Pet Peeve

You arrive at the restaurant, but before you eat you need to stop by the restroom. You take care of your business wash your hands, ready to go enjoy your meal.

But first you have to exit the restroom. You go to the door, reach out and grab the handle so you can pull it open. How many germs are on that door handle? How many people who have used that restroom ahead of you exited without washing their hands? How clean will your hands be when you get to your table to eat?

We all have pet peeves, and this is one of my giant ones. Where do you go to get an audience with the people who decide how to hang restroom doors? Do any of them have the sense God gave a jackass? Why do they always have them opening inward rather than outward?

This whole problem would disappear if they just designed the doors to be pushed open rather than pulled. You could push with a forearm or shoulder rather than grasping a filthy handle with your newly pristine hands. Yet, in my experience, upwards of 90% of public restroom doors open inward.

Why is this? Do the architects and builders not have to wash their hands, too? Do they not think before they design and build? Do they just plain not care?

The problem could also be easily solved by using paper towels instead of hot air dryers and placing a trash receptacle adjacent to the exit. This would allow customers to wrap a paper towel around the handle when they open the door and then throw the towel away after they get it open.

McDonald’s proudly proclaims that it saves umpty-eleven tons of paper a year by providing the hot air dryers and no paper towels, yet every McDonald’s restroom door I’ve seen opens inward. Why is this?

My favorite breakfast place, a mom and pop operation called Rise & Shine, gives its customers restroom doors to push rather than pull. Why can’t others do that? The Barnes & Noble where my writers’ group meets has door you pull, but they provide paper towels and have a receptacle right beside the door. What’s so difficult about that?

How do you feel about grasping a filthy door handle with your clean hands?


We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.


For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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10 Responses to Pet Peeve

  1. My husband has that pet peeve, too, David. I hate that doors open in, too.

    But I have to say that Catie’s comment hit a nerve, as well. Even women in my workplace are “hoverers”! *shudders* Why don’t they raise the seat if they’re going to hover so they leave the seat clean? It’s not like they’re going to sit on the porcelain!

    Thank you for sharing your pet peeve. Maybe if all of us complain enough, something may change!


  2. I hate it. I never, ever touch a bathroom door handle with my hands. If there aren’t paper towels, I’ll use some part of my shirt (and then change when I get home. If there are paper towels, I’ll get it ready to tear off before I wash my hands because I’ve seen too many people just rinse their fingertips and then start pulling on the lever. Yeah. Not. Neither will I use the dryers, which just spew public bathroom germs everywhere. In a nutshell, I hate public bathrooms.

    I hate touching shopping cart handles because of the people who can’t wash their hands, and resent it when the stores I shop at are out of the sanitary wipes to clean them with. I use my own ink pen when I have to sign things, and practically bathe in hand sanitizer when I can’t (and it’s 50% GermX and 50% alcohol).

    Yes, I have a thing about germs. My son was in intensive care for a couple of months after he was born and the protocol to even touch him was so strict that if you even scratched your nose, you had to go through the whole process all over again. Hard to forget training like that, lol.


  3. Donald Sneed says:

    I’ve often thought about the “dirty door knob” too, but never analyzed it as thoroughly as you have.Maybe someday the “hangers ” will start doing it right….but only if someone calls it to their attention. I have a grandson who is an architect. I will pose the question to him. D.S.

    Sent from my iPad


  4. Catie Rhodes says:

    My husband would probably agree with you. He carries that alcohol gel stuff everywhere with him and uses it until his hands are chapped. My restaurant restroom pet peeve is when other women urinate or defecate all over the toilet instead of inside it. I understand they think the toilet is dirty, but don’t they realize they’ve made it even nastier for everyone who has to use it after them?


  5. Sharon K. Walker says:

    If there aren’t any paper towels and there’s an empty bathroom stall, I pull off toilet paper with which to grip the filthy doorknob. Maybe you should write a few more blogs periodically on people’s pet peeves.


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