Dear Home Depot, Nice Job On Those Instructions

Dear Home Depot,

You haven’t asked, but I’m going to go on and just tell you this. I’m a smart guy. How smart? Well, certainly not rocket scientist smart…but I’m bright. I did just fine in school. Somewhere, there’s a sheepskin with my name on it. I’m even smart enough to know that a sheepskin isn’t really skin from a sheep.

Do you know who else is really bright? My wife. She has two degrees, so she understands better than I do that a sheepskin is just an expression for a diploma.

We’re bright people, bright enough to know that we don’t know everything. For instance, we don’t understand accounting. Nor do we get why Kanye West fascinates some folks. The average person is repulsed by an impolite hack, but Mr. West has become wealthy because he is rude and lacks talent. It defies explanation.

But Enough About Us, Lets Talk About You

Something else that we don’t understand is why it should take two well-educated people an entire afternoon to install a light fixture they purchased in your store, especially when both have handled similar tasks. With two of us involved, putting up your  Hampton Bay Faux Alabaster Glass Semi-Flush Nut Meg Finish light fixture should have taken ten minutes, at the most.

But the instructions included with the light were awful.

I feel certain that we had all the parts we needed, according to those instructions. Where the instructions failed is in helping us understand how we could assemble those parts into a cohesive unit similar to the one portrayed on the box, then get it hanging from our kitchen ceiling.

A few hours into the installation process, we concluded that the directions you included with this product were probably accurate and would be a great reminder of the installation steps to those who already understood how to install this particular light. For those who do not fall into that group, the included directions would be most useful as tinder to start a fire.

Here’s A Suggestion

We understand that many businesses feel that they can be more profitable by selling items manufactured outside of the United States. Judging from the instructions we’re discussing, Home Depot is among those businesses. Maybe China truly is the smartest place to make a ceiling light; we haven’t run the numbers on that, but we’d guess that you have.

 But we can tell you, based on the instructions we tried to use, that China is not where you should have your instruction sheets written, unless you’re going to sell the corresponding products at Home Depot outlets in, for example, China. While the instructions were in English, we feel that had they been authored by someone more comfortable with the language we might have put our light up and had time left to take a nap, or even return to your store to buy materials for our next home improvement ordeal project.

Don’t get us wrong. When we ask for instructions authored by someone comfortable with the language they’re written in, we’re not asking you to go out and hire Steven King. We’re not looking for something with a plot and well-developed characters. We’d just like clear, follow-able instructions that result in us having a light fixture that we’re certain will not plummet from the ceiling and kill one of our guests.

Perhaps you could have your instructions written here in the U.S. and then e-mail them overseas to your manufacturer. That wouldn’t cut into your profits very much, would it? We’ve admitted that we’re not accountants, but it doesn’t seem like a big expense to do it that way. Maybe you could get back to us on that…and while you’re at it, send someone over to put this light up correctly because we sure as hell couldn’t.



Two Otherwise Intelligent People Defeated By Lousy Instructions


2 Comments on “Dear Home Depot, Nice Job On Those Instructions”

  1. Instructions have been the downfall of many Home Depot purchases. I know people who have booked a couple of days off after having to deal with them.

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