Monday, February 19, 2007

Outside the Box

Does your employer encourage you to think "outside the box"? Have you often heard this expression and wondered "What exactly does that mean?". Perhaps the state of New Mexico can provide an example that will get you started. The New Mexico Department of Transportation is battling a problem with drunk driving. In fact, New Mexico is 8th in the nation in drunk-driving fatalities per mile driven. Some think the poverty and isolation contribute to the problem. Others cite lax enforcement. If you are an "inside the box" thinker, you probably would address the problem by providing education that makes people more aware of the dangers and creates a sense of personal responsibility. Or you might simply beef up the enforcement and take away the driving priviliges of the few who cause most of the problems. But the folks in New Mexico had just had an "outside the box" seminar so they came up with this idea; Talking Urinals. That is correct, talking urinals--I am not making this up. Technically, it is not the urinal that talks but the deodorant cake. There is actually a company that makes a deordorant cake with a motion detector that triggers a recording when a man walks up to the urinal. What he experiences is a woman's voice that is first flirty, then more stern. The voice says "Hey, big guy." I am not making this up. "Having a few drinks. Think you had one too many? Then its time to call a cab or a sober friend." And to prove that "outside the box" people have a sense of humor the message ends with "Remember, your future is in your hand."

Does it work? You bet! So far, 12 men that would have driven while drunk have died of a heart attack in the bathroom of a dark bar and will never be a threat to innocent families again. O.K., I made that part up. The actual result has been that several of the talking deodorant cakes have been stolen. That proves beyond a shadow of doubt that a man is too drunk to drive if he is drunk enough to reach into a urinal, remove a talking deodorant cake, put it in his pocket, and walk out. This has had the unexpected benefit of making enforcement much easier. When a car is stopped and the driver steps out, if the officer notices that his pocket is wet and a woman seems to be talking from "down there", the driver is immediately arrested and no further sobriety tests are needed.

So remember, think "outside the box". You may be saving lives!


Lerra said...

Wow. I am actually speechless.

Jamey said...

Seems the deoderant cake is not speechless.

On another note, inanimate objects should not talk...a trash can talked to me the other day!

Roxy Wishum said...

Jamey, you weren't driving that day were you?