Troubleshooting

After several years without a coffee grinder, I decided to spend some Christmas money and take a chance on another one, my third — the previous two were pieces of crap and broke after a few months. This one might well turn out to be just as bad, but I’m getting a kick out of the user manual. First of all, it’s a flip book, which is delightfully retro, with French on the other side. Then on page 10, I found these insanely awesome troubleshooting tips:

PROBLEM POSSIBLE CAUSE SOLUTION
UNIT DOES NOT GRIND · Grinding chamber
lid is open
· Grinding chamber
is not in position
· Start Button has not
been pressed
· Unit is unplugged
· There’s a power
outage
· If after trying all of
the above the unit
still does not grind,
the motor has over-
heated, thermal fuse
is broken
· CLOSE GRINDING
CHAMBER LID
· PLACE CHAMBER
IN PROPER POSITION
· PRESS AND HOLD
START BUTTON
· PLUG UNIT IN
· WAIT FOR POWER
TO BE RESTORED
· CALL AUTHORIZED
SUNBEAM SERVICE
CENTER
THE COFFEE
GROUNDS
PRODUCED ARE
NOT PROPERLY
GROUND
· Grind setting or cups
setting is incorrect

· Insufficient amount of
whole beans used
· Chamber lid opened
during operation
· Unit is not clean

 

· Foreign object is
obstructing the
grinder blades

· SET GRIND SETTING
or CUPS SETTING
CORRECTLY
· ADD BEANS TO
GRINDING CHAMBER
· CLOSE GRINDING
CHAMBER LID
· UNPLUG UNIT, CLEAN
AS PER INSTRUCTIONS
AND PLUG IT IN AGAIN
· UNPLUG UNIT AND
CAREFULLY
DISLODGE FOREIGN
OBJECT
UNIT STOPS
GRINDING
· Grinding chamber lid
has been opened
· Unit has been unplugged
· There’s a power outage
· CLOSE GRINDING
CHAMBER LID
· PLUG UNIT IN
· WAIT FOR POWER
TO BE RESTORED
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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

14 Comments


  1. Ah, but you must never underestimate the cluelessness of the gadget impaired. My husband can remember all the names of his Chinese students, The most obscure references to Greek or Latin legends, or the plot of a video we may have seen 20 years ago. However, the simple matter of checking to see if something mechanical which goes on the fritz is unplugged, burnt out, or is just suffering ‘wrong button pushed’ syndrome , will send him into a complete tizzy.

    Reply

    1. It’s not just the simplicity of these suggestions, of course, but the ingenuous way in which they’re presented that makes them funny — as if someone would notice that the power had gone out, but would need the this checklist to tell him to wait for it to be restored. (Me, I’ll fire up a generator. You don’t simply sit around and wait when you’re a coffee addict!)

      Reply

      1. Finally! Victoria repeats two things about me: (1) I have no common sense, and (2) I don’t believe anything unless I read it.

        It’s the manual I’ve been waiting for my whole life. (And all these years I thought it was “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel”! Damn hymnal.)

        Reply

        1. Ha! The truth is, this coffee grinder (from Mr. Coffee, a brand name that never fails to amuse me) actually is a little trickier to use than the average model, but I found the manual’s instructions of little use in figuring it out. I guess I’m more a learn-by-doing-if-at-all kind of guy.

          Reply

  2. On the one hand, there’s the “techno-peasant” syndrome, wherein all machines are magic, and the ignorant have no intuition regarding them. But then, there’s also the omnipresent stress and anxiety of our day… and anxiety does tend to shut down the higher functions! (And then, there’s that business of lawsuits….)

    Reply

      1. You’re hardly alone… I’m off to Costa Rica in a few hours… with a stop off at Mom’s to help her with her computer!

        The problem here is that without a decent understanding of the machines we rely on, we get stuck any time something goes wrong, with no idea of how to deal with even minor problems. Not knowing, e.g., when it is or isn’t appropriate to power-cycle a computer, just leads to more and more problems over time. Let alone issues like resisting phishing and trojan attacks from spammers….

        Reply

  3. Simple – these are machine readable instructions, written in Natural Language for a robot that can fix the broken coffee grinders!

    Now you need to go find such a robot, Dave.

    Reply

  4. back when i drank coffee i had a hand powered coffee grinder. it lasted for many years. it was a nice small chore to grind the beans while the water boiled.

    Reply

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