At some point in the last twenty or so years, tub spouts changed. In ordinary circumstances, you wouldn’t pay too much attention to this unless it affected your own ability to turn on a shower. But even then, I think most Americans figure it out pretty quickly. Instead of having a lever to pull upwards to turn on the shower, one must pull down on the spout itself. I remember when we installed on in our shower of the main bath, my husband demonstrated how to do it; our children actually grew up knowing how to operate it.
It may seem extraordinary then, when our Residents cannot seem to figure it out. However, the one thing I noticed right away was that almost 99% of the returned move-in inspection forms from our international residents contained this: “shower doesn’t work.” When the Maintenance Tech would go to attend to the work order, he would turn it in as completed marked “Nothing wrong.”
This type of service request became such a frequent one (recurring from our international students) that a pictorial demonstration booklet was given to every person at move demonstrating how the shower operates. (We found many people were extremely embarrassed and felt “dumb” after finding out there was nothing wrong and it was attributed to “Operator error.”) In addition, our Maintenance Techs now pay a visit to each person who moves in and demonstrates the operation of the thermostat, alarm system and shower. Sometimes it is the simple things that make life easier – like knowing how to turn on one’s shower.
More than that, by reducing the risk of making someone feel badly for not figuring out the “American way” of doing things, I think it helps us create a better overall experience for our Residents.