The plastic piece is supposed to help prevent the prongs from being bent in shipment. I've never seen instructions that indicate it needs to be removed. Evidently the manufacturer assumed the consumer would be intelligent enough to know this (wrong!).
My wife puts it on her hair dryer plug before placing it in a crowded drawer to help keep it from getting bent (which is logical).
Our (expensive) breadmaker had the same type of protector and she replaces it after use for the same reason. With all the things we do on and around the machine, the prongs could get damaged. It also helps identify which cord is for the breadmaker and which for the toaster oven, when they get tangled. :-)
Having worked as a tech/engineer for 30 years, I've seen failures from prongs getting bent then restraightened a few times. Replacing power cords is not always fun.
I feel using these is a good idea. As to educating the consumer, well...
In the early 70's, I was working in retail sales of high end (and not so high end) audio systems. I sold a customer a console stereo (big $ but more furniture than audio performance). One of the "advantages" of this console was that it was all transistorized-no vacuum tubes to change. After delivery, we got an irate call from the customer claiming he wanted his money back. "The &*%$ thing doesn't work!" Since it was a big ticket sale, the store manager sent me out to find out what exactly was wrong. When I arrived, I found it was not plugged in to the wall socket. I plugged it in, and to the customer's amazement, it worked just fine. His explanation was "Everybody knows transistors only worked on batteries. I didn't think I needed to plug it in."
That's quite surprising, Nancy. You never know what's going to foul up a computer. My autistic daughter headed off to college this past weekend. We bought her a computer as part of her dorm-room equipment. The computer started having problems booting. I finally went to the boot menu -- remember all the old DOS commands? -- and did a test. Turns out the hard drive failed. I was mystified until she confessed that out of frustration with the computer, a couple days earlier she had smashed her fist down on it.
I have the same problem when my internet goes out. At one point, I actually listened to the script the troubleshooter was going through for over 40 minutes just to have them finally reconnect me to the net on their end!
Using a 3D printer, CNC router, and existing powertrain components, a team of engineers is building an electric car from scratch on the floor of the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago this week.
In November, a European space probe will try to land on the surface of a comet moving at about 84,000 mph and rotating with a period of 12.7 hours. Many factors make positioning the probe for the landing an engineering challenge.
NinjaFlex flexible 3D printing filament made from thermoplastic elastomers is available in a growing assortment of colors, most recently gold and silver. It's flexible and harder than you'd expect: around 85A (Shore A).
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.