There’s a little wall-mounted electronic air freshener in our men’s room on the floor where I work. It’s one of those advanced things that automatically spits out a certain amount of freshener every so often. Thankfully, and probably optimally, they have mounted it above a little doorway just inside the men’s room entrance, before you reach the sinks.
I say it needs help because it’s been complaining for the past two weeks.
Every ten seconds or so, it beeps twice. Kind of quiet, in a very polite way. It sort of makes this little “meep…meep” sound. It’s a little bit like a timer letting you know it’s still there.
I can only assume from the fact that it’s been doing this awhile, and by the two zeros on its little display window, that it’s out of air freshener. We have a pretty clean group at my work, so you can’t really notice the difference too much.
Except for the “meep…meep”. Every ten seconds.
It got me thinking…what a clever idea to make the air freshener meep like that when it runs out of air freshener. It makes sense that it would keep doing it until it’s refilled, because our attendants visit twice a day to freshen up in there.
On the other hand, our attendants visit twice a day, have done so for two straight weeks, and yet……”meep…meep”. They don’t hear it. Or maybe they hear it but the cartridges for the thing are too expensive.
Whichever is the case, I think it’s hooked up to the central electric supply. It would be sadder if not, because in addition to the “meep…meep” we would all hear it slowly peter out over time, which would make it sound like a very patient little forgotten robot, stuck in the men’s room, complaining about the smell, or lack of “air-freshened” smell, with no hope of rescue before its little batteries ran out.
I wrote this little piece because, while it must have seemed like a clever idea at the time, giving the air freshener a “meep” doesn’t seem to have increased its chance of being filled one iota. The result is kind of annoying (feels like you have to hurry up in there), and if you think anthropomorphically, a little sad.
I guess a better solution would have been to provide a transmitter for the beep, to let whoever manages the attendants know to order more spray stuff. Another option would be to make it beep whenever someone with an attendant’s badge comes in – but louder, more insistently, and perhaps let it spray something different for them. Something that says “I’m not helping the situation in here, and can you help me?”.
Even better, it would be great if someone left a pack of air freshener cartridges in the men’s room, so I could just replace it myself.