It’s All Your Fault That My Client Heard Your Toilet Noises

by admin on January 31, 2013

At the time this happened, I was working for a big financial institution.

I have a pet peeve regarding people speaking on their cell phone while in a public restroom. I feel that it is rude to the other people using the facilities as well as disrespectful of the person you are speaking with.

One day, while using the facilities at work, a co-worker came in talking on her phone. As I am standing at the sink, washing my hands, the following conversation happens:

Miss Rude Co-Worker:  “You know, I don’t appreciate you being so loud while I was on the phone.”

Me: *mimicking her tone of voice* “You know, I don’t appreciate you being on the phone while I’m trying to pee.”   0131-13

Whoa!  Your co-worker had the audacity to rebuke you for body noises you made while in the toilet stall while she was on the phone?  Oh….oh my.  That’s a new one.   Guilt manipulating others with warped accusations of ill manners to assuage their own poor judgment is nothing new, of course, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard of this excuse to justify cell phone usage in an operational bathroom.   Too bad you did not use the facilities to the fullest extent of your internal organs and let loose with an auditory fusillade of epic proportions or loudly asked, “Does anyone have some extra toilet paper?   Mine is out.”

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Green123 January 31, 2013 at 10:41 am

Oh wow! I’m with Admin – I wouldn’t wish bowel problems on anyone but how I wish the OP had, erm, ‘used the loo more noisily’!

I was recently in a public Ladies in London, and had the joy of overhearing an American lady in the next stall having a very in-depth financial conversation on her mobile, presumably while she was on the toilet! I then washed my hand and began to dry them with the rather loud but somewhat ineffective air dryer. At this point, the lady emerged from her stall, tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘Hey, honey, can you shut that thing off? I’m trying to speak here!’ I can assure you that my response was NOT to stop drying my hands…


airlinepass06 January 31, 2013 at 10:43 am

My first encounter with people using cell phone in the restroom was right around age 13. I was at a restaurant and went to the restroom. While in my stall, I heard a cell phone ring nearby and the lady answered it. I told my parents what had happened after I returned to the table. My dad laughed and said, “Good thing she didn’t hold the cell phone under the partition and say, ‘it’s for you!'”


Jelaza January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

If you use your phone in the bathroom, you have no standing to complain that people are using it for its intended purpose.


Library Diva January 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

I hate hearing people’s conversations in the bathroom too. Absolutely disgusting, and hopefully OP’s rude co-worker learned her lesson about doing that. Who wants to be called from the bathroom? Ugh.


Hannah2 January 31, 2013 at 11:03 am

Ok maybe I got this wrong… A co worker says OP is too loud while she’s on the phone. Ok, I hate cells in the bathroom too, but OP has made it clear that she hated cells in the bathroom and from her “mimicking” tone back to the co worker, it sounds like she probably went out of her way to make a lit if noise while her co worker was on the phone just to harass her?


Swerve January 31, 2013 at 11:09 am

I have to admit that when I encounter someone talking on the phone in a public restroom, I’m often tempted to start making very loud comments about the horrible smell and asking, “Was that YOU? Are you all right in there?” So far common sense has always overruled the twelve-year-old in me, but one day…


Stepmomster January 31, 2013 at 11:15 am

Next time she comes in the bathroom… repeatedly flush.


Magicdomino January 31, 2013 at 11:19 am

I’ve heard the complaint before, although it wasn’t said to me. Most people agree that the complaint is baseless, though. What happens in the restroom should stay in the restroom, and it is the cell phone holder’s fault for using it in a noisy place.

Mimicking the co-worker’s tone of voice was childish; the same words would have been more effective said in a normal tone of voice. Having said that, I have to admit that I have been tempted to flush the toilet an extra time or two.


Ashley January 31, 2013 at 11:23 am

Ugh, I can’t stand people who take calls in the bathroom. I won’t even go in a bathroom to take a call even if I’m not actually USING the bathroom because I don’t want anyone I’m talking to to accidentally overhear someone’s toilet sounds. It’s so rude. I’ll find another quiet corner to stand in.


Trish January 31, 2013 at 11:26 am

My thought would have been to flush twice, and complain that one is never enough. However, I am quite passive aggressive like that. Talking on the phone in the bathroom (especially in a professional capacity) is just wrong.


Mamapotamus January 31, 2013 at 11:27 am

While traveling for Christmas my young daughter & I walked into a rest stop bathroom alongside a woman on the phone. My daughter asked if it was ok to use the bathroom & to still flush because the lady was talking on her phone. I spoke slightly louder than I usually would and told her she most definitely could flush, after all this is a bathroom & surely any woman sitting in a public restroom stall would expect her conversation to be interrupted by normal bathroom sounds. I added that I hoped she would never be so rude as to do that in the future. The woman left quickly, unfortunately without stopping to wash her hands.


Allie January 31, 2013 at 11:28 am

Oh my goodness, there are so many things wrong with this person, where to begin. Not to justify her complaint in any way, but it is difficult if not impossible to mask one’s bodily noises in the restroom. I know as I have tried, out if modesty, not becausr I was on the phone. I would not use the phone in the toilet partly because it’s gross, but also because it’s one of the few places one can have a quiet (or relatively quiet), uninterrupted moment to one’s self these days, and that’s too precious to waste.


RebeccainAR January 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

I work for a cell phone company, so most of my coworkers have not one but TWO cell phones attached to them at all times. I can’t tell you how often I go in to the facilities, only to hear someone’s personal (and occasionally business!) calls echoing from another stall. Bonus points if they are on a conference call, on speaker, in the facilities.

Makes me crazy. Have some situational awareness, folks – don’t call your boss then go pee. Really.


mstigerlily January 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

I’ve never had a conversation that was so important that I couldn’t either wait to use the restroom until after the call or call them back after I used it.

There are just some things that I don’t want to know about other people, or need them to know about me!


Justine January 31, 2013 at 11:42 am

One of our co-workers had to be talked to. She would use the phone while in the bathroom and would not flush so whomever she was talking to would not know that she was using the bathroom while she was speaking to them. It wasn’t much fun using the stall after her.


MGirl January 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

Kind of along the same lines – does anyone read STFU Parents? There was a popular post last year where a woman ranted on Facebook about how she brought her sleeping baby into a rest stop bathroom and no one complied when she asked the other people there not to make any noise while the baby was napping. The general opinion of the commenters was the this woman’s request was crazy, because no one has the right to dictate that you don’t use the bathroom for its intended purpose.

Same deal here – bathrooms are places for relieving yourself, and you should never try to keep someone from using a bathroom for this purpose.


Stacey Frith-Smith January 31, 2013 at 11:59 am

“Really? I was just trying to provide soothing sounds of nature.” And exit.


Tammy Rizzo January 31, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Oh, man, if I’d have been there, I’m sure I would have been very loud and obnoxious with body sounds and bathroom functions – flushing, calling for toilet paper, and anything else I could have done to make it clear to whoever was on the other end of the phone just WHERE her call was coming from.

Does that make me a bad person?


Harley Granny January 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Ya’ll are no much nicer than I am.

I would have laughed loudly and said ….”Man you should have been in here earlier! I got rid of that gas that I had been storing up for two days.!”


Justin January 31, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I agree witn the consensus. So many people these days feel that they must answer their mobile the second it rings. Maybe I’m rude, but if I am in the middle of something that can’t or shouldn’t be interrupted, which includes performing necessary bodily functions I let the call go to voicemail and return it as soon as I am done with what I was doing.

I also apply the same rule to checkout lines, conversations I am in the middle of, etc.


Jelly_rose January 31, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Ugh, I hate when people use the phone in the bathroom. I don’t think there has been one time at work where I have gone in to use it and ended up hearing someone on the phone. It makes things so awkward, even more so when they seem to be talking about work.


GreenHall January 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm

RebeccainAR, your comment reminded me of this Dilbert comic: …And I had to go find it and share.


Cora January 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I tried to deal with this once, but I’m wondering if my way of handling it: I (anonymously) stuck a typewritten note up on the mirror that said “You are either on the toilet or on the phone. Not both.”

A few hours later I came in and someone had written in ballpoint on it: “What’s it to you?”

So I typed a response (which I think now was taking it too far) that said, “It is to me, and everyone else, incredibly rude — especially the person on the other end of the phone who can’t believe you don’t know better.”

Both notes were gone by the end of the day. Too much?


BagelLover January 31, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I’ll confess, made phone calls in the restroom, but only because I don’t have an office to myself – I share it with three others. Since everyone is INCREDIBLY nosy I’ve popped in to cancel a doctor appointment or confirm a dinner reservation. Since there’s about four women on my entire floor to share the office, it’s never occupied. That said, if someone was in there or someone walked in, I would end the call or not make it in the first place! There’s also a long hallway that leads from the door of the bathroom to the actual stalls, so I stand by the door and am not where the bowel business actually occurs.


Tsunoba January 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I admit to using my phone in a public restroom before, but only once.

My mother and I lost track of each other in a store once. She sent a text asking where I was. I figured I could reply when I was done. Apparently, I wasn’t fast enough, because she then called me.

I think explaining to my mother that I’m fine, everything’s okay, it’s just that I’m *in the bathroom* is just about the only appropriate non-emergency use of a cell phone in such a place.


essie January 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm

How about a simple shrug and “It’s a bathroom, not a phone booth.”

I still remember an incident a few years ago when I walked into the ladies’ room at work and, apparently, someone had a lot of paperwork to do because it was spread out on the floor, in the stall, around her feet. *ew*


Calli Arcale January 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Added to the annoynace factor is that people often speak up when they’re on the phone. I had a woman speaking loudly on the phone in the stall next to me not long ago. She had initiated the call, and even told the other person what bodily function was being performed. Not in a childish way; just very matter-of-fact, with the same tone of voice one might use for “I’m at the grocery store; can I get you anything while I’m here?” From her side of the conversation, I think the other party was a bit aghast as well.

On another blog, years ago, I remember reading the author talking about overhearing a fellow surgeon carrying on a conversation in the next stall — with a patient, about the particular delicate complaint that this surgeon was treating in the patient! That’s probably actually illegal, thanks to HIPAA, never mind rude. But it goes to show, cell phone obliviousness is everywhere.

Another thing that bothers me is people who are just plain *loud* in the bathroom. Slamming the stall doors, carrying on conversations at a pitch suitable for a crowded event hall….. Yesterday, I retreated to the bathroom for a private moment, and then two ladies entered the bathroom behind me. I was in the third stall. They went into stalls 2 and 4 and continued their loud conversation right over me. I just waited for them to leave before I exited my stall. One nice thing about the brusque bathroom boors is that they usually are in and out pretty quickly, so one can simply wait them out and not have to interact with them socially at all.


--Lia January 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Next it will be a version of skype where people can hear AND SEE when the person they’re talking to is on the toilet while on the phone!


La January 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm

… Is the mobile-phone-to-the-loo person a refugee from TV land, where toilets are used for everything except bodily functions (because no-one has any unless they’re plot-critical)???

It’s awkward enough when someone butt-dials you from the toilet. Deliberately calling someone whilst on the loo is just weird.


The Elf January 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Seriously?! Wow. Just wow.


Dawn January 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Ugh. It’s a bathroom, not a phone booth… Although in some major cities I can understand why there might be some confusion.


Alli January 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I regret to say that the OP handled it far better than I would have. I think I would have reposonded with something like ” If you continue to conduct business in the restroom, I’ll have no other choice but to pee at your desk. “


Yenda January 31, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I have to say, I was once guilty of this. NOT in a public restroom, thank goodness. I was on an hour long work conference call and had to use the restroom DESPERATELY about 20 minutes in. I did mute my phone before going in and tried to be out as soon as possible.


Rob aka Mediancat January 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Justine: That latter person I would be mightily tempted to say, loudly, “Hey, Delicia! You forgot to flush! You want me to get that for you?”


Joni January 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Gross. What if she’d dropped her phone in the toilet? What was her excuse to her client going to be then?

I admit to using the bathroom (at HOME, not in public) while on the phone. But only if I am on the phone with my sisters – we are REALLY close to each other and have basically no boundaries whatsoever. So I’ll announce, “I’m going to pee now!” while I’m talking to my sister and she’ll say something like “Ooh, have fun!” But I would NEVER do it with anyone else.


Mori January 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I will cop to having spoken on the phone while I was in the bathroom once or twice. But on all occasions, I was the only one there, no one else was likely to come in, and I was in the bathroom because I was too upset (read: in tears) to come out, and needed to talk to a friend.

Certainly, complaining about normal bathroom use making your phone use difficult is ridiculous; but I’d hesitate to cast all those who use the phone in the bathroom into the depths of e-Gehenna, if only to save my own sorry hide.


Goldie January 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I’ve had people actually come into the restroom at work with the purpose of making a phone call from there. It is pretty awkward. Sometimes the conversation they had was about something very personal that I’d rather not know about that person. It just blows my mind. Why would anyone share things, that they’d probably hesitate to tell their friends or family, in front of a total stranger in a closed stall? I assume they come in to the restroom to get more privacy for their call, but how’s that privacy when someone’s listening in to your conversation and you cannot even see who that person is?? But this Rude Coworker is just the worst I’ve ever heard. How does she think the world works? “Okay everybody, hold your pee, Jane’s here to make a phone call. Please stay in your stalls and remain quiet for the duration of Jane’s conversation.” Really?

RebeccaAR – conference call on speaker? Now I’ve heard everything. Why not just hold work meetings in the restroom while they’re at it.


Bint January 31, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I love the fact that the woman getting uptight is using her phone *on the bog*! I don’t want to be phoned by someone having a wee, whether they’re down an alley or at work – save yourself!


Mrs. Lovett January 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm

@Hannah2, there’s no indication in the story that OP was trying to make noise. It’s very possible her coworker was referring to the normal sounds of her bodily functions or to the sound of flushing. Even if OP were making excessive noise for the situation, it hardly validates her coworker’s complaint. The bathroom is a noisy place with the normal bodily sounds, flushing toilets, running water, and noisy air-dryers. I think we can assume coworker has used a public restroom before and should therefore know that it’s a lousy place to take a phone call. If she has a problem with the noise level in the room, she needs to find a more appropriate place to take her call.


sv January 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Kudos on the comeback!


Michellep January 31, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Absolutely disgusting to use the phone in a bathroom. To posters claiming the OP was wrong to mimic her tone, or imply that she went “out of her way to make noise” because she doesn’t like it, well I don’t blame her if that was true.

@Hannah2, your comment is poorly written and spelled, so I don’t know if I’m interpreting it correctly, but there is no justification for talking on a cell phone in a bathroom nor is there for the talker reprimanding someone in there for doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

On another note, I was driving in the parking lot of a major store. Woman comes out texting on her phone not looking where she was going. I stopped the car and just watched her. She walked right into my car. If I hadn’t been paying attention I would have hit her. She gave me an ap0logetic smirk at which I just shook my head and started driving forward. She called, “don’t be hateful!” I called back, “don’t be stupid!” Yes, I shouldn’t have done that but it came out instantly. That’s probably why the OP said what she said back; an instant reaction to pure stupidity.

No conversation is worth rudeness or your life!


Ashley January 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I was once on the fax-pass end of this in college.

At the time, only my parents and maybe 2 other people had my cell phone number but only called it with important information. I was expecting a call from my Mom with a piece of information I needed, and I was alone in the bathroom when the phone rang. Expecting a short message from Mom, I picked up the phone.

Instead, I heard, “Hi. I’m — from —- calling to set up an interview with you. Is this a good time to talk?” I panicked and said yes, and I spent the rest of the conversation desperately hoping no one else would come in.

To make matters worse, I was on a very very finicky automatic flush toilet. (It usually flushed on you 4 times before you actually wanted it to.) So not only could I not get up, but I had to stay perfectly stock still to avoid flushing sounds.

The phone set up was much more stressful than the actual interview.


Coralreef January 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Cell phones and public washrooms DO NOT mix. I find that behaviour appaling and disrespecful toward others. Both the person on the other end of the conversation and other users. People lived before cell phones, you can learn to put them down for 20 minutes!

I’ll up the ante: my ex was glued to the phone. Cordless at home, cell outside the home. I can’t count the number of times he would just waltz into the bathroom and use the toilet while on the phone, flushing included, because, hey… he had to be comfy. He never saw anything wrong with it. No amount of me saying it was rude, disgusting, just not done, woud convince him that it was wrong.

I now hate phones with the passion of a thousand suns.


abf January 31, 2013 at 5:59 pm

It never ceases to amaze me that we can be such an advanced society, and yet be so uncivilized. I’m beginning to think there is something in electronics that just makes people loose their minds. Everyone just seems to be so attached to their cell phones (or electronic whatevers) that their entire lives revolve around that little device and everything else (manners, relationships, common sense, kindness, integrity) is just discarded. I heard a comment made today that ready sums it up, “Do you run your own life or does your phone?”


Marozia January 31, 2013 at 6:28 pm

The absolute height of rudeness and vulgarity!
This was in a shopping centre when it happened, of all places!!! While I was in the ladies’ room stall, a woman came in and started chatting on the phone to a client. Definitely a client, from the tone of the woman’s voice as she was speaking professionally (or as professionally as you can get in a ladies toilet). That cheesed me off. In my most ‘common’ voice I bellowed out ‘Ere! ‘as anyone got any dunny paper, me rolls is out…..oooh ‘ang on, oi’ve found some, done worry”. She exited that bathroom pretty quickly.


Sazerac January 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm

This must be an issue predominantly germane to ladies’ rooms. Because of the er, um, “standing up nature” of men’s urinals, I would hate to see the gymnastics involved in balancing a cell phone, attending to one’s needs, and then cleaning up afterward. Men in general do not use bathrooms as break rooms – they tend to run in, do their business without overly acknowledging anyone else, and leave.


JGM1764 January 31, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Oy, the ol’ cellphone in the restroom bit. Awhile ago I popped into the ladies’ room at the supermarket and some lady comes in (quite a bit older than my 31 years), yakking away on her phone, does her business and leaves (without washing her hands) as I was washing mine. There was also a teenage girl in the restroom who saw this, she and I looked at each other aghast, she said, “Ew! What is WRONG with some people?” Pleased me that a youngster would have better sense than that boor.


Angel January 31, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Now I have officially heard everything 🙂


Lexie January 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm

It’s gross – socially and for hygiene reasons. Ew.

I remember being told off as a teenager when I was in a shopping centre bathroom for not answering my phone, as the ringtone was ‘irritating’ this woman. Yeah, I’m not going to touch something I hold up to my face on a daily basis until I’ve washed my hands and removed myself from the bathroom, let alone have whom ever was on the other end hear toilets flushing and hand dryers going in the background.

But then, I think the height of ‘disgusting’ is using an iPad or phone on the toilet. There isn’t enough Dettol in the world.


Basketcase January 31, 2013 at 11:28 pm

I had my phone ring ONCE while I was on the loo – I cancelled the call (it was from my Mum) and rapidly tapped out a text saying “on loo, will call you” or something along those lines, so she didn’t worry (she had recently injured herself so was a bit stressed).
No way would I TAKE a phone call on the loo. Even if I was in a completely self-contained stall. Its just bad form – the person on the other end can still so totally tell thats where you are!


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