Jan 14th
2020

Predictably Irrational

Written by  Justin Thomas - Media Consultant
Predictably Irrational

It is vital that I come straight out and point out that my title is not unique.  Over the recent weeks, I have been enjoying the remarkable book of the same title written by Dan Ariely.  His book is about how and why humans make decisions.  In reality it is more about how we don’t make decisions.  This book is worth a read if you are interested in how humans work.  In our “need the loo” moment, not only do we need to decide, but we make that decision under our body’s own biological pressures.

We all enjoy a favourite toilet.  It is at home.  If we have more than one, we will favour one of those over the others.  Then we have a favourite toilet, cubicle or urinal at work.  If you have just 1 toilet at home, your decision was made for you.  Your rationale as to why this is your favourite toilet is because it is yours.  You know the environment, you know who is near (notice how you feel less comfortable when you have guests sharing this facility?) and you understand how clean it is.  What about when you have multiple toilets?  Why do we have a favourite?

Now time to plunge into that public loo experience.  You are in a shopping centre.  Let’s, for the sake of equality, say that we need to use a cubicle.  We enter the toilet and all empty cubicles.  It is likely, by the time we reach adulthood, that we have a method to make this decision and we have all but forgotten why.  If your chosen cubicle is available, then you already made your decision.  Generally this is the furthest cubicle along which, by the laws of averages, also makes it the least clean.  The reasoning for this popularity is a fundamental principle of toileting in humans.  We want to be in a quiet location as we are mildly compromised.  The end cubicle will have less passing footfall and will only have, at most, 1 neighbour.  We can relax the most and, therefore, eliminate in a less stressful manner.

What if we can’t make our favoured cubicle choice?  Now comes the decision-making process.  What would be the easiest decision?  Actually, it is easier if only 1 cubicle is vacant or if we are in a queue.  Consider the last occasion you queued for a cubicle (men need to think back further, but it happens).  You didn’t care which cubicle you got.  Nor did it bother you that there were plenty of people about.   They made your decision for you and was the whole process was easier and less stressful.  If you enter the facility and the only cubicle taken is the last cubicle then what is your decision?  Let me make it for you.  It should be the first cubicle.  This is the least popular and, therefore, always the cleanest.

What affects our decision making if all the cubicles are identical?  Curiously enough, you might be “self queueing”.  This is a funny phenomenon in that you decide and that decision (no matter how little logic or education went into it) forms your future behaviour.  Because you did it before you do it again because you have already endorsed that choice and that is what you do.  Think to something less fundamental than toileting.  Think about the coffee or tea you buy in the supermarket.  Is it the best choice for you?  Have you tried all the options available?  If not, then you are self-queueing (don’t worry, we all do this).  You are trusting your inner voice as having made the right decision for you.  It might be, but it is actually, statistically, likely that you are wrong.  Again, don’t worry, we all make these types of choices.

So there we are, in a nutshell, human behaviour in a toilet facility.  I have not yet planned how this can help facility managers.  Except maybe locking the last cubicle now and then to herd people into other choices that might become “their choice” (i.e. self-queueing).  As a human, my advice is to look to use the first cubicle as much as possible for hygiene reasons.  However, if we all take that advice, we might make that a less hygienic option.  Ah!  We are so irrational, predictably.

Zenith Washroom Solutions really can’t make your decision about which cubicle you should use.  We can, however, provide expert advise on how to make sure your cubicles are clean, well managed and user focussed.  With our range of toilet seat care, air fresheners, dispenser options and feminine hygiene solutions we are ready to support your users today.  Call us on 0800 328 6452 or contact us here to make your decision today!

Justin Thomas - Media Consultant

Justin Thomas has been involved with Zenith Washroom Solutions (formerly ABC hygiene) since 2009. At first providing ABC hygiene's 2nd web solution then guiding Zenith Washrooms' online presence. This exploits the latest technologies whilst focusing on user experience improvements from the core.

During the past decade Justin has learned a huge amount about the hygiene industry through this work. Now Justin is a contracted media consultant to Zenith Washrooms. This provides a full range of online marketing solutions to Zenith Washrooms. This provides Zenith Washrooms to focus on providing a leading hygiene services solution for their customers.

Justin provides online media presence for a number of small technical businesses based in the UK. Justin lives with his wife and daughter enjoying a wide range of activities. Core being motorcycle maintenance, cooking, music and being a tech geek.

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