Directions Serve A Purpose

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THere's an old joke that men never bother to read instructions ? or ask for directions. News flash: it's not just men.

I routinely read product reviews by consumers on Internet sites. Sometimes, they're good, intelligently written by someone with some experience. Other times I wish the webmasterwould please take them down before someone gets hurt.

Obviously, I'm especially intrigued by the ones about products We've reviewed or had in a field trial. I'm pleased to say that usually I'll find a similar experience. And if someone disagrees, that's fine, too. Sometimes I learn something, too.

In fact, many of our readers tell me that they didn't necessarily choose to buy our top-choice product, but they did find exactly what they needed through our experiences with another product. that's great. We couldn?t be happier because that means we did our job well.

But I get royally annoyed when I read comments by someone who clearly didn't follow the instructions and then blasted the product. that's not fair to the manufacturer or the person reading the review. it's even more upsetting to me than the person who shares horse-care tips that originated in the Dark Ages (to me that's a case of buyer beware; free information is worth the price you paid). But, if you're going to use a product and then tell the world how it worked for you, read the directions and use the product as it was intended. Then, and only then, you can say it didn't work well.

We use everything in our field trials according to the instructions, even if we think it might work better doing it our own way. The winning magnet in this issue is a point in case. it's the only manufacturer that told us to use it in combination with the liniment Sore No-More. Would the other magnets have performed similarly' Possibly. But they didn't say that. Equine Magnetic Therapy specifically included that in their recommendations, and it gave them the top nod.

Sometimes detailed instructions can backfire on the manufacturer. On more than one occasion I've had a tester tell me Product X was the best in the trial, but it was so much of a hassle to use that they don't think it's worth the effort. What do we do' We tell you, our readers, exactly what happened. If the labor needed to get that product to perform properly is worth it to you, go for it. We know you'll be pleased with the results. But if you're like us ? always interested in efficiency as well as quality ? our readers and the manufacturer know that it wasn?t worth it to us.

Instructions are there for a reason, and the days of ?Rinse, lather, repeat? are long gone (Remember the joke' When do you stop repeating'). One post I read a bit ago is still gnawing at me. The person had purchased an odor-control product that we liked, and she thought it was awful. Curious, I read the whole review. It sounded to me like the user went through the whole bag in one week (it lasted our testers a month) and found herself scraping the stuff off of her stall mats. The problem' You?re supposed to use about a cup of the product and blend it into the bedding, not pour it on your stall mats. If you do what the label says to do and you don't like the results, fine. But don't criticize a product when you didn't use it correctly.