For the past few years I have noticed the stalls in bathrooms seem to have shrunk. I remember years ago walking into the stall, closing the door and using the facilities without a problem. You could even take a small child into a normal sized stall with you if needed. Not anymore.
Now when you enter the stall the first maneuver (unless you are super skinny and can squeeze between the side of the toilet and side of the stall) is to spread your legs and straddle the toilet while grasping any belongings with one hand so you can swing the door shut, the edge of it barely clearing your body.
You can now step to the front of the toilet and hang your possessions on the door. Once done you must repeat the process. Retrieve your belongings from the door, back up and once again straddle the toilet while reaching to unlatch and pull the stall door open. If you have removed a coat you have to decide whether to put that back on in cramped quarters or risk dropping it, as well as your purse, into the toilet as you maneuver to make your escape.
The fact is Americans have increased in size over the past few decades, but the stalls have shrunk considerably. This was something I kept pondering over and then it occurred to me, the doors used to swing out on the stall. An outward swinging door gave you more room to enter and exit. The disadvantage of that was if the latch failed the door flew open and there you were, trying desperately to reach the door and pull it shut while you finished. If you didn’t grab fast enough you were on display.
Somewhere along the line the faulty-latch display problem was resolved by having the stall doors swing in. Now if the door latch fails you just give it a small push to close it. Why those in control never thought to increase the depth of the stall by a foot to allow room for the door to swing makes one wonder. The price we pay to have our privacy maintained is the requirement that you maintain balance while holding your possessions and straddle a toilet with your stomach sucked in tight to allow clearance for the door to pass by. As long as my purse doesn’t fall in the toilet, I’ll manage.