Paid toilets — an economic mystery

First of all, please excuse the vulgarity of this post. I’m making a point. I took this picture a couple months ago at a bus station.

I had walked past an empty desk when a babushka came roaring out of some back room, gruffly demanding one hryvnia (12 cents) for the privilege of relieving myself amongst this sanitary beauty:

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How is this travesty possible? Shouldn’t paid toilets be of better quality than the free toilets which businesses (McDonalds, among many others) make available throughout Ukraine?

Not so. Not at all. You see, the babushka is not a private owner. She’s not the innovative, risk-taking sanitation entrepreneur you might mistake her for. She is a bureaucrat squatting (no pun intended) on dilapidated, neglected Soviet era infra structure. What’s even more pathetic is the possibility that she paid a bribe to rise to her current position.

Oh, the humanity…