Stupidity in everything, including the bathroom sink

Posted On: Thursday - July 15th 2021 8:05PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity  Curmudgeonry

Peak Stupidity has ragged on some "features" of modern hotels in a couple of posts before, most directly in a post called Green is the new Cheap-ass long ago. I do remember the writer John Derbyshire writing a curmudgeonly post or segment of one of his monthly "diaries" with about the same complaints as I've had. No, I don't go down to the desk to actually complain, because the young lady at the desk would likely tell me "this is part of the new renovation. Isn't it so cool!" (And, "yeah, the rates have gone up to pay for this cool renovation....")

It's like this: Just because there are new, different-looking, and differently-operated, appliances, light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, etc. for sale for the yuppies who want it, doesn't mean I want to figure this new crap out when I stay at your formerly reasonably-priced hotel. Yes, I am too old to think it's all cool. Somebody in management wanted to get all edgy and shit, yeah, I get it. Don't take it out on me.

It'd be OK for people staying a whole week. "Oh, HERE'S the switch to turn on the lamp! How cool. Now I know." "I see, the shower mixer goes the wrong way*. OK, I'll remember this in the morning, or if not, the next morning." I really don't want to spend all my excess brainpower, you know, after work and blogging and all, ;-} on remembering how every little damn new thing works.

The fancy sink shown above is not something I had this problem with. The mixer worked the way you'd figure. No, it's not that. This sink is different and fancy because, hey look, it's a big bowl attached ON TOP of the bathroom counter, instead of sunk in. It's the "above-ground pool" of sinks, except the above-ground pools are for the slightly less affluent folks who can't afford to get a pool dug in**. This above-counter sink has got to bring up the cost over the standard style.

Look at it, all made of beautiful thick glass. It's so pretty. it's another one of the retro products that are so popular. The retro muscle cars are popular with those Boomers that everyone hates on... because they got to drive real ones back in the day that really were cool. On the other hand, you may have to be 90 or older to be excited about this retro bathroom sink. Hasn't it been since the 1930s or so since houses actually had a separate basin one would place on top of a table, that they would fill up with water? After that, with indoor plumbing, you had your old fashioned ceramic sinks that hung off the wall (with possibly some more support below it), and then people got the great idea to sink them into the counter, with room underneath for cleaning supplies, more soap, roach spray, and roaches to go along with it.

That sink above is retro stupidity. The built-in counter sinks are much easier to use*** and space saving. This thing is just silly, has this room underneath the curve that's not useable, and it's got to be more difficult to clean to boot. But, it's modern and different. Yeah, but this isn't my house anyway. Who would I be trying to impress with this expensive sink?

I realize that this is a 1st World problem in a country with problems infinitely more serious than a stupid sink, such as turning into the 3rd World. As with the Peak Stupidity post How much electronics do we need? of long ago, regarding automatic windshield wipers, I don't like the modern practice of building something different, but of lower usability**** just because it CAN be done.

* I'm pretty sure that there used to be an agreed-upon standard of CCW motion resulting in hotter water, or more flow vs. less (CW to turn it off). Maybe that was just a gentlemen's agreement, not an ASPE spec., but then, where are the gentlemen anymore? It's anything goes now.

** OK, it may also be because you will want your yard back later, after the family figures out how much trouble a pool can be.

*** What I wonder is why the older sinks had separate hot and cold faucets for such a long period. I realize there were probably not the nice materials around to make good seals for these new mixer designs. However, could the designers not have plumbed water from both valves into one faucet? I'm guessing that people were very used to using a bathroom sink differently from the days of having to fill up a basin. You'd mix the water into the old sinks with the stopper closed, and then shave with that water, wash off with it, etc. Now we just let it run. Come to think of it, DO we all just do that? I only see people fill up the basin in old movies. I could use some input here from the commenters, if it's not just too boring a subject.

**** Reliability, in the case in that old post.

Mr. Anon
Saturday - July 17th 2021 10:47AM MST

My pet peave is sinks that are too shallow and/or faucets too low that you can only barely get your hands in between them to wash. I swear, most bathrooms seem to be designed by people who - I can only assume - never use bathrooms.
Friday - July 16th 2021 8:52PM MST
PS: Thanks, Robert, for the explanation. I have to think some more on that. It's too late right now to wrap my mind around it. Even though fluid flow is more easily visualized, it helps me to think of the electrical circuit analogy.
Friday - July 16th 2021 6:03PM MST
PS: However, could the designers not have plumbed water from both valves into one faucet?

This would have been tricky to do, and not have water from one side back-flowing into the other side. Hot water pipes (at least in the days of 'iron' pipes) would often calcifie, and have much lower pressure than the cold water pipes. In addition, some older building shared the hot water for the sinks/bathtub with the hot water radiators --- so just one big water heater, instead of two. This was more important when heating water with coal. (But not if you had steam radiators!) Finally, some apartment buildings (I managed some in the area where 'The Man with the Golden Arm' took place) did not have hot water, or at least not in the apartments. (By the time I was there, this was no longer the case.) There might be hot water in the communal bathroom (toilet and sink) in the hall. (And no bath proper in the apartment. Use a sit-bath, and heat the water on the stove.) Thus, many sinks would have only one faucet.

Finally, pre-WWII, both the Polish and German plumbers might get the hot and cold water pipes confused. I managed one building like this. One apartment would be correct, and the next one would be backwards. The pipes do look the same, after all.
The Alarmist
Friday - July 16th 2021 10:54AM MST

Europe runs on 220, but the real magic comes in the plugs and sockets. In Germany they use so-called CEE7/4 Schuko connectors which can now be configured to meet the CEE7/7 standard, both of which are rock solid in holding things together. My chateau in France came with an older French connector system that was a tepid implementation similar in appearance but a bit smaller, so I had it rewired for CEE 7/7. The British plugs and socket are really clunky and, IMHO, only marginally better than American plugs and sockets, as the quality of the connexion is outweighed by the clunkiness of the connector. My vacuum cleaners in Europe, unlike their America cousin, will not unplug or bend if I try to vacuum a step too far.
Friday - July 16th 2021 8:39AM MST
Part of my water obsessions is because I grew up in NYC, but spent summers in the Catskills, where the NYC water reservoir system is. I used to fish on those reservoirs. Over the course of several decades, there were several summers of severe drought (pretty typical cycle), and I'd see the water levels in the reservoirs drop alarmingly. And the streams nearly run dry. So I understood that water wasn't some magical thing that just comes out of the faucet. It was a precious commodity that shouldn't be wasted.

Even though, of course, the actions of one person mean nothing. And this was also in the days when it was common for street kids to open fire hydrants and waste more water in an hour than I could waste in fifty years. So what's the point?

PS - Several of the Catskills reservoirs were created by damming up and flooding valleys. A number of rural towns were basically destroyed to provide water for city dwellers.
Friday - July 16th 2021 8:34AM MST
PS: "An" not "and" and I meant "sink to any decent level", though "sin" works too in the modern era with Environmentalism as a religion.
Friday - July 16th 2021 8:32AM MST
PS: Great rant, 2nd segment include, Peter! In the first part you explained very well something I wasn't sure about, as I have not taken apart but one mixer, and old Kohler one, which can't be installed backwards, unless you just plain run the water pipes to the wrong place. (OK, that can happen, but this mixer is weird, and I don't think it would work at all.) Plus, this was done well before ubiquitous Mexican labor.

I had thought maybe the designers didn't get a damn anymore about people's habits and expectations ... so long as it's NEW and cool looking! Yes, Germans v Mexicans, now there's a lot to write about. Amazing VW Beetles were made in quantity in both places, but you could talk to Beetlemaniacs (ha, just made that up) about that and get an earful, I'm sure.

Now, Peter, I'm not wasteful in any way, but that's not in order to save the fucking planet (sorry for the cuss word - that was George Carlin talking through me). No, I grew up with parents that believed "waste not, want not" very heavily. See I just let the water run lightly to rinse off the razor 3-4 times, keeping it running, that is, and I don't think it's any more than what would fill the sin to any decent level. No, I won't run the shower any longer than it takes to get the hot water into the head - maybe 1 minute max for ours.

Anyway, nice one. I'll have to revisit "Psycho" sometime. Wasn't it in B&W. I'd rather see gorgeous in color.
Friday - July 16th 2021 7:46AM MST
Those sinks are, indeed, terrible. And if the water pressure is too strong, you risk a mini-tsunami soaking the front of your pants. Not a good look when it happens ten minutes before your meeting starts.

"I see, the shower mixer goes the wrong way"

This is an artifact of third-world labor. Mexicans, while they can be nice and hard working (official disclaimer!), they aren't especially detail-oriented. So like if the shower thing gets put in backwards... whatever. From the Mexican point of view, who cares? It still works. But a German would lose his mind over it. Imagine a nation where Germans dominated the building trade! Absolute perfection everywhere.

Well, old school Germans, not the worthless cucks that inhabit that once great nation now.

"Now we just let it run."

I NEVER let the water run, whether shaving or doing the dishes. Because I am an obsessive about saving water, environmentally. Because it's the right thing to do. But anyway, I do partly fill up the sink shaving, use that water to wet my face and then rise out the blade along the way. But I don't rinse with it (gross). I use running water for that.

When people just let the water run it drives me CRAZY. Like turning on the shower and then not getting into it for five minutes. Makes me want to re-create the Psycho shower scene. In fact, maybe that's why Norman killed that girl. She let the water run too long. Can't blame him!

CORRECTION: I just watched that scene. Janet Leigh gets into the shower while it's off, and turns on the water WHILE SHE'S STANDING UNDER THE SHOWER HEAD. Lordy, that must have been a blast of cold. That's real commitment to saving water right there. Also, Janet Leigh was gorgeous.
Friday - July 16th 2021 7:00AM MST
PS: No, JimBobLA (Los Angeles or Louisiana or Lower Alabama?), I don't know where you can even hang your buggy whip in your room anymore, Young whippersnappers! I'd whip them if I could find the darned thing! etc., etc.! Haha.
Friday - July 16th 2021 6:57AM MST
PS: Yes, those little wooden houses would be so cool. I want mine with a crescent moon hole cut into it too. It reminds me of ... the need for indoor plumbing, unless we will get retro Sears Catalogs too.

Dieter, you made me think of another weird, modern thing, though it may be nothing more than a huge does of Cheap China-made crap. Anyone of y'all seen those lamps that have what look like normal A/C outlets* in them, but don't even work. I mean, the plug fits so loosely that I wonder if I have something loose in my head. Lots of them have some sticker about good for only up to 3A or something, but that still doesn't explain to me why the extremely bad fit, in which you have to be lucky for there to be contact at all, helps in that regard. Once in a while they can be used, if you don't mind bending a prong or two of your plug, if that's possible.

* Oops, for Dieter and Alarmist (mostly of the time) in Europe, they are different to begin with for 220V.
Friday - July 16th 2021 4:04AM MST
PS The slow, inexorable decent into curmudgeonism. Damn! Where did they put the buggy whip in this newfangled contraption?
dieter kief
Friday - July 16th 2021 2:57AM MST
PS The design is a nightmare Mod. - Which seems to be about right, since it is a sleeping room - they are always trying to intensify your life - see? Nice people!
The Alarmist
Thursday - July 15th 2021 10:20PM MST

Gee, I can’t wait for retro chamber pots or, better still, little wooden houses behind the hotel where you can do your business, followed by pumping water to wash your hands.
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