Best. Instructions. Ever.

I’ve been trying to get caught up on everything that the semester forced me to set aside. I spent a day prepping and sending out a sizable batch of short stories — much overdue. I got some last-minute shopping done. Bought the new Eagles double album (listening for the first time now). And I just finished installing a new bathroom faucet.

I consider myself a fairly handy fellow around the house. I was raised around remodeling and that sort of thing, so I’m not scared off by working with pipes or running electricity or putting in walls or, well, whatever. This partly explains why I don’t pay much attention to instructions. (I say “partly” because I’m certain that another major factor is the fact that I’m, well, a guy.)

At any rate, the instructions for this new faucet caught my eye as I was setting them aside, so I actually stopped to look at them.

Magnificent. Clever. Helpful. Funny. Enjoyable.

Yes, to repeat: enjoyable faucet instructions.

Why don’t more companies give attention to this sort of thing? The majority of the instructions I’ve ever looked at aren’t even written in legitimate English. Few make any clear sense at all even after you’ve translated them. Clarity of meaning (and thus language) ought to be a minimum requirement — they are instructions, after all — yet the combination is rare indeed. Indeed, companies seem to regard instructions as an annoying chore.

So to find a set of instructions that has clarity of meaning and much more — using snazzy graphics and a terrific sense of humor to attempt to bring a smile to the beleaguered home installer — is quite staggering. I really am in shock.

That these near-perfect instructions come via the Peerless Faucet Company is, well, unexpected to say the least. Here’s a sample from their “Peerless Guide to De-Installation” (Step 1H):

Again, look out for falling nastiness. Have you banged your knuckles on the pipes yet? If so, congratulations. Get out from under the sink, apply a bandage and move on.

Witty, no? A version of these instructions is available online, along with some other amusing goodies, as part of Peerless’ “Faucet Coach.” Here’s a couple of entries from their online “Visual Glossary” of items you may need to install your shiny new faucet:

GASOLINE. For some reason, you’re going to need to drive to the hardware store at some point during this installation. We don’t know why, but you will. It’s like a natural law or something.

PILLOW. A pillow can cushion your body as you’re lying under the sink. It can also be placed over your mouth in case you feel the need to scream. Which is a need you may soon be feeling. More than once.

These are all, like the print instructions, accompanied by wonderful little art.

Bloody terrific. I’ve half a mind to write Peerless a letter thanking them.

2 Comments

  1. Write to them! Encourage them to make more manuals like that one!

  2. I think I will, actually. They really need to be encouraged about this.

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