OBM Generation: Do They Read Manuals?


When did you purchase out-of- the-counter(OTC) drug lately? Or your pharmacist hands over a pack of prescription drug? Did you read the paper in the pack – prescription leaflet?

God forbid! Some would angrily say in our region. Why pose such distasteful questions? Can we face the fact for a moment? Questions as these are fact of present life. No matter how odd, here we are, they made the rounds to everyone.

Most of our young ones do not have business reading long prescription leaflets. They do not always get sick like the old. Their disposition even temperament do not support the quest for details. Besides, other persons care for them when not in optimal health.

But if any person faces a deal like the one at the outset, what is your reaction? Can one in all honesty say one diligently and scrupulously read through ‘irritating’, small lettering prescription before gulping the recommended dose? That is great if one does. Indeed, such ‘sincere’ answers are common. Definitely so when under scrutiny, perhaps, by a doctor or when things are not working out well.  But uncommon when one interrogates oneself.

Many persons even in a clearly literate milieu follow the easy way out. A snap at the dosage information. A glass of water on hand, a snap, and everything goes down the system.

Take another scenario, you are browsing the Internet. Suddenly, you stumble on an interesting site that insists you should sign on before enjoying the content. Sometimes, you are compelled beyond the ordinary. You are required to read through a long agreement before endorsement. Many hardly choose to go through such tedium. They simply equate it with nauseating agreement at back pages of insurance documents, to be read and signed. Insurance agents would testify that many hardly read it before signing despite their insistence. The truth is, unless your lawyer has done the job for you, it would not be long before you come to terms with the reality. Every word and clause in the agreement determine the fate of the insured. A binding contract.

Now, let us leave the complex ones and play around with simple home appliances in the kitchen and sitting rooms. There you are with your music systems and gadgets with their handset. Each one has a manual at the time of purchase. Buyers are expected to read it thoroughly for effective use. Reading even scouring the pages mitigates abuses. It also wards off dangers that could compromise safety. More importantly, good performance is likely assured by such perusal. It’s a brand managing tool.

More recently mobile phones and other devices have become common. Everywhere these devices are in every hand and in use to a measure. It has been said that utilization is less than 10 percent. No matter the size of these device, they come handsomely with manuals that users hardly read thoroughly unless there is a problem and they want to trouble shoot.

These are but a few things in our lives little attention is paid, but has the capacity to cause distress.

To ascertain the extent of this challenge and ‘no to detail culture’, we embarked on interview of three intermingling generations we tag OBM. To elicit heartfelt response, we asked them their minds on reading of prescription papers, insurance details, computer agreement, users manuals and thoroughly following detail.

Now, enter the generations.

Generation O. –  Old school

Generation B. –  Baby boomers.

Generation M. –  Millennials.

Generation O agree that real life is about details. They point out reasons for their position.

Generation B and M almost aligned.

But B is moderated.

M states clearly their haste and dislike for details in words and action.

“It is a quick life.” “Life goes on without boring details.” “Make it brief.” “Let’s move fast.”  “Our time is different.” All statements and activity should be few words typical of outdoor advertising billboard style. It should be three to five words or less. Litanies do not help. Learn from Facebook they advised. The fewer the merrier.

It is their time some would say. But has man actually changed 360 degrees? What about effectiveness, efficiency, safety, patience, details, regulation and control. Have they all disappeared? What about noting very important things like rubric instruction during examinations. “Do not open the script unless you have thoroughly read the instruction.” Is it still important? Have these been jettisoned at the expense of a new way that eulogizes “life goes on better without being thorough?” Anyway, many these days like to follow people they do not know. It sometimes harm. Quick fixes that hardly fix.  Is it not possible that there can be much haste without movement? Can we smartly see a kind of quality that is like fake news?

Many questions that call for a rethink in order not to be abrupt and trip up.

It may be instructive to note that perceived models of the “quick fix world” may be doing things differently. They take their time ensuring details are kept but fast. Recently, it was reported that a futuristic note presented by one was in excess of 5000 words. Yet, ‘young choristers’ sing praise for lack of details. They will tell you how irrelevant painstaking culture has become today. No wonder they are simply satisfied with “do it quick”

What is in-there dominate inclinations these days. It has inordinately taken over many things. Certainly, ensuring that things are done fast is fine. However, there are different types of speed in different sports giving different outcome. Avoidance of details lurks with great danger.

The issue of details should not be a dilemma. It is not the proverbial slave that should not be killed, still, should not get home with his head intact. One is wise to patiently know what, when, where and how of things. Follow through. Always, keep a repertoire of essential. It is a course of wisdom. That is reading the manual.

Contrast the plus of a painstaking culture and one without and decide where to be. It is a choice. What basic education does is to throw open the other side for you to get a bit of wisdom – imaife in a jiffy, new world.

Where is your stand, ensuring details or becoming slavish to snappish culture?