Why Do I Need To Buy Something To Use The Bathroom?

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.

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