27 January, 2009

Toilet paper dispensers

You knew I had to go there eventually, right?

You knew that eventually, this blog would end up in the toilet.

Actually, I am writing about something that I suspect might be a secret and subversive ploy to demoralize employees at my office. That ubiquitous restroom appliance known as a "toilet paper dispenser". You would think that its purpose would be to dispense toilet paper, no? But actually, I think this is a misnomer because, as far as I can tell, the primary function of this awful device is to protect the toilet paper from being accessed in any way, other than in tiny shreds.

Let me show you what we're dealing with:

The fortress. Yes. Under lock and key, one of the largest corporations in the world guards its bathroom tissue. Because you know that employees are going to steal lots of this half-ply 5 grit sandpaper if only they were to remove this kleenex chastity belt. Although, one could argue that with the way the economy is going, it won't be long before we're all standing in line for toilet paper!

So, I realize that this dispenser looks rather innocuous. But I assure you. There are a number of devices to obstruct, confuse, and enrage. Let me give you a brief sampling of some of them.

"Hmmm," you say. What's that strange looking lever arm that is lifted above the toilet paper roll? What purpose could that possibly serve? Is it designed to aid one in removing tissue? Of course, that would be lovely. But alas, that is not the case. What you are seeing here is the "locked and ready" position of what I like to refer to as the "can't spare a square arm of doom". The reason I call it this is because, as soon as you begin pulling on the roll of toilet paper to get whatever amount you deem appropriate, this happens:

Doesn't look like much? Ah, but it is lad. It is!

This lever will immediately, within about 1 square of (half-ply) tissue rolling, clamp down on the roll and not allow free dispensation of the amount that you have requested of the device. I have tried pushing this arm down, up, over the top, all possible combinations. I highly recommend against the "over-the-top" route, because I quickly learned that they have left raw metal edges on the inside fold of the rim of this fortress, so that any man who attempts to reach within its confines will pull back a bloody stump.

To make matters worse, apparently the designer knew that there would be difficulties with this contraption. So, rather than fix the problem, or provide useful messaging, they have instead placed intriguing, cryptic commands on the ends of the magic lever:

Can't read that, can you? Sorry. Let me help you. It says "BACK.  VERS L'ARRIERS. HACIA ATRAS." For those who are not trilingual, that means "BACK. BACK. BACK." I can only assume this is a warning of the danger that lies within that chamber.

And you would think that would be sufficient. But there are additional warnings on the other side of the lever:


This seems contradictory to me. Back. Up. What the hell do they want from me? This is a toilet paper dispenser, and it reads like some sort of instructions for attaching a conduit for in-air refueling of a C-101 Army Transport jet. Need it be this complicated?

I am convinced that this is not actually a toilet paper dispenser at all. I think it is actually a device used to imprison boggarts. And the tissue roll is placed as an additional protective tool to prevent people from losing a finger. Why they'd decide to hold these creatures in a bathroom is beyond me.

Come to think of it, that would explain a few other unpleasant aspects of the restroom.

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