The relief in discovering a free public toilet




raised hands

Imagine walking down the busy streets during morning rush hour on an empty stomach. You suddenly discover two friendly folks in blue branded t-shirts handing out free breakfast cereal bars. An incredible feeling runs through your system as you sense a great opportunity to quench a persistent hunger that is hell-bent on disrupting your Monday morning productivity if nothing edible is taken. Stretching to take a bar was a no-brainer as it is free and available in the blink of an eye.

We all love free stuff, don’t we? From the scramble and cluster around the Celebrations chocolate box brought in by a returning colleague to the lure of free travel in the early hours of new year’s day in London. The thought of receiving something for free makes us realise a strong sense of achievement. It’s like winning a gold medal without having to train or compete. 

The same sense of happiness and subtle entitlement can spring up when you discover a public facility is free for use. Free in terms of occupancy and entrance requirement. In public areas like train stations, malls and events, we want to know if the experience cost us nothing from a financial perspective. 

Common behaviours and thoughts when you realise the public toilet has a free entry 


  1. Feel valued: We constantly yearn to be appreciated and valued by people and businesses alike. That’s why we are more likely to stick with a brand that remembers our birthday and emails us loyalty points consistently. This applies to the train station or shopping mall, you often visit. The first time you feel the need to use the toilet in this public environment is likely to cast doubts over the nature of the entry. Free or not free? You approach the designated public toilet hoping to discover a seamless access void of any coin-operated barriers or toilet turnstiles. The moment you realise it is free, the feeling of value engulfs one’s entire being. Free toilets might be a sign the location cares so much for people by avoiding putting a price on answering the call of nature. 
  2. No mechanical fuss with barriers: Some public toilet barriers can be a bit fiddly on some occasions. As individuals, we have a varying comfort level when operating a device or machine. With some, intuitively they figure out the ins and out of the equipment. From where the coin is inserted to the respective lever to adjust. For others, it starts with trying to figure out the entry and exit barriers respectively. This whole mental drama is prevented when the public unit is free for use. A sense of peace and calm consumes our being when realising the facilities are free and there are no barriers to deal with at this instance. 
  3. Less critical of the state of the public facility: We tend to demand more and are very particular when a product or service costs us something. From the salty meal in the expensive restaurant to the rough ride from the Uber driver. Getting a good return for our buck is important to us even if it costs us 30 pence like the one required for some UK public facilities. Our lips run less and our eyes pass swiftly when we use a free toilet. Turning a blind eye to a leaking tap or an overflowing toilet may be far too common when the entry to use these units is free

The demand for free public toilets is not a sign of being cheap but a clamour for more understanding from the local councils and businesses alike.  


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