I love self-assembly items. Probably just as well because we live in a flatpack world.
It’s not so much the assembly that I love. It’s the instructions. The wackier the better.
Maybe it’s because most of my career has been in communications. My challenge with every project has been to translate manufacturing language into consumer language. To make the complex simple.
When I unpack an item (well, it’s not a single item when it arrives, but 30), I look forward to finding hilariously inadequate instructions.
What do I look for? Missing illustrations. Tiny illustrations. Missing critical steps. But most of all, hopeless attempts to write in my language, English.
It’s easy for me to laugh. But I have to remember that the instructions were probably written by someone with only a rudimentary grasp of my language. At best.
Is it possible that the instruction writer has zero English? Is it possible that he or she wrote the instructions with help from Google Translate?
To test my theory, I put some instructions through Google Translate. The simplest test would have been to translate to another language and then translate them back again.
Feeling mischievous, I thought I’d translate English instructions into Arabic.
I then translated the Arabic instructions into Latvian.
I translated the Latvian into Swahili.
And finally back into English.
Unless someone can prove me wrong, I am certain that this is how most instructions are written.
So, for your enjoyment, here are your complete assembly instructions. I have tested them on 20 different self-assembly items, from leaf blower to exercise bike. They work equally well on every item I assembled. These are true universal instructions.
If you are in the business of manufacturing, importing or distributing any item that requires assembly, feel free to copy these instruction and include them in your flatpack.
“Thank you for buying this product. This product can be safely used for many years to be used in accordance with packaging and safety instructions.
First, delete and identify all items in the distribution box. You will need Philips headset and Allan’s key.
First, place 1 head of body on a flat surface. Slide the rod into the sink. I welcome screw A and screw B, to make sure I turn the graduating side.
Look for item 6 (not to break with extension rod 7, which looks similar but does not hold). Install the small end of the housing as shown by the C-packing screw shown in section D. Rotate to the end of the threaded rod in the hole at the end of the rod.
The seat meeting 8 is to be arrived at the sharp end forward. It can be tilted to comfort with loose nut E before tightening. Apply supplied spanner 9 for suit.
Adjust your body accordingly. Remove the F-cup from the installation. Carefully remove the fence. For young children, this is a risk of self-sufficiency. Pull the base of the F cup into the G cup and turn the glass into a glass cover H, aligning the 3 feet of the H adjustment with the corresponding drop of the cup holder.
Now you are ready to enjoy your new content for many years.”