Thursday, October 13, 2022

Are Public Bathrooms Public?

One time I was driving in Portland, Oregon on my way to see my grandchild. And I desperately needed to go to the bathroom. Traffic was moving slow otherwise I would have waited to get to the hotel. 

I saw a sign for a Starbucks at the next exit, so I took it. But the exit wasn't a simple one. There were multiple roads that could be accessed from that exit. And no signs for Starbucks. So I took a random road. There were no Starbucks there that I could find.

Now I don't feel bad about going into a Starbucks and only using their bathroom. I spend a lot of money at Starbucks. But I couldn't find a Starbucks. So I stopped at a McDonalds. But this was at the tail end of the pandemic (and Oregon was still pretty locked down) and only the drive through was open. Finally I found a gas station. I went inside. The bathroom was locked so I asked for the key. They gave it to me and I used the bathroom. Ahhhhhhhh.

As I was leaving (after returning the key), the manager glared at me since I didn't buy anything. Not even a bag of chips and certainly not gasoline. I feel kind of bad about that. But not too bad.

Sometimes you see signs such as "Bathrooms are for customers only." But when you need to go, you need to go. 

Conversely, on the way to Portland there's a gas station that we often stop at to use the bathroom. And I almost always buy something to drink and maybe a small bag of chips. I think the reason I do that is because we stop there often. The gas station in Portland I'll likely never be to again. I probably couldn't find it again if I tried.

What do you think? Do you think public bathrooms should be open to the public? Or is it okay to say "customers only"? Let me know in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. All good questions about public bathrooms and businesses. In Oatman, AZ, they have ONE public bathroom at the end of town. Not knowing this, I parked on the other end of town and went into a bar. Intending to buy a beer, I first asked where the bathroom was. He told me to walk to the other end of town. I left without buying anything. Courtesy is still courtesy. No one knows the bathroom needs of another--especially the elderly.