I have a problem with automated urinals.
Not in how I use them; I know how to pee in public (and I’m sorry if this post veers off into uncharted territory here – I’ll try keep it clean). No, I’m more frustrated with the way automated urinals use themselves.
For anyone not sure what an automated urinal is (my lady readers might not be aware of their delicacies, for instance), here’s the quick overview.
- You go to a public toilet (or washroom, as they’re called here in North America).
- You “do your business” at the urinal.
- You have the choice of pressing a button or flipping a handle/switch to flush, or you leave it to the urinal’s automatic flush.
- You go wash your hands and leave.
Simple, right? So you’d think. But there seems to be a new breed of automated urinals on the loose, and they’re the ones that are out to frustrate. Here’s why.
Jumping In Prematurely
The difference between a manual flush and an automated one is clear. With a manual flush, you know when you’re finished and ready to flush. Perfect – pee, put away, push button. Job done.
With the automated approach though, it can often begin the flush cycle before you’re done. Which is always fun to get some nice splashback from a still-in-use urinal (sorry, I did say I’d try and keep it clean!).
So, no matter if you’re ready for it or not, automation is kicking in and probably ruining your day. Not good.
One Size Fits All
While this isn’t really a problem just for automated urinals, it does come into play a little bit more when it is automated.
Basically, most urinals (at least the ones I’ve used) are all a standard size. Unless it’s open plan – then it just looks like a line-up not too dissimilar from pigs eating at a trough.
With the closed ones, though, they’re pretty much standardized as far as dimensions go. So, you can be tall, small, wide, thin, hunchbacked or any other numerous descriptions that separates us from each other. And this can be a pain at an automated urinal.
Say you get an extra-wide guy next to you – you have to try and accommodate by moving over a bit (trust me, you don’t want to share pee space!). Of course, the issue is, because you’ve moved over, you’re now in the line of fire of the urinal next to you. And if the automated system kicks in too early again… You get the point. Again, not good.
Being Unprepared for the Unexpected
It happens. You might go to the toilet, and you could be on the phone as you go in (either calling or texting/instant messaging). Generally, if I’m on a call, I’ll say I’ll call back before going in, so no problem there. But I have been texting occasionally before I need to use the urinal.
Of course, the problem here is that the automated urinal only sees what’s in front of it, and gauges that (by the amount of time I’ve been stood in front of it), I must be done. On with the flush cycle which, once more, can come with the lovely splashback syndrome if the urinal isn’t at optimal emptiness for a flush cycle.
Again, as before, not good.
Are You Taking the Piss?
Okay. So we’ve gone through three examples of why I hate automated urinals. And you’re maybe thinking, “What the hell is Danny telling us this for? This is meant to be a marketing blog with social media insights, no?”.
And you’re right.
So, switch out automated urinals for your business. Or your marketing. Or your sales pitch. Or your advertising. Or your branding. Or any other metric that makes or breaks a business. Look at the sub-headers, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Jumping in Prematurely. Are you jumping into a new market prematurely? Are you expanding your services too prematurely? Is your quality control process premature in offering solutions, and actually causing more problems?
- One Size Fits All. Are you offering a one size fits all solution when every customer needs a different one? Are you missing leads because you’re focusing on the same sales pitch for every customer? Are you herding your employees into the same “do as we say” mindset instead of encouraging creativity and leadership?
- Being Unprepared for the Unexpected. Do you have a back-up if things go pear-shaped? Can you run your business if a key supplier went out of business? Are you putting all your leads into a single or limited client basket? Are you prepared for a crisis erupting around your brand?
I started this blog talking about automated urinals (and they do actually bug the heck out of me). But like I say, swap that out to a business view, and it still rings true. If you’re automating things when manual would be better, you’re probably being less useful than you think.
So – are you prepared or are you just flushing your success away?