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14 August 2008

What Were They Thinking #1: Low Tide

This is actually the product that pushed me to make the What Were They Thinking blog post series a reality.

Product: Tide 2X Ultra with new and improved dispensing system.

Lack of excellence: Just looking at the new bottle one might think, "How intelligent - a spout! That should make it easier to use." And for those who don't care about using the proper amount for each load of clothes it just might be. Tip the bottle over, push the spout a few times and you're good.

But for those of us desiring to use the right amount for each load (and no more than necessary which would end up costing more) this system breaks down immediately. Look on the back of the container and it shows you how to remove the clear cap and pump the right amount into it for each load. So far so good. I Get the right amount, dump it into the washer and then realize that in order to replace the cap I have to wash it out completely. Replace it without washing and it will drip out from under the cap and run down the bottle - leaving everything in its path sticky and slimy.

Quick review: The old version of the bottle worked like this: remove cap, pour right amount into cap, dump into the washer and replace cap. Excess detergent drains back into the bottle. This saved time (and money since nothing is washed down the drain.)

Learning from our mistakes: I would suggest that making improvements to things is great - but every new thing also needs tested by people that use the product. Just because something can be done doesn't necessarily mean it should be done.

I was talking to someone on our team about this the other day and she said:

Sometimes creative people are so creative that they don't think about the functionality of their design...
Now one would assume that Tide (Procter & Gamble) has both the creative designers and those testing for functionality. But in this case it appears something slipped through the cracks. That's why I asked, "What were they thinking?"