Look how keen new publoggers can be. This masterpiece of hand dryers is by soon to be invited Dave Boyle – who some of you may remember from the Blue Posts pub-crawl. (Memo to self – pub of failure needs doing one day).

Proof, it it were needed, that capitalism doesn’t quite work in the ways imagined in economics textbooks can be found in the micro-market of pub hand dryers. Neatly side stepping the vexed issue of whether those towels-on-a-rack-type-thing (is there a word for them in the English language?) are more hygenic and/or environmentally friendly, there is a huge disparity in effectiveness of the various models. The technology can’t be at issue; there can’t be much more to the situation than a) a large blower type arrangement (as seen in all good-hairdryers) b) a means for this to be transferred to the hands and face and finally c) some way to turn them on and off.

The problems come in all three of these areas. Surely, someone, somewhere in the design process should have pointed out some of these common faults…
Designer: “What do you make of this revolutionary new design that will transform the hand washing habits of the British?”
Tester: “Er, it’s a great design sir, but unfortunately (insert as necessary):
1) the blower is so weak that it does not actually dry your hands.
2) the mechanism to direct the airjet to your face causes the unit to turn itself off instantly when you try this.
3) Moving your hands slightly (as advised to aid the drying process) causes the motion / light sensor to disengage, causing the unit to shut down

These rather obvious flaws have nevertheless not stopped a profileration in suppliers of hand dryers, undermining a lynchpin of capitalism that good R and D, combined with a good product successfully marketed is the key to success. Why these cowboys survive I’ll never know. Some are just so bad that they have the feel of a fifth-form GCSE technology project. Thankfully, salvation exists in the form of the king of hand dryers. Please raise your glasses to the ‘World dryer’ from the Warner Howard corporation, of Honeypot Lane, Stanmore, Middlesex (which was also the location of the British Academy’s postgraduate funding division, fact fans). It’s got everything – 7500 revs per minute, according the their website (http://www.warnerhoward.co.uk/hygiProd/handdry/handdry.htm), a swivel head to direct and a solid springy responsive switch. They should have cornered the market and every pub should have one, but as they don’t, I can only conclude that Milton Friedman should be shot.