Sunday, December 12, 2010

Enough to set your teeth on edge

I have a new tooth brush and I am not happy.

First of all, it came in packaging that required garden shears to open.  I tried the big kitchen scissors but I knew they would be no blasted good and I was right.  I was ready at that point to throw the damn thing away (toothbrush, not scissors) but my dearly beloved wife said she would do it, as she always does when I get grumpy.  So she got the garden shears and eventually extracted the device from its packaging but even then the severed plastic ended up cutting her finger so there were great gouts of blood spurting everywhere.

Next I actually wanted a toothbrush that takes batteries.  There is a good reason for this.  Some years ago I went to California on business.  I was staying at the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara.  On arriving in my room, the door had barely shut before I heard this really annoying buzzing.  I couldn't work out where it was coming from.  I turned off the air conditioning and it remained.  I listened by the fridge, but no sound.  With five nights planned, I knew it would drive me crazy so I turned around and went back to reception and demanded another room.

Actually, that's not true.  They had been extremely pleasant at check in, so I went back and politely requested another room and they could not have been more helpful.  Another room was forthcoming and before I left the desk they were on the phone to the maintenance man to investigate room number one.

Blow me down if the second room didn't have the same problem: a really annoying buzzing at just the perfect level to disturb a good night's sleep, or even annoy me when working in the room.  30 seconds later I was on my way back to reception.

Their smiles were a bit more fixed this time and at the back of their eyes you could see the thought forming "Do we have a nutter here?"  However, their politeness never wavered and they got me another room in another part of the hotel.  I could not believe it when I got into this room and yet again there was this low-level buzzing.  It was at this point that I realised it was coming from my suitcase.  Opening the case, I located the source of the sound as my shaving bag and within that my toothbrush was buzzing away.

This isn't the only time this has happened.  Recently I returned from South Africa to find that my electric toothbrush had gone flat on the flight.  Unfortunately, it was packed right beside my deodorant, and the vibration had caused all the deodorant to leak out and I now hold the world record for the sweetest smelling shaving bag (Guinness Book of Records, 2011 Edition, page 278).

So when I went to buy a new toothbrush, I wanted one with batteries that you can take out when you travel.  However, with an ear finely tuned to customers' needs, toothbrush makers appear to have stopped making these.  You have to buy a rechargeable one.  Like Blackadder in the trenches, it then takes 18 hours to charge.

On the plus side, it comes with a manual.

I don't know what these people who design toothbrushes are thinking, but if your toothbrush needs a manual, you've got it wrong.  We all know how a toothbrush works: you apply some toothpaste to the bristles, aim it at your mouth and away you go.

Not any more.  You have this damn manual to read, and just in case you are bored during the 18 hours it takes to charge the stupid toothbrush, they give you the manual in six languages, four and a half of which I don't speak.

And then it came with this spare toothbrush head that looks like it was designed for a jackhammer.  I have no idea what it's meant for: perhaps removing calluses from feet, removing plaster from walls or possibly crowd control in case of riots.  But it's certainly not going anywhere near my teeth.

So listen up Braun.  Listen up Colgate.  Here is what I want, what I really, really want.

  • An electric toothbrush
  • That can be unpacked without danger of physical injury
  • That can use ordinary batteries.
  • That doesn't need a damn manual.
  • And comes with a toothbrush head that doesn't scare children, or adults for that matter.
Can that really be too difficult?


Slim said...

I've had exactly the same problem. The only solution is to pack the charger or carry a spare 'manual' toothbrush.

I call that type of packaging 'Adult Proof' packaging. It drives me crazy too.

Craig said...

I see the problem.

You're buying your toothbrushes from the wrong people.

What you need is an Aquafresh three-way buzz (£3 from Amazon). And if you think there's further room for improvement, those nice people at GSK would be delighted to hear your suggestions.

No bias on my part, obviously.

Alan said...

I say stick to the manual toothbrush. It's another way to burn calories.