1. Please do not speak to people while they are doing their business. It makes most of them nervous, and I don't think you want to get to know someone who DOESN'T get nervous. Trust me. This includes phones. The person at the other end of the phone will not like thinking of you in this private moment. I have hung up on people who have flushed when I was speaking to them.
2. When doing one is doing their business, some noises one can't help. Escaped flatulence, crispy sounds, and the splash of a successful offloading of cargo are normal. But please try not to make the following sounds.
- Unnecessary grunts like a rhinoceros: "NNggggRRRAAHH!"
- Exclamation of joy like getting a massage: "OOOhhh yeah! Aaaaah... yeaaaah... oooo... aaah..."
- Humming or singing, especially while pausing for the exit of waste, like it's an impromptu jazz movement: "Hmmm hmmm hmm-NGRRRHHMM-aaah hmmm hmmm..." While I do appreciate the pun of "scat," it should not be used in a stall. You know, "Dummm dummm la dooo... doo doo d-NGHRA-oooo... scooby do wah..."
- Comments of wonder and praise. "Ooh, that felt good. Hey, I don't remember eating carrots?"
3. Aim to please or please aim. If you miss, wipe it up. Don't assume "the janitor will deal with it," because we ALL have to deal with it until the janitor does!
4. Flush. Your waste and toilet paper. Until its gone.
5. If the toilet is clogged, do not, and I repeat DO NOT excrete on top of it like you're finishing the top of an undone cake. Nobody's impressed.
6. Wash your hands afterwards. With soap. This means wet hands, use soap on hand, cover and lather hands with soap, scrub for at least ten seconds (EMTs recommend 30 second minimum, but that's more than most people can stand), shake off excess water, turn off water, dry hands, throw away towel (if any) in trash can provided. Leave.
I was spoiled as a kid. My mother would clean the toilets at least a few times a month, and required us to do it between. Then I went into retail, and I guess I was lucky, because I had bosses (or I was the boss) that required the toilet be cleaned as part of our daily routine.
But then I started working in a building shared by computer geeks and government employees. While I am sure that 99% of them were clean and neat people, the 1% sure made an impression. A bad one. We had people who would pee in the corner of stalls, or on the wall next to urinals. Not even trying to aim for the toilet at all. We had one guy, we suspect a night guard, who would take a dump in the urinals or on the drain in the middle of the floor. Toilets clogged with rolls, not wads, but a whole rolls of toilet paper just ripped off and tossed in. Was that person making a statement? Toilets flooded a lot, even though the restrooms were cleaned twice a day by a janitorial staff. I can only speak for the mens' rooms, but I heard the ladies' rooms were just as bad. Blood-soaked blue wads of madness, tampons left on the floors, and that's in addition to the same problems we had. I had to ask, what if you came in on the mad pooper while leaving a steaming pile of man-loaf on the drain? It all but stopped when we hired a different guard company, which is why we still think it was some of them.
Public restrooms, to no one's surprise, are disgusting most of the time, especially malls. Even upscale malls look like gas station stalls after a while. Who are these messy people? Do they do this at home, or is this an abstract territorial thing they only do in other stalls?
Really, I don't care. I just want them to stop.
One final note: When I worked a 24x7 International Tech Help desk, we were required to take the cell phone, linked to the hotline, with us. You had to pick up the phone when it rings, no exceptions. In the 18 months I worked that desk, the phone only rang while I was in the potty a few times. Often, I was alone in the restroom (my shift was midnight to noon), but I'd always cut it short, going, "I am away from the desk, let me go there call you right back." One day, the head of our Canadian division kept talking and talking about a non-critical issue, despite trying to but in. Finally, she asked, "Home come you aren't at the desk?" I told her, "I am actually trying to take a break in the lavatory." "Oh my god!" she said, "I am so sorry, call me back!" Heh. Awkwardness.
One more final quote, from my friend Dawn, who told me, "One decision I hope you never have to make is when you step away from the toilet after your business, and just as you turn around to flush, and your pager falls in the bowl. The next decision you make will reveal your true thoughts on how loyal you are as an employee."
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000138.html