Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I Paid 5 Swedish Kronor to Use the Bathroom

I did some Christmas shopping on Sunday with DCP and CBCC. I’m not a big fan of shopping but ‘tis the season. So I soldiered on. As we all did. At the time though I thought it would end quickly, so I ignored the pressing need to find myself a bathroom.

And then it hit. Hard. And I needed a bathroom. Now this can be more difficult than it would seem in Sweden. Many bathrooms in Stockholm will cost you five SEK. But not just five SEK, they actually require an actual five piece. None of this piecing together ones. The idea is that the money is used to keep the bathrooms nice and clean. And so not all stores have bathrooms available to the common customer. And I was a common customer. So I crossed the street into a large shopping center and began frantically looking for a bathroom.

I found one. And then had to pay my five SEK to use it. Apparently the common customer can’t be trusted. Even places like McDonald’s will make you pay sometimes. And places like H&M don’t even give you an idea as to where they might have a bathroom.

When I need to use a bathroom desperately I hate this. When I get into the bathroom and see how nice it looks I like it. And when I don’t need a bathroom, well I just don’t even think about it. The downside of this is that there is always someone who needs the bathroom. And so there is always someone thinking about this. Which is fine most of the time. Except for Friday and Saturday nights. Because that is when people go drinking. And when people go drinking they need to go peeing. And so any public place that seems halfway suitable smells of urine and beer. The subway stations especially. Gross.

And so I came up with a wonderful solution. Stockholm can still earn a little money to keep their bathrooms clean and charge their five SEK to use the bathrooms. But Friday and Saturday night after four I think it is pretty obvious that they should be free. Imagine how glorious this would be. The drunks are happy when they need to pee. And the people in charge are happy because they still get clean bathrooms for most of the days of the week.


  1. You have a good solution. At 4 am people needing a bathroom must be in such a condition that they are not able to play with coins anyway!

  2. Having been a victim of the pay toilets (stay away from the Stockholm Södra station if you you have a touch of the mysophobia) I think this is a killer idea. Britain just went one further and has a number that you can text with the word toilet and it will text you back with the nearest five locations of toilets by triangulating your mobile signal to tell where you are. Combine these two ideas and Sweden could take the lead in public toilet technology.

    On a further note, I rented Friday Night Lights with the intention of watching two and going to bed. I ended up watching 9. It is awesome!

  3. well, theres only one public toilet that i trust in all of Göteborg here. thank god its always available. except when the mall is closed.

  4. @Dr. David Knightfish, I think we're on to something here. Clearly, we're on the brink of a breakthrough in the business of public sanitation.

    And damn right Friday Night Lights is glorious!

    Now even the good doctor endorses Friday Night Lights. Shown on Sunday nights in Sweden. Check it out.

    @Mrs. Cecrux, Trusting a place that can close is risky, especially in Sweden where things close so early!

  5. When I first came to Sweden I was really shocked by the 5kr cost of using the loo. My friend and I called it the 'Having a piss tax'. Now I always try to leave the doors ajar so the next person gets a free go.

    I'm basically a toilette charge anarchist!

  6. A piss tax is exactly what it is! Stockholm needs more of you.

    A revolution is on hand!