Social media storm over change table request

A cafe in a little Manawatu town has created a big social media storm after a customer made a request for a change table in the men’s toilets. But it’s not the request that has everyone up in arms, but more the response.

The customer’s request

The message sent privately to the cafe’s Facebook page read (abridged):

“Hi there! We love your cafe … Just some feedback – please consider putting a change table in the men’s toilets. It is dad’s responsibility too to change their baby’s nappy, and not just fall back on mum. It sounds pedantic but it’s a super important way of messaging that looking after our children’s needs is a parental responsibility, not just a mum’s job.”

With no response, a few days later the customer followed up her message and received this reply:

“The reason for the delay in a response is due the fact that we have a lot more on our plate to worry about than another change table being put in the men’s toilet. I have however asked numerous people about their opinion on this and have to say your request is very much in the minority … we endeavour to create an atmosphere of times gone by when mums were the ones who changed their babies, however fathers are more than welcome to use the changing table in the ladies if they request to do so.”

Is the customer always right?

The cafe are well within their rights to reject the request for another change table and have provided a solution, albeit one that not everyone would be comfortable with. It is their business and they are free to run it as they choose (within the laws of NZ). They are also entitled to their opinion that only mums should be changing nappies. Customers are also free to choose where they dine and making a polite request for an improvement would be welcomed by most businesses. The conversation could have ended there but the cafe chose to publish the conversation on their Facebook page and seek opinion on the request which they commented was part of the “PC world we live in”.

Drawing attention to the matter has brought out a variety of responses, ranging from those who say they will never visit the cafe again due to the owner’s outdated view of parenting and the role of dads, and those who are appalled at the treatment of a customer’s request, through to some support for the cafe’s stance, including one person who commented, “You have great food and a great atmosphere. Why change it for some pathetic hen-pecked excuse for a male who needs to stand up to his wife and tell her to sort out the kids nappies.”

Wow. Just wow.

Do you think that parenting has become too “politically correct” or is it just a sign of the times? How do you feel that parenting has changed since your parents’ or grandparents’ time as new mothers and fathers? Join the discussion in the comments below.

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

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  1. Alezandra 03/11/2018 at 9:49 pm

    I read this from Emily Writes Facebook page…and yes, the cafe doing that didn’t help their case at all. And that last comment about hen-pecked male is us going back to the stone ages. There are still people who think this way? 70% of the time I change nappies, but that’s okay, I prefer to do it, but it doesn’t mean it should hinder him to be able to do it for our son too.

  2. kymmage 02/11/2018 at 7:29 pm

    I think that the times have truly changed. My DH stayed at home for a time while I worked fulltime. Some dad’s don’t have a partner to change the nappies – maybe she left, or passed away or maybe she is actually a he – all valid reasons why he might have to change a nappy. Businesses need to get with the times if they want to be relevant in the future as well. It’s short term thinking to shut the idea/customer suggestion down. Putting a change table in the men’s or switching to unisex stalls does more good for your business than bad.

  3. dawnblyth 31/10/2018 at 7:08 pm

    I think it is a shame that in today’s society men are not expected to parent their children equally with the mother. The father contributed to making that children so should share equal responsibility with the mother. To have a response of ‘its the mother’s job to change the nappy’ etc is really an out of date, unacceptable approach to parenting. As for asking for a change table so that men can actually change their children is a warranted request. I bet that if the male then went into the female toilets to try and change the child then there would be complaints about this. Make it easy for parents to change their child – quite simple really!

  4. Shelz69 31/10/2018 at 2:08 pm

    I think it is a disappointing response from the Cafe. I can’t understand there is a cost, but surely it would of been better to say something like “that is a great idea, and we will look at implementing that in the future when we have some more money in the budget” Seems like a bit of a negative response. The guy has a point and I like the point mention by felicty to make it a uni sex toilet.

  5. felicity beets 29/10/2018 at 4:47 pm

    I don’t think they needed to spend more money – they could have used the bathroom as a unisex one. My partner often takes the kids out on his own and he should not have to ask to use the women’s rooms to change a nappy. I do think that the issue was more with the cafe’s response than them not having a change table in the men’s bathroom.

  6. Mands1980 29/10/2018 at 8:27 am

    My husband hardly ever changed nappys and I never forced the issue he was out working while I stayed at home and looked after the kids. I do know things have changed and change areas should be more accessible for males there has been a bit in the media about this and females complaining about males in the baby change rooms that don’t say female only. Females need to change there views on this I think.

  7. Bevik1971 26/10/2018 at 1:53 pm

    Gee whizz! My partner has been stay at home Dad to our now 5 year old since she was 6 months. He has come across issues when out and about when she was younger with toilet/changing etc – he would actually not go into town at times as this caused issues. I can understand not being able to offer a shared room in smaller cafes etc but I doubt that the Dad going into the women’s bathroom to change baby would go down well!! I do think that parenting and actually the world has become far too “PC” in a lot of things.

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