Friday, April 18, 2008

Motion-Detector Paper Towel Dispensers: Now We've Gone Too Far: A Nevin Barich Blog Experience

I'm all for modern conveniences. I'm a simple guy, and as such like things that make life simpler.

Examples of modern conveniences that have changed all our lives:

Microwaves. Frozen dinners – and bacon – in under four minutes.

The remote control. For obvious reasons.

And finally:

Bags of ice.

Genius. Absolute genius.

But sometimes, we go too far. Sometimes, we just take the whole "simplify" concept a bit too literally.

Last weekend, I was visiting my friend Evan over in the Hollywood Hills – where I partook in an awesome chili and cheese omelet from my friends over at House of Pies – when I used the restroom and ran across a "modern convenience" that I absolutely can't stand:

The motion-detector paper towel dispenser.

I'm sure by now all of us have come across these, but for those who haven't, this is a machine in which – instead of grabbing the paper towel out of the dispenser by hand – you put your hand under the machine and a paper towel comes out for you to grab.

Here's my problem:

I'm an American. And as an American, I'm a fan of the concept known as "a lot." I like "a lot" of cheese in my omelets. I like "a lot" of ice in my beverage. I like having "a lot" of television channel options.

This also applies to my paper towels. When I'm finished washing my hands, I don't grab one. I grab two or three, maybe even four. I don't have time to see if I can dry my hands with one towel. I'm on the go, damn it. I want to be able to have the ability to grab a number of towels in a period of 0.75 seconds, bundle them up into one big "water-sapping" quilt, and be able to get my hands dry in one smooth once-over movement.

This motion-detecting machine?

One paper towel at a time.

If I need a second one?

I put my hand under the machine.

If I need a third one?

I put my hand under the machine.

Any extras?

Hand under the machine.

One at a time.

It's like asking the waiter for another basket of bread and him coming back with a single slice of pumpernickel.

And while we're on the subject of annoying technology, these motion-detector faucets are really starting to piss me off.

I don't know about you, but I like my water to run. I keep it running when I lather my hands with soap, I keep it running as I wash the soap off, I keep it running to make sure the water gets between my fingers to ensure a thorough hand cleaning.

But with these "new and improved" faucets?

Wave my hand under the faucet to lather the soap.

Wave my hand under the faucet to wash the soap off.

(repeat that step seven times, since the water only stays on for 2.3 seconds at a time)

Wave my hand under the faucet to get between-fingers soap.

(repeat step four times)

And after taking 10 minutes to do something that pre-modern technology took me eight seconds to do, where do I go next?

To the motion-detector paper towel machine.

It's a vicious, vicious cycle.

And one last thing:

Automatic flush toilets.

C'mon, people. Now we're just being lazy.

And now for this week's:


I was at work the other day talking to some co-workers about cross country trips. I personally have never done one, but a couple of these folks had. They talked about taking turns driving long distances, figuring out where to stay every night, how to find the best route, etc.

But one co-worker, who also had never been on a cross country trip, had one particular concern that made her hesitant to pursue such an adventure:

Where would I go to juice my iPod?


Who knows? Maybe Triple AAA will soon come out with "iPod juicing" hot spots in their travel guides.

And then we'll have really passed the point of no return.

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Stephanie said...

House of Pies!

Dude, that line about pumpernickel was pretty priceless. You need your own column in a newspaper. I'm spreading the gospel of Nevin Barich. The least I can do is add you to my blog pile.

But hey, haven't you ever heard of conservationism, Nev? We've gotta save the planet! One water sapping quilt at a time.

Elly and Jeremy said...

Are you kidding, I love automated bathroom technology! Call me a germaphobe, but touching public and particularly 'moist' places creeps me out to no end. *shivers*

Have you noticed, though, that you never find a completely automated bathroom? The toilet, sink and paper towel dispenser are never all automated....always 1 or 2 out of the 3. Hmmm...conspiracy me thinks?

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