Friday, November 09, 2007

Information Mismanagement*

The belt had broken on the household vacuum cleaner. The Husband knew that the part number was listed in the cleaner’s instruction manual.

Simple enough: find the manual, copy out the part number, and order it. The result would be a delivered part and a repaired vacuum cleaner. QED.

He looked for that manual in all the places where the couple filed paperwork; he was certain it was near to hand but couldn’t find it. He flipped through more files. When this failed, he called to his wife in the next room. “Dear, where’s the manual for the vacuum cleaner?”

The Wife responded, “Did you look in the file cabinet?”

“I’m in there right now.”

“It should be right in front of you,” said the Wife. “Did you look under ‘H’?”

“Huh?” The Husband shook his head. “Why not under ‘V’ for vacuum cleaner?”

“‘H’ – look under ‘H’,” the Wife called back.

The Husband wondered why the vacuum cleaner manual would be under ‘H’ - and then realized the Wife had filed the booklet under ‘H’ for ‘Hoover.’ And sure enough, he plucked out the ‘H’ file and found the manual.

He was quiet for a moment. Then: “Dear, you do realize that our vacuum cleaner is a Dyson?”

The withering silence was no more than he deserved.

*As told to Signalwriter. The Husband remains anonymous for obvious reasons.

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