There is a very popular restaurant in the city I live in. They do great business and my family goes there often. However, they are obviously lacking changing tables and it frustrates me. Here is my email to them:
To the management staff,
My husband, myself, and our extended family enjoy your restaurant and frequent it quite often, if not once at week, at least every other. Unfortunately, that frequency may begin to decrease. Our daughter is almost 10 months old, which means that she is rapidly becoming too big for me to change her on the bathroom counter top. You have no child changing station I think it is ridiculous that a restaurant of your size and volume does not offer this service to your guests. Using the counter top is unsafe, unsanitary, and rude to other guests. Using a booth seat or bathroom floor is out of the question. I have lived in New Brunswick for a long time and am aware that you are not some college type hangout and that you do do business that would warrant a need for a changing station. On a recent Sunday while there for brunch, I counted four children in addition to my own that would fall into the category of needing a changing table. I have worked in the restaurant industry all my adult life and am not one to complain, but I do not want to have to look for a new regular restaurant because of this. I did a quick Google search, just to make sure this isn't unreasonable and found both the plastic, screw-into-the-wall type changing stations, and the simple, wooden, stand alone variety to be quite affordable.
Here is what I received from the owner:
Back in 1979, I was sued for a baby falling off a baby changing station in my one and only restroom. My belief was that the baby was left unattended for just a split second, because I have children and I know that sometimes that is all it takes. Regardless, there were no witnesses or camera footage because it was the ladies room, and because of this I was deemed responsible.
This was my first business, opened on a shoestring, just 20 seats back
then. I could not purchase insurance immediately because I didn't have
the money. This lawsuit forced me to bankrupt my first restaurant in
it's first three months. It is truly devistating to lose everything you
have and blamed for something that just isn't true.
Five years later after working several jobs I opened (restaurant) , without changing tables. As a father, I have changed my kids everywhere also; and as soon as they start standing up, we all change them standing up. Personally, I can tell countless stories of my close calls, some of them downright scary, but I take the take responsibility and don't blame others.
I value your business, however I cannot bring myself to install changing tables.
I feel his response was quite smug, because he does not actually need my business and he knows it. Plus, I feel like he's being petty and spiteful. I could sue him for my child falling off the bathroom counter. WTF?! Am I overreacting? Should I bother responding? I want to be rude, but my husband says not to. Thoughts would be great!
EDIT: Please do not suggest I use my car. If I had one, do you really think I'd be asking this?
Wow. I have compassion for this man. If a lawsuit over a changing table caused the end of his first restaurant, I don't blame him for not installing them! That is a sane, rational decision. Your reacton is puzzling to me and I suspect you hit the nail on the head when you said that you hear negative things from a friend.
I would suggest you stop going there until your kids are out of diapers. If he is the terrible man you think he is, why would you want to give him your business anyway?
I respect the time he took to give you a long, thoughtful response.
She poops when she eats vegetables, which is what she eats when we go there. Plus, we spend closer to an hour and half. This is the only reason that I hesitate. I can't hang out there comfortably for awhile without this option. I feel it's just general principal at this point. He is past the point of being bankrupt. He owns 4 busy restaurants. I'd think, at this point, he would be more likely to be sued for not having one. I manage a restaurant, so I'm not a novice to the industry.
I get what you are saying about him not wanting to be liable. The funny thing is, though, that his restaurant does a lot of family business. Maybe it's me, but the whole thing rubs me the wrong way.
There are no laws saying a restaurant MUST provide changing stations. You certainly do not find them in upscale places, norin bars. The management is clearly indicating that he does not want diaper age children in his establishment, and that IS his prerogative.
Btw, if a child falls off a sink, or your lap, that is NOT the problem of the management, nor an issue they can be sued over. They did not DESIGNATE the sink as a changing station, and have clearly discouraged the act by NOT having them on the premises.
Why does it rub you the wrong way? Your child goes the night without being changed. How many times has your child pooped and NEEDED to be changed during the 40 minutes your at a restaurant that this has you so upset?
Well, hopefully your child will poop less often as she/he gets older. I don't think anyone had changing stations when I was raising my kids.
February 8 at 9:17 PM
Follow through with your threat, and take your business elsewhere.
I don't think his response is unreasonable. if you had been sued into bankruptcy, i don't think you would be lining up to do it again. Blame the people always looking for someone to sue over everything that happens, and find another place to change your baby. it isn't his fault you don't have a car. And yes, you could be asking even if you had one. I'm sure you can figure out some place to change your child if you really can't go an hour or so without doing so.
by hnybee1984February 9 at 10:12 AM
i agree with marimaru