Recently picked up some prototyping parts from McMaster-Carr when I noticed this small plate in the sidewalk outside the will-call entrance. Delta-Therm manufactures various types of radiant heating products, such as this handy sidewalk thawing system. Why would McMaster go to the trouble and expense of installing such a system? Is it to make things easier for people lugging boxes away from the will-call office in the dead of winter? Would that make customers unconsciously enjoy the experience a little bit more and thus more likely to return? Or is this simply a measure to reduce the potential liability risk of someone slipping and falling while traversing this section of sidewalk? I didn’t snoop around the remainder of the campus, but I wonder if they have these systems installed in all the sidewalks that the common employees have to navigate daily?
NOTE: McMaster-Carr is an awesome resource for designers - They stock everything from raw materials to hardware to measurement equipment and beyond. They are sometimes a bit more expensive than Enco or Grainger, but to me the speed and sheer volume of available items from one supplier makes it well worth it. Your items generally ship the same day and they get to me in Chicago the next day. Pinch pennies when you’re going in to production - inspiration shouldn’t have to wait 3-7 business days.