TSD has been on the road quite a bit over the last several months, and traveling means checking in to public restrooms – airports, train stations and highway rest stops – to, among other things, wash our hands. (Particularly during the recent flu season!)
Ok … so this is a little odd. But stick with us…
If you are inclined to pay attention to these things, it turns out that public restroom hand dryers offer a dramatic diversity of design, quality and effectiveness.
For starters, take a look at this number found on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This old school model offers a prosaic design and straightforward operating process. No waving of hands or special blue lights. Push the button and it works. With a solid gust that gets the job done.
Denver, Colorado is a pretty progressive town and the sprawling airport is equally contemporary. Not surprisingly, the blowers are the state-of-the-art Dyson Airblade, billed as “the fastest, most hygienic hand dryer.” It is hard to argue with that – the Dyson works well to be sure, but there is something a little unsettling about putting ones hands into that fairly narrow slot … in a James Bond film, you could imagine the dryer locking around the hands like cuffs…
The Dallas-Forth Worth Airport is stocked with the equally impressive, efficient, and incredibly powerful, “XLERATOR.” The XLERATOR will dry wet pets within 30 meters, doing so with a deafening wind gust that might knock over a small child or frail elderly person. Fantastic and quick!
A restaurant in Washington, DC offered this streamlined machine, operating by the never dependable infrared light and so thin that it is hard to get a clean dry without one’s hands glancing up against the bathroom tile wall.
This white job in a North Carolina airport certainly looks like it belongs in a bathroom – it looks like a bathroom. And with a clunky silver contraption that requires flipping, it is a really dated and unsatisfying instrument when it comes to drying the hands. Is this the best they can do?
Closer to home, at one of Wilmington’s favorite breakfast spots along the Concord Pike, this black and silver “automatically” activated device looks pretty sleek, but it just isn’t in the same category as a Dyson or the XLERATOR in terms of firepower or efficiency.
Surprisingly, in Minneapolis – a town known for its progressivism and even cleanliness – we encountered absolutely no hand dryers. Instead, they had a lame roll of paper towels on a faux-granite counter. Could this have been the infamous Sen. Craig bathroom? One shudders to think. C’mon Minneapolis! Step it up.