show me the feet

March 22, 2012

One of the most awkward things you can do in a public bathroom (apart from that other list of things you should never under any circumstances ever do in a public OR private bathroom) is try to enter a stall that is occupied.

I wish our fancy new bathrooms had stall doors with little “occupado” indicators. They don’t. THEY DON’T.

And, in fact, our stalls are nice. And, per usual, the big stall is the nicest. \

What I am not happy about is the design flaw in our bathroom that prevents me from knowing, short of sending a trial balloon over the wall, or using a camera or mirror on the end of a stick, or standing with my ear to the door (see list of things to never do in a public bathroom), for finding out if the stall is occupied.

A bathroom should be designed so that you can see feet.

Not like this:

Getting closer and leaning back into the sink portion of the counter does not help:

Yes, I did the whole “try to open the door, get denied, mumble apologies, and shuffle to the far stall (never the adjacent because the shame is now too great for that) thing.

I’m open to suggestions.


44 Responses to “show me the feet”

  1. steve Says:

    Peek through the crack…

  2. steve Says:

    Yell “anyone in the big house” or “anyone in the double wide”

  3. steve Says:

    stand in front of the next stall over and quietly reach out and push the stall door, then slink away as if it never happened if occupied.

  4. mtb w Says:

    knock first (not that this still doesn’t eliminate all potential embarressment)

  5. Bikemike Says:

    Smoke bomb under the door.

    • Bikemike Says:

      Actually even more entertaining would be to set off the fire alarm every time you have to go to the loo.

    • dug Says:

      see, i like that, because you not only find out if someone is in there, but you get the out of there too. just need a gas mask.

  6. Miles Archer Says:

    Use your sense of smell

  7. KanyonKris Says:

    Can you spot the occupant’s shadow? Looks like the lighting is the wrong angle.

    Man, this is like Schrodinger’s cat.

  8. KanyonKris Says:

    Can you see the latch bar through the crack? Tricky to do this covertly.

  9. Scott Says:

    Roar like Chewbacca. Wait for a reaction.

  10. planetjenn Says:

    Set up a potty-cam OUTSIDE (lest I be banished to ‘the list’) so that you can do proper surveillance and time your usage accordingly.

  11. KanyonKris Says:

    Drop a quarter and take a clandestine peek when you bend to pick it up.

    But you’d rather die than touch a bathroom floor.

    Arrg, this is harder than Jerry trying to do the roommate switch.

  12. Andy in WV Says:

    Where I work is very similar. I look into the mirror on the wall and can see the feet that way. Not sure if you can get the correct angle on those mirrors or not.

  13. GrizzlyAdam Says:

    “A good bathroom experience makes for a happy work environment, where people are less irritated and more productive.”

    Problem solved.

    • KanyonKris Says:

      But what if someone forgets to slide it back to “vacant”? Double jeopardy.

      • JodieA Says:

        That’s the problem we have–solid door with toilet and sink inside a room with a sign that never gets switched. Either the sign says occupied and it is not in use or the sign says vacant but someone is in there. One day someone didn’t remember to lock the door or move the sign and almost got an unwelcome entry (oh yeah, it’s unisex, also, and opens into the break room). Could be worse. The last time I tried to use it I went to open the door and it was locked. I heard “someone’s in here” to which I replied “you probably should use the sign!”

  14. steve Says:

    Got it. Those springy door opening things you put on doors to close them but use them to keep them open if not locked. Combine that with the vacancy sign and you are all set. Or just revert to peeking through the crack.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    I like the occupied/unoccupied sign idea – if the occupant forgets to slide it into place then they can only blame interruption on themselves. Nuff said.

  16. Steve Says:

    Awww. Are we done with the flow of ideas so close to the precipice of knowledge? Ready to dump the exploration of solution to such a sticky situation?

  17. Citron Says:

    Easy solution….remove door from only the extra large stall. Usage will decrease dramatically……if you have privacy issues I’m sure you can get a nice portable cloth privacy screen made.

  18. Bikemike Says:

    Pee on the floor.

  19. Rob L Says:

    Go old school and just kick each stall door open like in highschool while mumbling about needing a smoke.

  20. Chad Says:

    As long as the outside of the lock rotates with the inside just scratch a line on the lock. I wouldn’t use a marker or you will know how poorly they clean the doors.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Put springs on the doors so they swing open if not locked.

  22. leroy Says:

    So I guess walking in and loudly inquiring “Yeesh, what died in here” is out of the question.

    It was my dog’s idea. He’s not shy about stuff like this.

    Or you could try loudly inquiring “Fat Cyclist sent me, got any ideas for a post”? Some of us do our best thinking in secluded places.

  23. dave Says:

    What would you do if you actually saw feet? Like shoe off, sock on the floor and pants completely removed from leg? Or a person squatting facing the bowl?

    In both instances I turned around and walked out, and went to a different bathroom.

    I’ve had nightmares about what goes on here at my office.

    Then there was the time a few weeks ago I was sent in to the mens room at church to retrieve an autistic boy who had been gone too long. I see him sitting in a stall facing the stool and asked what he was doing? His reply…”cleaning my ear”

    Ummm, that’s not where we do that come on out now and wash up.

    Nightmares, freaking Nightmares.

  24. CB Says:

    Chad wins…a covert marking on the rotating lock will solve your problem.
    Our office has the restrooms right in the reception area (major downside of “B Class” office space I suppose). I haven’t used said restrooms since we moved into this space…I’ll probably have bowel issues the rest of my life…

  25. tohellandback1st Says:

    look in the mirror and see through the crack. if you don’t see porcelain, try the next stall…

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