Three food-related QA failures today.

Last weekend, Maggie and I went to “Pints for Paws,” a benefit for Berkeley Humane. Naturally, this being the Bay Area, there were protesters. Mercy for Animals had a question for everyone who attended:
11 - 01They have a point. I immediately saw the error of my ways. I assured the young man who gave me the brochure that I would make changes in my diet as soon as I could find a supermarket that carried canine cutlets and feline fillets. Oddly, he didn’t seem pleased with the evidence that their campaign was working.

In software development, ambiguous specifications are a major cause of bugs. The same is true in any other field. Murphy’s Law tells us that if something can be misinterpreted, it will be. If you’re trying to make an important point, have an independent observer review your copy before you blow your budget on printing.

While I’m on the subject, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on organizations that are actively working against your cause instead of a group that’s has similar goals, but doesn’t go exactly where you are? I’ve never seen a pro-vegan protestor outside a barbeque restaurant, even in Berkeley…

For what it’s worth, we also went to the Bay Area Book Festival. Oddly, there weren’t any protesters there. Shouldn’t someone have been alerting attendees to the fact that the publishing industry kills trees–but not flowers–to print books, and urge them to go 100% e-book?

A few weeks ago, I saw this display at the grocery store:
11 - 02Yes, that’s a penny that I added to the basket to provide a sense of scale. Those are the smallest, orangest grapefruit I’ve ever seen.

And no, the sign isn’t for the shelf below. It’s hard to tell in this cropped, resized photo, but those yellow things are lemons.

It’s the little things that matter, folks. Developers test their code* before it goes to QA. You can do the same thing in any industry. Take a few seconds to ask yourself if you’ve completed all of the steps before you mark a task as done.

* Well, in an ideal world, anyway.

And then there’s this:
11 - 03I’m sorry, but this is just wrong. I freely admit that I don’t really get the whole “sweet + salt” craze. Sure, I’ll occasionally nibble a chocolate-covered salted caramel* or pretzel, but I don’t obsess about it. And, while I don’t have a problem with anyone who has gone full-on for sweet/salt foods, I will object strenuously to this abomination.

* No, Maggie, I haven’t been snitching yours, despite the temptation.

Let me make it easy: bacon is not a universal food, nor does it make everything better.

Back to the software industry: projects are reviewed many times to ensure that the software can be built as defined and that the design meets the needs of the customer. Same again in the rest of the world. Get someone outside of Marketing to take a look at the plan. And remember that “It won’t kill anyone” is not a sufficient standard of excellence.

It wouldn’t have taken a culinary QA expert to tell them this was a bad idea. Anyone with two functioning taste buds could have said “these flavors just don’t go together.” But I suppose cynical exploitation of a pair of trends trumped common sense.


I’m introducing a new feature to the blog: “Who QAed This Shit?” or WQTS for short. Today’s appearance will be a full-length post, after that it will be an occasional short, extra post.

Because my thoughts turn towards food this time of year, all of today’s examples will be food-related. Oh, who am I trying to kid? My thoughts turn towards food throughout the year. Just because all of today’s WQTSs are food-related, don’t expect them all to be. After all, the BART contract and the new Bay Bridge are both shining examples of WQTSs.

First up, we’ve got a double-header:

wqts01Tiger Tiger brand tandoori paste wishes you to know that it is “suitable for vegetarians & vegans”. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I want to cook a vegan or vegetarian. (I’m inclined to think that the statement is also redundant: I’ve yet to encounter anything that was suitable for a vegan that wasn’t also suitable for a vegetarian. I welcome your counter-examples.)

wqts02Once you open the jar, please be aware that you have a limited amount of time to use the paste before it goes bad: three months or until the “best before” end date, whichever comes first. Fortunately, it will keep until you’re ready to open it. This bottle won’t reach its “best before” date for almost a thousand years:
Careful, though. You don’t want to try it on the afternoon of 15 January 3009!

The Sizzler restaurants recently added cornbread and chili con carne to their soup and salad bar. They’re very proud of the new additions and have signs advertising them all over the restaurant. They seem to be just a little unclear on the concept of what cornbread is supposed to be, though (click for a closer view):
Why yes, it did taste remarkably like a chocolate brownie. Good thing I had it for dessert instead of dipping it in my chili.

Nation’s Great Pies invites us to “Order and prepay your holiday pie today!”
Isn’t it a little counterproductive to be paying the pie? Wouldn’t everyone involved be happier if I paid the restaurant? I’ll be happy to prepay for my pie, as long as somebody first explains what I am supposed to be ordering the pie to do…

Finally for today, I bring you these helpful instructions from Nissin’s Ramen Bowl:
Sorry, but if you’re going to provide a step-by-step procedure to do anything, you need to be very sure you haven’t left any steps out. I would have liked the noodles considerably more if I been able to open the lid before stirring and enjoying.