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woman receives $5 bill at home, for using "restroom at restaurant, with help from sheriff

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But sometimes, it’ll cost ya.

That was the lesson one woman learned, in a major way, after making a bathroom pit stop at a local restaurant in Erin, Tennessee.

More on Shine: What Can I do to Avoid Germs in a Public Restroom?

The bizarre tale began when Patricia Barnes stopped into the Flood Zone to use the restroom, which she did, before leaving without making a purchase. Then, a few days after her powder-room visit, Barnes received a handwritten note—mailed to her home—saying she owed the restaurant $5.

“I just feel like I’ve been violated,” she told WSMV-TV in Nashville, whose reporters broke the story last week after a several-month investigation (the incident occurred in late October). In addition, she said on the Today show Thursday, "I didn't feel it was a crime. I'd been in to plenty of restaurants here in this town, and other towns, and, you know, other states."

Turns out the local sheriff helped track Barnes down by running her license plate, all as a favor to the owner of the restaurant. The owner was miffed that the non-customer ignored a sign about the bathroom being for customers only, and that non-customers had to pay $5 for the privilege.

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Don't go to Europe

If you drive highways in Europe through Czech republic,hungary,Serbia.It is customary to leave some change at the public restrooms to help pay for water,soap,paper.Wait till things get tight here.In Germany at Mickey D's.You want ketchup.You pay extra for it.Not everywhere can you demand my free stuff in this world.Ask any illegal that comes here.What they get for free before they got here.They come for free stuff too.

Money talks and dogs bark

I think some people

Are missing what is wrong with this article. Of course the woman was wrong for using a privately owned restaurants restroom without buying something. What is really wrong, is that a sheriff gave out her home address to a private citizen, which is highly illegal, and an abuse of his power, and for him to have a 'no big deal' attitude, is scary.

When a restaurant says that the restrooms

are for customers it means that the restrooms are for customers.

When I'm on the road I stop at McDonalds for the restroom because an ice tea is $1. Convenience store gas stations have bottled water for cheap. I always buy something if I want to use their facilities because it's polite to do so even if they don't require it.

Read my comment above

Read my comment above

I love

I love that you got down votes on this.

Obviously if you put a restroom in your business the public has free access to it and you must pay for all the costs of maintaining it. Duh.

Eric Hoffer



She should sue

What if a serial killer claimed he needed her address? The sheriff is just going to give out her address? Sue the sheriff!

Or, respect other people property

their rights to that property, and all contracts you agree to by using that property.

This lady is everything wrong with society. Everyone thinks they can do whatever the hell they want - they are entitled to it.
She is a leach. She is a shameless fool.

Not only that - how in the name of Jesus H Christ can this get national news attention!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read my comment above

Read my comment above

She'll lose.

Both the restaurant owner and the Sheriff are within the law. The posted sign is an offer to contract. If you use the bathroom you agree to the contract (provided the sign is posted in an easily visible location).

She left without paying the $5. The sheriff's duty is to enforce contracts when one of the parties to the contract requests assistance due to the fact it cannot be handled privately between the contractees.

Is this really LAME? Yes. Is it unlawful? Nope.

The concept is similar to when you sit down in a restaurant and order food - you're expected to pay for it even though there is no written or verbal contract. It's a presumption of contract. There was no objection to the sign therefore the terms of the contract were accepted. Silence is acquiescence (tacit agreement).

The visible sign

has to publish the amount of the fine for all to see. If there is no fine listed on the sign, it's a misdemeanor or what we call "a slap on the wrist." There was no "crime" committed as in she could have been arrested.

If the owner found out that Patricia had used the bathroom without purchasing AND the owner had informed Patricia of her violation (and I'm talking about a sign with no fine published) while on his property, she could be considered a trespasser and we have a completely different case.

The search by the Sheriff WAS illegal because the owner did not tell the Sheriff that he/she wanted to prosecute.

That's in WA state, though.

If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.

Good points

I agree.

Guess that place will lose a bunch of business now imo.

p.s. this is what fast food places are for lol