Monday, March 22, 2010

The Fly In the Urinal Has Flown

Over a month ago I wrote about this strange workplace phenomenon where amazingly lifelike images of houseflies began appearing in men's room urinals. It turned out to be an actual product aimed (ahem) at improving restroom cleanliness, a sort of by-product (fly product?) of a successful campaign to achieve pee-free floors in the Amsterdam airport. The fly decals were applied to the porcelain at a supposedly strategic, splash-free point within the fixture so that men -- inherent hunters, after all --would focus their urine streams at the flies in an effort to dislodge (or shoot them down).

Well, just as an update, when I left for my vacation on March 9, the flies were showing serious signs of fatigue. Targets of urinary assassination, most were coming unstuck from the walls of the urinals, flapping ominously against a relentless tide of workplace pee-pee. On my return to work today, the flies are gone, an idea, like many, that might have sounded good in theory but in practice just didn't deliver.

But the question is, during their brief tenure, did the flies make the restrooms cleaner, the floors urine-free? Not a bit. It would take a lot more than a plastic decal to train most men to clean up their elimination acts, as evidenced by the used paper towels that litter the floors by the end of the day, let alone the disgusting state of the floors themselves. And really, is it so hard to lift the seat when you pee in the toilet? It's an office building, not an Exxon station on the turnpike. After all, you may want to use it yourself a few visits from now.

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