A few days ago I wrote about the shocking state of many of the baby changing rooms I had used. The inspiration for this post was a particularly dreadful baby changing room in Debenhams Bath branch.
Following my article Georgia, the Selling Support Manager for the branch has been in touch to discuss the current condition of their toilets. Georgia was very pleasant and started by appologising and emphatically agreeing that the current condition of all of the toilet facilities in store are not acceptable. We then went on to discuss the two main topics covered by my article, the state of repair and the cleanliness of the baby changing room.
Regarding the state of repair, Georgia advised me that the hole in the baby changing room wall had been reported to her by a member of staff three weeks ago, however there were no plans to fix it until later in the new year when all toilets would “hopefully” be refurbished.
While I can understand ignoring small issues of repair prior to a refurbishment, I do feel that a large hole in the wall of an area specifically designed for babies and children does deserve more urgent attention.
Next we discussed the state of cleanliness in the baby changing room. Georgia confided in me that she had only been manager of the store for 3 months and had been utterly dismayed by how busy the store became around Christmas. She informed me that the toilets had not been cleaned because there was always several people waiting to use them and she didn’t feel able to close them for cleaning because she didn’t want to receive complaints.
This sadly did not match with my experience of the baby changing rooms. When I arrived (at around lunch time when I would expect them to be busiest) I was able to walk straight in and when I left another patron was only just arriving. I queries Georgia about the discrepancy between her description and my experience and after sounding shocked she conceded that she had been referring to the ladies toilets not the baby changing rooms. She also admitted that she had never inspected any of the toilet facilities herself until she had received my complaint.
I suggested to Georgia that if she was unwilling to close the baby changing room for cleaning due to the possibility of complains, perhaps it would be an option to place a fold away baby changing table in the disabled toilet, as was done at several other locations I had visited. She agreed that this was a good idea and promised to discuss the possibility with the Buildings Maintenance Manager, however she informed me that she was unable to make any decision regarding this matter herself.
Regarding a immediate fix to the situation. Georgia confirmed that the baby changing room hadn’t been cleaned properly for several days when I used them. She also advised me that they hadn’t been cleaned since. This was rather shocking as it meant that the facilities had not been cleaned on over 5 days! She did however inform me that she is trying to arrange for the baby changing room to be deep cleaned after hours in the near future, but that she was struggling to arrange staff for this so was unable to say when. I would assume that until this takes place the baby changing room will continue to remain uncleaned.
All in all, although Georgia was an extremely pleasant individual and invited me to return to the store in the new year when she promised that I would see an improvement in the cleanliness of the baby changing room, if not an improvement of the repair. I was left feeling that the revolting conditions of the baby changing rooms, and from Georgia’s admission, toilet facilities in general, are down to a severe lack of planning and organisation on the part of the store managers and a general approach that it doesn’t matter what condition the facilities are in, as long as they are kept open.