Sunday, July 14, 2013

that sinking feeling

Another toilet related snippet caught our attention this week.

NPR reports that a Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the traditional mens urinal. His design includes a tap and sink right over it.

"It's not just a fancy piece of art," he says. "The idea is about function and consumption. You are washing your hands in the sink on top of the urinal, and the same water that's running is also used to flush. You don't have to use water twice, like when you use the urinal and wash your hands in separate sink."

This is of course a behavioural nudge in the form of bundling.

We should all be familiar with this from checking in baggage when going on a flight.

Most airlines will now provide the facility to pay for your extra baggage at the same point that the flight itself is purchased.

Thereby bundling all the pain of paying, into one perceived transaction and removing the unpleasantness and inconvenience of making another payment at the check-in.

For the loss averse human, paying just once feels better than paying twice despite the financial cost being identical.

In the toilet situation there are also costs involved with a two-step.

In most cases these are behavioural costs rather than financial.

Post-pee we are faced with a situation of potentially walking out without washing when a sink is not available due to other handwashers hogging the facility.

This probably accounts for a chunk of the alleged 40% of pee-ers who dont wash afterwards.

So, by bundling the pee and the wash, in theory, the majority of the behavioural cost of handwashing is removed.

Just to add, I'm a confirmed washer, despite the cost, and will never eat the peanuts on the bar.

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