Saturday, March 08, 2008


Most people probably don't think too much about washrooms, let alone public ones. You do your business, and that's that. But some public washrooms in particular really bug me.

Self-Flushing Toilets
I hate self-flushing toilets. The problem is that the design kinks still haven't been ironed out. First off, they flush when you don't want them to, like when you're sitting on them. It's super-awkward to be sitting there and all of a sudden feel a breeze on your butt from an unscheduled flush. Not to mention the little bit of toilet water mist which seems to follow. Ugh. Secondly, these toilets never seem to flush when you DO want them to. The toilets at my workplace are self-flushing, and I've noticed on occasion while washing my hands when someone walks out of a stall expecting it to flush and it doesn't. I can only imagine what kind of a mess was left in there. The thing that gets me is that the general population isn't even aware of the fact that most self-flushing toilets have an "override button". Basically, it's there so that you can flush if the sensor goofs up. I've seen it happen enough times at work such that I'm very tempted to put up an anonymous sign to educate people about this little-known fact. Honestly, is it so bloody hard to flush a toilet on your own that you need it automated? Give me a break...

Hands-Free Taps
These generally are a great idea because that way you don't need to touch the sink handle to turn it off. If you're touching the handle with your dirty hands to turn it on, you must touch that now dirty handle with your clean hand to turn it off. Many people use paper towel to turn off the tap in that case, but that is a bit of a waste of paper. Hence why the hands-free tap is such a great idea. Unfortunately, some sensors are so crappy that you have to practically touch the tap to get it on. A bit of a moot point, is it not?

I wish parents would teach their children better bathroom hygiene. There is some nasty stuff out there! Far too many times, I've witnessed women leaving bathroom stalls, then leaving the washroom without washing their hands. That's bad enough, in my opinion. But then, we have people who THINK they're being hygienic - they leave the stall, run some water (with no soap) on their hands, dry their hands, and leave the washroom. Gross. Who are they kidding?

Bathroom Doors
I never understood bathroom door mechanics. Many public washrooms will have double doors. In some cases, you need to push the inner door, and pull the outer door to leave the washroom. In other cases, you need to pull both the inner and outer door. Regardless of the configuration, they have one thing in common - the final door used to exit the washroom always requires pulling. That makes no sense to me!!! Considering that even 1 in 100 people leaving a washroom don't wash their hands, it still means that their grubby paws will have touched the same handle that my clean hands are touching. At that rate, I might as well not have washed my hands. As with the sink issue, many people solve this by using a paper towel to pull the handle. This was a bit of a problem a while back because you'd often end up with a pile of paper towel on the floor near the door. A few restaurants and movie theaters have noticed this trend and have actually put garbage cans near each set of doors. Of course to me, the obvious solution would be to just change the design of the doors such that you PUSH to get out, rather than pull. It's a lot more environmentally-friendly, as it doesn't require those of us who are hygienically-conscious to be wasting paper towel for nothing. Of course, there's on problem with that solution. Oftentimes, washrooms are located in high-traffic areas of a restaurant (for example), in which case you'd be whacking some poor server trying to get food to or from a table. In these cases, I'd say fine, just keep the status quo. But in cases where you're not in a high-traffic area, just change the door configuration. You'll be saving a heck of a lot more money on paper towel.

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