TM reader Gil tipped us off to the Fail Blog post excerpted above. (To see the entire work, visit the original site.) And like most Fail Blog fodder, it’s pretty damn funny. But it really got me thinking: it’s shocking how often I see tools misused — not out of entertainment like those above, but just out of pure ignorance.
For example, as I walked out to my car a few mornings ago, I saw one of my neighbors tacking his fence back up. (We live in a neighborhood that’s about six years old, so it’s rife with cheap-ass builder fences falling apart. And yes, mine’s one of them.) The funny part: he was using a ball-peen hammer to drive what looked like nails for picture hangers into 4x4s. Think monkey-fornicating-with-football kind of frustration and you’ll get the picture.
I’m sure you’re laughing right now, just like I did (as soon as I was out of sight). But the more I thought about it, the less funny it seemed to me. Why didn’t he realize that nails with tiny heads would just pull through? Why didn’t he look at the hammer and wonder why it had a curved surface? Would the curved surface make sense for this task?
Sean and I are extremely lucky in that we regularly have the opportunity to talk to tool designers, engineers, testers, and even marketers. They beat a path to the Toolmonger offices to explain how their tools work and why you should be interested in them, and in the process they give us a hell of an education as to how tools progress from crazy idea to finished product. And we get to ask questions, too. “What the hell is this thing for? Who do you see using it?” We learn a lot.
But what about my neighbor? Where does he get this information?
He has Google, of course. He could always become an “internet expert” by searching on the tool or the job. Or he could take a trip to the local big box and hope that the aisle walker knows something about the job. (Good luck.) Or he could ask a neighbor.
Or he could come here, though we’ve generally focused in the past on the tools themselves more than on how-to posts about common tasks. What do you think? Should Toolmonger cover some basics about tool selection and use? And if so, how should we approach it to offer useful information to n00bs without boring the experts? Let us know in comments, if you would.