Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Northern Toilet Paper

My favorite toilet paper doesn't have perforations. No, my favorite toilet paper is free toilet paper. But I don't need the perforations. Northern toilet paper, which is quite pricey due to its softness, has perforations running lengthwise, down the roll! I mean, like, from beginning to end. Why is this? Because when you try to tear off a piece to use it, it tears lengthwise, which is maddening.

I remember a thing in Mad Magazine when I was kid, a cartoon about "planned obsolescence" which was the first time I'd ever heard of that concept. It's funny-- at the time I thought it something more in the mind of the consumer. It always seems like that malfunction must be built in. I didn't realize or actually want to believe, at that young age, that that is the way things work. Well, I guess they used to hide it. Now they just put obvious perforations right through the roll, for no apparent reason, figuring that people are too cynical, distracted, braindead, and depressed to really care. They're probably right.


Jeff said...

Wow, I totally remember that MAD Magazine article about Planned Obsolescence too!! That article made a huge impression on me - I'm sure it was totally meant as satire, but I think it was really pretty true too, and because of it, I've always been on the lookout for this kind of corporate chicanery, and it seems like it really gets more and more prevalent as time goes on. They've even made planned obsolescence a "feature" and a selling point of some things - disposability rather than making things you can reuse and maintain, so you can buy something again and again and AGAIN instead of just buying it once and taking care of it.

I don't use fancy quilted toilet paper though, so I dont' know about this vertical Northern perforation thing - that sounds completely absurd. Maybe the paper got threaded on the spools the wrong way around?

Darius Smith said...