How Strict Should Stores Be About Employees-Only Bathrooms?

While retail stores all need someplace for employees to wash up and occasionally relieve themselves, many stores have a “staff only” policy for access to the toilet. But are there situations where the store staffers should make an exception in the name of saving a customer from embarrassment?

A Consumerist reader Joe in Texas writes in to tell us about an unhappy experience he and his mother-in-law had while shopping at their local Lady Foot Locker.

While Joe’s wife was shopping for shoes, his 70-something mom-in-law, who wears a protective undergarment in case of a bathroom-related emergency, suddenly needed to use the loo.

“She asked the worker behind the counter if she could she their bathroom,” writes Joe. “They told her no it was against store policy. She pleaded with them to use it because it was an emergency. The worker again told her no she cannot use the bathroom.”

Joe’s mother-in-law headed over to JCPenney, where an employee gave her directions to the bathroom at the back of the store.

“She couldn’t make it in time and soiled herself in public,” says Joe. “She made it to the bathroom and my wife helped clean her up, but not without being embarassed in public.”

Joe was aghast at the lack of compassion show by The Lady Foot Locker employee.

“When someone of any age has the sudden, unexpected urge to use the bathroom, stores should at least accommodate the customer in case of emergency,” he writes. “To allow someone to suffer public embarassment for the sake of store policy is ridiculous.”

Stores usually keep customers out of the bathroom because they want to avoid any liability that could arise from customers using the bathroom, and in some cases, employee bathrooms are in a place that could provide easy access to either store inventory, cash or sensitive information.

All that being said, it couldn’t hurt for retailers to train their employees how to handle these situations — when to recognize true emergencies; how to minimize liability concerns when exceptions are made; and at the very least, how to politely turn customers away and steer them to the nearest viable bathroom option.

Comments

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  1. FatLynn says:

    You said it: liability concerns. It’s impossible to ask a front-line employee to “be a human” when doing so means they will probably get fired.

    • Naked-Gord-Program says:

      This is why I never ask for the public restroom even if there is one.

      I simply crap my pants in the store and let everyone deal with the smell.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      Everyone would like to be human, but creepo’s ruined that for everyone.

      There are always creepo people who have no problem crapping all over the toilet and the walls of your restroom. No employee wants to clean that up so that means no public gets to use the restroom.

      If people would stop crapping all over the walls and floors then maybe everyone would let you use their rest room.

      • imasqre says:

        I was once in a CVS that literally had crap ALL OVER THE BATHROOM. It stunk and was absolutely vile. After the fact I spoke to the manager about it (he said he knew about the problem LOL) and never set foot in that store again.

        • zegron says:

          heck that happened to the pubic bathroom in the Wal-Mart I worked in back in High School. it was vile. frigging teenagers. I knew they were up to no good when i saw them. I would have followed them too but I worked in Electronics at that time and was alone that evening. It was store policy that that department never be left unmanned. that was 15 years ago though before the move to the open floor plan most WMs have now.

    • imasqre says:

      I’ve heard of this policy many times, especially from corporations. Bc of insurance reasons or liability, non-workers are not allowed in staff-only areas.

      On that note, when there was a person that clearly needed to use the bathroom, we would just escort them and wait outside the door/in the general back area until they were done (leading to a nice few min break lol), then escorted them out.

      This was unnecessary of LFL and it seems the person was on a power trip or a bad mood.

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        Or they were the only available person in the store and couldn’t spend time in the back room listening to someone grunt her way through a BM.

        Or the private bathroom isn’t ADA-compliant/doesn’t have a lock and they don’t feel like going through those lawsuits right now.

        My personal experience:
        I worked at a bookstore for a couple years. We had an employees-only bathroom. Twice, I tried being nice and let them in the back anyway. Both times, I ended up witth feces, urine, and/or menstrual blood either on the toilet seat or on the floor. And I did get threatened with a lawsuit because the bathroom wasn’t ADA-compliant (this person had no crutches, walker, or wheelchair.)

        People are terrible when it comes to public bathrooms, so it’s okay to keep your bathroom private.

        • imasqre says:

          I’d be surprised if a Lady Foot Locker only had one person on the floor at a time. And if so, they need to plan their schedules better for the sake of their employees.

          If that was the case (which I have never experienced when I give good customer service) I’m a hard-ass and would ask the person to some back bc “they forgot something”.

          • Jane_Gage says:

            I just put a hasp lock on the employee bathroom. The sign wasn’t keeping people out, and yes they are pigs. This story is very apropos.

          • Daggertrout says:

            If it was the middle of the week, they could possibly be slow enough to only need one or two employees at a time. Perhaps the other was on break at the time? Every Foot Locker store I’ve seen is pretty small.

          • coldfire409 says:

            They may have had two people scheduled and it was a slow time when one was on their lunch break. I’ve seen many times in the middle of the week a small store in the mall like a foot locker only have one or two employees working at a time.

    • Charmander says:

      Unfortunately, this is true. The front-line employee is forced to forgo compassion and basic civility because their job may be on the line. Sad.

      • maxamus2 says:

        You’ve never worked in the public, have you? EVERYONE has “special needs”, EVERYONE has an “emergency”, EVERYONE feels the rules do not apply to them.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          This is true. When I worked at Sears, we’d have people banging on the door that they had an emergency, had to buy something. We figure, ok, they need a sump pump, the basement’s flooded, they need a generator, fusebox has exploded. 9 times out of ten, they’d hurry to somewhere like the bedding department and leisurely look at curtains for 15 minutes before we could get security to oust them. You learn quickly in retail that people have a FAR different definition of “emergency” than a sane person would.

          • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

            I should have said, banging on the door just as we were closing.

        • Charmander says:

          LOL. I work in retail, so yeah, I work with “the public.” Every single day.

    • JennQPublic says:

      A friend was recently a human when a man accompanying a female customer at her work asked to use the restroom. He returned the favor by stealing her phone and wallet out of the break room while she helped the ‘customer’.

      I would say one should certainly try to accommodate someone in need of a restroom (customer or not), but not at the risk of opening one’s self up to theft or liability. If there is an employee available to escort a customer to and from the restroom, that is the most graceful solution.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        I would say one should certainly try to accommodate someone in need of a restroom (customer or not), but not at the risk of opening one’s self up to theft or liability.
        _____________

        Not at the risk? You’re assuming that one has ESP and can foretell when theft or liability is going to happen but no one has it. I am not going to live my life being an insolent jerk to society merely because I “think” I may get screwed or something may get stolen. I’d rather take my chances and be compassionate and hold myself up to higher standards. That is the way that I was raised.

        • JennQPublic says:

          So, do you pick up hitchhikers? Or does your compassion not extend to potentially endangering one’s self?

          I’m generally all for showing compassion to others (I actually have picked up hitchhikers in the past), but at a certain point you have to take reasonable precautions to protect yourself. I do not think leaving a stranger alone with my purse is a good idea, nor is having faith that a random person is coordinated enough to navigate a cluttered and unfamiliar stock room without hurting themselves.

          Bear in mind, for a small family-owned business, exposing yourself to liability means risking losing everything your family has worked for for years. Putting your livelihood in the hands of an unknown person isn’t compassionate, it’s unwise.

          • OttersArePlentiful says:

            One of my classmates picked up a hitchhiker – after about fifteen minutes, he started scolding her about the danger of picking up hitchhikers.

    • dourdan says:

      true.
      the most someone can do is tell them where the nearest public restroom is.

      my mother in law seems to test this where ever she goes. if she eats ANYTHING she needs a restroom in the next 5 minutes. I am pretty sure she just has a low pain tolerence and could possibly hold it for longer then she does.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        One of my former coworkers had his entire colon removed and he always has to go right after he eats. He knows where every single bathroom is anywhere he goes. It sucks, but it is what it is.

    • Jawaka says:

      So how compassionate would this customer had been towards the employee if the employee was fired for breaking store policy? I’m sure she would have felt bad for him/her but feeling bad doesn’t keep a person out of the unemployment line.

      • Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

        I’m sure she would have felt bad for him/her…

        I don’t even have that much faith in most people. A few days ago at my second job, we had a customer sniveling her way into using photocopied coupons by claiming that a certain employee had told her she could copy it as many times as she wanted. The manager knew damn well she was lying and said in a perfectly deadpan voice that he’d do it this time, but that he’d fire the employee so it wouldn’t happen again. Snivellus just nodded, thanked him, and smugly handed the coupons to the cashier who’d originally told her no.

        People who complain the loudest about showing a little compassion are usually the ones least likely to show it themselves.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          Oh, HELL no. I’m a couponer and I hate when people pull this shit. It’d been better if the manager had told her that’s coupon fraud and he was about to call the cops. Probably one of those types that steals all the inserts outta the papers in the boxes, too.

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, i don’t think they’d even feel bad. Everyone’s attitude these days seems to be “Not MY problem!”

    • kc2idf says:

      I wonder what the store’s liability would be if a customer slid in a pee puddle?

    • DragonThermo says:

      I concur. I’ve seen too many articles on The Consumerist of some store employee “being human” and getting fired for violating store policy.

      It is so much easier to be a drone and follow store policy to the letter. Can’t get fired for following store policy.

      In this case, a human would make an exception for an emergency but still protect the store by accompanying the customer to the employee restroom and waiting outside the door. This would prevent the aforementioned risk due to theft of cash or merchandise. The real problem is the liability issue. If the customer hurt themselves in the employee restroom despite being advised by the employee that they are for employees only, that should indemnify the store against liability as the customer decided to voluntarily take the risk. Unfortunately, in our legal system, nothing is your own fault, everything is somebody else’s fault. If the customer hurt themselves despite being accompanied by an employee and given a verbal warning that the restrooms are not normally for customer use, the store would still be liable.

      As much I think the employee should be allowed to be human, being a drone and following store policy is the safest answer for everyone but the customer with the emergency.

  2. LadyTL says:

    For every one case of a legitimate need there is a dozen others of people not in an emergency need or they are but they will make a huge mess on purpose for whatever insane reason they have. That’s why we tell everyone no.

    • FatLynn says:

      Right, I don’t know how you would “recognize true emergencies”. It seems that it’s either a public restroom or it isn’t.

      • dru_zod says:

        It is hard to recognize the true emergencies, but I bet they’ll recognize them after it’s too late.

    • Kate says:

      I’ve never had a store refuse me to use the bathroom in emergencies, even the bank was happy to let me use it. It doesn’t happen often, but I am always allowed to walk through work areas, into bathrooms with stock and all kinds of stuff in them.

      Maybe I just look trustworthy.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        Same for me. I happen to work at a bank, so maybe I have some sort of trustworthy demeanor as well. But I don’t ever complain on the rare times I hear no, because I have been where they are, and retail is hell, and for every nice person you encounter, this is one insane monster.

  3. donjumpsuit says:

    Joe,
    Next time throw the dirty diaper at the Lady footlocker employee and yell “Your problem now!” and then walk out.

    • infinityspiral says:

      Pretty sure that’s why they’re happy to enforce the policy since the general public will mess up the bathrooms by doing things like this.

      • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

        IANAL but I think that’d be at least assault. Possibly more since it was done with some sort of biological waste. Not a great idea, but keep up that hyperbole!

        • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

          Dammit…replied to the wrong person. Sorry.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        If I were an employee at a place that had no public restrooms, my go-to response would be “Sorry, it’s broken. We have to run next door when WE have to go. Wish I could help.” Because, as has been stated elsewhere, employees risk losing their jobs, having to clean up a mess, and dealing with “emergencies” that aren’t.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Honestly, since this person couldn’t even make it next door without letting loose, she had an okay shot of pissing all over the Lady Foot Locker bathroom floor anyway.

      Their “exception” is actually a decent reason to have this kind of rule.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      And get charged with assault.

    • ganon446 says:

      Throwing feces at someone? Are you an occupy protester?

  4. az123 says:

    Having owned a store I would completely disagree with the OP here. In the store I owned the rest room was in the back, which presented me two problems with letting customers use it. 1) We had sensitive and expensive electronics equipment in the back that could either be damaged or taken if an employee would not be monitoring what was happening and 2) it was an active work area, which had to meet OSHA requirements, thus if something were to cause injury to a customer in that area I could have been more liable as a result of allowing them into a “restricted area” without proper training (though training took 10 minutes and was mostly don’t touch that or burn yourself on that).

    While I can feel for the situation, given the fact everyone in this country seems to be looking for a reason to sue someone… I can see a store having a hardline policy regarding that. I would think that for a store in a mall the workers would at least be able to point people to a public restroom however, that is about the only real complaint I see here

    • rugman11 says:

      Yup. The last retail place I worked at kept merchandise in the bathroom, so even if we were to escort the person through the stockroom to the bathroom, they’d still be left alone with a couple hundred dollars worth of merchandise. There’s no way we could let them back there.

      • Coyoty says:

        EMPLOYEES MUST WASH MERCHANDISE BEFORE LEAVING BATHROOM

        Seriously, there’s got to be some health violations with that setup.

    • Tubal says:

      But… I would imagine someone could sue you for allowing them to pee their pants in your store.

      :(

      • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

        On what grounds? Nothing the store did or didn’t do forced anyone to be either incontinent or incapable of using the facilities prior to entering the store. You make it sound as if the store somehow force-fed her water and/or a diuretic then locker her in without allowing her to relieve herself in the appropriate place.

    • SisterMaryPollyEsther says:

      The bathroom of a retail outlet is like the junk room or closet in your home. You don’t want guests to go in there! Many retailers devote the majority of a store’s square footage to the sales floor. All merchandise is displayed. There is no stockroom. This leaves zero area for the storage of fixtures, shipment receiving, signage, etc. So, where does that stuff go? Into the bathroom.

      • iesika says:

        This is very true. I worked somewhere once (food service in a mall during college) where I actually had to climb over things to get to the toilet. We had customers ask more than once if they could use our restroom, and they all seemed quite upset when I’d tell them no, but there’s a public restroom right over there.

      • Arcaeris says:

        To add to this, back when I worked at Victoria’s Secret they used the men’s restroom for this. It was floor to ceiling packed with stuff. There were rarely any men working there, and since I was the only one at the time, I used the women’s one. No one cared.

      • falnfenix says:

        yup. heck, one former employer had so much crap in the bathroom we couldn’t shut the door. and people wanted to use it!

    • imasqre says:

      Are you still in business?

      Escort them in and out and be compassionate. You’d be shocked by how much your sales would rise and customers would turn loyal. And, on the plus side, you can be sure no one pees on your valuables.

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        No. No no no no no. “Be a person” also extends to customers – there are times where you have to hold it. If you have to be, really really bad, IN A MALL, there is no shortage of public restrooms.

        If there was expensive equipment in the back and the possibility of an OSHA violation, forget it.

        • imasqre says:

          Sometimes walking to the other end of a mall is not possible.
          I hope you never ever experience that LOL.

          OSHA…. ha!

          PS: I never wrote “Be a person”.

        • imasqre says:

          Plus it’s obvious when a person just walks into any shop to ask for a bathroom or when they are in real distress. I’ve tipped for the courtesy store employees have given me when I was in dire need.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        When I worked retail, we could only let people use the bathroom if someone was watching the floor.

        It was our jobs, if we either let someone in the back room unsupervised or left the floor unsupervised–no matter how good we were at the actual work part of it, if we didn’t follow policy, well, there are plenty of people who would jump at a minimum wage retail job these days. :/

      • JJFIII says:

        So they should hire EXTRA people to escort the people who can not be bothered to use the restroom before entering my store?Or maybe YOU are willing to risk an employee taking a peerson who could have a weapon or be trying to steal from the store, into a hidden back area because hey, going to the bathroom on my property is YOUR right.
        I wonder if somebody came knocking at your door at 11 pm and said, I was driving and my car broke down and I REALLY need to take a shit. Will you let me use the bathroom in your house. If you let them in, you are a fucking fool.

  5. Adam W says:

    I used to work for a Best Buy Mobile store in a mall and ours was strictly employees only. az123 is right that there was lots of expensive equipment back there including a small store server closet. In addition to all of our equipment, there was hundreds of phones, tablets and accessories in the backroom that I can’t even fathom what the total retail cost would be.

    I would legitimately feel bad for somebody in this situation but sometimes you just have to say no. In our case, there was a public restroom literally right around the corner though so we had the luxury of being more strict about things than in this scenario.

    • coffee100 says:

      Poetic justice would be for a customer to take a gigantic accidental shit right in the center of the store entry way, followed by a long dribbling piss.

      Then we’ll see if the rectangle-heads have a meeting about store policy while there’s a HAZ-MAT crew ripping up the carpet.

      • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

        That is when you call the police and follow them to the parking lot to get their license plate number.

  6. coffee100 says:

    Nah. Let ‘em shit themselves. Then make them sit in it while they wait for the police to come and beat the fuck out of them. It’s the corporate way.

    Next customer. Let’s see that’ll be $4 for this two-ounce coffee cake and $8 for hot chocolate. Would you like a preferred customer card? Then we can spam your ass with 10% off coupons for drinks that cost us forty cents to make.

    HeyheyheyHEY go piss somewhere else freeloader!

    • bhr says:

      What is your obsession with people sitting in poop? That’s what, your third comment about it today? There are a lot of reasons why companies can’t let random customers use employee bathrooms (mainly liability) besides a desire to make people suffer.

      It’s funny you use SBX (or a generic coffee shop) as your example, as in most states any place that serves food and has seating is required to offer a customer bathroom.

      And I definitely don’t know what your issue with things like coupons is. If a company I shop at regularly wants to offer me a discount to stay loyal I think that is a good thing.

      • coffee100 says:

        > What is your obsession with people sitting in poop?

        Don’t you think it was prescient I brought it up a full two stories before it was actually part of the story itself? I think America has an obsession with people sitting in shit. Seems to be our national goal.

        > There are a lot of reasons why companies can’t let random customers use employee bathrooms (mainly liability) besides a desire to make people suffer.

        The suffering is just a nice side benefit for most corporate managers. They probably derive salacious pleasure from quoting company policy while someone is in pain.

        > It’s funny you use SBX (or a generic coffee shop) as your example, as in most states any place that serves food and has seating is required to offer a customer bathroom.

        Because their customers almost never need it. It’s only the passing shoppers who need it and they can always be told no. That will be sure to cause a scene after which the police can come and beat the fuck out of them in their shit-stained clothes.

        • Clyde Barrow says:

          @coffee100; I agree with bhr and maybe you should drink decaf? or just water from now on.

  7. JusticeGustine says:

    @az123 nailed it.

    Our society has come to this because a a few bad people and their lawyers.

  8. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Joe was aghast at the lack of compassion show by The Lady Foot Locker employee.

    The employee citing store policy does not exhibit any lack of compassion. That employee doesn’t have the authority to override the store policy and isn’t going to risk his job by doing so. Besides that, having compassion doesn’t mean you let people do things they’re not supposed to do. Blaming/shaming the employee is completely uncalled for.

  9. eatyourchildren says:

    If you have not had to clean a bathroom that customers of a retail store are allowed to use then you do not know the entire story here. If I owned a shop our bathroom would be for employees only for that reason alone.

    • tasselhoff76 says:

      Agreed. People can be complete slobs.

      • Kuri says:

        Especially when they don’t have to clean it up themselves.

        I’d be fairly certain their own personal bathrooms would be near spotless.

    • iesika says:

      BingBingBing, we have a winner!

    • Martha Gail says:

      The amount of poop and pee I cleaned up on a regular basis at my old retail job was staggering. At least once a day we had a “code brown”. People have no regard for the employees that have to clean up after them.

  10. Scuba Steve says:

    I’d gladly get fired for being a human. Jobs that treat me as that expendable are a dime a dozen.

    • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

      I have a feeling you’d be out of work A LOT. Then, good luck finding a new job with a resume or application that shows you were fired for failing to uphold company policy. Or, if you conveniently left out that you’d been fired, I’m sure the gaps in employment would raise a red flag to any employers. Or, if they found out you lied. Or if they verified past employment and learned you had been dismissed, but you failed to disclose that. Plus, it’s not like the job market is booming right now.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Well when you live in your parents basement and live off of them how badly do you need a job? lol!

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Great. So are you willing to clean the bathroom up when someone tries flushing their diaper down your not-ready-for-commercial-use toilet? Or misses?

      Have you ever been responsible for cleaning a public bathroom before?

      • Scuba Steve says:

        If that is what my boss pays me to do, then yes. I know times are tough. But human being first, cold heartless cog in a wheel second.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      And I hope your next employer calls for references cause you won’t get another job if you were fired for breaking a policy that could put the store out of business. Lady Footlocker, not so much but a mom and pop store could be wiped out if the customer got injured while back there.

      Insurance excludes a lot of things, especially non-employees in employee areas. It may seem heartless to deny use of the facilities but unfortunately, your good deed could end up costing you or the owner everything. Is is likely? I wouldn’t think so but even one in a million is too much for me.

      • msbask says:

        I agree it’s not smart, I agree the store has their reasons, but I’ve never seen a single insurance policy that excludes “non-employees in employee areas”.

        {insurance broker}

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        @Bsamm; oh please, out of business? That’s quite a blatant statement to make which never happens. Name me one business that “went out of business” because someone allowed a customer to use the restroom. lol.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    “they want to avoid any liability that could arise from customers using the bathroom”

    Yea, because you know that customers are so stupid that
    they can’t even use a bathroom without somehow f*cking it up.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      OMG have you ever gone into the bathroom at WalMart? I only go in there if I really, really have to go. How women can just toss toilet paper and paper towels everywhere, and make such a huge mess is beyond me. I’m horrible and I’m embarrassed to be a lady-person and lumped into the same category as the swine who used the bathroom before me.

      • Kuri says:

        Must be a case by case thing as the restrooms in the Walmart stores I go to are usually clean.

        However I do have one negative thing to say about them. FUCK AUTOMATIC FAUCETS!!!!

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          I know they’re wonky sometimes, but as someone with a compromised immune system, yay for automatic faucets. Because, think about it. The guy before you turned on the faucet with his e.coli covered hands, washed them, then turned the now e.coli covered faucet with his now clean hands. You come along with your e.coli covered hands, turn on the faucet, pick up the bacteria he left (and that from the guy with a cut on his hand infected with staph, etc.). You wash your hands, nice and clean, then reach up and turn the same tap off.

          Unless you go get a paper towel from the (hopefully automatic) towel dispenser, then go back and turn the faucet off with your hand wrapped in that.

    • VintageLydia says:

      When the customer has to walk through stock areas or, as a previous commenter pointed out, they keep some stock in the bathroom (I can see this happening in smaller stores that have no real stock space) or by a server or something, I can see this being a big fat liability for the store.

      • coffee100 says:

        They ALL HAVE AN ANGLE. They’re ALL trying to STEAL EVERYTHING.

        When did Americans become so suspicious of other Americans?

        • VintageLydia says:

          Seriously, friend, what is your problem? Why so much anger over something so trivial?

          • coffee100 says:

            I take particular objection to store employees inflicting pain on other people in the name of “policy.” And it pisses me the fuck off.

            Fair enough?

            • VintageLydia says:

              And those employees risk their jobs and/or possibly risk violating OSHA or other safety regulations by flaunting the rules. Are they sometimes stupid rules in place for no good reason? Certainly! But judging from the stories here, sometimes those rules are in place for VERY good reasons and no, I fault no one for not putting their jobs on the line for the sake of one customer.

            • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

              The employee isn’t inflicting any pain. The woman’s bowel issues are the cause of her pain. Stores have these rules for a reason. People will steal from you and smear shit all over the bathroom if you let them go back there. Yes, that stuff happens. And, the workers would have to clean the toilet she shit up and smell it in the back for hours. There are so many reasons why people aren’t allowed to use the bathroom in stores. Allowing one person would be inviting a lawsuit from the person you told no.

        • StarKillerX says:

          Shortly after our fellow American’s became a bunch of nasty, self centered, thieving and entitled douchebags.

          Sure not everyone is but a large number of people are, and even more will excuse their actions.

          Look no further then some of the stories on this very site. Let’s see we’ve had people ranting because Starbucks asked them their name when they placed an order, a Best Buy cashier tried to take a Star Wars Blu-ray set out of their hands at the register and now complaining because they took and Incontinent women, in a depends adult diaper, to a store without a public restroom and they weren’t allowed to use the employee restroom.

    • falnfenix says:

      i’ve had to catch old women tripping on their way out of the bathroom at my Hallmark store. see, there’s a millimeter difference between the tile in the bathroom and the concrete of the storeroom, and they’d trip on it every. single. time. that constitutes a liability. had one of those ladies actually hit the ground and broken a hip, we’d have been sued out of existence.

  12. wjmorris3 says:

    I know that in some states, like Texas, a retail establishment, by law, has to open the private restroom for the customer in the case of a medical emergency – but the emergency has to be documented via an identification card or a letter by a health professional.

  13. TheMortalWombat says:

    I’m absolutely shocked by the responses here. As a person suffering from rather severe IBS, I can tell you that the amount of warning time you have before a movement is iminent can be very short. Put yourself in the shoes of a person suffering from IBS, Crohns or Collitis. It’s bad enough having to spend time in gut-wrenching pain, unable to participate with social gatherings where food is involved, but to be placed into a situation where you are forced to soil yourself in public is absolutely humiliating. Take some time and think about this.

    • Rose says:

      My mother-in-law suffers from IBS, so I don’t suffer from ignorance here. (Of course, she doesn’t suffer from an entitlement complex.) The fact that no one owes you a restroom, and that there’s nothing ‘absolutely humiliating’ about a natural process that no one even has to know is happening. Kindly get over yourself, and realize that there are quite a few legitimate legal issues that prevent some stores from offering public access to their back area.

      • coffee100 says:

        Hey, you know what? Those stores aren’t entitled to do business in our neighborhoods. How about the voters get together and put up a ballot initiative that decrees the store be bulldozed and replaced with a giant mall full of urinals?

        You know, we landed on the moon 43 years ago, and our fellow countrymen are still being forced to shit themselves in public. Just sit and think about that for a few minutes.

        • Rose says:

          “Hey, you know what? Those stores aren’t entitled to do business in our neighborhoods.”

          That’s true; they’re not. Zoning generally puts them in a business district, apart from residential neighborhoods.

          “How about the voters get together and put up a ballot initiative that decrees the store be bulldozed and replaced with a giant mall full of urinals?”

          How about the voters get together and put up a ballot initiative that decrees that people who poo themselves in public, even discreetly in a protective garment, have to stay home forevermore? After all, both measures are equally silly and stupid towards other people.

          “You know, we landed on the moon 43 years ago, and our fellow countrymen are still being forced to shit themselves in public. Just sit and think about that for a few minutes.”

          Yes, I think it would be terrif if we had cures for all of the ailments that lead folks to defecate in public (IBS, age, assholeness, etc.) but since we don’t, we’re right back to the place wherein individuals do not have the right to access private areas on private property without permission of the owner, and those rights are more important than the passing embarrassment for a natural process that probably no one but yourself will know has happened.

          Let me ask, do you also think I should let you enter my home if you’re walking in my neighborhood and have an emergency? How about if I’m having a garage sale? No? Well, then. Just sit and think about that for a few minutes.

        • Bladerunner says:

          We pushed ourselves and went to the moon, but now our fellow countrymen expect everyone else to be responsible for their problems.

          I might be in favor of making a zoning requirment that all stores have to have a restroom, but in the absence of that, it isn’t in any way shape or form unreasonable to not have a bathroom in a flipping shoe store. I hate corporations as much as the next guy, but you keep acting like it’s the company’s fault that she’s incontinent. It isn’t. And she obviously needs to figure out a better solution, since she couldn’t make it to the nearby Penny’s. What if Foot Locker did have a public restroom, but it was broken? She would still have had her accident, and undoubtedly the OP would still be just as angry, because they can’t possibly take their own responsibility, right?

        • misterfweem says:

          You do know that company policy required Alan Shepard, Mercury 7 astronaut, to pee in his suit because there wasn’t a bathroom available for him, right?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veDcp3wB3JA

        • Jawaka says:

          If your city can earn enough tax dollars by hosting a mall of urinals then I say go for it.

        • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

          Hey, you know what?

          Fuck you!

      • TheMortalWombat says:

        Get over myself? There’s nothing humiliating about soiling yourself? Are you kidding me? Go shit yourself in a store and let me know how it goes. You know, for science!

      • balderdashed says:

        Actually, it appears you do suffer from ignorance. The store may well “owe” a person suffering from IBS, Crohns, etc. the opportunity to use their restroom, even if its generally off-limits to the public. Texas, Illinois, Washington, Minnesota and at least seven other states have laws that require businesses to make employee-only facilities available to people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other conditions, subject to certain requirements. In Minnesota it’s Statute 325E.60. A retail establishment or its employee who violates this law (after receiving a warning letter) is guilty of a petty misdemeanor. (The law also limits a store’s liability if something happens in its restroom and a customer wants to sue, which seems a fair trade-off.)

        • TheMortalWombat says:

          Thank you, I was trying to find this very statute.

        • Rose says:

          Reading fail, twice! Not only did I qualify my statement to limit it to IBS, but the statutes that you cite wouldn’t necc. apply here, as the retail establishment would be the entire mall, and not the specific store. She’d still have to reroute to the bathroom.

          And what makes you think that I’ve never had an issue in public, or been with someone who has? It’s awfully arrogant of you to assume that. In actually, I’ve been through multiple pregnancies with healthy babies in my 5’0 frame (the second one two weeks late, ouch!), culminating in almost three years of my life spent with a baby on my bladder/colon, so if anyone knows what it’s like to pee/poo/barf/etc. unexpectedly in public, it’s me. And I don’t care who saw me do it or knows that I did it. Everybody poops, dude.

          Funny story: I totes barfed in a janitor’s cart once in the middle of the mall, when I couldn’t make it to a restroom. The wide-eyed janitor had the wherewithal to kindly offer me a paper towel with which to wipe my mouth and shirt when I was done. Then I went to the restroom, (whose location I checked out before I needed to know it), cleaned up a bit, and wore the barf shirt to the maternity store, where I bought a new one.

          Let me ask, do you also think I should let you enter my home if you’re walking in my neighborhood and have an emergency? How about if I’m having a garage sale? No? Well, then. Just sit and think about that for a few minutes.

    • MikeTastic says:

      I don’t think that the employees at Foot Locker are completely devoid of compassion for people with legitimate medical issues. There are just real legal reasons for not letting someone use the employee only rest room.

      Say in your haste to make it to the rest room, and lacking the knowledge of the layout of the stock room, you accidentally trip and fall into a shelf that has heavy items on top. Now you’re hurt, and the company is on the hook for potentially millios of dollars in a law suit. They simply cannot take that chance. (Of course when I say “you” I don’t mean you specifically)

      There’s also the theft issue. There are enough bad apples out there to ruin it for everyone.

      I think that the Foot Locker employees could have directed her to the nearest rest room, but I do not at all fault them for not allowing a customer to use the emplyoee only rest room.

      • coffee100 says:

        > Say in your haste to make it to the rest room, and lacking the knowledge of the layout of the stock room, you accidentally trip and fall into a shelf that has heavy items on top.

        Let’s say you finally make it to the restroom and flush too many times, which awakens a nest of ancient cybernetic cephalopods in the sewer system that fan out across the county and eat 150 people on their toilets crotch-first in a wild orgy of bloody carnage.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      They cant take the risk to let anyone use their bathroom.
      How do they know you are not one of those creepos that craps all over the toilet, walls, and floor??
      I have seen crap everywhere in the bathrooms I have worked with a public restroom. People are disgusting assholes and that is why public bathrooms are a bad idea.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      What you don’t get is that everyone will tell stores it is an emergency, that they have the runs, or IBS. It is literally always an emergency for everyone. I’ve worked retail and the backrooms are not a place to leave customers alone. You would have to have an extra employee literally to escort all of the “emergencies” back to baby sit them and make sure they don’t steal. Do you expect employees to have some special sense so that they can tell if someone has IBS?

      I too have IBS as a result of Lupus. It’a awful. This is why when I go out, I know where I can go to the bathroom. I have not crapped on the floor yet, but have come close. I certainly have endured some major sharts though.

    • rmorin says:

      Unfortunately when you have a health condition that significantly effects your life, you are going to have to make adjustments to your life that people without your affliction do not have to think about. No amount of legislation changes your disability. Part of your responsibility as someone with that type of disability includes knowing where available bathrooms are at every time (even in foreign places). One of my friends that I travel with needs a fridge for his meds, and he always calls ahead to make sure the hotel can accommodate that, he never just shows up and expects them to without delay.

      Remember, ADA does not require complete accommodation, only reasonable accommodation. It is not reasonable for every single store in a mall to have a public restroom available.

    • Jawaka says:

      Are you going to employ me when I get fired for having a customer in the back room?

      I didn’t think so.

    • JJFIII says:

      So if you walk in your neighborhood and the sudden urge hits you, do you knock on a strangers door and say, I need to use your bathroom now? Please let me, a person you dont know, into your home?
      If you have IBS, would a better plan be to know where the bathrooms are. This is YOUR issue, not the rest of the worlds. I am sorry YOU have a disease, but should we then tell a restaurant that they must feed a diabetic who has no money, because their blood sugar is too low and they dont have time to get to the ATM?
      Piss poor planning on YOUR part, does not equate to an emergency on mine.

    • corridor7f says:

      I know someone with OCD / germ issues and they plan their day based on where there are not only public washrooms, but clean ones.

      If they can do it, others can do it.

      It’s a shame, but people always take advantage of generosity and businesses aren’t obligated to provide public washrooms. If you’ve ever had to clean one, you’d know why some opt out. Not to mention, as someone else said, it’s ALWAYS an emergency.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Unfortunately, no matter how much I feel for you, I wouldn’t be able to override a policy in my workplace that could get me fired. It’s a liability issue with most places. It’s your responsibility to know where you can go that has a bathroom you can access. I have a teeny weeny bladder (I know it’s not much of a comparison) and when I have to pee, I have to. If I’m running around for any length of time, I try to make sure I can access a restroom, even if it means I go to McDonald’s and have to buy a cookie or something.

  14. tungstencoil says:

    In another life I managed a retail store. Here’s why I disagree:

    1. “In the back” meant getting there was going past stock and other sensitive items. I rarely had an extra person to “hang out” in back while someone used the employee bathroom to make sure they didn’t damage or steal anything.

    2. I can’t tell the difference between your legitimate emergency and someone else’s attempt to shoplift or damage things. Oh, and yes – old people (or children, or people with babies, or on crutches, or in a wheelchair) will claim emergency in order to shoplift and otherwise cause harm.

    3. People are generally nasty, and will cause a filthy mess.

    When I was new, I would let people use the restroom. Stolen merchandise, stuff open/sifted through (including stuff that was obviously employee belongings and not store/corporate stuff), dirty diapers, feces, freaking HEROIN WORKS… the list goes on. We actually had a camera back there and I would look at the video after we closed (years ago, before the advent of digital random access and I had to rewind the tape) and see the nicest people sifting through stuff and stealing.

    No way. Sorry, the few bad apples kill it for everyone. And by few I mean “nearly everyone I let use the restroom in back because they had an emergency.”

    • BooCackles says:

      My niece (who manages a store) had a robber hide in a backroom restroom, come out after the store closed and hold a gun to her head. The thief made off with all the money in the store and everyone’s phones and wallets. I get people needing to go right then and there but the store needs to think about it’s employee’s safety. The employees only policy (in this case) isn’t about the stuff that got stolen, but the fact that my niece had a gun shoved in her face and could have been killed.

      • VintageLydia says:

        Similar thing happened at a store a friend of mine worked at. He wasn’t working at the time, I don’t think :/

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      It’s not a few bad apples. Everyone who has worked retail has the stories of the people they made exceptions for who smeared shit everywhere or who wore a hollow pregnancy belly and hid shit from the backroom under it while they pretended to go pee (there are cameras in many backrooms.) People are assholes. It is actually an exception when people actually go to use the bathroom and just go and come out.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Amen. I work security in an office building that has only two stores on the main level open to the public (with doors on the outside of the building- no need to come to our lobby since that just leads upstairs to private offices). Every single day, people come in and ask to use the lobby bathroom. If escorted by an employee of either of the two stores, it’s fine (those employees have keys and everything), but security officers never let un-escorted people use the bathroom. People too often leave urine/feces on the floor, do drugs, or just flat out curl up to take a nap. And honestly, we can’t always tell the difference between a crazy and a ‘normal’ person. Sometimes they’re cleaned up or otherwise articulate, but then are animals once let inside. I’m usually reminded that I’m not the one being unreasonable when I politely inform someone we have no public restrooms, and get chewed out with all kinds of colorful language (for MY apparent lack of courtesy).

      I feel bad for the few legit emergencies, but this is why each individual needs to consider their unique needs when going out. The OP said his MIL wears a protective undergarment, so was she this time? If not, it sounds like something they should be more vigilant about. There aren’t publicly available bathrooms every 10 feet in most malls, so planning for the need to walk some distance to a bathroom should be a basic precaution. If she was indeed wearing an adult diaper, then no one would know what happened, thus no humiliation. No one likes needing to use one of them, but it’s exactly what they’re meant for.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      God, yes. When I worked at Sears, the worst shoplifters were women with baby strollers. They’d have a big ol’ stroller with a 3- to 5-year-old in it, shoo the kid out when they got in the store and make them walk, cover the stroller with a baby blanket, coat, bags from other stores, and load it up underneath that cover. If you’ve worked in retail for any amount of time, you know things like this are the rule, not the exception. And you don’t want to be the employee that let that sweet old lady in back, and wound up costing your company a thousand bucks for the merchandise she slipped under her cardigan when she was back there. It happens.

      • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

        Oh, and don’t even get me started on the women with strollers who stuff merchandise under their actual infant.

  15. bhr says:

    You can blame the ADA for some of that, as a public bathroom has to meet certain standards and there are people out there who are basically just ADA filing mills.

  16. enabler says:

    As a customer, I wish more stores offered public restrooms, but I *completely* understand why they don’t, because I used to work retail. The general public can be truly horrible, especially toward things that are not their property or responsibility.

    Back in my retail days, one lady purposely walked slowly through every single aisle after soiling herself to spread the stench because she was so angry, but so be it. Another employee just followed her around with a can of Lysol.

    Every single time I made an exception for someone, I got burned. The worst ever was a woman who sweet-talked me into letting her 5-year old grandson use the bathroom. He literally peed on everything in the room – the walls, the sink, the floor, cleaning supplies, extra toilet paper, and all over the toilet except the damn bowl. I’ve heard worse restroom clean-up stories from other people, too.

    • coffee100 says:

      > Back in my retail days, one lady purposely walked slowly through every single aisle after soiling herself to spread the stench because she was so angry, but so be it. Another employee just followed her around with a can of Lysol.

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, is America.

      Oh beauuuutiful, for spaaaacious skies…

    • jeffpiatt says:

      sadly of all the places i worked with public restrooms the best maintained were at dorney park witch is hard to do since most of them were standalone buildings with tons of traffic. and this is compared to wal-mart who had issues keeping up with vandalism and supplying them.

      • Mah Freedoms says:

        Dorney’s wouldn’t be too good if it wasn’t for Cedar Fair’s ARMY of custodians.

      • bhr says:

        Let’s be honest, if the whole place smelled like crap could you really tell the difference from Allentown itself?

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        I’ve never met anyone in retail that didn’t have theft and mess stories that involved making an exception for someone to go to the bathroom. Never. I wish all of the complainers cold work retail for a week and make a few exceptions. Then they would understand the problem. Every person in America should have to work retail and wait tables if only for a short time just to see how scummy people can be.

  17. Rose says:

    I used to work for a jewelry store who couldn’t have non-employees back there for insurance reasons. I let you back there, then get robbed or discover shrinkage a day or two later, and they don’t pay on our claim. Sorry! That’s the purpose of her protective undergarment.

    “To allow someone to suffer public embarassment for the sake of store policy is ridiculous.”

    Also, why was she embarrassed? Either she was wearing a protective undergarment, as was stated, and was not embarrassed, or she should have been wearing one.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      Or, you know, maybe the protective undergarment proved insufficient. But hey, that’s not an option that blames the lady, so why bother with it?

      • Rose says:

        Having some familiarity with protective undergarments, I sincerely doubt that it proved insufficient. If so, then she was ill enough to stay home. Regardless, pointing out issues with the OP’s story (and the OP is not the lady whose undergarments are in question) is not the same as blaming the OP (or the lady whose undergarments are in question).

        Nice way to not address my point, though. In the end, there’s no one to blame, because not every issue has a guilty party. No one is to blame for her restroom issues; no one is to blame for logical store policies. It’s just a sad fact, that will continue until we have the awesome poo collection tech that was featured in one of the time-travelling episodes of Family Guy.

        • LJKelley says:

          That really is the best way to put it. Nobody is to blame. Sometimes, life isn’t fair and we just have to deal with it.

          • BooCackles says:

            And if someone knows they have this problem, they should probably carry a bag with a change of clothes and some wipes. (A large purse would work and, with proper containment, no one would know what it was for.) If the clerk had been trained to point out nearby restrooms and not to mention that they had one in the store, the OP wouldn’t have blamed the store.

        • Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

          Well said

    • dru_zod says:

      I think if I crapped my pants in a store I would still be embarrassed with or without a protective undergarment. Just because something contains the mess doesn’t mean the mess isn’t there.

  18. MikeTastic says:

    It’s been covered in a lot of the comments above, but it is a liability thing as well as a theft thing. I used to work for a pool supply store and the rest rooms were located at the back of the stock room. We couldnt let people back there for:
    a) Liability reasons – The stock room had pool filters, motors and covers stacked high. While you wouldn’t expect them to fall, if the customer who doesn’t know the layout of the stock room accidentally bumps into one of the shelves they could get seriously hurt.
    b) All that crap that I mentioned in the stock room is EXPENSIVE. Pool filters/motors/automatic cleaners retail for hundeds or thousands of dollars. We just couldn’t take the risk of someone swiping one, especially since there was a back door out of the stock room to the parking lot. The store would be so crowded during the busy summer days that everyone needed to be on the sales floor helping people and we couldn’t have someone escort a customer throught the stock room.

    So, while I feel for Joe’s mother-in-law, I can’t exactly go about blaming the salesman at Foot Locker.

  19. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    Here’s a crazy idea:

    If it’s your store’s policy that your bathroom is employee-only, then maybe you should train your employees where the closest bathroom is so they can direct anyone in desperate need there? In this case, had the Foot Locker employee had done this, the older woman would not have had to stop to ask an additional person for help, and may have made it.

    No policy violated, showing compassion, the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

    • Rose says:

      Here’s a crazy idea:

      If you have a health issue like this, you should note the restrooms before making your trip. I did it through multiple pregnancies and still do it now that I travel with kiddos.

      • dru_zod says:

        So where exactly do you get maps of the stores you’re planning to visit so that you can note the restrooms before you go? I think what you are saying is to figure out where the restrooms are when you first arrive at a particular place so you can get to them quickly if necessary. That is pretty simple. But your comment sort of reads like don’t leave the house until you know where all the restrooms are at every place you may potentially be going to. That would be quite difficult.

        • Random_Tangent says:

          Many malls have maps stationed in many convenient places throughout the entire structure. They often show an individual where he or she is in relationship to other stores and, yes, even restrooms.

        • Rose says:

          To be more specific, I mean that when you have a condition that requires specific things, such as a nearby restroom, fridge, breastfeeding area, etc. and you’re headed to an unknown place that you’re likely to be at for awhile, such as a mall, try to find out beforehand. I moved to my current town while pregnant, with two small kiddos in tow. You’d better believe that I was call and asking about/Googling restroom/breastfeeding facilities before I left the house with my kiddos.

          But, yeah, asking or checking out a display map when you arrive is probably sufficient, and would have saved this lady some time and maybe even her accident.

    • Snapdragon says:

      Yes. Great solution.

    • Rachacha says:

      Who says that the FL employee did not direct the woman to the nearest restroom in JC Penny?

      The FL employee may not be that familiar with the JCP layout and may know that the restroom is on the second floor, but may not know the best way to provide instructions to the restroom. In this situation it is best and most efficient to direct the customer to JCP.

      • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

        The OP didn’t say that the FL employee made any attempt at giving her mother an alternative. She COULD have, but since it’s not stated in the article, but is stated that her mother got directions from a JCP employee, I didn’t jump to the conclusion that she received any help from the FL employee.

        My guess is that if the mom HAD received some assistance at all, this wouldn’t be such a huge deal.

  20. lucifa says:

    We often have people ask to use the bathroom in my little supermarket. We don’t have a public toilet, just a very small staff one, through a security door, up a steep flight of stairs, past the managers office with thestore keys, CCTV system and the safe in and through badly lit the warehouse.

    If we were to let people up it would take a staff member off the floor and be unsafe for everyone as there aren’t any cameras covering most of it, yet people still throw a tantrum at having to cross the road to the bookstore that does have a puplic restroom or the pub 3 shops along – its about 30seconds walk to either.

    I understand the OPs frustration/anger, I have Cronh’s Disease and have been in the same situation as his mother myself, but sometimes it just isn’t practical to offer public restrooms.

    • orion70 says:

      I know people with IBS and Crohns as well, and even the existence of a public bathroom is no guarantee.

      Because there are still times when someone else is in that one bathroom, or times when you have to track down an employee for a key.

  21. Snapdragon says:

    I think employees should be given some discretion and be allowed to make judgment calls on a case-by-case basis without risking losing their job at the expense of showing a little common decency. A 70-year-old woman is not asking to use the bathroom for kicks.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      No, they shouldn’t. everyone is an exception. everyone has a sob story. If you let one person go and not another, you could get the pants sued off of you. Imagine you let a child go but not an elderly woman, or a white man but not a black woman not based on those features, but because you felt they had a more believable story. You would so be getting sued.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Yikes at my grammar and punctuation. Edit button!!!

      • ole1845 says:

        Based on your avitar I’m guessing you have a small child. Wait until you start potty training. You WILL need to use bathrooms often and on short notice. My son pissed on the floor of a model home because they wouldn’t let him use the bathroom. I didn’t feel bad about it either.

  22. SamEBates says:

    My grandmother worked in a Circle K with an employee-only bathroom. It became an employee-only bathroom after an elderly womanly pooped her pants and somehow managed to get it all over the entire bathroom. Walls, ceiling, mirrors, soap and towel dispensers, sink, floor, doorknob, stall walls, toilet seat, toilet flusher. She essentially painted the room in it.

    If an employee hadn’t gone in there and seen/cleaned that up before a customer walked in and slipped on the poop slide n slide, the store would have been liable.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That happened in the deli I worked at in CA once. Our restroom was a public one, and we didn’t have a policy about only paying customers using it. Add in that we were adjacent to downtown, which played host to all kinds of unusual people, and I’m surprised it didn’t happen more often.

      Yes, it was me who had to clean it up. I get the missing-the-seat thing, but I really don’t understand the painting-the-wall thing. I mean…….WHY??????

  23. balderdashed says:

    Suggestion: If a retail store (or other place of public accommodation) doesn’t have conveniently accessible public bathrooms, don’t go there. I make it a basic requirement, along with certain other amenities (a place to park, music that’s not absurdly loud, front sidewalks shoveled in winter, adequate AC in summer). You make my shopping experience comfortable and convenient, or you don’t get my money. This place would have never made it on my list in the first place.

    • bhr says:

      This is a mall though, odds are most of the stores in the mall don’t have public restrooms, and I wouldn’t expect them to, as malls have public restrooms.

    • JJFIII says:

      Yes because the basic SHOPPING amenity is a place to poop. I rather shop at a place that has quality goods and spend their money on that, instead of having to have a public toilet. If you can not control it for that long, stay home.

  24. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    AS STRICT AS THEY WANT TO BE.
    If I owned store, I would never let the public use the bathroom unless I know the person from being a regular or a friend of an employee who is on duty. That way if something happens you can make them clean it up or ban them from your store.

    There are always creepo people who have no problem crapping all over the toilet and the walls of your restroom. Those people ruin it for everyone.

  25. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    If they let one person use it and not others, that would be discrimination. As someone who used to work retail, the back room is not somewhere that you want to leave people alone, as there is valuable merchandise and the store can’t always spare an employee to baby sit people who need to use the bathroom.

    If you have bathroom issues, you are accepting the possibility that you can have an accident while going out. It sucks, but that’s how it is.

  26. cheviot says:

    It’s not just liability. In EVERY store I’ve worked at with an employee only bathroom there was always at least one customer that left the bathroom coated with shit and urine and left without cleaning it up or even mentioning they made a mess after they’d been allowed to use it against store policy.

    Screw ‘em.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      How odd; I worked in both retail and the restaurant industry for the better part of two decades and not once did anyone trash a bathroom anywhere I worked.

      • DarkPsion says:

        Lucky you, I lost count how many times we had to clean up the bathrooms at the hardware store I used to work at. One time they spread sh!t everywhere including the ceiling! We would always find empty packages from shoplifted products, old shoes when they stole a new pair and walked out wearing them.

        And then there was the sabotage, the would damage the toilet tank, kick the water lines and the worse was when someone clogged the urinal and poured cleaning chemicals on it. I of course did not know that when I poured some Drano in it. I had trouble breathing for a week after that chemical cloud came at me.

      • Rose says:

        “I worked in both retail and the restaurant industry for the better part of two decades and not once did anyone trash a bathroom anywhere I worked.”

        Were you the only person that ever cleaned the restrooms in all of those places, during your entire time of employment? If not, then how would you know?

      • dks64 says:

        I’ve worked in the food industry for 10 years, I’ve seen it all. Poop smeared on the toilet seat, people taking a dump on the floor, blood everywhere, used needles, someone recently sprayed diarrhea ALL OVER one of our stalls. I don’t get it, why do people not even attempt to clean up after themselves? That’s nasty. I’m one of the rare individuals who picks up trash in public bathrooms and when heaven forbid I drop something on the floor myself…. *gasp* I pick it up. I do a “check” of the stall before I leave. People are lazy and expect others to pick up after them.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Then you were lucky.

  27. Vinasu says:

    When my daughter was three we were in a store that actually had a public restroom, but with a key. Whenever she told me she had to go, she meant NOW. So little girl says, “Mommy, I need to go peepee.” I went up and asked for the key.

    The employee told me that she was busy, and I’d have to wait. I explained that it was an emergency. She rolled her eyes at me ignored me until my little girl said, “Never mind, Mommy, I don’t have to go any more.” I walked around the puddle and took her out to the car where I kept a change of clothes.

  28. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Sadly, there’s probably a reason for this policy: dumb people like to wreck shit. I live in an urban area and every office building I go into has pass code locks on the bathroom doors to keep druggies, transients and destructive losers out.

    Too bad about this woman soiling herself, but if you can’t hold it any better than that you should probably be wearing Depends.

  29. iesika says:

    There are several issues with letting a customer use a bathroom not designated as for customers. People have mentioned liability already, so I won’t get into that. The employee restroom might not meet accessibility standards. Letting some customers use it but not others would open the way for discrimination claims. Employee restrooms are usually in the back, in an area where customers are not allowed to go (which opens up both theft and liability issues). And someone’s got to clean it up – cleaning a bathroom five or ten people use a day versus a bathroom open to the general public require a very different investment of manpower. The non-public parts of the store are not public, and you can’t just demand access to them.

    If there was a Lady Foot Locker and a JCPenny close together, I’m guessing this was in a mall? Malls have public restrooms. I’d have directed the woman to the nearest one. She didn’t need to hike through JCPenny.

    The only places required to have restrooms for customer use are restaurants. Many stores (and even restaurants) have a policy where you can only use their restroom if you are a paying customer. I can definitely see the reasoning.

    Many years ago, a woman walked into my father’s workplace and asked if she could use the restroom. She locked herself in the bathroom for about half an hour, and wouldn’t respond to knocks or inquiries. After half an hour, she left. The bathroom was smeared, from floor to head height, in streaks and handprints done in human feces. The poor girl who was told to clean it up vomited several times during the process.

  30. Bionic Data Drop says:

    I worked in a grocery store as a teenager. Although the restrooms were employees only, we did let people use it if they asked. Some of the messes I have seen people make in there traumatized me. Anywhere from a little piss on the seat to shit smeared on the walls and everything in between. Seriously, who smears shit on the wall?!? So I can’t blame businesses who are not legally required to provide public bathrooms who only allow employees access to it.

  31. pgr says:

    Very simple – if you have a business open to the public you should be forced to have an easily accessible rest room that any customer can use. If you can’t provide a rest room for your customers you don’t deserve to be in business.

    All this BS about liability & theft is just that. You have to have heat, AC and lighting to run a business if you can’t fit a public bathroom in somewhere that is safe and secure you should close the door and throw away they keys.

    Stop crying and serve your customers. When you do a good job of taking care of your customers they will take care of you!

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      “All this BS about liability & theft is just that.”

      I think any business on the receiving end of a lawsuit would beg to differ.

    • Carlee says:

      If having restrooms for customers as a policy is so important to some people, then don’t shop at stores that don’t have public restrooms. It might not be so obvious which stores do and do not have restrooms, but you can hazard a guess. Big box stores like Target or Kmart – yes. Small boutiques – no. Dept stores usually have them, but some of them take up two, three or even four floors and it might take some time finding the restroom. Sporting goods stores? I would never assume they have public restrooms.

      Yes, it sucks when it’s an emergency situation but that’s the way it goes. I remember being on the public bus once and my stomach started to hurt badly. I didn’t want to get off the bus at the next stop in case there were no shops around, so I waited until I saw a stop with a coffee shop nearby and hopped off.

    • cheviot says:

      Have you not read this thread? Customer repeatedly “take care of” places with publicly accessable restrooms by smearing shit on the walls, ceiling, floor, etc.

      There is zero reason for a store not serving food to provide bathrooms to “customers” like this.

  32. mbz32190 says:

    I spent a few years working as a janitor in a busy, high-volume upscale supermarket with three different sets of bathrooms (two for customers, one for employees)…
    All I can say is that if I owned a small store/business, I would NOT have a public restroom. People that you think wouldn’t make a mess, usually end up doing so. A small store like a Foot Locker shouldn’t have to have a bathroom open to the public. Now if you made a purchase, or it was a real medical emergency, I may change my tune.

  33. krantcents says:

    It would be nice if minimum wage employees could use common sense. Unfortunately, store policies trump common sense because they are minimum wage people.

  34. There's room to move as a fry cook says:
  35. moonjest says:

    I am not obligated to open my house to someone knocking on my door pleading to use the restroom. My work is not obligated to let someone inside to use the restrooms. Likewise, a store is not obligated to let an employee into a private area.

    Before anyone deems me insensitive, I absolutely know what’s it like to have a sudden urge to use the restroom to where I was desperate to find a public restroom, but in those causes I have always sought out a big box store or gas station.

  36. Jimmy60 says:

    So if I operate a kiosk in the middle of a mall I need to have a public restroom?

    I don’t think so.

  37. Captain Spock says:

    I think the problem is, the customer wanted to “she their bathroom” which sounds dirty

  38. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Do it once and word will spread around the elder care like wildfire.

  39. Kuri says:

    After the horrors I’d seen and read about, I don’t blame them on the policy.

    Thing is I’m fairly certain that fi you saw the personal bathrooms of some of these slobs, their own personal bathrooms would be spotless.

  40. Zmidponk says:

    What also could be a reason for refusing them is simply that it wouldn’t help much in that situation. One place I worked, the employee bathroom was up two flights of stairs and along several corridors from the shop floor. If the need was as urgent as depicted here, somehow I doubt she would have managed to make it in there.

  41. balthisar says:

    Seriously, there’s no reason to be embarrassed in public. In general, people don’t notice, and of those that day, none of them care.

  42. Abradax says:

    The answer is EXTREMELY.

    If an employee is using the restroom and is fired in the process of urinating, they should be forced to stop, midstream and leave the restroom.

    Its the only way.

  43. Parnassus says:

    I haven’t seen anyone mention this:
    http://consumerist.com/2007/07/new-texas-law-guarantees-access-to-restrooms.html
    I wonder if it’s still in effect since I would think a woman who expects “a bathroom-related emergency” could get the note from a doctor.

    Also:
    http://consumerist.com/2009/05/washington-state-says-stores-have-to-let-you-use-the-bathroom.html
    http://consumerist.com/2009/10/connecticut-bathroom-access-law-now-in-effect.html

    It’s known as the restroom access act and there were apparently 9 states that had it in 2010.

  44. phira says:

    I worked retail (local gift shop chain, similar to a Hallmark store) for a bit as a summer/winter break job, and often had to deal with customers wanting to use the employees only bathroom. We were instructed to tell customers that we did not have a public restroom, but that the supermarket right next door did have one they could use. If they said it was an emergency, then we would let them use our bathroom, but we had to stand in the back and wait for them because customers could not be in the employees only area alone.

    In fact, we were told by the manager that it was actually illegal to tell someone they couldn’t use the bathroom if it was an emergency. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

  45. Ilovegnomes says:

    Usually those Foot Locker stores are located in larger malls, which leads me to wonder… Is the real issue the lack of available public restrooms between shops at that particular shopping mall? Would this have still been an issue if they had been able to say, “I’m sorry but our restrooms are for employees only but there is a restroom located around the corner for public use.”

  46. omargosh says:

    Wow, I’m glad the businesses where I needed immediate access to bathrooms were more compassionate than most of the commenters here.

    One was a small grocery store in Houston and the other was a bookstore (in Mexico of all places … not exactly somewhere known for its abundance of public restrooms), and I’m sure both businesses were, in the end, much gladder to have risked liability than to have had to clean up the diarrhea that I would have unloaded in front of them. And yes, some of us are capable of cleaning ourselves up when in store restrooms. In the case of the bookstore, it probably helped that I came up to the counter not just with my request, but also a small stack of books I was going to buy, but still.

    Totally support the OP here.

  47. shepd says:

    Smart stores would just let you do it as a courtesy that keeps customers there, but it should be the owner’s choice. He put in the effort to make the place exist, after all.

  48. PurplePenquin says:

    Check out the preggo suit in the video for Jane’s Addiction “Been Caught Stealing” and you’ll soon understand why they quit letting old ladies use the bathroom in the store’s backroom.

  49. JasonK314 says:

    They absolutely should NOT make exceptions to this policy. If there’s no public bathroom that means there’s no one employed by that company who’s job it is to clean public bathrooms. Anyone who has worked in a fast food restaurant can tell you of the horrors they see on a weekly or even daily basis. If someone is in an “emergency” situation that means they’re even more likely to create such a mess. Consumerist even ran an article once about how commonly public restroom floors get pooped on (happens all the time).
    If you have a bathroom emergency, you wouldn’t just knock on a random house door and ask to use their bathroom, you’d find the nearest PUBLIC bathroom. This is no different from the scenario in this article. When consumerist editors start letting random strangers use their home bathrooms and cleaning up feces off the floors and walls I’ll start reconsidering my stance.

  50. Corinthos says:

    Agree with the stores. I worked at a place and we would tell them that it was out of order which was kind of true that I’ll explain at the bottom .This was at a hardware/woodworking store but we got a lot of women who did crafts.They used to do it years before I worked there but the owner had a lady change a baby in there and said she just left a used diaper flipped over with the shit side on the side hanging over the sink.
    Sucks that people have accidents on themselves but if thats bad then thats what depends are for.
    Anyways after you flushed the toilet once then you would have to take the back off and move some hose with a metal thing on it until it started running water again. Also the restroom didn’t have a door knob and just a hole in the door where it was because an employee locked the door then shut it and they broke the door knob off to get back in. Just would move the waste basket in front of the door to keep it shut and hang your vest or jacket over a coat rack another employee screwed on as a joke and they realized it was great.
    I was actually surprised the two female employees we had were ok with it.when I first started.I never knew why they kept it like that but guess it was for an excuse not to let others in the bathroom because no matter how bad I felt there was no way I was going to explain the state of that bathroom and how to use it to a customer.

  51. cromartie says:

    I am perfectly happy to vomit all over your store fixtures should the need arise.

  52. Psycho Conductor says:

    We keep our valuables in the same bathroom (it has lockers). No one except us can use it for obvious reasons.

  53. loueloui says:

    This is absolutely ridiculous. YES, she should be allowed to use the restroom. To the imbecile who said no, if you’re not authorized to make the ‘big decisions’ like whether it’s a good idea to have a customer shit themselves in your store, then go get the manager, who can. If they’re somehow NOT THERE, then guess what, you’re in charge big fella.

    If the OMG expensive electronics or super dangerous footwear related items, like socks, give you pause then escort them to and from the restroom. This is not a nuclear plant.

    But what if they’re there to maybe bespoil our precious potty! There aren’t to my knowledge, a lot of middle aged women strutting around the mall trying to tag the Lady Footlocker bathroom.

    Oh and by the way, if she leaves to visit another store to use the facilities, she probably not going to come back, so you’ve robbed yourself of that potential sale.

    Luckily things are much more civilized in Florida. If you are open to the public, in any regard, you MUST have and furnish on request access to a restroom. Failure to do so is a fine of $250 per violation.

    • Rose says:

      “If the OMG expensive electronics or super dangerous footwear related items, like socks, give you pause then escort them to and from the restroom. This is not a nuclear plant.”

      Yes, it totally makes sense to leave the entire front stock of fne jewelry in order to protect the entire back stock of fine jewelry, including items belonging to people whom have left them for repair. It also makes sense to ignore my insurance companies’ policies and therefore negate the policies we paid big bucks for so someone can avoid using the public restroom the next store over. Totally!

      /sarcasm

      “But what if they’re there to maybe bespoil our precious potty! There aren’t to my knowledge, a lot of middle aged women strutting around the mall trying to tag the Lady Footlocker bathroom.”

      Then you are not very knowlegeavble. They’re not just out for your restrooms, but also for your dressing rooms. *retail dressing room shudder*

      “Oh and by the way, if she leaves to visit another store to use the facilities, she probably not going to come back, so you’ve robbed yourself of that potential sale.”

      Oh, and by the way, if she came in to use the rest room, then she probably wasn’t there to shop, anyway. Either way, her entire lifetime of purchases is not worth my insurance policy. Also, a same-day carpet cleaning is still cheaper.

      “Luckily things are much more civilized in Florida. If you are open to the public, in any regard, you MUST have and furnish on request access to a restroom. Failure to do so is a fine of $250 per violation.

      A search through http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes turned up no such statute, although I did note that quite a few types of businesses are required to do so. A mall, for instance, is required to have public sanitary facilities, but the individual stores within those malls are not mentioned. One would suppose that the mall restrooms are good enough for both the State of Florida and Floridians with IBS.

      • JJFIII says:

        “If you are open to the public, in any regard, you MUST have and furnish on request access to a restroom.”

        1. Please cite the law. Having researched this, it only applies to places which serve food or offer lodging (Foot Locker does not seem to )
        2. Based on YOUR reading of the law a newsstand, a fruit stand (I See them all over Florida) a beach, or a KIOSK in the middle of the mall MUST have a restroom. I am sure the MALL had restroom access. Even if I take what you say as truth (which I do not) there was access. It was just not close enough for this woman.
        That falls under, NOT MY PROBLEM.

    • hmburgers says:

      Spoken like a person who has never actually worked in retail and certainly never cleaned a bathroom used by the public…

      Yes, we can feel bad for the old lady… but I certainly don’t blame this store IN A MALL for not maintaining a public bathroom, or for turning this person away.

  54. shufflemoomin says:

    Well, I have IBS and have had to ask at stores on occasion to use their bathroom. It’s nice to know that the majority of people who voluntarily come to a site that’s supposed to be about HELPING other humans are insensitive d**ks who think everyone is looking to sue to make a quick buck, going to steal everything they can while doing it and shit in the sink and leave it for you to clean up to. I personally hope every single ONE of you one day have to rely on the kindness of strangers to avoid pain or embarrassment and you’re turned away. Let’s see how you feel about then. Personally, I think you all deserve it. Karma’s a bitch.

    • Rose says:

      “Well, I have IBS and have had to ask at stores on occasion to use their bathroom.”

      I’ve had some not-fun pregnancies and have also had to do so.

      “It’s nice to know that the majority of people who voluntarily come to a site that’s supposed to be about HELPING other humans are insensitive d**ks who think everyone is looking to sue to make a quick buck, going to steal everything they can while doing it and shit in the sink and leave it for you to clean up to.”

      It’s good to know that an unfortunately large minority of people are insensitive dicks who are looking to sue to make a quick buck, going to steal everything they can while doing it, and shit in the sink and leave it for the not-dickish majority, thereby ruining everything for IBS sufferers, pregnant ladies, and other folks who need a restroom quick.

      FTFY

      “I personally hope every single ONE of you one day have to rely on the kindness of strangers to avoid pain or embarrassment and you’re turned away. Let’s see how you feel about then. Personally, I think you all deserve it. Karma’s a bitch.”

      I have had to do so, and been turned away, and that still doesn’t change how I feel about it, which is irrelevant, anyway, because even if I felt otherwise, my insurance company still REQUIRED that you have a background check or an escort to pass by that Employees Only sign and I’m still going to refuse to leave the front of the store to do so. Take responsibility for yourself, and walk to the next store over.

  55. lincolnparadox says:

    The response s pretty simple: don’t shop at foot locker. Write a letter to the store, district and regional manager while you’re at it. It might not change policy, but it will get the person who made grandma poop herself in public to look for new employment.

  56. DuckNCover says:

    I used to manage a small walk-up food service kiosk in a mall. It was basically three counters and a wall shared with one of the big stores. More often than I can recall, we had customers ask to use our bathroom. When told there was no bathroom (seriously, you could see the entire store from the customer side of every counter), they would ask what employees used. So we would explain we, like all the other kiosks in the mall, had a storeroom in another part of the mall with a bathroom for employees only. They would then ask where the storeroom was and could they use that bathroom. Even when I would explain that the mall restrooms, as well as those of several big stores were closer, they would still insist to be allowed to walk across the mall to the storeroom.

    Of course, the answer was always no but people will never cease to amaze me.

  57. Hi_Hello says:

    What’s so embarrassing about pooping on yourself? you do it all the time when you are a baby. You probably do it between the age of 5-65. And you’ll do it when you are older.

    It would be nicer if bathroom has a little water hose next to it so people can properly wash themselves when it does happen.

  58. CrazyEyed says:

    Do we need to train employees on all 98439874239874297 possible situations that can occur. Wow, people are overly sensitive these days. Let’s go back to the real world ok.

  59. CrazyBooduh says:

    I thought I read somewhere a while back that you could potentially sue a store for not letting you use their restroom in an emergency.

    I’ve never been in a situation like this, but if it were me and it was an ABSOLUTE emergency, I would be saying, “Look, this is happening. Either you escort me to the bathroom or I am crapping on your floor in front of all these customers. Your call.”

  60. thenutman69321 says:

    Normally would agree with a story like this but not so this time. Why should an employee risk their job by violating company policy just cause you gotta go to the bathroom? Joe is completely wrong on this one.

  61. Tamena says:

    I work retail and we have public bathrooms in our store
    and the men’s room is DISGUSTING every night when we go to clean it.

    We don’t have a cleaning crew that comes in, the employees do all the work, It’s a free standing building and the things customers do in those bathrooms leaves most of us wondering what their homes look like.

    I feel bad that the woman had a problem, she was wearing “protective undergarments” though for just such an issue – if she were somewhere else that didn’t have a bathroom when the urge hit would she blame them too? Safest bet is to figure small stores/shops don’t have bathrooms period. If you have issues you should plan on this happening.

    • Kuri says:

      Willing to bet that their own private bathrooms would be spotless and they would rage if someone made a mess of it.

  62. Fishnoise says:

    My refusal to let you use the employee bathroom has nothing to do with a failure to be a decent person — it has everything to do with my boss firing me for not following a basic rule that frankly I agree with.

    In high school and college, I worked at a small dairy store with a tiny employee-only restroom in the back near the safe and next to the cigarette-carton-and-coin-roll-room. Usually only one person was on staff at the time. Letting an unauthorized person in the back was an invitation to theft. Abandoning the front counter and the till to accompany someone to the restroom for however long it might take would be similarly irresponsible.

    If someone had an emergency, I told them the restaurant next door had public bathrooms. In the years I worked there, we had one older lady and one small child relieve themselves on the floor upon being told we had no public bathroom. Cleaning it up was better, though, than being summarily fired if the boss had found out.

    I have IBS myself, but I wouldn’t expect to use a private bathroom at a store any more than I would expect to walk in and use a bathroom at a stranger’s house if I was driving past and felt the need to go.

    The people complaining about the clerk here seem to have no idea that what they consider being a good person may well be wholly unreasonable given the clerk’s position.

    I had a woman from the neighborhood come in one night who wanted to take milk and cereal for her family and pay for it when she had money the next morning. I told her I couldn’t let her do that (although if I had had any cash on me I likely would have just loaned her the $$ until the next time she came in when I was working — something I’d done before on occasion with known customers). If my boss found out I let something out the door without being paid for, the best I could have hoped for would be a strong reprimand, although being fired would have been possible, too.

    Anyway, the lady got mad, threw a fit, and stomped out. I heard later she came in the next morning — with money — and bought the cereal and milk and complaining about how I had inconvenienced her. I ran into her a week later in church, and she said really loudly “Well, I didn’t know YOU were a Christian.”

    What can you say to something like that?

    • hmburgers says:

      “Anyway, the lady got mad, threw a fit, and stomped out. I heard later she came in the next morning — with money — and bought the cereal and milk and complaining about how I had inconvenienced her. I ran into her a week later in church, and she said really loudly “Well, I didn’t know YOU were a Christian.”

      What can you say to something like that?”

      Ma’am I’m generous with my own money and property, but not with someone employers which is not mine, if I were I’d be a thief. That isn’t Christian is it?

  63. AgostoBehemoth says:

    years ago, I stopped at a McD’s to use their bathroom. It was an older one with the restrooms outside – which were locked. I asked for the key and was told the bathrooms were for customers only. I then ordered a small soda, and then asked for the key. The clerk told me no. I told him, I was going outside and was going to piss on their store. Which I did. Right as I finished the cops rolled up (Yea, that fast!) – and asked me what I was doing. I told him exactly what had happened.. I sad, I really had to go, I tried to do the right thing..

    The cop shook his head and told me to have a nice day – then went inside and yelled at them..

    lol.

  64. Cerealmom says:

    Sorry but I had to put my two cents in here.Unless they sell food,a public store is not obligated to provide customer bathrooms.In the case of an elderly person,I would have personally let her pass,but keep in mind please there are good reasons why most smaller retail places do not allow customers to use the bathrooms.
    Firstly,as said in the article,there are security issues.In the last shop I worked in,one had to go through our office and stockroom to reach the employee (and only) bathroom.There is not much they can do with employees present but someone with thievery in mind could “scope out” the rear exits,location of the safe,etc.Not to mention private notices between staff that are posted.
    Secondly, there are a few among us who love nothing more than to vandalize and/or otherwise “blemish” public bathrooms.There is nothing more annoying than falling for an “I really gotta go” tale of woe only to go back later into the bathroom and see that your “visitor” has left pee all over the floor and seat,stolen all the toilet paper,or worse,decided to redecorate the place with feces.YES,it happens and it makes you wonder how they live at home.
    Lastly, the “slip and fall lottery”.There are also people who would love nothing more than to use your stores bathroom so they can get out of sight of cameras and stage a “slip and fall” in your supposedly employees only bathroom.

  65. hmburgers says:

    You know how many people will claim “it’s an emergency!” when the only emergency is that they just don’t want to walk somewhere else?

    I basically don’t have an issue with this… I’m sorry that this happened to the lady, but you know, I mean it’s just too bad… I don’t think that Lady Footlocker at the mall should be required to maintain a bathroom that customers can use, and I can understand them having a bathroom that is for employee use only.

  66. Darkneuro says:

    You know, something just doesn’t compute. She’s at a Lady Foot Locker, then goes to the bathroom at the JCPenney…Sounds like a mall to me. And malls have public restrooms. Sounds like she didn’t want to hike to the public or couldn’t be bothered to look for it.

  67. ganon446 says:

    I tend to agree employees who are front line who do this if that old women went in there fell and hurt herself it would be the company’s fault and they could be sued. I remember years ago when I was working at Jewel and I was helping another old lady to her car. She parked far away and slipped when it was very icy.

    By her car however there was no ice but that didn’t stop her son from trying to hit the ghetto lottery.

    For a store to have public restrooms they must sure be handicap’d accessible with some more annoying restrictions on what you can and cannot do.

  68. Moosenogger says:

    And what’s to stop the person from helping themselves to items from the stockroom while they’re back there? If crooks knew that faking a bathroom emergency could get them into the backrooms, stores would be inundated with people having “emergencies.” The store also doesn’t want to add any liability by letting customers into the back area of the store, because there are usually boxes and other items back there that could possibly fall and hurt the customer. Employees are insured against such a thing, but NOT customers.

    I’m sorry the OP’s mother-in-law had an accident, but now they can plan ahead and bring the proper supplies in case of another emergency.

  69. Sad Sam says:

    Sadly no. Exhibit A, ADA access cases are the number one or number two most popular cases filed in the Southern District of Florida, if I make my employee bathroom available to customers than depending on age of building, etc. I have to make bathroom ADA accessible and I have to make the route to the bathroom ADA accessible. Exhibit B, slip and fall cases are also very popular, if I let people in the back room and they slip and fall they will sue driving up my insurance costs. Exhibit C, shoplifting, staffing and cleaning issues.