A Bathtub Battle

Who Uses Them Anymore?

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney. It was last broadcast June 9, 2002.

We got into an argument in our house recently when I wanted to tear out both bathtubs and put in stall showers.

Most houses have the same number of bathtubs as they have television sets. The television sets are used all the time, but no one except small children ever use the bathtubs.

Bathtubs are more popular in movies than in real life. They make sexy scenes but the actors in them are usually covered with bubbles. You don't see much.

Bathtubs can also be spooky in a mystery movie.

To prove my point that bathtubs are a waste of money, I conducted my own street survey.

Andy: How long since you've had a bath?
Woman: A couple of years.
Andy: You never take a bath anymore?
Man: Never.
Andy: Take a bath?
Woman: Rarely, an actual bath, bath months ago.
Andy: When's the last time you took a bath?
Man: I can't remember.
Woman: Take a bath in a bathtub? Two-and-a-half months ago because I just moved here and I just have a shower.
Andy: Do you have a bathtub?
Woman: Yes.
Andy: But you don't use it.
Woman: No.
Woman: A bath? I would say five years ago.
Woman: A shower is utilitarian. Taking a bath is achieves a purpose beyond just cleanliness.
Man: I take a bath and then I let the tub empty. I usually go out and have breakfast, and then I shower.
Andy: Wow, you are one clean guy.
Man: I am, I'm very clean...
Man: [When I was] eight years old, for a cub scout meeting.
My mother made me do it. I hate baths.

A shower in a bathtub is an unsatisfactory, Rube Goldberg kind of arrangement, and a lot of people are taking the tubs out of their bathrooms.

In New York, a lot of them have ended up in a place called Demolition Depot.
I talked to a salesman there.

Andy: And what about this one, Evan?
Evan: This one came from Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney's house in Old Westbury, Long Island.
Andy: I'll be darned. I can just see Mrs. Whitney in there now.
How much would you get for an old tub like that?
Evan: Oh, they vary anywhere from 3 to 6, 7,000 [dollars].
Andy: thousand????

They're still putting bathtubs that no one will ever use in new houses, of course. If you'd like a really special tub, there's one for $65,000, carved out of a solid block of Italian marble. If you're on a budget, there's a cheap marble tub: $35,000.

I like the luxury of lolling around in a tub of warm water as much as anybody, but my position on bathtubs is this: If you want to get clean, you don't sit there soaking in a pool of dirty water for half an hour.

Written By Andy Rooney