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Why Are American Public Toilets....  
User currently offlineMD11Bob From Germany, joined Mar 2010, 110 posts, RR: 2
Posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7765 times:

... so low on privacy?

Let me explain. Most of the public toilets that I came across in the US (airports, shopping malls, office buildings,...) are very low on privacy, because walls are very small and doors always leave a gap open between the door and the frame.

http://img856.imageshack.us/img856/3016/20120401134147.jpg



I am in no way too uptight, but still find this rather unconfortable when people can see you and also enjoy the accustical accompaniment of big oval office sessions. When I compare this to "normal" public toilets in Europe, the privacy levels are way higher. As an example, a toilet in my office building, which feature closed rooms and tight doors.





Does this have any particular reason? Is it just "the way things are done" over there? Is it to deter drug addicts?
Is it just a cost thing? But then, would costs increase so much by putting in doors that do not leave that open gap?

Please let me know your thoughts... And please, this is a serious question   so please spare me from too many sarcastic comments  

Bob

[Edited 2012-04-14 05:59:50]

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineflipdewaf From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2006, 1572 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7713 times:
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Probably so they can clean them down easier, most seem like that in the UK too.

In Germany I hear that they aren't that private really either, there is people in there taking photos  

Fred


User currently onlinefr8mech From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 5434 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7708 times:

My guess is that it's a cost and ease of repair thing.

It seems to me that Americans are quite neglectful of our public restrooms, at least those that are out in the 'public' as opposed to those in public buildings.



When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6098 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7664 times:
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Quoting MD11Bob (Thread starter):
Is it just a cost thing?

I am sure that is part of it. Our public toilets are free, for the most part, so you get what you pay for. It probably has been 25 or more years since I used a pay toilet in the US. I have seen them, in a couple big cities, but didn't use them.

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 1):
Probably so they can clean them down easier

I know it is easier and faster to mop the floors when there is no wall all the way to the floor.

[Edited 2012-04-14 07:16:13]


My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5710 posts, RR: 31
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7663 times:

I would say it's to stop or cut down on people doing things in toilets that toilets were not necessarily invented for. This was brought home to me years ago in San Francisco, where the toilets had doors small enought just to cover the lower part of the body.

User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3522 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7624 times:
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Quoting MD11Bob (Thread starter):
When I compare this to "normal" public toilets in Europe, the privacy levels are way higher.

Reminds me of my first encounter with a European public facility a number of years back ('79). Highway rest stop in France & I'm with a school group. Pile off the bus and find the facilities. Men & women coming in & out of both rooms, so the guys figure when in Rome... the girls in the group declined... Go inside... holes in the floor & trough urinals.. no dividers of any sort... lol



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User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11651 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 7582 times:

Quoting MD11Bob (Thread starter):
this is a serious question so please spare me from too many sarcastic comments

You pose the question and then ask us to not make any sarcastic comments?

Most people probably don't know squat about this subject.

When I went to the main page, this topic was number two on the list.

Seriously: I think it is easier to clean with just a metal plate between the fixtures. No matter where one goes in the United States, they have graffiti. I think it is Pilot Truck Stops that have individual stalls with floor-to-celing walls. I have seen the janitor struggling to clean and restock them. Seems like a huge hassle.

I have a question on a related topic. I will put it as delicatly as possible: why are there metal plates between urinals? That is just more to clean and more to graffiti.



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineGuitrThree From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2049 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7490 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):
I will put it as delicatly as possible: why are there metal plates between urinals?

Splash Guards.



As Seen On FlightRadar24! Radar ==> F-KBNA5
User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 3094 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7490 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):
I have a question on a related topic. I will put it as delicatly as possible: why are there metal plates between urinals? That is just more to clean and more to graffiti.

Privacy. Just in case your neighbor decides to take a gander at your gear. Urinals without the dividers make many guys go to the stalls. In my case, I always try to take the one in the corner.



"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
User currently offlineKiwiRob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7365 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7455 times:

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 4):
This was brought home to me years ago in San Francisco, where the toilets had doors small enought just to cover the lower part of the body.

You really think low doors is going to stop men being men with other men, it sure as hell didn't stop the couple of guys bent over the sink in a public restroom I mistakenly thought was a place to go for a crap, not a shag.


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7447 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 3):
I am sure that is part of it. Our public toilets are free, for the most part, so you get what you pay for. It probably has been 25 or more years since I used a pay toilet in the US. I have seen them, in a couple big cities, but didn't use them.

I've never used a pay toilet in the US. They did used to have some self cleaning pay toilets in downtown Seattle for a while. The city paid $5 million for 5 of them and they ended up being a haven for prostitution and drug use. They sold on-line for $12K after just 4 years.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2008-08-15-seattle-toilets_N.htm

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 5):
Reminds me of my first encounter with a European public facility a number of years back ('79).

The Mrs. did some work in China a few years ago and took the time to take a picture of the facilities there. I'll have to look for it but my recollection was that it was basically a drain in the middle of the floor leading to a ditch outside the room.

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):
I have a question on a related topic. I will put it as delicatly as possible: why are there metal plates between urinals? That is just more to clean and more to graffiti.

I think that's been answered with the "splash guard" answer but I'm interested how that differs from European urinals?



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinemt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6594 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 7410 times:
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Quoting MD11Bob (Thread starter):
walls are very small and doors always leave a gap open between the door and the frame.

How else do you suggest Republican Senators get their fun?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Craig_scandal



Step into my office, baby
User currently offlinezippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5478 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7242 times:

Many of the reasons covered above plus economics of scale. In the states if it doesn't make money keep it minimal. Space is a premium in most buildings. For example your average USA airport concourse/terminal. In the 50's and early 60's in airports such as ATL and MIA the passenger waiting areas/holding/gates were walled/partitioned off from each other. Old concourse H at MIA was a classic example until it's redo in the late 90's. Once the walls came down there was more room for retail outlets. Back to toilets. In the olden days there was an outer lounge that was like a parlour especially for the ladies. I remember the Senator and defunct Crest Theatre in Baltimore had enormous lounges for both men and women formal sitting areas.

And I remember working at a now defunct Pappy's Pizza. I asked one of the managers why the bathrooms were not as air conditioned/heated as the restaurant. He said the answer was simple: "We don't want our customers making the toilets their living room/hangout joint!"

In America like many other things our culture is time sensitive & hurry up . The bathroom is a basic necessity not anything else but.



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7957 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7228 times:

At least hospitals in the U.S. allow more privacy than it is usual in Germany. I have been to 4 hospitals here, and only in one of them was there a curtain around my bed. I hear this is standard in the U.S. which I think it should really be.
In Germany, the staff would move you and your bed to another separated room to examine you, but frankly there is no guarantee. I find curtains around hospital beds more important than full doors in public restrooms.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineSomedayTrijet From China, joined Nov 2010, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7225 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 10):
The Mrs. did some work in China a few years ago and took the time to take a picture of the facilities there. I'll have to look for it but my recollection was that it was basically a drain in the middle of the floor leading to a ditch outside the room.

The public toilets here have very, very inconsistent hygiene levels. In some poorer parts of town, you'll find toilets just like this. However, if you go to some renovated facilities, or the ones in a nicer part of town, you'll find free public toilets that look much nicer than the all public toilets I've ever seen in Europe. Those nice toilets always have very high levels of privacy, with high walls, and fully segregated booths.

I hope the government would try to make the public toilet service much more consistent. As of now, some public toilets can really give China a very bad impression...



Flown on: ATR72-5, Q300, E190, E195, A319/20/21, A332/3, 734/6/G/8, 744, 752/3, 763ER, 772ER/LR
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7957 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7226 times:

Quoting mt99 (Reply 11):
How else do you suggest Republican Senators get their fun?

And how could (bass player) Tony Levin crack jokes about it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fuQBmi6Ca4

By the way: No need to ask him why he didn't wash his hands. I already did but never got a response.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11651 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7224 times:

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 8):
Just in case your neighbor decides to take a gander at your gear.

I didn't realize this was an issue.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 10):
but I'm interested how that differs from European urinals?

Are Ameicans more splashy?



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlinezippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5478 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7217 times:

Quoting mt99 (Reply 11):
How else do you suggest Republican Senators get their fun?

They now have secret rooms/chambers at their "restricted" Country Clubs, Gun shops and those bible thumpic religious emporiums or houses of worship.



I'm Zippyjet & I approve of this message!
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12545 posts, RR: 25
Reply 18, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7200 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 6):
Most people probably don't know squat about this subject.

+1 for the use of the word "squat" in a thread about public restrooms! 



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineeinsteinboricua From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2010, 3094 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (2 years 5 months 5 days ago) and read 7160 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 16):
Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 8):
Just in case your neighbor decides to take a gander at your gear.

I didn't realize this was an issue.

Maybe not where you live, but I've actually seen when there are no divisions people next to others turning their heads. Plus, many have also told me it's just how they feel. Can't blame them, though.



"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
User currently offlineGuitrThree From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2049 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6932 times:

Quoting seb146 (Reply 16):
Are Ameicans more splashy?

Roll into a mens bathroom at a big event, like a football game, where the urinals are lined up without the partitions with flip-flops on. I dare you!



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User currently offlineKingairTA From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 458 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 6874 times:

I've been in a few places where the urinal was a wall length tub you did your business in. Some places the urinal was a concrete trench along the wall. Those allowed more men through at a time and kept the lines shorter.

As to the original topic I believe its cost driven.


User currently offlineseb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11651 posts, RR: 15
Reply 22, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 6843 times:

Quoting GuitrThree (Reply 20):
like a football game, where the urinals are lined up without the partitions with flip-flops on. I dare you!

Baseball in PHX or HOU.



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlinegeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6801 times:

[quote=Braybuddy,reply=4]I would say it's to stop or cut down on people doing things in toilets that toilets were not necessarily invented for. This was brought home to me years ago in San Francisco, where the toilets had doors small enought just to cover the lower part of the body.

Brabuddy............You have it exactly right ! And San Fran ? I wouldn't expect you to be aware of this, but S.F. is quite "famous / infamous" in this country for something "other" than the Golden Gate Bridge; (if you get my drift !)

[quote=seb146,reply=6]I have a question on a related topic. I will put it as delicatly as possible: why are there metal plates between urinals?

That reminds me of a supposedly "true story" I once heard; Little scrawney 15 yr old boy goes in men's room at ball park, lines up a "trough" with other guys; sneaks a peek at the guy beside him, sees this ENORMOUS big black guy, (about 8 ft tall), and "can't help" noticing what the guy is holding; about this time, the giant looks down, "damn, he caught me looking", I gotta "say something"..........all he can think of is........."ugh......man, what's your name?" Guy says, (in this incredible deep voice, like Darth Vader, only deeper)......."BEN BROWN"; whereupon the kid feints, dead in his tracks ! Big guy splashes some water in his face, gets him "revived"..........kid looks back up, says...."what you say your name was ? "BEN BROWN" This time kid lets out a big "whewwwwww"......."Man, I thought you said BEND DOWN !"

[quote=NoUFO,reply=13]At least hospitals in the U.S. allow more privacy than it is usual in Germany. I have been to 4 hospitals here, and only in one of them was there a curtain around my bed. I hear this is standard in the U.S. which I think it should really be.
In Germany, the staff would move you and your bed to another separated room to examine you, but frankly there is no guarantee. I find curtains around hospital beds more important than full doors in public restrooms.


NoUFO...............Next time you're in the States, if you think there's a chance you'll need to go to a hospital, make sure you're in Terre Haute, Indiana, then "insist" on Union Hospital, (not Regional Hospital) They just completed the new wing about 18 months ago, and I guarantee, you'll love it ! All rooms are PRIVATE, with ONE bed (for the patient) No "visiting hours"........you can "come and go" 24 / 7, and each room even has a very comfortable chair that is a "recliner", kind of a "hide-a-chair" if you will; (I spent several nights on it while Miss Arlie was a "guest" for 12 days.)
The rest room / bath room is huge, the commode has a little arm with a "mini-shower head" on the end that swings down, pointing into the toilet, and when it flushes, the thing directs a "substantial stream" at the opening where "everything" goes, just in case "anything" get s stuck; The shower is like 4 ft square, with a nice seat, so you can enjoy your shower while sitting down. And the bed.............I can't even describe the things, they do so many different things; from the looks of them, I'm guessing they must run 3 or 4 K; and then there is the food; there is no "meal time fhone the cafeteria, place your order for what you want, the dietitian checks it against the Doctors orders, and a server brings it up, just like a restaurant. (Many former patients come to the hospital just to have dinner, the food's so good.

In addition to all this, all of the nurses are fabulous, and all of the Doctors are great ! (At least the 4 attending to Arlene were)

I've had occasion to use the ER 5 or 6 times, both the "original" one, and the new one at the new wing; My conclusion............if i got sick in Hpng Kong, and I required an ER (or admittance), I would grab the first jet to Indianapolis, and take an ambulance (or a cab) to Terre Haute, and instruct the driver......."Union Hospital" please !"
It's just that ****** good !

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offline2707200X From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 8516 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (2 years 5 months 4 days ago) and read 6757 times:

So long as their are dividers between the urinals and doors on the toilet stalls and the bathroom is clean I'm happy. When I was in high school and even in college their where no urinal dividers and when I was in middle school, their where no doors to the toilet stalls and no toilet paper was available.


"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." John Masefield Sea-Fever
25 geezer : All of this talk about toilets just reminded me of another "toilet room joke; Ohio State Buckeyes were playing the sissies from Harvard; at half time
26 Post contains images Braybuddy : Why do you think I was there . . .
27 falstaff : even with partitions it is usually gross. But I'm one of those guys who drinks a lot of beer and pees on the floor anyway. I like those kind too, you
28 seb146 : Let me know when you are up this way. So I can be someplace else.
29 2707200X : I went to a standard suburban middle school in Long Beach, CA between 1992 when I moved from Rancho Cucamonga and '94 when I graduated to high school
30 Post contains images falstaff : Most of it makes it in the bowl.... We have the same problem at the school where I work, but they sure has hell aren't getting rid of the toilet pape
31 babybus : That does seem odd that some person can look over the door and ask if you're done. I think it stops people taking their time over a dump. I remember i
32 Post contains links varigb707 : They maybe low on privacy, but they're the best. At least in Manhattan... http://youtu.be/JYVBRQ7t46g
33 Post contains images Gunsontheroof : Lots of good insight here. Having been across the U.S. and a fair bit of Europe, I've seen it all. I have to say that I don't really find the average
34 Post contains links and images moo : I think this is relevant here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t32tt...itMj8&feature=youtube_gdata_player
35 N1120A : I actually think, on balance, its the opposite. While there are some distressing public restrooms in the US, I find ours are usually cleaner and high
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