Each time I use a restaurant bathroom I see a different version of this sign: “Please Wash Your Hands After You Go To The Bathroom.”

Here’s something I don’t understand: why should you wait to wash your hands until after you go to the bathroom?

Pardon me for getting personal here, but if you shower in the morning and put on clean underwear, everything “down there” is clean. On the other hand, before you went into the bathroom you probably shook hands, touched money, opened doors, or threw something in the trash. Chances are it’s your hands that aren’t so clean.

Maybe you should wash your hands BEFORE you use the toilet.

When Do You Wash Your Hands - Bruce Turkel


Here’s something else I don’t understand. – what is it that actually kills the germs that could be on your hands in the first place?

Do the germs drown under running water? Are they burned to death by hot water? Are they chilled to death by cold water? Are they crushed to death when you rub your hands together? Or are they poisoned by the soap?

Maybe germs are mauled by the rough paper towels. Or perhaps the germs are blown off your hands by electric hand driers.

Unfortunately, the questions don’t end there because here’s one more thing that doesn’t make sense: lots of soap is sold specifically as “anti-microbial.” But according to the CDC, antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing disease-causing germs than regular soap and water.

And it’s even odder because there are at least two advantages to washing your hands with plain soap.

  • First, common hand soap tends to be less expensive than antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer.
  • Second, regular soap won’t kill the healthy bacteria on your skin that helps keep you healthy in the first place.

So many questions, so little time. And about something as simple as washing our hands.

If that’s so bewildering, how about the things that are confusing in the first place? No, I’m not talking about learning Greek or understanding tax code. Instead, let’s talk about social media.

Understanding Social Media: How to Reach Your Consumers?

Sure, it’s easy to use social media to post pictures of Friday’s pub crawl or whatever adorable thing your sister’s kid did the other night. But how about understanding how to reach your consumers and get them to purchase your goods or services? How about understanding the power behind Facebook Pixels or Facebook’s Ad Manager Account? How about discerning the difference between Messenger Ads and Messenger Bots?

All of a sudden, something that was as innocuous as uploading pictures of your cat shredding toilet paper stops making sense, doesn’t it?

Don’t think you’re alone. When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by congress, these are some of the obviously clueless questions our legislators asked him (don’t worry, my rant is entirely non-partisan).

One senator asked: “I’m communicating with my friends on Facebook and indicate that I love a certain kind of chocolate. All of a sudden, I start receiving advertisements for chocolate. What if I don’t want to receive those commercial advertisements?”

Another senator asked the founder of one of the most profitable companies in history, “So, how do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”

And one senator even asked, ““What was Facemash, and is it still up and running?”

“…There was a movie about (that),” Zuckerberg answered, referring to the movie The Social Network, not even Facebook itself.

Sure, the senators’ answers were both awkward and funny at the same time. But these are the very people charged with legislating our social media environment and protecting us from perils that we don’t understand.

If we can’t even figure out how and when to properly wash our hands – and if we need to be reminded to wash them every time we go to the bathroom, how in the hell can we expect to embrace and properly benefit from this brave new world we’re all hurrying into at a faster and faster pace? Worse, how are we going to compete with companies who are spending the time, money, and brainpower it takes to embrace and exploit this new reality?

Your local university or community college has extension classes designed to bring you up-to-date on the technologies that are taking over our world and your business. And whether you call the courses “adult education,” “continuous education” or the euphemistic “lifelong learning,” it’s time you signed up for one of them before it’s too late.

When you choose to wash your hands is up to you.


  1. May 1, 2019

    Hey Bruck – that was a perfect piece. The problem is that most men (don’t know about the ladies) do NOT wash after – and the reason that is sooo important is because that’s how staff infections occur. Yes, even if you are healthy and everything is clean “down there” you can still spread staff. And yes soap kills germs, and if you don’t use soap you’re just wasting water. I love seeing these big guys run a trickle of water in the rest room and delicately rub three fingers together.
    So you need to wash, before and after.

  2. May 2, 2019

    Bruce, The one that always gets me is the “Employees must wash hands” sign in the restaurant bathroom. I’ve waited up to forty-five minutes many times, but no employee ever came to wash my hands! It’s a conspiracy. People all over the country are waiting God-knows-how-long to get their hands cleaned when they could do it themselves and be out of the restroom much faster.

    • Bruce Turkel
      May 5, 2019

      Keep waiting, Dave, keep waiting.

  3. David Bibicoff
    May 2, 2019

    I was I always under the impression that you could determine whether a person is a blue collar worker or a white collar worker from the question “When do they wash your hands”
    Blue collar workers wash their hands before going to the bathroom while white collar workers wash after going.

  4. DeAnne Connolly Graham
    May 2, 2019


  5. Heidi L Reiter
    May 2, 2019

    What are these courses generally called? This is an insightful article Bruce. It’s nice to hear from you!!

    • Bruce Turkel
      May 5, 2019

      The course I’m taking is BizHack run by Dan Grech. You can find out more here: https://bizhack.com
      Dan has been doing this for a few years now. The class I’m in is his 10th iteration and from what I’ve heard from others it just keeps getting better and better.

  6. Henry Martinez
    May 3, 2019

    Right on Bruce, not something people talk about but I have occasionally though about the wash hand dilema.
    No one does before it seems and unfortunately many don’t after they use the facilities, which is quite gross.
    Often times it depends on what environment you are in of course but frequently even in the best of restaurants you witness it.
    Somehow, at times, I like the fist bump idea or am grateful when somebody gives me the elbow and says they or someone in the family is ill and propose they don’t shake hands, very thoughtful! Hugs are good too, and from what I read, has a positive psychological effect!

    I spent part of my career in Asia, people would bow or nod, even at Catholic Church services it was common at the time of sharing the peace be with you moment, that nobody would shake hands, they would just look you in the eye and bow heads or hold own hands together and take a slight bend. Mind you much of this probably came from the time of the Asian flu time period but it’s a healthy habit.

    All that said, on a deeper note, yes it is scary what social does to target us. I like cars and boats and frequently search or read articles on them, reviews, cost etc.. then I get bombarded by car or boat ads while I am absolutely not in the market, it’s just a passion point.
    Eventually I say leave me alone and dig in to try and erase history and cookies etc but it’s a never ending circle. The intrusion is bothersome and somehow even with a lack of objective advertising data from these services, companies/ media agencies buy in and ignore the aspect of relationship and objectivity that a neutral ratings service provides with less analytics but trustworthy data.

    Its and interesting media world we are living that is a fact!


    May 3, 2019

    I always washed my hands before peeing when I was single to keep the little guy sparkling clean

  8. hewlester samuel
    May 3, 2019

    know i have to analyze my hand washing routine

  9. May 3, 2019

    i wash before and after –

  10. May 3, 2019

    Bruce, loved the debate.

    Here are my thoughts. Some things we just do playing to some kind of instinct. For example, why do we switch top for ‘on’, if you’re in North America, and bottom for ‘off’ or feed our mouth with a spoon in our right hand and fork in left, if you’re right handed, instead of the other way around. Or when we march, it’s left foot first! Why? Do we really need an answer?

    I believe Social Media is one such example. It’s a catharsis of self expression where we willingly and sometimes ostentatiously surrender our privacy. The generation born into social media fit into it like a glove. The puzzlement and questions come from those who this phenomenon has been thrust on and they wonder why? Let’s just accept and die, I say.

  11. JM Casson
    May 3, 2019

    Point well made…BTW… I have been a member of the PRE and POST club for many years…!

  12. Seth B
    May 4, 2019

    I’m sure I won’t be the only one to read this entry and be reminded of this scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=23&v=FxdW8HjpSpc

  13. marilyn tulgan (jason Bear)
    May 4, 2019

    I think that I’m just going to wash my hands……because……………I feel like it…..and besides, I’m going to have lunch,,,,

  14. Will Ezell
    May 4, 2019

    Bruce – I think you know I died and lived to tell the story… How did I die? Infectious disease – the fastest growing segment in USA medicine today. What did I have? “Source unknown / pathogen unknown” just like more than 50% of all people who are infected. Unlike most cancer patients (5-year volatility), I now have a lifetime volatility due to my compromised immune system. I just celebrated my 6th re-birthday from this horrible disease.
    I’m not looking for sympathy. In fact it’s the best thing that ever happened to me second to meeting and marrying Phoebe (and you of course). I’ve discovered a lot about disease and infection in the past 6 years beginning with washing hands. It’s good to wash your hands. Frequently. It’s not so good to wash your hands every time with disinfecting soaps or solutions. Same with substances like Purel. If you do, you will build up a tolerance to them and their effectiveness wears off.
    But – don’t stop with your hands. Having the area surrounding your nose and mouth is also important.
    In closing I have 2 contributions:
    1. Do wash your hands and face frequently. Not always with disinfecting soaps or solutions; and
    2. Do encourage people we know and love to discover social media. Perhaps if they do they’ll quickly tire (and see the true ways and soul) of our current president’s incessant, belligerent, racist, misogynistic, bully-esque, childhood name-calling, misleading and lying tweets. That will be good for other more viable candidates in our next critical election.

    • Bruce Turkel
      May 5, 2019

      Thank you for your insights Will. And thanks for hanging around!!

  15. May 4, 2019

    Thanks Bruce.

    I’m forewarned – from now I’ll wash my hands before and after every continuing ed course I take!

    Once again – great post.

  16. May 5, 2019

    Well put Bruce and I am one of those still on the sidelines watching the Instagrams, Tweets, etc unfold.

    However I have delved into the world of AR Scanners and I do think this technology is where the future of print advertising will go. Look for our Visit Houston ads and you can see how we are embracing the technology.

    John ( we met in Savannah)

    • Bruce Turkel
      May 5, 2019

      Thanks, John. I agree that you’re embracing the new technology. My guess is that both of us will find both successes and failures with our experiments in digital marketing. What I know for sure is that there’s no chance we’ll succeed if we don’t try at all. Please keep me (and my readers) posted on your progress.

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