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May 11, 2005 12:03 AM

Broken: Cafe toilet

13Ji Kim writes:

These are from the bathroom at the Muddy Waters cafe in San Francisco. It took a while to figure how I could flush the toilet..... :)


well... i dont see how it took you so long to figure it out... but yes... it is quite broken...

Posted by: Dragon at May 11, 2005 12:56 AM

At least they put a sign there to tell you how to flush!

Posted by: Andy Hoffman at May 11, 2005 01:49 AM

Hmm... maybe you are the broken one... just joking. But I would not be eating in a place that had such an unsanitary looking washroom. Muddy Water Cafe, is broken!

Posted by: terrylee at May 11, 2005 07:45 AM

very interesting. not really broken, per se, but definitely broken as in 'not operational'

and ja, is unsanitary.

Posted by: Bob at May 11, 2005 07:48 AM

it says 'push white button in center of toilet'. You flush it by pushing the white button in the center of the toilet. The sign certainly isn't broken, but they realy should get the toilet fixed.

Posted by: Bob at May 11, 2005 07:50 AM

I actually have a toilet like this. What probably happened is the porceline cover that includes a plastic button in the center was probably broken some how. I would imagine it's a temporary problem, until they can get a new top cover (not the easiest thing to buy).

As far as unsanitary, this is clean water that at this stage never comes into contact with waste. I wouldn't think that touching this white plunger would be any less unsanitary than pressing the white plunger on any other toilet.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 11, 2005 08:37 AM

Regardless of sanitation, it is still disgusting ot have to stick your hands in a restaurant toilet.

Posted by: Chaos at May 11, 2005 08:59 AM

The real beauty in this posting is the irony in the name...

Muddy Waters indeed!


Posted by: DaveC426913 at May 11, 2005 09:30 AM


The worst part is when you press the button it then asks you to save your changes. I didn't make any changes. :D

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 11, 2005 10:21 AM

Regardless of whether the water in the tank is uh "muddy", the water is not kept at a high or low enough temperature to stop the breeding of bacteria. It is a lot easier to clean and sanitize a knob than that white button. But, this seems to be a temporary problem that might have only lasted until a new part was received.

Posted by: Andy Hoffman at May 11, 2005 10:22 AM

This is about the customer experience. Now consider the customer experience. You go to the washroom, and you have to stick your hand in the toilet tank to flush it! That's broken!

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at May 11, 2005 10:22 AM

Is this the same bathroom that the cooks use? Unsanitary, Broken, and Wrong.

Posted by: Cornholio at May 11, 2005 10:37 AM

:D Thank you, Joshua. I needed a good chuckle.

Posted by: Chaos at May 11, 2005 10:43 AM

OK, obviously the toilet is broken. Do most people have their toilets like that in their houses? No.

Posted by: T-1000 at May 11, 2005 10:57 AM

Obviously this is not the best experience when you walk into a bathroom. I challenge anyone to just walk into a home depot or plumbing store of your choice and pick up a new toilet lid. Somehow the current lid was broken, and between then and a new tank lid being ordered and shipped from the manufacturer, they have this sign.

From the sign and the illustration on it, I think it's pretty clear, you press down on the white button. Granted, this may be because I bought these toilets or similar ones to it, that somehow give you a really good flush with only 1.2gallons of water. I think it's due to compressed air of some type like a super soaker squirt gun.

All of the water/air mix is stored in the black tank, and the outer porcelin is just for decoration, so you're not sticking your hand in water or anything like that, you're just pressing down on the top of the white plunger. Normally with this toilet there is a button over it built into the lid that depresses this plunger.

I am in no way an expert on toilets, I just clog everyone I have, and these seem to do the job without clogging.

Here's a picture of what the toilet normally looks like with the top lid in place.§ion=2&category=13

(i tried to make this an html link but the blog does not allow it.)

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 11, 2005 11:06 AM

Cool, I guess it does the link automatically.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 11, 2005 11:31 AM

Why is this so unsanitary?

You wash you hand AFTER you flush!!!

So, why does it matter?

Posted by: MinkOWar at May 11, 2005 11:33 AM

it doesnt really, considering minute bacteria are thrown into the air when you flush, getting all over you.

Posted by: Dragon at May 11, 2005 01:23 PM

thats not broken!!

if my ipod breaks, should i send it to

if my oven breaks?

its cracked, not broken in the "thisisbroken" sense.

Posted by: glatzer at May 11, 2005 01:53 PM

I think the submitter meant that sign is broken because it is so poorly modified (and wrong, if you do indeed press the white button...).

Note that "white button" is scratched out with regular ballpoint pen and "firm rod" is written in. So do you flush by pressing the white button or by pressing the firm rod?

Posted by: Danielle at May 11, 2005 02:18 PM

Looking at the first picture you can clearly see missing wall tiles and grafitti. Add that to the broken toilet and I would say what is really broken is the lack of maintenance happening at the 'Muddy Waters Cafe'.

If this is the customer bathroom, can you imagine what the kitchen looks like and what maintenance issues they may have overlooked there?

Posted by: Blaine at May 11, 2005 02:30 PM

I don't think the submitter intended so much for the toilet to be the focal point as much as the fact that you still have to stick you hand in some stranger's toilet. Yes, the water may very well be clean, and you will wash your hands (hopefully), BUT the fact remains that your hand will still have to be inside a strange toilet.

Posted by: Chaos at May 11, 2005 02:46 PM

I think the scratched out graphiti is actually a joke. Press [your] Firm Rod in Center of Toilet, but I could just have a dirty mind.

Oh and Chaos, with this type of toilet you're not putting your hand in water, the water is stored in the black tank.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at May 11, 2005 02:57 PM

JW: I know you don't have to stick your hand in the water. BUT you have to touch the inside parts of a strange toilet. No matter how you look at it, I still see it as disgusting.

Posted by: Chaos at May 11, 2005 03:41 PM


Seriously, that whole restaurant is broken.

Posted by: Bianca at May 11, 2005 05:34 PM

I believe some people put posts here saying they had a difficult time with some simple instructions so they may feel validated for sending it in.

that being said whats broken here is the drawing on the sign if a customer didn't understand the sign would that drawing be of any use.

Posted by: kent tell at May 11, 2005 07:16 PM

there is no lid for this toilet. This toilet was upgraded from a standered one. they bought a black pressure tank from a store and put it in. How do i know? the original flushing handle is still atatched to the side of the tank

Posted by: unknown at May 11, 2005 08:13 PM


Those toilets are ugly. Why would anybody want one?

Posted by: Bob at May 11, 2005 11:09 PM


why isn't there a comment for the faulty picture one? just beacause it's pointless? i ask merely for information.

btw, i only posted on that one eight hundred times.

Posted by: Bob at May 11, 2005 11:14 PM

OK, the scary part of this is: The last time I was in San Francisco -- something like four years ago -- my then-girlfriend and I stopped at a cafe. The toilet there was broken in exactly the same way. Down to a handwritten sign.

Now, I figured it was possible that this was the same place, and either they had never bothered to fix it or it broke again, but I looked up the location and it's in the wrong part of town. Still, it's a bizarre coincidence.

Posted by: Kelson at May 12, 2005 12:41 AM

What's REALLY broken here is this sentence (Posted by Kent Tell)-

"that being said whats broken here is the drawing on the sign if a customer didn't understand the sign would that drawing be of any use."

I literally had to read it 3 times just to make sense out of it!

Posted by: ambrocked at May 12, 2005 12:42 AM

We have the same toilet at work...the handle breaks apart from the internal workings so we remove the lid so we can flush.

What is BROKEN is that I know this!!!

Posted by: Robert at May 12, 2005 02:31 AM

Obviously the toilet is broken if you can't flush it using the handle like a normal toilet. Not only broken but disgusting.

Posted by: Faolan at May 13, 2005 12:55 AM

Uh, maybe I have my mind in the gutter, but I assumed the person posting was referring to the amended instructions requiring pressing a "firm rod" into the toilet. A guy standing over a toilet might feel he has his rod in hand and worry about both having to firm it up and then having to place it in a public toilet.

Posted by: Burnsie at May 13, 2005 06:40 PM

Im confused on how people cannot understand the sign. maybe if it was hidden... its like a door that says push, but everyone just pulls because they think thats what they are suppose to do.

Maybe im just broken and a ubernerd.. but i think its pretty simple to push the button.. maybe if the button was red with DO NOT PUSH on it.. then it wouldnt be so broken to those who cannot make sense of the white button.

Posted by: Picho at May 14, 2005 09:24 PM

that's pretty cool that you take yr camera into the bathroom stall with you.

Posted by: con at May 19, 2005 06:26 PM

So what if you touch the button?


Posted by: Zelse at May 26, 2005 07:44 PM

Hey, look here,

Posted by: Gary Tjader at September 5, 2005 12:26 AM

i have seen these before

Posted by: Galen at March 13, 2006 04:11 PM

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