Home > cultural commentary, humor > Toilet seat blues!

Toilet seat blues!

Yesterday I decided to change the toilet seat in the upstairs bathroom. I suspect the previous owners (you’ll see previous posts alluding to the fact we just moved) just bought the cheapest one they could, which was plastic, didn’t fit properly, the lid kept falling off, etc.

I bought one that isn’t exactly ‘high end’ but is substantially pricier than quite a lot of what’s available because it has a ‘soft close’ mechanism and no kitsch decorative motifs or castings on it. Plus it’s moulded and painted wood. I figured – how’s this for rational consumer behaviour? – on a ‘per use’ basis it would end up being both cheaper and more comfortable!

So today I thought it would be a good idea to fit the thing. Easy job, right? Undo the wing nuts holding the old one in place, fit the new one, tighten the nuts and job’s done. Ten minutes.

Nope. An hour later I was still trying to work out how to make the little plastic spacers that are supposed to sit between the chrome hinges and porcelain toilet pan actually fit neatly on the bottom of the hinges. They were ridged in a way that indicated they should fit around the edge of the hinges, except they didn’t. I tried various tricks I’ve picked up over the years, such as leaving them to warm up in hot water and stretching them gently to fit. I tried a dozen different ways to get them to sit in place. No luck.

In the end I re-used the old plastic spacers, cut down with scissors to fit. This works, but it still niggles me that I can spend that amount of money and discover the problem that causes me time and aggravation lies with a couple of small pieces of plastic that cost a few pence (or cents, depending on where you’re reading this). If a company’s charging for an allegedly premium product, why isn’t the whole thing, right the way down to the smallest components that would probably be the easiest things to get right, properly made and accurately sized?

If that isn’t enough trivia for you, you can read someone else’s rather more moving story of toilet seat blues here; a post evocatively titled ‘Teach your children well: Aim straight, aim true‘ (you can imagine why); and no one, as far as I can tell, has recorded a song called ‘Toilet Seat Blues’ apart from someone’s drunken improvisation on YouTube (there is a slightly related intrumental by Neil Innes called ‘Twyfords Vitromant’, the name of a urinal popular at one time in English pub toilets if I remember rightly, but no freely-available performances I can trace!). Maybe it’s an idea whose time has yet to come…

 

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