I'm not going to write to the Goasis after all.
I no longer need to ask them what they were thinking when they built this big, wonderful travel stop along I-71 that has several restaurants, serves probably hundreds of people a day and has only 3 women's commodes.
Because I now know the answer. My sister Romaine told me the answer in her comment yesterday. She wrote:
"... much more cost effective to put in a few big bathrooms than one large one with 50 stalls. Less to clean and also a smaller water bill. Probably didn't care too much about the clientele, just the cost."
Bingo! thought I. Yes, that makes perfect sense. They splurge on everything else and skimp on the ladies' bathroom.
But here's the thing: they figured out the perfect scheme for not only getting away with it, but making most women (if the yelp reviews I read are an accurate indicator) love what they did!
Now I can see the scene so clearly: The architects and executives sitting at their meeting trying to figure out how to cut expenditures. Somebody from marketing offers the idea that you could get away with only two regular women's stalls plus one handicapped if instead of stalls you built rooms and put a toilet and sink in each room, made the rooms big and attractive and clean and comfortable, nicer than what the customers have at home. Investing in upscale fixtures, mirrors, a couple pieces of furniture and some artwork would still cost only a fraction of what it would cost to build and maintain a conventional rest-stop bathroom with a dozen stalls. You could even make a cute little sitting area between the rooms. The ladies will love it and they'll gladly stand in line to use such a rest stop bathroom, says the man from marketing.
And love it they do. Here are some of the comments from women from some Yelp reviews written between 2011 and 2014:
"My husband and I joke that we could go on dates to the Goasis. It's really in a whole separate category from other gas stations. The bathrooms are awesome..."
"Most notably, the bathrooms are remarkably nice for a rest stop off of the highway. Each stall has its own personal sink, and it almost looks like a bathroom you'd see inside someone's home. That nice. They're super clean, and absolutely nothing about it screams 'I'm a restroom off of the highway, use with caution!'"
"Most amazing highway side bathrooms EVER."
"Also, it officially wins Best Gas Station Bathroom Ever. I know it wasn't a hard award to win, but keep in mind it won by a ton."
"The bathrooms are immaculate. I've gotten ready for a WEDDING in there."
(Can you imagine hogging one of those three bathrooms long enough to get ready for a wedding?!)
"I should also mention the bathrooms...the women's is ALL individual stalls, like little rooms, with a toilet, wash basin and towels, all in it. And the glass window on these is frosted, with like grass on it. Lovely."
And on and on. The psychology being, I guess, that women would by far prefer waiting in line for a fancy bathroom over zipping in and out of the usual spartan rest-stop stall. So The Goasis saves a ton of money on bathroom expenses, the women love waiting in line for their upscale bathroom, and everybody's happy.
Of course, there are always a few outliers, like the gal who wrote this review:
"I usually love this rest stop... On this occasion, however, I changed my mind...
My mom and I stopped here on 4th of July weekend on our way home from Dayton. I had to pee like crazy... I ran in to use the facilities and much to my dismay the line was out the door and around the corner. What I soon realized was that in this huge Goasis, there are only 3 stalls in the restroom. Each of those stalls, while lovely, large, roomy, and each having their own sink and paper towel roll, took up so much room that they only put in 3 in the whole place!!!!! Seriously, people, it is a REST-STOP not a palatial en-suite. Please put in more toilets... There was even a swanky circular seating area with an additional seat in the rest room...as if I'd sit & relax on my trip to the Goasis bathroom.
Suggestion: don't stop here if you really have to go & it is a holiday weekend. You'll wait 20+ minutes to go."
But are this lady, Mary Jane (see her comment from Monday), Romaine and I the only outliers who would prefer a potentially sketchy but quick stall stop to a long wait for a luxurious bathroom experience?
I don't know. Sisters, what do you think?
But real quick, what about the Goasis men's room?
I asked my sources, Tom and Tommy, and they each kind of shrugged. It's fine. Urinals and stalls. They didn't notice how many. Or what was on the walls.
I guess guys are different from girls.
Vive la difference, right!? ;)