Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Birth of a Notion.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Anti-Theft Newspaper Boxes

The honor system doesn't work anymore.
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
  [vote for,

I couln't help to ask an anonymous person why he felt obligated to take more than one newspaper from the newspaper box while only depositing enough for one.

After this confrontation I realized that the newspaper box must be modified to inhibit the dishonest from taking more than their share. I suggest that every newspaper in the box be divided by a shelf that seperates each paper. When the box is opened the customer should have access to only a single paper because the shelf it rests upon blocks access to subsequent papers.

When the access hatch is closed, the top shelf, which once possessed a paper, be engaged by an arm utilizing the mechanical energy of the closing hatch. This arm will raise the top shelf into an allotted space in the top of the unit and shifts every other shelf up one increment; leaving a fresh paper for the next customer who will repeat the action of the former.

These modifications may make the newspaper boxes more expensive to produce but the costs made be neutralized by the additional revenues of paying customers.

ImBack, Jan 29 2003


       That was you? Sorry. Send me the doctor's bill; I'll have it taken care of.
snarfyguy, Jan 29 2003

       You can afford it considering you never pay for all the papers you take.
ImBack, Jan 29 2003

       Sledgehammer to crack a nut. First off, I can't imagine that newspaper theft is a serious problem, or these newspaper vending machines wouldn't be viable and we wouldn't see so many on our streets. Secondly, NYC newspapers cost between 25¢ and $1, hardly something we need to spend a lot of time sweating over. Thirdly, newspapers make much, if not most, of their money from advertising anyway - indeed, several NYC papers have gone to free circulation and are given away.
DrCurry, Jan 29 2003

       I used to see this one newspaper box that was always empty, but had a pile of papers sitting on top of it. I always imagined it was the work of some vigilante reader who came along, deposited enough for one paper, and pulled out the lot of them for other readers to take for free.
waugsqueke, Jan 29 2003

       DrCurry, First off, this isn't as drastic as using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and a lot of your conclusions seem like they are based on assumptions. Secondly, secondly isn't a word. Thirdly, thirdly isn't a word.
ImBack, Jan 29 2003

       [ImBack], you would be well-advised to revisit your own words and check them for spelling and grammatical errors before you start impugning the good Doctor. At a quick scan, I see at least six major spelling and/or grammatical errors just in this idea. And, secondly, "secondly" is an acceptable adverb according to my Webster's.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the engineering in your idea. But, I do doubt that newspaper vendors would like the amount of manual labor involved in individually loading each newspaper between the plates you describe. The profit margins per unit of inventory sold just don't justify a lot of hand work to service these machines. A much bigger issue for the vending route operator is pre-determining the optimal number of issues which should be left each day in his individual machines. "Staleage" ( I didn't coin that word; it's industry jargon.) is the killer factor in the news vending business. People will buy a day old bun; They won't buy a day old newspaper.

[Added later] Actually I should amend that last statement. If I'm traveling in Thailand or visiting a Greek isle, I'll gladly purchase the most recent copy of an American newspaper available, even if it happens to be a week old issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. For any news of home, I'll even pay the premium with a smile.
jurist, Jan 29 2003

       //The honor system doesn't work anymore.//
When did it start breaking? Yesterday or thousands of years ago?
What next? Family-owned honor-system produce stands fall by the wayside?
Time is money (jurist more than adequately covered this)
Sp: woik
Said and done, as well-intentioned an idea it may be, it's impractical *and* baked.
thumbwax, Jan 30 2003

       Dr. Curry, You have no idea what you are talking about. Do you subscribe to a newspaper to be delivered to your home? One day, take a couple of minutes to talk to your newspaper carrier. Ask them how many papers gets stolen from their newspaper racks. Newspapers make money from they advertising, yes, but they make a lot from their carriers too. I have two routes, I'm a working mother and I deliver papers for the convenience of being home with my children during the day so they'r not stuck in a day care. My papers usually get stolen on Sundays. When a person steals a paper, they're not stealing from the newspaper office. They are stealing from me, and my children who go out in the middle of the night with me on weekends. I am billed at the end of each month for each paper I took from the newspaper office. Yes, a Sunday newspaper is $1.25 here, but I had to pay .85 for that paper. So, when I get 30 papers stolen on a Sunday, do the math, wouldn't you be upset if that much money was missing from your paycheck. The quarters I get from those racks is my paycheck. Some people think paper carriers don't make much money, but I do support my family with it, and we live good.
jncgeorge, Sep 26 2003

       Submitted via email:   

       "Hello. I am an independent vending agent for a newspaper in CT, and my route is constantly being robbed of all the papers I put out. I was hoping you could give me some ideas about how to make this mechanism or refer me to someone who would help me. I don't think it is fair that I have to pay for what papers are stolen from me. I think there is an injustice being done and I want to fix it. I would appreciate any help you give. Any solutions even if its not the machine.
Please help me."
jutta, Jun 08 2006

       Well damn! If thats not the worlds greatest endorsement of the idea I dont know what is. Bun from me.   

       Here is a different take on the same problem. Equip the box with a floating tray to load the papers in, the tray is attached to a Load Cell inside the box that monitors the weight of the stack of papers. The delivery person inputs the number of papers loaded and the system calculates the weight of each paper.   

       When the customer walks up and inserts thier money, the system verifies the current number of papers. The customer removes thier paper from the box, which is registered by the box and if the new weight is within acceptable tolerance(say half the weight of a full paper) nothing will happen, if the weight is off(2 papers worth) the Box will begin to beep loudly, if the pilfered paper is returned to the stack the box will stop beeping, if the door is closed. the box will start beeping MUCH Louder and continues to alarm for 60 seconds.   

       Optional items would include;   

       a camera system that would record video for up to 1 minute after the box is opened, which if the alarm is triggered would be stored for later retrieval.   

       An ink dye tracer that upon the box being closed with the alarm sounding would spray out at Knee height a fan of florescent Orange Dye which would mark the perpetrator. The dye would be one of the new limited lifetime dyes that will fade to colorless after 48 hours(to prevent lawsuits and costly cleanups)   

       A Cell Phone alert system that would notify programed numbers(or send Text messages)whenever the alarm is triggered and the door closed. Combined with the camera and dye system the box could call 911, send a picture of the perpetrator and store the evidence for future prosecution.   

       Perhaps the coolest thing would be that such a system would be fairly small, relatively inexpensive and could be retrofitted to exisiting boxes with fairly few modifications. It could also be setup to be readily movable so route mangers could target a problem box until thefts decrease, then move the unit to a different box, but the thieves would not know it had been moved.
jhomrighaus, Jun 08 2006

       Fun idea, [jhomrighaus], but it's neither complex nor impractical enough. Have the box print your entire paper from scratch, updated by satellite from the nearest office.
normzone, Jun 08 2006

       The original idea could be improved by mounting the mechanism upside-down and reducing the size of the hatch to just over 5 cm (2 in).
methinksnot, Jun 08 2006

       Well, I take FIVE newspapers each time. It makes up for all the change I get robbed out of from other vending machines. Plus it gives my homeless friends something to sleep under.
ye_river_xiv, Jun 11 2008

       I suggest an ironic punishment for this offense: The newspaper box should have a weight sensor, and a net full of 1,000 old newspapers should lurk on a rooftop nearby. When a coin is inserted and more than one newspaper removed, the sensor triggers the net to release and the perpetrator is buried in all the newsprint he could possibly want.
phundug, Jun 11 2008


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle