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Opinion: Follow the directions

Almost everything comes with instruction manuals these days. I replaced my 20 plus-year-old washing machine recently. I have never bought more than a new coffee pot in my life, much less a major appliance. I went with the cheapest one the store had. The store delivered it, set it up and hauled away the old one. Of course, this new alien washer came with instruction manuals, soap samples and warrantees aplenty.

I hate new appliances and learning how to use them. Why can’t they all live as long as I do?

What does everybody else do with the instruction manuals for all these things? I assume the well-organized has a file for each appliance, vehicle and other household gadgets they own.

Slightly less organized people put them all in one file and refer to it as necessary.

When Fred and I moved in together I had never owned an appliance, so we went with the put-them-all-in-one place system, started with his family and continuing to this day.

The thing is we are collectors. Collectors are one step up from hoarders. Collectors like us save a lot of what might be worthless stuff to most people.

Personally, the things we keep may not be good enough to save, but they are just way too cool to throw away.

Plastic containers with lids, pill bottles, large flat pieces of cardboard and a huge sack of packing noodles are just some of the things we can’t bear to part with.

So, the instructions for the new washer went into the mounting file of instructions. Here is where keeping all my instructions in one place wanders from the field of collecting and into the ugly alley of hoarding. We have instructions for things that we haven’t owned in years.

The argument can be made that old instruction manuals have collector value. Check eBay. So, on the strength of that, I don’t throw any of these away.

The critical issue at this point is how many consumers ever actually read the how-to booklets that come with new merchandise?

“If all else fails, read the instructions!” has the ring of the truth.

I am one of those people who not only saves the instructions, but except for the simplest things, read the manuals as well.

Men get a bad rap for never reading the directions when dealing with new gadgets and asking for them when driving. Their reasons range from I know how to do this, to what makes you think they know where we’re going.

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is a valid cliché.

Some of the things my husband thought were too cool to throw away are so obscure. These are going into either the gray or the blue cans depending on composition. We are big fans of recycling. California redemption stuff goes for the money and the rest in the blue can.

I don’t understand why every glass, plastic and cardboard box isn’t marked California Redemption and recyclable for cash.

Pickle and jam jars, milk and juice bottles and cardboard cartons are all items that could be gathered for profit.

So, in the meantime, I am hanging on to my collection of instruction pamphlets, even the ones for appliances bought by my in-laws when I was still in grammar school.

I do have my quirks, but if you’re reading this, it should come as no great surprise.

Signing off from the Red One.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @tamijonix13 on Twitter.


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