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Good ideas with bad execution, or good execution of what should be bad ideas - an analysis of inferior, off-beat or malfunctioning products, and how other people's failures can help us design better stuff.

Levenger Timepiece Sports a Faulty LED Switch

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Rule No 1: Never buy a device that’s on sale when the display model is broken (and the failure mode is not obviously attributable to abuse at the hands of demon children) Rule No 2: If you have ignored Rule No. 1, expect your device to be defective in the exact same way as the display model was, and to exhibit that particular defect very quickly I bought this Orvis LED timepiece from a Levenger store, with the optimistic idea that I could use the carabineer spring clip to hook it onto my bag and put something prettier than my old plastic-banded digital watch on my wrist. The LED light was just one of those nice, but not must-have features.

Although the light on the display model didn’t work and I’ve previously been burned by Rule No. 1, I was not deterred in the least as the $38 timepiece was on sale and I had the clerk’s reassurance that he would get me a working model from the back. The watch worked okay until I activated the LED light (via a push-button) — only to quickly discover that there was no way to actually turn the light off short of thunking it on my kitchen counter. Diagnosis: Faulty switch. Had I read the reviews on line, I would have realized the design sucks. But frankly, after perusing all the bad reviews, I have to wonder if anyone at Levenger bothers to look at the feedback and, better yet, pass it on to the product’s manufacturer. What a huge missed opportunity to fix the problem and post a comment to that effect. Or just drop the product from its line. But, hey, you better hurry — these watches are on sale now if you buy two or more. Just be careful when thunking.

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