Posted December 1, 2005
There's something sort of oddly satisfying about the Sharper Image's new Soap Genie Automatic Soap & Lotion Dispenser, a battery-operated device that dispenses a dollop of soap or lotion when you pass your hand under the spout, tripping an infrared sensor. A colleague with kids saw it while I was testing it and immediately went online to order a couple for her household. The idea behind this thing, of course, is to encourage children to put a little more thought into washing their hands—and to thereby prevent cross-contamination during cold and flu season. It has a little chime that kids might find amusing (adults can turn it off), it holds 24 ounces of fluid so you don't have to refill it that often, the dollop size is adjustable, and it comes in three colors (white, black, and yellow). Now that I've returned the test unit, I have to confess that I sort of miss it. There are no kids in my household, and I know it's kind of dopey to value a device that saved me from the tremendous burden of having to lift a bar of soap or manually pump some liquid soap myself, but it certainly fit into my everyone-should-do-everything-for-me (laundry, take-out, etc.) New York lifestyle.
$40 at The Sharper Image, multiple locations, sharperimage.com.