21 August 2014

Opinion: What were they thinking?

A dishwashing wound gets Hamish Wilson wondering.

Today, I’m washing the dishes, and while trying to get a bit of grub off the benriner (OK, google It - enough to say there are very sharp bits involved) I cut my thumb. Nothing big, but like any thumb cut it leaked buckets of red stuff.

So, off to bandage it. Yeah right, I’m home alone, so the “nurse” isn’t on duty.

I found a brand new box of Band-Aids - the Plastic Quilt-Aid ones.

You have to fight your way into the sealed box and past two layers of glued cardboard. With only one usable thumb of course.

There’s blood all over the place, the box is now trash and loose Band-Aids are everywhere. I guess it’s for my “personal protection”. Did the person who designed this system ever have even a paper cut? My guess is it was all designed on a computer. Grrr.

OK, so now to unseal the plaster from its safety-sealed packet. There are two paper tabs that need to be separated and peeled apart and there’s no way that’s easy with just your least-favoured thumb available. Frustrated and still leaking, I tore the paper apart, but of course the first bandaid comes out slightly mangled. It goes on, sort of in place.

Nope – must have got blood or something on it because it fell off right away. Seems like the only sticky thing here is the glue that held the box together.

Second plaster sticks a bit, but looks like it will fall off. OK, I’ll put another plaster on to hold it all together.

Bad plan. These plasters twist really easily while tearing into the paper envelope thingies and they stick to each other waaay better than they stick to skin. So second plaster pulls off the first… I’m muttering very bad things about whoever designed all this.

Start again, very carefully and still one-thumb-clumsy. Yup – they do stick really well to each other, but shouldn’t they stick really well to skin? Both fell off and had to be replaced within 4 hours.

What were Johnson & Johnson thinking?

OK, so what did this remind me of?

A road sign. I’m not against the general idea. The aim is very admirable. But it could kill someone.

What could be wrong with a sign that warns you of a school bus turning? Nothing, except it is very, very reflective, and where it’s sighted and unusually for a road sign, angled in towards the road, at night, your headlights flash right back at you and you’re momentarily blinded.

OK – if the bus turned there at night, highly reflective might make sense, but this bus turns at 7.45am. Dawn, on the shortest day, June 20, is about 7.20am, (20 to 30 minutes before sunrise at 7.48) which makes me ask – how many school buses ever turn in the dark? When the bus is actually there, and picking kids up, you see the flashing lights on the bus, (like the flashing lights that NZTA seems reluctant to support) long before the sign.

These signs are only useful for about 20 minutes a day and most probably, apart from a few locations in the depth of winter, every minute is in daylight. These don’t need to be reflective, or at least super-reflective.

Think about this: It’s a dark night, on a winding country road, just a kilometre or so past the sign that warns you of possible stock on the road, where most of the cattle are very black. You’d be very stupid if you didn’t drive on high beam as much as possible, and then you come around a corner and get all your headlights reflected right back in your face.

The sign is so close and makes so much glare, you’re now driving blind into the next… corner? Does the road go left? Right? Good luck if you don’t know the road! Is there a black Angus bull (typically 1000kg or more) lurking behind that yellow haze? Or a wild pig? Two or three? Black of course…

So, what were NZTA and their installer thinking??

  • What have you run into that makes you say “What were they thinking?” Let us know on our Facebook page.

About the author:

Hamish Wilson has been working for Consumer forever. Well, at least longer than most of our staff can remember! He's tested old technology such as video recorders along with a steady stream of the latest washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, TVs and DVD recorders.

It's the variety that keeps him here. There's always new technology to explore, or even to go exploring with. It can be entertaining following directions from car navigation systems through dead end streets.

Member comments

Get access to comment