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May 8, 2007 12:03 AM

Broken: Toilet paper sign

LolsignNick C. submits a picture taken at a gas station bathroom in Arizona:

I stopped at a gas station somewhere in Arizona. I went into the bathroom and saw this sign in the stall which read:

Toilet Papers inside the Toilet please!
*Thank you!*"

I found the sign to have very interesting grammar, particularly the use of asterisks.


I'd hate to take a whiff of that place after a trucker takes a number two.

Posted by: John Russell at May 8, 2007 12:23 AM

So where are you supposed to put them? In the garbage? I'd had to be the person who empties that garbage...

Posted by: ashleyriot_vs at May 8, 2007 04:37 AM

Or rather hate to be that person...


Posted by: ashleyriot_vs at May 8, 2007 04:38 AM

The asterisks are for emphasis, on the NO and the THANK YOU. Not exactly punctuation. 'Paper' can be singular or plural, although in the case of toilet paper it's usually singular. In any case, minor mistakes don't make a sign broken. You can easily see its meaning and there are no contradictions.

Posted by: Fuzzy at May 8, 2007 07:30 AM

Fuzzy, are you serious?? How can it not be broken? It's a prohibition against putting TOILET PAPER in the TOILET.

Posted by: stoo at May 8, 2007 08:00 AM

At least they uses *.

Better than:


Toilet Papers

Inside The


"Thank You"

Which this sign had an approximately 80% chance of being written as.

Posted by: cheryl at May 8, 2007 08:53 AM

I think some of these comments are more broken. :)

I wouldn't want to go in there at all. I'd rather find some bushes.

Posted by: goUseIt at May 8, 2007 09:43 AM

Nothing's broken here. The use of *Asterisk* to mark off a word is a common thing on-line when you don't have any other way of bolding something.

While it's not needed with a marking pen it's by far not the first time I've seen on-line things showing up off-line.

Posted by: Loren at May 8, 2007 11:32 AM

heck... I say not broken simply because I'd rather have a sign with some odd grammar issues letting me know they don't have any toilet paper in the restroom, then to get in there and find out they don't have any afterwards.

Posted by: Memnon at May 8, 2007 11:52 AM

The grammar and *s are not broken.

What is broken is what the hell it means, exactly.

I've seen plenty of signs, usually in portables, about not putting non-TP paper or tampons in the toilet.

But no toilet paper? Something ain't right there.

(Unless it's a warning that they're out of TP, but then the sign is at least slightly broken for not indicating that it's a warning rather than a directive. And why "Thank you", in that case?)

Posted by: Sigivald at May 8, 2007 03:57 PM

In many English dialects (especially British English), the word "toilet" is used to refer to the room as well as the appliance. I don't know about Arizona, but in southern California, a lot of service station operators are recent Pakistani or Indian immigrants - and they would have learned British English.

Which means, this sign may be to warn customers that the station has run out of toilet paper, and if you're about to do something that requires it, you may want to reconsider.

It's off target in that Americans tend to use "toilet" only for the appliance, and therefore creates confusion as to whether it's an advisory about a lack of toilet paper or whether it's a command not to put toilet paper in the toilet. I suspect the former. Which, for its intended audience, makes it broken.

Posted by: Steve J at May 8, 2007 05:12 PM

Fuzzy, are you serious?? How can it not be broken? It's a prohibition against putting TOILET PAPER in the TOILET.

When I was in Iraq, our toilets would clog and backflow if anyone flushed toilet paper with their offering to the porcelain gods. The stink in the bathrooms was horrible, but not as bad as if every toilet backed up with every use... and I was on the detail that got to clean up after it all.


Posted by: LafinJack at May 8, 2007 06:13 PM

I meant that first line to be in italics as a quote. Thought basic HTML worked here... oops.

Posted by: LafinJack at May 8, 2007 06:15 PM

The first time I read it, I thought it was broken because it was saying the toilet paper was located inside the toilet, so not to bring your own??? ;-0

Posted by: ccmushroom at May 8, 2007 08:56 PM

To clarify: It's a warning that there is no toilet paper available in the toilets.

Posted by: Loren at May 9, 2007 10:11 AM

While it seems bizarre to us first-worlders, the sign may not actually be broken. Rather, the septic system may. Similar signs exist all over the place in Costa Rica (even in moderately fancy hotels!) - same slightly broken English tone, even.

In Costa Rica, you are *in fact* supposed to wipe your butt and then put the TP in the trashcan. You flush only biomatter that way and spare their plumping unnecessary disruptions.

Posted by: cath at May 9, 2007 04:18 PM

I've never heard of the entire restroom being called the toilet. I have heard the term water closet or WC. Toilet paper is in fact designed to disintegrate in water so as not to disrupt the plumbing. Putting the TP in the trashcan after use is not sanitary and risks spreading disease.

Posted by: ebob at May 9, 2007 10:58 PM

Perhaps this gas station owner was fighting a battle with some local kids who kept throwing his SPARE ROLLS into the hopper.

Posted by: henrybowmanaz at May 15, 2007 07:40 PM

Oh, wait -- I bet I understand it!

Odds are he is talking about toilet SEAT COVERS. You're not supposed to flush those.

That's why he said "papers" and not "paper." I think we'll also find that English is not the sign maker's first language.

Posted by: henrybowmanaz at May 15, 2007 07:42 PM

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