Welcome to my Friday’s Rants from the Soap Box in my Living Room. A small space in the week where I can have a chunter about things that have made me twitch with annoyance or made me question if the world has gone mad or not….
I also linked up with MummyBarrow for her Ranty Friday. You can find her blog and link up here if you’d like to join in. A good rant can be therapeutic.
The topic of this week’s Ranty Friday is public toilets. Yes, I know, that sounds a bit random, but with two small children, I do unfortunately have to spend time in them.
I LOATHE public toilets. If I can, I will avoid going to the toilet, when out, on my own, unless I can guarantee that the toilet I am using is a nice one. I wouldn’t classify myself as having a public toilet phobia but I generally try to avoid them if I can. I am blessed with what LSH affectionately terms Nurse/Camel bladder. When I worked at Great Ormond. Street, in theatres as a scrub nurse, I assisted on some very long surgical procedures, which often would mean being dressed in sterile kit, working with surgeons for many hours, without a loo break I also worked on very busy wards, where some days I’d get to the end of my shift, and realise I hadn’t had time to go to the toilet, and despite having had two babies I am fortunate that I can go all day without a visit to the toilet, if needs be.
Anyway, I digress, back to public toilets in all their disgusting un-glory.
Last week, Big Girl (who also has camel bladder, it seems and can go for hours, but when she needs to go, she NEEDS to go) needed a toilet stop. We were in Kingston, so I went for the nearest toilet in a well-known famous coffee shop franchise (ahem, Starbucks, yes, I am naming and shaming) and we queued for the toilet. This particular one is the female toilet, but also doubles as the disabled toilet, and baby changing facility. I was instantly repelled, and appalled. The toilet seat was covered in urine, there was urine on the floor, there was soggy toilet paper all over the floor, and something weird and slimy in the sink. My camera on my phone is very basic, so I couldn’t get a photo, but it was horrific. I’m afraid I decided that we weren’t using that toilet, and I bundled a poor, slightly desperate Big Girl out and we headed to Marks&Spencer’s. Their toilet was slightly better, in that it was vaguely cleaner, but I do have to question why people feel compelled to let go of all social niceties when they are using public amenities. Why is it ok to pee all over a toilet seat, (or worse) and not wipe it? Why should I have to clean someone else’s pee off a seat before I use it, or my child uses it? Why is it ok to drop unmentionable things onto the toilet floor? Are the sanitary waste bins just there for decoration?
Don’t get me started on people who wipe bodily waste on walls etc… I have been in chain restaurant toilets in various places where I have been revolted to see this. Why? The staff in these places already have enough to do, and usually have to regularly clean and inspect the toilets, but really, why should they have to clean up, frankly, other people’s crap? I am sure the lady behind the counter at Starbucks, who I mentioned the state of the toilets to, really didn’t want to have to go and deal with the revolting mess I had found. I don’t blame her, am sure they don’t pay her enough to do that!
If I walked into someone’s home, used their toilet, then left used toilet paper on the floor, pee all over the seat, and didn’t flush, would it be ok? NO! I realise that public toilets cannot be as beautiful as someone’s loo at home (although in my previous existence as a nurse, when I worked in the community, as a student, I did experience some fairly horrific specimens of toilets, so I know even private toilets aren’t always clean either) but why do people think it’s ok, to leave unspeakable and unhygienic mess all over a room that other people are going to use. Why is it ok to pee all over a floor, in a public bathroom? When I go to public toilets with my children I cringe, because I feel like every surface is covered in germs, then you add the delights of those people who are inconsiderate, and you have a cesspool, just at perfect toddler/child reaching height.
Maybe I should invent a portable, personal, self-cleaning portaloo, or has one already been invented? If so, where can I get one?
A friend very kindly sent some photos of a rather disgusting toilet in Roehampton. The pee on the floor says it all. I mean, come on, the loo is right there, but no, lets just pee on the floor, or try to pee on the toilet, but get the floor instead! Yuck!!
(photos – thanks to R. Woodeson Morton)
On a side note, I can tell you that the public toilets in the Cattle Market Car Park, Kingston Upon Thames, are wonderful, if in doubt, even if it means a few minutes walk, I go there. They are always clean, and smell ok, and I have no problem taking my kids in there to use them.