Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fit For Purpose

There is a saying being bandied about these days that I quite like. “Fit For Purpose,” or, more to the point of this post, “Not Fit For Purpose.”

What it means it that the item or entity in question is not capable of performing the basic function it was designed for. The best example I can think of are the hub caps I recently purchased from Halfords.

Hub caps have a simple job: they cap your hubs. I suppose one could argue that these hub caps do that, because they do cap the hubs. The problem arises when you want to move your car. Then they fall off. In order to keep them on, you have to purchase Zip-Ties made specifically for fastening your hub caps to your car. I qualify that as a FAIL, for the hub caps, not for the zip-ties, they work a treat. (But in a perfect world, they would not exist as there would be no need for them.)

My feeling is, if I have to modify something in order to enable it to preform its most basic function, then that item is, by definition, Not Fit For Purpose.

Now, when I go into a restaurant and order a hamburger, I have in my mind the image of a food item I can pick up in my hand and eat like a sandwich. If I am of a more fastidious nature, I could cut it up with a knife and fork, but in either case, the item would be a bun with a burger inside it, perhaps accompanied by some onion, a slice of pickle and some ketchup.

Lately, however, when I order a hamburger, my meal comes to me on a roofing slate. The roofing slate, in and of itself, is not a FAIL, as it serves the same basic function of a plate, i. e. keeping my food off of the table top. No, the roofing slate is simply annoying. What is on the slate, however, is a tower of failure:

There is no way anyone, using any method, would be able to eat that. I can’t image what the cooks are thinking, but satisfying the basic function of food is not one of them.

Likewise, muffins are lately expanding at an unnerving rate:

I can’t say the above is Not Fit For Purpose, but it does require a bit of modification if you are going to be able to eat it. And just his morning, at our local muffin shop, I saw—on display—Maple and Bacon muffins. Again, not necessarily Not Fit For Purpose, but…bacon muffins?

When we buy a container of something, there are often instructions written on the side. Sometimes, these instructions are important. But more and more, as I try to read them, I find the print all but impossible to see:

That is the point of a pin, and what it is pointing at are instructions printed on a box of Kettle De-Scaling Packets. I am, without the aid of a microscope, unable to read them. So they are, in my view, Not Fit For Purpose.

I will admit that, while in my twenties, I might have been able to read text that tiny unaided. However, by the time I hit forty, it would have been impossible. But—and this is the crux of the matter—when I was in my twenties and thirties, I never found the need to de-scale my kettle, so during the time that these instruction were Fit For Purpose, they had no purpose, which, in my view makes them…well, you get the idea.

Lastly, (I have more, but I’ll cut you a break) is the career-centric social-networking site, Linked In.

Its stated purpose is to facilitate networking and help you find a suitable job, but that has never been taken seriously. Its real purpose is to look up past acquaintances to see if that bully from high school has ended up stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, or to find out if your ex has been fired yet.

But even lowering the bar to that level leaves Linked In wanting:

How am I suppose to stalk people if they are notified every time I check out their profile? This does nothing but encourage me to avoid Linked In, something I have to believe was not their intention. So, big FAIL.

In closing, I suppose it is only fair to point the finger of fitness at myself. This blog was originally started—some 15 years ago—for the purpose of keeping in touch with my family and friends back home. My detractors might say that it has now morphed into the ramblings of a grumpy old man and is therefore not fulfilling its original purpose. But it still does keep me in contact with at least a few people in the States, and I prefer to think of myself, not as a grumpy old man, but as someone with a keen insight into life’s absurdities.

Given that, I continue to consider myself Fit For Purpose.

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