Uncle John’s Stall of Shame

Bathrooms, toilets, and toilet paper should only be used as a force for good. But sometimes people end up using the facilities for more nefarious deeds. It is for these people that Uncle John created the “Stall of Shame.”

Stall of Shame

Ralph Curry of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Claim to Fame: Putting Mr. Potato in the head

True Story: In February 2015, Curry, 43, called for a maintenance worker to come to his apartment, but no one answered. Frustrated, Curry grabbed the potatoes he was cooking for breakfast and flushed them down the toilet…which overflowed. He called maintenance again. Still no answer. So he pulled the building’s fire alarm, forcing his fellow tenants to go outside on a blisteringly cold morning. He finally got an answer…from the police, who arrested Curry for setting a false alarm.

Burger King

Claim to Fame: Creating a color that should not exist (in the toilet, anyway)

True Story: In 2015, the fast food giant introduced a Halloween-themed Whopper with black buns (ooh, scary). But things got a lot scarier when the food coloring in the buns caused consumers’ poop to turn green. And not just green—according to USA Today, it was “vividly, neon green.” Or, as one Twitter user reported, “My stool was as green as the Irish countryside after a quenching rain.”

The city of Montreal, Quebec

Claim to Fame: Using the city’s main waterway as a giant toilet

True Story: Like many cities with aging infrastructures, Montreal’s public works department needed to overhaul its sewage treatment system. Specifically, they had to replace a “snow chute—a large opening that funnels water from melting snow to a facility used to treat the sewage.” Before that could happen, however, something needed to be done with all the raw sewage in the tanks. Their solution: dump it in the St. Lawrence River…all 1.75 billion gallons of it.

That’s exactly what they did in November 2015, and Quebecers were fuming mad. To ease concerns, city officials announced that the weeklong dumping (which was delayed until after Canada’s national elections) was perfectly safe…although they did urge citizens not to flush any “diapers, medication, or condoms” during the sewage dump. And they put up signs along the riverbanks warning people: “Évitez tout contact avec l’eau.” (“Avoid contact with water.”) So the sewage-filled river—that might also contain used diapers, used condoms, or prescription medications—was perfectly safe…as long as you didn’t touch it.

Jackie Burns, a UK politician

Claim to Fame: Taking away public loos, and then letting loose himself

True Story: In May 2015, Burns, the deputy leader of the South Lanarkshire Council in Scotland, reported to his constituents that, due to federal budget cuts, several public restrooms in his district would have to be closed. But then Burns became a victim of those same cuts. A few months later, after a night out on the town, he was waiting for a taxi when he had to relieve himself. But alas, the public restrooms were closed. So he tried to go outside…and got caught by the police. Burns was fined £40, and apologized to the public, saying he was “embarrassed by the incident.” At last report, the council was trying to find the money to reopen the restrooms.

Administrators at Ryerson University in Toronto

Claim to Fame: Coming up with a weak reply to complaints…and then not complying

True Story: A scandal erupted at the Canadian university in 2015 when student journalists reported that the bathrooms used by the school’s president and top administrators were stocked with two-ply toilet paper, while the bathrooms in the student dorms were “stocked exclusively with that translucent, gotta-fold-it-thirteen-times one-ply.” When confronted, Ryerson president Sheldon Levy promised to take action. “When I found out about this, I said this is shocking, embarrassing, make sure this doesn’t happen.” But nothing did happen. A university spokesperson later explained that two-ply costs twice as much as one-ply, and adding it to the dormitories would stretch the school’s budget too thin (so to speak), because it would also require upgrading the TP dispensers and even replacing the old pipes. So for now, only Ryerson’s top administrators get to enjoy the superior softness of two-ply.

Uncle John's Uncanny Bathroom Reader