Woman Charged For Using 'Customers Only' Restroom

By Hilda Scott , Mar 01, 2013 04:29 PM EST

A restaurant in Erin,Tennessee used law enforcement to track down a woman for not footing the bill for a bathroom surcharge. The restaurants said its restrooms are for customers only and non-customers are charged a pay-per-potty fee.

When Patricia Barnes received permission to use the Flood Zone restaurant's restroom, she probably did not expect the turn of events that would lead to nationwide news. Within a few days Barnes received a note in the mail from the restaurant's management that explained its restroom policies. The note emphasized that the bathroom is for customers of the Flood Zone only and that she had to send them a $5.00 charge, since she did not purchase anything.

As reported by TODAY, a sign posted in the bathroom stated the toilet payment policy. Barnes said she didn't notice the note until a restaurant employee approached her about it.  "I just thought it was unbelievable," said Barnes. "I'm like, what type of people are these?"

"It was a little index card at the very bottom of the mirror.  I didn't look in the mirror at all that day," said Barnes. The owner of the restaurant wrote down Barnes' license plate number and had the sheriff trace the vehicle's owner. The vehicle is registered in her husband's name, Randy Edwards, so when she received the letter, it was addressed to "Mrs. Edwards."

"I don't feel it was a crime. I've been into plenty of restaurants here in this town and other towns, and, you know, other states," said Barnes.  She said when she went back to offer to pay the $5.00 fees, the owner would not accept it, stating that the note was just to make a point.  

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