From the loungers, the loiterers, the grazers and the panhandlers, to those who come in simply to have someone to talk to; it seems every time another store closes that would service a particular variety of “shopper” we get a new influx of customer.
Media Play was the start of it in 2006 and then, to a certain extent, with movies and music when Circuit City bit the dust in 2009. It wasn’t until Borders went under in 2011 that the true decline of—well, let’s borrow a phrase from Syms (which also closed in 2011) and refer to our client base as—the educated consumers became clear.
For a while the most puzzling thing was that once a week a customer would come into the store between open and let’s say eleven o’clock. He would go into the men’s room and read a paper in the handicapped stall. And eat half a banana. I know this for a fact because there would be the remnants of not only a Buffalo News in the corner, but also half a banana. Who does this? Who decides that the best place to have their morning paper and half a banana (HALF!) is the handicapped stall at your local bookstore?
So that was thing that happened. And for a few years I thought that was the worst of it. Then the shit started. It was on the walls, on the floor, on every surface of the toilet except within the toilet itself. It was even on the carpet, leaving a trail across the entire store like a sick imitation of a Family Circus comic, before erupting within the bathroom on the aforementioned walls, stalls and floor. It was even on the uppermost portion of the stall-wall. That could only have gotten there by someone picking it up and smearing it. I know that. You know that. Whatever excuses you may try to make for the previous poop-splosions throughout the store, feces on the stall wall was not accidental.
Sadly, now we have reached a new level. Every once in a while there would be a nudie magazine in the men’s room. This is pretty standard stuff, to be honest. It is. It is to the point that the people who run our magazine division recommended that for adult magazines that arrive in plastic wrap one copy be opened and left on the shelf, as this was going to happen anyway. More so, when we returned magazines to our distributor, back before magazines were simply recycled, we had a log to keep track of copies found in the men’s room. So you see, there was a separate accounting of magazines we were no longer able to sell due to prior (and no doubt) vigorous “test drives.”
This brings us to the latest escalation. The other day I opened the store and was greeted by a magazine in a plastic bag that had been found in the men’s room and needed to be disposed of. Again, pretty standard stuff. The next day when I opened I was greeted by a sex book that had been found in the men’s room as well. Pretty normal restroom reading material. What wasn’t so normal was the accompanying retelling of how it was found.
Apparently, not only was this book stuffed into the fold-up baby changing station in the men’s room, but along with it, as the cleaning woman described it was, “That dude’s excitement all over wall. I saw that [book], and went ‘ew!’ and then saw his stuff on the wall, and was like, “EW! Oh no! Oh! No!’
This woman has been working for us for a while now, so she’s seen some shit. Literally and figuratively when it comes to clean up. We’re not the only store she works for, but I’m going to say we’re one of the most traumatic janitorial experiences she’s had. This was a little much for her.
When her pregnant daughter-in-law, who works for her from time to time, complained about having to pee before they started cleaning the bathrooms, she responded with, “Well, stop being pregnant then if you’re gonna complain so much. It’s your own dang fault.”
She takes it all in stride, she tells it like it is, and somehow remains a pretty cheerful person. That’s saying something considering how disgusting this store is able to become on a day by day basis.
What people do to those restrooms between the hours of 9AM and 11PM is unimaginable, and a lot of it falls on the staff to clean up; I’m talking minimum wage bookstore employees mopping shit off walls kind of clean up. And she has to deal with worse than that. She is no-nonsense and delightfully hilarious about it.
But finding a sex book in the baby changing station with some dude’s “excitement” sprayed all over the wall? No, that takes it to a whole new level.
What kind of person are you that you’re doing that? I can’t even take a shit in that bathroom without six people coming in and out, usually one of them is whistling, another is talking to himself, one’s on their phone, some little kid is talking to his dad about going oopsies-poopsies, and another really needs to get his prostate checked because he’s grunting and wheezing just to squeeze a few drops out. That makes it difficult for me to take a shit. It does. I like my privacy.
But you? Apparently you can rub one out even with all that going on. And without any of those people parading in and out of the restroom being any the wiser. You didn’t just argue with Henry Longfellow, no you blasted your manhood all over the wall. Part of me is surprised you then just left it dripping there, but that was just my initial reaction as a human being with some level of self-respect.
Really, if you’re the kind of scumbag to cook up a big oily batch of Victory Gin in a bookstore bathroom then yeah, you’re going to leave it right there for everyone to see, aren’t you?
All right, we need to cover a few basics on where it is and is not acceptable to defecate. I wish I had to specify ‘in public’ but given recent events, I’m forgoeing the qualifiers.
The most important point to understand is that I mopped up shit. Again. This was shortly after another person picked up shit from the salesfloor. There was a trail of shit leading us across the store. That was a new one.
The cleaning up of human excrement occurs at least once a week per restroom, and from what I’ve heard, the nightmares I’ve survived are nothing compared to what goes on in the ladies’ room. Women, apparently, are filthy; from the unholy abstract art presentations some will create within a bathroom stall to the creative locations for disposing of used tampons—oddly enough, not in the container designed specifically and clearly labeled for just this purpose.
Is this what happens in your home? Is that how you use your own bathroom? It isn’t. I know it isn’t. Not one of you people will leave a pile of used toilet paper on the floor behind the toilet, or smear your own feces on the wall so high you had to either jump or stand on the toilet. I’m also going to assume that should the unfortunate occur and you happen to shit on the toilet rather then in it, at home, you have the decency to at least wipe the seat off.
But in public, these behaviors go out the window—behaviors that before I worked in retail, I assumed we had all learned as very small children, and so were ingrained in us to the point of being compulsory or almost involuntary. But like so many behaviors we witness every day and even engage in ourselves, as adults we have lost the simple and basic common sense that children possess. This new class of stupid is not limited to using a bathroom, but it seems a good place to start.
So here’s a few rules you need to follow if you’d like go out in public:
1. Defecate Only in Designated Areas
In our highly structured society, whether in public buildings or private homes, there are rooms designed for the sole purpose of defecation. These rooms go by many names, the most common of which are bathroom, restroom, and washroom.
In private homes these bathrooms will be unisex, meaning that men and women will use the same facilities. Men should take care in this regard in that the female is physically incapable of lowering a toilet seat; therefore after aiming carefully (or cleaning up should that not be the case) men should lower the toilet seat as a courtesy to their less physically capable counterparts.
In public buildings, restrooms will be divided into male or female. If you are a boy, please use the men’s room; if you are a girl, please use the ladies’ room. Each option will be clearly marked.
Places Not to Defecate: on the floor in the bathroom, on the floor outside the bathroom, on the floor, on the wall, on yourself, on each other, on the carpet leading to the bathroom, on the carpet, on your mother, in a garbage can, on a window ledge, in a stairwell, in a book, on a book, basically everywhere that is not a bathroom with a toilet.
2. Defecate Only in Specified Containers
In these rooms we discussed above, there will be a toilet and sink, with accompanying paper products, including toilet paper, paper towels and disposable toilet seat covers.
In the restroom there will be a stall, and within the stall a toilet. When one has the urge to defecate, this is your desired destination. The toilet or toilet bowl will have a seat and possibly a lid attached by a hinge that allows one to open and close the seat and lid. Ensure the lid is up and the seat is down before use. Defecate only when seated. Do not defecate prior to sitting. Do not stand or attempt to leave while in the process of defecating.
It is also very important to note that while we may use the phrase, “I’m on the toilet,” to indicate we are defecating, one must take care to defecate in the toilet, not on it. Remember, one sits on a toilet, but one defecates in it.
In public men’s rooms there may be a urinal. These are intended only for urination—notice the similarity in its name and function? Not a coincidence—and therefore, should you need to go poo, please visit a stall and use the toilet as directed above. Under no circumstances should one defecate in the urinal.
More Places Not to Defecate: on a friend, on your car, in your car, at the dinner table, on the couch, on a stranger, in the corner, out a window, in a punch bowl, in your shoe, in your friend’s shoe, in any shoe, basically everywhere that is not a bathroom with a toilet.
3. Do Not Handle or Manipulate Poo
The toilet was designed not only to collect your excrement, but remove it as well. Careful examination of the toilet apparatus will reveal that it is connected at the base to a pipe. You will notice as well that at the bottom of the toilet bowl is an opening, which when one operates the handle on the back of the toilet, commonly known as “flushing”, will send one’s excrement through the hole and into the pipe, removing it to the sewer without any additional steps or effort on your part.
There is, therefore, absolutely no reason whatsoever for one to in any way handle their excrement. Do not be confused by the presence of a garbage can in the restroom; this is for paper towels only. There is no need to remove your feces from the toilet and place it in the garbage can. Flushing the toilet will remove your feces both more efficiently and more hygienically.
While we have no doubt that you make very nice macaroni sculptures and creamer cup towers, there is no need to demonstrate your prowess as a sculptor by fashioning a proper 1:16 scale replica of yourself from poo. Unfortunately, public restrooms are not equipped to maintain these sculptures and they will be destroyed.
Activities Not To Engage In With One’s Poo: touching, throwing, removing from bowl, smearing of on walls, floor or ceiling, fingerpainting, splatter painting, sculpting, the writing of witty platitudes, the leaving of your phone number, the leaving of your ex’s phone number
4. Dispose of Paper Products Properly
Within the stall of a public restroom, one will generally find two types of paper products. The first and most important will be toilet paper. The name can be misleading in that it is not meant for the toilet per se, but rather for your bum. After you have finished defecating but before you leave the stall, take a reasonable amount of toilet paper and clean your ass. This is known as “wiping.” After each wipe, drop soiled toilet paper into toilet bowl. Repeat until ass is clean.
As you may have noticed, and similar to your feces, toilet paper should be deposited only in the toilet bowl. There is no reason to place soiled paper products anywhere else.
The second type of paper product one may find in a public restroom stall is a seat cover. This is made of a thin paper and as the name implies, it is intended to cover the toilet seat in order to maintain and encourage good hygiene. As this disposable seat cover is made from a waxy tissue paper, when you have finished wiping you may deposit it into the toilet bowl as well. If you look closely, you will notice a pattern here: everything—excrement, toilet paper, seat cover—goes into the toilet bowl.
Places Not To Put Used Paper Products: in your pocket, on the floor, stuck to wall, stuck to ceiling, stuck to self, saved as a gift for significant other, put back in paper product dispenser, wrapped around handle to stall door, stuffed in shoes, garbage can
5. Do Not Engage in Activities Other Than Urination or Defecation
In addition to it being entirely unnecessary to carry on conversations on one’s cell phone while in the restroom, to ask employees about products, services or opinions on the weather while in the restroom, or eat or drink a meal while in the restroom, this additional point refers to engaging in other activities, bodily functions or personal needs not related to urination or defecation in a public restroom.
Not only is this illegal but let’s all agree right here and right now, a public restroom is not the place for this. Furthermore, one should not seek the assistance of products sold in the store in order to fulfill this need. If you would like to use a nudie magazine or sexuality book in this process, or any other tool or implement or condiment, please first purchase said item and take that shit home. Even furthermore, and it is with absolute shock, disbelief and disgust that this should even be said, if this act does take place: clean it the fuck up. Much like defecating, no trace of this act should be left on the floor, walls, ceiling, mirror or baby changing station for someone else to clean up.
Places Not To Masturbate: anywhere that is not your home.
…if you feel you are unable or unwilling to follow these simple rules of basic fucking hygiene that you were taught as a child, please stay home. If you are an adult who cannot clean up after yourself after engaging in this fundamental and biologically imperative act, despite being physically and mentally capable of doing so, you do not belong in public. Accidents happen. Defecating on the floor and smearing excrement on the wall are not accidents.
A simple rule to follow when using a public restroom is, “Would I do this at home?” I’ll go out on a limb here and guarantee that ‘shit on the floor and leave it for the next person’ would not get a check in the ‘yes’ column.
Important Terms to Know for a Successful Poop:
Defecate — to void feces from the bowels; to shit; to poop; to drop a deuce
Excrement — a waste product from an animal’s digestive tract expelled through the anus during defecation
Feces — also faeces, stool, shit, poo, poop, number two, deuce, doodoo, dookie, doody, dung, scat, spoor, droppings; see excrement
Flush — the act of pressing the lever on the side of a toilet to empty its contents
Toilet — sanitation fixture used for the disposal of human excrement and urine
Toilet Paper — a soft tissue paper product used to maintain personal hygiene after defecation or urination
Wipe — the cleaning of one’s anus or buttocks with toilet paper after defecation
Should any of the terms listed above come as a surprise to you or require further research on your part in order to fully understand their significance in your life as a full grown human being, fuck you.