Almost a month ago I was denied the use of the bathroom while I shopped at the River North location of Bed Bath & Beyond.
After having a nice Palm Sunday brunch with my boyfriend, he reminded me that he had a gift card for the chain and we walked over to pick up a few things. We both had been in the store for about 15 to 20 minutes when nature called. He went to the bathroom first with no problem. When he returned, I asked him to hold my bag (no bag tax for me thank you very much) as I ran to the bathroom.
That’s when the foolishness occurred.
I was denied entry to the bathroom because I had not purchased anything or could not produce a receipt. My tweets about the experience can be found here.
Because I desperately had to use the bathroom, I went across the street to another local business that I frequently patronize and used their facilities. My boyfriend stayed behind to demand answers and collect names of those involved.
Like I said, I really had to go.
The very next day, I was on the phone to Bed Bath & Beyond’s customer service line to get the name of the district manager so I could inform him or her about the incident. A day or so later, Kris Murdock, the district manager reached out to me and we had a conversation about what happened. I let him know that I felt targeted (even though the employees motivations still remain a mystery) and embarrassed that I was singled out after browsing in the store. Moreover, if a bathroom policy did exist, why was it unevenly applied? Why was my boyfriend allowed to use the facilities and I wasn’t? Why was there no sign posted in a prominent place that the restroom was for customers only?
What would have been the end result if I had Crohn’s? Or Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Or any other medical condition that required the immediate use of a bathroom? Even though I am blessed to not have any of those conditions, if a requirement to purchase something was put on someone needing to use the bathroom who did have one of these diseases, Bed Bath & Beyond would have been in direct and flagrant violation of Illinois State Law.
Mr. Murdock seemed sympathetic and very nice. I told him that I wanted a gift card with enough value to purchase a couple of sets of sheets due to the ridiculous way I was treated. Note: If you’ve seen the price tag of the sheets at Bed Bath & Beyond, then you already know how much that card should have been worth. I asked for the card mainly because I don’t believe businesses with poor customer service will do anything to correct their actions unless it has a dollar amount attached to the bad behavior.
And let’s be real, the clerks were violating a state law in spirit if not in letter.
I was told that I would be sent a gift card. A week and a half went by. I sent both an email to Mr. Murdock and reached out to the Bed Bath & Beyond folks via Twitter to find out the status. A few days later a gift card showed up on my doorstep.
But it was definitely not for the amount I expected.