I did it for three reasons:
1. I was bored while waiting for Deon do her shopping,
2. I wanted to be reminded of the importance of 20 cents*,
3. I was determined to make the toilet lady feel good about her job.
I could feel the instant shift in power. All of a sudden, I was at the mercy of the toilet lady. Her posture changed, her tone deepened. Me? I looked much like my puppy.
She knew I was tricking her, despite of my rustic demeanor, I could afford the 20c (I really could!).
I got a free entrance not because she was stupid enough to believe in my white lies. I closed the deal because we connected. I treated the toilet lady with dignity and respect. I looked her in the eyes, and bestowed to her a sense of pride and significance for a vocation most people overlooked. That or because it made her feel good in allowing a poor fella through for a nature relief.
I don’t know if I made the lady’s day through my toilet incident, but she certainly made mine. Through her empathy, it gave me a reason to believe in human kindness, a hope for a better Asia that is indeed very much within reach. That, and also because I triumphed in a negotiation! (Secret to happiness: Celebrate success, be it 20c or 20M!)
>>> Never underestimate the power of 20c.
>>> Perseverance and a bit of good acting goes a long way.
>>> Be nice to the toilet lady, she has more power than you think(really!).
* Disclaimer, the photo I took showed 50c per toilet entry. That was taken in a upper class shopping center. When you pay a premium, make sure you demand free tissue paper on the way in! Market price is 20c in Malaysia, or free, if you follow my steps. Don’t get ripped off!
>>> This particular toilet lady wouldn’t spill to me about her business secret. It didn’t deter me from interviewing the other toilet ladies about toilet traffic.
>>> On a weekend, there could be up to 80 people patronizing the public toilet in any given hour. Average of no more than 5 per hour on a quiet day.
>>> Do the math, you will discover that on their best day, they earn RM 16 per hour. That equates to A$ 5.50, three times lower than the minimum wages set for Australian workers.
>>> People in the developed country would question: whats the point? But this system generates clean toilets, employment and above all, an economy that actually adds up. If toilet is a retail business, it would easily have been my most visited shop in the 4 days of shopping trip. What opportunity then, would this represent?