One Melbourne pub has gotten the sh*ts with hordes of people off the street using its amenities and instigated a $4.50 ‘fee to pee’.
Nearly a year ago Tom Tshul bought Fitzroy’s The Stone Hotel, which is located on the busy corner of Fitzroy’s Johnston and Brunswick streets, next to a well-patronised tram stop.
Since taking over Tshul has experienced a steady increase in passers-by ducking in to use the pub’s toilets, and a corresponding decrease in the condition of the amenities, with corresponding resources required to keep them up to standard.
Fed up with the burden of what was truly becoming a ‘public’ toilet, Tshul took the step of posting a patrons-only policy on use of the toilets, suggesting that for those that “must” use them, it would cost $4.50 (the price of a soft drink) to ‘spend a penny’.
“We needed to do something, as paying customers were complaining,” Tshul told PubTIC.
“No-one was ever charged the $4.50 – and if someone had paid, we probably would have given them a free soft drink anyway. It was just really just a deterrent. A few people came in and asked if they could use them, and we said ‘of course’.”
Tshul has had his eye on the pub for several years, and jumped at the opportunity when it came up last year. After a frosty Melbourne winter, he says they have really felt the benefit of the warmer weather and community.
“Everyone’s been really positive, and we’ve had really good feedback about the place. The neighbouring businesses have been really supportive, even popping their heads in to check everything is okay.”
The social media response to the pee-fee, which was only in place for two weeks, and is a common practise in Europe and the USA, came as some surprise to Tshul.
“You never know, we may have restarted a trend.”