Periodically I do a “things we have in common” post on my Facebook page, as funny situations come up reminding me we all as humans are at times far too human with a whole lot in common. Case in point is an embarrassing moment I had at a broker’s luncheon, I can now look back on with a touch of humor.
I have always asked permission to use the bathroom at a Seller’s home. Only this one time I pick the wrong bathroom to use. It was a powder room right off the kitchen where colleagues were eating and dialoguing. Fortunately for me only two Colleagues were affected by my wrong location choice.
This was over a decade ago; I was touring several broker luncheon open houses grabbing a bite at each. When I got to this one home in Flossmoor, Illinois, I had a moment when I suddenly realized something I ate did not quite agree with me.
Upon given permission to use the most convenient powder room, well let me put it this way, between the smell and the noise permeating from that little powder room, when I finally finished and exited into the kitchen, I encountered an un-forgettable look from those two Colleagues.
It was a look of no you did not just mess up our good eating with a smell fouling our good taste buds. No, you did not let us hear what you were doing in there. No, you just did not take far too etiquette-incorrect long, in that specific bathroom of all places. Why, did you have to pick this house and that bathroom to do your etiquette-crime?
I stood there in their presence humbled myself and sincerely apologized. There was no exhaust fan, nor even flushing the toilet before finishing help disguise the “funk of forty-thousand years” making its way into the kitchen and beyond. Plus, to add insult to injury the poor host Agent could find no air-fresher to spare me the embarrassment. My only saving grace was we were near the end of the span of time allotted for the broker open house. I only could hope they were professional enough to keep the awful experience between us three.
I’ve always been very sensitive when someone around me accidentally passes gas, especially one of those powerful silent smelly ones. I’ve acted like it never happened to help the friend not feel embarrassed about something we all may have done in a public place.
I can remember Gladys Knight writing in her autobiography how fans would ask her while she was using a public bathroom if they could get her autograph. She’d commonly say “sure as soon as I finish doing my business,” and the fan would literally stand there and wait to get her autograph. I can only imagine how that might feel a little uncomfortable?
Oprah Winfrey would share when I’d go to sit in her audience when she was recording her show in Chicago, Illinois, one tool she’d used to help star-struck fans to not think of her as a Celebrity. She’d say “please remember we all have to pee and poop baby.”
My embarrassing lesson taught me if I must go to go in a bathroom in the basement, or in a part of the home where the least amount of people would know I am even using it. Better yet stop by a fast-food restaurant in route, and not place myself in such a position ever again.
Then again I’m reminded of what my Mom would tell me as a kid when she would allow me to catch the train downtown by myself to meet her at work whenever she worked on a rare Saturday to get that fifth week payroll out to her Staff, she’d say “trust nobody, not even yourself because the last time I trusted myself I turned around and mess on myself.” Know, I cleaned up a bit what she really said. Her carefully chosen word though kept me protected.
Below, my Colleague does give the proper answer to an age old question Agents ponder as proper etiquette. Many will say never ever ask and never ever use the Seller’s bathroom. What we all may have in common is our all too human selves may have no other choice.
"Can I use their bathroom?" The answer from me has always been YES. You can use the home sellers toilet. Home sellers should be prepared for buyers, their agents, the home inspector, the appraiser and just about ANYONE else who enters the home to "use the bathroom."
Home sellers should leave adequate toiletries for their 'guests.' The only time I've ever said no was when the home was in foreclosure and the water was turned off. Then you should go elsewhere. Obviously.
It's a necessary issue to deal with when you sell your home.
Greg Nino, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555
RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)
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