Wed, Jul 11th 2007 9:23pm
You knew it was coming: the infrared automatic toilet paper dispenser (via Boing Boing). Given the proliferation of similar devices for paper towels in restrooms, this isn't particularly surprising. What's slightly more amusing here, though, is that the company making the device, TP giant Kimberley-Clark, isn't even trying to pitch the device on environmental or other grounds: no, it just wants to save companies money by dispensing less toilet paper, since a company exec says "People generally in life will take what you give them." Apparently the company's research has shown that the optimal amount of toilet paper -- presumably from a financial aspect, and not a user-experience one -- is 20 inches' worth, or 5 standard-length sheets, so it's preset the device to dispense that amount. For generous bathroom providers, the device can be set to dispense 24 inches; cheapskates can set it to only deliver 16. Of course, they seem to be ignoring the fact that users could simply just wait for the device's timer to reset and get another 20 inches of paper, either because they need it, or just out of spite. Every industry feels the need for innovation to grow sales; whether it's actually needed or not is a wholly different matter.
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