Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bathroom Attendant

On the weekend we went to check out the newly refurbished Myer. Once a high end store, stocked with quality overpriced products, Myer, in Melbourne's CBD has come to resemble more low end stores (like Dimmey's) in recent times. With it's unmaintained building, sparse staff and jumble sale stock bins. So, $300 million dollars later and an advertising budget to match, the new Myer was 'Revealed'. It was ok. It didn't have the glizty sparkley dazzle I was expecting, but there is no doubt it is a massive improvement from what it was.

After several moments of looking around, nature called. I went to the women's toilets on the sixth floor and was surprised to find a bathroom attendant! At first I thought she was just using the facilities, but no, as I walked in she pointed to an empty stall with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. I smiled back and muttered a slightly bewildered thanks.

Now, the toilets on the 6th floor aren't that big. We're talking 3 sinks with automated taps along the rear wall and eight stalls opposite. Two automated hand dryers on the right and exits on the left. I'm pretty sure I could have found my way to the empty stall on my own. Likewise, when I emerged from the stall she waved towards the empty sinks. It's entirely possible that I may have gotten lost somewhere between the eleven steps from the stall to the sink I suppose. She watched me as I washed my hands, which was a little strange, especially since she made no conversation, not even a benign "How's the weather outside?" and as I left I said goodbye and she acknowledged me with another smile that didn't quite meet her eyes.

Imagine, Myer spends $300 million dollars classing up the joint and you get told your job is now to stand in the toilet all day and assist people to use what are largely simple and self explanatory facilities. It's not like they have bars of soap and cotton hand towels and little bottles of perfume and talcum powder and free manicures. It's also not like the room is a maze that requires a tour guide. What the point? I'm as aquatinted with bathrooms as any person with Crohn's, but even I would tell the boss to bugger off at that.

I wonder if they rotate the staff around? Today you're in haberdashery, tomorrow 6th floor women's and Thursday it's entertainment or, if this is this woman's full time gig? I should have given her a copy of the sits vacant. No wonder her smile didn't meet her eyes. Maybe that's where they send staff who mess up as a punishment. Maybe this poor woman took too long on her break or gave cheek to her manager? I also wonder if bathroom attendants have some cool executive title to cover the fact that they basically stand in the toilet all day.

Hi, my name is Jane Doe, senior manager of crapiatrics from the department of individual client waste management, at your service...



  1. "I'm pretty sure I could have found my way to the empty stall on my own."

    ...you are hilarious! love this post. do you write for a living?

  2. Thanks for the kind words! I don't write for a living. There was a time when I thought I wanted to but alas, I lack the discipline (read: lazy) to put pen to paper on any kind of regular basis.