Sunday, 27 February 2011

Bill Jarrett and the Orientation debate.

For most of us toilet paper orientation is a small matter of personal preference.
Some prefer to leave the roll with the final sheet ‘over’, reducing the risk of brushing their hand against the bathroom wall and making it easier to locate the end of the roll.
Others will opt for leaving the final sheet ‘under’, giving a tidier look to the roll as the sheet can be rolled out of sight and making it less likely that children or household pets could unravel the roll while playing with it.
For Bill Jarrett it is an obsession.
He has spent years, working out of his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attempting to organise a national vote on the subject that would then allow a democratically chosen orientation to become law in the United States.
Jarrett is hopeful that once a decision is taken, which would been enforced by police officers and a failure to adhere to the new regulations be punishable in law, it would settle an argument that has raged for decades:

“Next to the wall, or away from the wall. This argument has been going on since 1882 when roll toilet paper first came on the market. That’s when people found out there was two ways to hang it, and started arguing.”

For a man so tied up in the issue Jarrett has refused to reveal his own preference for fear of ‘affecting the vote.’ When journalists visit his home to discuss the progress of his mission he removes all the toilet paper from the dispensers in his home and leaves them on the floor.
Jarrett makes it clear that what drives him isn’t a desire to see his own choice of orientation become law but rather to save confusion.
By his estimate each citizen in the United States spends half an hour a year looking for the end of toilet roll as there is no predetermined location.
He calculates that a universal agreement on orientation will save Americans 90 million hours per year at home and save employers $300 million dollars per year in lost productivity in the workplace.
Jarrett has devoted all of his energies in retirement to this cause. He remains optimistic of a positive result:

''My final goal in life is to put an end to this most winnable debate and declare a 'National Toilet Paper Hanging Way,' '' he writes. ''I am 79, feel good, but at this age, who knows.''

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