Sunday, October 03, 2010

Troubleshooting Fish in a Barrel

Yesterday, Emp. Peng. procured the Rookery's sixth coffeemaker. Considering that there are only five mammals in the household and three of those are cats, this may be overkill, in the way that my jar of Skippy may contain peanuts. However, I justify the purchase because, for all of our coffeemaking technology, we did not have one with simple "Push the button, and a full pot of coffee comes out" functionality, and the kitchen is a good 15 feet from my office. Now that I'm working full time plus freelance and spec projects, bulk coffee brewing has become a matter of workflow efficiency. At my level of coffee consumption, the time for brewing each cup individually adds up.

So the Black & Decker Model DCM600W joined our house, and the coffeemakers started establishing beachheads in parts of the Rookery outside the kitchen. It's your basic $12 model with no user-serviceable parts and only one button, the one that brews the coffee, so I figured I could make a test pot before sitting down to see what the good folks at Black & Decker decided had to be included in a user manual. After the box, which blazed "Built to Last!" in huge bold letters beside the bullet point for "2-year limited warranty," I figured the manual had to be a hoot.

There comes a point when the user manual troubleshooting guide is just insulting. This one started out with:

Problem: Coffeemaker does not turn on
Possible Cause: Coffeemaker is not plugged in
Solution: Check to be sure appliance is plugged in to a working outlet and the on/off (I/O) is powered on.

That was not the insulting part. Two rows down:

Coffee is not brewing
Possible Cause: Water reservoir might be empty
Solution: Make sure water reservoir has sufficient water to brew desired cups of coffee.

That's a little insulting, but who hasn't been in the lack-of-caffeine fog and forgot to put water in? Usually, one would check the water tank, if only because the water tank is attached to the coffeemaker, making it easier to locate than the manual. The next row down takes the cake, though:

Coffeemaker brews clear water
Possible Cause: There may be no coffee grounds in removable filter basket
Solution: Add sufficient amount of coffee grounds to paper filter in removable filter basket.

That's just plain overcompensation. Like the guy driving the comically oversized SUV, the coffeemaker is full of bluster to disguise its teeny tiny ... feature list. Seriously, we had the intellectual capacity to purchase the coffeemaker. If we need to consult the troubleshooting guide to determine that, if coffee doesn't come out, we forgot to put coffee in, perhaps we shouldn't be using a coffeemaker without adult supervision or be allowed around the pointy scissors necessary to remove the zip tie from between the plug prongs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should try a percolator on a hot plate. You have to check everything before beginning. Good luck.