When we were in Gran Canaria, our son Ian bought an inflatable beach ball in "Lidl". It cost the grand sum of one euro. There was nothing special about this beach ball. It had colourful sections and a plastic valve for inflation.
However, it also came with instructions in five different languages - Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, English and German. Out of idle curiosity, I perused these instructions wondering what on earth they might contain. After all a simple plastic bladder with a valve is hardly rocket science is it? Such plastic balls have been produced for many decades of seaside fun.
"Congratulations!" say the manufacturers before advising - "Get to know the product before you start to use it!" "When passing the product on to a third party always make sure that the documentation is included!"
We are told about "Intended Use" - "This article is designed as a toy for private use. It must not be used in water!" Oh no! How unthinkable to use a beach ball in a swimming pool or while frolicking in the sea! The idea is quite absurd.
Then we get "Safety Notices" and "Prevention of Damage to Property" with six serious bullet points including - "Avoid contact with sharp, hot, pointed or dangerous objects!" Well I never! I wonder if that includes knives and lighted cigars?
Moving on to "Inflating the beach ball - CAUTION!" - "Inflate the article using a commercially available foot pump or double action reciprocating pump with the appropriate adapters." Why of course - naturally - who would even dare to think that they could inflate a beach ball simply by blowing into it? Far too risky in my book!
The "Evacuating the Air" section is followed by "Repair" and "Disposal" - "Dispose of this item through an authorised disposal company...Ensure that you comply with all regulations currently in force". You can't help feeling extremely grateful for this advice as I would have simply chucked the ruined beach ball in a dustbin!
A beach ball is a "Pelota de Playa" in Spanish or a "Strandball" in German. Delta Sport who produced our Ian's beach ball also give helpful e-mail addresses and phone numbers to deal with servicing matters. How utterly kind of them! After all an inflatable beach ball is obviously not as simple to own and use as it might at first appear.