Refusing the restroom to a paying customer

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 5, 2007
5,176
1,182
I have decided to take the bus a couple of days ago, and taking the bus, you don't have the luxury of driving over to the closest available restroom. I got off the bus at this certain bus stop because I wanted to get some lunch before I was going to get picked up by my girlfriend after getting off of work, I settled upon this Dairy Queen, and it was a "Grill and Chill" Location.

I ordered about $7 worth of food, and I ate it right there in the location. Before I left I really had to use the restroom, and I politely asked the cashier. Here is how the conversation went:

ME: May I please use your restroom?
Cashier: No.
ME: Do you know of a closer one? I am taking the bus.
Cashier: There is that Quick Stop over there.

Politely I just went over to the Quick Stop, for he also had no restroom. I was infuriated, not at the Quick Stop, since its understandable that he does not have a public restroom, but at the Dairy Queen. DQ is an EATING ESTABLISHMENT, and I PAID MONEY TO EAT THERE. I know my $7 may not mean much, but $7 is still $7, and it surely beats the people who go to a place just to use the restroom and then leave.

At this intersection there was the following:

-Dairy Queen
-The Quick Stop
-A Shopping Complex with a sushi restaurant, random mom and pop shops that sell random trinkets, and a guitar store.

I then proceeded to try the Sushi place, and at this point, I am about to explode. The place was closed. The last place I thought would never have a public restroom, was that guitar store. Thankfully, they did!

Anyways, I did some Googling, and it looks like there is a crazy coalition out there called the American Restroom Association. Anyways, it looks like there is a general consensus that any EATING establishment, should ALWAYS pretty much allow you to use their facilities, especially if someone just wants to do something sanitary like say….WASH THEIR HANDS before they eat! Or maybe they want to AFTER they eat!

I understand not allowing a non paying customer to use the restroom, but I WAS A PAYING CUSTOMER. Does anyone have any idea about this? I also tried to look up some more stuff on this, but a lot of it seems to be about people who aren't paying customers.

Who the hell knew it was so hard just to find a restroom? The sad part is, most gas stations also got rid of their public restrooms, yes, even if you buy something you are not allowed to use it. How ridiculous.

Anyways, after I left the Guitar store, I went back to the DQ to raise a fit, as I was still infuriated, I decided to look up the phone number for the Maricopa County Health Dept, and gave them a ring, I am expected to receive a call back soon regarding the matter, because the DQ may be breaking some building codes by not having a customer restroom, in an EATING ESTABLISHMENT.

Also just to make it worse for the DQ, here is the offending address:

DAIRY QUEEN GRILL & CHILL RESTAURANT
2230 N SCOTTSDALE RD
SCOTTSDALE, AZ
85257-2125
480-947-0577 <---- Why not call them and prank them a few times for this type of ****** customer service? Even a damn Apple Store has public restrooms, and if they're not "public" they still let you use it, and you don't really expect to find them there!…but Apple doesn't even serve any food!

Also here is the Uniform Plumbing Code:

"2003 UNIFORM PLUMBING CODE (UPC) Published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials

413.2.2 Fixtures accessible only to private offices shall not be counted to determine compliance with this section. establishments with an occupant load of one hundred (100) or more shall be provided with separate facilities for employees and customers. Customer and employee facilities may be combined for occupant loads less than one hundred (100).

413.3 Separate Facilities
Separate toilet facilities shall be provided for each sex.
Exceptions:
(2) In occupancies serving ten (10) or fewer people, one (1) toilet facility, designed for use by no more than one (1) person at a time, shall be permitted for use by both sexes.
(3) In business and mercantile occupancies with a total floor area of fifteen hundred (1500) square feet (139.5 m 2 ) or less, one (1) toilet facility, designed for use by no more than one (1) person at a time, shall satisfy the requirements for serving customers and employees of both sexes.

413.5 Facilities in Mercantile and Business Occupancies Serving Customers
413.5.1 Requirements for customers and employees shall be permitted to be met with a single set of restrooms accessible to both groups. The required number of fixtures shall be the greater of the required number for employees or the required number for customers.
413.5.2 Fixtures for customer use shall be permitted to be met by providing a centrally located facility accessible to several stores. The maximum distance from entry to any store to this facility shall not exceed five hundred (500) feet (152.4 m)."
 
Last edited:

puma1552

Suspended
Nov 20, 2008
5,559
1,917
So you are saying they don't even have a public restroom? That seems hard to believe for a modern DQ.

If they did have a public restroom though and just refused to allow you to use it, then I'd be confused as to why you had asked if it was OK in the first place. (but it sounds like this isn't the case, but rather that there was no public restroom).
 

Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,353
2,725
Atlanta, USA
Confused. Why ask the cashier? Why not just walk straight in?

If the cashier was blocking you then find the manager.
 

Menel

macrumors 603
Aug 4, 2011
6,195
1,028
Chase bank won't let you either.

That was last straw, finally pushed me to go through effort of switching to credit union.
 

Tomorrow

macrumors 604
Mar 2, 2008
7,114
1,246
Always a day away
Also here is the Uniform Plumbing Code:
Building engineer here.

(1) Arizona is under the International Plumbing Code, not the Uniform Plumbing Code. Doesn't really matter, though, because...

(2) ...plumbing codes simply outline systems that the architect/engineer are required to design into the building - like the number of fixtures, etc. There's nothing in the building or plumbing codes that requires a facility owner to make it available to anyone in particular, including customers. What you're looking for is...

(3) ...the Health Code for your area. Typically in a restaurant, they are required to give patrons a place to wash their hands.

I'm not sure why you had so much trouble finding a restroom. It doesn't seem like much of a problem in this part of the world (Texas).
 

Synchromesh

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2009
578
48
SF
You could always just go around the corner and pee on their building! That will teach the bastards!

But seriously, I would ask why they don't allow it. Pretty much all restaurants I've been to had a working restroom for customers to use.
 

snberk103

macrumors 603
Oct 22, 2007
5,484
87
An Island in the Salish Sea
The easy solution is to simply escalate it up to head office. Write a polite letter of compliant, complete with dates and times. Forget all the other fluff about what you had to do … just confine yourself to what the DQ did and did not do. The proper tone is that this particular DQ is tarnishing the brand of DQ nationally. Send copies to the local health board and the offending DQ as well. On each copy of the letter note the 3 places that this letter goes. Make this a proper paper letter, and then be patient. It may take a few months, but I'd bet that you'll hear back. There are lots of websites that explain how to write a proper complaint letter - spend some time there. It is not time wasted.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,015
16,462
The Misty Mountains
If they had public restrooms you would not have to ask. If, they were in the back for employees only, then it would be up to the discretion of the employee to allow you back there. Maybe if you had threatened to pee in the corner? ;)

I have been to many Apple Stores and have never seen a bathroom, not that some could have them. Usually in the mall, even restaurants/fast food will point you to the Mall's public toilets.

Recently visited Oahu and a high percentage of stores that I would expect to have toilets, grocery stores and gas stations had no public restrooms! :eek:
 

hallux

macrumors 68030
Apr 25, 2012
2,774
485
Is it legal for a restaurant not to have public restrooms?
In most cases, no. As noted by Tomorrow, the health code for the locale will dictate what should and shouldn't be provided based on the type of establishment.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,541
7,796
CT
Recently visited Oahu and a high percentage of stores that I would expect to have toilets, grocery stores and gas stations had no public restrooms! :eek:
Even if they offered you would you want to go in.
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,455
4,265
Is it legal for a restaurant not to have public restrooms?
In europe lots of restaurants dont have restrooms.
I would never ask but just go there. Wouldnt take no for an answer either but just do it anyway.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,861
382
Hilo, Hawai'i
I have no health code or other facts to offer, but I have a lot of experience buying food while traveling around the US, including going to DQ.

What I remember is that if the place is the kind where the servers and prep people are inside and you are outside (they hand you your food through a window) then you're not likely to find a public restroom there. I'm suspect it has to do with local health codes (in the main) and whether you're inside (as defined by a local code) or not.

But I agree with the suggestion to write letters, and get some answers.
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Original poster
Jul 5, 2007
5,176
1,182
I have no health code or other facts to offer, but I have a lot of experience buying food while traveling around the US, including going to DQ.

What I remember is that if the place is the kind where the servers and prep people are inside and you are outside (they hand you your food through a window) then you're not likely to find a public restroom there. I'm suspect it has to do with local health codes (in the main) and whether you're inside (as defined by a local code) or not.

But I agree with the suggestion to write letters, and get some answers.
This specific DQ was an eat in location with tables and chairs both inside and out. They even asked if it was For here or To go.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,266
724
This specific DQ was an eat in location with tables and chairs both inside and out. They even asked if it was For here or To go.
I don't know the laws in your area but in CA, if there is seating (inside), a bathroom pretty much is to be expected that is available to paying customers. Outside only seating is usually considered a convenience as those places not having indoor seating are considered "to go" services.

My guess is that the employee of DQ made it a subjective call and simply denied you entrance to the bathroom. If you are determined to get into the issue, contact (as mentioned) the manager and head office in your region to get the particulars on this matter.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Apr 10, 2008
6,270
3,338
Chase bank won't let you either.

That was last straw, finally pushed me to go through effort of switching to credit union.
So you picked the financial institution to keep your hard earned money based on the availability of a bathroom? :confused: lol In these times of economic instability I would rather go with the more established banking institution based on financials and not on the availability of a bathroom for the 10-15 minutes I'm in there.
 

dXTC

macrumors 68020
Oct 30, 2006
2,032
49
Up, up in my studio, studio
Is it legal for a restaurant not to have public restrooms?
In many locales, restaurants must provide restroom facilities for both customers and employees. In fact, here in Louisville, there is an ordinance to this effect that is often used to prevent mobile/street-side food establishments from operating. No Korean taco trucks for us! :(
 

Squilly

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2012
2,258
3
PA
Did you eat in or take out? As far as I know, restrooms are only required if you dine in. Maybe the restroom DQ had was for employees only? Wouldn't make sense if it was dine in and no rest room - that's breaking code.