Unstructured rant about toilet attendants

I’d like to make an appeal to the owners of West End bars. What exactly is the deal with toilet attendants? When you hire them, what is in your head? The reason I ask is because I don’t see what necessary function they fulfil. They stand in the toilet and watch you urinate, which is creepy as all hell, then when you try to wash your hands they leap in and switch the tap on – because pushing a knob down is such an inconvenience. Then they give you some soap, which again you could have got yourself. They hand you a paper towel. They might offer you some sort of cologne. And then they expect a tip.

Now, I’m a little reluctant to hand money over for this service, which I didn’t even ask for. Particularly given that you don’t get the choice, because they inevitably disable the sink they aren’t next to or empty the soap dispensers. Your choice is to use them or have unwashed hands, which is just incredibly skanky. Actually, you quite often see guys who, upon seeing the toilet attendant, decide they’d rather not bother and just go out with urine-droplet-soaked hands. So they’re actually making things worse. You ever hear that urban legend about the bowl of peanuts on a bar that was tested and found to contain twelve different types of urine? Okay, that test probably never took place, but the point it illustrates, i.e. that it is totally gross not to wash your hands after you wee, is valid.

Basically, if these people were providing a useful service, one that would be difficult or inconvenient for me to do on my own, then absolutely. But I work in a hospital, I know how to wash my own damn hands. And in fact, someone reaching across you all the time is just a huge hassle.

I thought I’d do a little research into the subject, because I feel it’s important that we know these things. Also because it’s Sunday and I’m bored. Apparently the justification is that they stop fights and prevent drug use. One might argue that if their service was that valuable, then bars and clubs should pay them, you know, wages.

So, let’s recap.

  • Few bar patrons, if any, like toilet attendants.
  • The service toilet attendants provide is largely annoying, unwanted and unnecessary.
  • While bars claim they provide other useful services, it’s obviously not important enough to justify proper training and pay.
  • It’s an undignified, humiliating and badly-paid job to do.
  • In conclusion, the benefits they offer to humanity are considerably less than the drawbacks.

Also, West End bar owners, what is the deal with those big-screen TVs? You know the ones. You’ll have them on a wall and they’ll be playing an endlessly looping video of various groups of people drinking and dancing, and there’ll be a message about how we can book your bar for a party. It just seems a little crass to me.


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Filed under Booze, Current events, London, Rambling on and on, Soho, West End

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