Twitching and fumbling in an automated rest room

Before you get the wrong idea, this blog post has nothing to do with George Michael.

Rather it's a rant against the move to automated rest rooms that turn the best of us into uncoordinated freaks.

Take the rest room at the City Hall that I cover for work. I mean City Hall as opposed to the rest room. Not only does it have ridiculously low doors that leave little to the imagination but users are faced with negotiating a dazzling array of automation.

A sensor is meant to flush the toilet as soon as you get up but if you happen to move too much mid ablution the high velocity flush will be activated, causing you to jump up like a hare at the sound of a farmer's shot gun. Even if it flushes as soon as you get up, there's a secondary problem if you want to flush again and it doesn't activate.

So hapless users are faced with an embarassing routine of sitting down and getting quickly up again in the hope the flush will activate. I know this because the stall doors are so low.

If you pass the flush test - and I'd estimate at least 50 percent of users fail - the handwashing test lies ahead. The soap is also sensor activated which means you get either a miniscule drop or a massive blob that you will never remove because the taps are also motion activated.

The third and final step is a motion activated paper dispenser. It says you don't need to touch the sensor but after a series of hopeless twitches and hand fly passes, most users end up trying to thump the hell out of it. And all of this for one, miserly sheet of paper.

There's a member of staff, I often encounter in the City Hall washroom. I can only conclude it takes him most of his working day to get through the automated minefield. So we engage in polite conversation, while our arms sail around like a windmill symphony as we seek to operate the soap and drier.

Memo to City Hall; How about installing a roll of paper and a toilet with an old fashioned flush handle?

At least you know where you stand with public lavatories in Britain. Normally in something foul smelling and nameless.

Earlier this year I blogged about the horrors of British public toilets.


  1. Nothing worse than a flush mid ablution!

  2. Please don't get me started on not being able to find a paper towel until you cross the Channel! Stumbled on your blog from Betty's at Cut and Dry. Very interested to read a Brit's view of America since I am experiencing the opposite. Cheers!


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