Ever wonder why public bathroom stalls made in the 80s and late 90s have a 2 inch gap between the door and the stall? C’mon, how did that make it past the engineering review board? I can’t imagine it did. As a matter of fact I bet the first stalls were probably fully-enclosed units.
That is until a flood of movies came out in the 80s featuring the ceremonial public bathroom assassination. You know the scene. A tall menacing figure strolls into a public bathroom sawed off shotgun in hand, kicking all the bathroom doors in, until he finally blast away at some unsuspecting Joe taking a smash. Don’t believe me? Go here , It’s the gold standard for all movie bathroom scenes.
So I have to believe that when it came time to reveal the designs of the next modern generation public bathroom facility it went kind of like this:
Scene: Stuffy room at the American Restrooms Head Quarters with 10-15 execs and a couple of engineers. <side note: Why are institutions of piss and shit the only ones that proudly preface their company name with “American”?>
CEO: <through puffs of cigar smoke> Well Jim what’dya got?
Lead Engineer: John Sir. It’s very similar to your private bathroom, the stalls are fully enclosed and…
CEO: Now hang on Jim, you watch any movies?
John: Uh well yeah
CEO: How many countless times do you see some tough nut rolling into a public bathroom and blowing away some poor sap who had no clue what was Wednesday before he got the last rites?
CEO: Now suppose I’m at the local highway rest stop late at night and I gotta go. I get in there and proceed to do my business when some crazy looney burst into the bathroom fully intent on lighting me up. How the hell am I gonna see that coming with that door design you got there? I’m a sittin’ duck in that thing.
Other Execs: <nodding heads>
John: Well I’d suppose you’d hear..
CEO: What we need is some kinda assassination prevention mechanism. Tell ya what, put a 2″ viewer all the way down that thing.
John: <perplexed> You mean you want a 2″ gap between the door and the stall?
CEO: Damn straight. That way I’ll never be surprised.
John: But Sir, in all likelihood by the time you saw a killer from the stall it’d be too late.
CEO: <long pause> Your right. Better give me 3 feet on each side in case I need to make a quick getaway.
Other Execs: <strong head nodding>