In the women’s bathroom on my office floor, there are these paper towel dispensers that frustrate me on a regular basis.


They’re just the standard paper towel dispensers that you pull out folded white paper towels from the bottom. No sensor, no lever, just plain ol’ paper towel holders.


But these ones on my floor are loaded in such a way that when you try to pull one out, its edges often get caught in the corner. You then have to pull harder to get it out, at which point it would rip or you’d end up pulling more paper towels out than needed. If it’s ripped, the corners are stuck to the dispenser, causing the next paper towel to tear more easily.


Can I please just have a paper towel!!?!


It’s just paper towel, Josephine. Don’t sweat the small stuff, you may say.


True. But what frustrates me the most about this situation is the waste it generates. More paper towels are consumed as a result of this faulty process. Engineer + waste = cringe.


I think the reason is they’re loaded too fully, hence the weight of all the paper towels prevent the bottom one to dispense smoothly. I don’t know how the loading is done, but my guess is this ineffectiveness and inefficiency could be prevented by a simple testing step. Load the paper towels, then test the system by trying to pull out a paper towel. If it doesn’t work perfectly, fix it.


Maybe it is tested, but no one bothers to fix it? In any case, someone does not bother doing something.


Since I was encouraged yesterday by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek to learn to propose solutions, I plan to talk to the janitorial staff (nicely, of course). I don’t know why I waited this long. Hopefully this will solve the paper towel problem for us who use the facility.


Do things well, and eliminate waste.