Snap (1)

garbage can lid fastener

Memo to designers: good design that doesn’t work for end users is BAD design.

Case study: the new green garbage cans that we are now required to use so that foodstuffs can be composted (they take the things that you would normally put in your own compost, but also things that you wouldn’t, like meat scraps).

These cans have a handy-dandy handle that snaps over a lip to lock the can against the depredations of errant dogs and raccoons and the like.

Now, I’m not the strongest person in the world (or even on the block), but I’m not frail, either. However, the fit of this device is so tight, and the metal handle so hard to hold, that even after 5 minutes of flinging my (not inconsiderable) entire body weight against it, I couldn’t shut the lid properly and just gave up. (Getting soaked in the pouring rain didn’t make me feel better about the whole thing, either.)

So here’s a question for any Gabriolans out there who’ve been using these: is it just our container that has a problem, or is it a general design flaw?


2 thoughts on “Snap (1)

  1. I’ve not talked to anyone for whom the green containers work; it seems a large percentage of them are flawed in this way. There’s also been complaint about the closures of the little beige counter buckets.

    Caveat: It is not so much the design that is flawed, as it is the execution of that design in the manufacturing stage. I think it is not uncommon that good designs are modified at the last minute, after all the testing has been done, when it is found that the manufacture will cost “too much”. So stuff is changed, but no more than cursory re-testing done, and it’s all labeled ‘good enough’, and goes out into the world.

    It’s worse when the things being made have already a market, such as the government, which doesn’t then insist on the quality of the initial design but instead accepts delivery of the re-mastered result so they can make their deadlines.

    1. You could well be right about the gap between design and execution—there’s nothing like saving a little money to shift a design just a bit. Or it could simply be something to do with design tolerances having too much variance.

      Or maybe it’s that they test the damn things on the guys who pick up garbage, not the homeowners/renters who put it out.

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