This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Definition of "Microwaveable"

Dear People-Who-Make-Microwaveable-Products,

What exactly is your definition of microwaveable?

Why do I ask? Because it appears to differ from mine.

I think of microwaving food as a quick way of getting something cooked and ready to eat within minutes. And as for the products that I purchase for microwaving, my expectation is to pop it in the microwave, select a fair number of minutes for zapping, then "ta-da!" instant food.

I have grown accustomed to peeling off the plastic on one end, but not the rest, then zapping it for x many minutes, peel over other section, and zap for x many minutes. Let cool. I don't like this because it doesn't follow my mental model for microwaving food: pop it in, zap x many minutes, "ta-da". Instead, I have to work a little bit more...

But to do anymore than that should be classified illegal in the microwaveable product world. This is from Jimmy Dean Biscuit Sandwiches:
Keep frozen unit ready to use. May be refrigerated overnight to thaw. Do not refrigerate longer than 7 days.

All heating instructions are based on a 1000 - watt microwave set on high. Due to differences in microwave ovens, heating times may vary.

Microwave Heating Instructions: From Frozen: 1. Remove from wrapper. Wrap in paper towel or napkin. 2. Defrost sandwich on defrost setting for 2 1/2 minutes. 3. Turn sandwich over; microwave on high for 50 seconds.

From Refrigerated: 1. Remove from wrapper. 2. Wrap in paper towel or napkin. 3. Microwave on high for 50 seconds. Caution: Product will be hot . Let cool one minute before eating. Enjoy!

I wouldn't have understood the complexity of this microwaveable product if it were not for the confused and frustrated look on my 10 year old's face, as she tried desperately to make this for herself. She looked at me and said "Can you help me with this?" As, in hindsight, I realized there were a mess of buttons being pushed, and beeps being heard. She had attempted to microwave it and yet, it was still not cooked.

I read the instructions and realized "no wonder! how the heck do i know if my fricking microwave is 1000 watts?" I started from scratch and followed the cooking from frozen directions, which still came out tepid...due to an already bad user experience. It wasn't going to taste good to her after struggling with the directions.

And it wasn't until yesterday that my husband went through the same thing. I saw him read, and read, and read. A series of buttons were pushed. A few beeps were heard (and that includes my husband's language use) and later in the day, his retelling of what a piece of shit the product came out rubbery for him.

So, I'm not sure if you have anyone that actually does research at how people perceive their microwave to be, but as a starting data point, my household views it as a quick *and easy* way to put food in their mouth. This particular product, as quite a few others that have similar directions, was too complex for my microwave. I can make this just as quick as microwaving it and it would taste 100 times better.

I ask you: do your research, test your product, then strive to make a product that is actually microwaveable...perhaps even attempting to follow my own model for making a microwaveable product.


No comments:

Post a Comment