Public washroom hygiene

I’ve noticed over recent times that there seems to be a reduction in the number of hot-air hand dryers (or cold-air, depending on whether or not the heating element and thermostat are functioning correctly :-p) in male public washrooms and toilets in shopping centres, movie theatres, etc. I can’t comment on the situation in female facilities as I’m male and don’t frequent the female facilities, but I’d be interested to know if the situation is the same.

What’s going on? I’m at a complete loss to understand what the possible reason for this reduction could be, apart from the owners/managers of the centres deciding it’s costing too much to maintain the units, so they just remove them and leave as few as possible. This situation doesn’t seem to be limited to the smaller centres either. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if there was an alternative, e.g., paper towels, but in the majority of cases I’ve seen, there isn’t any alternative. You either have to queue up and wait to use the hand dryer (if it’s working) or walk out with wet hands, or simply not bother to wash. Maybe the upper level management behind the operators of the centres don’t realise what’s going on because they have their private wash rooms in their “ivory towers” that are fully provisioned with air dryers, paper towels, or maybe even an attendant handing out proper cloth towels!

So what sort of message is this giving us, the general public?  That they don’t care about our personal hygiene?  That they don’t give a stuff if we pick up God knows how many e-coli or staph bacteria, just so long as they protect their precious bottom line? And what happens if there’s a significant break-out of some sort of infection that is traced back to the public toilets of a particular public venue? Would there likely be a class-action from all affected parties to seek compensation for lost wages and medical expenses? Given the way our legal system is turning, I reckon there would be a fair chance of such an occurrence.  How much would that cost the centre owners to defend (or pay-off the affected litigants)?

And while I’m on the subject of the state of male public toilets and wash rooms, I’m annoyed at how many seem to be unclean generally.  You know what I mean – the smell of stale urine where one or more people has/have completely missed the urinal (maybe these people need to learn their penis isn’t as big as they think and practice their aim, or maybe learn to use a toilet and sit down so they can’t miss), water spilled everywhere around the wash basins, wet paper towels (and/or pieces of toilet paper that were used because there were no paper towels and/or the hot air hand dryer wasn’t functioning or there were too many people waiting to use it) lying around on the floor or on benches near the wash basins.  Most of the larger shopping centres seem to be ok at making sure the toilet and washroom facilities are kept clean and odour free, however many smaller ones and fast food outlets (yes, even the big names are guilty here) seem to be severely lacking in the general cleanliness we should expect.  And then there’s the toilet facilities in many petrol outlets, especially those at major stopping points on main highways.

I’m tired of having to walk through other people’s mess.  I say we should demand better facilities.

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