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Thursday, January 5, 2012

All Riled Up Now...

Okay, so maybe I'm overreacting a bit, which is why I'm turning to y'all, asking for opinions and advice.  How would you feel if your local mall gave you the brush-off after you complained (twice!) about this...

Four years ago our local mall added on a somewhat large expansion wing.  Over the past 18 months, several stores moved to one of the new sections of the mall, including four major retailers of infant and toddler clothing: Hanna Andersson, Gymboree, Janie & Jack and Crazy 8.  This corner of the mall also houses the infant and toddler indoor play lot.  Gap Kids is just around the corner, although it doesn't completely "fit" into this situation since it's location is more centralized; and The Children's Place is at the opposite end of the mall.  But still, four of the six infant and toddler clothing retailers, plus the baby/ toddler indoor play lot, all reside in this one little corner of the mall.

And the nearest public restroom does not have a diaper changing table.

There is NO diaper changing table!

I must admit, I felt irked the first time I noticed.  My husband made a phone call in August.  Another call was made a few months later.  And yesterday I hiked it to the mall management office to speak with someone face-to-face.  The woman I spoke with told me - in a completely dismissive tone of voice - that she'd talk with her manager.  But I was also told that all I really have to do is walk past two restrooms to get to the nearest diaper changing station.

Which of course means I've now moved from irked to livid.  Note to, well, to pretty much everyone: A livid Tonggu Momma ain't a pretty site.  I like to think I've grown out of the shoe throwing phase, but I'm still none too pleasant when some twenty-something looks down her nose at me like I'm an idiot for even asking about it.  I know that diaper changing stations are not mandated by law, that they are considered a convenience.  I know that, and yet I can't help feeling all riled up about this.

I told her - in a mostly pleasant tone of voice - that with a management decision like that, I might just have to take my business to a different mall.  She looked a tad stunned by my response, which can only mean one thing.  She's never trekked across a mall before realizing, just when she gets where she's going, she has to turn around and trek all the way back to use a changing table, only to turn back around - yet again - to go where she wanted to go in the first place, fully realizing that she just spent over a half an hour just changing a diaper.  And she only has about a two hour window - including drive time - between school drop-off and the lunch/ nap time routine.

In my mind, a $200 diaper changing table and an hour or two of labor ain't that big of a deal when the alternative is facing down even a dozen exhausted mommas of the diapered brigade.

Y'all can tell me the truth if I'm overreacting.  I called Tonggu Grammy yesterday, who felt livid on my behalf.  Then again, where do y'all think I inherited my Fight Against The Injustices Of The World Even If It's Just About A Diaper Changing Station attitude?  So maybe I need a third opinion.  Or fourth.  Or twentieth.  Thoughts?  Advice?

I'm thinking picket signs.  And yes, y'all, slogan suggestions welcome.

(Just kidding about the picket signs.  Probably.)

33 comments:

BevS97 said...

Honestly, I don't think you are over-reacting at all. I would expect every single restroom in a mall to at least have a wall mounted changing station in it.

I prefer a nice changing station on the counter, but would assume that all of the restrooms would offer some provision.

muppetquilter said...

I'm having trouble imagining a mall restroom without a changing table. Seriously. The men's rooms at my local mall have changing tables-- even in the department stores. Three of the mall restrooms also have family bathrooms. What the heck kind of a mall are they running in your neighborhood?

Ya know... I bet if you contacted some local mom groups you could get a lot of people to start writing letters and making phone calls... Maybe try the local La Leche League for starters. Sometimes it helps to channel the anger into something that could create a positive change.

Liz said...

I would expect every restroom to have a changing station too!

I think you should organize a big group of moms who suddenly all need to change their kids' diapers at the same time and do it right out in the open near the stores - if they can't be bothered to put a changing station in the restroom closes to where you spend your time, why should you bother going out of your way to use the one they have installed?

My name is Andy. said...

I would wait for a seriously blown out diaper situation and then I would go to the management office and change it right there on their desk/counter. I probably wouldn't use a change pad either.

But I'm rather passive-aggressive that way!

Aus said...

I'm with "my name is andy" - best way to get them to 'fix' the issue is to make it an issue!! If 10 mom's all changed kids in the middle of the toddler play area they'd take care of the problem in a day!

Oh- how about the local TV news stations? They are always looking for a human interest piece - and I bet one call from your local news "troubleshooter" would have the problem fixed yesterday!

hugs - aus and co.

Anne said...

LOVE Andy's suggestion!! I am so surprised that all the bathrooms don't have changing tables at your mall.

Sharie said...

I would go OVER the local mall management office - who OWNS the mall? I'd go right to the mall owners and tell them the problem. I'm fairly certain they located all of the stores in one area for a reason and would prefer to have you spending more time shopping than walking back and forth changing diapers.

3cmum said...

Another idea would be to tell the managers of the kids shops there that this is impacting on their business...then have them pressure the mall!

jen@odbt said...

I think an "occupy playground" movement is in order. Seriously...doesn't the mall realize who their biggest market is?

Jamey... said...

I always go to letter writing programs. I write letters when men's bathrooms don't have changing stations because why should I have to take everyone with me? And I write letters ALL THE TIME (at least I used to) when stores/restaurants don't have changing stations.

lmgnyc said...

I don't think I've seen a bathroom without a diaper changing station in about a billion years. What's up with this mall?
I like the idea of telling the stores. Tell them you won't be shopping there if the mall management doesn't put a diaper changing station in the bathroom. They are the ones who will be impacted. They are the ones who care the most. Money talks. They will make sure it gets done.
You are NOT overreacting.

Rita and John said...

You're not overreacting at all! I would be tempted to change the diaper right there at the complaint counter for the benefit of the 20-something who has no idea what she's talking about.

Debby said...

I think the suggestion of going to the children stores that it impacts. Maybe they will put a bathroom for changing diapers in their own spaces. Now my kids are grown but I watch other little ones. I used to love Pottery Barn Kids bathrooms. Ours closed and moved too far away. Why can't the other stores do this. I have a feeling that the management at this mall is not going to budge. I do like the idea of changing a poopy one in their office. Good luck. Stay strong.

Patty O. said...

Nope, totally NOT overreacting! Not at all. This is ludicrous. Those things cannot be that expensive and malls are supposed to be serving the needs of the shoppers. I think if you go to the stores, that might actually elicit a response. And definitely threaten to take your business elsewhere!

Amy said...

Changing tables was one of my "crusades" when mine were in diapers. It made me crazy. Have you ever noticed that NO Wendy's restaraunts have them? At least not in my area. I used to complain loudly, plop my kid on the table closest to the register so as to be seen, and change the kid right there. Not nice, and kind of gross, but it ticked me off and I was sleep deprived. Not the most rational time in my life:)

So what would I have done in your mall situation? I probably would've walked down to the mall office and changed the kids on the secretary's desk. Or taken the lazy way out and done it in the middle of the floor at the play area. I can be obnoxious when provoked. And embarrassing to my loved ones.(Insert maniacal laugh) On the other hand, I have successfully convinced people to install tables in bathrooms in 2 churches and one local restaraunt.

Aunt LoLo said...

I think, and this is just me, that I would separate out what I'm mad about. Not having changing tables is annoying, definitely. And stupid, most probably. A snotty 20 something blowing you off? Totally rude.

And the whole package could definitely point to taking your business to a different mall, with absolutely no hard feelings. And telling all your friends to do the same thing. If they don't want diaper-changing mamas to shop at their diaper-wearing stores...well, then that's their own bag.

Foxxy One said...

Aw honey, this is an easy fit. Just walk into the mall office, lay the baby on the manager's desk, change the poopy diaper and leave it there. Explain that every time you come to the mall, you will be doing this until they get a changing table in the bathroom :)

Reid said...

You are NOT overreacting at all! My son is almost six, and I still have not heard back from Arby's corporate about my complaint when my little one was in diapers. I almost changed the poopy diapers right in the dining room on one visit. I think if you cater to children and families, or serve a kids' meal in your establishment, then you need a changing table.

prechrswife said...

I totally agree with you. This is a huge pet peeve of mine. In our area, there are a lot of restaurants that don't have them. Yes, this is a retirement area, but there are plenty of us around with babies who do need access to changing tables. So frustrating!

Jennifer said...

I agree with you TM! I hate going to "family-friendly" restaurants that don't have them either.

And, I agree with the others who suggested you change the diapers in all sorts of places that are inconvenient for the mall folks. And then, drop the stinkies into the nearest trash can just for fun. It really is ridiculous.

Joanna B said...

You are justified. I don't think I've ever seen a mall restroom without a changing table! Ever!

us said...

Write letters so that its in hard form. Keep sending them. Have your friends send them too. And find out who would be in charge of a decision like that and talk to them and their manager...or just go to the top.

Dana said...

I agree that you should use hard copies of letters. I'd send them to the mall management as well as the stores you mentioned. (Go around the 20 year old. She's not going to help and there's no need to waste energy on that.) I'd also consider asking friends to send letters as well. Jot down dates and responses (and lack thereof.) Finally, if there is no response, contact a local news station. This really is a no-brainer. It needs to change and I think it will if enough people complain.

planetnomad said...

I'm with you and the majority of comments here!

Rebekah said...

I don't think you're over-reacting at all.
I felt the same way on an airplane once. I was shocked the when I discovered with my 18 month old daughter that there was no diaper changing table in the airline restroom. I could not fathom setting her down on the toilet seat to change her stinky diaper. So, the diaper change had to be done standing up.
Thank goodness the flight was only 90 minutes long!!!

Carrie said...

I vote you go with Dana's plan. While you are at it, ask for them in the men's bathroom too. I asked my husband, who is an architect, and he said the are only a couple hundred dollars. He also said often the reason they aren't there is because someone (usually male) wants to save a few bucks. He works primarily on car dealerships and he always recommends them on every project and maybe 1/2 actually do it. Very annoying! You'd think people would realize it's a cheap way to make a lot of customers happy and coming back.

Leah and Jake said...

Don't move to Georgia. I can't find a changing table anywhere!

I agree with the others. Start changing the diapers in the play area. If you can't get the managements attention, you will get the other patrons' attention.

Tanner said...

I totally agree with you. As a grandma of three little ones under 3 I HATE looking for a changing table and REALLY get mad at Babies R Us that only has shopping carts for one child to be secured....seriously I can go to Sam's Club and Target and secure two or three children but a baby store just one....come on.

Julie P said...

De-lurking for this. You are not overreacting at all IMHO. But I de-lurked to say, doesn't your Hanna Andersson have a restroom? I know the 2 stores we have here do, and it is much larger and calmer and cleaner than using the standard mall one. Good luck

Beyond Normal Limits said...

I would have been irked, but I don't know that I would let it bother me enough to get livid. We're in an urban setting, so there are lots of shopping options, but if we were rural, I'd shop online more. Boycott - yes; Picket - probably not

Jo's Corner said...

After complaints from a Target employee about a Mommy who was breast feeding in the store...she rallied and gathered 20 - 30 breast feeding Mom's and their babies and did a sit-in at Target! Yep, every single one sat in an area and fed their children! I'm thinking you need to put out a call: Bring 30 babies/toddlers and lay out changing pads in the middle of the Mall! Just think what 30 naked little bums (and the smell!!) could do! : )

LucisMomma said...

Love what Jo's Corner suggested! A Change-In.

I'd be livid, too. Only those who haven't had to walk so far to change a diaper don't understand. They need more mamas in that management office.

Catherine said...

You'd be quite justified! And then, I'd be tempted to take one of Squirt's 'special diapers' and deposit it in the management office of said mall.

If they want you to walk all that way just to change the diaper, you can deposit it wherever you want!! :o)