Monday, April 13th, 2015

Public Plumbing – It could use a movement

The past few months, we’ve been spending loads of time in the bowels of public spaces: baseball stadiums, airports, hotels, grocery stores, and office buildings. There’s a common theme: the restroom facilities are typically less-than-desirable experiences. Sadly, the state of what should be sanitary public areas is decidedly unsanitary. Restrooms are understaffed, under-plumbed, and generally worn and unclean. Yuck. A few observations:

• The Kroger Company recognizes the importance of clean bathrooms as an integral part of customer satisfaction. Store managers are graded throughout the year on ‘restroom cleanliness’ – a smart approach. It’s in his or her career interest to keep restrooms in good working (and smelling) order.

• The Cincinnati Reds Stadium is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s not uncommon to find wet floors, malfunctioning toilets, and ‘creative urinal approaches’ developed by desperate fans. In their defense, the volume of users and outbound fluids makes restroom management a challenge. That 7th inning stretch really does a number on the facilities.

• Airports have found a reasonable middle ground – facilities are usually staffed by pleasant attendants and in good working order. The plastic-wrapped peppermints are a nice touch, too.

• Hotel public restrooms can generally be assessed by the category of the hotel: Major chains (the multi-story hotels) are fair, but may require key-card access.

• Public library restrooms are frequent stopping points for people who may not have a restroom of their own.

• Gas station restrooms should be a last resort, but they are frequently a first resort when the need is urgent. Yes, they are common and easily accessible…and that’s about all they have going for them.

Tips for Managing the Experience
Truly, we’re most comfortable within the confines of our own bath area (even when the dog follows, the kids stick their fingers under the door, or the spouse jokes “hope everything comes out all right”). With a little planning and forethought, it’s totally possible to have a good public restroom experience.

• In a metro area such as downtown Cincinnati, seek out “historic” hotels. The Netherland Plaza (Mezzanine level) and The Cincinnatian are two outstanding examples of public restrooms. We’re talking country-club quality – luxurious marble interiors, seating/resting areas, linen-like hand towels, and on occasion, free samples of ladylike toiletries.

• Connected? Try Charmin’s “Sit or Squat?” app (https://sitorsquat.com/). It’s top-notch for times when you find yourself in need of a pit stop. Bonus: It’s interactive – you can add bathrooms to the app and leave feedback as well.

• Corporate office parks are good “go” destinations. Look for multi-story office buildings with multiple tenants, nice lobby, and a helpful security guard (the Ohio National building in Blue Ash is a fine example).

• Family bathrooms. Have you seen these? Talk about being THE business for your business! Designed for people with children, family bathrooms are underused hidden gems in public toileting. In the Charlotte, NC airport, the family restroom is a roomy, wheelchair accessible, one-toilet space with a locking door. Typically located in close proximity to the “general public” set of stalls, family bathrooms are ideal when you need a quiet moment, even when you are traveling sans children.

• Have a “bathroom bag” – ours includes a package of Chlorox antiseptic wipes for wiping door handles, faucet handles, countertops and seats. Let’s face it – who knows when the area was last cleaned? You do, when you bring your own wipes.

• If you find a restroom to be lacking, speak up. Stalls run out of TP for many reasons, oversight being one. Discreetly stating “the restroom needs some attention” to an employee can work wonders.

Water You Waiting For? Allied Reddi-Rooter places high value on pleasant bathroom experiences at home, at the office, at a restaurant, or on the road. If the public areas in your life could use some relief, Ray’s team of experienced plumbers can have your toilet area running neatly in no time. Call Ray today: (513) 396-5300.