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Bathroom Parade, how to manage it?


Edward J
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I just don't get the whole 'I have a right' thing, with public loos; it's a favour, not a right.

In the US (I realize that many thread participants are not Americans), most cities have statute in place that businesses which provide food or drink must have a public restroom. Some go even further that a business that is open to the public will provide a restroom.

So, for a lot of people here, it's not a favor.

As an aside, I know people who own McDonald's franchises. When he was still alive, Ray Kroc would head straight to the bathroom when inspecting a McDonald's. If it wasn't clean. He'd clean it himself. And then he'd dress down the franchisee for offering the public a dirty bathroom.

PS -- Perhaps our philosophy on public restrooms is different than the rest of the world's. My travel experience bears that out. Kind of like tipping. We have different expectations here.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I just don't get the whole 'I have a right' thing, with public loos; it's a favour, not a right.

In the US (I realize that many thread participants are not Americans), most cities have statute in place that businesses which provide food or drink must have a public restroom. Some go even further that a business that is open to the public will provide a restroom.

So, for a lot of people here, it's not a favor.

Even if it's legally enforced, it still amounts to a favour; legislation doesn't automatically mean something is a basic human right (or vice versa). And what everyone who's ever managed to urinate in the sink seems to disregard is that every right is implicitly tied to a responsibility (which is unfortunately seldom legislated, making it awfully easy to exploit the rights).

As an aside, I know people who own McDonald's franchises. When he was still alive, Ray Kroc would head straight to the bathroom when inspecting a McDonald's. If it wasn't clean. He'd clean it himself. And then he'd dress down the franchisee for offering the public a dirty bathroom.

I'd bet (and I'm not a betting person) that the filthiest toilets were those most used by the general public, beyond just that portion of the public that fell into the 'customer' category.

You've worked in the industry, so you've probably had more chance than you ever wanted to observe that people can be incredible pigs, and the worst tend to be those who feel that everything they want is a 'right'.

PS -- Perhaps our philosophy on public restrooms is different than the rest of the world's. My travel experience bears that out. . . .

My experience outside the US as an adult is limited to Europe. Speaking for those parts of Italy, Germany, and Denmark in which I've spent between a month and several years, I'd have to say that availability and conditions in public toilets aren't significantly different in these EU countries than from what you find in the US (and I have no idea of the legislation in any of these places): Most big shops have public toilets, you can use the ones in most places that serve food (unless it's just take-away), an even if they're officially for staff only if you ask to use the loo, they'll usually say 'Sure.' Occasionally, 'No', but that's happened in the US, too.

And, the loos that are most open to the public are the most disgusting, as though their being readily available somehow incites the users' contempt (yep, I mean in the US, too).

This seems to put shop/restaurant owners in something of a cleft stick: So, you have to open your loo to the public, who make it disgusting and unsanitary, therefore you have to keep a constant eye on the state of the room, and clean up the mess, or the Dept. of Health guys come down on you like a ton of bricks. If the people responsible for turning the place into a sty aren't even customers, they're costing you a bunch in cleaning material (not to mention, I've had a couple of near-falls--and one actualy fall that left me with a sprained wrist--in places where the bathroom floor was wet and slick; if I was elderly/had broken something I would almost certainly have sued).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Even if it's legally enforced, it still amounts to a favour

No, if it's enforced, then it is no longer a "favor." It is a requirement to do business in the municipality which enacted the law. You want to do business in our city? Great! Then you WILL provide a clean bathroom to the public. Not just your customers. Everyone who walks in needing a restroom. Otherwise, find someplace else to do business. And we have code enforcement officers that will shut your business down if you try to skirt the law. Restrict bathroom usage at your peril, business owners. (Well, at least where I live. Not every city feels the same way.)

EDIT -- As for "dirty public bathrooms," please by all means visit Las Vegas. Enjoy our public facilities. All the restrooms are public restrooms. And if they're not SPOTLESS, then casino management wants to know about that. We'd be horrified to discover we offered a guest a bathroom that didn't surpass their every expectation.

Edited by ScoopKW (log)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Even if it's legally enforced, it still amounts to a favour

No, if it's enforced, then it is no longer a "favor." It is a requirement to do business in the municipality which enacted the law. You want to do business in our city? Great! Then you WILL provide a clean bathroom to the public. Not just your customers. Everyone who walks in needing a restroom. Otherwise, find someplace else to do business. And we have code enforcement officers that will shut your business down if you try to skirt the law. Restrict bathroom usage at your peril, business owners. (Well, at least where I live. Not every city feels the same way.)

EDIT -- As for "dirty public bathrooms," please by all means visit Las Vegas. Enjoy our public facilities. All the restrooms are public restrooms. And if they're not SPOTLESS, then casino management wants to know about that. We'd be horrified to discover we offered a guest a bathroom that didn't surpass their every expectation.

Leaving aside the fact that you hacked off the portion of what I said that elaborated on what I meant, and dismissed most of the points I made, you're talking about one city on the planet (a rather unusual one, from what I understand, and thanks, but I doubt I'll be visiting, I'm not big on hot, sunny places :wink: ).

But surely you aren't saying that you placidly accept that the public will behave irresponsibly in public restrooms, and that this does not present a problem (not necessarily a cheap one, either)?

That the entire issue of who uses an establishment's restroom, and the state in which they leave it is irrelevant? That the cost of the combination of even a small fraction of the public being disgusting + owners of public restrooms needing to keep these spaces clean is not a cost issue?

Does it really seem that unreasonable that some business owners have reservations about people who are not customers doing whatever they will in the bathroom (and since the door is shut, that's what it comes down to), given what it could cost them?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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You would think that a coffee house should have a restroom. I used to hang out and sip coffee at a Starbucks just down the road from LAX and they had no restroom for patrons. Their standard answer was to direct patrons to the supermarket across the parking lot. I don't even care for Starbucks, so I have found another strategy to while away the time waiting for a flight arrival.

I too have used restrooms without purchasing when on the road. It may be faulty illogical thinking, but I only do it at major chains, not small shops like the original poster is referring to. I suppose I feel that it is less of a financial burden on them; or maybe that over my lifetime I have probably patronized "x" chain several times?

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Leaving aside the fact that you hacked off the portion of what I said that elaborated on what I meant, and dismissed most of the points I made, you're talking about one city on the planet (a rather unusual one, from what I understand, and thanks, but I doubt I'll be visiting, I'm not big on hot, sunny places :wink: ).

But surely you aren't saying that you placidly accept that the public will behave irresponsibly in public restrooms, and that this does not present a problem (not necessarily a cheap one, either)?

That the entire issue of who uses an establishment's restroom, and the state in which they leave it is irrelevant? That the cost of the combination of even a small fraction of the public being disgusting + owners of public restrooms needing to keep these spaces clean is not a cost issue?

Does it really seem that unreasonable that some business owners have reservations about people who are not customers doing whatever they will in the bathroom (and since the door is shut, that's what it comes down to), given what it could cost them?

I dislike quoting an entire post. I think people are smart enough to go back and read a post that is on the same page, if necessary. I tend to quote enough to jog people's memory. But I digress.

The reason people "behave irresponsibly" in restrooms is because that restroom is dirty in the first place. If the restroom was clean, they wouldn't resort to "bathroom gymnastics" trying to void without touching anything. That just adds to the mess. The problem is business owners who think they're too good to clean a toilet.

And Las Vegas is NOT the only place that takes public restroom seriously. Just about every tourist town in America does. I've lived exclusively in tourist towns. And providing a clean bathroom is just part of the cost of doing business. Checking the bathroom every hour or so is just part of the job responsibilities. If someone doesn't want to clean restrooms, that person shouldn't be in the service industry.

Take a road trip across the United States sometime. Every few miles you will see a billboard for some business up ahead -- a gas station, a restaurant, a gift shop. They will extol the cleanliness of their restrooms to entice people to pull over than stop there. And some people will stop. And go. And then leave without buying anything. And that's just how it is.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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The reason people "behave irresponsibly" in restrooms is because that restroom is dirty in the first place. If the restroom was clean, they wouldn't resort to "bathroom gymnastics" trying to void without touching anything. That just adds to the mess. The problem is business owners who think they're too good to clean a toilet.

Seriously? You think that people only make messes in bathrooms that are already dirty? That's nuts.

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Mickey D's washrooms get vandalized regularily, as with many other chains, not to mention the gawd-awfull messes many leave behind. These get cleaned on a hourly or bi-hourly basis.

One of my observations on human behavior is that if anything is free or underprioced it will be treated with scorn and contempt.

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The reason people "behave irresponsibly" in restrooms is because that restroom is dirty in the first place. If the restroom was clean, they wouldn't resort to "bathroom gymnastics" trying to void without touching anything. That just adds to the mess. The problem is business owners who think they're too good to clean a toilet.

Seriously? You think that people only make messes in bathrooms that are already dirty? That's nuts.

No, but I think normal people who wouldn't dare foul a clean bathroom will foul a dirty one because they don't want to come in contact with previously fouled surfaces. They attempt the "squat over the toilet without touching it" thing, with varying degrees of success. As with most things, it's easier to keep something clean than it is to clean it after it's been seriously polluted.

I've visited many, many countries. And the worst bathrooms have been in Europe for some reason. Can't really speak to why. But that's just how it's been.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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The reason people "behave irresponsibly" in restrooms is because that restroom is dirty in the first place. If the restroom was clean, they wouldn't resort to "bathroom gymnastics" trying to void without touching anything. That just adds to the mess. The problem is business owners who think they're too good to clean a toilet.

Seriously? You think that people only make messes in bathrooms that are already dirty? That's nuts.

Have to agree with that.

All you have to do is go into the rest rooms in Barnes & Noble, for example, over the course of a day a day, and you can see how things go: When they open they're clean; after about an hour, at least one stall will be nasty.

They're big shops, and have dedicated cleaning staff, but a small concern isn't necessarily going to be able to even check after every customer (pretty much what you have to do, to stay on top of things), let alone clean constantly. If you have customers, you're serving them, although if the only people who come in are not customers, you would have plenty of time to pop your head in the door and see how poor their aim was... and then, I don't know, run after them and call them swine? Nod, smmile to yourself and think, 'Well, I'm sure glad he came in and pissed on next to the toilet, I'll bet next time he stops in he'll buy something'?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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  • 6 years later...

 

On 4/13/2012 at 11:40 AM, Zeemanb said:

The only thing I can think of here is the time, way back in Batali's Po days, when Mario didn't think anyone was in the bathroom and began angrily forcing open the stubborn (locked) door while my mother was in there. Good times.

 

With what we know now about Batali maybe he did know she was in there.... 

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This topic reminds me of the day years ago when I was in Portland's Central library while there was  confrontation going on  with a homeless woman and the library guard.  She was making quite the scene shouting, "Wait til  you see what I did to the restroom!"

Edited by lindag (log)
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I'm not sure how much sense it makes to respond to this ancient thread, especially when I don't believe that the OP, @Edward J, has been recently participating at eG. Still, since I was lurking way back when the topic was originated and I had strong feelings then and still do, I want to say my piece now.

 

As a person who has been through a life threatening and altering experience that had to be scraped up by paramedics off the floor of my home in a nightgown with my underwear around my neck because I could not manage to put it where it belonged with my broken hip injury, I am not a fan of unduly shaming people. (Oh, and I'd thrown up into my hair and onto the underwear from shock and pain too, *shudder*) I wasn't a fan of it before that experience, but this one sealed it for life.

 

When a person needs to use the bathroom urgently, is not a time for socialization. It is a time to take care of something pressing, and then maybe deal with other things. I can't believe that our Edward J is so focused on his need for fealty that he would shame someone in urgent need of relief, but that is what keeps coming through in his responses. There are plenty of circumstances in this world that bring us all to our knees or lower. Trying to pee just should not be one of them, as I see it.

 

 

18 hours ago, tonyrocks922 said:

 

 

With what we know now about Batali maybe he did know she was in there.... 

 

I don't think @Zeemanbhas participated in a while either, so he will probably not clarify what he meant, but yeah, Batali definitely broke in with bad intentions, I think. Sad it took so long for something to be done, but perhaps things may get better now. We can hope, at least.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my little town, food businesses are required to have publicly accessible restrooms.  Because to get to mine you'd have to go through the food prep area, my health inspector made us get a variance to prohibit public use of our restroom.  I'm not about to say no to someone who needs the bathroom.  (We also aren't a restaurant or cafe, you come in, pick up your order and go.)  My case is very different though; we don't have lots of people asking and the bathroom is easy to maintain.

 

@Thanks for the Crepes I hope you are recovered now and doing much better!

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4 hours ago, Qwerty said:

This is giving me PTSD. 

Public Toilet Stress Disorder: the struggle is real. :P

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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