Monday, September 18, 2006

A Restaurant Peeve

The Enemy

Once again today at lunch, I came up against a very peculiar pet peeve of mine while visiting the restroom.

And no, this isn't going to be as disgusting as you might think from that rather troubling lede.

The restrooms in most restaurants I've visited lately have had an automatic, motion-activated paper towel dispenser. You just wave your hand in front of it (making no contact with it at all) and out spits a section of paper towels.

No other part of the restroom is motion-activated, even though such technology is available. Not the flush handle on the toilet, not the soap dispenser, not the faucet, nothing -- just the paper towel dispenser.

Here's the part that irritates me:

The handle on a paper towel dispenser is literally the only part of the entire restroom virtually guaranteed to be germ-free! It's the only thing a person with dirty hands is almost certain not to touch during the visit -- if your hands aren't clean, you're not going to be reaching for paper towels. In fact, the only time someone's going to need a paper towel is after they wash their hands, when they're already clean.

Even the SOAP dispenser is a horrible thing to touch, germ-freak-wise, because only people who haven't washed their hands yet need soap. Ditto the faucet, you only grab that if you're in need of cleaning hands that are already dirty. The door handle to get out is a crap-shoot (pardon my pun) because while some clean-handed people are exiting, you can bet your fanny that some non-washers have also left that way.

In fact, I can't think of a single square inch of real estate in the entire room that has a HIGHER chance of being germ-free than the paper towel dispenser. And yet, this is where the Management has decided to allocate its hard-earned and all-too-scarce facilities enhancement dollar.

It's a minor point, I know, but it's literally like this in every restaurant I've visited around where I work. Every. Frigging. One. Sociopathy at that kind of level cannot be coincidental


Anonymous said...

I will agree with you, and I never thought that the handle on the towel dispenser is, in fact, the cleanest part of the bathroom! But if we're going to list our pet peeves in bathrooms -- why do public restroom doors have to be pulled open when you're on your way out? It seems that if the person leaving in front of you has not washed their hands, they are pulling the door open with the handle with germ-filled hands! Why not have the door going out of the bathroom be able to be pushed open, that way you can use your shoulder and never have to touch the disgusting handle? Perhaps mens' bathrooms aren't built this way, but it's aggravating when the door has to be pulled open instead of pushed open on the way out. Okay. Rant done. -- Denise

Anonymous said...

Ok Jeff & Denise - for the uninitiated...After finishing your..ahem.. "business", use your foot to to flush the toilet. Pull a small square of toilet paper off the roll and use it to open the stall. Use the same square to wind out two pieces of paper towel that we will dub the "prewash towel" and the "afterwash towel". Tuck the "afterwash towel" under your arm, you will need it later. Use the "prewash towel" to dispense some soap and turn on the water and then throw away. Proceed to wash your hands thoroughly. Use the "afterwash towel" to dry your hands, turn off the water and open the bathroom door. On your way out the door, take careful aim and toss the towel into the trash. Now you can continue on your way, resting comfortably in the knowledge that you are germ free. (at least until you shake someone's hand!) Ha Ha!

Mary O.

Jeff Hebert said...

Mary, that's very educational, thank you!

The Cow Whisperer said...

Oh come on! If you live in the country, then just pee outside!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the tip! I will remember and use it the next time I'm out in public. And, oh, if we gals could pee outside. One of the few advantages you males have on us!