Bane of Existence: Select-a-size paper towels

Really? The select-a-size paper towels, designed with the goal of making it possibly to only use half of a paper towel when only half is needed… are they really the "bane of existence"?

Yes. Yes they are.

Here's the thing: I have over 30 years of muscle memory devoted to properly tearing paper towels. There's a certain flick of the wrist, a pull at the elbow, and a certain amount of force necessary to properly tear off a paper towel from the roll. And because it's muscle memory, I don't think about it. I walk up to the roll, grab the edge, and voila, a single paper towel is in my hands.

The select-a-size towels are, as you would imagine, about half the width of a normal paper towel. This means that when you pull on the corner, the stresses that go into the tear are all wrong. All. Wrong. It's a shorter distance from corner to perforated edge, and the ratio of width to height is messed up, too. This means that chances are better than even that the paper towel is going to be torn in ways other than the perforated edge.

And, because there is that perforated edge, one cannot pretend like the select-a-size is just a normal paper towel, because it'll start tearing at the first perforation, then tear in horrible ways.

If you attempt to adapt to the strangeness, not only does it not quite work right for the select-a-size, but when you go back to normal paper towels in frustration, you'll find that normal paper towels don't work properly for a while, either. It's like a movie about the prom queen dating the class nerd and then trying to go back to the football star afterwards: it just doesn't quite work out like it should.

The worst part is that the towels have the right goal: be environmentally friendly by encouraging people to reduce waste and blah blah blah. I appreciate environmental friendliness, I practice it in many ways, but this way is doomed. It's like a hybrid car, saving gas and poisoning the earth with its batteries. It's like the compact fluorescent light bulbs, saving energy and poisoning the earth with its mercury. Except without all the poison. Still, it's a bad compromise, and there are better ways.

So, select-a-size paper towels should be avoided.