My dad is a hardcore gamer. Before it was common for games to start off with tutorials, each time he got a new game (always an FPS, preferably one set in WWII), somewhere within the first fifteen minutes we’d have this inevitable conversation: Dad: What do I do? Me: Did you read the instructions? Dad: Guys don’t read instructions. Apparently he’s right. Please inform my mother of this fascinating development. Maybe not reading the manual is part of the Y chromosome that makes us males. According to customer statistics from Gadget Helpline, 64 percent of men who called the subscription service for help with their gadget had not read the instructions, while only 24 percent of female callers had not.

Another interesting thing is that while males spent 32 percent less time on the phone with the helpline than women did, they were also 47 percent more likely to call back because their first call hadn't resolved the problem (by the way, two-thirds of Gadget Helpline's employees preferred dealing with female customers -- related?).

Men are also almost doubly implicated in the report’s most amazing figure: twelve percent of men and 7 percent of women who call the helpline can’t get their gadget to work because it’s either unplugged or not turned on.

On the other hand, women are more likely to call with a perfectly functioning gadget to make sure they’re doing everything right.

I just saw The Box, so Arthur C. Clarke’s adage about advanced technology becoming indistinguishable from magic is fresh in my mind.

It’s a quote usually associated with science fiction, but apparently, for a whole segment of users, and especially us guys, everyday gadgets have become quasi-magical items, too.

By Mark Alvarez