We all like to splash the cash now and then – even during these times of apparent austerity.
But once you’ve got your new toy home are you the sort of person to carefully read the instructions, or just blunder on in.
I like to think I fall firmly into the second camp.
Instructions are for people who don’t know what they’re doing is my philosophy –which can often land me in big bother.
Sometimes it seems the bigger the ticket on the item, the less likely we are to bother to read the manual.
Take cars as an example.
Everyone’s got the manufacturers leaflet, probably stuffed somewhere in the back of the glove box behind a Simply Red CD you never remember buying and a half eaten packet of Monster Munch, but have we ever bothered to read it.
The answer, I suspect is no – it’s easier just to keep pushing buttons until whatever it is you want to happen, well, happens.
There’s a certain amount of assuming things, which are vaguely the same, will work in vaguely the same way.
Every car has a steering wheel, every telly has a remote control and every stereo has a play button.
Simple isn’t it.
Twigging this, manufacturers have started putting in quick start guides – basic instruction books which I suspect are aimed mainly at impatient 30-something men who have spent the best part of a hour pressing buttons on their new remote without checking to see if it contains batteries.
I’ll admit sometimes it’s good to have the “destructions” around, just in case you end up stumped with electrical goods, but elsewhere it’s just not necessary, even if confined to the label.
Take this set of handy tips I spotted while getting The Munchkin dressed.
“Place over foot, position and unroll.” It was, of course, a three step guide to putting on a pair of socks.
I daren’t look at her latest shoes, they’re lace-ups, and judging by the socks, the user manual could go on for several pages.
Is anyone really going to need instructions for using a pair of socks? Without the help of these instructions would we now have a generation of youngsters with warm hands but nothing on their feet?
Where does it stop?
Do I need to be told to place a scarf on my neck and wrap, or to place one leg into each leg of my trousers ( there’s a hint in the names!)?
And yet for things I’m really bad at there’s no help at all.
I’ve spent hours at the library trying in vain to find Ironing for Dummies and, while there are many manuals on childcare, none seem to carry basic instructions to stop crying.
Never mind, I’ll just carry on blundering in and just hope for the best.