We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you need to find a public restroom, ask an old man.” It’s true. Of necessity, we look for the restrooms and fastest way to get to them any time we enter a new store, restaurant, etc. Even as our memories begin to falter, we always remember where the restrooms are.
Since we spend more time in public restrooms that any other group, people who design them should seek our input before they build one. I mean, if you’re going to build a ship, do you want to talk to a sailor or a desert nomad? We know what works well and what doesn’t.
Have you ever sat on a toilet and started to reach for the toilet paper, only to find the dispenser placed so that you almost have to reach behind yourself to get to it? If you haven’t, you haven’t been in many public restrooms.
In the Walmart where my wife and I shop, the toilet paper dispensers are placed approximately even with my hip joint. I have to reach down, pull the paper down, and yank behind myself to tear it off. Why can’t they put it out in front a little so you can pull it toward yourself to tear it off?
That Walmart has a family restroom—I’m not sure if that means you’re supposed to take the whole family with you or what—where the toilet paper dispenser is placed about two inches from an aluminum box whose purpose is an enigma. They dare you to find a way to reach the paper and tear it off the roll.
Most places that have public restrooms assume only women can find any use for a hook on the back of the door or on a wall. If we guys have a sweater or anything to hang while we avail ourselves of the facilities, we’re usually out of luck. More places have begun installing hooks, but for some reason they want to place them about waist level so the anything you hang there will drag the floor.
Seems like many places have non-repair policies, too. If the latch on a stall door malfunctions—or is ripped out of place by some customer angry about the toilet paper—management enters the date on a calendar to be certain it doesn’t get repaired or replaced for at least a year.
And how about the lavatories? More and more of them are using these faucets with motion sensors that turn on and off. Trouble is, most of them can’t sense motion. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood at one of these in Walmart madly waving my hands under them with nothing happening. Finally a spurt comes out—just enough to make you sorry you got your hands so soapy—and then it cuts itself off.
I’d like to complain about the hot air hand dryers, too, but they are probably a reaction to the public’s propensity to toss paper towels on the floor. Thanks to someone else’s messiness, I have to stand there wishing the blower would dry my hands and then leave the restroom with them still wet.
Yeah, like any older man, I know where all the restrooms are. I just wish they were a bit more user-friendly.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.