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Posted on Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Dave!I did nothing but work today.

I got up in the morning and worked. I took a shower, got dressed, drove to work, and worked. I came home, sat in front of the television, and worked. It's just now 11:00pm and I have at least an hour left to work. In-between all that, nothing even remotely interesting or noteworthy happened. Usually a day like today makes me regret my decision to post an entry at Blogography every single day. Because when nothing really happens, there's nothing really to write about. It's at this point I usually start surfing for some kind of meme or quiz to post, but I just don't have the time.

So instead I'm just going to recite a quick 10-minute story that came to mind this morning...

Nearly a decade ago, I was doing design-for-hire contract work for an agency out of Seattle. It was a fascinating job, because I was always guaranteed a wide variety of assignments. I could be designing a catalog for clothing one day, an advertisement for a shopping mall the next, and a business report for a bank the next. It was a never-ending parade of nifty jobs that I enjoyed very much because it was always something different.

One day I got a call from the head office back on the East Coast. They were having problems assigning a project that nobody wanted, and had to start calling Seattle designers to see if they could find somebody for the job. Immediately intrigued, I said I was interested and asked to know more about it.

Turns out that it was for packaging design WITH matching instruction booklet for some kind of specialty home colonics kit.

I was surprised at first but, never one to back away from a challenge, I took the assignment.

Two days later I received the complete colonics apparatus along with a page of typewritten instructions and the company's current packaging (which, by the way, was a plain brown box with the product name hand-stamped on it). Anxious to get started, I borrowed an anatomy book from the library and set out to sketch some ideas.

Thanks to the miracle of fax machines, my sketches were sent the very next morning along with my notes.

Overall, the client was happy with my ideas and loved the economical approach I took for the new packaging structure, but needed me to adjust the line drawings in the instruction book because they were drawn at too severe an angle. They wanted more of a side-view because they felt the customer would have an easier time understanding how to use it properly. To assist me in understanding the process, they gave me the phone number for their "customer support line" and told me to call for guidance...

CUSTOMER SUPPORT LADY: Hello and thanks for calling! How may I help you?
DAVE: Hello, I am a designer working with your product and need some advice on what kind of angle I should be using in the instructions.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT LADY: Ah. I can see where you might think the angle is a problem, but usually the real problem is that the tip hasn't been lubricated properly... are you using plenty of lubrication?
DAVE: (attempting to be humerous) Uhhh... if I lubricate the tip, I worry that my pencil might slip out of my fingers.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT LADY: Excuse me sir, but where exactly are you inserting the unit?!?

And, because of that, I laughed my ass off this morning when I was reading the Q-Tip box and saw this warning: DO NOT INSERT INTO EAR CANAL. The perfect wise-ass response... just nine years too late.

Categories: DaveLife 2006Click To It: Permalink


  1. Brandon says:

    I thought I recognized your work! Kudos!

    I know one exciting thing that you did today. You signed up for the most kickass fantasy football league in the history of fantasy football. I can’t wait to beat up on Blogography!

    Now a commercial – if anybody else is interested in playing fantasy football against myself or Dave, please visit my blog and sign up. It should be a lot of fun. We have room for up to five more teams.

  2. I think if we all try hard enough and use it 3 times a day in random conversation we can make ‘Where exactly are you inserting the unit?’ a new catchphrase.

  3. Mooselet says:

    I’m getting some, er, interesting mental imagery with this and I’m laughing so much I think I may have wet my pants.

  4. Erin says:

    You can’t put Q-Tips into your ears anymore? What’s the world coming to?

    It’s beyond hilarious that the home colonics company had a phone support line. Oh, the stories that woman could undoubtedly tell…

  5. Dave H says:

    How is it that even on a day when you have nothing to write, you still manage to post *and* it’s a good read?! 🙂

  6. EDDIE says:

    I think ID Millennium is the one you should try with the product you work on. It also works under the water.

  7. Avitable says:

    Wow. Imagine being that customer service person. The only thing worse would be technical support for a sex toy.

  8. Laurence says:

    There’s nothing like a nice “wee/poo” anecdotal joke for starting a good day !!! 😀

  9. adena says:

    If someday, when I’m nearing death, I decide I need to use a colonic, I will be sure to look for the one in whose instruction booklet drawings look strangely familiar…..

  10. kapgar says:

    Why would nobody else want that gig? It’s just rife with opportunity! Especially if you’re a blogger on the side! Does the company still use your designs?

  11. Karl says:

    What, no Cartoon Dave with an enema in his ear?

    Wow, that’s definitely a design challenge. I can only imagine how fun a call that must have been.

  12. delmer says:

    So. Did they pay you in cash (or check) or just give you a whole bunch of the product?

  13. Belinda says:

    “Inserting the unit.” Just another brick in the wall of Blogography lexicon.

    And really, is there ANYTHING that you should insert into your ear canal? Not really. Q-Tip could do the world a great public service by adding the phrase “OR ANYTHING ELSE” into their instructions!

  14. Jeff says:

    If you read only the customer support lady’s response, it sounds like a transcript from Dr. Ruth’s show!

  15. yellojkt says:

    Definitely needs a cartoon Dave illustration. And Q-tips is completely fooling themselves. That’s like the vibrator warnings that say “for external use only”. So I’ve heard.

  16. Mark says:

    Wait, then what the hell are Q-tips good for?

  17. Kristin says:

    Fascinating! Nearly a decade ago, I was working for Hammerquist & Halverson in Seattle. Did you guys have a pool table in your office too?

    p.s. I stick Q-tips in my ears every day.

  18. Wayne Hall says:

    re: Q-tip/Do not insert into ear canal…

    This reminds me of the Wacky Warning label awards (blogged here with more pictures) where a recent honorable mention was a label for Fox/Bobcat Urine Powder (presumably used to keep pests out of your garden since there’s obviously a bobcat living there) which sported a warning that said “not for human consumption”.

    I would be most unhappy in life if I could not have my Q-Tip-in-the-ear feeling in the morning or my brushpick-in-the-teeth feeling after lunch.

    Eh? What’s that you say? Speak up, my hearing isn’t what it used to be.

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