Know What
I'm Sayin'??
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
There needs to be a revolution in...Public Restrooms
Let's talk about the standard bathroom process.
  1. You go in.
  2. You use the bathroom.
  3. You grab the nasty handle and flush. Your hand is nasty.
  4. You grab the nasty handle and turn the water on. Your hand is nasty.
  5. You one way or another touch the nasty soap dispenser. Your hand is nasty.
  6. You wash.
  7. You use your (now clean) hand to grab the nasty handle and turn the water off. That hand is nasty again.
  8. You grab some paper towels. If the dispenser is the kind that you have to touch, it's probably nasty.
  9. You leave. (Did you touch the door handle with your hand, or did you use a paper towel?) I do my due diligence, and grab the handle with a paper towel on my way out. Some say to just drop the paper towel on the floor, but I prefer to throw it away. This usually means I grab the handle with a paper towel, pull the door open, and either hold it open with my foot while I dispose of the paper towel, or throw it away with out holding the door and just move really fast. Either way it's undue acrobatics.

At the end of my process, and usually during, I'm always left thinking..."There's gotta be a better way."

Please don't misunderstand me. I have noticed people trying, and progress has been made:
  • The whole motion detecting toilets and urinals. These work well. I even saw a toilet in an airport once that had a little seat cover that changed itself after each use.
  • The sinks. The motion detecting sinks. They work decently, but I think in the past I've seen a method of doing this that involved some sort of foot pedal. I think this should be brought back.
  • The maze entrance. This is another one that is in use in airports. I think it works. There's no door to touch, and no breach of privacy from an open door. Alternatives here could an opaque hybrid of the the "seeing-eye" revolving door, or something similar to what is used in grocery stores.
Some of the new stuff doesn't work quite so well.
  • The automatic soap dispenser. This thing needs some tweaking. I've seen it dispense soap, when there's no hand waiting.
  • The automatic paper towel dispenser. This thing is the worst. I just feel silly standing there waving my hand in front of the thing. Reminds me of Luke Skywalker. "These aren't the droids you're looking for." Only it worked for Luke. If I said "Open Sesame" in a fake deep voice, then I'd be a shoo-in for a cheesy role in an even cheesier movie.
So, in summation, there really does need to be a revolution in public restrooms. To be sure, some of the public restrooms are much further along than others. What confuses me is that you'd think that the new restrooms would begin to combine the best features of all the public restrooms out there, but it doesn't seem like they're learning from each other, or themselves. I mean, shouldn't places like McDonald's have perfect restrooms by now?

Know What I'm Sayin'??