Best practice, or ignoring the care label

I was hanging the laundry the other day, and ended up thinking about reasons why you might ignore those coded instructions on the care label of your clothing. I came up with quite a few…

  • The label isn’t accessible to you (e.g. you’re blind or partially sighted)
  • Your needs don’t match the assumptions of the manufacturer
  • You habitually remove them because they itch
  • You don’t have the necessary equipment
  • You don’t understand the consequences
  • You don’t know what the symbols mean
  • You can afford to buy more clothes
  • Your clothes don’t have them
  • You don’t know they’re there
  • You don’t have the energy
  • You don’t have the time

There are certainly many more that I haven’t thought of.

Anyway, it seemed like a good example of why “best practice” doesn’t work: it suggests that there is one “best” way of doing any given task and that any other way of doing that task is necessarily inferior. It seems like a minor niggle, but I prefer “good practice” because it seems more appropriate to have a collection of good (or even “good enough”) practices that you can choose from and combine depending on your context.


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