Friday, December 19, 2008

A Page from Kat's Manual

My cell phone rings…it’s Big C with a big question: “Mom, I’m driving to Atlanta and a warning light just popped up. It's an exclamation point within parenthesis (!) What does that mean?”

My composed response: “Honey…we are 1000 miles away from you…you’re the one with the car and the owner’s manual…get out your manual and look up the warning symbol. Then we will both know.”

After the call, I started thinking…hmm…maybe I should not have been so condoleza with her…I mean, condescending. I began to understand Big C’s cry for help. Here she is going 65+ mph and a warning symbol flashes in front of her. At that time…she isn’t sure if her car is about to blow up within the next 3 seconds, or her tires need blowing up within the next 3 days.

I don’t understand why auto manufacturers make cars that use symbols for warnings. If they can make the symbol, then why don’t they make a warning that actually tells you what’s wrong. That way you don’t have to stress-out, look for the manual, find the right page and then match the symbol with the problem.

So if you need oil…the warning light says: OIL. And if you have low tire pressure it says: AIR. What’s the deal with these clever symbols…that aren’t so clever? NASA can send men and women to infinity and beyond…you would think the automakers could invent a warning system…that made sense. They need to take a page from Kat’s manual.

You have to wonder about the competency of the automakers…especially with all the money they are asking for now. If Detroit’s Big 3 automakers were asking me for money to bail out their asses, I would flash them a warning. But my warning light would not be a clever symbol…a dollar sign with a diagnonal line through it. Nope. It would spell out…plain and simple…NO CASH.
Or better yet…GET REAL.

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