New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Store Policies

There was a time in NYC, where if you needed to use a public bathroom, you were in deep trouble. The city was harsh - there was no sympathy for body functions.
Reading magazines or newspapers was also forbidden. Newstands had signs posted that reading was not allowed. Signs like "No Reading. This is not a library" were common. If you wanted to check the time of a movie in a newspaper or magazine, you had to buy it. Or suffer some unknown consequences.
Admittedly, the tremendous volume of tourist traffic, commuters and the local population including many homeless, makes it difficult to maintain a friendly policy.
Times have improved, but the bathroom situation is still a problem. Some business establishments actually claim there is no bathroom, which is ludicrous if there are any humans working there. Others are more honest, like the green grocer whose sign in the photo clearly states that "restrooms are only for customers"
Why have things changed? I believe the invasion of national chain stores. The more liberal policies of suburban retailers have migrated to the city along with the stores themselves. Barnes and Noble superstores and Starbucks are two who have had an impact. When Barnes and Noble started carrying magazines, created in-store cafes and provided extremely liberal reading policies, magazine stands really had no choice but to follow in order to compete.
Although many bemoan the influx of large national chains into the city and worry that they will destroy the character of New York, I do reluctantly admit that the bits of comfort that these stores offer in a city that can at times be cold and inhospitable are welcome. In the love/hate world that is New York, I embrace these store policies ...

Postings of Interest: Green Grocer, No Salga Afuera, Cuts One Way.


Anonymous said...

Honestly, god bless Starbucks for supplying a place to go to the bathroom pretty much every other block.

I rarely buy anything there I guess I should feel guilty.

ken mac said...

If we must thanks Starbucks for restrooms we can still blame them for some of the worst coffee in the city, or anywhere! But hey, a small price to pay for relief. Excuse me, I have to take a nap at Home Depot, then shower up at K Mart.

Brian said...

anonymous & ken;

I see the love/hate relationship right here with Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

Your story is a typical big city love hate relationship. The owners love customers but hate the cost of clean up because there is no money in it.

I think they have seen the light of day. Big box stores and some little ones too who are national chains like McDonalds and Wal-Mart have some of the cleanest bathrooms in Ohio. I would think that would carry over to bigger cities.

naomid said...

NYC is totally a subculture of do's and dont's of store rules. It has to be that way to keep the crazies from splattering coffee across shelves of comics. I have seen it.

I feel like the best NYC vs Non-NYC example can be found at McDonalds. Outside of the city the arches always offer a clean bathroom, where as in the city its completely foul.

Just Roaming The Cities said...

In Downtown Minneapolis they have literally taken all the seating and public restroom access out of the shopping areas indoors, because of the homeless problems. So now even if you're wanting a rest as you spend $125 on a bag at Macy's, you have to go outside and find a bench, and hope the weather holds out! Its sad, but its reality. The stores are immaculate, but there's no relaxation allowed unless you purchase something to earn the right to sit down.