changing tables

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!