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    Gaps In The Stalls

    bathroomAs an analyst I can’t help but try and figure out why something is done a certain way if it doesn’t seem immediately logical.  Sometimes these thoughts are fleeting and other times they keep nagging me.  The nagging thoughts tend to be the ones that seem totally illogical; that no thought or reason has been put into the things I am observing.  I always think that I must be missing something.

    One that has been nagging me for far too long is the gaps in the bathroom stalls.  I just cannot figure it out.  Google searches leave me with no definitive answer – but there is interesting conversation about it here.  So I turn to you, my readers, to answer this question.  This is an issue that really needs to be solved.  This is our privacy people!  There’s not all that much left of it in the world (I say as I sit here and blog about my thoughts).

    In case you have not recently been in a bathroom stall at work, school, or any other place that has public facilities I will break it down for you.  There seems to be some sort of engineering gaff that nobody has noticed.  The door that are supposed to keep out eyes from outside have large gaps around the edges of the door.  In some cases they are as large as an inch!  Now that may not seem like much, but at a distance of just a few feet it is enough to see plenty through the gap.

    Now lets be clear, I am not talking about the gaps on the bottoms of the stalls.  This makes for easier cleaning and whatnot.  I get it.  I’m not talking about the gaps between the stalls and the ceiling.  Clearly this is for ventilation so that things can air out.  Or maybe so that those automatic air fresheners have an easier time of perfuming in the stalls.  Whatever the specific reason, it makes sense.

    I am not even talking about the gaps between the stall walls and the wall.  Again, I don’t know the specific reason.  I can only guess.  Perhaps it has something to do with caulking it, or cleaning it, or ventilation, or to pass notes when you don’t want to go under the stall.  Really, I don’t care.  There is nothing to see against the back wall.

    My issue is with the door.  Doors exist so they can be closed.  Now I don’t expect it to be a perfect fit.  I understand that there is more cost with a tight fitting door.  But these things can be mass produced to a greater extent than a 1 inch gap on each side, right?

    Or, if you don’t want to worry about a close fitting door, then put a nice big strip of plastic on the side of that door that opens (e.g. if it opens out when in the stall, have the plastic on the outside).  That way not only with the gap be non-visible, but you will not have to deal with tight doors or anything else.  The cost of a plastic strip in comparison to the cost of the total structure ($250 – $1,000) cannot be all that much.

    And to address a final concern – I won’t even complain very loudly if these bathroom gaps existed at truly public places such as restaurants, subways, and parks.  But in corporate offices people?  There are no concerns about what graffiti or activities might happen there.  So really, what’s the deal with the gaps?

    Have you ever wondered this?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.

    9 responses to “Gaps In The Stalls”

    1. Rosemarie says:

      YES! I totally agree with this. I was out with friends at Chili’s last weekend and the stall door there had a huge–and uncomfortably–large gap. My relaying this warning to the other girls in our party resulted in people telling stories of other such incidents. For example, the gap that allows a 9 year old to come up and look through and say “I can see you.” Yes. That’s exactly what you want to have happen when you’re on the pot. Same goes for dressing room/stalls to try clothes on that either have gaps or leave too much to be seen on the top or bottom portion of the “doors”

    2. Ryan says:

      I usually don’t have that problem because as a general rule I refuse to use public restrooms if other people are in there. So if people are there, I walk away. Now if I’m in the middle, I’ll curse them as I look at my iPhone and wait for them to leave. Yes, I have problems.

      What I seriously hate are those faucets that you press to turn off and they stop running in 5 seconds. That’s not nearly enough time for me to get the soap off my hands. I’ll then have to hit it again, and it’s just frustrating.

    3. Shyshitter says:

      Hey guys, I just discovered that the bathrooms in my dorm have this problem. I live here….what am I to do? Suck it up?

    4. David says:

      @Shyshitter The way that I see it you have 2 options. The first is, sadly, to suck it up as I don’t see any good way to get the dorm to change it.

      The second is use the really cheap toilet paper to plug the gap. You can actually do this fairly quickly. Just pull a stretch of TP off and then bunch up a little ball at the top end. Shove this in the gap at the top and then make a similar ball at the bottom end of the stretch of TP. Use this to plug in near the bottom of the stall gap. Then just adjust the whole middle section so that it is lying flat against the stall gap. It only takes an extra 30 seconds or less.

      It may look a little odd and be a poor use of TP but I say they should just design the stalls better and solve the problem at the source!

    5. Shyshitter says:

      Hah, I told my friend about doing something like that and he said I should tell any curious people that I’m rolling joints and piecing bongs in there. 😀

      I’ve actually found a third thing:

      Usually towards the 2nd part of the day (4 PM+), you can try to go to any buildings where subjects are taught….probably the more expansive the building the better. On my campus, they are almost always deserted. Use an out of the way bathroom there and it’ll be hard for someone to even walk in while you do the business.

    6. […] Walls are amazing things when you think about it.  They are what divides one space from another.  They define boundaries of rooms and space.  And yet, if one takes a moment to think about it, there is not much to a wall.  Just a stretch of material, however thin, spread out across a space.  Walls don’t even have to be solid; some of the most important walls have gaps in them! […]

    7. Brendan says:

      The privacy cover solves the gap problem in bathroom stalls! Check it out at theprivacycover.com!

    8. @Brendan Amazing! Somebody actually taking this problem by the horns. I can’t believe that this topic isn’t more of an issue across the industry!

    9. M. Martins says:

      Great post! One of our offices uses this elegant solution: http://i.imgur.com/xd2M2.jpg. (The other office requires the TP solution…)

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