And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Open Letter to Home Depot, Moen, Delta, and anybody else that makes or sells showerheads

To those that make showerheads, I'm pretty sure you all have hydro-engineers on staff (and if not, you should have). Please use them.

Over the weekend the fixed showerhead in the main shower I use decided to blow a gasket so when I would use the "low water usage" setting, water just poured out the back. Now, I have tried other showerheads, tried to "upgrade," and I've been disappointed and would reinstall the old cheap non-brand name showerhead. So this time I was worried.

To try and avoid the difficulties I've had before I bought a premium Delta showerhead (note to Home Depot here, clean up your displays and put displays of items that can be manipulated down where people can manipulate them instead of being out of reach, also, your selection is nice but the stock-on-hand sucks). The color available (a brushed nickel) doesn't really match anything, but hey, it's a showerhead (and nothing else really matched either).

But here's where there are problems. I'm not in the Navy. So while I appreciate the trickle, low water usage option, if I wanted a true trickle function I would buy one of those switches they have on ships. What I'm looking for in low water usage is one-third or a half of normal water pressure. Enough water-flow that I can rinse my hands, re-wet the washcloth, rinse off my face from the shampoo. My old showerhead, if I went slowly, I could wash fully under the low water usage setting. And finally, put the "full-stream" right next to the "low water usage" settings on you dial. Don't make me scroll through the various massage (don't really need) and "Champaign" settings to go from full shower to low water. Seriously.

Also, when you say "full-stream" it better be full-stream, not some aerated half-pressure thing. If you want to create "an experience" in the shower this is where you need to make it work. This is where the majority of my time in the shower is going to happen. Make this setting the best, not the, "oh, yeah, we need to have this one." I don't use the massage settings unless I have a tense back (and it doesn't help much then either). Spiraling water may look cool in the video, but doesn't do squat. The "Champaign" feature shouldn't sacrifice pressure.

Now, I'm sure if my showerhead was directly over my shower space many of these problems wouldn't matter so much. But mine isn't, and I doubt the majority of people have such a shower arrangement. Your showerhead needs to project water into the space.

What I would want in a showerhead? Okay, for a fixed showerhead you can pretty much can the massage crap. If I have to move my body into the massage water, you've lost all the benefit of the massage. Plus, most massage functions don't have enough pressure to make it worth my while. Give me a good full-stream function; nice coverage area and pressure that will push soap off my skin, not just rinse it off. Then have a one-third or half stream function right next to it. This should be enough flow to throw water into the space, enough to rinse off if you have time, but not enough to really get all that wet. It should be enough, though, to also keep my temperature settings correct. If you want to add a trickle setting, have at it, but don't replace the trickle with the low flow setting. For most showers I want to get wet fast, switch to low water and get clean, then maybe switch back to full-stream to rinse off. Finally, give me a deluge option, a full-on water extravaganza.

You may think you have a showerhead that "is just like showering in a waterfall." Bull. When I worked on Habitat for Humanity homes in Tennessee I had to shower in waterfalls. That was the most excellent part of that time. Really, if you never have showered in a stream with a waterfall you're missing something. I know what it means to use a waterfall to shower, you're 2.5 gallon per minute "Champaign" feature doesn't even come close. Tell your marketing people to get a grip on reality.

And here is the part for Home Depot again. Remove the "Self Checkout Lanes." I've tried them 6 times and have never had a successfully completed transaction through them. I am not a technophobe or an idiot. They don't work for you. Stop annoying me with them. When I went to checkout last night they were the only lanes open. Never do that to me again or I will dump what I was planning to purchase on the nearest aisle and walk out. If you think you're saving money, you're not. It took your clerk four times as long to help me as it did for us to walk over to the regular check out and ring out that way. If you want me to go through that again, give me a discount for checking myself out. That's the only way I will use those lanes again.


Anonymous said...

I've had similar problems with the self-checkout lanes at Wal-Mart. One night I got so infuriated I was ready to punch the stupid smug little monitor when the checkout lady came over and asked if she could help. I said, "I thought this was supposed to be faster." And she told me it really isn't any faster. I swore then and there never to use those things again until they make them user friendly.

Ken McConnell said...

Here here! I feel the same way about self check out lines, Steve.

The way I see it, unless they start paying me minimum wage to do someone's job form them, I will not be using them.

I really am a Luddite when it comes to this. Even reduced prices would not get me to do someone else's job.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Mat and Ken, I'm glad it's not just me. I really try to avoid them, but like I said, no other register was open when I wanted to check out. I don't think they're meant to be faster, they're just meant to be cheaper. I've got no problem doing things myself (well, I do, the stores should hire people to do them for me, which is what they're expressly trying to cut out here and if that's the case, give me the discount). I like packing my own groceries. Not because I really like doing it, but because stores no longer train employees how to do this. Even with plastic bags there is an art to it.

So if a company wants to go cheap and eliminate as many people as they can (I forgot to mention that I really could have used the help of someone that knew roofing at the Home Depot and I couldn't find anybody to help me), or if you want to off-shore your production to lower your costs, what I want is to see the benefit as a consumer. If there's no benefit, you better be producing in the USA, and while I don't want to be hasseled by the sales staff, if I do have a question I don't want to go on a quest to find someone.

Jim Wright said...

If there's anything worse than a self-checkout lane - it's a talking self-checkout lane. I don't want machines to talk to me, ever. I don't even like the damned buzzer on my dryer, I will let the clothes get wrinkled if I damned well please, the dryer does not own me! (sorry for the froth and spittle, when the machines take over, I'll be the first one broke up for spare parts, no doubt).

Steve, about the shower head - amen. Nothing worse than a crappy showerhead. Unlike you though, I have no use for a low-flow model. I've got well-water and a huge gas water heater and I can use as much as I want, and after twenty years in the Navy, I damned well will! I want high pressure, high volume, scalding hot, in full pounding massage mode - it's the only thing that gets me going in the morning. Life is not worth living without my morning shower.

Steve Buchheit said...

Jim, well we have to pay for our water, and I do like conserving, so having a low-flow option is good for me. However, I really don't like the trickle. It reminds me of ships. No offense, but the Navy was my brother's gig. If I had a good well I'd be taking Hollywood Showers every day.

For the self check-out, when it started being bad this last time I did have a flash of thought that I could probably dismantle it all before they could stop me. It was a fleeting thought.