(Sort of) Good Hygiene
I saw this sign over the weekend in the restroom of a retail store. It was beside the standard “employees must wash hands before returning to work” sign. This was just a print out, placed in a 3-ring binder type page protector, then taped to the wall. I don’t mean to poke fun at the store, or the person who placed the sign on the wall… but I do see a few problems with this sign, and similar signs in general. (OK, maybe I do mean to poke fun – you can read an old rant on public restrooms here.)
My first issue with this specific sign was step #3. For you the reader to appreciate this, I should have perhaps taken a few more photos of my surroundings. The knobs on the sink were the little kind. One would have to be quite flexible and creative to turn them off with their arms. Also, this restroom lacked paper towels. There was a hand dryer on the wall though. I could have used some toilet paper to turn off the faucet, but have you ever gotten TP wet? And, if I waited until my hands were dried by the air dryer… I would have wasted a large amount of water. I can see that someone took the time to print & post the sign carefully. Perhaps they could have altered the steps to ones that pertain to their setup?
I guess that’s my only big issue with this sign, other than other sings have told me 30 seconds, or even to sing a song in my head, like “Old McDonald” or “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”… but I’m sure hand-washing time is a subject of hot debate in the hand-washing and general good hygiene sign community.
I wonder what frequently means? I would think that if one needed hand-washing explained, and they could read the word frequently… one may wonder exactly how often one should wash. One may think a few times a day is frequent. One may think that since you’re in the bathroom, it’s talking about your time within. Should you wash your hands 2 or 3 times for each restroom trip? I would bet that clarification is definitely needed for the people that need these signs. I find myself confused, and I already know how to wash my hands. (Also, I’m sure that some medical professionals would remind you that frequent hand-washing is a sign of OCD.)
I wonder who needs these sings, and at the same time… why there aren’t more of them, educating the uninformed masses of more good hygiene policies. There could certainly be a bunch more in public restrooms like “don’t pee on the seat”, “no boogers on the wall please”, & “proper nest-building for public toilets”.
I almost want to make a “how to wipe your behind” sign to hang up as a joke to post in restrooms around the area… but sadly I fear that we may see them for real some day. Maybe they do already exist somewhere. I would definitely include a “flush at [X] number of sheets per [X] ounces of fecal matter, to prevent clogging” line.
Perhaps a sign above the trash can that says “please do not place soiled underwear in trash can” would also be in good order. Seems I know quite a few people who have worked places with public restrooms where this sort of thing has apparently happened. Maybe in with this, signs warning against urinating or defecating in the sink would be appropriate. This, I have unfortunately seen with my own eyes at the O. Many many years ago, I was trapped by a hopefully drunk street-urchin looking fellow once who tried to share my urinal… when I balked, he relieved himself in the sink which was unfortunately on my way out the door. That time, I skipped washing my hands. Perhaps a footnote is in order on the hand-washing sign. “*If you have just witnessed someone urinating in the sink, you may skip hand-washing.” I’m betting the same people that need hand-washing reminders/instructions would also need to be told not to touch others’ urine.
So, I now task you the reader with helping me think of other signs that may need to be hung up in public restrooms and beyond. What do people need told? What obvious things maybe aren’t so obvious to all of us need to be publicly addressed?
What about “Please don’t eat the food on the floor by the trash can” at your favorite fast food restaurant? What about “how to pick up dog poop” instructions at the park, right by the useless “No Dogs In Park” signs? What about some signs on buggies (shopping carts to you non-Yinzers) that say “We have cart returns, please put this in one when you’re done, not pushed to a random nearby corner”?
If you’re super-creative, send me a sign and I’ll post it. You can either link to the url or image wherever it lives using html in the comments, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, wash your hands before emailing me though.