Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Made in China

Tonight in a fit of green-ness (and a tech junkie's curiosity), I bought one of those LED flashlights that you recharge by shaking. Now, I understand how the technology works -- just pass a magnet through coiled wires and you'll generate electricity -- though I don't believe the flashlight will last forever, as it's advertisement claims. It's still got to store the energy generated by shaking the flashlight, either in a rechargeable battery (it claims that one of its advantages is that it doesn't lose its storage capacity over time like a rechargeable) or perhaps in a capacitor. I only paid five bucks for the thing, so I'm sorely tempted to satisfy my curiosity on this last question and take the thing apart. That might annoy the wife, though...

What I find tragic about this flashlight is that the people who made it didn't bother to get someone who speaks English to write the instructions on the box. Check this out:

1. Only shake it forward and back while use. So as to make it generating to light up.
2. Its switch system is based on advanced magnetic induction technologies. So it's long in service life and reliable in performance."

But wait, it gets better:

1. A torch is used for emergency lighting purpose. However, the traditional battery-supplied torch may cause you a big trouble because the batteries become ineffective and produce pollution if the torch is left idle for a long time. The chargeable torch also has the problem of power leakage; or it will help you remember to charge only at the time you need. This innovative torch is the breakthrough in solution to waste and inconvenience.
2. Being self-supplying, it will serve you long and well."

A sticker on the box reports that it was "made in China," which judging form the ad copy isn't a big surprise. But come on folks, how hard is it to get someone who speaks English to write a quick instruction list for the box? "Shake it up and it lights up" isn't really all that hard. I don't really have a problem with imported goods (although I do understand how trade deficits are killing us), but hey, I'm sure there are a lot of freelance writers who would be happy to write you some decent ad copy at a very reasonable rate!

It's been a long time since I've seen a commercial product with language that bad. I think they would have been better served by just leaving it in the original Chinese. No, I wouldn't be able to read it, but do we really need instructions for a shake-up flashlight? They really didn't inspire a lot of confidence in their "advanced technologies" with that copy...

No comments: