back to article Want to know what an organisation is really like? Visit the restroom

I like to hang out in company toilets. That's not to say I linger long after the shake-off – I'm no washroom loiterer – but I do enjoy the visit. It's because I am curious. As an itinerant freelancer, my work takes me to a variety of tech-savvy business premises. And while small companies each have their own style of office …

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  1. Mr Dogshit
    Headmaster

    It's not a sink

    It's a basin.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: It's not a sink

      Old Joke Alert....

      What's the difference between a bison and a buffalo?

      You can't wash your hands in a buffalo.

      (Well I did warn you...)

    2. Boothy

      Re: It's not a sink

      Oxford English Dictionary:

      Sink, NOUN :

      A fixed basin with a water supply and outflow pipe.

      ‘I stood at the kitchen sink’

      as modifier ‘a sink unit with cupboard and drawers under’

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: It's not a sink

      Well, I would't want to wash my hands in the Arctic Basin....bit far away and cold (I would think).

      [Monty] Python : 'Universal affirmatives can only be partially converted: all of Alma Cogan is dead, but only some of the class of dead people are Alma Cogan.'

    4. Anthony Stark

      Re: It's not a sink

      That's no moon!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not a sink

        People who insist on calling it a wash hand basin are just annoying as those who insist on calling a bin a waste paper basket.

        On the plus side, those tend to be the same people.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: It's not a sink

          can we start on the dinner / tea debate now?

          1. VinceH Silver badge

            Re: It's not a sink

            I wonder if it's the same people who pronounce scones as scones instead of scones. Crazy people.

            1. Boothy

              Re: It's not a sink

              I find the dinner / tea debate an oddity, and other peoples experiences may differ of course.

              I've worked all around the UK, and I find it interesting that even in the North, when in the office, the meal in the middle of the day tends to get referred to as lunch. But start talking about meals outside of office hours, and it's back to dinner and tea, no such thing as lunch.

              People seem to have office speak mode, and then their off-duty, back home, with friends mode.

              Just an observation. (and for ref, I'm a born and bred notherner).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: It's not a sink

                I'm a northerner too and I've always had lunch at lunch time and dinner in the evening. My gran doesn't though. She has dinner at midday and tea at 4pm so that you're starving by the time you go to bed. Mind you, she gets up at 3am or something stupid like that.

                1. onefang Silver badge

                  Re: It's not a sink

                  "She has dinner at midday and tea at 4pm so that you're starving by the time you go to bed. Mind you, she gets up at 3am or something stupid like that."

                  The hours I keep are crazy sometimes. Brekky is the first meal I have after waking up. Tucker is the last one before bed, not counting snacks. Brunch I've heard about.

            2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

              Re: It's not a sink

              "I wonder if it's the same people who pronounce scones as scones instead of scones. Crazy people."

              And it's so easy to remember. Just memorise this helpful verse:

              I asked a waitress in Athlone to bring to me a buttered scone./The silly girl has been and gone and given me a buttered scone.

          2. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: Dinner / Tea

            It's really quite simple.

            Dinner is the main meal of the day.

            If your main meal is in the very early afternoon, then you have dinner followed by tea in the evening.

            If your main meal is in the evening, then you have lunch followed by dinner.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Dinner / Tea

              If your main meal is in the evening

              "Breakfast like a Lord,

              Lunch like a commoner,

              Dinner like a pauper"..

              (Which, apparently, is healthy. According the Auntie BBC anyway. And they wouldn't lie to me, would they?)

        2. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
          Coat

          calling a bin a waste paper basket.

          Nope, not understanding this one...

          Oh! you mean the round transfer case to the offsite storage facility?

          All my filing goes in that one...

  2. Bob Wheeler
    Unhappy

    We need some ...

    "need wall-mounted directives printed in large font sizes on how to use – or rather, how not to misuse – the facilities"

    ... telling guys not to piss all over the toilet seat

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: We need some ...

      Some of the signs I've seen over the years:

      Warning whomever is self pleasuring themselves AND leaving behind their magazines that they WILL be caught and severely dealt with;

      Warning males that the female toilets are for females only;

      A reminder that the urinals aren't meant for shitting in;

      A reminder explaining that it's unhygienic to leave your number two on the window shelf...now bearing in mind that said windows were about 8 feet off the ground, it was presumably also a falling risk!

      And not in the bathroom, but in the kitchen area, a sign asking people to use the microwave to boil milk, not the kettle.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        Signs I've seriously considered leaving for the people I share facilities with:

        "The oldest man made machine in the world is very probably the hinge, which likely predates the wheel. From a simple flap of hide to the machined pin and socket affair of today, the hinge is an elegant and simple answer to the problem of how to move things out of the way so they can be moved back again reliably. This toilet seat is fitted with such a device. Use it. "

        "Spreading fecal matter around the area to mark territory is normal behavior if you are a Hippopotamus. If you are a human being it is not. Stop shitting on the floor you assclown."

        "If you look into this toilet bowl and see something other than water, you haven't finished flushing."

        "If your toilet ritual involves shitting on the floor and then treading in the feces so you can walk it all over the floor, why not consider shitting outside with the rest of the animals?"

        "If your toilet ritual involves flushing half a roll, try flushing it down in stages. Remember: If you jammed the plumbing three times in a row, chances are good the laws of physics are working against your bizarre behaviour."

        "Please flush before using this toilet. Alternately, please find either a different Indian Restaurant in which to eat your weekly curry as judging by the evidence of the last month they are trying to kill you. Either way, stop leaving the contents of your bowels for everyone else to enjoy."

        "If you have found the toilet jammed up and filled with the contents of the Indian Food Gourmet's bowels, flushing again will not end well for anyone. Please stop doing it you moron."

        1. J. Cook Silver badge

          Re: We need some ...

          @Stevie: I nearly S*%t myself laughing from your post. I used to be a janitor quite a few years ago, and I've encountered nearly all of those. (There was the one time when I walked in and someone must have had to figure out how to bring an elephant in, because the pile of matter in the bowl came up almost to the seat. Then there was the time some druggie decided to cut themselves pretty good or so something, because there was enough blood on the (thankfully, tile) floor that I dumped the industrial 'destroys ALL LIFEFORMS' grade cleaner straight out of the jug on the floor and let it sit for a couple minutes before mopping that disaster up.

          All in all, I think the best 'clever' sign was over the urinals in the men's room of one of the clients I went to when I was doing small business server support: "We aim to please. Aim too, please."

          1. 's water music Silver badge

            Re: We need some ...

            Then there was the time some druggie decided to cut themselves pretty good or so something, because there was enough blood on the (thankfully, tile) floor that I dumped the industrial 'destroys ALL LIFEFORMS' grade cleaner straight out of the jug on the floor and let it sit for a couple minutes before mopping that disaster up.

            DNAHIKT you shouldn't underestimate how much blood can be habitually released by chronic Nobbies. No excuse for not cleaning up after yourself though.

            Most people I ever worked with in offices gave a passable impression of adult humanity. Teh Toiletz tell another story, sadly.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need some ...

      We had "Do not dispose of sanitary towels down the toilet."

      I had to check I had entered the Mens toilet.

      I guess you have cater for the LBGT+\@XYX "crowd" now.

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: We need some ...

        @ Lost all faith:

        Hemorrhoids.

        And that is all.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        At Uni there were notices telling people not to dispose of their *dumps* in the sanitary bin.

    3. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: We need some ...

      And of course the obligatory signs warning people that hot water comes out of the hot tap - who'd have thought!

      Ours here are also liberally decorated in signs eschewing the virtues of using the hand-dryer over the paper towels due to the environmental impact of paper towels. Of course, it'd help if the hand dryer fitted in each set of toilets didn't have the power and drying capability of a snoring field-mouse...

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: We need some ...

        Although in the office bogs here there's mixer taps, which if the previous user has flowed hot water then proceed to flow residual hot water for a couple of seconds from the pipework even if you open the cold tap.

        You very quickly learn to give it a moment between turning on the tap and actually putting your hands into the water stream, as the hot water heating here is all too efficient.

      2. getHandle

        Re: We need some ...

        From a couple of places I've worked, labelling the hot taps seems to be an ISO9001 requirement...

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        "Ours here are also liberally decorated in signs eschewing the virtues of using the hand-dryer over the paper towels due to the environmental impact of paper towels."

        Hand-dryers are now being accused of being very efficient microbiological dispersing devices. Paper towels seem to be back in favour. Your place of work needs to catch up.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We need some ...

          "Hand-dryers are now being accused of being very efficient microbiological dispersing devices. "

          Our office introduced Dyson "blade" dryers as a solution to queues for the conventional hot air dryers. The experiment was eventually discontinued. Presumably there were many complaints that it left your finger tips too sensitive to use a mouse or keyboard for a while afterwards. A small tiled room is also not a good place to put a device with the apparent decibels of a 747 taking off.

          1. GIRZiM

            Re: We need some ...

            The Dyson 'Blade' dryers are the very worst of the microbiological dispersing devices - they dispense more further than any other type.

            1. keith_w

              Re: We need some ...

              I believe that Dyson has pointed out that if you wash your hands with soap and water (following, of course, the posted health department instructions on how to properly effect this activity) before using their dryers, there should be no microbiological items to disperse.

              1. Andytug

                I don't know what Dyson's hand driers are like....

                but those new-fangled motorised urinal things are hopeless, they just spray urine everywhere, although they do give you a nice tingly warm feeling at the same time..........

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: We need some ...

                I believe that Dyson has pointed out that if you wash your hands with soap and water (following, of course, the posted health department instructions on how to properly effect this activity) before using their dryers, there should be no microbiological items to disperse."

                Because I'm on the road a lot, I often stop off at motorway services for a pee (never anything more!) and it's quite amazing how many people either don't wash their hands at all, or just sprinkle a little water on them then waft them under the dryer. Surprisingly, it's often the sort of people in expensive suits, probably driving expensive cars and are too self-important to observe the rules of the road. (and I'm not just talking about the young wolves salesmen type, these are often older executive types!)

                1. Colonel Mad

                  Re: We need some ...

                  Leather isn't tanned in piss for no reason

              3. herman Silver badge

                Re: We need some ...

                The problem is the crap that gets blown up from the floor and surroundings.

              4. Glenturret Single Malt

                Re: We need some ...

                Unless it has been through you first?

            2. Floydian Slip
              Facepalm

              Re: We need some ...

              But surely, you are drying your hands AFTER washing them so all of the offending bacteria should have been left behind in the hand wash basin [see what I did there]

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: We need some ...

              That's a shame. They are the only Dyson dryer that actually dries you hands.

            4. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

              Re: We need some ...

              I find the airblades spray your pee everywhere, not a good urinal design.

              But as they say, you can't dry your balls in an airblade, well you can, but you have to really commit to it.

              1. kernelpickle

                Re: We need some ...

                Well done sir! The brilliant imagery you conjured with your words, has caused me to literally laugh out loud as I read your post!

                Thank you for your contribution, it is greatly appreciated!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: We need some ...

            Ah, Dyson. Manufacturer of gimmicky mock-premium tat manufactured in the South East Asia after this self-publicising "British" success story shut down their factory in England.

            Run by odious, tax-avoiding ***** who supported Brexit so he can use it as an excuse to turn the United Kingdom into a low tax, race-to-the-bottom, bargain-basement tax haven.

            On the other hand, once his chums have succeeded in reducing the UK to the level of Malaysia, he can open up his factory in England again.

            F****** vermin.

            1. Floydian Slip
              Thumb Up

              Re: We need some ...

              No wonder you posted anonymously. Here in Dysonshire (aka Wiltshire) we recognise that moving the manufacturing off-shore enabled the maintenance of a degree of competitiveness.

              You should look at the number of engineers employed by Dyson in the UK really ADDING VALUE by inventing stuff. He's opened an engineering university because he can't find enough and is now using his battery nous to work on a battery powered car.

              And I don't think he is a tax dodger - based on the amount of investment in the UK made by him and his company.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: We need some ...

                "I don't think he is a tax dodger - based on the amount of investment in the UK made by him and his company."

                2005 - Tory right-wingers' favourite the Daily Telegraph endorses Dyson's closure of the Wiltshire factory by claiming that "the lower production costs mean the company pays more corporation tax".

                2017 - James Dyson calls for corporation tax to be scrapped.

                "Here in Dysonshire (aka Wiltshire) we recognise that moving the manufacturing off-shore enabled the maintenance of a degree of competitiveness."

                Is that the view of those Dysonshire-ites who lost their jobs as well?

                "No wonder you posted anonymously."

                Full name and details from you first, please. I *do* apologise if your birthname is actually "Floydian Slip".

                1. Little Mouse

                  Re: We need some ...

                  Regardless of your opinion of Mr Dyson, the guy sure knows how to fold cardboard.

                  The therapeutic effects of deconstructing the packaging of one of his ball-hoover-thingummies shouldn't be underestimated.

                  I swear someone at his company must be a 10th Dan origami Zen grandmaster.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: We need some ...

                  According to this 2012 Indy article ( https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-billionaires-who-do-pay-their-bills-including-james-dyson-and-jk-rowling-7873607.html ) Dyson was one of the biggest payers of (personal) tax in the UK. It may be that he runs his businesses for maximum tax "efficiency" whilst "being like us" for his personal affairs. Or, I guess, it may be out of date and he's now offshoring with the rest of them ...

        2. Andy A

          Re: We need some ...

          One place I used to visit seemed to have some sort of phobia about wet skin.

          The Gents had a roller towel, an electric dryer, a paper towel dispenser and an old-fashioned hand towel.

          All properly working!

        3. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: We need some ...

          "Hand-dryers are now being accused of being very efficient microbiological dispersing devices."

          I rather like the idea of machines being accused...

          Perhaps it'll become a trend as more and more of them acquire "AI".

      4. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        And of course the obligatory signs warning people that hot water comes out of the hot tap - who'd have thought!

        Quite a common one, and obviously covering health and safety and trying to prevent scalding 'accidents' and subsequent 'opportunistic' claims...

        What boggles my mind, is the number of places I've seen the warning yet running the tap for up to ten minutes produces no hot water whatsoever - convinced it's some sort of zen or a version of 'beware of the dog' when there isn't one (or it was put down years ago).

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We need some ...

        "And of course the obligatory signs warning people that hot water comes out of the hot tap"

        It was queried at our workplace about the much too hot water being wasteful.

        The answer is that hand comfortable temperature hot water plumbing is a good breeding ground for Legionaire's Disease.

        1. Mongrel

          Re: We need some ...

          It's not about the temperature with Legionnaires Disease, it prefers stagnant water. Just the act of running the taps is enough to stop it happening in that part of the plumbing

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: "Mongrel"

            You are correct. However, all the (AFAIK legal) framework and advice currently mixes up the "heat standing water to +50 degrees" and "flush running water frequently" to "flush and run all water at 50 degrees"... forgetting that most places got rid of standing hot water tanks 20 years ago. :(

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