About 10 years ago Bob, a co-worker of mine at the truck manufacturing company, told me about a surprise he had when on a business trip to one of our company’s suppliers in another country.
The office area of the company was just one very large room full of workers at desks. No partitions or individual offices. Everybody could see and hear everything everyone else said and did. All there was other than that was a small reception area with a few chairs and a receptionist at the end of the room where you entered. And a meeting room and restroom at the other end of the room.
Bob said the first thing that struck him was the lack of privacy … no one, no matter how high an officer in the company, could make a call or say a word to a co-worker without everyone around them hearing.
And it soon became apparent that there was another activity that everyone knew alot about too, because there was no toilet paper in the restroom.
Everyone, including visitors like Bob who were in a meeting in the conference room, if you thought you were going to need it, had to walk allll the way to the other end of the room to get the roll of toilet paper from the receptionist, and then walk allll the way back through the room carrying it with you to the restroom. And, of course, when you were done with it you had to make the trip again to return it. (Hmmm. I wonder what happened if you used up the roll? Do you suppose you had to take the empty tube back to the receptionist? Or, at least had to go back to explain why you weren’t returning the roll?!)
I think several things probably made this especially awkward for Bob. He is very tall and the people in the country he was visiting tend to be short, so any time he walked through the room, he really stood out. And also, he was in his sixties when this happened, so he is from a generation that is not used to having their “business” known by everyone. So, I’m sure this was a verrrrry long walk for him to make. Although, he does have a great sense of humor, so he enjoyed telling the story when he returned home.
Moral of this story: Be thankful for the little things … like toilet paper in restrooms.
Another post on the subject of restrooms that you might enjoy is It’s Not Always Easy Being Grandpa about grandpas and the dilemma of taking granddaughters to the rest room in public places.