Employees Must Wash Hands

Most of you who will read this have never met me. Sometimes, you might wonder what kind of person I am. I’m just going to go on and tell you so that you won’t have that question hanging over our heads when we do meet.


My kind of woman (public domain image via wikipedia)

I am the kind of person who washes his hands after visiting the rest room. Soap and water wash, not just rinse and then dry them off on my shirt. We probably agree on the importance of that. Some people don’t, but you and I aren’t the sort to spend time with their kind.

Washin’ And Dryin’ In 3/4 Time

More and more, I see signs with instructions on how to wash their hands. Use hot water. Use soap. Use a towel. The fundamentals. They even specify how long hands should be washed – for as long as it takes a person to sing the Happy Birthday song.

I’m far from being a germophobe. However, I think the presence of people in our society who don’t know how to wash their hands without posters is a major issue. It is a survival of the species level major issue.

Matters concerning the survival of the human race require specificity in their solutions. It isn’t enough to say “sing Happy Birthday”. Some fools will rush through it. And who suffers when they rush through the singing/hand washing matrix? You and I. Not acceptable.

I propose that all hand washing posters be modified to specify that people wash their hands long enough to sing Happy Birthday…at sixty beats per minute, in 3/4 time. That seems about right, don’t you think?

Just Gimme Some Kind Of Sign…

In case you're wondering, this is the only photograph I've ever taken in a public restroom.

I’m also the kind of guy who feels a mix of feelings when I see a sign in a restaurant restroom that says “Employees Must Wash Hands”.

The sign is insulting. I’m fifty years old, I was raised by good people who didn’t miss the small details. I hold doors for people. I say please and thank you. I wash my hands, just like mom taught me. I don’t need hired help to get my hands clean.

It causes frustration. Frustration that this employee who is supposed to wash my hands is never standing by. If I’m not allowed to wash my own hands in an eating establishment, I certainly should not have to stand around in the men’s room guessing which employee is going to help me. Every minute I that I spend waiting for my hands to be washed is a minute my lunch spends getting colder.

And I’m so bad at small talk. I dread having to chat with someone while they wash my hands. “It’s a beautiful day outside” just seems like a conversation non-starter when it’s addressed to someone who makes a living soaping other people’s fingers and singing Happy Birthday. Don’t even get me started on the body space issues having my hands washed by a stranger causes me.

I hope we can all agree that we should boycott restaurants that hire people who refuse to wash their own hands while insisting that we allow their employees to wash ours.

So, yeah, that’s the kind of guy I am. A hand washing, boycotting guy.


47 Comments on “Employees Must Wash Hands”

  1. LMAO

    No way I a waiting for the employee, I wash my own hands!

    • omawarisan says:

      No, you should try it. Stand in the restroom and wait for someone with a name tag, then say “let’s get started, and don’t skip any verses”.

  2. Lenore Diane says:

    Hahaaaa! I did not see that coming, Oma. Too ding dang funny. For the record, I’m that kind of gal.

  3. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    Excellent point! I’m going to have to start obeying these signs. I can’t wait to go ask the people at the next place I see one to come wash my hands. Do I ask them to go in with me & wait while I do my business, or do I do my thing, then go out with dirty hands and ask… touching everything in my path?

    I hope I don’t get arrested.

    Wait, is that what the bathroom attendant is there for…?

    I like it when the steps in the step-by-step sign are impossible.

  4. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    And if they’re to wash my hands, what next? Where does all this duty end? Where I ask?! Thanks, but no thanks, I’ll do my own washing up; you’ve got a salad to plate.

  5. robincoyle says:

    Ha Ha! I will now look at that sign in bathrooms in a different light. Ain’t nobody washing my hands but me.

  6. jadolous says:

    Great to see someone as frustrated with this as me….idonesaidit!

  7. Debbie says:

    Oma, I’ve watched some employees wash their own hands, so no way am I going to let them wash mine! They didn’t have my mother. Or yours. Those were mothers who knew how to teach proper hand-washing. And we picked it right up. Some employees must have emerged from beneath rocks, especially if they need signs reminding them to wash!

  8. Omawarison says:

    When I was at the NCAA tournament in Ohio, I went to the bathroom and there was a guy who walked up after doing his business, didn’t wash his hands, but grabbed paper towels and rubbed them against his hands like he did. He didn’t fool me. Very odd. Very wasteful.

  9. No one has ever washed my hands and sung Happy birthday. They always sing Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. Your problem is that you use the men’s room. The ladies room is where the hand-washing help is at.

    • omawarisan says:

      I know, so many people think it is an either/or thing. No, you want the song and the washing.

      I accidentally washed my hands, and did everything else in a ladies room. Was clueless until was standing there washing my hands and thinking “hey, that’s an unusual vending machine”.

  10. This is why women go to the restroom in groups. If the designated employee is on her lunch break or out at Table 6 singing “Happy Birthday,” we’ve got backup.

    I’ve always wondered about the placement of that sign over the sink. Always seemed like preaching to the choir. Now I see it’s a policy statement.

    And finally (hey, no cheering), is someone who is clueless and/or careless regarding personal hygiene likely to read hand-washing instructions?

    • omawarisan says:

      Good point on the sign placement. If you’re at the sink, aren’t you already showing that you formed intent?

      Forming intent. God, I’ve been at that job way too long.

  11. My Odd Family says:

    I am just shaking my head and clicking on….I will however admit to not knowing I should sing Happy Birthday whilst washing my hands. I will also admit to knowing that washing your hands and then turning the bathroom door knob to leave the bathroom is not good so really a better option would be to have an employee available to open the door for you. Shaking head….Click. . . .

    • k8edid says:

      I am a nursing instructor and I have to teach people how to wash their hands. We use the “germ” powder and black lights so that people can see how effective (or ineffective) their handwashing is. And yes, I teach them to sing the birthday song (but I don’t actually make them sing out loud!).

      I don’t want anyone washing my hands – I also won’t touch the bathroom door handle after my hands are cleaned…I take a paper towel and if there isn’t a waste basket near the door I toss it on the floor (and tell the manager).

      If you’ve been in public bathrooms – you know a lot of people don’t wash their hands. For this reason alone, I will not eat at buffets where these same slimeballs are touching all the serving utensils. (This is one of the reasons Norovirus can spread so rapidly on a cruise ship). If there is no other option, I get my food, then wash my hands, then sit down to eat.

    • omawarisan says:

      Yes, Happy Birthday. You know now and you’ll find yourself singing it in your head the next time you make a pit stop.

  12. I’ve wondered about this myself. Anyway, I used to work with a guy who washed his hands before he used the restroom. Afterwards, too, I think but I didn’t stick around to check.

  13. Blogdramedy says:

    I hope you were alone in that washroom when taking the snap. If I’d seen you I’d be all…F-STOP! 😉

  14. Laura says:

    I don’t mind singing the Happy Birthday song when I wash my hands, but I hate having to get up early every morning to look up birthdays to find out whom I should be singing to that day.

    Also, it’s comforting to know that you’ve only taken one picture in a public restroom. I won’t ask how many you’ve taken in your own bathroom at home.

  15. We Found Him Captain! says:

    “Come on Man…..Turn on the hot water, my chicken is getting cold”……… That sounds like a line from the 1954 movie “One the Waterfront” starring Marlon Btando.

  16. shoutabyss says:

    I came to this blog for insightful political commentary. Where is it? I’ll look harder after I comment on this post that’s right up my alley. Must be fate.

    I’d be happy to shake your hand, Oma. I doubt anyone could say the reverse it true. I can live with that. 🙂

    The truth here is simple and sad. The “Employees Must Wash Hands” sign is not targeted at the audience you think it is. It is directed at customers, not the employees. It’s one of the oldest lies in retail.

    What the sign really says is: “We don’t care one whit about what our employees have on their hands, therefore we won’t spend any management goodness doing anything about it. The image in the customer’s mind is more important than the reality, therefore this sign must exist.”

    Unfortunately that wouldn’t fit as well so they went with the other message.

  17. […] post was inspired by Oma and his “Employees Must Wash Hands” post. Rate this: If you liked it, please share it.TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the […]

  18. […] Employees Must Wash Hands  ( […]

  19. […] actually dry your hands, and soap.  No foam soap, no hand sanitizer, no bathroom attendants to do it for you.  It might put people in a better mood if they can be […]

  20. […] sort of romantic entanglement. Desperation drove my decision to go in. I took care of my business, washed my hands and came back […]

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