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Get paid 10 yuan to use a public toilet

A PUBLIC toilet in downtown Putuo District is offering users 10 yuan (US$1.46) each time they use it.

The newly opened toilet is part of a store specializing in selling water-saving bathroom wares on Changshou Road.

The store set aside about 10 square meters in one corner for a public wash room.

Outside the store stood a big signboard stating, "From July 24, everyone that goes to the toilet can get 10 yuan cash!"

Those who write an article about using the toilet will have the opportunity to win bathroom wares worth thousands of yuan, the signboard said.

"We want more people to know our products," said the store manager surnamed Zhang, adding that the company did a similar promotion four years ago in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, paying users 1 yuan each time they went. Some people showed up three times within hours.

The response in Shanghai yesterday was also beyond expectation.

At one stage yesterday morning, more than 10 people were queuing in front of the store to patronize the toilet. More than 40 people picked up the cash yesterday.

In Shanghai, public venues such as department stores are encouraged to open bathrooms to supplement the public toilets. But there are no detailed qualifications for who can set one up.

"This one is an obvious commercial promotion but we have no reason to interfere," said Han Rongyu, an official of Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau who oversees public toilet management. Locals also had a mixed response.

"I would like to try, but I won't bother writing about it," said Bryan Fang, a teacher.

A translator surnamed Xie, however, said she wouldn't use the facility as it made her feel "embarrassed."

Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist with Fudan University, said the promotion was an intrusion of privacy.

"Going to the toilet is a private issue," Gu said.

"It's like buying other's privacy for 10 yuan."


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