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EDITORIAL – Lack of change table in men’s washroom a First World problem

New change table.

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

IF YOU HAD ANY DOUBTS that we live in a nanny state, read up on the case of the Kamloops dad who was “shocked” to find the men’s washroom in a Kamloops McDonalds didn’t have a diaper change station.

He asked an employee about it who confirmed the only place to change diapers was in the women’s washroom, which was briefly closed to other customers while he did the change.

But he wanted to complain. In the old days you wrote a letter or called the manager but we live in the time of social media. So, of course, he and his wife went on Facebook and Twitter alleging sexism, which resulted in McDonalds apologizing that, due to space restrictions, change tables are not available in every restaurant. However, it said, the situation was being reviewed.

Then, CBC radio got involved, obviously feeling this was the kind of outrage that deserved wider attention.

Sorry, try as I might, I can’t get overwrought about this. In hindsight, McDonalds coulda and shoulda made provision for a change station in its men’s washroom during a recent major renovation. After all, a fold-down change station only takes up about two feet of wall space.

A lot of stores of various kinds have them, so it doesn’t appear to be an issue of major proportions. Point is, though, it was appropriate to point out the omission to McDonalds but I don’t think it required an expletive-punctuated tweet to accomplish it.

All’s well that ends well, though. McDonalds learned a lesson, belatedly hung a change station over the toilet in the men’s washroom at that location — although the dad now complains it’s too small — and we can get on with solving other First World problems.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7044 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Lack of change table in men’s washroom a First World problem

  1. I think that it’s quite easy for those who don’t have experience with an issue to criticise. I query how often men of your generation sought to remedy this kind of an issue. Let’s try putting ourselves in this mans shoes. Kind of like the person with Crohn’s disease being unable to find a bathroom – a rather big immediate problem don’t you think? Diminishing the issue by saying it’s a first world problem does nothing to assist in getting a resolution.
    Kudos to this man for raising this issue; it’s a positive step forward to have a man raise issues related to the care of a baby. Let’s not minimize the importance and symbolism of this complaint.

    • Mel Rothenburger // February 16, 2019 at 10:07 AM // Reply

      You’ll see by the editorial that I said it was appropriate to raise the issue, but it could have been done in a respectful manner. Perhaps if McDonalds had not tried to accommodate the dad on the spot, had not apologized, and had refused to do anything about it, using social media would have been useful. What I question is immediately going to social media with accusations of sexism and “bullshit.”

  2. Thanks for bringing more attention to the problem Mel! I’d like to address 2 things, this McDonald’s before the renovations had a change station in the men’s bathroom and the “too small” problem is actually in regards to the fact that the wheelchair accessible bathroom stall seems not to be to code for sizing. Don’t worry, we followed up with the proper channels for that besides talking about it in social media. I’m glad we live in a world when dad’s can change diapers on a specific change area vs. the floor as mentioned in some of the Facebook comments and yes, social media can be an excellent tool to fix “first world” problems!

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