Why Do Public Bathroom Stalls Have Gaps?

You thought this is an intern's fault? Nope! There are practical reasons why public bathroom stalls don't go all the way to the floor and have gaps:

Most people are grateful for public bathrooms.
Source: imago images / HRSchulz

Even though we're grateful for public bathrooms, most of them don't have the best reputation. They're dirty and they stink. Still, they're better than having no bathrooms around the city at all! You've probably wondered before why public bathroom doors don't go all the way down to the floor and have gaps. There are several reasons for that! Public spaces are generally well thought-out. We'll tell you what's behind the design of public bathroom stalls:

In case someone needs help while locked inside a public bathroom stall, there's a gap.
Source: imago images / Mint Images

Reason #1: Emergency Rescue

Let's start with the most obvious reason: In case of an emergency, it's easier to reach the person who is suffering if there's a gap between the floor and the bathroom door. Additionally, if you're calling for help, other people can hear you more easily if the door doesn't close all the way down.

Another reason for the gap in bathroom stalls is to make people feel observed.
Source: imago images / JOKER

Reason #2: Protection Against Misuse

Another reasoning behind designing public bathroom stalls like this is making feel people a little bit observed. Exactly because parts of you (usually your feet) can be seen by others, you're less likely to vandalize or do something forbidden while you're locked inside the bathroom stall.

The most practical reason behind gaps in bathroom stalls is the lower cost.
Source: imago images / Waldmüller

Reason #3: Lower Costs

It might sound ridiculous, but the smaller the door, the lower the price. On top of that, it's easier and cheaper to install shorter doors. Plus: like this, it's much easier for janitors and cleaning staff to mop the floors.

Waiting times are usually shorter when bathroom stalls have gaps.

Reason #4: You Don't Have to Wait as Long

Another advantage of those kind of bathroom doors is that it's much easier to discern whether a bathroom stall is occupied or not. In some cases, this can lead to shorter waiting times (which is especially important when it comes to women's bathrooms!).

Having no toilet paper while sitting on a public toilet is annoying.
Source: imago images / blickwinkel

Reason #5: The Thing With the Toilet Paper ...

I know very few people who have not had the unpleasant experience of sitting in a public toilet without toilet paper. Through the gap in the toilet door, you can ask your toilet neighbor for some good, old toilet paper. Genius!

Speaking of toilets: Did you know why you should never flush ticks down the toilet?