Design Flaw

Now that the U.S. election is over, we have at least three or four weeks before the campaigning for 2012 begins. Let’s use this time to discuss some of the real issues that affect our daily lives.

For example, while mowing through some Hallowe’en candy recently, I was reminded of a design flaw inherent in the move towards hollow plastic lollipop sticks. This shift away from tightly rolled paper has been going on for some time, but the endless campaigning has distracted me from it.

The flaw is simply this: the plastic sticks are hollow, which prevents you from achieving proper suction while consuming your lollipop. Oh, the first few minutes are usually good, but as soon as the lollipop shrinks to the point of exposing the end of the stick, your vacuum is over.

The state of the plastic lollypop stick, circa 2008.

If you’re lucky, you can suck the lollipop down to a nub before this happens. Sometimes however, depending on the depth and angle of the stick, it happens right away, which can ruin your whole afternoon.

It is difficult to fully convey how annoying this is. You’re sitting there, blissfully enjoying your lemon or strawberry lollipop, and then sshhhhhhhhhh! The seal is broken and you’re sucking in cold dirty air. From then on, you can’t get any action from your lollipop, it just dangles there, making loud and sloppy whistling noises as you inevitably keep trying to get some proper lollipoppage. It’s a reflex left over from infancy; give a three-month old a pierced rubber nipple with no bottle attached, and see how quickly he gets pissed off from sucking in air. Yet he keeps on trying.

As a workaround, I recommend rolling a small sliver of paper, wetting it, and inserting it into the bottom of the hollow stick to block the air flow. Duck tape works too. However, what I really want is for the lollipop manufacturers to wake up to this flaw; to realize how the hollow stick spoils the lollipop experience.

Not that I want to go back to paper, which is prone to sogginess at the critical juncture where the stick meets the ball of tasty goodness. But what about designing a stick that is sectioned, like a pole of bamboo? While you’re at it, add a bit of texture so you don’t have to dig out that little divet in order to make the ball grip the stick.

Hire me. I’m an independent lollipop consultant. My rates are reasonable.

11 thoughts on “Design Flaw

  1. It’s about time someone devoted some effort to this global problem! May I suggest you make mock-ups of your solutions, complete with step by step instructions and pictures? (Or make a short like Martyne did!)

  2. Good idea for weaning from the pacifier! We shall keep this in mind for the near future. :)

  3. I’d laugh if only I could deny the fact that this is a very typical dinner topic at our house. (And no, in that case, I would not be the one doing the talking.)

  4. […] the U.S. election is over, Montreal bloggers are moving on to discuss more important things, like lollipop design, crusty old perverts at bus stops, squirrel videos and […]

  5. Trouble with comments like yours are, certain people will say to you, “if you don’t like it, why don’t you invent a better one?”

    And do video of it, while harassing a squirrel at a bus stop.

    Well, it beat blog posts about politics, or obituaries.

  6. @JackRuttan, there’s never any trouble with Blork’s posts. There’s always a fun and interesting read even if he’s only talking about lollipop sticks. It’s more the process than the subject sometimes.

  7. Thanks Dave. :-)

    Last night I was about to write a long and involved treatise on post-structuralist theory and the crisis of modernity, using this Calvin Klein shirt as the touchstone. But I ended up spending too much time on the Fail Blog, so I didn’t get around to it and now I forget what I was going to say.

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