Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How Hard Is It to Install a Stupid Changing Table?

(This rant is not about teaching or poverty or anything serious like that. But it is still something I consider important.)

At this point in my life, I really don't think I ask for that much. I have a wonderful husband and little girl. Another baby on the way. Life is good. All I really require these days is a good book, lots of sleep, and being around as many nice people as possible.

But when I take Emiko out to eat, I do expect that the bathroom will have a changing table. I don't think that's a huge demand. Especially when the restaurant takes the time to make a child's menu and has high chairs. Adding a changing table is easy and goes right along with those other things.

So why is it so hard to find places that offer them??? I assume that places that don't offer changing tables must not want my business. But I wish they would just put a notice on their front door, so I won't waste my time.

Yesterday Emiko and I had lunch at Baha Fresh. I was craving cheese dip, and there are not that many places in Chicago that have cheese dip. I don't know why cheese dip is a Southern thing, but it seems as though it is.

Baha Fresh has good cheese dip. I'm not a huge fan of their food otherwise, but the cheese dip is enough for me. Baha Fresh has a kids meal. They also have really nice high chairs. They even take the time to clean and shrink wrap the trays on the high chairs so you'll know that they are clean and ready for the next baby or toddler.

That attention to detail should be a good sign. But is it? NO! After Emiko and I finished our lunch, and I finished cleaning up the food she had thrown on the floor, we went to the ladies room. It's a huge one person facility. Was there a changing table? NO! There was a ton of room in there. They could have had an actual changing table, instead of just a folding one. But no changing table.

Thank God Emiko wasn't wet. I have changed her on bathroom floors, but I refuse to do that anymore. I have a friend who says I should just change her on top of the table, which is tempting. Serves the business right, I say.

If I'm in doubt, I change her in the car, but I shouldn't have to. I also try not to go places where I know there will be no changing table. I have a list of places I cannot go to any longer. For examples, Sweet Occasions in Andersonville. They have delicious red velvet cake, but that's too bad for me. I can't go there again. They have several individual facilities, all of which are big enough to accommodate a changing table. But they don't have one. That's one of the places where I had to change Emiko on the floor.

The other place was Jerry's Sandwiches, in Wicker Park. They have an amazing fried chicken sandwich. But last time I was there I had to change Emiko on the floor of the bathroom. It had been snowing, so the floor was not especially clean. I did email the owner of the restaurant to tell him why I would not go back, and he said they were working on installing one, so I may have to take them off my list. I have to look into that.

Rockwell Grill doesn't have a changing table, either. Again, they have a huge bathroom. I don't even like using public restrooms, but if I'm going to have to use one, please don't make me get on the floor of it with my baby.

Everyone's atwitter about Bennigans filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closing. I'm not a fan of that restaurant -- I would rather patronize an independently owned business if I can. However, I will say this for Bennigans and other chains. At least when I'm in a chain restaurant I know they'll have a high chair, a kids menu, and a changing table in the bathroom. That often can make up for mediocre food. It helps anyway.

I know that not everyone likes children or wants to dine near them. So fair enough. If you don't want children in your restaurant, just put a little sign on the door. Perhaps a smiley face with a slash through it -- it could be secret code for "no children welcome." I won't be offended; it'll save me the trouble of even entering. Then we'll all be happy.

So that's my rant for today. I can understand if the changing table were prohibitively expensive or if it took up too much room in a bathroom. But it is not expensive and does not take up too much room. It easily fits in a handicapped stall. I know in this economy restaurants need all the help they can get. Here is just one way to get me in the door.

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