Non-Patron At Restaurant Charged For Bathroom Use - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Non-Patron At Restaurant Charged For Bathroom Use

Posted: Updated:

By Laura T. Coffey,

TODAY When you gotta go, you gotta go — but, of course, most restaurants only want paying customers to use their restrooms. One restaurant in Tennessee opted to take this issue to a whole new level by charging fees for non-paying potty use.

Patricia Barnes recently rushed into a restaurant called The Flood Zone in Erin, Tenn., and asked a woman behind the counter if she could use the bathroom. She got permission and quietly did her business.

A few days later, she received a handwritten note from the restaurant in the mail. Barnes was stunned.

"I don't feel it was a crime," she said. "I've been into plenty of restaurants here in this town and other towns, and, you know, other states."

The is what the note, written on 10-29-12 stated:

"Mrs. Edwards,                                                                                                                                                            

On Saturday Oct 27th you came into the Flood Zone had to use the restroom said you had been to the turkey shoot. Posted on our front door is a sign that states Restrooms are for Flood Zone Customers Only NOT a Public restroom. On the inside of restroom is a sign that tells you there is a $5.00 charge for non Flood Zone Customers. You did not purchase anything. So therefore you were not a customer. Please send pymt to....(address)

 

Thank You Management!"

The note mentioned a sign that specifically states the restaurant would charge a $5 fee to anyone who isn't a customer. Barnes said she didn't see the note until an employee approached her after she left the restroom.

"It was a little index card at the very bottom of the mirror.  I didn't look in the mirror at all that day," Barnes said.

The restaurant's owner tracked Barnes down by writing down her vehicle license plate and having the sheriff trace it to its owner. (The bill was addressed to "Mrs. Edwards;" Barnes' husband's name is Randy Edwards.) 

"I just thought it was unbelievable," she said. "I'm like, what type of people are these?"

Barnes went back to the restaurant and offered to pay the $5, but the owners refused. She then mailed them a certified money order, but that came back. The owner apparently changed her mind about the bill, saying she only wanted to make a point.

Thursday on TODAY, celebrity chef and restaurant owner Bobby Flay called the incident "totally ridiculous."

Having members of the public come into your establishment only to use the restroom is "just part of doing business," he said. It also shows good will on the part of the owner.

"There's plenty of people that come to the restaurant, use the bathroom and leave, and that's the way it goes," Flay said.

Al Roker said he thought involving the sheriff was "crazy," not to mention an invasion of privacy.

Natalie Morales called it a "waste of resources for that town."

TODAY readers apparently agree with the assessment, with 70 percent in a poll feeling that it shouldn't be a big deal for non-patrons to use a restaurant bathroom.

By: NBC News

  • National NewsMore>>

  • NEW DETAILS: Survivors Describe Escape From Sinking Ferry

    NEW DETAILS: Survivors Describe Escape From Sinking Ferry

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-16 19:52:10 GMT
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Survivors of a ferry sinking off the coast of South Korea are describing how they jumped into the frigid water wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat.More >>
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Survivors of a ferry sinking off the coast of South Korea are describing how they jumped into the frigid water wearing life jackets and then swam to a nearby rescue boat.More >>
  • UPDATE: Biden: Boston Marathon Survivors Are Inspiration

    UPDATE: Biden: Boston Marathon Survivors Are Inspiration

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:21 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:21:34 GMT
    BOSTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says the courage shown by Boston Marathon survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.More >>
    BOSTON (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says the courage shown by Boston Marathon survivors and those who lost loved ones is an inspiration for other Americans dealing with loss and tragedy.More >>
  • Cattle Battle: BLM To Pursue Effort To End Dispute With Rancher

    Cattle Battle: BLM To Pursue Effort To End Dispute With Rancher

    Monday, April 14 2014 10:08 AM EDT2014-04-14 14:08:14 GMT
    NEVADA, (AP) - A day after blinking in a showdown on the range, federal land managers pledged to pursue efforts to resolve a conflict with a southern Nevada rancher who has refused to pay grazing fees for 20 years. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Craig Leff said Sunday that the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter.More >>
    NEVADA, (AP) - A day after blinking in a showdown on the range, federal land managers pledged to pursue efforts to resolve a conflict with a southern Nevada rancher who has refused to pay grazing fees for 20 years. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Craig Leff said Sunday that the agency would continue to try to resolve the matter.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.