Profit != Good Toilet Paper

December 12, 2007 at 3:00 pm 6 comments

Last week, I worked on-site at a factory for one of the most profitable companies in the world.  Most of the users still used Office 2000.  I had not seen that for a while, but from my experience, the larger organizations do tend to be slow on software upgrades.  So that did not stick out to me as unusual.  But I did find myself surprised in an unlikely place– the restroom.

The toilet paper definitely caught my attention.  Its one-ply sheets were very thin and prone to break easily when you tried to pull the roll.  At the same time, it was very un-fabric-like; it was rough. 

Now, I’ve visited numerous customer sites and a variety of different industries — I’ve been to mines (and wouldn’t you expect sketchy toilet paper in a tough environment like a mine?), dairy plants, food testing labs, automotive plants, computer manufacturing sites, pharmaceutical sites and government agencies.  So I think it is notable when I say, “This site had the worst toilet paper.”

And I’m not talking bad about this company behind their back.  It took me two days, but I shared my observations with my hosts and they had to agree (how could one argue?).  Of course, opening the toilet paper topic did prompt an awkward moment.

At one point, one of the trainees was telling me about a different organization and she used an analogy.

“They go through [engineers] like you go through our toilet paper!” she declared.

Suddenly I was self-conscious and flustered.  “What? How do YOU know how much toilet paper I use?!?” 

“Because…” the trainee said, “I’ve used it…  I know how thin it is.”

Ah…. I breathed a sigh of relief.  I guess I should have known.  If the company was going to invest in the restroom, they probably would have upgraded the toilet paper before they installed cameras to monitor the toilet paper usage of their guests.  🙂

Entry filed under: toilet paper.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clint  |  December 12, 2007 at 5:23 pm


  • 2. tgaw  |  December 12, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    @Clint – Boy, I’m on a roll with you. The last two comments you have made were both “lol”– though, the last one was in all caps, so my performance appears to be declining. 🙂

  • 3. Clint  |  December 12, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    i wasn’t feeling capsy today. i don’t think it was your post 🙂

  • 4. Aaron  |  December 13, 2007 at 9:48 am


    You’re evaluating companies based on their toilet paper. That’s hysterical. (Would be better if you brought your own with you and packed it in your laptop bag.)

  • 5. Clint  |  December 13, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Actually, the quality of a company’s bathroom is a great thing to check out before deciding to work there. It lets you know, in a results-oriented fashion, just how much said company cares about the comfort of its employees.

  • 6. geekhiker  |  December 13, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Best. Toilet-Paper Post. Ever.

    Heh. Very funny. 😀


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