This past weekend I popped down to my local Best Buy store to pick something up to… but we can talk about that another day.

When I joined the checkout line, the guy in front of me was carrying a medium-sized opened box that he was obviously returning. My eye was caught by the picture and words on the box. The picture was of a small icemaking machine. The words said “26 lb Portable Icemaker.”

I was a tad surprised by this because — to my admittedly untrained eye — it appeared that the box was not large enough to hold a 26 lb bag of ice, let alone a 26 lb icemaker.

When I queried the soon-to-be-ex-machine’s owner, he informed me that the machine holds only 1.5 lb of ice at a time, but that it can produce up to 26 lb a day, all of which made much more sense.

The real reason for my interest is that the icemaker on our kitchen fridge has shuffled off this mortal coil. I had previously pondered purchasing a standalone icemaking machine, but I’d assumed they were big and cumbersome and that we’d have nowhere to store it if company came. As I now discovered, however, this little beauty — an Insignia NS-IMP26SL0 — is only around the size of a large electric toaster.

Insignia NS-IMP26SL0 portable icemaker (Click image to see a larger version — Image source: Insignia)

I asked my newfound friend if his machine had failed to serve in any way. He responded that it had been a present for his wife and that it worked great, exceeding his expectations. When I inquired as to why he was returning it, he winced and succinctly stated, “She says it’s the wrong color.”

We looked at each other in companiable silence for a few seconds sharing a manly moment. It turned out this poor fool had purchased a red machine, having missed the memo that gray is the official color of the decade.

To be honest, until relatively recently, I myself had not been aware that there were so many shades of gray. Suffice it to say that there’s way more than 50. Every evening whilst we were in the process of redecorating, I would return from work to find my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) bounding around flourishing handfuls of strips of paper which — to my eye — appeared to be slight variations on an essentially gray palette. “Which set do you prefer?” she would ask, holding — what she claimed to be — completely different collections in each hand.

I still wake in the middle of the night screaming inside. All I know is that our dining room is gray with a hint of heather; our study is gray with a soupcon of seafoam; our family room is gray with a… but I’m sure you get the drift.

However, we digress. I exited the queue and ambled over to the appliance section where I quickly acquired my own Insignia NS-IMP26SL0 with a silver motif that I was convinced would complement the gray with a sniff of something or other that is to be found in our kitchen.

I have to say that I’m very impressed with this little scamp, not least that I received 10 points and a gold star from the love of my life. The main reason I’m waffling on about this here is the instruction manual that accompanied the icy beast and that I found to be somewhat amusing.

In reality, this device is so simple and intuitive to operate that you could boil the instructions down to:

  • Remove any bits of sticky tape holding things together (note that some are hidden inside).
  • Wipe everything (inside and outside) down.
  • Add water to the line that says, “Max Fill.”
  • Press On/Off button.

I personally think that additional directions like “Plug the device into a power socket on your wall” are surplus to requirements. Thus, you can only imagine my surprise and delight to discover that the instructions accompanying this little scamp delve into every conceivable icemaking possibility. For example, they start by saying:

  • Read these instructions.
  • Follow these instructions.
  • Keep these instructions.

You have to admit the creator(s) of this manual seem to be intent on covering all the bases. In fact, some may think they went a tad overboard with instructions like:

  • Exercise caution and reasonable supervision when using your icemaker near children.
  • Do not use any liquid than water to make ice cubes.
  • Do not clean your icemaker with flammable fluids.

I’m not sure what the rational is here. Could it be that previous purchasers allowed their kids to gorge themselves on ice — or decided to determine how a cube of frozen WD40 might taste — or attempted to clean their icemaker with gasoline and opted to take a cigarette break halfway through the cleansing process?

I think I shall add this manual to my collection. How about you? Have you been presented with any instructions that have caused you to raise a quizzical eyebrow and/or display a wry grin?