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An open letter

To the various state agencies that maintain public restrooms along the turnpike:

Last week, my husband and I drove cross-country to visit family over the holidays. Along the way, we stopped at several service plazas and rest areas in your lovely state, and I would like to make the following observations.

Putting the diaper-changing station near the entrance to the restroom is a bad idea. No one needs to encounter a wall of stench as they rush into the restroom and speed toward their own stall. And if there's a line, everyone is subjected to the nastiness until a stall becomes available. Put the changing area on the far wall, and install an air freshener near it in an attempt to contain the smell.

Who thought it would be a good idea to install stainless steel bathroom stalls? They may be less susceptible to graffiti artists who like to scratch their initials on the wall, but they're total fingerprint magnets. I do not need to be reminded that several thousand other people (a large percentage of them with dirty hands) have touched the bathroom door that I'm about to touch.

Auto-flush toilets are the WORST. I always manage to set them off prematurely, and then must clench my loins together to keep the nasty water from getting inside me. Gah! Go for the old standby manual flush—I can always use my foot to flush that.

However, all other bathroom fixtures should be of the automatic variety. No mixing and matching! Who wants to wash their hands with soap and then have to touch the paper towel dispenser that has been touched by Rinsers? Or maybe there's an automatic faucet, but a manual soap dispenser, or vice-versa. If you're trying to project a clean image in your public restroom, why wouldn't you go all out? You don't get partial credit for an automatic paper towel dispenser if I have to use my hands to turn off the faucet.

As you consider future improvements to your restrooms, please feel free to contact me for advice. I'm more than willing to offer my input for a reasonable fee. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Sharkey
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