TN woman charged to use restroom - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN woman charged to use restroom

Posted: Updated:

By Laura T. Coffey, TODAY

ERIN, TN (NBC) -- When you gotta go, you gotta go — but, of course, most restaurants only want paying customers to use their restrooms. One restaurant in Tennessee opted to take this issue to a whole new level by charging fees for non-paying potty use.

Patricia Barnes recently rushed into a restaurant called The Flood Zone in Erin, TN, and asked a woman behind the counter if she could use the bathroom. She got permission and quietly did her business.

A few days later, she received a handwritten note from the restaurant in the mail. Barnes was stunned.

"I don't feel it was a crime," she said. "I've been into plenty of restaurants here in this town and other towns, and, you know, other states."

The note mentioned a sign that specifically states the restaurant would charge a $5 fee to anyone who isn't a customer. Barnes said she didn't see the note until an employee approached her after she left the restroom.

"It was a little index card at the very bottom of the mirror.  I didn't look in the mirror at all that day," Barnes said.

The restaurant's owner tracked Barnes down by writing down her vehicle license plate and having the sheriff trace it to its owner. (The bill was addressed to "Mrs. Edwards;" Barnes' husband's name is Randy Edwards.)

"I just thought it was unbelievable," she said. "I'm like, what type of people are these?"

Barnes went back to the restaurant and offered to pay the $5, but the owners refused. She then mailed them a certified money order, but that came back. The owner apparently changed her mind about the bill, saying she only wanted to make a point.

Thursday on TODAY, celebrity chef and restaurant owner Bobby Flay called the incident "totally ridiculous."

Having members of the public come into your establishment only to use the restroom is "just part of doing business," he said. It also shows good will on the part of the owner.

"There's plenty of people that come to the restaurant, use the bathroom and leave, and that's the way it goes," Flay said.

  • Most Popular on WRCBtv.comMost Popular on WRCBtv.comMore>>

  • Special Kneads: A new Georgia bakery

    Special Kneads: A new Georgia bakery

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:18:16 GMT
     A small bakery in Georgia is getting big support from the community.  The bakery is also getting noticed for what it's doing that is unlike anywhere else and a hint is in the name.

    More
     A small bakery in Georgia is getting big support from the community.  The bakery is also getting noticed for what it's doing that is unlike anywhere else and a hint is in the name.


    More
  • Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

    Civil disobedience expected in fast-food pay fight

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:50 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:50:53 GMT
    McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry's workers.More
    McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast-food restaurants are expected to be targeted with acts of civil disobedience that could lead to arrests Thursday as labor organizers escalate their campaign to unionize the industry's workers.More
  • Vols' "3rd Down for What" is a hit inside Neyland Stadium

    Vols' "3rd Down for What" is a hit inside Neyland Stadium

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-09-02 04:00:16 GMT
    Sports - Tennessee VolsSports - Tennessee Vols
    If General Neyland were around today it's safe to say Lil Jon and "Turn Down for What" wouldn't be on his iPod, but you have to wonder if he'd be bobbing his head to the remix inside the stadium named after him. More
    If General Neyland were around today it's safe to say Lil Jon and "Turn Down for What" wouldn't be on his iPod, but you have to wonder if he'd be bobbing his head to the remix inside the stadium named after him. More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.