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Bathroom attendant (22) Tue, Sep 12, 2006
A few weeks ago, I went to a restaurant/bar that had a bathroom attendant.  This is the guy who stands near the sink in the bathroom and performs unnecessary menial tasks such as providing deodorant and cologne and handing you a towel after you wash your hands.  He also perpetuates his purpose by placing a big metal tray for tips right in the middle of the sink.  The first time I used the bathroom, I washed my hands and took the towel from him thinking, "I'm not paying this guy to give me a paper towel.  He needs to get a real job."  But the second time I used the bathroom, I felt guilty about using his services and not tipping him.  Although I'm perfectly able to operate a paper towel dispenser on my own, this guy took the liberty to do it for me.  What a guy.  So I tipped him.  Begrudgingly

For a little background information, please understand the role of the bathroom in the life of a male:  A bathroom is for doing your business.  That's it.  Plain and simple.  There's no socializing, no eye contact, no recognition of other human beings.  You go in, you get out.  So it was immensely uncomfortable to have to greet this dude in the bathroom, take a paper towel directly out of his hands, and thank him.  It was both mortifying and disgusting.  I saw several guys come in the bathroom, do their thing, and walk out quickly without washing their hands.  I can't blame them.  I would have done it too, but I feel bad about touching other people (like holding Wendy's hand or something) knowing I didn't wash my hands after I went to the bathroom. 

So in conclusion, I don't think bathrooms need attendants.  I think most people are fully capable of operating the various functional areas of a public bathroom without the help of a third-party dude.  And if they're not, they'll get bacteria all over their hands, spread it to all their dumb friends, and evolution will take care of the rest. #entertainment

wendy Wed, Sep 13, 2006
thank you.

Kripa Mon, Sep 25, 2006
If bathroom attendants didn't exist, Wendy and I wouldn't have been able to get 2 mini-snickers at 2 am to chow down.  Thank Jebus!

Dave Mon, Sep 25, 2006
For some reason, mixing "food" and "bathroom" doesn't seem like a good idea.  I don't care how well those candies were wrapped.

Helen Tue, Sep 26, 2006
I completely understand where you are coming from - but have a different take on it. Strangely I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff but that would be because my business supplies attendants to events and parties... my experience has shown that it's true that men are less comfortable with attendants in the bathroom but when you have an event of hundreds, if not thousands of people and they are using the loo, well, the bathroom takes a hammering which is when most people are grateful to have someone in there to keep things clean and tidy and stocked up with towels and loo paper.
And that goes for men and women - no one likes to walk into a bathroom that looks like a war-zone. (And smells worse).
So for most of our smaller events we tend to put a female attendant in the women's room only. She will focus on the ladies' room and occasionally check the men's room to make sure there are enough towels, bins aren't overflowing etc. That works very well up to a certain number of guests.
Also, we are an Australian company and if you think there's bathroom attendant paranoia/discomfort on behalf of males where you are, you should see some of our boys! As a result, we are a little more low-key in our approach and don't turn on taps or squeeze out soap for guests... our attendants just offer towels as people finish washing their hands then kind of move on (unless someone wants to have a chat).
One other thing - we don't leave out a tip-tray in our bathrooms - tips are accepted when offered, but definitely not expected. That way, truly great service (i.e. perfect loos all night, a button sewn back on or a hem fixed, a stain removed from an expensive gown, post-dance-a-thon deodorant) is justifiably rewarded.
We don't do the tip-tray thing for a couple of reasons - firstly I personally can't stand the stand-over tactics I have sometimes seen employed in the US and UK and would hate guests who visit 'our' bathrooms to be treated that way. Secondly, the client (largely corporate) has already paid the attendant to be there and we pay our attendants way above the award wage so there's no desperation on the part of the attendants to be making tips. Gratuities then become what they should be - a reward for excellence in service.
So I guess there's always more than one way to look at things. I'd be pretty happy to know what other people think...

Dave Wed, Sep 27, 2006
Helen, thanks for the wealth of information.  I don't have much experience with bathroom attendants, so my opinion is based on limited information.  But you made some great points.  I can definitely see the purpose of a bathroom attendant in a bathroom ("loo" as you call it) with tons of traffic.  I appreciate a well-cleaned bathroom and I can't stand using one that's pee-covered and trash-strewn (I'd rather just go outside).  And the fact that your company doesn't use a tip tray is awesome.  I don't know how things work in Australia, but in America, tipping isn't a reward for excellence so much as it's an obligation.  I wouldn't mind taking a paper towel from the bathroom attendant if I wasn't obligated to toss him a few bucks. 

I'll be sure to call on Oh de Toilette if I ever need some high-quality bathroom attendants!

Helen Wed, Oct 04, 2006
Hey thanks Dave!  It seems like the tips thing is such a sore point in America that I almost feel like coming over to lead a revolution (give me time).

Till then, here's to happy trips to the loo!


Tom Sat, Jun 02, 2007
I'm disabled and make my living as a self-employed bathrrom attendant. I take great pride in my work by the way. Besides keeping each stall and such spotless, I offer ,do not foist on, offer things like combs, small colognes, condoms and other small items for a modest price. In addition to tending to the gentlemens other needs from running over with a lint roller to cleaning off stains from jackets. And from this I only expect a tip since its my only source of pay.

Its honest work I'm not on welfare or taking handouts, I provide a service and try to do it well. Then people look down on my profession, what am I doing wrong?

Dave Mon, Jun 04, 2007
Sorry Tom, I just don't like interacting with people in the bathroom.  I'm weird like that.

James Mon, Jul 02, 2007
My name is James. I have a small Bathroom Valet Business which I have been running for 7 years. I keep my services with the nightclubs. Yes I get people who are uncomfortable with an attendant present, but then I have regulars that are accustomed to my presence.
I DO NOT OFFER the use of any OFF BRAND PRODUCTS. ONLY NAME BRAND.  With this in mind, "Tips" are greatly appreciated if any of these products are used.  Go to Dillards or a main department store and check out the prices of colognes and perfumes.  The products are not cheap.
"NO" tips are not expected every time I turn on the water, put some Dial anti bacterial soap in your hands, then hand you a clean cloth hand towel. If nothing a "Thank you" would be nice. Some guys come in, get the same service everyone else gets and can't say "Thanks!".
If this service was not provided the restrooms would be trashed.  Having the extras, colognes, candy, cigarettes helps you in the event you have a bad odor, bad breath, etc. I don't know of many women who like the smell of a mans BO.
As for the women. If you are offered the use of products you should tip, according to what is provided for you to use. If the product is top of the line then a tip is expected, but if you are offered generic products then the decision is up to you. If you go into a stall and the toilet seat is clean, I think some sort of "Thank you" should be given.  It just amazes me at the way people act in a restroom.  Does everyone pee on their toilet seats at home? Have respect for yourself and others as well.  The hole is big enough for everyone to ring every time.
Another thing I do is stop fights from happening.  I like uneventfull nights.  This way everyone is happy!
Thanks for letting me show another side of this world.
The products provided are purchased from the tips I and my staff recieve.

Dave Mon, Jul 02, 2007
James, I'll make sure I say thanks to the next bathroom attendant I see.  I don't see many, but the ones I've seen are memorable. 

I honestly had no idea this post written 9 months ago would get this many responses from people in the bathroom attendant industry.  It's mind-boggling.

Wendy Thu, Jul 05, 2007
You know I'm going to have to agree with part of what James said - why the heck do people treat public bathrooms that way? I mean do you pee on your seat at home and hover over it until someone else cleans it? Disgusting. Wipe the seat.

Jeremy Fri, May 02, 2008
I am a bathroom attendant. I didn't know there was so much hatred towards my kind. I work at one of the top 5 strip clubs in the country. I feel that I am a very needed aspect of the club. Here are a few reasons why.
1) Do you want to walk in on some perv doing something? I didn't think so.
2) I am a low level security officer if you will. The plasma t.v.'s in front of the 4 urinals would have been torn off the walls the first week we were opened had I not been in there.
3) Who wants to walk in to a bathroom full of puke? Anyone? Anyone?
4) Guess who gets to clean up after the ones who can't find the urinal in front of them?  Every notice that a bathroom is exceptionally clean when there is an attendant? It doesn't stay that way on it's own.
5) I have things to make you feel better. Over the counter pain relievers if you need relief from that headache,muscle ache etc.., Contact solution,gum for stank ass breath, mints for stank ass breath, mouthwash for stank ass breath. (There is alot of stank ass breath in this world). Colonge for stank ass all around. Lint roller, band aids. If you can think of something you might legitimitly need while out on the town. I more than likely have it.
There is no price on any of it.
A tip is never expected.
It is always apreciated.
I make more money that way.

I hope this view from an actual "Bathroom Attendant" helps explain why some of us have the same office as "The Fonz"
p.s. We don't like to be called "Bathroom Attendants"
We prefer to be called " Cosmetic, Waste And Sanitation Engineers" thank you.

Jeremy Fri, May 02, 2008
Oh, and we only use  FOLDED CLOTH TOWELS. :p

Rus Fri, May 02, 2008

This does bring new insight, at least for me.  I am not one to frequent strip clubs, but I have to ask one request:  Please tell me there is a union of Cosmetic, Waste and Sanitation Engineers whose primary purpose is to keep their "customers" in the bathroom until they have thoroughly washed their hands.  If this is the case, I personally would be inclined to tip him!

Dave Fri, May 02, 2008
Sounds good Jeremy.  I guess I think of the bathroom as more of a stopover than a destination.  Get in, get out.  I don't need plasma TVs or perv control.  But I guess if those are issues in strip club bathrooms, a cosmetic, waste and sanitation engineer is a good idea.  Keep up the good work.

Jenna Mon, May 05, 2008
Honestly, I think it all depends on the attendant. There have been several finer restaurants and clubs that I've gone to where the attendant has really helped me out like a good Girlfriend: that comb in I forgot to throw in my purse, maybe a cigarette or mint, or squirt of perfume. And I didnt have to lean into a wet sink area to wash my hands and get water on my dress!

There are other times, in not-as-nice places, where you are almost harrassed by the lady and she has $1 price tags on everything and if you so much as pick up the hairspray she verbally "charges" you for the merchandise. This is what aggrevates people I think.

In conclusion, its all in the care and attitude the attendant shows...so all of the ones who take their jobs seriously (as most here seem to) keep up the good work =)

John Thu, Jun 26, 2008
I've traveled to many countries, and the idea of donating a few bucks to keep the bathroom proper for a customer is not a bad one at all. Reasons why I DO like bathroom attentants.

NO 1: Security. It is proven that the bathroom is the one place in a bar not regularly monitored by the bouncers, and many fights take place simply because a shmuck doesn't like you for whatever reason and follows you in. That shmuck will be less likely to do anything once they see someone in the bathroom you are in. If anything goes on, the bathroom attendant is likely to call a bouncer for you, who won't hear you otherwise because of the loud music from the bar/club.

NO 2: Convenience. Maybe you are lucky enough to always have minty breath and not need a piece of gum. Maybe you are healthy enough to not smoke. But the fact of the matter is that MOST people that frequent bars see these items as of good use. I've seen not only gum and mints, but aspirin, antiacid tablets, lint removers, etc. Things that simply might not feel comfortable in your back pocket.

NO 3: They help keep the bathroom clean. Even if they are not the ones in charge of scrubbing the toilets, customers behave differently in their presence. Drunks don't break the mirrors or trash the place because they see someone there watching them, ready to have him kicked out of the club. In this same way, they help keep those who "enjoy" making a mess in their best behavior.

Martin Thu, Jul 01, 2010
I an independent bathroom attendant in a strip club.  I don't expect tips handing out paper towels. However, if I let you walk out after spraying cologne, getting smokes, candy etc., etc. you're dead wrong.  I buy the stuff, if you use it, I demand you tip for it.  You mess up, you find yourself on the street, that's how this goes. Keep the bathroom attendant "happy" and you will be surprised how far this can go.

Dr. John Baron Fri, Sep 17, 2010
haha. the bathroom is for doing your business. great pun. okay, so this story is kind of hilarious and creepy. I think I would have been just like you and begrudgingly tipped the person. Imagine having that job though. That would suck being stuck in a smelly bathroom ALL day. worst job ever.

Mike Tue, Dec 07, 2010
Luckily ive never came across a bathroom assistant while 'doing my business'. I just like to walk in with my head down, do what you need to do, wash hands then get out!
But i do admire the people such as Tom who are willing to stay in their all day just to help out the community. Good on you sir!

Robert Tue, Mar 15, 2011
hey dave,
      i strat working this friday as a bathroom attendant, and by you posting this mounths ago really helped me to prepare my self to be a bathroom attendant. my dad always tought me to do each job to the best of my ability so even as a bathroom attendent and with the knowlage, with everyones response, i feel i can do just that.

M Sell@r Wed, Mar 16, 2011
In Bangkok, I once had a guy give me a shoulder massage, then crack my back, then pop a cherry losenge in my mouth all while I was using the urinal.  That was definitely too much interaction.  I was in hell.

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