Inspired by a group of four objects vertically stacked up against the side of the microwave, it suddenly struck me that the humble tray screams out for a redesign. What are trays supposed to do? They are supposed to allow you to take food and mugs into different locations of your humble abode and sit and consume contentedly.

There is too much butter on those trays… Basil Fawlty

So why are all the trays in our house like plastic ice rinks? Yes, they are shiny. This may suit the crew of the Firefly class ship Serenity but the last thing you want balancing hot food and liquids on your lap is to have them jostle like ice hockey players around a puck. Why are most trays built to enable food and drink to slide at all, the opposite of its intended purpose?

tray

There is another distraction screaming for a redesign. For all the things this particular supermarket chain gets right on a daily basis, there is one little niggle which never fails to surprise me when checking out. Now, I’m not even sure these little plastic strips have an official name; a ‘divider’ perhaps? You know, the things that separate your shopping from any one else’s. Well the person who designed the dividers at Waitrose didn’t see the P.S. at the bottom of the design memo.

If they had they would have seen the words ‘to be used on a moving conveyor belt’, a significant improvement on the old static conveyor belt. It is the only explanation I can think of for it continually falling over whenever the conveyor belt even twitches. It’s a sturdy thin triangle but so thin that the merest inch of belt movement knocks it over. I have exchanged a great deal of eyebrow raises and had silly conversations about this design and maybe that’s the key. It’s not a divider but a social tool built to divide your shopping but also to bring people together. Aaaah.

divider

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