China's public toilets are no fun but at least now there'll be funnels, thanks to an enterprising pair of migrant workers selling colorful “pee straight” plastic cones. The funky funnels appeared on the streets of Shenzhen shortly after a new law came into effect threatening fines for those who "failed to urinate accurately."
The law, which came into effect on September 1st, was prompted by the sorry state of Shenzhen's public washrooms and the ongoing flood of complaints from an increasingly disgusted public. According to a city government official interviewed by the AFP news agency, the, er, aim of the new regulations is to discourage the “uncouth use of a public toilet.” Any man, woman or child caught contravening the new law can now be fined up to 100 yuan (around $16.35 at press time) per documented infraction. Who's to do the catching and documenting is not clear, however.
Anyone whose had the unfortunate pleasure of using a Chinese public toilet (or who have watched Karl Pilkington doing so on “An Idiot Abroad”) can appreciate why such a law is needed. Uncaring urinaters have put a vicious circle into motion: the messier the toilet, the farther one wishes to be from it, which adds to the messiness of the toilet, and so on.
All well and good but encouraging more careful aim isn't as easy as one might think, and any law not backed up with effective enforcement is doomed to be ignored at best; flouted at worst. What to do? Enter the Pee-Straight Funnel!
It's not known whether the translucent, plastic funnels in neon pink, green and yellow hues are an existing product or something slapped together on the fly (sorry) but within hours of the new law coming into effect, there they were, on sale outside a public toilet on Baodeng street in Shenzhen's Futian district. Call it a triumph of entrepreneurial spirit over enter-a-urinal spray-it.
Two migrant workers were flogging the funnels for 10 yuan (about $1.65) each, and each carried an official-looking red & black sign warning of the dire financial consequences awaiting the uncouth... urine trouble indeed. No doubt the yuan were flowing in like the Yellow River in flood season. (via Shanghaiist, images via Caijing)