And then I went to Europe.
That’s when I discovered a strange pee tax where I actually had to pay money to relieve my bladder.
This was especially true in Eastern Europe where little bathroom ladies stood guard outside the facilities. You
had to pay, or you didn’t get in. For a few extra crowns or rubles, you could purchase 3-4 squares of
toilet paper off their little card table. Otherwise it was just you and your Frommer’s.
I was equally shocked to discover a pay-to-pee policy in parts of Western Europe as well. This was truly
surprising in the oh-so-very-cultured city of Paris. 75 million tourists a year visit the city of
lights and most every one has had to reach deep into their fanny-packs to dig out 40 euro cents for the privilege of
peeing in this glamorous capital.
But now this is all about to
change. Starting February 1, the city’s 200 public restrooms will now be free, thanks to homeless
advocates who really didn’t have tourists in mind when they pushed through this measure.
The city hopes to compensate for the lost revenue by cutting back on street cleaning. With less people now
urinating on the streets, this makes perfect sense to me.