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 …

  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. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              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 Bronze badge

            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
          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. :(

      6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        "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..."

        And waste bins full of wet and maybe dirty towels, festering away all day while the bacteria thrive, placed directly under the hand dryer where all that lovely warm air can blast the bacteria all over the place,

    4. macjules Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: We need some ...

      1) Why is it now fashionable to hide soap dispensers under the mirror and behind the taps in loos?

      2) Central socket 'banks' in the middle of the conference table, especially when they have a heavy slab of wood that 'hides' them - try plugging in a MacBook power supply to that.

    5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: We need some ...

      Just like Dabbs I thought that we, we all, learnt how to use toilet facilities already as small children. Now working in an office without any instructions in the toilet it amazes me that quite a few people don't know. "Flush the toilet", "clean your crap tracks", "do not pee on floor", "put paper towels in the bin and do not throw them on the floor" - just to name a few obviously needed instructions.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: We need some ...

        And Dabbs, even five months old don't flush away easily on a standard UK toilet. Anything older than that only when chopped up. Needs specific instructions?

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: We need some ...

          "And Dabbs, even five months old don't flush away easily on a standard UK toilet. Anything older than that only when chopped up. Needs specific instructions?"

          I'm left wondering why Dabbs doesn't like the younger children. Did one of them keep him awake, throw up on his back, and cover his expensive carpet with stewed apples? Young children tend to do some evil things, but you have to keep them until they can drive away without help. Children are for life, not just for Christmas, unless you are an uncle, then you can give them back after the presents are unwrapped.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We need some ...

        I know of an office occupied by a major bank where the toilet directives fill a whole page of A4. One of them is "Please do not pour chunky soup down the sink".

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: We need some ...

          Are you allowed to throw up? Because that's pretty similar.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. ma1010 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: We need some ...

        I work in a court building which is open to the public. I won't even go NEAR the public toilet on the busy first floor. I did once and was amazed. Apparently many people out there don't really understand the appropriate use of all those fixtures. It's sad.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need some ...

      My experience talking with premises staff is that the most disgusting and unusual things tend to happen in the ladies toilets.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        In my younger days, I spent a few years as a janitor cleaning public toilets. I can 100% confirm that the ladies' was always and without fail much, much more disgusting than the gent's. I cleaned in several different establishments, so this wasn't something unique to a particular clientele.

      2. Grikath

        Re: We need some ...

        "My experience talking with premises staff is that the most disgusting and unusual things tend to happen in the ladies toilets."

        Not just yours... the Ladies..... ain't...

        Mind.... if you happen to work in tech/facility and have to unplug the plumbing, a carefully calculated amount of...unLadylike... comments just loud enough to be heard clearly Outside tends to clear things up for a month or two.. Until the next batch of interns/students/cannon fodder arrive.

      3. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: We need some ...

        "My experience talking with premises staff is that the most disgusting and unusual things tend to happen in the ladies toilets."

        I've been told the same by bar workers and hotel owners.

        Hair dye/colouring gets everywhere, apparently.

      4. onefang Silver badge

        Re: We need some ...

        "My experience talking with premises staff is that the most disgusting and unusual things tend to happen in the ladies toilets."

        My experiences checking the toilets at the end of the night in a cinema I used to work at, and my girl friend the cleaner, concur.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: We need some ...

          /me just shakes my head at all the germophobes. Learn to live with dirt and micro organisms, it'll make your immune system much healthier. You'd die without a large collection of micro organisms living in your body.

    7. SW10
      Alert

      Signage

      I remember one (government) building that had

      DANGER: High signs

      on the mirror just above the taps.

      It was days before I looked high enough to the top of the wall-to-ceiling mirrors to see the more usual Hot water warning.

    8. Tim99 Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: We need some ...

      In Oz, I have recently starting to see two new signs: One showing someone standing upright on the seat facing the cistern with a red cross against the picture - The other is similar, but has the person standing on the seat squatting and facing away from the cistern, again with a red cross. I am hoping to see additional signs to reinforce these with a male gendered person sign standing in front of the bowl with a relevant stream, and another with a person sitting directly on the seat facing forward - Both with a green tick by them.

      Facilities with these signs also tend to have a colour chart by the cistern: Ranging from water-white with a suggestion that you might be drinking too much fluid, through the normal healthy ranges of urine-yellow, then to dark-brown with the suggestion that you should drink some water immediately, and the last colour a very dark-red/brown with a suggestion that you seek medical help.

      Fortunately, I have no idea what similar signs in the female gendered facilities might look like.

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: We need some ...

        In Oz...

        Yes - I saw simlar pictoral "No squatting" signs there 20 years ago.

        I very nearly liberated one for a souvenir, but figured it might be a bit too - erm - contaminated. Euwww.

      2. Glenturret Single Malt

        Re: We need some ...

        The squatting position is adopted by those who normally use squatting (rather than sitting) toilets. I ubderstand it is a much more efficient way of defecating. I have gone to sitting toilets in Thailand and other Asian countries and found foot marks on the seat.

    9. onefang Silver badge

      Re: We need some ...

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

      Where I live we have shared toilet facilities. The guy that pisses all over the seat is a good excuse to leave the seat up, coz if he's too lazy to lift the seat, he'll be too lazy to drop it so he can piss all over it. He still pisses all over the floor. And don't get me started on the skidmarks on the front of the bowl.

  3. spodula

    I'm guessing

    I'm guessing this was written as some kind of bet?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I'm guessing

      You're not new here. You've seen Dabbsy's stuff before. What's different here?

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: I'm guessing

        Nearly no innuendo, I guess?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: I'm guessing

      I'm still guessing whether the toilet paper unrolled off the top or from underneath (underneath makes one-handed operation easier), and whether it was 'open rolls' with plenty of spares handy, or a lock box filled with the kind of paper NOBODY would want to steal...

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: I'm guessing

        or a lock box filled with the kind of paper NOBODY would want to steal...

        Sadly, most places I've worked have all stocked the grade ZZZ bog rolls that one has to be careful when using so as not to get splinters. Either manglement was cheap or they wanted to toughen up the asses. Many people brought their own from home to use.

  4. smudge Silver badge
    Holmes

    Ain't no flies on you!

    I used to work in information security. If I had been asked to do a general review of the security of a location, a ploy was to arrive at reception, and then ask - with some urgency - to go to the toilet. If they were inside the building from reception, this often got you admitted into the building without signing in, without a visitor's badge, and without an escort. FAIL!!!

    Also highly revealing about a workplace is the signage displayed in office restrooms.

    On a more sombre note, I will always remember, after a company merger, visiting the premises of the company we had merged with, shutting the toilet cubicle door, and discovering, on the back of it, a sign with information about the company's employee counselling services. I know it's quite common now, but this was the first time I had come across anything like that, and it did make me wonder what sort of company we had merged with.

    The icon chose itself.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: Ain't no flies on you!

      "I used to work in information security. If I had been asked to do a general review of the security of a location, a ploy was to arrive at reception, and then ask - with some urgency - to go to the toilet. If they were inside the building from reception, this often got you admitted into the building without signing in, without a visitor's badge, and without an escort. FAIL!!!"

      I've seem someone use one of these (or a good copy) to gain access to buildings in a similar way.

  5. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Trollface

    This has always struck me as odd because my own loos at home are notable for their lack of written instructions.

    Ohh I think you might be missing a trick. I have a small bookshelf in mine - short stories in the main naturally, but War and Peace for the truly challenged.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have 'Maximum Occupancy 10 persons' in one and 'Emergency Evacuation Route' in the other.

      Used to have 'Caution: Dangerous Atmosphere, Use breathing equipment provided' in my student days.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      I have a GWR sign,

      "The public are requested took keep the toilet clean and make proper use of the paper"

      I also have a large bookcase in there

      1. Richard 81

        @GlenP: How about getting one of those Greater Anglia signs apologising for the state of the toilets on their trains?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The public are requested took keep the toilet clean and make proper use of the paper"

        "Do not use when train is in a station"?

        Up to the 1970s it was not unusual for train carriages to still have no toilets. Usually the carriage was divided into several isolated compartments with long seats facing fore and aft. My parents spoke of a day trip when my toddler sister had to use her seaside bucket. Dad opened the window and threw the contents out - then realised they had just pass aa gang of workmen on the adjacent track.

        Young teenage friends in the 1960s used to commute to a regional 11+ school by train. After school they would always use the compartment at the end of the carriage - which effectively had an en suite toilet attached. The train was rarely busy - so they usually had it to themselves at that point.

        The train was quite slow - and so there was plenty of time before it arrived at the boy's station. At that point the girl could pop into the toilet to get fully dressed before the train arrived at her station.

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    The Man from S.H.I.T.T.E.R. strikes again!

  7. JimC Silver badge

    Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

    Another rather revealing observation can be if you inspect a number of facilities. At one large company I worked it I was struck by the variation in facilities between the areas which were close to executives' offices and those that were nearer the 'oi polloi areas. Also interesting was the difference in cleanliness of various facilities towards the end of the day. With all facilities being cleaned under the same contract it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that some services were, well, less social than others.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

      "Also interesting was the difference in cleanliness of various facilities towards the end of the day."

      Amongst the instructions "Please leave these facilities as you would expect to find them" is a common one. The differences you note are the consequence of differing expectations.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

        Quote

        Amongst the instructions "Please leave these facilities as you would expect to find them" is a common one. The differences you note are the consequence of differing expectations.

        I wonder if the people who leave huge great steamers unflushed in the company bogs and rolls of used toilet paper in the sink either do the same thing at home or they let someone else leave their home bog in that state.....

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

          "I wonder if the people who leave huge great steamers unflushed in the company bogs and rolls of used toilet paper in the sink either do the same thing at home"

          Expectations of a public bog may differ from the same person's expectations of their own.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

            Toilets facilities are also a very good indicator of the senior managements' collective attitude to their staff. If the khasis provided for the hoi polloi consist of a bare minimum and not much of that, then it is a fair bet that the great and the good have somewhere else to commune with nature, and have a minimal regard for their staffs' welfare.

            Such a site is my current place of employment. A building which formerly housed a datacentre and a few offices for operators, sysadmins and the like now houses a brace of enormous open-plan offices. The bogs have notably not been extended, so a priority at the moment is to scout out other less trafficked facilities, the better to avoid dread lurgies like norovirus.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

              Such a site is my current place of employment. A building which formerly housed a datacentre and a few offices for operators, sysadmins and the like now houses a brace of enormous open-plan offices. The bogs have notably not been extended, so a priority at the moment is to scout out other less trafficked facilities, the better to avoid dread lurgies like norovirus.

              My advice would be to find another place of employment. The disregard for your well-being won't begin or end with the lamentable state of the shitters. I'd also expect poor pay, long hours, unpaid overtime, a high-stress environment and rampant work-place bullying.

            2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

              Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

              IANAL but I think in most countries there are legal requirements for the ratio of staff to toilets - it might be worth checking what the local rules are (if any).

              1. Korev Silver badge

                Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

                >I think in most countries there are legal requirements for the ratio of staff to toilets

                In my work it's someone's job to do the audit. A couple of years ago they realised there weren't enough toilets for the men (this is an IT group). This really upset the ladies in the office (as you'd expect)...

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

            "Expectations of a public bog may differ from the same person's expectations of their own."

            True. I wonder why?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

            I always hate using toilets which have the sign ' please leave these facilities as you would wish to find them'. There is nothing worse than having to pop out buy 3 rolls of wallpaper, a vase and bunch of flowers then come back and redecorate before I can relive myself.

        2. Elwood Red

          Re: Had you just happened to hit the executive facility?

          I used to work a lot in railway depots, so I expect to find toilets with at least an inch of (probably not just) water across the floor and pebble-dashed cubicles so when I see a sign telling me to leave the bogs in the state I expect to find them I just don't have time for all that.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Please leave these facilities as you would expect to find them"

          OK give me 50 boxes of unbroken tiles, a large bag of tile cement, couple of rolls of vinyl flooring, some decent toilets thats actually flush the bog roll down, sinks that can hold more than 1 litre of water, taps that can be used one handed, dryers that actually dry your hands and mirrors that are clean..

          Give me a couple of days and I'll be back at my desk.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    loos at home are notable for their lack of written instructions.

    There were instructions at my aunt and grandma's house:

    We aim to please, you aim too please...

    Guns with short barrels loose accuracy over distance, please stand closer

    and my Fav

    No job is done until the paper work is done ;-}

    1. Alister Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: loos at home are notable for their lack of written instructions.

      Guns with short barrels loose accuracy over distance, please stand closer

      I would hope that the makers of the sign were at least able to spell lose, particularly given the location.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: loos at home are notable for their lack of written instructions.

        The deputy head at my school once had to contend with an unknown pupil who'd been crapping on the toilet seats, either deliberately or through some illness, disability or whatever - we never found out who was doing it. Anyway, the deputy head made a half-decent joke while giving the mystery culprit a warning at the end of morning assembly: "When making a deposit at the bank, don't leave change on the counter."

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: loos at home are notable for their lack of written instructions.

          I think your fellow pupil is now working at my place of employment.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    instructions

    The cleaning staff has put up signs here in the past regarding flushing. Apparently, in some bathrooms, floaters were a major issue. After a few weeks, multiple exclamation marks were added to the signs.

    I am quite regular in my major expulsions, in the sense that I always perform these in the comfort of my own home. So I assumed that my coworkers were producing butt nuggets of such massive proportions that the toilets simply couldn't cope.

    Apparently I was wrong. It appears that management had, in a fit of ecology, decided to reduce the water flow rate in the bathrooms. To such an extent that even a rabbit would have found it difficult to get rid of its droppings in a mere 3 flushes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: instructions

      At my office, they replaced most of the toilets with water saving flushes, but rather than just using less water per flush, you have to hold the button in for it to keep flushing, and then release once the bowl is clear.

      Part of the issue being visitors tend not to realise this, so just press and walk away, and other people simply don't care, so flush a little and wander off.

      We now get regular blockages in the building, that need someone to come out and unblock. We suspect the reduction in flushing water, is resulting in matter being left stuck mid journey on it's way out of the building!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: instructions

        "We now get regular blockages in the building, that need someone to come out and unblock."

        Two new towns in England were designed to share the same waste water treatment plant. It was in one of the towns - so the other was connected by a pipeline of many miles. During a dry period in the 1970s they had to start flushing the pipe with fresh water as there wasn't enough flow to meet the design specs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: instructions

          A few years ago one of my neighbours ended up with a blockage in the sewers that were shared between the house. it was coming up through the drains in a couple of the gardens including mine, and as this was a health hazard, the local council came out for a look, and managed to get it unblocked (turned out a family further up the street were flushing disposable nappies down the toilet!).

          I had a bit of a chat with the man from the council, and turns out they were really busy all the time now with un blocking regular drains, that had nothing in them other than what you'd expect (i.e. no nappies this time).

          The primary reason he gave was that most of the sewerage infrastructure (most of which is quote old now) was designed to have an expected amount of water flowing in order to keep it clear. With the advent of metered water supplies, and water saving toilets, there was no longer enough water going through the system to keep things moving, especially in dry spells, so no rain water either.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: instructions

            apparently there is also an odd effect with the slope of the pipes too: if they are shallowly sloped then the water can (usually) push/float "everything else" along happily, if they are steep enough (e.g. >40deg or so) then everything can slide/fall down. But there is a surprisingly big range of angles where the liquid will flow but "everything else" will just sort of sit there - hence when you see exposed drain/foul pipes on the wall of an old building they are either nearly flat or >45 deg or more...

          2. onefang Silver badge

            Re: instructions

            "(turned out a family further up the street were flushing disposable nappies down the toilet!"

            I guess that's better than flushing entire babies as mentioned in the article. You gotta unwrap them first before disposing of them.

  10. Johnny Canuck

    The best

    office washroom I ever used was at a headhunter's office. They shared the facilities with 3 or 4 other businesses. Marble everywhere, beautiful fixtures, large stalls, spotless surfaces, soft TP and the paper towels had the texture of real cloth. I used to love going there to fix something just so I could use the washroom.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Accurate analysis from our esteemed author as always!

    I once visited an office lav with awful hands-free robot soap dispensers. When approached, these small gold-plated protuberances would give an excited little whirr and then deliver a short, forceful squirt of white goo from the end, shooting it a surprising distance. Unfortunately these suggestive devices suffered from what I can only describe as an embarrassing problem - of always delivering their sticky ejecta far earlier than wanted, often onto an unwary visitor's clothes before a hand even got near them.

    Worse, this was in a very straight-laced place where suggestive humour seemed not to exist - so the awful, embarrassing hilarity of the situation was completely lost on the staff there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Come again?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Come again?

        Or are you just breathing hard?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, this!

    "impossibly complicated video conferencing system that no one knows how to use, least of all the IT department that had lobbied strongly against its purchase in the first place."

    So, so much.

    But, also, everything else as well. top marks!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, this!

      We have the same sort of set up.

      Very large flat panel TV on the wall, two of them in the boardroom. All so old they still have scart and VGA, but no HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort, and run at some odd resolution (less than 720p).

      Then a camera that can be controlled from the other end of the call (pan, tilt, zoom). Only works between our various offices (UK, USA, India, Asia etc). And has such bad lag, that conversations are almost impossible.

      I think in the last 10 years or so I've been there, I've seen it used maybe 3 times.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, this!

        Still better than those places that have a "smart" TV where there's no cable (that would be too easy) but instead you have to boot into Windows and install some malware which will duplicate your screen, probably unencrypted, onto the TV.

        Ban it.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Clickshare?

          Hates it.

          It's cheaper and better to run a VGA and HDMI and have done with it.

          For some reason the really thin laptops (cough Apple/Surface) don't have either, but anyone witg a thin laptop isnused to carrying a dozen hugely bulky adapters anyway.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I nver undeerstood why people who look normal turn into nasty troglodytes...

    ... as soon as they enter a common restroom. Acts that would be unacceptable in their own houses - and would make them exiled by mothers or partners - become the norm. Yes, the poor janitors have to put signage - unluckily useless - everywhere, because cleaning that mess must really be disgusting, and I really pity them victims of human incivility.

    That said, I hope you'll never visit our company site. We're an aerospace company, but the toilet could be one of the meanest and miser company you could find. Few stalls, and those broken take months to be repaired. Once someone put a "happy anniversary" signage on a stall that wasn't repaired for a whole year. One still miss a toilet seat that was broken years ago. One of the two hand dryers was never repaired too, but the availability of paper towels is limited (also because many people use at least four to dry a single finger).

    Still, they installed "design" sinks, stylish single columns ones with no place to lay, say, toothpaste or contact lens bottle if you need it. The tap is mounted high above, so you get a stylish column of water too - as long as the diffuser head work...

    Yes, you're right. People should also inspect toilets when offered a job. It will tell a lot about how a company deal with people.

    1. RayG

      Re: I nver undeerstood why people who look normal turn into nasty troglodytes...

      "We're an aerospace company, but the toilet could be one of the meanest and miser company you could find." ...you're Boeing or Airbus? Perhaps this is a form of in-house testing of the customer experience?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re aerospace

        Me also. In our area, 3 cubicles, 6 sinks, one asthmatic drier.

        For about 75 blokes. 5 women share the other bathroom which I presume is the same.

        Toilets are child sized so even with my stubby sawn-off, if you sit far enough back to avoid glansing the porcelain, you'll be shitting on the back rim. Most chaps don't seem to use the brush.

        Other facilities are available but so far away one has to plan one's journey. Its horrible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re aerospace

          The only mens toilet for a trading floor at a top tier US bank in London had 3 cubicles for about 300 blokes. At first I thought they were too highly focused to need to crap. Later I came to realize they were powered by Bolivian Marching Powder and not by food.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re aerospace

          " Most chaps don't seem to use the brush."

          I tried to use the brush once. It was way too scratchy for my comfort.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Re aerospace

            Using a communal lavatory & a shared brush was a Roman thing.

            1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
              Boffin

              "...a shared brush was a Roman thing"

              That was a sponge on a stick.

              Also where the phrase "Getting the wrong end of the stick" comes from.

    2. Noonoot

      Re: I nver undeerstood why people who look normal turn into nasty troglodytes...

      The state of the toilets is not an indication necessarily that people don't belong to the rest of us civilised peeps, but rather the company they work for is shit and treats them like shit. Hence, employees give back what they get.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "but rather the company they work for is shit and treats them like shit "

        Unluckily, it means you're treating your colleagues as shit.

    3. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: I nver undeerstood why people who look normal turn into nasty troglodytes...

      Upvoted, but...questioning "toothpaste".

      What's wrong with the standard morning after breakfast and night time before bed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Upvoted, but...questioning "toothpaste".

        Many like to use it after lunch also, depending on what you eat.

        Many dentists say so also, maybe paid to increase toothpaste sales ;-)

  14. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Close call

    The consumables include not just soap but a choice of two types of the stuff (clear and opaque), plus three alternatives of hand cream, soft tissues, face wipes and lavender-infused linen towels to be disposed of in a rustic wicker basket under a sink big enough for me to climb into.

    I think you must have stepped into the Ladies by mistake.

  15. Chris King Silver badge

    "I half expected to see a whispering, waistcoated gentleman by the door offering to scent me with a range of aftershaves on my way out."

    I was reminded of the toilet scene in one of The IT Crowd episodes...

    "I just paid a pound not to go to the toilet"

    I usually find that the most pretentious companies have the fanciest toilets. Especially in buildings specifically designed for "customer engagement", i.e. "the punters won't seem so sore about that last price hike because they had a lovely time here".

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      I was reminded of the toilet scene in one of The IT Crowd episodes...

      Pah; nothing like as traumatic as what happened to me >25 years ago when I worked for <never mind>...

      Nature called, so I took myself off to the Gents and, er, locked myself in. It is probable that the performance was accompanied by the usual sound and other effects.

      I was mortified when I emerged to find a lady cleaning the place; my discombobulation was compounded by my boss thinking the whole thing was very funny.

      Post Traumatic Shit Disorder set in immediately.

      1. Nick Pettefar

        So it was OK for innocent men and boys to hear your noises but not the experienced and hardened toilet cleaner?

        Do you have a Men Only toilet at home?

        1. Commswonk Silver badge

          Do you have a Men Only toilet at home?

          No, which means I can't even get away with leaving the seat up. That abomination causes more trouble than anything physiological.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The simple answer to the seat down request is to say you're quite happy to leave the seat down and piss all over it.

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              I still dont understand why women want the toilet seat down - if its up it means it wasnt pissed on.

      2. Why Not?

        #PeeTo

        It happened to me about 30 years ago, I was pointing Percy at the porcelain in Schipol Airport after a longish journey and this rather attractive blonde lady reached across me to polish the wall above the urinal then flashed me a huge smile.

        One of those moments that is probably subconsciously saved for when my life flashes before my eyes,

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: #PeeTo

          @whynot:

          If I see that trending on the TwitterGraph I'm gonna have to spend the rest of May24 downing beer.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I was mortified when I emerged to find a lady cleaning the place"

        Try working in Paris for a bit. I've had a female cleaner cleaning the urinal next to the one I was using.

  16. tiggity Silver badge

    deja vu (CBA with fancy accents)

    As the article mentioned it

    Is this article a padding out of some of the musings part way through this article?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/04/28/need_the_toilet_watch_a_video_ad_about_erectile_dysfunction_while_youre_hanging_about/

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the sake of my own sanity I stopped counting the number of people that would leave the toilet without washing their hands... I'm glad that one of our admin people gets some disenfecant around to use.

    1. Chris King Silver badge

      That's fine, until some decides to cut budgets and makes this BYOD (Bring Your Own Disinfectant).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One of my colleagues is well know for not washing his hands, irrespective of whet he's done, or how long he's been in there.

      He's known as the Do Not Shake Hands with guy!

      And if he ever offers you a biscuit/sweet/crisp, just say NO!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A guy I used to sit next to didn't wash his hands. Occasionally he would ask me to help out with something on his PC and I would refuse to touch his keyboard.

        The usual response to this from such vile people is "I didn't piss on them". Yeah, but you touched your filthy germ-infested dick, didn't you?

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      As long as those doing that don't 1) work in the cafeteria 2) don't work around me 3) don't offer to shake hands. I figure it'll be their problem when the dysentery hits. But then decades ago, I spent time in the bush with the troops and no proper sanitary facilities other than a hole in the ground.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IBM

    The IBM Farnborough upstairs ones looked like a bathroom from a townie nightlclucb at 1:30am. So bad, I mentioned it to facilities. Great signs commenting on requesting people not put nasal deposits on the wall, etc.

    1. Noonoot

      Re: IBM

      Why is it that people have to wipe bogies and shit on the walls - the answer is in my other comment - about why employees do such things. Obviously IBM is low down on the list of the "respected companies " rankings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IBM

        Wasn't upstairs at Farnborough all MoD? If so, that would explain it I expect.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop....

    ...they are not restrooms, they are not bathrooms, they are not washrooms.

    They are toilets, bogs, shitters or crappers.

    I need a vacation to over this outrage.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Stop....

      Restroom, bathroom and washroom are Americanisms, I still call them a bog or a khazi.

      An old mate in the building trade always referred to toilets as ' The log lounge'.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop....

        "Restroom, bathroom and washroom are Americanisms, [...]"

        On a day trip to China we disembarked from the Pearl River hydrofoil - and two middle-aged American ladies asked for the "comfort stop". The guide pointed them down a path. My friend followed them - having lived in China she was amused by the ladies' expressions when they saw the row of cubicles with very low separating walls.

        My Finnish girlfriend's family weekend cottage on a Baltic island had a two-seater "dry" toilet in a shed. She and her friend used to have long conversations there. Her father was CEO of a large company and an ex-government minister.

        Friends in England bought a redundant farm house in the 1960s and the toilet there was a two-seater outside privy. On the slope alongside it was a large mound of fire ashes - mingled with empty Camp coffee bottles.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stop....

          The French call them the pisserie or craperie.

          Or at least I do when I'm in France.

          1. GIRZiM Bronze badge

            Re: The French call them the pisserie or craperie.

            Les chiottes

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The French call them the pisserie or craperie.

              Or 'les gogues'

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Stop....

            The French call them the pisserie or craperie.

            Or at least I do when I'm in France.

            Just as long as you don't misread the sign to a crêperie

    2. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Stop....

      I need a vacation to over this outrage.

      And they are holidays not vacations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop....

        I my youth (far too many years ago now). it always used to confuse me when some American on a TV show or movie, would mentioned the Holiday Season.

        To me, Holiday Season was the six weeks we had off school in summer. i.e. When we went on holiday. These days holiday season means July/Aug/Sep, i.e. when most people go on Holiday.

        Took me a while to realise they actually meant Christmas, a time when traditionally you do have time off work, but most people don't actually go on holiday!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stop....

        "And they are holidays not vacations."

        /Whoosh....the sound of the joke going right over your head.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Stop....

      Why call them a bath room if no bath?

      1. Daniel M

        Re: Stop....

        A restroom is public and has no bath. A bathroom does and is therefore generally a domestic facility. Quite logical.

        Now illogically, and I suppose mainly for the convenience of real estate agent databases, a domestic facility without a bath is generally referred to as a "half bath."

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Stop....

          A restroom would be somewhere you have a rest, so low tables, kettle, tea/coffee, fridge, magazines, comfy settees.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: Stop....

            Dunny, that is all mate.

  20. muddysteve

    Toilet Signs

    A recent one seen:-

    "Please no not flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilet."

    You wouldn't want to take that too literally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Toilet Signs

      My current place of work has a problem with toilets not flushing properly (I suspect this is down to the Manglement's desire to save the environment by reducing the volume of each flush like someone else mentioned earlier) and this has actually lead to a several of the washrooms to be shut - we have a "male" and a "female" facility on each floor of the building (although we're so PC I'm surprised they haven't replaced the signs with something a little less "discriminatory" - but that's another story!) and whilst some have at least some working bogs, some are completely SNAFU* and someone has put up notices on the doors saying "Toilets closed - please use alternative floor".

      So far - luckily - nobody has taken that literally but I fear it is only a matter of time before all the bogs are unserviceable and we do, indeed, end up using the alternative...

      *Something Nasty Already Floating Up

      Anon in case anyone else here reads El Reg...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Toilet Signs

        "we have a "male" and a "female" facility on each floor of the building"

        Lucky you! I spent a day in a council building a while back and they male bogs on even numbered floors and female bogs on odd numbered floor. Lots of people on the staircases all day long.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Toilet Signs

      I once saw a sign on the back of a toilet door from "Hotel Services".

      This was in an NHS hospital. I was quite confused until a friend later pointed out that apparently that's what the NHS porters, housekeepers etc are called.

  21. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "Is Your Washroom Breeding Bolsheviks?"

    I'm reminded of this famous poster:

    https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/files/2010/11/bathroomv.jpg

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My first job was at a now-defunct art college that had recently had a royal visitor (might have been Queenie, but it was before I worked there and I left 20+ years ago). In preparation for this visit, one of the cubicles in the men's was fitted with a door that could only be locked from the outside, with a key. This door was kept locked when not in use.

    The principal, in his delusions of grandeur, liked to use this "royal" facility despite the occasional interruptions when curious men saw the door was unlocked and curiosity overcame them...

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Holmes

      The Royals

      Somerset County Council in Taunton had a very nice gents loo on the ground floor (Block A), high ceilings, spacious, proper doors & high walls to each of the stalls - I always made use of that one rather than the cramped one person facilities connected to the shed we were based out of in the car park.

      I remember being quite miffed when HRH's Edward & Sophie visited & normal access was blocked just in case they wanted to use them or just in case someone wanted to drop off a different sort of bomb.

  23. Noonoot

    Friday fun

    As usual Alistair has me in stitches in the open space office I work in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Friday fun

      Did he stab you?

  24. DonnieD
    Facepalm

    Excellent article

    Bottom line, canteen and bogs are the face of any company, people just have to have a peek there. Author forgot to mention the quality of the toilet paper and hand towels.

    Saying that, this quite reminds me of the book, titled "How to Run a Company Into the Ground", I read a while ago.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Run-Company-Into-Ground-ebook/dp/B00Q3BV720/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1526644024&sr=8-1&keywords=how+to+run+company+into+the+ground

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Excellent article

      . Author forgot to mention the quality of the toilet paper and hand towels.

      This.. This is *absolutely* the bellwether of how the company treats its employees. If the TP is useless, whisper thin, translucent and stiff as a razor blade, you *KNOW* not to work there. I've turned down a decent job offer in the past for that reason, and found out from a compatriot later that it was the better move. Although I pointed him at a decent lawyer before he quit.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Our toilets are terrible

    The worst toilets I've ever had in an office. Perhaps I should invite Dabbsy around to inspect them.

    The 2 cubicles will block at least once per day. The cleaners put up a helpful sign reading: "Please do not put too much toilet paper down the toilet".

    And someone scribbled in biro underneath: "I'll eat it then".

    After many years of following the Viz advice of "take all your shits at work and get paid for doing them", I now just wait till I'm home, or if I'm desperate, walk into town and use the ones at the shopping mall that are - actually - well maintained.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Our toilets are terrible

      We had some fairly awful toilets at one of our offices. Not so much the quality, as the (lack of) quantity. I'm fairly sure some workplace legislation about number-of-crappers-per-capita was being violated.

      People took to going to the nearby Starbucks. The organisation was public sector, and the general feeling was that Starbucks was taxpayer-subsidised anyway.

  26. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Some signs I've seen in the heads @ defense establishment

    (Above urinal) Men! Be careful! The future of the world is literally in your hands!

    (Above urinal) Attention! We all know its easier to hit a target if you've got a long firearm. From the looks of this floor, you guys are packing at best snub nosed .22 revolvers. While drunk. -facilities

    (Above commode) Warning! This container is not authorized for storage of classified defense information!

    (Added later) Unless you are Hillary.

    (On wall) Notice! These urinals contain biological information that is covered by the Privacy Act. (On floor) report any spillage to your security officer for cleanup

  27. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Kackstuhl

    Different cultures, different issues

    This was one I found is a German bog, I'm not sure the 1st one is a common occurrence

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Kackstuhl

      At a Uni bog there was a sign "Kindly use the brush!", under it a student scribbled "I still prefer paper.".

      Students ------------->

  28. John H Woods

    In my unpopular opinion...

    Seats lift for *cleaning*. If you lift the seat to avoid dribbling on it, presumably you don't mind urinating on the rim? So if you have to lift the seat, you should probably be sitting down anyway.

    A quick postmictural survey with a UV torch explains why civilized gents sit unless either using a urinal or relieving themselves outdoors. But manufacturers and buyers need to up their game ... few relish penis-to-porcelain contact!

  29. Anthony Stark

    Sit down wee

    For most gents of a certain age, I feel that some signage should be up about the use of the yellow-watered sprinkler head at their peril. And thus, the advice should follow: "Even if you do not need a s*!t, you may still want to sit!"

    It is all to do with the notable; first-jet aim issues, mis-control, sprinkler head, post-whizz releases, etc.

    Also, a lot of men, whilst taking in the decor, may allow their mind to wander, and their aim during the making of water.

    Sitting down provides secure shooting and a general feeling of discontentment. Also, as you engage muscles to lift you from the seat, you usually kick the post-whizz forces into play, and you can calmly lower yourself back to the pan, saving that annoying, map of Africa, stain on under-garmenture.

    Oh for the days as a child, when you would have enough force to write your name or create that yellow arc in front of you. Just staying clean and not standing in a lake of your own piddle is the most many of us hope for.

    Take a bow gentlemen, and a seat.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Sit down wee

      "Sitting down provides secure shooting and a general feeling of discontentment."

      Is that what you meant to say?

      1. Alistair Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Sit down wee

        "discontentment"

        I suspect it can be parsed out subtly differently when one speaks a germanic language.

        1. John Presland

          Re: Sit down wee

          Alistair: English is a Germanic language.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK armed services customer IT sites in the 1970/80s were interesting. The airforce treated supplier's IT project staff as officer rank. Nice comfy armchairs etc in the officers' mess. The navy treated us amiably as middle-ranking officers. The army often relegated us to "other ranks" - although not the long plank over a trench that Anthony Burgess related in his autobiography.

    A northern defence contractor treated supplier's IT male staff like their shop floor workers. That meant toilet cubicles with no locks - so that they could be kicked open by the foreman after the tea break. Our female colleagues were given the key to the management toilet.

  31. knottedhandkerchief

    ditto restaurants

    Checking restaurant loos also tells you a lot about a restaurant's hygiene. If they can't be bothered to keep loos hygienic, what about less visible places such as stores and kitchens?

  32. Lloyd

    Hmmm

    How does that work for places like TFL? One of the buildings (the management one) has marble washrooms, all lovely and shiny and the other 2 buildings are apparently dreadful.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever happened to the 1960s Euston station SuperLoo? It was very expensive compared to the usual 1d coin of a toilet cubicle.

    Mentioned in this relevant article.

  34. nichomach
    Mushroom

    "Restroom"?

    Gents/Ladies. Loo. Bathroom. Bog. Khazi. Jakes. Toilet. But "restroom"? You gone Septic on us, Mr. Dabbs?

  35. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Holmes

    Stuck

    I usually no matter how great the offices look, the facilities in most office blocks are still stuck in the 60's or 70's, with horrendous tiling with token upgrade of replacing the hand dryer, basins & worktop.

    One place I worked at had a lovely decorated but massive amount of wasted space in the gents & only one fortress of solitude, it was not unknown for the techs to walk over to the adjacent building & take the lift to the two floors the company leased in that building to use the more generously provided facilities.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My office..

    The toilets - worst on a Monday at 10am - but some people are just monsters. The toilets like the scene from Trainspotting.

  37. jeffdyer

    Restroom?

  38. Why Not?

    Part of the Interview process

    Always check the loos when going for interviews, if they are poorly used by potential colleagues, cleaned or maintained the same attitude will be taken to staff.

    I used to do on site support and we always decided whether we liked the site if you turned up and they offered you a visit to the facilities & a cup of coffee. It was surprising how many marched you straight to the server room to freeze for the next 10 hours without a drink or a visit to the smallest room. If they offered you a pass for the canteen you had struck Gold!

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I once worked for a company where, on to the door of every one of the men's cubicles, someone had - apparently over the course of days - engraved "F*ck ****" (*** being the name of the company in question). The powers that be sealed off the bogs until it could be painted over, lest a prospective client walked in and learnt too much about what employees really thought of the firm.

  40. Franco Silver badge

    Anyone asking why instructions are required in the toilets has never worked on either a building site or a building still being fitted out/refitted.

    A few years ago now when I was starting out in IT, I took a contract to do some cabling work at a certain broadcast company moving offices. It was required to carry your own toilet paper and hand wipes, as each day what was in the toilets was either stolen or thrown whole down the loos whole along with copies of The Sun, Star or Sport. If you were really lucky you'd get a toilet that looked like 2 caged gorillas had a poo fight in it. I never saw any soap, don't know if it was stolen or the apes ate it.

    Other helpful signs I have seen in loos.

    At a large IT outsourcing company "Please do not put chewing gum in the urinals" which of course meant that the sign was the disposal location for chewing gum.

    At a public sector organisation was a sign with what looked like a thermometer only the contents were urine in various shades and the sign asked you to check in case you were dehydrated judging from the colour of your urine. Sadly, especially as it was in the loo, the sign was printed unlaminated A4 so had gradually faded to the colour of urine itself.

  41. Guy Geens
    Happy

    Restroom signage

    Some years ago, this sign was posted in the restroom (I have moved to a different location since then.):

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/G6MgK7HWqhkxSiAA2

    One of the toilets was out of order for more than a year - despite several plumbing attempts. I never found out how accurate the warning had been.

  42. Alistair Dabbs

    Flush: small button or big button?

    OK, you all seem like experts on the matter. Lots of modern loos have various combinations of small and big push-buttons to release the ballcock. In some, small button = small flush. In others, small button also depresses the big button = big flush. Perhaps I need an instruction manual after all...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flush: small button or big button?

      There's a concealed cistern you can buy from Screwfix that has two buttons but they're both connected to the same place.

      Mind you, it's pretty cheap.

  43. Alistair Silver badge
    Coat

    Oddly, we have in several of our corporate loos a sign:

    "Please refrain from washing one's feet in the urinals, we provide an ablution station in the prayer room"

    Leaves me baffled.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      > "Please refrain from washing one's feet in the urinals, we provide an ablution station in the prayer room"

      When I worked in an establishment hosting many students from the Middle East, there would often be blockages in the toilets due to a buildup of small stones and pebbles that the students preferred over toilet paper. Apparently many also preferred to squat on the seat rather than sit (though this sometimes led to some deposits missing the target somewhat).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've been to a few IT departments frequented by south Asians where there have been signs in the cubicles telling people not to stand on the seat.

        If you ever have the misfortune of using a train in India, there is a squat toilet and a "western" toilet. The latter is a de-facto squat toilet and the seat is usually covered in shit, as is the floor of the squat toilet. Strangely nobody has cottoned onto the fact that sitting down on a moving train riding across poorly maintained rails might improve your aim.

        And on that subject I remember a flight to the US once where an elderly gentleman from that part of the world decided he needed to use the toilet as we were coming into land. Not only did he need a #2, but he squatted on the toilet, with the door open and his head sticking out into the corridor. Luckily that's all we could actually see. A stewardess ran across and managed to convince him to sit down and close the door. He stayed there as the plane landed and then came out, cool as anything, as if nothing had happened.

  44. Daedalus Silver badge

    What are these "restrooms" of which you speak?

    Well I guess the apocalypse is upon us and American euphemisms are now global. Being resident in the USA I'm used to it but I held out the hope that in the UK, "convenience" was still in use even if "toilet" was, er, down the drain. I could at least hope that "bathroom" was as far as the UK had reached in its descent into merkinish. Bring back the Ladies n' Gents, ladies n' gents!

    I occasionally tell USAnians that every word replaced by a euphemism in this context was itself a euphemism. What are they going to use when the current word becomes distasteful?

    Fun fact: in several places it was legally mandated for the women's "rest room" to have an actual couch in it.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What are these "restrooms" of which you speak?

      @Daedalus

      Fun fact: in several places it was legally mandated for the women's "rest room" to have an actual couch in it.

      That reminds me of the sign above the main entrance to a pub somewhere in Aberdeenshire - "Queen Victoria rested here...". Or as our Scottish host said, "she popped into use the loo"

  45. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Company financial health

    I can't find the link now, but i remember a comment from a female venture capitalist.

    She would visit the loo, and if it didn't have feminine hygiene supplies, that was a sure sign it was in dire financial straits, and a far more reliable indicator than its balance sheet.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ever been to ...

    JP Morgan, previously Nomura, previously Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf? Toilets always blocked. Cleaning staff told me once that this is an issue even on higher floors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ever been to ...

      JP Morgan, previously Nomura, previously Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf?

      The building reminds me of the Borg Cube

  47. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    Facebook - London office

    Despite their ethics being not very far off the gutter, the "gents" were fairly well stocked with premium toiletries, including IIRC, toothbrushes! Also, just as you enter through the main door, there were angled shelves with a graphic indicating that they were to be used to place your laptop, and not to take it into the cubicle.

  48. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    kleenex

    Always keep some in my pocket, using last week's paper is ok at a push but you have scrunch it up a few times so it goes soft. Not mentioning any particular customer.

  49. Shooter

    The seats are warm.

    As someone far wiser than I once noted, there are few things as simultaneously comfortable and uncomfortable as a warm public toilet seat.

  50. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Posh Place Advisory

    When using the sink in such places you should always look at BOTH taps as "C" doesn't always mean what you think it should mean. Au contraire - which should give some clue as to pourquoi.

  51. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    WTF did they eat??

    Mid-September, 2011. Washington, D.C. At the General Services Administration building, toilets *exploded*, injuring two employees.

    You cant (ahem) make this $#!t up.

  52. dbtx Bronze badge

    temptation

    there are full color prints everywhere including the restrooms. They read...

    "ATTITUDE

    The only difference between a good day and a bad day"

    I say, that's some nice bull unicorn shit. That is so ******* made-up, I don't want to inadvertently dignify it by implying it came out the back of a real animal. It's basically an invitation / reminder to lie to myself about what facts or events might be unpleasant, and/or how how much they really matter-- as if that solves anything. Well, gee, how could things go wrong... what if I decide to just cold-turkey-quit wiping my ass? I would very probably be having 'bad days' until further notice, regardless of my 'attitude'. sigh. single contradicting case, etc etc. It would be Slightly Less Horrible™ if they even said 'the most important thing' but they said 'only', which is way too strong a word to be true.

    I am still a bit tempted to put this up in there, just to maybe stand up for something meaningful and uncover my attitude.

  53. Grikath
    Pint

    Understanding Computer Technology

    of obvious fame..

  54. Colonel Mad

    Parking

    One of my special indicators was a parking space reserved for Employee of the Month outside the front door

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Employee Opinion Survey

    Spotted on the inside of the cubicle doors - posters urging employees to complete an opinion survey.

    ...at a UK Utility company

  56. Oscar Pops

    Don't forget...

    ... the obligatory urine colour chart. The one in my workplace fell off the urinal-wall sometime ago and has since been left lying next to the basins, how's that for inviting poor behaviours?

    1. dbtx Bronze badge

      We recently got the urine colour chart-- in the break room. 3m away from the fridge. It's on a corkboard next to some other sad examples of human surrealism, such as a full colour assertion that radiation is heat transfer while conduction and convection are types of radiation, and also another copy of the aforementioned full-colour nonsense about attitude.

      The urine colour chart is printed in greyscale.

      1. dbtx Bronze badge

        "also another copy"

        oops, I might have imagined that. anyway it isn't there now

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A quick shake

    Ah, Dabbsy, how old are you? I'm sure you'll soon be approaching that annoying time in a chap's life where a quick shake is insufficient to get the last few dribbles out.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: A quick shake

      One thing that I've discovered as I've grown older is that pale trousers are the bane of the middle-aged man

  58. herman Silver badge

    I have come to the conclusion that many seemingly respectable people really do live in the boondocks, shit outside in a bog and wipe up with a corn cob - the traditional way.

  59. VikiAi Silver badge
    Happy

    I recall a tale of a high school principal who was having an issue with senior girls pressing their lipsticked lips to the mirror in the annex to the bathroom. Rather than ban lipstick, he got all the senior girls into the annex to show them how hard it was for the janitor to clean the mirror. The janitor went back to the bathroom area, wet his mop in the nearest toilet bowl and proceeded to clean the mirror. No more lipstick smears on the mirror after that.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dismal

    You can say this about IBM: their bathrooms are universally dismal and broken. And yes, they usually have the "don't throw towels in the toilet" signs too. But no longer any bathroom verse besmirching John Akers...

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fantom pooper

    Well I have worked in two seperate places that you wouldn't want to work in.

    First was in Manchester (an IT company) and they had a phantom pooper - that left lovely smelly turd nuggets on the bog room floor. Says everything about how they treat their employees.

    Second was a company that hired Carrilion as the cleaning staff - bogs smelled of piss and there was often bogs either overflowing with unflussed shit, or even the odd battle damage left behind by someone with a serious bowl issue or a case of explosive diarrhea - easy to see why Carillion went bankrupt after being in some of those disgraces.

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