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September 23, 2020

Preemptive Replacement

The headline up top is a term I made up to describe a particular behavior of mine.

For as long as I can remember, I've removed the almost used up Scotch tape roll from my dispenser before — not after — I get to the end.

I hate to run out of tape right while using it: it's annoying to stop and have to go get a replacement roll and trade the two.

My practice means throwing away the last couple perfectly good inches, through which I can clearly see the almost exposed plastic hub.

I deal with toilet paper the same way: bag those last few squares.

Variations on this theme include:

• Replacing both light bulbs in a difficult-to-access fixture when one burns out, even though the other one is working fine.

• Prepositioning a fresh bottle of soft soap near one that's almost empty so as not to run out while washing my hands.

• Back in the day, anesthesia cart preparation* [above and below].

Early in my residency I got in the habit of setting up my equipment and drugs after finishing my cases for the day, even though it was routine for residents to come in early in the morning to do it.

The way I saw it, I could do my setup in peace, without the distraction of twenty other residents around me in the hallway talking and joking, as I was the only one who did this; I could sleep in an extra half hour in the morning; I had a chance to double-check that I had everything I needed before wheeling my cart into my OR.

Am I the only person who does this sort of thing?





*The 2008 video up top, with 112,000 views, is my second most popular ever.

Part 2, also from 2008,

is my fourth most popular, garnering 48,000 views.

It occurs to me that I'd easily have long since acquired many thousands of subscribers if I'd kept up with that sort of thing instead of featuring my sleeping cat.

Sic transit gloria mundi.  

September 23, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


As usual, Randall Munroe has been there already, though only with time and not considering cost of items and their availability (which would be very hard to draw in two dimensions):


Posted by: Scott | Sep 25, 2020 10:25:57 AM

Working tech support, there's a few things that I do on a regular basis that you can try fix a, b, c, d, and then if they don't work, fix e will always work. As fix e is less work to do but, slightly more time consuming
if fix a was all that was needed, why not just jump to the slight slower but way better fix, the one that will fix all of the tiny components and already installs the tool that you'll need if you encounter further issues.

Posted by: Rocketboy_X | Sep 23, 2020 11:14:56 PM

I remember Gloria Mundi, she's the redhead that "popped" over summer vacation between 7th and 8th grades.

Posted by: xoxoxoBruce | Sep 23, 2020 6:55:53 PM

Things like tape, staples, ink, that I use at my desk, the replacements are at hand when needed so not an inconvenience.

But more importantly, you open all those sterile packages, thoroughly fondle everything then let it get dusty and rat footprints overnight?

Posted by: xoxoxoBruce | Sep 23, 2020 6:50:53 PM

In both of the bathrooms that guests have access to, I never let the toilet paper run out - I replace almost-empty rolls with fresh, full rolls and use the remnants in my own bathroom. Likely that nobody ever noticed, but just a little thing I do for my peeps. Similarly, when I know I'm going to have company and the paper towels in the kitchen are getting low, I sub in a new roll. I use very few paper towels, but most people grab for those first if there's a mess.

Posted by: Rob O'Daniel | Sep 23, 2020 6:48:32 PM

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