Sunday, May 19, 2019

Financed by thermostat

It's a brilliant idea.

Huge money maker.

Eventually you'll be seeing them everywhere, but hopefully you'll remember that you first heard about them right here: Revenue Generating Thermostats.

How did I think of this genius... contraption? I don't know really. It was a moment of serendipity. 

It was the first warm Spring day of the year and my co-workers were complaining about the library being too hot, a common Summer refrain here. On a simultaneous, but unrelated note, someone said something about decreased revenue related to our considering getting rid of late fines on Children's materials, and some flash of genius detonated in my head.

I saw a vision of Caravaggio paintings.

The Churches of Rome are amazing. One of the most amazing things about them is that several of them have some of the greatest paintings ever made, hanging humbly in the side chapels. So a person goes into a Roman Church for free, for example, wanders down the aisle to see a set of three wildly famous Caravaggios, but unfortunately finds that the paintings are only roughly visible in the church's gloom.

However, there is a saving grace. There's a coin box on the wall. One puts a euro in the box, it clicks like a circuit breaker tripping, and, poof, the masterworks are all marvelously lit up for everyone's viewing pleasure. At least for a minute or two.

All these things collided in my head at once and I thought: What if the library thermostat, which we locally have no control over, were instead adjustable for money? There would be two boxes, a blue box and a red box. If one puts money in the blue box it makes the building cooler. If one puts money in the red box it gets warmer. The more money one puts in the box the colder (or warmer) it gets.

It would be a cash cow.

Picture this: a group of boiling library workers gather to complain; about the heat, management, county directives, library patrons, and so on. Someone proposes a collection of quarters to cool the place off. Three dollars are gathered and plunked into the blue box. The temperature drops a few degrees. A patron living on a combination of vegetable juices and our public Internet computers catches a chill as a result of the dipping temperature. She pops up to throw a dollar or two into the red box. An overheated child running through the kid's room begs a dollar from her mom to put in the blue box. A sensitive and readily freezing Senior Citizen promptly and angrily plunks ten dollars into the red box, and it's soon 85 degrees in the library.

It's a war. An endless, hard fought, desperate, passionate war, and in this war the library will have cornered the market on arms sales. The hell with kid's fines. We might be able to end all late fines.

But it's not just the money. Not a day goes by where one of my co-workers doesn't complain about the temperature one way or another, usually both ways. People using the big meeting room are generally incensed about it being too hot. Just yesterday a patron with seven-inch-long fingernails went into a long, surprisingly informed tirade about how we spent x amount of dollars on our remodeled building but can't properly heat or cool our building, I can't remember which. Well, none of that will be the library's fault anymore. With the red and blue Revenue Generating Thermostats everyone will be empowered! 

Sure, rich people will be more empowered than poor ones. And competition will make everyone like hamsters on wheels. But that's just Capitalism. In Capitalism everyone can suffer, in varying degrees, and have it be their own fault.

We can't do anything about that!

I mean, except make some money off of it.

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