Kroger grocery store bathroom. A protest.

by mssinglemama on May 31, 2009

There are few things in life that really upset me, the Kroger Grocery Store bathroom is one of them.

If you’ve been reading my blog for these past (nearly) two years you’ll notice that I rarely complain about anything. It’s just not my style. I also feel that, despite being a single mom, I have it pretty damn good.

But this is something I couldn’t let slide.

Benjamin is potty training.

His bowel movements now control my every waking moment especially when we are out and away from the comfort of our own potty. Outside of my short time in Texas and my post-separation year at Mom’s, I have been living in Grandview, a small and deliciously sweet oasis in Columbus since graduating college.

Over the course of the past 8 years I have always shopped at the two local grocery stores – one being the Kroger on Chambers. I couldn’t begin to guess how much money I’ve actually spent there but I’m sure it’s over $10,000. And in all of that time I’ve never had to use their restroom.

That all ended a few weeks ago when Benjamin shouted, “I gotta pee Mommy!!!! I got TO PEE!”.

I dropped our cart, grabbed the kid and made a mad dash for the bathrooms. I was expecting your typical grocery restroom, slightly neglected perhaps and possessing that hard to place grocery store bathroom odor. But I was not expecting this.

This is absolutely disgusting.

As soon as the door swung open I let out a scream and then a, “gross!” Benjamin repeated me, “gross, Mommy!” I had my camera with me and being a former reporter, now blogger and a very, very, very angry mommy I took pictures.

kroger-grocery-store-bathroom-columbus-chambers-road

krogerbathroom3

Between these photos Benjamin actually had to use this bathroom. You can see stuff in the bowl there and on the floor in the corners, I don’t need to go into detail. But also the toilet paper and the waste can.

There’s also a sign telling employees to wash their hands. So the employees use this restroom? So sad and also disgusting that they actually then go out and touch our food. If this is what their public restroom looks like imagine what the employees restroom must look like.

I am sure the Kroger Corporation will be quite upset with me for publishing these photos but that is not my problem.

This is their problem. Making moms actually watch their little ones pee on this toilet, resting their hands on the seat – that is their problem.

I have a challenge for you – because I have a bit of a rebellious spirit, if you hadn’t noticed, take a picture of your local grocery store bathroom and post it on your own blog or to your Twitter account (use your cell phone to take pictures).

I will link to the results from this post so we can start a nice little collection and hold these grocery stores accountable. And, really, how hard is it to clean a damn bathroom?

We do it every day.

Related posts:

  1. A Christmas miracle…I got to go to the grocery…alone.
  2. Sweet Nothings
  3. My worst enemy…
  4. Adventures in Potty Training

{ 1 trackback }

2cb.us — Blog — Kid Tested: Kroger Potty FAILS
December 3, 2009 at 5:03 pm

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Seth Simonds May 31, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I don't think you'll find a lot of grocery stores with similar bathroom set-ups. The super cheap ones? Yes. But you're dealing with the Aldi's of the world and those come with different expectations.

If you look at how Kroger's handles every other aspect of their brand online (except for the site, which is navigable) you'll see a gaping void of activity. If they care, they're not in a position to see your remarks or respond. That's the difficult place we're all in with social media and business.

Until they develop an aggressive social media presence, your best bet is probably to talk to the store manager. Sorry, dude. Best of luck with the potty training!

Reply

Lucy May 31, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Here in Australia the grocery stores dont have toilets.Usually grocery stores are in malls and the toilets are usually (99% of the time) quite clean.

Reply

Anonymous May 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Do you have Kroger stores in Australia? Just curious as to what chains are there.

Reply

Ameya May 31, 2009 at 12:30 pm

PP: If there is a post about a company, someone will end up linking it, or a reporter will get wind of it or something. Most companies have crappy online presence, but they still are affected by what happens online.

I went into a Kroger bathroom many years ago. Haven't gone back sense. I just love how they put it back by the warehouse part, making me feel guilty & like i'm trespassing for even going back there = Ugh. I now live by a particularly "ghetto" kroger, so we've been doing our shopping at meijer's lately. Ah, nice, clean meijer with bathrooms right by the door (pregnant ladies appreciate these things!)

Reply

~kris~ May 31, 2009 at 12:55 pm

It's been a couple of years since I've been in our local Kroger's restroom – I avoid that store at all costs!! When I did visit it, it looked very similar to the photos you've posted and what could never be captured in a photo – the awful smell, was even worse! I too had a little one with me and I just cringed at the thought of having to sit him on that potty. But what are you supposed to do with a 3 year old that has to go NOW?!

Reply

corrin May 31, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Ick…that's one of the many reasons I don't shop at Kroger or Walmart, their bathrooms are atrocious. If they let customers see that, what aren't they letting customers see?

Reply

Maggie May 31, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Bravo–this is EXACTLY how people should be using social media! That is just disgusting and the store should be held accountable, as should every other place that sells food.

Reply

MommaSunshine May 31, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Here in my (relatively) small city in Canada, I have been forced to use grocery store washrooms that have been in horrible, horrible condition – the kind of condition that makes a bar restroom at 2:00 a.m. look not so bad….

Good for you for putting this out there. These companies need to be held accountable.

Reply

Proud Canuck Mama May 31, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Great idea and use of your blog!
My little one is not potty training yet, but I dread the day I have to use one of those washrooms…

Reply

won May 31, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Your point is totally valid. Grosssssss!!!!

However, until you gain momentum in that movement, you might want to consider investing twenty bucks in a travel potty such as one like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-L1496-Potty-On

Reply

MindyMom May 31, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Yes, public bathrooms are the worst part about potty training. In all my years of being a mom – and several road trips with kids in my past – I've learned that McDonald's usually does a pretty good job of keeping their bathrooms clean. It is particularly appalling when a bathroom in a place that handles food is filthy. Good for you for calling Kroger out.

Reply

Pete May 31, 2009 at 2:53 pm

I live in Central Ohio too… and Kroger and Wal-Mart always have the worst bathrooms around. I'm pretty sure they just don't care. Meijer, Giant Eagle, Buehler's, etc… all tend to have nice bathrooms. The way they treat their facilities tells me how much they really care about you. Kroger and Wal-mart get little of my business anymore.

Reply

Steph May 31, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Good for you for putting this out there and holding your Kroger accountable. I love our Kroger, but the bathroom is lacking as well – not overly dirty, but very small and in the stocking section, plus no changing station which is hard with toddlers. Did you comment to the store manager too, I hope?

Reply

Sheila May 31, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Bleah. UGH.

My worst nightmare was when I visited El Paso with my ex, as he wanted to move there. There were absolutely NO toilet seat covers in any of the public restrooms we visited. That alone sealed the deal for me … no way, no how would I be able to live there.

Reply

Leslie Poston May 31, 2009 at 3:36 pm

GROSS

Reply

Jack May 31, 2009 at 4:54 pm

As much as I agree that gross bathrooms are, well, gross… I think we're overreacting a little here. Maybe the pictures don't do it justice, I don't know.

Even "clean-looking" bathrooms are loaded with bacteria. I don't think the sparkling bathroom at [insert store here] is any more germ-free or clean than the one with the towel dispensers hanging off the wall and graffiti everywhere.

The bowl is really all that matters. All the other stuff…irrelevant. You should always have wipes with you anyway. Wipe things down the best you can–with your own wipes, toilet paper, or paper toweling… and let 'er rip. You're gonna get germy at -every- public bathroom, no matter how clean it looks. Take a bath that night, and move on with your lives. ;)

Reply

MissIve May 31, 2009 at 4:59 pm

We talked about our similar experiences writing copy for marketers who don't "get the social media thing." (I hope I can say that here now!) Ironically, when I was doing that, I tried to get Kroger on board with something that would give them more of a Social Media presence.

Like Seth mentioned above, they don't have one. Yet they tend to have a reputation for being very community-minded and supporting local events through sponsorship.

I'm yammering on in reaction to what Seth said. I tend to think it's things like this that get corporations off their dirty-bathroom-sitting asses and get them IN the game. They have to. Why to cover those dirty asses. Right?

I have a Kroger near my house. I'll forward pics soon. They'll hear about this. (How? Because we'll email their marketing department the link. Yuh HUH!) They'll come to this site. They'll read what people are saying, and they'll do something, not only about their bathrooms, but about the fact that they don't have a presence out "here."

Feeling optimistic and mildly nauseous,

Jen/@MissIve

Reply

christine May 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm

i am going to go to my most frequented grocery store today, just to take pictures and show you (and Kroger) the difference. the bathrooms at this particular store are FABULOUS.

this is disgusting. looks more like a gas station restroom.

Reply

Mandy S. May 31, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I KNOW! It's VASTLY different from the other grocery store bathroom (I live in grandview too). I'm pregnant and have had to use the bathroom at both stores several times in the past few months. Kroger's is disgusting and has been for years (I've been living here for 10 + years too!) Maybe someone from there will read this and fix it????? Unlikely…

Reply

Amy May 31, 2009 at 8:15 pm

I don't think I have ever been to the bathroom in Kroger, but our Meijer bathroom is so disgusting–pee on the seats, smeared poop in one stall, clogged toilets, TP on the floor, etc. Walmart is even worse. McDonald's is scary too. The only clean public bathrooms I have found are at the family owned feed store, at Chick-fil-a, and at Fazoli's. By the way, no bathrooms around here have those seat covers! I feel lucky if they have soap in the dispensers, seriously…

Reply

Wind2Energy May 31, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Honestly, that's not too bad when compared to many others I've seen – where you get to wind your way through the loading dock before coming to a filthy men's bathroom with no place to change a baby's diapers but on the even filthier floor. It was for this reason that I always carried my trusty REI diaper backpack with the built-in changing pad.

Reply

Star May 31, 2009 at 8:33 pm

This isn't really related but sort of is…since I'm currently doing the "post separation living at mom's" can you elaborate on how you made it through that? It's just AWFUL and I don't feel like myself and I just can't seem to get a handle on how to do this with a smile on my face and make it through…
-Star

Reply

Irishmom June 1, 2009 at 1:22 am

I first encountered this issue when my son was potty training too. Because when you think about it, when would you generally use the restroom at a grocery store? The store that I encountered a similar looking bathroom was Giant, but this was quite a few years ago. The variety of what you will find is astounding from pretty clean and decent to downright disgusting. I don't care what anyone says – how their public bathrooms are kept will have a strong influence on whether or not I will shop there again, especially with little ones in tow – who inevitably need to use the bathroom even when they are potty trained. I would give Target and Harris Teeter (in our area) the biggest thumbs up and this is mainly where I shop. Sorry you had this bad experience and thanks for drawing attention to it – is there any way you could approach the manager?

Reply

Anne June 1, 2009 at 2:06 am

I have 3 children and its very hard when your potty training them. Its easy for us as adults to not touch a thing, its another thing when you have a 2-3 year old that you need to hold over a potty because it is just nasty. I think your post here is something that is needed and I do hope the information and pictures get back to the store and they are held accountable.

Reply

Cheryl June 1, 2009 at 3:41 pm

It is very odd how they "hide" their restrooms in the warehouse/employee area, which deters people from even going into the restroom, and then once you're in there, ugh. I've never seen a clean Kroger bathroom and I've been in at least 3 different ones.

Reply

Katie June 2, 2009 at 12:24 am

Gross, I am so glad we don't have Krogers here. I used to shop at a Safeway here, but now since they put in a Wegmans never again, because hello, organic foods, huge selection, clean, helpful, customer service oriented employees, more than two cashiers open, and much nicer bathrooms. Way nicer. They actually also have family ones there and at Ikea.

Reply

MamaMeg June 3, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Sample Clorox wipes and Lysol and the Ikea $5 potty chair will become your best friend. I now carry a back pack with all of my "equipment" – no, not the potty chair – it lives in the trunk.

Reply

Denise June 28, 2009 at 9:44 pm

THAT IS NASTY! I hate Kroger – I don't shop there much anymore. There have been times that I have written a note and left it on the back of the door at public bathroom (like in Target, they have a little check list). Anyways, I've basically written a note saying, Clean your restroom – its nasty! and left it there for whoever goes in for a potty check. I used to work at Bed, Bath and Beyond, and we would get in trouble with managers if our restroom wasn't clean. plus, our secret shoppers also rated us on our bathroom.

it's completely uncalled for. If you want your restrooms to be public, clean them and keep them up to par. If not, don't allow the public to use it because it's just nasty!

Reply

Abby Carter June 29, 2009 at 1:07 am

Grocery store washrooms are the new gas station washrooms. When will they get it together? These days a grocery store and a restaurant have similar functions. Surely the local health inspectors should hold both to the same standards.

Reply

Clinton F. July 11, 2009 at 12:53 am

This reminds me of how many Food Lion restrooms look. Around here, they are almost always located in the stockroom which really turns me off. And they aren't that clean. The one in Target is starting 2 get bad 2. The worst I'd say are McDonalds, Taco "Bell", and Walmart. Martin's (owned by Giant) is usually decent.

Reply

leah July 20, 2009 at 7:23 pm

ugh! What a disgrace. I really like this blog in particular because it’s something that we can all, unfortunately, relate to very, very well. I must say that Krogers in general are very unsanitary. I knew someone who was an assistant manager at my local Krogers. He told people not to buy anything that can be touched by the employees- like fresh produce. Apparently, they do not live up to sanitation standards and whatever can be contaminated- is.
In Dayton we have Dorothy Lane Markets. They cost a little bit more, but I can tell you with the utmost sincerity that I have never once been disappointed in my purchases or experiences there. I LOVE going there and just shmoozing for a while because it’s beautiful, the employees are extremely friendly, and it’s CLEAN! And by the way- their bathrooms- although in the back (it’s a small grocery) are absolutely spotless, tidy, and always stocked up.
Great blog!

Reply

arscuore July 21, 2009 at 6:55 am

My Kroger (including the bathrooms) is pretty nice, actually. And it’s so much easier not to touch anything when you have a boy who can stand up to pee…

Reply

Mr. B. July 29, 2009 at 1:33 pm

As an employee of one of Kroger’s subsidiary stores, I can confirm that the issue is not uncommon. The general feeling is that since these are retail stores and not restaurants, use of their typical back room “facilities” by customers might be requireded in case of dire emergency, but need not be encouraged. I’m certain there may be personal injury liability issues involved with customers accessing the back warehouse areas and never forget the potential for shoplifters to carefully conceal goods once hidden behind such closed doors. Fellow employees are equally disgusted with the conditions of some bathrooms – both for employee use exclusively and those also available to the public. So far as I know, there are longer assigned cleaning tasks for bathrooms scheduled in stores (whereas scheduled cleaning charts had once been clearly posted). Why not? – because cleaning would require additional employee time and payroll. It is a fact of our times, the economy, and huge corporations in general, that as little time as possible need be spent on such niceties so long as there is letter of the local laws compliance. Employee hours and positions have been continually cut and directly profit enhancing tasks dramatically increased during the past couple years. Kroger announced surprisingly high profits to it’s stockholders during the recessive past year – I believe the figure was an increase of 4.5% in it’s food based stores – a figure which was well above most of their direct competitors. Continually increasing profit is always going to be the primary concern, and in this economy especially, pinching every available penny to please shareholders will continue to override both customer and employee concerns. How sad… for all.

Reply

Anonymous August 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Kroger Restroom Lee monument As as Richmond VA really use the Bathroom WAL MART At and do you Need to go Restroom

Reply

Anonymous August 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

I actually really like this blog, even though I work in a Kroger in Texas as a cashier. The very few times I’m allowed to go to the bathroom it’s terrible! The employee restrooms are even worse; I don’t know why, maybe they care less about there employees than the customers. I wouldn’t be surprised.
What REALLY sucks is the crap I have to put up every time I go to work. I get cussed out, I’ve had people call me a bitch, a stupid dyke, an idiot(today), and many other names along with an entire list of complaints that usually happen because the machine messes up, I mess up and can’t fix it by myself, or the manager is too lazy to do anything about it.
I’ve been with Kroger for over two years, and I’m desperately looking for a new job. I wouldn’t ever recommend working/shopping there, the management does nothing but complain, sit on there ass, and when you make a complaint they all just make fun of you behind your back.
It’s the crappiest place in the world; seriously my own personal Hell on earth.
I’ve had several occasions where grown men have grabbed me, or touched me inappropriately, and no one cared. I’m a 19-year-old girl! Isn’t that against the law or something?
I would not recommend ever having your kids work there, nor do I recommend going there in general.
Seriously.
It sucks.

Reply

Tracy October 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

All u people suck!!!! No, employees that work retail would rather you disgusting people NOT use our restrooms!!!!!! Who do you think makes them nasty in the first place??!!!!!! Go pee at home before you come shopping!!!!!

Reply

Tania April 19, 2013 at 8:50 am

Hello, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the
favor?.I’m trying to to find things to improve my site!I assume its adequate to use a few of your ideas!!

Reply

Edison May 7, 2013 at 12:04 am

Hey, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

Reply

Coque galaxy s3 batterie June 5, 2013 at 12:21 am

Bonjour, Je suis une jeune femme de 30 printemps !

Mes parents m’ont appellée Olivie et j’aime beaucoup ce prénom.

J’ai repris des études pour devenir chanteuse ! Il est dit souvent de moi que je suis joyeuse.

Reply

JamJulLison December 30, 2013 at 3:07 am

I am aware this is an old blog post but I thought I would post my 2-cents. I just started at Kroger. We have 2 bathrooms. An employee one in the back and the customer one in the front. Now something to keep in mind is Kroger has no regular janitorial staff. Instead the baggers have to do it. Baggers have to bag groceries, bring in carts, change the trash (inside and outside), clean the bathrooms and lot of other stuff for minimum wage. A lot of these baggers only half ass it. Likely because they feel they aren’t getting paid enough cause really they aren’t. When someone isn’t very well appreciated and not paid much, they are not likely to try as hard. I personally take pride in my work and do my best to make our bathrooms as clean as I can. But they don’t give us any actual training for it. Don’t even tell us which cleaner to use for what. They just tell us to go do it and expect us to know. Since a lot of baggers are young, they aren’t going to know what is what. Not to mention even older people sometimes has issues figuring out which thing is which. I sure did. It isn’t like we use generic cleaners that we can instantly figure out what is for what. Still the bathroom in the pictures above is rediculas. Though with the stuff messed up on the walls, a bagger isn’t going to know how to fix that stuff. Management needs to bring in someone qualified. One last thing though. Baggers have a hard time getting their jobs done because they often called to the front when they are in the middle of doing their assigned task. If you ever wonder why Walmart’s bathrooms usually look better it is cause they have a real janitorial staff. Something Kroger really needs.

Reply

Sondra August 30, 2014 at 6:50 am

Gret post but I waas wondering if you could write
a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate
a little bit more. Kudos!

Reply

Camp September 9, 2014 at 10:52 am

Kroger has over 2,400 stores in the U.S, and provides service for hundreds of thousands of customers daily. With the high volume traffic that the stores experience, plus the absolute disrespect that customers have for the stores property, it makes it very difficult to maintain the stores to Kroger standards.

Reply

best grow boxes December 19, 2014 at 1:48 am

If you come across a cheap and bountiful supply of the fresh herb, you can dry it slowly in a
very low oven before crumbling it and storing in airtight jars.

If you grow basil and it’s not getting enough light, the first signal you’ll get is that it will
start to get ‘leggy’ – i. The outside leaves of the cabbage – steamed gently for five minutes1
cup cooked mince meat OR cooked chick peas and lentils if vegetarian.

Reply

Leave a Comment