mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The right to... pee?

I was at the gym yesterday (yes, I know, that's unusual. I'm fat) and the TV in front of the treadmill I was on happened to have CNN Headline News on. They were talking about how "sometimes you go to a small store with a child and they need to use the bathroom but the store tells you that the bathroom is only for employees. Well, in some states the law may require that they let you use the bathroom".

The conversation went somethng like this:

TV girl 1: Well, that happens to me a lot. Especially at Subway. I never knew that.

TV girl 2: What, you didn't think you had the right to go to the bathroom?

TV girl 1: Yes, you need to assert your right to the bathroom.

Now, it's been a while since I've perused the bill of rights. I remember some stuff about free speech and bearing arms and how to pick the president, but nothing about the right to pee.

Now, I would imagine many businesses want to accomidate their customers, and thus will let them use the bathroom. But I don't think that they should be required to - and for many businesses, especially ones near busy areas or bars, there are legitimate reasons for them not to want to open their bathrooms to anyone - the costs associated with maintaining those bathrooms, especially after some drunk guy pukes in them.

What the government here is trying to do is take private property - a business owner's bathroom - and make it a public good. This means that people with weak bladders get the benfit of being able to pee whenever they want, but that the business owner has to bear the cost. It's nothing more than a government-mandated redistribution of private resources to the public sector.

Now, as a person with a weak bladder and a nasty coffee habit, I like public restrooms. I will patronize businesses with decent bathrooms, and make a point of avoiding those that don't. (I've found Target, Barnes and Noble, and Borders to have fairly decent ones). But I don't think that businesses should be required to.


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