Thursday, July 12, 2007


Oscar Madison, industrial spy

While standing in the checkout line at Media Markt, waiting to purchase my new 20 euro photo-card reader, I snapped a quick photo. The cashier said:
"You're not supposed to take photos inside."

"Oh, sorry," I replied.

"You must delete it."
Okay. My, but we're sensitive about ... what? The brilliant store layout, which looks like a bargain basement version of Best Buy? I realize that the look of the store's merchandise displays is proprietary, but please. As if the competition isn't sending around dozens of spies who get loads of info without obviously taking pictures.

Or was it a concern that maybe I'd reverse engineer the exceedingly clever gadget that was the subject of my photo. I photographed it because it was about as clever a bit of engineering as the hat with the beer-can holders and straws.

In fact, it was a remove control device with a bottle opener attached to the bottom. In other words, the Germans had managed to crack this very difficult engineering problem:


Unfortunately, I can't show you the photo of the actual device. When she said I had to delete it I meekly showed her my photo replay and was ready to delete it in front of her. But she muttered, "that's okay."

So I got to keep the photo. Only it was lost with all the others when my photo-disk malfunctioned.

I'd make a lousy spy.

Or did the disk only "malfunction" after you had uploaded the supersecret bottle opener/ remote to the KAOS databases?

the remote control bottle opener is not as cool as the Swiss Army knife USB thumb drive that my friend from Switzerland gifted me with.

I can imagine a slightly inebriated person inadvertently changing the channel while trying to open the beer...

qcodde - describing the various systems of lining up for things in different regions of the world.
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