/ Worst designed thing?

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MG 05 Feb 2020

My vote is train toilet doors. 

1
Rick Graham 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Oven timers     .

bouldery bits 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Self service checkout

4
Tom Last 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Jet boil cup

wercat 05 Feb 2020
In reply to bouldery bits:

outdoor jackets with crotchety small calibre zips and flaps that get caught in them when you need to batten down in a chilly wind. I have a karrimor that really excells in that respect and try to remember to keep it for the high street only

In reply to MG:

Probably, in hindsight, and considering our current concerns, the internal combustion engine that runs on fossil fuels or the human reproductive system that doesn't shut down after a couple of kids.

5
Ceiriog Chris 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Slippery taps

Robert Durran 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Every toilet roll dispenser which isn't a simple bobbin with the roll on it.

I've been known to rip one off the wall in an apoplectic frenzy to get at the paper.

1
wintertree 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Almost any public toilet role dispenser.  Train doors a close second.

henwardian 05 Feb 2020

There are so many things. Knives that don't cut, waterproofs that leak, sliding bevels that don't hold an angle, set squares that are not square, pens that don't write..... I think the broader malaise of single use items that don't do their single thing is indicative or a race to the bottom in terms of quality and price which has eventually yielded a entire world of products that are so cheap and nasty that they fail at their basic function.

I don't mind having a multigym where it's off for the angle of one specific exercise or a Harness where 2 or the loops overlap in an annoying way or a tupperware box that is hard to get clean because of the crevices. All these things need to able to do a lot of things and stand up to a lot of different uses/conditions, so I can excuse shortcomings. It's when a simple thing has a since use and purpose and it can't do that that I get angry.

I'm going to step away from the keyboard now.

In reply to bouldery bits:

> Self service checkout


I have to vehemently disagree with this one. If you use the thing properly it allows about 4x the ratio of customers to staff on the checkout. In my experience the started out as buggy as hell and undermanned but nowadays I find they work reliably and are suitably staffed most of the time.

3
FactorXXX 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Swindon.

1
Stuart William 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Good call. My favourite are the ones that simultaneously manage to rip every sheet through the middle, and also separate the 2 ply back into its single plies. 

BnB 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Paramo!

13
mick taylor 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

My mums toaster that toasts just over half the bread, warming the rest.  It’s also got a stupid fekin bent rod contraption over the toasting slots designed for part thawing stuff (you can balance a crumpet on it).  All this does is stop you from physically grabbing the toast and burning anyone that tries.  Result:  cold, half toasted bread.

Tom V 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Got to admit first off that I've never used one but electronic hand brakes seem to be getting the thumbs down by users in an approximate 2:1 ratio......

deacondeacon 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Touch screen car stereos seem like reverse engineering. More dangerous to use than old fashioned stereos as taking your eyes off the road is now necessary. Admittedly lots of cars now have steering wheel control which combats the problem. 

mick taylor 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

My in-laws downstairs toilet where the internal front of the pan instantly slopes from under the rim, and at such shallow angle, that when you sit down my meat and two veg can actually touch the pan!!!  And I’m not big, by any stretch of the imagination.

NathanP 05 Feb 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

There is such a thing as sharing too much. 

1
jess13 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

I think all service engineers (note the small e not to upset the Engineers) can give you plenty of advice on bad designs they encounter. In my particular field there is a manufacturer who have been in the news recently who insist on mounting the main control/computer board in the bottom right hand corner of their washing machines. If the kitchen/cellar/garage is slightly damp slugs have a habit of finding their way in and the warmth of the heatsink on the control board very tempting, result a fried slug and a blown control board which is rather expensive , usually causing the machine to be scrapped.  I say to the customer 'would you keep your laptop there' which the obvious reply is no. Crap design!

In reply to MG:

Boeing 737 MAX 

jess13 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Bill Bailey nailed it ' We Brits crave disappointment - Kinder Surprise - crap chocolate and a crap toy -a double whammy'.Kinder Surprise isn't designed badly but its still crap which begs the question can something be well designed but still be crap  

artif 05 Feb 2020
In reply to Tom V:

I don't have one, but I was stuck behind a car in a petrol station last week, who couldn't release the e brake. Hate driving with them as well.

wercat 05 Feb 2020
In reply to BnB:

 my Paramo winter jacket bought in 94 is still in regular use

3
wercat 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

teapots, coffee pots and milk jugs that don't pour without spilling.

It's not as if this problem hasn't been solved so many times before with far less technology available to the makers

dilatory 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

When my daughter was a few months old I bought a "soothing bedtime Bluetooth speaker stuffed bear" thing. Except it had the brightest blue led on light imaginable that half lit the room, would make a ghastly constant beep when the battery ran low and the volume dial would click and clack while it ratcheted into place. It always struck me as so poorly designed for purpose as to almost be a joke. 

TobyA 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

We bought a house that was pretty much ready to go from a builder who had done a big renovation. I'm pretty relaxed on all these things an I'd much prefer to be up the road climbing at Curbar or walking on Kinder than doing DIY (badly) but the presumably water saving toilet cisterns NEVER flush everything on one flush, and we did actually change the taps because the angle of the sink and the design of tap he had chosen guaranteed everyone got a soaked crotch first time the turned the tap on. You would think it had been done as a big practical joke, for how well it worked (or didn't work I suppose).

bouldery bits 05 Feb 2020
In reply to henwardian:

> In reply to bouldery bits:

> I have to vehemently disagree with this one. If you use the thing properly it allows about 4x the ratio of customers to staff on the checkout. In my experience the started out as buggy as hell and undermanned but nowadays I find they work reliably and are suitably staffed most of the time.

Lucky you!

1
john arran 05 Feb 2020
In reply to deacondeacon:

> Touch screen car stereos seem like reverse engineering. More dangerous to use than old fashioned stereos as taking your eyes off the road is now necessary. Admittedly lots of cars now have steering wheel control which combats the problem. 

... unless you're in a hire car, in which case you're usually on the motorway before you realise you have no idea how the radio works and where the steering wheel controls for it are hidden, and you spend the first three near misses working it out.

jess13 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

I'm on a roll here. Bathrooms: those silly little sinks like a baking bowl with a central tap about a foot tall try washing your face and you crack your head on the tap. Square sinks where all the greasy soap deposits gather in the corners and have to be cleaned out with a brush. Square toilets where the flushing water doesn't go around to the front of the rim because of the corners and those toilets where they've left no access to the wingnuts that tighten up the seat (you have to remove the bloody thing from the wall). Baths with the taps halfway down the side of the bath - any problems with the taps or pipes and the bath has to be removed, and if your shower is above the bath you end up barking your knees on the tap when your eyes are full of soap. All designed on a computer to look good in the catalogue but basically crap. The Victorians tried and tested their designs to destruction and that is why the same designs with minor modifications stood the test of time until the advent of computers.

Andy Hardy 05 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

> teapots, coffee pots and milk jugs that don't pour without spilling.

> It's not as if this problem hasn't been solved so many times before with far less technology available to the makers

All of the teapots in every motorway service station everywhere *have* to approved by the ministry of crap design, by law. I think it's to save money on cleaning fluid for the tables, knowing that they will be washed in hot tea several times a day

mcdougal 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

What about toilets where you have to hold the seat while you pee - or worse, ones where the seat falls down halfway through. 

girlymonkey 05 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

Yes, we have a toilet cistern like that. Usually takes around 3 flushes to clear it fully. To make matters worse, the cistern is set into a boxed in bit of wall which isn't accessible so can't even look to see if there's any adjustment in it unless we want to dismantle half the wall.

Also, square toilets! What is that about?! My bum isn't square!! They are an awful shape!

Jamie Wakeham 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Nespresso machines. They manage to be environmentally damaging, more expensive than the competition both in terms of initial outlay and running costs, and yet they make rubbish coffee. What on earth is the point?

Also - any razor more complicated than a simple double edge blade and handle. And for pretty much the same reasons -  any modern alternative is more expensive, more polluting, and a poorer shave to boot!

jess13 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Draw a deep breath for the next round. Built in kitchens especially the appliances, what is wrong with the appearance of a washing machine/fridge/dishwasher that an extra door has to be attached to the front of it at ludicrous expense. However my main gripe about the design is the way the kitchen units are put in first and then the floor as an afterthought often trapping the appliance in which means the worktops have to be removed or the floor ripped up. No service engineer in my area will repair a built in dishwasher unless its under warranty and even then you may be asked to extract it yourself from the units. I've seen £40 kitchens designed like this.

Jenny C 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Cordless keyboards. I can understand cordless mice on laptops but with a desktop?

Why replace a device which doesn't need batteries with one that does and yet gives you no extra benefits in terms of mobility.

3
outdoors.nick 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

"Norman" doors. For example, doors that everyone tries to pull to open (usually due to the massive handles), but they're actually push.

alx 05 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

>  my Paramo winter jacket bought in 94 is still in regular use

As a dog blanket?

3
mick taylor 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Soap dishes that don’t drain....... so the soap turns into a gloopy mess more difficult to hold than an eel  and slips out of your hands and lands behind the bathroom sink and gets covered in various types of hair....and it’s usually that expensive soap that comes wrapped in greaseproof paper and a ribbon and dissolves quickly on purpose.

Robert Durran 05 Feb 2020
In reply to mcdougal:

> What about toilets where you have to hold the seat while you pee - or worse, ones where the seat falls down halfway through.

I assume they are designed to discourage men from peeing while standing up. In fact it means you have to stand on one leg while propping the seat up with a knee so that it requires superb balance and skill to avoid at least some pee ending up on the floor.

Robert Durran 05 Feb 2020
In reply to alx:

>>  my Paramo winter jacket bought in 94 is still in regular use

> As a dog blanket?

Given the way they soak up water, I'd have thought a floor cloth would be an ideal use.

1
Agar Jelly 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Any desktop printer, ever.

Dax H 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Pretty much any air compressor you can think of. On the last factory training course there was a kid who didn't fit, turns out he was a design graduate learning a bit about what the service engineers do. He may have got a bit of a hard time when we made him do all the hard stuff due to bad design. 

2
V1c 05 Feb 2020

Nissan Juke. 

girlymonkey 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

The bike racks in our local Waitrose. They are positioned in such a way that if there are bikes in the racks and cars in the disabled parking bays then any wheelchair user or anyone with a buggy has to walk behind the cars, in the full flow of traffic entering the car park, in order to get past. I feel guilty for parking my bike there, but then there's nowhere else to park them (it is an awful car park in general tbh)

tom r 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Any microwave that has more complicated controls than a dial for power and one for heat.

girlymonkey 05 Feb 2020
In reply to tom r:

And likewise washing machines with more than heat and spin speed options! (Ours has a baby cycle! No one has yet lent me a baby to test it out!)

Timmd 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Those spinning things in the corner cupboards of kitchens, that are circular with a cut out for the corner, the space to the sides of them goes unused, and every so often something gets wedged and makes them harder to turn, or something falls off them right at the back and it takes a bit of faffing to get to it. 

I'd rather have just a deep cupboard in the corner to use up the wasted space, and things organised in order of height with taller things at the back. I'm going to ask for that when my kitchen gets sorted.

Post edited at 22:42
L NERD 05 Feb 2020
In reply to jess13:

> I'm on a roll here. Bathrooms: those silly little sinks like a baking bowl with a central tap about a foot tall try washing your face and you crack your head on the tap. Square sinks where all the greasy soap deposits gather in the corners and have to be cleaned out with a brush. Square toilets where the flushing water doesn't go around to the front of the rim because of the corners and those toilets where they've left no access to the wingnuts that tighten up the seat (you have to remove the bloody thing from the wall). Baths with the taps halfway down the side of the bath - any problems with the taps or pipes and the bath has to be removed, and if your shower is above the bath you end up barking your knees on the tap when your eyes are full of soap. All designed on a computer to look good in the catalogue but basically crap. The Victorians tried and tested their designs to destruction and that is why the same designs with minor modifications stood the test of time until the advent of computers.

I was going to say sinks. 

artif 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

E bikes, a near perfect machine for human transport, ruined by the addition of a load of limited life electrical components designed to make you lazier and less fit. 

17
girlymonkey 05 Feb 2020
In reply to artif:

I used to think this until I chatted with an older couple who had cycle toured their whole lives. They had to stop due to health issues, but e-bikes allowed them to take it up again. They still have to pedal and are out in the fresh air, but the electric assist makes it possible for them to do it with health issues. 

I have also seen it used well on cargo bikes. Better than the cargo being in a vehicle, efficient enough that it can be moved a reasonable distance in a reasonable time frame.

They seem to have their place as far as I can see

artif 05 Feb 2020
In reply to girlymonkey:

Mobility scooters/bikes and cargo transport are fine

4
ena sharples 05 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

f*cking stupid sinks which appear to have been designed by experts calculating the exact parabolic shape so any movement at all slops water all over the place. Who does that?

Oceanrower 06 Feb 2020
In reply to jess13:

> I've seen £40 kitchens designed like this.

Not surprised. F*cking cheapskate!

Enty 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

The car windscreen washer function.

You pull the stalk and the screen wash jets onto the windscreen and the wipers automatically wipe the windscreen 5 times - all good!

Then some fecking designer somewhere thought it would be a good idea to let the wiper do one more wipe a full 5 seconds later, thus smearing the now semi-dry windscreen. Grrrrrr.

E

2
Tringa 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Enty:

The BT website. Give BT are a communication company their website is appalling.

But for me the one that should have all the awards is the new Caledonian Sleeper.

They have taken all the best bits of the old service, thrown them away and replaced them with something that, in the photos, looks superb but in use is a big backward step in almost all areas.

Dave

MG 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Tringa:

> They have taken all the best bits of the old service, thrown them away and replaced them with something that, in the photos, looks superb but in use is a big backward step in almost all areas.

Such as?  I've only used in once but it was very comfortable, I found.

wercat 06 Feb 2020
In reply to artif:

just imagine, for the sake of argument, you acquired a chest condition that reduced your ability to exercise - not an uncommon scenario.  Are you suggesting that said person should just get an invalid scooter rather than perhaps continue to enjoy the benefits of cycling with an altered level of health?

Post edited at 08:41
aln 06 Feb 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

Ours has the opposite problem, with the back of the pan sloping in. I have to have my tackle pressed against the front to avoid skid marks at the back. 

Apologies to NathanP....

Tricky Dicky 06 Feb 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

> My in-laws downstairs toilet where the internal front of the pan instantly slopes from under the rim, and at such shallow angle, that when you sit down my meat and two veg can actually touch the pan!!!

You are supposed to sit on it backwards. That way your jobby sits on the shelf and you can inspect it for worms. Popular in Germany as they eat a lot of pork..............

Tringa 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

> Such as?  I've only used in once but it was very comfortable, I found.

There are some good things in the new Caledonian sleeper  -  windows are larger, beds more comfortable, some of the cabins are en-suite and it is neat and tidy(though it is probably not fair to compared a service that has been in operation for less than a year with one that was over 20 years old), but ....

Cabins
The cabins have, understandably, always been fairly cramped.

The old cabins made the best of this space by providing shelves for luggage above the foot end of both bunks, an additional high level shelf above the sink and a fold down shelf on top of the sink. There was also a small, fold down, shelf in the wall at the side of each bunk which was useful for books, tablets, phones, glasses.

In the new cabins all of these shelves have gone. There is space under the bottom bunk but it is small so the only place to store anything other than a fairly small bag/case is the already very limited floor space. There is one shelf - a small pull out one under the sink, but if luggage is stored on it then the sink can't be used.

The ladder for the top bunk in the old cabins was angled and had wide treads. It could be used in any place and could be placed safely by someone in the top bunk.

The ladders in the new cabins are vertical, have very narrow treads which are painful to climb but more importantly they have to be clipped into a single position for climbing and this cannot be done by someone in the top bunk. Unfortunately, this position makes getting out of the bottom bunk difficult.

Headroom in the cabins has always been limited but was fairly well balanced between the bunks. You could never sit completely upright in the top bunk but at least you could get half way there.

In the new cabins the headroom in the top bunk has been reduced to 70cm which means lying down is the only option.

Seated Sleeping carriage

There is more legroom in the new carriage but the seats do not recline as much as the old seats.

The backs of old seats had 'wings' which were very handy to rest against when sleeping but are missing from the new seats, which seems odd in a carriage that is intended for sleeping.

In the past there were complaints about the overhead lighting in this carriage being too bright. The new service has addressed this by adding even more light - there is a bright lighting tube above every window. This might be understandable if these lights were to provide illumination for each passenger. However, every seat has a directional reading light which makes the window lighting unnecessary. Have to say on my last trip on the sleeper, about a couple of weeks ago, it seems the new service have listened because the window lights were turned off during the night.

The new carriages have an air conditioning outlet along the full length of the bottom of the windows and having a draught in your face all night is no fun at all.

The backs of the seats in the old carriages had a small elasticated mesh storage pouch. This was very useful for things you might need readily to hand during the journey, eg bottles of water, tablets, books, glasses. In the new carriages the only place to store such things in on the floor. 

Lounge car

The old lounge car of Caledonian Sleeper was a gem. It was spacious, had big comfortable settees, and cafe style tables. It felt a bit special and joy to relax in while taking in the view of the sunset or sunrise. The informal table and chair arrangement allowed an additional person to join a group. Now, the settees have gone, all the tables and chairs are fixed and it looks like a slightly up market motorway services.

The problems with the old service were of neglect and lack of maintenance, not of design, which was good. I feel the new service decided to get rid of everything of the old service rather than look at what worked and how it could be incorporated. I also feel the accommodation on the new service was never tested by real people doing real journeys.

However, I will still use the service as it is the most convenient way for me to get to Inverness. I just hope Serco take the criticisms on board (out over nearly 530 Trip Advisor reviews nearly 250 rated the service as terrible or poor), though the changes that can be made are limited.

Dave 

LastBoyScout 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Bugaboo Chameleon pram

New-build houses/housing estates.

MG 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Tringa:

Hmm.  You've convinced me!  I still enjoyed the (pricey) trip.

LastBoyScout 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> Cordless keyboards. I can understand cordless mice on laptops but with a desktop?

> Why replace a device which doesn't need batteries with one that does and yet gives you no extra benefits in terms of mobility.

Because I can plug the laptop into the TV and sit on the sofa and do stuff

Actually, I originally got one because my home office desk got used for various things and it was a lot easier to leave the dongle plugged into the docking station and put the keyboard elsewhere.

Flinticus 06 Feb 2020
In reply to john arran:

Or you spend the journey listening to crap local radio that the car hire depot guy decided to inflcit on all hirers.

Flinticus 06 Feb 2020
In reply to tom r:

That's all our microwave has. Its over 25 years old and I'm (not quite) dreading what we'll eventually replace it with when it does breakdown (it can't be immortal!). Something linked to the internet of things no doubt...shudder

Flinticus 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

The rotator cuff...though it does keep me rotating at night.

cb294 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Kettles. Yet to find a model that does not release steam across the handle when pouring. Why?

CB

Dave Garnett 06 Feb 2020
In reply to LastBoyScout:

> Bugaboo Chameleon pram

Must be really annoying never being able to find it!

Dave Garnett 06 Feb 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> We bought a house that was pretty much ready to go from a builder

Rookie mistake!

Dave Garnett 06 Feb 2020
In reply to deacondeacon:

> Touch screen car stereos seem like reverse engineering. More dangerous to use than old fashioned stereos as taking your eyes off the road is now necessary. 

Touch screen controls in general.  At the very least you need to take your eyes off the road and nearly always need to navigate through at least two levels of menu.  That's assuming they actually react when you touch them and the sun isn't shining on the screen so you can't read it.

Our other car has a massive chunky knob for controlling the radio which is big step forward.

Timmd 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Flinticus:

> That's all our microwave has. Its over 25 years old and I'm (not quite) dreading what we'll eventually replace it with when it does breakdown (it can't be immortal!). Something linked to the internet of things no doubt...shudder

My circa six year old Panasonic Inverter is simple enough, it has a power setting and a time/weight dial to turn which are easily found and can be operated 'as is' while ignoring the things like Chaos Defrost, whatever that is. I've never gone further than using the most easily found controls.

Post edited at 12:40
bpmclimb 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

DLOG!

kathrync 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Those rechargable bluetooth mice that Apple were making a couple of years ago.  The port to recharge it was on the base, so you couldn't use it while it was charging.   Because, of course, no-one has ever had their battery run out while they are still trying to work...

Hat Dude 06 Feb 2020
In reply to henwardian:

> There are so many things. Knives that don't cut, waterproofs that leak, sliding bevels that don't hold an angle, set squares that are not square, pens that don't write.....

Nice rant but aren't these quality problems rather than of design?

You can have the best design ever but it doesn't matter if it's badly made; vice versa is also true.

Post edited at 12:43
girlymonkey 06 Feb 2020
In reply to bpmclimb:

> DLOG!

Yep. Absolutely with you there!

tom r 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

usb charging plugs where the port is at the side which makes it difficult/impossible to plug in another plug next to it.

Toerag 06 Feb 2020
In reply to jess13:

> Kinder Surprise - crap chocolate

It's great flattened out on bread and butter.

mountain.martin 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Our other car has a massive chunky knob for controlling the radio

Don't be so hard on yourself.

😁

Post edited at 13:59
Toerag 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> Those spinning things in the corner cupboards of kitchens, that are circular with a cut out for the corner, the space to the sides of them goes unused, and every so often something gets wedged and makes them harder to turn, or something falls off them right at the back and it takes a bit of faffing to get to it. 

We had something fall into the gap between the panel and the shelves when it shut so we couldn't open it again (you had to push the corner in to undo the latch which stopped it spinning)! An hour on my back poking coathangers up inside eventually managed to clear it luckily.  New house has a 'magic cupboard' with shelves that pull out in a strange s-shaped motion, it's a thousand times better. Looks like this:- https://www.handleheaven.co.uk/nuvola-twin-shelf-magic-corner--innostor-plus---to-suit-2-cabinet-widths-ecf-ipn7190010001200-6714-p.asp

Toerag 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Double power sockets with the switches next to each other in the middle so you turn the wrong one off if you're hamfisted.

Yanis Nayu 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Toasters. Unbelievable that they don’t even fit the product they were designed to process, then there’s their unreliable toasting performance. 

plyometrics 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Recumbent bikes. 

Archy Styrigg 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

> My vote is train toilet doors. 


Mind bleach - it never seems to work.

McHeath 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Hotel showers where the flow and temperature are both controlled by a single lever at elbow height; no matter how carefully you move, you're going to get suddenly scalded or frozen.

Baron Weasel 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Central heating controls. A million functions controlled by just 2 buttons. The guy who installed ours was as clueless as I remain about how to do anything more complicated than turning it up and down. 

The instructions may as well have been in mandarin to boot. 

tlouth7 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> Central heating controls. A million functions controlled by just 2 buttons.

I have a theory about user interfaces that they can work fine if they have either:

 - minimal screen and lots of buttons. This allows you to assign one task to each button which is easy to follow. Example scientific calculator.

 - few buttons but a decent screen. This allows you to easily describe what each button is currently doing. Example cash machines (though some of these are pretty bad).

If an interface has a small screen and few buttons then it will inevitably be hard work. Example heating controls, digital watches.

althesin 06 Feb 2020
In reply to mountain.martin:

And now I've got coffee all over my phone.

Timmd 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

> We had something fall into the gap between the panel and the shelves when it shut so we couldn't open it again (you had to push the corner in to undo the latch which stopped it spinning)! An hour on my back poking coathangers up inside eventually managed to clear it luckily.  New house has a 'magic cupboard' with shelves that pull out in a strange s-shaped motion, it's a thousand times better. Looks like this:- https://www.handleheaven.co.uk/nuvola-twin-shelf-magic-corner--innostor-plus---to-suit-2-cabinet-widths-ecf-ipn7190010001200-6714-p.asp

That does look better, I think I must have 'an analogue brain' or something, even things like that or predictive text seem to bother me, like it's complication to do something straight forward. It's an interesting design though. My brain goes 'argh'.

Post edited at 15:55
Richt79 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Manchester Airport Security

Dave Garnett 06 Feb 2020
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Don't be so hard on yourself.

> 😁

I was aware of the danger but there's no other way of putting it!

henwardian 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Hat Dude:

> Nice rant but aren't these quality problems rather than of design?

> You can have the best design ever but it doesn't matter if it's badly made; vice versa is also true.

Step getting in the way of my rant with all your logic! :P

GrahamD 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Any jug or kettle that won't actually pour properly.  Thats pretty much their only function in life ffs !

Phil79 06 Feb 2020
In reply to deacondeacon:

> Touch screen car stereos seem like reverse engineering. More dangerous to use than old fashioned stereos as taking your eyes off the road is now necessary.

This! 

I drive a lot of different hire cars and loads of them have touch screens to turn the bloody heating/air con on, accessible only via multi level clicks on a screen you have to physically lean towards. Very distracting and dangerous.

Mercedes' system is the best - they have a touch pad and hand rest on the central console, so you can operate without moving, with less loss of focus on driving.

Post edited at 16:12
Timmd 06 Feb 2020
In reply to aln:

> Ours has the opposite problem, with the back of the pan sloping in. I have to have my tackle pressed against the front to avoid skid marks at the back. 

> Apologies to NathanP....

I've found that a toilet roll inner formed into a U shape can be used for carefully(!) removing any skid marks in the pan which are above water level and causing a smell to waft, it saves the grossness of a toilet brush picking up bits and pieces too.

Further apologies to NathanP...

Post edited at 17:17
nniff 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Phil79:

> This! 

> I drive a lot of different hire cars and loads of them have touch screens to turn the bloody heating/air con on, accessible only via multi level clicks on a screen you have to physically lean towards. Very distracting and dangerous.

> Mercedes' system is the best - they have a touch pad and hand rest on the central console, so you can operate without moving, with less loss of focus on driving.

They also have an electronic handbrake that does sensible things, like take itself off when you press the accelerator, puts itself on if you switch the engine off (and puts itself into park).   Bit of German logic

LastBoyScout 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Must be really annoying never being able to find it!

Good one

However, it's really easy to find - if you can't get anything in the car boot, there it is!

jkarran 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Cameron's referendum. 

Jk

wercat 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

toilets in Alpine Huts, particularly the old Mittellegi Hut's Gangway to Fear

Oh yes, and can I add toggles and cords on hoods that whip your face and even your eyes in a high wind

Post edited at 18:30
Pullhard 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

iTunes 

MG 06 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

> toilets in Alpine Huts, particularly the old Mittellegi Hut's Gangway to Fear

WHAT!!! That was a masterpiece of design and a classic of the genre. 

Eric9Points 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Rick Graham:

> Oven timers     .

Yes it's hard to beat oven timers isn't it? It's the way that a one wrong push on a button can leave you staring at a useless oven and a flashing display which can only be reset by switching the electricity supply for the entire street on and off.

Several times.

Eric9Points 06 Feb 2020
In reply to jkarran:

> Cameron's referendum. 

> Jk

Which one.

I'd say the first was the worst.

wercat 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

I was using it when lightning struck the rocks so close by that my hair was pulled sideways by it (and it is curly, though I had more of it then and it was darker)

artif 06 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

> just imagine, for the sake of argument, you acquired a chest condition that reduced your ability to exercise - not an uncommon scenario.  Are you suggesting that said person should just get an invalid scooter rather than perhaps continue to enjoy the benefits of cycling with an altered level of health?

I'm not saying that at all.

But I suspect the majority of e bike owners are not less able. In the same realm of assisted top roping

krikoman 06 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

My penis, it's either too small or the wrong shape!

nufkin 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Tringa:

>  The problems with the old service were of neglect and lack of maintenance, not of design, which was good. I feel the new service decided to get rid of everything of the old service rather than look at what worked and how it could be incorporated. I also feel the accommodation on the new service was never tested by real people doing real journeys.

Some years ago I somehow got included in a focus group looking at various proposals for revising the Sleeper. The majority of the people there were, I would say, keen on the old service, sometimes vehemently so, but I'm not sure how much of the feeling for the classic Caledonian Sleeper would have trickled back to Serco - it seemed from the proposals being put forward for consideration that they were very much intending to make the sleeper an exclusive and luxurious service, rather than a practical one for people just wanting to combine travel and sleep. 
I would think the main problem with this, aside from my objection on principle as a grubby prole who gratefully benefitted from the Bargain Berths many times, is that it's hard to sell something as glamourous when you start late in Euston and finish early in Glasgow - or vice versa - and passengers are likely to be intending to be asleep pretty much all of the intervening time. I suppose going to Inverness or Fort William adds enough time and scenery to permit some luxuriating potential, but it's still hardly the Orient Express.


I can't now remember most of the details, and I haven't used the new service yet to see if I'm reminded of anything proposed, but I'm not particularly surprised to learn it's not necessarily an outright triumph

ben b 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Toerag:

> Double power sockets with the switches next to each other in the middle so you turn the wrong one off if you're hamfisted.

Hmmm.... I think that's a "software" problem!

> Kettles. Yet to find a model that does not release steam across the handle when pouring. Why?

The water comes out of the lowest bit , but the (single) handle needs to be at the highest bit ergonomically, and steam goes upwards. Ironically, this is less of an issue the more water you (needlessly) boil i.e. a full kettle for a single cup of tea is less likely to burn because the pour angle is less. 

Could be fixed by the double handled kettle but I'm not going to stake my livelihood on that patent.

> And likewise washing machines with more than heat and spin speed options!

Totally agree. Should be a single button marked "Forty, carefully but sufficient". Unlike our Bosch front loader which has an option for "Outdoor Impregnation" that initially surprised, and then charmed, Mrs B...

b

Hillseeker 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Enty:

Discovered a method to combat this in my Seat Leon...

Pull the stalk to spray water then immediately put windscreen wipers on then off after required time. The car forgets the annoying extra wipe!

Post edited at 06:29
Hillseeker 07 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Rear light clusters in certain cars...

Some cars have the indicator light set within the braking light so that it becomes very hard to see an indicator working when the brake is also activated. Potentially leading to disaster in an overtake scenario when car in front is turning right...

Jim Lancs 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Hillseeker:

Some cars have the indicator light set within the braking light ...

Ain't that the truth! VW are the worst I think.

Dave Garnett 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Hillseeker:

> Rear light clusters in certain cars...

I've certainly noticed in recent years that indicators have become less easy to see.  This after many years of them (indeed all lighting) improving to the point that almost perfect visibility in nearly all conditions was taken for granted.

Recently I've had a few instances where I've nearly missed signals, usually oncoming traffic in bright sunlight, where the indicator just didn't seem bright enough and/or was concealed within a complex light cluster.  Have the regs changed?

Of course, drivers apparently unable to locate the switch on the steering wheel is still a far larger problem!

And what's this business of other lights switching off when the indicator comes on all about?

Post edited at 09:20
McHeath 07 Feb 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> My penis, it's either too small or the wrong shape!

Software or hardware problem?  

1
wercat 07 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

cameras without viewfinders

a related topic is screens/control panels that become invisible used in daylight/sunshine  - OLED don't do well in this respect even though they look good indoors

cb294 07 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Yes that was some toilet!

The best one, though, is at the top floor of the Capanna Margherita. No adventures involved, but the views into the highest face of the Alps as you sit on your throne are unbeatable!

CB

Martin W 07 Feb 2020
In reply to henwardian:

> In reply to bouldery bits:

> > Self service checkout.

> I have to vehemently disagree with this one. If you use the thing properly it allows about 4x the ratio of customers to staff on the checkout. In my experience the started out as buggy as hell and undermanned but nowadays I find they work reliably and are suitably staffed most of the time.

I'm going to vehemently disagree with you.  First off: the "4x the ratio of customers to staff on the checkout" is only really a benefit to the retailer; it's of marginal if any benefit to the customer.

As for being bug-free: I tried to use one at Sainsbury's the other day.  It started off by asking me if I had my own bag.  I pressed the "yes" button and it told me to put the bag in the bagging area and press "Start".  I did that, and it immediately said I had to wait for a member of staff to assist me.  What on earth was the point of that?  I did what it told me to (so I was "using the thing properly") and it couldn't cope.  I mentioned this to the lassie who came to clear the fault and she said "Yes, they're rubbish aren't they".   So even the people in the shop know they're far from perfect.

That experience highlighted yet again for me the single major design fault with self service checkouts: the "bagging area".  Apart from the reliability or otherwise of the scales, they actually slow the checkout process down, since you can't use both hands to scan items through quickly because of having to keep in sync with the scan-weigh cycle that the machine imposes on you.

The best self service checkouts that I have encountered are those in Ikea which don't have a bagging area.  That's partly because it would be rather impractical to have to unload a trolley-full of flatpack furniture on to a weighing scale, and then load it up again (quite apart from the difficulty of building a scale capable of reliably measuring the cumulative weight of anything from a flatpack wardrobe to a small bag of plastic clips for the lid of a plastic storage box, for example).  If Ikea, which probably averages a much higher transaction value per checkout 'session' than your average supermarket, can manage without the wholly dubious so-called advantages of a weighed bagging area then I would humbly suggest that so can every other retailer - and the world would be a better place.

My local B&Q superstore has recently got rid of its four self service checkouts.  They were pretty unreliable - at least one of them was out of service every time I went there.  Their store at the other side of town never had them.  I wonder if they just got rid of the ones at my local store because they kept breaking down, or whether they actually did a comparison between the efficiency and effectiveness of the checkout process at each store and concluded that the self service ones were actually of no overall benefit?

spartacus 07 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Human arse holes, defiantly a class B product.

Bloodfire 07 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

That Tesla 4x4 thing that looks like the A-Team put together in a shed with so called tough glass.

Jim Fraser 07 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

UK constitution obviously.

AllanMac 08 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Plastic packaging. Especially those tough blister packs where there is a risk of serious personal injury (and/or damage to contents) trying to get into it.

rj_townsend 08 Feb 2020
In reply to jess13:

> I think all service engineers (note the small e not to upset the Engineers) can give you plenty of advice on bad designs they encounter. In my particular field there is a manufacturer who have been in the news recently who insist on mounting the main control/computer board in the bottom right hand corner of their washing machines. If the kitchen/cellar/garage is slightly damp slugs have a habit of finding their way in and the warmth of the heatsink on the control board very tempting, result a fried slug and a blown control board which is rather expensive , usually causing the machine to be scrapped.  I say to the customer 'would you keep your laptop there' which the obvious reply is no. Crap design!

I assume that Indesit is an offshoot of this particular manufacturer as I had exactly this experience with mine...

Planeandsimple 08 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Honour 10 phone. It has a glass screen and reverse side. Because the glass is highly polished it is really easy to drop, the glass is also slightly curved to minimise surface area contact when left on tables. It finds a way off all flat surfaces without even vibranting. Probably the most annoying part about it is that phone glass also isn't durable so it's of course cracked. Stupid choice of material

Queenie 08 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Those plastic ring-pulls on milk cartons, hidden beneath the cap. They're fiddly, uncomfortable to use and often lead to milk getting sloshed over the worktop. Arla manage not to need them on their cartons, but supermarkets' own continue with them.

Darron 08 Feb 2020
In reply to jess13:

> which begs the question can something be well designed but still be crap  

IPhillips Starck designed lemon squeezer from Alessi. Classic example of form over function.

HardenClimber 09 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Filament car lights which are 'impossible' to easily replace.

Andy Farnell 09 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Pretty much every supermarket carpark. The spaces are too narrow for many modern cars and lots of them have idiotic and chaotic one way systems.

Andy F

Hooo 09 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Aftermarket car stereos. 

My van came with an awful Pioneer thing. Tiny buttons, no volume knob, no off button and a display that's unreadable in any conditions. It's impossible to use while driving. I've been looking for a replacement, but they are all like that! In single DIN units all manufacturers have the same design. The only alternative is one with a big touch screen, a fundamentally​ shit idea for something supposed to be used by a driver.

The Wild Scallion 09 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

> My vote is train toilet doors. 

Izal toilet paper.

deepsoup 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> Tiny buttons, no volume knob, no off button and a display that's unreadable in any conditions. It's impossible to use while driving. I've been looking for a replacement, but they are all like that!

Mine isn't.  It's a Sony something or other.  It has a volume knob, an off button, a clear readable display.  Some fiddly little buttons for sure (though they are usable), but not the more important ones. 

For a while now I've been vaguely considering an upgrade to get one with a DAB radio, so have occasionally done a bit of half-hearted window-shopping.  It seems to me there are plenty of perfectly usable single-DIN car stereos out there.

henwardian 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin W:

> I'm going to vehemently disagree with you.  First off: the "4x the ratio of customers to staff on the checkout" is only really a benefit to the retailer; it's of marginal if any benefit to the customer.

Less staff = less overheads = cheaper prices. In theory at least.

> As for being bug-free: I tried to use one at Sainsbury's the other day.  It started off by asking me if I had my own bag.  I pressed the "yes" button and it told me to put the bag in the bagging area and press "Start".  I did that, and it immediately said I had to wait for a member of staff to assist me.  What on earth was the point of that?  I did what it told me to (so I was "using the thing properly") and it couldn't cope.  I mentioned this to the lassie who came to clear the fault and she said "Yes, they're rubbish aren't they".   So even the people in the shop know they're far from perfect.

I guess your Sainsbury needs to install better ones.

> That experience highlighted yet again for me the single major design fault with self service checkouts: the "bagging area".  Apart from the reliability or otherwise of the scales, they actually slow the checkout process down, since you can't use both hands to scan items through quickly because of having to keep in sync with the scan-weigh cycle that the machine imposes on you.

This is true, they are slower and if I had a big shop, I'd probably use a normal checkout but for smaller quantities of items, it's still reasonably efficient. Maybe the next step in the evolution is a camera that tracks items by object recognition so there is no need for the weighing step.

> The best self service checkouts that I have encountered are those in Ikea which don't have a bagging area.  That's partly because it would be rather impractical to have to unload a trolley-full of flatpack furniture on to a weighing scale, and then load it up again (quite apart from the difficulty of building a scale capable of reliably measuring the cumulative weight of anything from a flatpack wardrobe to a small bag of plastic clips for the lid of a plastic storage box, for example).  If Ikea, which probably averages a much higher transaction value per checkout 'session' than your average supermarket, can manage without the wholly dubious so-called advantages of a weighed bagging area then I would humbly suggest that so can every other retailer - and the world would be a better place.

While I don't know for certain, I strongly suspect that trials were made and devices designed that did not require weighing and that issues of shopper honesty WERE a problem. Because the thing is, a weighing area machine with everything synced up is more expensive to design and buy and more expensive to run (increased staffing cost because of higher levels of errors during operation), so a ruthlessly capitalistic company like a major supermarket is not going to absorb that extra machine cost AND alienate customers like yourself with the reduced speed you can use it for absolutely no benefit. Intuitively I would suspect that statistics will suggest people are more likely to steal from supermarkets than furniture stores for a variety of reasons.

> My local B&Q superstore has recently got rid of its four self service checkouts.  They were pretty unreliable - at least one of them was out of service every time I went there.  Their store at the other side of town never had them.  I wonder if they just got rid of the ones at my local store because they kept breaking down, or whether they actually did a comparison between the efficiency and effectiveness of the checkout process at each store and concluded that the self service ones were actually of no overall benefit?

I've no idea. I don't remember ever seeing a shop remove automatic checkouts myself. I would be weary of assuming that a single isolated example is indicative of an overall pattern of the tide turning against them.

kathrync 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin W:

> The best self service checkouts that I have encountered are those in Ikea which don't have a bagging area.

I like the ones in Decathlon.  They have a box - you drop your items into the box one at a time, and it simultaneously weighs and scans them. I don't know what the mechanism is as they aren't using barcodes - presumably RFID or similar. Very quick and simple. 

Hooo 11 Feb 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

What model is it? Although TBH I do want one with modern features like DAB and Bluetooth. I'm sure I could get a retro FM Cassette player that's​ a joy to use, it's just with modern units that they have thrown out usability with the drive to include features. 

Hooo 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin W:

Yes. The Sainsburys ones are appalling. I tried to use one the other day for a small basket of stuff, and gave up and joined the queue for the human.

Waitrose on the other hand are great. Probably quicker than the human checkout. Partly because they are better staffed, but mostly because they don't weigh the bagging area. I guess you get a different class of customer in Waitrose

deepsoup 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Hooo:

Oh god, now you're asking.  As luck would have it I did bring the 'face' into the house this evening though (don't tell my local scrotes, but I usually just leave it in a pencil case in the door pocket.)  Stand by..

It's a CDX-GT33U.  No DAB or Bluetooth, but it does play MP3s off a memory stick.  (Which is perfect for me as I mostly listen to podcasts and BBC radio programmes I've downloaded.)  It is a bit old now, I bought it for the van before last - I had a quick look online to see if volume knobs have gone out of fashion or something, but it doesn't seem that way to me.

eg: https://www.halfords.com/technology/car-audio/dab-car-stereos/alpine-ute-204dab-car-stereo-with-bluetooth 
(I'm not recommending this, it's just the first one I saw.)
DAB & Bluetooth, volume knob, decent sized 'off' button and the other buttons don't look too fiddly either.

Post edited at 18:22
Hooo 11 Feb 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

It doesn't have an off button! It has a Source button that if you hold it down turns it off. Just like the stereo I have now. This is shit. It means when something happens and I need to silence the stereo quickly I end up changing it to FM and getting blasted by static instead. I hate it.

deepsoup 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> Yes. The Sainsburys ones are appalling. I tried to use one the other day for a small basket of stuff, and gave up and joined the queue for the human.

I've noticed that the smaller 'local' Sainsburys ones are particularly annoying, much more so than those in their bigger supermarkets.  Perhaps they're running an older version of the software or something.  Or perhaps they're set up to be remotely 'supervised' by someone who is also running a 'human' checkout just next to them, which involves a different degree of "unexpected item in the bagging area" paranoia.

I find all the others very good, not as good as a good human checkout person but much better than a bad or indifferent one who just chucks stuff at you as fast as they can scan it in a random order even though you've made an effort to put it on the belt with the heavier stuff that'll be going in the bottom of the bag first.

Funny you should mention Waitrose.  My local one is just around the corner from a large Aldi, and while I can't really comment on the customers you do seem to get a very different class of staff in Aldi - *much* better.  There are fewer of them and they seem a lot busier, but they're also friendlier, more efficient and much more helpful in my experience. 

Perhaps I'm the wrong class of customer for Waitrose - they might be brilliant if they think you're a VIP, but sadly I am very obviously just a P.

deepsoup 11 Feb 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> It doesn't have an off button!

Ah, I see what you mean.  Mine does, but I don't think they make it any more.  (It has a separate 'source' button that also switches the thing on.)

What happens if you hit the 'source' button twice in quick succession?
Does yours have a 'pause' button?  If it's one of the fiddly little ones could you glue a little piece of plastic or something to it to make it stand out a bit more?

Post edited at 19:10
deepsoup 11 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Ooh - here's a brilliant invention.  Perfect for a certain poster here who worries very much about RF radiation associated with 5G.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/x-blue/x-blue-rf-radiation-blocking-smartphone-case

It's a smart case for your phone that completely blocks harmful RF radiation (phone reception, bluetooth and wi-fi unaffected). 

It's made out of 'sustainable wood' and 'natural leather', I'm not sure they would usually have much effect on RF but I guess they must be treated with snake oil or something.

L Gaia 11 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Sinks that have separate hot and cold taps... who thought that was a good idea?! You end up freezing AND burning your hands all at the same time as you go argh cold, ouch hot, argh cold, ouch hot...

2
Timmd 11 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

The 'walkie talkie' skyscraper in London which melted cars, set rugs on fire and caused slates on shop fronts to shatter with the reflected and concentrated heat from the sun's rays, before shades were added to stop it happening. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/sciencemain/london-skyscraper-can-melt-cars-set-buildings-fire-8C11069092

That it's happened before with the same architect creates the possibility they've a grudge against humanity and do it on purpose.  ;-)

Post edited at 23:53
tlouth7 12 Feb 2020
In reply to deepsoup:

> I've noticed that the smaller 'local' Sainsburys ones are particularly annoying, much more so than those in their bigger supermarkets.  Perhaps they're running an older version of the software or something.

I have noticed a bigger delay between pressing buttons and the subsequent action in the Sainsbury's Local ones. This is irritating as you press "Look Up Item", nothing happens, so you press again just as the screen changes and suddenly you have rung your potato through as a costa coffee.

The Tesco self checkouts are better than the Sainsbury's ones for the simple reason that as soon as you press "Checkout" the contactless machine is enabled so you don't have to go through the rigmarole of selecting payment type.

That said, with a bit of practice all of them work perfectly well, and the reduction in checkout staff is saving you money.

summo 12 Feb 2020
In reply to tlouth7:

>  and the reduction in checkout staff is saving you money.

Or increases their profit margin, whilst reducing local employment. 

3
Timmd 12 Feb 2020
In reply to summo:

> Or increases their profit margin, whilst reducing local employment. 

Yes.

MG 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> Yes.

Why so do you say that? Retail profits margins are wafer thin under attack from online retail. 

Timmd 12 Feb 2020
In reply to MG: It seems logical that fewer staff is going to increase profits if customer service is maintained.

Post edited at 12:03
summo 12 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

> Why so do you say that? Retail profits margins are wafer thin under attack from online retail. 

Not really they are selling through both, they make the money either way. In store, online delivery, or via a third party as some do. 

With tills you don't get a discount when you do the work for them. I always use the staffed check out, if it keeps the turnover up through them, they won't go entirely self scan. 

Acky 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Gaia:

Yeah, but on average you're quite comfortable :D

In reply to Acky:

Hebden Bridge flood alleviation scheme.

tlouth7 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> It seems logical that fewer staff is going to increase profits if customer service is maintained.

Reducing staff reduces cost which allows them to sell products slightly cheaper in the hope of holding onto their market share. Supermarkets are about the closest thing to perfect competition we have in the UK, and any economist can tell you that in a perfectly competitive market the price for products is one that results in minimum profits.

Supermarkets don't install self-checkouts to increase profits, they do it to stay competitive.

Timmd 12 Feb 2020
In reply to tlouth7:

> Reducing staff reduces cost which allows them to sell products slightly cheaper in the hope of holding onto their market share. Supermarkets are about the closest thing to perfect competition we have in the UK, and any economist can tell you that in a perfectly competitive market the price for products is one that results in minimum profits.

> Supermarkets don't install self-checkouts to increase profits, they do it to stay competitive.

How do you know all this?

Genuine question...

MG 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> How do you know all this?

> Genuine question...

If you keep an eye on the news, (the viscous) competition between supermarkets is quite often reported.  The idea they are pocketing loads of money from sacking checkout assistants doesn't stack up at all.  Here are Sainsbury's dividend payments.  If anything they are declining

https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/investors/shareholder-information/dividends

James Malloch 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> Hebden Bridge flood alleviation scheme.

I can’t comment on the scheme itself, but in general I’d say that granting planning permission for development of flood-plains is a worse idea.

Often these schemes, as is in the name, is to reduce the impact rather than stop flooding. So hopefully it has worked to some extent. However, I do very much feel for those impacted. It must be a truly shit time!

Timmd 12 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

> If you keep an eye on the news, (the viscous) competition between supermarkets is quite often reported.  The idea they are pocketing loads of money from sacking checkout assistants doesn't stack up at all.  Here are Sainsbury's dividend payments.  If anything they are declining

''The idea they are pocketing loads of money from sacking checkout assistants doesn't stack up at all.''

What is quoted above isn't quite what I said, though, and is something different to saying that self service tills increases profits. The profit increase could come from the same people doing a bigger range of things within the store.

Post edited at 15:44
MG 12 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> ''The idea they are pocketing loads of money from sacking checkout assistants doesn't stack up at all.''

> What is quoted above isn't quite what I said, though, and is something different to saying that self service tills increases profits. 

It's a casual way of saying the same thing

> The profit increase could come from the same people doing a bigger range of things within the store.

Do you have any evidence super markets are making greater profits of late - my link above suggests they aren't?  Automated  tills are simply a means for doing things more productively, which, given the competition supermarkets face, means everyone's food is cheaper than it would otherwise be.

tlouth7 13 Feb 2020
In reply to Timmd:

> How do you know all this?

> Genuine question...

I studied it at uni. I admit that it's a bit of a simplification, and ignores the human stories of the staff who lose out, but it is true that if any of Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons or Asda chose not to have self checkouts they would immediately start losing market share and quite quickly have to close stores.

The Wild Scallion 13 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Lets have a vote for HS2

Sounds like a shit show to me .

DannyC 13 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

'Approach shoes'

Timmd 13 Feb 2020
In reply to tlouth7:

> I studied it at uni. I admit that it's a bit of a simplification, and ignores the human stories of the staff who lose out, but it is true that if any of Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons or Asda chose not to have self checkouts they would immediately start losing market share and quite quickly have to close stores.

Ta for answering. While going to sleep, it struck me that it wouldn't be out of line with capitalism that they'd start to flounder if they stopped using self service check outs, which seemed like a gloomily plausible thought re where things are heading, the continual push for market share and profits, with suppliers taking the hit at times.

Post edited at 14:34
BnB 13 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

> If you keep an eye on the news, (the viscous) competition between supermarkets is quite often reported.  The idea they are pocketing loads of money from sacking checkout assistants doesn't stack up at all.  Here are Sainsbury's dividend payments.  If anything they are declining

Very representative of the stagnation of profits, which were on average 20% higher in the 5 years preceding 2015-2019.

Trangia 14 Feb 2020
In reply to MG:

Inward opening toilet doors, so that having washed your hands you then have to grab a handle to pull it open. OK you can use a tissue to hold it, but the where is the foot operated waste bin? On the opposite side of the room from the door. Believe it or not this design is in my local hospital!

So much for infection control.......


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