Westfield, MA- After struggling to turn on the automatic sink, Peter Zeigler briefly ran his hands under the water, then took a moment to get soap. He was unable to finish washing his hands, however, as the sink turned off before he was able to finish lathering it onto his hands.
“I was almost done lathering up with soap,” Zeigler said, exasperated. “Just one more second and I would have put my hands back under water where the sensor could have sensed them again.” The disappointment in himself became more apparent in his voice as he added, “If I just went a little faster, I wouldn’t have had to stand there like a soapy-handed idiot.”
Zeigler explained that the worst part of the sink turning off early was that he had to try so many different techniques to turn the sink back on. “First, I tried waving just my right hand left and right under the sink. Then, front and back. Next, up and down. When all of that didn’t work, I tried to combine them and wave both my hands in all three directions. Still, nothing was happening.”
There were several people in the restroom who took notice of Zeigler’s trouble with turning on the sink, including James Parkk. Parkk said that he has used automatic sinks for several years and never has had a problem. When asked about ‘techniques’ to turn on automatic sinks, Parkk looked confused for a second, but then stated, “Umm I just walk up to the sink, put my hand under, and it turns on.” Parkk said that he noticed Zeigler out of the corner of his eye while he was moving his hands in and out of the automatic dryer. “I think I noticed him because he started to waving his hands in front of the sink in a very wild and aggressive manner.” He sighed and added, “someone, please teach this man how to turn on an automatic sink.”
After Parkk left, Zeigler was still trying to turn on the automatic sink. Mark Bryne described what he saw. “I walked out of the stall and there’s a guy who is just going nuts in front of one of the sinks. He looked out of control. He was flailing his hands around so fast that soap was flying off of them and getting everywhere.” Byrne said he quickly washed his hands and left the facility.
Zeigler said that finally, he had to give up on turning on that automatic sink and try the next one over. “I kept thinking that if I just move around a little more or a little faster, the sensor would sense my hand and the sink would turn back on.” Zeigler paused to catch his break. “I saw that other people were about to turn on the sink to my left, so I decided to try finish washing my hands with that one. It was last reported that immediately after Zeigler left the sink to try finishing washing his hands with another one, someone walked right up to the sink and it turned on with no problem.