Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Five Serious Public Bathroom Design Flaws

written by Maddox Campbell.



In an effort to appeal to a few of The Real Johnson readers' favourite things, I thought that for my second post here, I might incorporate a few of the staples of Real Johnson posts, namely angry nitpicking about mundane things, lists, and talking about the bathroom.

Let's be honest, public restrooms aren’t by nature pleasant places. They exist to discreetly dispose of all the fluid, solid, and gaseous waste humans produce and then immediately get uncomfortable with. But if something must be done, it should be done right--or at the very least with as few blaring systematic design flaws as possible. And so I present Five Serious Public Bathroom Design Flaws that, if I never saw again, would make bathroom going easier, safer, cleaner, and more pleasant.



Signage on in-swung door
You can’t have it both ways. If you put the Men’s and Women’s signs on a door that swings inward, you can’t then prop the door eternally open, facing the sign into the bathroom, making it legible only to those who are already in the bathroom. What good is it to know you are in the wrong bathroom only after you are in there? You are committed at that point. No, it’s a change of voice and swagger for you. Otherwise you’ll just look like a fool.

Lids on Waste Bins
Lids on trash cans have two purposes:
  • They keep stink in; and 
  • They keep animals out. 
A waste bin filled only with paper towels has neither of these problem. It does, however, make the ginger attempts to get balls of moist paper towel into the garbage more likely to rebound and contribute to the ever-growing mountain of paper towel circling the garbage can. Those all-in-one garbage/dispensers are the worst offenders with their Fort Knox inspired design that needs to be pried open to get towels inside.

Flushes You Can’t Press With Your Foot
No one wants to touch anything in a public washroom with any part of their body if they can avoid it. Feet, however, are doomed the moment you step upon that pee speckled floor. So why not make a toilet flush designed to be pushed by foot?
Personally, I already try to use fancy footwork to flush as much as possible, but some designs cause me to nearly lose my balance and plunge a foot into the drink--after it has already been drunk, processed and expelled.
And these touch-less flush toilers are not a solution. If you lean forward while squatting over one of those sensor toilets you’ll get an unpleasant fecal spray going the wrong way up your bottom. If you stand, they won’t flush at all. Give me a foot pedal and I’ll be a happy and relatively uninfected man.

Taps That Pour at the Wrong Range
It seems like you’d check that the taps actually pour into the sink before installing a whole row of them, but apparently people don't.  They put them so far back that I'm rubbing my knuckles against the sink wall and my wrists stay are dry. Or they put them too far forward and the sink’s edge splashes water over my “looks like I didn’t make it in time” area.
Sensor taps here are often infuriating too; especially when the sensor range is less than the pour distance and you end up with that wash-tease. You place your hands in front of the sensor, and water falls behind them. Move your hands into the water, and the water stops. I don’t want to wash one hand at a time. You can’t lather with one hand!

Urinals That Are Too Close Together
I know what happened here. Either some manager is cracking the whip trying to get the highest washroom capacity with the space available (clearly not an important manager if that is his big mission) or someone thought they’d fight the agreed upon rule of never taking urinals next to another man by shoving twice as many urinals in there.
But it doesn't work.
A man needs a wide stance to pee. Try peeing while standing at attention. I don’t think it can be done. Some urinals even have dividers, normally a nice privacy perk, but when placed closer together than you are wide (and I’m far from an overly wide man) then you’ve traded privacy for having to arch it in from across the room. Give a man some space to pee in peace and you’ll get more efficiency than trying to shove too many urinals in there.


Dishonourable Mention:
While it's been covered here on The Real Johnson before,  there is absolutely no benefit, to anyone, to having a bathroom attendant.


For more Maddox, check out his YouTube channel or the facebook pages for his comedy troupes, Huckleberry Funn and The Winston Zeddemores.

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