The following is an interview of an acquaintance (FYI…I’d call him a friend if he had a sexier occupation) who is a “professional” bathroom attendant at a popular Manhattan bar. That is, the guy who hovers over the bathroom sink turning the water on and off, then handing you paper towels. While this interview was meant to be informative, unfortunately it was not. However, it was humorous.
I should let you know that it was a hybrid written/verbal interview, but the written portion had to be translated verbally afterward, so the write-up is my best attempt at merging everything. I corrected his grammar here and there, while trying to keep it authentic. What follows is a glimpse into what you’re dealing with when dealing with the bathroom attendant.
Kavorka: How long have you been a bathroom attendant?
Bathroom Attendant: Since I was working in North Carolina.
Kavorka: OK, but what year did you first start working in bathrooms as an attendant?
Bathroom Attendant: First real job working a bathroom was like late 80s, late 90s. Around there.
Kavorka: What are the main services that you provide as a bathroom attendant?
Bathroom Attendant: I just make shit easier for everybody. If you’re washing your hands, I’ll add some soap. It’s stupid to wash your hands without soap, but if I don’t step up, nobody uses the soap. Can’t put a price on that. Need to get paid.
Kavorka: Do you work exclusively on tips, or do you also make a salary?
Bathroom Attendant: I bring all my shit in here. I got gum, cigarettes, mouth wash, hair shit, cologne, I hook up the soap, condoms. Just working my room. I ain’t need no salary. I’m my own boss.
Kavorka: What do you believe you deserve as a tip from bathroom users?
Bathroom Attendant: Depends man. If you’re takin a shit that’s a lot different from just pissin. I got three urinals and two toilets. If you’re taking a shit for real and using up my spaces, I don’t even care about the smell man, but hook it up. Give me $3 for shittin. I’ll give you gum or hair spray. If you’re pissin, I’ll still give you that but leave a dollar or a few dollars.
Kavorka: If you provide a service, but don’t get tipped, are you angry?
Bathroom Attendant: Yeah but, it depends. People shittin need to hook me up. They in my house shittin. If you’re pissin, and you wanna walk out, that’s cool. But don’t look at me or talk to me. Just piss and get out. If you’re shittin, you gotta pay up.
Kavorka: What annoys your most about your job?
Bathroom Attendant: I see people going into the stalls but they ain’t sitting down, while urinals are open. They probably doin coke or they got baby d*cks or something. It also ain’t fun working in a men’s bathroom. Never any ass coming in there until late.
Kavorka: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Bathroom Attendant: It’s cash money. I know I’m the guy behind the scenes. Good luck without me. I like the stories too.
Kavorka: Do you have any advice for customers as it relates to you?
Bathroom Attendant: Nah. Just leave somethin man. $1 for a piss and $3 for a shit and I’m cool.
Kavorka: A lot of people prefer not having a bathroom attendant because they can go to the bathroom, wash their hands with soap, and dry them, all without your help. They feel like you being there pressures them for paying for things they can do on their own. Have you ever gotten this impression from people?
Bathroom Attendant: Yeah. There’s a bathroom across the street. Go there. This interview’s over. I can go to the grocery store and buy my beer but the bartender’s still got a fuckin job.
This concluded my interview. I guess what we can ascertain is that, all the assumptions we’ve ever made about bathroom attendants and the theory behind having a bathroom attendant were probably pretty accurate. My recommendation (at least for NYC): If you piss, leave your bathroom attendant $1, but make it worth your while. Grab a piece of gum, or some gel, or some mouthwash. If you poop leave three bucks, wash your hands, and leave.
Do you have any stories to share that could add some clarification to the importance of a bathroom attendant?