Would you use a stranger’s toilet? I’m not talking about being at the house of someone you’ve never met before and politely asking if you can use their loo, I’m talking about actually going into a stranger’s house with the sole purpose of making use of their facilities. If that sounds like a strange thing to do then this new website, AirPnP, may not be for you.
Inspired by AirBnB – the website that lets you rent the homes of people around the world – AirPnP instead helps you find a place to take a leak when you’re in a new place. Instead of renting out bedrooms though, the website lets you use the bathroom of people’s homes; plus bars, restaurants and offices. Just throw $5 (£3) or less their way and you have the luxury of using the facility to do your business. It’s completely crowd-sourced, meaning you can add your toilet to the map for people to use if you wish. If you’re the user then all you would have to do is whip out your phone (when the app becomes available), check the map for a nearby loo and off you go.
The idea for the service came from two self-declared “entrepeeneurs”; Max Gaudin and Travis Laurendine. They discovered a lack of facilities for people to use during New Orleans annual and extremely popular Mardi Gras festivities. People were drinking a lot of alcohol but were finding a lack of places where they could relieve themselves. Combine a few slightly drunk people and their need to urinate and you get a lot of public urination, which is a criminal offence in New Orleans. To combat this the creators hope to encourage people to open up their private bathrooms for a small fee.
People using the service, with over 2,000 on board already, can rate their ‘pee experience’ after their visit. Owners must declare how clean the toilet is and such details as whether it has toilet roll or soap. Surely these should come as standard anyway?
At the moment the service is still largely centered around the USA, although plenty are cropping up in Europe too. One of the toilets I found in the UK had ‘endless loo roll’ and ‘reading material whilst you’re doing your business’.
There are two problems I forsee with this.
- Drunk people, using the Mardi Gras example, don’t exactly have a habit of keeping a bathroom clean. Do you really want to clean up sick or fish a toilet roll out of the loo? Even sober people may leave a mess in your bathroom that won’t be enjoyable to clean up.
- Do you really want strangers in your home? I’m not in the habit of inviting anyone off the street into my home, and I bet you’re not either.
It could work for restaurants and pubs, as people already pop into these only to use the loo without actually buying anything anyway. If the owner could charge people a small fee for the privilege (unless you’re already a customer of course) then at least they would make a little money from the footfall of people coming in but not actually spending any money.
Would you ever consider using this? Or is it a silly idea? Let us know in the comments below!