Browsing while pooping is an internationally loved pastime, so here’s a clever way to make sure you never leave your phone behind.
Japanese highway rest stops are pretty awesome. Even if you’re not at one that’s designed to look like an Edo period samurai town or serving as the home of a giant anime robot replica, you can always expect them to have clean bathrooms, which would be a miracle in itself on the roadways of some other countries.
However, rest stop bathrooms can be the sites of sadness too, as sometimes travelers who’re making a pit stop leave their belongings behind by accident before getting back on the road. The Hokkaido branch of NEXCO, the organization that manages highways in eastern Japan, counted up all the time it had been spending taking care of lost-and-found-related issues, and found it was taking up average of 30 hours a month reuniting people with things they’d forgotten in bathroom stalls, with about 60 percent of them being smartphones, wallets, or other small items.
So to help people remember to take their belongings with them after they’re done dropping off their bodily waste, NEXCO came up with a clever solution, as seen in this photograph from Japanese Twitter user @picco_lo_.
わかめごはん推進派ぴこ (@picco_lo_) August 12, 2018
Once you’re inside the stall, there’s a large, flat handle on the door’s interior side that you swing over 180 degrees to act as a lock. However, this also turns it into a secure parcel shelf, or “accessory tray” as it’s labeled in English. With a load capacity of one kilogram (2.2 pounds), it’s large and sturdy enough for you to place a phone or wallet on, or even a small bag or other small, handheld item that you might forget about if you set it on top of the toilet paper holder housing or a protruding section of the wall behind or next to the toilet.
Since the tray doubles as the door’s lock, you have to swing it back to its original position in order to get out, at which point your eyes will be drawn to whatever you had resting there if you’d forgotten about it.
NEXCO began installing the new locks last September, and currently they’re in service in 61 stalls spread over eight rest stops in Hokkaido, including the one in the town of Yakumo, where @picco_lo_’s picture was snapped. The organization says it reduced the amount of time spent monthly on lost-and-found problems from the previous monthly average of 30 hours all the way down to 12, and plans to add the new locks to more stalls in the future.
Now if only there was a way to make people remember to wash their hands.