I like tea. Particularly sweet tea. When its cold give it to me iced; if its hot I’ll take it steaming with a little bit of milk. When its cold I tend to drink a lot of tea and I go through a lot of tea bags. Normally you wouldn’t expect to care too much about the design of a tea bag. I mean, it is a little pouch of tea leaves that allows water to come in and out but keeps the tea leaves in the pouch, with no leaves escaping. There should probably be a string with some kind of handle to easily retrieve the tea bag from hot water. That about sums up the totality of a good tea bag. So, when you encounter a horrendously designed tea bag it really stands out.

I apologize for the quality of the photo. I have a not-so-good phone with a not-so-good camera.

meet the horrendous design

Lipton's horrible tea-bag design Ah, good ol’ Lipton. If you drink tea in America you have to know this company. They’re almost synonymous with the stuff. At first glance this product appears to take care of all the things required in a good tea bag. There’s a pouch there with some tea leaves and a string with a handle. But, look again. At the top where they taped the handle to the tea bag. That one crucial aspect of the tea bag totally ruins everything else. Why? Because you have to use the most delicate touch to remove the handle from the tea bag; otherwise the bag splits open and you risk tea leaves infiltrating your water. Tea leaves entering the water is the most egregious of tea-related offenses and is, quite frankly, unacceptable.

how did this happen?

My question isn’t why, I don’t really care why they decided to go with this design. Maybe they thought it was the best way to package the tea bag for individual sale, as I did purchase the offending item at a service station. Whatever the reason why I’m far more interested in the how?

Did they not “eat their own dog food” at all? It isn’t like the tea bag splitting is a rare or uncommon occurrence, it happens quite frequently. Frequently enough that I will no longer purchase Lipton products. Why would I waste my money on a quarter of my tea bags getting thrown away unused? Highly wasteful and inefficient.

wrapping it up

In conclusion you better damn well eat your dog food. Actually use the stuff that you create and produce. That applies to far more than just programming. Use it. Discover the weaknesses. Fix the weaknesses. Have a good product.