I worked retail for several years and although I didn't work directly in the Returns Department, I know from experience the amount of products that come back because they don't work.

Or should I say, because they ALLEGEDLY don't work?

An article I read this week from Engadget.com claims that gizmos and gadgets aren't as messed up and poorly made as we might think.

According to a study done by Accenture, a whopping 95% of gadgets work despite what customers claim!

That reminds me of the customer service lore about the technician telling the computer owner to close Windows only to have the person put the phone down and close every window in the house. Even if that story is exaggerated, it may hold more truth than we'd like to admit.

People just don't read manuals anymore. We're too smart for those, right? We KNOW how that DVD player or remote controlled airplane works. The manual is for OTHER people. The dumb ones, right?

Next time that toaster doesn't work or your cell phone insists on alerting you to new texts with "Funky Town", try flipping through the manual and seeing what's up.

Chances are it's user error. And you, I am afraid, are the user. I am, too. We ALL are!

And remember this sobering statistic. Out of the nearly $14 billion worth of returned products last year, only 5% were truly broken.

And now if you'll excuse me. The microwave is blinking 12:00 and I need to figure out if that has anything to do with the fact that my popcorn comes out tasting like tri-tip. I think the manual is in the drawer next to my broken watch.