Mission Safeway.

Safeway-Logo (1)The first time I ever stole anything was at a Safeway. Well, I almost stole something.

I couldn’t have been any older than 5, and had never seen a bulk section. So this is where all the candy comes from! When my mom wasn’t looking, I pocketed one of those little gooey caramel square things. I loved those things.

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They’re caramels, you gross fuck.

By the time we got to the checkout aisle, I remember having this uncomfortable burning sensation in my head that I never felt before. It turns out it was my conscience, but I’ve since rid myself of that inconvenient malady.

I put that hot little crap candy onto a magazine rack and never told anyone. Years later, I actually applied to work at that very Safeway and didn’t get the job. I always thought that some divine justice intervened, even though I didn’t steal anything.

It may have also been because I was hungover and smelled like bong water. Who knows? I don’t have the answers to the universe’s mysteries.

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The back alley is also great for Honeymoonz

Anyway, I’ve never been much of a Safeway shopper, but I needed to buy some supplies so I stopped in to check the place out.

On my way over, I discovered a wonderful little venue where I now plan to get married. 

As for the Grocery Store itself, it was practically a ghost town in there. Even the people who were walking around seemed lost, and I’m not exactly sure they were from the “land of the living.” Apparently this Safeway (and 9 others) are being closed. Yay market economy! Yay parent companies! Yay shitty replacement discount stores!

Without knowing any of this, I entered with zero expectations. Here’s my restroom review of the soon-to-be closed Safeway in Mission, BC. 

I guess they must have a shoplifting problem here. If it wasn’t already apparent from the 30 pound lipstick-wearing skeleton asking me for change in the parking lot, the restroom door sure gives me another clue. 34556310_1013524745483018_1856998551456841728_n

Entering this place is kind of like going on a date with someone you met online. His picture looks decent, he’s literate, and he seems to have a handle on things. Then he shows up like this:

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Wait ’til you see his knickerboxers.

I’m not going to judge Safeway for their retro-restroom design. But it is fascinating to imagine the endless scores of people using this bathroom over the years, generation after generation of bowel movements and bad habits.  It almost brings a sentimental tear to my eye.

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“Strobe light effect” will cost you extra.

This place hasn’t been touched up in a while, with the exception of the light switch, which looks like it’s been fingered a fair share. This switch has been pimped out so many times I actually advise pissing in the dark if it’s not already on.

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You missed.

Speaking of pissing in the dark, it looks like someone was way ahead of me. Not entirely unusual, except for the fact that the person who left the room before me was definitely a woman. I guess she was just doing rails off the sink freshening up.

All things considered, the toilet is in good condition. I’m as surprised as you are. The sink also looks pretty clean (and dry), which probably has to do something with my previously mentioned sink comment.

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You missed again.
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Hmm. Clean. Very clean.

The garbage can is of the tall, trusty, steel, swivel lid variety. The kind that will deafen you with its rusty screech whenever the lid is moved. It isn’t stuffed, though, and is situated in a practical location.

The next thing that’s pretty obvious is the “Weenus” marked on the wall. I  guess this person is quite fond of that particular body part.

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Ask him about The Wagina Monologues

I don’t know—of all the body parts to choose from, the weenus probably doesn’t show up at the top of my list to use as an alias. Interesting choice.

It’s like calling yourself frenum, or thorax. Actually, Thorax still sounds a lot cooler than Weenus.

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don’t want no scrubs

The last thing I’ll point out is the toilet scrubber. I really don’t have anything to say about this crusty, brave little brush, except that for some reason I had an immediate urge to brush and floss my teeth after I examined it. No idea why.

Considering this store is soon to be closed, the staff at Safeway have mostly kept on top of things. Well-stocked and suitable for number 2’s, it looks like they are taking their public-privy pride to the grave with them.

It’s safe to say I won’t be returning, but I wish all you Safeway Sentinels the best of luck with your future endeavours! 

Toilet Paper Rating: 3/5

TPR 3:5

Shaw’s Shiny Short on the Latrine Scene

34419199_1013384748830351_1174739393009680384_nI never expected to be doing this. What began as neurotic musings on men’s rooms has become..

Well, it’s still that. Only now, you have a chance to see my greasy unkempt hair.

Fiona Shedden, an incredible talent in photography, videography, and all-around storytelling, did a video with me about The Latrine Scene for Shaw TV.  

Check out her work at Static Shores Media where you’ll find a surplus of amazing work covering a variety of topics and genres. I am beyond grateful for the work she did here. Mad love and respect, Fiona. ❤

(Psst: I also hear she has a pretty slick Community Return Program that you might be interested in hearing about!)

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I swear this gets Windex’d daily.
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Company Perks

As for Shaw’s staff restroom: it was pristine. Even the men’s room sign was too shiny to easily get a photo without some glare. Maybe it’s time I get an actual camera instead of using this cell phone I found at a bus stop 3 years ago.

One other cool thing I noticed was actually located outside of the washroom, but appropriate nonetheless. Shaw’s very own Gojo LTX touchless Black and Chrome Foam Dispenser! Complete with a drip tray and custom logo! This bad boy has the extra large window for easy foam-level monitoring. Shaw’s got their soap situation under control.

The entire experience left me feeling like a Toilet Room Rockstar. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I loved being a part of it.

Toilet Paper Rating: 5/5 

TPR5:5

 

Eleni’s Restaurant

34636631_1012259222276237_4166722553248743424_nFor those of you who have been following this blog, you may have noticed an inconsistency in how often I post content, including my most recent stretch of time without a review.

If you are one of those people, I advise you to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Alas, my pause in posting about places to piss in public was not without purpose! I was “fortunate” enough to visit British Columbia’s mainland last month, and rest assured – my toilet seat scorn had plenty of opportunity to shine. 

I made a stop at Eleni’s in Mission to rest and replenish my weary, travel-worn heart with a nourishing meal. Located in what seems to be the heart of redundant construction work and 20$ tongue-jobs, Eleni’s is a tidy little gem of a restaurant that specializes in Greek cuisine. I figured, what better menu item to order than the chicken strips with a side of fries? 

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Parts Unknown

The waitress, who I assume hadn’t encountered a polite customer since the Smash Mouth years, seemed suspicious of my foreign tongue.

Words like “please” and “thank you” seemed to be completely alien to her. Being a resident of Vancouver Island, I chalked it up to being nothing more than a language barrier.

It also might have been because of my out-loud attempts at pronouncing Eleni’s that went on for almost 10 minutes.  “El-AIN-ees? Uh-LEN-eez? EL-uh-knees?” She didn’t bother correcting me. 

As far as food and service goes, I was pretty satisfied. Not bad! The coffee was pretty good, too. Now here’s what I thought of their lavatory.

34474875_1012263165609176_8958980434297880576_nWhen the time comes to do some stall sleuthing, the hostess directs toward a staircase near the entrance. I always feel weird about walking down more than one flight of stairs to a hidden away basement restroom.

34470264_1012263138942512_6123339400802729984_nSomehow it feels like I shouldn’t be in this part of the building – As if I might open the wrong door and find someone naked tied to a lawn chair with a ball gag in their mouth.

I do, however, award points for keeping the facility in its own territory: Away from my table and out of earshot. Someone would need to have quite the aggressively loud evacuation ritual for me to hear it while I was enjoying my meal.

34582129_1012259682276191_8710438704172236800_nThere’s nothing immediately offensive about the odour of this place. In a worst case scenario, I could spend some time in this room. I mean, I wouldn’t do my taxes here or anything, but you get the idea.

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Bad News Bears

Their 38 ¼” CRANE sloping  front stall washout urinal is a little close to the sink, and doesn’t have much “peeping tom protection.” The flush valve is also busted, which is fine because I’ve always had trouble reaching my foot all the way up there to press down on the damn thing anyway.

Aside from that, the cake was as fresh as any loving grandmother’s homemade, baked delights. With more piss flavour.

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Just the tip. Sort of.

As I check out the recently painted stall, I can see that the lock doesn’t work. The little steel knob doesn’t quite make it far enough to create that sealed, holy sanctum necessary for serene throne sitting. Unacceptable. Kind of makes me wonder why they put the extra effort in to paint around it? 

There’s also some stall graffiti, etched by none other than Mission’s very own acclaimed artist “Pooch.” Unfortunately for Pooch, Eleni’s clearly didn’t share his creative vision. Poor little Poochy.

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Smear Campaign

Either way, I feel like they could have found a better shade to cover it up with. I get that the stalls are brown, but this just reeks of laziness. And I’m thankful that’s all it reeks of.

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Let it mellow

As for general maintenance, the toilet is actually clean, and its paper is plentiful. No worries here. The only thing I don’t really like is that it has one of those “button style” flush switches. I’m not sticking my fingers into that filthy little half moon of microbial mysteries.

For a cute little restaurant with an unassuming vibe and efficient service, I’d say Eleni’s does a decent job of making this underground bomb-shelter a pretty good bathroom.

They lose points for functionality, but they make up for it in heart.

Toilet Paper Rating: 3/5

TPR3:5

Value Village

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Gently Used Merchandise

My closet is crammed with clothing that other people used to own. The kind of stuff that people probably hadn’t worn in years. Oversized cardigans, sweaters that shed, and t-shirts that I hope I’ll fit into by summer. In Nanaimo, Value Village has the largest selection of previously owned pearls and prizes you can give one more chance at life before their fate of decomposing in a dump. 

Like most people, I wash my hands after browsing at Value Village. I treat it the same way I treat going to the casino, but instead of handling coins and chips, I’m handling the bacteria of every nearly-broke soul browsing for a great find. The jackpot is bringing home bird flu. 

Have you ever heard a story about someone getting crabs from the clothes at a Value Village?  I know a girl who even claims she got scabies after combing the racks searching for a halloween costume. I mean, I’m sure it’s possible. I have no real reason not to believe her other than her general promiscuity and the fact that the costume she picked out ended up being a slutty Q-tip or something. 

Anyway, during one of my bargain hunts, I stopped by their bathroom to check out what kind of deals they have for when it’s time to defecate.

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He broke through his chains again

The only books I judge by their cover are second -hand ones.  Generally, I don’t want to curl up into bed with a softcover novel that was previously a hardcover one.  In the restroom world, sometimes it’s safe to apply this same philosophy with what appears on the door.

Here, we have some ink jet colour printer paper signage, presumably slapped on by Sloth from The Goonies.  I’m intrigued by the curious combination of scotch and packing tape. It also looks like there’s some mustard wiped on there. Please god let it be mustard.

It’s also interesting how these guys have a  greasy little gold doorbell on the lower right hand side, for those more urgent moments. Completely ignoring my better judgment, I press the mystery button. A few times, actually. Why the hell not?

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The grossest button to button.

I don’t really know what I’m expecting. Part of me wants Handel’s Messiah to start chiming loudly as the Value Village Valet greets me at the door and asks to take my coat. Another part of me is frightened I’ll be electrocuted.

Sadly, I’m neither shocked nor awed by the doorbell of disappointment. And now my finger probably smells like fish heads.

And it couldn’t be a worse time to think of seafood, because upon stepping through the door, there’s definitely the scent of something ripe in here.

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Gas chamber-pot

You know those wilderness gurus who can smell animal droppings and decipher whether or not the animal is still alive?  I’m willing to bet that if the animals who used this restroom are still alive, they’re probably at least dead on the inside. 

**Okay, so it turns out that wilderness people don’t actually do that. I just saw it in that John Leguizamo movie The Pest and took it as being factual. Sorry. **

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Pray for frowny face

Anyway, even the vandals don’t want to claim this territory. Instead, they’ve etched some sort of SOS. I guess this one-word plea is all they could muster up in the midst of the mustard gas. 

The look of torment on that little frowny face says it all.  Imagine having to exist here, of all places. Your creator was a cruel one, mister frowny face. 

 

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My Empire of Dirt
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Crap-é Diem

Fortunately, there are some pleasant distractions. I am a real sucker for original artwork. Especially beach-house bathroom artwork.  I admit, They’ve set the scene nicely. I still probably wouldn’t buy my swim-trunks here, though.

It’s cool that Value Village let someone use their paint in a productive way.  Looking down to my right, I see Clifford the Big Black Dog about to maul a hobbit or a wizard or …something.

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I see a paint roller in your future.
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Pooch Patrol

Actually, it kind of looks like the silhouette of Disney’s Robin Hood when he dressed up in gypsy drag, which was strangely arousing to me as a child.

And the trash can. Well, I don’t want to sound like I’ve gotten sand anywhere it shouldn’t be, but I think we’re gonna need a bigger bin to keep this beach safe. 

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Fire Hazard

Earlier, I overheard two associates arguing over Level 300 RPG Wizards (or some shit) while they pretended to stock broken clock-radios. 

There’s no way someone can’t find the time to keep on top of this. Maybe they ran out of latex gloves while they were hanging underwear.

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I want to play a game.

Nothing pisses me off more than leaving a restroom feeling like I need to dunk my hands in a bucket of bleach afterwards.

After “washing up” in this sink, it looks like it’s going to be a Javex kind of evening for me.

I’m pretty sure they could have implemented a more sophisticated system than plunking a roll on it’s side and letting you dip your fingers into the disgusting tube of terror. Only after discovering that the soap is empty, of course.

saw
The saw is previously owned.

After wiping my hands on my jeans, I head for the door, and I notice a sanitizer station placed right next to the light switch. I guess this is their idea of compensation for the  paper-towel petri dish.

Considering the circumstances, I probably shouldn’t risk palming this pathogen pump, but hey: this is my duty as a restroom reviewer.

And of course, it’s fucking empty. The regret burns into my soul like a faulty vintage toaster.  And seriously, that light switch. I think I’d rather lose an actual limb than save these guys some electricity.

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The only crab I encountered

I’m walking out of here thankful that I didn’t have to use any toilet paper. I’ve had enough second-hand surprises for one day. And while I doubt I picked up any pubic lice, I probably still wouldn’t recommend dropping your pants. At least not in this part of the store.

Most people are ungrateful to be alive. Not me. Not anymore.

Toilet Paper Rating: 1/5 

TPR 1:5

All the Tools at Marina’s Taverna

I’ll start off by saying that entering this restaurant, I was greeted at the door by two visibly disgruntled customers. One of them told me flat out: “Worst food ever. They changed their management.” As much as I appreciated the tip, I wasn’t going to let this Sour little Cindy stop me from sitting down and deciding for myself. I’d rather make my own conclusions. 

28459097_952052988296861_672664518_nHaving never been to Marina’s, I was intrigued to see large throw pillows lining the walls at every table. The blue, white, and grey colour scheme was complemented by marble tiled walls and weird looking plants. 

Lots of weird looking plants.

It’s an interesting theme, although it felt more like an orgy sex club or an emperor’s opium den than a restaurant. 

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We’re here all night, folks.

Most restaurants have a satellite radio station or a specific playlist that plays various music suited for their style and clientelle.

Here they play ABBA. And I don’t mean mixed into a playlist. At Marina’s it’s ABBA all night long. On repeat. 

The food was decent. The service was awkward. Considering all the pillows, I was actually quite excited to take a look at the men’s room. I was anticipating a cushiony, intimate space well suited for private moments of comfort. And more plants. 

Here’s what I found instead. 

marinasbatAs soon as I enter this restroom,  it’s not hard to see that the new management of  Marinas are taking on a real fixer-upper. I’m greeted by a fascinating scene that combines the recently renovated with the dear god replace me, already. 

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Nation’s Pride

And replace, they have! Directly to my left is a very sleek looking urinal manufactured by Canada’s own Crane Plumbing Corporation! 

The Cromwell 7397 is a porcelain beauty, coated with vitreous china and includes integral extended shields.

And even if I don’t actually know what any of that means, it sounds pretty darn impressive. It’s still so fresh, they haven’t even put in the celebratory cake yet.

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I don’t think so, Tim.

Unfortunately, it looks like they decided to let someone’s unemployed nephew do the installation. The flush valve looks like someone was paid with a case of beer to do the work.

I’m definitely not saying I could have done a better job, especially considering I never even learned how to use a protractor, but I feel like someone here didn’t pass Drill Basics 101.  

Combined with the framed Homesense painting that says caffè (“See? We’re still Italian in here!”), this pisser makes for a pretty patchy presentation.

In addition to the new ceramics, it appears that we have a newly constructed stall! It looks like the grown-ups took care of the handy-work this time.

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Particle Board Perfectionism
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You don’t even know who this guy is.

I’m not sure what the old stall looked like, but I’m going to assume that it was due for a replacement after being kicked in by a drunk truck driver years of general wear and tear.

Either way, that lumber gives me the impression that someone put some love into this project, even if the door has no outside handle. You might want to bring some tweezers, in case you pick up any splinters on your way in.

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Hopefully you won’t need a cheat code.

And stepping inside this recycled computer desk, the crapper is clean, and the paper dispenser is full!  Marinas also has their toilet-tool arsenal proudly on display. Ready for any situation that might get sticky. Well, three situations I guess.

Now, most people might not notice this next minor detail right away, but since I’m a disgusting freak who reviews restrooms (see also: “detail oriented”)  I can see that these ceilings are looking pretty soggy.

The bare, uncovered, florescent lighting decorated with duct-tape blasts its bright beam onto my face as my squinting eyes notice stains everywhere.

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Wilson is not impressed

These tiles look as if someone upstairs was trying out their new wood chipper on human limbs. But since I know how hard it is to keep a roof over my own head,  I’ll do Marinas a favour and offer my expertise.

Heres a free Latrine Scene tip that’ll help Marinas make the most of their bathroom-business bucks! 

BEFORE

AFTER

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With a little creativity and some healthy optimism, this restroom can be the beach getaway that’ll have their customers coming back for a second wipe.

Maybe they can set up a lounge chair, and even continue their pillow theme!

All they would need to do is post a sign:  “Extended amounts of time in this facility may cause lung infections from black mold, but please enjoy our sunscreen scented hand soap.” 

Okay, so I know this isn’t Love it or List It, so I have to conclude by saying that this restroom was actually passable. It kind of has a Frankenstein thing going on, but I wasn’t mortified to use it by any means.

Kudos on the workmanship, Marinas. See you in shop-class!

Toilet Paper Rating: 2/5

TPR 2:5

 

 

 

 

 

Michaels Has You Covered

I’m not the craftiest person, but I occasionally work on little projects. When I need supplies, Michaels seems to have the largest selection. It has that usual department-store feel, but instead of being stocked with decaying, miserable associates, it’s aisles are filled with cool, colourful stuff:

Fabrics, frames, stickers, sponges, paints, pens, googly eyes and glue. They also sell nifty little watches that stop working after about a month. (I should know; I’ve bought 3 of them).

So what are artistic types treated to when they need a break from shopping and drain some juices of the non-creative kind? I stopped into Michaels to find out.

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Truly pedestrian signage.

I’ll start by saying I’m a little disappointed by the signage. Really, Michaels? This is a store where innovative, do-it-yourself individuals congregate to piece together their creations. Couldn’t you at least use something a little more …inventive? This symbol looks like you commissioned the same people who do the crosswalk signs, but at least those stick-men have arms that can bend. Look, I have no problem with “corporate art”, but this dude looks so stiff he couldn’t even wipe his own ass if he wanted to.

First impression inside: This place doesn’t stink, but the floors could probably use a wipe from a mop that isn’t 50 years old and soaking in never-drained slime water.  They do have a pretty brand-new-looking Gojo H-2557 foaming soap dispenser, though! No drips, and no batteries needed. It’s placed conveniently between two very clean sinks. The mirrors also look spotless.

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Equal Opportunity
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Not so Equal Opportunity

What isn’t convenient is the location of the paper towel dispenser: Right in front of one of the sinks.

Yeah, I realize the restroom here probably doesn’t get that much hand-washing action. After all, these artist-folk make their own soap at home. I’m docking points though, because there’s a lot of empty wall space that could have been utilized. No one wants to wait with dripping hands while some asshole takes his time with the paper towel.

Now here’s something I find interesting. The amount of censorship in the stalls. Apparently Michaels runs a strict, authoritarian regime. You have no right to express yourself here. You have no voice. “After you buy our stuff you can create whatever you want. Just don’t do it here.” 

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Twice the Coverage

Speaking of covering things up, these guys have two toilet-seat cover dispensers! Now that’s some genuine assurance. One of them was empty, but the other one had my back(side).

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The bad kind of Impressionism

Upon closer examination, I quickly notice why they keep their seat-cover game so strong. The lid of this thing looks like it’s been gnawed. Doing my best to ignore the Jackson Pollack splatter in the bowl, I can see that this bad boy is pretty beat up.

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Highly unusual, captain.

Outside of the stall, we have an air-freshener device of some sort, missing a ..battery? I’m not exactly sure what this thing was supposed to do, but it looks like something you’d see in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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I hope you have good aim, lads.

The urinal in this restroom wasn’t really hard to find. I just had to look down. Uh, quite a bit. Not only is this thing tiny, but it’s also so low to the floor that these guys should provide kneepads at the door.

Generally speaking, this place was sanitary, moderately well maintained, and well stocked on all fronts. I wouldn’t recommend using the urinal if you’re on mushrooms, though.

I hope they won’t fault me for giving them a hard time. Their restroom actually wasn’t bad at all. A few anomalies here and there, but nothing awful enough to activate my gag-reflex. Yes, even with the toilet seat chew-toy. 

Michaels restroom is definitely a decent place to drop a douce, provided you cover up and keep your creative urges at bay. Not bad, guys!

Toilet Paper Rating: 3/5

Rectangle

No Shady Stalls at La Stella

Located off the streets of Old City Quarter, La Stella welcomes you with warm smiles and immediate service. The large, circular woodfire pizza oven proudly lets you know that this place is the real deal.  They even give you raw sugar with your coffee. And not that crap in the packets.

The Braised Chicken Papardelle I treated myself to was phenomenal. More than enough to fill me up and exploding with more fresh flavour than any meal I can recently recall. I’d return for the Rizotto alone. 

26996844_931571243678369_653103757_nSo my expectations for the restroom were already quite elevated by the time I finished my meal and had to make a mandatory stop to the lav. So how did they do, eh? Fuggedaboudit! 

With food this good, it’d be a shame to undo your belt in a badly taken care of  bathroom. Thankfully, as the sign would suggest, La Stella’s lav is as straightforward and chic as a shitter can be.

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I’d eat Teramisu off that toilet tank. Or perhaps some Canolli off the garbage can.

My bathroom at home has nothing on these guys. Their pristine porcelain puts mine to shame. Just look at that glistening shine. I actually had to move back to take the photo, otherwise the camera would have captured my face in the reflection and polluted this impressive potty-presentation.

After stuffing myself to satisfaction with dinner, I passed on dessert. But let me tell you, if I wanted to cap my meal off with a sweet treat, I wouldn’t feel bad about eating it right here.

La Stella runs the type of restroom facility that I’d get up 45 minutes early for, just so I could drive down to the restaurant and freshen up inside before starting my day.

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You don’t need to know what the wax is for.

Maybe next time I’ll ask them if I can leave a few essential items here. I don’t care if it’s a considerable drive out of my way. You can’t put a price on a good venue for your morning routine.

On top of clean floors, a classy black and white theme, and a smell that I would admiringly consider “neutral,” this place also has a fantastic portrait of some rather hungry looking race dogs, testicles included.

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Buon Appetito!

The only thing I’d consider um, distasteful, is the advertisement they have for their own pizza deal right above the toilet. This not-so-sneaky, guerilla advertising campaign harms the ambience of the room. All things considered though, 20 bucks for pizza and a pint is worth promoting, even if your customers see it before taking a poop.

La Stella’s provided me with an all around wonderful experience. The hand soap was supreme and the World Dryer Smartdri Plus (mostly) dried my hands. Quite a feat for any piece of equipment in its league. Impressive. I’d even push it to say that you’d be safe going bare-cheeked on the seat here. I almost did.

But we’re still in Nanaimo. Don’t ever raw-dog it anywhere, friends.

Anyway, Bel lavoro on the lav! Highly recommended.

Toilet Paper Rating: 5/5

TPR5:5