that means the two ends of the clasp or the lock must be touching each other).

Goodness gracious!  If Gardenia does not expect its target consumers to understand how to open and close a simple albeit proprietary bread lock, how does this company expect these consumers to want wheat bread or other Gardenia bread variants in the first place?  You must admit that Gardenia is rather overpriced; its target customers therefore consist of those who are willing to pay a premium for quality bread (or what they perceive to be quality bread, anyway).  Is it such an improbability that these people will know how to use the G-Lock without the absurdly detailed instructions?

I, for one, don’t follow these instructions to the letter.  I don’t usually twist the neck of the bag whenever I’m removing a G-Lock.  I don’t always push the lock up and off the plastic bag; I sometimes simply take the two ends, open the lock a bit and slide the plastic bag out.  I also don’t recall pushing the G-Lock in a “downward and inward motion” just so I can close the bag: I just put it on the bag in whatever way seems good at the moment, and I just force the ends of the G-Lock together when I’m done.

Now, does my “disobedience” have any effect on the quality of my Gardenia Wheat Bread?  Nope!  Did my bread grow moldy, become bland-tasting (some people are of the opinion that it is already bland to start with), turn to dust, or transform into Decepticons because I did not open or close the G-Lock “properly?”  Of course not!  So again, my question is, why the absurdly detailed instructions?

I also have a problem with the third box of information (fine, not really a “problem” as all my rants on this post are not truly major issues).  It is quite obvious that the date printed on the G-Lock is the Best Before Date.  Anyone with eyes and a brain can see and understand what “Best B4”  followed by a date means, so do you really need to explain this in the third box?  The color coding system needs a detailed explanation but, ironically, the Gardenia bread packs lack that.  Instead of explaining what specific G-Lock colors mean, the third box contains cryptic information that merely says a color corresponds to the day the bread was delivered.

If you’re a first-time Gardenia buyer who buys a pack with a green plastic lock, you’ll know from the third box of information that the color means it was delivered on a specific day; however, you won’t know which day it was exactly unless you do some research or ask the store personnel about it.  In contrast, will you know how to open and close the G-Lock without the instructions written on the bag?  Absolutely!

Is it really sensible to include absurdly detailed explanations on how to open and close a Gardenia plastic bag  when people can instantly figure that one out for themselves?  Is it really sensible to exclude specific product information that people won’t intuitively figure out?  The answer to both questions is No, but Gardenia apparently insists on explaining the obvious and excluding the actually important information.

Peace Gardenia!  I still love your bread.  I just find the instructions on the bread bag a bit absurd (that’s what I have been repeatedly saying on this post, so that’s kinda repeating the obvious, he he he).

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