BUSTED FLUSH: How much do we spend to spend a penny?


A new study has found that it costs Brits more than £2.2 BILLION – to ‘spend a penny’.



[ClickPress, Mon Nov 26 2018] These results were particularly enlightening considering the announcement in the recent Budget that new mandatory business rates relief will be offered for all toilets made available for public use.

Each year, the average adult will spend £43.92 on drinks, snacks and even full meals in order to use a shop or restaurant’s toilet guilt-free.

And almost £3 is spent just paying to get into public toilets in places such as train stations and parks.

But in a cruel twist of irony, a quarter of respondents have paid to use a toilet only to then succumb to ‘stage fright’ and find themselves unable to go.

The study was commissioned by TENA, surveying a representative sample of 2,000 Brits to assess how much they spend on visiting public toilets along with other issues associated with going to the loo when you’re out and about.

What do Brits buy to get access to a public loo?

It was also found that every year, an average of £5 is spent on bottled water so you walk into the shop’s toilets after making your purchase, while £7.40 is lost on tea or coffee in a café.

Brits will also spend £14 each per year on snacks and sandwiches so they can use the toilet at the same time.

More than £6 is spent on soft drinks every year, £7.10 goes on snacks and £6.93 is frittered away on a sandwich – just to gain access to the loo.

And almost £10 goes on a proper meal they weren’t planning on buying.


How many people would sneak in without paying?

But while an honest one in three Brits ask to use a shop or restaurant’s toilet, 27 per cent admit they just try and sneak in without any staff spotting them.

One in four have even bought something they had no use for – throwing it into the nearest bin shortly afterwards – just to use a company’s facilities.

But four in 10 Brits would feel ‘guilty’ using a shop or restaurant’s toilet without making a purchase to justify it.

This is despite 55 per cent believing people should have a ‘right’ to use a toilet even if they’re not a paying customer.

It also emerged 43 per cent always make sure they have some small change on them – specifically in case they need to use a public toilet.

Although more than half say they aren’t happy to pay to use a public toilet.

What would make Brits happier to pay up for a public toilet?

Almost six in 10 would be more likely to use their hard-earned cash to go to the toilet if it was clean and tidy, while half would pay if it was stocked with nice hand soap or moisturiser.

Forty-eight per cent even say they would happier to pay to use a toilet if the money was going to a good cause.

What did TENA say?

The research was commissioned by TENA, whose spokesman said: “Needing to use the loo when out and about can be fraught with tension.

“Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find a toilet nearby and even when you do, you may find you have to pay just to use it.

“As a result, we often find ourselves buying things we didn’t need or want from a café or pub so we can use their facilities.

“It might not seem a lot but it all adds up over time.

“What’s more, if you suffer from incontinence, the issue of finding a toilet when in public can be a constant worry – especially if you don’t have any cash or even the correct change on you.”

Further findings

The study, carried out via OnePoll.com, found a shopping centre is the most common place to go to the toilet when out and about, followed by public toilets or a nearby pub.

For some, not knowing where they can go to a toilet is a worrying prospect with half of Brits admitting to feeling uncomfortable if they don’t know where the nearest useable toilet is.

And curiously, more than half of the population somehow feel they need the toilet more when they know there isn’t one nearby.


For more information visit https://www.tena.co.uk/articles/how-much-do-we-spend-to-spend-a-penny.
Contact: Nick Roberts at Performics (Nicholas.roberts@performics.co.uk). Full set of results, data and supporting visual assets available on request.

Notes to editors

With over 50 years of experience, TENA has grown to become the world’s top bladder weakness and continence care brand. The company provides products and solutions for individuals and healthcare services in over 90 countries and is at the forefront of developing offers that meet the needs of millions of people around the world.

TENA is a brand of Essity, a leading global hygiene and health company that offers personal care and tissue products in about 100 countries. Essity is considered a benchmark in sustainability and has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies.


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