I'll be blunt... This post is about boogers and not cute kids boogers either.
I work in the digital marketing industry. Given the nature of my field, most would not be surprised to find that it’s a significantly young environment. That is, everyday I find myself surrounded by many people either close to my age or a bit younger than me. With such a young demographic, my peers tend to struggle with leadership and “older people” when it comes to office etiquette. After all, we’re the young, unruly bunch. Naturally, it makes sense for us to have no sense of decorum and a willful disregard for the archaic rules that exist in the corporate setting, right?
Generally speaking, we don’t overthrow much or cause any cataclysmic issues in the place we work. Now, that’s speaking quite generally. This statement falls short of one location in the building. The bathrooms.
I’ll try to explain this as clearly as I can without being flagged for NSFW content: Our bathrooms are cleaned twice a day by the building maintenance staff, but the space still manages to succumb to third-world latrine-status within minutes of cleaning each day.
On any given day, the average person would approach the lavatories with a sense of focused ambition. Actually, let’s make this more personal: you would approach them. Making your way toward the bathrooms you’re greeted by a bland doorway accented by two water fountains (even though we have filtered water in the break room). Innocent enough, I suppose. However, as you reach to grasp the door handle your body unknowingly prepares itself for something of clinical danger.
Opening the bathroom door, you will be hit in the face with the stench of noxious institutional-strength tangerine air freshener. Having dissembled one of these air fresheners before, I can attest that these both look and act like a military-class grenade, but I digress. Now, high-dose tangerine may be overwhelming by itself, yet you’ve forgotten one important thing: This is a bathroom. The smell of tangerine is met with the pungent, infamous smell of midday post-lunch relaxation… I’ll stop there. Sort of.
If you make it past the smell, the visuals might just end you. The sink area is often one big puddle of water while the sinks mysteriously remain dry. I’ve never figured this one out. The stall floors are often littered with toilet paper and seat covers. Note: Seat covers probably won’t do you any good in this bathroom. I’m going to be an optimist and claim that the toilet paper on the floor was innocently dropped prior to use. It’s…clean toilet paper...right?
*Taps microphone and nervously looks around*
Beneath the paper coating, I’m not sure the white tile floors are frequently mopped as they’re covered in a film of dirt that has been made “wet” by—well, you get the point. The toilets? Well, they often resemble something between the toilet of a child in potty training and an adult-sized post-food poisoning ground zero situation—it’s a spectrum, a very dirty one, but a spectrum nevertheless.
It’s rough. It’s ugly. It’s [insert disgusted face here].
All of this and what continues to amaze me is that these bathrooms continue to get used on a daily basis. I have to admit that, with full knowledge of the image I just burned into your mind, even I make use of these bathrooms! The truth is, they work. They’re usable, they’re convenient and they serve a purpose in our building. However, that’s not necessarily the epiphany I’ve come to today.
About a month ago, I entered the bathroom [with caution] to find a handwritten sign posted by the building cleaning crew.
The sign said this:
“PLEASE DO NOT! Wipe your buggers on the wall, use toilet paper! This is not the first time Human Resources as well as managers have been notified! Thank you!”
Did you take a second glance to reread this? I had to. Looks like we’ve got a booger issue on our hands. Well, our walls.
Are you reading this? Within seconds of passing through this devastated facility, our cleaning staff is faced with a minimum of 10 repulsive issues that are in dire need of immediate restitution. Yet, they’ve decided that “buggers” is the issue that merited a handwritten nasty-gram (quite literally) to bathroom users. On any given day, the floor is covered in toilet paper, the sinks are nearly flooded, and toilets are coated in feces and urine (much of which isn’t inside the toilet), but boogers! The boogers are the issue that needs addressing!
Upon further reading of the sign, it’s evident that managers and HR have been notified. That’s right, managers, the people trying to make money for the company, trying to manage employees’ careers have been asked to deal with Boogergeddon. HR is focusing on on-boarding new employees, managing employee performance, building new legal policies, but Boogergeddon needs attention! I’d pay money to see the email that these people received.
Here’s the thing: people keep using this bathroom! They keep going back, day after day, giving it another chance. I guess, when it comes down to it: It’s a messy place; but, no matter what, it seems to serve a vital purpose for people.
I wonder if the witch hunt against this specific matter is distracting us from the larger issue?
I wonder if we were to spend our time focusing on other, more important matters, the booger issue would resolve itself?
Maybe the way the org has decided to resolve this matter isn't the most effective or reasonable?