If Your Income Goes Up, Will You Watch TV in the Bathroom?

In the long run, the increasing opportunity cost of people’s time, as wages rise, is one of the most important driving forces in economic behavior.

Much of our racing around is due to adjustments to the increasing relative scarcity of time compared to income, as are efforts to introduce time-saving technology.


A neat example of such an innovation is the combined urinal and television in the luxury hotel where I’m participating in a conference.


As the photos show, men can now perform a simple bodily function while catching up on the latest news, and women can now apply makeup while watching news or features.

I don’t expect to see this expensive innovation everywhere; but for the higher-wage people who frequent this hotel, it’s sensible for the hotel’s owners to make this investment. As incomes rise, are these screens the wave of the future?


how many guys are going to pee on their expensive shoes if something interesting comes on the TV?

Peter Davis

Don't you think it's really just another way to put advertising in people's faces everywhere?


Sally LeRoy

Maybe this will catch on at first, and persist due to advertising potential, but I think a HUD would be cheaper and more useful. That way at least the information could follow me and I won't end up standing in the bathroom extra time because what happens to be on TV is engaging.


I used to rent a house with a TV built into the bathroom (as well as the kitchen). I saved time every morning by watching in the bathroom the few minutes of SportsCenter that I usually would on my couch. Not to mention "sitting" time on other occasions.


My grandparents had one in their bathroom


Hate to break it to you, but the sports bar down the street from me in Birmingham, AL has this. It's not a dive, but I wouldn't put it on the same level as a "luxury hotel" either


Agreed with the previous: this isn't a time-saving device, it's an advertising delivery vehicle, much like the TV screens in the elevators in my office building. Were I to spend my money at that hotel, and saw anything but 100% content on the screens, that hotel would never again have my business.


The best sports bars have this set up now so you don't have to miss a play. Superbowl Sunday or college bowl season is a time when my old TV might get set up in the bathroom to take some of the suspense out of pit stops.


Shoving commercial content into peoples' faces during periods of unavoidable delay is not a class or wage limited idea to be restricted to high-end locations.

See: Gas Station TV, more horrifying than $4/gallon gasoline could ever be.


Time is definitely money, and people are looking for ways to do more than one thing at the same time, and having a TV in the bathroom is a good example of how to do more than one things at the same time.
Rich people, who are constantly using their time to get more and more money, might find this solution of having a TV in the bathroom, the perfect way to learn what is going on around the world, and go to the bathroom. This way they spend 30 minutes in what they would normally spend 1 hour.


As income rises it is only logical that consumers buy more because their budget line has just increased and their utility curve has just bumped even higher. This phenomena of buying plasma screens for one's bathroom in one's house is logical (if income is rising); buy more television sets and place them wherever.
But, the phenomena of hotels buying plasmas so guests can watch the news while they use the bathroom seems illogical. What could anyone possibly miss on the news while being away for 2-5 minutes? Another reason why its illogical is because most times, when people go to the bathroom (especially public bathroom), they are usually in and out as fast as they can. And if people are in a hotel, they would prefer to use their own high end bathroom in their suites to do what they have to do.
Overall, hotels are just wasting their money. Although.... it does look really cool.


As mentioned above Sports Bars have had this for over a decade. I think having CNBC on at all times is turning into an addiction more than a necessity that black berries....

Jeremy Miles

Why waste time watching TV in the bathroom, when you could be reading a book in a rare moment of peace and solitude.


Agreed w/ #6 - i see this in lover-middle-level bars all the time, usually sports bars.

For a culture that's given up on newspapers it makes sense to replace the tacked-up daily with espn or cnn or whatever


You my friend are a technological rube. Have you ever been in a public toilet and (annoyingly) heard somebody on a cellphone!? Sir, this "innovation" may not be just for the uber-wealthy but can do everything those TVs can do (and more).


Jeremy: Watching somebody drop their book in the urinal would be almost as funny as watching the BlackBerry user drop his device while texting.


I've got to agree with Peter David (i.e. commenter #2). This is not done for the customers who use the urinals. This is a way to deliver customers to advertisers.

Heck, ask the hotel or the sports bar who is paying for the TVs and the programming. Ask them if make money on it, or lose money on it.

anonymous canuck

oddly enough, I read this article on my iPhone while sitting in the bathroom...


Most women apply make-up by looking at their face, not the TV. It becomes much more distracting to get the mascara on right if a TV demands your attention. I say it is unnecessary.


If the hotel isn't producing content and advertising for the screens, or at the very least intercepting the commercials normally played and replacing them with those that they've sold, they're missing a good revenue opportunity.