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A Love Lost: The Caribou Coffee Story.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Love Lost: The Caribou Coffee Story.

Imagine a mom and an infant. (That'd be me and E, if you're having trouble imagining...)

Out to coffee. With a friend from college.

At Caribou Coffee.

Which one you ask?

1808 Plymouth Road. Minnetonka, MN.
Directly across from Ridgedale Mall.

Said mom needs to change infant's diaper.

Goes to the restroom to find there is NO changing table.

Leaves the womens restroom and checks the mens.

Nope. Nada.

Said infant is fussing because she only has the most messy, dirty diaper of her life going on. Like onesie change and all. You moms know what I'm talking about.

Mom is irritated.

Mom emails said Caribou Coffee.

Caribou Coffee passes the blame off to Brueggers Bagels. (Which is connected to Caribou.)

Mom is more irritated.

Here's our correspondence thus far:

Me: ...I met a friend for coffee at this Caribou on Saturday and was so disappointed to find out that neither of the restrooms had a changing table to change my 10 week old infant. Caribou's have typically been so family and child friendly. What a disappointment! Is there a reason for no changing table facilities here or is Caribou working on updating this facility?...

Them: ...Thank you very much for your email. I did ask the district manager of this location about the restrooms. The restrooms are actually Bruegger's restrooms, we do not have restrooms at this location. Was it perhaps a different Caribou?...

Thanks for getting back to me. This particular Caribou is connected to Brueggers and there is one set of bathrooms between the two of them. I guess that almost makes it worse that Caribou passes the blame off to Brueggers and doesn't even have facilities available besides Brueggers??...Did you get a chance to look into this further?

Them: ...Due to the type of lease we have in that location the restroom facilities are operated and leased by Brueggers. We do not have separate facilities in this location.
Please let me know if you have additional questions...

And then, again: ...I apologize if you find my response lacking. Unfortunately I do not have a way to rectify the lack of a changing table in the restroom for the reasons I stated previously. Please let me know how else I can assist you...

I wrote back and informed Customer Relations I'd be sharing my experience and issue with a broader audience. That'd be YOU.

Here's what I think and then I want to know what YOU think. Really.

#1. Where does Caribou Coffee expect their customers to use the restroom at this particular location?

#2a. Is it important to Caribou Coffee that parents with small children are able to come and visit their store?

#2b. If so, where do they suggest small children in diapers are changed?

#3. Regardless of whose restroom facility it is (Brueggers, Caribou's, the landlord of the building...) Caribou Coffee generally expects customers to use these facilities. A diaper changing station can be purchased starting at $180. One hundred and eighty dollars. When people are coming in and spending $3-5 on a beverage, is it really too much to ask Caribou to make the investment for this?

#4. I was disgusted that I had to lay my changing pad on a tile floor to change my infant. But now what disgusts me is the lack of concern, the lack of apology and the lack of genuine interest in my complaint. What gives?

And as for Brueggers, they have been contacted and I've received no response as of this posting. Which is another disappointment in and of itself.

So now it's your turn, what do YOU think?


Blogger Melissa said...

Gah, how annoying! I'm not a mom but I can certainly empathize. I remember going to Chipotle with some friends awhile back and having the same experience. You should NOT have to worry about where to lay your child down when you're already worried about a diaper explosion! Good for you for pushing back on this.

February 26, 2009 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Do they really want baby poo all over the place? And how would their customers feel about seeing poo while they enjoyed their coffee? Hello!?!?!?

February 26, 2009 at 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Kayla said...

I think that is terrible. They could have at least said they would forward your concerns on to Brueggers and try to come up with a solution. Instead they just completely passed the blame off on someone else. That's not a way to keep customers.

February 26, 2009 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger ms. changes pants while driving said...

Go get 'em. Maybe do some research on other coffee houses that DO have changing tables. Send emails to them asking why they felt it was important to install changing tables. Then send it back to Caribou. And Brueggers.

February 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger melanie. said...

in the DR, it's RARE to find a place to change a diaper and forget about hi-chairs in all but the most upscale (read: expensive) restaurants. i've gotten used to it here, but in the states?

there are quite a few establishments that have lost our business because of the lack of changing tables. seriously? you can put a plywood table covered in plastic for all i care, as long as there is SOMETHING.

February 26, 2009 at 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it truly is a lease thing and Caribou has no control over it, shouldn't you email Brueggers to state the case for a changing table? I have a little one and have been to plenty of Caribou's that have changing tables thus would thing its a Brueggers issue and not a Caribou one.

February 26, 2009 at 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change her at the table where you are sipping or dining! That will definitely get the ball rolling.

P.S. I think the floor may actually be cleaner than one of those nasty public changing changing tables. Do they ever actually get sanitized? I know the floor gets washed at least once per day!

February 26, 2009 at 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Stacey said...

I totally understand! Nothing is worse then having your kid explode in public then, not having a changing table! I would EXPECT Caribou and/or Bruggers to have a changing station! I think you should have walked out, layed out your blanket on one of the front tables and just started to change her! That would have gotten attention! Ha ha ha.... then threw out the nasty diaper in the trash for all to smell! :)YUCK!

February 26, 2009 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I would've changed E on the table where I was dining - let someone complain about it - then they'd HAVE to make some changes around there!

February 26, 2009 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Simplicity, I'm so sorry for your experience. While it is possible that Caribou has no control over the bathroom situation (due to Bruegger's ownership), they should have offered to speak with Brueggers and request that a changing table be installed. Certainly, it would be reasonable for them to at least advocate on your behalf.

February 26, 2009 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

That is horrible. While you very well know I don't have children, I have come across that situation when I had my niece one day. There was no changing station. I think that is very rude. While Caribou may not be able to do anything about it, they should have at least contact Brugger's for you and do something more. As for Brugger's lack of response, that is just simply rude and disrespectful. I applaude you for sticking to your guns and filing a complaint. Not a lot of people would.

February 27, 2009 at 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that if you are going load your guns and start taking shots at a company, you better make sure you are firing at the right company.
If Brugger's indeed has the responsibility of the bathrooms, (which it obviously does) why are you spending all of this time and energy taking shots at Caribou.
Your passion about this is obvious, so why not direct your energy in the right direction. Work with Brugger's to rectify this situation.

February 27, 2009 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger simplicity said...

To the anonymous (Caribou employee) commenter: You're right, the restrooms belong to Brueggers but that day I was a Caribou customer. Where should a Caribou customer use the restroom and change their child? I would think that as a Caribou customer reaching out to Caribou that a conversation could take place between both Caribou and Brueggers to get something in place here. I do hold Brueggers to fault here too as much if not more than Caribou, however the Caribou customer service I have received on this issue has continued to deflect and ignore my issue and concerns.

February 27, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger The Bishops said...

What do I think? I think I will be sticking with Starbucks...

March 1, 2009 at 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely understand why you are angry, but I am with the other anonymous poster, you should spend less time fighting Caribou and direct your concerns towards Brueggers.

Most likely, because of a lease agreement, Caribou is unable to make changes to the restroom, as they do not own it. Fixing a changing table to the wall is a definite change, and while this is a change that needs to be made, Caribou is most likely not able to make it.

Also, it is unrealistic to expect two large corporations to contact each other over an issue as small as this one. I understand that this issue may not be small to you, but to a corporation that has over 415 coffee shops in 16 states, an issue with a changing table in 1 of their 415 locations is not that high up on their list of concerns. They certainly will not take the time to contact the company at fault. Caribou is not doing anything wrong; they replied to you, and rather respectfully. Now it is your turn to direct your concerns towards the company that can do something about it, the company at fault here.

Good luck handling this issue, I certainly hope Brueggers puts a changing table in this particular location soon.

March 1, 2009 at 10:08 PM  

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