Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Deliberately Leaky Bucket

Prevents certain kinds of bucket-theft
  [vote for,

Here's the situation. I work at a place that has a food preparation area and a dining area and a laundry room (but my normal work there doesn't much involve those things). Rags used for cleaining tables and stuff regularly need to be themselves washed. Laundry detergent is purchased in bucket-shaped containers, holding about 19-20 liters. The kitchen produces grease that needs to be hauled to an outside pick-up location, in buckets.

For some reason, however (probably the horrid stench), the kitchen never re-uses the buckets. And the laundry detergent doesn't get used-up as fast as old grease needs to be removed. So, any time a loose bucket is spied by one of the kitchen crew, it instantly is grabbed, for hauling grease, and is never seen again. Apparently they normally refill the containers in which the cooking oil arrives, but it is awkward, so buckets are preferred, when they can get them.

Now, buckets are fairly useful things! For example, every now and then the roof springs a leak in a rainstorm (it's quite a large roof), and having a bucket can be very handy. So, some effort goes into hiding buckets from the kitchen crew.

Once upon a time a bucket was donated to the kitchen for the express purpose of being a place to put dirty rags, so a decent pile could be easily carried to the laundry room for washing. You can guess how long the bucket remained in use for that purpose.

After that bucket disappeared, a wire-and-cloth gadget was purchased, to hold the dirty rags. While it was actually designed for that purpose, it broke after only a few months (those dirty rags are often wet and heavy). That was never a problem with a bucket; it has a very sturdy handle.

What to do? Today I had an Idea. I took one of our secret stash of buckets, and drilled half-a-dozen holes near its base, about 3 centimeters from the bottom of the bucket, spaced all around the sidewall of the bucket. Each hole is about a centimeter in diameter. The mostly-white label that is on the bucket, claiming it holds laundry detergent, I over-wrote with a black indelible-ink marker, "LEAKY!", in large letters.

Then I took it to the kitchen, for use as the new place to put the dirty rags. Note that because the holes are not actually at the bottom of the bucket, a small amount of water can be contained, from dripping wet rags. I made sure everyone there knew that if they tried to fill that bucket with grease, it wouldn't work very well. We shall see! ...

Vernon, Dec 24 2011

Short primer on actor-network-theory http://www.idi.ntnu...ericm/ant.FINAL.htm
[rcarty, Dec 25 2011]


       I'll bet [8th]'s Christmas Bonus that, come New Year, you're down one bucket and one roll of duct tape.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 24 2011

       I assume the best form of leaky bucket is one which the very material it is made from is permeable to water.
mitxela, Dec 24 2011

       ^ They call those things "bags".
FlyingToaster, Dec 24 2011

       Or colanders.
AusCan531, Dec 24 2011

       Brings to mind a song I totally detested. "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Lisa, dear Lisa....." warning! This song will damage your health. Do NOT look up!!
xenzag, Dec 24 2011

       [21 Quest], I'm not in a position to do any firings. And as for what [Max] wrote, I'm pretty sure that mere duct tape won't withstand warm fry-oil from the deep-fryer. Think of the sticky stuff that attaches tape to something else, and remember that most oils can act as solvents for such stuff.
Vernon, Dec 24 2011

       //remember that most oils can act as solvents for such stuff// you may have just solved a problem for me... [+] but it's still mfd - not an invention.
FlyingToaster, Dec 24 2011

       //I bet if you fired one or two kitchen staff every time a bucket went missing, they'd stop disappearing.// With what shall I sabot him, dear Lisa?
spidermother, Dec 24 2011

       [21Quest], I posted this Idea mostly for the humor of it, and the notion of offering a deliberatly leaky bucket as a Product is sort-of new (half-baked, certainly!).
Vernon, Dec 25 2011

       Now port an abstraction of the deliberately leaky bucket to the broader realm of technologies for social control and you'll have the basis for effective micromanagement tools. Also look up the example of the hotel key weight in actor-network-theory.
rcarty, Dec 25 2011

       What I was going to say was this exact socio-techno process is outlined in actor-network-theory. In fact this is such a perfect example I needed to write my previous annotation in the kind of language that one will encounter in trying to learn anything about ANT.
rcarty, Dec 25 2011

       [21 Quest], obviously the store that offers Deliberately Leaky Buckets as a product can simply offer Ordinary Unleaky Buckets elsewhere in the store. You just have to make sure you pay proper attention, when grabbing one for purchase.
Vernon, Dec 25 2011

       [+] bun if you provide a status report in a few months.
swimswim, Dec 26 2011

       I'm guessing that you could pop a couple of bin liners in this magic bucket of yourn, [Vernon] and it would suffice for grease dumping and hence theft.
infidel, Dec 27 2011

       [21 Quest], some of the managers work in the kitchen. Actually, since there is just the one leaky bucket here, it shouldn't need much tracking. As long as it can't be used like a regular bucket, then either it is in the kitchen at the location designated for piling up dirty rags, or it isn't (and probably is being carried to or from the laundry room). Only the non-leaky buckets need to be watched closely.
Vernon, Dec 27 2011

       When the system gets it wrong, you must bucket.
infidel, Dec 27 2011

       That is one way to solve your problem. However, I suggest that a better solution might be to mention the issue to management, and add a budget line item for empty five gallon buckets.   

       Or maybe use slightly less grease in cooking, I dunno.
ye_river_xiv, Dec 27 2011

       Someone requested an update, after a few months. At the present time our Deliberately Leaky Bucket has survived, and is still being used for dirty rags.
Vernon, Mar 12 2012

       Hey, I just recognized [infidel]'s Devo paraphrase!   

       "When something's going wrong, you must whip it."
normzone, Mar 12 2012

       [Vernon], do you plan to apply for a patent?
Alterother, Mar 14 2012

       Are you sure the buckets aren't quantum-tunneling across to the fryer in the kitchen? I'm sure there's a more complex explanation available if you just do some looking.   

       What you need is a LEAN process whereby consumption rates of detergent and oil are finely balanced so as that buckets are made available "just in time" for their use as oil carriers. This way there's no waste in the form of bucket stockpiles, or people looking for buckets. I'm sure there's a Japanese phrase for that somewhere. Perhaps a consultant could come and write some single point lessons onthe issue for you, for a moderate fee. Which is in no way less efficient than just buying in enough buckets to get the job done.   

       In a "modern" organisation, you'd be singled out and villified for your futile attempts at innovation and practical problem solving. Your efforts fly in the face of modern concepts of standardisation and embuggerment.   

       It's a brave new world, and it's only a coincidence that it's mind-numbingly tedious and soul destroyingly scripted.
Custardguts, Mar 14 2012

       [Vernon] you madman! By delibrately putting a hole in the bucket you have just perfected an understanding of actant rhyzomic ontology. By created a series of technological dysfunctions a series of predictable and controllable actions can be produced.
rcarty, Oct 26 2012

       I can say that the bucket is still in use as of this writing, for holding dirty rags.
Vernon, Oct 27 2012

       How about making it less awkward to refill the oil containers somehow? I'm thinking some sort of funnel constructed from a bucket, some thick rubber hose, and caulk. And a chain and padlock to keep it in the kitchen.
ytk, Oct 27 2012

       Or just buy a whole job-lot of buckets - swamp the kitchen with more buckets than they need, and they'll soon rue the day.
zen_tom, Oct 30 2012

       I work in a lab which needs to order a wide variety of things from 'stores'. A list of pending requirements is built up on a notepad - or at least it would be, if a pen was available[1]. I tried saturating the demand for biros - really I did; I got boxes of the things and habitually took a new one out each time I had to write something down. A few boxes of 10 pens later, I gave up.
Eventually I attached a pen to the wall nearby with a piece of string and masking tape. That pen remained there until it ran out of ink - even though the leash became unattached from the wall after a few months.

       I think this goes to show that making a communal item unattractive for general use can keep it available for a dedicated function.   

       [1] If a pen is not immediately available... well, eventually you come to use something and there's none left, because it hasn't been ordered.
Loris, Oct 30 2012

       Hmm, I think pens are special cases - they're especially pocketable, in a way that buckets just aren't. But I take your (and [Vernon]'s) point and agree on the wider notion.
zen_tom, Oct 30 2012

       As the two-year mark approaches for this Idea, I can mention that our Deliberately Leaky Bucket is still in service as a place for dirty rags. It seems likely to continue to be used in that role for years to come.   

       And so now I might mention a word that nobody used in all the prior annotations here. If it had been mentioned early on, as an Alternative Description for a "deliberately leaky bucket", it is possible that this Idea would have been given the MFD.   

       So, *will* this Idea survive the Revelation about to occur? Stay tuned, folks! The Alternative Descriptive Word is "basket".
Vernon, Nov 05 2013

       Well I thought it was a good idea so please accept my tardy bun.
AusCan531, Nov 05 2013

       Put tanglefoot on the handle and pick it up by the rim.
Cuit_au_Four, Nov 05 2013

       Why would calling it a basket make it MFD? This is better than a standard laundry basket for this task. It has a nice sturdy carrying handle, and if you implement [bigsleep]'s idea of leaving one side unpuntured, it is convenient for neatly pouring out accumulated water as well. You could call it a low cost heavy duty easy-pour wet rag accumulation basket.
scad mientist, Nov 05 2013

       Just an update: as of the time of this posting, that Deliberately Leaky Bucket is still in use at my workplace, for carrying dirty rags.
Vernon, Dec 27 2017

       If you pour kitchen grease onto the rags until they are saturated, then apply a flame, it will burn really nicely.   

       Hence the problem is solved. Both grease and rags cease to exist, and you can enjoy the ephemeral arabesques of the orange-yellow flames, rippling and shimmering in a delightful and inspiring corruscation, reaching skywards, twisting and writhing as they drag in more and more air as the intensity builds, destroying, consuming, spreading, hahaha, ahahahah, HAAAHAHAHA ... AHAHAHHA ! FLAMES ! FLAMES ! BURN ! BURN IT ! BURN IT ALL ! HAHAHAHAHA !   

       <embarrased coughing>   

       Just a suggestion, you understand.
8th of 7, Dec 27 2017

       Congratulations, [Vernon], on the endurance of your solution.
pertinax, Dec 27 2017


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