What is “Ergonomic” Anymore?

My lingering suspicions were finally confirmed the other weekend when I spotted this plastic-wrapped playback device at a bookstore, bolding touting it as “Erognomic!” That’s right, the little known but hugely applicable science has become just another marketing buzz word, hijacked by corporate copywriters to be carelessly tossed around like a maraca at a Cinco de Mayo party. Ergonomic has joined the ranks of other once-reputable terms like “Safe,” “Healthy,” and “User-Friendly” – in this case ending up front and center on $2 plastic piece of junk. And while the Dad-o-Matic may be clever, take it from me that this little doohickey is not ergonomically designed.

Could this low-end electronic novelty really be "Ergonomic!"?
Could this low-end electronic novelty really be “Ergonomic!”?

Some of you may laugh and say “Open your eyes man! It’s the 2000’s! Everyone claims everything is ‘ergonomic‘!” Sure, maybe I was in denial, maybe its been this way for a while. But whether yesterday or yesteryear, I say a great word has been cheapened.

Of course maybe this just means that ergonomics as a field has finally made it, and that its new-found place on the front line of product marketing vernacular is testament to its mainstream acceptance. Yes, that’s it! The elusive silver lining. Now I can appreciate my Dad-o-Matic for its true value, which I guess I’m still not sure of.


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