How Do You Deal With Office Toilet Serial Offenders?

We've all been there — you dash into the workplace toilet and reel with disgust at the state of the facilities. Sending a simple office-wide email often results in the offender just ignoring it, so are more extreme tactics called for?

Picture by secretlondon

Gossip newsletter Popbitch reproduces two examples of the "signs placed in office toilets" genre: an uber-polite version seen at newspaper the Guardian, and a particularly graphic example sent around by the UK division of TV production company Endemol. The full version of that message is rather NSFW, so proceed with caution, but it does end with a suitably caustic remark:

Here's a vague idea — try pointing it even vaguely towards the water. You might enjoy the tinkly sound.

Conversely, the Guardian example ends with the phrase "Surely no one would leave a toilet in that state at home, would they?", which ignores the fact that some people will figure "It's the cleaner's problem, not mine". I suspect the image pictured above would be even less effective.

What tactics have you used to ensure that the office toilet stays presentable for everyone? We're all ears (and toilet brush) in the comments.


    I have heard in the past that an airport increased mens accuracy in the bathroom by gluing small fake insects in the urinals to give them something to aim at.

    I love how "Others" is capitalised in the example image. Gives me the mental image of Reptilian Aliens watching CCTV of me peeing.

    We had this guy at work - a complete germaphobe... Basically, he was so paranoid about catching germs he would even try to aim - he'd just piss all over the floor and seat and run out...

    He had a blood nose once, and just left blood and bloody paper towel all over the bathroom...

    Somehow his germs were ok to leave everywhere...

      Sorry, that's WOULDN'T even try to aim...

    We had a sign on each cubicle door that read "If it doesn't flush, use the brush!"

    Perhaps some people we worked couldn't read as it didn't stop the offender/s.

    "Our AIM is to keep this toilet clean
    we hope that is your AIM as well."

      We aim to please,
      so you aim too, please. :)

    "Its not as long as you think.. Please take two steps forward!"

    Next thing, you'll be posting stuff from B3ta.

    Signs don't work.

    Years ago, my previous office had a serial offender unlike any I've ever encountered before or since. [Unless I count Flinders Street Station.] This was beyond the usual dribble on the seat and floor, which can usually be tidied up with little more than grim determination and a fistful of TP. Beyond the stubborn skiddy on the back of the bowl that can be hosed off but not flushed.

    Every day between noon and two, this guy would unleash yellow hell on the same cubicle, one of only two in the Gents room on our floor. He'd piss everywhere *but* in the bowl -- on the seat, on the underside of the top lid, on the floor, on the wall behind the toilet, even the cubicle walls.

    To somebody saddled with IBS, clean, working toilets are considered a necessity of life, and wrecking one considered a damn-near hangable offense. So I wrote a sign. Essentially I conveyed that whoever was doing it had better stop, quick-smart, because if I ever caught them I'd grab them by the neck and rub their nose in it.

    The sign didn't work. If anything, it might have made things worse.

    Not long after I put it up, maybe a day or two, the Mens room was flooded, almost to the point where it reached the carpet outside. Some joker had stuffed rolls-worth of paper down the toilet and flushed. Clearly on purpose. That the entire cubicle was also drenched in piss made the list of suspects a very short one.

    I was f*cking livid.

    In my role at work, I regularly sent emails to the staff letting them know when a printer or fax machine was down, since I was the guy who ordered and replaced the drums and toner. I'd gained a minor notoriety for the jokey tone I used [along with mild warnings from management, which I cheerfully ignored to zero consequence], so it wasn't out of character when I fired off an announcement to the entire company that the Gents was "currently out of order thanks to the efforts of that walking OH&S issue, the monstrous Seat-Soiler of Level Six." I declared my crusade, ending with "I will find him, and I will catch him. He is my white whale."

    The email got great reviews, but it didn't stop the Seat-Soiler.

    After the first sign's failure, I'd resigned myself to the fact that being angry wasn't going to solve anything, and would only serve to make me crazy. So I kept making fun instead. A new sign was drafted, with a fake Bible quote I shoehorned into Leviticus: "Thou shalt not defile any seat of public convenience. It is an abomination, and thou shalt be judged an arsehole in the eyes of the LORD." Beneath that was a big picture of the Eye of Providence, and beneath that, "GOD CAN SEE YOU, PUNK."

    Again, great reviews, but no practical result. The soilings continued.

    One day, I was sitting down on the other toilet -- the 'safe' one -- and heard a distinct tinkling on the tiles in the cubicle beside me. Craning down to look under the divider, I saw piss running everywhere around a pair of fancy brown leather shoes.

    By God, it was happening. It was happening *right next door*. And here I was with my trousers around my ankles, in the middle of something I couldn't cut short. I tried to speed things up, but by the time I'd finished he was gone. The cubicle, destroyed.

    He'd escaped, but at least now I had a lead. Fancy brown leather shoes.

    I looked around at the shoes of every guy on the floor. It didn't take long to find the prime suspect; about five minutes. The shoes belonged to a guy in my team.

    So now I had him, the bastard. I was convinced of it. What I didn't have, however, was proof enough to accuse him.

    And I never got it, either. A few weeks later I got a position in another department, on another floor. I didn't have to deal with the Seat-Soiler anymore, so my crusade ended.

    From all reports the mess-making continued on Level 6, every day in the same manner, in the same cubicle, around the same time. Once it even happened on my new floor, and funnily enough, Suspect Number One had been working there on a project that same day.

    Still only circumstantial evidence. Not enough to accuse, much less convict.

    All I could do was wonder at the guy -- what the hell kind of lunacy would drive him to commit such an act day after day after day, with such willful and obvious spite. I'll never know.

    What I do know is that signs don't stop these kinds of people. They're beyond guilt. They're beyond shame. And nothing, short of the forbidden Chuck Berry Solution, will ever stop them.

    My current workplace sign reads:

    can be fun!

    Just make sure to
    when you're done.

    Unfortunately, it's turned out to be a bit too cryptic for some of my workmates. :/

    "the bowl is the goal"
    and that kept the floor around the bowl clean, but the rest of the facilities continued suffering...

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