What do you do when you are pressed and there are no toilets around? How do you cope when your bladder is full to bursting and there is nowhere to go for relief? Searching around for a WC and finding none just when you need one most could be a traumatic experience.
It would be understandable if at least there is a restroom, but it is occupied, all you would need do is wait a few minutes for it to become vacant. Besides appropriately designated public places such as airports, major bus stations/taxi parks, shopping centers, parks, etc., public conveniences and restrooms have suddenly become scarce as gold dust.
Essentially, the problem of lack of restrooms isn’t restricted to public places. Even offices and places of business are guilty of this malady. The other day, a friend had an appointment at a big, aesthetic-looking establishment located in a choice area of Lagos. Midway through his appointment, he became pressed and requested to use the restroom. But he could not believe his ears when he was told there were no restrooms in the building.
His host instructed him point-blankly that he either withholds the pressure, or go across the road to a discreet restaurant and ask for permission to use their WC. Pressed almost to pressure point, my friend took the option of visiting the recommended restaurant. But he was in for another surprise.
As he walked through the entrance and approached the restroom, a beefy individual, asked about his mission, and patiently explained that only customers could use the toilet. It was simple. Use of the WC is free you only need to make a purchase first so as to earn the right to utilise it. My friend was beyond argument. He bought a bottle of water, only then was he allowed to utilise the WC – to urinate.
There is no specific requirement regarding toilets in the workplace, however it is expected that the employer must provide adequate facilities. Generally, separate toilets need to be provided in workplaces where there are both male and female employees.
The facilities must be clean and hygienic and there must be provision for hand washing. When nature beckons and there’s no restaurant, a public bar, government building, hospital, library, or department store comes in very handy.
Locating a decent public toilet can be frustrating. The average public convenience, though free, is usually dirty, unkempt, smelly and laden with unsightly graffiti. In some large cities, there are few public low-tech public urinals that offer just enough privacy for men to find relief.
Public conveniences are less convenient for women who, for obvious reasons, require more privacy. Often, when on the move, all a woman needs to do to get to use a private restroom is to announce that she is pregnant.
Paying to use a public restroom is fast becoming the norm — if you can find one that is decent enough. Costs are often affordable, usually for maintenance and cleanliness.
Sometimes using the toilet is free, you may only have to pay for water and toilet paper. Of course water and toilet paper should be available, but most public WCs are hardly stocked-out with this commodity. Hence, it is not uncommon for the average person to carry pocket-size tissue packs such use.
It is no picnic to walk into a place and request to use their restroom. Worse still, finding a decent public restroom could be a career. But it may be easy if you know where to begin. For instance, places that serve food or drinks such as fast foot outlets, bars and restaurants have at least decent and fairly accessible “public” restroom. But their use is often controlled.
They are often strictly reserved for customers. No restaurateur readily labels their restroom so people on the street can stop by and use at their convenience. But this obstacle can be overcome quite easily. Quietly walk into nearly any restaurant or fast food joint, order a snack or drink, sit down a minute, then confidently and politely ask for the restroom. Just smile and say “Toilet?” You’ll be rarely turned down!