How do I proceed?

11 Jun

The cafe where I blog is perfect except for one thing – the only way to determine if the washrooms are occupied is to try the door. In the past two hours, customers have have tried to open the locked doors on at least twenty different occasions. It’s a nightmare for everyone involved.

As the patrons who need to use the facilities turn the corner to where the washrooms are located, they are confronted by two closed doors (out of politeness the previous occupant usually does not leave the door open even a bit). Some customers just fearlessly try the knob like it’s any old door (who are these people?) but the majority treat the situation with the utmost caution.

It’s obvious they are uncomfortable because the signs are all there. Upon seeing the closed door they usually wait a few seconds, scanning for some visual or audible sign that will indicate if the room is occupied or not. Then after processing the available information they slowly reach for the handle, fully aware that there could be someone in there. Maybe they’re just washing their hands but maybe they’re in the middle of a really bad, away-bathroom experience. The washrooms are in a corner, but as they are single-occupant, there’s no partitions preventing line-of-sight view from the main part of the restaurant. From where I usually sit I’m protected, but some tables are not so lucky.

So what we end up with is a situation where the person in the washroom is interrupted by the attempted door opening and the person waiting is now acutely aware of the unnecessary pressure he’s placed on the occupant. This is all compounded by the fear that the door has not locked properly and the mere act of turning the knob will expose the activities therein to everyone else in the cafe. And worst of all, I have to sit here and be subjected to this Sisyphean ordeal that could be solved by the most basic of technologies. Here’s a picture of the German solution to the problem.





I doubt if the people that work there even know this problem exists. So my question for you, my readers is: how do I get this fixed? There are several options.

  1. Tell the owner / manager and let them take care of it.
  2. Do a detailed study to quantify the extent of the problem, research the solution, provide a plan on how to implement the fix, and then offer to do the work.
  3. Bring my tools in and just fix it myself (pretending to be the repair guy – I’ll need to do this in disguise).
  4. Inform the media.
  5. Have the Ontario Building Code modified to require the owners of commercial establishments to install occupancy indicators on all their bathroom doors.

Help me out here. And I’m not switching tables, it really is the perfect place except for this one thing.

4 Responses to “How do I proceed?”

  1. chapman June 11, 2013 at 10:17 #

    The trouble I have with commenting on your posts is that I am always unsure if you are basically The Onion, North and writing for our entertainment, or if you start with a kernel of truth and just treat it with an obfuscating cloud of humour.

    In the first case, there is not much need to comment. Only applaud.

    In the second case, interaction is more feasible yet still awkward as the kernels of truth may come veiled in more humour.

    So, in conclusion, and throwing out all attempts at accurate assessment of intent my response to today’s post is to pick another cafe. This one is obviously eating up mindspace that could otherwise be crafting next year’s Sundance breakout hit!

  2. fishing buddy June 11, 2013 at 14:33 #

    you could put in a window!
    how about making a documentary for psychologists to study the behaviour of convenience verses need.
    Hope this helpd

  3. dEbs June 12, 2013 at 00:33 #

    If I really cared THAT much, I’d tell the owner. 😛 Chances are, they are already aware of the problem and probably don’t have the funds, time, or care enough to rectify the issue. My gut is saying that they don’t care enough and I’ve only reached this conclusion because the cost and time associated with putting in a lock are so minimal…
    Best of luck on your bathroom adventures at this cafe lol.

  4. Informasian June 13, 2013 at 20:41 #

    Easy fix. Tie a piece of fishing wire to the door. When someone leaving tries to close the door, pull it back open with said wire. You’ll simultaneously prevent pants-wetting and workout your biceps!

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