Thursday, December 11, 2014

When did working a microwave become a game of Pictionary?

This is our microwave. (Okay, this is the control panel of our microwave.)

I have no idea how to use this microwave.

A few days ago, I wanted to cook a squash in the microwave and the "interwebs" told me I needed to cook it for 15 minutes and then, after checking, maybe another ten. But this microwave has no buttons. Only a dial and some pictures that I imagine are supposed to make using this machine easier. Unfortunately, I don't read pictures. What the hell is this? I get some--the picture of the cow and other animals--though I've never cooked a steak in the microwave, so I have no idea when I would use the "cow" button." And the "+30 sec" button--I get that one too. But the wavy lines? And the wavy lines with triangles? What is this?

In India, we had this problem with our washing machine which only had pictures on it, and they were not intuitive. There was a butterfly, which I assumed was "delicates," a ball of yarn (knits), and a dandelion (which I think was supposed to be a cotton boll),  and something that looked like a chemistry beaker. I assumed that was permanent press, because I couldn't think of any other settings. Even our maid in India, the wonderful Indira, was like, "Ma'am, how does this work? I don't understand this washing machine." And I was like, "You know, I don't understand it either." And then I tried to explain what I thought the pictures were. Indira was like, "Why don't they just write the words?" And this is the part that really makes me chuckle, because Indira couldn't read very well, especially in English. I assume she is the exact audience these pictures are made for, but she was like, "Why can't it just say 'cottons'?" I told her that the pictures are supposed to make it easier and she laughed and was like, "Who can tell what these things are?" Exactly, Indira. Exactly.

So now I'm facing this issue again but with the microwave. (To be fair, while our microwave in India didn't have pictures on it, everything was written in Chinese so we had no idea what the buttons meant any way.) This microwave, though, I don't know. The knob doesn't seem to do anything, and so the only way we can figure out how to make it work is by punching the "+30 seconds" button. So basically while I tried to cook this squash for 25 minutes, I had do it in 5 minute increments because that's the highest I could go with the "+30 sec" button. So every 5 minutes I would have to go back to the kitchen and hit the button 10 times to get another five minutes. While not the end of the world, I found this mildly inconvenient.

So, the moral of the story is, please, I beg you, Mr. Vice President of Television and Microwave Oven Programming at GE*, stop focusing on the "biteNUKER" and put the words back on all microwaves.

*I miss 30 Rock. Sigh. Just for good measure, let's throw this old chestnut up, too.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This really is a hardship
    tour of duty.