By: Briana Smith | February 6, 2014
We’ve all had one of these experiences. The one where you were out and about, and you had to go to the restroom, really, really bad with rather limited options. The one where once you had finally located a public restroom you walked in to discover that the paper towels were strewn about the countertops, all over the floor, and overflowing out of the itty bitty trash bin. And you just knew that there would be none left in the actual dispenser. The potential for soap seemed equally non-existent as it appeared that the entire contents were smeared amongst the paper towels on the countertops.
This of course became a harbinger for what was to come when you started to peer into several bathroom stalls, your shoes making a schnicking sound as they stuck to the floor, scanning for one with any toilet paper still left on the roll. Finally finding one with just enough, you entered the stall and turned around only to find that the latch had been broken for at least a decade. And let’s forget about there being a hook for your jacket or any bags you might have been carrying. So then you stood there, for an entire minute as you contemplated whether or not you could ‘hover’ over the painfully dirty toilet seat and then somehow manage to reach out, keeping the stall door closed with your fingertips, while simultaneously holding all your stuff carefully without anything touching the floor.
Ugh. No mean feat that.
Granted, the circumstances may be slightly different for men, but for the most part it’s fairly similar, possibly minus the more than one bag and caring about a bathroom stall door portions.
Insert a small child, or two, into this scenario and it becomes a situation of epic proportions.
In an instance like this, would you have paid $1 if it guaranteed that you’d be able to use a clean restroom with plenty of supplies? At least the essentials like toilet paper, soap, water, and either paper towels or hand dryers so that all of the basic items required for good hand hygiene practices are covered. I would’ve, and have in a heartbeat. Even better would be to have some of those touch-free restroom accessories we’re all getting used to, such as the auto faucets, electronic paper towel dispensers, and auto flush toilets would be quite nice.
Would it depend on where these pay-per-use restrooms were located? Would you pay at a campground, but not at a mall? The state of the public restrooms at the beach and local parks has been a contentious issue in San Diego. Oftentimes they are one of the first things closed during a fiscal crisis, and even when they are open toilet paper and soap are difficult commodities to come by.
Pay-per-use public restrooms, or toilets, are more common in places like Europe, especially in areas of mass transit and where lots of people frequent on a daily basis. In general, they tend to cost about 1 euro, and most of the ones I’ve been in have been moderately clean and had plenty of those important essential items. I haven’t seen as many pay-per-use restrooms here in the US, and some of the ones I have seen here do not deliver in regards to supplies offered and cleanliness of the facility. Then again, they tend to be at truck stops. Usually, I like most people look for free public restrooms or purchase something in a café or store in order to use their toilets.
Just in case you do come across a dirty public restroom that you by necessity have to use, here are a couple of items that are good to have on-hand that will help you maintain your good hand hygiene habits.
- Portable Hand Sanitizer: How often have you discovered that there is no soap left in the dispenser? Or it just isn’t offered. I refuse to leave a restroom without having washed my hands and this is the next best thing in a hand washing emergency.
- Facial Tissue: A small package of this gives you something to dry your hands if needed. In a dire emergency, facial tissue becomes a back-up to stalls that lack both toilet paper & paper towels or hand dryers. Just remember, facial tissue should NEVER be flushed down the toilet! Pipes and sewer systems cannot handle paper products and disposables not designed specifically to breakdown the way toilet paper does. The infrastructure systems for pipes, sewage and water mains in many countries are rather old and were not intended to deal with certain waste items.
So, what do you think? Would you pay $1 to use a restroom?
Briana Smith is WAXIE’s Social Media & Product Branding Specialist and spends quite a bit of time skimming the news for what’s new in cleaning, sustainability and technology while managing all of WAXIE’s social channels. She especially loves posting about #teamwaxie activities & conversing with customers on Instagram. Briana has a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Design from California State University, Chico.
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