Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'll wash my own hands, thank you

I found myself walking into a club bathroom over the weekend and immediately broke out into a cold sweat. I asked myself, "Do I have any $1 bills?" "Will she give me a dirty look if I don't?" "Should I reach for the soap myself?" and finally, "Why do I have to go through all this?"

It's a question I've been pondering for a few years: What is the point of bathroom attendants?
At what point did bar/club owners decide that we as a society have become incapable of washing our own hands without assistance?

Is it a marketing ploy to give bars a more upscale appearance? (In which case, I'm not buying it Grand Central.) Is it a more sanitary way of doing things? (In which case, that's what faucet/paper-towel dispenser sensors are for.)

Most of the time, I just feel guilty for not tipping them. And I usually have to bite my tongue, when what I want to say is "I'll get it myself!"

I'm interested to hear what everyone thinks, especially the guys. Are restroom attendants necessary? Useful? A waste of space? Post your comments below.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

The worst are in the men's room where the attendant decide he doesn't like the music in the club (helloooo, Cosmos) and opts to provide musical entertainment through his beatbox. Waste of space (though I have noticed those restrooms with attendants are among the clean, er, tidier ones.)

Clayj said...

Usually they are a waste of space. I am reminded of the episode of Family Guy where Peter uses the bathroom in an Indian casino and says to the bathroom attendant (who is wearing a nametag), "Hey, thanks, [reads nametag] 'Watches You Pee'."

I did see a news story once about a legendary bathroom attendant in Chicago or New York or somewhere who was really well loved and had a whole business going in the bathroom. Still, kinda weirds me out.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I don't go to the clubs as much as I used to but I remember thinking the same thing at BAR Charlotte one evening. The place smells like vomit. I think they should remove the attendants. If not than I think tipping a $1 for the whole evening is sufficient certainly not anymore. Tipping is not required - not even in a restaurant - it is a choice and you don't have to tip anyone if you don't want to. I certainly work a lot harder for my money than standing in a bathroom handing out paper towels all night.

Anonymous said...

http://improveverywhere.com/2005/02/13/mcdonald's-bathroom-attendant/

Anonymous said...

It's not just for strip clubs anymore...they've got the friggin guys posted up in the airport bathroom now (at the baggage claim)! I have a strict no-tipping policy for these clowns.

Anonymous said...

From a guys perspective, I really hate the attendents. Sure, if it's a really upscale place, then I'm prepared for somebody being in there. Other places, not so much. I just usually do that embarrassed "Sorry, I don't have anything - I'll get you next time." thing and walk out...

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness I'm not the only one that feels this way. I'm afraid to even make eye contact cause I feel if I do they will expect a tip. I take everything I need with me and I can grab my own paper towel. This really makes me uncomfortable and dread going to the restroom. I wish restroom attendants were a thing of the past, however, I do like the mens bathroom attendent @ Cosmos. He plays great music and hands out lollipops to me.

Anonymous said...

I think bathroom attendants are unnecessary. I actually find it kind of creepy that someone is just sitting or standing there in the bathroom waiting for me to give them a tip for doing my business. Tipping in our society has gotten way out of hand and it needs to stop. I am not tipping someone for handing me a paper towel!

Anonymous said...

Thank you , thank you, thank you for writing this article. I fully agree with you. These bathroom shinners, cleaners whatever you call them are just a waste. I'm a guy who travels across the country quite often. I've seen pretty much every airport in the U.S. which includes the restrooms. The sad news is I've only seen shinners in the southern airports. Charlotte, Atlanta, Memphis...Is this just a dumb southern thing which is perceived as value to the managamanet of these public places. I personnally feel uncomfortable with the hole idea. I don't need a personnal maid following me or watching me in stange places.

For all you public faciliy managers please eliminate this waste of time service. The shinner folks can't be making money to better there lives. Unfortunelty they look like bathroom beggers. STOP THE NONSENSE and let these shinners find real employment with real gratification.

Charlotte Traveler

Anonymous said...

Completely unnecessary! If the club if going to pay them by the hour to be there, that's fine. But I don't need any help in the potty, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Not necessary.

Anonymous said...

Well feel guilty when I get a carry out and the Go 'FETCH it person ' stands their like I owe them my first born; I think everybody in CHARLOTTE wants a expects a tip ad in the restroom I want some privacy and thats it; All others who dont have business in the JOHN can Please ,get out so I dont have to put the silencers on.

Anonymous said...

take a bottle of purell and avoid them. buckhead has them too. so unneccessary. it's customary in european countries, but not here.

Anonymous said...

I am a guy and have felt the same way for years. It is totally annoying and I have gotten to the point that I don't even consider tipping.. unless I want a piece of gum or something and then its a quarter or so. Everywhere you go people have their hands out. You pay to get in you tip the bar waiter 1 buck for a 3 dollar beer. Then now they want you tip the grinnin dude in the bathroom.

Nick said...

Absolutely agree. And, somehow, I feel a bit more guilty or obliged when I think of the person in the bathroom - this is the job they can do or are qualified for or chose. I imagine also that they are not paid by the place, but only work for tips (don't know if this is true, but maybe it's just me adding to my guilt). So, often, I give them a buck - after all, for all the guilt and angst, it's only a buck.

Willie said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I've been washing my hands on my own since grade school. I think I've got it down by now. I am curious to know a bar or restaurant's rationale for providing this "necessity." I must admit, it's come to the point that I sometimes bypass the whole washing of the hands just to avoid the attendant, his resentful stare, and the mumbling under his breath when I don't pay him for handing me a paper towel.

Anonymous said...

I agree that bathroom attendants are annoying and provide no useful service and I will not tip to have a papertowel handed to me. I do however want to remind you anti-tippers that when you go to a restaraunt and a waiter or waitress takes your order and brings you your food that they are working for tips. They get paid something like $3.10 an hour because they are supposed to get tips. Many bartenders are the same way now. Most of the kitchen workers get paid at least minimum wage if not more. Also, the wait staff are the people that clean your table and floors at a lot of places. They are not there just for the $3.10/hour and they are not nice or flirty with you because they like you. They are there for money, just like you are when you go to work. I strongly caution visiting a place regularly and not tipping because those folks remember when you don't tip and could treat you or you food poorly. If you don't want to tip your waiter/waitress go to a restaraunt where you get your own food.

anonymous said...

Think those attendants might be there to deter bad behavior in the bathrooms? No, nobody does drugs at any of the uptown bars.

Anonymous said...

AMEN! The only useful purpose is that it slightly deters drug use but not enough to justify having someone listen to me pee!

Anonymous said...

Ask any club owner and I'm sure they'll tell you that these attendants are absolutely neccessary. Without them the toilets will be overflowing within the first two hours, especially the Women's.....completely clogged with paper towels. In the Men's it discourages drunken vandalism. The stall dividers would need to be replaced every Sunday morning without attendants. Clubs generally pay $50 to $75 per night per attendant.

Anonymous said...

ugh, it's sort of like tip jars for food places where I order my food myself and take it to the table myself. I get the reasoning - keeps the bathroom cleaner - it's probably true. But if a club is truly upscale, they'd pay the attendant more and post a small but tasteful no tipping sign. Why alienate your customers if you really are upscale?

Anonymous said...

Thanks but No Thanks, club operators. I can pee all by myself, and I can wash up all on my own. I DON'T need an overseer to make me leave the place as clean as I found it; I've been doing that all my life, also. Thanks, Sarah, for bringing it up.

Anonymous said...

So this is the "Big City"...Tipping is a part of life, like it or not. Some people earn a living primarily on tips. Some of the blogger comments are embarrasing. We're talking about ONE DOLLAR.

Anonymous said...

Beware - I was at a club in Vegas with an attendant that wanted to talk to everyone that walked up to his sink. I saw him two or three times and never tipped him. The last time he gave me a different soap. I didnt notice till a couple days later - it left a chemical burn on my hands.

Anonymous said...

We're talking about ONE DOLLAR.

And if the guy is getting one dollar from 60 guys an hour using the restroom, he's making pretty good money, tax-free. Not bad for someone who's hanging out in a restroom; when other people do that, they often get charged with some sort of sex crime.

No thanks to the bathroom attendants. You want to come in and check to make sure the toilets aren't clogged, knock yourself out. But don't stick your hand out at me after I've washed my hands and want nothing more than to get out of the restroom without touching anything.

Anonymous said...

I have been a Bathroom attendant for the last 2 years. I work strictly on tips. I never tell any of my clients that they have to tip, they just feel obliged because they receive a service. The club has two mens bathrooms I am in one, the other has nobody so a person has options, but lets remember what people are coming into a club for to have a good time and try to attract to the opposite sex. I offer many things to refresh them prior to them going back onto the scene, To make comments like bathroom attendants is a bad job, I would think again, this is not my only job, I am in the military and have a BSBA degree, its all about supply and demand. I never get offended if a person does not tip for the service, but they will come back and guilt usually eats them up. When I work in the bathroom I dress to impress, shirt, tie and slacks and nice shoes, very business like. I would not say bathroom attendants are poor and uneducated, oh by the way the money is good, I own 7 houses and 6 cars and family is well fed. thanks.

Anonymous said...

No need for them...no matter what kind of place it is. To the person that is in the military and works in a bathroom...yeah right with all your houses and cars. I call BS on that. Keep living in your own dream. I don't tip bathroom attendants and I never will. I have my own gum, I can wipe my own hands. I don't mind giving tips to people who provide good service when I'm paying $150 a person for dinner. If the club/bar owners want to watch the bathrooms for dirty toilets, drug use, etc...this is why you hire employees. This is the same when I travel to hotels...which is 4 times a week. I can wheel my own bag. I will not tip someone for pulling my luggage. Waitstaff and bartenders provide a service and should not expect a tip. I do tip and I tip very well, but its not expected. You give bad service, expect no tip....simple and easy. Good service will get 40% tip and sometimes more. An okay service will get 15% and anything less will get zero.

Anonymous said...

Im a Restroom Attendant in Detroit,MI. I've ran a hospitality service here since 2002. Let me clear you non-tipping, nasty handed individuals up on some issues. First of all,I'm so tired of reading these stupid comments on attendants begging for tips. I've never begged for s#@t. I get tips on the merits of my service. I dont pay the club's water bill, and I dont pay for their towels so I'm not looking for your funky-ass dollar for you to wash your hands. Thats the customer's option to tip. The products I have, I pay for myself, so of course if you use these products I expect a tip. The clubs dont pay us to be there. By the way, I made an annual salary of $50,000 my first 3 yaers of doing this, working 3 nights a week. I own a 2008 Malibu paid for outright. I have a beautiful loft in Downtown Detroit that has a view of the city skyline, as well as, my timeshare unit in Gattlinburg,TN. Just goes to show you dont judge a book by its cover. To you cheapasses: When you see me,you can keep your dollar. You probably need it more than I do. I'll be back in Vegas May 29-June 2 on vacation, going to the Zab Judah fight thanks to my job as a restrrom attendant. Dont you wish you could have that lifestyle?