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Making A Bad Show Of It

, , , | Right | March 24, 2020

(I am a box office manager at a local theater. There are several bathrooms immediately off the box office and several more around the corner, down the hall, and through another room. We only open these extra bathrooms up during intermission. Before the show, we keep the door to that room locked, but the door only locks from the inside, so it’s like a lobster trap: you can get in, but you can’t get out. A woman approaches me during an extremely busy night before the show starts.)

Woman: “I want to use the other bathrooms.”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t open them until intermission.”

Woman: “But you had them open before, didn’t you?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. During intermission. It is not intermission. However, you can use the box office bathrooms, which don’t have a line right now.”

(The woman sulks off. Twenty minutes go by, in which I am dealing with too many customers to see what she does. During a brief lull, I hear a faint pounding from deep inside the building. I tell my assistant to go check it out. The woman comes rushing into the box office, flustered and out of breath.)

Woman: “Did you know I was locked into that room? I could’ve been there for the entire show, for all you know!”

Me: “Ma’am, I told you those bathrooms were off-limits before the show. I’m sorry you were locked in, though.”

Woman: *losing her cool* “But they were open before the show this one time last year!”

Me: “Yes. It is no longer last year.”

Woman: “Well! That’s absurd!”

(She stormed out.)

The Car Wash Needs A Wash

, , , , | Right | March 14, 2020

(Late at night, a customer comes in and makes a quick beeline to our bathroom. Unfortunately, it’s a single stall and currently occupied.)

Me: “Sorry, man, I think someone’s in there right now.”

Customer: “Oh… I guess I’ll grab a pack of cigarettes while I wait.”

(As he makes his way over to the counter, I notice he’s limping and exhaling deeply.)

Customer: “I’m about to piss my pants.”

Me: “Sorry, buddy. I need your ID, though.”

(I watch as he moves very slowly and deliberately to reach his wallet. By the time he’s paid, he’s red in the face and yelling in pain from holding it in. I have no idea what to say and don’t want to embarrass him, so I just thank him deadpan and give him his change. He runs out the door, I presume to find a bush or something. I shouldn’t let him pee just anywhere, but it’s dark and I sympathize, so I pretend he just left. About an hour later, he comes back in.)

Me: “Hey, how’s it going?”

Customer: “Oh, uh, hey…”

(Still not feeling the need to embarrass him, I pretend I don’t remember him or that it never happened. But as he wanders around the store shopping, several times I hear him stifling giggling to himself. He grabs some snacks and makes it back to the counter.)

Me: “Anything else for you?”

Customer: “Naw, that’ll be good.” *giggles*

(I want to ask what happened, but I figure I’ll just let it go if he doesn’t mention it first. However, on the way out the door…)

Customer: “Hey, did you know that your carwash has a huge drain?”


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Someone Really Needed To Go

, , , , | Right | January 26, 2019

(I need to use the bathroom while shopping with my ten-month-old, and as I’m definitely not going to leave her unattended I go to the baby changing room. As I’m finishing my own business someone tries to open the door. It’s clearly locked, so after a few seconds they knock.)

Me: *shouting* “Just a minute!”

(I didn’t think I’d be heard but continue washing my hands, taking my time as it’s somewhat common sense that the room is occupied if it’s locked. As I’m loudly babbling to my baby I hear voices and another knock at the door.)

Me: *more aggressively* “In a minute!!”

(Suddenly, the door unlocks and a cleaner puts her head around the door.)

Cleaner: “Oh, sorry!” *to whoever couldn’t wait* “There’s someone in there..”

(I didn’t respond, as I was somewhat stunned that anyone would get the cleaners to open the door rather than wait for less than five minutes..)

Karma, Thy Name Is Toilet Paper

, , , , , | Friendly | August 1, 2018

(My family and I are eating out for lunch. I excuse myself to the restroom, and have to wait for a stall. A young woman enters and stands quietly behind me. Then, another woman enters and gets in line, talking loudly on her phone.)

Woman On The Phone: “…and he said I couldn’t go to the party! Can you believe it?!”

(She’s not very far behind me and almost shouting, so I’m more than uncomfortable. The woman continues complaining to whomever is on the other end of the call, and I wait uneasily until a stall opens. Unfortunately, it’s after I latch the door and prepare to do my business that I realize there’s no toilet paper left. I put myself back together and leave the stall. The young woman who was waiting in line behind me starts to walk into the stall I just left.)

Me: “Excuse me, but there’s no toilet paper left in there.”

Young Woman: *steps back* “Oh, thank you! I—”

Woman On The Phone: “So I said…” *brushes past us into the stall, still chattering away*

Me: “Ma’am, wait! There’s—”

(The woman slammed the door. Cue the other young woman and me making eye contact, trying not to laugh. I guess karma exists after all!)

There Are Gaps In This Story

, , , , | Friendly | February 12, 2018

(There’s a random difference between American public restrooms and restrooms in a lot of other countries. In America, 90% of the time there’s a large gap of space under the walls and doors of toilet stalls. Sometimes there are even gaps in the door jams that you can see through. I am around 13 years old. I am shopping with my mom, and I decide to stop in the restroom before we leave the store. We’ve also just gotten pedicures, and my brightly colored toenails are visible through my sandal straps. I sit down in one of the stalls, minding my own business. A lady bustles into the stall next to me. I hear lots of rustling from shopping bags behind hung on the hook behind the door.)

Random Lady: “Oh, dear! That’s not good!”

(I am a shy kid, so I don’t say anything, hoping she is talking to herself.)

Random Lady: *knocks on the wall between us* “Excuse me? Excuse me? Could you please pass me some toilet paper? I don’t have any in here!”

(I quickly gather what I hope is enough, and pass it under the wall.)

Me: “Here you go.”

Random Lady: “Oh, thank you, dear!” *chuckles* “Us girls have to stick together!”

(I mumble something noncommittal and quickly get myself ready to exit the stall.)

Random Lady: “Wow!” *her hand appears again under the wall* “I love your toes!”

Me: *trying to get my own bag off the stall door and keep an eye on her hand at the same time* “Um… Thanks.”

Random Lady: “They’re just so pretty! Let me see!”

(She LUNGES against the stall wall — the plastic actually groans from the impact — and tries to TOUCH my big toe.)

Me: *practically shouting the first thing I can think of* “BYE!”

(I throw the stall door open and hightail it out of the bathroom, without even remembering to wash my hands. I reach my mom and grab the bottle of hand sanitizer she keeps in her purse.)

Mom: *watching me vigorously sanitize my hands* “Are you okay, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yep. Let’s go.”

(Later, I tell her about the odd encounter I had in the bathroom. She is kind of upset that I didn’t tell her sooner, but we reason that the lady was probably just overly friendly, as opposed to dangerous. After that, though, I am nervous to use public restrooms for months. It isn’t until I have the opportunity to travel outside the country that I realize there are bathrooms that don’t have huge gaps people can see or reach through.)

Me: *calling my mom while on a trip for work, I tell her about my discovery* “Not even a sliver of a gap! I guarantee you no one will be able to touch my foot in one of these bathrooms.”

Mom: “[My Name], that was over ten years ago.”

Me: “But still…”

Mom: *sigh* “Tell me about something besides the glory of public bathrooms without gaps!”