My husband drinks a lot of pop. Luckily, I have found a cheaper store brand that he tolerates. This does, however, require I go to this particular store when returning them. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t found any bottle return facilities that are A+ when it comes to design, but I assure you, this one is the worst. Imagine a dinky little room which reeks of rotting beer and contains only 3 machines for returning cans and plastic bottles–one of which is most definitely going to be broken down for one reason or another so there is always a line. So here I am, with four bags of returnables, an antsy toddler and five people in line behind me, and I have all of these stupid rules I have to remember about how to use the machine. Insert only one can at a time, insert each can bottom-end first, remove the caps from bottles before inserting…blah, blah, blah. These machines are not designed for how people really act. I’ve watched people while waiting in line myself: no one removes the bottle caps, everyone wants to insert whichever end they grab first, and most likely at least once while returning their bottles they get into a groove and accidentally insert more than one. “INSERT ONE AT A TIME!” the machine yells, flashing this message in all caps and beeping incessantly and loudly. Every time this happens, I find myself feeling embarrassed as if I’ve just gotten into trouble and everyone in the class saw. I’m all about user feedback, but this is a bit much. It’s right up there with the intensity of emergency sirens. I have even found myself feeling bad for the person next to me for getting yelled at by the bottle return police. Recently, I saw a message I’d never seen “DO NOT THROW CONTAINERS!” First of all, I wasn’t aware I was returning any “containers,” and secondly, I most certainly did not throw it, so what that was even about I don’t know. I’m sure there are other messages I have yet to uncover.
These machines take the concept of user-friendly to a whole new level. Not only are they designed without any type of user in mind, they yell at and belittle their users who only want to get the stupid cans and bottles out of their garage. Pay attention next time you’re returning, and be careful not to “throw containers.”