Mar 15, 2011

Kitchen Ninjas vs Paper Towels

Happy: Isn’t it nice how when you grab a tissue out of the box, it’s not attached to the next tissue? And isn’t it nice how it magically replaces itself by bringing up the next tissue? Yes, it is. That’s nice.

Hypothetical Complainy: Wouldn’t it be annoying if when you grabbed a tissue, it was attached to the next one and you had to separate them by tearing them apart? If they were like paper towels—wouldn’t that be annoying? Yes, it would be.

Real Complainy: Isn’t it annoying that paper towels are like paper towels? I usually need only one, just like tissues. And when I go to grab one, it’s attached to the next one. Annoying. And it’s on a roll! Rolly annoying. So then I have to tear one off in a skillful way, so as to keep the roll from unraveling. Even the most skilled human must admit that this is more difficult than grabbing a tissue.

If I am not a kitchen ninja and I don’t quite trust my one-handed tearing-without-unraveling skills, then I might use my other hand to hold the roll firmly in place while I tear. But if my hands are dirty—which they often are when I want a paper towel, and I don’t want to dirty up the next paper towel by touching it, then instead of using my other hand I will use my elbow to hold the roll in place while I tear one off. Yes, my elbow. Very user-friendly. I am pretty sure that this is not what elbows are for. So now I am elbow-hugging a roll of paper towels as unnaturally as anyone, looking silly as can be—silly enough that Someone ought to ask, in an innocent but annoyed and authoritative way, “Why do they come attached to each other on a roll?! Why don’t they come in boxes like tissues?”





  • Ivan says:

    My happy complaint is that I thought you were going to use the Kung Fu Hamster to nunchuk off a paper towel at the desired separation point. Now THAT would be something. Of course, then your happy complaint would have needed to change: “Why don’t paper towel rolls each come with their own Kung Fu Hamster?”

  • Adam says:

    You need a touchless paper towel dispenser:
    (It’s an expensive solution, but doesn’t require the paper towel industry to stop using rolls)

    • Thanks for than link, Adam. I saw the Clean Cut Touchless Paper Towel Dispenser in Bed, Bath & Beyond the other day but I didn’t see it in action. It still looks a little bit slower than the normal speed with which you would tear off a paper towel, though. Also, I’m not sure why they didn’t make the cutting happen automatically after the length has been decided. They make the user tell the machine twice that they’re done and want it cut—once by moving their hand away from the length determiner and once again by making the user move their hand in front of the “cut” sensor. It seems like they could have gotten away with once. I like that you can have any length you want but I’m not sure how much paper that actually saves (something they mention as a feature) but maybe I’m wrong. I know there is a market for the half-sized paper towels. And yes—the dispenser is a little pricey!

  • Jen says:

    Why not just get rid of disposable paper products and use a dish cloth in the kitchen and carry a hankie? Can use either with just one hand, cheaper than the touchless paper towel dispenser, environmentally friendly, and saves counter space.

  • Christine says:

    but you can’t complain…. you seem to have mastered the one handed tear! no grasshopper there. ;)

    it’s all actually a ploy by the paper towel manufacturers. they want you to use the soiled other hand so that you will end up using double the amt of paper towels to clean up. yah?

  • Christina says:

    Well at least now I know where to bring our Kung Fu hamster when he’s feeling like an oddball. Obviously a long lost relative. It’s all in the family!