The temperatures have touched 46 degrees Centigrade here in Delhi, or 115 degrees in American measure. Maybe, the heat has finally hit me, and I have gone completely stark, raving mad. Why else would I stick a photograph of badly attended and maintained public toilets on a post, and that too, a large photo? Prithee, pray tell me. I must have gone mad. Or else, my grinning soul has something more in it.
So, if you are not completely disgusted by the sight of those dirty toilets, then read on.
As a disclaimer, I must also say that the toilet disclaimer has a distinctly Indian flavour to it. In India, we tend to shy away from touchy-feely topics concerning sex, and other basic bodily functions. We believe in keeping our living rooms clean, because that is where guests generally go when they visit homes. The guest loo is kept clean as well. At home, we do try and keep the loo somewhat clean.
But, have you been to a loo at a bus station in India? Or, to the loo in a restaurant? Now, the restaurant charges you full price for your meal, and the restaurant owner believes that, in return for giving you a full meal, you will eat and leave quickly so that he can serve the next customer. You are not supposed to go to the toilet. No, you are not. If you do, then you need to perform some strange acrobatics. Either you hold your nose for the duration of the experience and, use your instinct to aim where you pee, as you dare not look down. Or, hold your nose, and perform the same procedure. Ensure you carry wet wipes, because many restaurants do not have a tap – with water – for you to wash your hands. They have a tap.
The restaurant owner does not want to provide a complete customer experience.
Our economy has grown, and the incidence of such horror stories have reduced. In some five star hotels, they have gone the extra mile, and have installed a person to manage the loo, and to give you a towel when you wash your hands. It is a tough job, but it gives them employment. I cannot think of standing in a loo all day, smiling as people come in and pee, and they look at you with unseeing eyes as they take the towel from your hands. They have more important things to do, like making money, than to acknowledge your essential humanity.
However, in many organisations, the emphasis is on the reception, the front desk, the offices, and the loo experience is left in the dark, in the background, as an afterthought.
We often do not go that last mile to do better, to provide a better customer experience, to make a better presentation…..
Now, I agree that it is impossible to be perfect. However, we can be the best that we can be, and we can better ourselves. It is a question of going that last mile.
In this day, when presentation matters the most, we have a tendency to brush up on the presentation, and we have a strong tendency to hide the shit that lies behind. I have seen many people who will make a grand tour, make a fancy presentation, tell a fantastic yarn, all the while hoping that the audience does not scratch the surface.
Who wants the “customer” to visit the loo?