A button on an alarm clock which is advertised as a bonus convenience feature. When pushed, the alarm on the clock is silenced for a pre-determined amount of time, only to start beeping again when that amount of time has passed. The original intended purpose of this button was to allow the person to sleep an extra five-fifteen minutes. However, this button may be the single most evil invention of modern science and technology. The problem being that there is no limit on the number of times you can push the snooze button and many times sleepy people forget how many times they have already pushed it, thinking that they are only getting another ten minutes of sleep when in fact they are getting 30, 40, 50 or even 60 more minutes.

The problem with the snooze button is that its size makes it a little too convenient. The snooze button is three or four times larger than the other buttons. It's just asking to be pressed. It is so damn big that I cannot miss it, even while I am in the groggy daze that typically follows an abrupt awakening. I can easily locate it just by randomly reaching my arm out and feeling around the general area of the alarm clock. Often times I will press it subconsciously. I don't want to over sleep, but that damn oversize button makes it too easy! This overly convenient "feature" has caused me to be late to work on countless occasions.

I want to call the man who invented the snooze button
every nine minutes for the rest of his life.

"What?" he'll say. "What is it? What do you want?"

"Nothing," I'll say. "I'll tell you later."

--John Erhardt

- - -

Ever wonder why most snooze buttons are set to silence the alarm for 9 minutes instead of another, more psychologically appealing (that is, rounder) number? Turns out the answer has very little to do with psychology and has all to do with Switzerland. Maybe not Switzerland, but clockmakers. One can't be a clockmaker if one isn't Swiss, right?

Back when clocks actually had gears, every single cog, spring and wheel within a timepiece was standardized so that parts could be easily swapped from clock to clock in order to facilitate repairs. The invention of the snooze button threw a wrench into the works of clock design - due to the sizes of the available gears the only times physically possible for the snooze to function at were slightly under 10 minutes or slightly over it - 10 minutes on the nose wasn't doable. It was assumed that the first choice was more appealing (read: marketable) and the time was set at 9-something.

With the advent of electronic clocks, 9 minutes and change became 9 minutes exactly. It was what people were used to and seemed easiest to just chop off the extra seconds.

Sources:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a991126.html
http://foolong.org/archives/2003/08/22/snoozing.html

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