Review: Spinny Charity Coin Box Thing

Pictured: The Dome in a rare moment of disuse

 

What’s being tested?

The  transparently domed oversized charity donation boxes, commonly found in fast food restaurants, that encourage adults and children to insert coin donations, the payoff being that said donations will roll round the interior of the dome in an entertaining – if ultimately futile – fashion, before terminating in a secondary slot/hole in the middle of the dome, completing the transaction.

What we found

Pros:

Our testers found that not only did the Dome (as it will henceforth be referred to) add a thrilling degree of spectacle to an otherwise (initially) small charity donation, but it also engendered an intoxicating sense of competition in those immediately taking part. We found the level of strategy required in choosing and deploying your chosen donation deeply satisfying –  two pences, for example, proved easy to roll but also a trivial philanthropic endowment, five pence pieces could be deployed rapidly for maximum spectacle, while two pound coins provided ‘good spin’, but were most likely to have been frustratingly chosen in error. We also found that even a few minutes at the Dome would attract an impressive amount of onlookers, who would often provide encouragement and enthusiasm akin to that shown by the duelling participants modelling on any mid 90’s MB Games board game box. Finally, our testers found the Dome particularly troublesome to steal, meaning that the donations contained therein would most likely remain safe until the designated collection day.

Cons:

We felt that the Dome could ultimately be encouraging children to spend money in briefly, superficially satisfying ways, and that, while the spend was laudably philanthropic, it also reinforced the notion that charity could only be satisfying when accompanied by temporary gratification or a stop gap of fleeting visual whimsy. The ‘game’ itself could, in some individuals, form the basis of an addictive cycle – while watching the coins progress around the interior of the Dome is immensely satisfying, the harnessing of the psychological weaknesses of individuals for the benefit of a specified charity is still a very irresponsible thing to do.

In that sense, our testers also mentioned that the obvious gamification of the donation was a deeply frustrating thing to both witness and test – while it’s ‘hook’ was stark, obvious, and almost cynical in its deployment, it remained, as mentioned, utterly compelling. We found that watching ourselves go from donating small change to premium, collector’s edition £5 coins in the space of a few hours was, on the whole, a negative experience.

Verdict

Some of our testers suggested that the Dome would be an adequate visual metaphor for not only how much control we ultimately have over our money ‘in this day and age’, but also for the sad transition of the generally accepted view of the human being through the reality of what could be considered as the ‘human experience’. While this point of view was ultimately judged to ‘interesting’ and ‘potentially worth exploring in the future’, we also found that we were ultimately just making a charity donation that might help some kids out somewhere, so any crushingly addictive side effects were still alright by us.

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