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Restroom Trip Policy

picture of restroom problem

As much as it is supposed to simplify our lives, technology seems to make them more complicated as more is expected of us and controls us far more than it frees us. Today's blog post highlights an area of control that most of us never thought we would have to face in the workplace! Here's a note to employees that you would hate to receive from the personnel office:

Re: Restroom Trip Policy

In the past, employees were permitted to make trips to the restrooms under informal guidelines. Effective Oct. 6, 2008, a Restroom Trip Policy (RTP) will be established to provide a more consistent method of accounting for each employee's restroom time, thereby ensuring equal treatment to all employees. Until all necessary equipment is finally put in place on October 6, adherence to the new RTP will be on the honor system.

Under the new RTP, a "Restroom Trip Bank" will be established for each employee. The first day of each month employees will be given twenty (20) Restroom Trip Credits. These credits may be accumulated.

In the next two weeks the entrances to all restrooms will be equipped with personnel identification stations, computer-linked voice print recognition devices, and all the other equipment described below. Before the effective date of the new RTP, each employee must provide two copies of voice prints (one normal and one under stress) to Human Resources. The voice print recognition stations will be optional and not restrictive for this month. Please acquaint yourself with the stations during that period.

Once that equipment is in place and it's possible to monitor the restrooms electronically, if the employee's Restroom Trip Bank balance reaches zero, the doors to the restroom will not unlock for that employee's voice until the first working day of the following month. In addition, all restroom stalls are being equipped with timed paper roll retractors. If the stall is being occupied for more than three minutes, an alarm tone will sound throughout each building's intercom. Immediately afterward our new advanced voice synthesis system will announce the name of the delinquent employee and his or her department. Ten seconds after the alarm sounds, the roll of paper will retract into the wall, the toilet will flush, and the stall door will spring open. If the stall remains occupied, your picture will be taken.

The picture will then be posted on the bulletin board in the respective departments and on our intranet home page. Anyone's picture showing up three times will immediately be terminated. If you have any questions about this new RTP, please contact HR. They have all received advanced instructions.

We know you will want to co-operate so that this new policy can be expedited smoothly.

Human Resources,
Employee Benefits



Aren't you glad that the preceding is totally made up? But isn't it scary that it's true enough to life to be almost believable?!

The memorial service for my friend Paul Long was at 10:00 a.m. today. His siblings - two sisters and a brother - and several nephews were able to make the cross-country trip to be with Paul's wife and son. You can read several nice tributes - the first an article about him and his family and the second a tribute his school put out on their website about Paul - by clicking here and here.

Back to the topic of today's blog post... I'd love to your comments about how technology has changed your life, both for better and for worse.


"Technology has just enabled us to commit the same old sins in a more hi-tech fashion." - Dr. Bob Jones Jr.

=^..^= =^..^=

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3.

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17 Comments on “Restroom Trip Policy”

  1. #1 David McGuire
    on Sep 22nd, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Once again, Rob, you have struck a raw nerve amongst the bureaucrats of the world.

    You have probably heard about the new “death policy” being implemented at many American corporations: “Employees are not allowed to die on the job. If an employee insists on dying, he must do so on his own time, and he must give two weeks notice.”

    Enough said!

  2. #2 Rob
    on Sep 22nd, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    @David – sorry to have hit yet another raw nerve. It’s a gift, I guess.

  3. #3 Anna
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Technology…. Well I think its GREAT! I can go to work in my pyjamas and can serve customers from all over the world!! But…then again it can get frustrating, i found you cant put mobile phones through the washing machine 🙂

  4. #4 Dave
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 5:45 am

    I can’t speak for everyone, but technology has allowed me to grow up two thousand miles from where I was born, get an education two thousand miles from where I grew up, take a job seven thousand miles from where I was educated, and hop back and forth between those three places twice a year, all the while keeping in near-instantaneous contact with virtually everyone I’ve ever met.

    Of course, I’m also a computer technician, so I’m probably biased 🙂

  5. #5 Rob
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 5:54 am

    @Anna – I agree that technology is great. I certainly would not prefer to go back to life without it, but it seems to me to raise our levels of stress rather than lower them. I’m not going to say much more about that – I’d like others to comment on that aspect before I chime in.

    @Dave – You’ve definitely named some wonderful aspects of modern technology. Just last night we talked for free over the Internet on Skype with our friend Ruth with whom we taught in China. She had e-mailed a few minutes earlier to say she was up and her computer would be on all morning. So within minutes we were talking. You gotta love the near-instantaneous contact possible. We’ve used to great advantage many times.

  6. #6 Sandrew
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I’m pressing 3 . . . I’m still pressing 3! . . . I’M STILL PRESSING 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. #7 Rob
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 10:28 am

    @Sandrew – I think you’re unwittingly demonstrating a level of stress that was nonexistent before we had a 3 to press on. So, PRESS ON!

  8. #8 Vikki
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    To err is human, but it takes a computer to really foul things up . . .

    Talking about crazy bathroom ideas, remember the attempt at pay toilets? The worst feeling in the world was when I was at an air port – I believe it was back in the 70’s – and went to use the washroom only to find it required a dime to use a stall! I found one with a broken lock, so I survived, but what if there hadn’t been some with broken locks?!?

  9. #9 Bonnijean
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Speaking of technology. . . There have been many significant changes since the 1980s. It’s hard to imagine life without laptop computers. The first fully functional laptop computer, the Osborne 1, weighed 24 pounds and cost nearly $1800 in 1981, over $4300 in today’s dollars. It had a 4 MHz Z80 CPU, 65 kilobytes main memory, Dual 5¼-inch, single-sided 40 track floppy disk drives, and a 5-inch, 52 character × 24 line monochrome CRT display.

  10. #10 Michael
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Technology has become problematic for us because we don’t use technology but instead we are dependent on it. I am saddened every time I see a student have to reach for a calculator to do a simple addition problem that I can easily do in my head.

    Let me commend you, Rob, on the great poll this time. It really requires serious thought. There are so many choices that can have strong arguments to support them. I went with the printing press, though. Having come through teaching Church History at my church, I have to say that without the printing press the Reformation may never have happened. And without the Reformation, the truth of the gospel may still be shackled in the error of the Roman church.

    Then again, without the printing press, people might not spend so long in the restroom.

  11. #11 Anonymous
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Here, where I work, we have many pieces of expensive equipment. We also have id-activated doors so we can control who comes in and out. The men’s bathroom has two doors, the other leading to a totally different area that can have outside customers come in with whom we share the building. In order to protect said expensive equipment it was deemed prudent to put one of the id-activated locks on the door to our side of the building. Their door simply has a normal key-operated lock which they have to unlock each day and lock each night – that they are there. The first day these locks were in service, a day the other people were not around, the top two men in the building needed to use the bathroom and neglected to remember their id’s (you only needed them to get out). They spent around 15 min. in there before someone came along and found them. The locks were deactivated by the next day. :o)

  12. #12 Vikki
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Bonnijean, sounds like our first computer right around 1980. There was no hard drive, only RAM. You inserted the operating disk to boot up the machine, removed that and inserted the program disc, removed that and inserted the data disc. I could get almost 5 printed pages worth of info typed into the thing before the MEMFUL notice came up. Once that happened, it meant the memory was full. You were stuck. You couldn’t save what you had (you learned to save OFTEN). All you could do was shut the crazy thing off, wait half a minute or so and start the process all over again.

    You had to know basic DOS to open, copy, delete or print a file. You also had to know the sequence of key strokes and function keys to get it to do anything, there were no menus and no mice. Floppy discs came unformated. But it was so cool because you could fix your errors and – GASP! – move a block of words to another location! WOW!! And you were really something if you brought in a dot matrix printed sheet. It meant you knew how to use a computer!! AND the computer we had was “portable” (although I could hardly lift the thing). It was a Compaq where the keyboard snapped onto the front over the tiny 9 or something line amber monitor. It had a handle on the side for carrying and was the size of a large suitcase.

    Remember buying a computer back then? You paid thousands for a metal box with a mother board. Than you had to buy the video card, monitor, operation system, software… all separate.

    There were no search engines. You had to know the actual internet IP number (no nick names), and email? Prodigey maybe. But you probably didn’t know anyone you could email anyway.

    Ah, those were the days . . . Was that really only a little over 20 years ago?!?

  13. #13 Amanda
    on Sep 23rd, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Ahh, modern inconveniences. ^_^ In airports especially, I often feel like I’ve been sucked into a sci-fi movie when I walk into the ladies room, though I have yet to experience something as bad as in your post!

    I remember when I was five years old and my mom bought a car phone for emergencies. It looked like a regular phone inside of a notebook, more or less. A mammoth compared with today’s cell phones. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Then years later we found it while cleaning out our cellar and it looked so antiquated. Quite sad, actually.

  14. #14 Rob
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 6:56 am

    @Vikki – Loved your line about computers fouling things up! And also the trip down nostalgia (nausea?) lane with the era of the pay toilets. We used to call them “Johnny Cash.” I also enjoyed your reply to Bonnijean’s comment.

    @Bonnijean – It’s really amazing, isn’t it? It’s hard to think that in a few years the technology that we currently think of as so cool and cutting edge will look and be so primitive!

    @Michael – In your comment you’ve hit upon one of what I perceive to be some of the downsides of technology – our increasing dependence on it. It’s sad how people seem to be losing the skill of mental math. Glad you liked the poll question. It’s something I have thought about a lot. And Michael, you make me laugh – in real life and in your comments! We’ve often referred to our bathroom as “the library.”

    @Anonymous – I loved your example of how difficult it is sometimes to use technology for the good of all. I can only imagine being trapped in that restroom!

    @Amanda – Your comment picked up the theme of antiquated technology, only with a different example with the look at the early “mobile phone.” It’s so true! When I see people surfing the Internet wirelessly from their tiny cellphone, it just blows my mind!

  15. #15 Doodie
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I keep pressing “3,” but nothing happens. Am I doing something wrong???? 🙂

  16. #16 Rob
    on Sep 24th, 2008 at 7:51 am

    @Doodie – is your phone push-button or rotary dial? 😉

  17. #17 Jessica
    on Sep 29th, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Well, I’m kind of late responding to this post, but Amanda’s comment reminded me of our family’s car phone. I can remember friends riding in our car asking, “What IS that thing??” We still had it as recently as a couple years ago, before Verizon had sufficiently far-reaching coverage for my dad to get rid of it.