Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Still in use

Still in use when cup is not removed.
(+1, -1)
  [vote for,

It happened that I put coin in the vending machine for the coffee and was just talking to my friend little away.

Meanwhile it filled up and someone came and put coins and press buttons for the coffee.. ..

The new cup didn't come out.. because there was no room for that..

Well that fellow lost the money...

Idea is to see the presence of the cup by the vending machine and it shouldn't complete the operation until the cup is removed.

artist, Nov 12 2003


       I think I would prefer to see the second cup come sploshing down into the first, the machine trying to fill it anyway, and an awful mess ensuing all over the floor. Provided, of course, that I was not the first or second fellows.   

       (Though it seems to me the preferred action should be that the second fellow simply get his money back when he fails to get his coffee. Much fairer and no complicated work-arounds for a one-off defective vending machine required.)
DrCurry, Nov 12 2003

       I vaguely recall playing a bastard version of "Carmen Sandiego" on...was it sega? There was an automated coffee machine in the game that you could visit over and over again. Sometimes it spilled, and sometimes it didn't.   

       I guess what I'm trying to say is...
Overpanic, Nov 12 2003

       That's right, I fishboned this idea. The concept of machinery working properly is not a novel one.
Worldgineer, Nov 12 2003

       Worldgineer, that bothered me a bit, because you're proposing that all inventions must be considered already to be their Platonic ideals, and that any deviations from that are simply flaws. This belittles the genius that it often takes to see and solve those flaws. While this one didn't take a genius, the recognition and creation of a solution was there. Or at least don't fishbone [artist] when the fishbone should go to the vending machine inventor.   

       That being said, I apologize to you profusely in advance that the following happened in my head and I had to post it. I really don't believe this at all--you just have the right cadence.   

       You're a cruel one,
To fishbone you're too quick.
You're a power-tripping naysayer,
A snotty clever Dick,
You are a bun-hoarding self-righteous one-trick pony
Without the one trick!
darksasami, Nov 12 2003

       (pulls poetic knife from chest)   

       I'm not arguing that products cannot be improved upon. Take for example the often mentioned cream cheese slices. This is truely an invention, even though it attempts to improve upon a current design (tub of cream cheese that requires dirtying a knife). I'm arguing that if one cream cheese manufacturer always produces cream cheese tubs that leaks, the concept of having them produce cream cheese tubs without defects is not terribly novel.   

       My guess is that the designers of this coffee machines either did not intend for the machine to steal peoples' money or did intend for the machine to steal peoples' money with the idea of a little extra profit in their mind.
Worldgineer, Nov 12 2003

       I see it more as a missing feature than a broken product. The designer didn't come up with the possibility that the user would not be standing there in front of the machine the entire time, so there's an opportunity for a sensor and a state. The product is working as designed.   

       Of course, that doesn't mean this is a world-shattering idea, but it doesn't make it a *bad* idea, or not an idea at all.   

       (And by the by, I've been going through your ideas because I feel terribly guilty. I like many of 'em. Especially the one about the airplane.)
darksasami, Nov 12 2003

       I can see your point, that the idea is to expand the function of a coffee machine from "make coffee when you pay it to" to "make coffee when you pay it to, and don't steal peoples' money". But I would argue that this second design goal is the consumer's expected function of a coffee machine, as would be "deliver cream cheese to a customer, without leaking".   

       Now you've made me feel guilty about your feeling guilty. Luckily you only have two ideas for me to read through, and I had already seen one.
Worldgineer, Nov 13 2003

       How about a weight sensor to determine if a full cup is there or not? Seems like it would work. I like it.   

       The new vending machine at my workplace has an infrared sensor near the bottom, so when a food item drops, it knows. If it doesn't drop, you can press the corresponding buttons for your item again, and it spins the spiral snack-holder some more. I had to employ this the other day when the cashews I requested got stuck; then I ended up getting 2 bags for the price of one.
jivetalkinrobot, Nov 14 2003


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