The World's Most User Hostile Bathroom


My new coworker Tom Coates has taken some pictures of the bathroom in the offices at Yahoo! London, which are unimaginably badly designed. No seriously, if you've ever been there you'll agree. It's like they were designed by a deranged architect as a joke on the future inhabitants of the building. Tom, Simon Willison and I were joking about how bad it was while I was there, I'm so glad he took some pics... I just flipped through them and had a good laugh (and then a good cry).

Why is it so bad? Well, for one, the door in the picture above is actually a *push* door, despite the pull handle and the flush-looking fit against the frame. I pulled on it, it didn't open, so I naturally assumed it was a small bathroom and someone was locked inside, so I went out and waited in the hall for a while before those guys clued me in to the secret. Then after you go in, there's a series of confusions and traps. I mean, I like the whole English "water closet" design of the stalls, but once you go to wash your hands, look out. Water everywhere, and then you end up looking around for the soap... Simon's comment is priceless: "The silver soap thing scares me. How does the soap get in the wall?" Totally...

The best part is the combo hot air blower/paper towel dispenser/trashbin thing in the wall. It doesn't *look* like a hot air blower, so after you search around for a while to find the paper towels, use them and then go to throw them away (in the smallest slot I've seen for trash) the hot air detects your hands near it and turns on unannounced... AAAH!!

Foreign bathrooms are hard enough to operate while dealing with Jet Lag, but man that one wins a prize. (Though the one Mike went into in Helsinki runs a close second... it had a high-tech toilet sitting in the middle of the room, and a string hanging down next to it from the ceiling when brushed against set off an alarm the entire restaurant could hear. I didn't know what the hell was going on... Mike goes into the bathroom and 20 seconds later an alarm goes off and lights start flashing).

I guess this is the moment for you to share your crazy bathroom stories... Hell, with pics if you got them!


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