Let’s Talk About Bathroom Attendants

Bathroom Hall

Yesterday’s post got me thinking more about servers and attendants at events. I believe in great service as much as anyone, in fact I pride myself on giving grade A service, but there is always a limit. For instance, I still find it incredibly uncomfortable when I go to the bathroom and finish my business to find a usually very sweet attendant trying to hand me a towel for a tip.

I am always left with the vague feeling that this sweet person was just assigned there to make sure guests wash their hands properly (or wash them at all–seriously men, I’ve seen some of you just walk right out of the bathroom after you exit the stall).

Being from the old school of what goes around comes around, I never know what tip is appropriate. Fifty cents hardly seems enough, a dollar probably about right…but then, of course, partly out of guilt or generosity I end up over-tipping.

Bathroom Interior

I strongly suggest that if you do plan to offer this very private service at your next event, please pay the server beforehand and have them refuse any extra gratuity.

How do you feel about bathroom attendants? Do you think it’s a luxurious touch or an awkward encounter?

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  • Emily Tolve

    I think your suggestion is spot on. It's a nice service to offer guests at a high-end event, and your guests shouldn't be expected to tip for a service that's optional. To be honest, no matter the circumstance, I usually feel odd tipping someone for a towel that was laying right there whether they hand it to me or not.With that being said, I do know several attendants who are required to bring their own additions to their job such as body spray, lotions, mints, etc. For that I think they deserve tips because they are providing amenities that would otherwise not have been there. Usually in this circumstance, the attendant is bringing & purchasing those items out of their own pocket… so your tip is paying for use of those things.

  • Alex Rodriguez

    I could not agree with you more. Have one- but ensure they refuse any extra gratuity. The key is ensuring YOU take care of them first. Thanks for sharing!

  • Shanna Suburbia

    I've actually never gone to an event with a bathroom attendant… but I always thought maybe they were there to keep people from stealing stuff like the complimentary lotions. I worked a prom event where the coordinator put out lotion in the restroom that she had bought with her own money (not event budgeted) and it was taken by attendees. And the bathroom was trashed too, so maybe the attendant is another way to curb that?

  • DoxaHome.com

    I concur, if they are tipped in advance then it is a wonderful treat but exchanging money while in the loo is just a bit odd…that's something you expect in a nightclub, and not for washing one's hand but perhaps "powdering" one's nose, at least from what I hear;)

  • Jeff Rapoport

    I always encourage the client to provide attendants and instruct them to refuse any gratuities from individual guests. (Tough to police.) They are well paid and receive a portion of the gratuities for the event. I love that this ensures that the facilities will be perfect for each guest: well worth any feeling of awkwardness that someone may feel. I always tip in a public facility such as a restaurant or resort restroom and I think that $1 is plenty.

  • Marianne Danielson

    There is another side to consider here and that is keeping the facilities neat and in tact. I run a venue and I am amazed how people leave these facilities, and ladies I am sorry to say but we are by far the worst offenders. I agree attendants should be compensated enough whereby a tip is not necessary nor should you feel obligated to tip. However if the attendant is deserving then why not, it's really not the most pleasant job.

  • kenju

    Since I am completely capable of getting my own towel, I hate attendants – unless they have to perform an unusual task for me (and I can't think what that would be).

  • TweetMyWedding

    I agree completely. I grew up in a time and world where the attendants were the norm. But we were taught not to tip. a *guest* should never ever have to pay or tip anyone.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Preston that it is often very strange to have a person in the bathroom with you!!!! I mean I hate even using public bathrooms let alone going into one where some one is listening to everything!!!! I also think the host should pay the attendant and a guest should never give money to attendants….. It's strange that it is even a topic of conversation… In Europe the would never tip anyone!!!xxoMelissa

  • http://owensbaliey@aol.com Deborah Bailey

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  • http://owensbaliey@aol.com Deborah Bailey

    about the bathrooms, everyone needs a job. if it is cleaning the streets my place is to be thankful for the offer of a towel especially when a person is doing a public service to otherwise pigs who do not wash their hands. i should not have said that but people are so harsh. we all know what he or she is there for. it is up to you to determine weather you would want the same done for you in any instance. we never know what will happen next so be careful to judge the act of anyone. the next one could be you………….

  • http://YOURWEBSITE C

    I really dislike having bathroom attendants in the room when I go to the bathroom at a restaurant, bar, etc. No one should have to pay for a service 1) They don’t need, and more importantly 2) They didn’t ask for in the first place. I think it puts patrons in a very uncomfortable and awkward position because most people feel they have no choice but to tip or they’re going to feel like a jerk or feel guilty if they don’t tip. The only positive thing about bathroom attendants is that it creates jobs for people, and I try to look at it that way to diffuse my annoyance by the situation, but if I had a choice….no attendants please!! Life is expensive enough as it is to have to pay for a foo-foo service that’s so unnecessary.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE M. Torok

    I am more comfortable without an attendant in the restroom. you feel pressured to tip for getting a towel.

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  • http://www.yveninginc.com Yvette Daniels

    I was a bathroom attendant or better yet a restroom hostess for several years in NYC. This service is extremely useful and much more than a luxurious touch. I maintained an immaculate restroom which looked amazing and smelled better than some people’s home. I greeted all of the guests. I saved lives. I turned a bad night into a phenomenal evening. I kept the line moving (ladies, we all know how the ladies room line can be)! I received tips ranging from $1 to $100. In addition, I was approached several times with propositions to write a book, “Confessions of a NYC Bathroom Attendant“. The list of celebrities I have had the pleasure of “handing a towel” to is impressive. I have great stories of getting a stain out of Monica’s dress, protecting Lizzie from a intoxicated stalker, mending a CW friendship, and breaking up a cat fight between two hard core rappers. I worked in the Hamptons and Vegas as well. I have seen it all! It was fun! I enjoyed and took pride in my job. Take it from me, we do more than hand out a towel.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE Donna Carol

    I actually think it’s really important to have a bathroom attendant for events with 200+ guests. The value of having a clean bathroom is almost priceless. Is there anything worse than feeling like you need to freshen up after visiting a dirty public restroom? Plus for formal events, being able to freshen up after dinner with a little spritz of hairspray, a swig of mouthwash or get a band aide for that annoying stripy bridesmaid shoe tells your guests you want them to have an enjoyable evening.

  • http://www.ILoveMyPlanner.net Vanessa Alce (I Love My Planner)

    I love your suggestions! It is an awkward encounter because I too never know what the right tip amount is.

  • http://blog.carloatyourservice.com/ Carlo/Carlo At Your Service Productions

    I agree with you in many ways. Yet, what I find to be a much classier idea is to have the “bathroom attendant” stationed just outside of the actual bathroom area, in what I’d call, the “powder room” section of the bathroom.

    The idea of someone placing soap or hand towels in the hands of party, wedding reception, or corporate special event guests seems a bit ludicrous to me. Well, that is – unless you’re a 80 or 90 year old that just might need some assistance.

    There’s such a thing as overkill. My opinion of an actual bathroom attendant being in the stall area of a lavatory is overkill that is tasteless and offensive. And, of course the host of the gala shouldn’t allow their “bathroom attendant” to be tipped. That’s just so “night club-ish and low budget” to me.

    Powder room attendants? Yes. Bathroom attendants? No, thank you!

  • http://www.donsjohns.com Katie Weden

    Oftentimes, restroom attendants are just happy to be serving you and to have a job. Valet restroom attendants that come with luxury restroom trailer rentals for outdoor events and weddings will often monitor visitor activity, and make sure there is plenty of products in the restroom trailers. Nothing worse than using a portapotty or restroom trailer just to find out that there isn’t any tp…