Stall for one and one for stall

Jason Wolverton
4 min readSep 5, 2017


Take a second and think about how much our lives have changed the past couple decades thanks to advancements in technology.

You’re likely reading this on your phone, hopping back and forth between Snapchat and Facebook while checking sports scores on your smart watch and DVRing bad reality TV.

Tomorrow on your way to work you’ll start your car from an app, turn on satellite radio and if you get lost you’ll just tell Siri you have no idea where the hell you are and she’ll lead you right to where you want to go.

Yet while everything around us has improved in some capacity, there’s one thing that has showed little evolution:

Public shitters.

Specifically, I’m talking about the doors, knobs, and latches that are designed to keep total strangers from sneaking a peek at my bacon and eggs while I’m in there doing my business. Let’s break it down.

Exhibit A

I call this one the egg timer lock. I call it that because not only is it shaped like an egg timer, in most cases you can spin it around 12 times without anything actually locking. The vast majority of time these locks are so shitty the breeze of the hand dryer will blow the door open. Also of concern is that half the time that lock looks more like this:

You know this look. Does it still work? Doesn’t it? You have no idea. And then when you go in there you ask yourself, “Do I stick my finger in there?” And that, of course, is alarming because when you’re in a public bathroom the words, “Do I stick my finger in there?” should never be uttered. Better yet, the missing knob creates the perfect peep hole for anyone on the other side. And keep in mind that I was really good at geometry and I can tell you that when you’re sitting there and someone is standing on the other side, that little hole creates about the worst sight angle you can imagine.

Speaking of sight, what’s with stall door gaps? You know what I’m talking about, right? That gap when the door is closed and yet somehow you could still fit an entire sub sandwich through it without getting anything on the bread. For the love of God, why even bother with a door when the person on the other side of the door can look in and tell what color your eyes are without even having to squint.

Let’s take a look at another example:

Exhibit B

I absolutely hate this type of door handle and lock. The reason is because most of the time the lock button is so worn down that — pushed in or out — it pretty much looks exactly the same. And there’s no way to test it because it’s one of those dumb ones that automatically unlocks as soon as you turn the handle. Thank the lord they don’t make car door locks this way or you’d have kids falling all over the interstate every time they pull the handle. If you’re gonna take a dump with this handle standing between you and John Q. Public, you might as well just leave the door wide open and create a Facebook event to invite all your friends.

Exhibit C

This one isn’t a door lock, but an actual product someone invented because stall locks are so awful. That’s right, the state of stall door hardware is so devolved that we’re now selling little plastic clips to secure the door. This is one step from bringing your own toilet paper with you. Where exactly do you keep this thing? If you’re a woman I guess it just goes in your purse but if you’re a dude, do you just keep it with you in your pants pocket?

Is that a plastic occupied public bathroom stall door securing device in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Exhibit D

Finally we’ve come to the best option. When you have no choice but to drop your cockapoo off at the porcelain kennel, this is the lock you want to see on the inside of the stall door. Usually this baby closes with a real loud and permanent-sounding latch and ends up sounding more like a prison door closing than a bathroom one. There’s something comforting about seeing a good 1/8" of solid steel poking out the back end of that thing as if to say, “Hey, you go do you. I’ve got this shit on lock down.”