Trashtalking - German Style
November 23, 2003 10:07 PM   Subscribe

Trashtalking - German Style. Forget talking dolls, Berlin's speechifying its trash cans to thank pedestrians after they dump their litter. But is it appropriate to have immaterial things tell you how to use them? [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007 (15 comments total)
Should men's bathrooms tell the entrants to lift up the seat before they pee? Should malls have bad-breath detectors that vocally warn customers to brush their teeth more often?
posted by gregb1007 at 10:09 PM on November 23, 2003

i thought that's what tv was for? damn this convergence, anyway!
posted by quonsar at 10:15 PM on November 23, 2003

Note to self: do not do acid in Berlin.
posted by homunculus at 10:24 PM on November 23, 2003

Why, German toilets, of course: Ach, Hans! You haf not been eating your muesli!
posted by dhartung at 10:24 PM on November 23, 2003

"Thank you for making a simple door very happy."
posted by mmoncur at 1:39 AM on November 24, 2003

Should men's bathrooms tell the entrants to lift up the seat before they pee?

Let's move straight to death rays shall we? Could these also apply to the people who crap on the seat in the gent's down the corridor, and to whoever rips off all of the toilet roll holders in all of the night clubs in England every saturday night?
posted by biffa at 1:52 AM on November 24, 2003

biffa: 'and to whoever rips off all of the toilet roll holders'

You'll have to remember to take yer own mirror ;-)
posted by i_cola at 3:58 AM on November 24, 2003

A mall [shudder] near my house has these.

It says "Thank you," and I respond with a cheery "Go fuck yourself."

Makes me feel better about being there.
posted by donpardo at 6:24 AM on November 24, 2003

As usual, Philip K. Dick anticipated this sort of thing decades ago, but with a twist : one Dick character can be found arguing with his pseudo-sentient apartment door which charges a fee to let the occupant in. It's corporate owned.

(Dick character) "Come on, let me in. I'm good for the know that!"

(pseudo-sentient apartment door) "Oh yeah?.....where have I heard that excuse before? You owe me $4.80, and you said exactly the same thing last time. Why should I trust you this time? "

I think Dick used pseudo-sentient pay-as-you-go refrigerators too, and he also described a sentient bed, in one novel, which was programmed to enforce sleep by (among other things) preventing sex. It did this by weighing the occupant(s) and - if the weight seemed to indicate that there were two in the bed - it would retract into the wall and dump the occupants on the floor.

'Sleep' , in this particular case, also involved a bed-enforced system which piped in other people's dreams by means of a special headset, dreams constructed by a different person every night as a result of a national lottery. Each night, an equally insipid dream. Maybe there was product placement too (I can't recall and I'm too lazy to check).

I think this nastiness will eventually be visited on the poor in America (who will eventually come to represent the bulk of the population) - through privatized door and beds, refrigerators which sing little ad jingles and extol the benefits of junk food - and so on - will defray to some extent the cost of living for the American lumpen-middle.

Appliances will all be 'chatty' and quite obnoxious in their love of lecturing humans on their personal habits and choice of consumer goods - one's computer, say, will have been manufactured by a giant cartel or company which has agreements with other manufacturers so that - in the morning, when one boots up the computer, it will proceed to launch into a sanctimonious tirade about what a piece of crap one's computer or toaster oven is.

And that's not all..........

When the "Personal hygiene responsibility health care act" is passed in 2010 ( It will give substantial health care insurance discounts to individuals who keep their weight down and exercise every day), the act will be enforced by means of chips embedded in shoes of all descriptions. You'll need to wear the special shoes to get the discount, and they will - of course - be programmed to nag and criticize (This will simply be a cost-saving measure designed to prevent the administrative costs). The shoes will cause their wearers to sometimes go amok ("shoe rage") and smash the talking shoes against walls or set them ablaze in an attempt to halt the piously intoning sermons - "You're 1/2 a pound overweight. I've let this slide for I while, but I'm losing patience......" or "You haven't worked out on the elliptical today or gone running. What do you do with your time, anyway? Your cardiovascular system is rotting, you know....."
posted by troutfishing at 6:42 AM on November 24, 2003

Roger Von Oech wrote in this book that they had such trash cans in Holland. I never did see them, or any talking trash cans anywhere.
posted by dabitch at 7:02 AM on November 24, 2003

They had these in the Mall of America (Bloomington, MN) and/or Eden Prairie Center (EP, MN) for a while. The doors were automated like a handicapped door where you would push it in and then the motor would kick in. Their awful catchphrase was "Thank you for properly disposing of your trash." They were gone within a few months.
posted by whatzit at 8:06 AM on November 24, 2003

*ding ding ding*
"Your door.. is a jar!"
No it's not. It's a door.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:33 AM on November 24, 2003

*stands in awe of troutfishing epic derailing*

makes the wreck of the old 97 look like child's play. bravo, sir!
posted by keswick at 10:22 AM on November 24, 2003

keswick - Thanks. Its needs a little polishing......I bow to P.K. Dick, demi-god that he was.

Talking trash cans are just the start of it.....

posted by troutfishing at 1:23 PM on November 24, 2003

heh, I ran into a talking elevator in Tokyo. Not only did it thank me for elevating (very politely, of course), it also had a canned apology message for when the stores on the upper levels were closed.
posted by vorfeed at 3:25 PM on November 24, 2003

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