Startup Invents A Toilet That's Unbearable To Sit On

by Christina Marfice
Christoph Hetzmannseder/Getty

This startup wants to make sure people at work can’t take long toilet breaks and it’s a straight supervillain move

Mahabir Gill, founder of startup StandardToilet, says he was inspired by times when he was at the office and discovered other workers were napping in the loo. But he also mentions how annoyed he gets when he has to wait in line for public restrooms, and the “final straw,” when he was shopping at a department store and found all the stalls occupied and locked. So he came up with what might be the most villainous invention we’ve ever seen outside of an actual superhero movie: A toilet built at an angle so that sitting on it for any length of time strains your legs to the point of physical pain.

Don’t worry, though — Gill says sitting on the toilet, with its patent-pending 13-degree slant, won’t cause any real physical harm. It’s pretty much equivalent to holding a squat thrust position, so your ability to camp out on the can (or not) will be heavily dependent on how often you skip leg day.

But because he probably can’t sell a bunch of these toilets that he invented just to solve his own personal problem of being pissy about having to wait in line to poop in public, Gill is marketing them in a different way: As a productivity tool companies can use to prevent their workers from taking anything resembling a break in the bathroom. With these babies installed, workers will have to get in, do their business, and wrap it up before holding that squat position starts making their legs shaky. And according to Gill, this will somehow be good for productivity, because taking away people’s ability to even shit comfortably during the long slog that is the average workday is definitely the way to turn them into happy, productive employees.

It’s like something out of a dystopian novel, or at least a satire of late-stage capitalism, and people are taking note.

But there are also real, valid concerns about the ableism behind this idea. People who are disabled or who experience chronic pain won’t be able to use these toilets at all. And what about people with IBS and other gastroenterological disorders that might prevent them from wrapping things up in under five minutes?

The idea that corporations want control over how much time their workers spend on the John is, pardon the pun, extremely crappy. If this is really a road they want to go down, a company policy that suggests limiting long bathroom breaks will suffice. There’s just no need for torture toilets, in the workplace or anywhere else.