Thursday, July 14, 2011

Potty mouth...a touchy subject...

An "issue" came up on one of my recent car trips, and I thought I would get your opinions. 

Maybe it is because I am dieting (46.6 pounds to date since May 3...woo hoo!), but I seem to have more opinions these days (not as fat and happy, perhaps...).  When you go to a quilt shop, do you like to have a bathroom available for your use?

On my recent road blitz across Michigan, I stopped at an isolated shop in western Michigan.  There were so many lovely things...I knew I would be there a while and was happily resigned that I would spend some money there...so many pretties to choose from!  Anyway, after spending some time looking at absolutely EVERYTHING, that quart of water I had been drinking for the last miles from Grand Rapids to Montegue started "talking to me"...well, started talking to my bladder, anyway.


I was in a tiny town with few options for a bathroom break.  I sheepishly asked the shop owner if she had a public bathroom.  She coldly answered, "no."  NO??  Yikes!  So much for cutting fabrics and finalizing my purchase, I needed to get out of there and find somewhere, ANYWHERE!

Maybe I'm crazy, but this greatly offended me.  Without an word (but with SEVERAL choice ones racing through my mind...), I left the shop and went to find a public bathroom (or tree) somewhere else, which was not easy to do in this town!  I did not return to this shop.

I work part time in a quilt shop.  I clean the bathroom.  How can you expect people to come in, browse, spend time and MONEY without offering this basic creature comfort?  I've heard all kinds of comments at work from the OTHER side of this issue..."why didn't they go before they left home?"  Well, I was over 230 miles from home, wanting to spend much needed dollars in Michigan, which really needs the business.  Let's face it...some of us travel miles and miles to shop at a favorite store or to find new shops when we travel.

Even if we don't travel far to shop, it should just be a convenience that is graciously offered.

The shop where I work used to be located in a historic barn...there was no running water.  Fortunately, we were part of an Antiques complex so we could send customers (and ourselves!) next door to use the facilities.  This was a great inconvenience for everyone, especially when it was raining or the snow was flying.  The store is now located in a place with indoor plumbing (ya hoo!).

Anyway, am I crazy?  As I have been blogging about shops I visit this summer, she not only missed out on my purchase, but maybe more from someone reading my blog.  Call me crazy, but I don't know of a single shop in this economy that can afford to lose sales...

That's how I see it...what do you think?

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

47 comments:

  1. your pictures are so funny
    congrats on the weight loss..keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are NOT crazy! "...a convenience that is graciously offered..." is exactly the right term. If there are any shop owners out there, I'm sure they'll agree that you want your shop to be welcoming and comfortable so people will want to spend lots of time there!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am with you!!!It is a simple courtsey!. A creature comfort! A means to shop comfortably, and buy more fabric! This could be one of my soabox rants as well! Some of us are not blessed with healthy systems! Need will outway all else! I am behind you all the way!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Every quilt shop should have a potty! I'm in a shop long enough that nature will call - guaranteed!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope that you at least let the shop owner know that you would not be making a purchase there because she didn't let you use her personal throne. Quilt shops are places where women love to linger but often need the conveniences while there. You were not wrong in being upset about this IMHO :0)

    Crispy

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very nicely said. Love the pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I absolutely expect a public restroom that is clean and available and visible. Quilters are not coming in to buy a bottle of shampoo and get out of the store -- we're there to look, touch, reflect, over and over. And then, let's face it - buying fabric takes time unless you're picking up a FQ or a kit. The longer you keep me there, the more I'm spending.

    Altho I have to say, if I'd walked in and found that gaping mouth with teeth toilet seat, I'm not sure I could have been "successful".

    Jan from

    iquiltforfun.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. lol - loved your photos!
    there is a shop that one of my friends refuses to spend money at because they have been rude about using their bathroom - flat out refusing just like you - it's terrible - and rude - and did I say terrible?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice collection of potty pictures Teresa LOL
    I totally agree with you, I had the same thing happen at a shop when I was traveling this spring--won't make that stop again.
    Congrats on the weight loss!
    Cheri

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just bet she is not on many shop hops! How much business did she lose because of no bathroom. Not the only place in town to buy fabric, or maybe she thinks she is!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I stop shopping in stores that won't provide restrooms. I understand they have to deal with the not-so-nice times when customers use the facility, but it's part of doing business. There are many nice, respectful, and clean shoppers who sometimes need a restroom quickly and, well, you know. I recently visited a yarn shop and needed a RR quickly and she said she didn't have one. ???????? I had to get in the car and drive to a public place, NOT convenient.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Like yourself, you can't control when your body says "I need to go NOW!" and when I need to go, I gotta go as well. I would have left like you did, but I would have told the owner/worker that I was leaving to find a restroom, and I won't be back to spend my money either.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's frustrating but there are legal reasons why a store won't less customers use employee washrooms. Often insurance limitations mean that if something were to happen to a non-employee in the employee-only washroom (like someone slipped and fell) then the business would not be covered if they were then sued. Also, if they were to make the washroom officially public then there are myriad laws that must be followed which can be economically indefeasible for a small business to implement.

    I don't think I would deny my business to a shop because of this. If I was on the other side and was a shop owner myself I know I would be terrified of being sued.

    Just another point of view! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh now you have me paranoid! I have a very long road trip coming up.. and I recently stopped drinking soda, and switched to water, and Crystal Light with water.. after 26 years of straight soda... let's just say I'm counting on that potty stop along the way!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Have you ever tried taking twin 5 year olds into a quilt shop? Let me tell you, they always go to the bathroom. I would have no choice but to boycot a quilt shop that had no bathroom. If the shop has a potty and a toy box, well, we will gladly spend lots of time and money!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Our JoAnn's Fabrics doesn't let you use the bathroom, either! They've lost my business many times, cuz I had to run somewhere else. I used to manage a gift shop, and we had a restroom through the breakroom that we would let customers use....it was so damned tiny, just the width of the toilet, and I often thought the larger gals might get stuck in there.....but at least it was offered! And I think we made better sales because you often feel a need to repay the kindness! I know I ALWAYS buy at least a coffee when I use the bathroom at McDonald's! I think it is downright rude not to offer a bathroom, especially when you are out in the middle of nowhere!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I agree - to have a bathroom and not make it available is unkind. I often shop at quilt stores with my 3 year old and when she has to go - she has to go!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I guess this store does not offer classes.... I am not sure a bathroom or lack of a bathroom is a "rude" issue.... but it is indeed a business issue. If I am not comfortable while spending my money, I just as soon wait and spend my money at the next shop.... and there is always a next shop..... it might not be today.... but it will be not too far down the road of life.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yes, shops need to let folks use the bathroom....they surely all have them for their employees to use! If there is a public bathroom very close then it would be OK to say that they didn't have one, but that there is one right next door. When mother calls you ought to go, when nature calls you got to go! Love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm with you. I think it's just common courtesy to have a bathroom available for your customers. Most of the shops around here use the bathroom to hang book posters so you can check out all the upcoming new releases.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great photos!! Yes, I think a quilt shop should have a restroom available for their customers. After all, you support them with your purchase and could be there for some time.

    ReplyDelete
  22. KUDOS! for the weight loss! That is strong work!
    And yes, I definitely agree quilt shops should think ahead...as most do. The little shop you mentioned definitely missed out.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree with you. If I would have asked and heard NO without.. well.. you can use ours.. I would have booked out of there and headed to the nearest Starbucks for relief. Minus any purchases.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think the owner should have at least been apologetic about not having a public bathroom. I can understand in some cases that a restroom may not be available, but I think that she should either be able to tell you where a public restroom is or close her doors. When I travel I often stop at every quilt shop I can fit into my travels, and have used the bathroom in some, my husband has used the bathroom in some and some we have seen other people use. I have been told only twice that the restroom was not public, but in both places I was told where a nearby restroom was. One was in a Wendy's across the street and the other was in the strip mall the quilt shop was in. There were 3 within walking distance, but the shops didn't have individual restrooms even for the employees. The worst bathroom situation I ever faced was in San Francisco where my 3 year old wanted to go to the bathroom before eating and the McDonald's we were in told us there were no public facilities and my 3 year old would just have to wet her pants. I didn't pay for the food I was in the process of ordering and left.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm sure there can be insurance issues which would be a problem. In that case, I suggest the shop fork over the money to upgrade their insurance. I think the shop owners should take our bladders into consideration.
    I, too, will hold a grudge about such a thing. There are far too many businesses, for me to go back to one that has made me unhappy.

    ReplyDelete
  26. First, great pics and congrats on weight loss! Now, as for bathroom, they need to have one. More than once I've been in a shop hop with no 2 bathrooms in a row! I love traveling all over visiting shops, but will not return if no public convenience. There's a shop about 1.5 hrs away that I keep returning to because they have a bathroom available.

    ReplyDelete
  27. In Florida, all businesses open to the general public must provide a public restroom. This seems like a good idea to me. People have emergencies!
    Mary Lou

    ReplyDelete
  28. No quilter really believes she will only be in a quilt store for a minute or two. And it is in the best interest of the quilt store owner to provide a bathroom that enables quilters to stay as long as possible, because the longer we stay, the more we spend! So yes ton the bathroom.

    And I am very impressed with your weight loss.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hmmmph!!!! At a certain age, when you gotta go -- you gotta go!! I wouldn't be happy being told "no" when I asked, and I'd probably walk out and not return.

    ReplyDelete
  30. for a quilt shop not to have a bathroom is like saying I do not want you stay long -- and what quilt shop owner doesn't want to keep a quilter in their store long enough to buy stuff. I think as we age a little bit we need to run to the bathroom a little more frequently - even the younger quilters with children in tow need the potty also - if they want you buying more than a fq they need one - the shop I visit 85 miles from me has a very tiny one and her customers come from some distance - it is not unusual to have a line waiting for it - she is a nice lady and if you are there long enough or from talking she has realized you have a bit of a drive home she gives you a bottle of water or a coke before you hit the road.
    Karen
    http://karensquilting.com/blog/

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh, wow - good for you for leaving! I sure would have. I wouldn't have cussed or anything, but I couldn't have resisted saying, "well, OK. . . I won't spend that $200 dollars here after all."

    What a lack of imagination for shop owners/workers to say "why didn't they go before they left home." Hello!! Fabric shoppers routinely spend HOURS on their shopping trips, whether they're near to home or far.

    ReplyDelete
  32. The shops here (all 4) have delightful quilty restrooms, clearly marked, and clean. I only wish you HAD told the owner why you were leaving and that she had just lost your business (for good).

    Sheesh!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Teresa, you are absolutely correct. I travel everywhere in Mich, am usually far from home or office, and often stop at quilt shops, but have never run across a quilt shop that would not let me use their bathroom. I understand not having a "public" bath, since there are regulations about such things and some of these shops are very small, BUT... I am not opposed at all to using their employee bathroom and often do. I always spend some money in any quilt shop and would definitely leave, even if the urge were not imminent, if told that I could not use their bathroom. I get it that bathrooms have to be cleaned, but that is a cost of doing business in a place that (usually middle aged and older) women routinely spend an hour or more before parting with their cash. Shame on them.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh and a serious congratulations on the weight loss. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  35. First off, your weight loss is amazing! I am envious!!
    2nd: Come to Omaha area!! Our quilt shops not only have bathrooms...they have QUILT DISPLAY's in the bathrooms. Yes, they change out the quilts...one, Prairie Star quilts in Elkhorn, IA has one where they feature a specific local quilter each month. Other quilt shops do the same. It is like a mini quilt show each time you use the loo!! So, you can imagine how horrified I am that this person would say you couldn't use their restroom.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I agree with your thoughts, our local Big Fabric Store closed it's bathroom because they decided people used the space to hide stolen items!!! Love that desk tidy, I need one of those to brighten up a dull day at work.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I totally agree with you. My nearest fabric shop is 35 miles from home, and it is quite common for me to spend a lengthy time shopping.
    Thanks for the pictures - they gave me a much needed laugh. Got any weight loss tips to share?

    ReplyDelete
  38. If you won't let me use your potty, you do not need my money. Good-bye!
    Love all the pictures! Thanks for the chuckle this morning-not that your having to go potty and them being rude is funny but the photos are.
    Congrats on the weight loss, that is fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  39. A bathroom isn't just a nice convenience, for some it's a medical necessity. As an IBS sufferer, whenever I go anywhere, one of my first thoughts is "Will there be a bathroom, and where is it?" It's just bad customer service not to offer one.

    ReplyDelete
  40. hilarious pictures!!! i certainly agree with you, after all we are probably all women here (disclaimer for the manly quilters), peeing and shopping is what we do. most importantly, way to go on the weight loss. reducing calories and increasing water consumption = you need a facility NOW!! i'm stuck on 40#s gone, can not get back to it. GOOD LUCK LOSING!!!! love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Good lord, I'd be in a lot of trouble...! Women, childbirth, bladders = peeing...lots! No, I wouldn't be going back either..
    Lizzie
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  42. Wow, your photos have me rolling on the floor, thanks for that. I have quilt shop owners that don't mind their customers asking. I also live in a town with no public toilet. The only option is to use the pub. I wouldn't go back, ther's such a thing as goodwill.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great pictures...congratulations on your weight loss! Good for you! When I had my shop, there were many, many times that gals would come in, zip right past me..."I'm heading for the bathroom,talk to you in a minute." To me that was just always part of doing business. Her loss!

    ReplyDelete
  44. No restroom? That's absurd. I can only hope you had 20 bolts of fabric on the counter for cutting before she told you no, just so you'd be sure she knew the sale she lost.

    And congrats on that loss ... atta girl!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I am so glad you posted this. I am a new shop owner here in the Thumb of Michigan and we most certainly let folks use the potty! If there is some vague insurance thing; I have never heard of it; we have FULL coverage. Anyway; most quilters would not sue anyway if they had an ACCIDENT. I am still learning a lot about the business; but I always try to treat others as I want to be treated. If you ever come over here; we would welcome you and you can use our facilities and spend as much time with us as possible. We like making new friends:) We are located in Caro,MI; our name is Catty Wampus Fabric Company; BTW I love your blog and you sure are helping me with my business. Thanks; Merrie

    ReplyDelete
  46. I agree with everyone that says if you want my money, you need a potty!!! I have only ran into one shop that wouldn't LET you use their potty and the shop is owned by 2 very popular women, who you can see every week on PBS. I can spend a couple of hours in a QS if I'm picking out fabric for a project and they want you to run across the street to the potty? Give me a break and let me take my business somewhere else..Love your picture, I didn't know there were so many different pots!! Keep dropping those pounds.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by the quilt cave...I love your feedback! I am sorry that I am no longer able to accept comments from "Anonymous" readers...it leaves the door open for too many spammers!