Monday, September 2, 2013

Fire Breathing Toaster: Simply Brilliant

by Bill Adler

In the classic thriller Marathon Man there's a scene in which Dustin Hoffman's running along the West Side Highway in Manhattan in the middle of the night, being chased by bad guys in a car. He's on foot, they're in a car, so it's only a matter of seconds before they catch him.

Thinking fast and doing just about the simplest thing he could do, Hoffman jumps across the highway's divider onto the other side, where there's no possibility that the bad guys in the car can follow.

Often, simple ideas are the best. Take the sandwich, for example. Do you want tuna or egg salad? Ham or turkey? If you want a little of this and a little of that, your only option is to buy both sandwiches and have half of each, and half of each again the next day, when they're not as fresh.

Unless. Unless you do what this bakery in Tokyo does: They offer two sandwich haves in the same pack. You can have tuna and egg salad. You can have ham and tuna. The people who run run this bakery came up with the simple and brilliant way to give people what they want.

So that's it. In keeping with the theme of this article, I'm keeping this column short and simple.


Bill Adler is a writer. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets,", "Outwitting Squirrels,", and a mess of other books. He tweets at @billadler. Fire Breathing Toaster is published on Mondays.

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