Technology is beautiful…when it actually works.
When I was in high school, there was a discount department store that had pay toilets. The theory was that you put a dime in the slot, turn the lever and the bathroom stall door opens. It was slightly reminiscent of a parking meter, only it wasn’t timed. In practical application, however, people liked to do funky things with the slot, such as jamming it up with popsicle sticks (what they were doing with those in the crapper I’ll never know) or super glue.
The end result was that even if you were one of those people who were willing to pay the dime to keep from having to slide under the stall door, the odds were very good that even with the dime you weren’t going to be opening that stall door any time soon. Many individuals saw fit to shimmy under the stall door or barring that option, (somehow, considering this was a ladies’ room) pee in the sink, pee in the floor drain, or, which did happen on occasion, drop a deuce on the floor drain.
The motivation behind that great old poem:
Here I sit, all broken hearted
Paid my dime, and only farted.
I don’t think that I ever had to use the bathroom so urgently while at that store that I couldn’t make it across the parking lot to the Burger King to use their (free) toilet. I was never good enough at doing the Limbo to consider trying to shimmy under the stall door. I wasn’t tall enough to consider peeing in the sink either, and considering how many people just relieved themselves on the floor, I didn’t want to risk touching that floor with clothing, body parts or hair to begin with.
Today is one of those “somebody jammed a popsicle stick in the crapper lock” sort of days. It’s an automatic “go to option B” sort of day. Our invoicing system isn’t working, which means I’m not selling anything. I can’t do reports. I can’t check inventory. The phones are still on though, so I can still listen to people bitch, and I can freak out about all the people I’m going to have to call and all the catch up I’m going to have to engage in once the system is actually working again.
Leave it to the New Englanders to find another way to make you pay!
Pay toilets seem to have lost their popularity, at least in central Ohio. I am surprised someone hasn’t figured out a toilet lock that accepts MasterCard and Visa. If the City of Columbus can find parking meters that take plastic then I’m sure the technology exists. If I really, really had to go, I’d be willing to pay, let’s say $5 on my debit card to get in.
I probably shouldn’t give people ideas, although maybe there was a lesson learned from the behavior of the sink whizzers and floor crappers of the early-to-mid 1980′s. It just might not be worth the potential $5 per crap in the toilet if most people forgo the pay device and just crap on the floor and/or pee in the sink.
Considering the dismal condition of many public toilets, perhaps a $5 debit card swipe at the door (at the main door, not the stall door) would be worth it IF the toilet was kept immaculately clean. The Japanese have it pretty good as far as toilet technology goes. I’d be willing to pay to use one of those funky self-cleaning Japanese toilet/bidet/health monitor things.
Elimination: Star Wars Style
Unfortunately most public bathrooms look more like this:
No wonder I see so many trucker bombs.
I don’t understand the motivation behind wanting to trash a public restroom. One might think it a good thing, a sort of karmic justice issue so to speak, to keep the crappers one uses tidy so the next time it’s necessary to use one it might be clean and somewhat safe to use. Then again, the lesson I’ve learned over the past week is that logic doesn’t necessarily apply to what actually happens in the real world.
In high school I used the school bathroom once. I didn’t even attempt it at the old Freshman Building, because it had the original (wooden seat) toilets from 1915. In 1982 these were not safe to use. The way they were originally designed was cool- you sat on the seat, used the toilet, and when you got up there was a spring-loaded device that automatically flushed.
I’m sure in 1915 that was amazing state of the art technology. But by 1982, when (and if) they actually flushed, they would send a geyser of toilet contents skyward, often showering the toilet user with the toilet contents.
A shower that will not promote bodily cleanliness.
In the main high school (built in 1959) the functionality of the toilets wasn’t the issue. They were regular industrial-style toilets with the toggle-lever flushers like one might see in your local Taco Bell. The things the girls did in the bathroom was the issue. There was graffiti- everywhere- that would make a porn star blush. Many people smoked in there. I didn’t have the courage to light up in the school crapper though.
I used that bathroom exactly once. It seemed OK, until for some inexplicable reason I looked toward the ceiling. To my horror, a heavily used maxi pad was hanging by the tiniest bit of adhesive on to the ceiling. If that tiny bit of adhesive had let go before I made a swift exit, I would have had a very nasty mess splattered all over my verdant, thick, big 80′s spiral permed hair.
Yes, I had hair like this at one time- long, long ago, back when the air was dirty, sex was clean, and Steve Perry was oh-so-hot in Spandex. Spiral perms (i.e. the infamous Uni-Perms) not only fried your hair, they sucked the color out of it too. Needless to say it would have been rather nasty to clean a bloody mess out of a massive hair nest like that.
Skoal was bad enough. At least the girl who saw fit to spit Skoal in my hair ended up getting pinned down and having her head shaved. I did have a few good friends in high school who really enjoyed the fact that I had cigarettes- and a car.
The Big 80′s. Steve Perry was probably the best thing about that entire decade.