So, this has been brought to my attention this morning thanks to a friend messaging me about something that happened at his work the other day. When someone comes into a store/business asking to use the toilet, wouldn’t it make sense to allow them access especially after they explained they have a medical condition like IBD? You’d hope that would be the case, but apparently not everyone has got the memo. My friend works at a big UK food store in his local area and a customer came in asking to use the bathroom because he has Ulcerative Colitis. The customer didn’t have a Can’t Wait card and as a result, my friends Team Leader refused the customer access to their toilets. Thankfully, another Team Leader was on shift and allowed the customer to use them shortly after but that’s not the point. What if that second Team Leader hadn’t been there? What if that customer had to try and find another toilet and didn’t make it? What if he’d had an accident in the store? It would have been horrifyingly embarrassing for him! And then that Team Leader would have to explain to their manager why they were cleaning up human faeces from the shop floor. Of course, I know this has happened many times before in multiple places, but it doesn’t mean we should accept it and stop raising awareness to this issue.
There have been huge improvements with companies recognising the Can’t Wait card, and many of them have started using the Not Every Disability is Visible toilet signage on their accessible toilets. But clearly that’s not enough, people need to be trained when to allow someone to use their toilet! It seems we are conditioned to not let members of the general public into back areas, which makes sense from a security standpoint. However, everyone used the toilet so why is it that we need to justify our need to use one when in public? I realise a lot of this is a result of a lack of understanding. I have been asked before why I can’t “just hold it” and it’s not that simple and sometimes even impossible. But when you haven’t experienced that, it’s difficult to understand. So, yes, by all means protect stock and staff-only areas, but just be aware that if someone needs to use your toilet, it’s not because they’re being lazy, it’s because they really need to use it.