Thoughtless acts around town

It’s interesting to notice some of the design interventions that have already been applied around campus to deter the very thoughtless acts that I was looking for. For one, all of the trash cans I’ve noticed have a peaked or domed design, such that pieces of trash do not balance on top of the trash can. I imagine this is so that people will actually put their trash INSIDE the trash can rather than on top of it. However, that doesn’t quite stop people from leaving trash wherever they can find a supporting base for it:


Including in a tree!


One of the things I do regularly is wrap my teabag string around the handle of my mug:


I hadn’t thought of this as a thoughtless act until seeing it in one of the Pinterest streams. But it accomplishes my goal of not having the teabag become lost inside the mug when I pour hot water over it. Baristas tend to do the same thing: if they put a teabag in your commuter mug, they’ll screw the lid on with the teabag label hanging out. One potential design update is to give commuter mugs a small notch where the teabag string can be held securely. However, a potentially better one is just to have a tea strainer inside the mug, which some designs already accomplish. That works well for both loose-leaf tea and bagged tea.

While shopping for groceries last night (and TJ’s was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it—it was right before the debate, and Sunday night, and everybody and their mother wanted to get groceries for the week. Suffice it to say, I was waiting for a while with a rather heavy basket. So I placed it on the floor, and pushed it along with my foot when the line would move forward.


I see this also in airport lines, when people push their heavy luggage along the floor rather than picking it up and carrying it forward as the line moves along. A design improvement could be a place for people to keep handbaskets or small but heavy items up at waist level as they wait in line, for instance with a bar-height shelf. It would also serve to keep the line orderly.

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