It's been way too long since last I ranted, and today isn't even a Monday. Call it busyness; my PhD qualifying exams happen next week, so I think I have a decent excuse (for the last few months, anyways).
Unlike some of my more esoteric previous rants, this one should be comprehensible to the majority of people with access to the technology necessary to read it. But, this is not a rant about anything computer-related. It's a rant about paper tissues and their means of dispensal.1. Kleenex (and related trademarks of other companies).
For some reason, about half of the kleenexes (paper tissues, snot-rags, you have your own name for these) I attempt to pull from the ubiquitous boxen either a) stick to the next one in the box, thus giving me two and / or the entire box or b) pull out but do not bring the next one up to the box opening at all. This is annoying. Very annoying. The entire reason for having tissues that pull out one at a time AND auto-load the next tissue is so I can acquire ONE tissue rapidly and efficiently with ONE hand, every time. Both of these failures interfere with that goal. Considering the state of either my face or my hand(s) at the most likely times I'm reaching for a kleenex, this is not excusable. Fix your damn dispensers!2. Paper towels
Some washrooms in public buildings, as are often found on university campuses, provide paper towels for the purpose of hand-drying after washing one's hands. Good, fine, see previous rant on air-blowers. The problem here, besides the usual obviousness like running out, is that the metal dispensers for these carefully-folded papers are close to useless. Rarely are they full, closed, and set up; more often they are overfull (a pile of loose papers on top, or, worse, fallen into the sink and useless), hanging open (and thus wetted and hence useless), or not prepped so one must reach into the dispenser (with wet fingers) to obtain the next towel. The problem actually gets worse when the dispenser is absent or not used (or broken): the papers are folded together, presumably by a machine at the time of production. Absent a rigid container, these designed-to-be-dispensed papers are difficult to grab with wet fingers, especially if one needs only a single paper, and they stick together by air resistance, causing the following two or three sheets to follow the chosen, top sheet and flutter to the floor. This is WASTEFUL, and annoying, particularly in some lab settings where airborne paper towels may land in or on sensitive experiments or materials. I don't need to disturb my carefully-measured dry powder (powdered charcoal and agarose are just two of the relatively harmless such materials I have nearly lost as a result of airborne paper towels), and I don't need a paper towel dropping on my notebook while I'm busy scrubbing chemical nasty off my fingers!* In googling for images for this post, I discovered this method of folding is called "c-folded".
For those unfamiliar with them, KimWipes are the "delicate task wipes" that every laboratory in the world probably has in massive abundance, or wishes they did. They're basically lab-grade kleenex, designed for cleaning small spills of a wide range of chemicals (up to a couple of millilitres, I suppose), for cleaning delicate lab equipment (I use them on my dissecting tools), and similar uses. They come in square little cardboard boxen and are packed much like Kleenex, and have exactly the same problems as outlined above. However, whereas I might have mucus on my fingers when reaching for a kleenex (in most cases a gross if basically harmless material), when I'm reaching for a KimWipe, it is not at all unlikely that my fingers will have a) radioactive material, b) toxic/flammable solvents, or c) bug guts on them (hopefully in all three cases my fingers will also have gloves on them), and that my other hand, the one that cannot be used to stabilize the box or encourage the correct auto-loading of the next tissue, is holding something I cannot put down right now (the list of such objects is long and varied, and runs to live animals and / or fragile objects with commercial values exceeding my lifetime earnings potential).
* The above image includes a Kimwipe dispenser, a plastic (or, rarely, metal) rack that can be bolted to any vertical surface and hold a box of Kimwipes steady against pulls. These are mildly useful; I've met them in the past in some laboratories, but their problems are twofold: 1) The box can slide sideways easily, and often does when the pull is not perfectly orthogonal. 2) These simple little plastic racks are ridiculously expensive, often costing more that $40 each.