What a reassurance, ‘these toilets are checked every 60 minutes’. What a relief! After all, the form has been signed or this timer has been reset. I can enter at my convenience in the knowledge that everything has been checked.
Which begs the question, what exactly does a check entail?
As I stood outside one of these ‘checked’ facilities at a motorway service station with its highly visible countdown timer digitally reducing the minutes until the next check, a man approached with a step ladder. He was dressed in a suit rather than janitorial garb which struck me as odd. He positioned the steps under the timer, climbed up and deftly with the flick of a switch reset the countdown to 60 minutes till the next check. He descended, packed up the steps and carried them off into the bowels of the services.
I have to say I was shocked. This was not the sort of checking I’d envisaged. In my mind I had a vision of a house-proud attendant equipped with a bucket, rubber gloves and copious amounts of toilet paper to replenish and make resplendent each cubical in turn. He may even have given a florid squirt of air freshener above each door as he passed. Maybe acknowledging the crowd with a cheery ‘good day gents, all is now well’ as he left. But no.
The sign above the countdown timer was in my view misleading. Instead of stating ‘These toilets are checked every hour’, it should have read ‘This timer is reset every 60 minutes’. I am no longer reassured.
Travel in fear my friends.