Not-so-great moments in technical writing

Subject: Not-so-great moments in technical writing
From: "Tracy Boyington" <tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 09:05:03 -0500

A friend recently called Handspring to see if she could buy a new plastic case for her Visor, since she has dropped it a couple of times and it is cracked. They said no problem, we'll send you an entire new unit and you can send the old one back to us (that's great customer service IMHO). When the new unit arrives, it comes with illustrated instructions for returning the old unit in the box the new one was shipped in. All is well until you get to step 3:

"Please detach the customer receipt (left side) of the return Airbill label included in the replacement box. Please attach the right half of the Airbill (with adhesive backing) to the package."

Unfortunately, the person who wrote these instructions apparently didn't have an Airbill to refer to. First, the Airbill doesn't call itself an Airbill. Its only label is "Billable Stamp." Second, how are you supposed to attach the Airbill/Billable Stamp to the package? It seems that you are supposed to peel off the adhesive backing and stick it on the package, but to do that, you must remove two pieces of the Airbill/Billable Stamp that say "For FedEx Use Only: Please Do Not Remove." Then should you tape the Airbill/Billable Stamp to the box and let FedEx stick it on there themselves? If so, why don't they tell you to do that? And does that mean you must take the package to a real life FedEx employee instead of dropping it in a dropbox?

It's a little thing, but the little things can still drive you crazy.

Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org
Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education
Stillwater, OK


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