With gas prices going higher and higher these days, its hard not to cringe when you pull up to the pump. However, my latest cringe at the pump was not to price… it was the fact that I needed to pee.
Enroute to Texas from Tennessee (a 13 hour drive), fuel, food and pee stops are a must. We often end up fueling based on what station at which we have a credit card to use. This trip: Exxon.
Right around half-way, we were reaching the desperate level for fuel, and I was searching Google Maps for Exxons. However, after 10 pm, the first two we went to were closed. Our last chance before we entered a long span of Interstate nothingness was an Exxon in Benton, AR. I checked and found they would be open until midnight. Fuel. Grab a drink. We needed to pee. It would work out nicely.
We pulled up, and I noted the gas price was “reasonable” and the place well lit. I made note of a very nice looking woman behind the counter, and I suddenly felt very relaxed and comfortable with our stop choice.
As my husband started to fuel, I went in to use restroom. I saw a sign up on the door that said it was closed for cleaning. Huh. Well, we weren’t in that big of a hurry. I could wait a little while.
The woman behind the counter asked if she could help me, and I said I needed to use the restroom. I was informed that, “restrooms close at 9 pm so I don’t have to go clean them again every 5 minutes.” I wanted to cry. I wanted to yell. Instead, I went, “oh ok.” And walked out.
As the cold air hit me, I decided I was angry. And I was reminded again: I needed to GO!
Bathrooms close at 9? No apology? No suggestion where else I could go? Just closed so they don’t have to clean them again? What about customers who NEED to stop? What about customers who just spent…
I told my husband to just stop fueling. I didn’t want to give his place another penny. We were so close to full, though, that stopping didn’t make sense either.
I explained what happened, and my husband was mad too. He went in to inquire, and was told it was what her manager told her to do. It was station policy.
When my husband came back, also irritated, I was just clicking off $61 in fuel.
$61 to be told I couldn’t pee, without apology and without any help as to where to find an open restroom.
We left, and the longer we drove trying to find a restroom, the more upset we got. I put out a scalding review on Google places, as well as Foursquare. NO ONE else should treated as we were.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. The woman has pleasant enough. But the thing that really got us was the lack of sympathy. The lack of service — we were travelers that did not know the area — was what angered us. It can be station policy to close the restrooms, but you can curve the sting by still helping out in some manner.
We eventually found this small privately owned truck stop to use the restroom and get something to drink. I was leery at first, but I discovered some of the cleanest restrooms ever! I was really happy we stopped there! I wish it had been where we fueled, even, because I want to help places that help me.
But, alas, I am left with the frustration of having been denied my need to pee. And that, my friends, is one need that should NOT be denied.
So, dear Exxon in Benton, AR, I will not be back. I doubt you really care, but I do. As does my bladder. I won’t forget.