Author Topic: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?  (Read 2467 times)

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Ceallach

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Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« on: January 02, 2013, 08:41:16 PM »
Background:    At our office there is a unisex toilet, shared with 2 other businesses.  There is a key to get into the toilet to prevent misuse, and also a lock on the inside of the door (one of those that indicates "Occupied" or "Vacant" to the outside) because obviously if not then somebody else with a key could walk in on you while you were in there.

I just went downstairs, unlocked the door and walked in and immediately saw a man standing in the cubicle.  I apologised and went outside and shut the door.  He'd forgotten to turn the internal lock when he went in. I stood outside and waited for a veeeerrrryy long time - which surprised me as most people hurry up when they know somebody is waiting.  Finally he came out, said "Sorry love".  I said "Don't forget to lock the door next time" and he seemed confused.  I indicated the internal lock and he sort of nodded and headed off slowly downstairs.    I went in, locked the door, and walked towards the cubicle.  At that point it was obvious that the toilet seat was covered in urine.   I exclaimed "That's disgusting!" to myself out loud, turned around and walked out.  There's no way I'm cleaning that up, particularly with the serious gag reflex I have at the moment.   

When I walked out, the man was just near the bottom of the stairwell so I could have said something to him, he actually glanced up at me.  But words failed me.   Instead I stomped my feet upstairs back into my office - fortunately I didn't need to go very badly.     

Now I'm wondering what would have been ok to say or do.    Note that the man was quite elderly (I would say well over 70+) so it did occur to me that he might have some kind of medical issue.   Also I've never seen him before, he must be a client of another business not an employee.  He wasn't carrying a key so I assume they must have come up and let him in then gone back.

So I ask you:   would it have been rude of me to have confronted him about it even if that embarassed him?  Note that the stairwell is small and private so nobody would overhear.    I thought of saying something like:    "Excuse me, can you please come back and wipe the seat, you've left it dirty and I can't use it like that".      But it was one of those frustrating moments where you just aren't sure whether to seize it or not.  I'm really quite annoyed though, I can't believe somebody could be so rude and inconsiderate.   
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EMuir

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2013, 09:37:52 PM »
Here's the thing, he might not have been the guilty one.  He didn't have to sit on the seat, after all. It might have been that way before him, and if he denies being the messy one, you really don't have an argument. I would just find someone who can stand to clean it up.

Judah

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 09:42:03 PM »
Here's the thing, he might not have been the guilty one.  He didn't have to sit on the seat, after all. It might have been that way before him, and if he denies being the messy one, you really don't have an argument. I would just find someone who can stand to clean it up.

This is my thinking. What if it wasn't him?
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Ceallach

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 09:52:09 PM »
Here's the thing, he might not have been the guilty one.  He didn't have to sit on the seat, after all. It might have been that way before him, and if he denies being the messy one, you really don't have an argument. I would just find someone who can stand to clean it up.

This is my thinking. What if it wasn't him?

Doh!  I can't believe I hadn't even thought of that!  I am glad I didn't say anything then.   

It does seem unlikely that it would have been somebody else, as there are very few people who have access to that toilet (we had the locks changed and keys issued very carefully for that reason) and I've never had a problem with it before e.g. none of the regular users have left it in that state (I'd be the most likely to encounter it if they did because I am nearly 9 months pregnant and use the toilet constantly!). 

But of course just because it's the most likely scenario doesn't mean that he was the culprit.   I would hate to embarass somebody. 
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NyaChan

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 09:53:32 PM »
That actually might have been why it took so long - he may have been debating whether he wanted to clean it or just use it as is (which I guess would be possible for a guy).

Ceallach

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 09:56:57 PM »
That actually might have been why it took so long - he may have been debating whether he wanted to clean it or just use it as is (which I guess would be possible for a guy).

That's true, although he also took a long time afterward e.g. after I heard him flush, and then heard him turn the faucet on etc, the overall process was so long overall that I was tempted to knock and ask how long he'd be - it was a good 5 minutes or so which is a long time to stand outside.  I actually wondered if he was bathing in the sink.   
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Raintree

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2013, 11:08:25 PM »
I'd say let it go, and notify whoever is responsible for maintaining it.

It is gross, but having looked after my elderly father, I know that sometimes the co-ordination is not there, and it's a struggle just to get in and out of the bathroom at all. All dignity goes out the window. Also....the PP's are correct in that maybe it wasn't him. I've been into washrooms before that were disgusting, and seeing as it was the only washroom available, used it anyway (doing my best not to touch anything) and when I left, I hoped that the next person wouldn't think it was me.

Nora

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 07:44:51 AM »
5 minutes may be a long time to wait outside, but it sure isn't a particularly long time to spend in the bathroom. Just washing your hands is supposed to take a minute alone...
Just because someone is offended that does not mean they are in the right.

TootsNYC

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2013, 12:25:30 PM »
I think you could have said, "oh my goodness, did you have to deal with that mess in there? That's awful! I can't believe someone didn't lift the seat up! Do you have the number of the janitor service? We need to get that cleaned up."

It's always OK to assume that the perpetrator was also a victim.

jpcher

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2013, 01:18:44 PM »
I think you could have said, "oh my goodness, did you have to deal with that mess in there? That's awful! I can't believe someone didn't lift the seat up! Do you have the number of the janitor service? We need to get that cleaned up."

It's always OK to assume that the perpetrator was also a victim.

I like this response.

But I probably wouldn't have said anything, either.

Ceallach

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Re: Politely confronting the toilet dirtier?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2013, 06:35:30 PM »
The funny thing is that I'm normally somebody who always tries to give the benefit of the doubt, in fact throw it around fairly freely - so I guess it speaks to my severe baby brain and irrationality right now that I did jump to the worst conclusion and it didn't occur to me that he may not be the perpetrator.   Perhaps I was a little crabby at having to wait?    The good news is that despite my current irrational state I still have enough self-control not to let it off at people, so although this was a close call I'm very happy I kept it inside my head.     I look forward to getting my usual brain back someday very soon!!   In the meantime thanks for the sound advice.
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"