People Are Gross

Not you, obviously, but, you know, people. Other people. This isn’t news to anyone who has been a human or spent time with humans, but sometimes exploring the obvious leads to important insights. Like, say, getting statistical confirmation on exactly how gross the people around you are.

At Buoy Labs, we love ourselves some good technology and data, and many of us have children. Children are known to be gross. Children also don’t wash their hands without being reminded 348 times. The consensus in the break room one morning was that we’d all like a device that yells, “Wash your hands!” in the bathroom after a child flushes the toilet. We decided it should also yell at adults, because how often do you see someone bypass the sink when they’re leaving a public bathroom? Do you think they’re any better at home?

When you’re a company that has access to lots of data about people’s water-usage habits, you can answer that pretty easily. Especially when one of your data science wizards is in earshot.

I can tell you that.

After establishing that he hadn’t been spending his time being overly interested in toilet data when he was supposed to be waving his magic wand over all the data, we wanted answers. And answers we got.

We did not like them.

We wished he hadn’t told us.

But now that he’s told us, we feel compelled to share the answer with you. If you don’t want to know, there are lots of pictures of puppies wearing hats on the internet for you to look at. But, if you’re curious…

Look at the person on your left. Look at the person on your right. Only one of you is doing this.

Look at the person on your left. Look at the person on your right. Only one of you is doing this.

…You’re sure? Because you can’t un-know this. People in Buoy households wash their hands about 30 percent of the time after they use the toilet. Only 30 percent. Sure, there’s some statistical noise that could bring that number up or down, but no amount of adjusting for noise is going to get us to a percentage that doesn’t make us shudder.

First, you can stop with the panicked look. When we comb through data, it’s anonymous. The numbers our Data Wizard analyzes aren’t identified with your Buoy account, so we can’t rat you out.

Second, after discovering that we should lather in hand sanitizer and avoid public spaces and look with suspicion on everyone we meet, we wondered what else our Buoys could show us about people’s water habits. Turns out, you people are fascinating.

Let’s look at the numbers:

  • People shower most often on Mondays, and 10 percent less on Saturdays, when they shower the least. You are not at your freshest on weekends. Duly noted.

  • People’s showers on Wednesday are eight percent longer than on Sunday, when they take the shortest showers. We understand. It’s only Wednesday. There are so many more days to face before the weekend. Take your time.

  • The average shower is only five minutes long. This must mean some of you shower for 15 seconds, countering the four-hour showers that parents complain their children take.

  • Households are 10 percent less likely to run the dishwasher on Friday than Sunday. We’d say you’re lazy, but it’s Friday. You get a pass. We hope you’re dining out and having fun with people you enjoy. Cheers!

  • People do laundry most often on Sunday, and 31 percent less on Wednesday. Unless you’re a parent, in which case it’s 85 loads of laundry daily.

We’ll look at more Buoy data again soon. For now, let us know if our numbers mesh with your water habits, or if you’re one of the outliers. And, quick question: Don’t you think it’s time to wash your hands?

This jaunty fellow thinks you should wash your hands.

This jaunty fellow thinks you should wash your hands.