Existential Questions: On Stuffed Napkin Dispensers

Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenkieb/15335598/

Okay, so I’m in my local coffee place and I need a napkin. I find the dispenser and reach for a single napkin. But the napkin doesn’t budge because the dispenser is jammed with napkins. When I pull a little harder, my napkin tears and I end up with a quarter-sized piece of useless paper. So I spend a few second trying to get the rest of the napkin out, but to no avail. Finally, in frustration, I jam my fingers in the dispenser slot and pull out about twenty napkins. I take one for myself and leave the rest perched on the dispenser.

How many times has this happened to me? A dozen? A hundred? No, probably several hundred, at least. It seems like there’s a secret rule in establishments that use napkin dispensers. It goes something like this: When you are refilling the napkin dispenser, be sure to jam it so full of napkins that it’s impossible to for a customer to take only one, intact napkin.

Why? Why, oh why is this the unwritten, universally honored rule of napkin dispensers? Can somebody please answer this existential question for me?

  • Scot McKnight

    Mark, my belief is that those who fill the napkin holders don’t want to have to do that onerous chore again in the day so they fill it as full as they can get it. Happens all the time … and I too need them for note taking!

  • http://thehighcalling.org/ Marcus Goodyear

    Mark, I think you should start writing existential notes on napkins, then restuffing them in the dispenser for others to find. It might somehow help you deal with your frustration.


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