Bathroom Liability?

I was in the Peoples Republic of Santa Monica this weekend.  Yes, I'm glad I don't have to live there (but I paid $50 per night in hotel taxes -- wow!) but the beach is gorgeous and the weather usually good.  We were shopping down the 3rd Avenue outdoor mall and were in a fairly large (3 story) Borders Books store when we found there was no bathrooms for customers.  The manager told us that it was for liability reasons.

Liability?  Has it really gotten this bad, or is this just becoming the convenient excuse nowadays when any public service is not offered?  I did a search and found that Santa Monica is ruthless in going after ADA access issues, so my guess is that they could not bring their bathroom into compliance in this older building for the 0.1% of customers who were handicapped so they closed it for the other 99.9%.  My other guess is that it might have something to do with the huge homeless population in Santa Monica, perhaps with them having trouble barring access to them (the public restroom we finally found had a homeless man camped out in it).


  1. Max Lybbert:

    Back when I was a teenager and worked at a fast food restaurant, we had a bathroom for employees only. We had the bathroom, but couldn't let customers into it, and that was honestly for liability reasons. I wonder if this is what the manager meant ("of course our employees can go to the potty, we just don't let our customer go").

    Although building a stand-alone store without a restroom doesn't make much sense. Unless they don't want to encourage certain people to stay longer than their bladders can handle it.

  2. Frank:

    I live in Santa Monica and can tell you what happened. It does have to do with the homeless but there are other reasons. There used to be a food court right next to borders with a bathroom but they closed that and put in another high end shop cause that gets more rent. The city didn't fix the restrooms in the parking structures that are hard to find. It also has to do with tourists, which to me are the real source of problems. I don't see what good they do. Like we need tourists when homes go for 2 big ones (millions). I used to go to the food court but most of the stores are for show. It has nothing to do with disabled people. Probably has more to do with not wanting to have to clean bathrooms.