June 28, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: St. Croix newspaper article
Bob Sifniades submits a scan of a Health and Fitness article from the St. Croix Avis newspaper:
The St. Croix Avis, a US Virgin Islands newspaper published this AP
article about body fat with a photo showing an MRI scan image.
The caption of the photo reads: The image is of an average-sized man who is 1.9 meters tall, weighs 79 kilograms and has a normal index of 21.7. Internal fat is show as yellow, external fat is green and muscles are red.
The image and the caption do not match - The image is distorted to make
the figure look fat, most Americans
don't know the metric system (FYI, 1.9 meters is 6 feet 3 inches, which is
quite above average - 79 kilograms is 174 pounds), and the photo is in black
and white so you can't see which parts of the image are muscle or internal and external fat.
June 25, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Rehearsal studio door bell
Felix Wells submits a picture taken in Kentish Town, London:
Me and my band spotted this doorbell at a rehearsal studio in Kentish Town.
We were trying to figure out where the door bell was for a very long time before we figured out that the arrow was irrelevant and the door bell was staring us in the face.
Congratulations if you can figure out what the arrow is for - it appeared to be pointing at the door.
June 20, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Suggestion box at San Jose Airport
Gene Manuel submits a picture taken in San Jose, CA:
I spotted this suggestion box sign next to gate A2 at Norman Y. Mineta/San Jose International Airport while waiting for a flight.
A suggestion box is a great idea for soliciting advice on the retail and food services but the problem was that the actual suggestion box itself was missing.
Maybe the people in charge of the suggestion box were reviewing the submissions, but from the look of the two holes in the drywall someone seemed like they were in a hurry. The other problem was that it wasn’t near the food courts or shops, with the exception of the burrito place that the sign was posted across from.
June 19, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Bonsai nursery air plant product description
Jason Sherrill writes:
I found a Bonsai nursery air plant on Amazon.com. In the product features, the seller claims that no
watering is required for this air plant.
However, in the product description, the care instructions state:
"Provide bright or subdued indirect sunlight, humidity, warmth, and weekly
So does this Bonsai need watering or not?
[For something called an "air plant," seems like that would be one of the first questions to answer on the product page. -mh]
June 13, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Tide "High Efficiency" laundry detergent
J.D. Pierce writes in:
Regular Tide Free will get you 32, unscented, dye free uses.
High Efficiency Tide Free will get you 26 unscented, dye free loads of wash.
Both are 100 oz.
So, what does "High Efficiency" really mean?
June 12, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Shower head packaging
Philip J. Hollenback points out:
I found this Helping Hand product at Gristedes in New York City. The packaging reads 'Flapper Tank Ball' but this is clearly a shower head.
June 8, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Map color scheme
Preston Dyches points out:
The map above appears on a page providing directions to the hotel where I stayed called Hotel Avante.
If it wasn't a map, I'd applaud the creator for its appealing design.
However, it *is* a map, and since it is intended to assist those who may not be familiar with the area in finding their way, the use of blue to indicate land and white to indicate water is broken because it is disorienting.
June 5, 2007 12:23 AM
Broken: Detroit airport bathroom stall door
Doreen Sawani writes:
A bathroom stall door I encountered in a lady's bathroom in the Detroit Metro Airport has a handle on the same side as the door hinge. When I first came upon this door, which was in the open position, I saw the handle and, in my haste, grabbed it and pulled. Such is the suggestive power of a handle. It took me a moment to realize that pulling the handle was completely pointless.
June 4, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Airline magazine Route 66 article image
Alex Tyler points out:
I was on an international flight from China to San
Francisco last May and was flipping through the airline's in-flight magazine.
The magazine contained a little article on Route 66 and
I couldn't help laughing when I saw that they had placed Los Angeles in
Alaska on the map instead of in California!
The magazine editors clearly need a geography lesson.
June 1, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Photocopier sign
Chris Gurney submits a picture taken in Toronto, Canada:
I thought that the sign posted on a photocopier in my friend's condo building deserved a photo.
25 CENTS PER COPY.
DO NOT USE QUARTERS.
May 28, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: AED Box at Oxford station
Ian Chard submits a picture taken at Oxford station in the UK:
This Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a device used in an
emergency if someone has a cardiac event, has been missing for over a year.
There's another one across the footbridge, but if someone's having a
heart attack the last thing you want to be doing is spending 2 minutes
running back and forth to an AED box that actually contains an AED!
May 24, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Chicago Transit Authority customer assistant panel
Jay Born submits a picture taken in Chicago, Illinois:
This customer assistant panel has no working button. (Spotted on the Chicago Transit Authority subway transfer tunnel between the red and blue lines.) What does this say about how much the Chicago Transit Authority cares about their customers?
May 22, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: "Employee of the Month" initiative
Todd Everett submits a picture taken at a hotel in Michigan:
I took this picture of chairs that were being stored on the reserved parking space for the "employee of the month" while I was staying at a hotel.
(My friend manages the hotel so I won't provide the name of the hotel to protect his privacy).
May 18, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: "Energy awareness" signs at JC Penney
Therese Noren writes in:
I work as a retail merchandiser and have access to off-stage areas of the stores while I am working.
On a recent visit to JC Penney in the Twin Cities Metro Area in Minnesota, I noticed these signs are hanging all over the store's off-stage areas.
The one I took a picture of shows a sign posted on a light switch that reads "Wall Switch Here."
[I'm guessing that] these signs are being posted to help bring awareness to saving energy. If so, the signs would be more effective if they actually said something like "Please turn off when not in use"!
May 14, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Setra bus vent pictogram
A reader writes in:
My employer runs a coach bus manufactured by Setra for associates who need to commute between company sites. The overhead panels in the bus include the vents depicted below.
The pictograms for "open" and "closed" are the least intuitive I've ever seen.
Anybody have any guesses whether "rectangle" or "oval" means open?
May 5, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Mainstays Caulk Remover packaging
Scott Purcell points out:
I bought this product at a Wal-Mart in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. It is a caulk remover, which is funny enough on it's own, but adding to the hilarity is the carefully translated French text on the packaging which reads:
- Removes any type of caulk or sealant
- Pateneted design provides comfort grip and precision blades
- This would be the French version
- This would be the French version
of the above bullets
Despite the erroneous text on the packaging, the product worked pretty well and my wife was pleased at
how easily it removed my old caulk.
Maybe Mainstays concentrated so much on perfecting the product design of the caulk remover that they didn't have much time left to proofread the package design!
April 19, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Bus door instructions
Dave Reevely writes:
Here's a cell phone picture of the doors on a city bus here in
Ottawa, Ontario. Bilingual signs are the norm in this bilingual city,
but usually they say more or less the same thing in French and in
The English instructions state, "To open the door, wait for the green light, then wave hand
The French instructions state, "To open the door, wait for the green
light, then push the bar."
However, only the French instructions will actually
get you off the bus!
The English decal must have been left over from
some earlier model.
April 17, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Hotel door knob
This is a picture of a door knob my friend encountered at the Galaxy Hotel in Athens, Greece.
To open the door with this door knob, you had to push the blue part in and then turn your wrist at an odd angle - making it very difficult to enter your hotel room.
April 13, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Forbes news article
A reader named Mick points out:
This text clip is from a Forbes article about Zimbabwe.
It quotes the US ambassador Christoper Dell, then puts up a link to news and stock quotes from Dell computers!
April 9, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Student loan re-payment letter
Hay Kranen from the Netherlands submits a scan of a student loan payment letter he received:
I received this letter (which is in Dutch) asking me to pay back my student loan.
The text of the letter is fine and informative, but the accompanying illustration is of a fat man who drank too much wine and ate too much fish, and is now being presented the bill.
If this is how the government thinks that students spend their loans, what else do they think of us?
A rough translation of the letter: at the top it says 'Paying back your student loan,' and at the bottom of the letter it ironically says: the IB-Groep (the institution that handles the loans) accommodates you.
April 2, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Amazon packaging
Mike Berman points out:
Amazon.com used an enormous box just for sending me a small electric shaver - they filled the rest of the box with about 20 of those little air-sacs.
They could have just sent me the electric shaver in a smaller box, which would prevented them from wasting packaging material.
March 26, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Train station posting
Ian Chard from the UK writes in:
This sign, or a variant thereof, has been on display in the ticket office of Kingham station in Oxfordshire, in the UK for at least two years. It reads:
Please do not leave the station if the information screens are showing that your train may be late.
We regret that on occasions we have problems with the operating system please bare [sic] with us.
The information screens at all stations on the Cotswold line, including the major Oxford station, vary between displays of correct train information, randomly fluctuating departure times, impossible train descriptions (e.g. stations out of order or repeated), a display of "CANCELLED" when the train is in fact running... everything except a game of Tetris.
Platform announcements, all automated, are similarly affected.
You'd think that two years would be enough time to get this debacle fixed, or at least work around it.
The problem is compounded by the public address system at the more minor stations on the route, which can't be used by local staff: they can only play the automated announcements.
So, Kingham's ticket office staff have taken to screaming across the platform when a problem really does occur!
March 21, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: DirecTV promotional offer
Dale Crawford writes:
I recently activated DirecTV and got the following form along with my sign-on package. The offer is for $150.00 “Cash Back,” but when you read the fine print, you learn that “Cash” according to DirecTV is a $10 per month credit on your bill for 15 months.
Furthermore, this “cash back” cannot be redeemed for actual cash.
I think that when it’s time to pay my bill, I should pay in “Cash.” I’ll give them a $10 credit towards me paying my bill every month for 15 months.
Adding insult to injury, the form clearly states that reproductions of the redemption form are strictly prohibited. That’s all well and good, except that the original form itself is a photocopy.
Now that’s broken.
March 17, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: J.D. Power demographic question
Dmitri Mikhailov points out this J.D. Power and Associates demographics question, which asks:
- Yes, Cuban
- Yes, Mexican, Mexican American
- Yes, Puerto Rican
- Yes, Other
What does being "No" mean?
[Perhaps that we're Irish? At least today, on St. Patrick's Day. -mh]
March 15, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Lowery Park Zoo flyer
Shawn Kelly points out:
The pricing scheme below is on the back of a flyer for the Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa Florida:
Adults ( ages 12-49)
Children ( Ages 3-11)
Ages 2 and under are FREE
How much is admission for people that are between 50-59?
Or are people between the ages of 50-59 not allowed to visit the zoo?
March 10, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Wired.com Daylight Savings article
Paul Collett points out:
This February '07 Wired.com article about Daylight Savings Time writes about the change in Daylight Savings Time, which from now on starts
earlier in the year. The problem is that the article's animated graphic (static screenshot shown at left) shows the clock moving back, when people need to set their clocks forward. That's a pretty big detail to miss.
[Remember to spring forward tomorrow, Sunday. -mh]
March 2, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Pharmacy refill label
Paul Morgan points out:
What does "3.6 refills" mean? I can understand 1 or 2 refills, or maybe even 1.5 (for half a month's supply or something like that)... but 3.6??
February 15, 2007 09:27 AM
Broken: Misuse of the word "some"
From a New York Times story today:
"Firedoglake.com has offered intensive trial coverage, using some six contributors in rotation."
What does "some six contributors" mean? Wouldn't "six contributors" be more accurate? Or does the reporter not know how many contributors there are? Then the word should be "about", not "some."
I see this all the time: newspapers and magazines say "some" when they really mean "about." The summary above could have said that the site is "using about six contributors."
I think that journalists don't like "about" because it clearly states that they don't know quite what the number is. "Some" sounds more accurate without actually being accurate. That's a cheap upgrade.
Broken: Road border paint job
Benedict Herold writes in:
I watched Seth Godin's talk from the Gel 2006 conference. This picture illustrates the 'Not my job' category that Seth discusses in his talk.
This picture, taken in India, shows a tree branch lying on the road. Whoever painted the border on the road did not bother to move the branch and instead painted the border around the wood, which resulted in a crooked line.
February 9, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Fake invoice in the mail
Ryan Marle writes in:
I received in the mail something from "ListingCorp" that looks exactly like an
invoice, except for the fact that I know I didn't register ryanmarle.com with this company. In fact I've never even heard of Listing Corp. It's a solicitation to pay a lot more money to
switch my domain registrar. It makes me wonder how many people would pay it without even thinking about it.
manage to put one line in small print on the back that says, "This is
not a bill. This is a solicitation." How nice of them to cover themselves like that.
February 7, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Disney DVD credits
Randall Cooper points out:
The latest collectible set of Disney Treasures DVDs came out, with the long-awaited title - Your Host, Walt Disney. It features over seven and a half hours of material featuring the familiar, kindly visage of “Uncle” Walt as we came to know him growing up in the 1950s and 60s.
But at the end of one piece, the credits include an unfortunate misspelling (emphasis mine): "We hope you have enjoyed this special presentation of Disnelyand U.S.A.
at Radio City Music Hall..."
February 1, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Impassable staircase
From Esther Dyson's Flickr photostream:
This staircase that goes neither up nor down is part of the Lloyd's heaqduarters building, at the corner of Leadenhallband Lime Street in London.
This is the kind of staircase you see in anxiety dreams.
January 24, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Self-serve ice bag freezer warning
Rachele DiTullio submits a picture taken at a Wal-Mart in Austin, Texas:
At my local Wal-Mart, there is an interesting sign on one of the self-serve ice bag freezers.
The sign warns: "Caution!!! Ice bag will drop from machine ceiling without notice!"
I agree that this is a cause for concern, however there are other freezers just to the right of the one making the ice. They should set it up so that only employees can access the ice-making freezer and then move them into a less dangerous freezer for customer access.
January 20, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Buzzer menu
A reader submits a picture taken in New York City:
This is the buzzer menu for a building located on the corner of Lafayette Street and Kenmare Street in Soho.
Which button would you press to to buzz the concierge?
January 16, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Office emergency exit door
Jeroen Bouwens writes in:
Imagine the building is on fire. You're surrounded by flames, there's panic everywhere and the only way you are going to live is by opening this emergency exit - it consists of a heavy sliding door that is locked by a mechanism designed by an engineer who did his best to make the task as hard as possible.
The "doorknob" is a smooth metal cylinder that takes a lot of force to turn. On top of that, unlocking is done by turning the knob CLOCKWISE. Yes, that's the direction all other doors in the world use for locking.
Also, the "manual" you see on the door was only added after we complained to the building manager that this was a really broken system. When we told her that this was not the fix we had in mind, she turned all indignant on us and refused to talk about it any longer.
Finally, this is located in the Netherlands. While most people speak English well enough, it seems a sign in our native language would be more appropriate.
This may be the most broken emergency exit in the world...and it's in my office!
January 2, 2007 12:03 AM
Broken: Barricade at Cornell University
Zach Lipton submits a picture taken in Ithaca, New York:
This is a photograph I took on the Cornell University campus. A barricade was placed inexplicably in the middle of a pathway, forcing everyone to detour on to the grass to get to the event tent.
The barricade is captioned "Providing a safer environment for the visually impaired" - which makes
one wonder how large objects in the middle of a walkway wouldn't be somewhat hazardous for the blind, not to mention for the trampled grass around the barricade.
December 28, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Emergency Exit door on Carnival Valor Cruise ship
Flickr user Pboy points out:
I saw this Emergency Exit door on Carnival Valor Cruise ship.
Where do the passengers exit in an emergency?
December 23, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Zalmar.com gift wrapping
Jeff Grobaski writes in:
I ordered a TV from Zalmar.com and took advantage of the "gift wrapping" option.
Not only did they "gift wrap" an LCD TV purchased in the month of December in BABY WRAPPING PAPER, but they wrapped it on the outside of the box and simply slapped a UPS shipping label on the wrapping paper!
The result is that my now my wife knows what she is getting for Christmas and now she thinks we might be having a baby as well!
December 18, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Gas pump response buttons
Joe Goldberg points out:
This gas pump in Seattle, Washington has two "yes" buttons. I stood there for awhile trying to figure out how not to buy a car wash.
If you look carefully, you'll barely see the word "no" etched into the bottom button.
December 15, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Parking space border lines
Stefan Bucher submits a picture of a parking lot in Zurich, Switzerland:
How am I supposed to know which color marks the right borders for a parking space?
Blue, yellow, white or red?
December 8, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Home "improvement" projects
Here are two links to broken home "improvement" projects:
(Thanks to boingboing.net for the pointer)
From http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tohnews/gallery/0,25895,1548031-1,00.html: "Wasn’t there a screen saver like this? This is a picture of some amateur plumbing work for the drain system of a home."
And from http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tohnews/gallery/0,25895,1548031,00.html
This bathroom outlet is not a GFCI. Thank providence, this homeowner had the presence of mind to leave all of the tags on, advising of potential shock hazard, should one carelessly remove the tags.
December 6, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Street stop text
A reader submits a picture taken in Livermore, California.
December 1, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: St. Croix Avis newspaper headline
Bob Sifniades sends in a page from a US Virgin Islands paper:
My local paper, the St. Croix Avis, ran this headline - "Leisure hedline goes here" on October 13, 2006
for their weekly leisure column.
November 24, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Emerson Biggins pub hours
Jacob Watrous submits a picture taken in Wichita, Kansas:
I really wanted to go to Emerson Biggins, this pub in Wichita, Kansas on a Friday, but they were closed. Their hours of operation are from 1 am to 2 am from Tuesday through Saturday.
November 20, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Akeelah and the Bee DVD box credits
Mark Crummett points out:
Here, in the Akeelah and the Bee DVD box, the person under "Laurence Fishburne" is clearly not him, nor does Angela Bassett wear glasses and have a beard.
I know why the names are placed like this on the DVD box, of course - the main character's picture usually goes first, and the way the names are arranged is decided by their "star power." The most famous actor gets named first.
Still, it makes for some double-takes at the video store!
[P.S. I see this all the time on movie posters - names unaligned with headshots... does anyone know why this is, apparently, a standard practice in Hollywood? Please post a comment and enlighten us all. -mh]
November 16, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Unknown fabric at Wal-Mart
Derek Kwan writes in:
I saw this material at the fabric section at Wal-Mart in Newmarket, Ontario in Canada. The fabric label reads "100% unknown."
It would be a good idea to figure out what the fabric is made of before they decide to sell it, let alone make a label for it.
October 31, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Oil company mug
Maite Montoya writes in:
PEMEX, Mexico's national oil company, gave a promotional mug to their employees and friends. It is one of those mugs that changes color when it gets hot. When cold, the mug displays a landscape with trees and a hill of some kind in all black, as if covered in black oil.
When you pour some hot liquid in the mug, the trees disappear and an oil rig and some tankers at sea appear with what looks like a black oil spill in the water. Also, the trees are still partially visible on the background, but now they look like heavy brown smog. Disturbing!
October 20, 2006 12:23 AM
Broken: Hand soap dispenser location
Robert Hoekman points out:
This hand soap dispenser was foolishly placed on the back side of a restroom door.
So the workflow, for some unlucky winners, is something like:
1) Use restroom.
2) Dispense soap onto hands.
3) Get injured as someone walks in and flings the door into your head.
Of course, you never know when it will happen, so you just have to hope luck is on your side.
October 18, 2006 12:23 AM
Broken: Name abbreviation on logo
Chris Barr submits a picture taken in Panama City, Florida:
I saw this logo on an SUV in a parking lot in. The company is called "Fluid Sealing Components" but the logo above contains "SSC."
Shouldn't the logo be "FSC" to reflect the subtitle below it?
With that in mind, I have no idea what SSC stands for since there was nothing else besides a phone number on the truck.
October 16, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: USPS change of address notification
Paul Schreiber submits a picture from Esthr's Flickr photostream:
Please notify the United States Postal Service to notify the United States Postal Service that the recipient has a new address.
October 10, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Two taps
Sean Cohen writes in:
There are quite a few public bathrooms where you'll see on the sink
two taps - "hot" and "cold."
Under what circumstances would a person want to wash their
hands under *either* scalding hot or freezing cold water, but not some
combination of the two?
October 5, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Auto Zone job application
A reader named Brett writes in:
This is a picture of a part of a paper employment application for AutoZone.
In the "Reason for leaving your previous job" section of the application, they ask you to be specific but there is only text space big enough to write 3 words, which definitely doesn't allow enough space for a specific explanation!
October 2, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Oktoberfest date
Salem Whalen submits a picture taken in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
September 28, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Concrete truck sign
Elizabeth Perry submits a picture taken on Interstate 84 in New York and writes:
While the company may boast that they are "Not Just Concrete..." it looks as if they forgot to fill in the entire form when they requested a sign.
September 25, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Parking ticket machine
Vincent Maurin points out:
The text on this parking ticket machine near Luxembourg Airport says - "Press the green button," but there is no green button.
At least there is only one button, so its not that confusing, but they should have just input the text to display "Pressez Bouton" which means "Press the button" instead of "Pressez Bouton Vert," which means "Press the green button."
September 22, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Neorest toilet slogan
Yet another example of something that doesn't need to be called an experience.
The sales book of Neorest, a toilet manufacturer, promises "an experience beyond words."
September 15, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Walgreens naming of "Walborne"
Susie Wyshak points out the Walgreens knock-off of Airborne, the popular fizzy vitamin pill.
By naming it Wal-borne instead of Air-borne, it seems to remind us that there are lots of germs floating around at Walgreens.
September 11, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Wells Fargo buyer's defense program
A reader named Mike writes in:
Included with my credit card bill from Wells Fargo was one of those side-tear
envelopes where you tear off one side and slide the contents out. The
other three sides remain sealed, to ensure that the text printed on the inside of the envelope cover is unreadable.
As you can see from the red box around the section titled "Extended
Protection," towards the bottom of the image, this program will "extend your original manufacturer's warranty on
eligible purchases made entirely of on your enrolled credit card up to 12 additional months on eligible warranties of 3 years or less" and then at the very bottom of the page, there is text that refers the reader to "See Important Disclosure
enclosed for more details."
Well that Disclosure is printed on the *inside of the back cover of the envelope!*
The "important disclosure" can't be seen unless you
rip apart the envelope, and most people would have already thrown away
the envelope after opening it and removing the contents!
What's even more broken is that the terms and conditions exclude
"damaged, non-working goods" ... Isn't that the whole point of a
warranty? So what's the value of the "extended protection" included in the program?
September 8, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Target cart corral
Mickey Mellen submits a picture taken in Smyrna, Georiga:
Our local Target just revamped the entire inside of their store. It took months, and it looks great.
However, a few days ago, they resurfaced the parking lot and painted new stripes, which made the parking angled. The cart corrals (which are as wide as one parking space) are laid straight - not angled. As a result, each cart corral chews up four parking spaces instead of just two, making for less parking.
September 5, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Hidden Marriott thermostat
Jack Mueller writes in:
I was at the Marriott Pyramid North in Albuquerque, New Mexico and it was a little cold in the room, so I went looking for the thermostat. Finally I found it in the closet.
Notice that the closed door lets little or no ambient air in so the thermostat cannot sense when to turn on or off.
August 28, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Quizno's store hours
Emily Tomkins submits a picture taken in Torrington, Connecticut:
The text on the door describes the hours to a Quizno's restaurant -
Sunday: 11:00 9:00pm
What is the reason for having three lines of text to describe the store hours when each line gives the same information?
It would have been more efficient and easier to read if the text said:
Open everyday, Sunday - Monday: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm.
Also, they forgot the "AM" and the "-" between 11:00 and 9:00 pm on Sunday.
August 21, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Hammersmith traffic lights
Paul Adams submits a picture taken in London, England:
The mapping and information design on these traffic lights in Hammersmith bus station in London are broken.
August 15, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: ATM plaques
A reader submits a picture taken in St. Petersburg, Florida:
When I was downtown, I saw this ATM with six permanent plaques of information.
There has to be a better way to convey all the information in those six different plaques!
August 14, 2006 10:14 AM
Broken: (Seth Godin at Gel 2006)
Here's a video of Seth Godin, speaking at my Gel 2006 conference in New York City. Seth gave me the idea for This Is Broken three years ago, and here he suggests how to categorize broken things. (Bonus, he even mentions the comments page on This Is Broken itself!)
Watch video of Seth Godin at Gel 2006
Broken: Hawking book cover
Stephen Bedwell writes in:
It always aggravates me when libraries and bookstores put price tags or barcodes on the covers of books, often obscuring the title, author, or part of the synopsis on the back.
In this case, Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" becomes something entirely different.
August 4, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Rite Aid shirts
Will Andre points out:
These shirts are on sale at a Rite Aid in Studio City, CALIFORNIA. However, the shirts say:
“Team USA, Studio City, New York”
I’m not aware of the existence of a Studio City in New York, so I don’t think they were simply delivered to the wrong store on the other side of the country. The shirts should say "Studio City, California."
July 25, 2006 02:21 PM
Broken: (maybe) Home Depot self-checkout
Entertaining discussion at slashdot about Home Depot self-checkout. Link: Slashdot | Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes Grocers.
I work at Home Depot, as a cashier. I can back up all of parent's statements; people lose about fifty IQ points when faced with the self checkout. That's why ours have a cashier supervising them.
(Thanks, John S.)
July 24, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Bathroom access
A reader writes in:
Having a typepad and a sign with the code next to it seems like having a locked door with a key hanging from the handle.
July 21, 2006 11:31 AM
Broken: (comment) About the new comments-system
Hi, TIB readers -
If you've tried to add a comment today you might have noticed that we now require registration with the TypeKey system in order to post comments.
I know it's a hassle, but you only have to go through registration once, and then you remain signed in. Also, since it then remembers your signup info, you can post comments even more easily than before (since you don't have to type your name and URL every time).
We made this change because in recent months we've seen too many irrelevant comments, drowning out the legitimate comments, and forcing us to spend time manually cleaning things up.
We'll try this out for awhile, and I hope it raises the signal-to-noise level in the comments section. If not, there's always what other popular blogs like Boing Boing and Kottke have done - turn off comments altogether - but I hope to avoid that.
And now, the comments section for this post. Go ahead, let us know why this is such a broken idea ;) -mh
Broken: Swimsuit view
A reader writes in:
I was shopping Nike.com for a new (women's) swimsuit and saw this weird image of the back of the swimsuit. It looks, well, anatomically impossible - the woman's chest and bottom appear to be on the same side.
There's got to be a better way of showing what the swimsuit looks like!
July 8, 2006 09:08 AM
Broken: (List) Centuries of NYC complaints
A New York artist has compiled complaints sent to New York City mayors for centuries. Sounds a little like This Is Broken!
From Here's Proof That New Yorkers Like to Complain:
Indecency and the lack thereof are also lamented. In 1935, a correspondent asked Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, "Would it be possible to amend the law so that girls in the burlesque shows in New York would be allowed to display their charms more without interference of the police?" In an indication of the conflicting pressures placed on public officials, the mayor's office received a letter not long after that began, "Please, Please, Please put an embargo on the new mesh swimsuit!"
July 7, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Bed model image
A reader named Kevin points out:
I saw this picture in the online catalog for Humble Abode.
Not the best place to set down a tray full of lit candles...
July 1, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Hotel toilet
Roberto Ramirez submits a picture taken in a hotel in Los Angeles, California:
If you ever stay at the Best Western hotel at Canoga Park in Los Angeles, and happen to be placed in room #202, you will see that it has an interesting bathroom design.
The toilet is arranged at a 45-degree angle from the wall, which makes for an interesting experience, to say the least.
June 27, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Electric scooter warning label
Cheeks Yorkie writes in:
I found this warning label on a razor E100 electric scooter which contains the text "This Product Moves When Used."
I don't see this as being necessary to state. Anyone who buys a scooter expects it to move. Isn't that the whole reason for buying one?!?
June 16, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Elevator panel
Marten Veldthuis submits a picture taken in France:
This elevator control panel is quite confusing.
1. There are only 4 floors in the building, so why have buttons for 5+ floors? Also, what does a '-' button do without a basement nearby?
2. What on earth does a '.' button do? Is that for people on the 2.3rd floor?
June 13, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Bank doors
Michael Champlin submits a picture taken in Derby, Kansas:
We have a branch of the Boeing Wichita Credit Union here in Derby, Kansas, and they just put in these new security doors.
Whenever I walk in, I find myself wondering, “Am I going in, or out?” These new doors certainly don’t help.
June 8, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Shower in the Waldorf Astoria hotel
A reader named Anthony points out:
I was staying at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York over the weekend. The shower knob in the hotel bathroom is broken in many ways.
I walked in the shower and read the directions below it, "pull knob."
So I did, but nothing happened, it wouldn't even budge. After realizing that the knob was already pulled, I pushed it in (if it was already pulled, why was the water not flowing?) and tried pulling it out again.
Still nothing. After doing this several times, water finally started flowing out of the faucet. Then, the water started flowing out of the shower head.
It turns out that there is a small pin to pull to get the water flowing out of the shower head which was already pulled out as well. After pushing the pin in and pulling it out a few times, the water finally started flowing.
Now for the final broken part of this shower, the temperature. You'll notice in the picture that, above the line with the 'C' and 'H' on the panel is an arrow etched into the face of the shower knob. I figured that the arrow would serve as the temperature indicator, so I turned the 'H' under the arrow. Low and behold, I got cold water.
I turned the knob and put the 'H' further under the etched arrow and got colder water. After tinkering with it for a minute, I realized that you get hot water by turning it counter-clock wise and cold water by turning it clockwise, which aligns the arrow with the opposite letter of the desired temperature.
I had to place the 'C' under the arrow to get hot water! For an expensive hotel, you would think they could design their shower to be more usable.
June 3, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Fire extinguisher placement
Michael Champlin writes in:
While shopping at my local JC Penny store I noticed that there looked to be a missing fire extinguisher.
After looking around, I found it tucked away behind the wall.
If a fire were to break out, someone would try and look for an extinguisher, and they would see the sign for the extinguisher, and then try and follow the arrow on the sign. Since there is no extinguisher under the arrow, one would probably think there was no extinguisher available and move on.
They should place the extinguisher under the arrow on the wall as the sign suggests instead of behind the wall and concealed by jeans.
May 30, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Hotel internet access code card
Aleigh Acerni writes in:
Recently, I stayed at a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, where I requested the hotel's high-speed internet access code. I was given this little card with the access code on it. Or so I thought...
You see, the access code is actually a 9-digit combination of letters and numbers, which wasn't explained to me at check-in. It turns out that those small upper-case letters on the left hand side of the card are the beginning of the code, and those letters need to be input along with the four numbers next to "your access code" but just by looking at this, would you have known that? Why didn't they just print "CHSHD4103" on the line next to "your access code"?
The worst part is, when I called the front desk for help accessing the internet, no one answered the phone. I had to try calling repeatedly for 15 minutes to get someone on the phone who could help me figure out how to decipher this card.
May 25, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Citibank online statements
Rod Kimball points out:
I signed up to get my statements online to reduce the amount of paper mail I get. This is the main reason for anybody to do this, right?
Now I get this notice every month IN THE MAIL!
May 22, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Clothing fabric description
A reader submits a screenshot from a product page from Wintersilks:
So is this poncho 60% silk or 100% silk?
They should make the fabric description of this poncho clearer.
May 19, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Aquafresh toothpaste
Ed sends in a picture:
Here is another example of something that does need to be called an experience.
In this case, it would be more appropriate for the Aquafresh toothpaste tube to have the text "Whitening mint effect."
May 17, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Information for visitors to the Senedd
Chris M. Jackson submits pictures from Wales, UK:
Visitors to the Senedd, the new £67m home of the National Assembly for Wales, may wish to pay attention to this notice. In Welsh and English, it explains the visiting hours, and some rules and conditions, such as not being allowed to bring large bags or food and drink onto the premises.
However, one tiny oversight makes this entirely broken.
These notices are only visible from the inside.
May 8, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Police car
David Hintze submits a picture taken on the freeway in California:
I saw this during a trip in California. Thought it was pretty funny to see a police car "out of service," since you don't see that too often.
May 5, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Balcony on house
Abraham Martinez writes:
The only way to get to the small balcony on the right side of the house is to squeeze through the small window.
April 25, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Parking meter
I was amused by this parking meter, whose awful design optimistically invites a "smart card" (see upper left).
Note all the instructions and some bonus graffiti.
April 21, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Car gas cap door
For several minutes at the gas station I was totally stumped by this rental car. How do you open the gas cap door? Pressing anywhere in the handle had no effect whatsoever.
I finally discovered the trick: press your finger exactly in the seam on the right-hand side and it will open. Press anywhere but that exact location, and the door won't budge.
Here's the not broken design, from a different rental car: this is how all gas-cap doors should be designed. Elegant and easy to use.
April 18, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Rite Aid slogan
Rite-Aid's slogan is broken: "With us, it's personal."
Isn't that a bit aggressive?
April 14, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Emergency exit
A reader submits a picture taken in Fort Lauderdale, Florida:
At the Broward Convention Center, I noticed this Emergency Exit sign posted between two water fountains on the side of the restroom entrance and 100 feet from the nearest real exit.
If I had strength like the Incredible Hulk I could break through the wall in a pinch...
April 12, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Waiting room rules
Josh Zerin points writes:
While waiting to take a drug test, I noticed this sign in the waiting room that states
In this area
However, the receptionist offers you a glass of water (which you are apparently not allowed to drink) while you're waiting.
April 5, 2006 08:47 AM
Broken: English spelling
Do you know why there are no spelling bees in Spain? Because Spanish is spelled just like it sounds. It's English that is so hard to spell.
Thus, I give you: Poems showing the absurdities of English spelling.
Are there spelling bees in other languages? I haven't heard of any.
(Of course, despite the difficulties of English, I think it's totally broken not to learn how to spell properly.)
April 4, 2006 08:33 AM
Broken: Faux-Chinese tattoos
The New York Times reports that many Chinese character tattoos, although fashionable, don't actually mean anything. (Shocking, I know.)
From Cool Tat, Too Bad It's Gibberish:
Christina Norton of Redondo Beach, Calif., is also getting her tattoo lasered off. At the tattoo parlor, "I asked the guy, 'Are you sure?' " Ms. Norton recalled. "He assured me, so then I went ahead and did it." Now she knows that her tattoo is meaningless out of context with other characters. "Ever since I found out, I was like, I have to get it off," she said.
Also see hanzismatter.com.
April 1, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: (new site name) This Is Broken In
I'm happy to announce that from now on, this site will be called "This Is Broken In."
We will only feature products like these chinos that are broken in.
March 20, 2006 11:43 AM
Broken: Stupid survey
From Seth Godin, a rant on a poorly designed survey: Stupid Survey Award, 2006.
March 14, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Bumper sticker
Dick Miller writes:
Recently, I made a contribution to a charitable organization. In the thank-you note (along with a solicitation for an additional contribution), they sent me a bumper sticker advertising their organization.
On the back of the bumper sticker was this disclaimer:
Bumper sticker not intended for outdoor use; may be damaged in a car wash.
I guess I could just keep my car in the garage.
March 2, 2006 09:26 AM
Broken: (plea for new entries)
Hi to all This Is Broken readers -
I'm happy to announce that we've arrived at the thousand-post mark: the post below is #1,000.
We've had fun posting your entries (and a few of our own) since our debut, Broken: Harvard Business School reunion sign, from June 20, 2003.
But we need more entries from you. Bad products, places, signs, ads, or situations (that photograph well) showing a lack of customer focus. Screenshots of websites can be good, too, but they have to be different from what we've run in the past. E-mail them to us (broken at goodexperience dot com).
Tips to help get your entry on the site:
- send a photograph or screenshot that tells the story
- keep your comments short and to the point - just tell us why it's broken
- choose something that's different from what we've run in the past
This is a participatory site - we need more entries as we continue publishing entries five or six days a week - so send them in!
Finally, here's a list of Web/tech submissions that "have been done" and are unlikely to make it on the site, unless you find a really unusual example...
What we do not want:
- pricing errors on websites (a million-dollar amazon.com book) or dumb discounts (like negative amounts, or for zero percent). Please, no more pricing errors!
- errors on game websites or in videogame software
- Windows errors (the "blue screen of death" or others) seen in airport display terminals, kiosks, etc.
- obscure geek software errors (SQL problems, debugger problems, etc.)
- unfortunate or silly contextual ads ("shop for [insert disease here] on eBay!")
Looking forward to seeing your entries.
March 1, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Chocolate fountain experience
Not broken, necessarily, but from Chocolate Fountains of New Jersey comes this gem of marketingese:
Enjoy the cascading chocolate fountain experience at your next home party.
Thanks, Laurie K.
February 28, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Dummies book title
Emily Birch sends in a picture of the cover of a book:
"Teaching Kids to Read for Dummies" is one title that the "Dummies" folks should have skipped.
Dummies probably shouldn't be teaching kids to read.
Or are the kids going to read to the dummies?
February 22, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Carton recycling label
Alan Clarke points out:
This recycling label was on the outside of all the heavyweight cardboard packing cartons supplied by Pickford's, one of the UK's largest and oldest removals.
They should probably recalculate the percentage of their carton's recycled content.
February 16, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Gift card
Nick Hulst writes:
Our local mall has made the move from using the traditional gift certificate to a using a pre-paid Visa card. This move was supposed to be a more useful format, but the pre-paid Visa cards have added their fair share of confusion.
Note the word "DEBIT" in large letters on the front face of the card. However, the card's instructions are not so straightforward.
The first bullet says that the card may be used "wherever Visa debit cards are accepted." Then, in the third bullet, the instructions say, "Select the 'credit' button when making a purchase. The card will not process correctly if the cardholder presses the 'debit' button."
February 8, 2006 02:56 PM
Broken: Misuse of "literally"
I just saw this site and instantly added it to my favorites list: Literally, A Web Log.
An English grammar blog tracking abuse of the word "literally"
Thanks to ZP in the comments boards for the pointer.
Broken: Fender guitar amp box
Josh Smith points out:
This is the box containing the amp from the Fender Squier electric guitar strat pack.
It reads: THIS END UP, OPEN OTHER END.
On top of that, the amp is packed in the box upside down.
February 3, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Hand shredder
Reader Dan Lovy sends in this entry from Fungus Mungus's blog:
For those who want to rid themselves of their useless appendages, I give you...
THE HAND SHREDDER!
The only problem is once you've shredded one hand, you can't shred the other one! They need to come out with an automatic hand-shredder.
January 31, 2006 02:14 PM
Broken: Textual annoyances
Rant mode on...
Some things that irritate me when I read them in news articles, blog posts, and other textual media:
• "jaw-dropping" and variations thereof - "This music is jaw-droppingly good." No, your jaw didn't drop. You mean it's very good. Say so (or find some less tired cliche to help).
• "wait for it" - "The movie was, wait for it, King Kong." As though writing that phrase makes you extra witty - get it? You're making the reader literally wait for the end of the sentence, since they have to read your annoying phrase first. (BTW, misuse of "literally" is also annoying.)
• "some" in amounts - "There are some 300 houses in that neighborhood." As though you don't know whether it's more, less, equal to that number, and "about" is just too declasse - maybe "some" will sound academic and extra-smart!
(Yes, these are just irritating to me, not necessarily to anyone else... no need for a long discussion in the comments section about whether it's technically broken. But please let me know what other textual annoyances are your pet peeves.)
(Rant mode off.)
January 30, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Dishwashing soap
Clayton A. of Topeka, Kansas points out:
This dishwashing liquid was found by my Russian teacher while she was in Russia.
According to my teacher it isn't just a typo, because there was a whole shelf of them.
The bottom reads, "With fantastic action removes grease."
January 27, 2006 09:03 AM
Broken: Air conditioner control panel
Ready to set the A/C settings in your room at Boston's Park Plaza Hotel?
Hope you have a mechanical engineering degree!
January 26, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Rose Bowl parking stub
Gary Edstrom writes in:
I received this ticket when I parked at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for an event a few months ago. Notice at the top of the ticket that it has a place to write the area in which you parked. But at the bottom of the ticket is the statement that the ticket must be placed on the dashboard.
So what good is writing down your location on the ticket if you can't take it with you?
Please note that this is a single piece ticket. It doesn't have a detachable stub.
January 18, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Sears coupon
Andrew Shieh submits a coupon from Sears:
I placed an order at Sears.com, and received this message when the order was received:
"As a thank you for your purchase, we would like to offer you a $5 coupon to use on your next in store visit."
I looked at the coupon and read the details. First, it said $5 off of $25. Ok, that's not unreasonable.
Then I read the fine print, which read, "Savings [...] apply to merchandise only when you use your Sears Premier Card or Sears Premier Gold Mastercard."
This bait-and-switch tactic is broken. I did not use a Sears card to place my previous order, so this is a sneaky fine-print method to get unwitting customers to use the coupon and sign up for the Sears credit card.
It is broken to try to mislead your existing customer base.
January 5, 2006 12:03 AM
Broken: Best Buy interior column
Aaron Tang writes:
I headed over to the Best Buy in Boston to buy some printer paper and found myself jammed between a huge metal column and a shelf in order to reach a stack.
If there's going to be a huge metal column in the way, don't put any products behind it. I had no clue how much each stack was, nor could i reach certain ones.
Perhaps it's a marketing trick, cause the stack of 500 sheets that I managed to grab cost me $10.
December 23, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Box directions
Dan Mahaffey writes in:
I received an order of Christmas decorations in a corrugated box made in China.
I noticed that "sharp instructions" are forbidden. I had planned on getting into the package with the command "Open, @#$(*!! " but the Chinese supplier wanted me to be more polite. So I used a sharp instrument instead.
December 21, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Magnavox Television manual
Bob Heideman writes: This is from my Magnavox 27MS4504's Manual.
"These features are the same." Uhh... what? Classic.
December 5, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Jean label logo
Andrew Stevenson points this out from Ben Donley's Flickr page:
The label reads:
This is an Excel function. It also would work in Microsoft Access. The factory is using Excel or Access to store all the logos for the different jeans they make and then print them onto leather. This is what happens when there is a bug in their software.
This was seen at the Chatuchak market in Krung Thep, Thailand.
November 22, 2005 12:03 PM
Broken: Parking garage ticket dispenser
Atif Chaudhry writes:
Here in Ithaca, NY they just opened a brand new parking garage to encourage people to visit and shop in the downtown area.
I don't know what is more broken about this ticket dispenser; the graphic on the green square button showing a hand pushing a round button, the fact that people can't figure out to push the square button to get their ticket, or the half baked solution which was to write directions on masking tape attached to the dispenser.
November 18, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Laminate flooring package
Greg points this out, from a package of laminate flooring:
Open packs and let acclimate for 48 hours before opening!
What do they mean?
November 16, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Moving walkway
James Thrasher writes:
I'm still not sure what the Albuquerque airport had in mind with this moving walkway.
Perhaps next time I fly home my questions will be answered....
November 12, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: 'www' abbreviation
Karma Kanic forwards a comment he spotted on craigslist:
The abbreviation 'www' is used as shorthand for 'world wide web'. 'www' has nine syllables. 'world wide web' has three.
November 9, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Weakest link
Several readers have pointed out this interesting photo... this shows what happens when a security measure is broken.
November 3, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: ATM receipt
Jake Dobkin of Gothamist writes:
I saw this and thought of This Is Broken.
October 21, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: United mileage addition error
Mark Makower writes:
This came in with a credit card offer; seems someone doesn't know how to add.
Would YOU trust them with your credit billing?
September 30, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Unicef plea
Amber Steele writes:
A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine got this letter from Unicef in the mail. The nickel is real, and the envelope states that "this nickel could save a child's life!" The letter tells story after story of dying children, and how they can be saved for just pennies.
What's broken is that they actually ask, even if you can't afford to contribute, to have the nickel sent BACK to them. In an envelope that's not postage paid! So, they're asking people to pay for a stamp to send a nickel (that can "save a child's life") BACK to them, when they could have kept it in the first place!
(and because I'm sure SOMEBODY will mention it, yes, the envelope is printed on the "back," and yes, that is broken (from traditional standards, anyway) too.)
September 24, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Red Bull signage in local Target
An anonymous reader writes:
I was at a Target recently and couldn't help noticing this one lone can of Red Bull, I bent down for further inspection and what did I find but an illegal can of everyone's favorite energy drink.
I snapped this photo and left the store quickly and quietly when I started receiving strange looks from the security officers...
September 15, 2005 12:05 AM
Broken: Halloween candy aisle in mid-August
Eric Lechner points out that this is "culturally broken":
An aisle full of Halloween candy at my local Long's Drugs store in mid-August. Just in case you needed pumpkin or ghost-themed candy in time for Labor Day.
September 14, 2005 09:19 AM
Broken: NYT pointer to website
From the New York Times print edition today, page B9.
September 2, 2005 12:04 AM
Broken: Unfortunate search result summary
Jake Olson points out that if you Google "kodakgallery" the first result reads:
Kodakgallery.com The easiest way to share your photos and get high ...
August 12, 2005 12:08 AM
Broken: Scooter manual
An anonymous reader writes:
If the product isn't broken, it soon will be if you try to follow the instructions from this scooter manual... this is just one page from it. For example, I'm not sure exactly what "Ress the Humper" means.
[And "Whole Body Fold Situation!" -mh]
June 27, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Merriam-Webster definition
Mac Davis wonders why the Merriam-Webster's entry for "deflagrate" begins with "to cause to deflagrate".
Mac adds helpfully, "Simply put, deflagrating reactions are chemical reactions between very finely divided fuel and oxidizer particles that explode with sub-sonic velocities."
June 25, 2005 10:29 AM
Broken: Many moving companies
Paul Schreiber points us to movingscam.com, which promises "The truth about the moving industry, moving companies, van lines, moving, movers."
June 8, 2005 02:36 PM
Broken: (note: contagious media)
Note - today is just about the last day for peekin' at lickr, which is kinda a best-of of past TIB entries.
June 7, 2005 09:12 PM
Broken: (question for TIB readers) Domain mapping at TypePad
Update: This is fixed, and here is the solution.
Original post follows.
- - -
Quick question for TIB readers: is anyone out there a tech genius, with lots of experience, at setting up domain records? I'm looking to create a new spinoff site for This Is Broken and I need...
- for the domain to point to the typepad page without revealing the typepad address (i.e. instead of forwarding to the typepad address, as thisisbroken forwards to broken.typepad.com)
- ...and it's a (secondary) bonus if the person also knows about setting up group blogs, in the manner of boingboing or metafilter.
Get in touch with me through the regular submission address, broken at goodexperience dot com. And describe your skills, experience level, and if you'd volunteer your services or if not, what you'd charge to do some set up work on the spinoff site.
May 20, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: FedEx truck drop-box
I put an envelope in the drop box of a FedEx truck one week ago. It contained important tax-related material that needed to get delivered.
I just found out that it wasn't delivered. In fact, I've discovered that FedEx actually lost the priority overnight envelope. I contacted FedEx and spoke with two people about the situation. They still haven't found the envelope.
The second person I spoke actually told me that he was surprised that we hadn't lost something through FedEx before. He said we should never drop stuff in the box on the sides of their trucks. He said we'd been lucky. (!!)
I have to contact FedEx again today because the driver of the truck never called me like he was supposed to.
[This is a pretty incredible story, so I've verified that it's all true. If anyone from FedEx would like to get in touch, I'm at mark at goodexperience dot com. -mh]
May 18, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Cotton swab package warning
Brian Davidson writes:
After flipping over a box of generic, Qtip-like cotton swabs, I found a disclaimer saying, "CAUTION! Do not insert in ear canal." What else are these for? Oh wow, it answered my question - for baby care, beauty, and "arts and crafts."
May 17, 2005 02:24 PM
Broken: Star Wars gift bag
Boing Boing reports on a disappointing gift bag at a Star Wars premiere event.
(They should have seen the awesome Gel 2005 gift bags - books, music, magazines, magnets, ...!)
Broken: Sequence of hours in the day
Aaron Feaver writes:
This is broken. Why is it that we count AM or PM beginning with 12, then dropping down to 1 and continuing logically from there to 11? How illogical is it that 12PM follows right behind 11AM? I realize it's probably not going to change. Still, I'd sign a petition.
May 14, 2005 12:06 AM
Broken: Voice mail prompt
Steve Jackson writes:
When I check my voice mail at the office, I often do it via speaker phone. Today when entering my password, I hit one key off at one point, resulting in an error. Instead of simply telling me that I'd entered an incorrect password, it starts reading off to me exactly what I'd input: "1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 is not a valid password" (nor is it my actual password, of course). If I hadn't picked up the handset right away, anyone wandering by could have heard my entire password, with the exception of the one character I screwed up.
And, yes, I realize it's partly my own fault for listening to voice mail on speaker. But repeating back to me the incorrect password accomplishes nothing. Just tell me it's wrong and prompt me to re-enter.
April 22, 2005 12:27 AM
Broken: UPS COD notice
Chris Dzombak writes:
I recently had a UPS delivery attempted to my house, but I wasn't home. The UPS notice has an option to note that you need cash on delivery, but that no cash is accepted.
[What's broken is that COD is supposed to stand for "cash on delivery", but they don't accept cash. Small issue, I know. -mh]
April 18, 2005 12:01 AM
Broken: Western Digital warning
The enclosed picture is of the Western Digital company's paperwork that comes with a
Hard Drive when you replace one under warranty. I trimmed it down leaving the WD logo and what was funny (in the red box!).
Not really broken as much as just funny.
(Would this warning really stop the Bad Guys?)
March 23, 2005 12:39 AM
Broken: Compgeeks grammatical disclaimer
Ken Palmer points out "the oddest disclaimer I've seen in awhile".
At compgeeks.com, the product page for Clear Miniature Color 640x480 USB Keychain Digital Camera contains these notes:
• Package may contain several grammatical errors
• Camera does not have a flash
Ken writes, "Imagine the horror if customers bought that camera without knowing that there were - gasp - grammatical errors lurking inside the package!"
I'd say that maybe they were trying to avoid getting the product on This Is Broken :)
March 7, 2005 11:12 AM
Broken: Crack-smoking professor
The NYTimes reported last weekend on the Robert Blake trial, and included this bizarre tidbit:
Earlier in the trial, a professor from the University of California, Los Angeles, testified as an expert witness about the psychotropic effects of cocaine. He said that he had smoked crack cocaine himself and sat in a cage with monkeys to teach them how to smoke cocaine as well.
Did I read that right - UCLA is actually hiring professors who smoke crack and hang out with monkeys? Does anyone else consider this bizarre?
Here's the article (reg. required, link dies after a few days).
March 2, 2005 12:22 AM
Broken: Sight in carpool lane
Robert McLaughlin writes:
This vehicle went by me in the carpool lane with only one the driver visible. Now I guess he can carpool if someone is in the back, but there just seems to be something wrong about thinking like that.
February 11, 2005 10:09 AM
- the photo ban in Chicago's Millennium Park: original post, and today's update on the story.
Update Feb 18: yet another update from Boing Boing.
- the Web user who was arrested for using the Lynx Web browser: original post, and today's update on the story.
February 7, 2005 12:29 AM
Broken: Single-headphone pad delivery
Michael Moore writes:
I have a nice pair of Sony headphones but the earpads had been deteriorating, so I decided to replace them. I ordered the item in the picture, paid my $2.50 shipping on a $6 part (sigh) and waited for it to arrive.
It finally shows up yesterday and guess what? Only one pad! For some inexplicable reason Sony only sells single pads. Last time I checked most humans have two ears. Of course nowhere on the item description do they explain you'll want to order two. So I'm ordering again, paying another $2.50 in shipping, and hoping for no more nasty surprises.
[That's what you get for ordering "PAD ASSY." -mh]
February 6, 2005 07:49 PM
Broken: Complex technology in modern cars
The New York Times reports that high-tech cars are so complex that "not only are glitches annoying, their root causes can be hard to find."
January 28, 2005 12:03 AM
Broken: Padlocked safety valve
TIB reader "ima cow" points out a problem at the school's science lab: the the natural gas shutoff is padlocked in the 'on' position. From the look of the dust on the handle, it's been that way for some time.
January 27, 2005 12:07 PM
Broken: Shopping.com image
Gerald says: a purse is not computer speakers.
January 22, 2005 11:07 AM
Broken: Amex online access
In this post, Matt Haughey reports:
A standard green Amex card only keeps 6 months of archived purchase data online. My bank lets me go back as long as I've had an account (two years). I called amex and there was nothing they could do, though they offered to bump me up to a blue business card that apparently offers all your archived purchases online.
I still believe this is totally broken for the standard card, especially considering I switched to an online only option so that I didn't have to keep track of bills and statements, assuming they would do that for me.
Seriously... how much incremental cost would there be for Amex to hold a few more months of data?
January 12, 2005 12:01 AM
Broken: Government cookie recipe
Leave it to the government bureaucracy to publish a 26-page recipe for oatmeal cookies and chocolate brownies.
December 31, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Crossword error
Alexander Kafka writes: "A few days I went onto a site to get a crossword made, and I got this error."
December 24, 2004 12:04 AM
Broken: Explanations of Santa's appearances
An anonymous reader writes from Utah:
When I looked on a milk carton at school (Currently in High School) It said "Meet the Real Santa at Provo Towne Centre!" (Not a typo - that's what it's called.) It gave the dates November 30th through December 24, all day.
Then I look at my little brothers' flyer that he got from school, stating that you could meet the "real Santa" at University Mall during the same dates.
And then on the city's website it states that Santa will be at the Senior Citizens Center on the 10th. They could at least have a better explanation than "He is everywhere at once." Or "He is super fast." Oh well.
- - -
But we all know where the real Santa is... in Tokyo! Re-posting from my Dec. 2003 entry,...
I spotted this outside a restaurant in Tokyo earlier this week. A Christmas sign whose English translation went horribly wrong...
December 18, 2004 01:09 PM
Broken: Tech-shopping guides
If you open up a technology shopping guide in any magazine or newspaper, you're likely to see lists of the 25 possible digital cameras to buy; nine MP3 players to choose from; 42 available combinations of computer parts to create the perfect PC... a dizzying array of choices for every single purchase.
Wait.. wasn't the guide supposed to help? A guide is supposed to make the choosing easier and quicker, not more complicated!
With this in mind, I wrote my own "fix" to this problem: the Uncle Mark 2005 Gift Guide and Almanac, a free PDF download, containing all my suggestions for what technology to buy. Not the 18 things you could buy, but the one thing in each category I think is the best.
Hope you enjoy it... and happy holidays!
Update Dec. 19: I have taken down comments on this post because this post brought forth a hail of complaints from readers who disagreed with my opinion-based recommendations. It's a risky venture, recommending a Macintosh computer or a Nintendo video game system. (Caveat recommender!)
For those readers who want more recommendations, I highly recommend Matthew Baldwin's work: he has a 2004 game guide and, previously, a 2002 "guide for slackers."
December 13, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Bank account names
An anonymous reader writes:
It really bugs me when companies make up cryptic internal names for things, like the type of bank account, and force the customer to deal with them. Why not list my accounts in plain English, like Checking and Savings?
Look at this on-line banking screenshot and guess which is my checking, and which is my savings account.
Answer: "FleetOne MMS" turns out to be my savings account (Money-Market Savings), and "Interest CK" is code for checking. The CK is a stretch abbreviation for checking, but the Interest led me toward thinking of it as a savings account.
December 3, 2004 12:44 AM
Broken: SAT practice question
An anonymous reader writes in:
One of the Princeton Review practice tests for the SAT is broken! Bob must have felt really ill after drinking all those cookies!
November 30, 2004 12:40 AM
Broken: Yourdictionary.com definition
Kathleen Leonardo writes:
I was looking at a definition for "machismo" at yourdictionary.com. I clicked the link to the root word "macho", and I was sent to an unusual definition of "macho" (shown in the screenshot): it's the acronym for Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Object.
Btw, back on the "machismo" page, when I looked at the previous and next definitions, I saw the more common usage: macho, as in male.
November 20, 2004 12:40 AM
Broken: Watery car retrieval
Here's a series of photographs showing what happened when a car fell into the lake.
November 19, 2004 12:04 AM
Broken: Everything, in one post
Everything went wrong on this post! I have taken the entry down completely, and I will filter posts more stringently in the future. I apologize for the disturbance. -mh
October 21, 2004 09:43 AM
Broken: U.S. coinage
[Not actually broken, but an interesting point on coinage design. -mh]
Daniel Brown writes:
When traveling abroad, I've always admired other countries for their use of color in their currency. I believe Australia has another unique angle in printing their money on the same material used for FedEx envelopes, making it quite difficult to tear. I even marvel at the ability of other countries to make their paper currency different sizes based on their denomination.
The U.S. Mint, on the other hand, breaks all of those rules - plus one. All of our paper money, from a $1.00 to a $100.00 bill, are exactly the same size, and for those visiting the U.S. from abroad, our coins do not have a number value stamped on them. There is no "1" on a penny, no "5" on a nickel, no "25" on a quarter. It says "five cents" and, if our alphabet is something you can read, you're in good shape. A dime says only "one dime". You'd need to know what the heck a dime is to know what you're holding.
Our paper money has numbers on it; why not the coins?
October 8, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: West Virginia library spelling
The Livermore library thing yesterday reminded me... Daisy Porter pointed me recently to this Museums of West Virginia site.
There's a problem with the spelling of that library!
Daisy adds: "Amusingly, if you Google 'pubic library', you get over two thousand results, most of which are clearly misspellings..."
September 16, 2004 12:16 AM
Broken: Survey information design
Gregg Sporar writes:
Here's a screen shot from an online survey that ran at envisioncentraltexas.org. All of the questions have poorly done graphics - values out of proportion, etc. It's almost as if the designers of the graphics said: "Let's read everything Tufte has written about this and then do the exact opposite."
September 1, 2004 10:35 AM
Broken: Buy.com Game Boy cable price
This was pointed out by a reader in the This Is Broken discussion boards: Buy.com is selling a Game Boy Advance Link Cable for a premium price. It must be made out of super-refined platinum wires!
Our Price: $1,149,998.99
See the live page here, before it's corrected.
August 18, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Burger King bag
Carl Floyd writes:
I noted the wording on a Burger King bag while eating lunch the other day:
This bag may contain an average of 30% post consumer material.
I hope they are referring to the material used in the construction of the bag and not the actual contents. Bad things come to mind with the latter interpretation.
August 5, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Overextended bucket truck
Naval Safety Center's Safety Photo of the Week featured this on June 25:
Apparently the person in the bucket was a little over-weight, and the bucket was a little over-extended. That, combined with the fact that the truck was already partially tipped due to the incline, provided him with a crash course in Sir Isaac Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation.
May 12, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Lost cat ad
Dave Lawrence writes:
I clipped this from my town's free local newspaper, "The Wycombe Star." It's an ad which reads, "LOST; Pretty black and white semi fluffy Cat, wearing a pale blue collar." But the associated picture is clearly not a cat-- it's a rabbit!
May 6, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Fruit of the Loom underwear name
Bill Statler writes:
Fruit of the Loom makes boys' underwear with pictures of cartoon characters on them. They are sold under the name "Funpals." For the girls' version, they have chosen the unfortunate name "FunGals".
Granted, they have at least capitalized that middle "G" in the logo, but even the Fruit of the Loom website lists the item in all-caps as "FUNGALS."
April 28, 2004 12:01 AM
Broken: Capital One state map
Capital One mailed me a personlized loan offer for my small business in New Hampshire. They even took the time to draw a little silhouette of my state to show how much they care about New Hampshire! Unfortunately, they didn't bother to proofread -- the state shown is Vermont, the next state over!
March 18, 2004 12:12 AM
Broken: Rewind DVD sticker
Chris H. writes:
This sticker was on the inside of a DVD I rented. This was taken about 3.5 years ago, late in 1999/early 2000. A little bit before DVDs were truly mainstream.
February 25, 2004 12:42 AM
Broken: Movie ticket
Jonathan Barsook writes:
AMC has been printing tickets like this since 1999. I received this "Movie Watcher Reward" on 1/2/2004 but it expires on 12/1/1999? I think it's time for them to upgrade their software. Most of us made sure our computers were Y2K compliant back in '99 :)
February 9, 2004 03:38 AM
Broken: Dog medication label
A. Marks writes:
Here's a picture of my golden retriever's medication. Note the warning label. Don't worry, he has not operated a car nor heavy machinery since he's been on the medication.
January 23, 2004 03:12 AM
Broken: Grinder buttons
David Owens writes:
This photo is of the mini-food processor I bought (after agonizing over it for weeks). Boy, was I surprised to see the labels after forking over some serious money for the high-end "cast metal" version.
I guess this one made it past the "quality inspectors."
January 22, 2004 03:04 AM
Broken: CNN clock
Bill Jackson sends us this picture of the clock shown on CNN at certain interstitial moments during its broadcasts.
The problem is that the clock's hands are always in the same position. Except for two minutes during the day, the clock is always wrong. How hard would it be for CNN actually to display a clock with the correct time? (At least the appropriate number of minutes after the hour?)
December 16, 2003 03:48 AM
Broken: Regal Cinemas' points program
Evelyn Wells writes:
Regal Cinemas has a "Crown Club" that lets you earn points whenever you buy tickets, and the points add up to little freebies (popcorn, drinks, tickets). This is all fine, but the thing I think is broken is that it only lets you earn up to 10 points a day (1 point for every dollar). I almost always go with my sweetie, so we buy two tickets, which adds up to more than $10 even for a matinee. So, instead of feeling rewarded, I feel cheated! I'm sure this wasn't what they intended. It seems like it would be just as easy to have a "two ticket" limit per day, instead of a $10 limit.
Here's a link to the web page explaining the details:
P.S. I just went to their web site to see if I could also send this feedback to them directly. They do have a form, but the comment section is limited to 255 characters! WHY do companies allow this? It's so stupid... Just another case of programmers doing UI design.
November 7, 2003 12:03 AM
Broken: Alabama quarter
Mary Pat LaBoda writes:
It's cool that Braille is included on the Alabama state quarter depicting Helen Keller. However, I'm assuming a blind person would never be able to read it at that scale. In fact, sighted people would have plenty of difficulty without the aid of a magnifying glass, assuming they know the Braille alphabet. They look like specks of dust. I'll bet it was impressive projected in a Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation, though.
September 29, 2003 10:51 AM
Broken: Voter registration form
Peter Steinberg writes:
Here's a voter registration form for New York State. The headings on the instructions say...
"You can use this form to:"
"To register you must:"
"To complete this form:"
"Need more registration forms?"
But nowhere on the form, absolutely NOWHERE does it tell what to do when you COMPLETE the form... nowhere to mail it. Nowhere to carry it in person. I suppose you're just supposed to fill it out and they use ESP to read your information off of it.
Update: David B. writes in from New York City: "While I think the American electoral process is broken (low voter turnout, overly partisan, special interest driven, etc.), the comments on the voter reg form miss the boat. NY State voter reg forms are mailers... the flip side of where the voter writes their info is Business Reply Mail pre-addressed to their local Board of Elections (or in a minority of forms, with blank address lines that refer to a chart that has all the county Boards' addresses)."
Second Update: Peter Steinberg writes back:
I don't think I missed the boat at all... while this form may have a pre-addressed envelope on the flip side of it, I wouldn't know. I downloaded it as a PDF from the NY State Board of Elections website. Ultimately, returning to the site led me to a page where I could look up the address I needed, but a lot of good that did me after I already downloaded the PDF, printed it, logged off, and shut down my computer.
August 27, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: NASA's culture
Phil Terry writes:
The 13-member board set up to investigate the shuttle disaster issued its report yesterday, which pointed to NASA's broken culture as a primary cause.
As a customer experience consultant, I often see that the reason for a broken product or service is the organizational culture and politics of the business producing it. Internal politics, insulated cultures, and siloed organizations all prevent the business from seeing the customer's perspective.
The shuttle tragedy is a sad reminder that we often need to focus on and fix the culture behind the broken product, service or experience.
In addition to the New York Times story
that ran the picture above, a Washington Post
article had this to say:
"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the 13-member board said of the Feb. 1 disaster.
August 8, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: T-Mobile support phone message
Kenn Stearns from eRealty in Houston sent in this audio file he got from recording a T-Mobile support phone message. He writes:
I recently changed wireless service to T-Mobile and received this message when calling my salesman at the local Houston number. Despite the large number of callers ahead of me, I didn't hang up and was rewarded with the opportunity to leave a message.
I couldn't believe this was for real, so I asked Kenn if he was kidding. He assured me that it was legit - he adds, "Hats off to T-Mobile for making repairs soon after I brought it to their attention. Even the T-Mobile folks I spoke with thought it was hysterical." Apparently it was just a glitch in the phone system.
August 1, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: Cable company phone message
Jess Durrant writes:
If you call the Minneapolis/St. Paul area Time Warner Cable phone number, you're forced to go through the menu system. After going through three or four menu selections, you get a message that "Time Warner Cable's offices are currently closed. Please call back during the next business day."
There are so many problems with this, I can't even fathom who thought this was a good idea.
- If you wait through the message twice you actually do get through to an operator, but they don't tell you that.
- During non-business hours they don't tell you upfront that they are closed, so you're always forced to try to get through, only to find out you can't.
- They never clarify what their business hours are.
- You get to this message at all times of day, 7 days a week. So every single time I've had to deal with TWC, I've had to just wait on the line until I get an operator because you nearly always get the "closed" message.
July 22, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: Ferry boat name
Sandra Dainora took this picture from her Palm handheld. She writes:
The ferry that takes tourists back from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to Manhattan is called "Miss New Jersey." Countless times I have watched person after person ask the boat crew whether their final destination was actually Battery Park [in Manhattan, essentially in the opposite direction from New Jersey].
Not a good experience for out-of-towners - or in-towners, for that matter. I personally had the same moment of doubt when I stepped onto the boat.
A couple of readers have written in with the same response - "the ferry's name is quite apt -- that's the boat you need to take if you want to 'miss New Jersey.'"
July 21, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: Magazine subscription card
Paul Schreiber sends in his coworker's rant:
Both these subscription cards came from two copies of the June 2003 issue of MacWorld magazine.
The top one ($34.97/year) was in the issue I subscribe to.
The bottom one ($19.97/year) was in the newsstand issue.
Broken: Penalizing repeat customers.
July 9, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: Sign on wall jack
Paul Schreiber took this photo at the Vancouver airport recently.
Sometimes if you need a sign at all, it's a flag that something is broken..
June 25, 2003 06:00 AM
Broken: Bathing suit shopping
Ned Batchelder's wife writes about the difficulties of buying a decent bathing suit. A perfect text entry for thisisbroken.com - I found it on Ned's site. (Read full column here.)
This is about designers who cannot measure, who don't understand the first thing about the female form and can't be creative if their lives depended on it. I am making a list to "out" the worst features and see if they can do better from now on. First of all, the Miraclesuit: it isn't...