This cheap but moderately decorative light fitting in an inner-city toilet symbolises the difference between a well-run business and a bad one.
This toilet is in a restaurant — a Thai restaurant on George Street, Sydney, called Crocodile Senior. No website, but great food, fast and efficient service and Thai pop music DVDs on screen. Nicely fitted out too.
Many restaurant toilets seem to come from a forgotten land. Bare bulbs hang from dust-covered fittings. Soiled paper towels overflow the rarely-emptied bin — when towels haven’t run out, that is. There’s a brown stain under every tap — and yes, that is urine you can smell. As you dry your hands on the back of your pants, you wonder where else they’re skimping on the cleanliness.
Did that kitchenhand actually wash his hands after he took a slash?
Green salad, anyone?
You finish your meal. It tasted OK, and next morning you’re moderately certain that your upset stomach is about the eight glasses of red you downed, not the chicken. But Doubt niggles at the back of your mind, and that restaurant drops silently off your list.
Crocodile Senior’s toilet, on the other hand, is fresh and clean. The flowers are artificial, but their colours are bright and there’s no layer of dust. This cheap light fitting creates a little bit of sparkle that helps convey the message: this is a nice place to be.
So many businesses seem to be like the Toilets from a Forgotten Land.
Some businesses piss away three days deciding the colour of the stationery, and $200k fitting out the spectacularly fashionable foyer. The salesman — sorry, “Business Development Manager” — has a PowerPoint presentation with 3D animation and sound effects. But the back office staff struggle because the computers are riddled with spyware and no-one’s paying attention. The driver reckons the truck really should be serviced, but nothing gets done and of course it breaks down the very day of The Important Delivery.
It’s like the slum-lord’s apartment, where wallpaper literally papers over the structural cracks. It’s the aged whore, well past her use-by date, whose sedimentary layers of pancake make-up distract you from the fissures and pustules beneath.
Sooner or later, there’s going to be leakage. And it won’t be pretty.