Creston senior shopper embarrassed by business owner over washroom emergency

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To the Editor:

On July 30, I went into a local retail store and made a large purchase but when I was at the till I suddenly and urgently had to use a washroom. I asked if there was one on the premises and the employee replied there was but it was for staff only. She apologized profusely.

I told her that it was an emergency, that I had to use a washroom without delay. She went to ask the owner, who emerged from her office, waggling her finger at me and advising me that she would let me use it just this one time. She led me to the washroom berating me the whole way.

I was embarrassed that I even had to ask to use the washroom but felt that she was trying to intimidate and embarrass me even more. She only succeeded in making me very angry at the insult.

On my way out, I told the owner that I would never ever shop in her establishment again and that I hadn’t had a finger waggled at me in more than 40 years! She said she was sorry and that she only waggled it once, as if that was mitigation.

She went on to tell me that it was for insurance reasons because someone might slip and fall in the bathroom, which I feel is a pile of hogwash! There could have been more chance of slippage had I not been able to use the facilities — if you get my drift!

She also advised me that she didn’t want people in amongst the stock in the back for security reasons, sort of like calling me a possible thief on top of everything else.

This letter is written to let businesses know that a bit of simple kindness goes a long way. Senior people, young people with children — everyone has times when they have to use facilities, and quickly. It certainly creates a good feeling when a shop owner cares for their customers’ comfort. If you want us to shop locally, you have to treat us with respect and in a welcoming manner.

You know who you are, but I think there is a lesson here for all proprietors. The event would have been unremarkable had you exercised some common sense and I would have been grateful and would have continued to use your store.

Sheila Barling