Thursday, February 23, 2012

Har Mar Barnes and Noble

While the store itself is pretty good, there's nothing noble, and everything barn-like about this bathroom. Upon stepping into this bathroom, one's eyes are greeted with a reasonably clean bathroom, decent counter and tile (though old) and several spots in which to complete your transaction.

But when you finally have to breathe in, usually from the nose like most normal people, the gag reflex kicks in big time. Your olfactory glands will be wrangled into a full-nelson of putridness rivaled only by an actual animal smell.

The smell, oh the smell.

In the many years of patronizing this store, I have maybe one or two times found this bathroom's smell to be tolerable. Typically, it smells like someone has dropped a prime deuce nearly bringing one to vomit on each trip. To say it smelled like something died would not even begin to describe it. It smells more like the handicap stall has been turned into a cage for bigfoot.

If you find yourself in this store and have to go, 1 or 2, skip it, go across the hall to homegoods, or even one of the mall bathrooms.

Vital stats:

3 stall

2 urinals

1 persistent, unearthly stench


Though mostly clean, there is sometimes a mountain of paper towels growing out of the garbage can. The urinals also could use an update and cleaning.


-1 out of 5 flushes, without that smell, i might give it a 1 or 1.5

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Olive Garden Roseville

Olive garden - roseville

While I am not a huge fan of the Olive Garden, they have decent food, and more importantly, a great bathroom.

Stepping into this bathroom for the first time is like entering a palace. It's bright, clean, smells OK and even has halfway decent artwork.

The tile is light tan, and it's consistent on the walls and floor. It does have a slightly cheap vibe, but it's initial impression is amazing.

The smell is more or less air freshener, but it's not a typical bargain basement scent.

Vital Stat:

2 stalls, one handicap accessible

2 urinal (no divider)

Despite the overall pleasant look of the bathroom, the one thing i have against it is that there is no divider between the urinals. I was really nervous to use this, because during a busy time, there's no telling how many people might come in and disrupt my business.

That's a serious offense.

Until they get that fixed, they get:

4 out of 5 flushes. Throw a divider in, and they would have a nearly perfect bathroom.

Mirror in the Bathroom

I am a fan of ska music, and recently I came across a decent 2-Tone ska band called "The English Beat" or just The Beat. One of their most famous songs is titled: "Mirror in the Bathroom."

What is it about? I really couldn't say. There's a line about locking the door, and maybe the guy talking to himself. And another line about watching yourself while you're eating.

Whatever it's about, it's a good song, go check it out on Youtube. If this blog had a theme song, that would be it. Depending what it was about.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Macy's Downtown Minneapolis 4th floor

Ah, the Macy's in downtown.

That is probably one of the coolest places to go in downtown. Except that it's impossible to get out of. I may actually still be in it somewhere. I would compare it to the labyrinth in mythology. Thankfully i have yet to find a minotaur.

Actually, funny story about this Macy's. A few years ago, I had come to downtown for the first time. I was about six hours early for an Aquabats concert I was going to. Or maybe it was a job interview. Either way, I figured I'd kill some time in the skyway.

I entered Macy's and soon became lost. At length, I eventually had to use the bathroom. One of the lady's working there was nice enough to tell me that it was at the top of the escalator, back by the children's section.

I zipped up the escalator, and made a bee line for the privies. I went in and it was full of stalls, not a urinal in the joint. I shrugged this off. After all, it wasn't weird to me, the building I worked at featured a men's room full of stalls.

So, I did the business, and leisurely went to wash my hands. As I was drying off, a woman came into the restroom.

"What are you doing in here?" I asked.

"What are YOU doing in here?" She asked.


"This is the men's room, isn't it."

"Um, no. It's the women's room. Can't you see all the stalls?"

I looked again. It was indeed full of stalls, which was normal to me.

"Ah, sorry!"

And I made haste to leave. I was afraid she'd call security, so I immediately tried to leave Macy's. I eventually made it out, but probably after such a long time that security would have found me had they been so inclined.

Vital stats:

men's (women's features between 3-4 stalls if memory serves)

1 handicap stall

2 urinals

Smell - neutral

The tile work is average, not especially clean, nor dirty. Nothing special, which was a surprise for a Macy's.

The urinals also lacked a divider between them. That's not a good thing as it eliminates peace of mind. Who can go when the threat of a sword battle looms over every second?

The stall looked like it had been used by Hulk Hogan, after he was angry there were no toilet seat covers. (There weren't any.) It was loose, hanging on by a single screw, and I'm not sure why it hasn't been fixed.

The only things that would have made this bathroom worse would be if the floor was sticky, or if there was a smell and graffiti.

They do earn a bonus point for high quality paper towels that are beyond what i even use in my kitchen.

1.5 out of 5 flushes

Broken toilet seat, no seat covers or divider at the urinal. They get points for no smell, and the paper towels

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Macy's Rosedale - Lower Level

The level of inconsistency in Macy's bathrooms is nothing short of amazing. The second floor one, tucked away near the women's fitting rooms is pretty good, though weird. Still, it has class.

The next bathroom, in the same store, is a contrast share only with Two-Face's face. While the 2nd floor one is good, this one is not quite as good.

Again, hidden away in the basement/kitchen gadget area (and just past the employee loung) is another bathroom. I was shocked to learn the other day that this one existed.

So much for my detective skills.

Vital stats:

2 Stalls, one is handicap accessible

1 urinal


The decor here is really standard. Nothing fancy, no frills. The tile is just standard bathroom brown and tan. the floor is showing some signs of age, but is in acceptable condition. It was overall clean and devoid of smells of any kind.

The toilet seat I used was pockmarked, and in kind of rough shape. A trend that was continued when I merely looked at the thin toilet paper, and it literally ripped as I sighted it.

Other than that, it's the Joe Average of bathrooms.

At first, it gives off a vibe of seclusion. This is reinforced by the fact that I never knew it was there, and getting there requires a turn through a secret passage (not really) then a long and winding hallway reminiscent of the old "Get Smart" opening.

The bathroom was deserted.

It didn't last, the illusion of privacy was vaporized as man after man suddenly made loud entrances into the room, and equally boisterous exits.

When the coast was clear, I made my exit. I then noticed a no smoking sign. Why that's there? I don't know. Perhaps because the bathroom decor hasn't been updated since smoking was allowed indoors.

Overall Rating:

2 out of 5 flushes.

They lose points for decor, and the cratered toilet seat. Also, the toilet paper that's 1 molecule thick. They get some points for no smell, and being generally clean.

Ikea - Bloomington - Lower Level (by the candles?)

Venturing into Ikea is like entering a dungeon in the original "Legend of Zelda." Except it isn't fun or rewarding. Mainly because I'm too old to run around with a toy sword and shield.

They both feature maps that are effectively useless in getting you where you need to be. They both have "secret passages," or shortcuts to areas you wish you hadn't found. They're both filled with irritating residents. Oh, and they both lack anyone that can help you in any meaningful way.

Zelda, monsters that eat your shield or can only be killed with the exact weapons you just ran out of.

Ikea, slow and annoying fellow shoppers.

Finally, they both lack bathrooms.

Well, almost. Ikea does have a few bathroom, but they are mostly un-findable. Unfortunately, the mock-up rooms in Ikea only feature "display" models that aren't functional. I guess that's good, since they have no toilet paper.

Luckily, my Zelda experience allowed me to find one on my most recent (and hopefully last) trip there.

Vital Stats:

1 urinal

1 + (?) Stall


Nothing fancy here, but i am shockingly surprised it's not worse. When i ventured in, i found it to be mostly clean. The floor had a slight dirt buildup, probably from age on white tile.

The smell too, one would expect to be impaled through the nostrils with the smell of who-knows-what, but instead my nostrils were greeted by an air freshener that was tolerable.

I am please to note that their bathroom features "cutting edge" technology in the form of a Dyson Airblade hand dryer, in addition to acceptably spasmadic auto-sinks and flushers.

3.25 out 5 flushes (they lose points on the decor, but get some for smell and general cleanliness.)

Overall, this is an oasis, a brief respite of calm in the insanity that is an Ikea store. Good luck finding it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dunn Bros. Fairview Ave

Dunn Bros. probably features the best coffee in the Twin Cities. Their fresh roasted coffee adds an excellent aroma to nearly any study session.

The location on Fairview is overall a good place to have a coffee, but if you stay for any length of time, eventually you'll have to "go."

Vital Stats:

2 stalls (one seems handicap accessible)

1 urinal


This bathroom lacks much in the way of decor. It's standard tile through and through. The floor is kind of a gray tile and has accumulated some grime over the years, so even when it's clean, it doesn't always look like it.

I'm also sad to report that the sign above urinal suggesting that men improve their aim is long gone.

They have updated the sink area, which is nice and they've also replaced the old cloth "wheel of towel" dispenser with paper towels. A welcome change, as I've always thought those to be pretty gross. Who wants to share wet nasty towels?

The urinal's flushing mechanism is really irritating. It's not one of those neurotic automatic ones that flushes 15 times while you're in front of it , nor is it even those easily flushable levers seen almost everywhere.

No, instead, it's a small, push button that flushes for as long as you hold it. My first five attempts to flush the toilet failed miserably. Finally, I mustered all of my puny Earth muscles, put my weight into it and flushed.


My joy was soon replaced with complete disappointment. The deluge i had been hoping for and expecting came out as nothing more than a trickle. Apparently, only Superman can flush this toilet.

In summary, this bathroom isn't terrible, it's usually clean and it doesn't smell bad most of the time. In fact, i believe it smells better than it used to. That along with new sink tells me they're making improvements over time

I give it 2.5 out 5 flushes for being average.