Press This Button And Wait For A Police Officer To Escort You To The Mall Bathroom

If you want to use the family restroom at a mall in Raleigh, N.C., go for it! Of course, first you have to press a button and wait for a police officer to show up and take you into it. Don’t worry, there’s a convenient microphone and two-way camera for receiving instructions as to how to proceed in this high-security situation.

Cheryl snapped a picture of the sign entailing who, what, when and how the family restroom is to be used. She wonders whether the police don’t have something better to do at the mall than escort people to the restroom. Like you know, keeping an eye out for shoplifters, perhaps.

The guidelines on a nicely mounted wooden frame read, in part, as follows:

To Enter

Please press the button and our police officer will be happy to assist you. A two-way microphone and security camera will assist you in communicating with our officer.

Adults Must Be Accompanied By A Child.

Perhaps there have been nefarious dealings or otherwise unfortunate activities going down in family restrooms, but Cheryl says the mall is a nice one where she wouldn’t think a police officer would be necessary to unlock a room with a changing table.



Edit Your Comment

  1. Coffee says:

    Adults must be accompanied by a child?

    “Excuse me, mam…I feel awkward asking, but could I borrow your daughter? I really need to take a shit, and I didn’t bring a child with me, so…”

    • Coffee says:

      I guess I’m sayin’ I hope they have adult-only restrooms as well.

      • erinpac says:

        The sign points out that there are more diaper changing areas in the men’s and women’s restrooms. It is a fairly safe assumption those restrooms also have toilets.

        • Coffee says:

          Good call…the picture is kind of dim and hard to read on my monitor, so I was going off the article text.

          • impatientgirl says:

            This mall is in my city. There are quite large mens’ and womens’ rooms with about 12 stalls each. There is one family restroom between them and its a moderate sized room. The accompaniment issue is not wanting weirdos Mall High Club members in there.

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      Lolita wants to watch you shit.

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      “No it’s okay if she cries. Actually I would prefer it.”

    • Applekid ‚îÄ‚îÄ‚î¨ Ôªø„Éé( „Çú-„Çú„Éé) says:

      To be fair, it’s for the spacious, quiet, lockable Family Bathroom.

      Single individuals who use that one when there are more mainstream bathrooms available (and not completely occupied) are scum, right up there with the folks who uses the handicapped stall when all of them are open just because they want a nice big private restroom in public.

      • Coffee says:

        It’s weird…I’m not even familiar with the whole family bathroom thing…is this an east coast thing? Do I not go to enough malls? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a family bathroom.

        • caradrake says:

          The Westfield malls here in the Tampa region have very nice family restrooms. The main room has a bunch of toys for older little kids, there’s a TV playing cartoons, and some comfortable chairs. A couple of stalls with comfy chairs and curtains for nursing, plus a couple of actual bathroom stalls.

          They’re pretty nice and low-stress. I don’t have to keep an eye on my son every single second while I give my daughter a diaper change, and I’m not worried about them (or the stroller, when we had one) getting in everyone’s way in the normal restroom.

          • frugalmom says:

            Ditto the Westfield here. The bathroom in the Family Restroom is large enough to accommodate a stroller and has two toilets and sinks, including a small toilet and sink for small children. The nursing areas are separate from the toilets and changing tables and have curtains. It’s a really nice set-up. It’s even right by the playground.

        • Coalpepper says:

          WalMart has them too, although all it is is a roomy single person bathroom, its back by the layaway counter.

      • Theoncomingstorm says:

        And if there is only one stall in the restroom and it’s handicapped accessible, am I morally bound to stop in mid-poop if a wheelchair bound person comes in? If all stalls are in use and the handicapped one becomes available first, do I wait until a regular stall empties and use it?

        As there is no law, I shall continue to use whichever stall I wish, the disabled among us can wait for an empty stall just like the rest of us.

    • bluline says:

      And what nursing mother wants to feed her child in a toilet area? Adults certainly don’t eat in there, so why should a child?

  2. Cat says:

    Of course you have to press the button. How else is Officer Pedo supposed to know when to activate the potty cam?

    I do understand why it might be necessary to restrict access to the bathroom (refer to the “poo splatter” thread, amongst other reasons) but this is a bit over the top.

    • Coffee says:

      I think you’re right about it being an anti-pedo thing and not a bathroom sanitation issue. On the one hand, I can see why they want to be safe, but on the other, it really kind of saddens me that we have to be paranoid about our children. I’m going to sound old, but when I was a kid, it was okay as a ten-year-old to ride your bike 2 miles to a friend’s house. The worst thing my parents worried about was me riding my bike in the dark.

      • Cat says:

        When I was 10, my parents allowed us to go to the park by ourselves to go sledding.

        In the city.
        After dark.
        With no helmets.

        I guess they just didn’t love us.

      • Kate says:

        It’s probably to keep people from using it for sex.

      • 8bithero says:

        > On the one hand, I can see why they want to be safe, but on the other, it really kind of saddens me that we have to be paranoid about our children.

        We don’t have to be at all. It’s all media bullshit. 95% of child murders, kidnapping, or rapings are done by people that the child and parents know well.

        It’s not the starngers little Billy needs to be concerned about, it’s Uncle Bob.

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Adults must be accompanied by a child…but children apparently don’t have to be accompanied by an adult.

  4. bethshanin says:

    Aw, no more smoking a bowl and hooking up with a random stranger in the family restroom? I ALWAYS clear my coke residue off the diaper changing table and properly dispose of my needles and used condoms!!!

  5. carlosdelvaca says:

    As a parent with two young children, I am annoyed when I see an unaccompanied adult coming out of the family restroom. This seems a bit excessive, though.

    • TacoDave says:

      As a parent with five young children, I am annoyed when I have to call someone to come unlock a bathroom for me. It’s hard enough trying to get there before Little Johnny’s pants explode.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        So just use a regular bathroom like people did when I was a kid. Seriously. Family bathrooms? WTF.

    • baristabrawl says:

      As an adult with no children, I hate to use the family bathroom because…okay, that’s not true. I use it when it’s close or I have to make a stinky.

      • Jane_Gage says:

        I too share your sense of entitlement and love of large spaces devoted to my comfort and privacy. I just ignore the signs and lock myself up in there. Just once some nasty busybody breeder had something to say, security guard in tow. I lied and said I was intersexed and my genitals didn’t match my face. The LUTZ was epic, I wish I had a recording of these people’s faces. :D

  6. El-Brucio says:

    Is it legal for a company to tell the public that security guards are police officers? That just seems kind of off to me….

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      They might have off-duty police officers as their security, although that would get pretty expensive.

      • K-Bo says:

        I live in the area, and it seems every month or 2 there is an article in the news about the fact that some crazy high percentage of the Officers work secondary jobs in the private sector. If they are paid so badly as cops that that many of them need the second job, they might just be desperate enough to work for barely more than non-officer security.

        • TheMansfieldMauler says:

          If they are paid so badly as cops that that many of them need the second job, they might just be desperate enough to work for barely more than non-officer security.

          That…usually isn’t the case, at least in metro areas. The problem isn’t that the cops are paid so badly that they need the extra money. It’s that the overtime is so much money that they would be stupid to turn it down.

          In most places, you can’t just go hire an off-duty cop. You have to go through the PD, and you pay the PD’s published rate. The PD gets a cut for administrative overhead, the cop gets most of it, and you get a police officer. The cop sometimes is making the standard time-and-a-half overtime rate, but a lot of the time it’s more like 2.5-3x rates, especially when you factor in that there’s a minimum number of hours you have to pay for. If you want a cop for 1 hour, you pay for 4 hours minimum, and the cop gets that 4 hours of overtime pay regardless of how long he was actually working.

          • K-Bo says:

            It seems like one of the articles was about the police cracking down on officers who work other jobs without approval. I don’t know if that’s because they are trying to pull a fast one and get the dept’s cut also, or if they don’t have an established program for approval at all. If they didn’t have a program at all, they may have felt they had to make a scene because some officer messed up because they work too much and were asleep on the job.

          • Jillia says:

            THIS. THIS RIGHT HERE.

            My boyfriend’s a cop and once in a while a LaSalle detail opens up and he’s quick to take it. The university usually hires some off duty cops and usually does this on a big party night. 4 hours minimum pay no matter how long they worked under that. I forget if it’s time and a half or more, but it’s easy money. He doesn’t usually have too much of a problem with the kids, the cops are mostly just hired as a presence.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          i used to work in a hotel that used off duty deputies for security and even walt disney world has off duty orange county [FL] sheriff’s deputies around.
          not so much because they don’t want to hire private security, but because sometimes you just need someone with the power to arrest someone and the legal backing to carry through on a threat.
          WDW security – [i am not making this up] as of at least 2004 when i last worked there, was not permitted to touch a guest first. if they need to try to prevent a shoplifter from getting to their car with the goods before the cops show up, they can extend their hands to other security officers and make a ring around the suspect, surrounding them as the perp goes to their car. this means some of the security officers are walking backwards through the parking lot.
          but they can’t lay hands on them unless it’s in self defense. fortunately, this usually unnerves people enough that they shove one of the security guards and then self defense is warranted.
          having off duty officers working additional security remedies this issue since the cops have more powers

      • SporadicBlah says:

        Cop friend of mine gets paid $18 an hour by the city. He moonlights as a security guard at a grocery store and makes $23 an hour there.

    • VicMatson says:

      You mean impersonating a Police officer, yea that’s a biggie!

    • sirwired says:

      Private entities are allowed “police-i-fy” security guards. This involves additional training, certifications, etc., but it’s possible, and common. (Just about every university has it’s own police force, even private colleges.) This gives them arrest powers, which can be very handy.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Contrary to popular belief, many college police aren’t just security guards who have extra training. They’re police officers who have been through the same police academy as every other cop and have the same licenses and certifications. They are chartered in their state’s law just like state/county/city cops are.

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      Depending on local laws and charters, some malls are allowed their own police force. This was quite common in some places in the 50’s and 60’s but has been in decline as it creates issues between the local PD’s and the Mall PD’s. However, some still do exist.

      • Auron says:

        and as a matter of fact, the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN (a suburb of Minneapolis) has a Bloomington police substation right near the east entrance on the 1st floor.

    • Slader says:

      The security officers at Crabtree Mall (the mall in the article) have had police powers since the early 1990’s.

  7. É®îç says:

    Family restrooms at the mall are filled with fornicating teenagers. Security guards have no problem shooing them away without police assistance at the mall in my town. However a camera and a two way microphone could be an interesting addition.

  8. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Omg. I’ve worked at two of the malls in the Raleigh, NC area. WHICH ONE?! There are three!

    (Note: I don’t remember these policies when I lived there, but it’s been almost four years)

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

      Oh. Lol. Shoulda looked at the pic. Craptree. That makes sense. God. Trying to be so upscale, and just … getting flooded instead. Good old Craptree. After the Waldenbooks and B.Dalton closed, there were zero bookstores inside mall grounds–you had to make a separate trip to the inconvenient Barnes & Noble, which almost shared a lot, except for a heavily-trafficked cross street.

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

        Yeah, Craptree. This is why I prefer to stay in my neck of the woods and avoid the Triangle. Y’all are crazy over there.

  9. May contain snark says:

    My friend lost her virginity in a family bathroom at the mall. True story.

  10. peepytweep says:

    On my last Ikea trip I waited about 15 – 20 minutes for the family restroom. When the door finally opened it was a man, only a man, no kids in tow. That is why this mall has these rules in place.

    • FangDoc says:

      Same reason I hate it when the only baby changing table is in the handicapped stall, and I’m standIng with a cranky stinky baby in an otherwise empty bathroom waiting for the able-bodied THIRTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL to vacate it. Did you enjoy all that extra legroom in there, hon?

      • jonmason1977 says:

        its not possible that the other stalls were taken when she entered?

      • mk says:

        why is it that people feel the need to use this stall – just because it is bigger? I mean wtf are you doing in there that is so different than what is going on in the rest of the stalls? It’s a public bathroom for christ’s sake. It’s not supposed to be roomy. You’re not supposed to want to spend time in it. Get in, do your business and get out, that’s my motto. And I’m a woman!

        • Cat says:

          It has Handicap bars.


        • caradrake says:

          I will use it on occasion, since it has a private sink. I use menstrual cups which get emptied into the toilet, then need to be washed out before reinserting. I’d rather not get dressed, go to the main sink, wash, and return to a stall.

          TMI, but I wanted to illustrate that I don’t use it just for the extra legroom. And the chances of me actually needing it are rare – only every few months or so.

          Never had a problem with someone waiting on me to vacate the stall, thankfully.

        • Wolfbird says:

          Usually it’s furthest one from the door. If I’m dropping the kids off in the pool I don’t like having to listen to that fat chick from accounting giggling on her cell phone as she does her makeup at the sink as slowly as possible.

          OK, so I work in an office but it’s gotta be the same dealio.

  11. FangDoc says:

    What about adult caretakers of opposite-gender adult family members who need help in the bathroom? That, to me, is one of the most important (not to mention up-and-coming, with all these aging baby boomers) uses for the family bathroom. And woe betide any security guard who dares suggest that my one-legged father-in-law and I might be using that bathroom for anything other than its standard purpose.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      That’s really an excellent point. I can’t read the plaque, have they really made no mention of that situation??

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Same exact thought. We have a woman at work with cerebral palsy. She requires help getting undressed and on the toilet. If her caregiver calls off she asks for our help. Not a big deal since we are a company that does residential work for people with disabilities. Bathroom stalls, however, are not always large enough to allow someone to help a person in a wheelchair. Are they going to deny the use of this restroom to an adult helping another adult just because they don’t have a kid with them?

  12. Jawaka says:

    I am so tired of reading the “don’t that have more important things to do with their time like…” whines. They’re hired to do what they’re hired to do. If it’s an actual cop working at the mall and not a rented security guard then that means that the mall hired him to be there and they can have him do whatever they hired him to do. This isn’t some policy that the cops decided to enforce on their own. The mall most likely created this procedure so bitch at them if you don’t like it.

    • Bob says:

      Correct, they get paid to do what the Mall management demands. The question should be “Doesn’t the Mall management have better things to do than “.

  13. Darsynia says:

    I didn’t know this wasn’t a typical thing–sadly it has always convinced us not to bother with family restrooms, because inevitably, the 2 year old in potty training doesn’t have the time to wait a half hour for the mall cops before she’ll pee herself, whether or not there’s only a changing table for the newborn in the women’s bathroom.

  14. msbask says:

    So the only difference between the “regular” men’s or women’s restroom and this one is the addition of a chair?

  15. amhorach says:

    I’ve taken my kid to that bathroom.

    You push the button, they check to make sure an adult and kid(s) are there on the camera and they let you in. No problem, no big deal to me.

    • Bob says:

      How long was the wait? I doubt a 2 or 3 year old can wait 30 minutes for security/police officer/whatever to open the restroom. If you are lucky you got 10 minutes.

  16. itsdotcom says:

    If people didn’t fornicate in the restrooms, we wouldn’t have this problem.

  17. Rachacha says:

    I saw a similar sign to get into the regular restroom at I believe Burlington Coat Factory. You press a button outside of the restroom and the security guard monitoring store security buzzes you in. There I am sure it was to thwart shoplifters but in a mall I am sure it is to keep the family restroom free for parents who need to assist or change their kids.

  18. ash says:

    If I see a family restroom available, I take it. I don’t spend too much time in there, I just prefer them to the other restrooms. Of course, if there are people waiting in line and there’s a person in a wheelchair or a family with children, they get first dibs.

    • ash says:

      Oh, also, if I were the mall owner, I’d also open this up to folks in wheelchairs or family members assisting people with disabilities. Here those bathrooms are called “family assistance rooms” because if you are assisting a disabled person, having a larger bathroom can be very useful, same with families with children.

  19. HeWhoComments says:

    First of all it’s probably not a real police officer, but instead Mall Security (riding up on a Segway of course). Second, there absolutely must be a reason behind this strange procedure and that’s the story we want to hear.

  20. Jemaine says:

    I would hate to be the other family members, having to wait on that on person to make poo. I think it’d be worse for the children, especially if it’s more than one.

    On a side note, they should put up a sigh that says “No sex, drugs, and/or rock’n roll”

  21. Jacob says:

    After the birth of my first child, I became very much aware how hard it is to find a nice clean private location for my wife to breastfeed. A nice family bathroom like this would have been welcomed.

  22. impatientgirl says:

    They’re Mall Cops not actual police.

  23. chicagojeff says:

    I sense the beginning of a new, important niche industry. People carrying around inflatable children through malls so they can lay some cable in the big bathrooms. The unfortunate part is it can’t be the same inflatable as used to drive in the carpool lanes because you can’t put the inflatable child in the front seat as they are not old enough.

    Bending the rules is getting so difficult.

  24. Heresy Of Truth says:

    Yeah, how does that work for folks with chron’s disease, diverticulitus, or IBD?

  25. bluline says:

    And what nursing mother wants to feed her child in a toilet area? Adults certainly don’t eat in there, so why should a child?

    • msbask says:

      I can’t figure this out either. Wasn’t there just another study done about how much fecal matter and urine is sprayed through the air when a toilet is flushed, and how much remains in the air for hours after that?

      Why would you want your baby to be breathing that while they eat?

      Why would you want to breathe that while your baby eats?

  26. scoopjones says:

    You have to wonder, with all the vandalism and the mess problem in public restrooms, at what point does it become cost-effective to hire a bathroom attendant? Sounds a little old-fashioned, but those cleanup and repair costs are escalating.

  27. NCB says:

    It’s in between both the men’s and women’s restrooms and the security office is there too but it’s just a buzz to get in, not that I’ve used it.

    And the Crabtree Mall police are very good. Not only do they patrol the mall itself but also the double decker parking decks. It can get pretty dark back there on a late winter evening.

    And as an IBS sufferer you scope out things before hand and note the location of the lesser used restrooms. But most of all you listen to your body so that a real emergency doesn’t occur/

  28. gargunkle says:

    The Mills Mall near Pittsburgh has a family restroom, but you can’t just go in it… you have to get buzzed in or something after pressing a button.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I work at this mall and the family bathroom is located in between the men’s and women’s bathrooms. Ten feet on either side of this sign are the normal bathrooms. To be fair it’s at the end of a pretty long hallway so it’s understandable they would want to monitor the private bathroom. Otherwise who knows what people would use it for. Don’t have a child? Then there is no reason not to use the regular bathrooms.

  30. Bob says:

    People, we, the customer, have the final say if this policy flies or not. If you don’t like the policy don’t shop there. Even a 2% drop in customers is noticeable and can prompt store management/owners to speak up against whatever policy caused the drop in customers. Mall need customers more than we customers need Malls, remember that!

  31. damageddude says:

    I hope they have those wet floor signs nearby. When our son was 4/5 he waited until THE LAST possible minute announce he had to go, which could be a logistical problem if only one of us was at the mall with him and his baby sister. From there the race was on. If we had to wait for mall security, mall security would have had to wait for the janitor.