Jo-Ann Fabrics Refuses To Let Customer Use Bathroom, Even As She Suffers Diarrhea Right In Front Of Them

    “Monday, July 2, 2007
    Catherine W.

    Darrell Webb
    Jo-Ann Stores, Inc.
    5555 Darrow Road
    Hudson, OH 44236-4054

    Dear Mr. Webb,

    On Friday, June 29th at approximately 2:15 pm I was shopping in the Jo-Ann Fabrics store in Logansport, Indiana. While shopping, I suddenly experienced unexpected and intense diarrhea. I approached an employee and asked her if I could use the rest room. She said she was not allowed to let me use it. I discreetly explained my situation to her and she said I would have to speak to the assistant manager…”

I approached the assistant manager, Carla Cogswell, and again requested to use the facilities. She said no and I told her I was experiencing severe diarrhea as we spoke. She again said no and quoted a recent policy change regarding the rest room facilities not being up to code and that they were not allowed to let customers use the rest room. I told her I understood but that this was an extreme emergency. I again told her I was experiencing diarrhea as we spoke and she again refused saying she could lose her job if she let me use the rest room and that there was nothing she could do.

At this point I was becoming extremely frustrated and feared that the diarrhea was going to run down my legs and drip onto the store floor. I was in tears, desperate for some assistance with my embarrassing and humiliating situation. I told Carla that I could not control what was happening and that the diarrhea was happening right now and that I was afraid it would run down my legs and onto the floor and that I was not going to be the one to clean it up if that occurred. I was put in a situation where I could no longer be discreet and was begging to use the facilities and by this time two other store employees and some customers were listening to our conversation. The assistant manager was extremely insensitive and rude to my personal emergency and directed me to go to the Rural King store next door.

I had to walk to the Rural King and all the way to back to the corner farthest from Jo-Ann Fabrics with my pants stained, dripping and smelling badly and do my best to clean up. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was the most embarrassing and humiliating experience of my life.

I understand that you have a policy that customers cannot use the rest rooms but is it also your policy to refuse to assist customers whom become ill in your stores? Is it your policy to put your employees in a situation where they may have to clean up a customer’s bodily fluids if they become ill in the store and are refused access to the rest room?

What happened to me was out of my control, I didn’t choose to get ill in the store and I certainly didn’t enjoy having to beg to use the facilities or having to walk through another public place in front of even more people to take care of my problem. If I had been allowed to use the rest room in Jo-Ann Fabrics the problem would not have been as bad, I could have cleaned up more easily and not have had such a mess and avoided the added humiliation of walking through a large department store to the back to find the rest rooms.

I will never shop in that Jo-Ann Fabrics store again. I was publicly humiliated in front of the staff and customers both at Jo-Ann Fabrics and in Rural King. Carla was rude and insensitive and was more concerned about her self than showing me even a shred of respect and human decency.

I hope that in the future, if any Jo-Ann Fabrics customers become ill in one of your stores and needs assistance that they receive better treatment than I did.

Catherine W.

Wow. That’s really disgusting. Almost as disgusting as this joint’s disregard for common decency and courtesy. Yeah, so your guest bathroom isn’t up to code, which you confirmed for us when we called you just now, but that’s no reason you can’t let her use the employee bathroom?

We would love to read the reply letter from Mr. Webb’s office. Don’t think there’s a form letter for that one.

(Photo: jeffooi)


Edit Your Comment

  1. you should see the bathrooms at the Alli Store

  2. jodles says:

    that’s just awful. i’m appalled and horrified that you had to go through that. i’m so sorry.

  3. ediebeale says:

    Ew. And also, I’m sorry, if I was an employee at Jo-Ann’s (or anywhere) and someone TOLD me they were going to be grossly ill near me, I would damn well let them use the bathroom. That employee must have one strong stomach.

  4. OKH says:

    One part of me thinks that this was rude and insensitive and another part of me thinks that maybe a) clerks in fabric store didn’t feel like cleaning up after her (which they had to already because she loosed a little on the floor and said she wasn’t going to clean it) and b) they didn’t want a stranger laying waste to their bathroom.

  5. ancientsociety says:

    As someone who suffers from IBS, I feel their pain.

    Don’t know what happened to it, but last year a few of our (IL) state senators wanted to make it illegal for any retail store or restaurant to deny anyone (whether they were a “customer” or not) the use of their bathroom. It came about because some woman downstate had Crohn’s Disease and basically had an accident in-store b/c they wouldn;t let her use the facilities.

  6. Youthier says:

    Wow… I worked somewhere without public restrooms that were hardly up to code for my use but when faced between cleaning some kid’s piss off the floor and letting them use the bathroom, they always got access to the nasty toliet.

    I understand she was completely humiliated but I wish she had the never to just crap all over Carla’s shoes.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Youthier: I have ulcerative colitis, and there are times when there’s nothing you can do about the situation, just as there’s nothing you can do about throwing up. It’s going to happen no matter how much you don’t want to do it.

      If Carla didn’t want it on her shoes, she should’ve given the customer an alternative, in the form of bathroom access. And if Joann Fabrics can’t deal with having customers in their store, then they should just close their doors to customers.

      There’s a new Joann Fabrics near where I live, and I love the stuff they sell there, but I’m going to think long and hard before I go there again. The only way I can get there is on the bus, plus a long walk. Which means I could easily need to use the facilities. Desperately.

      Oh, and I’ve been trying to order some yarn from them over the internet. Their website is either down, or they’ve changed it so that it can only be used by a few browsers.

      I guess they don’t want my business.

  7. Youthier says:

    @missbrooke06: *nerve to crap on Carla’s shoes. Not never. I feel everyone should crap on Carla’s shoes.

  8. AnastasiaBeaverhousen says:

    Your complaint is that they wouldn’t disregard local ordinances for you?

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      I’m guessing the employees had somewhere to excrete bodily functions. They very well could have let her use that. Seems like the more reasonable alternative to letting her defecate all over herself and the store.

  9. Abusiveelusive says:

    Ahh crap!

  10. mrmysterious says:

    Seriously, if you let the public into your establishment it should go without saying that you should have a public restroom.

  11. bambino says:

    @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: No, her complaint is that she had to SHIT ALL OVER THE FLOOR because they wouldn’t let her use the facilities.

  12. chimmike says:

    Alli for the loss.

  13. Falconfire says:

    @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: I seriously think it was a lie. I have never heard of a ordinance against customers using a bathroom in a emergency in my life. In fact as people have pointed out, there are many states currently making what happened here illegal and punishable with a stiff fine.

    The only ordinance I know of is the use of a bathroom in a food preparation area, where customers are not allowed to go back there to use it. But in those cases its usually for stores that have no dine in area and are pickup only.

  14. acambras says:

    IIRC, Texas legislators were considering a law mandating that business make restrooms available for customers with medical conditions that made it important to have a bathroom nearby — people with Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, even pregnant women who have to pee a lot.

    I realize that some business don’t have the facilities, staff, or legal obligation to avail their customers of restrooms, but I feel terrible for this woman. When I worked in retail, we would let customers use the bathroom (off the stockroom) only when there were enough people on the clock for one person to escort the customer and hang around in the stockroom while the customer did their business. I could understand it better if there’d only been one person out on the sales floor, but it sounds like there were numerous staffers who ignored this woman’s desperate pleas. If I’d been one of the JoAnn’s people, I probably would have been fired, because I would have taken pity on this woman and let her use the bathroom.

  15. jlrolin says:

    Hmm, Consumerist, you guys should follow up on this, I think a nice ass-chewing to the owners of Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, whatever conglomerate that may be or if it is its own company, deserves a reaming.

  16. reeg2 says:


    the beauty of ordinances is that they do not always have to be enforced. same for most laws, leniency is allowed.

    it’s a little thing called “humanity.”

  17. Wormfather says:

    That’s some fucked up shit.

  18. foghat81 says:

    Jo Ann’s world HQ is about 2 miles from my house. I’d be happy to poop in a box and drop it off for them :)

  19. AnastasiaBeaverhousen says:

    How about this scenario: She uses the facilities, injures herself, and Lionel Hutz Esq. sues the retailer because the bathroom isn’t up to code. Still feel sorry for her?

    • Paperclippe says:

      @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: I seriously doubt that if she were seriously ill this would be the case. She was already embarrassed enough. Besides, isn’t shitting on the floor some kind of health hazard for the employee who has to clean it up and the customers in the store, especially if it turned out she had some kind of stomach bug?

    • Con Sumer Zealot says:

      @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: Um…why isn’t the bathroom up to code then? The answer is to get the bathroom up to code, not deny human beings what they need in a bio emergency because you’re too lazy and cheap to follow the law and the requirements to be in business.

    • Con Sumer Zealot says:

      @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: Does Karen Walker know you are using her name? That is a copyrighted name owned by NBC, you know that right?

  20. Negative says:

    If I was in that situation (after being told no) I would have walked behind a counter or something and dookied on the floor. Let them clean that up. If they call the police I’d tell them I did my best to prevent the incident but they refused to let me use the restroom.

  21. wruwtrix says:

    It appears that in Indiana, it is required that all businesses are required by building code to have a bathroom available for employees AND customers. []

  22. Wormfather says:


    Yeah but sometimes you have to say hell with the law suit and do what you can to help someone in desperate need.

    If your wife was having a baby and you needed to get to the hospital, are you going to obey the speed limit?

  23. Thrust says:

    What a shitty thing to go through.

    When I used to work at a Pizzaria, we could not let anyone into our washrooms because it meant them going through the food prep areas and possibly-dangerous machinery. We were mostly take-out and had seating for less than 8. I think it’s something like seating for 13 or more that mandates you must provide public washrooms. People would always get pissed at us for not allowing use of the washroom, but next door was a Quizno’s which (by law) must allow public use, next to them was a KFC with the same public access, and directly across from us was a gas station.

    But for this incident, a gods damned textiles place has no excuses not to allow her in.

  24. AnastasiaBeaverhousen says:

    @Wormfather: Yes, I would definitely obey the speed limit and drive with caution. Is saving a few minutes worth risking the lives of my unborn child and wife? Am I somehow more important than everyone else because I have an emergency?

  25. cheviot says:

    I feel bad for the customer too, but having been in a similar position after we did let a customer use the private bathrom (and having to clean up after the mess that customer made there) I’d have turned her down too.

  26. AnastasiaBeaverhousen says:

    @Wormfather: So obeying laws is a subjective thing now depending upon how you feel it applies to you? The lady shat her pants. It’s not like it was a life or death scenario. I’m afraid we live in a litigous society and we have to be careful. I didn’t make the rules, I just make sure I play by them.

  27. Crewd says:

    Negative…no, you wouldn’t have.

    OK people…let’s put this in perspective. Someone knocks on your door and asks you to use the restroom because they have the craps. Are you going to let them in? I think not. But by the logic going here, it would be perfectly acceptable for them to push past you and crap in your house, right? I mean the humanity! If someone asks to use your private restroom, then you must let hem right? I’m tired of this crap that people think that a business should bend to the will of every last request when personally they wouldn’t. Why should a business do more than you would? Sure, it may generate some good will for the business, but they shouldn’t be required to do jack crap.

  28. plim says:

    @Negative: how is it that you’re the first to comment like this?

    i would have totally done the same thing. and then used their fabrics to a) clean herself up (not the floor), and b) taken some to make some new pants.

    then they’d see how their entire retail floor and inventory wasn’t up to code =P

  29. all that fabric to wipe with…I’d consider it second only to heaven

    damn woman…just find a nice private corner and give it hell

  30. Crewd says:

    Plim…yes, then you’d be in jail where you would belong.

  31. plim says:

    as the op already stated, she was already in the store shopping as a customer when this happened. it wasn’t like she was out in the hallways and rushed into the store to use their facilities.

    and personally, if someone in my house had to use the bathroom and they were already at my house as a guest, they’d be more than welcome to use my bathroom even if it were not “up to code” (as long as it was still functioning.

    but perhaps that’s the humanity in me =P

  32. clodia says:

    I worked at a Hallmarks several summers ago, and we only had an employee bathroom. No customers were to use it, due to insurance reasons. Still – there was once or twice in the few months I worked there that it was obviously an emergency, and my manager allowed the person in. (Typically it was a young kid.)

    Policy should be followed as much as possible, but there are times that common sense and a sense of decency should prevail. This was one of those times.

  33. ancientsociety says:

    @Crewd: First, your analogy is WAY off. A person of the street using your private restroom and a customer of your business using your business restroom are two totally different things. Second, most businesses are required to provide public restrooms either via building codes or access laws, so it wouldn’t be them doing “more than they should”.

  34. Mary says:


    I completly agree. There are legal issues at hand here, and yes there are a lot of people working to make those legal issues go away, the fact is that JoAnn’s was told they were not ALLOWED to let guests in their bathroom. That could result in legal action against them.

    Do we know for sure they had an employee restroom? Any place that I have worked for with a public restroom did not have a seperate employee restroom. Those with employee restrooms were ill kept, and usually in parts of the store where we were not allowed to have customers because of liability issues. They were in parts of the stores that customers aren’t allowed in for REASONS, including access to propriatary information.

    I feel for this woman, but the second the lady said no, she should have walked out and gone to the next store or driven home and paid the insane amount to have her car cleaned. Yes, her situation was terrible, but what she wanted was akin to saying “Oh, just let me behind the counter with the cash, it’s an emergency!”

    There are reasons for the rules and regulations, and her standing there aruging it until her situation became that dire was a bad move. I haven’t been in her exact situation, but I know people that have and they don’t stand around arguing the point, they leave and try the next place. If the next place had a restroom, I don’t understand why she stood waiting for the assistant manager.

    It’d be great if everybody in the world was nice to everybody. But it doesn’t work that way.

  35. plim says:


    yes, you keep on defending the actions of the cold-hearted and see where it gets you.

    you seem to forget the number one rule of business: you’re there to serve the public and reap the economic benefits from it.

    i’m not saying bend over backwards for ridiculous demands (see: judge dc’s smarty pants), but common decency definitely well within the realm of the marketplace.

  36. plim says:

    and ps, you seem to have missed the sarcasm in my post about using the *fabric* to clean herself. luckily, discounteggroll didn’t.

  37. DeeJayQueue says:

    I guess it depends how “not up to code” the bathroom was… i mean it could have been dangerous with wires hanging down and broken stalls or maybe undergoing renovations, or who knows what.

    It sucks that this lady had to poop herself, but it sounds like she had a pretty lengthy argument with the manager, long enough that she could have walked to the other store at the first sign of balking from the staff.

    Whether it’s the law or the rule or whatever, if I have to go, and someone tells me I can’t, instead of arguing about it (which only serves to cement the positions and opinions of the people involved instead of changing anyone’s mind) I would (and have) immediately just go find another place.

  38. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    IIRC, Texas legislators were considering a law mandating that business make restrooms available for customers with medical conditions that made it important to have a bathroom nearby — people with Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome, even pregnant women who have to pee a lot.

    yes, I wish they had done so. Then maybe I wouldn’t have had to wet myself in a (shall remain nameless) retail establishment at which I had just BOUGHT something, two days before going to the hospital to have surgery on my bladder for the illness that was causing the problem.

    No, I didn’t have time to waste arguing. When the attack hit me, I barely had time to gasp out the request and make it to the bathroom in the first place. I never dreamed I could actually make a legal case out of it.

  39. Crewd says:

    @plim: OK…let’s try a different analogy, one that fits better. You are having a garage sale. A random “customer” walks up tell you they have the craps and wants to go into the private portion of your house to take a crap. You refuse. By your logic it is now OK for them to crap on your driveway or in your garage. of course, I guess since you are filled with humanity, you would let the random person into your home to release their admitted disgusting bowel movement. I wouldn’t. The bathroom at my house does not turn into a public restroom just because I hold a garage sale. Why should we hold a business to a different standard?

    • consumerfan says:

      @Crewd: No, that doesn’t work either.

      If you invite random customer into your house, you should let them use your bathroom. That’s why it’s a garage sale and not a living room sale.

      If you are trying to sell your house, and you have an Open House, then someone might use your bathroom in an emergency. If you have a roofer come round to work on your house (and they’re working outside), you let them use your bathroom. You’re having a garage sale and you invite your work colleagues around (you’re desperate to sell), then you let your work colleagues use your bathroom.

      Courtesy and invitation. If you invite someone to come to your property, you grant them the courtesy of your hospitality.
      If you manage a business, you grant your employees and customers your hospitality.

      The difficult part is knowing what to do if you are caught short on your way somewhere.

  40. Crewd says:

    @ancientsociety: See my reply to Plim…better analogy.

  41. MandM813 says:

    Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!! I was in a local CVS, waiting in the pharmacy line, and this elderly guy walked in and asked to use the bathroom. They told him yes (even though you have to go all the way through the back to get to it, past boxes and everything). He then told them that he was just testing them, because he was very upset that the CVS down the street had denied him access to the rest room, stating it was company policy. He was pissed off, and he said he was going to write a letter to corporate and tell them about how the CVS down the street had lied to him about the company policy.

    I always go to this CVS that I was at, and many times my 6 year old has to go to the bathroom out of nowhere. They always let me take him to the back, even though its obvious that only employees should be back there. I like that, they know that sometimes emergencies happen and the customer should be helped as much as possible.

  42. ohayorisa says:


    The “recent policy change” the employee quoted sounds more like a store mandate than a local law. If Indiana law does require facilities to offer restrooms, then the state law should override Joann’s store policies.

    Besides, this woman isn’t threatening any kind of legal action or even asking for store compensation. It’s a complaint against customer service she received from an employee. And if this is a recent change to the store’s policy, shouldn’t disatisfied customers be allowed to file a complaint that they preferred the previous bathroom arrangements the store provided?

  43. Youthier says:

    @Crewd: Maybe I just live in a small town but this happens. A lot of people will let you try on garage sale clothes in their bathrooms or you use it for its intended purpose.

    And to your point, the person could leave or the person could crap on your driveway and you would be forced to clean it up and/or call the police. JoAnn’s is lucky she left and saved them a lot of trouble.

    Also, I can’t imagine JoAnn’s bathroom being worse than setting foot in Rural King.

  44. quagmire0 says:

    I wield power unimaginable.
    You will succumb to the rules I choose to enforce.
    Teenagers bow before me.


  45. Jerim says:

    I have been in a similar situation, but on the opposite side. We had a small store front with one bathroom for employees. An ederly person asks to use the bathroom. To get to the bathroom, you have to navigate our back offices, which are cramped, and cluttered. I said yes, not realizing the trouble they would encounter. I watched as the man stumbled his way to the bathroom, almost failing twice. Then his wife, who had accompanied him, wanted us to go in with him and help him. Needless to say, that is the day we put up the “No Public Restroom” signs.

    Had she gone into the restroom, and injured herself, the store would be liable since they had already been told it was not safe. I am very pro-customer, but businesses get sued everday for doing nice things. If I literally had to go to the bathroom that bad, I wouldn’t stick around and argue with people. As soon as someone said “No” I would realized it was going to take up too much of my time, and I would have been hauling it to the next store.

  46. skittlbrau says:

    and yet another reason why people should not take alli :o)

  47. SaraAB87 says:

    If the store has some sort of policy against not using the restrooms then they should at least post a sign on the door saying “no public restrooms”. I am in NY state and lots of stores and places of business do that here. If she was shopping in the store then I definitely think they have a duty to at least inform the public there are no restrooms in the store before they decide to shop in it by putting a sign on the door. I do think that ALL major retail stores should have restrooms available to the public though. If the bathrooms are being renovated or some other disaster happens then they should be required to post a sign saying that as well.

  48. ah, the banality of evil.

  49. acambras says:

    It would seem smart for business to provide bathrooms for customers if at all possible. I’m much more likely to spend time in a store, browse, and spend more money if I’m not preoccupied with having to go to the bathroom.

    If I were in a store that made public restrooms available, I’d take care of business, wash my hands, and then return to shopping. If I had to leave the store to use the bathroom at a fast-food restaurant or gas station, I probably wouldn’t return to the store to do more shopping, at least not that day. That goes double if I had a small child with me.

  50. skapegoat says:

    @crewd: I totally agree with the house line of thought. If someone knocked on my door and told me they had the craps, and could they use my bathroom, I would say no. But my home is a private residence. If I had someone already in my home; be it friend, cable repair person, etc, and they had the use the facilities, I wouldn’t stop them and say that they were only for residents.

    If your business is open to the public, and has facilities, than I think they should be made available. Just as they have the “right to refuse service” I think an establishment should still have the option to make a judgment call (vagabonds, profiled as a risk, etc), but to deny a lady, in a craft store, just to have her soil herself and the storefront? Poor business decision.

  51. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    If a bathroom is “not to code” then the employees shouldn’t be using it either. You people sound like you think building code makes a difference between employees & customers. It doesn’t.

    I hope this woman sues or at the very least reports this store to the local building authority.

  52. Jerim says:


    She doesn’t say that she tried to enter the bathroom and that it was locked. In which case I could see the point. The first mention of a bathroom is when she asks an employee. So either this store didn’t have a public bathroom, or there were signs posted and she wanted to see if they would make an exception.

  53. kweee says:

    Ben, you make it sound so easy to say she should have been given access to the employee-only bathroom. I encountered this exact same situation in the past. As a teenager, I worked in a party supply store, and we had a customer come in who asked to use the restroom. I said we had no public restroom, but she suggested we had one in the back. I said again that we had no public restroom, but the McDonalds three doors down did have one. So she proceeded to fill the store with juicy farting sounds for the next ten minutes while her shopping companions finished shopping and checking out.

    My manager confirmed after the incident that I had done “the right thing” and that I would have been fired on the spot if I had let the woman in the back room to use the employee restroom.

    The company has its reasons (liability) for keeping customers out of the backroom, and the employee had a reason to comply. I’d sooner throw this one in the “Bad Consumer” category.

  54. draxen says:

    It somehow comes to mind… I wonder is she’s a victim of a new Glaxo’s “wonder” weight loss drug: []

  55. Negative says:

    @Crewd: I might tell them no but I wouldn’t be surprised if they crapped on my driveway.

    Maybe some of you people have never had a real BM emergency but sometimes it can be akin to throwing up. It doesn’t matter what the law/policy/employee says. It’s coming fast whether you like it or not. Either help the person out of reap the consequences. They were lucky she made it to another store.

  56. hypnotik_jello says:

    Unfortunately as a by-product of our litigious society we’re losing our humanity. It’s unfortunate but that’s just the way things are going. The liability issue is a pretty big deal.

  57. nequam says:

    @Crewd: Your new analogy is just as dumb, and inapposite, as your first one. A retail establishment is fundamentally different than a home (even one having a garage sale). A garage sale is still a fundamentally private affair.

  58. ldavis480 says:

    I seem to remember a story just like this reported years ago, the facts are so similar that it seems suspicious.

    I called the Jo-Ann Fabrics at the same address posted in the header (the phone number is 1-330-656-2600) and was directed to an operator. I asked for Carla Cogswell. After searching intensely in their employee directory I was told that the person I asked for does not seem to be listed. It’s possible that the person in question was fired, but who knows.

  59. savvy says:

    If Joann’s didn’t have a public restroom available because of some code or remodeling snafu, they should have a sign up on the front door notifying customers.

    Also, I’m sure an employee could have escorted the lady to a employee bathroom had they wanted to be helpful. There’s no way that a store that size can stay open with absolutely no working restroom facility.

    Thirdly, I am pregnant and had an establishment recently try to extort me out of $5 for using their restroom facilities. Needless to say, I didn’t pay it and I will never, EVER, shop there again.

  60. Ben Popken says:

    @ldavis480: Before posting, I called them, and a lady (Suzzane?) told me Carla was out today.

  61. antigoneskye says:

    meiran : “I feel for this woman, but the second the lady said no, she should have walked out and gone to the next store or driven home and paid the insane amount to have her car cleaned.”

    i agree. the second she felt the bubbling, she should have booked it home.

  62. twstinkers says:

    I would love to see all how people react in this situation when they get a sudden attack of the hershey squirts and need a toilet. I guarantee that all that store policy shit and legal garbage will go right out the window.I sympathize with this poor woman.

  63. DTWD says:

    @jlrolin: Euuww… “ass-chewing”, bad choice of words.

    I would have let her use the bathroom. I know there are some exceptions, but I think the majority of women wouldn’t be shameless enough to leave a huge mess in the bathroom. If it was a guy, I don’t know… I’ve worked at KFC, I’ve had to pick up after the destruction wrought upon the scared grounds. Then again, considering the people that ate there…

  64. muckpond says:

    i just KNEW that the story that involved poop running down someone’s leg would be the most popular and most commented-on of the day.

    thanks for not letting me down, guys. i can always depend on you. :)

  65. bfos7215 says:

    Sounds like she was more interested in making a point rather than finding a bathroom. Had she left as soon as they said they didn’t have a bathroom for her, she could have lessened her problems.

    I can’t believe you guys are saying an employee should risk their job for this.

  66. acambras says:


    In many (if not most) jurisdictions in the US, pay toilets are not allowed under the International Plumbing Code (yes, there is an international plumbing code.) I think a lot of places gave up on them because of problems with vandalism.

    In Mexico, it’s par for the course to shell out a few pesos (1 peso = about 10 cents) to use the bathroom, unless you’re in a private home.

    That $5 thing would have pissed me off bigtime — I would have complained to the manager or owner (assuming it wasn’t the manager or owner who tried to extort you in the first place).

  67. alicetheowl says:

    I’m curious how most of you would side on the following scenario:

    My first job was at a discount clothing store. We had public bathrooms, and a homelessness issue, with a campsite very near our store. About once a month, we’d encounter what could most delicately be called a “biohazard” condition, usually in the ladies’ room. Because of the state of the bathrooms, we’d then have to close them off.

    One summer, both bathrooms had problems. The ladies’ had a biohazard in the sink (and three of the four walls, and the floor), and the mens’ were all clogged, awaiting a plumber.

    We were situated directly across from a restaurant with bathrooms open to the public, and on the other side of a shopping center with a K-Mart, also with a set of public bathrooms. We were also across the street from the “real” mall.

    A woman ignored the several signs, and she ignored our calling after us. She darted into the bathroom.

    She came out, about five second later, white as a sheet and with a blossoming bruise on her forehead. She inquired whether we knew about the mess in the bathroom, and we told her yes, that’s why we tried to keep her out. She asked if she might use the mens’ rooms while we waited outside. We told her that, normally, we would, but those were also out of order, and that the mess was getting cleaned up as fast as we could manage.

    She then chewed us out about how she slipped on the pile on the floor, and how DARE we not have any public bathrooms, and where were the employees going? Surely we HAD to have another set of bathrooms for THEM; where were they?

    “Actually,” the manager replied, “We’ve been using the restaurant’s.”

    The woman promptly shut up and strode out.

    So, is it more worth it to have bathrooms open, and therefore inviting that kind of disgusting behavior to have to clean up after and be responsible for, or was there some magical way the customer could’ve piddled inside our store without exposure to fecal matter or an overflowed toilet that the manager just wasn’t aware of?

  68. Sonnymooks says:


    Your the first one to ask the most basic question, how not up to code was it?

    I remember working at a retail store, our bathroom (employees and customers had to use the same one) was totally destroyed from some kind of accident. As employees we were told to go the place next door if need be (nice folks there too), we also told the customers the same thing until the damage was repaired.

    I’m more curious to what the circumstances were that the bathroom was deemed unusable.

  69. kaikhor says:

    Well now I have a good explaination why the 2 biggest Jo-Ann stores I have ever seen are both in the Hudson/Stow area (yeah, I grew up right around there…).

    As for this poor woman, I feel very bad for her, but can understand the store’s POV. I worked a retail store with a public restroom that worked about half the time and we’d get asked to use the employee one. The employee one wasn’t always the easiest to reach (it was connected to an overcrowded break room). It would be way too easy for someone to have gotten hurt or to wander the back rooms. We rarely (and usually only for little kids) said yes. Otherwise, McDonald’s was 2 doors down.

  70. forever_knight says:

    it’s disgusting—no, not that she crapped herself. that many of these comments are so cold and mechanical. everyone here has had diarrhea. now imagine the nearest toilet being minutes away and not being sure you would be able to make it in time. now do you get it?

    all those posters crying about the potential “liability” should attempt a human response. I would think you and your business is covered by a variation of Good Samaritan Laws.

    there was a similar issue that happened with OLD NAVY a year or two ago. bad publicity.

  71. Haplo9000 says:

    Do I really see a couple of people in these comments arguing FOR making people in dire need crap all over themselves and the floor? I’m not actually seeing that, right?

  72. plim says:


    that’s what everyone’s devil’s advocate argument is.

    the only way i would have dealt with it is to lock up the bathrooms as soon as they were deemed out of commission. after all, if even the employees weren’t using them, then who needs to go in there?

    then, in case of an emergency, an employee can open the bathroom with a key (or paper clip, if it’s that kind of lock) and promptly warn the customer to watch their step.

    besides, my original suggestion was *not* for hit-and-runners. my original suggestion was for legit customers of the store.

    on top of which, this is not just someone all of a sudden having to go to the bathroom. diaherra is very different from a normal bowel movement.

    nonetheless, there is always a humane way of dealing with this kind of situation.

    heck, if you want to get litiguous about it, have the customer sign a liability waiver before going in (assuming you had it locked beforehand). – i’m only being semi-sarcastic with this one =)

  73. delphi_ote says:

    @alicetheowl: “… therefore inviting that kind of disgusting behavior…”

    The woman you talked about would’ve found something else to complain about if there were no bathrooms. Some people are just cranky. Welcome to reality. If you can’t deal with the occasional rude customer in a retail store, you should find another line of work.

    I’d much rather have facilities available to the customer than completely humiliate them if they need to use the restroom.

  74. forever_knight says:

    @bfos7215: yes and if they would have just let her use the restrooms they would have lessened the problem.

    you know, there is no job in the world that is worth keeping if i have to watch someone shit their pants in front of me because of some stupid company policy.

  75. whereismyrobot says:

    This sounds as though this is just a rule at this one particular Jo Ann’s as I have used the restroom at the one near me before.

    That said, it seems like, given Jo Ann’s older clientele this seems like a bad business move.

  76. othium says:

    I would have denied access to the bathroom myself. Been in situations like this before and in every one of them some genius let the person use the bathroom and every time there was a huge disgusting mess left behind.

    I was not being paid enough to clean up human waste. Not in my job description. Not going to happen. The management would always order some employee back to clean it up and it was always refused. There were no bio-hazard cleaning supplies (gloves, gowns, disinfectant spray, masks, etc.) available and no plans were made to purchase any. The boss had to trudge back there and clean it herself.

    The policy changed pretty quickly about customer use of the employee bathrooms after the manager cleaned up one too many messes.

    I can sympathize with the person in need of a bathroom, but it’s not the end of the world. An inconvienece and embarassment at most. Next time bring some anti-diahrhea medicne along..

  77. Theora says:

    I love how people are saying “Oh, too bad, as soon as they told her no, she should have gone somewhere else,” when it plainly says in the letter that she “was experiencing diarrhea as [they] spoke.” If it’s already in your pants, all bets are off, and human decency should have been the rule of the day at Jo-Anns.

  78. eli_b says:

    bfos7215: ‘Had she left as soon as they said they didn’t have a bathroom for her, she could have lessened her problems.’

    Exactly. Per usual, there are facts missing here. How do we know that the ‘not up to code’ meant that the seat had fallen off or that there were broken tiles. I’m really sorry you pooped your pants in public. Whats worse than that? TELLING EVERYONE ON THE INTERNET.

  79. Snakeophelia says:

    The day we went to buy a dishwasher at the Sears near us, some old guy pooped in his pants and then just kept walking. He let it fall out of his pants legs (his companion did nothing) and they just walked out of the store. The sales staff had to discover it for themselves (they followed the smell) and they were totally freaked out. Can’t blame them. I don’t know what their customer bathroom policy is now, but I bet, at least at that branch, they’ll never deny the bathroom to anyone who says they really HAVE to go.

  80. Youthier says:

    @Theora: That’s what I was thinking. Things are going to be twice as messy if she has to go to another store and track down the restrooms there. I wish this situation on every unsympathetic person here.

  81. Celticlady says:

    I have children and can tell you that you can’t always plan a restroom emergency.

    1. I feel for this poor woman. I’m sure NO ONE plans to have this kind of problem.

    2.If the bathroom wasn’t safe for customers, why was it safe for employees.

    3. Frankly if I had been a cusstomer during this, I would have left, not spent any money and urged others in the store to do the same.

    I’m willing to bet that this is the kind of story that gets repeated and emailed. Congratulations to that manager on really Sh*tting all over her company’s rep!

  82. faust1200 says:

    Q: What should you always take with you to Jo-Ann Fabrics?

    A: Depends.

  83. k8supergrover says:

    This is literally one of my worst nightmares.

  84. MandM813 says:

    Are you for real? Your garage sale analogy still doesn’t even come close to making sense. We are talking about a bathroom that’s there for a whole store of employees. One customer using it isnt going to make a huge difference, I’m sorry. It isnt the same as allowing a stranger into your home.

    Your arguments are just ridiculous and cruel, I hope you don’t work in any job that involves having to deal with the public. I’m surprised that someone like you would even waste their time on a consumerist site. And you never addressed someone’s comment about the fact that it is a law in many places to provide bathrooms in stores. Did someone just invent those for no good reason?

  85. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Jesus, the lady was having a medical problem and half the people here wouldn’t have the humanity to let the poor woman use the bathroom? I suppose if she were having a heart-attack, the Jo-Ann employee would have told her to go do it next-door.


  86. floofy says:

    So she basically expected them to clean up after her one way or the other? It didnt appear that she would’ve had time to make it all the way to the back of the store to use the bathroom, anyway. Wear a damn diaper if you do not think you can control yourself. It is not the store’s responsibility to provide you with a public bathroom unless they serve food or drinks

  87. medcat2010 says:

    It’s just a bathroom. And a bathroom in a store whether for employees or customers is still pretty much a “public” bathroom. What’s the difference between an employee having diarrhea and a customer? At least with the customer you don’t have deal with it for the whole shift. Actually I wouldn’t turn someone away from my own bathroom if it was an emergency. Except for the obvious concern that they might rob/rape/kill me, but other than that…

    I can understand if she wasn’t a customer or if it wasn’t urgent. But what the hell, if I’m buying some overpriced crap from your store, can I at least have my little accident in the precious toilet instead of my pants?

  88. SadSam says:

    Hmm… I think this is a really interesting post and the larger question is what resonsibility does a business owner have to the customer. Is there a responsbility to provide a clean and safe shopping experience, yes, is there a responsiblity to provide a clean and safe (and up to code) bathroom, not necessarily, is there a responsibilty to render aid to a person having a medical emergency, perhaps, but again there are a lot of questions that a random clerk probably can’t answer to provide the proper response.

    Should we all act like humans and try to help each other, sure, but what if the clerk was going to get fired (lose her job not be able to feed her children) if she opened the bathroom for the woman who was having a bathroom related emergency. Would you still think that the clerk should have broken the rules to risk her job? What was this woman’s story, was she already sick and decided to leave the house for a little fabric shopping (and therefore assumed the risk) is she on medication where bathroom issues might be a side effect (again assumed the risk) is she trying to lose some weight with Alli (again more risk assumption)? Might the customer have some level of responsiblity?

  89. chatterboxwriting says:

    A few people have mentioned that the woman could have walked to another store. You all must get magical diarrhea where, before leaking out of you, it gives you several minutes to walk to another store, find the bathroom, pull down your pants, and sit on the toilet.

    As someone who has had spinal surgery 4 times, resulting in some nerve damage, I don’t always have a lot of warning when I need to go. I can tell you that it is possible to be perfectly fine one minute and doubled over in agony, hoping that you won’t crap yourself in public the next. Seriously, I’ve been in stores and gotten sick suddenly and literally had to walk with my legs crossed to the bathroom so I didn’t lose control.

    This woman isn’t complaining because she got overcharged by 50 cents or her chicken was too dry. She’s legitimately upset because she was humiliated. Losing control over something most people take for granted isn’t fun.

    Local ordinances and laws and common decency are another issue; sometimes, when you gotta go, you really gotta go!

  90. medcat2010 says:

    @floofy: So anyone who has ever had diarrhea needs to wear a diaper at all times, just in case. You may be on to something…lol

  91. Slytherin says:

    Holy shit!

  92. niteflytes says:

    Hi all. I’m the OP for this topic. I was surprised to find my letter actually got posted. I appreciate the sympathy and support from some of you. I can also see the POV of most of you who sided with Carla. At the time I was only concerned about my POV! I still think she could have handled it better.

    Anyway, thought I’d post some additional info and reply to some of the comments I’ve read.

    The Jo-Ann’s I was shopping at had a public restroom the previous times I’d been there. I was out of town and often drive through Logansport for work and sometimes stop at Jo-Ann’s on my way home. The last thing I wanted was to make a 45 minute drive home on cloth seats after having diarrhea. Unlike some, I can’t afford astronomical cleaning bills.

    I’ve cleaned up after other people before and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, nor would I willingly put someone in that position. I am extremely grateful that no one had to clean up after me that day…even Carla.

    I’m not going to sue. I’d rather get my point across online than in a court room.

  93. says:

    you’d think little old ladies selling fabric, who probably are all familiar with inconvenient bowel issues (which will happen to all of us someday), would be more understanding if one of their customers had an issue.

    she should have went on the most expensive fabric in the store

  94. Sonnymooks says:

    I’m farmiliar with this store, and am going just on the information provided, but

    1)Where does it say anything about an employee bathroom? Does this store actually have one?

    2)What exactly is wrong with the bathroom in question (not up to code), is the toilet missing? Clogged? burned to the ground?

    3) As I said earlier I was in the opposite position, when I worked at a store and our bathroom was damaged, it was for employees and customers, as employees, we had to go to another store next door, and we told our customers why they could not use the bathroom (as it was not usable).

    4)This all would be easier if there was some clarification.

  95. allstarecho says:

    Well that just beats the shit out of everything I’ve seen.. err, yeah.

  96. EtherealStrife says:

    The entitlement in this thread is mind-boggling. Shit happens for businesses too. If their plumbing broke or there were hazards in/around the restroom then of course they’re not going to let anyone in there. It’s easier to clean up a splattering of diarrhea and file a police report against the woman than to deal with a lawsuit. Instead of whining the woman should have skipped on over to the nearest place that DID have a restroom operational and done her “business”, never to do business again at a Jo-Anns.

  97. CamilleR says:

    At the store I work at we don’t have public restrooms but we will let the customers use the employee one. Since it is in our backroom, an employee must accompany the customer to make sure they don’t steal or get into our files or computer. This means there are times people have to wait until an employee is free to take them back whether its an emergency for the customer or not, and sometimes it can take 5-10 minutes for an employee to be free to take them back. I know that when I’m out shopping, I assume most stores don’t have a public restroom, and if I feel an emergency coming on, I head to the nearest store that I know has a public one instead of asking the clerk of the store I’m in.

  98. cryrevolution says:

    Really, no matter where she went it would have been pretty bad, as diarrhea was already running down her leg. But common decency provides us that they could have atleast ATLEAST given her use to a restroom, a backroom, SOMETHING so she wouldn’t have had to walk all the way to the BACK OF THE STORE and into another shop just to get privacy and save embarrassment. The whole argument here is not so much providing working restrooms as its is providing BETTER TREATMENT to those customers who become violently ill. If the restroom was not available, the least Carla could have done was escort her to the stockroom, get some paper towels, something else than just shoo her out with doo all down her leg.

  99. ElizabethD says:

    I think the hateful comments in this thread are the dealbreaker for me and Where did all these trolls come from? Thanks for nothing, Gawker Media. We used to have a constructive forum here. Now the level of discourse is in the, umm, toilet.

  100. Des says:

    I don’t understand how so many of you can be so cold-hearted about this. She had POOP running down her leg and the assistant manager basically made her do a walk of shame through another store to clean herself up. Yes, I’ve worked at a retail establishment that only had one, tiny employee only bathroom. Both of the public restrooms were a couple minutes away from our store, but I was strictly told I was not allowed to allow *anyone* in the bathroom (which we often used to store extra freight and recyclables so it was often a hazard for even employees to use.) I had turned down *many* people from using that restroom, politely giving them directions to the nearest public one, but if someone had come to me and explained that they were at that moment crapping their pants I would have escorted them in, explained to them I wasn’t supposed to be doing that, and asked them nicely to clean up whatever mess they created. I’m doing a favor for them, the least they could do is a favor for me and not sue our store if they trip over a wayward box, right? I honestly can’t even imagine the humility this woman faced!

  101. burgundyyears says:

    Sheesh, I’ve been lucky to rarely have gut-busting diarrhea in my lifetime but I can’t believe the sheer callousness around here. The woman was crapping her pants as she begged to use the restroom and people seriously suggest she should have just “stopped whining” and known better to go somewhere else. I think people are forgetting how uncontrollable some biological functions really are.

    Personally, if I had gotten to that point where it was coming out, I would have nabbed the nearest trash can possible and gone at it… If the manager feels like being a dick and call the cops, the hell with it.

  102. Why not just use some fabrics to clean things up?


  103. nequam says:

    @EtherealStrife: File a police report against her for what? Shitting her pants? C’mon. How could she be the person who did anything wrong here (recall, please, that she followed the instructions to leave)?

  104. bayboy says:

    I feel for this lady, no one should have to go thru this.

    What’ I’m most disturbed about is that customers nearby who heard everything didn’t stick up for this lady!!!

    What the hell is wrong with people! Actually,
    never mind, reading the comments above pretty much answers everything for me.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just me but I would’ve raised hell if I overheard something like this going on

  105. Techguy1138 says:

    The problem with peoples responses was that people were treating this like poor planning as opposed to a medical issue.

    The store could have mitigated liability by descerning that it was indeed a medical problem. It is true that the store had no OBLIGATION to help this woman. However, others should be treated better than the bear minimum of legal obligation.

    If I see that you have been shot and are bleeding in the street I have no OBLIGATION to give you my cell phone nor call 911. In fact I can watch you bleed, grab some popcorn and have a good laugh. Draw the line on decent behavior where you wish.
    As far as a store going above and beyond, JoAnn Fabrics does not.

  106. Dan25 says:

    First, why would a person with IBS leave her house without taking the proper precautions?

    Second, at my old job we had 2 sets of bathrooms, one for employees and one for customers. The cutsomer bathroom was vandalized (someone smashed the toilet and sink) and we were not allowed to let anyone in there as it was unsafe. One day a customer (somewhat of a regular) asked to use the employee bathroom (which was located in the back werehouse which housed all of our customers info, computers, heavy machinery, and our safe). Well, the poor employee who let the cutsomer into the back ended up getting robbed by him at knife point. Now not only did she lose her money and the companys money (she was forced to open the safe), she also lost her job and probably has to go to therapy now. I can understand feeling sorry for this customer, but it’s not worth the risk of physical harm or losing your job.

    Third, some of you guys need a reality check. Customer service is very important, but there is a big differance between providing good service and taking unnessicary risk/loses to satisfy a customer. If i was a business owner and my bathroom wasn’t up to code, I wouldn’t let this woman in either. I would rather had a little bit of bad PR than a million dollar law suit for her getting injured. Rules are laws are in place for a reason. I think some of you are forgetting this.

  107. galatae says:

    I know this doesn’t necessarily apply here, however I know organizations like the Interstitial Cystitis Association offer “Restroom Access Cards”, which are handy for those afflicted with the disease. Basically you show the card to someone and by most accounts people are willing to allow you to use any bathroom.

    I guess a plastic card validates more than the biology.

  108. niteflytes says:

    OP here. Just to clarify. I don’t have IBS, don’t have any medical problems, not on any meds that cause diarrhea, wasn’t feeling ill or crampy prior to entering the store, not on that new diet medication, not wanting to sue, don’t want to mop up with Jo-Ann’s fabric, don’t wear Depends (but maybe I need to!) and wouldn’t want anyone to have to clean up after me (even though at the time I told the manager I wouldn’t clean it up), wouldn’t want anyone to get robbed, vandalized, fired or otherwise reprimanded for breaking the rules but she could have been more understanding and human. That’s my 2 cents extra, for what it’s worth.

    -Catherine W. (tried to post earlier but it never showed)

  109. bdgbill says:

    You can all blame the wonderful “Americans With Disabilities Act” for experiences like this.

    Companys have found that it is cheaper to not have public restrooms then it is to build an “Accessible” restroom or to get sued by professional teams of disabled people who are paid by lawyers to “test” facilites at various businesses and generate lawsuits.

  110. dbeahn says:

    I sent them an e-mail, including the link and the story cut and paste. We’ll see what they say…

  111. Husker-fan says:

    I can understand both sides of the arguments being made here, but I think most of the “the store has no responsibilty” commenters are looking at this as too much of an adversarial situation.

    Since the original writer stated that she was already having excremental problems as she spoke with the assistant manager, I think it is just plain human to human compassion to allow the woman to make use of a restroom. The Assistant manager probably could have escorted her to the employee restroom without putting her job in jeopardy, considering the exigent circumstances.
    While it is possible that the actual store manager is a big enough jerk to have fired her if he/she found out, it is possible the assistant manager could have asked everyone to keep quiet about her act of compassion. Unless she’s the type that abuses power, and her underlings, the other employees probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
    I don’t have a sense of entitlement about the store “HAVING” to allow restroom use, I have a sense of human understanding.

    And for those that would ask, no I don’t work in retail, but my mom put in over 25 years working for Sears and J.C.Penney, so I feel I have an understanding of the pressures of those jobs.
    In the internet age, the bad press from 1) not allowing a suffering customer use of any restroom facilities or 2) firing an employee for showing some common decency and compassion, can be much more far reaching and detrimental to the overall business than any (if it even exists) risks that the suffering customer would sue IF something, I’m not sure what, had happened to her while using the restroom.

  112. synergy says:

    @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: Ditto. A friend of mine witnessed an accident over the weekend where a man attempted to blow through a red light trying to get his wife to the hospital. Instead they got t-boned and it sounds like the wife won’t make it.

  113. Kat says:

    @ElizabethD: Yeah, they seriously need to break out the banhammer.

  114. Havok154 says:

    “So, what are your feeling on this issue?”


  115. katewrath says:

    Crewd et al:

    May you never know the special magic of severe intestinal cramping. Angry little elves, wringing out your large colon so vigorously that you’re pretty sure your rectum will not be able to withstand the building pressure.

    For certain, you want to find the very first toilet available, because you could lose rectal integrity in the next ten seconds.

    Oh, and it hurts like a mother, so you can’t really stand up straight, much less walk.

    The only non-infant I’ve ever known to willingly crap himself was a profoundly autistic 11-year-old. Everybody else reacts just like this woman.

    We usually enjoy a fair degree of motor control over our bodies, but that control can be taken away in an instant and without warning. When it happens, most people respond with compassion and sympathy.

    And some people are such worthless asshats that they will almost certainly end up old and alone, rotting in a urine-soaked bed, acquiring a spectacular collection of bedsores.

  116. Sonnymooks says:

    Its kind of scary how with such limited information, everyone has already taken a side.

    We already have concluded, with no facts given, that they had an employee bathroom, at the same time, we have concluded, that this woman should have “worn diapers” or known better, people here are already backing either the woman or the store, and this story is missing massive amounts of information.

    Example, the whole “bathroom not up to code”, no one here even knowns what was wrong with the bathroom (like a missing toilet?) and then to top it off, assuming they had a seperate employee bathroom, then, and or blaming this woman for a medical condition and assuming she is looking to sue (despite the fact that no where did she imply she is looking for money or looking to sue).

    We also took sides between a person who has a medical condition and needs help and a person who may lose her job and has a family to feed (anyone consider that this womans boss really would have fired her?).

    There is just no information here for people to make such emotional investments, and automatically start placing blame

    In a sense, it reminds me of a recent court case, where everybody jumped on sides before any information came out, just based on their own pre-concieved notions of who is bad and who is good and not even caring that all the facts are not even there..

  117. ekdikeo says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve never in my life had diarrhea with absolutely no warning before. And when I get that warning, I sure as hell don’t go shopping!

    I also happen to have run many retail outlets, and if there were ever a situation in which someone had to use a bathroom, I would make sure they were escorted, except in the case where my store’s bathroom was also the storage place for all of the extremely high dollar merchandise in the store (trust me, that situation was rectified, but it required thousands of dollars of remodelling the place – I got it in the situation where the previous manager was using the bathroom for high dollar merch storage, simply because it was the only place in the store that the damn security cage fit in).

    However, the store has several things: Bathrooms are typically located somewhere where someone not authorized would have access to steal merchandise and/or store records, and even if that isn’t the case, if your retail business does not provide public restrooms, and you let a non-employee into one of them, and they manage to injure themselves, your retail business’s insurance is not going to help you.

    There’s two sides to every story. I’d have sent an employee with them (as far as they could go, not into the bathroom if it doesn’t have a stall). However, in some places in the world, I’d also be afraid that said employee and customer would then promptly clean out my stockroom of anything they could.

    Personally, if I were in the other situation, it’s pretty unlikely that I’d be caught in the middle of a shopping trip having to poop so bad that I exploded.

    Sorry about your luck, maybe you can get Jo-Ann to cover your cleaning bill. That’s far better than the alternatives the company could face if you were faking it to steal something from them, or if you tripped in the bathroom and fell and broke your legs, or head.

  118. rmuser says:

    Crapping yourself may be “medical”, but it’s certainly not on the level of a heart attack or any serious condition. You aren’t going to die from ruining your pants in public. That said, I have to wonder how bad their bathroom is, if it was better for her to make a mess of their store rather than using it. If she was actually dripping onto the floor, they should’ve escorted her out.

  119. Chinamerican says:

    I can see it from both points of view. Firstly, I have IBS; secondly, my parents own a small corner store in a relatively nice downtown area.

    If you have diarrhea IBS and not constipation IBS, you’d realise how fast it comes. Hell, you probably wouldn’t even need to have IBS to experience this on a regular basis; I’m sure that at least some ladies on the forum have had the period shits so guys, if you don’t already know about this, now you do and Midol won’t cover it.

    How hard would it have been for Carla to escort her, or have someone else help this poor woman? Hell, even letting her into a room and giving her a plastic-bag lined box would have helped if there was absolutely no way for her to use the toilet.

  120. Carson Daly says:

    I’ve never had diarrhea (perhaps you can credit my healthy vegetarian lifestyle), but wouldn’t it be hard for someone to walk to another store if they’re suffering it right then and there?

    I mean, some of these comments are just downright vicious. I’ve worked retail before and I hate needy customers who challenge company policy just like the next guy, but there are some incidents where it is necessary to bend the rules (and, you know, help another human out).

    Having said that, it would’ve depended on how the customer asked me. If she seemed crazy, wasn’t polite, and/or seemed to be exaggerating just to be able to use the restroom for convenience, I’d say No. But if a nice lady came up to me and said, “Excuse me, miss… I’m really sorry, and this is really embarrassing, but I’m about to shit allover your floor, can I use your restroom?”

    I probably would’ve given her a TMI look before saying, “All right, but you better flush.”

  121. I’ve sorta been in this situation myself. I knew it was going to be diarhea, but I had not shit myself. This was after I had my gall bladder out. For a few months after a gall bladder surgery, you can have the shits at any moment. I had been in many shops where I need to ask to use a toilet very quickly. I never had the problem this woman had. I was always either pointed to or escorted to the nearest toilet. People were kind to me, as most of them seemed to have known someone with my problem.

    I don’t want to say that I bonded with strangers over diarrhea, but I did.

    If what happened to this woman had happened to me, I would have been in tears. When people are more concerned about litigation than people … well, I worry about that kind of society.

  122. Jesse in Japan says:

    In that situation, why even bother asking for permission to go to the bathroom? Just go!

  123. crankymediaguy says:

    “How about this scenario: She uses the facilities, injures herself, and Lionel Hutz Esq. sues the retailer because the bathroom isn’t up to code. Still feel sorry for her?”

    Yeah, and suppose they let her use the bathroom and a tiny meteor crashed through the window and hit her in the head and put her in a coma so she’s like Terri Schiavo and her husband sues the company for loss of her companionship?

    Or how about if terrorists break down the wall while she’s on the toilet and kidnap her?

    Hey, this Making Up Unlikely Scenarios game is Fun!

    Here’s a radical suggestion: FIX THE FUCKING BATHROOM SO IT’S UP TO CODE! Oh, and have the simple human decency to let a customer use it if they’re having a problem.

  124. RebekahSue says:


    OK people…let’s put this in perspective. Someone knocks on your door and asks you to use the restroom because they have the craps. Are you going to let them in? I think not.

    however, Catherine was a guest, (the legal term is “invitee”) and not someone off the street or,
    as in your analogy, someone who “knocked on the door.”

    i do hope you have the common decency to let your guests use your bathroom.

    i wonder how “not up to code” the bathrooms are, and if they’re so bad that employees sue for
    getting hurt on the property.

  125. I was in tears, desperate for some assistance with my embarrassing and humiliating situation.

    Oh, yeah. This woman was going to sue? Give me a break. C’mon people.

  126. sonichghog says:

    I would like to know the history of this store. Could it be that they may have already been sued by somone using the restroom that was not yet up to code? So they would not let her in because some other jerk already sued them for being nice.

  127. NickRB says:

    You know, I don’t feel bad. First, being an employee in a retail location that used to let customers use their bathrooms, I can tell you that people have absolutely NO RESPECT for your bathrooms. It was common to find that people had urinated all over your toilet or even worse had diarrhea all over your floor toilet and walls. Secondly, there is confidential paperwork. At the company I work for we were actually sued and lost, because we allowed consumers to use our restrooms, which are located in the employees only section of our store. Because we keep confidential customer information in this area of the store it’s possible someone could see that or steal it and use it for their own devices. We were ordered to bar access to our bathrooms to customers, in order to protect peoples privacy. There are public restrooms at the store next door to us. Less than a 30 second walk to those restrooms.

  128. LionelEHutz says:

    It only took 9 comments before the customer was blamed. What’s wrong people, you’re slacking off.

  129. danger the pirate says:

    @crankymediaguy: FTW!
    i dont know how more people haven’t been called assholes in this thread…
    there are so many.
    SHE WAS SHITTING HERSELF there and then. at least they could have taken her out back or done something. if you cant have the common decency (i guess not so common) to say “shes shitting her pants!” then at least realize that youre going to have to clean it up anyway…
    if she sues, “she was shitting her pants!” if you get fired “fuck off, she was shitting her pants!” and if The Man comes in and tries to arrest you because you broke the law, “DUDE, SHE WAS SHITTING HER PANTS!”
    its not like she went out and said “hmmm, im gonna go shit myself in public.” it was an emergency. completely humiliating emergency. unplanned. i hope all the poeple blaming the woman and every employee shit themselves in front of a crowd of people, then we’ll see how they feel about the situation.
    im done.
    i hate people…

  130. Shmoobie says:

    It is pretty crummy that they didn’t let her use the facilities.

    However, my wife works at a video game store and to get to the employee bathroom you have to walk through a small stock room packed to the rafters with video games, consoles and accessories.

    Once in the employee bathroom (a one-seater) you are again surrounded by consoles and accessories because the stock room is so small they can’t keep everything H.O. sends them in that tiny stockroom.

    One time during a Christmas rush the bell that indicates someone is going into the stock room rang and after taking a head count all the employees were on the sales floor.

    When my wife took a peek, there was a father helping his young daughter in the employee bathroom.

    She let them finish up, but politely asked is he would be checked to make sure that he didn’t have any inventory on him. He refused, yelled at my wife that he was insulted that she would accuse him of such a thing then *ran* out of the store dragging his daughter behind him.


  131. sonichghog says:

    @danger_the_pirate: Ya. Tell that to the people that get sued by people that BROKE into there homes. Then got hurt by the homeowner not having a hand rail or something.

    DUDE he was robbing my house, is not a defence.

    Lawyers have killed off human decency.

  132. forever_knight says:

    @NickRB: maybe your company is fucking stupid for keeping confidential information in the employee only restroom? i’m sure there is much more to the story, but hopefully you see the point.

    now a prayer: oh karma god, please give uncontrollable diarrhea to all those bastards that believe this woman is somehow to blame for this incident AND to those that continue to justify denying her access to the facilities. may it occur in a very public place. amen.

  133. noneckfroggy says:

    Unless I overlooked it, no where in the story does it say that she has IBS or any other medical condition. I do not know the age of Catherine, but as we age, our bodily functions cease to work as well as they did at a younger age. Surely Carla could have smelled the problem, and as manager in charge at that time should have known how to properly handle the situation. That’s what management does-handle situations to have the best possible outcome for all involved. The least Carla could have done was simply say,”I am so sorry, but our bathrooms are broken now and waiting for repairs. No one can use them.” Being a manager, she should have been able to assess the situation, possibly provided some scrap material that Catherine could have covered herself up with, and sympathized with her. A lot of disease can be spread by human waste, and I am surprised that Carla would be willing to expose her employees and customers to that danger. As for Catherine, until she is able to find out why she had total loss of control of her bowels, I would suggest that she either wear Depends or carry some wipes and spare clothing in her bag whenever she goes out shopping. As for JoAnn Fabrics, I think they need to post a sign at the store entrance that they have NO bathroom facilities, this will keep people from asking to use it. They also need to train their employees how to handle ALL unforeseen situations properly, and with compassion. As for all the other people who have posted comments, be grateful that you are so perfect that you would never allow such a situation to happen. I wonder if God knows that there are other Gods out there?

  134. purpleleaf says:

    Funny, well not so funny, but the same type of thing happened to me in another Ohio store in Sandusky, Ohio, in 1982. I needed one thing to finish a project, but had also accumulated some more fabric, and patterns for my next project. Suddenly, I had the intense need to throw up. I asked for the rest room, and was told “no”. I explained my situation, and still was told “no”. That clerk asked someone else, and the response was, “they were having trouble with shoplifting. I begged, giving them my purse, and suggesting that someone watch me. Still, I was turned down, and told that I could go to the store at the other end of the shopping center. I ran out, leaving my purse, and vomitted on the sidewalk as I was running to the other store. Complete humiliation! I had to go back to the store, and get my purse. I said, Thank You. I don’t think she even got it as sarcasm. Everyone said I should have threw up on their fabric, but I have ingrained in me to be a decent person.
    I thought they would have changed by now. I have gone into Jo-Ann’s in Georgia were I now live, and was allowed to use the facilities. Is it something about Ohio stores?

  135. thatsfearagain says:

    My mother has Crohn’s (a type of inflammatory bowel disease), so I can sympathize with poor Catherine, having had first-hand experience with this type of situation.

    I think that the larger problem here is the inability (or, more likely, unwillingness) of people to make rational decisions, which may, at times, conflict with their employer’s policies.

    Personally, I’d feel PRIDE in defending my decision to let poor Catherine use the restroom. I can’t imagine that any rational supervisor would actually punish an employee for bending the rules like this. Then again, I’m not convinced that Jo-Ann Fabrics attracts many rational supervisors.

  136. alicetheowl says:

    delphi_ote: Oh, I don’t give a fuck that one stupid cow couldn’t read a sign, hurt herself and threw a fit. SOP, at that place. I just wonder how many people here would side with her. After all, she had to pee, right? And we had bathrooms, and were oh-so-cruel for keeping people away from the shit-covered walls and floor in there that not even the employees could use.

    If it had been up to me, the bathrooms would’ve been able to be cleaned, de-clogged and fit to be used right away. But it wasn’t, and so I got to be the callous bitch who made people walk across the parking lot with a full bladder. Including fellow employees.

    @plim: The doors weren’t made to be locked. The only thing separating our customers from the coli-fest was a sign, written in magic marker.

  137. Echodork says:

    Had it been me, that would have been a much shorter, and ultimately messier, conversation.

  138. Mary says:

    I would love to see all how people react in this situation when they get a sudden attack of the hershey squirts and need a toilet. I guarantee that all that store policy shit and legal garbage will go right out the window.

    Actually, it absolutely wouldn’t. I have had medical problems that involved me needing bathroom badly at inconvenient times and if there was no public restroom I NEVER ASKED FOR THE EMPLOYEE RESTROOM. Because I’ve worked in retail for years, and I know the types of situations there are in backrooms. They are dangerous, possibly against OSHA standards, full of proprietary information and often, cash, safes, and customer credit card information. Not to mention confidential employee files.

    I’m almost certain if the restrooms were closed, the employees weren’t allowed to use them either, even in an emergency. The one time we had a closed restroom, that was the case.

    There’s not NEARLY enough information here to start shouting that the business is terrible, that someone should be fired, or anything of the like.

    As for people saying she didn’t have time to go to another store. Well, I would believe that except:
    1. She agreed to wait for an assistant manager, and proceeded to argue with them for an undetermined amount of time.
    2. She DID go to another store in the end.

    This clearly shows that she would have had less of a mess to clean up, and had at least some time to beat a hasty retreat to another bathroom. Standing there and arguing while she has diarrhea does nobody any good, but it especially makes her look like a fool. When I need to go and I just HAVE to go, I don’t agree to wait around for anyone or anything. If solution one doesn’t work, I’m on to solution 2.

  139. savvy says:

    @acambras: It WAS the owner who was trying to get $5 for toilet use from an obviously pregnant woman who needed to urinate. The establishment in question is a bar, a place that serves alcoholic drinks. Pretty shady, in my opinion.

  140. Tyler_Durden says:

    Catherine was in a fabric store. When Carla told her that she would not be allowed to use the bathroom, she should have bought some cheap fabric, folded it over a couple of times and used it as a panty liner. She would have then, at least, made it over to the Rural King bathroom without the mess.
    After going to Rural King, she should have brought the fabric back for a refund.

  141. Mary says:

    @Dan25: Thank you, I didn’t want to bring up the fact that it’s extremely simple for someone to SAY they’re having an emergency and HAVE to use the restroom.

    Most small stores I worked at kept the safe in the employee only areas. Not to mention merchandise that was untagged, and items that are street dated and not allowed to be sold yet.

    Sure, it would be nice if we lived in a world where everybody was always honest and helpful. But we don’t.

  142. forever_knight says:

    @meiran: tell us what medical condition you have/had that is similar to this situation. also, stop blaming the victim. Jo-Ann Fabrics should have done the right thing and let her use the mysterious employee only bathroom. if it really wasn’t functional at all, then again, Jo-Ann Fabrics is to blame for not having a functional toilet for its employees.

    and what’s with all these posts about the dangerous conditions with the employee bathroom? not osha compliant. it’s a fucking toilet.

    plus how can we forget the super top secret PROPRIATARY information in the back kept out in the open for any regular minimum wage employee to steal and sell to a hobo on the corner. here’s a tip: your business or the business you work for doesn’t keep anything special in the back office near the stank ass toilet. the important stuff (money) is in the safe. besides that? boring paperwork.

  143. Mary says:

    @niteflytes1: but she could have been more understanding and human.

    THAT is entirely true. You did say she was rude, and that was uncalled for.

    But the fact remains that this story doesn’t have enough information to decide if it was the right call for them to make or not. I think most people who have experience with retail employment agree that from the information given, they made the call they had to make.

  144. danger the pirate says:

    @sonichghog: well, our legal sytem is fucked. i can see the headlines “Woman let into employee bathroom to have emergency bowel movement, slips, falls and sues.” its amazing the stupid shit people get away with in this country: i spilled coffee on myself, im gonna sue, i fell through your skylight attempting to break into your house, im gonna sue, mcdonalds force fed me their food and made me fat, IM GONNA SUE.

    i probably would have had her give me her purse as collateral, then escorted her back to the bathroom, letting her know that it is against the rules and that if she is hurt by our ‘not up to code’ bathroom we take no responsibility.
    and if youre using the bathroom as an extended stock room, have sensitive information lying out for the taking, cutomer credit information? your store is pretty fucked up as it is so i guess you dont care if a woman shits on your floor.
    but i do have to agree that there is some information missing. whos ‘code’ is the bathroom not up to? the store, or the law? she specifially says, “that they were not allowed to let customers use the rest room.” customers. were the employees using it? there is some information missing, but i still favor the woman. golden rule, anybody? what a bunch of bullshit…
    i still hate people.

  145. davehimself says:

    While working in an small upstate NY software company I was approached by a young man who asked to use the bathroom. I explained to him, as I had to others in the past, that though we though were a “store front” business we did not sell products to walk-in customers and therefore could not allow non-employees to use the bathroom. He explained that he had diarrhea and was nearly “out of time.” I felt bad and gave him the key to the restroom. We had a key and a heavy lock on the door because the room doubled as storage for some expensive items. Twenty minutes later he had not emerged and I was forced to knock on the door. No answer. I knocked harder and yelled “Are you okay?” No reply. I called 911. EMS broke the door down, but it took some time. They were unable to revive the now naked and blueish young man. Turns out his Dara was actually a symptom of the drug overdose he was suffering. I was fired. The company and I were sued. The Company lost and promptly went out of business. My boss had told me to NEVER let a non-employee use the bathroom. He was right and I was wrong. Its sad that a person might be forced to sh*t themselves in public, but not nearly as sad as a hard working, young entrepreneur losing a business into which he had invested everything he had.

  146. mach1andy says:

    Its a shame that employees in minimum wage positions are so in fear of their management that they can’t make a decision — a human decision– that they would normally make if it wasn’t about being fired or scolded. When I was 16 and a busboy at the Outback Steakhouse, I learned that it’s not the employee’s faults– its all local op management– not a company policy (usually).

  147. bellis says:

    While I understand the woman’s plight she must never have worked in retail and had to deal with the other side of this.

    I worked in a video rental store. We had one bathroom that was fairly disgusting to begin with and for the most part even the employees opted to walk over the the restaurant next door. We generally didn’t let people use our bathroom but if it was an emergency we usually caved in and paid dearly for it. One woman left the bathroom such a complete mess I had never seen anything like it. The smell was unbelievable and the stains didn’t all come out. Amazingly after leaving us with that mess she browsed for a movie and was then horribly rude as she checked out. That is just one of the many incidents we encountered even though there was a much nicer public restroom a 2 minute walk away.

    Also, being someone with IBS I always try to make sure there is a clean bathroom nearby if possible. While at times inconvenient for me I never feel that someone has to allow me the use of their bathroom. If I have to use a bathroom I ask and if they say no I ask where there nearest public restroom is and move as quickly as I can to that bathroom. Standing there and arguing my point isn’t going to help me solve my problems any faster.

    While the store probably could have handled this situation a little better there are still two sides to this story and both aren’t being presented.

  148. Emi1y says:

    Niteflytes, you really should sue. SUE, SUE, SUE! And if I were you I would personally name the assistant manager as well as the corporation itself. In this case, the management at JoAnn’s were completely in the wrong. I truly do not understand the demented thinking behind those who claim this is an “entitlement”. Is needing to breathe air an “entitlement” too? This is a basic bodily function that cannot be helped during times of emergency, for the many people who suffer from medical conditions that affect this part of the body. This was an emergency–no, not a “heart attack” emergency, but an emergency nonetheless. Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, especially a regular patron of a retail company. Clearly she was denied access to a public facility because of a medical condition and deserves to be compensated for what suffering she was forced to endure by the management.

  149. sig1043 says:

    Wow, just…wow. Some of the comments here are mind-boggling blind-sighted.

    The title of the OP’s story has it right, the store’s employees were rude, inconsiderate, and showed a complete lack of tact; in other words, they showed an exceptional level of bad customer service. The store’s employees were in the best position to act rationally and provide the best and least embrassing solution to the situation (as they didn’t have crap running down thier leg). If the frigging bathroom was in such a condition as to be a hazard to the OP’s health (hanging wires, wet floors, broken bathroom fixtures, or just plain not working) then they should have conveyed that to her and promptly escorted the person in need to the nearest bathroom. How hard would it have been to say “I’m sorry, our bathrooms are out of service; lets get you next door where they have operational facilities.” ??? If there are other reasons you don’t want customers using the bathroom (pending lawsuit, past/current problems with biohazards, sensitive stock in the bathroom) then FRIGGIN LIE and say the bathrooms are out of order. You can even butter it up and say that your own employees have to use off-site facilities! But from the sound of the OP’s story, she was dealing with worker bitch and queen bee bitch.

    Now onto the OP. I realise that your descision making skills may have been dulled by the crap working its way down your backside, but the moment you explained your situation and the clerk started passing you down the chain of command, you should have gotten the hell outa dodge! Grab some plastic bags from the idoit clerk, make a mad scuttle to the nearest bathroom, and then drive home sitting on the plastic bags. You helped perpetrate your own humiliation by continuing to press the matter onto the uncaring store employees and in front of other customers.

    I like the karma god idea. May all the legal BS, uncaring posters in this thread find themselves with a case of explosive diaharrea while they are trying to press some frivolous lawsuit against some poor schmuck who was being a good samaratian towards them, and have them loose the lawsuit and be forced to pay both sides’ legal fees.

  150. watchout5 says:

    I really see this as a grey area, on the one hand you have this lady that needs to crap and I think we can all put ourselves in her shoes and say “When you gotta go, you’re going to go”. But I also see this from the eyes of the manager, for all we know the building the day before was found to be out of code and within the week they were going to fix it, you’d call this shitty luck. Also, the kind of lawsuit that would come from her being in a bathroom not up to code I would assume could be worse than her taking a dump in the middle of the floor.

    Putting myself in the managers shoes, I would have done the same thing. My job isn’t worth losing over a little crap on the floor, yes it’s horrible but it’s not like it’s the assistant manager’s job to fix the bathroom and he can only do what he’s told. We’re not sure how bad the bathroom was, what if the toilet was clogged and thus massive amounts of crap might have to sit there for a day or 2, making the situation much worse and the length of time the bathroom is our of commission even worse.

    Bottom line, we don’t have all the info and it’s hard to judge from here. If it was something like “the light’s broke” the manager was out of line. If it was more like “There’s a 10 foot dookie that won’t flush in there” it’s a whole different ball game.

  151. Ponygirl says:

    @AnastasiaBeaverhousen: What is your problem? You honestly believe that in this situation what was done was appropriate? I’m not talking about laws, which are made to be broken, and in this case no enforcement agency would take action (if even there were any). On a human “how I treat other is how I want to be treated” level this was mean and cruel. The assumption that if Carla had helped our leaky patron, the patron’s response would have been to bitch about cracked tiles or broken toilet seats is a example of what is wrong with our world. The attitude that “no kindness goes unpunished” is used over and over to excuse unkindness of all sorts. I wish it would stop.

  152. watchout5 says:

    @davehimself: Jesus Christ, that’s the worst story I’ve ever heard of. Note to self, this manager is in the clear.

  153. dalieu says:

    our society is so f-ed up now that sometimes doing something nice will get you screwed in the back. i agree with those who said the minute the bathroom was denied to go somewhere else immediately. lack of compassion? hell yes! but the reality is it is the world we live in.

  154. Penman says:

    I’m so sorry for what happened to you in Logansport. Having grown up there, calling it home and since moving away I’m still ashamed to hear what happened to you. While Jo-Ann Fabric and its employees should be reprimanded for the way they treated you I feel the people of Logansport should also be held responsible. Both parties didn’t respect you or treat you like a human being. It’s so sad to hear this happen to a person but doubly so when it is my place of birth. No wonder I moved….I hope Jo-Ann responds in some way to show you there is decency among society, maybe not in Indiana but somewhere.

  155. Ponygirl says:

    @forever_knight: Ahhhhhmmmeeennnn

  156. Ponygirl says:

    @alicetheowl: What kind of public bathroom doors aren’t made to be locked?

  157. Feliseta says:

    There are two things Ive noticed as agreed upon by other commentators.

    1. TESTING. She stayed long enough to have a battling argument over her predicament. Conversation such as this one can last for 15 mins+ (my opinion) esp. if they’ve also asked for the manager. This is rather a pleasant ground to observe what the company will do in such circumstance.

    2. MANAGERS ANTE. The decision does fall on the manager. She is the one responsible to take the risk so the ball falls on her to respond to this scenario or reject it all together.

    Is there a doctor around? Unless a person has particular medical condition with excretion, diarrhea does not burst out like an explosion on the first sign of pain. It takes a few minutes of pressure to build up, similar to a volcano.

    Who’s at fault? The manager or the customer. Conscience wise—- is the customer simply testing the breaking point? Does the manager only goes by the book.

    Overall—- it was the customer’s fault. this was not an epileptic attack or miscarriage. This was diarrhea. Pls. research.

    Most of all, we are gifted with two feet to walk to another area. Like I said—its diarrhea.

    If its the policy of company— we should respect it. If we received a better treatment, that’s courtesy on their part. Or through this blog, provide some insight to possible changes. But let’s also be mindful of these people.

    Testing our neighbors is another story.

  158. says:

    I live in the area. If you all knew how far this woman had to go to get to the bathroom in Rural King then you might shit your own pants. I think JoAnn’s can be my new diaper disposal. Those people suck – it was a few months ago they denied my FIVE year old to go to the bathroom.. If your bathroom isn’t up to code get off your asses and fix it!

  159. Tyler_Durden says:

    BY WATCHOUT5 AT 03:51 PM I really see this as a grey area…


  160. Tyler_Durden says:

    BY WATCHOUT5 AT 03:51 PM I really see this as a grey area…

    It’s not a grey area at all. It’s a brown area.

    Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal and tip the waitresses. They’re working hard for you.

  161. niteflytes says:

    @Tyler_Durden: I’m the OP and you’re comment has been the BEST one I’ve read. Wish I’d thought of that!!!

  162. niteflytes says:

    @Emi1y: thanks for the sentiment. I’m not out to sue Jo-Ann Fabrics. It’s more satisfying to me to create a lot of negative PR for them on the net for being treated like dirt.

  163. cyx says:

    Someone needs the hit the Kegelcizer more often.

  164. WowserBowser says:

    I was trying to imagine what a form letter might look like coming from the pen of the put-upon leader of Fabric purveyors Darrell Webb.

    here is a very good spoof highlighting Jo-Ann’s heartlessness in the face of Cathy’s fecal explosion I found on the web. (They linked back to you).

  165. Jon Mason says:

    Its not that I don’t sympathize – I have occasional bladder problems myself, but this smacks of entitlement and/or stupidity. If you are really about to shit your pants and they say they don’t have a public bathroom you should be hightailing it to the nearest store with a bathroom, or going to hide in the parking lot. Keep you dignity for God’s sake – unless you at a place in the middle of nowhere, you don’t stand there for 10 minutes saying “I AM ABOUT TO SHIT MY PANTS LET ME IN YOUR BATHROOM!!!” you figure out a solution yourself…

  166. SEMMEagent says:

    @Emi1y: I’ve been trying to refrain from posting in this thread as I feel that the story is extremely one sided, but you’re an ass.

    @niteflytes1: I’m really sorry you had to go through this. I can only imagine how humiliating it was for you.

    However, I truly doubt that the assistant manager was being vindictive when she said no (at least the first three times.) Call me callous, but if the assistant manager really thought that her job would be at stake if she let you use the bathroom, I think she chose the most fitting option by denying access. I can respect the company’s policy and do not think that they are terrible monsters all the while simultaneously thinking that your situation is horrible and unfortunate. I suspect, given that you said that you’ve actually used that bathrooms in this store on other occasions, something was really wrong with the bathrooms and that they had a good reason for denying you access. But as so many people have pointed out prior to me, we just don’t know enough information.

    @Ponygirl: I understand what you are saying, and in that situation, I highly doubt Catherine would have complained about broken tiles or leaky faucets. But what if it would almost be a certainty that the assistant manager would lose her job if she was found disregarding company policy for letting someone use the bathroom? I agree that we should treat others how we would like to be treated. But given the amount of lawsuits these days, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That being said, I don’t think it is fair to expect someone to potentially put their job on the line for a non-life threatening situation.

    @davehimself: Oh my god. My jaw dropped when I read this story. I am so sorry. That is a completely horrifying situation.

  167. MaximuM_MayheM says:

    I know that some stores don’t allow customers to use their facilities, but my god, this can’t be a good image to project to your customers. Let’s say she was vomiting blood. Would this story still be the same? If yes, then that’s disgusting.

  168. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Illinois’ law is known as “Ally’s Law”
    It’s named after a teenage girl named Alli, not the drug.
    It is Public Act 094-0450 & can be found at the Illinois website:

  169. soundonsound says:

    Regardless of if you feel sympathy for this lady or not (read: Regardless if you have any basic human decency or not), I find it funny that some are holding the store’s “policy” so sacrosanct that they’re avoiding the issue that not having a public restroom is a Indiana State CODE violation. Regardless of their restroom not being “to code”, not having a restroom available to customers is a code violation in itself.

    OP: Call the building commissioner’s office and report them.

  170. minneapolisite says:

    Appalling. I look forward to Jo-Anne’s attempt to explain this one away. Until then, I will boycott.

  171. b4upoo says:

    Sudden need of a toilet can be a medical disability and the store could well be held legally responsible for your distress. After all, they invite human beings to shop and it is understood that humans have certain needs and certain emergencies for which the store must consider before opening its doors to the public

  172. onlooker50 says:

    I was in the Joanns store the day that this happened and the lady had ample time to get to the Rural King next door (only a few feet actually-stores are connected) and do her business. She decided instead to stand and argue with store staff that was trying to do their job and what their Corporate office had told them to do. Another lady had just asked to use the restroom prior to this lady and she was denied. What do you think she would have thought if this lady had been given access to the restroom? If they start letting one person in and others find out, then they will have everyone wanting to go in, Then they will have a public restroom situation again, which obviously coprorate doesn’t want. She should have just gone next door.Don’t condemn the staff for doing what they are told. What do you guys do at your job? What you want or what you are told?

  173. Sonnymooks says:


    She may well have a good explanation, based on experience I can relate.

    That said, it just seems like everybody jumped on a side without all the facts (like the basic, what was wrong with the bathroom).

    Or was an employee bathroom avalable?

    or was this woman really going to get fired for doing “the right thing” (it is a good question)

    FWIW, I have a private office, but I have let others use it, and generally do not have a problem with it, the only times I say no, are when 1) When I worked in retail and our bathroom was destroyed (i.e. we didn’t have one for a few days)

    2)In my office, if its not operational (i.e. no toilet, for awhile due to construction, we had to use our tenants).

    I just can not understand why everyone has chosen a side, either the store or the customer, without most if the info or answers to basic questions.

  174. LisaGreb says:

    We made a mistake. We’re very sorry for any frustration and embarrassment that we caused our customer at the Logansport, Indiana, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store on Friday, June 29.

    Many of our store restrooms are located in areas that are not readily accessible to customers and therefore our policy limits the access to the restrooms. However, we have immediately changed our policy to allow any customer to use our restrooms upon request.

    Again, we acknowledge our mistake in handling this matter and sincerely hope that our customers will be pleased by our change in policy.

    Darrell Webb
    Chairman, President, and CEO
    Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

  175. What Catherine went through was horrible and shouldn’t have happened.

    I’m surprised that on a web site that regularly has stories about contaminated food and products people are so surprised that diarrhea can occur suddenly and with no warning.

  176. Kenoji says:

    One time as kid, I was really really sick at a 7-11. They said I couldnt use their bathrooms when I told them I was sick, so I vomited all over their trashcan next to the register.

    She was like “oh, I didnt know had a ‘real’ sick child”. She so got pwned.

  177. Here is the corporate number.
    (330) 656-2600
    Have fun with it!

  178. alicetheowl says:

    @Ponygirl: The kind that has a history of shoplifters ducking into the bathroom to escape security. Once they’re out of sight, in Massachusetts at least, you can’t prove that they stole what they brought into the out-of-sight location.

    The chain has a pretty good history of people sneaking off with their merchandise.

    The stalls had locks on them, but the doors themselves were the kind you just push open, with no locks.

  179. Tyler_Durden says:

    There are 12 step programs for problems like this.
    Take the 12 steps to go to the Rural King before you foam your drawers.

    BTW, the grassy knoll is no place for a picnic.

  180. Dan25 says:

    Why do some of you people think it is okay to ask someone to put their job on the line for you? The assistant manager even said that she could lose her job. Would you risk your job for a customer? I doubt it.

  181. JAN2GOOD says:

    I would of hit ;carla in fucking face. Thank you for letting me know. I will never shop at a joannn fabric’s again. The card and party outlet did that to my son who was 5 and was sick from diahreaha. Well never went back there again. I hoe carla had to smell the shit after smell all day and they had to get a new mop. Hey sue them everyone else like’s to sue people.

  182. EtherealStrife says:

    @JAN2GOOD: That’s known as Battery here in the States.

    @nequam: I was responding to all the idiots telling her to shit all over and use fabric to wipe her ass on. AKA vandalism. Sorry, I didn’t make that clear.

  183. LGH says:

    Ok, I worked with JoAnn Fabrics at 2 different locations (in 2 different states) over the past 5 years.
    I loved working with the company, but I will say that having to take customers to the back to use the restroom was a big hassle. For whatever reason, there is never enough employees in the store at a time, so it was a big ordeal for me to have to leave the register or cutting counter to take a customer to the bathroom. It was one of my least favorite things about my job.
    This past January or February the store received a letter from the corporate offices explaining that no customer was to be allowed access to the bathrooms in the “Employees Only” area of the store. What the manager told you at the store you had your problem was a lie. It is a corporate policy, just recently put in to effect. I had to turn down many customers at the store who were very angry after I denied them access to the restrooms. Even though this angered many customers, it did make the staff very happy, needless to say.
    I am terribly sorry for what happend to you at JoAnn Fabrics. My personal policy regarding corporate’s policy was that I would always let a pregnant woman use the restroom if needed. I would like to think that I would have allowed you to use our facilities in this situation as well.
    I no longer work for the company, but I continue to be a loyal customer. I hope that the company learns from their mistakes and will revise their policy to let customers use the restroom when emergencies arrive.

  184. MommyNikki says:

    It really depends on the JoAnn store. Sounds like many of you have never been to one to know the difference. Coming from an ex JoAnn employee.

    If it’s a small JoAnn store, which I can almost guarantee it is since it’s in Logansport (I’m from Indy myself). No they don’t have public restrooms, employee only. The restrooms are in the loading, office, storage areas so no it’s not safe for employees to go back. Maybe they allowed customers until someone got hurt. And that’s why they changed their policy.

    I worked at a large store that was originally a small one. I was told that people would be upset b/c the small store didn’t have a public restroom, employee only. But there was a public one about 20 feet across from the store.

    It’s it a large Joann store, then yes they do have public restrooms. But if the restrooms are un-safe or whatever, no one is suppose to use them…including the employees. One time, the restrooms lost lights so we had to “close them off” for customers but employees had to use them since no other business was close by.

    As for letting customers in back of the store, I can’t believe employees were letting people go back alone. When I worked for a small coffee shop, employee only restroom, I would allow small kids to use it. But I walked back there w/them and their parents. Office was right there but mainly I did it to show them the way and to point out “watch your step”

  185. MommyNikki says:

    Oh and for the asking someone to use their home bathroom during a yardsale. I have.

    I was very, very pregnant…due the day before actually. Went walking a neighborhood sale to bring the baby on. My mom ran into a friend of hers so I asked her to ask if I could use their potty. She was nice and let me. It was by the garage door so I wasn’t wondering her home.

    so yes it’s different than going up to complete stranger. but she didn’t know me, only my mom.

  186. Xenuite says:

    I’ve had to take a major piss before at a strip mall, ran into five stores with the last one having a public bathroom. I didn’t argue with the people in there, I just said “Bathroom?” When they said no I ran to the next one. If you gotta poo that badly then poke your head in say “Bathroom!” and if they say no go next door. If you have shit running down your leg then accept the fact that you aren’t going to come out of this looking good. Don’t blame the person doing their job (being a legalistic prick, but still doing their job) blame the undercooked meat or whatever you ate which got you the stream of poo in the first place.

  187. Mary says:

    Fore the poster that just HAS to know my medical problems, I have IBS. Anything more is none of your business.

    As for propriatary information, as you are obviously not in management in a big corporation, I’ll ignore your comment as the ill-informed one that it is.

    Their attitude should have been a sympathetic one, not rudeness. But no business should allow customers in employee only areas. That is a recipe for disaster, and JoAnn’s recent retraction of that policy will likely come back to haunt them.

  188. niteflytes says:

    Clarification from OP…the Jo-Ann’s I was at has a public restroom but wouldn’t let me use it. It was not out of order, it was not closed for renovations. According to Carla, it was closed because corporate had sent out a memo to all the Jo-Ann stores to close their public restrooms because they were not “up to code”. It was the same public restroom they had prior to receiving that memo. I didn’t include that info in the letter because I didn’t feel that corporate needed me to tell them about their own memo. Also not mentioned in the letter is the fact that I returned to the store after going to Rural King in order to get Carla’s name so although it appears I spent a lot of time arguing with her during the incident some of the information I obtained was actually from my return visit. The letter had already become long and I didn’t want to make it any longer by adding extraneous details.

  189. Xenuite says:

    Still, couldn’t just poke your head in and say “Have to poop!”?

  190. GracieB says:

    I’ve worked retail for 9 years, and we have never, at the 3 stores where I worked, allowed customers to use our restrooms – again, it’s for insurance and safety and loss prevention purposes. Restrooms for public use are a luxury not a requirement in non-food facilities. this customer needs to face the reality that she’s an adult adn even when wracked by diarrhea, she should have some control of her bowels. Rather than arguing with the staff of the store , she should have asked where the nearest restroom was and gone their quickly – avoiding this situation. Instead, she decided to pursue an attitude of undeserved entitlement.

    The problem is that too many people think that because they are spending money (however little that may be) in a store, they have the right to demand the world and when they don’t receive it, it’s bad customer service. It’s not. It’s people doing their job so that they can take care of you and other customers in a fair and equitable way.

  191. rdldr1 says:

    What if it was your mother who was the victim…

    ’nuff said for all you heartless bastards.

  192. Dan25 says:

    my mother wouldn’t think she’s entitled to use a bathroom that isn’t up to code and no longer avaibile for public use. But then again, we have respect for people, their jobs, and a businesses rules.

  193. GracieB says:

    My mom is an adult as well and would ask for a restroom and go to the nearest accessible ones. She would never allow diarrhea to “run down her legs” while arguing. Because whatever you may think of the store employees, this woman was the evidence of brilliance that continued to argue and humiliate herself.

  194. Hirayuki says:

    @floofy: Reminds me of the instrumental Tom Waits song “New York Theme (Hey You Can Have That Heartattack Outside Buddy)”.

    (Sorry–haven’t commented in a while and I’ve forgotten how to do a proper quote.)

  195. stevekal says:

    may all the haters be struck by sudden, uncontrollable diarrhea at a store without a public bathroom. No wait, better yet, let it be one of your kids, while you’re shopping with them.

    Lets see you defend the store then.

  196. rdldr1 says:

    Company policy is not appropriate for every possible situation. Its about context. And it is the duty of the store managers to suspend company policies in extreme situations. Thats why laws are interpreted by judges in the US court system.

    CREWD, MEIRAN– may God have mercy on your heartless souls. What if it was YOUR MOTHER who had diarrhea running down her leg because she was denied emergency bathroom access? I hope you guys burn in hell.

  197. Me. says:

    I once burst into tears upon entering a restaurant when I saw my party (the reason is a long story and they were not tears of joy). The hostess asked if I was okay, then without hesitation, ushered me through the kitchen and bakery to the private employee bathroom. I was able to gain my composure (and my dignity) and the night was salvaged.

    If you’re ever in Phoenix, eat at My Florist. They’ll break the rules for a poor crying girl and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t let you deficate on yourself.

  198. Xenuite says:

    @rdldr1: And since there are no laws that govern bathrooms in this country the corporate policy is what counts and the fact that the store is private property. Folks, we aren’t talking about a five year old, we are talking about an adult woman who argued a bit before squirting all over herself. Unless there was a midget with a plunger trying to force her to shit, the only person at fault is the woman with poo down her legs.
    If it was my mother, she would have moved to the next store.
    If it was my kid I would bring them to the next store.
    There is more then one bathroom in the world.

  199. svengali2007 says:

    This exact scenario happened to my sister in law at the Modesto, CA store.

    She had to go to a fast food store that was a few thousand feet away. My sister in law has an ailment that “it” hits at any given moment and she isprone to accidents.

    She complained to the management as well… I don’t think she got much of a response.

    JoAnns needs to have show some humanity and make exceptions.

  200. Mary says:

    Oh please, would you people grow up from the personal attacks.

    I have IBS. I do have “bathroom emergencies” at “inappropriate times” and I DEAL WITH IT. I usually locate the restrooms very quickly when I enter a place, and if I don’t know where they are, I’ll ask a staff member if I need it. If they said they couldn’t let me in/didn’t have one I would LEAVE THAT SECOND.

    My mother would behave in the exact same way. I would wager that my entire family including my in-laws would not act entitled to access. Maybe I’m just blessed with a family that despite a myriad of medical problems (including Crohn’s, IBS, and many many conditions that involve emergency bathroom visits) are educated and understanding people who take responsibility for themselves.

    I have been in desperate need of a bathroom in a public store that did not have any. What did I do? Did I argue? Did I say “Where do your employees go?” No. I left.

    I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the employees should not have been rude. In this case, JoAnn’s did make a mistake by saying they should close off the bathrooms for what seems like no good reason.

    But people who keep shouting “LET US USE THE POTTY!” I’m sorry, that’s what those who are tired of terrible customers call an “entitlement attitude.”

    Seriously, wishing diarrhea on people? Grow up. When you have to resort to that kind of argument you should realize to just step away before you sound like a two-year old.

  201. MagicMarker says:

    I felt incredibly outraged by this until I remembered that there are a surprising number of stupid assholes in the world. Carla sounds like one. If she didn’t want to let Catherine use the bathroom (which is pretty shitty), she could have just said, “I’m so sorry! Our bathroom is broken. The Rural King is just around the corner. Do you need help?” (Because it might have actually been a very serious medical emergency). “Here’s something to wrap around your waist!” And then try to hustle Catherine out the door towards the Rural King. Instead, she was rude and made the situation way more degrading than it should have been. I really hope she felt powerful in that moment while she was making another person beg, because I’m pretty sure she’s paying for it right now.

  202. aminwagegirl says:

    There is a lot of crap going on at Joann’s and management always blames Corporate.

    Did you know that before any employee leaves the premises they all have to wait off the clock for the manager to come and look into they bags and purses? Yes, and if a manager is busy doing something, the “off the clock” employee has to wait until he/she is visually searched. Sometimes waiting as much as 20 minutes before they can leave.

    When we were hired they told us that we would be terminated for discussing wages. Well that was a red flag for me but I needed a job. I waited until I knew my co-workers well enough and I asked how much they were getting paid. Well, I understand about being paid by experience (we sure are not being paid adequately) but they do not even take that into account. I mean, if we all have day jobs and we are looking for a night job, then it goes to show that maybe, just maybe we really need this job and will take what we can get and that’s what Joann’s Fabrics/Joann’s Craft Store are banking on.

    Also since the minimum wage was put into affect, the “new” hires get paid .50 to .75 cents more an hour then the workers that were there before it came into play.

    Joann fabrics DOES NOT give merit raises nor do they fire people that are lazy or incompetent. What they do is give the lazy people more hours while the hard working men and women get the run around. Also the employees that are on welfare get a lot of the hours because the State pays half their wages. The way JoAnn’s looks at it, its free labor for them.

    Oh and if you want a few days off, you have to request 3 weeks in advance (which is understandable) but when you come back don’t expect ANY hours or even your old schedule back. I heard it many times from other employees that it makes them feel like they are being punished for asking for time off.

    Managers contently talk about how they have to run/clean the store with a skeleton crew but yet they cut hours because payroll is down and send the lazy folks home first while the employees with good work ethics work like dogs to hurry up and clean the store for the new day. A little common curtsey and respect would be nice a long with some much deserves greenbacks.

  203. aminwagegirl says:

    @dwayne_dibbly: Actually yes. When I was hired they said if anything happens to someone, i.e. kid falls out of basket hit head and starts to bleed, or something falls on someone’s head from a shelf, I CAN NOT go up to them and ask them if they are OK. That amits liability for them.
    That is not in my nature to not help someone, so when and if the time comes that I am needed I will be there no matter what the emergency is. After all, no $6.75 job is going to take my humanity away from me.

  204. Baethan says:

    I work at a joann’s store. We generally direct people to the next-door supermarket to use their public bathrooms, unless it’s an emergency (in which case we escort them to the employee bathroom). What happened to that woman was not the fault of a great big evil corporation but the fault of some stupid, uncaring people.

  205. systemgo says:

    I too, was denied access to a JoAnn Fabric restroom. I was 8.5 months pregnant at the time. I was waiting for my mother to get her fabrics cut,whenever the urge to use the restroom came. I asked the manager if I could use the restroom – that it was an emergency. She said “the public is not allowed”. I started crying because I knew there was no possible way I could get in my car and drive to another place to use their restroom. The manager (a woman) just looked at me – no sympathy – no apology – nothing. I did wet my pants in the store while other employees and customers watched in horror and sympathy! My mom threw her material down and escorted me to the car; vowing never to go back there again. One of the employees that was working that day told my friend about the incident and said she was horrified by what the JoAnn manager did and that they just say the restroom is not in use and it’s legal policy – that it is basically up to the manager. Well…all I can say is…if wishing upon a star comes true, this nasty swine JoAnn manager at Loveland-Maderia Road in Loveland, Ohio will die of a bladder infection – and may her final days in a nursing home be laying in her own waste with a bad case of diaper rash!

  206. homebound says:

    I hope you never have this problem, for the people who have no sympthany for this woman, there have been many of times after suffering from cancer, that I have had to stay home because of being afraid of this happening to me. People who have never been in this situation have no idea what it is like not being able to go to a shopping center simply because of an illness. Depends don’t always work. I hope you that you never get really ill in your life.

  207. thetreechic says:

    Back to the original post…
    How sad that none of the employees involved had half a brain. If i were the company owner I would have fired both of them.

    As a business owner I try to hire people who can abide by rules, but, more importantly know how to use good judgement. The employees involved sound more worried about losing their jobs than using their brains. I would have fired both on grounds that they were incompetent, dim-witted and made a decision that put the reputation of my business on the line.

    As far as the woman using the bathroom, finding in in poor condition and then potentially filing a suit, well, I would take that chance. Most intelligent people know that would be a case that would not even make it into court.

    By the way, all the employee had to do was explain that it was against policy, the condition of the restroom, and let the woman use the toilet.

    As a business owner I would have fired the employee and made them clean up the mess on the floor.

    By the way.
    I was shopping with my child once and had a similar situation arise. A teenage employee just shook her head and said nope, can’t help you. I handed her the stack of clothes i was planning on purchasing and told her to please tell her boss that they just lost my sale and all future sales from me, and to have fun cleaning up the piss on the floor. (my kid held it, but she didn’t know that!)

  208. Anonymous says:

    Because i live in a rural area,i have to drive several miles to JoAnn Fabrics.My friend and i usually make a day of it…We walk around in the store for a couple of hours usually.When we asked to use the bathroom at this store,we were told to go down the street to Kroger’s.HUH !
    And leave our cart FULL of stuff we intended to buy sitting there ?They want you to stay as long as possible and spend your money,but learn to “HOLD IT” while shopping there..Hello Hobby Lobby !

  209. shopperbeware says:

    I am originally from the south. Most stores will allow you to use their restoom. I have recently moved to Montana. Many of the smaller stores in the Missoula area state that they do not have a public restroom. Yes, JoAnns is one of them. I have asked to let my little ones use the restroom and the answer is always no. So I have taken upon my self to not ask. I just go right in and use it. I dare them to say anything to me. Especially when I have a cart load of items sitting outside the door. I will not spend money in a store if someone is very rude and inconsiderate to me, when I am the one who is spending money so they can have a pay check.

  210. ucntcme says:

    OK. got a question for all you “she argued therefore she had time” posers.

    How slow do you speak? Seriously:
    “Excuse me, I’m having a diarrhea attack may I use the bathroom?”
    “Look, I am crapping as we speak. Please?”
    “Lemme ask my manager.”
    Manager: Nope not up to code, can’t let you back there.”
    “Look, no, smell that? That’s crap coming down my legs, and will soon be on your floor”
    “I don’t care, go next door”.

    It takes you ten minutes or more to have that discussion, you have no sense of urgency. That isn’t a ten minute discussion/argument even without the sense of urgency.

    To all those who whine about cleaning up a toilet. Get a different job. Cleaning facilities is a matter of sanitation, customer or not.

    All businesses are a form of customer service organization. This was atrocious customer service, period.

    As far as the whole law suit crap, (yeah I said it, but it wasn’t intentional), no you don’t decrease your risk of a lawsuit be refusing this woman the public facilities the place had. Quite the contrary, the principle of least risk applies. “Normal” human feces is a biohazard. Having it on your floors is a lawsuit waiting to happen – a justified one. The diseases that can be carried in otherwise normal human feces can lead to death, not just the more common diarrhea.

    By definition sudden onset diarrhea is an increased biohazard due to something upsetting the natural balance of the intestinal system. Therefore, if you are told that she has a sudden attack of it, and you refuse, and she craps on your floor, you are now directly liable for the effects of customers tracking it. Particularly true for a store with many mothers bringing young children in.

    There is something about acknowledging a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. If you can be sued/lose your job for letting her use the can, that is no longer a factor. You are now free to do the right thing.

    For all you self-righteous “I work in retail so I know better than you” posters: read “Do The Right Thing:How Dedicated Employees Create Loyal Customers ” and learn about doing the right thing. Customer service is crap because people like you think the customer is there to serve you, or is an annoyance, and you act accordingly. If you feel that giving quality customer service is beneath you: prove it: find a different job. Find a line of work where you have no impact on customer service. Good luck.

  211. bbaarrbbii says:

    I really feel for the poor customer here. I also feel a bit for the Joanne’s employee. But what I mostly feel is anger and disgust for Joanne’s corporation. I’ve shopped very frequently in two of their stores for over 20 years and here’s what I can tell you from my experience: they treat their employees like cr@p and their bathrooms are always a mess.

    No not just a mess, they always have something wrong with them: no tp, doors won’t lock, no paper towels or hand drier not working, no knobs on the sinks, out of soap, toilet seats loose, cracked mirror, broken tiles–it’s always something.

    I think the real fault is finally down to the corporation because they don’t take care of the facilities and they browbeat and mistreat the people who work for them–given the talks I have had with a number of both short and long term Joanne’s employees, this manager could very easily have expected to be fired for letting the customer use the bathroom and could well be in trouble already because the authorities were down on them already for code violation. The company doesn’t keep up the facilities but blames the manager when they get cited for violations. According to the people I know, it is very much a corporation without a heart, profits are everything.

    Also, violating code isn’t necessarily an unimportant detail here. She could have lost her job and earned the company a heaving fine (depending on history) for letting a customer use the toilet and it’s entirely possible that neither her bosses not the inspectors would have been swayed by the nature of the situation. So, I really mostly blame Joanne’s for not maintaining the facility and for the attitude they foster in their employees by putting them in the position to be unable and unwilling to respond humanely to this customer who was taken ill in their store.

  212. keikothemeowmeow says:

    I understand she had explosive diarrhea…but still.
    It’s not up to the world to keep up with your digestive system.With the way that people are these days, what if she had gone in and then sued for it not being up to code?I wouldn’t want to lose my job just because some lady can’t walk over next door to use someone else’s bathroom.

    As a person with frequent bladder problems, I don’t expect anyone to make things easy for me.It is MY responsibility to know my schedule.It is MY responsibility to ask for a restroom, and if there isn’t one available, ask where I COULD go to use one.

    She should be ashamed to even write to management about this.If I made myself look like an idiot, I would accept it instead of looking for someone to tell me it was someone else’s fault for not providing me a bathroom.

    Watch what you eat.It’s your responsibility.

    • batsy says:

      @keikothemeowmeow: If they tell her it’s not up to code, she was using it at her own personal risk. If I had to go that badly, I would just be extremely grateful that I could use the facilities. I wouldn’t be nitpicking about their condition.

      Like someone stated earlier, if you open your doors to the public, you need to have a public restroom.

  213. Anonymous says:

    I was just googling to find a location to one of these stores to purchase a $300 sewing machine for a X-mas gift, after reading this poor ladys situation, my money will go to Sears.

  214. Paperclippe says:

    Wow, I’ve never been in a Jo-Ann’s that DIDN’T have a public bathroom. That being said, that is horrible! I feels so bad for that woman.

    • Anonymous says:

      As a consumer I can understand the customers plight. However, as a JoAnns employee I see things from a different perspective. In my store the restroom is in the stockroom. IF an employee is available to walk a guest back and wait for them to be done, then we will do so on an as-needed/emergency basis. All others must go elsewhere to use a bathroom. As I said, our restroom is in the stockroom so it is not always safe for a guest to go back there. On our “truck days” when there are 1,000 cases of merchandise coming in the back door, rollers and ladders out…sorry but there is too great a risk of a guest getting injured in that environment. Not only could you then have an injured guest, but a lawsuit on top of it. Here is what I tell our guests…If you are not happy with the facilities, then contact the company that manages the facilities and request that the faciilities be fixed!! They are the only ones who can make the change…Jo Anns only LEASES the facilities! At our store, all it would take would be putting a door between the sales floor and the restroom since the restroom is in the corner of the stockroom against the sales floor wall. I hope this helps to see things a little differently, not that it excuses the treatment that this guest received…there is ALWAYS an exception to the rule. Now that that is defined a little better…who is going to clean these public restrooms that people destroy and have no regard for the cleaner-upper who has to wipe sh*t off the walls and unclog crap from tampons, etc…If the public uses the restroom then maybe they should be the ones to clean. After each guest uses the restroom, I will give them the cleaning supplies to clean it after their use. I bet this will ensure cleaner restrooms for public use! I hate cleaning my own bathroom at home after my kids…I SURE DON’T WANT TO CLEAN UP A STRANGERS MESS!

  215. Crewd says:

    f thy hd lt lttl mss pp pnts s th rstrm, w’d b sng lttr sttng hw hrrbl th fclts wr. Hr’s cl fr qn brwn rvr pnts…f thr sn’t pblc rstrm thn hd t sm plc thr s n. f y wldn’t hv std thr rgng bt th mttr y cld hv md t smwhr ls n tm.

  216. Anonymous says:

    This is appalling management, not service. This woman should never have suffered like this, and the only reasons she did are:

    1. No public restrooms. This is ridiculous in a chain store this size. I know they lease their facilities, but a lot of chains do, yet they insist on some remodeling before they move in. There is no excuse for there not being public restrooms in the stores and no reason they should not be up to code at all times.

    2. Staff felt they would be fired if they made an exception. Unless the assistant manager was paranoid, I don’t blame the employees for this — I blame management. A store should never make its employees feel their jobs would be threatened if they took compassion on an ill customer, or even a claiming-to-be-ill customer they didn’t quite believe.

    I don’t blame management for having a general policy against letting people into the staff rooms alone or letting people use bathrooms that are not up to code, but I do blame them for not avoiding a situation like this in the first place and for creating an atmosphere where their employees feel they’ll be fired if they make an exception for an exceptional situation.

  217. Anonymous says:

    The only thing to do in this situation and to combat rude and insensitive people is just to drop your trousers right there in front on them and take a shat on the floor. I would have gone a step farther and wiped my ass with
    some nearby silk fabric and then smiled politely and walked out of the store. What could they do? If you are going to be humiliated at least go all out and don’t soil yourself but those who deserve it. You could have
    stayed to watch the clean-up and gotten some real satisfaction.
    You would have gotten a standing ovation from me and probably the rest of the customers.
    I do believe you get what you give in this world so their time is coming.

  218. Anonymous says:

    I can’t beleive the nerve of that manager. I can understand company policy, especially if it is intended to protect the customer from unsafe conditions. But let’s consider the safety issues with allowing one customer to become sick in front of the other customers – doesn’t this pose an even larger safety hazard by exposing them to any bacteria/viruses? My heart bleeds for the author of the letter, and for the humiliation she’s endured. I can honestly say I’ve been in a similar situation and have never been refused the right to use a bathroom. I have IBS, and even when in a store that doesn’t offer “public restrooms”, I’ve always been granted permission to use the employees lav’s, even if it requires an escort to get there – sometimes the lav’s are near a loading area and require going past forklifts. But I have NEVER been outright refused. I can’t say I blame JoAnn’s as an organization. They’re only trying to protect themselves and their customers. But I do blame the manager of the store for having no human decency or respect for the letter’s author. May she be stricken with the same terrible ailment and no one to help her…. only may it be every time she appears in public!

  219. Anonymous says:

    That is horrid, I work at a joann fabrics, and that would have never, ever been allowed to happen in my store. Just plain stupid judgement on the manager’s part. Although I must share that the other day a person came in and had explosive diarrhea all over the womens’ bathroom and didn’t have the decency to tell us when it happened. That was disgusting, my manager was so horrified at the idea of making an employee clean it up, that she did herself. Funny.. that decency should be always required of people on both side of retail line at times…

  220. Anonymous says:

    ohh my god, that was humiliating and wrong!! i had somewhat of an experience happen to me yesterday. i thought that not too long ago it was a persons right, whether they were shoppers or not, to use a stores bathroom. i was shopping at shoppers drug mart in scarborough ontario and about 10 minutes later a sudden feeling came over me (it was not a # 1 either:( my stomache was churning but i felt bad about asking anyone if i could use thier bathroom. i waited a few more minutes and decided, the hell with it. i asked the cashier but she said they don’t have a public washroom.i thought, wait a minute,, are they not suppose to let us use it? it would be better then having a big mess to clean up eh. i continued to finish my shopping and thankfully the feeling had passed. this is not my usual shoppers drug mart but if i had been at my usual one, they would not think twice. i’m not finshed, so keep reading. i had to go shopping at nofrills supermarket after that and about 20 minutes later, guess what, that same feeling came back, but this time it was worse. i said to myself, go ahead and ask and if they say no, then they’ll have a mess to clean.i asked someone at the back of the store (i was sweating by then) and he said YES, what a relief. something i did not know was, they have let people use there washrooms ever since they had opened thier stores!!!! how about that eh?? and was clean!! thankyou nofrills. if store owners were more curtious to thier customers, we’d be alot happier!!

  221. Anonymous says:

    actually, the restroom law is different from state to state. In Indiana , where this took place, the law states that a public place that does not serve food is NOT required to have a public restroom. YES the mgr can make the decision to allow a customer to use the employee restroom. But it is NOT a law that you have to… its up to the mgmt team

  222. Anonymous says:

    I, too, have had a similar experience at the Joann’s Fabic that USED to be in Newburgh, NY.. I had been a customer for years, and NEVER could use the bathroom there! Many a trip to the fabric store had been cut short due to the “No Rest Room” policy! It made me always think twice about going to Joann’s after I had my morning cup of coffee!

  223. Anonymous says:

    I really feel sorry for what you went through. I know this is the truth because I had a similar situation, ask to use the restroom and was told no. They directed me to use another stores restroom!!!! I live in PA, are all of their restrooms not up to code? If they are too good to allow customers to use their restrooms, what right do they have sending you to another store?

  224. Anonymous says:

    This same thing happened to my sister, at a Hallmark store in New Jersey. I told my sister she just should have let it happen and then what would they do? I understand about lawsuits etc, but sometimes one must use common sense. In my sister’s case, she was a steady customer and the clerks knew her.

  225. Anonymous says:

    If I had been in that woman’s situation and had known where the bathroom was I would have used it no matter what the saleswomen said. What would they have done-called the police on her? The part about the restroom not being up to code- that’s probably just a lie they tell all their customers. And what is it with all these stores sending their customers to OTHER stores to use THEIR restrooms? That is just extremely poor customer service! The Joann’s in Athens,GA welcomes your shopping dollars- but then refuses to let their customers use their restroom.

  226. Anonymous says:

    @Paperclippe’s reply to Anastasiabeaverhousen: She wasn’t too embarrassed to post her ordeal on the internet and she’s already defaming the store and the asst manager by name! Let’s face it, she wanted to make a scene. If it was that much of an emergency, she would have left the store immediately to handle her business AND THEN come back to settle the score. I’m not losing my job for anyone. The woman didn’t have any disease… she’s just full of…

    P.S. – Most retail operations have people trained in hazmat & biohazard cleanup.

    • Anonymous says:

      @SaheliTiberius: I’m sorry, really? That’s the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. Because of course every person wants to crap themselves in front of a ton load of people just so they could have the pleasure of creating a scene.

      As for defaming them, she’s not really doing that. Defaming would be speaking falsely, if it’s what happened it’s what happened. And if they didn’t feel they’d done something wrong, then they shouldn’t mind her naming them.

      As for her leaving the store, clearly you have no experience with having the runs. When you have to go, you have to go. There was no leaving the store and trying to make it to the next place, some distance away. Get a clue.

      As for her (the manager) losing her job, I’m sorry but she wouldn’t have lost her job for letting a woman about to let loose use the bathroom. Though she might for refusing a woman access to a bathroom in turn causing her to let loose on the floor and to subsequently lose business.

      And lastly, as a business that often has crafting workshops, as a business period, it’s shameful that they WOULDN’T have a public access bathroom. And if they don’t, they need to let the public use the bathroom that they have.

  227. Anonymous says:

    A friend of mine in Falls Church, Virginia had a similar problem when she had to use the restroom at a local JoAnn’s fabric store and they refused to allow her access. We need stiffer laws.

    Another incident happened in a women’s clothing store, I was in a local store and a lady with a small child asked if he could use the restroom (clearly the child was in distress and had to relieve himself desperately, he was making faces and doing things to try and hold it) and the store clerk refused. So the customer (mother) smiled and walked away towards the back of the store. As I continued to shop I noticed that she whispered to the small boy and directed him to go urinate between the round clothes rack of discount blouses. Not only did he urinate on a bunch of blouses, he sprayed the floor pretty good too. Although this was destruction of store property, I guess she figured that if he couldn’t use the restroom he had to let it out somehow. I left the store and vowed never to return after the incident. It was disgusting.

  228. Con Sumer Zealot says:

    I would plain out sue the owner for damages and make this story as public as possible so, forgive me, the shit hits the fan and the business has to pick up the pieces of its reputation in the toilet.

  229. Con Sumer Zealot says:

    Better yet, organize a “shit in”, have several customers come in, and each pick an aisle and bombs away all at once…smear it all over everything, then run away and have the health department around the corner run in and issue citations for toxic mess before they can clean it up.

    Hey that is what they get for being cruel and inhumane.

  230. Susan Fisher says:

    When my daughter was small, just out of diapers, I was in a dress shop in Santa Cruz, CA with her when her little voice piped up with “Need to go pee-pee.” I asked the saleswoman if she could use the rest room and was told “No.” It was pouring rain out and she pointed to a place a block away and said we could go there. At this point my child was holding her crotch and urgently telling us over and over she needed to pee. I looked the salesperson in the eye and carefully explained “When a young child says they need to go pee-pee, they mean NOW.” And I looked at the carpet we were standing on meaningfully. She huffed, but and quickly pushed us toward the restroom. I could hardly believe she resented a small child in distress so much.

  231. Anonymous says:

    I went to the San Mateo CA JoAnns this AM. Four clerks were chatting w each other, and a woman said very loudly, “Can somebody wait on me?” A few minutes later, carrying a large bolt of fabric, I stood by the sign, telling customers to wait til a clerk was available. 3 clerks separately, came to the cutting counter, looked right at me, and walked off. Well, they aren’t the only fabric store in the world. I walked out, I will NEVER walk back in.

  232. pillowgal77 says:

    Joann Fabrics in Gresham, Oregon is a terrible store!
    They come and go with the use of the bathroom for customers…but I have been in a similar situation as described previous.
    The decor of this store is 1960’s “crapola”, dirty torn orange carpet, and interior building to match. It looks ok when they clean it up each new season, but half of the clientel treats the merchandise as bad as the store looks. I am embarrassed to shop there but have no other options in a 10 mile range, except for Michaels and Craft Warehouse, but they do not carry all the sewing products to say the least! And to top it off the customer service has been just awful in the past 8 years. I think they are finally getting a couple better clerks in there that seem to care, but still some are rude, or don’t care, and there is NEVER enough help!! I have literally walked out without purchasing, out of frustration at least 6 times in the last 4 years. Let’s hope this store gets some major overhaul in the very near future or I and others will quit shopping there as well!

  233. tishwishy says:

    I have worked retail in new england and there were stores that had posted no public restrooms. Esp. since they were part of malls. One store I worked for the employee restroom was part of the breakroom up a long flight of stairs and usually had to remember a pass code to unlock the door to gain access. Other stores sometime even the employees went to other places because there were boxes in front of them. I do agree in common decency should be used. New employees should find out the policys and legal aspect to this issue so that this doesn’t happen to them. Employers should regularly update their employees on this matter.

  234. katyj says:

    As I was reading this, several things came to mind
    1) yes, this was bad customer service. It could have been handled better.
    2) if a restroom is not up to code, no one should go in it, except to fix it, and it should be fixed as quickly as possible.
    3) based on the number of people who would have vandalized and/or made this store as a whole a biohazard, I can understand better why corporations make some of the stupid rules that they make.

    I do work at a JoAnn’s part time, and also teach school. I currently work in a “small” store, and have worked in a large store previously. Whether the customers like it or not, whether the employees like it or not, there are certain rules that we have to live with. Customers get mad at our store because they aren’t allowed to bring in pets unless they are service animals, because JoAnn’s sells food by the cash registers. It is not a JoAnn’s rule, it is the health code- if you sell food, no pets. Restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores have to follow it too. I understand, you like taking your lizard everywhere you go, but it’s not legal.
    I had another customer gat angry today because she wants to sell the things that she makes in our store, because she bought the supples to make them at the store I had to explain to her that it wasn’t possible.
    I’ve had customers yell at me for asking their children not to roller skate in the store, or not to seat their children on the cutting counter. I’ve had to clean pee off the counter in the store because it leaked throught the diaper. I’ve seen kids almost fall off the counter, because their parents weren’t paying attention.
    It’s not about me wanting to be mean, or rude, or nasty. I genuinely like the majority of our customers, but it’s the same thing I tell my students at school. Yes, we live in a society with a lot of freedoms, but it’s not a free-for-all. I would love to drive my car down the freeway, as fast as I can, wherever I want, but there are traffic laws that I have agreed to follow as part of society. If you yell “fire” in the theater when it isn’t on fire, be prepared to be arrested for endangering public safety and get sued by the families of those injured or killed.
    JoAnn’s isn’t perfect- no company is. They know they’ve got problems with their reputation in customer service, and they’re working on fixing it, but at the same time, don’t be the person who goes in and poos on the bathroom floor! It’s not corporate people who clean it, it’s the person working their second (or third) job, trying to make ends meet. The person who’s in danger of losing their job if the store gets closed down for violating health codes, or if corporate decides it’s not making enough profit because theft rates are up.
    Get real. Keep in mind, you’re dealing with a corporation that is so scared of offending customers employees can be fired for not getting from one end of a store to another in five seconds or less to assist a customer.

  235. MKEgal says:

    Find a trash can.
    Pull down pants.
    Let it happen.

  236. halfcarat7 says:

    I have shopped in Joann’s In WNY and I also was denied access to the bathroom and I felt also that it was an emergency. This was a long time ago and since then I have used it. It wasn’t a pleasant place for sure but I was thankful to be allowed to use it. As far as our digestive system being our responsibility, I think that is a ludicrous statement. We tend as best as we can to our individual situation and accidents do occur. I have broken the “rules” at previous jobs and only explained that it was excellent customer service. I am so sorry that this happened to you at all, to know that you can have had help in the situation and was denied was a heartless act. I wouldn’t go back at all either. There should always be the expectancy of someone needing restroom facilities in a customer service environment! Where there are customers, then provide all of the service. I would have helped regardless. If they are aware of the feelings of others then I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway!

  237. Mauri says:

    I am sorry this happened to this lady. I do know they use to have 2 bathrooms…one for employees, one for customers. Customers would destroy the bathroom time and time again. At one point they would have it open, another time it would be closed to customers. They even tried the key on the stick thing.

    Update on the store…it IS closing…not much in the store at all.

  238. says:

    I for one have such extreme IBS that I would never have been able to walk to wherever she had to walk to. When I need a rest room I need one fast. I could not have argued or asked a second time. It would have been all over. Everything. It should be a law and I think it is in Washington to stay in business you MUST offer a public rest room. To top it all off my husband has chron’s and I think I am worse then he is.
    I just got on this site to look fro material and saw this, I may boycott JoAnns

  239. girlbuilder says:

    While I am just seeing this post from 2007 and the joann fabric bathroom incident. I too had a very similar and humiliating situation of somewhat the same degree. I too became ill and needed use of a bathroom, tears in my eyes, pleading to use the bathroom. Was directed to use the Office Max bathroom – quite a way up the sidewalk – walking with buttocks pinched, having to stop intermittently so as not to lose it and by the time I got to Office Max I had soiled myself.

    I called corporate and spoke with a Regional Manager in Hudson Ohio and was told that I should have been able to use the facilities considering it was an emergency. She offered me a 20% discount on my next purchase and I told her she could keep it as I was never going to purchase from Joann Fabrics again….and I haven’t. This was approximately 2 years ago.

    What goes around comes around and some day I will cross paths with the ignorant people from Joann Fabrics and be able to watch the humiliation on their faces and same happens to them.

  240. SuZq says:

    That poor woman–I’m with the majority that she should have found an aisle or corner and let ‘er rip–wiping on the velvet selection would have been fun. Had a similar situation with my 82 yr old Mom who needed to urinate badly while we were shopping in the Watertown, NY store, she was refused and told to go to another store in the plaza. We left our purchases in the store and raced for another store–never returning. We have shopped in the Liverpool, NY store and have been graciously led to a bathroom there. I wrote a complaint letter to the company (no response) about our experience at the Watertown store.

    Those who are talking about yard sales, etc.–not even on the same page. Big companies like Jo Anns should offer facilities to their customers–they still have the right to refuse people who are not customers–but if you want our business, you should change your ways. We HAD been customers for over 25 years.

    Again, I am so sorry for the lady who had it worse off than us. I would have been sure they remembered me by leaving them something to think about!