Saturday, April 19, 2014

two ideas -- one great; one silly

I love these little safes in hotels and on cruise ships.

They are really handy for important documents needed for travel, but that do not need to leave your room with you.  At least, daily.  You know.  Things like passports.  Credit cards.  Wads of cash.

Within the first five minutes in my room, I will set the code and dump the small, but important, indicia of my dwindling life into the tiny safe.  Now and then, I even manage to store my camera in its lilliputian innards.

But I seldom put my laptop in the safe -- for a very practical reason.  When my laptop is with me, I am usually using it on battery.  When I leave it in the room, I want it to be charging.  (That is, when I remember not to plug it into a socket that goes dead when I leave the room.)

If it is stored safely in the safe, it cannot be charging.  That is, until I ran across an interesting addition to my safe in Mexico City.  Take a look at this.

Pretty nifty, eh?  A power outlet right in the safe door.  A guest can store electronics in the safe while the gadgets charge.

Now, some of you sophisticates are going to tell me that hotels have been doing this for years.  But this is the first time I have seen it.  Maybe it was one of the unstated benefits for taking a room on the business class floor.

Whatever the reason, I thought it was a very clever idea.  I usually carry a small extension cord with me that would have allowed me to charge and secure my goodies simultaneously.

What was not a good idea was the little sign next to the plugin.  Does it warn of not overloading the circuit or relay some other helpful piece of information?  Nope.

The first part makes sense.  No need to bother the maintenance man who can open every safe in the hotel in less than 5 seconds.

It is the second piece that baffles.  "Suffocation danger exists."

Let's assume for a moment that my safe is not engaging me in a philosophical existential debate or that there may be someone somewhere that denies that suffocation do exist.  Instead, what we have, in its rawest form, is the blight of American litigation gone viral.

Unless you are Richard Gere who may absent-mindedly place his gerbils in the safe and lock it, I have no idea what could be suffocated in a space so small that I need to turn my hand horizontally to fetch my wares.

But it does make you start wondering if the souls I capture in my camera or the ideas I have stored on my hard drive may be in danger of being extinguished when I shut the safe door.

I shouldn't even give it a second thought -- because no thought went into the sign.  If I had seen the sign in Manhattan, I would not have even noticed it for the hundreds of other warning signs that would assault my senses up north.  But this was Mexico City.  In the land of personal responsibility.

Of course, the sign was in English and that gave away its provenance immediately.  It is just another legal alien that has made its way south into the NAFTA stream of commerce.

And that means I am free to ignore it.

Now, you can do the same.

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