When did you realise you'd been using a product all wrong?

At CHOICE headquarters we recently heard a story from a member who bought a vacuum cleaner we recommended only to be disappointed by the results. They persevered for several months, annoyed at the lack of suction the product offered and cursing their decision. Then one day after a particularly unproductive attempt at using the product to clean the floor they attempted to hit the power button with their foot, which slipped and activated another button they hadn’t really paid much attention to before. Lo and behold, the vacuum cleaner suddenly sounded like “Concorde taking off” and the suction was so strong they could barely lift the cleaning head off the floor.

Turns out they’d had it on the lowest suction setting the entire time they had owned it.

This story prompted us to wonder what other stories might be out there about when we consumers thought we’d been sold a dud only to realise our problems were due to user error all along. If you’ve got a story to share we’d love to hear it and maybe use it in an article.


My housemate was using a Bamix stick blender to make soup the other night.

It’s a relatively high-end appliance, and he was complaining that it was doing a terrible job, and has been really disappointing every time he’d tried it in the past - on closer inspection, he hadn’t attached any of the blades that pop on the end, so was trying to blend soup with what was, essentially, a short, spinning metal nub. With the blades on, it works excellently!


That’s a great one - made me laugh out loud.


How else would you do it?

I could share many stories about PEBKACs (problem exists between keyboard and chair), but it is probably best to stick with some easier household appliances. In my case, nail clippers. These things make no sense - so much effort, for so small a reward! Until one day my wife shows me that “this bit rotates around, and can now be used as a lever to squeeze the clippers together”.


Honestly, I feel like those things aren’t always terribly efficient even when you use them correctly!


A family member was staying and decided to cook dinner one night. She was doing a roast and had much trouble getting readings on my digital meat thermometer, she even found it difficult to get it into the meat.

She remembered to switch it on but had neglected to remove the protective plastic sleeve over the metal probe.


It’s the simple things, isn’t it?



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This is one of those things where you go “Well, of course!” when you’re finally shown. And yet, you had to be shown.


As a long time friend was overnighting in Cairns on Monday on his way to a mine site for his current FIFO job, my wife and I took him out to dinner at a new Japanese/Korean restaurant in the CBD.

The two young Japanese waitresses were delightful but had limited English.

The first item on the menu was Edamame, which I have often seen on TV shows but I had never tried, so I ordered that and the small size sashimi Boat.

I could not believe the size of the plate of Edamame I received and I wondered why there was no dipping sauce.

The waitress pointed to the miniature teapot which was filled with the nicest soy sauce I have ever tasted and she provided a small bowl to pour it into.

I placed around 12 beans in the soy sauce and proceeded to very slowly chew them. I could not believe how tough and stringy they were, and I gave up after eating 10 of them.

The sashimi arrived and it was the largest serving I have ever seen, around double the size I have ever previously received, and I struggled to consume all of it. It was absolutely delicious.

When the waitress collected the empty plates, we asked her if the beans were supposed to be eaten whole. She seemed to say that only the peas are eaten, which I have now confirmed with a Google search. No wonder that there so many beans on the plate.

Ah well. I have had my monthly quota of both Omega 3 and fibre at the one sitting.