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5kr to do what?

Friday. 09. 26. 2008.

Sweden can be a strange country at times.

While welfare and health care is handed out to the 9 million inhabitants without so much of a question, you have to pay to take a piss at a public bathroom.

Don’t get your panties in a bunch just yet.

I completely understand why paying for the use of a toilet is a good idea. But when it feels like your bladder may erupt any minute and the coin machine keeping the bathroom locked up like Fort Knox is demanding you to feed it a 5kr coin and ONLY a 5kr coin is acceptable, THAT is when I wish for a free public bathroom readily available.

I understand that the 5krs goes towards things like paying for the cleaning of the toilet and stocking it with supplies. But I think this request of 5kr (almost the equivalent of $1 Cdn) should be limited to stand alone toilets.

Go to any mall in Sweden and you’ll have to fork out 5kr to use their toilets. Most of the people at the mall who are not working are there to shop which means they will give money to stores/restaurant for good and/or services who will in turn give money to the mall owners towards things such as maintenance. That would be like having to pay for the toilet at the restaurant. (Which does happen here in some McDonalds) Now I understand the presence of mall rats and window shoppers but for the most part one would not go to a mall if one did not intend on spending some money.

What about the junkies and the homeless looking for a warm place to go in the winter? I have no answers for that but at the same time if they are a junkie or homeless or both, would they not ask someone for a mere 5kr? Most just piss in an alley or street corner. Such an image is no stranger to many of you. It’s people like me and you who finds it embarrassing to ask a stranger for change that suffer. We’d rather shell out 25kr for a cup of coffee for a chance to take a piss.

Might I also bring up the idea that sometimes feel that they own a toilet after paying said 5kr. For the 5-10 minutes (this time is based on a piss, obviously if you’re cranking out a brick, you may need more time) the toilet belongs to the patron. They can pee on the floor, smear shit on the walls, unravel all the toilet paper and empty the soap dispenser if they choose to, because paying generally means owning the right to do what they want. Not saying that EVERY person does this but it could/does happen. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve walked into a pay toilet to find it worse than the free one in McDonalds located in the crack part of town.

So now what? Well, I’ve learned not to drink 2 huge glasses of water before leaving my home.

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