Simple Fixes [NOT 4/3/22]

Little things that make life easier

Curb cut in sidewalk
Sidewalk granite curb cut for wheelchair ramp / Credit:

We all know life has a lot of intractable problems. As hard as you work to untangle one piece of a problem, six more complications can spring up at the other end.

But! Sometimes there are simple, elegant fixes. Let’s talk about simple fixes.

For example, curb cuts. A few decades ago, it was nearly impossible for someone in a wheelchair to go more than one block in most cities, towns and suburbs. Sidewalks would meet the curb of a street at a 90 degree angle, and there was no easy way for someone in a wheelchair to go down to the street at a crosswalk and then get up again on the other side. It was crazy.

But then advocates for people with disabilities started insisting on a simple fix — curb cuts. And then the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and places were required to start installing simple ramps wherever a sidewalk met the street.

All it took was a simple change to the way concrete was poured. And then it became possible for a person in a wheelchair to go from their home to a store on the next block and then cross the street, just like anyone else.

And what’s more, curb cuts help lots more people. Parents pushing kids in strollers. People riding bikes who wanted to stop at a store. Kids on scooters. People with dollies delivering boxes. Drunk college kids pushing their friends in grocery carts.

Let’s talk about more simple fixes.

For example, a mirror that was installed at an exit that makes it vastly less dangerous for you to leave a parking space. Adding a cross slot to screws created the Phillips Head screw. A simple database fix at work that saves people from reentering the same data field 20 different times. An automated checkout system at your public library. Whoever invented the single line queue like they have at banks so you don’t have to guess which line is going to go fastest.

What’s a simple fix that makes your life at least a little bit better? What’s a simple fix you wish more places would adopt? What’s a simple fix you would enact if you were elected Lord Emperor?



  1. same job same pay

    boom! equality

    i mean…it works on the shop floor why is it diferent above?

    the fuck do you lazy bastards get to negotiate a salary for?

    (and im being lenient here and not even questioning why the fuck yous get paid at all)


    • that was a general office yous btw…not anyone in particular

      anyways..ever noticed how the interwebs is considerably busier on work days than weekends?

      thats coz the office aint at work on weekends and has more important shit to do

    • There’s been a lot of evidence that bosses grossly overmanage pay and benefits to try to create incentives. Going to a simple public pay scale gets rid of a lot of BS.

      • im floor staff…i either accept the pay they offer…or i dont and go elsewhere

        i dont really see a problem with that system….offer too little…you get no workers….especially in the current job market

  2. Make active listening training mandatory for managers.

    I bought a couple of books on listening.  I bought these books in an attempt to deal with my mom (because she’s a terrible listener and good gaslighter) and they helped me when I was a mere low level boss flunky and helps me now when they give me the team lead role.

    • I figure this would be a pretty low cost investment for workplaces, on a par with something like teaching employees how to use an inventory app? I assume the big challenge is getting everyone in the management pyramid to buy in, more than any huge investment.

  3. In the US – switch to the goddamned metric system already. Also, automatic enrollment in free breakfast and lunch for kids in schools. There’s too many kids where the parents don’t know they can qualify for the meals or are too proud/embarrassed to fill out the paperwork.

    • My kids schools switched about 10 years ago to giving everyone lunch who wanted it — they had a high enough % of kids who qualified that they got the waiver to stop making kids use the cashier.

      It really does make it easier for the kids, speeds up lines, and of course feeds them. And it gets rid of all the ridiculous bill collecting. The cost of cashiers and accounting outweighs whatever they might collect from nonqualifying students. It really should be universal.

  4. Instead of setting speed traps, set up “asshole/idiot” traps.


    Asshole trap example: Police stand on busy street corners with very long right-hand turning lanes & fine the assholes who drive to the end of the right-hand turning lanes in order to pass as many cars as possible only to sit with their left blinkers on preventing people who are actually turning right to turn right at red lights. Better yet, make it a 25 year prison sentence.

    Idiot trap example: Line every major highway with hundreds of police and fine people who drive in the middle lanes – causing more idiots to pass them in the passing lane – enough money to fund the fucking police. Also, fine EVERYONE who is forced to pass in the passing lane but refuse to speed up to the speed of those behind them.

    While I am at it, immediately dismiss and imprison every police officer who ticket, fine, harass, or arrest more POC than the percentage of the population they represent. ie. a community that is 12.2% POC and 87.8% white should, at the very least, have those percentages comparable to arrest rates.

  5. TIL that you can make boxed mac&cheese in one pot. Heat up the milk, butter and cheese powder. Then add the pasta and some water. Et voilà! No need to boil the pasta and strain it. This makes a huge difference in stress level when cooking with little ones running around. #parentlifehack


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