Everyday LifeWays of Seeing Data

On The Currency Of Forks

By August 26, 2010February 11th, 2023One Comment

Passing by a Dublin Bike station the other day, I remembered a blog post I never wrote about currency – one of those. Yes, you see, I often wonder about such things.

As it happens, since I arrived in Ireland a while back I have been sharing accommodation with other people. One of the meaningless things I noted is that oftentimes forks and coffee spoons quickly run out on the clean cutlery drawer; there is high demand while supply doesn’t vary. They end up in the sink, or in the dishwasher at best, awaiting to be serviced. Curiously enough, spoons and knives tend to be less popular. So, what do you do when you can’t find one of these clean? You wash one, of course. You have to, really. But I wondered if adding currency to the demand – like printing more notes – would have any effect.

Yes, I tested it: I added a whole new set of 6, but only of forks and spoons. And what do you think it was the result?

Recently, the unexpected success of the Dublin City Bikes brought with it a minor downfall, a crack in the joyful experience of such a civilised engagement. Suddenly we the users realised that at certain times during the day, in particular locations, it was impossible to find a station to park. It defeated the purpose, as one had to travel to another station, perhaps far and inconvenient. But now we are offered a couple of solutions:

The first one: “In this case, log in at the terminal with either your Long Term Hire Card or 3 Day Ticket and you will be given 15 minutes free of charge to get to the nearest station with available stands and a list of nearby stations with availability.”

The second one, on top of that, is the addition of another 10 parking bays in many of these stations, to a total of 287 new bike stands.

And here, while passing by and taking that picture shown above, I thought about the paradox of the fork. The addition of that new set only proved to work depending on the number of users. The more users, the more likely to find a drawer with no forks. At the same time, the more users, the more likely the forks would be cleaned and placed back in the drawer. Is there an ideal number of users then?

I am sure there is a mathematical way to look at this, I just hope they talked to the right person about it.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Marco Bohr says:

    Is the Dublin bike service also sponsored by Barclays as they did in London? Londoners were pretty upset that the bike super highways very painted in Barclays corporate blue colour. The commodification of public space via the sponsorship of this bike scheme?