This Coffee Shop’s Restroom Policy Is Extremely Subtle

subtleWe were talking about pay toilets and restroom policies yesterday, which we can only assume is what prompted reader Stephen to share this photo of a sign he noticed at a coffee shop in Denver, CO. Stephen thinks it’s a “real thirst whetter.” We couldn’t agree more.


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  1. MBZ321 says:

    Well, it’s more creative than a printed Times New Roman sign or scraps of paper taped to the door.

    • denros says:

      I prefer wingdings myself. “Can’t you read! skullbombpencil airplanepeacesigndinosaur, frowny face!”

  2. GenXCub says:

    I would go into this coffee shop specifically because they have a poop reference on their door. Awesome.

    (no not a coprophiliac or anything, I’m that highbrow sort that things all things poop are funny)

  3. blue_duck says:


  4. ThinkPink says:

    Ha! But what if you’re about to get sick? And need a restroom? They should add No Puke. And that begins with a “P” as well. So it all fits in.

  5. PinkBox says:

    So, if you don’t do any business there, you can’t do any business there?

    Do I have that right?

    • Fixxer says:

      So, if you don’t do any business there, you can’t do any business there?

      That would make an even more clever sign IMO.

  6. I guess their lucky their print shop didn’t mess up the order. Hijinxs may have ensued.

  7. cashmerewhore says:

    Coffee shops usually hire artsy folks that rock the daily menu boards.

    I’m highly upset this sign lacks beautiful chalk or neon marker artwork.

  8. RhymePhile says:

    “Ink” coffee? Eek, I’m sure their restroom is well-used if the coffee is like ink.

  9. ratnerstar says:

    @NameGoesHere: Precisely. You can’t drain your weasel unless you drain your wallet first. No plinking without drinking. Buy their drinks or hold your sphinx.

    Okay, back to work now.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    A coffee shop named ink! ?

    Print shop – name good
    Coffee shop – I confuzed

  11. HunterZ says:

    Maybe “poop” and “pee” refers to their coffee.

  12. basket548 says:

    Sometimes I just don’t understand this policy. I think that a $1 fee for non-customers would make more sense. Cause let’s be honest, if you need to go bad enough, you’ll plop down (pun totally intended) whatever the amount for the cheapest menu item is.

  13. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    @SkokieGuy: The owner is dyslexic.
    (No Pee, No Poop, No coffee, inc!)

  14. kaptainkk says:

    Yep, that is gross. It sure makes me want to buy a coffee right away! Less tacky if it stated “No Pay, No P and P” “Restrooms for Customers Only” I think we can all figure it out.

  15. Puck says:

    Why do they have to be so pissy about it?

    /ducks yet again

  16. wattznext says:

    @SkokieGuy: Next door is a copy center named Beanz…I think they got the signs wrong…

  17. MissTicklebritches says:

    The sign seems to indicate that you can pay to poop or pee, even if you don’t buy coffee.

  18. Roy Hobbs says:

    @GenXCub: “Poop” is one of the funniest words in the English language. It doesn’t need any context – just say it, and most people will automatically giggle.

  19. Katxyz says:

    I’ve never been to a coffee shop patronized exclusively by Kindergartens students. That’s an interesting niche.

  20. dorianh49 says:

    They probably had too many Cornholio types around in the 90’s. “Are you threatening me?!!”

  21. witeowl says:

    Sorry, but I just don’t approve of this sign.

    It would flow much better if it said, “No pay. No poo. No pee.”

    See, that extra consonant just is an irritant. Also, my way is much more symmetrical.

  22. SkokieGuy says:

    No, you are all getting this wrong. This is an advertising message. Remember when Dunkin Donuts gave away free coffee?

    Free coffee (No Pay)
    Unlike most coffee, ours doesn’t make your run to the bathroom (No Pee)
    In addition, our coffee contains fiber to reduce frquent evacuations (No Poop).

  23. pixiegirl1 says:

    No pay no poop and no pee. . . .hmmm I guess nonpaying “customers” can still come in and use the restroom for quickies! After all the sign doesn’t forbid it. :-P

  24. SkokieGuy says:

    Or perhaps this is a “Help Wanted” sign for their BIP (Barista Intern Program).

    They have barista interns who work for free to gain valuable experience. Of course as a condition of their internship, bathroom breaks are not allowed.

  25. RabbitDinner says:

    I was formulating a 2 girls 1 cup reference, but I myself just ate

  26. savvy999 says:

    Fast Times reference appropriate here: No Shoes, No Shirt, No Dice.

  27. Ein2015 says:

    Personally, I think this sign is great, stylish, and funny. Gives the coffee shop some personality.

    Also, businesses are only required to have restrooms for customers, not the general public.

  28. RabbitDinner says:

    @RabbitDinner: No pay, no poop-sharing charge $1. BYOP charge $5

  29. Murph1908 says:

    I have many times purchased a beverage from an establishment for the sole reason to have an excuse to use their loo. Even at places where such a policy is not advertised or enforced.

    I can always enjoy a fresh soda beverage, and I avoid any confrontations or dirty looks.

  30. mgy says:

    Are we forgetting the story about the little girl who shat herself in a Joanne’s fabric store? Aren’t there usually state laws which require businesses to allow patrons to use the restrooms?

    Either way, what if you had to go before you ordered a drink/sandwich? Would they let you do that? And what happens if they let you, and you bolted out the door? What then?

    I have so many questions!

  31. homerjay says:

    I wonder if Ink’s coffee is made from buzzard puss…

    Anyone? Anyone?

  32. Aristeia says:

    Wow. This sign could’ve put a whole different spin on that whole “Murky” Coffee fiasco.

    Get it? Murky? because poop.

  33. craftypants says:

    As a person with a medical condition which can leave me in urgent need of a bathroom without much warning I am 50/50 on this one. I understand the need for limiting use of the toilets to customers and am happy to buy a little something in return for use of facilities…after I have used them.

    If I am with OH or someone close who knows I can send them to the counter for me, but if it is busy and there is a queue, am I supposed to stand for 5 minutes bent double in agony and then take my purchase into the loo?

  34. RandomHookup says:

    I’m just so happy the pix snapper wore pants this time.

  35. organicgardener says:

    My thoughts exactly. When I enter an establishment I usually go first to get that out of the way so I can enjoy my meal. Do they mean that they won’t let you unless you buy something first? It would be funny if someone did use the restroom and then bolt out the door. I can picture them chasing someone down the street shaking his/her fist, screaming “You lousy free restroom user! You violated our policy!”

    Personally, I think that policies like this are pretty chicken-shit. If you gotta go, you gotta go! How stingy of them.

  36. A shop with this sense of humor is a place I would like to go. (Yes, deep down, I really am a 5th grader.) Now I’m on a mission to find where in Denver this place (and this sign) exists.

  37. moore850 says:

    First, no shirt no shoes no service, and now this? Let me guess what comes next: No customers, no employees, no business?

  38. sethom says:

    I’m waiting for some kind of Starbucks bathroom reference. My buddy who used to deliver flowers found that all Starbucks have a nice bathroom that he would soon destroy. And it’s free.

    We own a retail store (design) and the bathroom is hidden, so we just don’t tell anyone except clients that it is actually there. It’s amazing what moms let their kids do and then not clean up after them (yes in the bathroom)

  39. nffcnnr says:

    Implimenting a policy requiring non-customers to pay to poo or pee in their toilets would very likely result in poo and pee in other places besides their toilets. People can be vindictive that way. Just sayin’.

  40. @organicgardener: If someone knocked on your door and asked to use your bathroom, would you let them? If not, you’re stingy.

  41. RabbitDinner says:

    @nffcnnr: If I owned a store, and someone other than an infant or codger defecated in my establishment, you’d better believe they wouldn’t get away with it

  42. AdvocatesDevil says:

    @Ein2015: Cite the law you’re referring to and where it specifically says “paying customers”, please.

  43. trick420 says:

    @Roy Hobbs: For me, “poop” is number two on my list of funniest words (pun intended). My number one funniest word though is “crotch”.

  44. forgottenpassword says:

    I wonder if they would refuse someone who had IBS?

  45. AMetamorphosis says:

    … ahhha ….

    This post made me giggle the most :-)

  46. AMetamorphosis says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto:

    as an organic gardener myself I would probably tell you to go take a dump in my compost bin … ( grin )

  47. rdm says:

    I would like to go to the Subway in Idaho every day, and never go to this coffee shop.

  48. nequam says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: For the hundredth time (because you know that this comes up with every post about businesses opening their toilets to the public), homes and businesses are different.

    No, really, they are.

    Seriously, though…

  49. Imaginary_Friend says:

    So everything is free and they don’t shit or piss in the food?! OMG, Starbucks is so screwed!

  50. kellyhelene says:

    Around here coffee shops tend to attract a cliet base that lingers around, and are staffed by just one or two people at a time. So, the bathrooms become very popular among local homeless people who know if they go in while the one working employee is busy that they clients won’t even look up from their laptops or books.

    So the bathrooms usually end up looking, well, like homeless people of questionable sanity have been bathing in the sink.

    I suspect it’s just to give themselves an out so they can ban people who are known to come in for just that reason.

  51. dieman says:

    Luckily, this is illegal in some states — you can’t refuse a restroom to someone with some chronic illnesses.

  52. vladthepaler says:

    Well, you can poop or pee without paying, you just have to do it on the floor and have an employee clean it up later.


    Non-customer: Hey, I need to use your bathroom.
    Employee: Can’t you see the sign?
    Non-customer: [vomits]

  53. banmojo says:

    This is so totally appropriate. Non paying azzholes who come in to poo/pee are generally gonna be stinky homeless types or worse, and do not belong around my kids.

  54. RabbitDinner says:

    They could just require a key. Well-dressed, clean cut individual or the guy you just saw ordering a latte-Sure. Homeless guy Nuh uh

  55. kaptainkk says:

    All this P&P talk reminds me of what some comedian once said: “You can pee and not poop, but you can’t poop and not pee.”

  56. JaguarChick says:

    Really, you don’t have to buy the most expensive item on the menu…just buy a cookie or plain coffee or something. It will cost you a dollar or two and you can use the restroom with a clean conscience.

  57. MyPetFly says:

    Nice caprophagy though, er, typography.

  58. kaptainkk says:

    @banmojo: Your kids are safer with those “stinky homeless types” than they are with your baby-sitter. Try talking to them once and you can see the difficulties they have to overcome in life and just maybe you can get a dose of reality.

  59. dewsipper says:

    @RabbitDinner: Sometimes you’re too busy with other customers to patrol the potty. Other times it’s just considered rude to walk into a bathroom right after a customer to look around.

    I never knew how absolutely disgusting some people are until I owned my own establishment. Luckily disasters don’t happen too often.

    Our potty is for customers only. As long as you were a customer of ours at some point in your life, you can use the facilities. We’re about 10 minutes from a big shopping district and about another 10 minutes from the big residential sections. We occasionally get customers who are just passing by – moms with toddlers who just won’t make it home. We’ve had more than one toddler run stripping through the store to the potty. That’s just funny.

  60. vildechaia says:

    I’ll bet they did this because of the upcoming convention.

  61. Japheaux says:

    Actually, with Obammy and the Dems coming to town, everyone will have lots of ‘change.’ No problem.

  62. Nick1693 says:

    @HunterZ: Just pee, the poop is their pastries.

  63. organicgardener says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto (With thanks to nequam for reiterating the obvious):

    For the umpteenth time, a residence and a business open to the public are two different things. Remember this simple fact and we won’t have to remind you EVERY SINGLE TIME this subject comes up.

  64. bagumpity says:

    I would buy the biggest, sloppiest drink they sell, “accidentally” drop it on the counter with the register after paying, then walk calmly to the restroom and perform my quotidian duty with relish.

  65. rodeo40 says:

    If my bowels are at Defcon 5 I’m takin a dump…I mean REALLY what are they gonna do about it?

  66. tosser says:

    @kellyhelene:Like most policies, I sure there would be exeptions. I doubt the proprietors are too concerned about the occasional six year old doing “the potty dance” or people having medical bowel emergencies. As others have pointed out, this sign is probalably meant to deter homeless people and/or drug users.

  67. craftypants says:

    @tosser 07:19

    Short of entering the establishment looking homeless how are the staff to be able to tell quickly between someone looking for a free toilet break and someone with a medical emergency. I certainly do not want to stop and explain my intimate bowel habits with total strangers in a public place, it would certainly put people off their food.

  68. Carbonic says:

    Take a massive dump!!!!

    Right in the middle of the joint


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

    If you’re that motivated to use the loo, you’re probably going to disregard the sign. I rather doubt they’ll call 911 and send the SWAT team over to remove non-paying customers.

    I get the idea, but I think the “Restrooms are for customers only” part gets the idea across…the Pay/Poop/Pee thing is really tacky.

    I usually use the facilites *before* I order coffee…I mean..come on, you have to make room. Nobody really “buys” coffee (or beer)…you just rent it.

    Here’s another thing to ponder…if you’re a regular customer, and you buy say…a coffee every day without ever using the restroom…doesn’t that entitle you to 10 free trips to the john? I’m just saying…..

  70. mariospants says:

    I dunno… the homeless folks around here seem to have plenty of spare change and are buying coffee anyway. My understanding is that Starbucks really wants to discourage people shooting up in their cans. I really have to wonder whom this sign is intended to deter. I guess it merely reduces any off-the-street poop traffic.

  71. ChipMcDougal says:

    I’ll take a gallon of coffee because as soon as im done im peeing all over the seat.

  72. swagv says:

    I wish more coffeehouses would offer poop and pee. I am tired of having to bring my own.

  73. Alger says:

    @organicgardener: Yeah, exactly. I often walk into a coffee shop or fast-food restaurant, use the facilities, wash my hands, and then go order. Nobody has complained yet.

    My understanding is that in places where restaurants are required to have public restrooms, the purpose is so that people can wash their hands before they eat. This is basic public health, and makes a lot of sense. It also means that in a place with counter service, you need to use the bathroom before you actually become a paying customer.

    And, of course, most little kids don’t have the patience to wait until their parents buy the food before they go to the bathroom. Let’s get real here!

    I suspect that the sign is mostly there as a deterrent, to reduce the number of non-customers coming in just for the bathroom, and also, as other commenters have mentioned, to give leverage if people need to be evicted (e.g., homeless people).

  74. organicgardener says:

    No class. No consideration. No customer.
    Patronage for nice people only.

  75. shufflemoomin says:

    People might want to patronise this place based on this, but as an IBS sufferer, I take offence at it. If they refused me usage of the restroom, I’d leave something on their floor that would drive away more business than they’re loosing if I don’t buy anything.

  76. daemonaquila says:

    Come on, folks who thinks it’s gross – lighten up! (Ok, that takes on a different meaning in this context.) It’s honest and reasonable, since a lot of people dive into coffee shops for the bathroom. If they charged just for the toilet, they’d probably have a lot of unwanted traffic and mess, with people who don’t buy from them. This way, the customers hopefully will buy at least something small, like it, and come back. I always do that out of courtesy, if I dive into a Starbucks or some other convenient potty. I don’t mind having a pack of dark chocolate grahams for later, when I do want them.

  77. Dallas_shopper says:

    At least they’re honest.

  78. It's not fun. It's not funny. says:

    No Pay. No Sissy. No shitting in our bathroom…thank you, come again.

  79. nerfcs6 says:

    wouldn’t it be better to go to a fast food establishment,…they’re plentiful, anad you can just order a $ 1 item, and have it held for you while you use the restroom