A Sinking Feeling

Since moving to Memphis I have been very positive and have only written praise worthy things about one of my favorite places in the city, Shelby Farms Park, but this morning I want to talk about the enormous oversight they made while doing their new renovations. The hand washing situation in the visitors center restrooms was either terribly planned out or somebody completely botched the execution. “Is this guy really going to write about hand washing?” Yes I am. “Is this idiot seriously going to ask and answer his own questions?” I’m not proud of it but again yes, I am and I’m so sorry. When you finish using the restroom you walk over to a row of sinks. So far, so good. I’ve found too many public restrooms to not have enough and thus on a busy day you are stuck standing behind a dad holding up a horizontal child who is washing their hands for the first time and is blinded to the fact that a line has built up behind them because of the “cuteness” of the situation. If I had a dollar. The population of sinks was well thought out and executed and that isn’t part of the problem.

Instead of turning a handle or having to pray to the automatic faucet to grace you with some of its water you instead have to press down on the nob which then releases water for as long as it is deemed necessary for an average park visitor to wash their hands. This sounds like a great forward thinking idea but someone seriously miscalculated the time it takes to properly wash one’s hands. On every single occasion that I use the restroom there, which is daily the water has cut off during the soaping of my hands and then I’ve been forced to use those soapy hands to press down once again on the nob leaving it slimy and soapy for the next person who comes along. So once you get your five seconds of running water you have to apply soap to your hands which shouldn’t be a problem since there is a soap dispenser built next to every sink. It doesn’t matter how many there are because it always takes me at least two or three tries at multiple dispensers to finally find one with soap. If I could play a Russian roulette type game where if my dispenser had soap I would be killed but if it didn’t I would get a million dollars, there is absolutely no doubt that I would play every single time.

So now that you’ve wet your hands, applied soap, and re-pressed the nob to get more water all you have left is to rub your hands together and rinse off the soap and then you’re good to go, the picture of hand washing hygiene. Whoever designed the faucets made them so low that they have absolutely no reach on them. They barely extend over the lip of the sink making it necessary to rub your hands up against the side of the sink basin in order to have water hit the backs directly. I don’t know what’s happened in these sinks; I’ve actually heard of people peeing in sinks and while I’m not implying that it happens here I really don’t want to take that risk. I should be able to wash my hands free of touching any surfaces that might also have been touched by someone who had a big burrito for lunch and then relieved himself here in the park restroom.

Once you’re done washing all that’s left is to grab a paper towel or hit the hand drying station and you can be on your way, back to all the fun the park has to offer. While I do applaud the park for having both hand drying options the placement of the hand dryer is horrible. There are two entrances to the bathroom and the one I come in has the paper towel dispenser next to it while the hand dryer (singular) is around another wall by the other entrance. What’s the big deal? Shelby Farms has done a great job in promoting green living and less waste over the years and one of the obvious resources to eliminate wasting paper towels is completely hidden to half of the people who go into that restroom. I completely stand behind Shelby Farms Park and I love almost everything about it but whomever designed and/or executed the restroom building in the new visitors center really dropped the ball on this one.


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