Lock ‘Em Out – Lock ‘Em In


I visited a friend who has two little dogs. Friendly and excitable animals, and sometime inclined to exuberance on the visitor – all the way up the trouser legs.

To limit the damage, she has installed a small gate inside the front passage of her home – I believe they are marketed as ” baby gates ” to cordon off staircases from toddlers. They do an admirable job of controlling small dogs as well. The visitor can get in the door without letting the pack escape and then is protected until they can be either calmed down or spirited away.

It reminded me of the airlock that is fitted to space stations and submarines to allow people to get in and out without sinking the vessel. In this case, as it deals with small dogs, I have christened it the  ” hairlock “. It suggests similar devices for other occasions:

  1. Stores that currently have electronic cattle gates at their doors that read invisible tags on the store goods…and make sure that those goods are paid for before they leave the premises…are all very well but all that happens is a warning horn sounds. The thief, if it is not just a false alarm, still has time to sprint down the street with the television stuffed down their tracksuit pants.

Better to rig the electronic alarm to the front doors and prevent them from opening – then the sales staff have time to come over and prise the TV out of the trousers. If it is all just a technical error it can easily be resolved with a small law suit.

2. If you can prevent the rabble from leaving, you can prevent them from coming in. Install an internal gate and cage in your Prada or Louis Vuitton store that prevents the visitor from accessing the main floor until they have been inspected by the security staff/sales manager/accountant. Or if you wish to cut down on staff, a simple swipe terminal to access their bank balance will establish whether they are rich enough to come in.

3. We’ve all been infuriated by arriving at the entry road to a service station and had someone pull into the side of the pump that we need, but facing the wrong way – meaning we sit there in limbo and block access while we wait for them to pump, find their handbag, go in and buy an ice cream, and eventually saunter out. Likely as not, someone else lines up on that wrong side behind them and the process continues. If we try to circle the pumps and come from the other side someone has shifted to block that….grrrrrr….

The solution would be to divide the pumps into lanes and put one-way gates at either end of the approach. A standard station might have 8 pump stations – 4 could be for west traffic and four for east. You could line up outside the barrier for your correct lane without fear that someone would gazump you and point their nose towards you. An additional benefit would be that the stations could open the pump station on the outside without having to make it a prepaid since people couldn’t escape the barrier until they pay.

4. We all feel a little nervous at the ATM. We hang back at the edge of the curb while another person is using the terminal. We quail if someone moves too close when we are trying to use the machine. Give us an in and out cage for the line with the final decision as to end of transaction and opening of the gates resting with the person at the terminal.

We don’t object to open tunnels and passages at the airport that house sniffers, cameras, magnetic detectors, and other such necessary snoopers. They are airlocks for a good purpose. They might be a good idea in wider applications.
















Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.