The Toilet Seat Conundrum Business / My Business / Real Life

Up or down?  What will they think?

Most of my meetings these days happen in Starbucks.  That’s good because I like Starbucks.  The employees are friendly, their coffee is decent, the stores are clean, there’s a buzz of business in the air and as an office goes – it’s cheap.  Rent is about three bucks a day for a “Venti Pike with room”.  Far less than the $6K a month I was paying for my office in the Airpark a few years back.  And the Internet is better.  Some days I’m more productive than when I was burning Benjamins in my studio and other days it’s a bust, but that’s got nothing to do with the location.  That’s normal.  What’s not normal and what I am still getting used to are the customs and mores of doing business in coffee shops.  There are procedures and protocols that I’m still warming to.  Not the least of which is toilet seat etiquette – it had me stumped again just the other day.

One of the Starbucks I go to quite a bit is up at Desert Ridge; a local outdoor mall.  This particular location is a haven for single moms with strollers.  As far as I can tell, some woman or maybe even several of them, conduct fitness classes for moms and babies.  The place is crazy with strollers pushed by millennial women wearing Lulu Lemon. The place is overrun with moms and babies from about ten to noon on any given morning. All of which is very cool because I love kids – they crack me up.

The Dreaded Unisex Water Closet

This does present a problem however because there’s only one bathroom at this particular Starbucks.  Because of the size and age of this store Starbucks they were only able to install one rest room – the dreaded Unisex water closet.  At this point you’re probably thinking that the problem here is access – the line in never-ending and slow-moving.  But that’s not it. My problem is more with manners and the perceived lack thereof.  I’m stumped and I don’t really have an answer.

The bathroom is located at the back of the store.  When people head towards the door, which is often propped open, everyone in the store watches.  It’s almost like a perp-walk in some cop show: “Yep, I gotta go”.   And when I walk into that particular bathroom the seat is almost always down – go figure.  I’m no caveman so I always lift it up and do what I have to do.  Now, here comes the dilemma.  When I finish, I want to put the seat back down but I say to myself, what will they think?  They all know I was the last one to use the bathroom.  They see me walk out.  If the door stays open and they will see that the seat is down.  Best case, the next one to use the room will see the seat down.  Will they really think that I lifted the seat up and then put it back down or will they think, “That cretin just peed all over the seat?”  What would you think?  Really?

But Did He Wash?

Most of the time I spend at Starbucks I’m dealing with much bigger issues but I’m more comfortable in that space.  I’m doing business.  But this business of worrying about that other business has me all tripped up.  That last thing I want to do is offend anyone.  So until I can come up with a solution I’ve become the guy that people see sprinting around the corner for the public restrooms.  At least there all I have to deal with is, “Did he wash his hands or not?”


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