Clockwork Orange Award
It’s award season, so let’s kick off with an inaugural Clockwork Orange award.
The Clockwork Orange awards honor examples of cruel, unusual and completely unnecessary automation.
So, COA number 1 goes to: Electric Paper Towel Dispensers.
Surely an answer looking for a question, a solution in search of a problem, these have appeared all over the place in the last five years. Not only do they require batteries (non-rechargeable) to function, keeping landfills busy, they have these touch-less sensors that work some of the time, if you can find out where the sensor is on the unit.
They replace units that just had a lever at the side, which you pulled (or in some cases pushed) to dispense a sheet of paper towel. Repeat until you have enough.
Now maybe it was the big guy from Sales who kept hitting too hard and bending the mechanism. Or possibly it was because so many Marketing people, who tend to need two hands and a map for certain tasks, couldn’t figure out the trick. Most likely of course it was the germophobes who think nothing in the washroom should be touched by anybody. They still haven’t figured out what to do about the door handle, but they’re working on it. In any case the boondoggle was sold to the world by the usual fast talking salesmen and adopted by the usual credulous office drones.
There is hope. My gym recently ditched all its EPTD’s for the old-fashioned kind. Guess they noticed how much they were spending on batteries.