A Question of Scruples

I really liked this blogpoll thing (and, yes, I agree that the color scheme was perfect) - and apparently so did you, since you're still voting, even after we know who won the Amazing Race. So I've decided to do another one.

In this version, I will give you a set of facts, hypothetical or otherwise, perhaps a bit of an ethical dilemma, and then you can vote and tell me what you would do in the situation. (Don't worry, this won't be a professional responsibility scenario, for those of you recovering from exams. This will be more like that Scruples game that my parents got when I was a kid but they wouldn't let me play because it was an "adult game" and I just couldn't figure out how there could be a game that a kid couldn't play, I was a smart kid, I could even play Scrabble with grownups, so why wouldn't they let me play? Or maybe this is more like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book.)

Ok, you're walking home from work, and boy, do you have to pee... Actually, you had to go even before you left work, but the maintenance people were working in there, but that's another story. And besides that, you stopped at the bank, and you thought that would only take a minute or two, but it took about thirty, so now you feel like you're going to die. And that stupid bank didn't have a restroom for you to use. They must have a bathroom that they use, so why can't you use it? I mean, what is it, in the safe? Whatever.

So, you're walking home, and you see a little lunch shop, that you know has a pretty clean bathroom for customers, and you figure that you've been there often enough that they'll let you use the restroom without buying anything. Because you're broke. You deposited money at the bank, you didn't withdraw any. Because you didn't have any. Whatever.

Now you already know that there's one single restroom with one single toilet and one sink, that could be used by either a man or a woman, because you've used it before. As soon as you walk in, you see that there's already two young ladies camped out in front of the restroom door. They're eating ice cream cones (this place sells ice cream during the summer) and chatting about how drunk they were last night or something.

So, you walk up behind them and say "Are you waiting for the bathroom?" I mean, it's pretty obvious, but maybe they're waiting for someone to come out of the bathroom or something. Which would mean you'd still have to wait, but whatever, you ask anyway.

And one of the girls responds, "Yeah."

So, you wait there for a minute or two. You don't really hear anything going on in the bathroom, and in the interest of being thorough (because you're thorough) you say "Is someone in there?" Sure they're going to think you're stupid, but you've gotta ask. I mean, you're ready to pee your pants.

And the girls looks at you like you have two heads and say "Yeah."

So, you wait there a little longer. Gotta admit, you're listening to the girls' conversation a little bit. What else are you going to do? And... get this... they're talking about the fact that they don't know what they're going to do with their ice cream cones when it's their turn to go into the bathroom.

"I can't carry it in there with me! I wouldn't be able to hold my ice cream and pee."
"I know," says the other one, "besides, that'd be gross, right?"
"Yeah, it would be!" The first one agrees.

One of you could hold the ice cream while the other one goes, you think. And then it occurs to you, hmmm... these girls aren't too bright.

So, you turn around and walk to the counter. "Can I have the key to the restroom?" you ask.

"Sure," the man behind the counter says, as he hands you a key attached to an obnoxiously large key chain to prevent bathroom key theft. Is that really a common problem anyway?

And, just to be safe, you ask "Is there only one bathroom key?"

"Huh?" the guy asks.

"Well, if I have the key now, does that mean the bathroom is empty?"

"You got the only key," he replies.

Now, you have the only key...


  1. I voted that I would use the key and go pee first BUT I would tell them first, "I'm sorry, there's actually a key for that bathroom and I am about to die of having to pee. Would you mind if I went first and then I would be happy to hold your cone while you go. I will wash my hands, of course, and not eat any of your ice cream."

    How could they say no?


  2. I also voted to use the bathroom and I would mention that there was a key and I got it, but I'm not nice enough to hold the ice cream too, they can figure that out on their own. If I wasn't in such a rush, I would probably let them go first, but if I'm on the edge well, I gotta go! :)

  3. If I'm in a good mood and think I can keep from messing my pants, sure, I let them go. But I'm usually not in a good mood. God protects the stupid - the rest of us have to look out for ourselves.

  4. Waiting in the wrong place doesn't count. If I was the first one to ask for the key, I get to use the restroom first.

  5. How about using the key, saying, "I think my friend is in there, and she's really sick!" and barge on through. Use the toilet, and then come out, shrugging. "Eh, no one was in there. But here's the key!"

  6. I voted to use the key. I wouldn't even apologize. I'd probably say something about there being a key and that I really have to pee, but it would be an explanation for my rudeness, not a quest for permission. I agree with windypundit - if you're just hanging out at the bathroom door, and you didn't think to ask for a key, then it's your fault that I get to use the key first.

    Now, if I just moderately needed to use the bathroom, I'd probably let them go first. It depends how annoying they actually are....

  7. Sorry but they'd be better off if I did not speak to them at all. IF they say one word to me, they'd get my look of death and then they would be fortunate if I even put the seat down for them afterwards. There is really so little place in a city like NY for the galactically stupid or inane!

  8. Yup. "Excuse me, girls." Unlock the door. Pee to your heart's content. (Go in first.) They would have been waiting there forever anyway; you're doing them a favor.

    So if this is a "Choose your own adventure," what happens when you come out?

  9. But if they didn't knock, or hear someone say "occupied," (or whatever you say when someone knocks, then they were wrong for standing there believing someone was in the bathroom. If you hadn't come along, they'd stand there all day!