Thursday, May 28, 2009


Not only do we have automatic paper towel dispensers in restrooms now, but we also have automatic soap dispensers and infrared water faucets. I'm not so sure this is a good idea.

The paper towel dispenser was pretty neat at first. I waved my wet hands in front of a little red eye, and the dispenser shot out a 2" by 2" square of paper that would only be good for one finger. Instead of measuring the amount of paper I want by using a lever, I have to wave my hands wildly in front of the new machines five or six times to get enough paper to thoroughly dry my hands. The dispensers have settings that can be adjusted to dispense the tiniest amount of paper (or a reasonable amount if you know how to get inside).

Now we have auto soap too. Because apparently it's not sanitary to touch a soap dispenser. Instead of taking the one second to press a pump, we now have to spend ten or more seconds trying to figure out how to wave our hands/elbows/nose just right to make a half-pump of soap dispense from the magically hidden container. Are we being lazy or being safer?

The clincher for me many times is the auto water. As if I'm too stupid or it's too gross to have to use a water faucet. The automatic ones are so frustrating! They are often not labeled or have directions about where to place my hands in order to make the water turn on. Then, mid-wash, I'll get all lathered up and accidentally shift forward a millimeter so that the water turns off. I have to spend another thirty seconds trying to make the water turn on again, my hands moving all around flinging soap, water, germs, and who knows what else I managed to get on there from the sink, mirror, and counter hoping there was a magic button to make the madness end!

What happened to lifting handles and pressing levers to make water turn on? I'm all for water conservation, but I'm not for being so frustrated that I end up not wanting to wash my hands at all. My favorite faucet method is still the little step-on bar under the sink: no hands to get messy, plus it turns off automatically when I walk away. Solutions exist... they just aren't as fancy as infrared technology.


Anonymous said...

exactly. we don't necessarily need new technology to make simple processes work.

MissKris said...

What I hate even worse than those are the automatic toilets. You turn to flush. There isn't anything anywhere that remotely looks like it'll flush. I had one recently on a trip to Pendleton where I must've stood there 5 minutes trying to figure it out...sheeeeeeeeeeeeesh.

Jeff W said...

We've had automatic towel dispensers at work for a while now and we just got automatic water turner-oners. I think it's great- less contact means less likelihood of microbial transfer. Not that I'm too concerned but you can't catch what you don't touch. I'd be all for autosoap but I don't think they are going to spring for that anytime soon. The paper towel dispenser takes 2 passes but nobody's perfect. I didn't think of the possibility of manually changing the amount dispensed. Intriguing...