A Ghost for German Toilets | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 27.10.2004

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A Ghost for German Toilets

Germans have taken the crusade against men who stand while peeing to a new level: They've come up with a device that will scold anyone trying to relieve himself in an upright position.

Haunting offenders across Germany

Haunting offenders across Germany

Known to resort to drastic measures to stamp out bad habits -- many a German child has had bad-tasting substances spread on thumbs to prevent sucking -- Germans are now welcoming a little ghost to their bathrooms.

About 1.6 million toilets are already haunted by Spuk, or Spook, as the little device is called. Attached to the underside of the toilet seat, Spuk quietly endures sitting visitors. But anyone trying to lift the seat should be prepared for the ghost's unrelenting wrath.

"Excuse me, but there's a penalty for peeing while standing in this house," it warns culprits. "You'd better not risk any problems and sit down!"

Other versions start roaring like a lion or try to persuade stubborn customers with the soothing voice of a female flight attendant.

"We welcome you aboard Never Come Back Airlines," the voice says. "We'd like to ask our male passengers in particular to sit down, buckle up and refrain from smoking."

After conquering the German market, Spuk has already taken over toilets in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and Canada.

Next on the list is a tougher challenge: According to officials for the company that makes the device, Spuk will soon try to convert Italian men as well.

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