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by Ron
 Little things mean a lot 
Early on the automobile industry recognized that user input was important to their sales. At one time cars were designed solely by men and they neglected things that were important to women. Some manufacturers learned too late that horsepower wasn’t the only reason people buy cars. The changes that we now see range from the mini van for families to the all terrain vehicle for the more adventurous. When the public asked for a  four door van, they got it. And long ago, Ford Motor Company learned that people wanted colors other than black. 

The RV industry has tried to attract consumers with innovations, but their task is more complicated than the auto industry. There are many limitations in the design of an RV such as weight and space. In addition many of the systems interact with each other. So we can’t have everything that we want and trade offs are involved. 

User input could still be valuable in spite of the above limitations. Perhaps the industry should consider an advisory panel made up of RV users. These experienced users would have valuable input regarding things that the manufacturer never thinks of.  Perhaps the panel could be established through RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association). 

Our experience brings to mind several items that would not be costly to change. For example, the makers of the Fantastic Fan should design the screen for easy removal and cleaning. There are currently eight screws holding it in place and one of the screws is partially covered by the motor housing. Once the screws that can be removed are taken out, it is still nearly impossible to reach and clean all parts of the blades. This job is so difficult that I go through lots of excuses before I finally get around to it (about once a year). 

The makers of halogen lights should try to replace one of their flimsy little bulbs without bending the thin wire prongs. I expect there will come a time when I won’t be able to get up on the kitchen counter and lay on my back in order to change a bulb. One bent bulb later and after violating the second commandment several times, I can usually get it changed. 

We would also like to know why it is necessary to put heat registers in the middle of the living room floor. If they have to be there, why are they made of plastic which breaks when you walk over them? 

I have mentioned just a few items. I am sure you have more. To prove that I am not a chronic complainer, next week’s will column emphasize things that we really like. 
 

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