Is it unkind to make fun of a gift?
But I’m going to do it anyway. It was a corporate ‘gift’ so I’m fairly sure I paid for it somewhere.
So, I bought a new car, something I haven’t done in many years. The experience was fairly painless. I picked a car. Found a UK dealer 190 miles away with one in stock in the colour and trim I wanted and bought it by email without ever visiting the dealer or seeing the car. Yesterday a driver delivered my car to my door. He also bought flowers for my wife and an additional gift.
Everyone was very nice to me. Everything happened on time. I’m happy with the car.
So, of course, that’s not what I’m posting about. Who wants to hear a happy story of uneventful efficiency?. I’m writing about the gift.
It was a bottle. A plastic bottle. A plastic bottle with a piece of paper folded inside it.
I assumed that this was some kind of message in a bottle theme and that the paper would thank me for choosing their car.
Nope. The paper wasn’t a message, it was a set of instructions on how to use the bottle. That made me laugh as it’s entirely consistent with the safety through technology image of the brand.
When I read the instructions I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or marvel at how far away from reality it is possible for intelligent people to get.
The instructions came in six languages. It was a small piece of paper so that meant the font size was eye-waveringly small but at least you didn’t need to know where the bottle was going when you put the paper inside it.
The first line read:
which struck me as odd as I hadn’t chosen anything.
The next line told me that I’d been given not a bottle but ‘Drinkware’ and offered me
‘tips to enhance your enjoyment of your new drinkware’
I was told to wash and dry the bottle, sorry, drinkware before using it. well duh!
I was warned not to overfill it because
‘liquid may escape through the drinking hole when fastening the lid’.
Again, duh! Although after Drinkware I found drinking hole a little disappointing. Why not liquid extraction point?
I was advised to make sure the lid was fastened before drinking. Trice duh! Was this written by lawyers anxious about liability?
Then I was told all the things I couldn’t do with the Drinkware:
- Put it in a microwave
- Clean it in a dishwasher
- Put hot beverages in it.
- Put carbonated beverages in it
So, the gift was a plastic water bottle that has to be hand-washed after every use and which came with a page of instructions/warnings/disclaimers.
Just what the world needs. Another plastic bottle. OK, so the world probably didn’t need a new car either, even if I did assuage my conscience by buying a hybrid, but adding a hard to use, corporate branded, probably best to recycle soon plastic bottle didn’t strike me as a great idea.
So what do you think? Was this Swedish humour, a well-meant but not thought through courtesy or a piece of marketing that has lost sight of reality.