Bathroom Etiquette
Posted by tim in People Suck on August 25, 2009

This is a topic I wanted to rant about a couple of months ago, but got severely distracted and forgot all about. It has to do with bathroom etiquette.

Where I work, we have pretty nice restrooms. They offer a nice level of privacy for when you are doing your deed, and they have very nice wash-up areas. But it seems the quality of this setting doesn't differ from that of a run-down truck stop in the middle of nowhere. But what indicators make me think this? Let me hit them one by one.

First, I'd like to point to the janitorial staff. For a crew that's on site daily, all day, you'd think that keeping the paper goods stocked properly would be a small task that could be done at either end of the workday. Apparently that's too much to expect. You see, each "stall" of the mens room holds 2 full rolls of toilet paper. Yet every time I walk in there, I see that there are an additional 2 to 3 rolls stacked on the back of the toilet. Let's not forget that sink area either. The paper towel dispenser is pretty good sized and would probably hold a sufficient amount of towels by itself. However, there is invariably a couple more packs of fresh paper towel laid on the countertop next to the sink, where it does nothing but absorb the water that splashes out of the sinks when they are used. This is a very frustrating thing to witness and would not be tolerated by my standards.

Hanging on to the topic of paper goods, let's talk about what people do with the toilet paper and paper towels. No, I don't mean their intended uses; I'm talking about how they always seem to end up on the floor. It doesn't matter that there are 2 very accessible trash cans within close proximity of the sink and door. Heck, there is almost always a pile of spent paper towels on the floor directly next to the trash can. In the stalls, it seems there is always at least one length of (hopefully) unused toilet paper laying on the floor. Do people not understand the concept of reaching to the floor to pick up what they have so horribly misplaced? It's not that hard, folks.

Have you ever worked somewhere and had to share a workstation with other people? I mean, that keyboard, mouse, and telephone you use on a daily basis has to be used by someone else when you're not there, right? How would you feel if I told you that only 3 of the 5 visitors to the restroom at the office wash their hands between reliving themselves and exiting the bathroom? This is a very loose figure, because it's only observed for the couple of minutes I'm in the restroom each visit. We can easily amplify the intensity of this issue by noting that the offenders are typically those who interact directly with customers or groups of workers in the office. Simply gross.

Another seemingly trivial issue that plagues even the most sophisticated restroom facilities is the concept of flushing the toilet. I could understand and partially appreciate the reluctance if the facility were that of a nasty truck stop, but not when it's a clean and mostly well-kept corporate restroom as we have. Even if placing your hand on the lever to flush the fixture does wrench your stomach, consider using that thing attached to the end of your leg: your foot. The levers are generally low enough that you can easily raise your foot to gently press it downward and trigger the flow of water. Otherwise, your nasty mess that you just got rid of is left for everyone else who enters the restroom after you. Would you like for someone else to leave you such a present? I think not.

What do you feel should be done with those dirty hands once you have dealt with your bodily functions and handled items that others who have done the same have? That's right, wash your hands! There should be no further discussion here, just do it!

Oh, and let's hit one more point while we're at it: Turn the water off when you're done. You do remember those public service announcements we all saw growing up, telling us to turn the water off when we were done, right? Even when it is city water that you don't have to pay for, you should still use the same amount of respect you would expect at your house, should one of your co-workers use your restroom. If you turned it on, turn it off. Simple.

I mean, come on now: We are all old enough to be considered mature adults, right? Why not act the part?!

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