Open Letter: Dear person in charge of ordering bathroom supplies for restaurants…
I don’t usually patronize restaurants that feature all-you-can-eat anything, except maybe salad bars. I know, I know, I sound like a snob. But truth be told, I have never gotten my money’s worth at any all-you-can-eat buffet in my entire life. I mean really, who can eat that much?
That being said, when my college friends came to town and wanted to try the free-for-all-gorge-yourself chili night at a restaurant downtown, I caved, resolving myself to the fact that being a good host was more important that my silly aversion to waiting in line and watching food fly from heated basins. And while the night should have passed uneventfully, it has gone down in history (at least, my personal history) as the worst bathroom experience ever! What follows is a first-hand account of my all-you-can-eat-chili experience and the horror that ensued:
No one should eat that much chili. No one.
Okay, so first … chili is a hearty, heavy, heart-attack-waiting-to-happen sort of food. Why anyone wants to attempt an all-you-can-eat-chili-adventure is beyond my comprehension. My friends, who were more than ten years out of college, still long for the days of pushing the envelope, so that’s what I’m thinking they were thinking (or, more accurately, weren’t thinking). At any rate, I sat with the three of them, two men and one woman, and watched as they attacked giant spoonful after spoonful of the meaty creations, smothered in cheese and onions no less. As I half-enjoyed my salad with a dollop of chili on top (hey, I was being a good sport), I wondered how long it would be before one of them would realize they’d had too much. Way too much. But suddenly, I felt that pain—you know the one, when you realize something just did not agree with you. While I was puzzling out why my stomach was in knots (and not the thoroughly-abused internal organs of my friends), I knew that I had to get to the bathroom, and fast.
What came next: not for the faint of heart!
I excused myself, walked briskly to the restroom (as briskly as I could, given my current physical predicament) and found the first stall not only filthy, but out of toilet paper! Moving onto the next stall, as the bottom half of my body threatened to spontaneously combust, I discovered the same situation, only a bit messier—no TP! My knees buckling, I felt like I was about to explode as I made my way to the third and final stall with a soft whimper.
The floor was covered in what I prayed was water and the toilet seat was down. I took my chances, as I knew things were about to get much uglier, and closed and latched the stall door. Lifting the toilet seat cover, just in time, I went to sit and knew immediately why there was no toilet paper in any of the other stalls—it was all in this toilet! Completely overstuffed with TP.
It was too late for me to bail and besides, where would I have gone? This stall was the only one with any paper left. And to my complete horror, when I reached for the patch of fluffy white salvation … there were only two, just two, tiny TP squares stuck to that mocking cardboard roll!
Don’t leave us hanging!
So, to those of you who are tasked with ensuring that your restaurant always has toilet paper, remember this story and keep it stocked! And be mindful of the fact that if you skimp and buy the cheap stuff, you’re putting all of your customers in danger of experiencing my nightmare. Because the cheaper the TP, the more they’ll have to use. And the more they have to use, the more often you’re going to run out.
Have mercy and get the quality stuff that won’t fall apart or feel like sandpaper. And while I’ve got your attention, maybe it’s time to rethink that all-you-can-eat-chili-night!