automation of paper towels

In the bathroom at work we have automatic paper towel dispensers where you wave your hand in front of it and out spits an appropriate amount of paper towel so you can dry your hands.

So far, so good.

There are two dispensers, but one of them has become quite stingy recently, giving none of its paper toweled bounty when you wave your hand in front of it. I whacked it, with the hopes that like the TVs of yesteryear, a good whack on the side would fix the problem. No dice. I thought perhaps it hadn’t seen my initial wave, so I waved again, with more gusto. Nothing. I waved a third time, using more of my arm, but got no response, so the fourth time I danced wildly around in front of it in a last ditch effort.


Defeated, I went to the second dispenser where a gentle wave of the hand produced a hearty amount of paper with which to wash my hands.

Then it occurred to me that if a camera were installed in the stingy towel dispenser, you could capture a lot of humorous footage. If you installed one of those in an airport and hooked it up to a live video stream on a web site, that could be pure comedy gold.


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  1. Candid Camera did a similar bit with those air dryers in the restroom. They had a button to control when the dryer would actually work, and some of the dancing around was pretty funny. :)

    Comment by Princess Jami on June 8, 2005 @ 7:50 am
  2. I’m pretty sure I made some hilarious faces when I first saw one of these machines. It scared the heck out of me!

    Comment by Meredith on June 13, 2005 @ 5:58 pm

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