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Advice for Moms Advice for Moms

I don't know how to respond to this - WWYD? Long

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?

by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Replies (21-30):
littlepinkrose
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:14 PM

I took his response to be what it was.  He got sued once he is not going to get sued again.  And you could try to sue him if your child fell off of the counter but that would be your fault because you do not have to change your child on the counter.  As for where to change your kid I have gone out to the car to do that when adequate changing stations were not available.  You are only there for one meal try to change her before you leave if she needs to be changed before you get home go to the car really it is not a big deal.

knoxmomof2
by Bronze Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:17 PM
2 moms liked this

To me, the email sounds personal, raw and honest.....however, I'm sure that he has GREAT insurance now (judging by your comments, the place sounds successful) and I'm sure a certain amount of signage around the changing table about using it at the parents' risk, etc. could defray most of the liability...heck, a camera pointed DIRECTLY at the changing table if it makes him feel better....it's all a bit confusing, honestly- the tone of the letter, then the choice to do nothing.......hmmm....fnd a new place, or do as DH said and change the baby at the table ( on the booth seat, of course..lol). What can the staff say really?

Cafe Amanda
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Wow, I live nearby and have eaten there a TON over the years (even with my kids) but I guess never needed to use a changing table because I never noticed they were absent!

What's funny is that he admits opening a restaurant without insurance because he couldn't afford it,  and paid the price, but dude, clearly he has insurance now so you'd think it'd be a no-brainer! I mean, people can have all kinds of accidents in a restaurant. Not necessarily all with witnesses or surveillance footage.

Maybe I'd open up that line of reasoning in a follow-up email if I was so inclined. Otherwise I'd just drop it, and maybe try some other restaurants in town. :)


CotterpinDoozer
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:40 PM

I'm sorry, I don't think that came across smug or rude. I think it's pretty awesome you got a response at all. Yes I agree no changing tables are inconvenient and a hassle, but honestly, I can't remember the last time I had to change my daughter at a restaurant. I certainly wouldn't stop going if I liked it for that reason.


themissheather
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:53 PM
He owns four restaurants that each probably do several hundred covers a day. He doesn't know me from Sally on the street. There are seven other restaurants within three blocks of his place. He doesn't need my business, just like I don't need to go there. I understand your perspective as a business owner. However, what I didn't include was the interim email that was forwarded to me between the GM of this location and the owner. The GM is who I originally contacted. Sure I may be making a big deal out of nothing, but I don't think I'm the only one overreacting.

Quoting 1squishysmom:

 Since he has the OPTION of putting diaper changing stations at HIS place, and chooses not to, would not be an issue to me. Me, being a business owner, would have found your letter very petty. I think his response was very nice. He didn't have to explain anything to you for his reasoning. Honestly, it's none of your business.


 The thought of you not frequenting a favorite restaurant because of this issue sounds very dramatic. Doubt anyone would seriously do this because of a changing station. Of course, there is always the exception, obviously.


 Are you overreacting? YES. Should you respond back? NO, it would just make you sound more ridiculous. If you don't think he knows who you are, you are likely mistaken, unless he is never there. Owners know who their regular customers are. Stop while you're ahead. Why in the world would you want to respond rudely when he sent you a very nice explanation for his reasons?

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themissheather
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:54 PM
1 mom liked this
If I owned a car, this wouldn't be an issue.

Quoting atlmom2:

I like his response. You are upset for nothing. Change your kid in your car. I don't think I ever had to change my kids in a restaurant.
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themissheather
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM
So, what is your suggestion then? The floor? Not change her? Walk home?

Quoting atlmom2:

Fyi, changing tables are nasty. I would never use one.
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themissheather
by Member on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:59 PM
That's why I found it odd. He owns 4 successful restaurants now. I would think the risk of being sued has shifted from having one to not having one. Thats why I found it odd. i emailed the GM and the owner responded. I think I'm letting my friends' opinions sway me. I know a lot of people who have worked for him that report negatively.

Quoting knoxmomof2:

To me, the email sounds personal, raw and honest.....however, I'm sure that he has GREAT insurance now (judging by your comments, the place sounds successful) and I'm sure a certain amount of signage around the changing table about using it at the parents' risk, etc. could defray most of the liability...heck, a camera pointed DIRECTLY at the changing table if it makes him feel better....it's all a bit confusing, honestly- the tone of the letter, then the choice to do nothing.......hmmm....fnd a new place, or do as DH said and change the baby at the table ( on the booth seat, of course..lol). What can the staff say really?

Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
themissheather
by Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Oops! I missed that I left the name in there. Well, if you know where I'm talking about you know I don't have to go there. I found the lack of insurance odd too.

Quoting Cafe Amanda:

Wow, I live nearby and have eaten there a TON over the years (even with my kids) but I guess never needed to use a changing table because I never noticed they were absent!

What's funny is that he admits opening a restaurant without insurance because he couldn't afford it,  and paid the price, but dude, clearly he has insurance now so you'd think it'd be a no-brainer! I mean, people can have all kinds of accidents in a restaurant. Not necessarily all with witnesses or surveillance footage.

Maybe I'd open up that line of reasoning in a follow-up email if I was so inclined. Otherwise I'd just drop it, and maybe try some other restaurants in town. :)


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Cafe Amanda
by Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 12:07 AM

I know, the lawyer's daughter in me would be like, look genius, you took a dumb business risk 30 years ago and paid the price, so now your clientele have to deal with this stupid and easily fixable inconvenience?

Also, even if you had a car, who wants to bundle their baby and drag them into a parking lot in the cold or rain or whatever just to change a diaper?

Also, want to meet for lunch? LOL.

Quoting themissheather:

Oops! I missed that I left the name in there. Well, if you know where I'm talking about you know I don't have to go there. I found the lack of insurance odd too.

Quoting Cafe Amanda:

Wow, I live nearby and have eaten there a TON over the years (even with my kids) but I guess never needed to use a changing table because I never noticed they were absent!

What's funny is that he admits opening a restaurant without insurance because he couldn't afford it,  and paid the price, but dude, clearly he has insurance now so you'd think it'd be a no-brainer! I mean, people can have all kinds of accidents in a restaurant. Not necessarily all with witnesses or surveillance footage.

Maybe I'd open up that line of reasoning in a follow-up email if I was so inclined. Otherwise I'd just drop it, and maybe try some other restaurants in town. :)



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