August 09, 2006

Dilbert Imitates Life



I work for a company that manufactures kitchen tools, mainly food graters. Most of our graters are sold with protective plastic covers, and a decorative label is applied to the cover to make it more attractive and indicate which foods the particular grater is for. The company spent a lot of time and money developing the decorative labels and designing them to stay on the product even when being put through the dishwasher over and over.

Not long after the covers were introduced into the market place, our customer service reps started getting phone calls from people complaining that a sticky residue was left on the cover once the label was removed, and the residue became "foggy" after it was put in the dishwasher. One guy tried to use acetone to remove the residue and melted his polypropylene cover in the process. Soon, the company is sending out replacement covers to everyone that decided to remove our label that was designed to be permanent.

The label was later redesigned to come off easily like a Post-it note. What happened next? A barrage of calls from people complaining the label came off when they washed the cover. What a pain, but that's the world of manufacturing consumer products, and I couldn't help but laugh when I saw the Dilbert strip from yesterday.

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