Changing the World: One Changing Table at a Time

Note: This isn’t only about changing tables. It’s about making a difference in our world.

My quest to change the world one changing table at a time started when I went into a Starbucks in Duluth, MN when my daughter was about 18 months old, had a messy diaper, and I wanted a decaf, no-foam latte. Alas, when I entered the oversized bathroom there was no changing table. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that Starbucks would fail to install a changing table at a location in the middle of a large city.

I did then what I consistently do now when I don’t see a changing table. I said to the staff,

“I see that you don’t have a changing table. Where would you propose I change my child? On the floor?”

They looked at me blankly and shrugged their shoulders.

I then proceeded to change her on one of the cushy oversized armchairs in the middle of the coffee shop.

Now don’t get me wrong. I realize it is not the staff’s fault that there is no changing table. But what I hope is that word will get back to the manager that a disgruntled customer changed her messy child (read poopy) in the middle of the coffee shop.

This was my first course of action.

When I got back to town and went into my local Starbucks I again found no changing table. I called the manager, wrote several emails and persisted until I was able to speak to a district manager. I asked her what Starbucks’ policy was on changing tables. She looked into it and found out they had no policy. (If you do a web search on Starbucks and changing tables you will find that I am not the first to notice this problem.) She explained that I was catching them at the right time. They were doing a remodel and would be sure to install a changing table. I was also offered a free coffee drink of my choice the next time I went in. Bonus!

Here’s a blurb from a quick web search for “starbucks changing table.” Apparently this woman’s successful method was to use Twitter.

“Speaking of Twitter, that’s actually where I finally started to get somewhere with this whole situation.  I followed @Starbucks and (with the help of @JetWithAnya) asked them to put me in touch with the people who could hear me out.  After an email back from Starbucks Coroporate Communications that *didn’t* tell me to waste my time by entering it on the L-A-M-E webpage, I learned that I needed to contact my local District Manager. So the next time I was at my local store I grabbed her business card and shot her an email when I got home.  I explained my frustrations (and made it clear that I would be blogging and Tweeting about all of this, one way or the other).  To her credit, she has been extremely responsive and friendly, and after only two phone calls, put in an order for changing tables for my local store.”

Recently, a similar messy diaper situation occurred at Sebastian Joe’s, a very popular ice cream parlor in the Twin Cities. In this instance, I Facebooked Sebastian Joe’s until I got a response. The owner asked me to email him. I emailed him and a few weeks later got a phone call from explaining that they were going to be adding changing tables to their two locations. (I also got an offer of a free cone.)

If you want to make a difference in your community in some way here are some ways to go about it: 

  • While you are in the location ask to speak to the manager
  • If no manager is available, ask for the manager’s email address or phone number
  • Call and ask to speak to the manager
  • Write a letter, (here’s an example letter that I wrote to an icecream parlor) mail it and follow up with an email or a phone call
  • Ask in your letter that the establishment respond with a plan of what they will be doing to rectify the situation
  • Post a message on Facebook
  • Post a message on Twitter
  • Be persistent

The need for change is highlighted when you have a young child and are forced to meet his or her needs, oftentimes quite urgently. I was recently in a grocery store deli seating area by myself and was thinking perhaps my daughter and I might go there together to eat one day. I took a look around. Lots of chairs, lots of tables but not one high chair or booster chair.

Hmmm..perhaps my toddler and will pay them a little visit. After an hour of her running around the deli they are going to be racing out to buy a high chair!

Good luck in your endeavors whatever they might be!


  1. Way to act on your power, Christina! I admire your persistence. Parents (and children) deserve support.

    1. Thank you! It feels good to have made a change for myself and for others. Plus, it will be nice to have a changing table when we go for icecream.

  2. The only place that I’ve seen that didn’t have a changing table was oddly, a park! You would think that with all the kids there, they would have a changing station. I suppose it’s because their bathrooms aren’t that great to begin with, but it sucks because they don’t want you changing your baby on the grass, yet they don’t have a changing station. The park staff actually said I should change him on the floor on the bathroom. Are you kidding me?! I ended up changing him in my car.

  3. What do “they” say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and in this case it was a cup of cofffee. You are great! Love the comments.

  4. Thank you Mrs. C.! It feels good; i liked the coffee; I look forward to the free icecream. But most importantly, I can’t wait to see those changing tables!

  5. They installed the changing tables last Friday! Thanks for all of your support. I’m very excited.

  6. I would like to make a positive difference in the world, and I do try. But it is hard to get results. For example, in Ontario they have banned the cosmetic use of pesticides. Which means, people are not supposed to put poison on their lawn just to make them look “good” I would like to see that in the USA, or even start with my state of Minnesota, or my city. But the fact is, I can’t even get my mom to stop having dandelion killer put on her lawn. I have given her lots of reasons why it is an unhealthy thing to do for her health, her neighbor’s health, her grandchildren’s health, the planet….. But her only response is “but I can’t have dandelions”.

    1. Have you tried buying one of those tools where you can dig out the dandelions? Perhaps you can show her an alternative way to do it. Perhaps you can the kids could have a dandelion digging day! On a broader scope it’s clearly about legislative action. Getting involved with an environmental group would probably help or starting a campaign in your neighborhood. In my townhouse it was an association so that’s one place to start. With laws for the whole US, that’s a little more challenging. Perhaps start a FB page about the use/misuse of cosmetic pestitisides and see if you can start with some education; petition signing, etc.

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