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themissheather
I don't know how to respond to this - WWYD? Long
February 7, 2013 at 12:05 PM

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.

Thank you,


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?

Replies

  • Marimaru
    February 7, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    I didn't take his response the same way you did.  He told you the story of why he doesn't have them, while explaining that he's also a father, so he knows it can be a pain.

    I think what happened to him left a bad taste in his mouth on the subject, so he's not willing to have changing tables.  I had thought there were laws on changing tables, but the great Google tells me that perhaps I was mistaken.

    I probably wouldn't bother responding, but if you want to, I'd probably keep it as simple as "I'm sorry for what happened to your first place, but I will need to find some place new to take my family that is more guest friendly." and leave it at that.

  • twinsmom2001
    February 7, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    I agree with Marimaru.  I didn't read his response as smug.  I am actually impressed that he took the time to respond and explain why he does not have them.  That to me shows that he does value his customers.  I rarely used the changing tables because I found them to be unclean anyway.  And I never changed them on the sink counter.  I have twins and trust me I've had to do a lot of changing of diapers.  But how long are you really at the restaurant and how many times do you really have to change your child when they are there?  I wouldn't think it would be that often.  I've take my girls out to the car  and changed them there.

    If you really enjoy this restaurant I wouldn't let "no changing table" stop me. 

    I wouldn't respond to him but if you do wait a day.  I am sure you will feel better tomorrow.

  • themissheather
    February 7, 2013 at 1:30 PM
    My friend works for him an doesn't have positive things to say, so perhaps I am letting that bias me. Thank you for the perspective.

    Quoting Marimaru:

    I didn't take his response the same way you did.  He told you the story of why he doesn't have them, while explaining that he's also a father, so he knows it can be a pain.

    I think what happened to him left a bad taste in his mouth on the subject, so he's not willing to have changing tables.  I had thought there were laws on changing tables, but the great Google tells me that perhaps I was mistaken.

    I probably wouldn't bother responding, but if you want to, I'd probably keep it as simple as "I'm sorry for what happened to your first place, but I will need to find some place new to take my family that is more guest friendly." and leave it at that.

  • themissheather
    February 7, 2013 at 1:33 PM
    Ok thank you. We walk there, so there isn't a car option. I do see what you are saying. I will just say thank you and leave it at that.

    Quoting twinsmom2001:

    I agree with Marimaru.  I didn't read his response as smug.  I am actually impressed that he took the time to respond and explain why he does not have them.  That to me shows that he does value his customers.  I rarely used the changing tables because I found them to be unclean anyway.  And I never changed them on the sink counter.  I have twins and trust me I've had to do a lot of changing of diapers.  But how long are you really at the restaurant and how many times do you really have to change your child when they are there?  I wouldn't think it would be that often.  I've take my girls out to the car  and changed them there.


    If you really enjoy this restaurant I wouldn't let "no changing table" stop me. 


    I wouldn't respond to him but if you do wait a day.  I am sure you will feel better tomorrow.

  • Firenygirl180
    February 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM
    I think i would look into if there are any requirements for restaurants in your state to have them. I would also point out that a properly installed changing station with buckles would be a lot safer than people changing their kids on the counter.
    Basically it is entirely the parents responsibility to ensure their childs safety on a properly installed changing table. If however the table was installed improperly i could see him being sued again.
    I would maybe also talk to the local health dept about your options if you really wanted to pursue the matter further
  • themissheather
    February 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM
    I don't want to make a huge deal of it, but I feel like if he's worried of being sued the counter would be the more likely place for a fall. I haven't been able to locate any local regulations requiring a changing station, unfortunately. My husband says we should just change the baby on the table.

    Quoting Firenygirl180:

    I think i would look into if there are any requirements for restaurants in your state to have them. I would also point out that a properly installed changing station with buckles would be a lot safer than people changing their kids on the counter.

    Basically it is entirely the parents responsibility to ensure their childs safety on a properly installed changing table. If however the table was installed improperly i could see him being sued again.

    I would maybe also talk to the local health dept about your options if you really wanted to pursue the matter further
  • sabrtooth1
    February 7, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    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.

  • themissheather
    February 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM
    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.

    Quoting sabrtooth1:

    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.

  • jabs54
    by jabs54
    February 7, 2013 at 9:25 PM

     I agree it would be nice to have a changing table but considering what happened to him I see his point.   

  • jabs54
    by jabs54
    February 7, 2013 at 9:29 PM

     

    Quoting themissheather:

    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.

    Quoting sabrtooth1:

    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?

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