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Friday, October 31, 2008

Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Fear and the Bathroom

Happy Halloween! originally uploaded by Sounds Good.
Happy Halloween! What a perfect day for highlighting for Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Cleaning Forgotten Spaces Around Us stories about fear and the bathroom. I hope you don't have nightmares tonight!

Several previous posts - Bathroom Blogfest 2008: Trends in Bathrooms and Bathroom Blogfest '08 - A Place For Luxury - have touched on cleanliness and hygiene. It shouldn't come as a surprise that, for a bathroom, it matters. For our total satisfaction and harmony, it matters. And, for the success of a retail experience, it matters.

[I hope you checked out Jo Brown's post where she describes where The Clean Look of a White Bathroom originated.]

Many people fear the horrors lurking in public spaces like bathrooms and forgotten space-items like grocery shopping carts. As we can't control other people's behaviors in these public spaces and can't always depend on the owner's attention to cleanliness, we appreciate automation in ladiesrooms. For example, we're grateful for soap dispensers, faucets and hand dryers that react to a wave of the hand. But, as Retail Design Diva asks in For the Germaphobes Out There..., what about the doors? What about getting out of those pristine handsfree restrooms without touching the door handles? Tricky, isn't it.

Well, Chick-fil-A has come up with the solution: an L-shaped door handle. The Atlanta Journal Constitution discusses it and more in Advances in restrooms help germaphobes' plight by Helena Oliviero from 03/31/2008.

However, as the New York Times describes in For Children, a Scary World Out There (in There, Too), too much automation in a bathroom creates its own set of phobias - particularly for children. Namely, those unpredictable and noisy automatic flushing toilets can traumatize children. [I find them too sensitive and overly prone to flushing for no reason.] Did you know that you can purchase a device to block the sensors [e.g., Flush Stopper]? Or, simply carry around Post-It notes...

Nonetheless, I'd rather err on the hygienically automated and fastidious side than on the overly rustic and questionable side as it pertains to the bathrooms in my store.

Let me put it into perspective.

My nephew has recently moved to Tokyo. Before leaving this summer, he forwarded us an article from WSJ.com by Alan Paul who writes The Expat Life. The article he sent, titled "Choosing When to Be a Local And When to Be an Outsider" and dated 5/9/2008 [no longer available to read online], compares Chinese bathrooms to Japanese ones.

The author writes "to really get to the bottom of the differences between China and Japan it helps to start at the literal bottom -- the toilets. Though rapidly improving, China still has many shockingly unsanitary restrooms. I have smelled and seen things that will be with me forever. And even decent restrooms in nice places often lack soap. Japan, on the other hand, seems to have a fetish for bathroom cleanliness. The toilets do everything except pull your pants up and down, often featuring a wide array of bottom-cleaning water sprays....

However, did you know that only 10 years ago "squatty toilets ... dominated Japan?" Essentially, "China is basically where Japan was 20 years ago."

As Japan has done, I urge you to evolve your bathrooms and convert them from a place of fear and loathing, to one of delight and inspiration from which germs have been banished. Create a place where the experience isn't forgotten, but rather elevated to complement your retail experience.

Next: Advertising!

The latest Bathroom Blogfest '08 posts:
+ From Elizabeth, Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Critical Resources For When You're On The Go [Carpet Shopping?]
+ From Susan, Forgotten Space Blogfest - 2008 version
+ From David Polinchock, Thrillist : SitOrSquat
+ Please note that yesterday's post - Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Art & Shoppertainment - features as anchor photo an image from Kate Rutter's photostream. I came across it randomly while searching through Flickr...

Visit the members of the Bathroom Blogfest Community [BBC] for Bathroom Blogfest ’08 updates:
Susan Abbott at Customer Experience Crossroads
Katia Adams at Transcultural Marketing
Shannon Bilby at Floor Talk!
Laurence Borel at Blog Till You Drop
Jo Brown and the blogging team at Kohler Talk
Lisbeth Calandrino at Lisbeth Calandrino
Sara Cantor at The Curious Shopper
Becky Carroll at Customers Rock!
Katie Clark at Practical Katie
Iris Shreve Garrott at Circulating
Ann Handley at Annarchy
Marianna Hayes at Results Revolution
Elizabeth Hise and C.B. Whittemore at The Carpetology Blog
Maria Palma at Customers Are Always
Sandra Renshaw at Purple Wren
Kate Rutter at Adaptive Path
Claudia Schiepers at Life and its little pleasures
Carolyn Townes at Becoming a Woman of Purpose
Stephanie Weaver at Experienceology
C.B. Whittemore at Flooring The Consumer

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alanpaul said...

Wow. thank god for Google alerts, which brought me to this page. Thanks fr the shout out. I enjoyed your page.

circulating said...

Thanks for all your hard work this week keeping track of Bathroom Blogfest 2008...!!

CB Whittemore said...

Iris, you are most welcome! I hope you had as much fun as I did. The variety of perspectives was really fun.

CB Whittemore said...

Alan, I feel the same about google alerts, and am really excited that they brought you here.

Thanks for contributing to -and inspiring- the Bathroom Blogfest conversation.

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