Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's a Nice Place but What About The Bathroom

Has this ever happened to you? The bathrooms of restaurants and even my neighborhood grocery stores have made a big difference as to how I view these establishments.

A perfect example is the Safeway I shopped at for the first year I lived in Annandale. It was a nice enough grocery store, I knew the cashiers, the people who worked the seafood department and I knew where all the essentials were and most importantly it was on the way home.

One day, during my 8th month of pregnancy, I stopped in and of course had to make a trip to the ladies room. My view of the place has never been the same. It was like something out of one of the filthy home shows. There was paper everywhere (that’s the minor part), the sinks were filthy and 3 out of the 5 stalls had excrement in, on and/or around the toilet. It was a gag fest. Now, I have 6-pound fetus sitting on my bladder so I had no choice except to use the facilities as best I could. All women are familiar with the squat and go method, but this takes on a different meaning when you’re 8 months along. Needless to say, this is no longer “my” store as this was not an issue of aesthetics, but of cleanliness. This is where I bought food (much of it fresh) for my family and the people who handled the food were required to use the same bathrooms and none of them cared enough to get this bathroom in better condition. Now, let’s move on to my good experience.

I discovered a wonderful Harris Teeter near my home a short time later. A girlfriend of mine, cringes when I tell her this is where I shop because she claims the prices are astronomical. Well yes, they are a tad higher, but the meats and vegetables are incredibly fresh and the bathrooms are fantastic. I brought my son with me to the grocery store and of course he needed to go “potty”. Off we go, with fear in my heart, to the ladies room. Do you know the sound of angels humming when confronted with something that truly takes your breath away? I heard that sound because that bathroom was magnificently clean. No paper on the floor, the sinks were sparkling, no urine smell, no visible excrement, the paper and soap dispensers were stocked and fully functional. Now mind you, I was already sold on the store because of the food the nicest cashiers you ever want to meet, but the bathroom situation has made this “my” store.

This note is to all establishments that have bathrooms open to the public. Your bathrooms matter and you need to get them together because the Lavatory Lady is coming!

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