A Rocky Experience » Teeny Manolo

A Rocky Experience

By Glinda


It is one of mom’s most dreaded scenarios.

Here you are, on an outing with your beloved child, when said beloved child gives you a chilling warning that some publicly inappropriate bodily function is imminent. Which means you have between 10 and 30 seconds to do something about it.

This happened to a mom in Orange County, California when her five year old screeched “Diarrhea!” while in a shopping center.

Lady, I feel your pain. We’ve all been there.

But when she ducked into a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and asked to use their restroom, she was denied access.

Unfortunately, the store didn’t have a public restroom, and the employees balked, obeying rules given to them by their mangers about not allowing the public to use the store restroom. The child was unable to reach another restroom in time, and to make a long story short, some clothes had to be thrown into the trash.

It seems the mother of the child posted a comment about the experience on a popular consumer website, and it ignited a firestorm of controversy, including death threats to the owner of the store.

The nerve of them, you might say. A poor child in intestinal distress being denied the use of a bathroom!

But, Glinda says hold on a minute.

As a mother, you cannot always count on the presence of a restroom located in your immediate vicinity. In fact, you should probably count on not having a safe place in which to take your child who is producing unwanted bodily fluids.

The public was not supposed to be alllowed into that particular restroom because of a hallway which contained various supplies that could fall or whatnot. And in this country, it would not surprise anyone to hear of someone suing the company if indeed someone had been injured. If that would suprise you, raise your hand. That’s what I thought.

Other public restrooms were nearby, but the mother complained that they were given no suggestions by the staff as to who had one.

So, a little girl unfortunately had an accident. She and her mother were most likely embarassed, but in the end, that is about the extent of it. She is not the first child to have that happen, and she most certainly is not the last.

Do you think the store should have let her use their non-public restroom and risk possible suing/injury in the name of compassion, or is the mother making a big fuss over something that in the grand scheme of things, is rather insignificant?

15 Responses to “A Rocky Experience”

  1. Hillary in KS Says:

    You know, I’ve been in this situation with one of my boys. Small children don’t give you a lot of warning.

    I understand the Chocolate Factory’s reasoning, and the mom in this situation should have sprinted toward the next store in search of a bathroom, not continue to argue with employees.

  2. gemdiva Says:

    I think that an appropriate response on the part of the store employees would have been to have someone escort the mom & toddler to the bathroom. Hang the rules…do the human thing for crying out loud! I mean it’s not like there was a parade of people lined up behind this mom demanding to use the facilities. How would you feel if it was you having a body fluid attack? Let’s face it ladies, all of us have had a “monthly” emergency that we have had to deal with at some time in our lives and I’ll bet we all were very grateful to the soul who took pity on us and allowed us to use the “non-public” restroom. Why should we expect a child to put up with a highly embarassing situation that we, as adults, would not?

  3. gamma Says:

    Certainly it would be kind to let the child use the bathroom. But sometimes “hang the rules” means get a new job, and I cannot fault an employee for holding to the company line. We must make a distinction between “it would be kind” and “we have a right to expect.”

    I had a threatened miscarriage while shopping in downtown San Francisco some years back, and asked politely for a bathroom in store after store, to no avail. (I was on a street filled with small shops, without a public restroom in sight.) As circumstances grew dire, I dashed into the next shop and explained quietly to the woman working there, who quickly found me a restroom. Perhaps she owned the store, and could make that call. Or perhaps she thought it was riskier to let me stand in the middle of her retail floorspace. Or perhaps she was just being decent. But I was very grateful.

  4. gamma Says:

    PS – I don’t know much about this sort of thing, but given that the Chocolate Factory sells food, there could be health code issues as well. Just a thought.

  5. shell Says:

    The mom is totally out of line on this one. I worked retail for most of college and we never let customers use the employee bathroom due to all the liability reasons, not to mention OSHA regulations. One tiny thing could go wrong, whether it be something fall on the child, the water temp not being right in the sick or there being no toilet paper, and the customer will sue. It’s not worth it for the store. And with Rocky Mountain selling food, there’s an even larger amount of liability due to health code standards. Sure, it would be great if the store could offer a restroom, especially in such a situation, but they have to do watch out for themselves as well.

  6. gemdiva Says:

    HELLLLOOOOOO, isn’t access to bathroom facilities guaranteed under the Geneva Convention? Gamma, those stores that refused you access should be struck by lightning or something biblical, like set upon by swarms of locusts. Seriously, there are situations where the only “rule” that applies is the golden rule. You can come and use my restroom any time you want ­čÖé

  7. Seana Says:

    It happens to everyone at sometime or another. I think the woman should get over it and move on.

  8. Lee Says:

    I don’t know that the store was out of line for not letting the mom and kid use the bathroom, or that the mom was out of line for her public complaint. The resulting death threats against the owner *are* out of line. What is wrong with people?

  9. dgm Says:

    1) The employees could have at least redirected them, especially if they didn’t want diarrhea on the store floor (not so good for business and a health hazard to boot), but they might also have just let the kid use the bathroom in an emergency. Yes, there was a risk of liability but come on–it was very very very low. One commenter mentioned OSHA regs, and there is probably an ADA issue as well–if the bathroom is not compliant, it cannot be used as a “public” facility or the store risks liability.
    2) The mom, while understandably angry and frustrated and embarrassed, should just let it go and never shop there if she feels that strongly about it. (The chocolate’s not that great anyway–way to sweet.) No need to be getting all litigious.

  10. Awesome Mom Says:

    There are some very good points in the comments. Had I been in that situation I would have moved on ASAP and looked for another bathroom rather than staying and arguing. When you are out with kids these things tend to happen.

  11. raincoaster Says:

    The poor kid has diarrhea and it’s the MOTHER who needs an enema!

  12. Jennie Says:

    If this was a frequent shopping haunt, then Mumsy should know where the public facilities are located. If it’s not, then she should have checked the “You are Here” maps when she entered and found the necessaries. There is always the possibility that the store did not even have a restroom and the employees used the public facilities. In denying the woman and her child access, they never admitted to having a toilet on the premises. Mumsey may have assumed and then argued without checking her facts.

  13. KES Says:

    What I think is the most outrageous thing about this story is that the store owner’s home address was posted online and she began to receive death threats! What ever happened to civility and privacy?? I think this was just a case of (quite literally) “sh*t happens” and people should just get over it.

  14. class-factotum Says:

    1. Why did the clothes have to be thrown away? If diapers used to be washable and reusable, why can’t poopy underwear be washed?

    2. Was the kid sick before mom took him out? If so, why was she taking a kid with diarrhea more than ten feet from a bathroom?

  15. Twistie Says:

    There could be a million reasons why there was no public access to the store restroom…including the fact that many of these stores don’t have their own restrooms. I worked in a mall store once where I had to go down a long hall to a two-stall, sexually communal bathroom shared by five different businesses. In the same mall, I worked in a store where we had our own restroom, but it was in the stockroom where we kept not only stock waiting to go out on the floor, but our personal possessions such as purses, as well. As for the idea of escorting the child to the restroom, stores of this nature are often understaffed to cut corporate costs. There may have been only one or two people on the floor to deal with all customer demands, run the registers, restock the shelves, clean up any messes left by customers, and watch for shoplifters. Trust me, chances are they didn’t have time to stand around in the back waiting for a child’s diarrhea attack to end on top of everything else.

    I’ve also been on the staff end of this one more than once, where a parent will demand the bathroom for their child and when directed to a public one will then STAND THERE AND ARGUE THE MATTER FOR TEN MINUTES RATHER THAN WALK TO THE RESTROOM A THIRTY SECOND’S WALK AWAY.

    Now the Rocky Mountain employee should certainly have directed the mother to a public restroom. There is no question of that. Staff should know where to direct customers in need of basic services such as restrooms, and should certainly do so when a child in intestinal distress is presented to them.

    But the reaction to that lack of information is so far beyond the pale that I’m livid. Death threats in response to a child suffering the embarrassment of a diarrhea explosion? I think the situation would have been more than covered by a quiet word with the manager later about the desirability of having staff able to direct the public to the appropriate facility when needed.

    And poopy clothes can be washed.

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