Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | July 14, 2012

What a Waste!

There was a lot of confusion at the mall food court today. Nobody could figure out what to do with their trash.  People kept coming up to the waste disposal area and scratching their heads, which is difficult to do when your hands are full of trash.  I was going to take pictures of the trash procession, but I thought it in poor taste, even for me.  So I’ll just describe what I saw.

An old gentleman came up and stared.  He lifted his trash to the assumed opening and nothing happened.  The wait button was lit, so he pushed his piece of trash on the green button, but nothing happened.  He finally walked away.

A young girl came up and just stood there for a minute.  she finally put her tray in front of the opening and it magically opened.  She jumped a little when the door opened for her.

A teenage guy came up and just pushed his tray against the door, but since the wait button was on, it wouldn’t budge.  He just forced it open.

It was quite the parade of confusion.  As I began to get bored with this, I did offer my assistance to those who were stumped (9 out of 10).  I personally don’t like pictures giving me clues as to what to do, I much prefer words.  Pictures are so open for interpretation.  For instance, this picture could say, reach in here to get a cup.  Or it could say only cups can be tossed into this receptacle (assuming they could get it to open).

Finally I left and decided watching people throw trash away was a waste of my time.  Then I came across this can and realized we aren’t quite ready to rely on motion sensors for everything.  Let’s save it for the battle of getting the water to come on or the towels to dispense in the public restroom where we don’t have quite the audience to witness our frustration.



  1. This really made me smile, Bonnie. We don’t have electronic waste systems here in Scotland – or, if we do, I’ve never encountered them. A good old sliding lid is as sophisticated as we get. Love your pics, too!

    • Thanks, Susan. These were the first I encountered here in the states. Sometimes I wish people would stop inventing better things as they often are not better. These things also slow the process down. You don’t usually have a line to throw trash away, but these contraptions lend themselves to just that.

  2. at least they had enough sense to not put up a picture to try to communicate the thing doesn’t work

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