An incredibly petty grammatical complaint

I’ve seen this twice in one day and I’m feeling a little salty, so I felt compelled to say something.

One instance was an online retailer who says,

Ordering is easy if you follow these steps.
I do not accept X form of payment. I do not accept this other form either. You can pay me X way, or XX way.

The other instance was a webpage that said ,

Steps to get through [possibly annoying wildlife behavior] at night.
Try this thing.
Or try that thing.
You could try this other thing
,” etc.

These are not steps. Especially the first one. When someone says, “follow these steps,” I understand that to mean taking a sequential set of actions in order.

Describing a variety of conditions on paying for online purchases, all of them extant simultaneously and thus being really one conditional gestalt, is not “steps” to follow.

The second one is thrown in because “steps to get through” implies, again, a sequence of actions in order.

That is all.

In the first one, “steps” is being used as a loose synonym for “instructions”, or alternatively the thing could have been reworded as “terms of sale” or “terms of payment”. I suspect that “follow these steps” came to the writer’s mind because it’s so common in today’s computerized process-oriented world, where a lot of actions really are a sequential series of steps, like “how to process a merchandise return in 17 easy steps”.

In the second example “steps” looks like a loose synonym for “list of suggestions”, and it might even be appropriate if it’s a priority-ordered list of options (“follow these steps and stop when you get the result you want”).

But, yeah, basically I agree. IMHO “steps” is overused and wasn’t quite right in any of those cases, especially not the first one.