Do you Read Product Manuals?

September 22, 2018

Do you read Product Manuals? I mean, when you purchase something new, are you more likely to just try to figure it out as you go along, or will you sit down and read the Manual before even attempting to use the product?

I’m a Manual kind of girl…..usually. I might not read every single sentence, but I do start at the beginning of the Manual and look over every page. I did that with the Toaster Oven, and the Nutri-Bullet, and the Slow Cooker we purchased.  When we got a new Washer and Dryer, I read the Manual for both appliances and even made notes on how to use each cycle in the best way. But when we bought an Elliptical Machine, I asked my husband to read the Manual and just tell me the things I need to know. 

I was thinking about this the other day, wondering why I read some Manuals and why I don’t read others, and I decided it’s just a matter of interest in the product.  Cooking isn’t something that I especially love (in fact, if I never cooked anything again, I would probably be just fine), but I knew the Toaster Oven, Nutri-Bullet, and Slow Cooker would make my life easier, so was interested in learning about them.

The Elliptical? I know the exercise is good for me, but it’s not something I especially relish doing every day. So Rick can read that Manual and just share the knowledge he gets from it.

Cars.  I’m not a “car girl.” I can’t recognize one from another unless I see the car emblem, and sometimes not even then. I have no interest in car shows or car magazines or car innovations. To me, a car gets me to where I want to go. I’ve been driving the same car for 14 years. It got me to where I wanted to go, it got decent mileage, and I was fine with that. But last month I finally needed to get a new car. 

We went to Car Max and got a new-to-me, 2016 Buick Encore. When we got home, we parked the car in the garage, and I went back to working on my designs. My husband, Rick, who is a car guy, couldn’t believe that I wasn’t out in the garage, checking out the car, and reading the Manual. I told him I know how to drive a car, and I’d figure out all the rest later. 

Two weeks later I drove the car by myself for the first time. I was on my way to our son’s house, 3 hours away. About 45 minutes into the drive I stopped at a McDonald’s to get something to drink. I turned the car off, but the radio kept playing. Hmmm… I looked at all of the dials and experimented with them, but couldn’t figure out how to turn off the radio. After a few minutes, I decided the battery wouldn’t run down in just the few minutes it would take me to buy something to drink, so I would just have to leave it on. When I opened the car door, the radio automatically turned off.  I thought of that Manual.

About halfway into the drive, I received a text on my phone. When I am driving, I don’t text so I was prepared to ignore it. But within a few seconds, I saw the text message appear on a control screen right there on my dashboard! What? How did that happen?  And what was I supposed to do with it?  

Then when I was on my way home, I had to stop for gas.  Where was my gas tank? On the right side or left? I had to stop the car and get out to look for it. Right side. Okay, so I pulled into the station with the pumps on the right side of the car. Then I started looking for the gas cover release button. I couldn’t find it.  I even got the Manual out of the glove box and started looking up Gas Cover Release. Nothing. There was nothing about a Gas Cover Release. So I had to call Rick and ask. You know, the husband who had encouraged me to read the Manual. He was gracious and told me that my car doesn’t have a Gas Cover Release button, that I just have to push in on the gas cover a bit, and it will pop open automatically. Okay. So I was able to get gas.

On the rest of the drive home, I thought about that Manual and how I should really – probably – read it.  That’s been a few weeks now, but I still haven’t read it. I’ve learned a few things by trial and error. And truthfully, that’s probably how I will learn things. Unless Rick reads the Manual and tells me what I need to know.

What about you? Do you read Manuals?

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25 Comments

  1. Karen

    Ahhh.. you feel my pain. LOL. We were supposed to receive 2 manuals, but only received the car basics one. The communication one is online, and way too big to print. So maybe I’ll have to bring it up on my phone and just go sit in the car for a bit. 🙂 Good luck to us both!

    Reply
    • norah stack

      I don’t read manuals, hubby reads cover to cover. I learn what I need when I need it. Only occasionally have I had to refer to the manual!

      Reply
  2. Renee

    Love this post! I can totally relate as last week we bought a new-to-me 2014 Acura after driving a 2002 Envoy for 15 years. Ken is ‘the manual guy’ and last night he got the 2 manuals out of the car, one is about the car mechanics he other is for navigation and communication systems, only to discover they were in French! We can read French but not well enough for all that car jargon! I don’t read through many manuals but I will definitely be reading the communications one! I can’t believe all the stuff they have in newer vehicles. It could be a travelling office!

    Reply
  3. Deanna

    I am NOT a manual girl at all. I drive my engineer husband totally nuts because he reads everything he can get his hands on before we even buy something!! How we got together I’ll never know–must have been a God thing! He knew I needed him to explain everything to me. Heck, we have two really old cars–1994 GMC Jimmy and a 1991 chevy Metro. We mostly drive the metro around because it gets over 50 miles per gallon. Well, my husband needed to take the Metro to the shop to get a new muffler put on it, so I had to use the Jimmy to go to the store. I got in the Jimmy, and it’s been so long since I drove it I couldn’t figure out where to adjust the seat!! So instead of using the manual, I drove it in the position it was!! I could reach the breaks, so everything was fine, but I would have rather had the seat a bit further up!! Oh well, I’ll figure it out next time!! haha!!

    Reply
  4. Yobeth

    Nice looking new car, Karen! I’m a manuals girl too. I also got 2 manuals with my car in 2014 so I only read the parts I was interested in, the communications part. You gotta know how to connect your phone for hands free and check out the apps. When the service engine light comes on you gotta know how to turn it off. We use synthetic oil so no need to change it every 5000 miles. The rest I find out as I go and only when I need it. My hubby’s the car guy.

    Other manuals, technology, and how to put things together, that’s all me. When DH’s phone died a few years ago & he went from Blackberry to an iPhone I had to get an iPhone also so I could show him how to use it. I did resist for about 6 months though because I loved my Blackberry. LOL

    Reply
  5. Barbara S

    I am usually just figure it out and if I can’t, I take out the manual and go to the proper page for help. I have to laugh because I can relate to the “GAS” thing and going between my car and my husbands, I could never remember which side the tank was on, so as I pulled into the station I would hit the “open” button and then look in my side view mirrors to see which side popped open. My new car has navigation and all those fancy bells and whistles – my kids showed me how to use those and how to sync my phone so I could call and answer “hands free”.

    Reply
    • Karen

      Cars are more like computers now, aren’t they? Which makes them a BIT more interesting to me! 😉 Thanks for sharing your hint!

      Reply
  6. DENISE

    Karen – I am definitely a “manual girl”… it is a result of an experience in my youth (many many years ago). I received a make-up mirror for Christmas, you know the kind of mirror that you could switch the type of lighting so you could apply your make up for that specific type of lighting? It actually makes me laugh, since I don’t wear make up at all now. But I was in Jr High and had just started wearing make up and thought this special mirror was fantastic. Well, I was so excited to use it… I pulled it out of the box and pulled the mirror up from the base (before reading the manual) and ended up stripping the screws that hold the mirror at the correct angle. I was supposed to loosen the side screws before pulling the mirror up from the base. I was horrified that I had broken my new make up mirror… I ended up having to prop the mirror up with a book, since the screws were stripped. Ever since, I have been a “manual reader” 🙂

    Reply
    • Karen

      Oh, Denise! I can imagine your heartbreak at that age. A hard lesson, but, who knows, it could have saved you from more problems over the years. 😉

      Reply
  7. colleen

    Manuals what are they? Are they the books that come with gadgets? I usually try to figure things out and when all else fails read the direction!!!!!

    Reply
    • Karen

      LOL! 🙂

      Reply
  8. Faith A

    So fun, that’s me too, hubby was in hospital, I had to get fuel, I went to the girl in the cash area to let her know the pump wasn’t working, she came to look and said I had to press “that button” duh! He has always put fuel in the tank and seen to things with the car – I just drive!

    Reply
    • Karen

      Faith. This resonates with me. My husband always fills up the cars too.. 99% of the time anyway. I had to stand there at the pump and read the directions, it had been so long. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Judy

    I confess, I am a manual reader… being a single parent I learned early on, either I figure it out or go without! That worked for me for most appliances and gadgets. But when it came to my car… yikes! I am so bad, I find things by mistake or trial and error most of the time, but someone told me about a gas tank indicator which I never forgot, since it is not always on the same side on every vehicle. If you look at the little gas pump silhouette on the dash beside the gas level, you will see a little arrow jutting out on the right or the left, that is the side the gas tank is on! Who knew?? LOL

    Reply
    • Karen

      LOL! Yes, that is what my husband told me when I told him I didn’t know what side the gas tank was on. I imagine I won’t forget that now either! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  10. Cathy L Vernon

    Just saw a report on our local news about a gentleman with a fancy car that had no door handles. He just pushed a button on his key fob and the doors opened. But…..his battery died and nothing on his car worked. He was sitting in his car in his garage and couldn’t figure out how to get out. He sat there for 14 hours before a neighbor came looking for him, and was able to get him out of the car. Funny part of the story was though, there is a lever on the floor near the seat that he could have pulled and the door would have opened! Now this is a case where the manual should truly have been read! LOL Your car is beautiful! Happy travels!

    Reply
    • Karen

      HAHA! That is hysterical! Definitely a case where he should have read the manual.

      Reply
  11. Karla

    I read manuals…usually. Even when I can figure it out, I like to read them because there are often neat little nuggets about what it (whatever “it” is) can do that I would not have known otherwise. I don’t read car manuals front to back but I might look up a few areas to be sure I’m not missing anything. Love the stories shared here! Cute car, Karen!!!

    Reply
    • Karen

      That’s an excellent point!

      Reply

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