Do you remember the "Occupy Wall Street" phenomena? The Daily Show did a piece about the protestors' use or misuse of local businesses' restrooms. "...several local restaurants and delis are fed up with the protesters, who come in to use the bathroom without buying anything. One demonstrator tells Bee that not buying anything is his "right as a consumer." Hmm.
Someone explained it to me like this: "I go to Starbuck's all of the time and don't always use the restroom; so in a way, they owe me use without purchase." Hmm.
How do you feel about using an establishment's amenities without making a purchase?
Here's an etiquette approach: If you absolutely need to use the restroom, approach the host/cashier and ask. If you ask politely, most people will gladly allow you to use their facilities. Aside from the mall, there are two types of businesses that lend themselves as a pit-stop; gas stations and mini-marts. If the mini-mart is not attached to a gas station, buying a bottle of water or mints is a nice gesture. If you decide not to make a purchase, at least say, "Thank you," on your way out.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall is an etiquette consultant who owns Your Relationship Edge in which she teaches classes and presents workshops to a variety of audiences. She can be reached at email@example.com and her website is www.yourrelationshipedge.com. She can also be reached on Facebook.