Wednesday, August 1, 2012


     OK!  I am going to be the resident curmudgeon and climb on my soapbox and irritate a lot of people!  This is a subject that I have had as a burr under my saddle for years and if it applies to you tough!
     I have gone up and down with my weight over most of my life.  At one time not long ago I was to the point of being mostly an invalid.  Thank God I have fought the battle, (still fighting), and have gotten my life back.  So I have a particularly delicate subject I now want to discuss.
     BATHROOMS, RESTROOMS, WATER CLOSETS, THE FACILITIES, POWDER ROOMS, whatever you choose to call them.  And I want to address the, ARCHITECTS, PLUMBERS, BUILDERS, DESIGNERS, AND DECISION MAKERS that are responsible for them.  Ask any woman and you will get an earful about the public, and many private, facilities in this country.
     Only because of the ADA laws are many, not all, facilities actually friendly to the users of them.  And even these rules get messed up for the convenience of some builder who is to lazy to give any consideration to them.
     Miniature toilets stuck in unreasonably small rooms are a sure indication of either stinginess, unconsciousness, and/or stupidity.  Sure thing that those responsible are so skinny that they should be watched for bulimia or sadism.
     The fact that 60% of the American people are obese should have those responsible for customer and user comfort paying attention.  Anyone paying for the design and installation of the facilities should insist on the privy being built for the comfortable usage of everyone, including themselves.
     For years we have been squeezed into stalls or rooms, that you cannot turn around in.  We have doors that swing inward that is impossible to get around to set down.  Toilet paper holders have been installed so low you have to be double jointed to get at the paper.
     If you have every seen these huge plastic appliances on the wall, so low that only a 4 year old could get into, and wonder why so many are damaged?  It is because, thru desperation, many have hit, pryed, or otherwise popped them open to get to the massive rolls of narrow, sand paper to clean themselves in a civilized manor.  I don't care how much money is saved by these monstrosities it just shows that you don't care about easy usage by your customers.  How does this affect your customers attitudes?
     I feel so sorry for the truly disabled trying to have some bit of decorum while fulfilling a basic body function.  It can be maddening.
     There are some companies and builders that do good jobs and seem too care, but take a trip cross country and see the horror that awaits you in many places.
     I have also been in homes that either were built by people so cheap or skinny that you cannot even get thru the narrow doors let alone use the throne.  If you can spend thousands on a kitchen to make it user friendly can't you spend a little more on doorway widths and size of the bathrooms?
     If you have shared these frustrations I hope this will move you to be more vocal.  If this irritated you or embarrassed you, FANTASTIC!  That was the whole point of this.
     When I point out simple remedies to problems in the restrooms most will be very attentive and then ignore it when I have gone.  Maybe if you will also point out the little things that could be corrected enough of us could actually make them realize there is a problem.  SPEAK UP!
     Now here is some simple things that those of you can pay attention to who are responsible for the facilities.
1.  Toilets tall enough not to have knees near the cheeks.
2.  Toilets set out far enough to be reasonable.
3.  Doors that swing out away from the stall.
4.  Toilet paper above the bar and accessible for everyone.
5.  Grab bars that do not protrude into the minimum space for the fixture.
6.  Toilet not too tall that your feet swing.
7.  Doors wide enough for everyone to get thru.
8.  Keep it clean.  Nothing is more disgusting than a filthy facility.
9.  Do all this because you want to do what is right and show that you really care.
     As you might note I do this with much emotion and I try to not write when I am worked up.  But this has been brewing with me for years and it is time to point this out.
     There are a few companies that I would love to give an award to for their excellent facilities.  And to the others I want to just scream, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING OF!
     I hope this will inspire more women to go into design and architecture because these men that do this need to go get a real job.

1 comment:

  1. Roger,
    we learned through our various building opportunities the standard code for a bathroom door is 24 inches. That is not wheelchair accessible. When we built, we insisted on 32 inches and when Evelyn was in a chair, we were glad we did. That is absurd to put a tiny 24 inch door in a bathroom when you never, ever know when someone you love will be in a wheelchair at any given time. Good post. Bill Roepka